12 things to do before you can hire an employee

18th May, 2017

job interview

When I started my business, by default I became an employer. What a learning curve that was. I had to learn many things, and quickly, too. 

In Australia, there’s a Fair Work Ombudsman who makes sure that as an employer you’re abiding by all the legislation — and there’s a lot of legislation.

Here are the 12 things I had to prepare before I could engage my first employee:

1. Position description

Your position description will need to have:

  • a job title
  • a list of duties the job requires
  • a list of skills and competencies needed to complete this job
  • and who the person will report to.

It should also include details of the award rates and hours of work that the position requires.

2. Award/Agreement

This is a minefield, but luckily the Ombudsman has a website to help you.

There are employment awards, employment agreements — even the option to use an employment contract.

Read them thoroughly and decide on the level or classification that your new employee will be paid under.

Use the newly created Position Description to help you decide the level and classification.

3. Payroll software

Now that you know how much you are going to pay your employee, how are you going to pay them?

If you’re going to employ a number of people then you need to decide which payroll software to use.

Compare accounting and payroll solutions that will work well for you and your company, and then set it up.

4. Register for the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House

The Small Business Superannuation Clearing House is a godsend for small businesses.

It’s a free service that helps you, the employer, to meet your super guarantee obligations.

5. Policies: Workplace Health and Safety Policy

There were many policies I had to have in place, but the biggest one was the WHS policy.

Each state in Australia has different requirements, but the good news is that there were lots of government agencies that I could go to for free advice and templates.

Take advantage of their knowledge in this area to help you create your own policy.

6. Staff handbook

The staff handbook tells a new employee what they need to know about the business.

Include things like:

  • the ethos of the business and the brand
  • the mission statement together with the vision and values
  • and workplace policies such as the social media, bullying and workplace health and safety.

Also detail first aid and emergency procedures for the employee.

7. Fair Work and Australian Taxation forms

Legally, under the National Employment Standards, each new employee must receive a Fair Work Information Statement as soon as practicable after starting work.

There are also forms that the ATO require you to give your employees, such as a Tax File Number Declaration Form and a Standard Choice Form.

Have them ready to give the successful applicant before they start with you.

8. Letter of engagement

This letter should include the Position Description, the award or agreement that they are employed under, together with the classification that they will be employed as.

Make sure that you outline the pay rate that they will be receiving per hour and how it will be paid to them (eg. weekly/fortnightly into a bank account).

Detail what is expected of them as an employee in your store, especially their obligation towards confidentiality.

Create a letter template now so that it is a simple matter of just entering their personal details into their personnel file and into the payroll software.

9. Training plan

It’s useful to create a training plan so the new employee knows what to expect.

Look back to the job description, and see what duties they have to complete.

The sooner your employee is up and running, the sooner you can delegate tasks to him or her.

10. Induction program

This program brings together all the previous paperwork you have prepared.

I prepared a welcome pack that had all the above paperwork in it ready for the employee to read and complete where applicable.

This is also about showing them where the fire exits are, the staff room, where to park and so on.

11. Job advertisement

By now, you are ready to start looking for your employee, but how do you let the world know that you are looking?

Your job ad should have most of the details from the position description and a little bit from your staff handbook that explains about your company.

Make it clear how the person is to apply for the position. Then, get ready for the influx.

12. Interview process and questions

While you’re waiting for the applications to arrive, think about how you’re going to shortlist applicants for interview.

Create a matrix that has each of the duties and required skills and abilities.

Tick the boxes of each duty, skill and competency against each application.

Then all you have to do is create a list of questions for you to ask each applicant.