Hiring and managing your first employee can be a daunting step for business owners who have been flying solo – but there are ways to make sure it’s a success.
1. First impressions count
There’s nothing worse than turning up to your new job on the first day, ready to start, and your employer seems disorganised and unwelcoming.
First impressions count for your customers, right? Well, the same also applies to your first employee.
You want to create a professional first impression for all who walk through your business door — employees and customers alike. Your new employee will see the standard you set and pass on that experience to your customers.
Before your first employee starts, evaluate your office furniture. Maybe it’s time for a new office chair. Make sure the area where they are going to work in your business is clean, tidy and ready, so that they can start working on day one.
Create a good first impression to reinforce in their mind that they have made the right decision to come on board to help you grow your business.
2. Have a clear job description
Whether it’s your first employee or your hundredth, it is vital that you provide them with a clear written job description and that you go through it with them as part of an induction process.
It gives you and them clarity on managing expectations so there are no misunderstandings.
If you don’t have a clear job description outlining specific and general roles and responsibilities, then your first employee — and future ones — will lack direction, lose interest and may eventually leave.
3. Run through a Business Induction Process
No matter how big or small your business is, from a home office to a large office, it’s important that you have some form of induction process for your first employee from the start.
This can be as simple as a half-hour meeting when they first arrive to run through their roles and responsibilities, office procedures and policies, culture of the business, and your expectations.
Your first staff employee will get discouraged if they are thrown in to the deep end without knowing where the lifejackets are kept.
4. Have a Policies and Procedures Manual
As part of your induction process you should have a Policies and Procedures Manual, even if it is just you been by yourself so far.
When I started my business, I was the only employee for many months. The first thing I did was draft up a Policies and Procedures manual because I knew I would grow and put on my first employee.
I wanted to make sure this person fully understood the standards, processes, and systems I had developed to ensure the business ran smoothly and efficiently.
A Policies and Procedures Manual will save time in your first employee learning the ropes and will help with their induction and the induction of additional employees.
I email my manual out to a new employee two weeks before they start so they can be prepared from day one.
5. Give weekly feedback
Nearly all employees rate continuous feedback more important than pay raises.
Therefore it’s vital that you do a weekly review of how your new employee is performing in those first few months.
I usually do this every Friday for about 20 minutes at the end of the day where I will sit down with my new employee and ask them how they felt they went during the week and if they had any questions or concerns.
It provides valuable feedback, and this needs to be done weekly for the first two to three months of your first employee starting.
Don’t let the months slip by before you sit down with them and get their feedback and provide your feedback as well.
6. Prioritise their daily work
Create a simple list of the most urgent daily and weekly tasks for your new employee.
It’s important that you match your expectations with theirs and give them clear guidelines on what you want them to do as a priority during the day.
Having your first employee is like planting the seed in your business garden. You need to give them a lot of care and attention in those early critical days to make sure that they grow and develop within your business.
Be professional, provide plenty of feedback and give them guidance on their role and your expectations.
The most common reasons why new employees leave within a few months of starting a new job is that they were given no guidance, no feedback and they had no understanding what was expected of them by their new employer.
If you nail these strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be well on your way in growing your first employee into a valuable business asset.