As a business owner, is there anything more nerve wrecking than hiring your first few employees? You’ve put your heart, soul, sweat, tears, and life savings into starting and keeping your new business running. You know you have the passion and drive it takes to do whatever needs to be done to succeed, but you alone are the one that carries the risks. Bringing a new person into to your start-up can be exciting – you’re growing – but also very intimating. Can you give up some control of your brainchild to someone who may or may not care as much as you do? How can you tell that you’ve found the “right one”? Or what do you do after you’ve found them? Here’s a quick guide to hiring for a start-up:

Find the Right Fit

If you’ve ever purchased a pair of new shoes without trying them on and found out a few days later that they don’t quite fit, you’ll understand how uncomfortable hiring the right person for the wrong job can be. It’s important to understand
, with those first few new hires, that you are setting the foundation of your company’s culture for years to come. Each person you bring on to your team will have strengths and weakness that they will lend to your company. Look for someone who:

  • Is Passionate: Find people who are passionate. Passionate about life, themselves, the world around them, and most importantly, your industry. A passionate employee comes to work for more than just a paycheck – they come to make a difference.
  • Has Expertise: Don’t make the mistake of hiring the person strictly on their impressive education.  Don’t discount the value of having a employee who is well versed in your industry and the responsibilities that their new position will entail.
  • Just Fits: While you’re still building your culture, it’s imperative that you have a big-picture idea of what you want the internal workings of your company to look like. Find people who just “fit” into your goals, office, and way of running your business.

Employment Contract

No one likes contracts – except maybe lawyers. They feel stuffy, impersonal, and make a lot of people uncomfortable. But, we agree with the lawyers one this one. Having an employment contract and even an employee handbook isn’t about being a dictator or making a set of rules that everyone MUST follow, but instead to ensure that all parties have a clear understanding of what is expected.  In a perfect world, nothing unfavorable would ever happen.  In reality, it’s better to protect both yourself and your new hire with a written document, outlining what you expect from them and what they can expect from you.

File All Appropriate Documents

There are federal and state regulations regarding what you, as an employer, needs to do after hiring a new employee. Reaching out to your local business development center is a great resource to help you navigate the exact steps you need to take, in order to comply with all the laws applicable to your situation. Payroll taxes and providing workers’ compensation insurance are just two of the areas that you’ll need to make sure you’re compliant in.

Hire a Payroll Service

The right person, the right contract, the right forms have been filled out – now what? You must pay them! Depending on whether you’ve hired a W-2 or 1099 contract, there are laws and regulations you must follow as a business owner when paying your employees. Finding the right payroll service can mean that you don’t have to worry about whether or not your new hire is classified incorrectly, resulting in hefty fines from the IRS. Payroll service companies can handle all the new hire regulations, as well as, managing the responsibilities your company has to withhold taxes from each paycheck, and providing the proper forms at tax time. This is one expense that most certainly pays for itself!

Don’t be intimidated by growth – you know that you can’t possibly sustain your entire business by yourself. Take some time to find the right team to help you achieve your goals. Don’t rush and hire the first person who applies, as exciting as it may be. Devote enough time to fully understand yourself, what you’re looking for in an employee, what you will expect from them, what kind of culture you want to create for the future of your business, and put the processes in place to ensure that you’re following all the state and federal laws when you do find that perfect fit.