How to make the right first hire: new business challenge

Depending on your personality as a new business owner, hiring employees can feel daunting or like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

by Management Today
Last Updated: 05 Mar 2020

“The only way to grow a business is to have a team. But don’t think you’re employing them for life. You’re taking on a commitment for an initial three months.”

James Averdieck, founder of pudding brand Gü, was speaking at a recent roundtable on the hiring process hosted by Intuit QuickBooks.

Technically he is right: it’s only a three-month commitment. But, others believed the majority of small business managers don’t think in such cut-and-dry terms.

Recent QuickBooks Payroll1 research found only around a third (35%) of small business owners or senior leaders expect their business to hire someone new this year. This is a drop from the past few years, where over half made new hires.

Yet at the same time, managers are excited about the opportunities new employees can bring to their business, with the majority identifying a range of positives including increased productivity, new skills and expertise.

Reading between the lines, Britain’s bosses are keen to embrace the growth and productivity benefits that new employees can bring. But there’s nervousness out there about continuing the past few years’ pace of growth.

Tackling the challenges and embracing the opportunities

John Waddy, owner of The Kentish Soap Company, said: “There is emotional decision-making taking on a permanent employee. There is a responsibility for that person. There is an obligation on us to make sure the company is sustainable, and the business is sustainable, and these people have got good jobs. But on the other side to that, there is a worry about simple things like IP.”

In other words, there’s much more to consider than taking a risk on someone, and if it doesn’t work out, helping them find alternative employment in three months. And much of that consideration comes down to practicalities. Complying with legislation to ensure you’re protecting yourself, your other employees, and your business.

No small part of hiring employees for the first time means running payroll becomes a key consideration. Payroll can be a crucial – and confusing – part of any business, but particularly so when a business is just starting out.

Three top tips for hiring success

Aside from payroll, what else should small businesses consider to ensure their first hire is a success? Business leaders at the QuickBooks roundtable gave their advice:

  1. Don’t hire a yes person – your employee needs to align with your values, but you need to be challenged ?
  2. Consider psychometric tests to understand if they are a good fit for the business – according to the QuickBooks payroll research, the most valued traits in a first employee: 1) hard-working; 2) organised; 3) diligent; 4) good attention to detail; 5) good all-rounder.?
  3. Follow-up references – it’s the most sure-fire way to ensure you’re getting the person they claim to be?

Simplifying complex payroll needs

Payroll help is at hand. QuickBooks provides easy-to-use payroll software that fits every business, from those with simple payroll needs to those with more advanced requirements, such as access for employees via a dedicated portal and the ability to automatically account for benefits like pensions and shared parental leave.

Many businesses even with apparently simple requirements may have surprisingly complex payroll needs. For example, just one employee may want to make use of shared parental leave or may need to make use of statutory sick pay.

The QuickBooks Advanced payroll solution can calculate entitlements automatically and creates custom reports to help track committed expenditure. This comes in addition to all the standard benefits of cloud-based payroll software, including saved time and improved efficiency, calculations you can count on, auto-updates in line with HMRC requirements and seamless integration with business accounts and other QuickBooks services.

So whether it’s your first or fiftieth employee, QuickBooks Payroll is packed with features that take the hassle out of managing payroll. If you haven’t yet explored what QuickBooks can do for you, visit to find out more.

1Survey conducted by Opinium Research. Nationally representative sample of 2,000 (21-23 Jan 2020), and 500 small business decision makers (22-26 Jan 2020). Conducted in accordance with Market Research Society requirements.

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