When you’re starting a small business, it’s easy to focus all of your attention on your business launch. But it’s equally important to consider what’s next so that you not only understand success, but you can also plan for it.
You need to hire employees.
First, congratulations! Hiring employees is one of the best signs that you’re on track not only with your business idea, but also your company’s growth.
It’s true that filling positions in a company brings with it a new set of challenges, including who to hire, how much to pay them, how to manage them and what to do in the event of a separation or termination.
But look at how far you’ve already come. And think of hiring employees this way: it’s no different from other facets of your business in that you need a strategy and a plan.
Let’s break down your hiring approach to three steps. Ready?
STEP 1: ASSESS WHAT SKILLS OR ROLES YOU NEED
When you start your company, it’s likely you’ll juggle a number of roles to keep costs down as you gain your footing.
Yet as your company grows, you’ll want to identify key skills that you need on your team or roles you need fulfilled. These needs might also become evident through company pain points.
Here’s one example: you might find yourself drowning in various office and administrative responsibilities. If so, make specific notes about what tasks you need fulfilled or what skills you’re seeking — in this case, an office or business manager.
You’ll likely find in the early stages of hiring that you don’t necessarily need an executive team. Instead, a better approach is to fill critical gaps that will help keep your company on a path to success. Then, as your business continues to grow, you can look at opportunities to further expand your workforce.
STEP 2: ESTABLISH YOUR COMPENSATION BUDGET
Once you’ve decided which roles you need to fill, it’s time to crunch some numbers to see what salary you can offer for each role.
If you’re at a loss for where to even start, try exploring a few salary research tools like Glassdoor, PayScale and Indeed. Have a recruiter in your network? That person can also be an invaluable source of information.
Of course, setting salaries can be tricky. It’s best to start with a range, then you can fine-tune a specific salary based on that person’s skills and expertise. A typical caveat when hiring employees for a start-up company is that there’s potential for growth—in other words, the salary may not be as high as desired, but there’s likelihood for compensation to increase based on individual and company performance.
Yet don’t rely too much on promises—after all, they won’t pay your employees’ bills. Not being able to offer competitive salaries is one of the biggest obstacles that entrepreneurs face—and why they tend to be slow to add employees.
Keep in mind, too, that salaries aren’t simply about what appears on a paycheck. You’ll also want to decide if you’re offering benefits and/or a 401K, as well as ensure that your necessary local, state and federal tax withholdings and other regulatory obligations are covered. For example, the U.S. Department of Labor requires 12 records per employee, including full name and social security number, pay rate, straight time and overtime earnings for each work week, etc. The Internal Revenue Service also requires a number of documents, including a W4, I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification and proof of worker’s compensation insurance, to name a few.
That said, there’s often more flexibility with start-ups to enrich a salary with non-cash compensation, including accelerated career growth and professional development, as well as options like equity-based compensation. Take the time to understand your options so that you can offer a comprehensive compensation package that not only makes sense for your business, but will also help you attract talented, driven employees.
STEP 3: FINALIZE DETAILS, INCLUDING TITLES AND JOB DESCRIPTIONS
You’ve identified what roles you need to fill and the pay rate you can offer each role. Now’s the time to finalize details like the job title and description so that you can share the information and start the hiring process.
Some people opt to get a little more creative with their job titles, while others prefer a straightforward approach. Think about what makes sense for your company and the company culture you want to cultivate. Are you a fan of an enriching yet no-nonsense environment? Or do you prefer a more informal, laid-back vibe with more of an emphasis on growth and achievements rather than on details like business titles?
This sort of information is helpful not just for creating job titles and descriptions; it will also tie into your larger messaging strategy. For example, if your company culture is a more informal one, you’d want a voice and tone that reflects that culture to help reinforce your brand and what your business is all about.
It’s helpful to add a dash of salesmanship to job descriptions, too. The job market is a competitive one, and you want to be sure your job description stands out so that you have a greater chance of attracting strong candidates. It might not hurt to run your job descriptions and titles by a few trusted colleagues or friends and get their feedback before you start distributing the information.
The actual hiring process comes with its fair share of challenges, but that’s a topic best left to a separate post. In the meantime, you’ve likely got a lot on your plate to consider. Isn’t it funny how so many business decisions, like hiring employees, can lead to other thought-provoking considerations like what sort of company culture you want to build?
That’s why we created Kauffman FastTrac, an immersive online course that’s designed to help entrepreneurs launch their businesses. The course covers a number of topics, including managing business functions and developing an organizational culture.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re trying to start a business–and that’s exactly why we’re here to help so you can overcome obstacles and successfully launch your company. Register today, then start the self-paced course anytime.
One last thing: congratulations in advance on your new hires! Adding employees is a significant milestone for any entrepreneur, so be sure to celebrate this exciting new chapter.