4 necessary steps to take before hiring your first employees

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

By Emma Sturgis

Although you may be anxious to hire the help needed to make your small business run smoother, this process should be handled with precision. Making sloppy, knee-jerk decisions can lead you to hire a liability or to face tough legal issues. Here are four vital steps to take before hiring your first employee.

Be clear on wage and hour laws

Each state has a set of clearly-defined rules and regulations to protect the interests of employees. These include, but are not limited to, the minimum amount that they can be paid on an hourly basis, how many breaks they are entitled to each shift, and when they are owed overtime pay. Employers should be knowledgeable about these guidelines before taking anyone in as failure to comply can lead to some pretty costly damage. It will also be your responsibility as an employer to make these laws known to your employees, so you better understand how they work.

Have a payroll method in place

Expecting people to wait for their paychecks while you get your ducks in a row is a sure way to get off to a bad start with new employees, and paying them under the table for the first week or two won’t work either. The IRS needs an accurate account of any wages paid out as well as the employment tax payments withheld. So, you will need to select a payroll system that will both calculate the taxes and wages and will provide the employee with a paycheck or direct deposit on their scheduled pay date. While you’re at it, you should make sure one of the first employees you hire is an HR specialist. This will ensure your payroll system is set up and ready to go.

Professional liability insurance

No business owner can run a flawless operation, so there will be mistakes made on their end as well as that of their employees. For this reason, all business owners should find a reputable professional liability insurance provider, and ask that they both quote them and run them through the details of the policy, including how it will protect them in the event that they are battling a legal negligence claim.

Devise a practical recruiting process

Before you go digging for applicants, have everything from the selection process to the tax paperwork ready. Have your interview questions carefully drawn out so that you can get a genuine feel for each applicant, and be sure to make them aware of the job description, benefits, pay wage, and projected schedule. Once you have found the ideal candidate, verify that they are legally able to work, and run them through a thorough background check before officially inviting them on board.

Diving straight in rarely goes according to plan. Always remember to do your due diligence before trusting anyone to represent your business.


Emma Sturgis is a freelance writer based out of Boston, MA. She writes most often on health and education. When not writing, she enjoys reading and watching film noir. Say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2.

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