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Hiring Your First Employee
By Sonya Buck, Australia

You've done the hard part, have set up and are running your own business. All is going well, but you may be starting to feel overwhelmed with the amount of work and have reached a tipping point where you need to hire your first employee.

Firstly, decide what they will be doing and write a comprehensive position description, even dot points will do the trick. When determining their role, think about what is the best use of your time and what would be their role and tasks. Also, consider future or changing needs and if this role is what you will need.

You'll need to determine what type of employment you can offer – Full-time, Part Time, or Casual and this will depend on the amount of work you have and your ability to fund their wage and entitlements.

Your budget may only allow a Full-time junior employee, but you may wish to consider if a part-time or casual employee who has more experience may get the work done faster. You may even like to think about hiring a mature age employee and the Australian Government has funding initiatives in place should you hire someone within this category.

Remember when budgeting for your new employee you will need to take Superannuation and Workers Compensation into account, plus provide benefits such as annual, carer's/sick leave. When hiring it may be tempting to go ‘cash in hand’, but you must pay what is required in tax and follow employment legislation, otherwise you are taking an enormous risk.

Ensure you write a good job advertisement which covers off what exactly you are seeking and lets the candidates know a little about your business. You may have a limited budget for advertising, but get the most ‘bang for your buck’ and advertise online, the most common way that job seekers use to find a new role.

Don't forget your obligations in regard to discrimination. Discrimination in the workplace is illegal. Employees (or potential employees) cannot be discriminated against because of their race, colour, sex, sexual preference, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, family or carer’s responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin. Also ensure you don’t inadvertently discriminate in your position advertisement.

Depending on the nature of your business you may be spend quite a bit of time with the new employee, so ensure you employ someone you like. Also hire someone you believe you can trust and ensure they are enthusiastic, as this business is your baby.

When hiring, it's good to include a trial period to ensure you are happy with who you have recruited and for all new employees an agreement or contract which includes this is a must.

Carefully consider candidates who come from small to medium businesses, as someone from a large business may not understand a smaller workplace and how it may differ. Sometimes employees may expect internal promotion which will not be possible until you expand further.

Once you have hired someone, set up a filing system for your employee records, this is particularly important in case you are audited by the Taxation office.

Give your employee a good start. Take time out to induct them into your business and give the training required to complete their role. Encourage feedback from them and be open to any new ideas they bring to the business.

Hiring your first new employee can be scary, but remember it does signal that your business is expanding and you are on the road to achieving further success.