How to find employees for your small business

  • 9 min read

Finding employees can often be very difficult for small businesses. Firstly, the best employees usually desire high wages that cannot be met by a smaller enterprise. Secondly, they are a dime a dozen: finding an employee who you both work well with and who is also productive within the business is very difficult.

As a result, you need to employ every trick you can to come across the right employee for your small business.

Do I need an employee?

Before taking on an employee, you should weigh up whether you really need an employee.

On the one hand, there are multiple advantages to taking on employees:

  • Increased productivity – You have more people working in the same company. If they are properly motivated to work, your company’s productivity will skyrocket. This is the main factor of an employee. With more productivity, your company will be able to grow and with more growth, there is usually a necessity for more employees.
  • Broadening your company’s skills – Even just another employee, when chosen well, can greatly diversify your company’s skillset. Choosing someone with good accounting skills if, say, you are good at marketing will allow your company to adapt to more situations allowing it to survive in a competitive marketplace.
  • Covering days off – If you are a one person business, then the whole business will have to stop on days you cannot work, i.e. sick days. An employee can cover days you are not there. Although the business won’t be functioning at its full capacity, it will still be functioning. 
  • Tax benefits – Many of the expenses used to hire employees can be offset against your profits to reduce your amount of tax. In addition, you may be eligible for “Employment Allowance” – a reduction of your national insurance bill of up to £4000.

On the other hand:

  • Wages – The national living wage is currently £8.21 an hour. This is the bare minimum your company will be paying its employees. Furthermore, you will have to pay your employees whether or not your company is financially healthy.
  • Office Materials – With another employee comes the need for more supplies and more office space to allow them to work well. If you haven’t prepared or bought a large enough building, these costs can become quite pricey – impacting your small business’ accounts.
  • The Hiring Process – Even the process of hiring is expensive, let alone taking an employee under the wing of your company. You’ll be investing both time and money into advertising to attract prospective employees. Then you’ll be investing more time and money to train the employees.
  • Loss of control – Having an employee means giving up control of some area of your company. Their mistakes are likely to stand out clearer to you, especially if you wouldn’t have made them yourself. These mistakes will inevitably happen and one must have both a clear bottom line and empathy towards these mistakes.
  • Legal Responsibilities – There are numerous legal responsibilities that come with getting a new employee. For example, setting up a PAYE scheme, making national insurance contributions and finding a pension provider for your business.

Finding the best employee for you

Although having an employee can be very beneficial to your business, it is a big responsibility to take on; both because of financial expenses and the time invested. What’s more, many of the perks that come with having an employee only stand out when that employee is productive and helpful to the business. Therefore, it is imperative that you are able to find the right employee for your enterprise.

Advertising your Job

Before writing your job advert, you should know exactly what you will need and want your employee for. This detail of thought should come across in the advertisement you set out. At least, your advert should contain:

  1. Your company name – you can include a short search engine optimised description here but make sure it’s rid of any jargon.
  1. Job title – Come up with a commonly searched job title like “software engineer” or “teaching assistant” so that your job is recognisable and attracts candidates.
  1. Location – You don’t need to give your business’ exact address, but putting in a town or postcode is far more helpful – and also results in more responses – than putting in a country or region.
  1. Salary – As a small business owner, you should almost always include a salary in your advertisements. Although some job advertisements don’t include a salary, for reasons such as being up for negotiation or subject to experience, these adverts are far less likely to get a response. According to SMART Recruit Online when advertisements include a salary or salary range they get over 30% more applicants.

Even if the salary is up for negotiation, the prospective employee will want to know the range of his potential salary.

Often businesses price their salary on their budget rather than the market realities. This is an error of judgement as you will not only find it harder to find employees who will take the job, but those employees are less likely to be the effective employee you need.

  1. A description of duties – outline what you will want your employee to do and what his role is in the business. However, keep it clear and succinct. It will show both a professional confidence and give the prospective employee a clear picture of what his job in the company will be.
  1. Description of the desired employee – Here you’ll be outlining the ideal applicant so that your reader will be able to see themselves in the shoes of the job. Here you will talk about an ideal candidate’s desired levels of experience, how proficient they should be at certain skills etc. etc.
  1. Why they want to work for you – here you want to emphasise what makes your company special and unique from an employees point of view. You’ll also need to stress what is special about this job in particular and why a candidate would want it. This may include things like:

employee benefits – such as getting dental and medical coverage when they join your company.

Quality of life – if you are located in a particularly idyllic area for example, you may want to stress the area you are located in and what activities your employees are able to do there – for example, skiing or hiking.

Profit-sharing – This is where the employees are given a stake in the company’s success. This is usually an effective way to entice employees as it incentives them to work when they are in the company and it gives them a feeling of accomplishment and progress as the business expands.

  1. Application process – At the end of your advert, you should have a simple way the employee can sign up to your job. Ideally the fewer steps, the more likely you are to secure an employee. This, of course, depends on the type of job they are applying for. Higher skilled work usually requires more in-depth information about the applicant. Having a button which sends the prospective employee to an application form is usually a good way to refine the types of employees you’ll accept.

!Note! – It is illegal for any employer to discriminate against prospective employees on the basis of age, sex, disability, marriage, race, sexual orientation or religion. Furthermore, any unnecessary requirements for a job that may exclude the people on the grounds above are also deemed illegal.

Where to source your employees

Now you have your advertisement, you will need prospective candidates to see it. Here are a few places to post your advertisement:

  • Social media is a great way to advertise your job spaces. Sites like LinkedIn are great for this as they are designed to show people’s professional profiles rather than their personal ones. As a result, LinkedIn has loads of useful recruitment features
  • You can advertise your job on the government website for free. This allows your advert to be seen by many job seekers nationwide.
  • Using recruitment agencies can be a hassle-free way to get employees. However, they often charge a percentage of the employee’s salary as a finders fee. Despite this, much of the work finding the employees are taken on by the agency and therefore it is up to you to decide whether their finders fee is worth it or not.
  • Local authorities and career services can be very useful for small businesses that operate physical stores. This is because these authorities operate local job boards and are able to provide prospective employees who can get to the door of your local business.
  • Printing advertisements for your business is remarkably cheap today and can be effective if printed in the right newspaper. For example, local newspapers and specialist magazines can often result in a candidate contact.
  • There are thousands of job sites on the internet today and you can quickly and easily post your job application onto each one. However, there are so many to choose from you need to be selective in your decision. Aim for job sites that are job specific, such as a tutoring website, or aim for job sites that are commonly visited by the type of candidate you want to attract.

These tips should hopefully help you find employees for your small business. Next, you should start looking for insurance. This is to protect both yourself and your employees. Furthermore, a good insurance package, as seen above, can often entice employees to come to your business. Reading our blog on Small Business Insurance may help you decide which insurances are right for your business.

If you found this helpful and are looking for more advice to give your business the upper edge in the competitive market, then read our other articles. These are designed to help small business owners like you succeed. 

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