Posts tagged ‘Big Business’

It is a discussion I have had with many of my clients when appraising their progress and looking at how the business is going to grow in the upcoming months.

Once outsourcing has been considered, utilised or perhaps discounted, finding someone to support you and help develop growth has to be the next step, but it is a daunting one. 

 So I have commissioned this post from my good friend, and professional contact Katherine Connolly  of Keeping HR Simple  to help alleviate concerns.


You know you’re too busy….

You know you have a great sales pipeline and you also know that another pair of hands would free up your time.  You want to work on your business as well as in it.  So what’s stopping you from making the leap from business owner to employer?

It doesn’t have to be complicated

Taking on your first employee doesn’t have to be complicated, especially if you prepare for it in advance.  Regardless of the fact that you have a small business, as soon as someone agrees to work for you and you agree to pay them for the work they do, you take on certain responsibilities for them.  That may sound a bit scary but it doesn’t have to be. 

Your obligations

You need to be aware of your obligations, most of which are common sense, and have a plan to meet them. 

 They are as follows:

(i) To pay wages

Sounds pretty obvious, doesn’t it, but what would happen if you had a particularly tough month or if a couple of customers don’t pay their bills on time?  You need to have a contingency plan and informing your employee that you can’t pay their wages that month is not enough!  Do you have enough money in the bank to cover at least 3 months salary for them?  It’s really important to communicate with your employee at all times, especially since they will be relying on their salary to make ends meet.

(ii) Not to make unauthorised deductions

You can’t deduct money from an employee’s wages unfairly or without getting their approval in advance (another reason why it’s essential to have an employment contract!)

You can only make deductions from wages in certain circumstances:

  • if there is legal authority to do so, e.g. by Act of Parliament – income tax, National Insurance Contributions etc;
  • by contract of employment which might provide for deductions to be made in certain specific circumstances, e.g. fines for disciplinary offences;
  • or by individual agreement where an employee might agree for the deduction for union subscriptions or to reimburse their employer for overpayment of wages. 

Remember that you will be paying employer’s national insurance on top of the employee’s salary so you will have to include it in your calculations. 

(iv) To take reasonable care of your employee

This is a wide-ranging duty and covers both physical care and psychiatric care (i.e. not to expose employees to psychiatric harm).  As your business grows, this will encompass policies like a zero tolerance approach to discrimination and bullying but that doesn’t mean you should ignore such things until you reach a certain threshold.  The same goes for health and safety – just because you need 5 employees before the law says you need a written health and safety policy doesn’t mean you should ignore your obligations to provide a safe working environment. 

As an example, have you considered where your new employee will work? You may be quite happy working in your spare room or in a garage conversion on the side of your house but you need to put yourself in their position.  If there isn’t room for them to work comfortably and safely, you need to consider other options.

(v) Not to breach mutual trust and confidence

This obligation refers to your working relationship with your employee.  There are three fundamentals that should govern your behaviour as an employer:

  1. Be fair
  2. Be consistent
  3. Be nice


If you practice these without fail, you will find that you’re in the best position to preempt difficult situations and deal with the majority of problems that may arise. 

Don’t be scared to take on your first employee.  Just be prepared! 


Guest author:   Katherine and her partner Jason are successful growing their professional HR consultancy business, by sticking to their core values and Keeping HR Simple

If you have any questions regarding this post, please leave a comment below or contact Katherine and Jason on 0800 458 6582.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.