Financial Data
Updated 27 Sep 2020


Hiring your first employees

Looking to bring your first employee on board? Bear in mind the legal obligations, liabilities, expenses and paperwork.


This BizConnect guide will help you to create a job description, hire the right employees for the job and make sure the paperwork is correct:

 

How to write a job description

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Begin this task by understanding the requirements of the job. Determine what kind of personality, experience and education are needed.

Here are some pointers:

  • What are the mental and physical tasks involved?
  • How will the job be done and what methods and equipment will be used?
  • What are the job goals and how does the job relate to other positions in the company?
  • What qualifications and training are needed?
  • What personality traits are required?
  • Who will the employee report to?


In a small business, these steps may seem unnecessary, but remember that you are laying the foundations for your human resources policy.

 

Advertising the job

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There are several ways in which you can search for the right employees. You can ask for referrals from industry peers, existing staff and even friends and family if they know of someone who is able to perform the job you have outlined in the job description.
There are also many online recruitment sites where you can advertise positions for a small fee.

You may also choose to advertise in the classifieds section of the print media.
For more specialised position, you could use the services of a recruitment agency, but you will be expected to pay a significant fee for this service.

 

How to conduct the interview

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Selecting the right employees is hard work, and the interview is often the most important step in the process.

  1. Be familiar with the candidates CV and basic biographical information. You can learn a lot these days from a candidate's online presence on social media sites
  2. Remember that you cannot ask questions about religion, age, marital status or disability. Keep your questions tied strictly to job relevance
  3. Your goal should be to create a team with a diversity of personalities, perspectives, and talents. Don't set out to hire someone who is just like you
  4. Look for people who want to be there. Try to get a sense of candidates' lives, their personalities, what matters to them, and how the company fits into that picture
  5. Take notice of the attitude a prospective employee shows in talking about their favourite pursuits. How does the job they're seeking fit?
  6. Behavioural questions require candidates to give examples from their past experience and describe how they used specific skills that are relevant to the job. These are a great opportunity for them to demonstrate leadership or other desirable types of performance. Get them to give concrete examples
  7. Using the same list of questions for all candidates helps create a structure for managing all the information provided in their responses. Being able to compare parallel responses can be a very useful measurement tool
  8. Set assignments for prospective employees. If you are hiring a writer or a graphic designer, for example, ask them to complete an assignment

 

Reference checks

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Reference checking is absolutely essential to verify a candidate's background. Combined with proper interviewing techniques, reference checking should give you added assurance about a candidate's abilities to successfully perform in the position.

Checking a candidate's references should, at a minimum, involve a factual investigation of education and employment. Verification of employment dates and job titles can be obtained by contacting the previous employer.

You can also request references to predict how this person will perform for you. This list should include the names of former supervisors and managers.

 

Onboarding a new employee

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  • Send the new employee all the paperwork beforehand, as well as any information you may have on the company. This way they will not be overwhelmed on day one
  • Get their IT ready ahead of time. Have their computer set up and their email configured
  • Give them a tour of the premises and as well as basic information on how to use printers, copiers, the phone system and the coffee machine
  • Send out an e-mail to everyone in the office so they're prepared to welcome a new employee
  • Have their business cards ready and waiting

 

Probation

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An employer may require a newly hired employee to serve a period of probation before the appointment of the employee is confirmed. Probation is for newly appointed employees only. The purpose of this period is to establish whether or not the newly appointed employee's performance is of an acceptable standard before permanently employing them. Probation periods should be reasonable. This will depend on the nature of the job, which in turn will determine how long it will take to establish whether the employee is performing satisfactorily or not. The more complex the nature of the job, the longer the probation period.

It is advisable that the probationary period be stated in writing, as part of the employment contract or letter of appointment. If the probation is extended, it should once again be done in writing.

 

The contract

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Employers are well advised to enter into a written contract of employment with every employee. But what is the contract of employment, and what type of contracts can be used? A contract of employment is a reciprocal contract. An employee places their services at the disposal of an employer, at a determined or determinable remuneration.


The employer has authority over the employee and exercises supervision regarding the rendering of the employee's services. It is important that the status of an employee be established from the beginning of the employment relationship - permanent, fixed term, temporary, and so on. The contract of employment is the foundation of the relationship between employee and employer and both must be in agreement about the nature of the contract. The contract of employment arises when the employee accepts the employer's offer unconditionally.

When the contract is concluded, the parties must agree on the work the employee is required to perform. The employee is obliged to do the agreed work, as well as any unspecified task related to the main work, provided that it is not unlawful or beyond the area of expertise of the employee. This means that the employer can tell the employee what to do and how to do it.

Remuneration may be payable in cash and/or in kind (other benefits), and can take many forms, such as a monthly or weekly salary, weekly or daily wages, or even irregular payments.


Independent contractors

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The independent contractor contract is not a contract of employment. It is a contract of work. The independent contractor undertakes to build, manufacture, repair or alter something within a certain period and the employer undertakes to pay the contractor for that.

A true independent contractor:

  • will be a registered provisional taxpayer
  • will work their own hours
  • run their own business
  • will be free to carry out work for more than one employer at the same time
  • will invoice the employer each month for their services and be paid accordingly
  • will not be subject to usual "employment" matters such as the deduction of PAYE or UIF from their invoice, will not receive a car allowance, annual leave, sick leave and so on.


Labour brokering

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Employers who outsource their labour requirements to a labour broker are not hiring independent contractors. The benefits provided for in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act must be provided to these workers by the labour broker. More and more employers are going the route of outsourcing labour requirements because it is more economical. It also means they can increase staff during peak periods and decrease staff when things quieten down.

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