Your own business: Hiring your first employee

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Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

Business is going well, the customer base is growing – but so if your workload… Perhaps it’s time to bring in some help?

During the early stages of launching a business, more often than not you, as the business owner, will be running the show solo. You are your company’s CEO, CFO, accountant, marketing manager and even IT support. 

But, at some point, when your business takes off, you’ll be in a position to hire some extra hands to lighten your load. Where do you start?

Step 1: Revisit your business plan

If you developed a thorough, realistic business plan before you started, you should have identified the gaps you have in terms of skills and knowledge. For example, you might be a rockstar salesperson, but have no clue about finances.

Look at what your business currently needs that you can’t solve. The first roles recruited for in start-ups are usually in these specialties:

  • Operations
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Finance

You might not need people to fill these roles full time. Assess the cost of bringing employees on board permanently as well as the business need and compare it to having someone part-time or outsourcing the task. 

Step 2: Find the right person for the job

Once you have decided on which roles to fill, it’s time to recruit the people who will help you grow your business. 

Think about the following:

  • What is in their job description and how much can you afford to pay? (Are you looking for an ambitious intern or an experienced expert?)
  • Will you post a job ad on the various platforms available, reach out to your network, or hire a recruitment agency?
  • What questions will you ask applicants during the interview process that will help you decide if they’re a good fit?
  • Which checks will you run to verify their employability? (For example, references from previous employers, proof of qualifications, police clearance, etc.)
  • What equipment will you need to provide for them and what are the terms and conditions of their employment?

(Tip: Make things official by presenting a formal offer, in writing, and having your new recruit sign an employment contract that follows the Basic Conditions of Employment)

Step 3: Register for tax

When you become an employer, you have 21 days to let SARS know. You do this by completing a EMP101 form.

You will also be required to register for Pay As You Earn (PAYE), Skills Development Levy (SDL) and Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

Every month you have to deduct these from your employees’ salaries and pay the amounts over to SARS. The amount you need to deduct as PAYE will depend on how much your employee earns annually (find the latest deductions here), while UIF is 2% of their salary – 1% of which is deducted from their remuneration and the other 1% is due by you.

Step 4: Onboarding

With the paperwork out of the way, prepare to train and induct your new hires so that they understand your business vision and their role in making it a reality. Also ensure they have the right resources to be able to do their job correctly, and the right environment where they can ask if they are uncertain and grow with the business.


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