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Hiring employees for SMEs

Who you work with matters. You want employees who are motivated, dedicated and passionate. You want them to be good at what they do but also fit in with your company culture.

But how to find them?

Businesses have been trying to find right people since the beginning of time. Many owners worry that all the good prospects will be working for large, established companies, but this is not the case. Many prefer working for smaller companies where they can make more of an in impact.

As your business begins to grow and you recognise that you cannot do everything yourself, you are likely to start thinking about bringing on employees. It is possible to find good people for SMEs, and we are here to help.

Consider hiring options

Before you hire a new graduate, decide if you really need to hire. Maybe you don’t need a full-time employee. Maybe a freelancer would do, or maybe you just need to get organised. Either way, there is no magic formula for when it’s time to hire.

If you don’t have time to work on your business — moving it forward and planning for the future – because you’re too busy maintaining it, then it’s probably time to look into hiring someone new.

There isn’t a magic position that you should hire for, either. Some companies may need an accountant whilst others may need someone in marketing. Simply assess what your weaknesses are and try to hire for those.

Freelancers

Freelancers can be hired as often or as seldom as you like for writing, SEO, web development and other areas. The biggest pro is that you don’t have to pay them a regular salary and can hire them as needed. The con is that they are not working with your business every day, so it may be difficult for them to understand your culture and your needs. They’re also working for a living so smaller jobs may be pushed aside for bigger, better paying contracts.

Contractors

Contractors are usually hired for an extended period of time ─ more time than a freelancer but less than a standard employee. Often they are hired for a particular project. You might hire a contractor to produce a mobile app for your company. Contractors are self-employed and are not paid through PAYE. They do not have employment rights of employees. Before making a hire here, double-check with Gov.uk’s standards regarding what constitutes a contractor versus a regular employee.

Employees

Employees are going to come into the office every day to help you with your business. They’re likely to be as dedicated as you are. The key is to make sure you’re organised enough to take them on, and that you can provide them with enough work. All employees work under an employment contract, which means they have right to maternity and paternity leave and pay, Statutory Sick pay and other standard benefits.

Interns and work placements

Interns are usually inexperienced and inexpensive, making them a great option for SMEs. Be careful, though ─ interns can be more work than they are worth. Unless you are invested in helping someone with their career, you are unlikely to get anything out of hiring an intern. As for wages and rights, work placements do not have their own legal statute. Instead, they must fall into the category of worker, volunteer,or employee. If the intern is classified as a worker, they need to make National Minimum Wage. These wages do not apply if it is a student internship or work experience placement, or if it they are working for a charity or voluntary organisation. Before you hire an intern, consult Gov.uk to ensure everything is in order.

Wage considerations

No matter who you choose to hire, you need to make sure you are paying fair wages. The National Minimum Wage rate depends on age and whether the individual is considered an apprentice. Currently, the standard rates in the UK are as follows:

If you have a question about the National Minimum Wage in your area, then try out the calculator provided by Gov.uk:

Tips for hiring freelancers and contractors

If you decide to hire freelancers or contractors rather than full-time employees, there are a number of things to keep in mind to make sure the working relationship runs smoothly: