Have you reached the point where there is too much to do, and you need to look at taking on your first employee? Fantastic news, congratulations! However, you wouldn’t be alone in having mixed feelings about this significant step, an additional mouth to feed, the paper work, where do you start?

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What preparation do you need to do?

We completely understand that taking on your first employee can be an exciting time as well as a daunting one.

The first step will require you to decide what is the role you actually need within your business. A good place to start is writing down a list of all the routine tasks that will need to be completed. This could be daily, weekly or monthly. Then think about any specific projects that you might need someone to work on and how long they might take to complete and what skills will this person needs to carry out the role. Putting together a job description and person specification may help you to formalise this.

If you think you have generated enough work for someone then it is time to look at the financials! Decide on the type of role you might need and what budget you have to pay someone. Remember it won’t just be about paying their salary, you will have to consider other costs you might need to pay associated with that employee, from NI and pension contributions, to the equipment they will need to carry out the role.

You will then need to look at the legal aspects, for example, what will their terms and conditions be, are they going to be full time or part time, how much holiday are you able to provide and are you able to offer any additional benefits?

How to recruit someone

Once you have decided you definitely need that first employee and what role you want them to do, it is time to start the recruitment process!

There are lots of different ways to recruit someone and costs associated with those processes, so ensure you do you research to decide what the best approach is for you; do you go via an agency, post on job boards or use social media or it might be that you already have someone in mind!

Once you have put together an advert and posted it, you are ready to watch the applications role in!

It is important to follow a thorough process when recruiting and to ensure that it is fair and consistent with every candidate to avoid any risks of discrimination claims. Make sure you have a clear selection process and standardised interview questions.

Hiring your new employee

Once you have made your decision about who you wish to employee, you need to check they have the legal right to work in the UK and carry out the appropriate checks. (Our blog on right to work checks might be a useful read! ) You will also need to consider whether you need to carry out a DBS check. As an employer you will need to get employers liability insurance and inform the HMRC!

You are legally required to give your employee a written statement of employment. This is usually in the form of a contract of employment which sets out all the terms of their employment. This is something that we would strongly recommend you get expert guidance with to help protect you, your business and your new employee.


You are now at the stage of ‘Onboarding’ your new employee! This process begins as soon as the candidate has accepted the job. The aim of a successful onboarding process is to welcome your new employee into the business as soon as possible. It will give your new starter the confidence that joining your business was the right decision and gives you the opportunity to start to build that relationship and get ready to share your business with them. Our blog on onboarding will be able to give you some great tips.

The process of taking on your first employee doesn’t just stop once they start with you, this is a long-term commitment from both parties and enlisting the help of experts throughout this process, will be able to give you all the support and guidance you need to get it right.

If you would like help in taking on your first employee, please feel free to contact a member of the MAD team who will be delighted to talk through your options, whether you simply want to resources to assist you on your journey through our Online HR Toolkit, or a more hands-on approach via our HR Helpline.

We have prepared a simple guide that can be downloaded for free. Please click the ‘Request Document’ button below to grab your FREE copy.