Getting the most from your first employee

Businessmen handshake

As a new business, your first employee is a big investment – so you need to know how to get the most from them.

Appointing your first employee is a big moment in any business. No matter how big or small you end up being, all firms have to go through this process at some point.

Once you’ve got the right person, you need to make sure you’re getting the most from them. A big chunk of your income will go on their wages, so make sure they’re not just working to the best of their abilities, but also that they’re working on the most important tasks.

Hire the right person

You need to make sure you’ve got the right person for the right role. While you might be hiring an assistant or someone to man the front desk, the chances are they’ll end up taking on a number of various roles and tasks in the day-to-day running of your business.

Make sure that in the job description and interview process you make this clear to them. You’re looking for someone who thrives on extra responsibility, who is willing to take on additional work, who has transferable skills, and who wants to be with you for a number of years.

The latest graduate employment figures show too many graduates are being forced take on roles that don’t make the most of their talents. Make sure you provide them with the right role – happy and engaged employees are more likely to stay for longer at your firm and help build it up.

Make sure you know their role

It’s not enough that they know what their role in the company is – you need to know what it is too.

It’s worth making a list of all the daily jobs that need to get done in the company, and then allocate them to either your employee or you.

Once you’ve then handed responsibility over to them, you need to be able to step back and let them get on with it. Know what you’re happy and willing to hand over to them.

You don’t need to give them everything at once, but have in your mind some tasks you’d like them to be doing further down the line.

Let them develop the role for themselves

While making sure they know what they’re doing is important, you also need to give them freedom to develop the role themselves.

By making them work to constrictive rules, you stifle their creativity. Encourage them to look for different ways to solve problems, to give their input on any issues affecting the company, and to work on their own projects when they can.

Don’t have too many pre-conceived ideas of what you want their role to be. Let them decide.

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Assess them along the way

But you need to keep an eye on them to make sure that not only are they getting the required work done but that they’re happy in their role.

Scheduling a meeting every couple of months means you can solve any problems before they get out of hand. It also means you can assess where their skills lie and maybe help direct them to better ways of using them. This could mean offering them training or adjusting their job title.

Get them involved in company decisions

It’s important that workers know they are a valuable part of the company. If they are invested in the outcomes of your business, they’re more likely to work hard to achieve them.

This means giving them a say in big decisions – whether it’s which contractor to go with, how to market the firm, or who should be the next person you hire.