We thought it might be helpful to run a series called Best Practices. We are often asked what the best way is to handle various business tasks so we have a lot a material available. We will start with one of the trickiest areas of owning and running a business: employees.
The best advice we have regarding employees is to do all your homework first! Decide what tasks you will be delegating to an employee and what skill set the employee will need to accomplish these tasks. Next, create a detailed job description for the position. We often see frustration on the part of owners and employees when there isn't a good fit. Consider the core values or your mission statement when thinking about the skill set your employee will need. If you need the employee to be able to sell, then make sure they understand this, are comfortable with this and have the personality and experience to achieve this.
Once you know what the position will look like and what skills you will need, you need to be ready to hire an employee. If you have never had an employee before, there are a lot of rules and regulations you need to be aware of before you start. Brush up on the types of questions you can legally ask and which ones you cannot ask. The US Department of Labor has a good site to get you started: http://www.dol.gov/compliance/guide/ You will also want to check with your state to see what additional laws you need to comply with. The State of Wisconsin has a good website for employers: http://ww2.wisconsin.gov/state/employment/app?RESPONSE=/jsp/assistance_emp.jsp You will need to get set up with the Federal and state government's to have employees and get the proper identification numbers and payroll filing sites set-up. You will also probably need Worker's Compensation Insurance so check with your insurance agent.
When you have the job description complete and you understand all the rules you need to follow to be an employer, now you can set out to advertise for the position. For many entry level or part-time positions, advertisements on craigslist or local registry may be sufficient. For positions requiring more education and experience, you may want to consider using an employment agency to do the initial screening for you. Make sure you understand what the costs are upfront so you can decide if it is a good use of your money.
The summary for this article: the best practice for being an employers is to do your research and homework first to make sure you understand everything you have to do and to insure that you hire the best person for the job.