Five HR Essentials for Businesses That Hire Their First Employee

For growing small businesses and business start-ups, making a decision to hire your first employees can seem almost as daunting as starting the business.

People in such situations tend to think they don’t need to establish a human resource program since they will only hire one or two employees, and that their time may be better spent generating sales or catering to customers. That naïve outlook lays the foundation for creating unnecessary problems that could complicate your operations and actually cost you time and money down the road.

Here are the five essentials that every employer needs when they hire their first employee (and beyond)!

  1. Get the Right Forms First and Fast – From the very first hire, employers need basic government forms such as the I-9 form, and the W-4 form, which are used to garner specific employee information including immigration status and pay withholding status to comply with government mandates. These forms are free from the government—but the costly issue is the time spent to find and download the right forms.  From there it grows to include basic forms to record absences, time records, employee performance, employee benefit election, and so on.
  2. Implement an Employee Handbook – New hire employees also need information from the employer, such as general guidelines for appropriate attire, work hours, time-off policies and other general expectations. Though many small employers allow great flexibility in these areas, depending on the type of business, a lack of understanding by the new employee about those expectations and nuances could unwittingly create additional burdens on your business – even if you only hire one employee.  The easiest way to create great work habits from the beginning is to implement an employee handbook that outlines your expectations.
  3. Job Descriptions – Job descriptions are essential to formally advise the new hire of their work responsibilities and duties.  It may seem like overkill to do so, but many small employers suffer significant productivity loss when new employees work without a written job description (especially in unsupervised situations).
  4. Pay a Competitive Wage…But Not too Competitive – Wages are funny things.  New employees generally try and negotiate for the highest wage that they can, while a small business owner on the other hand often needs to negotiate for the lowest possible wage that the new hire will accept.  Once the starting wage is agreed upon, employers will need to balance the cost of the wage along with the cost of providing employee benefits.  By understanding the wage range for a given position, it allows the employer to begin on the low end of the market rate for the job and to increase the wage when the profits are there to do so.
  5. The Early Bird to Identify HR Support Gets Less Headaches – In the world of HR, the ‘Early Bird’—not only gets the worm, but saves themselves from a lot of legal headaches associated with having employees.  Identify where you can go for help when you have questions, or when you hire another employee.  There is an old adage that says, “20% of your people will represent 80% of your time spent on people issues.  Unfortunately, with new employers—that 20% often starts with the first employee hired.

Employers looking for HR solutions as they hire their first employee or help with the steps identified above can visit  We offer solutions—one topic at a time.  For direct links to the select services mentioned above, please visit our links below:

Written by: Victoria Mavis, President/CEO of Core People Resources, LLC, which owns HRKnowledgeBase, an online store for everything HR!

This entry was posted in Miscellaneous and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>