15 April 2013

Considering hiring staff? Think through your options

Considering hiring extra staff? They don't have to be permanent or full-time. Would contract, agency, or freelance staff be better for your business?

So you’ve started your own business but you have more work than you can handle. Before you jump into hiring a full-time employee, it might be worth thinking about whether that is the best option for you and your business.

Permanent employees

The traditional idea of staff is the full-time, permanent employee. But for some start-up businesses, this might be too much of a commitment. This option suits businesses with regular hours and a regular workload. For some businesses, having a team of part-time staff may work better than employing people to work full-time hours.

  • You know exactly how many staff will be working and when
  • Employees are likely to work hard as they will want to progress within your company
  • As staff are permanent, you will develop a working relationship with them and get to know their strengths and weaknesses
  • Permanent employees are more likely to be loyal to your business
  • You will have to sort out employees’ tax and national insurance contributions as well as paying things like holiday, sick leave and maternity leave, depending on their length of service and their contract
  • You will have a full range of legal obligations to them as employees and cannot easily reduce your staff numbers if your level of business falls

At Bizspace we offer a wide choice of workspace sizes, so your business can grow as your workforce does.

 Hiring staff on fixed term contracts

If you need extra help for a specific contract or for a busy period, hiring staff on fixed-term contracts may be the answer. Fixed-term contract employees have the same rights as permanent staff, but only for the length of the contract agreed when you take them on. This option suits seasonal businesses or companies which take on a large project, which requires more work than usual.

  • You know where you stand and it is predictable
  • You get extra help, but only when it is required so you won’t have staff sitting around without work during quiet periods
  • As with permanent employees, you have the full range of legal obligations and must manage the staff
  • You will need to take into account where they will work during the period of their contract and whether you have space in your workplace

With our flexible agreements, here at Bizspace we can provide temporary office accommodation, should you need extra staff in the short term.

Using Zero hours contract staff

If you need flexibility and staff who will carry out work for you when you need it, you might want to consider employing zero hours contract staff. This means you have workers on call, ready to work for you when you need them to. But the lack of obligation works both ways. You do not have to give them work, but they also do not need to do the work if it does not suit them. This suits businesses with an unpredictable level of work who may need to call in staff to carry out work at short notice.

  • This is a flexible working option and low cost as you only pay for staff when you need them
  • You have limited obligations as an employer
  • There is no guarantee staff will be able to work when you need them
  • They have no loyalty or obligations towards you and your business

Hiring temporary, agency staff

One popular option with start-up companies is using temporary staff from an agency. You only need to take staff on when you need them and can try people out without making a commitment to them as employees.

  • This is a low risk way of employing staff and you do not have to deal with things like National Insurance contributions
  • Your contract is with the agency, rather than the employee, and they will deal with most management issues
  • You can get staff when you need them at short notice, without the hassle of recruiting them
  • It is a more expensive option as you will need to pay agency fees and commission
  • You will not build up a relationship with staff and they will have no commitment or loyalty to your business
  • The standard of employee supplied from the agency may also vary

Freelancers, consultants and contractors

Contractors are also an option if you need extra help to complete a specific project or you need to bring in someone with a certain set of skills to help you with an area of work. These people are self-employed so you are buying their services rather than employing them.

  • You have minimum legal obligations as you are not an employer
  • This is also a flexible option, as you only need to use freelancers, consultants and contractors as and when you need them
  • There is no guarantee someone will be available when you need them, as just as you have no obligations towards them, they have no obligations towards you