Whether composed of staff or freelancers, your team can help make or break your business.
Hiring staff or outsourcing work to other companies is fraught. You want to be sure that the people you are hiring/outsourcing to are right for your business and the roles you need filled but it’s a rare newly launched business that has a full HR team available to handle the process for you.
One way to get around that is to outsource your sourcing. Using a placement agency or headhunter to find the people you need is one way to get around having to do all the vetting yourself. That said, if you’re looking to fill only a few roles at first, one of the best resources is referrals within your networks. Your peers will know a little bit about you and your business and can refer colleagues. It doesn’t always work out, but the odds are ever in your favour (wait… where have I heard that phrase before?)
Hiring doesn’t have to be like the Hunger Games (right! That’s where!). Putting people through some sort of testing or vetting process to see if they fit the bill doesn’t have to be frightening, for them or you! Regardless of how you go about the finding and hiring of your team, there are some preliminary steps that you should take before you begin.
Define your needs
- What roles do you need to fill?
- Do you need to hire full time/part time/contract or freelance? Depending on the roles you need to fill, this is an important consideration. Hiring full time comes with obligations that your business may not be ready to support yet. Those obligations can be financial like cash flow for bi-weekly pay cheques, paid leave or employment insurance (EI) payments. There is also a lot to consider in the realm of logistics:
- Where will this person work?
- What equipment do I have to provide them with?
- What supports will they need?
- Am I ready to ‘manage’ a full-time hire?
- Think about the type of personalities that you need and want to fulfill various roles. Think of the kind of person that you work best with and look for those personality characteristics. If you have a team of people, you’re looking for the kind of traits that will blend well with your existing group.
- Define what you think are important qualifications for the role and decide what you can and can’t live with. For example, you might decide that a person’s lack of social media skills is a deal breaker because of the nature of your business, for an admin role. You might also decide that this is not important to you when it comes to your accountant!
- You need to look at what roles you cannot fulfill yourself. For example, unless you have a law degree, you might want to leave contracts and other legal issues to a lawyer; or roles that you simply don’t want to fulfill yourself as they’ll take too much time from your efforts to #CreateYourOwnEconomy without directly contributing to the bottom line.
- What skills do you not have (see lawyer, above) that you need in order to move forward? This is a great thing to chat about with a mentor or other peer networking group as they might have been through a similar process of discovery and can help you with this.
Define how you will work with your team
Will you be renting office space and bringing them in-house? Will everyone work from their own offices/home offices and ‘meet’ online? Do you want people who are local, to allow for in-person meetings, or does it matter? All questions you need to ask yourself.
A solid teamwork application is a great resource for keeping team members on track, even when they’re working in the same space. Podio is an example of digital software that keeps tasks, projects, files and conversations in one place. With this kind of tool, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page, no matter where they are and you can easily check in on progress or keep team members talking, without having to pick up a telephone!
You also need to be clear on how team members will work with one another. This requires some clarity on the roles, to avoid too much overlap. Your administrative assistant can also be your bookkeeper, in many instances, so if you hire a bookkeeper too, make sure everyone is clear on their defined roles.
There are a few things you should be equipped with before you start letting people work on your business. A contract, for one. If they are a freelancer, they probably have one that they use with clients. Ask for it but make sure you review it carefully to be sure it meets your needs.
You might also want to have a non-disclosure agreement handy, particularly if this is a relatively new business. A non-compete agreement (or clause within the contract) is also a good idea but some of these have been found to be largely unenforceable because they are written too broadly, effectively barring the individual from working in their area of expertise. If you want a contract or NDA that you can feel confidant in, check with that lawyer that you’ve outsourced a few things too, like your articles of incorporation. It might save you a lot of money, in the long run.
When all’s said and done, one of the best ways to get some solid advice in the area of hiring or outsourcing is to talk to others who have already gone through the experience. Talk to your mentor, hire a business coach, get involved with your network group, either online or in person. If you need a group of entrepreneurs to share with and who might lead you to the right mentor for your business, spend time with us here at Entrepreneur House. Visit us on Facebook too!