As your business grows you will need to employ staff, unless of course you want to work yourself to death for a minimum amount of money. Expansion is a natural thing – don’t be scared of it. Again – do the research! Decide what exactly it is that you want the person to do. Write it down – do estimates of how long it is actually going to take that person to do the job. Many times, in a moment of frustration we decide that we need someone to help us and then once we get them full day, every month we find that what we really needed them to do only takes them 3 hours a day. Maybe you require a mornings only or afternoons only or 3 days a week or whatever, person. Remember once you’ve got them you can’t simply get rid of them because suddenly you don’t have enough work for them – being dragged to the CCMA for unfair dismissal is no fun, and is very time consuming and can be very expensive. So make sure firstly, that you actually need the person and then secondly, exactly what that person is going to do.
When interviewing, make sure that the prospective employee knows exactly what the requirements are – it’s no good getting a bookkeeper, when what you require is a cleaning person! Be aware, there’s no such thing as a “bad” CV. I’ve yet to see one. CV’s are there to promote the talents and capabilities of the person who is trying to get the job. Therefore you need to make allowances for the fact that they going to over - sell themselves on their strengths and under - sell themselves on their weaknesses. Trust your gut feeling – you need to listen to your inner self. Your own intuition will often tell you more than any spoken or written word. Make sure that you get more than one reference and then make the call. Have a list of questions ready, listen carefully to what the person is telling you (or not) when you ask the question. Sometimes what people don’t tell you is just as important as what they do say. Always ask if they would re-hire the prospective employee again if the chance was there.
It is a legal requirement to have all your employees’ details. Make sure that you have a copy of their ID. It is an offence to hire someone who does not have a valid work permit and who is an illegal immigrant and the fine can be in excess of R65 000, so make sure that everything is as it should be.
Make sure that you open a file for each staff member. This should contain their personal details, their CV and references. Personal details should include things like next of kin contact details etc. Your annual appraisal should be filed here as well as any Doctors certificates and leave application forms. In fact anything to do with that particular employee should be kept in there. Remember that this is sensitive and confidential information and it should therefore be locked away and kept safe.
Your employees should have their duties clearly defined, so that they know exactly what it is that they are supposed to be doing. There must always be consistency. Many times what starts out as a favour (please just do xyz for me because I don’t have the time to do it… sound familiar?), then becomes part of the job and the responsibility of the employee so be sure to write down everything that needs to be done. If the staff member’s job description changes in any way, this should be noted (and acknowledged) in writing to avoid problems down the line.
It is a legal requirement that staff is allocated a certain number of day’s annual leave during the course of the year. For those companies that close in December, this is not a problem as everyone takes leave at the same time, but for those companies that do not close over the December period, this must be monitored. It is not a good idea to pay out staff for their leave. Apart from the fact that they lose a lot of the money to the Receiver and the fact that people do need to take a break from time to time, there is also the problem of fraud. If one of your employees is committing fraud of any kind, it is much less likely to be noticed if they are always on the job and are at hand to sort out any problems as and when they are brought to someone’s attention. If the staff member’s duties are to be allocated to someone else, make sure that there is a proper handover. For example: If Jane is handling all the petty cash and she is going on leave and Billy is taking over this responsibility, make sure that the petty cash is counted and balanced by both of them, make sure that Billy signs in receipt of the funds and the slips and that he is properly aware of the correct procedures. In this way there can be no confusion down the line of whose responsibility the petty cash was at what time. This will alleviate many problems that can and do arise, especially when money is involved.