Hiring Your First Employee

Your backyard, or hobby business has grown to the point where you need to expand to survive.

Expansion means hiring staff.

Though before you place that job ad in seek, there are a few things that you need to consider.

While employing staff can be a good thing for your business, if they


It goes without saying that before you actually hire someone, you need to work out if you can afford to do it.

Depending on how many hours per week you are employing someone, full time is usually the most cost effective option.

Keep in mind you the wage of the employee(s) won’t be the only expense.

Some of the extra costs may be:

  • Workers compensation
  • Accounting/bookkeeping
  • Payroll
  • PPE
  • Uniforms or corporate branding

You also need to be mindful of how you will fill a vacancy if it arises. This could be your employee calling in sick, getting injured, going on leave or quitting.

Will you not fill the vacancy, and do it yourself or use casual or labour hire staff?

Position Descriptions

It goes without saying that there should be a position description for every position within your business.

If you don’t have one, how are your employees supposed to know what standard they have to maintain? They are essential for performance management, or you face an unfair dismissal application.

Another reason to have them is that they provide the basis for assessing what the correct wage should be.

Modern Award/Enterprise Agreement

Once you have the position description(s) in place, you will know what modern award applies to the role(s).

The next decision you may need to make is whether an enterprise agreement will be better.

This will depend on the projected growth, complexity of modern award(s), etc.

Even though your business may be in the startup phase it may be useful to the forward planning to have in place sooner rather than later.

Though make sure you talk to an industrial relations consultant to be sure.


Now comes the fun part. Hiring your first employee.

While I am not going to go into the ins and outs of recruiting staff here, I will say that this is another time in the life of your business to see help from the professionals.

Depending on the requirements of the role, you may not need to use a recruitment agency. At the very least you may need someone else’s help.

Just make sure you are recruiting for the future growth of your business, and not because you have a vacancy


You have found the ideal person for your startup, and hired them.

While it may give you the opportunity to catch your breath, you should stop things there.

I recommend that you review the position, and with employee feedback at about the 3, 6 and 12 month mark.

This will help to polish off the rough edges of the original position description, along with see what can and cannot realistically be done.

The review should also uncover things that you may have forgotten about the role.

This article only really covers the basic information that you should be looking into when you make the decision to hire your first employee.

As always, get in contact with your local industrial relations consultant for a more tailored recommendation.

Industrial relations got you worried?


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1 thought on “Hiring Your First Employee”

  1. Hi Cameron,

    Great simplified list. I would add Induction (or at the very least ‘Orientation’) on their first day. A lot can be covered off in Induction, including the all important WHS Induction, and it will not only assist the employee in settling in to their role/team/organisation, but also give the business owner evidence that the employee has been taken through various info in case things go badly with the employment relationship and they end up having to fight an unfair dismissal claim or WorkCover claim down the track. Done well, Induction can be short and highly effective in increasing commitment, loyalty and intention to stay in employees. That’s my 2cents worth anyway. Cheers


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