Thing to Know Before Hiring Your First Employee

So you’ve identified that you think you may have a bit too much on your plate and you are ready to bring on some help – congratulations! This is such an exciting time for business owners, but it may also leave you with some questions. Where do I start? What do I need? How can I make sure my employee is set up for success?

We wanted to provide this overview of things to consider and do before you bring on your first employee. 

Photo: Marvin Meyer

Before you Hire: 

Consider Costs

While you may be ready to bring someone on, it’s important to remember that there are costs associated with having employees. 

For example, as employers, you’re responsible for paying into CPP and EI as part of payroll costs. In addition, you will need to register for Worksafe BC, which will require premium payments. Finally, there is a legal requirement to pay or accrue vacation pay for your employees (starting at 4% of gross wages). 

Outside of employment standard requirements, there may be some operational costs as well. If you’re hiring an employee to take care of some of your systems or processes, you may need to add seats or subscriptions to your current plan. This can also incur an additional monthly cost. 


Employment Agreements 

This is something that is so often overlooked, but that can offer serious protection down the line – particularly around capping what you may owe an employee for severance in the event you need to let them go. 

Policies & Handbooks

Even if you only have one employee, there are some policies that you should definitely consider having on hand. If you’re not ready for an overall handbook, consider policies or non-negotiables that you’d like to have documented. There are also some required policies that you should have. For example, even with only one employee, you need to be able to prove that you have taken reasonable steps to mitigate Bullying & Harassment, and have a documented process for how people can report it. 

Photo: Nick Morrison 

Set Them Up for Success

Process Documentation

This isn’t a requirement, but it sure is nice to have! At Willow Oak, we have created User Guides for all of our systems (right down to how to set up your email signatures!). This enables employees to self-help themselves as they begin learning the ropes, and allows them to click through new things on their own time to really understand how your company operates. 

Welcome Email

Being organized and ready to welcome your employee can go a long way. First off, they’ll truly feel like you’re excited to have them, starting off the employment relationship very positively and demonstrating your commitment to them (which in turn strengthens their commitment to you!)

Send them an email to their personal email confirming their start time, how they can expect to log on, parking instructions, etc. The less questions they need to worry about, the better prepared they’ll be to hit the ground running on day 1. 

Photo: Adam Cai

System Set Up

Spend time thinking through what access your new employee may need access to. If they’re going to an office, do they need a key cut? Will they need their own email account? Are there systems they’ll need access to? 

And then get it set up for Day 1! Have the invites to all systems and meetings sitting in their inbox for them on Day 1. This will give them a chance to go in and click around. 

Bringing employees on board is an incredibly exciting time – and it’s important to get it right! In the long run, it can protect you legally, help you manage your budget, and also helps you ensure that your employees are able to contribute in a way that is meaningful to you and your business. 

At Willow Oak, we offer support in getting you set up in any and all of these areas – so if you need any guidance do not hesitate to reach out! 

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