Independent consultants are often drawn to their career path because of the ability to work when and where they like, enjoy complete control over their work, and help their business reach its full potential. However, many independents who realize success will find that at a certain point taking their business to the next level will require more resources and work than they can provide on their own. Independents in this position will often consider hiring employees to provide much needed assistance. Here are four tips for hiring your first employees smartly and safely.
Trying to find the right employee can be daunting, particularly if you’re new to the process. Don't fall into the trap of making a hiring decision based on a single facet.
Make a conscious effort to consider all aspects that an employee will bring to the table including their full qualifications, experience, and personality.
Hiring someone based solely on the experience listed on their resume, or simply because you like them can result in a poor overall fit. Instead, consider all of the duties and responsibilities you need fulfilled. Will this person be interacting with clients? Will you be interacting with them daily? Take the time to find someone who is not only highly qualified, but who will also mesh well with your work habits and the company culture you are trying to establish.
Many businesses have learned the hard way that although expansion can be necessary for progress and growth, moving too quickly can have an opposite effect. No matter how quickly your consultancy is growing, resist the impulse to hire an entire team of employees at once. Moving into the role of employer brings along new responsibilities and potential complications.
Ease into expansion by hiring one employee at a time and allow for a few months of adjustment before reevaluating your business goals, needs, and recent performance. By keeping growth controlled and manageable, you will be a in a better position to make the necessary adjustments to keep your business running smoothly.
While your new employee may be an expert in their field, don’t expect them to know how your business works and what your expectations are. Every business has its own personality, and as a self-employed professional you’ve developed this personality as your personal brand.
Maintaining your personal brand is important to uphold a sense of consistency for your clients. It will take time for a new employee to fully grasp your branding and how you want your business managed, so be prepared to provide one-on-one guidance early on. Avoid setting a new employee loose without direction. Instead, offer clear guidance and training to start your new hire out on the right foot.
It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that just because your employee is an expert in their field that they are ready to take over and manage their role. New employees are bound to make mistakes and providing the right supervision can help prevent major misunderstandings or business-crippling mistakes from happening.
It’s also important to remember that you are the face of your business. Until now, you were intimately involved in nearly every aspect of running your business, which, while exhausting and overwhelming at times, also guaranteed consistency and uniformity. During the initial adjustment period, continue to supervise and approve your employee’s duties to help ensure things are done the correct way.
This is particularly essential if your new employee will have contact with your clients. In these cases, take time to introduce your new employee to existing clients. Explain their role and help your clients to feel confident that you are working to build an even better experience for them as your business grows.