An entrepreneur’s guide to hiring (and firing) staff

Jonathan Kettle is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of successful online businesses and Over his years in business, Jonathan has been involved in both the hiring and firing of staff. In this article, Jonathan provides an entrepreneur’s view on the often difficult aspect of business… your staff 


When first starting out in business, you have the benefit of being able to take all of the various aspects of your business offering into account. It is important to consider your business as an overall package, particularly when it comes to how attractive it will look to potential employees. If you are located near major towns, motorways, rail links etc, you will find a better selection of recruits are available,  whereas out of town areas can be an issue especially for younger recruits with possibly no transport other than public. This falls neatly into deciding what type of staff you will require, apprentices, full time, part time and so on. When you have decided who you need, what about if friends or family fit the bill? Is it ever a good idea to work with friends or family members?  Let’s have a look at some of the less familiar aspects that can have a huge impact on your hiring process.

Location, Location, Location

A beautifully converted barn in the middle of nowhere would be great for costing reasons, and will probably look great too, but with the nearest towns miles away, local railway stations non existent, staffing will very quickly become a major issue. It doesn’t’ matter how great your business is, what benefits you can offer an employee or what working environment they can enjoy out in the sticks, people still have to be able to get there relatively easily.

It’s not just about being near to transport links either. You might think that being in an affluent area would be the ideal situation for recruiting all types of staff, but this is not always the case, For example, in more affluent areas, you may struggle to find apprentices and interns, as school leavers in these areas are generally more ambitious so therefore can stay on at school, go to college or venture on to university, thus creating a void of good quality candidates at that critical entry level.

Choosing Friends & Family?

Recruiting friends and family in a panic when starting a new business or to get yourself out of a tight corner might sound like a good idea, but it has the potential to being your problems and heartache, especially if you have to discipline or fire them. Working with family can be rewarding in some cases, but in many, can be the cause of much bigger, long term problems, and could even result in the end of relationships all together. If you are going to work with friends or family, be sure that you have chosen them because of the true business benefit and not because you simply enjoy their company.

If you do decide to hire friends or family, make sure you still follow the same procedures and paperwork as you would for a complete stranger. If the relationship falls apart later on, you could find yourself in hot water if you didn’t protect yourself and your business by following the correct procedures.

Protect Yourself With Sound Advice & Guidance

With so many laws rules and regulations regarding hiring and firing it can be quite difficult for small to medium businesses that do not have a HR department as such to get it right. From experience, I would always advise getting professional help, there are services out there provided by companies that specialise in HR law, effectively allowing you to outsource this function.  One particular service is provided via one of the major banks and for a nominal fee per month, dependant on the number of employees you have. They will walk you through every step of the way in terms of disciplining right through to termination and tell you based on the information you provide whether you can or cannot dismiss an employee. Providing you give them full and accurate information and the situation ends with a dismissal they will generally indemnify your business against any comebacks regarding unfair dismissal claims.

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