Staffing a start-up

24 February 2016

Startup company meeting

You may have what you believe to be a unique idea and an infallible business plan, but to get that plan off paper and into reality, you’ll need help from a great team, and a team who understand and believe in your plan as much as you do.

For a start-up business, putting the right team in place is crucial. There may be a fantastic workforce available in the UK, and your business may look like an exciting prospect, but don’t be foolish and think that staffing is something that just falls into place without any thought and effort.

It is possible to make mistakes whenever you hire a new member of staff, even if you’ve been doing it for decades and have been reasonably successful at finding the right employees. When you’re starting a new business and hiring an entire team from scratch, you don’t have the security of long-term, loyal members of staff to support you if you make a mistake. If you make an error of judgement, or put too little thought into recruiting for your start-up, it could cost you your business.


Think about the entire recruitment and employment process before you start


Before you start advertising for employees, think through the entire recruitment and employment process from start to finish. If you start interviewing before you have the whole process mapped out, you risk facing major setbacks that delay the process, and in turn, you could miss out on some fantastic candidates.

You need to think about not just who you need, but how to attract them, how to identify the right candidates through your interview process, and also what you will do from the point of making someone an offer. You will need to prepare staff contracts and the company policies staff will adhere to, and you’ll need to consider salaries, bonuses and benefits, and prepare the induction and training processes. If all of this is in place before you start recruiting, things will go far smoother when your new team start.


Who is in charge of your recruitment and staffing?


One important question to consider is: who is in charge of recruiting your team? Are you taking that on yourself as well as trying to manage the legal, financial and logistical issues? Will you be able to see the process through from start to finish? Remember not to spread yourself too thinly, as it will be inevitable that one of these areas of your business will suffer.

If you haven’t got time to look after recruitment and employment policies yourself, seek assistance. Recruitment consultants can help you find your key members of staff while you look after other business. Or, you could consider hiring a clinic manager at an early stage, before you begin to hire other staff. A manager experienced in hiring staff and managing day-to-day business operations could be the partner you need to help get your business off the ground.


Sketch out your organisational chart


Creating an organisational chart can help you plan your team structure, and may point out any obvious gaps. Working down from yourself as the business owner, pencil in the core staff members, and who they report to. Your chart should also show how the different areas of your business relate. Your clinical team, administration team, sales and marketing team, and management team, should not be disparate entities on your chart; unless they all connected, your business will not operate like the well-oiled machine you had in mind.


Create role descriptions for your core team


Once you have your organisational chart, start drafting the duties and responsibilities for each required role. Doing this will not only help you when you come to write job adverts, but it will also help you establish whether your planned team will actually cover all the tasks necessary to make your business a success. It may also highlight any overlaps between roles or teams that need to be clarified. Each role within each team should be clearly defined before you start the recruitment process.


Work out who you need now, and who you need later


If you hire a huge, comprehensive team of staff before your clinic is running at maximum capacity, you may end up with a number of bored staff members milling around with nothing to do, and end up wasting money that could have been put to better use elsewhere. That said, being short-staffed when you first open your business can only lead to disaster. It will not look professional to the new clients coming through your doors, and you could risk losing the staff you’ve just hired if you push them too hard at the start.

To try and get the balance right, ask yourself some key questions, such as how many hours a week your business will operate, and how many bookings you anticipate for the first three months. Are there likely to be peak hours and quiet times due to seasonal trends or your clients’ preferred hours? Are there some basic administrative tasks that can be taken on by more senior members of staff until the business gets busier?


Your budgets and your staff salaries


When budgeting for your key personnel, do some thorough research into current industry rates in the exact location you’re in, or alternatively, take advice from people who already have that knowledge, such as recruitment consultants or other local business owners. If you don’t know the going rate, don’t just conjure a figure out of nowhere. If you advertise offering less than the industry average for your area, but want the best employees you can get, you are asking for the impossible.

Be prepared to be a little flexible on what you offer. If the perfect employee with exactly the right experience and the right attitude walks through your door and asks for a salary marginally more than you’re offering, it’s probably worth allowing for that small increase in your budget.


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