Recruiting staff for your home business

August 5, 2015

You’ve taken the leap; you set up your home-based business and things are going really well. The time has come to take on your first member of staff.  But how do you go about finding the right person? Inviting someone into your home to work for you can seem a daunting task. How should you go about recruitment? Do you need to take out any insurance? Read this short guide on things to consider when taking on an employee for a home-based business to help get you started.

Working from home can sometimes result in a more informal outlook on things like recruitment. However, if you are serious about your business, you should also be serious about your recruitment.

Treat the hiring of staff as seriously as you would if you were working for someone else. Value the position you are creating and offering – this is particularly applicable in the current marketplace. There are many talented people out there looking for work, giving you the opportunity to get the very best working for your company. Don’t waste this opportunity by being unprepared.

Some basic recruitment tips include:

  • Know exactly what it is you need – this might sound like common sense but don’t fall into the trap of hiring a ‘jack of all trades’ when really, you need someone with a particular skill or specialism. Create a job description, be selective, be specific and be focused to get the right candidate. Know what you are looking for – for example, do you want someone who could grow with you and your business? If so, maybe you need a mum who could increase her hours as the children get older or an apprentice who can grow their skills as you grow yours.
  • Plan to ‘attract’ – think about where to attract candidates. You may not need to go down the traditional, expensive routes such as advertising, consider alternative routes such as social media sites. Be innovative! Consider doctor’s surgeries, schools, toddler groups, supermarket notice boards or your local Post Office. People looking at these ads will be searching specifically for jobs in the area. As a result they are likely to be more willing and open-minded about working from someone’s home.
  • Be a fab employer – get your employees selling your business for you! Employing someone who lives locally may give you access to the local network and open up the market for you without you having to do very much. So make sure that people want to work for you. Look at your retention, motivation, reward, recognition and promotion methods. Remember, it’s not all about money, particularly if they have responded to your ad – the chances are they want a job that fits in with their lifestyle so job flexibility can be a big hook.
  • Screen candidates before you meet them with a 15 minute phone interview. This is particularly important when recruiting someone to work from your home as it can allow you to filter out the ‘unsuitable’ and avoid you having hundreds of strangers traipsing through your house. As there is a lot of trust required when taking someone on to work from your home, consider carrying out a DRB check on the candidate for added peace of mind. A standard DRB check costs as little as £52. Visit for more details.
  • Plan your questions – when it comes to the interview, do not put words in their mouth; ask open questions that allow them to speak; ask them to give you examples of past behaviour relevant to the job; use your ears twice as much as your mouth!
  • Hire smart – think what can I train and what skills do they already have? You can train product or industry knowledge but you can’t make the person an extrovert, or a finisher, or methodical, or willing to work from someone’s home! Hire for competencies and attitude then train the rest if necessary.

Boring but necessary – Health & Safety
It’s easy to forget about health and safety rules and regulations when working from home but as soon as you take on an employee, you need to remember that you have a responsibility towards the safety and wellbeing of that person. Good health and safety is good business – and it’s the law.

Getting started with health and safety may feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be complicated, time-consuming or expensive. There is plenty of free advice available from the government. Visit the Health and Safety Executive website or call their free, confidential helpline – 0300 003 1747.

Here are the main points you need to consider:

  • As soon as you employ staff, you need to register with either HSE or your local authority.
  • Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance – this is not only required by law but also essential should your staff get injured or ill because of their work for you and decide to sue you. You may not need it if you are a family business and closely related to your staff but the recommendation is to take out insurance to cover against all eventualities. To find an authorised insurer, contact The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
  • Put together a health and safety policy. This should set out your general approach, objectives and the arrangements you have in place for managing health and safety in your business. It is a unique document that says who does what, when and how. If you have five or more employees, the policy must be in writing.
  • Next, carry out a risk assessment of your workplace. Decide what could harm people and what precautions to take. Consider things such as whether you have a working fire alarm in place. Are there any trip hazards? The law requires you to act on the findings of you risk assessment, by putting sensible controls in place to prevent accidents and ill health and making sure they are followed. This means things like having a first aid kit (and a qualified first aider) and carrying out quarterly fire drills.
  • You must provide a safe and healthy environment for all your employees. This means providing basic welfare facilities, such as toilets, washing facilities and drinking water and considering things such as lighting and temperature.
  • By law, you are required to provide free health and safety training for your workers; everyone who works for you needs to know how to work safely and without risks to health. So you need to train them to be sure they know what hazards and risks they may face, how to deal with them and any emergency procedures.
  • You must also display the health and safety law poster or give workers a leaflet with the information.

It’s still your home – other things to consider before taking the leap:

  • Try to keep home and work life separate. You probably chose to set up a home business because you wanted a better work/life balance. Make sure it stays this way by having a separate office area and sticking to set work hours.
  • Consider installing a safe for personal belongings if there is a chance that your employees may be left alone in your home.
  • Implement an IT business usage policy. For example, make it clear that you don’t want staff using home phones or watching TV.
  • Install the correct IT infrastructure. Research the different packages available – an ordinary broadband home package may not be the most cost-effective; there are many small business options available at better rates. Also consider whether you will require your staff to access your server externally – this can be a useful set up to have if you are going to offer flexible working.

Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.

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