Taking on new employees is an exciting but often daunting experience for a fast-growing small business.
You’re not alone, however, with thousands of other business owners and managers also going through the process of hiring, training and orienting new recruits. According to Industry Canada, small businesses employ 8.4 million Canadians or about 69% of the total private labour force.
Hiring new employees is sure sign that your business is growing. But if you’re used to running your business by yourself or with a partner, then having people to manage could be a source of concern.
Add to that the legal aspects of being an employer and it becomes essential to make sure you’re ticking all the legal and financial boxes.
This article covers the following:
Legal aspects of hiring new employees
As an employer, you will need to open a Payroll Program Account with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). You’ll use this account to remit taxes deducted from your employees’ pay. To open this particular account, you’ll need a Business Number (BN) – if you don’t have a BN, you’ll receive one when you open a payroll account.
Next, set up an employment contract. It’s always a good idea to put down in writing all the details of the job offer such as work hours, compensation, benefits, vacation time, sick days, reporting responsibilities, and workplace policies. Be sure to specify any probationary period if applicable.
Check employment standards in your region to make sure your agreement complies with the rules in your province or territory.
Get the new employee to accept and sign the document.
“The contract is the most important document between the parties and sets out important information such as workplace, hours, pay, holiday, sick leave, confidentiality, and whether there are any restrictions upon leaving, such as not working for a competitor for a period of time,” says Jane Johnson, a lawyer with LJL Legal.
You’ll also need to view the new employee’s Social Insurance Number (SIN) within three days of their first day at work. It is an employer’s responsibility to verify and record employee SIN numbers.
Have a plan for your orientation process
Before your new employee starts work, make sure you’ve got a plan in place that includes the meetings they’ll be expected to attend and the training that you want them to take.
Set aside time in your schedule to explain:
- How your processes work (such as fulfilling orders, working with suppliers, and requesting vacation time)
- Why you do things a certain way
- Their role and how it fits with others in the company
- Dress code for your workplace
- Any special equipment they’ll need to bring
Be available during those first few days on the job to answer employee questions.
If they’re working from home, make sure that you’re ready to check in with them regularly using video conferencing tools such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom, or by phone.
Setting objectives for new employees
If you’re used to doing things yourself or with a business partner, it’s a good idea to start thinking about what you want to delegate to your new team member.
“Setting goals with employees is important because your staff want to see how their contribution is aligned with greater corporate objectives,” says Liz Sebag‑Montefiore, executive coach and director and co‑founder of HR consulting firm 10Eighty.
Setting these goals correctly is essential, she explains. “Setting expectations is part of the process of providing data for career conversations and feedback.”
Examples of goals you might set with your employees include:
- Increasing individual sales by 20% within a year
- Learning and taking on a specific new responsibility, such as managing social media channels
- Attending 3 industry conferences
- Taking on a leadership role for the next incoming employee
Sebag‑Montefiore adds, “You’ll cause resentment if you set objectives that are too challenging but, by the same token, if you don’t pitch expectations high enough, you won’t motivate employees or encourage better performance.
“Encourage employees to self-report on how they think they are doing and what they have learned, or what needs to change.”
Using software to set up HR and payroll processes
There’s a growing number of online technologies that will allow you to manage and organize your workforce remotely, including essential tools such as communications, reporting, asset management, and organizational charts.
Using HR management tools and cloud payroll software to manage your people processes means you can expand your usage quickly, easily, and cost effectively rather than having to buy an entire new system or go through an expensive and cumbersome upgrade process.
This is a much more effective way to deal with your HR and payroll tasks than using spreadsheets and Word documents, which will slow you down.
And by using modern HR and payroll software, you’ll be able to submit data to the Canada Revenue Agency quickly and accurately.
Integrating your payroll software with cloud accounting software will ensure employee salaries, wages, bonuses, and expenses are kept up to date in your accounting records.
Self-service tools for your employees
The more you can empower your employees to handle their HR and payroll tasks (such as updating bank details and requesting vacation days) using an online portal, the more time you’ll have to focus on value-added tasks such as supporting your team, building good working relationships, and growing the business.
With a self-service portal, you can give your employees instant and remote access to everything from their payslips to information about company policies and newsletters. Your employees can also check their vacation entitlement without the need to send you an email requesting the information.
As you recruit more employees, you’ll find that expense claims become more numerous. Keeping an eye on them can be complicated and time consuming.
However, you can use your self-service portal to allow your team to submit their expenses simply by inputting the amount and photographing their receipts, often directly from the mobile app.
With these systems you can turn receipts into expense entries automatically, then group these entries together and submit an online expense report, giving you better coordination and transparency.
Final thoughts on getting new employees up to speed
Taking on new employees should be done in the right way.
Like any business decision, getting it right depends on preparation – identifying every stage of the process and ensuring you’re taking the right actions.
It also requires investment – not just in salaries, but technology, too.
Adopt HR and payroll software so you can handle your people responsibilities with ease. And make an investment of your own time by bringing your new employees on board efficiently.
The good news is the technology is increasingly affordable and scalable, freeing you up to devote time with your latest recruits.