Can I hire staff without making a long-term commitment?

Yes, you can!

Dogs are for life 🐕 But, staff don’t have to be! And this worths both ways. 

If you’re hiring for the first time – or you’re growing your team – please remember that there’s more than one way to get your hands-on extra resource for your business.

In a nutshell, you have the option to recruit employees, workers, and contractors. The reason we have to give them a ‘label’ is because it dictates – by law ⚖ – what rights they have, and what you have to pay them, and the tax man (or woman!).

Your options include (in alphabetical order): agency staff, fixed-term staff, self-employed staff, and zero-hours staff.

Recruiting a permanent employee is only ONE option, and it may not be right for you. Especially if you’re a seasonal business 🎄

In this blog, I’ll summarise each of the ways you can hire staff. So, grab a cuppa ☕ and take note!

WHY YOU MIGHT BE RELUCTANT TO COMMIT 🤔

As a small business owner, recruiting staff is a MAHOOOSIVE deal. Even when ALL the signs are telling you that it’s time to hire, you still might feel reluctant to do so.

Why? Because…

💷 You’re not sure you can afford to

⏰ You’re too busy to find the right person and train them up

🙅 You’d struggle to let go of the work

😱 You’re scared it’ll all go wrong

That’s why I often recommend that entrepreneurs test the water with a worker they don’t have to keep for the long-term.

This protects them if it all goes pear-shaped 🍐After all, it can be very difficult to get rid of a permanent employee, and it may feel like too much of a big commitment to take one on.

WHEN YOU HAVE EBBS AND FLOWS 📊

If your work has peaks and troughs, a permanent employee may not fit the bill.

For example, you might run a business that’s crazy-busy at Christmas? 🎄Or, perhaps your business relies on holidaymakers in the summer months? 🌞

These are fluctuations you can and must plan for. So, when demand for your services or products fluctuates, this is when you need a flexible workforce to survive.

There are also times when you might find yourself in an unplanned pickle 😱 For example, when there’s a family emergency that takes you away from your business. Or a baby is on the horizon!

This is when an alternative approach to resourcing could help you to better deal with the ups and downs.

HOW IT WORKS WITH AGENCY STAFF 👇

You pay an agency to supply you with a worker, as and when you need them.

The worker gets paid by the agency – although their wages, National Insurance contributions (NICs), and Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) – is of course, all funded by you. You’ll also pay the agency a fee for their hiring services.

While the agency handles the recruitment side of things – like checking the individual has a right to work in the UK – on an everyday basis, you treat them in the same way you would a permanent employee.

HOW IT WORKS WITH FIXED-TERM STAFF 👇

Fixed-term staff are on fixed-term contracts – provided by you.

In other words, they’re with you for the duration of their contract. Or, when they’ve finished delivering something for you.

As you can imagine, this type of arrangement is often used to cover things like maternity leave.

Somebody on a fixed-term contract cannot be treated any less favourably than somebody who does a similar job for you, on a different type of contract. Unless it’s for a sensible business reason. And, if they’ve been with you for longer than two years – and you choose NOT to renew their contract – you must have a ‘fair’ reason why.

HOW IT WORKS WITH SELF-EMPLOYED CONTRACTORS 👇

Self-employed contractors – or freelancers as they’re often called – charge you for a service they provide you with.

In other words, they invoice you for the work they’ve done for you. Or, for the hours they’ve spent working for you.

This is a particularly good arrangement when you want to offer your customers new service you currently can’t provide. Or, if you need an extra pair of hands to get a project over the line.

💡 Check out a previous blog I’ve written called: WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF HIRING AN EMPLOYEE VS. A CONTRACTOR?

HOW IT WORKS WITH ZERO-HOURS STAFF 👇

As the name suggests, zero-hours staff have no set hours and are simply paid for the hours they complete.

However, they will accrue holiday pay and are entitled to the minimum wage. You don’t have to give them work, and they have the right to refuse work.

HOW IT WORKS WITH VOLUNTEERS 👇

You may be lucky enough to entice volunteers to help you out of a resource tight spot. If so, you just need to make sure you show them the ropes and look after their health and safety.

⚠ And actually, that applies to every type of employee or worker!

👓 GOV.UK goes into lots more detail on the law around different types of contracts. Why not check it out?

REMEMBER, CONTRACTS STILL COUNT 📑

It’s time to bust a myth 💪

No matter what type of resource you hire – be it an employee, a casual worker, or a contractor – you still need to provide them with a contract.

This is even more important when staff are transient and you have less control of what they do for you and the hours they work for you.

Contracts protect you from any nasty misunderstandings that could rear their ugly head 👹

For compliant, robust, easy-to-personalise, and easy-to-read contract templates, visit my shop 👇

🛒 Click here for my EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT TEMPLATE

🛒 Click here for my CONTRACT FOR SERVICES TEMPLATE

🛒 Click here for my ZERO HOURS CONTRACT TEMPLATE

TO SUM THINGS UP THEN

🙅 Hiring a permanent employee is never the ONLY option available to you when you need extra resource

🤔 Casual workers and contractors are worth considering, especially if you’re reluctant to commit to a long-term hire

👍 Wanting to avoid a commitment is totally normal if you’re a seasonal business, or you’re not ready to take the plunge and hire somebody on a permanent basis

☦ Agency staff, fixed-term staff, self-employed staff, zero-hours staff – and even volunteering staff – are all ways you can plug the resource gap, depending on what your own business needs are

📑 But remember, you still need a contract to protect you and your business. This is especially important when resource is transient

🛒 Please check out my shop for compliant, robust, easy-to-personalise, and easy-to-read contract templates for every type of staff member

Mandy Hamerla

Virtual HR Director & Leadership Mentor. I create game-changing HR & Hiring Strategies for ambitious small businesses in the UK and support you to lead your team with confidence. Check out my shop to download HR Templates & Contracts designed to make life easier.

www.modernhr.co.uk