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S&L Business Breakdown Series: Employment

S&L Business Breakdown is a four-part weekly series featuring candid Q&A’s with the business attorneys of Stock and Leader on the life of a business from formation to expansion and everything in between.

Now that you’ve formed your business entity, it’s time to move on to the next step in your business plan – hiring your employees.

Luckily, Employment Attorney Sarah Doyle knows a thing or two about the hiring process and is ready to share some tips on how you can start and grow a successful workforce.

What are the things business owners need to consider when initiating the hiring process?

There are an array of things to consider when hiring an employee. As a starting point, an employer should take the time to plan and draft a thorough job description. A well-drafted job description is a key tool for any business owner. Fundamentally, the job description provides a summary of the key functions of a particular position.  It should answer questions about the primary duties of the position as well as the reporting hierarchy. By utilizing a job description, an employer can set the expectations for the person entering the role as well as hold them accountable for performance down the road.

What should business owners be cautious of when working to start or grow their workforce?

The first hurdle was growing the business. Now, you have the opportunity to continue and sustain growth by selecting the right employees for your organization.  If your organization has grown large enough to warrant a supervisor, you should consider implementing an employee handbook. As your business hires employees, there is a greater need to establish expectations in the workplace such as employee benefits, workplace conduct, performance reviews, and/or discipline procedures. A tool an employer should utilize is an employee handbook drafted in consultation with an attorney. Employee handbooks are not required by law. However,  employers who invest the time to create effective policies and procedures will benefit from establishing clear workplace standards and may reduce legal liability in the future.  

 What are the most important questions for business owners to ask during interviews with prospective employees?

Employers should ask interview questions that allow them to assess whether a candidate’s education, experience and skills will help the candidate accomplish the essential functions of the job. However, employers must remain vigilant of the questions they CANNOT ask. For example, employers are generally prohibited from asking a candidate about his medical history or asking whether he has a disability. In some jurisdictions, employers may also be subject to “ban the box” restrictions which prevents employers from asking about a candidates criminal history during the initial application process. If you are a relatively new business, it’s worth discussing these types of issues with an employment attorney to prevent these types of issues.

Missed the last installment on business formation?  Read it here.

Check out the next installment on risk management.

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