No matter what problems your product throws up, or what speed bumps your service hits, it’s your own employees that are likely to create some of the biggest challenges for your business.

An enthusiastic and dedicated team can be the making of a startup; a mismatched bunch could be its undoing. And regardless of who’s in your team, if you can’t afford to retain them – or keep them safe and happy – it’s bad news for your business. So, before making that first hire, do a bit of homework and seek out hiring advice from the experts.

How to employ someone

Putting together a team who are as passionate as you are is the key to any successful business. When you consider that 23% of startups fail because they haven’t got the right team[i] it becomes clear how important hiring employees for your small business actually is.

To find out how to hire the right people we spoke to Lucy Adams, Founder of The Disruptive HR Agency, to get her expert insights.

Lucy explained that “Your ideal candidates are looking for a company with a soul, something that can encourage a sense of belonging and identification. And pride. That’s why culture is the glue that holds your company together and finding those who fit is the most important part of your recruitment process.”

How to hire for a small business

An enthusiastic and dedicated team can be the making of a startup; a mismatched bunch could be its undoing.

So, before making that first hire, do a bit of homework and watch this video we’ve produced in association with Courier.

To find out more, read the full guide to managing business risks

Consider the commitment

Hiring a full-time member of staff is a big deal. You’re not just committing to pay them a set amount, on time, every month; you’ll also need to shell out on National Insurance, pension, tax and payroll services. Can you definitely not do this work yourself, get help from friends, or use a part-timer?

Don’t rush to hire – Do your homework before recruiting

From how to write your job listing to where to post it, from what questions to ask at interviews to how many candidates to see, there are loads of things to consider before beginning the recruitment process. Don’t rush into it or you might end up burdened with an ill-matched employee. This is one task you don’t want to rush.

Prepare the paperwork – Make it clear where everyone stands

Note down a checklist of what documents you need to send to your new employee and what they need to give to you – offer letter, references, proof of right to work in the UK, contract, employee handbook and the rest. Writing a handbook might sound like a slog but having things like hours, holiday entitlement and notice periods clearly stated is a smart move. There’s plenty of official information on

Keep staff safe – Look after your staff and your business

Whether your employees are using chainsaws or computers, you need to carry out a health and safety assessment. It’s also a legal requirement to get employers’ liability insurance from the moment you make your first hire. Hiscox employers’ liability insurance covers the legal costs of defending or paying out a compensation claim, in case your staff suffer from stress or slip on a banana skin.

Lucy explains that it’s important to have a clear idea of what your business needs are and stick to them. “Never compromise, or, as you grow, you might not like what you see.” It’s so important to have the right people working with you to improve and grow your business. It’s important to put in the work early on, with a dedicated team your business will go from strength to strength.

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[i] CB Insights poll of 101 failed US startups, 2014