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As your business grows there will come a time when you won’t be able to do everything that needs to be done.  At that stage it is time to think about hiring the people you need to move on to the next stage.  The last in this series of acronyms is STAFF


Staff can really make a difference to how a business is perceived.   It’s a matter of making sure that the people you hire fit the image of your business and do your business proud.   It is also very important to remember that they will need to be able to grow as your business grows.

It’s all very well hiring a person who can do what you need them to do now, will they be able to grow with your business or is upskilling them going to be a problem for you, or them?  Some employees are great a doing specific tasks and can be hired for that, while others can be good all-rounders while not being brilliant at any one specific task.

Know in advance what your requirements are likely to be before hiring.


Trial periods are pretty much an essential part of hiring new employees now.   I remember when I started working (many years ago) trial periods were not the norm and I was a rather upset the first time I was given a one-month trial period.

People can interview really well and have brilliant references to back them up, however until they are in the position for real, dealing with the issues involved in that position, you and they won’t know for sure if they really are the right person for that job.

Trial periods give both parties the opt-out clause if it isn’t a good fit.


Accountability is a very important aspect of any employment.   Conscientious staff are great. They are very much aware that how they behave will have an impact on your business’s image as well as themselves and they do their best to be their best both for you and for themselves turning up on time and completing tasks on time and to a high standard.

The opposite of this is the slovenly presented member of staff who always manages to turn up late with excuses, whinges and whines about any type of deviation from their normal workload, which they do to a very shoddy standard, has an excuse as to why it was not their fault it was completed late.


Fringe benefits, do you offer them or not?   I know that with the economic downturn many of the fringe benefits of the Celtic Tiger were bonuses, medical insurance, company cars, a “loose” expense account, company mobile phone.  They were used quite often to sweeten a recruiting deal, in fact some people insisted on having nearly all of the above to come work for some of the businesses looking to hire them.

Now many businesses are watching where every penny goes and many of the extras have been withdrawn or been caught in the taxman’s net.  Some business owners are becoming very inventive with the fringe benefits they offer, others are simply not offering them at all.


Freelancers are an alternative to hiring employees. They have many advantages too as you only hire and pay them for the particular project in question.

There are no issues with holiday/sick pay, staff grumbles or disturbances. They tend to specialise in niches that they become expert at and you can tap into that as required.

The downside to hiring a freelancer is getting a dud one that does not perform to the standard promised and delays a project’s successful completion.

Like with employees checking references is essential prior to hiring along with agreeing all terms and conditions in advance.

There many success stories from business owners who feel like they’ve struck gold with certain employees they’ve hired and employees who feel they’ve got the best boss in the world.

How has having employees impacted on your business?

Mairéad Kelly developed the Cute Honey System - Business training, coaching & mentoring for Mumpreneurs & Mum Biz Owners who want to buzz their business into a hive of productivity while raising young children & often can’t get out to training events, morning or evening network events due to family commitments and/or a lack of finances.

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  • Hi Mairead, Hiring staff is one place where a lot of businesses get it wrong a lot in my opinion, I think a huge part must come down to hiring processes and techniques which at best poor and at worst awful. For instance, the most important person in an interview is the interviewer rather than the interviewee? Usually this hiring mistake is further compounded because the business (usually business owner) then fails to accept and rectify the original hiring failure and persevere with a person who is unable to perform the role. If what I’ve seen is anything to go by, hiring staff is the first place most businesses will make their first critical mistake 🙁

  • Absolutely Niall. I’ve had to interview people both as an employee (because the business owner didn’t want to do it themselves) and when I became self-employed. It can sometimes be easy to see when people are not going to be a good fit, it can sometimes be harder to “get over yourself” and stop your issues blocking you from hiring a very suitable candidate. nnThat is why I think trial periods are great. I’m not a fan of first impressions despite lots of people spouting them to be important, I usually find second and third impressions tend to either totally negate or back up the first one, which to me is a lot more important.

  • Hi Mairead – great post thanks.nnAccountability is my favourite – it exhumes confidence, thoughtfulness, trust, a sense of responsibility, and forward thinking. Staff have a responsibility to have pride and interest in their work, rather than buying into a “blame” culture. They have the power to maintain accountability even if the culture in the business is “blame” – really breaking from the pack!

  • Very true Elaine, we are all accountable for what we do, and accountability is completely different to blame, something a lot of people push together as one thing.nnAccountability has got to be backed up with a clear list of responsibilities though. I’ve often been in jobs where it was assumed you knew what your job was, yet it had never been defined, despite asking. I would regularly be reprimanded for both doing more than my job and not doing enough. That type of confusion unfortunately still takes place today. n

  • Accountability = SelfnBlame = OthersnnJob definition is often hard to come by in smaller organisations. It can be of huge benefit that tasks are assigned to those who can accomplish them brilliantly, rather than having other specified tasks, just because they are part of a standard job spec.nnYou have hit a great taboo there – doing more than expected, a huge debate is possible with that one 🙂

  • Welcome to Tweak Your Biz Sarah and thanks for sharing this business insurance info. It can be a minefield sometimes so thanks for explaining the different types available.

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