Archive for September, 2008

Hiring Your 1st Employee

Are you ready to hire your first employee?  Here are a few items to consider before you hire:


What do you need?  Think carefully about the tasks that will be assigned to the new employee. Many new business owners are tempted to hire friends or family members, and fail to consider to true needs of the business.   The result is often a traumatic experience for both owner and employee, and a painful termination.   Make sure that you have a clearly defined job description and then seek out a person with the correct skill set. 


What type of employee? Will the new hire be an Employee or Contractor?  Employees & Contractors carry different responsibilities and liability for the business owner.  Misclassification can result in fines and confusion over the role the person will play in your business. Consult a professional prior to the hire to make sure you have your new person in the correct category. 


Are you ready?  Before you hire, be ready for your new employee by setting up a relationship with a payroll company and have new hire paperwork in place (such as W-4 & I-9 forms).  Put together a written Offer Letter outlining the position title, hours, start date, pay and any additional requirements so that both the employee & owner clearly understand position details.   


Jill Critchfield is a professional Human Resources Consultant.  Through her business, Pacific HR, she has provided HR services to over 100 small and mid-sized businesses in Portland, Oregon since 1999.  Information about Pacific HR services can be found at


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Employee Handbook – Top Ten Reasons To Update Now

A clear and thorough Employee Handbook is an important tool for any business.   Here is a list of 10 reasons to get your Employee Handbook up to date:

  1. Document Policies & Procedures: An Employee Handbook is a great place to get all of your company policies & procedures in one place.  Going through the Employee Handbook creation process will help identify and correct gaps in current polices.
  2. Communicate with Employees:   Employees can’t be expected to follow rules unless you clearly communicate your company policies.  A well written Handbook gives employees a one-stop resource for researching company policies, workplace expectations and corporate culture.
  3. State At-Will Rights: Your At-Will status as an employer could be jeopardized if you don’t clearly outline your rights with clear and accurate At-Will statement.
  4. Explain Employee Benefits: Give employees a resource for looking up benefit details and qualification criteria. 
  5. Promote Your Culture: An Employee Handbook is a great way to set a tone with new employees as to your business culture and ethical standards.   
  6. Support your Supervisors: Supervisors will find a thorough Employee Handbook an invaluable asset in guiding employees through company policies.
  7. Present a Professional Image:  A well written Employee Handbook improves your professional image to employees and candidates.
  8. Protect Your Business: A copy of your Employee Handbook is one of the first things an investigatory agency will ask when researching a claim.  What will you say if you don’t have a Handbook, or if it is out of date or incomplete?
  9. Complying with Certain Laws: Some employment laws, such as the Family Medical Leave Act require that employers include an FMLA policy in their Employee Handbook.  Failing to meet this requirement could jeopardize the employer’s rights under the act.
  10. Save Time: A complete and accurate Employee Handbook will free up time for you and your supervisors.  The Handbook is a resource for an employee’s questions and will minimize questions posed to management on company policies. 

In short, an up-to-date Employee Handbook is an invaluable resource for any business.  Take a look at your Handbook today and take steps to make sure it is accurate, thorough and complete.


Jill Critchfield is a professional Human Resources Consultant.  Through her business, Pacific HR, she has provided HR services to over 100 small and mid-sized businesses in Portland, Oregon since 1999.

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