Posted on 06/06/2020



Below is a summary of the key points an employer should be aware of when undertaking the task of employing new staff and especially during COVID-19 pandemic times: 

-        Advertise:  You never know who is out there.

-        Closing date:  It’s always a good idea to work towards a fixed date though this may be delayed as a result of the COVID-19 lockdowns or working from home conditions.

-        CVs:  When reviewing CVs, check for unexplained gaps in employment. These may mean that the applicant does not want you to know about an employment they previously had that may have gone wrong.

-        Reference checking:  This is vital these days. Call the referees. Make sure you ask the applicant before you do this or have it as part of your pre-employment application form.

-        Qualification checking:  With numerous qualifications available (and supposedly legitimate certifications available from the internet), it is important to confirm the legitimacy of documents. Several large companies have been caught out by not checking qualifications and references. A police check might also be a good idea if the applicant is to be responsible for large sums of money.

-        Interview questions:  To make each interview fair and beneficial, compare each applicant by using the same questions for each interview. Write down the questions in advance, bearing in mind what you want to know about the applicants. Remember, you cannot ask personal questions of the applicants. 

-        Interview:  Set aside some time when you won’t be interrupted. Have at least two people interviewing each applicant; this helps in a number of ways. Firstly, you have another person’s point of view of the applicant. Secondly, you are protecting yourself against possible grievances, for example:

o   The applicant is sure that you offered him/her the position in the interview when you did not.

o   The applicant is sure that you had offered him/her much higher remuneration than intended.

o   The applicant accuses you of misconduct in the interview (e.g. putting a hand on his/her knee) or asking personal and/or inappropriate questions.

-        Selection process:  Once the interviews have been completed, ask yourself how the person would fit in with the rest of the team. It’s also a good idea to employ people with a probation period. Remember, if the employment is not working during the probation period, ensure that you follow correct procedures. You cannot terminate the employment at the end of the probation period without giving the employee time to improve. Make sure everything is recorded. RSM Thailand has a legal team that specialises in employment Law so can advise RSM (Recruitment) Thailand Limited's executive recruiters as to how best to assist its clients.

-        Employment agreement:  Send the successful applicant a letter of offer and an employment agreement with a job description before they commence work. Make sure the employment agreement is signed and returned and give the employee a copy of the signed agreement for their records. Also, make sure that the new employee is aware of your code of conduct / office rules. Ensure that these are also signed as being understood by the employee. And this is particularly important in light of new necessary rules and conditions that may be required to be implemented as a result of COVID-19.

-        Unsuccessful applicants:  It is nice to acknowledge those who applied for the position. Send a letter to the unsuccessful applicants.

Looking after your staff…

It’s a cliché, but it’s true…

Your staff are your firm's most valuable asset. How well do you look after them? There are firms, for example, where "professional" staff are seen as superior to the others. No-one stops to consider how "the others" feel about being labelled second-class citizens. Perceived “superior” staff cannot operate without an experienced, talented and motivated engine room in the same way as a bicycle or car cannot operate if there is one small part missing or broken.

Staff meetings

They can take a lot of time so need controlling. However, they are an important means of communication, firstly for you to listen and secondly so you can pass on information or promote discussion of ideas. Ricardo Semler, author of Maverick, says he has 1000 staff and each has a brain, so he uses all of them.

What do you do when something goes wrong?

Commonly, one finds someone to blame, which is counter-productive. There is a better method. Involve the person in finding a way to ensure the same mistake is not repeated. If possible, get your employee to come up with the ideas as he or she will own the solution and is more likely to implement it. If you produce the answer it could be seen as being imposed on the employee and is more likely to meet with resistance. Next, have a look at your systems and weave the solution into them. Once your staff are used to the idea, there will be no witch hunt. They will be more ready to contribute to the process of finding a solution. 

The difficult person

Occasionally you get someone who is not a team player, constantly finding fault and consistently negative. Such people will never work successfully with you. Encourage them to leave, taking care not to infringe on local labour laws.

Have fun

Losing staff is usually very expensive.   "Those who play together, stay together". Have some fun. You could have people queuing to work for you. A significant part of going to work is social. So Employers need to provide for it. Socialising costs money. It pays to be generous even if you can only claim a 50 percent tax deduction or less in most cases.

Putting time & money where your mouth is…

By the time you hear an employee is unhappy, they may already have a foot out the door… 

If you know how staff are feeling, you can do something about it.

Put your time and money where your mouth is. Improving morale is not just about caring for people - it's about taking action as well.

Put a small part of your budget aside for morale boosting. Consider movie tickets, book vouchers, afternoons off etc. These small gestures cost little and do wonders.

Take one step at a time. Fix the small issues first and then tackle the larger ones. Give progress reports on the bigger issues so staff know that although they may not see results yet, you are working on them. If you are seen to be taking action and addressing the problems, staff will feel more confident in your ability as their leader.

Always follow through on your promises. Nothing lowers morale more than broken promises. You also lose the respect of your staff. That is something that will be very hard

Finding the time to find the right person…

It is hard to see a greater priority than spending time on recruitment of new staff.

No matter how lowly you might think the position is, as owner/manager your time should go towards selecting the right person before just about anything else.

Therefore, focus on your recruitment practices. All employees need to be as good as they can possibly be, regardless of what they are doing. That needs to be a very high priority for you and your time.  It is not a good idea to hand over recruitment to someone else. It is too important that you be involved from start to finish.