The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the way we work. From managing cash flow to adjusting email marketing, many entrepreneurs and small business owners have had to find new ways to adapt to this changing environment.
And while many people have lost their jobs because of COVID-19 related shutdowns, some entrepreneurs are still trying to grow their teams during this time. Unfortunately, social isolation measures can make finding a full-time employee tough. For many startup founders, reduced cash flow means they don’t currently have the money for a full-time employee — even though they still need the operational support an additional hire would bring.
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Fortunately, there are several other options available to help you fill your hiring needs, including:
Hiring part-time employees
Quite often, startups are not yet at a position where they need full-time assistance. Part-time employees can provide quality work without the same costs as a full-time employee.
As Gemma Reeves writes for Share Your Office:
“Hiring part-time employees can definitely help you save on manpower costs, while your operations are still not that sizable and if the work you require will not exceed 20 hours per week. The amount you save on compensation for one part-time employee can be used to hire another staff with a different expertise, contributing to more diverse skill set for your organization for the cost of hiring one full-time employee.”
Hiring someone part-time also serves as a helpful vetting process to see if they are a good fit for your company long-term. As your operations scale, a quality part-time employee will be much easier to transition to a full-time position than finding someone you’ve never worked with before.
Work with 1099 contractors
For one-time projects or even ongoing work that is unlikely to develop into a full-time need, a 1099 contractor can serve as an extremely cost-effective resource. Startup founders can save money by working with 1099 contractors because they are not obligated to pay income tax withholdings. Nor do they need to offer the benefits that are often legally mandated for part-time and full-time employees.
Many 1099 contractors also work remotely, which can result in additional savings for your startup. You don’t have to invest in additional office space or equipment, which further reduces business overhead. However, you must be careful not to blur the line between contractors and part-time employees, which could create tax trouble later.
The number of quality 1099 contractors is also growing: Sixty-four percent of those surveyed in the Upwork Freelancing in America 2019 report stated that “professionals who are the top in their industry are increasingly choosing to work independently.”
Open a new legal entity for international talent
International workers can often supply the same level of quality as a domestic part-time employee or 1099 contractor, but at a much lower cost. Establishing your startup as a legal entity in another country may be a viable option if you plan to hire several people and keep them onboard for a long time.
However, be careful to streamline payroll for such setups.
Alex Margolin of global payroll automation company, Papaya Global, explains further:
“A global payroll is at least three times more complex and time consuming than a regular payroll. The reports would be in different languages, reporting styles, even different software. Expense reports would be backed by receipts in the local language and virtually impossible to audit. The tax laws would require real expertise for compliance… Automation is the only way to cut through the jungle of data and ensure the workforce is paid correctly and on time.”
Use a Professional Employer Organization (or PEO)
Another hiring option is a professional employer organization (PEO). Such firms essentially operate as a proxy employer, which gives startups the ability to hire individuals from a wide variety of states or countries without needing to establish themselves as a legal entity in each location. These organizations also generally handle the startup’s HR needs. This means you can enjoy the economic benefits of hiring a diverse group of employees, without having to worry as much about the administrative element.
In fact, the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations reports that on average, small businesses that use a PEO grow up to nine percent faster than their competitors, while also reducing employee turnover by 10 to 14 percent.
PEOs are especially valuable for startups dealing with a wide variety of hiring situations. These systems can help ensure that 1099 contractors, employees and even international workers are all properly classified to help you avoid potential regulatory issues. By reducing your HR burden, you can focus solely on getting the best possible results from your team.
Finding new ways to hire
With some areas beginning to ease back on COVID-19 related restrictions, some businesses may soon find their operations returning to “normal.” However, other startup founders may discover that pandemic strategy shifts may continue to serve them well even after the current crisis ends. By evaluating these flexible hiring options, your startup may be able to scale at a more efficient rate than ever before.