Staff or NOT to Staff

by Claire Minnaar

There’s a saying that many women talk about when they refer to men: “You can’t live with them, you can’t live without them”.

It does seem to be very similar with staff. Your staff, ultimately, are your businesses. When you choose to go ahead and hire people, they become the workers behind your business’ name and their work is very often a reflection of your company or brand.

Every business owner wants an employee or staff member to feel the passion or drive for your business that you have had to get the business going and out there! But, it’s not always the case.

I believe that you get “workers” and you get the “entrepreneurial types” that have that drive to exceed and to accomplish perhaps something bigger than themselves. There’s nothing wrong with either of these “types” of people – if anything, having both these “types” of staff members can benefit your business. There are the “slackers”, but I don’t need to go into that as you will know when you spot one of them. 🙂

Workers would typically be the staff members who watch the clock, take every lunch break and arrive on time for work (sometimes, just on time) and leave at 5pm or the official hour you close business. These guys won’t necessarily always go the extra mile but, make no mistake, they are just as important as any other person in your business as they do get work done.

Entrepreneurial types have an underlying drive. They may not want to run their own business, but they feel the attachment to your business and want to see your business succeed almost, if not as much as you do! They go the extra mile, are pro-active, share ideas and thoughts, work longer hours, etc. Some of these types of staff members may eventually grow and decide to start a business for themselves or they will be loyal members to your “business family”.

I have the most amazing team of people who work with me on a daily basis. We have hired various people over the years; both on a contract basis and full time. I have funny stories to tell of interviews I have done to people we have hired that I look back on and cringe when I think about it! But, each of those scenarios taught us so much more about what type of person we want and how we do / don’t want to move forward.

We definitely have our problems. We are currently 10 staff members with different backgrounds, different religions or spiritual views, different lives and totally different personalities making it the perfect scenario for an explosion! But, we all get on and we all like each other (I hope!) and I think the most important thing is that we respect each other.


There’s always a BUT, isn’t there? Although I love my work colleagues / staff members / employees (whatever you want to call them), I have days where I would like to pack my bags and move to Hermanus and live in a wooden cottage by the seaside and grow my organic food in my backyard, which sounds so much more peaceful and tranquil and much nicer! I know I would get incredibly bored, so each day there is a staff-related problem, I take a deep breath and have to remind myself why they are here and why I chose them to work with us. Just like BABIES, STAFF doesn’t come with instructions!

Here are some tips that may help you when deciding to hire staff or choose to expand your business or get some help in:

  • Trust your gut. I have made the mistake of not trusting my gut and I paid beeeg time for it.
  • Always make sure that you have a contract in place with a 3 month probation included.
  • Don’t hire too quickly! Opt for contracting first and then decide whether a full time option is a viable or suitable option.
  • Don’t always choose the person who SOUNDS the most qualified – choose who you feel can DO THE JOB! I was often put down by the fact that I didn’t have a degree. I know I can probably do the same job plus more than someone who has a degree. A degree counts for a lot in certain fields, but it isn’t EVERYTHING!
  • Don’t always go for the cheapest person or the most expensive.
  • Remember, there are VERY strict laws in place protecting people in the workforce. You must be SURE when you hire full time employees as firing someone or “letting someone go” is NO EASY task


Hiring staff is a personal choice. It most definitely has it challenges, but there are also many rewards. Weigh up the odds of contracting over full time and always remember to protect yourself, your business and trust your gut.

Good luck!

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