The True Cost of an Employee

“The value of a business is a function of how well the financial capital and intellectual capital are managed by human capital.” (Dave Bookbinder, author)

There are a lot of factors that go into working out the true cost of an employee. According to the US Small Business Administration, employees really cost between 1.25 and 1.4 times their monthly wages.  Understanding why this is, is critical to working out whether the company can really afford to bring someone onto the team. Determining the true cost of an employee helps a company to draw up better budgets, cost products more accurately and ultimately, make more profit. Here are all the things you need to consider before choosing to onboard a new hire.

  • Salary: The monthly wage paid to an employee is usually the base for deciding whether a company can afford to bring them on board. Obviously, the full “Cost to company” monthly wage needs to be taken into account including taxes, UIF and any other built-in components such as equity schemes or medical aid. The salary also includes the cost of leave. All employees are by law allowed to take holidays and days off when they are ill. These are days that you are paying your employee, but not gaining any benefit.
  • Additional employees: When you hire new employees, you may also need to consider hiring other people to manage those people, conduct the hiring process, administer employee disputes and complaints and ensure they are paid timeously each month. While new business owners may find it possible to do this themselves for one or two new employees, this can quickly start taking over in terms of hours, meaning the company owner is no longer doing their own vital job. It is advised that the costs of HR, finance and middle management are therefore looked at separately as this will give you a clearer idea of the ongoing costs for each employee.
  • Onboarding and training: From the minute you start writing the advert for a job posting, the cost of hiring an employee starts to add up. How much time is lost sifting through CVs, conducting interviews and running background checks? Once they are onboard, they will need to be trained on the company systems and rules and will take time to get used to their role. How much time do other employees need to do this rather than their own jobs? Employers should also not expect peak performance right from the beginning and this loss of productivity also has a cost.
  • Equipment: Any employee you hire will need to be given equipment, the cost of which will be determined by your industry. Everything from overalls to laptops and company cell phones as well as desks, chairs and meeting rooms need to be considered. What software do they need installed and how much is the annual subscription? How much office space does each employee take up? What does that space cost you to rent each month? On top of this comes costs like toilet paper, lighting, stationary and even coffee and tea, mugs and cutlery.
  • Overtime, bonuses and promotions: While generally optional, there are some industries where overtime cannot be avoided. As time passes business owners may also want to look at paying bonuses or giving their employees a promotion to ensure they remain happy and productive. These costs also add up and should never be forgotten.

If all of this seems too much to consider, don’t hesitate to contact your accountant who will be able to advise on whether bringing a new employee onboard is right for your business.