Lori Rush reports:
"When you arrive at the end of a search for the perfect employee, you will need to write an offer letter. While much of the contents of the letter may have already been discussed in the interview process, writing a formal, signed letter will clearly state your intentions to the future employee and provide ample accountability for everyone. This way, when they accept the offer, there is no question as to your intentions and expectations of your new team member. This letter should be considered as a formal, legal agreement and thus needs to be approached with care...Be sure to provide the details of your new employee’s compensation in the letter. This includes things like paid vacation time, sick leave, and bonus structure. Your bonus structure is likely to be based on particular performance numbers, so be specific about those, and state that the bonus program does not guarantee any minimum payment. Similar considerations apply to commission-based compensation, particularly if there is a draw against commission. Make these aspects of compensation clear in the offer letter so that the employee understands exactly how she will be paid. If there is any confusion later on, this letter will serve as a great reference point...Make sure that you protect yourself in the offer letter. Avoid making promises and omit any mention of the future or language that implies indefinite employment. If the position is contract-based, make those timelines clear in the letter[;] otherwise you will want to include an at-will clause which will allow you to terminate the employment at any time. Keep in mind that stating an annual salary is a sort of promise of future compensation. Rather than stating the total sum you intend to pay over the course of a year, state only a weekly, monthly, or quarterly rate...[The offer letter] should detail some aspects of the position. Detail certain key expectations for the position, including daily and weekly hours you expect from the employee, performance targets, and a general run-down of the job’s duties. If you expect the position to include unforeseen duties, leave ample room for later changes. Using language such as duties include, but are not limited to will help to keep the scope of employment open and with room for flexibility. Both you and your new employee should appreciate a bit of leeway so that the position can expand and change as the business and its market evolves over time."
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