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Is your company experiencing a positive development and now you are considering hiring your first employee? This step requires careful planning to ensure that the recruitment process runs smoothly. Below you can find out what you should pay attention to and how you can proceed.

The decision to hire your first employee marks an exciting milestone for your company. Not only does it signal your success to date, but also your willingness to continue growing. As orders or sales increase, it becomes clear that you can no longer do everything on your own. You may also want to explore new areas of business and look for specific expertise to drive your company forward.

To ensure that this step is successful, we have spoken to HR experts and compiled the essential information for you.

The ideal moment for hiring your first employee?

Finding the ideal time to hire employees is not always easy. On one hand, financial resources are required, on the other hand, sufficient time should be planned. Sufficient time is also required to train the new employee. 

If you recognise yourself in the following statements, it might be time to bring support into the team:

  • You are stressed and wish you had a better work-life balance.
  • Meetings and phone calls dominate your day and you are barely available for customers.
  • Administrative tasks take up your precious time, which you would rather use more productively.
  • Your business expands and you need extra hands and/or specialised expertise.
  •  You are longing for new inspiration and a fresh look at your company.

Once you've decided on the best time, the next question is "how". Below you will find an overview that can help you to fully focus on the next step for your company.

The key steps in hiring new team members

When you recruit staff for the first time, you are entering a new sphere and are now acting in the role of an HR manager as well as a manager. From recruitment to writing the reference, you are faced with completely new challenges.

Recruitment process

1. define the job profile

What tasks and responsibilities does the position involve?
What qualifications and specific knowledge are required (training, professional experience)?
What employment relationship and workload are appropriate?

2. start the recruitment process

Create and publish a job advert
Actively search for candidates and pass on job information in your networks
Collaboration with recruitment agencies or participation in career fairs

3. handle the application process

Prepare for the interview: Define clear goals for the interview. Plan the interview so that you get as comprehensive a picture as possible of the applicant (hard/soft skills and working methods)
Conduct the interview and possibly arrange a trial working day
Background check for shortlisted candidates: Contact references from former employers and request a criminal record extract and possibly a debt enforcement register extract

When recruiting, it is particularly important that the candidate fits in with the corporate culture and the existing team in terms of values and behavior (cultural fit). The new team member should enrich the team both personally and professionally - although it should not be forgotten that many skills can also be learnt on the job.

Employment contract

The employment contract can be concluded in writing, verbally (and theoretically even tacitly), whereby a written version is advisable in most cases. In certain situations, such as apprenticeship contracts, it is even binding. The employment contract should include the following elements:

  • Details of the company or employer
  • Personal details of the employee
  • Start of the employment relationship
  • Place of work
  • Type of activity (job title)
  • Scope of activity and level of employment
  • Holiday entitlements and regulations
  • Amount of salary (plus any supplements) 
  • Notice periods and probationary period, if applicable

Open-ended contract: Specify the reasons why the contract can be terminated and the notice period. You can also shorten the statutory probationary period of one month, cancel it completely or extend it to up to three months.

Fixed-term contract: A probationary period is not required by law, but can be agreed if desired. Enter the end date of employment (unless this is determined by the completion of a project specified in the contract).

Also consider the following aspects:
  • Information on the applicable regulations
  • Provisions on social security contributions to OASI
  • Pension fund regulations (if required) 
  • Salary entitlement / rights and obligations in the event of illness, pregnancy, maternity and accident as well as other loss of earnings
  • A daily sickness benefits insurance and other voluntary benefits


Ensure a well-equipped workplace and clear tasks for the familiarization phase before starting work. Preparations should include the physical set-up as well as user accounts and authorizations. With comprehensive preparation, you will enable your new employee to realize their full potential right from the start.

Compensation fund and family allowances

Employers are legally obliged to register their employees with the AHV compensation office and, if necessary, to apply for family allowances. The obligation to pay social insurance contributions (AHV, IV, EO and ALV) starts on 1 January after the employee's 17th birthday. Newly hired employees without an existing national insurance number must be registered with the compensation office immediately, while employees with an existing number can be registered either immediately or at the latest with the salary declaration at the end of the year. The cantonal compensation office serves as an efficient point of contact. If this idea makes you think of bureaucracy - don't worry, this process can now be easily completed online.

If your company is already registered with the compensation office, there is no need to register new employees separately. Instead, you can simply declare them on the official salary notification at the end of the year (stating their personal details, AHV number and date of birth).

The application for an AHV number for new employees without one, for example in the case of international hires, is made via the relevant AHV compensation office.

Employees with children are entitled to family allowances, depending on the family constellation. It is your responsibility to apply for these from the family equalization fund. In most cases, the best point of contact for this is your AHV compensation fund, as the family compensation fund is often affiliated with it.

To complete these steps, you will need the following documents and information from your employee:

  • Social insurance card (AHV/IV/EO) or children's health insurance card
  • Date on which the partner last took up employment
  • Gross income of the employee

Employment of foreign employees

If you intend to hire foreign employees without a permanent residence permit (C permit), this requires additional considerations and steps.

Submission of registration or authorisation applications

Employees from EU/EFTA states who work in Switzerland for up to 90 days per year are generally required to register. Registration can be done via the website of the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

A permit is required for employees from EU/EFTA states who work in Switzerland for more than 90 days per year. If you do not already have one, it is your responsibility to submit the relevant permit application to the competent cantonal labor market authority.

Registration for withholding tax

Employees who are subject to withholding tax (foreign employees without a permanent residence permit) must be registered with the relevant tax authority within eight days of joining the company.

BVG, UVG and possibly KTG

Registration with the pension fund is required if the gross salary is at least 22,050 CHF per year and the period of employment is set at more than three months or for an indefinite period. The insurance obligation applies from day one, even if the person is initially in the probationary period.

You need the following data to register:

  • Name and address
  • AHV number
  • Date of entry
  • Workload
  •  Annual salary
It is also necessary to protect your employees from the consequences of accidents and occupational illnesses, so you should take out accident insurance. As soon as you hire the first person subject to compulsory insurance, it is necessary to notify the accident insurance company you have chosen. Note, however, that the choice is not completely flexible: employees in certain industries are subject to compulsory insurance with the Swiss Accident Insurance Fund (Suva). Find out in advance whether this applies to your company.

While daily sickness benefits insurance is usually not mandatory, it is definitely a good idea (also check whether this insurance is regulated in a Collective Employment Contract, or CEC. If this is the case, you must adhere to it). Daily sickness benefits insurance covers most of the costs of continued salary payments for employees who are absent due to illness or pregnancy.

An additional advantage is that your employees benefit from continued salary payments over and above the statutory minimum through daily sickness benefits insurance. This in turn helps to position you as an attractive employer.

Here you can find more detailed information on
Thema Vorsorge.