Knowing when to scale up your team of employees can be a hard decision to make. If you think that now might be the right time to grow your business and hire more employees, ask yourself these seven questions:
- When was the last time you had to ask a client to extend a deadline?Missing client deadlines can be damaging to your business. Look back at the last few times you had to delay a deadline, what was the reason? Was it down to lack of skill, so a task took longer? A lack of time, as you had too many projects?
- Have your overtime costs rapidly increased? Are employees coming in early, skipping lunches and working longer hours to complete their work? A productive workforce is a happy workforce. If you need your team members need to work out of hours on a regular basis this can foster discontent. Are the reasons for the overtime valid?
- Are employees cancelling their vacation? Don’t lose sight of the need for individuals to have their own work/life balance. If employees are repeatedly delaying or cancelling paid time off it is a clear sign that, although you have a dedicated staff, they need more help.
- Are you relying on external vendors and contractors?Using contractors and vendors to cover extra work as your business grows, can be a great stop gap, but they can also be costly. Analyze if the amount of money you are paying a contractor could be used to employ a full time staff member at the same skill level or higher.
- Are you products or services increasing in number or popularity?If your business is growing in popularity, take time to understand why. Is it a positive trend? Or is the growth in reaction to a campaign or a (good) blip on the consumer radar? By analyzing the reason behind the growth you can better assess if increased staffing is needed for the long or short term.
- Are you looking to enter into a new or related industry?To successfully grow your business, you need expertise and you need manpower. Take time to assess the types and number of tasks that will be required to expand your business, and the type of employee you need to complete them. Apply this knowledge to assess your current employees. Do they have enough time to complete these additional tasks and do they have the skills required to complete them?
- Is your revenue at or above target and positioned to grow?Investing the revenue you have acquired into growing your team benefits both your business and your staff. Productivity levels will rise and existing employees will have time to learn new skills or more capacity to complete tasks.
It is important to remember that although understaffing leads to unhappy employees, overstaffing can lead to unnecessary costs. Take time to answer the questions above and assess if a staffing problem exists. Then take time to look at your finances. A useful metric is to look at your staff/sales ratio. Does your revenue increase with each employee hired? Use benchmark industry to assess what others in your industry are achieving.