“When should we hire our next team member?” is one of the questions businesses most often ask as they grow and evolve. Unfortunately, there’s no one simple answer.
There’s also no guarantee that it will work out.
Sometimes the decision to hire is more a matter of luck and serendipity rather than cold, hard planning.
For example, at Balance at Work we took on a new consultant because she happened to be available at a time when we needed help.
Doing this goes against everything I tell our clients they should do, but it has worked very well for us — this time, at least!
If you’d like to have more science around this critical decision, look out for the signs.
If you’re experiencing any of the following, alone or in combination, it might be time for you to hire one or more new employees.
1. You’re consistently not delivering on your service promises
There can be several reasons your customers are not getting the quality, response times and levels of service they’re expecting.
If all these things were previously running smoothly and now aren’t, perhaps your staff just don’t have the time and resources they need to serve your customers properly.
An increase in any of the following requires you to look closely at the causes and determine if the problem could be solved by hiring:
- Late delivery of goods or services
- Projects that are running over time and over budget
- Complaints and refunds
- Disputed invoices or late payments
- Needing to re-do work that’s already been paid for and delivered
2. You and your team are feeling overwhelmed
If you’re awake at 2am worrying about work, something has to give. Hopefully, it won’t be you!
No growing business can go it alone, and if you just saw yourself in that first sentence, my first recommendation is to find yourself a business coach as soon as possible.
On the other hand, you may feel totally in control while your team is giving you signs things are not quite as they should be.
If you notice any of the following behaviours, take the time to find out why it’s occurring:
- Sudden resignations
- Unexplained absences
- Bickering within the team
- Low morale and a negative vibe
- Rumours about the future of the business
Once you know that coping with the workload is the underlying issue, you’re ready to take appropriate action.
3. You’re experiencing rapid growth or change
Congratulations! Sometimes we choose to change and sometimes change is thrust upon us. Either way, change brings with it significant opportunities to do things differently.
You can only make the most of your situation if you have the right people on your team.
Some of the business changes that indicate you need to hire more staff are:
- Increased demand for your existing service or product
- New services or products added to your catalogue
- Implementing new processes or structures that require new skill sets
If you find you’re working ‘in the business’ instead of ‘on the business’ most of the time, over a long time, you are setting yourself up for failure.
In fact, failure is almost inevitable if you don’t get to do the important work in your business, instead of just what’s urgent.
It’s a big step to hire a new team member, and doing so requires careful planning.
It can be expensive, and it will be time-consuming.
So we ask ‘Do I really need to hire?’ instead of ‘Can I afford not to?’. When you refer to the signs above, it’s easier to answer both questions.
This article was originally published on MYOB’s blog, The Pulse. For more business news and tips, visit www.myob.com/blog.