For a small business, the hiring process can be an incredibly important one. After all, the smaller you are, the larger an outlay a particular employee will represent, relative to your total income. If a multinational conglomerate gets a hiring decision wrong, then they’ll be able to ‘take the hit’. But the same can’t be said for smaller businesses.
Among the more important considerations is the timing of the hire. Pull the trigger too soon, and you might find that your margins evaporate, and cash flow can dry up. This can bring with it a host of knock-on problems. On the other hand, if you wait too long, then you may find yourself unable to meet the demand you’re faced with, which can lead to an accumulation of unfinished work.
Striking the right balance between these opposing considerations is something that requires a little bit of skill and experience.
When should a business hire new staff?
There are a number of tell-tale signs which indicate that your staff might benefit from more support. First, you’ll want to consider whether you can afford to take on a higher wage burden. Is your business growing strongly, and has it been able to sustain this growth for a few months? Bear in mind that some growth spells are a result of seasonality; just because your gift shop has been inundated with business during the lead-up to Christmas doesn’t mean you’ll get the same demand during January.
Second, think about whether your employees are struggling to cope with the existing workload. If you’ve had to rely on overtime, and you’ve found yourself working weekends, then it’s usually a sign that it’s time to recruit.
How do I know when the time is right?
If your staff are overworked, then there are a few tell-tale signs to watch out for. You might notice a drop in the quality of their output. You might see more customer complaints. You might find that they don’t show up because they’re stressed!
If you don’t have the liquidity necessary to commit to a new member of staff, then it’s sensible to look into outside funding that can help you cover the cost of new hires.
Why is it important to hire new staff?
Needless to say, all of these are to the detriment of the business as a whole. But coping with the workload isn’t the only reason to take on new employees. A new recruit might be able to provide a fresh insight into your methods, and they might even have a specialised skill set that allows you to do new things. For example, a dedicated and experienced HR manager might allow you to better monitor the staff that you already have, and make timely recruiting decisions in the future!