When it comes to staff planning, it’s always a balancing act to have the right number of people to keep up with business flow. When demands are growing, though, it can be difficult to know what to do. Is it time to hire, do some restructuring, or should existing employees be asked to take on more?
If your team is overstressed and feeling under-resourced, it’s probably time to hire. Here are the eight telltale signs you can’t afford to ignore:
Top employees are struggling: Every team has its go-to people –– those reliable individuals who always exceed expectations. Supervisors may notice these top performers are missing deadlines or asking for extensions with their projects. If the best-of-the-best can’t keep up with workloads, chances are the entire team is sinking under the pressure.
Growth isn’t good news: Business is booming and the company is set to open another facility or new branch offices within the next year. However, no one is happy, including department leaders. Instead, the overwhelming thought is worry about the impact of that growth. How will employees keep up? Expansion should bring smiles, not feelings of anxiety.
Opportunities are turned down: There are funds available to market to new clients, upgrade software and make other changes that support the business, but people are resistant. Managers are already stretched, and the team just can’t get on board to drive implementation of improvements that could move the organization forward.
Managers are juggling multiple jobs: The team is at its breaking point, so supervisors are stepping in to help. Instead of focusing entirely on management issues, leaders are routinely seen on the production or sales floor, answering phones, and finishing reports for staff. Throw in an employee absence or two and managers are in a real bind. They may never get to their own work.
Overtime is the norm: Overtime isn’t a problem when it’s occasional, but it can be when it’s no longer tied to peak seasons or big projects. If supervisors regularly receive emails from employees in the evening or on weekends — and often respond back immediately because they’re working too — that can be a major red flag that it’s time to hire.
Complaints are on the rise: Unexpected delays, lack of responsiveness and poor-quality work are becoming noticeable. Managers are starting to hear complaints internally and from clients that their employees aren’t meeting standards. In fact, the company may already be losing business because staff are stretched too thin and can’t keep up with demands.
Mistakes are commonplace: There is so much to do that employees are producing as much as they can, as quickly as they can — resulting in a lot of mistakes. People who are in a rush to check off items on their ever-growing to-do lists won’t pay attention to detail. If mistakes are frequent or on the rise as a result of heavy workloads, this is a clear sign it’s time to hire.
Employees are out sick more often: Watch for the personal impact of stress and burnout on staff. There may be a noticeable uptick in the use of sick days or personal time. Employees may not necessarily be using the time to relax, either. Those who’ve been asked to give 110 percent for too long may feel the impact on their health, being more susceptible to colds and ailments.
A top performer feeling overworked is just one sign it may be time to hire more staff. The situations described above are clear indicators that your business may be under-resourced, and customer service and satisfaction may be suffering, which can severely impact your profitability, both short and long term. Embrace the signs that it’s time to hire – with the right individuals hired, productivity and job satisfaction for all team members can improve in a very short time, along with your ability to realize your business goals.