There might come a time when you need to increase the number of employees to meet the increase in demand of your client group. Your initial response might be to recruit to capacity to meet this immediate need – Don’t! There are many tales of businesses which failed and then had to start viewing their people as a cost – the worst position – resulting in huge layoffs. Nobody likes the process least of all those having to do the cull. As someone who regularly has to have difficult conversations with others, “You’re being made redundant!” is not the easiest to deliver even by seasoned professions.
I advise founders and organisational leaders to hire at their critical stages during their growth phases. I’m going plural here because, unlike the organisational stages graph very few firms have a smooth steady transition from on stage to the other: the process is a lot more dynamic and oscillates between the stages. The first thing to do is to recognise “sustainable growth”. This isn’t just one or a couple of large increases in your order, it is a sustainable increase, something you see going on for quite a while. You need to ask yourself:
- How long might the order(s) last?
- What is this customer’s payment history?
- What is the revenue likely to be from the order(s)?
- Can I meet this increased demand currently?
Another wonderful HR tool! It’s ensuring you have the right number of people, possessing the right skills mix, to meet your demand levels, at the right time. It is vital in helping you recruit the required number of staff to achieve your growth. The first activity required is a scan of the business environment. This will help you plan and estimate you’re the number of employees you will need to employ. It is strongly advisable that you don’t look at the environment change and think there should be a correlating change in employee numbers i.e. five per cent increase in the market = five per cent increase in staff levels.
Create a realistic future goal based on what your current staffing population is doing and whether they have reached their full working capacity. May they be able to take on more work? If so, try this option first. Or perhaps they are already struggling, in which case you need to hire more to cover the surplus they’re already absorbing. It is never a good idea to sustain overworked staff – this can cause burnout and general dissatisfaction. You need to also consider the number of people that will be able to provide the skills you need and the level you want. The rest is simple arithmetic: where you want to be (future) against what you currently hold (present). Then try to fill in the gaps.
Build/ Buy/ Borrow
These are the three ways to gain more skilled staff to meet your demand. The first is by “building” or training current staff to meet the skills level requirement. The second is to “buy” or hire individuals to meet the need and the finial option is “borrowing” i.e. using recruitment agencies. With all these options there are differences in cost, time to be fully functional and initial error rates.
Speed of full use
If you’re doing the interviews and recruitment process all in-house, then you need to ensure that your actions are fair, accountable, and business-related at all stages. The best way to cover this is to make notes and provide reasons for all your actions. All assessments, questions, requirements should relate back to the role and the wider organisation. Where possible ask if any reasonable adjustments (i.e. changes to the recruitment procedures for candidates’ disabilities) need to be made – but, if you can’t accommodate them, explain why. Stick to the instructions of your policies and only make changes which are sustainable and applicable to your business and its industry. The more constant you can be with this the better.
Recruitment doesn’t have to be painful or expense but it has to be done well. The common statistic mentioned in this area is that it takes five-times the individual’s salary when trying to recruit – you don’t want to have to keep wasting your time or your money!
Article by Oyeyimika Opaneye, follow him on twitter at OKAConsulting