As a business owner, one of your most important tasks is workforce management. It's your job to make sure you have the right people – and the right number of people – to keep your company running smoothly. Now let's say your business is growing and you're sensing you need to hire new employees. How can you really be sure the time is right to bring in additional staff? There are at least seven common clues:
1. Your employees are working very hard – perhaps too hard – and they're letting you know – or complaining – that they have too much to do. Complaints of this nature aren't uncommon, but your task is to determine if they're legitimate. How can you do that? Try talking to your employees and asking them to validate their concerns of being "overworked." Then look at attendance and productivity indicators to substantiate their claims. If what you find confirms their feedback, then you might decide to reorganize and restructure roles and responsibilities to better deal with the workflow. Or you could use your new knowledge as a guide to hiring additional employees.
2. Employees claim they want to take on more tasks or spend additional time on current ones – if only they had the time.
3. The growth curve for your products or services is increasing, and you identify that as a positive trend, not just a blip on the consumer radar.
4. You see an opportunity for growth and expansion in your industry or related industries, and decide that now's the time to take a calculated risk to expand. But current employees aren't available to assume additional responsibilities.
5. You determine that your employee's existing job skills and knowledge are fine for your company's current level of productivity, but to expand, you'll need either increased skills and knowledge or a new and different set of skills and knowledge.
6. Revenue is at or above target and you project it to continue; other than financially rewarding yourself and/or your employees, you wonder what to do with the increased revenue.
After taking a long, hard look at the state of your business, you decide to expand by hiring additional employees. But what do you have to take into account and do when adding a new position and a new hire? First, you need to create a comprehensive, clearly written job description that includes these factors:
- The major and related duties, responsibilities and tasks the employee must perform
- The expected standards of job performance
- The reporting relationships – the people or job title to whom the employee will report and who, if anyone, will report to the new hire
- The financial and fiscal responsibilities and spending limits – if any
- The standards of acceptable behavior
- The working conditions
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