Priority Personnel Blog

Assessing Your Hiring Needs, Part 1: Do you really need to hire someone?

August 2nd, 2011

Has business picked up for you?  Is your company experiencing growing pains?  Are your employees putting in overtime?

All of these may be signs that you need to start hiring again.  But with fluctuating workloads and an uncertain economy, determining whether or not you need to add permanent headcount can be a real challenge.  On the one hand, you need to control overhead – hiring employees and then not having enough work for everyone can be financially devastating. On the other hand, you need to have sufficient staff to meet deadlines, keep employees working at peak efficiency and capitalize on new business opportunities.

So how do you know if you really need to hire someone?  These questions will help you determine if you’re adequately staffed:

  1. In the past two months, have you needed to extend deadlines to meet commitments to your customers or employees?
    Although managers often rationalize missed deadlines by pointing to factors unrelated to headcount, lack of people is usually the primary reason.
  2. Are employees complaining about working conditions?
    An increase in the number of complaints – either casually or formally – may be a result of overwork or inadequate staff.
  3. Is your increase in business likely permanent?
    If your organizational capacity is strained, but you’re not sure if the surge in demand will be permanent, you may want to consider using contract or temporary staff.  Staffing services can quickly deliver the experienced talent you need to get work done – without adding to your direct headcount.  If the increase in business proves permanent, you can then approach your staffing provider about converting contingent staff to direct employees.
  4. Are employees calling in sick more and more, or have health insurance claims risen?
    Some employees choose not to express their dissatisfaction verbally.  If they’re under too much stress, they may turn to doctors (medical or mental health professionals) for help, or simply choose not to come into work at all.  If there’s been a recent rise in sick time or health insurance claims at your company, it may be caused by an overworked staff. Your employees may be doing too much with too little.
  5. Are employees taking advantage of vacation time?
    If employees are not taking the time off they’re due, this could also be a symptom of overwork. They may feel like there’s simply too much to do, so they can’t take time off.
  6. Are overtime costs consistently on the rise?
    If your overtime costs are going up on a regular basis, then you may be understaffed. You simply do not have a large enough workforce to meet the needs of your workflow.
  7. Have you turned down new opportunities because you don’t have enough people?
    You’ll lose your competitive edge without the right people with the right skills in place.
  8. Are you following your business plan?
    You created a business plan for a reason. But if you’re not following through with it, it may be due to a lack of time and resources.

Is it time to hire?

Priority Personnel can help you answer this important question.  As a leading staffing and employment services company serving central Texas, we can help you determine if you need temporary, contract or direct staff to cost-effectively get your work done.

We invite you to contact us today to schedule a free workforce consultation.  Together, we can critically examine your workforce challenges and design a staffing plan that makes the most sense for your business.

Time Out! U.S. Workers are Foregoing Vacation Plans, But is This Really in Your Company’s Best Interest?

July 5th, 2011

Work/life balance.  It’s one of those nebulous issues with which employers continually wrestle.  On the one hand, work needs to be done.  On the other hand, the pressure to get that work done can lead to a host of problems which zap employees’ productivity.

Financial constraints and demanding work schedules have made work a higher priority than ever for Americans.  A recent study by CareerBuilder shows that, as a result, many U.S. workers are foregoing vacation plans this year:

  • 24 percent of full-time workers say they can’t afford to take a vacation in 2011, up from 21 percent in 2010.
  • An additional 12 percent can afford a vacation but don’t have plans to take one in 2011.

While these statistics may mean more total hours worked in your organization, your company might actually see greater benefits from encouraging employees to take time-off.

Why?

Overwork can increase absenteeism, burnout and turnover, and make employees more prone to errors on the job.  Conversely, workers with a healthy work/life balance tend to have less burnout, greater creativity and higher quality output.  And when things get stressful on the job, “balanced” employees are better equipped to handle the burden.  Bottom line, taking time-off is vital not only to an employee’s well-being and performance, but to your company’s, too.

As our economy heals, here are a few recommendations for encouraging your workers to take the time-off they need, while keeping your business running smoothly:

  • Require sufficient notice.  If you don’t have one, develop formal policy outlining guidelines for taking vacation (i.e., giving adequate notice, coordinating with other employees’ requests for time-off, scheduling time-off before or after big projects/events, etc.).  The more lead-time you have, the better equipped your company will be to handle the extra workload.
  • Encourage shorter, more frequent breaks. If employees can’t take a number of days off at once, suggest they take long weekends or midweek breaks.  Shorter vacations still afford employees the ability to recharge, with less disruption to your workflow.
  • Ensure adequate coverage. Require employees to cross-train and prepare co-workers, to ensure adequate coverage while they’re gone.  At a minimum, ask employees to review: critical responsibilities, upcoming deadlines, where information is stored, key contacts and parameters for reaching them while they’re on vacation.
  • Lead by example. Are you a workaholic?  If so, here’s a perfect reason to reform your ways.  Management support for work/life balance is critical and must come from the top.  Set an example of maintaining a healthy balance and make it known that the same is expected from rank-and-file employees, too.
  • Call Priority Personnel for the support you need. If your business is like most, your staff is already stretched thin.  When one person goes on vacation, it can be difficult for others to manage the additional workload.  Call Priority Personnel to provide the talented, reliable individuals you need during vacation periods.  Our employees hit the ground running and keep your business running smoothly, so your employees can take the time-off they deserve.