When Is the Best Time to Hire?


by Granville Triumph

Deciding when to hire employees can be a delicate balancing act. If your growth forecasts are too aggressive and you hire too quickly, it can put a dent in your profits. If you wait until your existing staff becomes overwhelmed and don’t hire quickly enough, service quality and staff morale can suffer, both of which can affect your bottom line.

There are clear signs that indicate the time may be right to hire. If you have to wait to take advantage of growth opportunities because your staff is unable to take on the additional workload, it’s time to hire a new employee. Any delay can cause you to miss that growth opportunity completely. If you’re noticing more mistakes, and even your top performers are struggling to keep up, you need to start the hiring process right away. If customers are complaining about errors and lack of communication, you’ve already waited too long. New business should be reason for celebration, not fear about how the work will get done.

Adding an extra body just to assume overflow tasks won’t help your organization reach its goals. Talk to your employees about how they’re spending their time and assess their workloads. Can your company grow by reallocating responsibilities and providing employees with better tools that can enhance productivity? Many employees would like to take on more responsibilities that could create competitive advantages and generate revenue, but they spend too much time on day-to-day tasks in order to maintain the status quo. At the same time, you may find that the only way to get your company to the next level is to infuse new talent, skills and expertise into your organization.

Factors to Consider before Hiring

What type of employee do you need? Not every task requires a full-time employee. If an increased workload is seasonal, for example, utilizing temporary workers and independent contractors may be the most cost-effective way to add or subtract staff as needed.

What is the true cost of expansion? Recruitment, hiring, training, salary, benefits, payroll taxes and technology all contribute to the total cost of hiring new staff. Also, determine whether the position is billable or non-billable. In other words, will this person’s work contribute to the growth of the company? If the job is non-billable, how are you covering the cost?

Are you prepared to set up a new employee to succeed? In addition to having a clear job description that includes specific performance standards and a reporting structure, new employees require training, mentoring, technology and other tools in order to thrive. If you fail to provide the resources needed by a new hire, you won’t see the highest possible ROI from that investment.

Is the pace of hiring aligned with the pace of expansion? Some organizations go on a hiring spree during a period of rapid growth with the unreasonable expectation that every employee will hit the ground running. However, it will take time for new employees to reach a reasonable and then advanced level of production. The pace of hiring should be based upon a realistic expectation of performance and help to dictate the pace of expansion.

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