How do you know when it’s time to hire again?
Knowing when it’s time to hire can be challenging. In some respects, employers are feeling more cautious than ever in the midst of so much economic uncertainty, both in the UK and abroad, with spiralling costs and the fallout from the Covid pandemic still impacting many sectors.
On the other hand, a combination of factors, including the pandemic and Brexit, have brought about new recruitment and retention difficulties, with acute staff shortages still affecting growth in some areas.
Resourcing has become a priority for most organisations. This is particularly true in Oxford and surrounding areas of Oxfordshire where competition for top talent remains fierce, and high growth businesses, well-established companies, educational facilities and charitable organisations are all vying for staff. Demand for niche skills to fuel Oxfordshire’s knowledge-intensive industries has always been high, but over the last few years, competition for business services and support staff at all levels has rocketed too.
While it can be tempting for employers to remain lean and agile, it’s important to recognise when it’s time to hire again and understand the advantages of doing so.
Advantages of hiring new employees and potential barriers
Employers will want to weigh up the pros and cons of hiring new employees in line with their specific circumstances. This checklist may help to frame your decision-making.
Advantages of hiring new employees:
Fresh perspectives: New employees inject fresh ideas and perspectives and bring a new set of experiences with them. This can help to rejuvenate existing teams, enhance discussions, boost innovation and creativity, increase productivity and engagement, and add value to the decision-making process.
Skills and expertise: New recruits will also inevitably bring their own set of skills and expertise, contributing to a more diverse workforce with a broader range of capabilities which not only benefit your organisation but may in some cases, also enhance your offering and service.
Greater productivity: When the workload becomes overwhelming or existing employees are stretched thin, hiring new staff should alleviate the burden and prevent burnout. The right hires should make teams more productive, giving them the capacity to tackle tasks more effectively and efficiently.
Knowledge transfer: Hiring new employees from different sectors (or even from within your own industry) often brings fresh insights and ideas, new approaches to work and best practice, and experience of different technologies that may help to enhance your operations and ensure you remain competitive.
Succession planning: In some cases, bringing in talented individuals may help with succession planning, enabling organisations to train and develop a pipeline of potential leaders for key roles in the future.
Scaling up: As your business expands or takes on new projects, you’ll be able to scale up better and faster if you expand your workforce to meet increased demand while maintaining high levels of service and operational integrity. If you’re concerned that these demands may be seasonal or short-lived, you could always consider recruiting skilled temporary workers to provide immediate support for as long as required, without any ongoing obligation.
Investment of time: Hiring new staff requires a significant investment of time and effort from the hiring managers and the existing team members – particularly if you go it alone without the help and support of a recruitment partner. The recruitment process, onboarding and training require time and if not properly managed, can divert resources and impact productivity in the short term. Allen Associates’ 10-step recruitment process gives more of an indication of what’s involved.
Fluctuations in workload: Many businesses experience significant but short-lived peaks in workflow which can make recruitment difficult. Hiring a new, permanent team member can feel like a risk if workloads and revenues tend to fluctuate. In these scenarios, recruiting skilled temporary workers may be the answer, providing immediate hands-on support without the long-term commitment.
Disruption to team dynamics: Introducing new people to existing team members will almost certainly affect the dynamics. While there may be a period of adjustment for everyone, if the recruitment process and onboarding have been effective, any disruption should be minimal and teams should quickly readjust, build rapport and be willing to collaborate. Finding people who will be a good fit is an essential part of the recruitment process.
Initial learning curve: Every new recruit will need time to get to grips with the uniqueness of your organisation and the way you do things. Many of your structures, systems, processes and policies will be new to them and they will require support from colleagues and the wider business to get up to speed quickly. A good onboarding process and supportive team should smooth the learning curve and enable your new hire to add value to their role within a short space of time.
Unsuccessful hires: There’s always a chance that a newly hired member of staff will leave within the first year, costing you money and negatively impacting on team morale, productivity and customer relationships. This may be due to factors outside of your control but you can mitigate the risks by adopting effective recruitment practices [Link to blog 2 – new sales automation] to help ensure that the person you hire is a great fit.
How to know when to hire more employees: 5 signs to watch out for
Knowing when to hire and expand your team is an essential part of growing a healthy and sustainable business.
Any of these 5 signs may indicate that it’s time to hire!
- Excessive workloads: If your existing team is consistently overwhelmed, working longer hours, and struggling to meet deadlines, it may be a sign that they’ve exceeded capacity and need more hands on deck. Other things to look out for include missed targets, bottlenecks, stalled processes and a decline in the quality of work or service. Any one of these warrants further investigation and may indicate that an individual or team is no longer coping with their workload and it may be time to expand.
- Burnout: The signs of employee stress and burnout are usually apparent, with higher than usual rates of staff turnover, absenteeism, low morale and a general lack of motivation and engagement being key indicators that an individual or team are over-stretched and struggling to manage their workload.
- Gaps in skills or expertise: If your team lacks the specific skills to create, enhance or deliver new projects or initiatives, it may be time to hire individuals with the necessary knowledge and experience you need – or to consider outsourcing aspects of the work to specialist third party providers. A skills audit is a useful way of mapping the expertise within your organisation and identifying any gaps. This will not only help to make a business case for recruitment but will also inform training and development programmes, promotions and succession planning.
- Inhibited growth: If your business isn’t growing as quickly as anticipated because it is struggling to meet customer demand or capitalise on new opportunities, bolstering teams and addressing skills gaps may help you achieve your goals quicker and more effectively. There may be any number of other factors inhibiting your growth potential, but a shortage of qualified staff is usually near the top of the list.
- Falling customer satisfaction: Have you noticed a decline in positive customer reviews or an increase in customer complaints? Or perhaps it hasn’t reached that point and what you’re noticing is a drop in service, with much longer-lead times or response rates? Any of these could point to problems with the size of the team or a shortage of skills required to deal with the volume or nature of work, and indicate that it is time to recruit.
Get recruitment support shaped to suit your needs
Established in Oxford in 1998 by Kate and Rob Allen, Allen Associates is a thriving recruitment consultancy with a long and highly regarded track record.
We specialise in recruiting in Oxfordshire for temporary and permanent roles at all levels in PA and Administration, Marketing, HR and Finance.
Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can add value to your recruitment processes and help you to identify the best people for your business.