Recruitment is a topic that concerns every manager. Those who manage a team will sooner or later face the challenging question of whether it’s the right time to expand it. When making such decisions, various aspects at the intersection of business needs and employee requirements need to be considered. A thorough analysis of six key areas will enable a fact-based, responsible decision that will have a positive impact on both morale and the organization itself. Below are some guidelines that can help gain a broader perspective on team expansion issues.
When is recruitment needed?
Recruitment usually occurs in two situations: when an employee leaves or when there is a need to increase the team size. While in the first situation, one must consider whether there is still a demand for the departing person’s work and whether the budget has changed, the second situation is much more ambiguous. How is a manager supposed to know when the right time has come to expand the team? It’s a responsible decision that is often not easy to make. It ultimately involves establishing a long-term collaboration that ensures both tasks to be done, opportunities for development, and a stable salary. In such cases, six aspects need to be considered.
Projected Team Workload
When the team’s workload becomes “hot,” with noticeably more work than people and tasks losing quality or remaining incomplete, it may not be an unequivocal signal to start recruiting. In such cases, the first consideration should be whether this state is permanent, whether the workload is likely to grow, or perhaps decrease. Temporary increases in task volume, even if urgent, may return to normalcy before a new person joins. In such cases, collaborating with more flexible freelancers can be helpful.
When there is a consistent increase in workload due to additional responsibilities, the first step should be to consider whether repetitive tasks can be optimized to free up additional time. Perhaps this extra time will be sufficient for handling the additional workload. Alternatively, one can consider transferring some responsibilities to other teams experiencing a shortage of challenges. If these measures are not feasible, do not yield results, or if the projected workload is set to continuously increase, it’s time to start recruiting!
Due to the attempt to balance the company’s interests, it is quite common for employees to be slightly overburdened for months. This significantly affects their well-being, as they may feel that no matter what they do, they won’t catch up with their current workload. If a sense of futility dominates, and additional responsibilities do not become a challenge but rather a spark in a powder keg, action must be taken. Even if the situation is temporary, the announcement of recruitment can serve as comfort and help the team endure the task overload. Ultimately, a temporary increase in work intensity can lead to establishing further collaborations and sharing long-standing excess responsibilities.
The list of improvements that should be made but never gets done is endless. New ideas remain unimplemented because daily tasks consume every team member’s time. In such a situation, it’s worth considering starting recruitment, especially when additional tasks are on the horizon. Most likely, employees will willingly enhance the quality of their work and may even propose surprising innovations. However, they need to be given some space for new projects. Depending on the size of the backlog, consider the specialization needs of the new person who will relieve the team (perhaps an intern could be a solution).
In the bygone era, there was a saying: “Whether you stand or lie down, you still earn two thousand!” Sometimes, an employee may carry some of that mentality or may not know exactly what needs to be done due to organizational issues. The failure to complete tasks should be a signal to examine work systems and communication, and secondarily to ensure that the team is utilizing its capabilities. Additionally, as emphasized before, consider opportunities for automating and optimizing repetitive tasks.
Surplus Work Hours
Surprisingly for some managers, the answer to how many hours need to be estimated for handling surplus responsibilities before starting a new position is not necessarily 40 hours a week. Each new person generates additional communication overhead but also brings in new knowledge and skills they must acquire or share with the team. Furthermore, a full work schedule includes breaks for recovery and relationship-building. Therefore, it’s always worth including a few extra hours in the estimated workload for the new person.
Simultaneously, it’s important to remember that the entire recruitment process, from the decision to hire to the candidate accepting the offer, typically takes one to two months on average. Adding the notice period, which usually ranges from 1 to 3 months, means that even if a candidate is available immediately, it’s not wise to rely on it. When considering the workload, the question should not be about the current workload but rather how it will look in two, three, or even four months after hiring.
In an ideal world, if the above considerations clearly support recruitment, it should proceed. In reality, financial matters cannot be ignored. In other words, it’s essential to consider whether the company can afford to pay the new hire. Unfortunately, the answer is not always easy or positive. However, the areas presented can serve as strong arguments to fight for the necessary funds. Perhaps lengthy negotiations with clients or executives will precede the approval, but ultimately the cost of employee shortages can be much higher (due to mass departures, urgent recruitment, and quick onboarding).
To Hire or Not to Hire?
Making the decision to expand a team and choosing the right person may seem like a significant challenge. This is because it’s a responsible decision that affects the company’s finances, the team’s operation, the manager’s work, and the new employee’s life. Therefore, it’s essential to prepare well for this decision, examine recent work conditions, assess the current situation, and consider forecasts. Business aspects, such as budget along with strategy and team forecasts, as well as emotional factors like team morale, must not be overlooked. All these factors will enable making an informed and responsible decision regarding team expansion.