Robert Half offers signs that it may be time to bring in reinforcements. They include:
- Service levels are deteriorating. Perhaps your company has experienced an unusual increase in returned items and requests for refunds. Or customers may be complaining frequently about the way your staff treats them. Or perhaps you've noted that employees seem to be operating in a constant reactive mode, rather than anticipating and preventing problems the way they used to.
- Important but non-urgent projects are repeatedly deferred. Deliverables are chronically postponed, or projects are thrown off schedule because individuals or teams fail to complete their duties on time. You find yourself constantly revising due dates to accommodate unexpected complications.
- Your company has to take a pass on emerging opportunities. There are new products you would launch or new services you would offer - if only you had more workers. You've watched as competitors seize opportunities that you had to forego because you are short-staffed.
- Your firm can't take on any more clients or customers. You're beginning to have to turn away new business. Referrals from current customers and clients are piling up on your desk, awaiting follow-up.
- You're doing low-level work. You spend most of your day dealing with urgent but unimportant matters, rather than focusing on strategic, big-picture issues. You find yourself stocking inventory, answering phones or refilling toner cartridges because your business is so short-handed.
- A single absence throws the entire team off schedule. You step in repeatedly to cover for staff members who are out sick or overloaded with work. You feel like you're literally doing it all - from IT trouble-shooting and accounting to sales, customer service, order fulfillment and basic administrative duties.
- Your staff regularly works overtime to finish projects. If your team is on a constant first-name basis with the cleaning crew, it's probably time to hire. Having people work long hours for extended periods of time isn't ultimately sustainable.