When to take on staff is one of the most difficult questions a small business faces in its tricky growth balancing act.
So how do you decide when the time’s right to ring in more full time recruits?
More hands are needed now, but what about if things slow down? The financial and book keeping burden is pretty big, but could it be the difference between expansion and contraction? Maybe contractors are a better option, but will they be fully invested in the business?
These are just a few of the big picture queries that come to mind when facing the tricky full time staffing situation. And you’re not alone in trying to answer these.
Businesses of all sizes struggle to balance their workforce to fit the business model and trading environment, it’s just that for a small businesses the cost of even one new staff member can have a huge impact.
So to help provide a little more clarity in the decision process, here are a few things to consider...
One of the problems with looking for short term fixes, like freelances, is that they’re usually only vested in the project they’re recruited for. Compare this to a full time staff member who can be expected to look at all facets of an operation to find new efficiencies and areas for improvement.
The positive impact of having another brain analysing how things are done cannot be underestimated.
Another benefit of taking the full time route is alleviating time pressures on you, the business owner, to spend more time on what you’re good at. This is usually at the core of what the business does and by consistently concentrating more time here it is likely you will be able to generate more business.
And the imperative to generate more business is doubled up now that a full time staff member is there to feed.
To this end, the financial burden of a new recruit shouldn’t be seen as a drag on the business but as an incentive to secure the custom required to justify their place. The productive capacity is there, so see it as an opportunity to expand output.
Of course there is a significant management responsibility to weigh up too.
The ability of entrepreneurs to take on outsiders’ suggestions and input can often be limited so it’s important to be open to the ideas and constructive criticism of a new employee. If you have no prior management experience to draw on, a course can help get the crucial groundwork right.
Part of that groundwork is getting the all-important recruiting done right to start with. Finding someone that fits the business as well as your personality is crucial.
It’s often the case that small business owners struggle with the people management side of staffing and the idea of additional financial responsibility. For these reasons the growth of the business is stunted.
But if this added responsibility and pressure can be grappled, and the growth of the business supported, the benefits of going full time over freelance are there to be basked in.