Benchmark Business Group

Hiring Alternatives - Internal

May 24, 2016

In the last few weeks, we've encouraged you to study your capacity and the division of work in your business. As we've noted, the knee-jerk reaction for many businesses when things start to get busy is to hire, but it's not always the only solution. Below are a few internal solutions that can sometimes prevent the need to hire.

Re-Division of Work - Take a look at the list of maybes and work that is remaining that you created last week. Can you re-assign it to another person in your business? Often times if you can shift the "maybes" or work that could be done by someone else, you can create time for a position with the needed experience to take on the remaining responsibilities. 

Overtime - If you've followed along this month you should be able to look back at the functions that are taking up the majority of your business' time. Take a moment to decide if these functions are going to be ongoing. Many times a business will be put into a time crunch because of seasonal work, a big project such as rolling out new software, or even changes outside of your control such as a change to laws and regulations. Before you jump the gun to hire, look at the solution of paying your current staff, who are already trained, to put in a few hours of overtime. It's a simple solution, but often overlooked. It's also a balancing game as you don't want to cause burnout for your staff, but when used strategically, overtime can help out your staff as well as your business. If you can rally the team behind the cause of the overtime it can also be a great team building experience.  

Systems - Managing capacity should ALWAYS force you to take a look at your systems. Start with the list of functions taking up the majority of time. Are your systems efficient? Take time with your staff to brainstorm ways that your business could improve efficiency. If you're reading this and thinking there's no way we can be more efficient then chances are you need to challenge yourself to spend more time with the problem. Very seldom is a business running so smoothly that there are no inefficiencies. Don't be afraid to take this to your staff. In fact, you might create a contest, complete with a prize, for ideas that lead to more capacity. You'd be surprised what someone can improve when they are motivated. 

Cross Training - In small businesses, it's not uncommon for a business to rely on the experience and expertise of long term employees. These key employees, who have often been employed with a business for years, can easily get overwhelmed and inundated with requests for information or completing tasks that can, and should, be passed on to others. Sometimes the tasks are not passed on due to not wanting to let go, not trusting others to do tasks right, being able to get the task done faster, or even misplaced feelings about wanting to keep ownership of a task. With your list of functions, look at what functions should be cross trained. You might have an employee, especially a key employee, complete a task some of the time, but having a backup can help ease the workload and allow you to shift "maybes" or functions that have yet to be assigned.

As you continue to think about and search for internal solutions to capacity issues, be sure to include your staff. A different point of view can add value to the conversation and our guess is they'll see something you might not see. Internal solutions also require you to challenge your own way of thinking. If you get stuck in how things have always been done then you won't be able to see new solutions. Don't let faulty thinking erode the opportunities.

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