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Staffing up, or Re-Hiring; is it time yet?

Having weathered the downturns of the 80’s 90’s and beyond, we’ve had the opportunity to note some interesting hiring trends during that time. This year is no different than other years following a downturn; it seems our phone is ringing more frequently with requests for proposals to add to a company’s team. But , is it a true addition? There are many instances where a company had to downsize when the economic climate dictated that, and are now in a position to “rehire” or add to their team. Most of us have had to do more with less resource, but both economic improvement and  demanding customers now justify adding key members to the team.

One of the most stressful moments for many hiring managers is trying to decide when and how to staff up or re-staff after a downturn.  Reluctant  may describe their feeling if they’ve been forced to go through the emotional rollercoaster of a headcount reduction, especially in light of the uncertain current global political arena and oil crisis.

But, if things are picking up or you know that you’re missing out on market opportunities due to a lack of horsepower,  you may also be feeling internal pressure from various departments to beef up their teams.

You can likely calculate the cost of doing business without additions. What about a lack of customer service to your existing clientele, let alone securing new business? Are you competitors sitting idly by or are they adding to their retail, sales, distribution or service headcount? Can you really afford belt-tightening in this area, or will this prove to be a positive return on investment?

At the same time, I’m not suggesting hiring just for the sake of that; in most cases, companies and employees are most effective and profitable when they’re somewhat stretched and challenged. The key is to know what the upper and lower threshold is for your business, and maintaining a staff complement in that range.

So, if you think you should staff up, think about on the following:

  1. 1. Identify your “A” team and consider adding to their front line and support team. Those are the employees you can’t afford to lose and want to keep happy.
  2. 2. Communicate what you’re intending to do to your employees. Solicit referrals and offer a reward for new hires that come through them. After all, shouldn’t your employees have a pretty good idea what you’re looking for in your new hires?
  3. 3. Fill the positions that give you a quicker return on investment. This should put you in a position to justify additional hires if/when needed a year out from now. Then, at that time, you’ll have more experienced employees to train your newer additions.
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