Sometimes hiring another pair of hands is the best action to take when there aren’t enough hours in the day to get all of your tasks done. Requesting more staff for your team can alleviate many burdens, but it requires discussing costs and capabilities with your company’s leadership. Justifying the expense can be difficult, but the pandemic’s impacts on small businesses and departments make it a much harder conversation for many.
If you’re experiencing budget cuts or a hesitant boss, you need a plan that proactively addresses their cost concerns while also highlighting the benefits of a new team member. This guide can help you create that plan by teaching you:
- 3 common problems that additional staff solves
- 5 significant benefits of increasing your headcount
- 5 tips for requesting more staff based on company needs
To get started, let’s consider the gaps your team has and if a new hire can address that.
What problems can additional staff address?
To-do lists can be extremely stressful when you’re understaffed. Tasks seem to grow faster than you can check things off, and things inevitability get missed or turn out poorly. When an entire team is struggling to catch up, it can have severe ramifications on your ability to perform and how long people want to stay on your team. The answer to these project problems can often be hiring more staff, especially if you face any of these three problem areas.
1. Too much to do
The most straightforward issue that hiring new team members addresses is the current workload. When your team has too much to do, one of a few things will happen:
- Some work just doesn’t get done.
- Work gets done but is of inferior quality.
- Work gets done well but takes too long.
Each will negatively impact your team’s and organization’s ability to do the work that keeps customers happy. Clients and team members will start to leave if you delay or drop the ball repeatedly.
2. Low morale and high turnover
When your team is overworked, they’re also stressed. This drop in morale impacts the quality of work they can provide, and data even points to low morale causing a higher turnover.
People want to fit into their role with your organization. Understanding what’s expected of them and having that workload reasonable helps them feel confident and engaged in their work. When you don’t have enough people to get daily tasks done, your team is stretched thin and often works on tasks unrelated to their skills, increasing frustration and the likelihood that they’ll start the job hunt.
3. Financial impacts
One of the most significant barriers to requesting additional staff is the conversation about cost. Leadership needs to know that your company or small business can afford to hire someone right now and that they’ll generate a positive return on that investment to protect the business going forward.
When requesting more staff, you should address similar concerns around the fiscal impact of not having a full team. These can include having to pay overtime or provide bonuses to compensate for long work weeks. If your team is short-staffed for too long, you can face prohibitive costs associated with turnover or may experience consistent project delays that create cost overruns and harm your company’s ability to have repeat customers.
5 benefits of increasing headcount
Companies find a variety of different benefits when they increase their headcount. You can use an understanding of these benefits to help you make the case to management and small business leaders.
1. Redistributed workload
If your team has too much to do, then hiring a new member can redistribute tasks and project deliverables. This will lighten the load on your existing team and make it easier for them to provide high-quality work. Your team can then focus on essential tasks that best fit their skills, allowing them to operate more efficiently and effectively.
2. Improved morale
There’s an emotional impact to reducing someone’s workload, especially if their current task volume has them stressed or depressed. By hiring additional staff and alleviating this pressure, your team gets a moment to take a break. Relief can improve morale and help your team get back to their peak capabilities.
If a team has asked for help, managers can improve their morale by listening and hiring the help they need.
3. Reduce other expenses
Many projects have cost overruns related to overworked teams. Delays mean a task can take more time than you’ve budgeted. Overtime for hourly workers can quickly add up and eat into profit margins. On the other hand, delays sometimes force companies to hire outside temporary help at higher rates because of the immediate need.
Bringing on new team members can help minimize these costs by keeping a project’s workload in line with your team’s capabilities. When discussing expense-reduction with leadership, you can also note that more team members will help you deliver better projects and make the company better able to keep current customers. Customer retention is often significantly less expensive than acquiring new customers.
4. Access to more ideas
New employees allow your team to expand the ideas it can generate, especially if you prioritize diversity in your hiring. The skills and experience of new team members can offer unique perspectives to help your team approach problems from new angles. If your team is stuck or customers feel like you’re getting complacent, requesting more staff may help you break out of a rut.
5. Get what you’re missing
At the heart of this discussion is empowering your team to do what it currently can’t. New skills, thoughts, and people will allow your company to do what it needs. Focus on turning areas of financial uncertainty into a more reliable way to protect the bottom line.
For example, your sales team might not have enough people to meet with every interested client, or they’re always running late because everyone has back-to-back Zoom meetings. A new hire would provide breathing room to not only take on some of that workload but give the sales team the time they need to personalize each pitch and thoroughly answer questions.
Tips for requesting more staff
Requesting more staff and the relevant funding from your company’s leadership requires a few different conversations. You’ll want to discuss your team’s needs in an informal setting first. Focus on your ability to get work done or take your output to the next level. Follow that conversation with a more formal staff request in writing, outlining your current concerns and the specific benefits an increased headcount will provide.
Here are a few tips to help you maximize that request email or document:
- Keep it short and sweet. Your supervisor likely wants bullet points more than a novel.
- Focus on business reasons and justifications, such as meeting deliverables or reducing turnover.
- Offer clear solutions. State why hiring a specific role will help you tackle an existing problem.
- Limit the use of emotions. Yes, your team might be understandably upset and frustrated, but you want to turn that into a business case. So, switch to something such as noting that hiring can improve morale and increase existing team member’s efficiency.
- Make the final ask as clear as possible. State how many people you would like to hire, what skills you’re gaining, and where they fit within your team and organization.
Don’t use this staff request to limit yourself or your talent pool. There are many financial concerns for organizations, and budgets are very tight. If you need a specific type of talent or skill, consider how you can gain it outside traditional hiring. You might be able to accomplish your goals with a part-time worker or independent talent. Hiring through a work marketplace like Upwork can reduce the HR burden related to onboarding, providing potential cost savings. There are many new kinds of work and workers in today’s world, so being flexible about who and how you hire can open up more markets and maybe land you the right talent and fit.
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