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Anyone who has ever started a business has at one point experienced a moment of indecision: when do you hire more employees?

On one hand, you’d want to keep the number of staff as low as possible. That’s because the more people you hire, the less cash will be available to invest back into the business or to cover your own contribution. Putting off hiring for too long, however, can hamper the growth of your business and could damage customer relationships as you’ll be unable to meet customer expectations.

Since no one from outside can tell you when to hire more workers, it will be up to you to examine your situation carefully before deciding whether it’s the right time to bring in new employees. Here are some of the signs that will indicate that you need to hire more workers.

  1. When your employees are consistently overworked. It’s common for employees to get overworked for short periods of time every once in a while. If this is a consistent problem, however, it usually means that your workforce is not adequate for the amount of work that needs to be done.

    Consistently overworking your employees will eventually overwhelm them, no matter how good they are at their job. This will increase the stress levels at work, demoralise your staff and could lead to employee turnover as employees leave for less stressful jobs. Although employees will never complain directly about this, you might overhear complaints or see an increase in sick-day usage and employees taking leaves.
  2. Declining customer service. When you are understaffed, your customer service levels will start faltering. Customers will start noticing missed deadlines, and there will be an increase in unfulfilled orders – things that will make your customers feel that your team is getting overstretched. This could cause customers to look for alternatives which will affect your business. Having disgruntled customers due to poor service should be taken as a clear sign that you need to hire.
  3. No room for new business. Another sign that you need to employ new workers is when you start turning away new business because your current workforce cannot cope with the increasing demand. If you are not sure whether the high demand will last long enough to justify bringing in new staff, bring in temporary employees to cover the shortfall before you determine whether it’s worth it to hire permanent staff for the new positions.
  4. When your staff lack the skills you need. If your current employees don’t have the skills your business requires for a new service or product, it’s probably time to start recruiting. While you can train your current staff for the skill you need, it will take time, and the newly trained worker will lack the experience of a person who has had many years of work experience.
  5. Too much overtime. Overtime is not only expensive for the business but will also cause fatigue for your employees as they will have to put in more hours than they should. Examine your overtime usage and how much it’s costing you – you might be surprised to realise that it costs about the same as hiring a new staff member to take up the workload.

While figuring out when is the best time to hire new employees can be difficult, the repercussions of having an inadequate workforce could ruin your business. Make sure to look out for any of the above signs so that you can hire at the right time for continued success.

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