As a business owner, one of your challenges is balancing your costs without sacrificing services or quality of goods. Experienced business owners know just how it is to find the right balance between all the elements important for keeping the financial aspect in the right place.
Staffing your company might be one of your costliest expenses, so you must have the right headcount to meet your operational demands. Determining this level is an important decision to make to spur growth and customer satisfaction while not having too many employees present.
Of course, these two factors are just a few of many that require your utmost attention. However, they are relevant for staffing implementation and many other significant factors. Read on to learn some of the more popular methods businesses use to calculate their staffing needs.
1. Start Minimal and Increase as Needed
If you haven’t already mapped out your company’s departmental hierarchy, now is a good time to start doing so. Knowing what roles are necessary to run your business is a great place to begin planning your staffing needs.
That way, it is possible to determine all the elements that are good starting points. Sometimes, the first steps might be costlier than future ones, but this is rarely the case. For example, you can determine how much call volume to expect and fill key roles accordingly if you run a call center.
Having a bigger volume than you need can lead to an increase in costs that can cause problems in some other departments of your business. Believe us, you don’t want this to happen. Then, when you create your shifts, start with only the positions necessary to cover the basics and add on more team members from there as demand requires.
2. Consult with Your Leadership Team
It’s also crucial to speak with your managers and departmental supervisors about their staffing needs. These team members are well-acquainted with how busy things can get and what days, shifts, or times of year would need more employees.
Again, depending on your industry, you might find it’s easier to trust them to make the determinations, and you keep an eye on how efficient and cost-effective their decision-making is in this regard.
Be sure to set ground rules for adding to your existing headcount. Emphasize that employees have to be paid regardless of whether they are busy. Ignoring employees’ needs is not a good move to make.
However, it is not uncommon to see the managerial staff not having enough time to commit to their problems. Without any doubt, this should be prevented even before it becomes obvious it will happen. That’s why constant talks with the managerial staff are so important.
3. Customer Experiences Provide Insight
Staffing directly impacts customer experiences with your company. Whether you send a simple SMS-based survey or analyze online feedback, complaints about long wait times and incorrect orders could signify your workforce being stretched thin.
The same is true if clients mention negative comments about your company coming from your workers. While it’s possible that retraining and better processes are all that’s needed, analyze important factors like lead times, order completion rates, and sales volumes.
Of course, you won’t be able to determine if you have too many employees on-site with this approach, but it’s still helpful nonetheless. Committing too much workforce to a task that doesn’t require it, is a practical waste of resources. Make sure your managers pay attention to it.
4. Assess Your Business Flow
Knowing when you need a higher number of staffers on deck is essential to determining your employment levels. While it can be easy to determine that your restaurant will be busy during the 7 o’clock dinner hour, other times that you may not have known were also hitting peak volume.
For instance, seasonal holidays, certain times of the year when kids are on break from school, and even major sports seasons like March Madness can affect staffing needs. It is important to try to best predict these situations. No matter how hard it may look at first, it’s possible.
It boils down to your industry and being aware of the different factors that can influence demand for your company. Taking time to quantify these crucial metrics can help give your HR department a better idea of how to staff your business efficiently.
5. Investigate Competitor Staffing Trends
Another insightful approach to staffing your business is to see what your competition is doing. This method is benchmarking, and it allows you to estimate the number of heads you need to run your company efficiently based on how similar organizations are doing so.
Ensure that the organizations you compare are offering similar services and products at the same volume to ensure an accurate comparison. Comparing yourself with a corporation will not lead to any useful conclusions. Instead, it can be quite a bad influence since you don’t have so many resources.
In a sense, you are avoiding reinventing the wheel, though you will need to make a few adjustments to match the needs of your unique business. Naturally, choosing only the necessary and useful adjust ions is an absolute must. Spreading too much only causes problems.
6. Ensure Your Liability Coverages Will Cover Your Increased Business Risk
With increased headcounts come increased business risks. For example, employees can get hurt on the job, make a mistake that damages a customer’s property, or cause an accident with a company vehicle. Even though many don’t look like that initially, these problems can happen.
The possibilities are endless, and if your coverage isn’t adequate to cover these threats, you could find your financial well-being devastated no matter how efficiently you run things. Fixing financial issues should be your ultimate priority, especially when it comes to liability coverage.
If you haven’t already looked into purchasing a commercial vehicle policy or professional liability coverage, many options are available for affordable rates here. The additional cost of insuring your staff should also factor into how many you need to employ.
Running a Tight Ship is a Balancing Act
As you have read, determining the ideal employee level for your company is challenging. This is especially true when factoring in peak seasons, holidays, and other factors that can impact your workflows.
If you feel your human resource department is best equipped to decide staffing needs, stay involved. Set clear guidelines and requirements for hiring additional team members to avoid wasteful spending on unnecessary payroll costs.
Provide your recruiters with up-to-date organizational charts so they know precisely how many employees are necessary for particular departments and other job roles. That way, you can reap all the benefits of this approach and avoid many problems that can occur down the road.