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Bringing on a new employee is a big step for many small companies. The right choice can boost productivity, improve service, and help you become more profitable. The wrong choice can drain resources and hurt morale.
Ask yourself these four questions before you commit to hiring.
During very busy periods, the thought of growing your staff can be particularly appealing. Yet it’s important to distinguish between a temporary spike and an ongoing need. “Don’t react for a good month or two,” says Sarah Hunter, SVP, Human Resources Business Partner at Citizens Bank. “Get enough time under your belt to be able to say, ‘This is a sustainable growth level that I’m going to need to staff up for.’” Consider whether an independent contractor or temporary employee may be a better choice for managing hectic yet temporary stretches.
Take stock of employees’ duties to determine whether reconfiguring them could lessen the need for a new hire. While overworking staff is never wise, you might identify tasks that could be eliminated or performed more efficiently using a certain technology. If you do see a need for a new employee, consider whether hiring full- or part-time is the better choice.
Be sure you have clear expectations for the role and how it will strengthen your business. Ask yourself what the new hire will help you do better and how he or she will contribute to your sales or your service to customers. Also be sure there is a clear distinction between the new hire’s role and that of your current employees. “There should be no concern that others’ roles or opportunities to earn incentives might be diminished,” Hunter says.
Though a good hire will contribute to your success long term, the costs of taking on a new employee will cut into your revenues and profits, at least temporarily. Be sure you are in a position to absorb the initial additional expense. Until you start seeing returns from the new hire, you may need to find areas where you could trim expenses.
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