Tips for Smarter Hiring
Knowing when and who to hire is the single hardest decision any business owner has to make.
There’s no cut-and-dry way to decide when you’re ready to add people to your workforce. It is much more of an art and roll of the dice than it is a science.
But any business owner can take these steps to dramatically reduce the risks of making a hiring decision:
First and foremost, take a breath. Take a moment and stop before making a hiring decision. Don’t react. Even if you get a new contract and ahead of time budgeted all the resources you need to add, take a little time to confirm your path forward before you pursue it.
When you’re looking at tsunami of new work or a position that’s come open because somebody left this is difficult to do. But remember, this is a crucial decision for your enterprise and you should take a time making it.
Analyze your Needs
Now that you’ve taken a breath, analyze your needs. You can do this through simple exercise on a white board, using sticky notes, electronically, or even on just a piece of paper. Alone, or with your team, articulate all the tasks (large and small) that you need to address. Get it all out there.
Arrange these tasks along two dimensions. Split the tasks by how long they are needed for (are they ongoing or time-limited?). For example, you may have an ongoing need for someone to answer the phones, but only need someone to program an app for two months. Next, arrange the tasks by skill level. The skill level will depend a great deal on your business, but, an easy framework is by entry level (such as mid level, and senior level).
You have your needs set out, you now have to find the right-size solutions. Typically, owners rush to find which tasks should be assigned to new full-time employees. Resist the temptation and instead flip it. Start by chipping away at the tasks through automation and outsourcing to reduce the on-going cost to your enterprise.
Take a look at all those tasks you created and categorized. Start by identifying any tasks that someone else on your team or an existing contractor can easily take on. Many times, when you see all the tasks up on a wall, you get some perspective and realize this or that could be added since it’s for a short time or very easy. Also consider how procedures, checklists, or other similar tools could dramatically decrease the burden of tasks.
Next, look for the things you can automate. Usually, these are on-going tasks needing an entry- or moderate-level of skill. Take the time to search for digital solutions.
New technologies are emerging daily. For example, try using X.AI, a simple, cost-effective robot that schedules appointments by just CCing them on an email. Another, Fin.com can not only schedule but also do light research, book flights, and addressed many other administrative tasks. Chat Bots like Drift can collect prospective client information 24/7 and put it right into your CRM. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Contractors and Employees
Now find which of your task are time-limited or require specialized skills. This could cover a whole gamut of work from temporary administrative staff to a highly specialized scientist or engineer. Regardless of the skill level, these tasks are prime fodder for contractors, allowing you to just buy the “piece” of the pie you need to serve your customers and avoiding an ongoing cost.
The remaining tasks are those most suitable for employees. Now, you can begin to think about whether positions are full-time or part-time and how many of each. One more rule of thumb – I always recommend starting with the lowest skill level first. Typically, these are the least expensive and therefore generate less strain on cash-flow.
Time Well Spent
The entire process does take time and may cause you some near-term stress as you try to balance everything you’re already doing and additional steps for ensuring you get help. But I can tell you for my own experience and those of the organizations I work with, getting the right help is crucial to your continued growth in survival and stave off many more future headaches.