While the economy is slowly improving in many industries including IT, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find top employees.
Recruiting the best candidates in the highly competitive IT sector, requires a VERY proactive analysis of your hiring needs, along with more lead-time.
But when exactly is it the right time to hire more IT talent?
To determine your Staffing Readiness Quotient (SRQ) answer these questions devised by Robert Hoffman, an organizational diagnostic expert.
1. How often have you needed to revise or amend schedules, defer deliverables, or extend deadlines to meet commitments made to your employees and customers?
a. never b. once a month c. weekly d. almost daily
Analysis: If you find that you have to extend deadlines, give more leeway or are unable to meet commitments on time on a regular basis, then you may need more staff.
Although businesses claim that there are other factors that contribute, it is usually due to insufficient staffing levels.
2. How often do employees complain about their working conditions?
a. almost never b. weekly c. almost daily d. I don’t know
Analysis: If you notice an increase in the amount of complaints, either through a formal grievance system or on a casual basis, this could be a very strong indicator that employees are experiencing stress and unable to cope with the current workload due to insufficient staffing levels.
3. What is the percentage of staff that work on a consulting or temporary basis?
a. less than 2% b. 2-5% c. 5-10% d. more than 10%
Analysis: Over-reliance on consultants can be a sign of under-staffing. It is important to determine whether transient workers are working on projects of a recurring or specialized nature.
If consultants work on repetitive tasks or projects for more than six months, it is likely there are understaffing issues, and there is also a danger that regulations are being broken.
4. Overtime costs, employees working late and through lunch has:
a. decreased b. stabilized c. increased d. increased significantly
Analysis: The company is likely to be understaffed if deviation from overtime baseline is occurring. If employees regularly work through their breaks and lunchtime, arrive early and stay late, then more help is needed and it is time to think about hiring more employees.
5. The number of employees with declining job performance issues has:
a. decreased b. remained constant c. grown d. increased significantly
Analysis: Noticed an increase in the number of employees with issues relating to a decline in their job performance? Then this could be an indication that they are not coping as well with the work-load, and therefore staffing levels need to be addressed.
6. How frequently does the workplace embrace new solutions, methods, technologies or workflow enhancement?
a. not at all b. occasionally c. frequently
Analysis: Workers may be overwhelmed if productivity enhancements have plateaued from historical levels.
If people are focused on routine tasks and don’t have time for process improvement then new methods to increase work efficiency may have stalled.
Determine whether people are distracted from implementing new methods or are just not interested. Lack of time or interest is most likely standing in the way of improvement.
Of course it is likely that a number of issues will indicate a staffing problem. No single staffing cue is indicative of the need to change staffing levels. Collectively, if you detect more than three or four of these issues in your workplace, then a staffing problem likely exists.
Calculate and regularly monitor your SRQ as a key success factor, and integrate this metric with your other business success metrics.
QUICK HR TIP!
An easy overall metric to determine staffing levels can be staff/sales ratio.
Take a close look at the relationship between the number of employees and revenue: is it constant or increasing?
Benchmark industry and individual targets and work towards the appropriate ratio.
Keeping on track will ensure consistency with corporate objectives.
To a large degree, the sales/staffing ratio is a good predictor of potential income.
The Value of In-Depth Analysis
Do remember that since performance deficiencies can result from a variety of situations, in-depth analysis is necessary to determine whether an increase in work performance issues is actually a result of lack of skill.
Often, limited staff or working in unfamiliar areas is the culprit.
It is also possible that employees with idle time may become complacent and expect co-workers to complete available tasks since they give the perception of having so much time available.
With thanks to Robert Hoffman, this article is excerpted from Robert’s: “When is it Time to Hire More Employees?”
Bob Hoffman and HR Advice.com specialize in organizational diagnostics to help businesses determine appropriate staffing levels by business size, industry, and objectives.