Staff stretched to the limit? 4 ways to tell

stressed

During the recession, your tiny team took on more and more. It might be time to give them a break.

Chances are during the recession you called upon your employees to pitch in in ways you wouldn’t have in more flush times. And chances are you’re still running with a streamlined staff, even if you see better times ahead. While “stretch roles,” as experts call them, can help employees grow, they can be bad for business in the long-term, affecting not only your employees’ behavior but your efficiency and your bottom line. Here, four experts share signs to help you identify if someone, or something, in your organization is about to snap:

Symptom: Business Bottlenecks. Look for places in your business where process has stalled, and you’ll likely find an overburdened employee, says Dave Berkus, superangel and author of the popular blog Berkonomics. He says bottlenecks are caused when someone, maybe even you, is so booked he or she can’t break away to complete an important task or make a crucial decision.

This can have serious impact on an entire organization because everyone before or after the bottleneck is left in limbo. For example, Berkus says, if you run a computer company and your installer is two weeks behind, billing is delayed on one side of the bottleneck, and trainers are left waiting on the other. In this case, bringing on some help could break the bottleneck free.

“That one person you hire will make 20 people more efficient if that person solves the problem at the point of constriction,” Berkus says.

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