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Is now the right time to recruit? 5 questions to ask yourself


When planning for growth, one thing that often keeps business owners up at night is the question, “When is the right time to hire new staff?”

Do you wait until you land that big new contract and then hire the staff you need? Or, do you take the risk and hire the staff first, so when new contracts come you are fully prepared?

It can be a tough choice to make especially when you need to balance factors like risk, cost, productivity and the quality of output.

However, there are some things to consider which might make that decision easier. Here are five questions to ask yourself to help determine whether or not you should be recruiting new staff.

  1. Are the skills you need for business growth being met?

If you find in your business there is a gap in a particular set of skills – for example, the need for specialised IT expertise or marketing knowledge – it might be time to recruit to give you the competitive advantage for growth you need. Recruiting someone with specialised knowledge and experience in that missing area will fill the gap and help you capture new clients and customers with their expertise.

  1. Do you have the capacity to take on new work right now?

If the answer is no, then it could be the ideal time to be recruiting. If you do land that big new account, the last thing you want to be doing is scrambling to recruit and train up new staff while trying to meet the demands of an increased workload.

  1. Are your employees overworked?

Overworked employees are bad for business. They make a greater number of mistakes, take more sick leave and have a higher turnover, which in the long run is costly to the business. In addition, if your current workforce is already at capacity, taking on new work will be more difficult.

Once workers are at 90 per cent of capacity they are starting to become overworked. This is the time to be considering recruiting new staff to spread the workload and also increase capacity.

  1. Can you financially manage the additional cost to your payroll?

Do an assessment of the business’ finances before making any decisions to recruit. However, keep in mind that being able to financially manage additional cost does not mean you need to have the money there and ready; just that your forecasting demonstrates you can afford to bring a new person on.

Remember this cost is not just their salary, but needs to include all the additional statutory costs (superannuation, WorkCover and payroll tax) plus the additional overheads needed to maintain the new employee. If this looks all clear, it means your business is prepared to recruit.

  1. Do you have the administrative capacity for future growth?

Being able to manage new hires in an administrative capacity is one of the most vital things in recruitment and expanding a business. Before you even think about recruiting, make sure you update all necessary new hire paperwork, as well as implement a good onboarding procedure to make sure the new hire stays for the long term.

If you don’t currently have everything in place, don’t fret – start thinking about what you need to do to implement all the appropriate procedures now. Some things you need to update include position descriptions, employee contracts, industry-specific documentation, WHS policies, and performance review and management processes. Make sure the process you have is streamlined and legally compliant to minimise risk and time spent on administration.

In the end, deciding when it’s time to recruit is up to you as the business owner, as you know your business the best. However, if you want to grow your business and make sure it operates to best practise, consider the above questions next time you’re doing a growth assessment – maybe it’s time for new members to join your business family.

About the Author

Mikki Silverman, CEO of DiffuzeHR 

DiffuzeHR is transforming the way SMEs approach HR by giving them access to an easy-to-use, cloud-based system (and the smarts) to ensure compliance and take the pain out of managing their HR administration. DiffuzeHR helps SMEs by allowing them to minimise risks, reduce legal fees, decrease time spent on admin, attract and retain staff, and leverage best-practice, industry-specific HR and legal expertise in a way that is simple, easy, and efficient. www.diffuzehr.com.au