When to hire new employees for your small business

A small business owner shaking hands with a new employee.

There likely will come a time to hire new employees for your business, but knowing when this time is can be tricky.

Generally, there’s a fine line between hiring too soon (resulting in declined profits and current employees twiddling their thumbs) and waiting too long (resulting in poor quality work, employee burnout and late delivery).

Below, you can find out just some of the signs that could indicate that you need to hire more employees for your small business.

When is the best time to hire new employees?

  • You’re struggling to keep up with the workload

When you have paying clients, it’s important to keep up with the work that’s coming in, whether this is getting orders out on time or providing a service in an efficient manner. But if you don’t have enough employees, there may come a time when you’re struggling to keep up with the workload in hand. This is a clear sign that you need to hire additional help, and it’s better to do this sooner rather than later. When you first hire someone, it could take them a few weeks to get up to speed, and your staff will need to spend time training them, too.

  • There isn’t enough time in the day

You may have started to notice that you or your staff members are staying later and later at work, past your designated hours, to try and finish things off. While staying late is sometimes an employee’s choice, multiple staff members needing to stay late can be a sign that they have too much work on.

  • Deadlines aren’t being met

If your employees are struggling to meet their deadlines, this could suggest that they have too much work. While occasionally it can be down to other factors (illness, problems at home, holidays, poor time management and so on), when multiple members of staff cannot meet their deadlines, it’s usually a sign that they are overstretched.

  • You have to say no to new business

As a business, you probably rely on repeat orders from existing clients, but new business is just as important as recurring revenue ‒ it’s important that new customers are coming on board and taking out a service. They may eventually become recurring clients, too.

If you’ve noticed that you’re having to turn down business opportunities or your staff can’t handle new clients, then you may need to hire some new employees. The good news is that the increase in business should help to pay for the additional salaries, and it’s an important aspect of business growth ‒ you need new business in order to expand.

  • You have to outsource work to freelancers

Outsourcing work to freelancers can be beneficial for some businesses, however it might not be the most efficient way of running your business in the long-term. Using freelancers might be pricier than it is to pay your employees, and so while it could get you out of a temporary workflow increase, consistently using freelancers over a long period of time could cost your business.

If you notice that you’re contracting to freelancers more and more, it might be time to hire a new employee instead who can take their workload.

  • Customer service is poor

Unfortunately, when your employees are working hard to get things done, customer service can begin to slip. The quality of work being delivered could suffer, which may result in more customer unhappiness, but generally it’s the case that employees don’t have time to deal with the customers’ problems.

Should you notice that there are more complaints coming in about delayed work or poor-quality products, then it may be time to consider hiring someone new.

  • Your employees are unhappy

Employees are an important cog in the business wheel, and without them, your business would struggle to run as usual. Employee satisfaction plays a large part in retention, and therefore unsatisfied team members can result in a high turnover, increased sick leave and a large number of complaints.

If your staff are overworked, you may see these things happening more and more. Your employees are likely struggling to deal with their workload, and there just isn’t enough time in the day for them to get everything done. This can result in employee burnout.

To avoid this from happening, it’s important to notice when your employees begin to feel overworked. Ideally, it’s beneficial for employees to have a good relationship with their managers, so they have someone to alert when this is the case, but it’s also necessary that you recognise the signs of fed-up employees. You can then make the right decisions to hire additional staff members to help share the load.

These are just a few of the signs that could suggest you need to hire new employees. Generally, it could be best to hire before these things get out of hand, and don’t forget that it can take a few weeks to train up new staff members.

Don’t forget that, as soon as you hire your first employee, whether on a full time or part time basis, you will need to take out employers’ liability insurance to protect them while they’re at work.


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