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Westfair Publications Article 8/20/2010

Aug 20 2010
by Rich Greenwald

Are you happy with business at status quo?

We are slowly seeing an economic recovery, which means business is growing, consumers are more confident in their spending and the needs for productivity are steadily increasing. But how do HR managers and small-business owners manage the growth of their organizations while simultaneously keeping employee morale high?

In order for businesses to meet the newly increasing demands of clients and customers, they must be strongly positioned to do so.

As a result of the down economy, staffing has decreased while employees are required to be more productive. Therefore, employee selection is the most important investment business leaders make. But when’s the right time to hire?

First, several questions must be asked:

  • Are you seeing a diminishing return on employees?
  • What are your growth projections?
  • How will you meet your projections, and who will help you?

Is morale high or low?
Ideally, after a round of layoffs, employers strategize about how to consolidate jobs and positions to make the most out of existing employees’ efforts. Restructuring is also critical to enable employees to keep customers happy.

But what happens when these steps are overlooked? Are employees stretched too thin?

Many companies have increased employee hours to make up for the lost time of their laid-off colleagues. But at what return? Low morale and too much work may result in higher absentee rates, lost business and reduced quality of work.

Employers must clearly communicate with their staff about what kind of growth –negative or positive – the company is experiencing. Open communication enables employees to express concerns about their jobs and ask questions about the company itself.

Leaders must also make employees feel respected and appreciated. This can be done through recognition programs, addressing questions and concerns in a timely manner, hosting staff lunches and even assigning them work that is both challenging and interesting to them.

Growth objectives
If your company is poised for significant growth, it is especially important to have the right people. A plan for growth is key – it will help to measure milestones as well as guide company leaders through the hiring process.

First, determine what the company’s growth opportunities are. Next, map out the financial objectives for the upcoming eight quarters. Third, figure out the ways to market the company in order to meet the financial objectives in conjunction with identifying available funds to support that growth. Lastly, determine staffing needs.

If it is evident the current team will be unable to support the growth and financial objectives, then it’s time to start thinking about hiring.

The right candidates
Budgets may be tight, but focusing on the company’s growth rather than the bottom line will serve a hiring manager well. Focus on finding the right person rather than hiring because of an immediate need. It will cost less in the long run.

According to the Department of Labor, as of June 4, 2010, the unemployment rate was 9.7 percent. The good news here is that there are plenty of qualified candidates looking for work.

However, there are important factors to consider when bringing on a new staff member.

First, be sure the candidate’s skills are aligned with the company’s goals. Are you hoping to increase sales? Hire someone with a proven track record for consistently meeting or exceeding quotas. Are you looking for someone to manage the financials? Hire someone with an advanced degree in finance.

Second, be sure the candidate is adaptable. Will he be able to adjust old habits to match your company’s culture? Be sure that during the interviewing process, your hiring manager clearly explains what the position entails today, but that it is likely to change as your business readies itself for growth.

Third, identify your company’s weaknesses and seek to hire someone who can fill in those gaps. Training someone to meet those needs, both short- and long-term, will be well worth it. 

Richard Greenwald is president of Concorde Staffing Group in White Plains. Reach him at rgreenwald@concordepersonnel.com .

Article originally posted here: On Employment
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