Nothing in this world comes for free. That is especially true of trying to get something done. Every business has to learn how to walk the fine line of being able to handle the processes and tasks that pile as they grow, while still learning to be cost effective. If you haven’t already, you will soon learn that rapidly expanding your existing workforce isn’t the way to go. Here, we’ll look at smarter ways to use your existing team and new resources to stay on top of your business’s need for new labor, new skills, and even new equipment.
Train instead of recruiting
Sometimes, you simply need to hire someone new. But there are ways to be smarter about it. Instead of ‘talent scouting’ for a small market of experienced and skilled people, don’t be afraid to welcome those without as much resume padding. Sometimes, you can skip recruitment altogether if you’re willing to train someone to expand their role to include the new process you need them to take care of. Not only is it more cost-effective, the training-heavy approach enables you a broader selection of employees and also ensures you’re not bringing those whose experience might hold you back. If people are used to performing their tasks a certain way, it’s not unheard of for businesses to have to ‘untrain’ them to a degree.
Perhaps you might not the need for as much new labor as you think you do. Instead, the problem might lie within how you’re using your current human capital. Perhaps the reason your existing team can’t take on new tasks is because they have a workload that’s already full of menial jobs that might not necessarily need as much attention. Teach the importance of priority to every employee. One of the best tools for doing that is implementing the use of the priority matrix. Measuring along scales of impact and effort involved, you can separate the major projects and the quick wins from the fill-ins and thankless tasks. Other matrixes work with scales of most to least important and most to least urgent, as an alternative.
Regardless of where a task falls on the matrix you choose to use, if you can automate it, then you can erase it almost entirely from your team’s plate. Automating your work, like your emails, human resources, and so on, still needs some oversight. But if a task can be handled by a computer, then the chances are that it’s going to be too monotonous and unengaging to devote one’s full attention to it in the first place. Keeping people engaged is an essential part of making sure they’re as productive as they can be.
There are some tasks that are important and do need full effort but still shouldn’t necessitate creating a new role. Outsourcing can be a great boon to a business, but the key is figuring out when it’s necessary. There are a few quick rules to keep in mind about when to outsource that all revolve around the cost-effectiveness of it. If you need to create a whole position to take on one single task, you might do better paying less to outsource it. If it’s a task that you only need to take care of temporarily, or on an occasional basis, you shouldn’t be hiring full-time for it. You shouldn’t outsource any of the core responsibilities of the business, of course. Think about how much direct control you need to exert over any one process before you send it out to get taken care of.
Hire, don’t buy
It doesn’t just go for the ‘tasks’ you have need of, but the tools you have need of as well. Particularly when it comes to product design, manufacturing, construction and the like, you could be paying as much for equipment as you do for human capital, if not more. In that case, it’s about looking at how much it would cost not only to buy equipment, but to implement it, train workers to use it and keep maintaining it. You also need to think about how often you’re going to be using that equipment. If you know a business who offers services like clean room packaging, then it might cost you a lot less to use their services and equipment instead of getting all your own in, for instance.
You also need to look at factors in the business that are going to chip away at the efficiency of the team. One of the greatest sources of lost time is miscommunication and poor collaboration between the team. Poorly communicated objectives and a lack of shared resources and knowledge often lead to tasks being riddled with mistakes or being done with inefficient tools and methods. Make sure you’re working to foster an environment of teamwork and collaboration. No-one should be afraid or reluctant to ask anyone else for help. At the same time, structure it so that people aren’t just interrupting one another when it suits. Using an internal ticket system to request help, with different priority codes, can ensure that you’re not just shifting the inefficiency from one place to another.
As we said at the start, sometimes you just need more labor and there’s no way around it. There are, however, ways to cut down how much exactly it’s going to cost you. For instance, you can cut down on the costs of providing tech to administrative workers by allowing them to bring their own devices to the workplace. If you don’t want to expand the amount of workspace you have to accommodate a growing workforce, then you could also look into allowing some to work remotely as well. By allowing some flexibility, you can seriously reduce the costs of any new members you bring into the team
As your business grows, you won’t always find that your need for new skills and the amount of resources you can dedicate to them grow at a symmetrical rate. Get smarter on using more to accomplish less and you’ll have one of the most profitable approaches to business you can get.