Determining Staffing Levels for your New Business

Business people shaking hands outside officeStarting a business? Stumped about how to determine the functions and positions, tasks and workload for your staff? Many mangers have developed their evaluation procedures for hiring staff, and many websites and blogs offer advice on how to source top quality talent.

Let’s start the ball rolling by taking a long hard look at what really needs to be done for your business in order for it to succeed. What kind of jobs need to be done daily, seasonally, annually? Strip it down to the core functions and see if you can design a job that excites people to work for your company. Orienting, training and integrating new staff into a cohesive team builds your company with strength from the inside out.

Although most owners and managers are concerned most about the quality of candidates applying for the jobs they have on offer, a candidate’s personality, education, related experience and skill are only half of the package. How much and how fast, to what degree of excellence and consistency can a person perform on the job? Quantitative measurements also need to be considered.

A company’s staffing mix and the levels of hierarchy needed to successfully run it are determined by a number of things. These include the financial restraints and flexibility the company has upon starting up and during operations; the skills mix needed to run that organization and the level of staffing needed to satisfy the demands and expectations of its clients.

Sometimes, it’s not enough to say that a particular kind of company needs a pre-determined number of staff; job descriptions and job design needs to be closely analyzed so that the right skills are brought to that task by a candidate who fits the bill. Often designing a job right can compress work cycles and cut turn-around time. Why hire two or three people if you can do it with one experienced worker? You’d be able to save money and also offer more for the kind of expertise being brought to the team.

Quick critics often point out that the major drawback to this method of determining staff levels is that it’s basically very ideal, that it doesn’t really give you a lay of the land, that practical solutions are determined by actual situations.

Utilizing business models has always help to bring about a greater efficiency; sharing best practices encourages creative, open ways of pursuing excellence. Deploying more workers into a department experiencing growth will be necessary to ensure to make sure it has the suitable skill mix and manpower it needs. But now we come to the question at the bottom of it all: How many should be hired?

There are two most important factors to consider before setting the number of staff as well as the hierarchy in the different area of your business.

First, consider how the amount of work varies over a whole year. If there are huge seasonal variations in the type of work and work hours needed to successfully run your business, stick with the least number of permanent staff your business needs.

When you define the key functions of your core personnel, also determine where your core staff need to focus their attentions. Factor in the times when their responsibilities expand to include the other seasonal staff and their work-related functions.

Next, it is essential to consider when you would need to hire experts or temporary staff for specialized work or seasonal projects. Consider whether your area provides enough available workers for your business to utilize. Will it be easy to hire and train them? Many companies benefit from creating a contingency pool of temporary staff, building in relievers for core staff on sick leaves or vacations.

Balancing both these considerations for staffing your business will lead you to more success!