For new business owners, it may not always be clear when to move beyond core employees and begin bringing on some new teammates. Growing pains are normal for a startup that is doing well, so until you see your employees are struggling, you may not realize that it’s time to bring on additional help.
To help you better spot the signs, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members offer eight indications that your company needs additional support staff. Look for these issues within your business so you can face the problems head-on and give your employees the help they need to do their jobs well.
1. Your Team Hesitates To Use Time Off
One sign that your company needs more support staff is when your core team is hesitant to take time off. When an employee feels like they are the only one who can do their job and is afraid to step away from work, it can quickly lead to burnout. If your team roles are siloed, your first step may be to create more crossover. If that doesn’t solve the problem, the next step is to hire more staff. Your employees should feel comfortable using their paid time off without concerns that the workload will be unmanageable when they return. – Rachel Lipson, Blue Balloon Songwriting for Small People
2. Employees Complain Of Being Too Busy
Your employees complaining of being busy is a telltale sign that you need support staff. There may be issues meeting deadlines or requests to hire freelancers when you run into this issue. A good leader should be ahead of this when taking on new accounts and have open and regular communication with their teams. There are bound to be bottlenecks in production as you scale, but being aware of where there is not enough staff is key to scaling and providing your clients with the best products, services and experience. Our business depends on each team member operating at their best and most creative, so if they are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, we, as managers and owners, need to know. We can revise the process or the product to manage the work effectively. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic
3. Staff Gets Behind On Key Responsibilities
You hired each of your employees for a particular job, and each job has a particular job description outlining the employee’s key responsibilities. If you notice that any of your staff members are consistently working on tasks that fall outside their job description, it might be time to step back and consider whether you need to bring on support staff. Of course, people need to be flexible, especially in a startup environment. Your employees should be stepping outside their comfort zones and pitching in as needed. The fact that people are working beyond their job descriptions is not necessarily a red flag on its own. The trouble comes when they start to fall behind on their main job responsibilities. That’s a sure sign your people may need some support. – Miles Jennings, Recruiter.com
4. KPIs And Success Rates Begin To Fall
If your company needs support staff, you’ll see your KPIs and success start to slow. You won’t meet your quotas and things will start to shift instead of continuing to grow. This could mean that your team is taking on too many responsibilities and requires support staff to stay on top of everything. As your business expands, you’ll need more hands on deck to tackle marketing, sales, support, development and more. You can’t do everything by yourself or every department will be lacking in some area. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
5. Managers And Employees Lose Focus
A huge problem companies face without enough help is decayed focus. This is one of the most telling signs of labor mismanagement. Lack of focus here isn’t the effect of an undisciplined leader or employee. I’m talking about hurdles preventing your skilled employees from being as productive as their capacities and company goals warrant. Here’s a very good example of this case: If you find you or your staff are held back by urgent yet non-important tasks in the office, then you might want to consider getting support staff who can free up time and effort for more impactful activities that may not seem as urgent in the present. Successful businesses are constantly looking for better and bigger problems to solve. Profits from problems already solved aren’t just rewards but are tickets to the next big problem. Delegate and concentrate. – Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS
6. Overtime And Errors Spike
Look at the hours your current staff are working and the number of errors occurring. When you have a team that is clocking in overtime consistently, it’s time to identify why this is happening. Sure, you may have a truly dedicated and passionate team that enjoys work, but chances are the consistent overtime isn’t a result of joyful work. When overtime begins to spike, crosscheck this with the number of errors occurring. If your team is staying late to meet deadlines and find themselves missing calculations, having manufacturing errors or missing the lead on client needs, it’s time to hire outside support. – Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.
7. Customer Service Tickets Pile Up
The simplest thing you can do is look at the tickets in your support feed and see how long they’re lying there. If they aren’t being addressed fast enough, it’s a strong case for increasing the number of people you have to provide support. When you’re too slow to respond to customer issues, it doesn’t just affect your customers, it bothers your employees too. Showing that you’re ready and willing to look after paying customers implicitly tells employees that you care about growing the business and that they’ll have stability too. – Blair Williams, MemberPress
8. Customers Complain More Frequently
More complaints from your customers is a clear sign that you need support staff. The most important piece of your business is its customers, so if you fail to provide them with stellar support, they’ll go to your competitors. From the beginning, it’s important for your brand to show its credibility and ease customers through the buying process. The only way to do that is to cater to their needs and answer their questions. Without proper customer service, you’ll need to hire more hands or no business will last. – Jared Atchison, WPForms