Help Wanted…Maybe


How do you know when it’s time to add to staff?  When it gets really busy of course! Ahh, if only it were that easy.

Many companies add to staff based on busyness.  However, “busy” is not a precise indicator.  What “busy” indicates is that it’s time to take a closer look.

You’re seeing overtime.  Service is slower.  Morale is low.  But “busy” is often not the root (or only) cause of these problems.  Effective business decisions are based on comprehensive quantitative analysis and there are multiple area to be scrutinized before deciding to hire.

  1. Quantifying the Current State
    • How much work is output each day?
    • What’s the product/service breakdown?
    • What core and support activities are being done?
    • Benchmarks provide a starting point for comparison and analysis.
  2. Comparing Current to Past
    • Is business trending up and how does it compare to past reporting periods?
    • If there is an increase how long it this been sustained?
    • Is an upward trend sustainable long-term?
    • What projections can be made based on this information?
  3. Time Tracking
    • How much time does it take to perform each activity that makes up the employees’ days?
    • What are the obstacles slowing down the process (software, duplicate steps, multiple hand-offs, workflow, training)?
    • How much would output increase if obstacles were removed?
  4. Should We Be Doing This?
    • Identify everything the employees do no matter how trivial.  Trivial tasks may take only a few minutes but that can add up.  10 minutes/day x 5 days/week x 5 employees=250 minutes/week. That’s 4 hours! 
    • Do the core activities support the company mission?
    • Are revenue generating activities profitable?
    • Do support activates provide value?
    • Reporting is an excellent example of a support activity.  Information in reports should be used to drive business decisions.  If not, then the information has no value.
    • If we focus only on activities that provide value how much time will be saved?
  5. Performance
    • A team that’s not performing well is an excellent place to “find” more resources.  With the right adjustments a team can often become efficient enough to absorb the equivalent of a full time employee.
    • Is the team well trained?
    • Is the team engaged and working to their potential?
    • Does the team have effective management?
    • If team performance improves can we get more done with the same resources?

Until all business areas are quantified and analyzed there isn’t enough information to make an effective decision.  Informed decision based on facts will have a long-term and positive impact on business.
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Debbie Marshall
Thrive Consulting
p. 515.314.2901

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A little more about us:

As the Owner of Thrive Consulting, I strive to be the go-to resource for businesses and individuals in need of HR and Career Services. I combine industry expertise with a thorough understanding of your business needs to provide customized solutions that produce results. I am committed to building strong, trusted relationships and helping my clients succeed today and in the future.

Before going out on my own, I spent over twenty years in business as a leader, trainer, communicator and performance management expert.  Passionate about helping others reach their potential, it is my belief that those willing to take the appropriate actions will achieve positive results and success.


  • Performance Management
  • Management Development and Coaching
  • Team Training and Motivation
  • Efficiency and Effectiveness
  • Communication
  • Recruiting, Hiring, and Onboarding
  • Job Description Development and Staff Alignment


  • Job Search Assistance, Resume Development, Interview Prep, Social Media and more.
  • Career Assessment
  • Career Planning and Goal Setting
  • Career Transition
  • Skill Development

Member of SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management)

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