There’s always a conversation going on about doing business differently, which is fine. I agree that we need to stay current. But what if the new normal means adding headcount? That’s what today’s reader note is all about:
Hello there. How do I justify getting more HR help from a CEO who believes living lean is the only way to go? I know the standard staffing benchmark is usually 1 HR person for every 200 employees. However, our team is 3 people: me, the HR director, and 1 payroll processor for over 1,000 employees (70% of our population is part-time) in two different states.
I have already asked and been told no additional resources will be hired. But I simply cannot get everything done. I’d appreciate any help or direction you can offer!
There are a few things we don’t know about this situation that make offering advice difficult:
- The industry. I believe the standard benchmarks for staffing can fluctuate based upon industry and employee population.
- Everything this human resources department is responsible for. In this case, we know they handle payroll. Not every organization has payroll reporting to HR. So there could be other responsibilities we’re not aware of.
- The things that aren’t getting done. Are they top priority items? Or lower priority tasks? While we all like to get our work accomplished, there are things that can realistically wait.
Many times in my career, I’ve been in situations where I was not able to get additional headcount but still held accountable for getting the job done. During those times, here are a few steps I took to make work more manageable.
Re-establish priorities. Whenever I’m faced with not being able to get everything done, I reprioritize. What are the items that must be completed? Shifting the list of to-dos may offer a solution. If I’m not able to do this on my own, I will ask my stakeholders (i.e. department managers). I’ve been able to change deadlines or the point of contact for projects.
Redefine “help”. I’m noticing lately that companies aren’t as willing to add headcount but they are making investments in technology. Is it possible that there’s a system, application, or solution that would alleviate a manual process? Maybe selling “help” in different terms to senior management would change the outcome.
Consider contingent workers. Organizations that don’t want to add headcount are hiring freelancers, contractors, and consultants to pick up the slack when they need extra hands. This is a great way to get a specialized skill when the company needs it.
Lots of companies today believe in working lean. The effects of the Great Recession are still fresh in their minds. Many businesses have not returned to pre-recession revenue and growth rates. So not hiring headcount doesn’t surprise me. However, companies are focused on making profits. Rethinking the way we pitch for help that allows organizations to prosper without adding regular full-time employees might be an attractive option.
Image courtesy of HR Bartender0
To me adding people or technology is the solution of last resort. Unless you first look at your responsibilities & process to elmo are the waste, you are only adding another person or throwing money at something that doesn’t work. Also, a “lean” CEO will be much more likely to authorize additional people or technology if you can show him/her facts of why you need that person or technology.
Sharlyn Lauby says
Thanks for the comment.