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3 Questions to ask before you hire your next resource

The year 2020 was one of upheaval that has challenged individuals, governments, businesses, and every institution in ways never thought impossible. Management struggled to keep up with rapidly evolving changes, while maintaining customer satisfaction and stockholder expectations. Some companies sailed through seemingly unscathed, but others suffered major setbacks.

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The year has also questioned many traditions and opened endless possibilities by reimagining the way business can be delivered. But this recession is not the first and not certainly going to be the last one either. As the businesses keep expanding, there is a growing pressure to expand the workforce as well. More customers, more products and territory expansion may warrant more salespersons to be added to the existing workforce to expand or retain the market share.

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But as the business grows, the back-end processes and associated technologies need to be strengthened as well and traditionally the businesses add more workforce under each department based on the budget size and constraints.

What are the questions to ask before you expand your workforce for support processes ? How will you make the business viable and competitive in the long run? Businesses who do not solve these questions early in the process, commit mistakes leading to high fixed costs initially and more so to remedy it later.

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What is the task at Hand?

What type of skills required?

What is the availability?

What is the cost vs value?

Is it a one-time project to enable a capability or run daily business operations?  Businesses often start initiatives that can run for more than a year, but they are one-time projects to enable a new business process - new IT projects, system upgrades, Cloud migrations, build a new manufacturing facility or acquiring a new business. These projects enable a new capability/process, build new capacity, or long-term upgrade to an existing process. 

Also, when these projects are completed businesses need a workforce to perform daily operations, anything from manufacturing, order/warehouse to transaction recording services.

Knowing the difference between the nature of tasks, helps the recruit the right talent for the task ahead. While the operations jobs are stable and  repetitive, the project activities tasks may require a higher number of workforces for a short time. Once hired these resources must be repurposed to other projects on a continuous basis.

In these cases, it is wise to hire a temporary talent to tide over the project and control costs in the long run.

The question that needs to be asked is “Is the skill set available internally?” If the answer is “No”, then the second question is “ Should that skill be acquired/developed internally?” The answer is “yes” then  it means that the business needs to develop knowledge, proprietary to the business like in R&D, product development etc. But if the answer is “No” then it should acquire the temporary resources by outsourcing the activities.

Often internal resources with required skill sets may be available but do not have enough availability to complete maintenance projects. This is probably the single most reason why the projects are delayed, and costs are overrun for many projects. The solution is to hire the right temporary resources to manage the projects and keep them on track to reap the long-term benefits.

Hiring full-time resources for running projects have many disadvantages. The initial cost of hiring full-time resources may be low but the long term and hidden costs like insurance, bonus and idle time wages during wait time, may outweigh the savings.