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Four Reasons You May Need To Grow Your Team

By John Rampton, founder of Palo Alto, California-based Calendar, a company helping your calendar be much more productive.

The signs that it’s time to bring more employees on board aren’t always reflected on a balance sheet. They can be subtle and sometimes easy to miss, especially if you’re linking some of them to other causes. You might believe increased workloads are temporary or cyclical. But when assignments become too much to handle, and your business starts to fall behind, customers will take notice.

Waiting too long to add to your team can have spillover effects, including employee burnout. These effects may take longer to recover from than you anticipate and further harm productivity. By recognizing the signals that your business needs additional staff, you can help prevent or mitigate the loss of talent, quality and revenue. Below are four reasons you might be ready to grow your team.  

1. A Lack Of Work-Life Balance

Do you and your team always seem to be working late? Or are you coming in early, taking work home and trying to catch up on the weekends? A lack of balance between work and personal time is usually a sign your team has too much on its plate.

Take note when employees consistently send emails after hours, show signs of fatigue or mention the heavy workload. Start asking probing questions about how things are going and whether they feel overwhelmed. Also, look at the behaviors you may be modeling for the team.

If you’re sending emails or Slack messages outside of normal working hours, your employees get the impression that’s what you expect. Until you can hire more staff and get them up to speed, work with your team to set realistic performance expectations. Let employees know work-life balance is important to you and the company. According to Gallup’s research, workers who strongly agree that their performance expectations are realistic are 1.6 times more likely to stay at their organization for at least another year.

2. An Unhappy Team

One bad or stressful day can cause an otherwise cordial employee to become agitated or irritable. But if the entire team seems cranky nearly every day, they could be showing signs of burnout. When the demands of a job exceed the resources workers have at their disposal, they begin to break down. And when that happens, congeniality and collegiality go out the window.

Employees who used to be excited about the job may start making cynical comments. They might push back on routine requests, making excuses for why they can’t fulfill them. Some staff may tell you they’ll take care of something, but you find out later that it hasn’t been done. When confronted, they may become visibly upset or argumentative. Adding more team members and restructuring tasks are a couple of ways to address burnout as they help to even out resources with demands.

3. Missed Deadlines And Declines In Productivity

Nearly everyone misses a deadline or has a day where they don’t accomplish much. However, when employees start dropping the ball more than usual, it’s cause for concern. Repeatedly missing milestones can bring business to a halt and drive clients to the competition. The company’s competence and ability to deliver will come into question.

A series of missed deadlines and lowered productivity may point to larger issues. If your team is trying to juggle too much at the same time, something is going to drop. While unbalanced workloads could be to blame, everyone might be attempting — unsuccessfully — to do more than their fair share.

Find out how many simultaneous responsibilities various team members have. Try digging deeper to see whether some tasks are bogging staff down. You may need to add more junior positions or employees with different skill sets.

4. Increased Absenteeism And Turnover     

Prolonged work-related stress can take a physical and mental toll on your team. Symptoms such as exhaustion, elevated blood pressure and an inability to concentrate cause employees to take more sick leave or PTO. If you’re noticing an uptick in time-off requests and staff members calling in sick, it’s probably not a coincidence.

Those requests may stem from a need to take a break from the taxing demands of the job. They can also come from a desire to seek employment elsewhere. Your staff could be using PTO to attend job fairs, go on interviews or consult with a headhunter. You can’t always prevent every incidence of turnover. But when formerly loyal employees start leaving, it can indicate an unhealthy work environment.

Exit interviews probably won’t reveal the true reasons staff members chose to leave. It can be more effective to try to prevent turnover once you see the signs of disengagement or burnout. Talk to your employees to see where you can add more staff to help alleviate the burden.     

Spending Money To Save Money

Expanding your team comes with a price tag, but so does letting employees work under unrealistic performance demands. The stress will eventually set in, resulting in lost productivity and subpar results. Retaining customers and internal talent will become more difficult, leading to costly consequences.

Cues such as missed deadlines and increased absenteeism can reveal a need to hire more help. By adding resources and balancing out work demands, you’ll be supporting your team’s physical and mental well-being. That, in turn, will help them fuel your company’s growth and success.

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