Traditionally, the decision to hire is tied to two key questions: ‘Do we have the need’ and ‘Do we have the money’. At first glance, the first is easily answered. ‘Of course we have the need for more staff!’ The only way to increase sales is to increase the sales team. The best way to expand the brand is to add to the marketing department.  Hiring new employees is expensive but if you have a robust Q1 budget at your fingertips, there’s no time like the present to roll out those job postings.

Not so fast. Unfortunately, most companies are asking the wrong questions when it comes to hiring. Before deciding if now is the right time to grow your staff, they should be asking themselves is this:

What if we don’t hire anyone?

While hiring may be the go-to solution, there are other less explored options that not only solve immediate challenges but are fiscally sound in the long run. To know if bringing on more staff is the best decision for your company, answer a few follow-up questions.

1. Could we utilize our existing staff? It goes without saying that no one wants to overload their teams with too many tasks. However, it is entirely possible you and your existing staff can manage the workload more easily than you think. Shuffling employees, redefining tasks and expectations, and streamlining procedures are excellent ways to address staffing needs. Restructuring also gives existing employees a chance for growth with new roles and opportunities for increased compensation.

2. Could we outsource some of our work? As all business owners and hiring managers know, hiring is not cheap. Therefore, it is in your company’s best interest to research outside help. “You might have business processes that could be outsourced to other companies for a reasonable increase in variable costs you can handle through pricing rather than the fixed business costs of permanent employees. That way, your business can more effectively respond to changes in demand.” Another added benefit of bringing on outside: Freeing up your internal staff to step-in in another capacity.

3. Can we maintain our current trajectory? Employers tend to get excited when they see an increase in sales, and rightly so. However, it’s important to look closely at the staying power of that growth. I sudden uptick in growth will not always last and adding the knee-jerk reaction to bring on new hires to manage the increased workload might be very shortsighted. ‘Wait’ might be the better answer. Can your current staff manage the extra work for a bit longer to determine if the surge is temporary or the new normal?

4. Can we continue to grow without hiring? It goes without saying that every company has one primary goal: growth. If your company is on a path of slow and steady growth, it might be better to go with the ‘wait’ plan. A steady pace of increased sales affords you time. Without the rush of extreme increased demand, you have time to implement changes to your existing staff and consider outsourcing certain roles and tasks. You may even explore the idea of hiring someone on a part-time or contract basis. Take time to evaluate your 2017 strategic growth and revenue goals.  If it includes strategies to increase sales on a large scale, bringing on a new hire or two to avoid taxing your existing staff may be the wisest decision.

The decision to grow your staff is not to be taken lightly. More staff does not always translate to more sales or more success.  Not only is it costly to hire and properly onboard new hires, it has the potential to rob existing staff of growth opportunities. So, before you roll out those job postings, ask yourself the better question: What if we don’t hire anyone?

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