As an HR expert or staffer, you would probably agree that there hardly comes a time when the organization you’re working for is fully staffed.
What is the concept of being fully staffed?
It refers to a scenario in the real world where your business is equipped with just the perfect manpower at a given amount of time. The need for the perfect manpower arises with a desire to grow and succeed in business.
How do you find out the numbers that are required for your business to be fully staffed?
Well, reaching that (perfect) number can be tricky.
This task is expected to be taken care of by the finance team of your organization who will break this number down for you into monthly, weekly, and even daily measures for your business to stay profitable.
Now as an HR expert you have a goal (number given to you) in front of you to be accomplished to meet the staffing needs of your company. It is forecast that by reaching this number your organization will be fully staffed. The problem is that right when you start feeling you’re almost there, the number drops immediately. You might come close to your targets, but it always remains a daunting task to reach at that magical number. As a result, the staffing needs of your organization are never met.
Is it that the staffing forecasts made by your analysts are broken?
What could be the possible reasons for you not able to reach the target number?
The answers to these questions, indeed, require a lot of analysis. Because the objective of writing this post is to help you find out why you’re understaffed, let’s discuss the possible reasons for the same.
1. The Basis of the ‘Magical’ Number
What is that ‘magical’ number given to you built on in reality? What you might already know, but refuse to acknowledge, is the fact that these numbers are built on a perfect world scenario. The argument, however, is how many of us live in that perfect world? You will agree that we live in a world that is far from perfection. Hardly any of the staff members are fully trained, fully functional or fully productive.
Now, if the analysts tell you that you need a staff of 15 employees to run a department in your organization; they mean a staff of 15 fully trained and functional employees. Given that the staff members are hardly fully productive; this number is much bigger. Talk to your financial analysts and they will never want to listen to you. In fact, they will be refuting opposing arguments. As simple as that, they have a responsibility to not run out of the budget. Thus, they are going to stick to their decision of 15 employees.
As an HR expert, it is hardly going to help you, even if you understand the truth behind the staffing of 15 employees. The truth is that the number 15 includes all sorts of employees – the ones who are experienced and efficient, the ones who are going to go on leave, those who are at the edge of retirement, and even the ones who are going to leave the company for good. With your experience, you understand that this number needs to much greater than 15 because of your coverage needs. But finances will always be the area of primary concern and hold priority above everything else.
2. ‘Safe’ Moves of a Staffing Expert
As a staffing expert, you must deal with several issues. Even if you somehow manage to get a green signal for hiring as many employees as you want, the inhibitions will always be there. Several doubts, the ‘ifs’ and ‘buts,’ will never cease to exist. They will, in fact, make you conscious of your decisions. You’ll be forced to rethink your decisions and actions. After all, an additional employee means added costs and resources for the company. Why would you want to risk your job given that ‘ifs’ might just come true? Even if you’re well versed with the reality, your subconscious mind will harbor moves that don’t pose any risk to your role and position in the company. Honestly, it’s not just you. Sadly, it happens to be the story of the majority of HR professional in the industry.
3. Benefits of Being Understaffed
The truth is that organizations like to be understaffed. It justifies overtime for employees and better pay checks. For a fully staffed organization, the role of every person becomes difficult. An underperformer will be made to leave the organization. Even, the hiring managers will have to seriously monitor the performance of the employees. It might hit you hard, but the job and role of a hiring manager become much harder when the organization is fully staffed as opposed to understaffed. By being understaffed, it’s easier for everyone to have reasons and excuses. As a result, no one would want the organization to be fully staffed when there are so many benefits of being understaffed. And it will never happen if there is no desire for it to happen.
4. Organizational Environment
The ability of a business to meet its staffing needs depends majorly on the organizational culture. It goes without saying that when the employee turnover rate of your company is high, you’ll always be devoid of staff even under the most favorable circumstances.
The high employee turnover rates can be controlled by making the working environment favorable for your employees. This can be done by taking care of the points listed below:
Do you motivate your employees to deliver their best performance?
Do you appreciate their efforts when they deliver excellent results?
Are they treated like family in your organization?
When you motivate your employees to perform better, provide them with a congenial work environment, and make extra efforts to take care of their needs the results will be amazing. Their productivity will increase tenfold. The absenteeism will reduce and the employees will be happy to walk an extra mile to achieve the growth rate. When the employees feel motivated to work, you can expect them to be much more reliable.
Competitive Pay Packages
When you offer competitive salary packages to your employees and provide them with a healthy work environment, there is practically no reason for which they would want to leave your organization and look for work opportunities elsewhere.
Most often, employees leave your organization because they are unable to find the growth opportunities that they are eagerly looking for. Even if you’re offering them a handsome salary, they would want to scale further heights in their profession. When you offer them learning and growth opportunities and give them a fair chance for growth and promotion they are less likely to switch jobs.
Departmental/ Organizational Practices
Did you know that there are a couple of practices that ensure you’re adequately staffed all the time and there is not much shortage of staff at any given point of time?
Such practices are as listed below:
To ensure that understaffing situations don’t arise, the key is the implementation of an automated scheduling system. By tracking time off, managers can ensure that not too many personnel are unavailable at the same time. This, however, can’t be tracked efficiently using manual methods. Not only it is a time consuming process but can also be very stressful. But, the use of an automated scheduling application makes it possible to set rules for requesting time off. By using this application, you can set how many employees can request time off at a given time. This will allow you to ensure that you are staffed adequately at all possible times.
To prevent too many time off requests on any particular date, the concept of “block dates” can be implemented. This method is very effective in ensuring that the businesses don’t run out of adequate staff. You can simply communicate specific dates to your staff when they are not allowed to ask for time off on the schedule. These specific dates are known as “block dates”. This move ensures that there is no shortage of staff on any day, especially weekends or a holiday.
Tracking Minimum and Maximum Demand
This component of automated scheduling application makes it possible for you to fix minimum and maximum staffing levels required for a task at any given time. This method is quite effective in accurately forecasting your staffing needs. Therefore, roles can be staffed depending on the same. It will even help in determining the days and hours when the employees must not be allowed time off.
By implementing the practices given above, you can easily monitor the rates of employee absenteeism and maximize the levels of productivity within your organization. Furthermore, educating the finance team and organizational heads on the need of recruiting more staff than the calculated number ensures your organization is never understaffed.