Understaffing can cause a lot of harm to a business.
When you haven’t got enough employees to share the load, you can expect your business to start collapsing.
Here are just a few signs that your business may be understaffed and what you can do to fix it.
#1 Work is getting rushed/isn’t getting finished
Noticed that work is being rushed or that tasks are being left unfinished? With not enough staff to handle all the work, your employees will have no choice but to prioritise tasks and cut corners in order to keep up with the demand.
Extra staff may be necessary to maintain quality controls and make sure that all tasks are carried out. If this isn’t possible, you need to step in and help your employees prioritise which tasks are important.
You may find that there are ways to do work in batches and automate tasks to make life easier for your employees.
#2 You spend all day putting out fires and fixing mistakes
When a team is understaffed, basic monitoring and maintenance tasks can end up being skipped, which can lead to more frequent disasters or ‘fires’ that may have been preventable.
Under the stress of the workload, you could also find that more frequent mistakes are made. Putting out these fires and fixing these mistakes adds to the already large workload. In some cases, you could even find that you spend most of your day attending to these tasks.
When this happens, your only solution is to hire help – an extra pair of hands is likely to be necessary in order to attend to the fires and mistakes, while the rest of your team continues with the core duties.
If hiring extra employees is not feasible, you could consider outsourcing support. Consider where the main source of problems lie – if it’s largely tech problems that are the issue, an IT support service such as CDS could be worth hiring. If there are problems with payments, consider outsourcing a company to take over billing and invoices.
#3 You’re getting more customer complaints
Mistakes and poor quality work as a result of being understaffed will likely lead to a greater influx of customer complaints. Dealing with these complaints adds further to the workload.
If you can’t fix this by employing more staff, your next best option is to start stepping up quality controls to prevent more unsatisfying work and more customer complaints from building up.
You then need to find a systematic way of dealing with all existing complaints. This guide at Simply Business offers some advice on handling complaints.
#4 Employees keep working overtime
To help keep on top of the workload, employees may start voluntarily working overtime – or you may find yourself urging employees to work extra hours.
This is likely to put added strain on your employees and disrupt their work/life balance – and you could find that it does nothing for productivity.
It’s important that you break this habit of working overtime. Instead of getting employees to work more hours, try offering more breaks. While it may seem counterproductive, taking more breaks allows employees to refocus and re-energize, which can keep employees productive longer.
#5 Your employee turnover is high
Another sign that you’re understaffed is high employee turnover. Employees aren’t going to stay around if they’re having to work long hours and take on unachievable workloads, only to then receive floods of customer complaints.
By fixing all the other issues discussed, you may be able to prevent some employees from leaving.
However, to truly keep staff happy, you’ll need to start creating a more relaxing and rewarding work atmosphere. Work Human offers some tips on how you can beat a high employee turnover.