Employers: Make the Most of a Hiring Freeze

hiring-freeze on employee screening blogThousands of companies have instituted layoffs, which generally means a hiring freeze, too. Businesses with steady work levels are fortunate in this economy; but if they have already cut back staff levels, they can expect overworked and stressed-out employees. For companies in this position, it’s probably not the best time for restructuring.

But for businesses experiencing work slowdowns, a hiring freeze is a good time to re-evaluate staffing needs.

In business, proper planning means success.
Plan for the post-freeze work increase now, and you’ll be better positioned when the economy begins its recovery. First, take a look at each department under your supervision. Observe the team’s workload and how it all flows. Are they able to get their work accomplished each day, or are they perpetually behind?  Are they looking for more work to do, or—even worse—extending each task out to take up their available time?

Eliminate time-wasters.
Review all the individual responsibilities required of your staff.  Is each one essential to getting your company’s products into your customers’ hands? Or, are your workers required to fill out unnecessary paperwork or perform redundant tasks at the expense of producing sales? Consider putting a freeze on all non-essential tasks until the hiring freeze is over. 

Poll your employees. 
Engage staff in dialogue and you can learn exactly what they think of their workload. Ask for their suggestions to streamline workflow or eliminate unnecessary steps and procedures. You may find they have been hoping you’d have this exact conversation for weeks (or even years!).

Reconsider the organizational chart.
Are there workers reporting to the wrong supervisor? Does it make more sense to combine the Training Department with Production? Are there holes in areas that could be generating revenue?  Shifting existing staff to these areas could improve workflow and increase revenues, while keeping your valuable employees motivated.

What can you do without?
There is nothing like eliminating positions to help you determine whether or not they are actually needed.  When the hiring freeze is over, fill revenue-generating positions first, then look back over your evaluations and decide which positions are most essential, and which ones never were.

When hiring again, don’t neglect employment background checks to screen out potential problem employees before they’re hired.

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