As your business becomes more successful, you’ll find that your staffing will increase to meet the needs of your growing client base. Hiring more employees can be expensive due to time spent on recruiting and training, in addition to the growth in payroll spend each month. Naturally, it is beneficial for cash flow to save costs where possible and so restricting the growth of teams that don’t directly increase revenue should be considered. A team which this would apply to is the Operations Team – the team responsible for the general running of the office. This article sets out ways in which an Operations Team can be kept small, but continue to efficiently run the office.
1) Strong Team
Much like building a house from scratch, you need a good foundation in place for the rest of the structure to withstand. This applies to your support staff as without them; it is harder for the rest of your team to do their jobs as well as possible. Therefore, choosing the right people from the start and training them well is the key to the success of your Operations team. The main traits you should look for when hiring are:
- Organisational skills – every member of your operations team must be extremely organised. As the company grows, their list of responsibilities will pile up, and they must be able to keep a cool, calm head.
- Time management – as their responsibilities increase, their time to complete tasks will deplete. Your team must be able to be strict with time to complete all that is asked of them.
- Ability to prioritise – the reality is there are not going to be enough hours in the working week to complete all tasks that are thrown in the direction of the Operations team. Everyone that comes to them with a request is going to assume it’s urgent and more important than whatever else their colleagues have asked before them. Your Operations team need to be able to admit when they are at full capacity, which can mean telling people ‘no’. They need to be confident and assertive in nature.
A tight-knit team is essential. Your employees should be supportive of each other as there will be times where there is a lot of pressure placed on them, so being able to lean on your team members will serve them well. Encourage team bonding in the form of lunches or dinners to allow them to connect outside of a work setting. This will help tighten their working relationship as well as possibly friendships outside of work.
2) Streamlined Processes
It is important to spend time developing streamlined processes which aid everyday operating tasks. This enables your Operations Team to work quicker or allow more autonomy by other staff. Ensuring that each member of the team is on the same page is crucial the speeding up of processes. Collaborative tools such as Google Docs or Google Sheets are the perfect tool to collate information in one place without the need to save and send each time a change is made. Documents like these can then be kept somewhere easily accessible to those who need it such as Google Drive.
Another way to ease the workload of your Operations staff is for the rest of your workforce to become as autonomous as possible. The ability to direct the rest of their colleagues to an instruction guide for example (which may be in the form of a Google Doc or a Wiki) allows the Operations team to claw back some of their valuable time. An example of this is allowing all staff to have access to meeting room calendars meaning they can check this themselves and book in as needed. Another example is hosting specific email addresses in which employees are to direct certain requests, such as an accounts email address.
3) Consider Staffing Alternatives
If the strain on your Operations Team is too great, seek out alternatives which don’t involve hiring more full-time staff.
Casual employees are a good option to ease the load on your full-time Operations team. Work out when their busiest times are, whether it’s certain days of the week or just the second half of the day. Recruit casual staff that are available during those times and look for fast-learners or those with experience in similar roles as there may not be a lot of time for training (it will most likely be on the job, hitting the ground running type of training).
Although casual employees aren’t guaranteed work, if you’re looking for an even less committal option, platforms such as AirTasker should be explored. This is better suited to the ad-hoc, one-off jobs such as scanning a heap of documents or building some IKEA furniture. It is super quick and straightforward to use.
If you’re looking for higher skilled help in areas such as HR or payroll, outsourcing this to other companies is a good option. It allows your Operations Team to focus on what they’re good at while ensuring those critical functions are taken care of by an expert in that field.
Restricting growth in certain teams can be a great cost-saving exercise. However, adequate support must be given to ensure their performance doesn’t fault. Questions? Call us on 1300 544 755.