So much of our job’s as manager’s come down to being effective storyteller’s and constant advocates for our employees. Our employees rely on us to have their backs, to understand their pain points, and to do something about it. When the workload is too heavy, good employees can easily burn out. Employees that are burned out are at a greater risk of leaving. Sometimes, being a good manager means advocating for more staff.
Asking for more resources, and securing them, can be difficult in any organization as resources are often limited. Why are your team’s needs greater than any other team’s needs in the company? Let’s explore how to answer that question.
Where to Start
Creating the case for adding resources to your team can feel like a daunting task. If you’re like me, you run through all of the scenarios in your head of the ways leadership will say no before you even begin. Ironically, this can often be a great place to start! Getting to yes often depends on understanding why someone would say no. So, take advantage of these ‘no’ stories you’re telling yourself and jot them down. Then, offer yourself a counterpoint to each of the ‘no’ stories. What would make someone say ‘yes’ to that story?
Follow with asking yourself a few additional questions:
- What are all the tasks your staff does in a typical week?
- Are there any non-essential tasks that you can stop doing?
- What tasks aren’t getting done because you don’t have this resource?
- How does this impact your organization’s bottom line?
- How does this impact other teams in your organization?
Craft Your Story
Armed with the answers to these questions, you’ve got a good start to making your case. Most executives really care about 2 things when making decisions:
- How will this help the company grow?
- What’s the risk of not taking action?
Using the answers from your starting questions, craft them into a story that fundamentally answers how this position will help the company grow and what’s the risk of not doing it. Basically, answer the question ‘what’s in it for me/the organization’ from the Executive’s point of view.
Here’s an example:
The product data team is responsible for curating content and recommendations on our website. Sales generated from curated content and related recommendations are 29% higher than sales generated through a typical user browsing the website. Curated content is currently available in only 3 product lines. Adding an additional resource will allow the product data team to take on curating content for 3 more product lines. The additional resource would drive an additional $X in revenue for our company. Hiring an additional resource now provides ample opportunity to onboard and train the new employee in time for the busy holiday season. Without a new resource, the team will not have the capacity to take on content curation for the additional product lines, risking incremental revenue generation in the fourth quarter.
Of course, this is a simple example of a business case. Take the time to craft the story using data, pictures, and a compelling argument. Being a good manager means advocating for more staff. Your team’s success just might count on it!
What Alternatives Exist?
Before you pat yourself on the back for creating a compelling story to add more resources to your team, you have to examine what alternatives exist. Being a good manager means advocating for more staff on many occasions. However, there are almost always multiple ways to achieve the same goal. Is adding a resource really the only option? Here’s some idea’s to explore before you go asking to hire more people:
- Are there tasks your team is doing that can be automated? With tools like Bots and Machine Learning increasing in capabilities every day, there may be a different way to accomplish the work.
- What tasks can you simply stop doing? Are all the tasks your team is spending time on really worth it? What would happen if you stopped doing the lower value tasks?
- How else can you get the work done? Do you need a full time employee or will a temp do?
- Can you outsource the work?
- What happens if you do nothing?
Understanding and presenting the alternatives will help you tell your story. It also shows executives that you’ve done your homework. Oftentimes, the alternatives you present might be the better option from the executive’s point of view. If it accomplishes the same goal – workload relief for your team – you’ve done your job!
Here are a few resources on how to advocate for hiring a new employee:
- TechRepublic.com: Just the Facts: Prove to Your Boss You Need that New Hire
- Managers Resource Handbook: A Simple Strategy That Will Help You Hire New People
- The Uncommon League: How to Ask For (And Get) More Employees for Your Team
What techniques have you found successful to add more staff? Share your story in the comments below.
Until Next time,
We’d love to hear from you!
If you’d like to share a story or have a question, reach out to me here.