Why headcount hurts us during crunch times (and what to do about it)
Despite all the planning in the world, one thing you often can’t predict is being short on people. People take unexpected leave and resignations occur all the time at any time, and new staff need time to get up to speed. It hurts when that time is crunch time.
When faced with staff turnover, reassess the purpose of the open role: do you need a preparer, reviewer, agent or coach? This will increase the effectiveness of your recruitment process and it will help identify your immediate need during crunch time.
Resist the impulse to simply allow others to roll up their sleeves and cover the workload. This may be the final outcome, but it’s important to remember why we have 4 different roles during a crunch time:
[if !supportLists]• [endif]Prevent the impact of fatigue on performance. Working 24hrs a day, event for a short period of time, may not impact engagement, but it will impact effectiveness (read: quality and accuracy).
[if !supportLists]• [endif]To address risk and reduce bias. Segregation of duties enables a review process that is critical to crunch times. Having the same preparer and reviewer won’t allow this - and may also breach standards of practice.
[if !supportLists]• [endif]To document judgments and decisions. Never has documentation of judgments been so important. The same person being reviewer and agent may mean a lot of talk, leading to the wrong action. This also increases risk and reduces quality.
You either have enough people or not and leaders often shrug and say ‘it is what it is’. And that’s true. But - knowing what roles are needed and assessing this against roles you have, will see you better placed to determine how to spread the additional workload during crunch times.
You can’t predict turnover, but you can prevent it from having a negative impact on your crunch times.
About Alena: Alena works with leaders and their teams to connect technical and leadership skills so they can deliver to deadline without killing their people. She is a mentor, trainer, facilitator and coach. Contact her today on firstname.lastname@example.org