Staffing Up Too Soon or Waiting Too Long

Deciding whether to hire or hold off is a delicate balance. Small businesses must determine when to make their first hires and subsequently add employees. Medium and large organizations may land deals or projects that require a dedicated team, but should they reserve those people ahead of time or wait until they’re needed, forcing a hurried hire? The decision isn’t easy. Adding too many team members before you’re ready increases your salary and employee benefit costs, while waiting until you’re desperate creates a rush to find talent.

There isn’t a perfect formula for when to add staff, the number of people you’ll need, or how early to start the process. Many business experts have weighed in on this discussion with varying opinions. To determine the most effective plan for your company, let’s consider both sides of the equation.

Pros and Cons of Staffing up Right Away

Planning is always a smart business move, but hiring new employees ahead of time may or may not be a sound financial decision for your company. First, determine if your business needs new employees by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Is my company stable enough to support staff?
  • What future growth plans warrant more staff?
  • Is my company currently suffering without additional help?
  • Am I turning down opportunities because my company is inadequately staffed?
  • Do I need full-time or part-time permanent employees or contractors?

 Here are some of the most important points to consider:



  • You have a responsibility to pay employees, regardless of your company’s performance.
  • Onboarding and training new employees will bring added costs.
  • Pressure to perform on anticipated growth goals will increase.
  • HR will require additional time and resources.

Pros and Cons of Waiting to Hire

Rather than preemptively adding staff to the payroll, many businesses prefer to wait until a pressing need . This strategy seeks to postpone extra costs and responsibilities. Here are some key advantages and disadvantages of holding off:


  • You can avoid the financial costs associated with currently unnecessary employees.
  • Your current team won’t need to spend time and resources on training until necessary.
  • You can assess your employee needs regarding skills and potential roles.


  • You will risk missing new business opportunities because your current team is not equipped to handle growth.
  • Stress and strain will be impressed on your HR department.
  • Because you need help desperately, you may miss out on the best candidates.

The Definitive Answer?

There isn’t one. Each business must do its own risk-benefit analysis to determine staffing needs. One good rule of thumb: Take it slow. Hiring one or two people initially to see how it goes is less risky than staffing up with an entirely new team. Adding even one person can significantly impact productivity, and you can assess and re-evaluate when the individual is integrated. Employee turnover can be a major hit to your bottom line, so before you take the plunge, make sure your business is equipped to not only hire but retain employees.

Author: Alisiana Peters

Alisiana is a senior marketing coordinator at HiringThing, an award-winning online recruiting software provider dedicated to changing the way businesses hire talent. Questions? Contact HiringThing Marketing.