“This too shall pass” is an adage we know all too well when it comes to the economy. Uncertainty and volatility are inherent characteristics of our economic system, and oftentimes companies have to resort to layoffs during times of financial turbulence. But as we know, the economy will inevitably stabilize and recover. When that happens, what will happen to companies like Meta and Amazon who have laid off 10 to 15 percent of their employees? Once the dust has settled, and these layoffs are in the rearview mirror, companies will have to turn their attention to the future, and they’ll be faced with the question of new hires to meet demand. But, when is the right time to start hiring again? And how can a company ensure it’s ready to expand its workforce after retrenchment? This week we’ll explore some of the key factors that business executives should consider when deciding when to start hiring again after a period of layoffs.

First, start by answering these basic questions:

  1. Is your product or service in peak demand?
  2. Are you currently unable to meet this demand?
  3. Do you expect favorable market conditions to continue? (In other words, demand for your product or service isn’t a short-term, crisis-related phenomenon.)
  4. Have you been unable to replace vital skills within your team since your last round of layoffs?

If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, then it’s likely that you may need to seriously consider hiring new employees so that you can continue to grow and not face efficiency issues. Here are the next steps…

Assess Your Financial Situation – 

The first step in deciding when to start hiring again is to assess your financial situation. You need to have a clear understanding of your cash flow, revenue projections, and expenses. If your company is still struggling to make ends meet despite an overall economic recovery, then it is likely not the right time to start hiring again. You certainly don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you have to lay off employees again in the near future.

On the other hand, if your company’s finances are stable, or if you’re seeing signs of growth and recovery, and demand starts to increase, then it may be time to start thinking about hiring again. 

Consider Your Business Goals – 

Before you start hiring again, it’s important to consider your business goals. What are your short-term and long-term objectives? Do you need to hire new employees to achieve those goals? If so, what skills and experience are you looking for in potential hires?

It’s important to be strategic about your hiring decisions. You don’t want to bring on new employees just because you feel like you should or because you’re trying to fill a void. Each new hire should be part of a broader plan that supports your overall business goals.

Evaluate Your Current Staffing Needs – 

Another important factor to consider when considering new hirees is your current staffing needs. Take a close look at your existing workforce and determine whether there are any critical gaps that need to be filled. Are there specific skills or areas of expertise that are missing from your team? Do you need to hire more people to keep up with demand? Or will restructuring suffice? In some cases, it may be possible to leverage the skills and experience of existing employees to fill gaps left by the layoffs. This can help to minimize the need for external hiring and ensure that new hires are a good fit for the company culture.

By evaluating your current staffing needs, you can determine whether you need to start hiring again and what types of employees you should be looking for.

Develop a Strong Recruitment Strategy – 

To ensure a successful post-layoff hiring process, build a strategy to make sure that you are hiring the right people. Patrick Lencioni, President of the Table Group,  developed the HUMBLE, HUNGRY, SMART model which is a great strategy to ensure that you are hiring the ideal team player. Here are some of his key philosophies…

  1. Define the core values of your company. Companies typically have a list of character traits hanging on the wall of the office, but do these core values really mean anything? Do they embody your company culture? 
  2. Determine what these core values look like in a potential employee. 
  3. Ultimately, you need to narrow down a few candidates and spend time with them outside the traditional office setting to get to know them. The HUMBLE, HUNGRY, SMART model is a great tool to utilize; focus less on the tactical skills that your potential employee can learn through training, and focus more on making sure they have the characteristics to be a successful member of your team.