Many of us are spending our time thinking about (and writing about) how to get through the current Coronavirus-driven situation. For those who have had to endure headcount reductions, your energy and focus is probably on just getting through the day-to-day workload.
But it’s important to think about what will happen when the current crisis is over, especially as it relates to hiring. So, when management is telling you to cut back on headcount, how do you make the case to start hiring again?
The answer is simple – data.
When you are asking for additional headcount, make sure that you have the data to back up your request. It is likely that every department will be requesting headcount, and the executive team will not approve everyone’s request. Those with a solid business case backed up with data will win, compared to those who have generic requests based upon intuition. More simply said:
Make sure you bring a gun to the knife fight
What data should you bring? The simplest, most compelling data is comparing the work that needs to be done versus the current capacity of the team:
I’ve prepared a simple template you can use to build your business case (based upon Sales but easily manipulated for Demand Gen or Customer Support). You can make the analysis as simple or as complicated as you feel is necessary to make your point. (If you’d like help with your analysis, or need help building a model, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to help free of charge).
For many people, the data may not exist which makes it challenging. But look at the data you do have, even if it is qualitative or anecdotal or directional. If you put pen to paper, you might surprise yourself about how much data you have, even if it is not being formally captured within a system or platform.
Even if you think that your executive team will be lukewarm on additional headcount, all might not be lost. Instead of showcasing what will happen with additional headcount, show them what might happen without the headcount e.g. by how much will revenue targets be missed, what will happen to support SLAs, what will happen to customer satisfaction and retention rates. Giving them this information will help them make an informed decision, as well as help set their expectations regarding you and your team’s performance in the upcoming month or quarter.
In the words of many, #wewillgetthroughthis. So, while you stay focused on the present, give some thought to what the future might hold because NOW is the right time to lay the foundations for that future.
Azim Nagree is an ex-Bain consultant with 20+ years in leading strategy, growth and operations transformations.