Widgets Magazine

The Employee Balancing Act

Business in the AV industry is known for its ebb and flow. There is certainly always work to be had, but it does tend to bunch up at certain times of the year. If you,Aeore working for an integrator with multiple offices, perhaps you have the ability to borrow a technician or programmer in order to help alleviate the work load for some of the others. But what about the smaller, in terms of employee count, integration firms where there is-*only one or possibly two people in a specific role? If your company hits the heavy workload do you hire more? Do you contract out? Or do you just power through with what you have?
The answer is not an easy one for a lot of the integration firms out there, but it,Aeos something many of us face each year.
Adding to the team
Let,Aeos say that your forecasted workload shows that in the next 30 days you will see 9 projects of significant size all kicking off. You know that means that your team executing these projects simultaneously is going to be taxed in order to maintain a high quality of work, so you decide that this is the time to go looking for new employees to join the team. You put out feelers and post ads looking for qualified individuals to join your organization and you add a few new members to the company. Now you,Aeove got a few more individuals on staff whose salary and benefits must be covered, even after this sudden push is completed.
What happens after that push? You could possibly be seeing the employees sitting around waiting for the next project ,Aei meaning you,Aeore literally paying them to sit there until the workload picks up again providing-*regular work for the new folks. There is something to be said for the confident-*reasoning-*that if your business is picking up that much now, you believe you,Aeoll be able to maintain it going forward, but optimism isn,Aeot always the best characteristic to have in hiring practices. Your organization should be able to support the staff that you bring on throughout the year, not just at your busiest times.
Subbing the work
Contract employees might be a simpler solution for some organizations. The business leaders know that this surge of work will subside and normalize back to a more familiar rate, but help is needed now. Looking to contract work you can hire external programmers (Innovad-*or Control Concepts-*to name a few) to help out with the commissioning of system solutions helps to resolve issues at the back end, but there,Aeos also no ensuring the quality of work from the contractor you,Aeore going to get and the added cost may not have been factored into the budget.
Perhaps it,Aeos more at the front end of the project (engineering and CAD) where you need the extra assistance. Finding a qualified engineer in the AV industry seems to be something many are looking for these days. It,Aeos also been brought to my attention a lot more these days that people don,Aeot necessarily understand that CAD isn,Aeot instantaneous ,Aei it takes time. There are individuals out there that can perform these tasks as contracted workers, but they may just be doing it as a side job. They might have a day job that limits their ability to be regularly working on the project. Again you face the issue of quality of work as well as unbudgeted cost if it hadn,Aeot been considered beforehand.
Using the contract employees if you can find one that suits your needs and budget for the project that,Aeos available can help to resolve the issue of needing to staff up for only a short amount of time, but it isn,Aeot necessarily a perfect fix if margins are tight and availability of the talent is scarce. Keeping a roster of those that you can call upon for these tasks is definitely something to do; and those contract employees could potentially turn into your next hire when that optimism for business growth pays off.
We can handle it!
You hire people for your business because they are qualified, skilled, talented, or somehow suit the model that you are striving to achieve in the long run. That means that the team you,Aeove built under your roof is the best possible talent you could assemble. As such, they are capable of great and wonderful things ,Aei pulling many rabbits out of hats when necessary. Therefore they should be able to handle themselves and push forward when the surge of work hits, right?
Well, the simple answer is that in many cases they will certainly be able to push forward and complete the projects on the docket, but it won,Aeot be without complications. The end results might not live up to the same quality of the work before and after the surge. People have limits. They can be stretched for short periods of time, but pushing them to limits and keeping them there for extended periods of time will result in mistakes, frustration, tension around the office, and ultimately burnout. Once you hit that point it takes a while to recover and you could end up searching for qualified team members to replace the ones that decide to go elsewhere.
Asking your team to go to those lengths isn,Aeot an easy call to make. If there isn,Aeot the money to support the outside help to accomplish the task you have to just power through and hope for the best. If there isn,Aeot anyone available to assist and help for the short term in the roles required then you,Aeore left with no alternative.
What’s-*your solution?
It comes with the growth of any business. At some point in time you have to make the decision to add employees or cut employees due to the workload requirements. As an industry we don,Aeot have the promise of consistency because a lot of our work is based on construction.
I fully expect the answer to be different for each company, but how does your company manage this issue when business is good but you don,Aeot expect it to last? Do you hire and hope for the best? Contract it out? Or just power through with what you have?

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