Why should I insist that our managers justify open positions?

Think about the last time a position was approved in your small business.  How much time was spent on the justification and job profile?  Or creating a business case for spending $100,000 annually, and often much more. 

Small business owners and CEOs often don't have the time or know what questions to ask to ensure that the proper due diligence is done up front and that the position can be defended by the manager.  So we've created this form that provides the framework so you know exactly what questions to ask.  The end result will be a mini business case that should defend the decision for the additional headcount.  It's likely that you'll never see the ones that don't! 

  • Be prepared. This form will take some time to complete by your managers asking for headcount. It requires some calculations and work up front, but is well worth the effort. You will encounter fierce resistance and push back from managers when asked to justify a position and do the homework up front, particularly if you're a small business where your managers may not be accustomed to robust processes or controls. You may hear words like, ‘bureaucratic’, ‘unnecessary’, or ‘HR make-work project’. And you will definitely hear, ‘I’m too busy to fill out this form’!

    Use your ‘red tape chips’ wisely when requesting staff to complete time-intensive processes. It is highly recommended that you insist your managers follow this process.

    This form is not a make-work project. Your workforce is your most costly expense. Adding significantly to that expense requires detailed justification, as would be required with any capital investment. Be friendly but firm. Follow through with your request and insist that this be done. Managers are paid to manage, plan, and justify resources. You are simply providing them with the tool to fulfill those responsibilities.
  • Ask a stakeholder with a healthy respect for the bottom line to vet all requests for new hires outside of the budgeting process.  A face to face interview is conducted with the hiring manager to present his business case.
  • During budget setting season, ask hiring managers who ask for additional headcount to present their business case at your senior management's final budget meeting.