We’ve reached Part 3 of our three-part series on agency resource management essentials. In Part 1, we covered tips on resourcing current projects, and in Part 2, we looked at the reports and forecasts to improve profitability. Now in Part 3, we’ll shift our focus to the future – how to help your agency rightsize and hire to match the current workload and meet the needs of your future caseload. By focusing on managing freelancers and hiring the right people at the right time, you’re setting your agency up to scale and grow.
Carefully Planning Your Agency’s Growth
Before you start hiring or even looking at freelancers, it’s important to start with the data. Review your forecasts and plans, and let them inform you when is the right time to hire. This is why accurate revenue forecasting is so important, as it combines both short-term and long-term planning to help you make hiring decisions. In addition to revenue data, consider your capacity planning to assess the resources needed for current and upcoming work. Once you’ve reviewed your forecasts and your plans, you’ll be in a position to hire strategically.
Preparing for Agency Growth by Tracking Pipeline
As mentioned in the planning section above, revenue forecasting is an important piece of the puzzle to scaling your agency while remaining profitable. You should review and update your pipeline forecast monthly to have accurate data to update your capacity forecast. If you don’t have probable work for a specific skillset beyond three months, it’s probably better to rely on freelancers to fill the gap rather than invest in hiring. To rightsize your agency for the work in your pipeline, you need to balance both your backlog of current work and probable opportunities with a long-term overview of your resource capacity. This is a tricky but critical balance to get right.
Finding the Right People to Support Agency Growth
You’ve reviewed your short-term and long-term plans, and you’ve crunched the numbers forecasting revenue, when is the right time to start hiring? There’s no black-and-white answer, but in general, if your agency has steady revenue, strong client retention, and a healthy pipeline, you’re likely in a good position to hire additional talent. Consider starting with freelancers until you consistently need certain skills for projects. Freelancers will bring additional flexibility and productivity and enable you to access top talent without paying a premium to keep them on your payroll. But a clear sign it’s time to hire is if you can’t keep up with the current workload and employees report signs of burnout. The best way to track this is to watch your utilization rate.
Beyond knowing the right time to hire, your current employees are a valuable resource. Turnover is expensive, particularly in a competitive job market. So how do you retain your current talent? First: build an attractive work culture. Find out what’s most important to your employees, do they want flexible hours or remote work? Another key indicator to help you keep employees happy is to prevent burnout by maintaining a balanced workload. And lastly, increase employee satisfaction by helping your current employees to upskill. Both junior and more experienced talent will find greater job satisfaction if you support their ability to learn and grow and align further training with their overall career goals.
Integrate Management of Your People and Projects
That wraps up our Agency Resource Management Essentials series! Stay tuned; we’ll share a link to our new resource management guide soon. In the meantime, if your agency wants to streamline processes and improve your operations, our agency industry experts would happily walk you through the Deltek WorkBook total agency management system. Click the link to learn how Deltek WorkBook can help you manage your people, projects, and finances to grow your agency.