Determining the necessary staffing level without sacrificing service quality is crucial for businesses. Striking a balance between staffing levels and service quality can be tricky. Having too many employees will plague the company with costly inefficiency, while with too few, the overall productivity will decline and employee stress will increase.
Achieving the right level of staffing within an organization helps contribute to the set of desired objectives. Having said that, having an unbalanced level of staff within an organization can lead to several factors regardless if the company is short-staffed or in excess.
What Is Staffing Level?
Staffing level refers to the identification of the ratio needed to perform a task. Staffing level is a strategy that is often mistaken with recruitment strategies. Nevertheless, both staffing levels and recruitment are different, as recruitment is a part of the staffing strategy in an organization.
Recruitment’s role is to source candidates to fill in certain positions that have been set by staffing strategies. The balancing act of hiring more or fewer employees needed to run a business should not be taken lightly or on impulse.
What Is Service Quality?
Service quality is a measure of how an organization delivers its services compared to the expectations of its customers. More often than not, customers purchase a service as a response to specific needs. However, expectations and standards may differ from one customer to another on how businesses should deliver their services to fulfill those needs.
The quality of service can be measured into four categories: reliability, tangibility, empathy, and responsiveness.
Four dimensions of service quality:
- Reliability – to consistently satisfy customer needs based on industry, societal, and organizational standards.
- Tangibility – an organization’s ability to portray tangible service quality such as the appearance of the company facility, employee attire, and marketing materials.
- Empathy – being empathetic to customers’ desires and demands. A company that cares about the well-being of its customers will likely have more loyal customers.
- Responsiveness – an ability to reply to customer requests, feedback, questions, and issues instantly.
Delicate Balance Between Staffing Level And Service Quality
Staffing level and service quality should always be in a state of equilibrium. The right balance between staffing level and service quality maximizes an organization’s resources. Too much staff will lead to high costs, less staff will result in overworked staff, then a lower quality of service, and a higher turnover rate, which costs millions for big companies.
3 Methods To Determine Optimal Staffing Levels
Now that we’ve discussed staffing levels and service quality is important in maintaining profitability and limiting wastage. Determining the right amount of employees needed to make your business operate efficiently can be challenging.
Evaluate Business Needs
Assess your needs, whether or not certain tasks or employees are overstretched or underutilized. Identify current and future staffing needs that coalesce with your goals. Determine critical needs, depending on the business’s current situation, and always have contingencies in place.
Ask Managers or Supervisors
Managers and supervisors have direct links with the service delivery personnel. They are in charge of the distribution of tasks within their respective departments. Having first-hand knowledge of whether they are short-staffed or not and its effects on productivity and service quality is an important insight into whether or not the organization has optimal staffing levels.
Use a customer satisfaction score (CSAT) to determine any insufficiencies or unfavorable service experiences based on customer responses. This metric will help you increase the quality of the service you provide to customers.
The Bottom Line
To sum it up, obtaining the desired service level for your business comes with challenges, because having too much staff may result in wasted resources. While too less would overstretch your employees and result in low service quality. Knowing if you have sufficient resources and knowledge regarding staffing strategies could help you maintain an ideal service level. However, it would be difficult for anyone to come up with the right number of staff needed to run an organization that will exceed or meet service level standards. Using the 3 methods to determine the optimal staffing level within your organization would help strike a balance.