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Companies Taking a “Wait and See” Approach to Workload Management Hires

U.S. companies are struggling to get relief for overworked employees as 60% of businesses say they need more employees to manage their workload but do not have the capacity to hire.

This is according to a recent survey from The Harris Poll commissioned by Express Employment Professionals.

This sentiment is felt most among larger companies, as companies with more than 500 employees are more likely than those with less than 500 employees to cite the need for additional workload relief (71% vs. 48%).

Of those who lack the bandwidth to hire additional employees, nearly half (48%) say it is a result of their company adjusting their recruiting/hiring strategy. Some are taking a "wait and see" approach, as around 2 in 5 US hiring decision-makers (42%) report their company is waiting to see if the workload will level out before hiring additional employees.

Around 3 in 10 say their upper management has not approved the hiring of additional staff (32%), or do not have enough money in the budget this year (30%).

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"In our market, the big fear is a recession," said Texas Express franchise owner Nancy Reed. "Businesses aren't confident in the future, and recession talk has employers waiting to see what will happen next. Most employers are entering the recession already underemployed, and this may be the only reason why they will hire in order to get their work completed.  Otherwise, managers will hold off on hiring for growth until they see what will happen with recession fears."

In Virginia, Express franchise owner Chris Cary agrees that while businesses aren't panicking yet, there are signs of cautious hiring.

"In one of our markets, we are not seeing this rear its head dramatically at the moment, but in speaking with business owners and leaders, there is a sense of what is around the next corner with inflation and chatter of a recession," he said.

To fill open positions, Cary believes both large and smaller companies are struggling, but bigger businesses seem to be more adept at recruiting and offering higher wages. Price increases across the globe coupled with inflation are forcing managers to make tough decisions.

"We may be going back to doing more with fewer employees," Reed said. "Some companies may choose to be more selective on what business they take on if it's not profitable and sustainable to pay for the required higher pay rates."

The hesitancy to hire is a turnaround from the last several months when hiring was rampant and companies accepted anyone who was willing to show up and train for the role.

"Employers would tolerate more absenteeism, tardiness and less experience," Reed said. "Now, they are holding off to see what happens. Managers will hire that skilled employee who is ready to come back but are holding off hiring any extra help until they see what will happen with the recession."

However, as a recruitment expert, Reed believes companies shouldn't be more conservative with hiring efforts going into the latter half of the year.

"Those employers who can budget, hire and train workers now that competition is not as fierce will be more than ready to take on the business when things turn," she said. "Employees who weren't ready to return to the workforce are now considering the search because they are worried that there will be more competition if they wait longer."

These latest survey results and feedback from Express experts further underscore the uniqueness of recession many office owners say is already underway.

"Business owners have a lot to keep them up at night without adding the lack of hiring capacity to already uncertain economic conditions," Express Employment International CEO Bill Stoller said. "We need more workers to come off the sidelines to help solve a multitude of workplace issues and help stabilize one piece of the global economy, at least here at home."