How to Ask Your Boss for More Staff

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In recent years, phrases such as "doing more with less" became common within the workplace. During the recent national economic downturn, many organizations made difficult staffing decisions including eliminating vacant positions, reducing available hours and laying off workers. Workforce reductions do not always signal reduced workloads and ultimately the need to hire new staff can surface. Managers seeking additional staff should approach company leadership with strategic recommendations for increasing the workforce.

Determine the appropriateness of your request. Organizations struggling to meet revenue goals may institute hiring freezes or refuse to hire for anything but the most essential positions. Companies recovering from difficult times may want to observe trends before making new staffing projections, let alone actions.

Gather quantifiable support for your request. Compile collateral information regarding the current workload and current staff performance. Make note of factors such as employees having to work additional hours to meet productivity demands.

Observe the labor market at large as well as your industry to glean relevant information about current staffing practices.

Determine the most appropriate and cost-effective position types to meet your staffing needs. Do you need another engineer or could a paraprofessional-level employee fill the productivity gap? Do you need another full-time professional or can a couple of part-time technicians meet your needs?

Inform your boss or leadership team of your concerns regarding staffing levels and request the opportunity to discuss more formally.

Present many staffing scenarios for consideration. Articulate what you foresee for the organization if it maintains the status quo, makes a conservative staffing decision or opts for your ideal staffing recommendation.


  • Prepare to defend your request, particularly if the organization has recently struggled. Respond to requests for additional information in a timely and respectful fashion.