Ineffective staff utilization results from the inappropriate or misguided hiring, placement, training and oversight of a business’s employee pool. Left unchecked, ineffective use of employees can slow productivity, decrease morale and financially damage a company. In a small-business environment, every position can impact the company’s health, making effective staff utilization a necessity.

Hiring Mistakes

Some forms of ineffective staff utilization stem directly from hiring. When you retain an employee who is unqualified, unskilled or unprepared for his assigned tasks, he is likely to be ineffective in his role. Likewise, a job applicant who misrepresents her skills or abilities can perform poorly in her position. Additional hiring mistakes can occur when an interviewer fails to check credentials or references to ensure the performance abilities of job candidates.

Lack of Training

Employees who are placed in roles with little or no training or direction are likely to be ineffective in their performance levels. Even experienced workers using unfamiliar types of equipment or operating systems can underperform their duties. Initial and ongoing instruction and regular performance evaluations are necessary to keep employees growing.


Putting employees in one role when they are better qualified to serve in a different capacity can result in ineffective staff utilization. For example, if you hire a trained pastry chef to be a busboy in your restaurant, even if the employee does a good job busing tables, his true professional talents are being wasted in that role. Better use of his skills would be to put him in a pastry chef position.


Hiring too many people or hiring overqualified people can result in ineffective staff utilization. If employees find themselves with nothing to do, are bored in their tasks or complete them quickly, you are essentially paying them for doing nothing. Likewise, if you hire overqualified people for menial tasks that don’t allow them to use their full range of talent, you are losing out on the potential of that employee.


Hiring too few people to perform necessary functions can result in overworked, less efficient employees. Always strive to anticipate staffing needs and weigh the potential loss of business that can result from ineffective staff utilization. For example, if you decide to schedule one employee to work as a cashier for your retail outlet when you really need two employees to run the shift effectively, you run the risk of alienating customers due to long wait times. The value of lost business can end up costing more than the hourly wage for the additional staffer.

Poor Management

Poor staff management skills can result in ineffective staff utilization. A manager who is unable to assess employee skills and position staffers in roles according to their abilities runs the risk of mismanaging his available manpower. Not only does this harm the business, but it also can drive away the employees your business should be attracting -- talented people who want to put their skills to work where they do the most good.