How can I be sure my firm is leveraging individuals to their max potential without burning them out?

First, you need a comprehensive capacity-resource-planning system to monitor utilization of current staffers and projects as they progress.

First, you need a comprehensive capacity-resource-planning system to monitor utilization of current staffers and projects as they progress. This ensures employees will be on time and within budget without being overbooked. It also offers a reasonable level of predictability.

Once a firm reaches a certain size, say 50, a simple spreadsheet doesn't cut it. An enterprise-resource-planning solution built specifically for PR and marcomms companies can take short- and long-term planning to a new level.

In the short term, you can easily see across clients and projects which are on time and within budget juxtaposed with information about how staff resources are being allocated to client work.

Additionally, such a system delivers the bird's eye view of the firm's people and projects for the future that is required for long-term planning.

Secondly, keep your finger on the pulse by walking around the office and require other senior managers to do so. Combine that first-hand knowledge from talking with staffers with capacity-resource reports to get a handle on what's really happening in your firm.

Steen Andersen is president at Maconomy USA.

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