Author: Ben Walker
Hiring Smart: How to build your team for growth
Growth it great. But not when it kills us!
When we all of a sudden have an influx of work, this stresses the team and us, as the business owner.
We often hear our clients who are experiencing rapid growth talk about their next hire. We all know that many hands make light work, and so it is a natural move forward - to find that extra pair of hands.
We find that thoughts usually steer towards coping with their current workload. For instance, hiring a part time team member to take up a little slack.
But sometimes there's some questions to ask before mapping out the path forward:
Does the best fit for your business generally look for a full time or permanent arrangement?
Where will you find this person?
Is this someone to be customer-facing and strategic - or someone focused on the operations of the business?
How will this person work in with our current team?
As the business owner, the decision about your next hire will mean the difference between steady growth and ferocious growth.
Asking the Experts
I've asked two experts to share their views on your next hire:
Firstly, I made contact with B1G1's Paul Dunn. B1G1: Business for Good is a global giving initiative that helps businesses positively impact lives and share in the joy of giving, just by doing what they normally do.
Before moving into the role of Chairman of B1G1, Paul built and sold many super successful businesses over the years. And has made this 'hiring for growth' decision dozens of times.
Paul has also helped hundreds of accounting firms throughout his career create better businesses, and identify what it takes to create an awesome team!
Paul says Hire Before the Growth Hits
Paul says, "In general, you hire BEFORE the growth — you hire to create it, not to deal with it. SO that means you hire the ‘strategy’ team members who then hire the operational team and so on".
What this means is purposefully planning capacity. Then your focus will move to filling it.
Your strategy team should help with this and build the team for you.
I also spoke to Alison McGrath, author of 'Getting the Balance Right - A Simple Guide to People Management and Recruitment' (you can read Alison's book here). Alison is also the founder of McGrath HR, a business with a focus on helping your people strategy is aligned to your business strategy.
Alison has spent thousands of hours in interviews and consulting around these topics (and McGrath HR is also a B1G1: Business for Good partner too! You can see her impact here.).
Alison Recommends Covering all Your Bases and Hiring Slow
When building a business for rapid growth my thoughts are you need to ensure all your business functions are covered.
When working with businesses, Alison's approach is to complete a skills gap analysis. Ideally you're looking to identify team members who can complement existing strengths and support the weaknesses in the business.
Alison says that you need to clearly know the skills you are seeking but also know what attitude you want and what behaviours you need in that team member. She also notes to not rush the hiring process, but think it through, gathering advice and definitely carrying out the background and reference checks.
In Alison's experience, the successful business owners are the ones that take the time to research, discuss, reflect then document their staff requirements. They list essential skills and desired skills, and follow a plan around the hiring to fit their growth.
The task of hiring is so important – get it right and you will reap the rewards, get it wrong and it could turn disastrous.