Hiring for Growth: Scaling Your Workforce to Match Expansion - Executive Recruiters - Cowen Partners

      Hiring for Growth: Scaling Your Workforce to Match Your Business’s Expansion

      Growing businesses often make one of two equal and opposite mistakes. The first is hiring more people than the business can currently sustain, while the second is hiring too few workers, thereby preventing the business from achieving and maintaining growth. As you work to avoid these errors, ensure that you adhere to and follow some of today’s best practices for hiring for sustainable business growth.

      The Danger of Scaling Too Fast

      Hiring too many people at once can dilute your company culture, causing you to lose control over your organizational ethos or employer brand. Additional practical dangers include the following:

      • Being unable to absorb the added cost of payroll
      • Potentially hiring the wrong people
      • Causing existing employees to feel undervalued (or even threatened)

      For most companies, payroll represents their largest operating expense. As such, hiring too quickly can quickly strip you of your ability to sustain your daily operations, let alone pursue business growth.

      The Danger of Scaling Too Slow

      Some entrepreneurs may be cautious about taking on new employees, but retreating to the opposite extreme and scaling too slowly presents its own set of dangers, such as:

      • A limited ability to take on new opportunities
      • Existing employees that may become overburdened if business increases
      • A lack of a talent pool from which to draw and replace employees who leave

      Without a forward-thinking recruiting strategy, you may soon find your business unable to grow at all.

      Strategies to Help You Scale Effectively

      There’s no secret formula for avoiding these two growth pitfalls, but the following strategies can help you develop a manageable plan to match your business expansion with your employee headcount:

      Identify Your Needs

      Start by taking inventory of your specific needs or company goals. Growth, after all, doesn’t have to be company-wide. You may be looking to expand into a particular market segment, for instance, or to introduce a new product or service.

      Defining your needs and goals will enable you to zero in on the skill sets you need to achieve them. Such an approach will also prevent you from simply hiring more of the same employees you currently have and push you to instead search for specific skill sets like marketing, web development, or accounting.

      Pursue Modular Growth

      As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are most businesses. Once you define your goals, you can construct a plan for assembling your team and addressing your most immediate needs. Whenever possible, pursue growth slowly, on an almost step-by-step basis.

      For example, suppose that your goal is to open additional retail locations. Instead of opening five new stores all at once, focus on one at a time. Doing so will let you pursue slow, sustained growth, and it will also let you learn from the process so that hiring for the other four locations goes all the more smoothly.

      Define Your Company Culture

      Hiring additional personnel can have a profound impact on your workplace culture.

      With that in mind, take the time to determine the standards you will expect your new employees to uphold, as well as the processes you will use to define productivity or success.

      These elements aren’t just about maintaining your current culture — they’re also part of your employer brand.

      Your company culture should be a major “selling point” when you engage in recruiting, as it can help potential candidates understand what makes your workplace so unique. 

      Automate Core Processes to Maximize Current Staff

      Automation can actually decrease your need to boost your employee headcount, streamlining things like your accounts payable/receivable processes, customer communications, and even certain marketing tasks.

      Furthermore, business automation can allow you to increase your customer volume without overburdening your current staff or creating a need to hire for administrative positions. Additionally, automated tools can increase your accuracy as well as ensure regulatory compliance.

      Diversify Your Workforce with Part-Time and Contractors

      Don’t just assume that the only path forward is through the acquisition of additional full-time staff. Diversify your workforce by hiring part-time employees to handle daily activities, or even consider hiring contractors to handle specialized tasks.

      You may be able to hire a contractor to assist with web development, and since most in the field are available to work remotely, you’ll eliminate the need to search locally for individuals with that kind of skill set. 

      Develop a Clear Onboarding Strategy

      Before you even start advertising for your company, it’s important to develop a clear and structured onboarding process. It should be designed to integrate new hires into your workplace culture and define clear expectations for their productivity and success.

      Creating a clear onboarding process eliminates the friction that often leads to rapid employee turnover. It also empowers your workers to get up to speed so that they can better serve your company and your valued customers.

      Implement Employee Engagement Surveys

      Throughout the process, it’s important to stay in tune with your workplace culture. You can do that through employee engagement surveys, which you can distribute on a quarterly, monthly, or even weekly basis.

      These will keep your finger on the pulse of your current workforce and make it so you can address issues that might otherwise contribute to employees quitting. These surveys will also help you assess the way new employees are integrating into your organization and how confident they are at accomplishing their given tasks.

      Get Help from a Staffing Firm

      Of course, if you’re not sure where to start, you might reach out for support from a professional staffing firm.

      Third-party agencies can connect you with recruiters and other professionals to guide your search process.

      Recruiting firms have the experience, expertise, and resources to help you build a talent pool to draw from, eliminating the need to simply match candidates to individual positions and nurture relationships to build employee engagement even before the interview begins. 

      Develop a Manageable Pipeline

      The right recruiting strategy will allow you to scale your workforce without overtaxing your resources or altering your company culture.

      By following the above tips and strategies, you can develop a manageable recruitment pipeline that matches your business growth.

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