How Hiring Under Duress Can Create More Problems Than It Solves

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For every growing startup, they inevitably hit a point where there’s more work than hours in the day.  Employees are staying late, projects are missing completion dates, and focus is getting pulled in too many directions.  The team is stretched too thin, and the only answer is ramping up the size of the company.

 

“We need more bodies” is often used to convey this thought.  But without proper planning, a hiring phase can become a short-term fix that creates long-term problems, especially for startups.  Let’s discuss some of the questions that need to be answered before your company begins ramping up.

 

Will Hiring Fix Your Company’s Pain Points, Or Just Mask Them?

 

Before rushing to hire, first evaluate if adding additional staff is even the right solution. If you’re hiring someone to do manual work, it’s worth looking into whether that work can be automated, or if there’s a platform that provides a scalable solution to their workload.

Perhaps your client base has grown exponentially, but your account management team is struggling to provide the same level of service as they had prior.  Obviously you need to ramp up the size of your team, right? Maybe, maybe not. Before adding additional staff, review the team’s processes and systems. Are there too many touch points?  Can an FAQ section on your site address the majority of the issues your team is dealing with? Is the account management team using the best tool available, or are they getting by with a free service like Google Sheets?  Is there a platform out there that can streamline their workflow?

Oftentimes looking at the larger picture will still require your company to hire someone to solve the problem, but it will bring clarity into what the bigger problem is that you’re trying to solve.  By looking at the larger problem, you’ll hire for the right problem, not the immediate one.

 

How Will This Role Look In The Future?

 

Before going down the recruiting rabbit-hole, picture how you see the role a year from now.  Is the position a short-term focus that may become less of a priority down the road? Or will this position be a key component of a larger initiative that will grow your business?  Clearly understanding the role’s future will shape what the right candidate would look like: seniority, experience, subject matter expertise, team management, etc.  Take the time to look at the position's future so that your new hire has long-term success in the role.  

Can You Take The Time To Train Your New Hire?

 

The unfortunate reality of any new employee is that work has to slow down in order to get that person ramped up.  If each day feels like a fire drill, then slowing down might be the last thing you want your company to do. Spend time coming up with a training plan for the new position that breaks down what programs, processes and skills they need to learn as well as who will be responsible for teaching these components to them.  Be realistic with how long it will take, especially if your business relies on proprietary in-house tools. This can also be a great opportunity to review (or create!) documentation for your processes. Documentation gives the new hire something to refer back to versus asking repeated questions, and it also aligns your employees on how tasks should be done correctly.

 

What Impact Would The New Hire Have On Your Team?

 

In a perfect world, your company’s employees will welcome additional help and immediately make their best efforts to make their newest coworker feel like part of the tribe.  In actuality, it’s more than likely that there will be individuals that will feel threatened by someone else coming in.  Employees may feel their own career growth threatened by a new employee and fear that their opportunities will become limited, especially if the new person comes with more experience or deeper subject matter knowledge.  Spend time working on a growth plan for them based on what their workload will look like with the new hire in place. Transparency is always the better option, and communication will help set the right expectations for the team going forward.

 

If any of these issues are affecting your business and impacting your ability to grow, reach out to us.  We have the tools and resources to make an immediate difference.  

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