As a business leader, adding people to your organization is one of the most important decisions you will make. It is common for leaders to underestimate the consequences of hiring the wrong person. These consequences include:
- Impact on morale and motivation of existing employees
- Wasted onboarding time and effort
- Direct cost of the new hire
- Opportunity cost where the money and time could have been spent more productively
- Cost, stress, and anxiety when severing the relationship
All the same time, many companies do not take this important issue seriously enough to improve their odds of scaling their teams the right way. They tend to lack the necessary set of skills and processes required for scaling resources the right way. These processes must include:
- Attracting the right candidates
- Proper screening, effective interviewing, and selection
- Comprehensive onboarding
- Regular and structured internal coaching
- Ongoing learning and development
Here are some proven best practices for scaling your organization the right way:
Attracting the Right Candidates
Make sure you emphasize the purpose and values of your company in your recruiting material and include these prominently as part of the job description. More job seekers are interested in being part of a compelling purpose and an environment consistent with their values. Once this is done, encourage current employees to get the word out within their network and use appropriate online services to broaden reach to your target audience.
Proper Screening, Effective Interviewing & Selection
For this step, you can use Geoff Smart’s “Who” methodology as described in his book Who: The A Method for Hiring. At a high level, the method involves:
- Creating a scorecard for the position
- The screening
- The “who” interview
- The “focus” interview
- Checking references
- Selling the right candidate on why they should join
This is a highly effective methodology that can significantly improve your hiring success rate to well above the current 25% average most companies experience without using this method.
Effective onboarding is a golden (and often missed) opportunity to welcome, engage, stimulate, and assimilate a new employee into the organization. It is often done poorly, if at all, with an adverse impact on engagement and productivity. Onboarding must focus on immersing a new hire with the purpose and values of the company. It is about deeply understanding what the company is all about and about facilitating relationship-building with other team members, including the senior leadership team.
When done properly, onboarding causes a new hire to feel welcomed and comfortable, curious and excited, energetic and passionate, and happy about having made the right decision to join your company.
Regular & Structured Internal Coaching
Active coaching and real time two-way feedback is important, especially at the start. There have been a lot of books written about crucial conversations, fierce conversations, difficult conversations, etc. My view is that being direct and conversational at the start of any relationship (and on an ongoing basis) will significantly reduce or eliminate the need for “difficult” conversations down the road. The key is to communicate frequently, clearly, candidly, and in real-time as issues come up.
Regular and well-structured coaching improves engagement and creates a sense of safety and belonging. This in turn will boost productivity and loyalty, both critical components of scaling your business.
Ongoing Learning & Development
Our crazy-busy business world is characterized by increased complexity, added interdependencies and rapid acceleration. Keeping up is no longer enough. You must stay ahead; you must anticipate the shifts and turns. To scale your business, you must anticipate and actively participate in shaping the future needs of your customers.
In an environment where everyone has the same access to information, data, and resources, ongoing learning and development is a must and increasingly becoming the only sustainable competitive advantage.
Commit to investing in on-going employee learning and organizational development or risk becoming irrelevant.
Scaling People the Right Way
Scaling people the right way is one of the most commonly neglected disciplines in mid-market companies. It is underappreciated and viewed as unnecessary or overly complicated. This is why the success rate of hiring is merely 25% with tragic consequences to the success of businesses and the health of the economy at large.
Following a disciplined process and investing the necessary time and energy in scaling people the right way as outlined here will allow you to build your business on a solid foundation and over time will enable you to dominate your industry.