As a leader, there are many considerations to be made when developing your business. Out of all the elements that come with growing a startup, it can be argued that expanding your team is one of the most important.
While being able to adapt to how your business grows and develops across time in a fluid manner is a useful skill, one can never underestimate the advantages of planning. We believe that having plans in place to accommodate the growth of your team will be an asset in ensuring your business will thrive through transitional periods.
Here are our top three considerations to keep in mind when hiring new team members.
Growing Sustainably: Knowing When it’s Time to Hire
There may not always be a clear sign that you need to fill a new position in your office. Especially as an entrepreneur starting from the ground up, it’s not as simple as having a set list of roles to fill.
That being said, it’s imperative that you think critically about your startup’s immediate plans. Anticipating your current and future needs in terms of employee bandwidth is crucial for the sustainability of your and your team’s workload.
Here are 6 key questions to ask yourself to determine whether you’re ready to add to your team:
- Are you or any of your team members regularly dedicating more than 40 hours a week to work in order to maintain operations?
- Have you asked your team for their input on hiring additional employees?
- Are there any projects on the horizon that will increase workload before currently running projects are completed?
- Do you regularly have to adjust deadlines in order for there to be enough time to meet them?
- Are you noticing a recurring gap in your team’s production capacities that creates setbacks?
- Given your recent growth, does hiring a new employee make sense financially?
Adjusting for Your Needs: Taking Risks and Customizing Roles
Expecting roles to change is important, especially when dealing with smaller teams. Over time, the increase of education and accessibility of short-term training through online means has allowed for workers to develop extremely diverse skillsets.
In smaller teams, the gaps in capabilities that arise are oftentimes highly specific. It may seem like a risk to hire someone more junior or who doesn’t appear to fit the role 100%, but it also allows for an opportunity to bring in new insights to the workplace.
When creating new roles to accommodate your startup’s growth, hone in on one specific vertical for the position (such as design or project management), but keep yourself open to a variety of experiences. Prepare yourself to tweak the scope of the role based on the knowledge and skills the person you find brings to the table. Don’t be afraid to include training in the role’s growth plan to support your business’ trajectory.
Resources such as LinkedIn Learning are accessible tools to help round out your team’s skills.
Adapting Your Workflow: Creating Structure and Delegating
Bringing in additional talent to your team is a great help in the long run, but can create some initial challenges you should prepare yourself for too. Establishing some project management standards in the onboarding of your new hire can help ease this burden to start with.
In addition to setting up your new hire’s ramp-up, another challenge to expanding your team is identifying what can be delegated. Learning to delegate as an entrepreneur brings on its own difficulties given you’re so close to your business, but it’s another crucial step in ensuring the sustainability of your growth.
In smaller teams, everyone wears many different hats, especially the CEO/Founder. It may be hard to relinquish some of the established responsibilities, especially as the new hire will likely need time to adjust and learn. Don’t let the transition scare you away from assigning them ownership of tasks. It’s important to be patient with them to let them grow into their new role.
A key lesson one must learn as an entrepreneur is that, even though others may not complete tasks exactly as you would, it doesn’t mean you should continue doing everything yourself. Trust your team to take on aspects of your business as you grow and trust yourself to guide them.
The people that make up your business are your most valuable resource. In order to ensure your startup continues to thrive, it’s important to always assess whether your team is ready to expand or not. Keep a close eye on your team’s output and how much bandwidth it takes to maintain your base operations. If you foresee your venture beginning to take on bigger projects or notice recurring gaps in skillsets, don’t hesitate with bringing on new talent.
When introducing new team members, be prepared for their roles to be adjusted and moulded based on their specific knowledge. In this digital age, most workers have a highly diverse set of skills, so it’s to your business’ benefit to allow them the room to shape their role. Throughout all this, trusting your team and your own leadership is imperative.
As a business leader, what are some of the key indicators you look for when determining whether it’s time to add a new role to the team?