How to Deal with Business Growth in 10 Easy Steps
Your company isn’t a fresh-faced start-up with just a handful of employees anymore. It’s a fully-fledged organisation, and it’s bursting at the seams!
You’ve got new hires coming in left right and centre, your workforce is brimming with enthusiasm and everybody has ambitious visions for the future. So how do you handle this kind of rapid company growth?
Here are 10 simple steps to help you steer your ship through these exciting but stormy waters.
1. Keep the Culture that Made You Great.
Do you remember how exciting everything was when you were a start-up? Chances are that you had a pretty good culture that kept you going strong. But the bigger you grow, the harder this is to keep. Take a good hard look at everything you did in your infancy, and keep the bits that made you great while removing the bits that will probably hold you back.
2. Embrace Flexible Working
If you insist on only employing people who can fit themselves to your preferred way of working (such as “full-time employees who can work Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm), then you might be shutting out a huge chunk of top talent that could be helping your business grow. Don’t be afraid of stepping into new waters, such as hiring freelancers, home workers or people who can only work unusual hours.
After periods of intense growth, businesses can often be left with one (or more) ‘all-powerful employees’ who control lots of processes and key decisions. As your business grows, the people in these positions may end up with more than they can handle – but they are often reluctant to let go of the power. These are called ‘bottlenecks’, as they are making a narrower passage for progress to flow through.
4. Automate Your Processes
As your business grows, it will become harder and harder to manage all your HR forms, processes and systems using Word or Excel files, without investing huge chunks of manual labour. It can be very confusing, too. Investing in HR software can help you to automate a lot of your people processes, saving you both time and money. Some systems even have features designed specifically to support business growth.
5. Look For Leadership Gaps
In the same way that ‘bottlenecks’ can block progress, leadership gaps can let progress slip away from you. As your teams grow, you need more leadership – if you don’t fill these roles you end up with a ‘leadership vacuum’. As you walk the floors or visit the different departments, keep an eye out for people who demonstrate
6. Encourage Teamwork
The bigger you get, the harder it becomes to communicate effectively. Put focus on teamwork and collaboration skills when organising training – it will help your business to continue working harmoniously as a single entity.
7. Hire a Dedicated HR Specialist
Once you’re employing 30 people and beyond, you’ll have a hard time managing HR on your own. Look to hire a dedicated professional or team of professionals, to help you run the HR and employment law areas of the business.
8. Give Employees Shares in Your Business
The more invested your people are in your company, the harder they will work to help it grow successfully. If you let your employees benefit directly from your company’s success – for example, by having a share/stock option scheme – you will find that the business grows more successfully and more naturally.
9. Avoid Overworking Staff
Periods of growth often bring an extra workload, and this can sometimes lead to your staff trying to burn the candle at both ends. If you notice people who are regularly putting in more than 40 hours a week, you might want to step in – productivity will begin to suffer otherwise, and you’ll get much less out of each hour than you do when your people are enjoying a healthy work-life balance.
10. Share Knowledge
When your company grows, try to make sure specific chunks of key knowledge don’t end up locked in one employee’s head. Encourage the use of systems and processes that encourage cross-sector knowledge sharing, training and mentoring. This way your employees could learn all the skills in house that you might otherwise outsource.
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