It can be a heady feeling when your small business or startup begins to grow in size for several reasons.
Not only does it provide validation that you were right to take the (brave and often expensive) step of setting up your own company in the first place, it also means that your hard work has now begun to pay off and continued success is in your sights.
So, how do you prevent a well-deserved heady feeling from, well; going to your head and ironically preventing you from keeping moving towards that horizon? The answer is to never take your eye off the ball in terms of change management.
This means you can smoothly transition through any periods of growth and this is especially important when it comes to employees.
A change management specialist will advise you that growth always involves change and this change always involves staffing issues – after all – it is your employees that can help make your business or, at the very worst, break it.
This is because people have minds and emotions of their own.
Change always creates some degree of fear and uncertainty, even when it is for the overall benefit and growth of the company. Fear and uncertainty, unless executed carefully by management, can bring out the worst in people where ordinarily you would only see their best.
Consider Potential Scenarios
Consider the scenario of a company that takes on a new member of staff due to a small growth in business.
The existing team of employees who have been there for some time do not “gel” with the newest recruit.
They feel resentment that they are being asked to take time out from their already increased workload to provide additional support and training until the newcomer gets up to speed.
Tensions arise in what was originally a settled and happy tight-knot office that ran like clockwork and rather ironically; productivity goes down when it was meant to be on the up!
Think about a growing business who feels they cannot afford to commit to paying for an additional member of staff despite the company workload increasing and existing staff being asked to take on additional duties for no additional remuneration or even shuffled to a different department.
Again – a once contented office becomes a hotbed of bad feeling and gossip, and you may be faced with a loss of productivity or even well-thought-of staff looking for alternative employment and leaving.
What are the Solutions?
So HOW do you deal with the staffing issues that arise when your small business or startup begins to grow in size?
Well – common sense goes a long way as does having empathy and an ability to see a situation from all angles and although you may not have a crystal ball – a keen awareness of the potential issues that could arise will come in handy.
However, one thing a growing company may not have considered is embarking on change management training.
During this training you could hear from those who have been there, done that and got the t-shirt.
Hearing about other people’s experiences may allow you to put the best practices in place and free up your time to focus on actually capitalising on the growth your business is experiencing.
Change Management Training
The professionals will help you to move through any staffing issues your company may be experiencing, but you don’t have to wait until it gets to that point!
Being forewarned is forearmed, and so it’s never too early or too late to bring the big guns in!
Every change management company will have its own style of teaching, but here are some helpful hints and tips that should help your company grow as well as keeping your staff onside to grow along with you.
- Treat it like parenting
It is better to be proactive than reactive, and an easy way of looking at this is to consider business growth to parenting a child where each new phase of growth brings challenges as well as rewards.
It is how you approach those challenges that makes all the difference to your levels of success and stress!
Having the right staff on hand at the right times is crucial to get the job done, as is your knowledge of each individual member of staff personally; including their strengths and weaknesses and how to relate to them as individuals. Some will be happy to help a new recruit adjust.
Others may prefer to keep to themselves but take on additional duties, and some may be willing to give a new department a try – especially if they want to expand their work experience and/or credentials.
- Be creative
Although it is important to have both short-term and long-term staffing goals in place; sometimes meeting an immediate need throws the best-laid plans out the window!
In the case of a period of short-term growth; hiring a temp can be the perfect solution or drafting a member of staff from a quieter department. Even out-sourcing work especially basic but time-consuming administrative duties can be a godsend as can having an automated reception.
- Training and development programs
Implementing in-house training can be an effective long-term strategy, especially during times of change.
Employees who can perform alternative roles or additional duties for some kind of reward (monetary/additional holiday) can be a great boon to a business who then may not need to worry about hiring and firing.
- Internal promotions
An internal member of staff who is considered and hired to fill a higher value position will usually create a greater sense of good feeling and team unity than a “hot shot” new recruit.
It also then provides other internal staff with the ability to move up the corporate ladder leaving perhaps the least experienced and less paid position open to a new recruit.
With some patience and a great relationship with your staff, you should be able to overcome the obstacles that come with business growth and start enjoying the fruits of your labour.