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, many companies do not take this important issue seriously enough to improve their odds of Scaling Up their teams the right way. They tend to lack the necessary set of skills and processes required for Scaling Up 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 up 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 cost effectively broaden your reach to your target audience. Contact placement offices at local universities and make them aware of open positions you have.

Proper screening, effective interviewing, and selection

For this step, you can use Brad Smart’s Topgrading methodology. I suggest you start by using the effective and easier to implement “Lite” version as outlined here Topgrading Lite: Five Steps to Hiring Process:

  • Inject the Topgrading “Truth Serum”
  • Use the Topgrading snapshot to screen candidates
  • Use the Topgrading interview guide
  • Use a tandem interviewer
  • Ask candidates to arrange reference calls with former bosses

This is a highly effective methodology that can significantly improve your hiring success rate well above the current average of 25% most companies experience without using Topgrading.

Comprehensive Onboarding

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 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 most importantly about facilitating relationship building with other team members including the senior leadership team.

When done properly, onboarding cause 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 and 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 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 up your business.

Ongoing learning and development

The CFO asked: What if we invest in our people and they leave?
To which the CEO responded: What if we don’t and they stay?

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 up 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 sustained competitive advantage.

Commit to invest and actually spend 3% of your revenues on on-going employee learning and organizational development or risk becoming irrelevant.

Scaling Up People the Right Way

Scaling Up People the right way is one of the most commonly neglected disciplines in mid-market companies. It is underappreciated, 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 Up People the right way as outlined here will allow you to build your business on solid foundation and over time will enable you to dominate your industry.