HR 21 December 2016

Why smart recruitment is the key to scaling your business

recruitment
An onboarding process should ease a new hire into company culture

Businesses shouldn’t be defined by their staff. Nobody should be so indispensable to an organisation that it cannot survive and thrive without them, writes co-CEO at Sonovate Richard Prime.

Companies that are looking to scale would do well to avoid being too systematic about their recruitment strategies. When employees become cogs in the machinery of a business, it’s much harder to drive the business forward.

When your organisation becomes larger and more complicated, capable individuals are more important than ever – and a sophisticated smart recruitment strategy becomes critical. Follow these four steps to establish a talent acquisition plan that encourages growth.

Training and onboarding

When it comes to smart recruitment, it’s important to get off to a good start. Some 69 per cent of employees are more likely to stay with a company for up to three years if they enjoyed a good onboarding process.

So don’t throw people into the deep end. Develop training and onboarding processes that both ease your new hires into your company’s culture and expectations, and get them up to speed.

Make sure they’re aware of key internal stakeholder relationships – who they report to, who their supervisor reports to, and so forth.

Explain company jargon and etiquette – what to do, what not to do, what is and isn’t part of the business culture. Finally – and most importantly – anticipate gaps in their knowledge and provide educational resources to fill them.

Look beyond core competencies

Having a clearly defined hiring profile is important, but it can foster bad hiring habits. In particular, when you refuse to veer from a predetermined set of criteria, you inevitably end up recruiting the same kind of person with the same set of core competencies.

Don’t be afraid to be a little flexible. A skill that might seem useless to you during the interview process could end up being your ace in the hole in the near future. When your business is growing, its requirements grow in kind. Language skills might not seem relevant now, but when you’re looking to expand into overseas markets, they may well prove invaluable.

Hire people with diverse competencies. The more unique skills you acquire, the more adaptable you become, putting you in an excellent position for business growth.

Commit to company culture

Organisations must be more than mere systems. They must be comprised of values, and individuals who uphold them. Anyone you hire must be willing to do so – and it’s vital that your selection process communicates the company’s positive, forward-thinking culture as clearly as possible.

If your potential employee is brilliant, but seems like a poor fit for your specific set of business values, you may wish to reconsider hiring them. They can’t be noncommittal or negative about your vision for the organisation.

Hire experts and listen to them 

As a company scales, its knowledge needs to scale with it. Hiring individuals with specialist expertise and experience can expand the range of possibilities for your business.

These hires need to have a robust understanding of your industry, its challenges, and its history; they must be able to identify and analyse current trends and act upon this information. Your industry experts should know what works about your company and what needs work; which of your practices give you a competitive advantage and which drag you down.

Listen to your employees when they challenge your assumptions and venture new ideas. Recruiting to scale is all about going beyond what you already know.

As the legendary advertising executive David Ogilvy once said: “If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.”

Whilst these four points are all important, the most essential thing is to hire people who are responsive to change – and to be responsive yourself. In order to grow it’s necessary to be adaptable, flexible, and forward-thinking: both new entry-level staff and managers should be considered future board members or senior leaders.

If you aim to recruit to scale, you should keep this firmly in mind. In the end, a business isn’t really a machine, but an organism – and organisms need room to grow and evolve.

Richard Prime is co-CEO at Sonovate.

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