22/05/2014

By Tracy Filler, Growth Coach at GrowthAccelerator,

We all want to see our businesses grow and succeed. However, when a business grows very quickly in a short space of time this can create challenges, particularly around recruitment. It might be imperative to increase the size of your workforce quickly, but you need to ensure that you are still maintaining high standards and getting the staff you need, otherwise extra headcount might not actually transfer to more work being achieved.

So how does a rapidly growing business attract new talent, make sure it is hiring the right people and compete with larger employers that can offer an impressive addition to a candidate’s CV?

It doesn’t matter what size your business is, having a recruitment strategy in place can help you to hire the right people at the right time.


Build your profile
Whilst your company might be well known in your marketplace, it doesn’t mean top new talent will have heard of you. Today, the first thing most people see if they are researching a company is their website or social media presence. Using your website or social media channels as your ‘shop window’ can be a powerful way to present your company’s message but it is vital that you invest time in keeping both up to date. Content is most certainly king and you can make an impression on potential new talent even before you are looking to hire if you have blogs and social media channels that are up to date and well publicised.

Celebrate enterprise
Fast growing businesses are exciting places to work and the appeal of working within a truly entrepreneurial company is widely recognised by job hunters. Those that join your team will get to be a part of your growth journey, as well as getting some fantastic experience and exposure to a broader range of activities than if they were to work for a larger corporate with a narrower job role. Make sure that your website, your brand and the way you talk to potential candidates communicates how agile your business is, and showcase the dynamism and ambition within your team.

Define your recruitment process
Recruiting within small and medium enterprises can often be less formal than in larger businesses, but that doesn’t mean it should be totally ad hoc. Make sure you set clear timescales for the process from beginning to end, and that the job spec you create is based on a series of desirable outcomes and objectives as well as personality and attributes. The temptation is to choose people to work with you because they feel like they fit – but don’t lose sight of what you want them to achieve and make sure they understand that from the very first interview.

Consider temporary options
If you are growing very quickly, or have recently taken on an urgent and very large project, it can be difficult to hire a new permanent member of your team, and the last thing you want to do is hire someone that isn’t right. As such it is worth considering the value of temporary contract or freelance staff who can offer flexibility, motivation and expertise as and when you need it. It also means not having to commit yourself to a full time employee if your need for support is only in the short term.

Have a system in place for new starters
The first few weeks are critical for a successful hire, and when new employees are at their most vulnerable. Consider a mentoring or buddy system to ensure that all new starters are integrated in to the culture of the office from the offset.

Work experience and internships
You may require skilled workers to join your team, but often fast growth creates pressure at the lowest levels. People won’t have time to keep up with the day to day tasks that still require attention but are no longer priorities. Young people currently face one of the toughest job markets in history and good work experience will equip them with skills they need to find a job in future as well as helping you to stay on top of work. Who knows, you might even find someone that you invite back for a permanent job once they have finished school or university.

Nurture your team as you nurture your business
People need to feel that they are valued, and that their potential is recognised. Regular feedback on performance as well as formal appraisals are really important, whether your business is large or small, as a means of giving your team goals to strive for and showing them that you’re investing in them over the long term. Let them know where there are opportunities for them to grow and develop and support them in getting there. Retaining a loyal and brilliant member of your team will be invaluable as your business continues on its exciting growth journey.