Featured post

What Do High Growth Businesses Do Differently?

Over the past 5 years the importance of the “High Growth Business” and how this relatively small group of businesses disproportionally impa...

Friday 6 December 2013

How Poor Recruitment Kills High Growth

Recruiting is often overlooked as a major limiting factor to sustaining high growth, but it is often at this hurdle that high growth businesses fall over. To meet the growing needs of your business you will have to be successful in recruiting and retaining staff. In order to achieve this you will need to consider two critical factors. 

How poor recruitment affects high growth
Poor integration of new hires is an unnecessary drag on growth
Firstly, that you have an effective recruitment process and secondly, how quickly you can assimilate new employees into the business.This post recruitment activity is a fundamental driver to sustaining high growth. Get it wrong, or do it poorly and you'll struggle to sustain any sort of growth at all.

This article is not intending to go into detail about the processes you may want to adopt but rather to highlight the implications of getting it wrong. The two issues we're looking at are recruiting the wrong people and the impact of not being able to integrate them into your business, and how these factors if not addressed act as a stall on growth.

The Recruitment Process

Firstly, as the title indicates, you should a have a process. Not a hand crafted set of actions but a repeatable process. This, amongst other things gives you consistency and quality control. When recruiting you should consider two things, how well the candidate will fit into your organisation and their capability or skills to do the job. 

I deliberately put fit first; if you are growing fast and taking people on you don't want them to be antagonising the rest of the team, you want them to fit right in. Only after you are confident of their fit should you investigate their capability.  Getting fit right first will increase the speed with which they are assimilated into the business, the quicker this happens the more staff you can recruit before they create a drag on your business.

Integrating New Recruits into the Business

Once recruited you should consider how quickly you can integrate this new recruit into your business. I think we would all accept that there is a period after you take on a new employee where they act as a drag on your resources rather than contributing to it. This is normally seen as on the job training. How effective you are in bringing new employees up to speed and integrating them into your business will determine the rate with which you can recruit to support growth. So like recruiting you need a post recruitment integration process

The two key factors in a post recruitment process are training and a culture process, which is about the alignment of values.  

If you have no post recruitment process or, more politely, an informal one, it will take you a long time to get returns from your new recruit. Typically you'll see a lot of frustration in the business as the new employee is largely left to their own devices and the necessary training comes in fits and starts with little or no coherence. This makes it more difficult for the new starter to:
1) learn enough about his job to be a net contributor to the business; and
2) integrate into the company, that is absorb and identify with the companies aims and culture. 

The consequences are often:

1) the new hire leaves because they've become disillusioned with your company (what a waste of time and effort) 
2) your existing staff see taking on new staff as a chore and therefore don't put in the effort they should, often resulting in the new employee becoming disillusioned and leaving. 

Even if they stay, the whole process has been unsatisfactory for everybody and will have inevitably consumed more resources that it should and taken much longer that it needed to. In a high growth environment it simply leads to an unacceptable drag on growth.

The culture process or alignment of values is equally, if not more important than the training. It's crucial to get new staff who share the businesses' cultural values.

I'm sure at this point there are some of you are scratching your head at the moment and are saying to themselves but I'm only looking to recruit 1 or 2 people a year; what's the problem? My answer is that whilst the numbers are low a new recruit will most likely be a member of a small team. This is where being a small number works against you. Think of the recruit as a percentage of your workforce; if it's 5 a new recruit represents about 20% and if its 10 its 10%. Now image the damage to your business if 20% of your workforce were not engaged with the business. Worse still, what if that new recruit is actively trying to promote an entirely alien set of values to the rest of your team, think about the disruption then.

To mitigate against this problem your post recruitment process must include an amount of orientation about how you do things in your business and what is and what is not acceptable. It is inevitable that new recruits are going to question what you do and why you do it, either because they are likely to have come from a business that did things differently or because they are interested in how your business does things. Either way you need to have an answer.

At some time you will get a recruitment wrong, however if you don't have a recruitment or integration process you will make more mistakes and have created a lot more unnecessary problems for your business. 

If you would like to find out more us and how we can support your business, you can contact us via Exigent Consulting or Managing High Growth,  We help business owners improve the profit performance of their business.