For a business owner, rapid growth can be considered a “best worst case” scenario. Growth is a problem that plagues every business. Grow too slow, and your business could collapse. Grow too fast, and the lack of necessary infrastructure could be calamitous.
From day one, it’s important to build a company with a clear mission and vision. Your corporate culture will become contagious among your initial team and will play a crucial role in attracting future hires.
In addition to compensation strategies, which lend themselves to extrinsic motivation, employees want to feel valued and intrinsically motivated. Business owners should represent the values of their organization and play a crucial role in showcasing it to the community. Human capital is one of the best investments a business owner can make.
While most HR personnel see the investment in employees as difficult, it can pay dividends for years to come. In addition to training, employees want to feel that they are appreciated and on a career path trajectory.
But what happens when your team outpaces your business, and employees get caught up in the flurry of activity. This leads to incompetence, incoherence and inconsistency among the team members. With these growing pains, corporate culture can also become diluted and/or changed.
In this post, I’ll show you what you should do as a business owner to avoid such a situation. These strategies will help you retain high quality employees over the life cycle of your business.
1. Paying above or par with the market.
As a business owner, you need the support of your employees to keep your business booming. Combine that with that fact that your competitors will be looking to poach your top talent. In order to avoid this, you need to pay your employees well. This not only guarantees that they’ll remain loyal to you, it also keeps them motivated on a day-to-day basis. While it’s difficult to ascertain what to pay your employees, your best bet is to evaluate industry and market standard. You can do this by paying them above what most employers in the market pay, or at least ensure that your pay matches that of other businesses in the market. Bonuses for performance tend to work well, or in some cases, profit sharing makes employees feel as if they are contributing to the organization's success as a whole.
Related: How to Figure Out What Your Time Is Worth
2. Setting checks and balances.
When your team is small, it’s easy to control your employees and assign duties and responsibilities to them. As soon as your team grows, it becomes a herculean task. If you lack checks and balances, it could affect your company’s output, productivity and ROI. In fact, without proper checks and balances in your business, issues such as employee theft, inventory shrinkage, check tampering and bookkeeping mismanagement can set in and affect your business’s growth. In addition to quarterly performance reviews, it’s important to set weekly goals for employees. Criticism should be constructive and without unnecessary accusatory language.
3. Motivating your team members.
Employees are a business’s greatest assets. Without them, it’ll be difficult to keep your business on track, scale it or avoid HR nightmares. Therefore, when you have a large team, keeping them motivated is the sure-fire way to keep your business safe. If you miss this step, you’ll have a set of passive employees who’ll not work in accordance with your company’s vision and mission, hence hampering your progress. Some of the ways to motivate employees intrinsically include creating an environment that spurs them to work, having a functional reward program and investing in training. Take a few minutes to tell any employee how much you appreciate them on a weekly basis. Setup an anonymous suggestions box where employees can leave messages without fear of repercussions.
4. Knowing when to jump.
Once you have grown and captured a large percentage of market share, it may be time to consider expanding into different areas and core competencies. This may come from your own market research or feedback from the general public. Take, for instance, the additional service areas Diamond and Diamond started to offer when it became a full-service law firm. While the core business area was offering services in personal injury, they realized more of their clients needed help in other areas such as wills and estates or real estate. Before you take on business partnerships or additional staff, it is important to evaluate if your value proposition can translate to new markets or consumers. In this example, a brand of tough advocacy is useful among multiple types of law.
As you grow and interview new employees, it’s important to keep a constant eye on what your company represents. With each hire, your corporate culture is vulnerable to change. It’s easy to get preoccupied with the many facets of your business and trust that employees have your best interests at heart. The responsibility lies on the shoulders of entrepreneurs to ensure steady growth is built on a foundation of trust and appreciation.