Have you ever had an employee quit and then erase the hard drive on their corporate computer, permanently deleting hundreds of proprietary company files? Or had to hire several new employees and find you have no processes in place to manage the new team? Speaking from experience, this situation can be a business owner’s worst nightmare.
A growing business is usually a good thing. With increased sales, many businesses find they need to hire additional personnel to handle a larger workload. Suddenly your small business, which started out with just a handful of sub-contractors or loyal employees, has grown to a mid-size company that requires more management structure and oversight. Your hiring process suddenly becomes much more complicated and daily management of your workforce may require a management structure. Now you face new challenges including communicating corporate values and ensuring employees are honest and loyal.
My company, Transcription Outsourcing, LLC, started out as many small businesses do with a handful of sub-contractors and employees whom I trusted to produce quality results with little oversight. Since starting the business in 2010, we have grown more than 750%, having gone from 4 to 30 employees and contractors in 2015. Over the past five years I’ve learned a few hard lessons on how to both hire the right people and effectively manage a growing workforce.
The employee who deleted their hard drive is one example of an issue I personally faced with a growing workforce. That particular scenario made me realize that it was time to put a few employee management parameters in place to manage my current workforce and allow my company to continue on a positive growth track. These are my tips to handle growing pains.
- Implement a personality test. Before you hire anyone, it is a good idea to ask the job candidates to complete a personality test. Tests such as the Predictive Index indicate an individual’s interest and skills as they pertain to business and can help identify which candidates will be a good fit for the position and your company culture. The test takes a bit of time for both the candidate and the hiring manager, but in the end you can identify which candidate is the ideal fit for your company and has the right mindset to best complete the work required of his or her position.
- Utilize 30/60/90 day reviews. I ask all new hires to participate in employee/employer reviews after the first 30, 60, and 90 days on the job. By holding a mutual review, we are able to have an open dialogue and build trust between employee/employer from the start. After the first 90 days we move to quarterly reviews. We never discuss compensation during these reviews as I’ve found that employees often provide more honest feedback if money is not on the table.
- Don’t be afraid to part ways. Frequent reviews also help me identify if an employee isn’t a good fit for our corporate culture, in which case we part ways with minimal time lost for either party. Though it can be difficult to fire an individual, I try to remember that parting ways allows an employee to find another opportunity which might be a better fit for their skill set.
- Put systems in place with process maps. Process maps can be an invaluable tool for a growing company. With a small workforce, this is an easy system to put in place to ensure each employee understands the proper way to handle certain tasks according to your specific direction. Once you have tiers of management, process maps can help ensure every employee understands corporate standards without your individual oversight.
- Trickle-down training. On-going training is extremely important to ensure day-to-day business operations run smoothly. Even veteran employees benefit from training exercises. We utilize a trickle-down training approach where employees train each other on a one-on-one basis. This method builds solidarity and opens the lines of communication in our team and also ensures everyone stays up to date on the latest innovations in our business.
The aforementioned tips have helped me grow my business and number of employees with minimal strife. In our initial period of growth we hit a few bumps along the way; but once we started to utilize the processes listed above, we have continued to grow with a strong team that functions as a well-oiled machine. With the right team and the right processes, small businesses have unlimited potential.
Ben Walker is the president and owner of Transcription Outsourcing, LLC. Transcription Outsourcing, LLC provides transcription services for professionals in the legal, law enforcement, and medical industries among other general transcription services. Founded in 2010, the business provides fast turn-around, accurate transcripts with friendly service. Transcription Outsourcing understands the busy yet detail-oriented nature of your business and is dedicated to making sure your transcription project is delivered quickly, accurately, and to your organization’s specifications.