Are Company Culture, Hiring, Retaining & Motivating Your Team An Overlooked Aspect Of Growth?
Growth is a term that has come to encompass a lot in business circles. It is used to refer increase in the bottom-line, meaning that the company has reaped higher profit margins than the previous comparable period; increase in market share, meaning that the company has gained more clients or customers. Or a growth in portfolio, meaning that the company has expanded the scope of goods and services that its’ offering. Every business and company aspires to grow and move on to the next level. But successful growth can only be attained if it’s balanced across all segments of the company, and it’s done in a sustainable way. Traditionally, the sales and marketing departments handled matters of growth, but recent developments have seen the rise of dedicated growth teams in leading multinational corporates.
What can be considered to be a typical growth team?
Growth is very much a game of numbers. Most people directly quantify growth based on results or performance. When you consider a growth team in this context, the marketing, product development, design and data science departments seem to fit the description naturally. The functionality of these teams has however dramatically changed over the last 5 years. Gone are the TV commercials, press releases and billboards, in their place instead, we have a new concept called growth hacker marketing.
The growth hacker marketing concept has completely changed the way people attract and retain new business, and it’s all because of technology. It’s exciting as are now able to move and improve new products faster than ever before, get instant feedback and analytics that gives us direct response and indication on how we can make adjustments that satisfy the needs of the customer. All these functions, which were previously compartmentalized under different departments have been reduced to the simple click of a button. But even as we laud the advances in technology and what they portend for the growth of businesses, there is one aspect of growth that is constantly overlooked, staffing!
Why is staffing the most overlooked aspect of growth?
At the risk of sounding presumptuous, I have observed the growth of various startups and businesses and I can conclusively and authoritatively say that staffing is one of the most overlooked aspects of growth. We have been socialized into putting so much effort in setting up the best systems, but in the process we tend to forget that the systems need the right manpower to deliver the expected results. In the end we are caught up in a vicious cycle of hiring and firing staff due to failure of the system to generate the desired growth.
On my recent podcast “Venturi’s Voice” I spoke with Sam Levy the Head of Growth at Hinge and asked him if he thought staffing is an overlooked aspect of growth, he stated; “I’ve been looking to bring on a few engineers and as I started to go about it, I realized finding a great employee is the same mind set at the acquisition, qualified leads and conversion process of a growth team, and as well as the on-boarding. So, yeah it’s critical in the growth equation.”
This means that at the end of the day, you have to get the staffing aspect right from the very beginning. It is the foundation upon which the rest of the growth process is built. And you can only ignore it in the setting up of a growth team at your own peril. Investment in staffing experts or recruiters is a critical part any expansion or scale phase. Paige Craig recently stated on my podcast, “I can’t even think of any company that has scaled without the use of a recruiter – you have to rely on those resources as you grow.”
About the growth equation and the how variables in staffing affects it
I came up with an equation, that is supposed to explain the process of growth. (Growth Equation: y= c (1+r) t) In this equation, Y= Employee; C = Cost of Investment; R = Expected Growth rate; and T = Years of Accumulated Growth.
Unfortunately, the business environment is not an ideal world. We thus have to contend with variables that are not captured or included in the equation, but still have a big impact on the employee (Y). These variable factors are inconsistent and thus cannot be calculated as a steady input. These variable factors include:
- The recruitment process: This addresses the issue of how well you qualify the leads during recruitment. You have to get to the stage where you’re 90% sure that you have the correct fit for the role. Doing a great job on vetting although quite time consuming, can save you a lot of costs and grief in the long run. You also need to structure the interview process correctly to ensure that you get the right fit for the job.
- On-boarding Process: How do you ensure in advance that you have the correct resources necessary to get maximum output from your employee? You have to address this through having clear goals and objectives for your company. If your employees are sold to these and own them as their own, then you are assured of attaining maximum output. Of course in the process of setting up clear goals and objectives, you will have to deal with the issue of resources necessary to achieve the said goals and objectives.
- Retention: Talent retention can be a smooth sailing or a raging storm, depending on how you navigate through the tricky waters. Ensure that employees find the work engaging and challenging and you will never have to grapple with the challenge of boredom and lack of motivation. Part of this entails ensuring cultural fit by developing the right culture in the work environment and remaining transparent with your vision for the business with your team. Andre Chow had this to say about workplace culture on my podcast; “Culture has been something that we’ve had to take seriously – they can be more than capable but if it turns out to be a cultural misfit you won’t get the optimal performance from somebody”. Since the correct culture is necessary for the optimal realization of the Growth Equation, you can only overlook it at your own risk.
In winding up our post today, it is important to note that although staffing is not part of the linear equation, it is a very important variable factor which impacts on the growth of a business on every level. While technology is here to stay, remember that you still need the right people controlling the technology. So, always invest in staffing and recruiting the right talent for the job and you will have put in place a solid foundation for the realization of the growth hacker concept in your business.