When you’re overworked and stressed out by the demands of entrepreneurship, or whether business is slow and you’re anxious about making the next sale, it’s easy to believe the adage: ‘The sooner you hire help, the easier your life will become.’
But it’s not always true. Sometimes, bringing on the right person is exactly what your business requires to take it to the next level. But if not strategically considered as part of your larger plan, a hasty hire for the wrong role can make things much worse. If you’re not 100% sure what kind of role you want to hire for, then hiring generic ‘help’ will only lead to mismatched expectations. In turn, this leads to poor retention, especially for smaller companies.
Before you invest the time and money in hiring someone new, it’s crucial to ask yourself these five questions as your first step:
(1) What is my primary reason for growing my team?
Make sure you have this clear in your mind before we proceed. Is it to fulfil a certain role? To alleviate your general stress levels? Because that’s what successful leaders seem to do? Because you have too much business?
(2) Which of my own duties would I like to delegate?
As the company owner, it’s likely that, with the majority of small business owners, you spend far more time working in your company than working on it. Write your own job description. Break out everything you do, no matter how inconsequential you consider it; it’s still your time, and that time has to come from someone. Then consider: which of these activities do you dislike (even if you are good at them), and would you want to hand off to someone else?
(3) Could I delegate any of my team’s duties?
Be aware of your team’s skill sets and passions. For example, if your office administrator has a knack for managing and motivating people, think about moving him into a supervisory role and taking some of that burden off you. That leaves some of his more operations-focused tasks open for someone else to take on.
(4) Do these delegated activities fit into a coherent role?
The duties that you’d like to take off your own plate may be cherrypicked from a different areas in the company: general paperwork, social media, and bookkeeping, for example. You might find that these activities don’t fit together into a clear-cut position. This might be the case when you start asking your team about their duties, too. In this case, you may not be able to hand everything off at the same time, so be patient. What makes the most sense for a new role to manage? Will you be able to find someone who enjoys all these things? Which activities should be prioritized?
(5) Can I write this person’s job description?
Whether you are restructuring or hiring someone new, take the time to identify — in writing — what this role will be. Be as specific as possible. How will the person filling this role (and you) know if they have succeeded? What are the outcomes required? How are they prioritized? Check this with any high-performing team members currently doing them. All these things, and more, will need to be communicated clearly to your employees, so it’s key that you can articulate them first.
While there are many other factors to consider in hiring someone new — including your cash flow, systems readiness, and availability to onboard — clarifying the purpose and scope of the new role is a key element in successfully taking that next step towards scaling your company.
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