How a strategic HR aquisition strategy can help you scale your startup

October 26, 2018

What is the Major Hurdle in Scaling your Organization?

Congratulations, your organization has reached its first major milestone; the company made its first Million Dollars in Revenue! As a growing Entrepreneur, your next desire is probably $2MM, $3MM, etc...  However, this is easier said than done.  As a newer Leadership Team, Scalability is probably presenting some major “hurdles” for you that maybe you didn’t quite anticipate.  The most common challenge for organizations of the Million Dollar Size is lack of bandwidth to generate this additional revenue to grow.

Lack of Sales is usually the 1st problem to be identified.  “If we could just sell more to our current customer base while adding just a few more new clients, we could probably double our size within one, two, three years.”  This is the most common line of thinking that CEO’s and Founders usually gravitate towards.  However, if you really take an extended deep dive analysis into the problem, lack of sales is usually not the culprit.  In fact, even if you could line up an additional project or two from your current customers or add another client would you still make more money?  This answer may surprise you, BUT NO!  The reason is if your current workforce is producing at full capacity and additional resources are not added, your organization can’t generate any more revenue beyond what your resources are producing.  It’s impossible to grow as you can see.

What is the Solution?

So now that we have identified a lack of resources as the root cause of achieving scalability for your organization, the next question is how to solve it?  These challenges can easily be solved with a Talent Acquisition Strategy.  The key is your strategy has to be consistent with a committed effort to keep up with a regular cadence of activities.  Even if you may not be hiring in that particular moment, the key is giving the world the perception that you are always looking to hire strong people.  So how exactly does this work and what components need to be in place in order to execute this strategy?

The first piece that I mentioned is a commitment to be consistent with execution.  Let us compare this with how any organization views their sales functions.  Companies don’t stop selling just because they land one or two deals, so why should they stop recruiting for talent just because you hired someone?  Believe it or not, hiring is far more volatile than landing a sale.  With sales, there are contracts involved binding both parties to the agreed terms.  Hiring a candidate for a job does not bind them at all to take the job or even stay in the job once they start.  Most States abide by “Employment at Will” Laws meaning a company can let an employee go for almost any legal reason and an employee can certainly quit without giving notice.  So would it not make sense to always have your “Plan B…Plan C..” etc… in place just in case?

The other critical component to have in place is either have a dedicated HR Talent Acquisition Department or the very least have a person in place dedicated to ONLY recruiting functions.  The mindset of the organization has to be that this Recruiting Resource is to be viewed as an investment to building Talent Funnels.  If an organization is thinking, “we don’t anticipate doing any hiring for minimal 6 months probably a year why should we waste the money paying for a Recruiter?”  Then as an organization, you could be making a critical mistake.  People quit all the time, new projects come up all the time so the smart organizations that think strategically “two moves ahead” are the ones that have a higher success rate of achieving their scalability goals.

Implementing the Talent Acquisition Strategy

The first step, engage in an internal assessment of where you are now and what that next level goal is.  More important once you figure out where you want to go, then you want to figure out from a resource and fulfillment perspective what you need to get there.  Essentially your organization wants to build hiring profiles that will serve as a blueprint for the type of talent the organization needs to achieve that next milestone.

Second step and this is critical for implementing the Talent Acquisition Process, “go all in” and make the investment in the Hiring Department.  This is where a lot of smaller organizations get caught up.  It’s difficult to invest money into hiring functions when you don’t always need to hire.  I get it but think of it from an ROI perspective.  If opportunities come up that can bring your organization instant revenue stream, having the ability to take advantage of that “real-time” far outweighs the alternative which is showing your customer you CAN’T DELIVER.  This leads organizations into desperation where reactive hiring activities take place, which then leads to bad hires and we all know the consequences of bad hires!

To be honest it would not take a whole lot of investment to implement this strategy.  As a smaller organization, you can even start out with one employee who takes the mold of a Corporate Recruiter.  Let this person drive your Hiring Profile Strategy where potentially all they are doing for you is building candidate relationships and pipelining talent.  You don’t want to compensate them like a salesperson, however, you may want to have a bonus component in place on how many people they are pipelining that fit the hiring profiles the organization has set up.  I would mix into the strategy some corporate branding on Social Media from an HR Talent Acquisition perspective.  The messaging should be specific for what the company does, why people would want to work here and some specific information on some of the exciting initiatives the company is involved with.  Essentially the company wants to take on a Persona that they are always hiring if strong talent comes across.

The final step is what I term “Storing Your Treasures”, what I mean by that is you want a safe place to save your information.  If you have implemented Steps 1 & 2 then you will be generating candidate leads and resumes.  You will want to have this stored in some type of Database specific to Recruiting called an Applicant Tracking System or “ATS”.  So as situations come up where you need to hire, you now have a virtual “Tickler File” of warm leads to find applicants from.  This certainly beats what most organizations do when they need to hire quickly, pay hundreds of dollars to post an online add then have to scramble to find the right people from applicants who apply even though they don’t fit the job requirements.  If you follow the system, your recruiter should be always speaking with candidates that fit your company profile therefore when you do have to hire, you will be selecting from profiles where an initial match has been identified.

If you are serious about looking to scale up your business, a Talent Acquisition Strategy might be your “Best Medicine”!

Steve Rosen is an accomplished HR and talent acquisition professional with more than 18 years of HR and recruitment experience. Mr. Rosen is actively engaged in the local entrepreneurship ecosystem and is a member of the Tampa Bay Wave mentor network.