When companies get to the point where growth requires scalability, it’s a good problem to have.
Who doesn’t want a thriving business and ample customer demand? Explosive growth can come with some challenges, too. What has worked well for a team of seven can easily falter when you quickly expand to a team of 70. Growing pains are common in any business but if you tackle them early and put the right strategies in place, they can be managed effectively.
Here are five common business growing pains and the preemptive steps you can take to resolve them and ensure long-term organizational success.
Growing Pain #1: Lack of Structure
With growth comes the demand for organizational structure. You can’t have a hundred people operating independently so a hierarchy must be established. But once you have that structure in place, then what? Everyone needs to fully comprehend it; otherwise, misinterpretations are likely to occur. Every team member needs a clear understanding of the reporting structure, their role, their expectations, and how they contribute to the company’s overall goals. Clear job descriptions, frequent company-wide communication, and transparency are critical to keeping everyone informed and accountable.
Growing Pain #2: Resistance to Change
Most people find change hard to accept. Long-term employees may feel displaced and confused when the day-to-day routine they’ve known for years gets disrupted. If change is ignored or disregarded, high turnover from loyal team members may be the result. Instead, be honest and upfront about the organizational transitions that will likely occur. When possible, encourage employee feedback before a change is implemented and ask for suggestions. You’re bound to get some great ideas, so consider them carefully and implement the best ideas.
Growing Pain #3: Overworking
Everyone needs time to replenish and rest. Burnout results from incessant overwork and causes mistakes that are ultimately counterproductive. There are crunch times when extra hours are necessary, especially amid periods of growth, but they should not be the norm. It’s also important to think about the example that’s being set for employees. Sending emails in the middle of the night, constantly working overtime, and keeping regular weekend hours sends the message that that’s the expectation. Workers will feel compelled to do the same to avoid feeling inadequate or in jeopardy of losing their jobs. Instead, demonstrate respect for health, wellness, and boundaries. It will do far more to boost morale and productivity than making everyone feel they have to work around the clock.
Growing Pain #4: Lack of Cohesiveness
Company culture is a critical consideration for 46% of job seekers, according to a 2019 survey from Glassdoor. Your small team may feel like a family but it can be hard to keep those close-knit vibes going as growth occurs. It’s crucial to build a company culture where everyone feels welcome and included no matter how large your organization becomes, but it takes some effort. Some growing companies are choosing to incorporate companywide “storytelling” to heighten the human connection. Each week, they share stories about interesting client interactions, exceptional experiences with other employees, and similar positive exchanges. Select stories are captured and circulated company-wide to encourage a more unified culture even amid rapid growth. Team building activities can be another excellent tool to nurture cohesiveness. By providing opportunities for your employees to interact, they’ll learn to trust and look out for each other, supporting their ability to excel together. And don’t forget to arrange periodic team get-togethers (virtual or in-person) to encourage collaboration and connection in a fun, relaxed environment.
Growing Pain #5: Recognition Efforts that Go by the Wayside
Recognition is more than just a nice gesture; it also has a significant impact on your employees. According to a 2019 Gallup poll, employees who don’t feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to quit their jobs within the next year. No matter how large your organization gets or how quickly it happens, having a system in place to recognize achievements and reward team members when they do great work is crucial. It could be something as simple as a congratulatory email or a hand-written note. Or, you might prefer hosting an event that builds camaraderie, such as a monthly (virtual or outdoor) happy hour where big successes are announced and celebrated. Better yet, put multiple rewards in place. You’ll never go wrong by showing your appreciation and giving credit where it’s due.
It’s easy to get caught up in business growth but it’s important to remember that your employees are what make it all possible. They should be as much of a priority as the work they perform.
Is your organization dealing with growing pains? The HR Team is here to offer valuable guidance that will facilitate your efforts and help you create an appealing, cohesive environment that works for everyone. Please contact our knowledgeable professionals to learn more.
About The HR Team: Founded in 1996, The HR Team is a Maryland-based human resources outsourcing firm committed to developing strategic, customized solutions that respond to the unique needs and cultures of organizations of all types and sizes. Available as a one-source alternative to an in-house HR department or on an à la carte project basis, the company’s flexible service models address the full spectrum of HR needs that many organizations struggle to address. The HR Team helps clients achieve their highest level of success by providing value-driven human resources services that leave them time to focus on what they do best: directing business growth and profitability. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, the firm serves all of Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia. To learn more about The HR Team, call 410.381.9700 or visit https://www.thehrteam.com/.