In this blog post, I’m going to share everything that I’ve experienced with recruitment, and why you need to get the dance just right to grow your business the way you want to. From hiring and firing to NEVER missing payroll… read on to hear my recruitment story. This is the Diary of an Entrepreneur.
There’s no set way of getting recruitment right, and you’re going to make more mistakes than right decisions. And that’s just the way it is.
People interview really well, but then they start to work for you and they become a beast or a monster – and they’re nothing like they were in the interviews. So, the only true way to test if somebody is up for the job is for them to just do the job.
At Stada Media we were winning one new client after another, so we went from one to 13 staff. I continued to use my to-do list as my recruitment tool – the more jobs I was doing that weren’t growing the business (my main job), the more people I needed to get in to do them. So, recruitment certainly became a lot easier. However, I also made tons of mistakes!
Recruitment mistakes and redundancies
Over the years, we grew too quickly in parts of the business, sometimes taking on way too many staff. Then, we got to a stage where we were vulnerable.
If one of our clients dropped us or if they weren’t paying us on time, it meant that we were going to struggle with our monthly payroll. I’ve had to make redundancies through two main periods of the business. We were struggling, so we had to let people go.
Managing an expanding team
On the flipside, when we start getting into double figures in staff, you have to start thinking about a management team – because there’s only so many people one person can manage.
When that one person is the head of the business, who’s meant to be growing the business, managing a team is really, really difficult. And there’s definitely teething problems. This is when you need to start building in that management team – the people who can manage the rest of the team to allow you to do what you’re good at.
I didn’t appreciate this at the time until I was up to about 11 staff. Then, I had to start hiring people in more senior roles.
In the early days, I was always hiring people and paying less – not because I was tight or didn’t want to pay anybody – but because I didn’t think I had the money to be able to do that.
However, I then realised that paying cheaper actually ends up costing you more in the long run. Investing a little bit more on better quality talent in the early days actually pays off dividends in the end.
Hire slow, fire fast
I’m happy to say that I’ve only ever had to fire two people on performance in my entire business career.
I’m a huge advocate of the ‘hire slow, fire fast’ mentality. I’ve taken way too long to remove people from the business, which can actually put the business at risk.
The football team
I’m not a huge fan of the hierarchical organisation charts where you’ve got the CEO at the top, your line of management and the ‘minions’ underneath.
I’m all about team formation, so I manage my team like a football team. I know that might sound stupid to some people, but some people will get this.
As a team, we’re all on the same pitch. I’m not up above looking down on everyone. We’re all playing for the same goal, and that’s to win matches – or in our case, win new clients. Instead of having an old chart in my business plan, it’s more like when you watch Match of the Day and they’re announcing the team. You see the players on the pitch and they’re almost little caricatures – that’s exactly how my team formation set up.
We all need to perform in certain positions in the business – or on the ‘football field’. You’ve got to manage individuals and the team as a whole, with people working as both individuals and as a team.
The Paul Gascoignes
You’re dealing with personalities, so you need to change people around from time to time. You’ve got the bigger characters – for example, going back to the football world, the ‘Paul Gascoignes’. He was really difficult to manage back in the day, but he was a talent.
Then, there are people in the business who are incredibly good at their jobs, but then bring slight technicalities when it comes to attitude. So you have to do a whole balancing act – and it’s really, really difficult.
The long-term goal is to have enough of a team for it to be able to run itself without me. At the minute, we’re at 11 staff, and I’m still working in the business as well as on it. I’m not able to completely step away yet, but we’re heading in that direction.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my recruitment experiences. What takeaways do you have from the world of recruitment? Maybe you’re on the very start of your journey, like I was – so I hope my story inspires your own.
If you’d like to chat to me further about recruitment and anything else about growing a business, you can contact me here or email me direct at firstname.lastname@example.org!