hiring for growth



‘Our people are our greatest asset’. Most leaders will tell you this without hesitation; an organisation is defined by the people working in it, so it follows that any sustainable growth requires a significant investment of time and effort in the planning and hiring of new talent.    

At Stone, we have worked with thousands of organisations over the last 10+ years, helping them expand and develop through subsequent growth phases, from 10 to 50 to 150 to 500m+ in turnover. We have observed recurring trends around the challenges and opportunities associated with talent growth (by this we refer to hiring new employees) and share some insights below:

Important versus Urgent

Growing businesses demand constant attention. Critically, in growth environments, there are more tasks than people available to perform them, so the most urgent tasks (cashflow, P&L, legal disputes) divert focus from strategic thinking. One clear example of this is around hiring, a situation compounded by the fact that ‘people issues’ often lead to uncomfortable conversations, which most of us prefer to put off wherever possible. 

Action versus Reaction

For this reason, many hiring decisions need to become pain points and (reached the urgent phase) before they are addressed. Situations often drift along until someone resigns or is fired, or internal demand becomes so high that hiring is a must. This reactive approach means that when hiring managers decide to take action, they have given away one key advantage needlessly – time; the consequent hiring process will be rushed and skewed towards technical (aka ‘hit the ground running’) skills, at the expense of soft skills and values.  

Dilution of the Culture

As a business grows, the ‘communication distance’ from the founder naturally increases with each new hire. One major challenge this presents is ensuring a) the values of each new hire reflects those of the business and b) the purpose of each new role relates directly to the company mission statement.

Early in the growth curve, all hiring decisions are made by a small number of people (think CEO/founder and close associates). These people have very strong feelings about the vision and values required to be part of the company and impart them fervently during interviews. Their unshaking sense purpose and focus are compelling reasons to join them, as they create a connection to purpose that is emotional as much as cerebral.   

Culture Creep

Now, imagine this company growing to 10, 100, 1000+ employees, across multiple locations. It’s a great story, but has the hiring process evolved to keep pace? The answer is – probably not. While some line managers will send a similar message as the CEO, others will not, and these inconsistencies create ‘culture creep’, as business units evolve along different lines and at different paces. This is insidious and damaging to any organisation and can create huge headaches for CEO’s.     

Employer Branding   

One way to counter this challenge is to ensure your vision & values are consistently shared internally and supported with manager training around interviewing in behavioural based interviewing. Equally, it is important to have a clear approach to employer branding, in order to identify those potential ‘employees of the future’ and share your values with them; before, during and after the hiring process.

By making values a central and crucially, continuous part of your external hiring strategy, you increase the pool of potential applicants who strengthen, rather than weaken, your culture. This proactive approach is already becoming mainstream so organisations which don’t adopt these policies will fall behind over time.

Time to Shift Gears

Stone is committed to improving the way companies manage growth through new talent. Our service offering presents a more immersive approach across 3 zones – Workforce Planning, Employer Branding and Recruitment Delivery. Call us today for a confidential discussion about improving your hiring capability, while saving time and money.    

Companies that proactively identify, engage and attract the core competencies for sustained performance have a huge advantage over their competition. If you would like to discuss how this is achievable, call Chris at Stone today on 0430 160 709. enquiry@stonerecruitment.com.au