4 People Issues to Watch for During Company Growth
When you think about company growth it is usually all positive thoughts – more customers, more employees, expanded product or service, greater revenue, and hopefully more profit. The most common concerns during rapid growth are the ability to maintain distribution, customer service, and product/service quality. However, the impact on your employees is also a vital concern which, if ignored, may impact your bottom line, destroy your culture, and cause customers and employees to run for the door. To avoid such turmoil be sure to watch for these key issues.
#1 Change in Job Duties
In small organizations, people usually wear several different hats or are responsible for entire functions or processes. As you grow it becomes too much and roles are broken down into smaller pieces so they are more manageable. This may lead to employees becoming bored or feeling less important.
Solution: get this employee involved in new and challenging project work or have them train and/or mentor new employees coming in. Anything that will stretch their abilities and make them feel challenged.
#2 Change of Job Level
This occurs when a historically flat organization adds another “level”, usually middle management or supervisory level. So the Marketing Specialist who reported to the President is now reporting the Marketing Manager. They feel less important to the President since they no longer have a direct line to his/her ear. This may cause the employee to dislike the Manager despite his/her best intentions.
Solution: Take deliberate steps to maintain that relationship with the Marketing Specialist. Stay social and ask their opinion on issues. Be careful not to side step the Manager but keep the lines of communication open. Ensure the new manager is aware of the situation and provide coaching on the best approach.
#3 Culture Change
Anyone who follows my posts will know that I am all about company culture and I have seen first hand how tough it can be to maintain during stages of growth. Changes in processes, workload, and new people in the organization can be challenging for existing employees.
Solution: If you have a well defined culture and principles then use it during your hiring, on-boarding, and decision making process. If not, its time to define what you want your culture to be and ensure you are living it every day. Take time to reflect on your company values and ensure your decisions around growth, synergies, streamlining processes, and job design all align with your culture.
In smaller companies the engagement is usually high. People feel more connected to leadership, the product/service, and their co-workers because it is a closer more intimate relationship. As the company grows be prepared for people to care less because they no longer feel the connection or it is no longer “my job”.
Solution: Communicate often and show appreciation more than ever. Ask for the employee’s input and be sure to value the contribution to the team. Ensure all employees understand how their individual roles contribute to the strategy of the organization and objectives of their functional group.
A Human Resource Consultant can help facilitate this process including the identification of these issues and how to work through each individual circumstance. The changes that occur during company growth periods are no different than other types of change. The key is to anticipate, acknowledge, communicate and follow up. Now that is an article for another day!
Sarah Mullins is the founder of uptreeHR, a Halifax based human resource consulting firm that is passionate about helping business owners manage their people, set clear expectations and increase performance. We truly believe you can treat your employees well, create an amazing culture and not break the bank.
To book a complimentary 30 minute consult with Sarah, click here.
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