This is Part Two of a two-part series. Part One set the foundation for your organization to scale. Once business is booming, managing your people during your expansion will be critical to your success.
Does your people strategy match your growth strategy?
Ensure your growth strategy aligns with the vision and values of company. Identify the key principles and values you will stick to while meeting the demands of a growing customer and employee base.
Furthermore, identify not only how you will need to change, but also how you will support leaders and employees throughout the process. You will need your people ready and able to execute your growth strategy and adapt effectively.
As you grow,
Leverage continuous listening.
Part One provided strategies for ongoing dialogue in your everyday operations. Now, in times of transition, the impact of continuous listening is two-fold: assessing gaps and garnering buy-in across the organization. Employees can handle change much more easily when it is done with them and not to them. It is therefore essential that they are actively involved and engaged throughout the process.
As your organization scales, it will become even more important and more challenging for employees to feel connected and heard by the CEO. At Anchor HR’s event with Officevibe, leaders discussed encouraging direct conversation with the CEO through an email or message board. The CEO can regularly select an anonymous question or concern to address in a visible and honest way.
Create avenues, formal and informal, for employees to share what they find exciting and what they find concerning. Follow up regularly to show employees they are heard and you take their feedback seriously. As you grow, ensure team leaders – and, as you grow bigger, HR – engage in continuous listening and respond in timely ways.
Build a culture of continuous improvement.
Based on internal feedback from continuous listening, combined with external research and business priorities, you can identify opportunities where work and people processes can be improved.
Further, dialogue will confirm your priorities for action. Too many targets for improvement can stretch you thin, so carefully consider where your focus is most valuable. In times of growth, you may be considering succession planning for key roles or skills development plans for specific departments.
Throughout the growth of your business, select key performance indicators (KPIs) and, most importantly, communicate them with everyone in your company.
As President of inField Soutions Inc., Rakesh Tiku explains, “If I really want to hit that goal in three years, I have the make sure everybody knows it, we repeat it, and we track against it.” Include key metrics in your regular meetings, in your everyday decision making, and ideally in a real-time dashboard accessible to anyone in your company.
Like Google, Peyman Aleagha uses Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) to set goals and track progress at WebsiteBox: “This keeps people accountable; it gives them ownership. It aligns the entire team. Every employee within the organization knows what their colleagues are working on and the objective of the company as a whole.”
Like Google and WebsiteBox, focus on 3-5 objectives with about 3 key results for each objective. Leverage continuous listening to prioritize the most valuable metrics. Ideally, you will want to include both the activities and results that matter most for your company.
Key outputs for your company are often in areas of profit, productivity, and customer feedback.
Activities like number of sales calls will help ensure your business objectives are achieved efficiently, effectively, and in line with your mission and values.
Learning and innovation are important for a culture of agility, so include them in your dashboard too. Because you get what you pay attention to!
Founding Executive Director of Singularity University, Salim Ismail, recommends tracking how many new ideas are collected; how many ideas are implemented; and, how many experiments your teams are running. That includes functional teams like sales, customer service, and HR – a scale-up’s main advantage is agility, so do not limit your innovation to product development.
You can also measure your organization’s ability to adapt and scale with agility using Ismail’s Exponential Quotient survey.
And of course, regularly validate the measures you chose are effective and revise as appropriate. In a word with constant change, your start-up will need to course-correct as you scale-up.
As you build your culture and team around your mission, establish structure where it matters and track key metrics in real time. Equip yourself with evidence-based strategies to navigate the careful balance of both openness to change and willingness to accept standardization of key processes. Building continuous listening and change management now will help prepare your company for growth and long-term success.
Jessica Collins, Advisor, Anchor HR
About Jessica Collins:
With her Master’s degree in Human Resources, Jessica has led employee engagement initiatives in large organizations and created HR communications for startups. With Anchor HR, she provides research, analysis, and writing to help organizations of any size become more effective. The team is committed to partnering with leaders, tailoring support for each unique company, and teaching clients to become independent. Contact Jessica for information on how to anchor your business with great people practices.