Growing your team quickly and efficiently when you are ready is go big is the most important and often one of the most difficult tasks facing a team leader or business owner.
From effective recruiting, to values alignment, to utilizing demographics, here are five awesome strategies to grow your team that I have picked up from discussions with successful founders and my own experiences as a founder and investor.
1) Evaluate market and talent alignment
Is your company headquartered in a market that contains both a large customer base and a significant pool of talent for your particular hiring needs? This can often be a more complex question than at first glance: for example, New York is a very strong consumer market and has a great talent pool yet has a chronic shortage of skilled developers that companies must continually address as they look to expand.
2) Consider a secondary market to improve talent alignment
If the headquarters office is both in a market that has insufficient alignment for either customer base or talent, consider opening a major secondary office. When doing so, first decide if it is the right time. Is the company ready and sufficiently large to withstand splitting the team to more than one location? If so, it's often best to target a market that directly combats the inefficiency of your home market. For example, New York-based companies seeking engineering help should often look to either San Francisco, which supplies both ample tech talent and a large market but is expensive and distant, or more local hubs of affordable engineering talent, such as Baltimore or Philadelphia.
3) Utilize team optimization research and personality testing
There is now very helpful research on how to construct the most efficient teams and how to grow teams without reducing operative efficiency. Imperative's research on Purpose, which shows that Purpose-driven employees work more efficiently together on collaborative teams, is one example of how this research improves team-building in practice.
"Purpose-oriented professionals are at the core of effective teams. Google recently identified the five norms needed for teams to thrive. One was meaning and another was impact - two pillars of how purpose-oriented people naturally approach their work and help their colleagues. As importantly they found that psychological safety is vital to successful teams and this again is an area where purpose-oriented people are game-changers on teams," said Aaron Hurst, Founder of Imperative.
4) Judiciously utilize recruiters
Recruiters are a strong fit for capital-rich companies that need to grow quickly and find strong fits for roles that are difficult to find. Some companies opt for internal HR but this can be risky; while some in-house HR professionals are outstanding, they are expensive, sometimes more so than equally effective external recruiters, and many are both costly and ineffective.
5) Addition by Subtraction
While some companies add talent following substantial cash infusions, others must add it without altering their burn rate. The best way to do this is to carefully parse your organization and remove weaker players who are not assisting the growth of the organization. Although this can sound heartless, it is not: the person is likely just as aware as you are that they are ineffective, and leaving them there will only create a growing problem. Remove and reallocate the spend toward filling a critical need and growth.