You've successfully grown your startup, and with growth comes new opportunities and responsibilities. Where do you go from here? This is a crucial stage in the advancement of a business and it's important to know how to continue growing while maintaining the energy and values of your startup.
How do you Hire?
Once you're growing beyond Series A, you should have a good understanding of where you want to be moving forward, and who you need to bring on board to get there. “It’s important to keep a company-wide mindset at this stage of growth. Things have to move fast and therefore there is a tendency of looking at the hiring plan in a siloed way, which can result in a confusion of responsibilities and inefficiency." To start, get a good understanding of organizational gaps. Find the areas that are lacking in your business and map out how they can get filled. Next, it's important to clearly define the responsibilities of each job position to ensure coverage of each area without overlap.
With a solid understanding of what positions you need, it's time to find the right fit for the job. It's important to build up HR processes and set up an attractive employee benefits package. Plan compensation and benefits around the market, and what your employees will want. For more tips on how to build a compensation package, read our article on How to Attract & Retain Talent.
The Hiring Process
The most important part of finding the right new hire is how well they fit into the culture. Do they just want a job, or do they want to help build a company as a part of a team? Transparency in the interview process is integral and hiring is a two-way street. Ensure they understand what the job entails, talk about the responsibilities, and gain a better understanding of what they want out of their job and how well that fits with your position's needs.
Remember that hiring isn't just a side-show, it's an integral part of growth, and in the early stages as you move beyond a Series A startup, it will shape the future of your business, so it is fundamental to be intentional about your hiring strategy. Founders/management should be involved in the hiring process of every position to scope the character and fit of each applicant. It is important to ensure your hiring managers are aligned with the company's interview techniques. Additionally, a helpful technique can be using a small team of interviewers rather than just one or two for a wider view of how the applicant will fit into the team.
Setting up an onboarding structure that empowers your new starters to do their best work is key. Startup positions are special and the job is more hands-on and fast-paced than most; work is less stable and often changes quickly. Creating an environment of encouragement, safety, and cooperation is ever more important in these workplaces.
Invest time early on in transmitting your value through the informing of processes and know-how between team members. Team building exercises and building friendships, especially from management to team members, can be a great asset to help your employees feel like a team rather than an expendable worker and encourage greater collaboration. New hires can especially benefit from mentorships with experienced employees as they get used to your unique work environment.
In a rapidly changing environment like a startup, performance metrics can often be overlooked. It's important to set key performance indexes for your company, for your teams, and for your employees and informing them from the beginning. Defining clear performance goals that uniquely fit your company and clearly communicating them to your entire team drive a sense of purpose and clarity throughout the organization. Keep these front and center.
Give your teams their own individual performance goals for their projects and give each employee a clear path of growth. Setting up a reward system can motivate performance, as well as make it easily identifiable.
While exciting, the transition past a Series A startup can be both daunting and confusing. However, it doesn't need to be. Just remember to focus on your core values and what you've been doing right to get to this point. Most importantly, have an attitude of learning as you apply these strategies and shape your plan to best fit your company's culture, goals, and purpose.
For more information, come back next week as we dive deeper into the KPI's and processes that help your business run smoother as you transition from Series A to B.
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