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Top tips for hiring and firing in a growing business

John Nelligan


Reviewing your team structure may mean hiring new staff with specific roles or re-structuring your current team to optimise capabilities and resources. However, in a small business a poor staff recruitment can cause significant issues in terms of impacting on moral, productivity, customer service and ultimately profitability.

Build your team around your business structure

Often a business builds its structure around people rather than people around structures. This leads to the position where loyal people end up in roles that they are not suitable for.

As a business grows, roles need to be divided up into specialisms. For example, in a very small company, someone might be employed to do both marketing and sales. As a firm scales up, you will eventually find yourself needing separate marketing and sales functions. The person with the combined skills may not work out in the new structure, even after retraining and a trial period. If their competence does not fit the role, then difficult as it is you should let them go.

Don’t be afraid to let people go

If a difficult, but essential fire is not carried out, the rest of the organisation will see management accepting under performance. This then leads to the temptation for everyone else to lower their standards. People will start to question whether management really cares, if they don’t tackle poor performance.

In a small business, even a single fire can have a significant impact on the rest of the people. Tongues start wagging and everyone starts to get a bit fearful for their own security. Open communication is key. Continue with regular and honest performance reviews. And keep up those informal corridor conversations.

Put the right staff recruitment strategy in place

For a scaling up SME, the biggest danger of a bad hire is that they become time consuming to deal with. Ensure that there is a probation period and don’t be afraid to use it if you are not 100 percent sure.

To recruit better, a scaling up SME needs to adopt a robust recruitment process. Create a job description and a person specification for the role prior to starting the staff recruitment process.

Consider using psychometric testing as part of the decision making process and work with competency based interviewing techniques.

Recruit people with similar values to the business

To recruit better, have a clear organisation chart that delineates clear lines of responsibilities. Write effective good job descriptions that are not just full of buzzwords. Check every recruit against the following three pointers: Can they do the job? Will they do the job? Will they fit with the business’ core values?

Business Doctors offer a cost effective, trusted recruitment service for businesses. Get in touch for more information! Or find your local Business Doctor here