How to prepare staff for business growth
Thank you for your posts which are always very helpful. You are making me think about my business in a different way.
I am hoping for good growth in my business this year, but am not sure my staff will be up to it. Can you please advise me how to train staff for business growth?
I am glad you are finding the lessons useful. It is good to hear that you are anticipating growth, and that you are thinking about how to manage it.
This is a very interesting question. Guiding a company through a growth period can be extremely demanding and requires some planning. Many companied fail not for lack of demand, but for a failure to deal with a rapid increase in demand.
As well as staff training, don’t forget that growth may lead you to need more capital and other resources as well as staff. I hope you have a Business Plan, if not use our advice here to help you develop one.
Update it with your plans for growth and share it with your bankers and investors so that you can discuss any additional funding requirements with them.
Update your cash flow forecast as well, to enable you to see what those requirements may be.
Don’t forget to factor in requirements for additional staff and resources.
Training staff for business growth
Without knowing your business and the extent of your growth plans, it is not possible for me to be specific here, but I will offer some general advice and guidelines.
From the wording of your question I assume you are talking about training existing staff to deal with growth.
This is a good tactic in the short term, or if you have some surplus productivity, but you may also need to recruit in the medium term. Many companies will delay doing this, to keep a tight control on overheads, and this is a great idea, but there may come a time when the existing staff can no longer manage and you have no choice other than to recruit.
First, I would advise building some flexibility into roles, so that if one area of the business needs extra staff at short notice, you can redeploy existing staff, to plug the gap in the short term. How this is done depends entirely on the kind of business you have, and the roles assigned, but this will probably be apparent to you and your team.
Make sure everyone can cover several roles, or lend a hand in other departments. Try to ensure there is no “bottleneck “where a key piece of expertise or knowledge is available to only one person. I don’t mean just in a manufacturing sense, but also ensure that there are enough people who can raise invoices, place orders, run the payroll etc.
It may be a good idea to talk to staff about using overtime in the short term to deal with increased demand. Their responses will give you an idea how much “slack “you can count on. Taken together with any overcapacity, you will be able to estimate how much extra demand they can cope with before you have to recruit.
Recruiting and training new staff takes a long time, and can be a distraction in a growing company, as the existing team have to slow down to find and train the right people.
In change management theory, it is well recognised that things always get worse before they get better. In this scenario, things will get worse as the existing team struggle to keep the business moving at an accelerating speed while simultaneously recruiting and training new staff.
It is also a good idea, if you have the time and resources, to introduce all your staff to the Theory of Change Management. Perhaps you could take then all through a Change Management workshop.
We offer 4 modules on the topic here;
Also, remember that if you are carrying out performance management and appraisals, then you will know what the ambitions of your staff are, and who is keen to accept more responsibility.
I hope this has been helpful to you, and Good Luck in the coming year