Growth Planning Guide: 4 Tips for Executives at Expanding Companies
Company growth is exciting for everyone involved: it’s encouraging to see a company’s vision coming to life as business grows and profits rise. Despite the benefits of company growth, managing a rapidly expanding business is certainly not without its challenges and potential pain points. In fact, executives often find it very difficult to manage the needs of a growing business. Leaders at high-growth companies are tasked with managing the ever-changing demands of an organization on the fast track, while also retaining existing employees and expanding their team.
On top of that, it’s especially tough to keep employees engaged and clients happy during times of rapid change. For example: Landon Pearson, who is Vice President of HR and Talent at Demandbase, faced a significant challenge when his company started seeing rapid growth on a global scale. Because maintaining an intimate, engaged company culture was difficult, he needed to find a solution quickly. (That’s where we come in!)
One of the things our executive team prides themselves on is knowing everyone’s name. Since we were just getting to the point where we couldn’t keep up with all the new faces, we really needed a solution to help keep track of everything and everyone. -Landon Pearson, VP of HR and Talent at Demandbase
Below are some of the biggest challenges that high-growth organizations face.
Hiring and retaining good talent.
Successfully managing day-to-day operations is hard enough, let alone hiring and retaining talent simultaneously. Many executives find it challenging to hire the right people to accommodate the needs of their growing organization—and the same goes for retaining talent. In order to hire (and keep) the right people during times of change, note the key skills that will help the organization meet goals and bring the vision to life. To retain talent, it’s important to build and nurture a positive company culture.
Building the right company culture.
Speaking of company culture, it’s a major factor when it comes to keeping employees engaged and retaining talent. That said, building and maintaining the right company culture is easier said than done—especially while addressing growing pains as an organization evolves. Leadership should recognize and reward employees for hard work, organize team-building activities, and invest in collaboration tools like live org chart software to help nurture company culture.
Losing track of the big picture.
As a company grows, leaders often struggle with focusing so much on the small details that they lose track of the big picture and the company’s greater mission. To avoid becoming so entrenched in the day-to-day that they lose track of the bigger picture, executives should revisit the company’s strategy and goals regularly. With the right team in place and frequent reminders of the company’s mission, leadership can stay focused on long-term objectives and ensure the company is moving in the right direction.
Managing Rapid Company Growth
There’s no doubt about it: Effectively managing rapid company expansion is a challenging feat to accomplish. However, following best practices can help companies navigate the process, adapt to change, and address any growing pains that stand in their way. Here are a few strategies and tools to help executives better manage company growth:
1. Create short- and long-term goals.
By creating a combination of both short- and long-term business goals, company executives can work toward the larger mission and vision, while also achieving short-term objectives in support of it.
2. Put the right team in place.
One of the most important questions that a business leader can ask is whether they have put the right team in place to meet the organization’s evolving needs. After all, an organization is only as good as its employees. By taking a strategic approach to workforce planning, leadership can ensure the right people are in the right roles to bring the company’s vision to life.
3. Nurture a positive culture.
Building and nurturing a positive company culture is key when it comes to driving employee engagement and retaining existing talent. To keep employees happy and productive, leaders should be mindful of how expansion is changing the organization’s culture. To prevent employee engagement from dropping off during a period of rapid growth, managers should encourage employees to cultivate good habits in the workplace, such as embracing feedback, setting goals, and building relationships.
4. Invest in the right technology.
When armed with the right technology, such as live org chart software, internal communication tools, and a project management platform, executives can streamline processes, identify areas for improvement, and plan for future organizational growth.
Defining an Organizational Structure
During a period of growth, it’s essential that leadership defines a clear organizational structure. Executives should consider the future as the company grows—what will the organizational structure look like? Are the right people in the right roles?
Once the structure is defined, it should be shared with employees, both with an initial announcement and an of-the-moment view. Live org chart software is an excellent resource for growth and workforce planning efforts that can be used in both scenarios to show organizational structure, relationships between teams and employees, and be accessed “on the fly” for more information about teammates, from phone numbers to special skills. Armed with this technology, leaders can create various drafts of different org charts to plan for the organization’s future. These systems allow for easy collaboration on working drafts with other executives and members of the workforce planning team.
Managing a growing organization is undoubtedly challenging, but it’s not impossible. With the right strategy in place and the right tools at their disposal, company leaders can effectively navigate growth planning and keep employees engaged along the way.
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