How to Expand a Small Team Into a Stable, Larger Group

- Job & Career

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by Wendy Dessler

Is your small team buckling under the weight of work for your business? This might be a challenge, but it’s actually great news. In a world when many businesses don’t make it a year or longer, your small team is thriving and growing. 

That said, transitioning your team into a stable, larger group isn’t always easy. There can be tension between members and it’s important to tread carefully and make sure you know what to expect every step of the way. Here’s how to expand a small team into a larger group once and for all. 

#1: Do You Really Need to Expand?

First, you need to ask whether or not you really need to expand? A lot of small teams grow too quickly. They find themselves without enough work and might not be able to afford the extra paychecks. The failure rates for small businesses aren’t promising, so you’ll want to tread carefully. Consider the goals of your business and be realistic.

There are a lot of solutions that don’t involve hiring full-time or part-time staff. For example, many small teams outsource tasks like marketing or payroll to take the load off their colleagues. This might be a more affordable solution depending on your needs. 

#2: Know the Ideal Team Size

It pays to know the ideal team size. Make note that larger teams require more complex processes and less productivity. It’s much easier to stay in control of a small team than a large one. You don’t want to grow too quickly, so stay on top of your ideal team size.

#3: Hire Carefully

It pays to hire carefully as making the wrong hiring decision costs your business time and money and you don’t have extra cash or time to waste on the wrong choice. Hiring carefully is about more than just spending a lot of time on each application. In fact, it shouldn’t be about that at all. When you hire, use every tool at your disposal. Using an Applicant Tracking System is a great way to stay on top of applications and quickly identify the best applicants, especially if you plan to hire several people.

#4: Leave Room for Creativity

A big mistake of small teams looking to expand quickly is to hire people who fit the small team dynamic too much. This creates an environment of homogeneity, or sameness. You want a group of new thinkers. You want your current team to be challenged, and for new ideas to emerge. If everyone belongs to the same identity and way of thinking, you’ll effectively kill creativity. As a small business, you can’t live without creativity. You need to develop a culture of diversity and creativity in the workplace.

#5: Hire Slow, Fire Fast

If you’ve been working for a while, you’ve probably heard the mantra “hire slow, fire fast.” What does this actually mean in practice and why does it matter? While it might sound harsh, it’s actually the best way to make sure your team is the right fit. Why waste money and time on a new hire who’s proven they’re not a good match? If they don’t fit the company culture or don’t bring the right skills to the table, you need to find someone else. Even worse is when these bad hires hold everyone back. Similarly, taking the time to slowly find the best hire will help cut down on the need to fire in the first place. 

Learn more on hiring better with the Management 3.0 Module How to Hire Great People

#6: Strengthen Your Team

When you grow your small team, you have the opportunity to strengthen it. Don’t grow your team for the sake of growth but ensure that now is the right time before you begin hiring. From there, be intentional and mindful with hiring.

A few questions to consider: How well will these new members fit into your team? What will they contribute? If you’re critical with the process, you’ll have nothing to fear. 

Photo credit Kate Kalvach, on Unsplash

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