Growing Pains: The Right Talent for Expansion
Growing a company can be an incredibly challenging process, as a weak recruitment strategy can lead to reactive hiring or major gaps in a talent pool. At SailPoint we built our team from the top down to ensure we were getting the best and brightest leadership team possible. Our founding team was able to rely on our network to bring in the first 50-75 folks, but after that we needed to get out into other talent pools. Today we’re fortunate to have a number of “strands” of talent DNA mixing together for even better results!
For every company, there will eventually be a time you need to recruit talent outside of your network. We focused on three straightforward ideas to ensure our mission and culture were carried on throughout the company with each and every new hire.
Slow Down and Focus on Quality
Rapid growth can often lead to the mentality that the more people on your team to meet demand, the better. While we always try to hire at an appropriate rate to avoid too much burden on our current team, we are careful to not move so quickly that we start to lose control of the process. “A players” like to work with “A players,” but unfortunately, most of us have seen a situation that when you start to stray from that standard, you will bring in “B players” and then “C players,” ultimately impacting the morale, quality and culture of the company.
To make sure a new hire is truly a fit within our company, we go beyond the standard references they provide. To dig a little deeper, we try to find a mutual connection (LinkedIn has become incredibly useful for this), ensure they spend quality time with the right people during the interview process, and generally look for ways to get an objective view from outside their preferred references.
Let Your Culture Help You
As we’ve grown and established a strong culture, we try to utilize it as a marketing tool to enhance the company’s reputation and image in the community as a good place to work. Our strong company culture attracts like-minded people that will thrive in our organization and deters others that might not be as suitable.
By establishing a strong word-of-mouth reputation, we’ve found that potential employees will seek out positions within our organization before they are even available – ultimately, providing a steady stream of candidates to explore. Creating excitement about working at our organization has allowed us to find employees that will be valuable, long-term company resources.
Trust Your Current Team
I have always believed in a “people first” mission. To carry on that mission, you have to empower your employees to help in the recruitment process. Frankly, our best employees are our best assets in the recruitment process. As we’ve stayed focused on bringing in the right people who reinforce our culture, those new people leverage their excitement to bring in top performers from their network. To encourage this process, we built a reference program with rewards to incentivize our employees to help in the recruiting effort.
As an entrepreneur, my goal is to build successful, growing companies. But that growth can be scary or create a panic if you begin to realize you do not have the people resources you need to cover everything that needs to be done. While that can be an intimidating thought, we continue to believe that it is critical to slow down and find the right combination of talent and commitment in the people we hire, particularly those who will help to foster our mission and continue to shape the development of the company. And while many leaders tend to do the opposite, I’ve found it’s useful to remember the old adage that says, “Hire slowly, and fire quickly.” While the second part of that phrase should always be balanced with a sense of fairness and compassion, the first is simply the right thing to do, no matter what. Too much turnover is always the price for forgetting its importance.