When you work for a smallish company, you need to be ready for growth. And I’m not talking the 2-3% increases over the course of time. I’m talking about the decisions that lead to explosive growth, seemingly overnight. Don’t be “that HR guy/gal” who finds out after the fact that big changes are coming. Have some forethought. Plan ahead. Develop a strategy. You’ll be looked at as a stronger partner within the organization, and it will mean less stress for you and your team when the inevitable changes do come.

We’ve ridden those waves before, and we’re now poised for yet another growth spurt. Here are four ways I’m preparing for this potential growth.

1) Automation

While we’re not big enough (yet) to be able to afford a lot of software/hardware upgrades, we do have ability to use things like SharePoint to organize and automate our processes and workflows. Saving time on a single new hire or employee action adds up over time. The key is for these actions to be able to scale, even if we double or triple in size.

2) Document SOPs

When you have a lull in the storm, that’s the best time to look back at how you were able to navigate the previous circumstances. Once you’ve identified those key actions that led to success, document those. While you’re at it, make sure the day-to-day activities you complete are documented as well. What happens to your work if you get hit by a bus?

3) Build a Pipeline

I plan to write more on proactive recruiting soon, but I had two instances recently where this came in handy and helped to avoid being stuck in a tight spot. The interesting part was that it was entirely by accident. We’d interviewed a few candidates several months ago and were ready to hire, but the position was closed due to customer requirements. I kept in touch with the candidates, and when the positions came available again, it was as simple as sending an offer letter since they’d been pre-screened and pre-qualified. It’s easy to talk about and not always easy to do, but just a few interviews over time can help uncover great candidates if you hire for the same types of positions often.

4) Cut Waste

Automation saves time, but financial waste is a drain on the company as well, and with even more work to be done, it will be that much more painful to continue the status quo. Consider talking with vendors, benefits brokers, and other service providers about what sort of rate negotiations you’ll be able to secure as a larger organization. Saving 3% on health insurance premiums may seem like a small amount, but don’t forget that the cost savings grow incrementally even as the business grows.

Those are a few of the ways we’re looking to prepare for the next tidal wave of activity on the HR/recruiting side. Anyone else have ideas they’d care to share?

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