Congratulations for making to the final exercise of the #gxmxp Series: Talent Acquisition Framework and Roadmap. Time to develop a comprehensive recruitment marketing and employment brand strategy.
The goal of the Talent Acquisition Framework and Roadmap phase is to identify the skills and roles you’ll need before you need them to avoid making costly mistakes with your runway.
The majority of the MXP is designed to help you build a lean plan to achieve product market fit and grow revenue. However, we start and finish with people because you can’t succeed scaling your business without the right team.
While we’ll focus here on the resources you’ll need in the future, you also need to keep track of your current team. Oftentimes, your most loyal employees agree to do a job that’s out of their comfort zone until you can bring someone else in.
The “can do, will do anything” attitude is one of the best traits of early startup employees. The startup hustle comes from a place of good intentions but if left unchecked can have negative consequences.
If you leave those people in those stretch positions for too long they will drift away from their passions and strengths. This will likely result in some of your most valuable assets deciding to walk away, do their job very poorly or create low morale. It’s crucial to keep these loyal people happy and thriving.
In your strategic pipeline review meeting, it’s important to remain aware and vigilant regarding everyone’s utilization rate. What’s a reasonable workload expectation for someone to do their job well?
We’ve preached throughout the #gxmxp Series the importance of quality over quantity.
If you start seeing someone leaning more toward the quantity of work and less toward quality, that’s a sign that a seam is about to break.
If you notice an employee or yourself starting to struggle it’s important to separate the individual from the task before jumping to the conclusion that the individual is simply not doing their job. You may need to have some difficult conversations but before doing so you need to evaluate what their bandwidth and real world expectations are.
Ask people how they’re doing, how much longer they have in them and if they’re feeling good or bad about their work.
All too often within startups, people put themselves in roles where they are essentially beginners for the sake of the company. The most common example of this is startup founders taking on sales and marketing responsibilities with no prior experience.
Just because someone takes on the responsibility does not mean they should be judged as if they are a professional at it. You need to manage people, their background and expectations.
This Talent Acquisition Framework and Roadmap phase is about identifying what roles you will need to fill assuming you hit your market milestone.
What will the roles and responsibilities look like? How will that impact your bandwidth and company priorities? Where will this shift impact your current team and where will that shift impact the quality of execution?
As you look towards this future state where you have hit your market milestones you can also ask yourself what trigger events will occur that will tell you that it’s time to bring on new talent.
More importantly you should be identifying the trigger events that would tell you to make a hire well before you need to bring someone on. If you wait until the bandwidth is already constrained you will likely be forced to make a hurried hiring decision.
Startups usually don’t hire until they’re already past the first signs of trouble. If you can project what your world will look like when the seams are broken and what metrics will lead to that, then you’ll have a head start that will likely save you precious runway.
Before reading any further, pull up the resource you filled out in the first section of the MXP, the Resource Review + Talent Roadmap spreadsheet. We’ll now be filling out the second tab (“Talent Roadmap”).
For the last time, here’s how to fill in each tab on this resource:
Once you have the whole system running well, two of the biggest mistakes to be mindful of are:
There will most likely be a time in the future where your pipeline might be in danger of falling apart because of a resource bottleneck. Some companies may have a knee-jerk reaction to that and just hire someone to help.
One of our favorite things to say at GrowthX is “Hire slow and fire fast.” Unfortunately, startups tend to do the exact opposite. They’ll identify the need for a head of sales, whip together a job description, interview candidates and hire someone within 30 days. That’s not a long time when you think about the hiring process or how valuable and impactful a role you are hiring for.
You have to write a job description, share it with people, review resumes, schedule interviews and make a decision. Even sixty days is not a lot of time to do that.
At the early stages of your business, it’s extremely important to find the right person who can run with your plan, fit in with your team and add value.
You may get lucky but more often than not it takes a while to find them.
Hiring is just like selling. Market to a smaller audience, not a bigger one (think about an Ideal Hiring Profile). Get out of that traditional hiring template you have in your head.
If you use the typical cut-and-paste job description, you’re going to attract the wrong people. Once you’ve hired someone, you won’t 100% know if you have the right person until they start doing the job.
Hiring is all gut instinct, so it’s better to provide as much information as possible up front in the job description. Don’t be afraid to write things that would disqualify people from your job post.
The more general you are, the more of a general audience you’re going to attract and that will dilute the quality of candidates that jump into your pool making weaker candidates appear stronger than they really are.
Building a community of people and a bench of talent is what’s going to keep you out of trouble. The more you can be honest with people about where your company is, where the gaps are and where you need help, the more you’re going to get helpful feedback instead of people just looking for the next job.
We’ve also found that hiring comes in all shapes and sizes in today’s economy. As you build out your roles, it’s important to seriously evaluate if you’re hiring a full-time role, a part-time role or something that can be outsourced altogether.
There are amazing tools and agencies out there for almost every single role, from lead generation to cold calling to web development. Sometimes it makes no sense from a financial and time perspective to hire for roles like this.
Outsourcing at first can help you validate if there’s enough pull from the market for you to hire a full-time employee. It can also be a cost effective way for you to build out processes before paying an FTE to do the learning for you. This might be a higher cost in the short term, but it can save you from much more expensive, long-term and mentally painful mistakes.
And that’s it! In the next and final post, we’ll review everything from the #gxmxp Series and share closing insights that we’ve learned from helping hundreds of companies successfully navigate through the MXP on their journey towards the truth.