How to Grow a Team from 1 to 100

By Penny Garbus, President Soaring Eagle

Yesterday it felt like we were two people hacking away at a software product, while selling, consulting and doing the bookkeeping. Today we are getting ready to hire a few people a month and grow our staff quickly. How the heck do we get ready for all these people to walk through our doors, whether they are virtual or physical doors?

At first, we hired 1099s to staff up, to help cover 24 x 7
support, provide expertise we didn’t have in house, etc. For the short term
this is great, for the long term sometimes, not always, but for the long term
this can cause gaps, gaps in knowledge, gaps in support, and gaps in cultural

We decided to hire more in-house staff because we can
control how we want people to do the work more easily. Employees tend to be
team builders; 1099s aren’t always, though some are very good and join in and
become a crucial member, while others are hard to train and difficult to keep
focused on your long-term goals.

The first step is to create your culture, build a business
plan, write job descriptions, write out procedures that match the job
descriptions and the goals for the team member. For example, write statements
like; “You need to complete assignments on time or communicate to the rest of
the team days or even weeks before hand that you are having trouble meeting
your goal. Missing a deadline can happen, but it should never be a surprise to
the team that is counting on you.”

Second step, begin to think about what you can automate, ask
your team what processes you could automate through software or other tools to
make their jobs easier.

Third step, review procedures once a year to make sure that
they are still valid. Include education procedures and job description reviews.

Fourth step, create a training process, mentoring programs
with points of validation so you know the new person is being trained properly
and they are stepping in line to your procedures and your cultural values.
Speaking of cultural values: Know what your values are and share them with your
employees. It helps guide a person, so they understand what is the most
important to you. This helps fend off any ethical situation.

Once you have all of these steps, which are simple for me to
describe but not simple to create and implement, you will see that your
training and team development will be much easier and less stressful for you
and your new team members.