When thinking about the HR needs of your startup, you may get caught up in the spectacle of being a part of a new and exciting business. You’ve been funded, have a large HR budget because of this, and want to hire the most talented people to help you create your product or expand your service. However, because half of all startups fail in their first few years, it’s important to have a long-term HR plan that will help develop your business beyond a single innovative idea or person. In the same way your boss should think about what’s going to happen down the road, you should be thinking about an HR plan that will work beyond the year you launch.
Taking the Long View
HR should think about many of the long-term hiring needs they’re going to need to fill. They should begin working with managers and company leaders to develop plans for expansion, and how the company should structure itself to accommodate expansions and the hires that will entail. Andrew J. Sherman ( @AndrewJSherman ), M&A Partner at Jones Day, has more:
“To maintain and sustain long-term growth , you should put an effective strategic plan in place to navigate the expansion path, ensure the rate and pace of growth is right and set milestones as checkpoints and accountability for performance and progress. (As the saying goes, if you don’t know where you’re going, then any road will get you there.) Rather, use the strategic planning process to map out your long-term navigation plan and to make sure you’re on the right track from year to year.”
It’s exciting as more businesses and consumers discover your product or service, but your company will likely need a plan that will outlive your current rapid growth.
Hiring for the Future
What’s your long-term navigation plan when it comes to employees? It should be all about support and diversity. The biggest reason startups fail is because of a lack of product/market fit. This research usually comes after the fact, after the company is looking for reasons it failed. Take that as a hint to hire someone to do your market research before you launch your product. The product may end up changing and it may not be the vision the founders had in mind when they started the company, but hiring the right people to make a better product or service will save you big in the long run.
You’re also going to want to build a safety net for all your new hires. Sure, equity may be on the table for you earliest employees. But as HR, it’ll be your job to create a benefits package all your employees can access and appreciate. Seventy percent of companies offer automatic enrollment in 401(k) plans. You can incentivize employees to invest in their own futures by offering to match their contributions.
Plan Ahead, Think Now
With all this long-term thinking, you also need to make sure you’re implementing your hiring plans. What will your next hire accomplish? How will your benefits make you a more attractive employer to the talent you’re targeting? If you’re having trouble creating short, actionable plans that turn long-term goals into short-term ones, try creating S.M.A.R.T. goals that can help you break down and plan steps you can take every day.