Staffing Up Considerations

One of the most terrifying fun things that goes along with growing a company is adding additional staff. At some point, it gets to the point where you can't do it all. For some organizations, this will happen on Day One. With some other organizations, it will take months, years, or never happen.

There are some people/roles that can be added without an immediate effect on the customer. Adding an Office Manager or Accountant isn't likely to impact your customers directly. It means invoices might be generated/paid more quickly and calls/emails might be answered a bit faster, but the bigger impact is that it frees up your schedule to get back to the important stuff… building your systems. You have to have a lot of trust in these people as most of your most sensitive internal information will be available to them at any time. You have the tough decision of figuring out which information is necessary to do their job while restricting access to the unrelated information.

Adding staff on the development side of the house is a completely different experience all together. These are people who will have direct visibility to customers and often help determine the architecture (or build it) for your systems, etc. These people are hard to recruit, hard to retain, and even harder to keep motivated and engaged. The best and brightest – aka the people you lean on and trust the most – are going to have opportunities popping up to them left and right.

But here's the dirty little secret… everything that applies to one of those people applies to both of those people:

  • Additional staff has the ability to take tasks off your back – if you allow them;
  • To be effective at their jobs, your people will need access to otherwise sensitive information;
  • Your people will (eventually) be visible to your customers – whether through email, blogging, phone, etc – and you and your people need to remember that;
  • And finally, good people – no matter their skillset – are going to be offered new opportunities, some better than you can ever hope to match;

My 0.02.