A ton of coverage is granted to organizations experiencing explosive growth and raising great sums of money. Much less is devoted to what happens when a downsize or pivot in the business is required.
In many respects, the latter is the more important topic since 74% of tech companies fail because of rapid growth.
I once had an advisor ask how long a year was in technology? Before I could reply she answered her own question "3 months!" And while it's true that the pace is often nuts, perhaps it makes sense to pump the brakes a little from time to time.
I was delighted to welcome Megan Woerlein, Head of HR & Operations from Joist to speak with the #TorontoHR community as part of our monthly speakers series. Megan shared a perspective on the decisions that sometimes need to be made to make a business smaller so that it may be poised for future growth.
Among the downsides of scaling too fast:
- Hiring for the wrong roles
- Decision making based on growth projections or unproven business models
- A mismanaged or broken culture
HR has an enormous role to play in being the compass for the organization and mitigating pitfalls like these. HR is transitioning from a largely tactical, administrative function to a more strategic role focused on creating value for the business by linking the expectations of executives with the day to day requirements of department managers.
Megan demonstrated how a combination of business acumen and a solution-centric outlook are critical to driving impact on the big things that keep your CEO up at night - Customers, Productivity, Succession and Profit. In a nutshell, whether you're growing, stagnating or shrinking, HR's role remains the same:
- Stay on top of the financials
- Assess every company decision through a people focused lens
- What should your HR org look like at 50, 80, 200?
- Can your managers manage?
So the question is, if you've been part of downsize, what would you add to this list? Think about it.