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When Should You Start a Hiring Plan to Support Your Growth? (Sooner Than You Think!)

If you run a high-growth business and you expect to need an influx of employees—for initiatives like launching a new product or entering a new market—how much lead time will you need to get those new team members on board?

The answer may surprise you.

With all the movement of employees today, you might expect there are lots of candidates looking, so the hiring runway can’t be that bad. But if you hope to achieve significant growth, you can’t simply run recruitment ads and hope job seekers find you on a reasonable timeline. Those days are long gone.

To ensure you find the right talent at the right time to fuel your growth, you need to develop a strategic hiring plan before you’re ready to start the hiring process—and do some housekeeping in the meantime to position yourself for the best results. No matter where you are in the journey to build out your team, it’s never too soon to evaluate your hiring plan and set up your organization for success.

How the Job Market is Changing 

In the current job market, you can’t assume the right talent will find you precisely when you need them. Yes, it’s true that people are still switching jobs—sometimes for more money, other times for a better work/life balance or a more supportive work environment. But it’s not the same job market as it was in 2020, when the term “The Great Resignation” first surfaced.  

In the early days of the pandemic, some employees were willing to leave a job without having a new place to land. Others made relatively impulsive decisions to switch companies simply because the new job paid more. For many people, the emotions and uncertainty fueled by the pandemic encouraged job moves that might not have happened only a year earlier. 

Now, employees appear to be taking a more measured, cautious approach to changing jobs, partly because some have found the grass wasn’t necessarily greener on the other side. With potentially fewer people actively looking to make a move—or willing to consider a recruiter’s call—companies are finding the process even slower than before. That means you’ll need to start preparing your hiring plans sooner and get your recruiting house in order faster.  

Why Your Hiring Plan Needs to Change, Too 

One reason you need more lead time to develop a hiring plan is because that plan needs to go far beyond what you might have expected in the past. 

Of course, a good hiring plan must always include fundamental components like these:

  • The number and types of positions you need to fill
  • Accurate, comprehensive, compelling job descriptions (which involves doing a deep dive with your hiring managers – not simply dusting off the same, tired role descriptions you’ve been using for decades)
  • Your intended outreach methods 
  • The evaluation and assessment methods your HR team and hiring managers will use
  • The available recruitment budget

But an effective hiring plan today must also go beyond those basic components. Before you can begin to recruit the top talent it takes to run a profitable, thriving, high-growth company, you may need to do housekeeping on critical aspects like the following.  

  • Your employment brand. What does your employment brand say about your organization and what it will be like to work there? Have you even given much thought to your employment brand? Many companies don’t because they haven’t had to in the past. But just like a product or service brand prepares you for the experience of buying and using it, your employment brand tells candidates what to expect of your hiring and onboarding experience. It should be consistent with your values, convey a positive and compelling message, and differentiate your business from other employers. Consider whether you’re setting up your candidates to expect the Ritz Carlton or the Holiday Inn. 
  • Your interview experience. Are you still interviewing solely through channels like Zoom or can you conduct some interviews in person, especially for senior roles? The more high-touch the experience, the better you’ll connect with candidates. Also consider the tone and frequency of your communication during the hiring process. If you’re rigid, aloof, slow to respond, or go entirely dark for weeks, viable candidates will lose interest. 
  • Your onboarding experience. If your new hire onboarding will take place virtually, is the experience set up in a way that makes people feel part of the culture? 
  • Your pay scale and benefits. Have your salaries, bonuses, and benefits kept pace with changing conditions and expectations over the last two years? To attract top talent and meet the requirements of today’s workforce, you need to ensure your compensation package is competitive.  
  • The state of your leadership. Are your leaders in a good place emotionally, ready to help you build out your team and provide the guidance your new hires will need? Are any of your key leaders approaching retirement age? If so, you’ll need a solid succession plan, along with sufficient lead to time to recruit for those tough-to-fill positions and provide a smooth transition during a time of high growth.   
  • Your managers’ EQ. Emotional intelligence, often called EQ, is one of the most important factors in any employee’s success. When those employees are charged with managing others, especially in these volatile times, their EQ becomes even more critical. For example, if your new hires will work remotely or hybrid your managers will need to be equipped to supervise, motivate, and lead effectively in this environment. 
  • Your online presence. Have you checked your company’s reviews on websites like Glassdoor and Indeed? Do you know what your current and former employees and job candidates are saying about your company on social media? Your online presence may be a candidate’s first encounter with your company, so be sure you have a good handle on what they’re seeing and be ready to mitigate any issues.    

How the Right Partner Can Help 

Given the increasing complexity of hiring in the current market, it’s never too early to start developing a strategic hiring plan. That’s especially true if you have aggressive growth objectives—whether you’re in a transformative industry like clean energy, you’re developing breakthrough technologies, or you’re building out your geographic footprint or product portfolio.

A well-conceived hiring plan will help you obtain the talent you need to turn your growth goals into reality, enabling you to attract new team members who can support your strategic objectives and initiatives, proactively build out your bench, and plan for the smooth succession and transition of senior leaders.  

When high-growth companies need hiring plans that help them attract and retain top talent to achieve their goals, they turn to M3 Partnership & Placement! Our team is highly experienced in developing strategic hiring plans that position high-growth companies for the best outcomes.

Contact M3 to schedule an introductory call!