The U.S. Department of Labor reports a rise in employment — an average of 233,000 jobs per month were added to the U.S. economy over the summer of 2016.
The labor market is the best it’s been in years, and spikes in hiring are good for both staffing agencies and the workforce as a whole. However, the GDP indicates that businesses are failing to invest in the infrastructure necessary to sustain such growth.
Delta Air Lines demonstrated the danger of growth without investment when, this past August, a computer system error caused cancellation or delay for hundreds of flights.
Dropbox faced a similar PR nightmare when an employee reused a weak password previously used on LinkedIn, resulting in the leak of 68 million user passwords.
Another great example is the recent Russian cyber breach that targeted several US news organizations including The New York Times, a company that outsources its employee email services through Google.
Withstanding the blows of rapid growth
Delta, Dropbox and Google are large enough to handle significant customer service hiccups, but a similar issue could prove disastrous for small to mid-sized companies not large enough to bounce back from a crisis.
Here are some helpful tips to avoid the pitfalls of eroding infrastructure under the weight of rapid growth:
1. Don’t expect your infrastructure to have permanence
No form of infrastructure can be created once and used forever. This is especially true when it comes to technology. Therefore, business leaders must invest time and energy to ensure the software and technology their company uses is current and functions effectively.
Constant updates are imperative to ensure the security, accuracy and efficiency of your software and technology. Make sure that the software and technology providers your company works with constantly update their products in order to avoid security breaches or technical glitches down the line. While saving money now may seem enticing, skimping on updates can result in huge costs later on, and may even be detrimental to your business.
2. Use your office space to build company presence and morale
The physical infrastructure of your company creates an immediate presence in your area and industry. If you have a decked out office space, people can’t ignore you. However, don’t let your office space become a statement of ego — someone can always come along and build something better.
Instead, focus on how your space impacts staff and their productivity. If you’ve outgrown your current office, make an investment in your employees by working to find an alternative solution. Likewise, if you’ve invested millions in a state-of-the-art new office, make sure that the desire for eye-catching design does not outweigh the desire for a functional, comfortable space.
3. Remember that people are your greatest asset
A swanky office and state-of-the-art software do not ensure a growing company will function smoothly. As you shift from hiring one person at a time to five or more, make sure you aren’t hiring new employees just to fill a seat, but rather that the person really fits in with your current staff. By protecting the company culture, you’ll avoid increased turnover and staff turmoil.
It’s also important that you have a solid process in place to welcome and train employees during the onboarding phase. This is the crucial time in which you should evaluate and ensure that new hires fit their position. Happy, engaged employees will be your greatest asset as the company navigates its expansion.
Entrepreneurs are path-makers by our very nature, with a strong desire to leave a legacy behind. The only way to build a lasting legacy is to never cut corners on investing in company infrastructure, including your technology, office space and — most importantly — your staff.
As entrepreneurs, our job is to build infrastructure that others may use and create value out of. If you build it the right way and continue to improve it, your solid infrastructure will continue on with your legacy.
This article has been edited and condensed.
David Dourgarian is the president and CEO of TempWorks Software, based in Eagan, MN. His accomplishments within the company include launching the payroll funding and payroll processing divisions, as well as engineering a substantial software partnership with Sterling National Bank. Connect with @tworksdavid on Twitter.