How to Hire 100 People all at Once. Wow that is a challenge, right? People are wonderful, creative, and purposeful beings all eager to help, all with a different shared voice all contributing to a common goal but how can you hire 100 people all at one time. That is a question!
First, let’s be honest, when we say 100 people all at Once we don’t mean the same time we mean all in one brief period. 100 people at the same time would overwhelm even the most efficient of large H.R. departments. Instead we mean a planned, organized hiring spree over several days or weeks.
Step 1: Hire the highest-level management first
This may sound counter-intuitive especially for a technical start-up. The people writing the code are the people adding the value but trust me. You need help. There is a game I facilitate for rooms of 100 people and it takes 7 facilitators plus myself and this is just a game! We need people to help us align people and help them be productive. For example, imagine you are in a technical start-up and you are the CTO and you have been the only person writing code. You are now about to bring in 90 code writers. Well that just won’t work.
Not only do you have to make sure your your GIT repository (source control) is set up correctly, Not only do you have to make sure your deployment pipeline works, not only do you have to ensure your testing harnesses work, not only do you have to have a solid backlog of work but you also need to make sure your people will use it. And trust me. They won’t when left on their own.
People are problem solvers and want to be go getters. New environment? A new developer that doesn’t know the ropes will invent his or her own ropes. So Step 1: higher the people that are necessary to manage the process that is required
Step 2: Train your People/Managers in what the process is
Take the time to explain, in painstaking detail, to each manager what is expected of each of the process items. Make sure they understand how the process is measured and how the process benefits the company. Give the manager permission to change and own the process while also establishing a procedure for doing so. Let the team own the process but make sure the process can be verified
Step 3: Bring in the first Wave of People
No more than 10. Ideally 1 for each manager only. Take notes on what failed and what didn’t. Follow-up daily with your management team to see which processes are being followed and which are being ignored. Set the standard for following up on processes.
Once I was managing a large team of developers and the new process came down (This was a consulting team in a client-company model) that each developer had to report his or her time at the end of the day each day. First we created a process to report the time and made sure each developer understand how to report the time. Then we made a process for each manager to be able to check on the time for each developer. And then, every day, we followed up with the managers to verify that the developers had properly tracked time. Tedious, onerous, command-and-controlish yes, I get it but reality! Regardless it took three weeks of daily checking in to have this process take hold and it sucked. Every day I was telling perfectly brilliant and confident managers that they had not performed and needed to followup. And every day genius technical leads were calling developers and following up on time. We all hated it. And, as habits do things changed. Developers conditioned to reporting time, Managers Conditioned to Verifying Time, the reports became accurate, (Billing accuracy increased by a wide margin netting us a lot of extra revenue with no extra work), and the process become part of the flow.
Point is: We built a process, trained the team, trained the managers, and discovered a way to follow-up. In your first-wave of people you are going to find the gaps in your plan in hiring people. Once you have found the gaps and have identified the gaps and are ready
Step 4: Hold a Retrospective
Seriously, invite the managers and all the new hires in a room and ask them how to improve the hiring process. You have already taken notes but man will the team tell you where your gaps really are. Listen to them. Take their suggestions and incorporate them and prepare for Step 5.
Step 5: Bring in double the amount of people from Step 3
Let’s see if we can scale. We should have the processes and procedures in place to verify the additional people can come on board smoothly and transition into appropriate work. This step is nearly identical with 3 except you want to use the management team to on-board and you want to verify vs lead
Step 6: Pause and Look at your Workload
Your team is now 20 people not including yourself (one cto hiring 5 managers, 5 developers, then 10 developers). This is a lot. The work has now radically changed. Take this time to look at the flow of work. Is the work you expected to be doing matching the work that is being doing. Are the people engaging in the work? Can the Product Team keep up with the new backlog pace? Is the division of labor correct?
Take at least a week, ideally two. Hiring is important. Hiring fast is important. Working efficiently and not creating coconut cults of procedure is more important.
Step 7: Make a Guess
You have looked at the way the work load has shifted. You have seen three-waves on board. Take a guess at how many people you can bring in next that support your target hiring goal. If you are in a rush, go for it. If you want to be safe, half-the number. Regardless bring in the next wave of people. With each wave hold a retrospective with the new hires and the managers.
Repeat what works. Change what doesn’t. The objective of hiring is not a number but an ability of a company to execute. By constantly evaluating what works and what does not in each smaller wave we keep our companies on track to execute and not just hit a hiring target.