If you run a medium sized business ranging from 100 to 999 employees, it is imperative that you make the right hires. At that size, you are going to always be in a state of hiring just to maintain your numbers. That is because there will always be employee loss.
Workers will walk away in search of something better. You will always have to let some go who turned out not to be a good fit. And there will always be some who get sick, or worse. If you are not always doing replacement hiring, your numbers will shrink. To grow your numbers, you have to bring in more people than you are losing.
But like a sports team, there are certain key players you can’t afford to get wrong. Doing so would jeopardize your business. You can’t afford turnover, incompetence, or malpractice from anyone in the company. But you can survive it from the average worker. It is just that some of your workers have to be above average. If they aren’t, the chances of your business surviving will be well below average.
These are the positions in your company that matter the most:
Logistics and Operations Manager
Sometimes logistics and ops are combined into a single role. It doesn’t matter what title you use. The one who does your UPS audit needs to know what they are doing because if not, your entire operations could be bleeding money without you being aware of it. You are very likely entitled to refunds, discounts, and shipping credits that you are not getting.
You could also have a mismatch with your shipping needs and the carrier you use. They could be the best carrier in your area. But if most of your shipping goes elsewhere, you could be missing out on a better deal with a better end result.
The person you put in charge of logistics and ops also has to be proficient in supply chain management including inventory and warehousing. The best product in the world will not earn you a penny if a key component is manufactured by a single supplier that can’t produce the part at scale. You are one tsunami away from being bankrupt if that product is what you were counting on to make a profit.
You need to have multiple suppliers, or a process that can be ramped up someplace else at a moment’s notice. This is a mission critical position that requires hiring genius.
Negligent hiring starts with the HR department. Even if they do not make the final decision, they are the ones who set the hiring policies for others to follow. That is why one of the first hires you have to make is the person who will be doing the hiring. If you find yourself with a lot of bad hires, there is something wrong with the process.
HR is the department that also deals with employee issues. When employees or former employees sue the company, it is often because of an issue that could have been handled internally. When these matters hit the courts and the media, it is usually an HR fail. They might be expressing the will of the executives and the board. But it is their job to hold the line. Make a mistake with this hire at your peril.
Customer Service Manager
Great companies are often let down by their customer service, or lack thereof. Like HR, customer service often finds themselves expressing the will of the executives. Bad customer service is often not the fault of the CS department. That said, the position requires someone who can walk the tightrope of pleasing the C-suite and pleasing the customer.
In far too many companies, customer service is just an extension of sales. Their job is to retain unhappy customers and not cost the company money. That’s a tough place for a manager to be. Human Resources has to champion the worker and Customer service has to champion the customer. When that doesn’t happen, the company is not long for this world.
Every hire matters. But the margin of error is slimmer when it comes to logistics/ops, HR, and customer service.