To hire or not to hire and how?

I was having a conversation yesterday with a colleague about his experiences in growing and selling the two companies he has owned. He is now consulting, flexible hours, banked his money and enjoying working from home and seeing more of his family. And his main revelation was the peace that came with no more headcount responsibilities, few dramas. Still his own boss, but life was more peaceful – no people issues.

As they say, big business big problems, small business small problems. (I’ve heard the same saying associated with children by the way – big kids, little kids etc I’m sure parents will identify with that).

As I am embarking on a period of growth and reinvention with Taurus, it raised again the pros and cons for all business owners at one time or another, to grow, retract or stay the same? How big is good? What is success? Is global domination really the way to go? And importantly, as we sign new business and success happens, how quickly do we increase headcount to keep costs under control and what employment terms are becoming the norm in this age of crowdsourcing and the internet?

With threats that 2012 is going to be economically tougher and a government in the middle of a leadership battle causing instability in business, families and trade – the decisions around employing new people and increasing a stable cost base are more pertinent than ever.

In 1995, I started Taurus based on the employment of part time mums. I had a small baby, another on the way and I chose to work with women in the same circumstances. We were driven, professional, experienced and able to juggle successfully. Sixteen years later, two of those original mums are still with me and firm friends. The flexible approach to hiring, accommodating everyone’s needs has always been part of my psyche.

This week as I’m busy interviewing for a range of senior and junior positions at Taurus – and want the stability and loyalty of longer term team members, it is apparent the employment picture of the future is changing again. Remote working, even more flexible hours, consulting for multiple companies at once, output generated pay packages, job sharing and ‘virtual positions’ are being discussed openly in my interviews.

My office has always been made up of flexible working arrangements, but now with access to skillsets all over the world – I am often delivered first class work by consultants I’ve found on the internet. People I have never met. Of course the opposite happens as well. The process takes time to set up, it takes time to vet, it’s not always a good experience and it takes time to manage. The quality assurance process can be exhausting, but the crowdsourcing, virtual skillset is a growing phenomenon – just look at Freelancer.com as an example.

What are your experiences with recruitment right now? Meanwhile, I’ll get through these 15 interviews and let you know how I went.

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