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Recruiting an effective middle management tier: The make or break for a growing business



Updated: 31 May 2015

The majority of small businesses want to grow, but when they do an organisation’s founders are then faced with the challenge of recruiting an effective middle management team. According to recruiting experts Hays in Hong Kong, there are several factors to keep in mind when recruiting at this level for the first time if you are to ensure the business’s continued success.

“Bringing in a middle management tier is a common necessity for businesses making the step from small organisation to medium,” says Christine Wright, Managing Director of Hays in Asia. “And it’s often challenging as it requires the management team – and usually its founders – to delegate to a new level of management and stand back from the daily work they began.

“But the founders of small to medium businesses may well prefer to be bringing onboard new business, or designing new products, rather than spending their time concentrating on the strategic elements of their organisation. As the company grows it can simply become too much for that one person to carry out the duties they once did. Bringing in a new level of management to deal with the operational side of the business will help them to continue concentrating on the areas they specialise in and that have made the company a success to date.”

Hiring new employees to fill middle management roles brings its own challenges though, as those coming into the business will need to share the same values and fit the established company culture. According to Christine, when recruiting a middle management tier for the first time, you should:

• Decide your structure – there are several structures open to organisations looking to put in place a more formal managerial set-up, so do your research.

• Make responsibilities clear – determine how far specific responsibilities should be divided between senior and middle management.

• Consider what made the business successful in the first place – a large part of that success will be as a result of the company’s culture. Although big changes will be necessary, it is essential that your culture isn’t lost in the process. Therefore your new middle management must be the right cultural ‘fit’ and align with your business’s core values. They must of course also be able to help the growth strategy.

• HR’s role – HR has an important role to play in supporting their organisation, as they help in deciding the new structure for the company, developing job responsibilities and working out how many people are required for the different areas. They also need to create career plans to help existing employees move into more senior positions in time.

Christine added: “The growth of a business should ideally be continuous, meaning once the initial restructure has taken place leaders should always be looking toward the next stage and what that would entail. However, the first stage is undoubtedly one of the most critical. Getting it right can help accelerate the growth of the business, and getting it wrong can bring everything to a shuddering halt.”

This issue is explored further in the latest Hays Journal, the recruiter’s bi-annual magazine on the world of HR and recruitment. To access the Hays Journal please visit:

Hays is located in Hong Kong at Unit 5803-7, The Centre, 99 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong. Phone +852 2521 8884or email

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

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For further information please contact Lucy Sharp, Regional Head of Marketing at Hays, on +61 2 8226 9885 or

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