tech teams

In the current economic climate, tech companies worldwide are feeling the pinch. The combined pressures of inflation, looming recession, and market saturation are making it more challenging than ever to manage costs without compromising the quality of products and services. While maintaining current standards is one hurdle, the real test emerges when it’s time to scale your team—a task that can seem unachievable in these trying times. 

Fortunately, there are a plethora of strategies you can employ to dodge budgetary traps during hiring and expand your teams appropriately to stay a step ahead of the eight ball. 

Prioritise employee retention and hire conservatively

Finding top talent is like searching for a needle in a haystack, so retaining and nurturing existing talent is significantly more cost-effective than incurring the expenses associated with finding and training new employees. You may even find the skills you’re looking to hire already exist within your team. 

When bringing on new talent, focus on your team’s immediate needs, not what you anticipate may be needed months (or years) down the road. This isn’t just a penny saver; it also mitigates the risk of potential staff reductions in the future because—let’s face it—redundancies are not a good look. 

Should you need to patch some holes, consider hiring part-time or freelance employees. 

Flexible hiring for C-suite roles is another option for small businesses or startups that need high-level guidance and expertise on a shoestring budget. As an IT consulting professional of over 20 years with expertise in interim CTO consulting, I’ve helped countless tech companies transform and scale their business with the help of fractional leadership. A fractional CTO offers the same organisational and strategic planning knowledge at just a fraction of the cost compared to a full-time role. 

Leverage automation and AI

Artificial intelligence is here to stay, and when used correctly, it can boost your team’s productivity and free up valuable time for more strategic tasks. Yes, we’ve all heard of ChatGPT and AI-generated imagery, but that only scratches the surface of what AI can do to aid your scaling efforts. 

  • Increased productivity: By offloading routine tasks such as meeting and appointment scheduling, invoicing, and document generation to AI, your team members can concentrate on higher-value work critical for growth, such as sales strategy development and innovation. 
  • Data-driven decision-making: Machine learning algorithms analyse vast datasets efficiently, enabling data-driven decisions on resource allocation and scaling and ensuring efforts are focused on where they can have the greatest impact. 
  • Efficient customer service: AI chatbots handle increasing customer inquiries without adding staff, maintaining high service levels crucial for business expansion. Klarna’s AI customer service chatbot handles two-thirds of its customer service chats—that’s 2.3 million conversations and counting! Not only are customers resolving inquiries faster, but Klarna has also noted a 25% decrease in repeat inquiries.  
  • Strategic HR and project management: Try utilising AI for project management and HR tasks. When integrated into your project management tools, AI can help predict project timelines and resource needs and improve project planning accuracy. AI can also assist in talent acquisition by automating applicant screening and helping your HR team identify your next all-star hires. 
  • Innovation at scale: Generative AI can significantly boost your team’s creativity and innovation capabilities. By generating new ideas, designs, or approaches to problem-solving, AI can inspire your employees to explore new territories in product development. 

Hire dedicated development teams and embrace flexibility

This approach not only casts a wider net in your talent search but also offers flexibility and potential cost savings on salaries and benefits. Implementing solid remote work policies and investing in the right communication and project management tools ensure your team remains productive and cohesive even across time zones.  

Building on this foundation of flexibility and global collaboration, evolving past rigid job titles and hierarchical structures towards a more fluid team configuration can further increase the utility of your team’s diverse talents.

By implementing a more flexible resource allocation model, team members can shift between projects based on current priorities, skill sets, and developmental goals. This approach requires a transparent internal project marketplace where employees can apply their skills to the most pressing needs, encouraging a dynamic and highly adaptable organisational culture. 

Optimise product development

Diving deep into who your customer base is and gaining a strong understanding of what your customers love (or aren’t too crazy about) helps refine product development efforts and target specific areas of improvement. Processes like A/B testing allow you to compare features and updates and measure both performance and customer usage. This enables you to make data-backed decisions regarding your products and keep your finger on the pulse of what your customers want. 

Feedback-informed and flexible resource allocation

Allocating resources efficiently is crucial in tight economic times. Customer feedback is instrumental in identifying high-impact areas that require additional investment and areas where costs can be reduced with minimal impact on customer satisfaction. 

Leveraging tools like customer surveys, site activity analytics, and usability testing for products in development provides a keen understanding of what your customer base wants from your product and the improvements they hope to see. This, in turn, guides strategic data-driven decisions about product development and informs high-level marketing strategies. 

The tools and techniques outlined here can help you stay afloat in choppy economic waters. Still, the success of these strategies hinges on creating a business with plasticity and adaptability at its core. Fostering an agile, resilient company culture—one that not only welcomes change and uncertainty but also views them as catalysts for growth and innovation—is essential. 


We’re proud to announce the launch of CTO Craft Con: London 2024 at the prestigious QEII venue. Grab your tickets now.

Join now to become a member of the free CTO Craft Community, where you’ll get exclusive access to Slack channels, conference insights and other valuable content. Subscribe to Tech Manager Weekly for a free weekly dose of tech culture, hiring, development, process and more.