Math quiz

How many people do you need to hire to grow from 10 to 50 in one year?

Imagine you’re the CEO of a small startup, with 10 employees (including yourself). How many people do you need to hire to have a total of 50 employees after one year?

Simple math, right? 40!

Not so fast.

Reports indicate that, on average, startups have a 25% annual attrition rate. That works out to about 2.36% per month. So let’s re-do this math…

If you do nothing, you’re likely to have only 7 (or 8) employees at the end of the year. So just to keep even, you’ll need to hire 2 or 3. That’s before increasing headcount at all.

With some rough math and a spreadsheet, I calculate that to grow from 10 to 50 employees in one year, you’ll need to hire not 40, but 50 employees in that 12-month period, just to keep up with the expected attrition rate.

That’s 4 or 5 new employees per month, from the first month. Assuming your hiring pipeline allows you to hit the ground running that fast, of course.