Is One Head Better Than Two, Three… or Four?

February 1, 2021 in HR Best Practices



When building a team of food and beverage industry superstars, many businesses have plans to select several highly qualified and skilled professionals and see what great things they can do together. But maybe it’s time to take the idea of “less really is more” and apply it to your hiring practices.

Suppose hiring fewer, but exceptionally talented and hardworking, food and beverage industry professionals to your team can create greater success, including more innovation, faster adoption of new techniques, and the ability to stay on the cutting edge. Isn’t it worth a try?


A proven model

For inspiration, look no further than Netflix. When the company was starting, its budgets were limited. Reed Hastings, the company’s CEO, says a decision was made early on to hire just a few remarkably talented employees, pay them well above market average, and see what happened.

For Netflix, the gamble paid off, and the idea of operating with a “lean” workforce has been in place ever since.

In some positions in the food and beverage industry, where there’s an inherent cap on output, this rock-star employee might be able to produce only marginally better than people of slightly lesser skill.  However, for positions unencumbered by quantitative limits – food technologists, product developers and innovators, sales executives, marketing specialists, creative directors – hiring fewer but highly talented people might propel a company into the stratosphere.

“Most of our posts rely on the employee’s ability to innovate and execute creatively,” Reed said. “In all creative roles, the best is easily 10 times better than average. The best publicity expert can dream up a stunt that attracts millions more customers than the average one.” And they’re paying a single salary, and benefits, to that one person — an amount that might otherwise have been split up among a team of people.”

Does a candidate seem too “perfect” to be true? Proceed with caution — here’s why.

Reducing the management demand

In addition to only having one (albeit higher) salary to pay, working with a smaller but exceptionally talented team also frees up leaders to focus their time more efficiently.

A more focused manager, who doesn’t need to mentally shift from a wide variety of tasks to juggle a large team’s needs, can provide more devoted attention, guidance, and mentoring time to a single employee. This benefits both the employee and the manager: That kind of dedication and attention creates more efficient meetings, more targeted advice and guidance, and better results on both sides of the equation.

What makes a workplace attractive to top talent? Here’s the low-down.

A smaller team also means less of a gap in skill, talent, training and background. Reed addressed this too, saying that a manager will need to spend more time out of their day or week working to bring lesser-talented employees up to a good production level. This effort isn’t required for energetic, focused, highly skilled employees. “By keeping our organization small and our teams lean, each manager has fewer people to manage and can therefore do a better job at it. When those teams are exclusively made up of exceptional-performing employees, the managers do better, the employees do better and the entire team works better – and faster.”


How to begin?

This philosophy might not apply to all sectors of the food and beverage industry. Food production plants need sufficient staff to conduct operations; food distribution companies need enough drivers to make deliveries, etc. But if there’s a department or area in which one or two smarter-working-than-average people could provide more ideas, innovations, productivity, cross-functional expertise, and successfully creative efforts than a whole team, consider giving a lean workforce a try.

Want to offer an exceptional potential employee a top salary? Consult our salary guide.


Kinsa’s food and beverage industry recruiters can work with hiring executives to identify jobs in which this might work, and then identify candidates that fit the bill. With more than 36 years of experience working with food and beverage industry executives, Kinsa Group has the expertise to help identify areas in which superstar employees might save your company money while keeping your bottom line thriving.

Contact Kinsa Group today and begin your superstar revolution.