As the old saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work. Even the most successful and profitable business cannot reach its milestones or hit its targets without hardworking people making the magic happen every day.
Whether totalling 2 or 200, a business is nothing without its team collaborating to achieve its goals. Without teamwork, a business is destined to fail.
Every company owner dreams of creating the perfect team and growing their business. Whether they are at the start of their business journey or have significant experience under their belt, company owners cannot always predict that someone is going to be the perfect fit. Several factors could affect how well someone performs for your organisation. Company culture, micromanagement, job dissatisfaction, improper leadership – the list is endless. However, these factors could all affect someone who, on the surface, is perfect for a company.
So what can you, as a business owner, do to ensure you’re setting your company and team up for long-term success? How can you ensure you get the right team in place, harnessing all of their strengths to accomplish your company goals? This guide looks to answer all of that.
While the idea of sourcing and recruiting ambitious, experienced and determined people to come on board might sound easy on paper, the reality is very different. The average cost of a bad mid-management hire is £132,000, based on productivity loss, recruitment fees and wasted training costs, according to Agency Central.
You undoubtedly want to bring the best talent to your company to help you achieve your goals. However, this requires far more time, preparation and effort than simply bringing anyone and everyone on board at once. You can’t rely on the word of someone’s CV or cover letter alone; you’ll need to look for signs that they can take complex problems and provide realistic, tangible solutions that will provide benefits to your projects, your wider team, and your business as a whole. This will require you to look beyond what the prospective employee says and does.
So how can you get the right people on board? Ensure that you – and your prospective team members – share the following characteristics:
Of course, you’ll likely have your own criteria for assessing the suitability of people you bring on board. The above list should merely be taken as a guide.
It takes hard work, patience and consistency to build a successful and unified team. Start by following these seven crucial steps.
It’s crucial to ensure that your team is on the same page as far as outcomes are concerned. You probably have your business plan already mapped out, but you should also ensure that your specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) goals are also defined.
During the initial phases of setting up your business, onboarding clients, liaising with suppliers, and others, you can learn the most effective ways to communicate your vision. You may even seek regular advice or consultancy services from industry professionals, contacts in your professional network, mentors, coaches, and so on. Before long, you’ll be able to communicate your vision to your future team.
It’s not just the people themselves that are vital for helping you achieve your goals and vision. You’ll need to establish clear roles that they will need to fill.
For example, if you run a wealth management practice, you will likely need to recruit for specific roles within that firm, which could include protection planning, investment planning, mortgages, tax management, pension merging, advisory and consultancy services, among many others.
While that’s not to say that one person couldn’t perform multiple responsibilities, you’ll need to assess who and what you need as a priority. Above all, the roles you need to fill must complement your vision.
Now you can begin assembling your team. One of the key things to look for at this stage is diversity, not just in terms of race, culture or gender, but the skill sets too. You will also need to assess each person objectively, whether they are a new hire or someone upskilling and progressing from another department in your company. Zety found, in a 2021 study, that loyalty and integrity were the top two qualities that recruiters and hiring managers look for these days.
No matter how ambitious, passionate or interested a person may feel, they need to demonstrate the qualities that you have deemed most important. You need to feel confident and assured that you are making the correct choice by appointing them.
While it’s important to consider who is on your team, you’ll need to ensure that each person works well with the next one you hire and vice versa.
Consider the working styles, habits and personas of your team members. What values do they hold dear? What drives efficiency for them? What are their common challenges? Successful teams are built on consistency, respect, honesty and, most importantly, trust. Set these expectations from day one and your team is more likely to gel together, professionally and personally.
As a business owner, you carry prominent influence, management and leadership. That said, you’ll have to wear several different ‘hats’ at various times, ensuring your company is running smoothly. There will be times when things fall by the wayside, projects are missing certain necessities, issues won’t be raised effectively; the list goes on.
The core issue at the heart of most – if not all – of these issues is communication. People communicate differently, and it’ll generally be your responsibility to address any barriers in how your team communicates. What can be done to improve them? Good leaders inspire teams to push forward, hold them together, keep them focused, and remain approachable through times both good and bad.
All companies need to have some rules and policies in place, but there is a fine line between being lenient and understanding and throwing the rulebook back in someone’s face. You need to set clear boundaries of what is considered acceptable and not, but without becoming a bureaucracy.
However, be mindful that too much red tape can cause frustration and dissatisfaction, and can cause people to reconsider their career with a business.
What you can use to your advantage is to empower your team through regular one-to-one meetings (or delegate these to your line managers), giving your team the platform to come forward with concerns, issues and ideas. They will appreciate these and feel valued if handled professionally and with discretion, even more so if problems they raise are addressed properly and efficiently.
Rewards don’t always have to be physical, but they are crucial in helping your team stay motivated, especially during time-intensive and difficult projects. You don’t necessarily have to provide your team with presents or perks; sometimes a simple acknowledgement is enough. Some goals may be unattainable for individuals, but possible for teams.
Fostering a positive atmosphere where hard work is celebrated will encourage people to take more risks and aim even higher. What’s more, even if things don’t go to plan, teams should not be chastised, especially if it was out of their control.
Hopefully, the above tips have given you plenty to consider when building your perfect team. But once you’ve established an excellent, hard-working, positive team, is that the end of it? Far from it.
Building your team is arguably never truly done, particularly when your business is experiencing times of growth, expansion or even a recession. As a company owner, you’ll need to constantly assess how your team’s performance is, and how it’s contributing to your wider company aims. Therefore, some ongoing tips for you to continually come back to are as follows:
Knowing how to build a team doesn’t happen overnight, and along the way, you will encounter individuals that are harder to work with than others. It takes time and patience to create a winning team, but it is possible with the right level of confidence, empathy and guidance.