In the team-building game, it’s team members who trump everything else. That’s why it’s so important to hire and nurture the right ones. Start by focusing on diversity and staffers who deliver. Of course, building the perfect team goes a lot deeper than that. To simplify the process — and to give you a roadmap to use in building your small business team — let’s take the “Five Steps” approach to team building.
If you don’t have a plan, hiring the wrong employees can cost you:
- The Economistsays that bad hires are ” the single biggest problem in business today .”
- The Harvard Business Reviewsays that 80% of employee turnover is linked directly to lousy hiring decisions .
- The U.S. Labor Department reports that it costs businesses 33% of the employees’ annual salary to just replace a weak employee .
How can you avoid that fate? Let’s take a look:
The first question a business owner should ask him or herself, and then ask the employee, is this: “What value do you bring to my company?” Look for an answer that focuses on action plan that the employee preferably drives on his or her own. What ideas do they have to generate business for your company? How will they implement those ideas? What goals will they set for themselves and your company?
Take Your Time
One of the most common team-building mistakes is hiring out of desperation. A valued employee may have moved on, or the previous staffer didn’t work out — that happens in business. What shouldn’t happen is rushing to replace that employee to fill a short-term need. Instead, think long-term, and talk to at least 10 appropriate candidates. Ask trusted business associates — even that valued employee who just left your firm — what they think about a candidate. Team building is a long-range process, and should never be rushed.
Business owners have to have some clarity on what their team will do, and how it will succeed. So ask yourself some more questions: What skills am I looking for? What personalities do I want (problem solvers, technology wizards, project managers), and how will they mesh on your perfect team?
Use Social Media
Business owners who embark on a team-building campaign need to leverage social media outlets, especially LinkedIn. Building teams is all about finding talent, and LinkedIn is great at finding talent. Use the site’s “follow a company” tool that enables you to track high-value employees who have just left that company. In the team-building game, your gain is often someone else’s loss, so be ready to pounce when top talent hits the market. You can also use social media to evaluate a candidate’s personal brand — how many connections they have, what kind of social traction their content and updates get, etc. — which is particularly important in marketing and business development roles.
Business owners should build teams where diversity trumps consistency. By diversity, we mean team members who bring different skill sets to the table. Bringing five team members aboard who excel in marketing or technology usually leads to an unmanageable and unbalanced team. Outline your team needs, focus on what each team member is expected to do, and fill those positions accordingly.
Overall, great team building is about planning, research, and following your gut instincts. Do all that, and watch your team take shape and reach new heights.