EMPLOYMENT STRATEGIES: Hiring Is only the First Step to Building a Winning Team
November 1, 2007
Growing your company is more than just hiring talented people and having them do their own tasks. Team-building means working well together and it involves people, work processes, information, mentoring and knowledge sharing. The goal is to give the people you bring onboard decision-making power, management structure and rewards.
One philosophy I always follow is to hire for attitude and train for skill. Hire people with the right attitude and you can always train them with the proper skill set to get the job done. For security integration companies, this philosophy applies to all positions including president, engineering, sales management, project management and service. Obviously, you also need a strong back office for people in accounting, finance, and human resources.
Once you have the people with the right attitude, you must take these steps to ensure continuing success:
Develop a Company Vision. Decide on a company direction and incorporate a strategy of how you will accomplish your goals. Establish a plan to provide the best service to your customers, and determine how you will cultivate your employees to provide this service. Your vision and your commitment to that vision should be shared throughout the company.
Establish Regularly Planned Meetings. Physically bring your employees together in formal meetings to discuss the broad issues of the strategy established to meet your goals. Be consistent. Try the 30/30 method: 30 minutes every 30 days. Talk about barriers that exist and how to overcome these obstacles. Encourage positive feedback and interaction among employees. Open up the floor to those who want to share ideas about methods that are working for them.
Document Work Processes and Measurement Tools. Employees have to know where they are going to feel successful. Work processes need to be in place for employees to know what to measure themselves against.
Avoid Negative Pitfalls in Team Building. Leadership needs to monitor negative and jealous attitudes among employees. To keep the team together, make sure that your people accept the direction you have established. If they don’t, then maybe they should not be part of that team.
Give Employees Knowledge and Skills. The next step is to give them the knowledge and skills required to do their jobs. In your business, there are two segments to training: hard skills and soft skills. Hard-skill training is product-based technology training. Soft skills come under customer service and sales training. All employees need to be versed in both skill sets.
Create an Information Reporting System. This is a way to let everyone know if the team is on track, behind or ahead. Information should include strategy; the processes put into place; and the current status in accomplishing the goals.
Empower Team Members to Make Decisions. As you build the team, give the people you’ve empowered the necessary decision-making capabilities, based upon your strategies and work processes.
Institute a Rewards Program. Bestow rewards at your 30-day meetings so you can recognize the accomplishments the group has made in reaching the milestones you have set forth. It can be as simple as applause, a plaque, or a President Club appointment, or as great as a trip or financial bonus. Rewards are a key process to building a team at every level.
In my own experience, we began with a handful of people and the company grew to more than 400 employees. Of course, no matter how many employees you have, you need to retain the spirit of teamwork with all employees feeling they are an integral part of the company’s success.