Business owners often think that hiring a staff member and getting them started on their first day is all it takes to create a successful team and ensure the individual staff member’s success. In reality, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Creating a thriving team takes time, energy and effort. Larger organisations have specific roles and divisions dedicated to human resource management, so doesn’t it make sense for the people side of a business to be taken equally seriously in small to medium businesses? Creating the dream team is not something that happens by chance. It is a deliberate action that needs to be taken in every business, no matter how large or small.
In my experience working with business owners, I have found that most want to rely on a staff member’s skills and previous experience to get them through. They assume that skills and experience are the only factors required for a staff member to know what to do and what is expected of them in their business. Many also tell me that these things are or should be common sense. As a business consultant who specialises in business efficiency, strategy and growth, I encourage my clients to steer away from the phrase 'common sense' in the context of the work we do together. That's because common sense should never be relied on to produce consistent results across every function and system in a business. After all, common sense is subjective; one staff member's perception of the most efficient and effective way to do something may differ significantly from another's.
The downsides of leaving things to chance and common sense
Generally speaking, most team members care about their contribution to the business that employs them. They want to do a good job and produce quality outcomes that deliver value to the company. However, without clearly defined parameters, policies and procedures, everything is left to chance and so-called 'common sense'. If we leave things up to individual team members, they will complete tasks in the best way they know, which could be very different to what you consider best practice. Running a business this way will lead to inefficiencies across the board, multiple ways to complete each task, and inconsistent client outcomes and experiences. I'm sure you can see the problem here.
Creating an effective, efficient and thriving team of people – your dream team – begins from the day you establish your business and takes consistent daily effort. It starts from the way you hire and filters through to how you set each new team member up, how you manage their progression and training, all the way to how you maintain your workplace culture.
What does the dream team look like?
In my experience, effective, efficient and thriving teams share several common characteristics. Consider how many exist in your team.
- Every staff member knows what to do and what is expected of them. There are documented processes in place for each role, so staff adhere to those processes rather than making things up as they go;
- There is cohesiveness amongst the team. Everyone works together to achieve the collective goal;
- There is a sense of camaraderie;
- The team is competitive but not with each other. The sense of competition is directed at exceeding set targets rather than each other;
- There is a sense of fun, even if the work being performed is serious in nature;
- The business doesn’t rely on any single individual, not even the business owner. Things work because everyone is pulling their weight;
- Team members are happy to come to work and they enjoy what they do;
- Work flows seamlessly from one person or division to the next; there are rarely bottlenecks or breakdowns along the way;
- There is open and honest communication between everyone;
- There is a culture of continuous improvement; and the team is happy to learn.
How do you create the dream team?
- Hire effectively. Ensure you have a thorough recruitment process in place that aligns with your culture and values. Avoid engaging the first applicant who tells you what you want to hear. Take the time to get to know your new potential team member and ensure you assess their value fit, their productivity, and lastly, their skills. This way, you will hire someone who fits the culture you are trying to create or have created and who is inherently productive and, therefore, more likely to be effective.
- Have a robust onboarding and induction process. When you welcome a new team member on board, equip them with everything they need to be effective and succeed in their role. They need to understand their role, the expectations of the position, the company’s expectation, the values etc., from day one. The onboarding and induction process is the perfect time to do this.
- Have a progression and training program. You should have a progression and training program laid out for each role. This is key for two reasons. Firstly, it ensures the staff member knows that there is a long term plan for their growth and progression with the company, creating a culture of long term team members as opposed to one of high turnover. Secondly, it enables you to train and mould your team into the type of people you need, so if there is ever any room for improvement, you are onto it and can provide it. Part of the progression and training program would see you conducting regular reviews with each team member to give feedback on their progress and also allow them to provide you with feedback.
- Create the most effective culture, every day. As the business owner, it is up to you to create the culture you want for your company. Your team looks to you as their leader to set the example, so pay attention to your behaviour, decisions and actions. You need to ensure that everything you do aligns with your ideal of a positive, supportive and high achieving workplace if you want to create a thriving team. The most effective business owners understand that working on their own Being as well as encouraging their team members to work on their Being and the collective Being of the team makes an enormous difference here.
The suggestions made in this article may sound like a lot of work. However, your dream team will be far easier to create if you have a business that runs off systems and processes rather than common sense and an ad hoc way of doing things. I support my clients to implement the most effective systems and processes in their businesses every day, and they all see the benefits on their teams and overall results immediately. You will find that the rewards of your efforts will be equally significant. Not only will they make a massive difference to your team and workplace culture, but also your effectiveness and bottom line. If you would like support to create your dream team, feel free to reach out to me.