When starting a small business, many entrepreneurs begin with a strong technical talent or skill that can meet some marketplace demand. They will typically also face challenges and learning curves as they are required to then adopt new skills in order to run and scale their organization. For many small business owners, the ability to build a strong, reliable team to alleviate themselves from being burdened with every task is one of the many challenges they are faced with having to overcome to be more successful
According to the SBA, about one out of every three businesses is a nonemployer firm with no paid employees. However, while most small businesses operating with only one individual, nonemployer firms only account for three percent of business receipts. This statistic is extremely telling of the importance of putting in place a strong team of talent in terms of becoming more productive and profitable.
Building strong teams is not only an issue faced by small firms. Larger companies who already have teams in place may experience human resource related issues that are indicative of their ability to build their teams properly. Low levels of engagement, motivation, and morale and high levels of turnover, absenteeism, and conflict are all potential signs that organizations need to adopt better systems in order to improve their workforce and their business as a whole.
Below are eight steps leaders need to follow in order to build better, stronger, and more productive teams.
1. Understand the vision, mission, and goals of your business - Like any other decision in your business, comprehending what your business is, why it operates, and how it makes both money and an impact are imperative to building strong teams. From the human resources perspective, the vision, mission, and goals of your organization help shape the organizational culture for your firm which is essentially defined as "the way things are done around here". Organizational culture encompasses workstyles, human resources systems, beliefs, rituals, and other elements for the day to day life of an employee at work. Because the vision, mission, and goals drive the direction for your company, they will profoundly influence how people work within your firm and getting clear on your company's culture is the first step in team building.
2. Be cognizant of how your responsibilities align with your goals - Once you have a grasp on the culture, the next step is to determine what needs to be done. Again, you will have to return to the vision, mission, and goals of your organization and break them down several steps. These steps include how the organization can accomplish these tasks, how individual business units need to operate, and what individual employees need to do in order to accomplish these objectives. Roles, tasks, and performance metrics can then be assigned and delegated to ensure that each team and its members are able to use their domain expertise and talents in order to contribute their share to the whole organizational operations to move your business forward.
3. Know what you're good at - Being self-aware is crucial for all business leaders, especially for those who are solopreneurs and small business owners who are very much in both the strategy and tactical parts of their business. For such leaders, delegating tasks can be very challenging as they want to be in every part of their business. However, as your business expands, and even in order for your business to grow, assigning tasks to other team members is a requirement as opposed as a "nice to have". The first step to proper delegation is knowing what you're good at and admitting to where you should bring in someone else. According to Gallup, workers who focus on working with their strengths are six percent more engaged and perform eight times higher than those who do not. Your entire organization can thrive by understanding what you’re good at and leaving some of your other weaknesses to others.
4. Admit what you don't enjoy doing - In addition to knowing what you're not good at, you should be honest enough to know what you simply don't enjoy doing. Being good at something isn't necessarily related to enjoying doing something. In the early days of entrepreneurship, it often requires us to do things we don't enjoy in order to do what we love. However, once again, our engagement and productivity can be increased by taking on the responsibilities we are both good at and enjoy and assigning the other tasks to those who are better suited to take them on.
5. Acknowledge what the gaps in you or your team's abilities may be - In addition to knowing what you're good at and motivated by, leaders also need to be able to identify the gaps in their teams. Like previously stated, the organizational performance takes place at the firm-level, unit-level, and employee level. Understanding the strengthens and weaknesses at each level allows you to do a number of things. First, at the firm-level, you can identify what the entire business performs well in and what doesn't. Another benefit is the ability to see what business units and teams should be created, improved on, and dissolved based on seeing their performance.
6. Building your recruiting processes - Once you have decided what your organization needs in terms of talent, knowledge, and functionality it’s time to build out your recruiting process. This includes your employer branding and how you stand out as an employer of choice in a competitive candidate market, the experience you want each and every potential employee to have while going through the interview stages, how you find and reach out to candidates and more. Strong recruiting processes allow an organization to be able to find the best candidates, retain them through the different stages of the interview process, ensure that your organization selects the best talent for the role, and make them more likely to accept an offer at the end of the process if they make it there.
7. Continue to develop your internal talent - Finding the right people is only the beginning of building a strong team. In addition to hiring people who fill in the gaps in organizational knowledge, skills, and talent, firms must also invest in their current workforce on an on-going basis. This ensures that the team is up-to-date with industry trends, best practices, and the latest innovative approaches to complete both their present workload more effectively but to also have them prepare to step into larger roles in the future.
8. Motivate and retain your current workforce - No matter how much effort and success a leader can have in assembling a great team, it doesn't mean anything if they are not motivated or fail to commit to the organization on a long-term basis. Leaders must understand what drives their employees to both stays on task and go above and beyond for the business as well as their clients. Providing meaningful work, competitive compensation packages, clear guidelines for conflict resolution, and more can help leaders unlock their employee's full potential for the long-run and keep their overall organizational performance consistently high.
Regardless of the size of your organization, building strong teams is a challenging process. However, it can become much easier by enlisting the help of experts. Set up a consultation with us at The Vieras to see how we can help you with your human resource needs to help improve and strengthen your teams.