Your company is newly-incorporated and you have just hired your first few employees. Congratulations! Now begins the challenge of building a strong team that can work together and give you the desired results.
Without a strong team in place, your startup’s output may suffer. You want a team that is driven and works together to meet deadlines. Obviously, such a team will not take shape on its own.
The team that you form in the beginning of your start-up journey will go a long way in determining the teams to come. The usual starting point is to explain those you hire the vision for your company and what you expect from them. It will be a continuous process as good teams often take time to build.
The following are a few ways to tackle this challenge successfully.
Get the Hiring Right
Right hiring will solve half the problem.
It’s very important you do not hire people out of desperation if you want your company to succeed in the long-term. Be advised that to get good people, you will have to shell out competitive salaries as well. See this as a very important investment in your company. People are your greatest resource, and you must make sure you hire the right ones.
Focus on getting the core members of your organisation right. This will be formed of bright and experienced individuals whose expertise your company will tremendously benefit from.
However, you will have to be very careful at this stage as it will influence the culture that ultimately takes shape at your company. So, we suggest you take your time with that. Once you have a few bright people on board, explain to them your vision. These employees will be instrumental in creating a positive team spirit in your company.
Look for Cultural Fits
How can you develop a “cultural fit” when a culture has yet to fall into place, as is the case with most startups?
Set the tone for an environment you would like to have in your office, and hire accordingly. If you were to describe your startup in one word, what would it be? Will it be fun, creative and dynamic or professional and no-nonsense?
The nature of your business and your plans of growing it will determine the culture at work. If you see yourself as heading a company that does things differently and is always looking for out-of-the-box ideas, you should hire accordingly.
In order to determine who is right for your company, you will have to ask relevant questions in job interviews. Only say yes to those who have the skill sets and aptitude you’d want in your team.
This will make team building a lot easier.
Encourage Staff to Share Ideas
Startups can always use new ideas – on how best to respond to a frustrated client, or how to encourage energy-saving in the office. Create an environment where everybody’s contribution is welcome. This will help them feel valued and help break the ice between them.
Think of Mentor Roles
An excellent way to build team spirit and to maximize your financial resources for the hiring process is to bring on board a few experienced people with leadership skills. Once they have spent some time with you and come to understand their own roles in your business, you can pair the new employees with the experienced ones.
Your experienced employees will function as mentors and groom the younger ones for future responsibilities. The mentee-mentor role is a great basis for creating engaged employees, who in turn build strong teams.
Lead by Example
As the leader of the pack, your employees will look to you for clues on what’s acceptable, how to conduct themselves, and whether they are headed in the right direction.
Your job is to be hands-on and lead by example. Give your employees constant feedback on how things are progressing, and smartly nudge them in the right direction when the need arises.
More importantly, keep them motivated by acknowledging their contributions and make sure that your company is aligned with your vision at every step of the way. Your own spirits should always be high, as enthusiasm is infectious (as is a lack of it).
Most startups have a group of founders running the company, of whom at least one or two possess very good people skills. It’s highly recommended that one of you cultivate trust with your staff.
Look at your staff as people who are working with you to help you realise your ambitions. Don’t be a d***.
Don’t be a D***
In the same vein as leading by example, we advise you to not be a d***. That is the worst thing a start-up owner can do and the fastest way to lose good people. Nobody likes being spoken to as if they are children. While big established companies sometimes get away with horrible bosses, startups absolutely cannot.
You need to look at your staff as people who are working with you to help you realise your ambitions. You both need each other, so there has to be mutual respect for a healthy team atmosphere to take form.
Conduct Lunch-on-House Days
Having a few beers may be a great way to bond with some colleagues but the problem with that it is that it may not be for everybody. Instead, a team lunch every month or so is a far better way for your employees to get to know each other.
This is especially useful in a culturally-diverse team. Almost everybody loves food, and it also happens to be a great way to come to know of each other’s cultural sensibilities.
Lunch conversations are also considered to be of a slightly casual nature, and they throw up things about your employees and colleagues that you wouldn’t know otherwise. For example, somebody mentioning they have a very hard time commuting to work, or that they have an ailing parent to look after.
What can you do for employees in such situations? When employees find you to be reasonable and caring, they are more likely to stay on with you.
Update the Seating Arrangement
This is especially true if you have a rapidly expanding team. A change in the employee seating position within the team will lead to more of them getting to know each other and prevent the formation of cliques.