Everything You Need to Know About Building a Great Team
Good team building strategy is crucial to business success. So, what does it take to develop one?
Picture the scene…
A CFO asks his CEO - “What happens if we develop our people and they leave us?”
The CEO responds: “What happens if we don’t and they stay?”
One of the world’s richest people, Richard Branson, holds the same belief...
“Train your people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
Every business needs a capable team that can lead it to continued excellence. No matter how good you are, you can’t run a successful business by yourself.
But what makes a high performing team? And how do you keep your best people? Before we answer these questions let’s take a look at the research:
- Engaged employees were 87% less likely to leave their companies than their disengaged counterparts.
- 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once per week compared to only 18% of employees with low engagement.
- 75% of people voluntarily leaving jobs don’t quit their jobs; they quit their bosses.
Simply put, engaged people stick with their teams.
3 Qualities of Successful Teams
Small businesses need talent. Identifying it, training it, and nurturing it are the key challenges.
Those that succeed create teams with these 3 key qualities:
A survey of 5,000 employees by the Korn Ferry Institute found the top reason why people leave their jobs is boredom. This is why it’s so important to give your team members meaning in their work.
Research by Google after studying 180 of their teams confirms this. Google discovered an effective team building strategy involves helping your people derive satisfaction from their work.
According to research by The Harvard Business Review, “… data we have collected over the past two decades, the time spent by managers and employees in collaborative activities has ballooned by 50% or more.”
This is a development worthy of applause. But what is the magic team building ingredient that brings people together?
There are a few, but diversity is one of the most important.
A team made of people with different backgrounds, abilities and knowledge brings your company a wider spectrum of talent. An analysis by McKinsey showed companies in the top quartile of gender diversity on their executive team were 21% more likely to experience above average profitability.
Communicate for Better Collaboration
Of course, it’s not enough to have a diverse culture or to just give meaning to your people. You need to communicate! Clear communication is the glue that brings your team together.
According to a survey by Clear Company 39% of employees believe that people in their own organization don’t collaborate enough.
It's a simple equation - great communication leads to even better collaboration!
How Do I Develop a Winning Recruitment Strategy?
Finding the right people for your team is always a challenge.
If you execute a well-developed recruitment strategy, you’ll be laying an essential foundation to your team building.
In short, your recruitment strategy has a huge impact on your company’s success. Just take a look at Conron Stockcrete, one of ActionCOACH’s clients.
The business has a great idea behind it. They make concrete stock watering troughs, which are in high demand.
However, the business wasn’t performing very well. Why? One of the main reasons is the owners didn’t have the knowledge to find the right people to work for their business.
With the help of ActionCOACH business coach, the owners were able to introduce a series of systems that they could use to build a strong team. Over time, their new recruitment strategy found the exact people they were looking for. This resulted in better organisational structure and much higher performance.
So, What’s the First Step in Every Good Recruitment Strategy?
Be sure to use good sources for finding high-performing employees. Good sources include reputable universities, recruitment centres or portals (Seek)and business related social media platforms, such as LinkedIn.
Once you know where to find the right people, you then must get clear on who you’re looking for: What are their traits? Their personalities? Their personal interests?
And remember, employees are a lot more than their resumes. This is why you should never base your recruitment decisions solely on the resumes.
Instead, make an effort to actually get to know the people behind the documents. Here are 3 interesting questions to ask that will give you a little more insight into your candidates:
- What was the last gift you gave someone?
- How would your friends and family describe you?
- Any advice from your previous boss?
One of the nuggets you want to glean are the candidate's values. Why? Because you want to ensure they’re a fit for your organisational culture. Even the most capable employees can perform badly if they feel like they don’t belong.
A Trait all the Best Candidates Have In Common
What’s a trait that all the best candidates tend to have in common?
Look out for candidates that come to their interview prepared.
It’s always a good sign when a candidate understands your company. It’s a sure-fire sign of a proactive mindset! Great candidates do their homework before their interview. After all, high performers are interviewing you just as much as you’re interviewing them.
Why Do I Need a Good Organisational Culture?
A strong organisational culture is pivotal in a company’s success. Consider the following case study to see why…
A Tradie is a business in Auckland that was facing all sorts of issues.
The husband and wife duo started the business to provide for their family. However, the company floundered almost from the very beginning.
Part of the reason was a disorganised culture. This resulted in too many work hours and unreliable work quality. It also hurt the company’s profitability. In fact, they were barely breaking even!
But thankfully, they asked for help from a business coach at ActionCOACH.
The first thing that ActionCOACH did for A Tradie was introduce new systems for operational and office tasks. Once the owners incorporated the systems, employee productivity soared.
But it didn't solve the problem entirely. That’s because the other reason for a disorganised culture had to do with the owners’ limited belief about managing staff.
But once the ActionCOACH helped the owners build their confidence, their employee management (and employee satisfaction) improved significantly. The owners delegated with more confidence, which in turn delivered great meaning to the team’s work.
This improved the company’s ability to attract talented employees.
Simply put, an empowered organisational culture improves customer satisfaction. It also encourages team building and allows for informal learning. But that isn’t all. A 10 year study of employee engagement showed:
- 26% decrease in employee turnover
- 100% increase in unsolicited employment applications
- 20% decrease in absenteeism
- 15% increase in employee productivity
- 30% increase in customer satisfaction levels
How Can I Improve My Organisational Culture?
Now that you know the benefits of a great organisational culture, it’s time to learn how to build one. Here are 3 action steps you can take starting today:
Just ask the founders of Junglefy why collaboration is so important.
Junglefy, an ActionCOACH client, knows this better than most. Despite having a great business idea, new opportunities were out of reach due to a lack of teamwork. The founders, Hanna and Jock, had too much work on their plates. Without the right staff to support them, the everyday processes became burdensome.
After appointing a GM, Hanna realised that she could focus more on the growth of their business. A couple of years later, the team had expanded to over 30 members, with each of them contributing to the growth in their own way.
Genuinely Care For Your Employees
ActionCOACH clients, Lifestyle by Design understands the value of this better than most. The company was experiencing many issues with their organisational culture. One of the issues was that the founders both covered the same roles. This meant there were gaps in some of the other key responsibilities that make the business run.
Their solution? Implement systems that support their team building strategy. Here’s what they did:
- They hold regular meetings to discuss the organisational culture and ways to improve it. In addition, the owners of the company organise events and offer employees incentives.
- They deploy an independent body to interview their staff. Why? To give stakeholders a clear picture of the actual level of satisfaction. They take employees’ feedback very seriously and do everything they can to express their gratitude
Embrace Employee Motivation
Harvard Business Review have written extensively on employee motivation and collaboration. One notable article showed that people with a sense of purpose are more creative and focused. The founders of Hunter Fencing and Landscaping, Kath and Nigel, discovered this first hand!
Before their business grew by 800%, Kath and Nigel hadn’t clearly defined their vision and mission. This made it challenging for them to find superstar employees. But then, after learning about the importance of organisational culture from their ActionCOACH, they developed an exciting vision.
With this newfound passion, they created a mission that infused positivity into the work atmosphere.
The end result?
They’d built an amazing team that continues to grow the business every year.
3 Easy (And Surprisingly Effective) Team Building Activities
One of the quickest and easiest ways to bring teams together is with activities. Bonds quickly form when teams have to band together to achieve a goal or solve a problem. There are many things that you can do with your employees. Some of these ideas are purely for fun, while others combine entertainment and learning.
The Great Egg Drop
This is a fun game that sounds silly at first. But it’s a great team building activity because it encourages teamwork and creativity. It also enhances problem solving abilities.
Here’s how it works: Each team needs to build an egg package that can survive an eight-foot fall. Sure, it sounds silly on first hearing but it’s actually a challenging task. All they’re allowed to use is cardboard, duct tape, and several thin straws.
Remember the Pokemon Go craze that swept most of the developed world? Well, Strayboots is similar… but it’s designed for corporations. It’s been used by companies such as Google, Amazon, Salesforce, Nike - and dozens of others - to bring their teams together. It’s not yet hit Australian and New Zealand shores, but it’s not far away.
For some, Strayboots is the future of engaging team building activities, mobile scavenger hunts, and digital experiences for team events.
“We offer experiences for employees, to bring them out of their comfort zone,” said Ido Rabiner, CEO of Strayboots. “A job is not just a job; it’s also a way to forge links with colleagues and to learn teamwork. It’s a fun life experience that lasts.”
Drinks on a Friday Night
One of the easiest ways to strengthen bonds within a team is to going out for drinks on a Friday night. You don’t necessarily have to plan any activities. Just give the team an opportunity to bond outside the workplace.
Chances are you’ll see some friendships forming, which can only result in a much more vibrant work atmosphere.
Which KPIs Should I Set for My Team?
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are an essential part of any successful business. Without them, you’re flying blind.
Not only that, as KPIs relate to your team, you’ll find your people are resistant to change if they’re not happy. You’ll also find yourself working “in” your business - rather than “on” it - more than you’d like.
But before you can track the most important KPIs, first determine which KPIs matter for team engagement.
Bernard Marr is an advisor to Microsoft, IBM, HSBC, Walmart, and many more global brands. He’s also a guest presenter on BBC
News and Sky News. He believes there are 4 key employee management metrics that matter the most:
#1: Employee satisfaction index: This answers the question: “To what extent are employees happy in their jobs?”
#2: Employee engagement level (EEL) answers the question: “To what extent are employees ready to devote themselves to the mission and the vision of the company?”
#3: 360-degree feedback answers the question: “How well do your employees perform in the eyes of their colleagues, supervisors, and clients?”
#4: Employee advocacy score (EAS) answers the question: “Would our employees want to be our public representatives?”
EAS is a KPI closely linked to staff satisfaction and loyalty. It’s particularly important, so let’s drill into it further.
Measuring it is easy. Each team members answers this question:
“Would you recommend this company as an employer to a friend?”
Answers vary from 0 (not at all) to 10 (most definitely). All respondents are split up into 3 groups:
- Advocates (9-10): These are enthusiastic employees who will openly talk up your company.
- Passives (7-8): Satisfied but not enthusiastic.
- Detractors (0-6): Unhappy employees that may damage your brand.
A final word about KPIs.
Be sure to follow the SMART criteria when setting KPIs:
- Specific – Each KPI needs to be a concrete metric.
- Measurable – You should be able to quantify a KPI.
- Attainable – Make sure that you choose an achievable goal.
- Relevant – Choose a KPI that’s in close relation to your strategy and mission.
- Time-frame – Think about how long it will it take to achieve the goal.
In conclusion, KPIs help you determine how close you are to your target. They also shine a light on the steps you need to take to raise your team's satisfaction.
Building a successful team isn’t so much a goal as a continuous effort. You always need to find new ways of improving your organisational structure to keep your employees happy. That means you need to focus on creating a team building strategy.
It’s worth it too.
Your team will find meaning in their work. They’ll be much more productive. And, in turn, your customers will have a more enjoyable buying experience.
ActionCOACH has helped many businesses develop strong team building strategies. We’re passionate about helping entrepreneurs develop strong leadership skills and build teams of superstars that will help their companies grow.
If you want to see what we can do for you, contact us
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