Your small business can only be as successful as the people running it. No matter how innovative your idea is or how much careful planning you’ve done, your venture will gradually fall apart if cracks begin to show in the team that holds it up. As you might have already gathered, team building isn’t quite as simple as screening CVs for relevant skills and qualifications. Finding the right people and helping them to work together as a united front takes a lot of time and empathy, but once you’ve found the right balance of skills, your small business can be allowed to flourish.
While team building is something you need to experience in order to perfect, the advice in this blog can help you to start off on the right foot. Over time, you’ll begin to understand exactly what works for you, but until then, make sure you bear these approaches in mind.
It’s not just about the people you hire
It’s only natural to put all the emphasis of team building on the people you’re bringing in. After all, employees that tick all the right boxes are bound to work well together, right? In actual fact, team building has an awful lot to do with the way you, as the business owner, manage the people that work for you. With up to 79% of workers considering poor management as a reason to switch jobs, all entrepreneurs should think carefully about their approach to leadership.
But leadership isn’t just about communicating clearly and inspiring others, it’s also about making sure an employee’s day-to-day is as smooth and efficient as possible. This means taking the time to invest in payroll software, outsource your HR and IT departments, and put together a solid onboarding strategy.
Celebrate your differences
While there is something to be said for building a team of like-minded people, hiring with diversity in mind is usually more conducive to business growth. When you hire a diverse team, you’ll benefit from a wealth of different experiences, perspectives and outlooks, which can bring with it a much higher chance of innovation and improved problem-solving. This diversity can come in the form of age, career length, professional background and personality, so avoid sticking too rigidly to your internal profile for the ‘ideal’ candidate. If you are looking for some common ground to tie your team together with, look for a commitment to your business’s ultimate vision. That way, despite their differences, your team will be able to work towards a shared goal.
Recognize your team as individuals
Your team should be able to work effectively as a single unit, but that doesn’t mean you can forget that every employee is their own person. Exercising some emotional intelligence and empathy will go a long way when it comes to resolving conflict and boosting employee satisfaction.
Whether you’re working from home or in an office, it’s important to remember that the people in your team have different leadership needs and career goals. You can accommodate individuals by listening to their requests and concerns, making sure you schedule regular one on one reviews so that everyone can feel heard. This can promote a more positive company culture, which helps employees to be more engaged and satisfied at work. In fact, improving business culture has the power to increase revenue by up to four times.
Treat failure as a learning experience
Not everything will always go to plan, but that’s ok. Treating failure as a normal part of running a business can help you to motivate your team, while also discouraging anyone from pointing fingers or feeling frustrated. Sometimes learning that a particular strategy doesn’t work is just as valuable as understanding what does, so make sure your team knows that it’s ok to fail. This doesn’t mean that employees will suddenly think it’s acceptable to be negligent in their work, rather it will encourage them to put their creative ideas to the test and think outside of the box. Ask your team about what’s been working well and what needs improvement, showing them that it’s safe and encouraged to be open about both failures and successes.
Trust the team you’ve built
If you’ve been working alone for quite some time it can be difficult to hand over the reins to someone else. But micromanaging your new employees is likely to cause tension within your team. The best thing you can do is trust your staff to do the job you hired them to do, which might mean taking a backseat to focus on the bigger picture rather than the day-to-day. After all, this is the reason you hired a team in the first place. If you’re not sure how to give your employees the autonomy to excel in their roles, here are some key places to start:
- Allow employees to make their own decisions and use their judgement to solve problems
- Encourage contributions in meetings and be open to ideas that change the way things are done
- Offer a flexible working schedule for improved work/life balance
- Be available to answer questions but don’t supervise your staff every moment of the day
It’s reported that 53% of employees are not engaged at work, a state of mind that has the power to negatively impact productivity and revenue over time. Giving your team more control and a greater sense of responsibility helps them to meaningfully engage with your small business, thereby improving morale and satisfaction levels.