When you’re building a team to work with in a small or brand new business, it’s important to know exactly what you’re looking for from the start. This is essential for the stability of your business, because a team that is not cohesive can end up in higher turnover rates. Finding the right staff can be tricky. You need people that not only know what they’re doing, but that have the potential to see your business as more than just a job. If you’re clear about the set of skills you want to see during an interview, you can save yourself a lot of time and headaches.
So what should you be looking for in your team members?
Initiative: This is essential if you’re building a team for success. People with initiative won’t be waiting around for you to tell them every single thing they have to do. You don’t need to push a team with initiative. You may actually have to rein them back. You can be confident that a team full of initiative can be given a certain level of independence to solve problems and propose new strategies. A room full of people with ideas is a very productive room. Exactly what a growing business needs.
Creativity: Although similar to initiative, it is a little different and equally as important. People who are able to bring fresh and innovative ideas to the table are extremely valuable in any team. Two minds think better than one. Creative people are able to build on other people’s ideas. A small business can’t afford to have stale or outdated ideas for marketing, sales or public relations strategies. It needs to be constantly adapting and changing. Someone who is able to think outside the box and find opportunities where others can’t is a great asset.
Teamwork: the key word here is “team”. For your business to move forward with the help of your employees, you need to have a cohesive unit that can work together as one. If everyone is focused solely on their own tasks, they can lose sight of their team goal and will forget to work towards that. There’s nothing to gain if a few people do everything that is asked of them, but the team didn’t accomplish the goal. Individual thinking is not helpful in these situations. You need someone who is willing to help others, listen to them, be diligent and embrace new ideas as their own. Look for someone who thrives on teamwork and gets excited at the prospect of brainstorming with their team. Leadership is important, but so is versatility and respect for the work of others.
Healthy Work - Family Balance: Contrary to common belief, someone who never stops working isn’t actually a good person to have in your team. People often boast of being “extremely dedicated” to their jobs, and it can sound impressive in an interview to say that “my work is my life”. But an unhealthy work - family balance can ultimately be harmful to your team. A healthy family life is important for you staff to remain fresh and motivated. Someone who works non-stop will burn out quickly, run out of ideas and can even become resentful towards the workplace. Downtime for you team is very important. Let them take a break from being incredible employees. If they feel you care about their families and the quality time they spend with them, they’ll feel more inclined to committing to the team and the company.
Honesty: It may seem obvious, but it’s vital that you have honest people on your team. Any relationship, be it personal or work related has to be built on trust and integrity. A person’s work ethic has to reflect their character. An honest person won’t be afraid to disagree with you, and won’t be inclined to try to win brownie points with you regardless of their true opinion. This can sound harsh, but you don’t hire someone to compliment you on your every word. You hire someone because they are good at what they do and are passionate about it. People with integrity will help you build a solid foundation for your business and it will be less likely to stumble along the way. Remember that your employees are the face of the business that your clients see. If they see dishonesty in a staff member, they will extrapolate that to your business’ reputation.
Kindness: If you have someone that is excellent at what they do, creative, proactive but is mean and proud - you have nothing at all. The team spirit can be heavily damaged by a spiteful and unkind person. Someone kind and sensitive will be more willing to help others, smile at your customers and will treat everyone with respect. Sometimes you just need your staff to go the extra mile for the company or for a client. If kindness is not a core value of a person’s character, it won’t become a core value for your company either.
Finding the perfect fit for your business isn’t always easy, but don’t give up! If you need extra working capital to be able to afford additional high-quality team members, taking out a small-business loan may be a solution. Once you have your team put together, you’ll start to see the amazing results of a careful screening process.