Whether you’re a founder looking to hire your first team member or a freelancer who is looking to gain support from a contractor; the relationship between you and those who work for your business is paramount in upholding your brand reputation.
Hire the right people, and you’ll feel supported; hire the wrong people, and you’ll feel like a lead weight has been tied to your ankles.
The truth is, there are no right or wrong people in the world, but the fact is we are all motivated by different values and beliefs, which intrinsically lead to us all working together differently.
Building the dream team for your business is like putting together a great bake – you need all the ingredients to work perfectly together for it to be successful.
In the early days of growing your business, a strong team is essential in serving customers, understanding customer needs, and addressing issues quickly. If you don’t have an engaged team who are your brand ambassadors, things slip, and your business quickly gains a reputation for lack of care. And as we know, in the world we live in of heightened social exposure – reputation is everything.
To help you build your team, and enjoy this exciting process, I’ve shared some of my best suggestions for startups in those early recruitment days.
Make Your Values Clear
What does your business stand for? – And what are your businesses core values?
If you can’t answer these questions, this is the first step you need to work on.
Mission statements and values often get filed under the ‘fluffy stuff’ of business, but in fact, your mission reveals to your future team members what the business is working towards, and the behaviours and attitudes it expects of people to reach that goal.
Mission – What goal or outcome is the business committed to?
Values – How will your business/team act and behave to achieve that goal?
We each personally have core values from our life experiences, from our environment and from our upbringing. For example, you might be the type of person who believes lateness is a sign of rudeness. That shows you have a value of punctuality and respect.
When your business is clear on its mission and values, it attracts people who also hold the same beliefs and values.
Now more than ever, people want to work in a role that has meaning and purpose, the more they understand what they’re working for, and why, the more they will be motivated and engaged in your business.
A great example of this is the clothing brand Patagonia.
At the heart of their business is the mission to build the best product but cause no unnecessary harm to the environment, and use business for good.
Patagonia’s founder Yvon Chouinard has even written a book about their culture – Let My People Go Surfing. A must-read for all budding conscious entrepreneurs.
Patagonia is not just a clothing brand like any other; they act and behave according to their mission and values. They allow time off for employees wishing to campaign on environmental issues, use their advertising to promote climate change and put 1% of their annual sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment.
Patagonia doesn’t just say they are for the environment – they put their money where their mouth is.
Due to their unwavering passion for their mission and values, they hire people who are also firm advocates for environmental causes. After all, you’ve got to get behind something with real feeling and connection if you’re going to achieve that goal.
When your values are clear, you won’t have to worry about hiring the ‘right people’, the people for your business will be attracted to what you stand for.
Know All Their Skills
We have this outdated idea in the world of work that we all only fit into one box, and we can all only offer one skill. That’s why so many people don’t stay in their jobs for long. Because people get bored of being stuck in a hole and being told they can only ever do one job.
The one skill mindset that exists is a hangover from the industrial revolution when people were only ever needed to do one thing. Unfortunately, this mindset still precedes us in many corporate organisations around the world.
But the truth is, as humans, we are multifaceted creatures, with so many skills and attributes to offer. Let alone experiences and stories that have shaped who we are.
When you look to hire someone, don’t just get to know that ‘one skill’ or ‘role’ you’re after, get to know more about their diverse range of skills, hobbies and interests.
The reason being is, most organisations have no idea the amount of talent that is held within their business and how adaptable their team can be or what they can provide.
For example, one person may be great at accounting, but they may also be a keen photographer with a great eye. The next time you need your company photos doing maybe you can ask that person rather than hire outside the company?
If you learn more about your people’s skills and talents from the start of your business, you’re tapping into an incredible amount of resources that sit already within your team.
Imagine the amount of innovation and creativity you can foster in your business if you knew how much talent every one of your employees had.
Set Our Clear Expectations
The biggest bugbear for many people is the dreaded performance review. Let’s be honest, it completely sucks the life out of everyone involved, and nobody enjoys them.
However, at the root of the demoralising employee review, is the fact that leaders have never been clear about role expectations with their team.
Ask yourself – what do you really want from people?
Perhaps you look at roles and responsibilities when you’re creating the job description, but after that, they disappear into thin air, only to be dragged back out again when an employee review comes around.
Not having clear expectations is frustrating for anyone.
Instead of leading by outdated corporate culture, think about what you want this person to really take ownership of in their role. Sometimes, even sitting down with your new team member to help them create their own micro-mission statement for that role can ensure that you’re both on the same page of what the expectations are, and what needs to be delivered.
It’s not about boxing people in; it’s about allowing people to have complete autonomy over their role, and complete flexibility.
If you really want to go further in building a team that fully embraces their roles and the business, then why not allow them to create their own roles and responsibilities. It sounds extreme, but throw away traditional titles and create something that works for your business and your people.
The rules in culture were there to be broken, and if you want to build a team that gets you and your business, some rules may need to be changed.
You can find Lizzie here:
About your author
Lizzie is the Founder of Liberty Mind. Liberty Mind was established to help organisations create a unique company culture, and improve employee engagement. Lizzie want’s to help employees feel fulfilled at work, this means they are engaged about the work they do and motivated in the culture they do it in.
Meet Ada, based in West Sussex and the founder of ADAVIRTUAL – who partner with start up businesses and help them scale.
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After years of working in digital advertising in London, my co-founder Clàudia and I decided to take a break from our successful careers to travel the world, breathe in the air and eat great food.