A team can make or break a business.
No, it’s not just a vague claim or a random speech, but based on a research analysis done after post mortems of 101 startup failures. The study revealed that the wrong team is one of the top three reasons why startups fail. So, if you’re starting your business, it is essential to have your recruitment strategy in place to build your team from scratch. But have you thought, how do you make your first team? If not, we have some actionable insights for you to ponder.
How do you want to build a team?
Before we explore how you can build your first team, let’s understand what a great team is and how you want your ideal team to be. To begin with, set a clear and definitive goal for the team. If you’re assigning tasks to the team, each team should understand the broader picture behind it and shouldn’t be doing it for its sake. Define clear roles for each of the members. There shouldn’t be any scope of ambiguity in it. Establish a culture of open and transparent communication between the team members. Whenever one has an idea, they should be able to communicate it. Remember, a strong team is not about individual achievements but is all about collaboration and teamwork.
Now that you know how your team should look like, here are some recruitment strategies and actionable insights to consider.
Introspect and self-analyze
No matter how cliché it sounds, it is true to the core and it is now backed by research evidence which states that we’re not much self-aware. So, take out time to introspect and self-analyze. List down things that you’re skilled at. Consider all sorts of skills and not just technical skills. Remember, soft skills are equally important for a leader to have. Are you a good listener? Do you consider yourself as a good orator? Write them down all. Next is, behavioral skills. This is extremely important, which will help you decide your management style and choose your team accordingly later on. Here is a simple table to help you get started.
Sample table for self-analysis
Your top skills and where you lack
It is obvious that you won’t have all the skills to run a business successfully. For example, to thrive, your business might need a great product developer, a project manager, and a marketeer. If you are a good project manager, list it as your top skill. And note down the other two skills that are must for your business, but you lack it. Once you work on the above table, build your team on this finding. Your ideal team members should have skills that you don’t.
Hire the right people to get the job done: Build a team with a long-term vision in mind
Now that you are done with the second activity, it is pretty clear what kind of people you want to have in your team. Hire people who just don’t spur off ideas, but are hands-on and can get things done. Remember, you cannot be lavish in having too many team resources, especially when you are starting up. So, hire people who can work on strategies and are also hands-on.
Good management consists in showing average people how to do the work of superior people.
- John Rockefeller, American Business Magnate
Focus on core functions, great to have leaders who can multitask
Build your team with a long-term vision. This will become easy if you have the architecture of your business ready. Start off with identifying the core functions that you’re going to have. Will you need IT support? Do you need to focus on sales and marketing? Choose team members who are hands-on in these areas. It is always great to have team members who can multitask. For example, there is no harm in hiring someone who can manage Finance and look after HR activities too.
Avoid homogeneity in the team
While selecting your team members, ensure you’re building a diverse team where you have people from different backgrounds, experiences, cultures, etc. That’s because when you have a homogenous team, all team members will have a similar personality, they will work the same way and will be driven by the same factors. They might even think the same way too! But when you have people from different backgrounds, they bring in with them fresh perspectives, and you can explore other avenues. The way they work, the way they think would be different, giving you a huge opportunity to explore and diversify into areas you might not have considered otherwise. In short, diversity brings in creativity.
Build a connection between each other and a connection with you
Your job doesn’t end by bringing some great minds under one roof. You need to handhold and guide so that each member starts understanding others and comes together to work collaboratively. Teams who can work collaboratively show marked improvement in productivity and boost up the overall team morale. Team building exercises are a great way to establish team bonding between each member. It helps to build trust and let them know that they can depend on one another. Team lunches are another great way to know each other. If you’re building a virtual team, then keep aside a day every week when team members can discuss stuff outside work and bond with one another. Virtual tours of home, fun games, ice breaker sessions are some cool ways to get to know each other.
Not just your team members should know each other; it is equally important that you know each of your team members well. When you know their strong areas, interests, and weak points, you can delegate tasks accordingly. Make efforts to know each of your team members well. Connect over one-on-one calls to learn about them. However, remember, you are the leader, so you should maintain a professional decorum all the time.
Encourage contribution and collaboration
A progressive organization is the one that encourages contribution and collaboration between team members. Harness the power of your employees’ ideas and leverage them for organizational growth.
Set the right culture and stick to it
You can’t start your startup without having a compelling culture and a vision. And be open to communicating it to your team even before you hire them. To make a business successful, it is important that every team member buy-in your vision and work towards it collaboratively to achieve success. A compelling work culture helps to convey the vision. Building an org culture is not easy, and it takes time, so stick to it and promote it on every occasion. Be it your company website, social media posts, how you deal with your customers — all should reflect your workplace culture. A strong work culture can speak a thousand words on behalf of you. In the long run, the work culture will be the handiest tool to hire top talents.
Monitor and review
Finally, you need to continually monitor and review the team’s overall performance and lead from the front. Be the ringmaster who orchestrates every employee’s performance because 97 percent of employees say that they feel a drop in productivity and team outcome due to the lack of alignment in the team. Do not shy away from removing a person from the team who is a misfit, do not align to the company culture, do not agree to the company vision, or anything else that may come in the way of building a strong team culture. In this regard, the ‘hire slow fire fast’ mantra can come in handy. Take your time to evaluate a person well before hiring because reports have shown that a bad hire can cost you a lot more. The cost of recruiting, hiring, and onboarding a new employee can be as high as $24,000. It’s not just expensive, but time-consuming too. So, have patience and choose the right candidate to build your first team.
You cannot do without a recruitment strategy. Period.
“Let me have some sales, see the revenue growth, and then I can consider having a recruitment strategy to build up the team.”
Many first-time entrepreneurs do not consider having a recruitment strategy in the first place.
If that’s what you’re thinking, then stop there. Because you simply can’t just do without a recruitment strategy, especially while building your first team.
A recruitment strategy is not just writing a job description and hiring for the open roles, but much more to it. Remember, all the top talents are right out there; all you need to do is draft the right hiring strategy to tap the potential candidates. And when you’re building your first team, you just can’t afford to hire randomly. Your plan must be thought through and carefully drafted. An effective recruitment strategy can do wonders for you. Here are the top three reasons you should have a hiring strategy to build your first team.
1. Hire candidates with niche skills
Does your business need employees with some niche skills? Do you want your CTO to have the experience of handling a specialized business scenario? Brainstorm all these finer points, list them, and hire to fulfil these requirements instead of hiring a random candidate.
2. Consider hiring budget
If you’re working on a tight budget, work out different options that may attract a potential candidate even if it’s not monetary. For example, you can consider giving a stock of the company to the CHRO if you cannot match up the expected remuneration. Offering a senior designation or some essential responsibilities can also compensate well if your budget is tight.
3. Woo the passive candidates
As LinkedIn mentions, passive candidates are considered to be the cream of the candidates. They are the candidates who have a job but might consider joining you at a later point in time. A recruitment strategy can help you identify these candidates and woo them to pick you when they have a job change in mind
Where to find the right candidate to build team?
Now that you know what kind of employees you want to have in your team, the next obvious question is where you find such candidates. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
Hire a recruiter to do the job
If you have the budget, invest in a good recruiter who can help you find the ideal candidates.
If you do not have the budget to invest in a recruiter, leveraging professional networking sites like LinkedIn is another great idea to tap potential candidates. Build your network there and start interacting with people before you make them the offer.
Leverage social media
It is always a great idea to tap candidates on social media because you get to follow them and see how they interact and behave with others for months before approaching them.
Some important tips:
1.Avoid the usual interview questions. Be creative and innovative with your hiring approach.
2. Put the candidates in challenging situations to understand their true selves.
3.Create a workplace simulation. Let the candidate solve a real-life scenario that he or she will face on a day-to-day job. This will help you to gauge how the candidate would perform on-the-job.
4.Finally, do not neglect culture fit while hiring. Determine if the candidate can adapt to your company culture and can work in a team.
5.Last but not the least, keep improving your hiring strategy. Review it every six months and see what worked and what didn’t, fine-tune it accordingly. Doing an employee survey among the new recruits is also a great way to get fresh perspectives on your hiring strategy.
Unity is strength,when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.
- Mattie Stepanek, American Poet
Easier said than done!
All of these are easier said than done. It would help if you had the right recruitment strategy in place to hire the right candidate because the wrong people can take your team to the ground while your business can reach heights when you have the right team in place. Take the points discussed here and work on it to build your dream team.
What is your suggestion to build a rocking team?