By Deborah Sweeney, Forbes Contributor, West Coast CEO who knows small business and entrepreneurs.
Truly a Lightbulb Moment
Got a resolution for 2012 at the workplace yet?
Or better yet, what are the resolutions that your employees have for the company next year?
These resolutions could be lofty. Nab every sales call, land the biggest accounts, open offices in every major city overseas. They could be set on a smaller scale too. Leave earlier in the morning to avoid getting caught in traffic, ask for more beverage options in the kitchen, delegate tasks to other department members more often. All good goals for any team to work towards, but difficult for a CEO to process when they don’t know what their staff resolves to work towards, if they plan on working toward anything at all.
If you’re stuck in a place where the progress forward looks cloudy, this is the time to work on building a better work team for 2012. A team that is roaring and ready to go and certain of how their place in the company can lead to its eventual success. Building this team takes time, talent, and creativity. Sometimes it requires hiring new people and firing those who aren’t doing their part. More than just shooting off a couple of emails and hoping for the best, your team for 2012 will rely on you to think outside of the box as well as inside at some of the common sense bits that get overlooked. From new hires to clones, here are my tips on the building for the better within your company team.
1. Look Beyond Business BAs and MBAs
Not every person who gets hired for your business needs to be strictly all about business. Who will handle the legal division of your firm, the public relations aspect of your brand, the IT work for when the computers suddenly crash? A grad degree in business is attractive on paper, but not useful in every setting. Look into hiring candidates with backgrounds in other studies like communications that you would typically pass over.
2. Don’t Hire A Clone Of Yourself
Great minds think alike, but a greater mind will want to work with a team that expresses a slew of opinions and ideas across the board. Working with a team that is just like you won’t challenge your company to grow in a new direction if you all agree on the same things all the time. It’s easy to want to hire someone just like you, but more rewarding in the long run if you get someone to offer what you cannot to the table.
3. Allow Employees To Be Involved In The Hiring Process
Get an idea of whether or not a potential employee will be a good fit within their department by inviting the managers and senior staff members to the job interviews. They may have questions and concerns related to their field that you won’t touch on that decide whether or not a future hire is the best decision to make
4. Explain Company Culture To Your New Team Members Early
Welcome to the team! Beyond just your employee handbook, there are rules to the game of working within the company. Some work teams are much more by-the-book in terms of how to conduct yourself and may be much more quiet and soft-spoken. Others are willy-nilly and a lot more extroverted and open to embracing new ideas with members encouraged to leave their shyness at the door. A new hire needs to know the company culture early on so this isn’t so much of a shock to their system.
5. Answer Questions, Communicate Often
Future goals and upcoming projects will have a series of questions that come with them, especially if a team member is new. Hold plenty of open discussions and meetings to provide insight into what you’re working on. Keeping communication lines between all team members and yourself is key to the success of the project and the overall organization as a whole.
6. Hire People With Different And Complimentary Personalities
Much like not having dozens of clones of yourself, don’t do a similar thing with your favorite employee (and don’t play favorites either). It’s cliche to say it, but your team needs to have the snowflake effect where no two think or behave exactly the same despite having similar strengths in their field. Personality goes a long way and can work to give your company the face and voice it needs if it doesn’t already have a defined one.
7. Hire Milliennials
They are young, eager to please, tech savvy, and well educated. And if you treat them well, they will stay with your company (though not forever which is to be expected). Interview the bright young things and bring them on to see what they’re made of. You might find yourself to be pleasantly surprised.
8. Pay Your Interns
It isn’t a practice that every company commits to or can commit to, but at the very least offer a stipend if you decide to bring in seasonal interns.
9. Don’t Outsource Your Social Media Team
Gets kind of hard to create a voice for your online persona if the person creating it has never visited your office or interacted with your employees before doesn’t it?
10. Offer Flexible Schedules
This is a rule of thumb for both new hires and longtime employees. Circumstances do arise where not every member of the team can be there to make a meeting. If multiple members can’t do it or aren’t ready just yet, offer to reschedule the event. Employees with additional commitments outside of work like family or school will also appreciate a flexible schedule in being able to accommodate their lives and still work.
11. Encourage Employees To Pursue Outside Interests
Beyond just being a CEO, you may serve as a mentor to some of your staff. And your staff isn’t here solely for the company itself. They may be actively pursuing acting on the side or writing or engaging in other hobbies that could turn into their next career move later on. Have lunch with your staff both new and old to see what they’re all about on the side of their full-time job. Encourage them to share their published work with you or invite you to the opening of a gallery they have a painting featured in. Your acknowledgment of what they are truly passionate about is worth more than you think it might be.
12. Create Jobs Based On Valuable Skills
Want to a hire a new employee, but have nowhere to put them where you know they will really fit in at? Create a position based off of their skill set. You may even wind up creating an entirely new and much needed department!
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