Effective teams can be game changers for any business. But—they don’t just “happen.”
Building an effective team takes an intentional process that starts before hiring and continues on throughout each team member’s employment with your company.
If you miss any step of the process, you can lessen the effectiveness of your team.
Let’s take a look at each key component of effective team building and how to implement it successfully.
Believe it or not, building an effective team starts well before you hire a new employee, starting with the job description, job promotion venues, and the interview process.
If you do these three things effectively you will narrow down candidates quickly and effectively. Let me explain.
A common mistake made by companies is making the job description very generic, or copying templates/descriptions for a given job.
An effective job description should be customized to the position requirements in order to filter people out who aren’t ideal candidates.
Your job description should be personalized to exactly the right personality and the right skill set: what you do want and what you don’t want.
Note: it’s OK to say what you don’t want in the job description - this helps filter out applicants that you would end up filtering out later anyway.
If you don’t personalize the job description and instead use a generic one, you may post it and get 100 resumes that you have to filter through; if you personalize the job description you might get five resumes that are exactly what you want.
When writing the description think about specifics for the following:
Computer proficiency: Does the applicant need to have proficiency in certain programs?
Knowledge: What knowledge, skills, and abilities are you looking for?
Personality: What type of personality will fit well with your team? Hardworking and quiet OK? Or do you have an outgoing, social team?
For example, let’s say you are looking for somebody creative and outgoing for your team. Put something in the job posting that says “If you would like to apply for this position, please send me an email with the subject line ‘I’m awesome’ and tell me what awesome traits make you perfect for this job.”
What that does is 1) it tells you that the person is following instructions, and 2) it gives them an opportunity to have a little bit of fun with you while conveying their qualifications.
Posting the Job - Venue Matters!
Once you have a good job description, you need to be sure you are putting it in front of the right eyes.
For example, if you're posting a really good job description for a virtual assistant, but you're posting it in a group of engineers, you're not going to get a great personal assistant.
That may seem kind of obvious, but let’s keep going with that example and talk about the difference between posting it on CareerBuilder.com versus posting it in a Facebook group of virtual assistants.
If you put it on CareerBuilder, you're going to have 172 unqualified people that have never done virtual assistant work before apply because they want to be a virtual assistant.
If you post it in a Facebook group of virtual assistants, the only eyes seeing it are experienced virtual assistants, and only the ones that have the skills you specify will apply. Think about how much that will cut down on unqualified applications!
The interview process is just as important for narrowing your candidates down to the most qualified.
When you ask questions in your interview, be specific. Ask questions designed to weed people out.
This can mean asking if they like doing the same thing every day, in the same way—or conversely, if they like doing different things every day and value creativity.
Take the specifics from your job description and ask the candidate about them.
Don’t just ask if they know Microsoft Excel, that won’t give you the information you need to know. Ask the candidate to tell you a little bit about their experience with Microsoft Excel—what kinds of things have they done?
Ask them how they would describe themselves. Are they artsy? Analytical? Listen for traits that give you insight into their personality, knowledge, skills, and abilities, and evaluate if those are good fits for your job opening.
Open ended questions are going to get you more information about the candidate than yes/no questions. “Tell me” is a great way to ask a question instead of “Are you” or “Do you.”
Multiple Rounds and Layers Of Interviews
Don’t limit yourself to one interview; it’s OK to have several rounds. The longer you take to interview and hire, the more likely it’s going to be a better fit.
I have seen numerous instances where the person my client would have hired based on gut feel after one round of interviewing didn’t end up being the candidate that was hired. Once they got a few levels deeper, the client developed a more complete picture that helped them realize another candidate was actually a better fit.
I also encourage many layers of interviewing, with multiple people. For example, I like to have people interview with my team after they have interviewed with me.
I include entry level people in the interview panel, because if they don’t treat my entry level people well they won’t be a good fit for me or my team.
If you have an overloaded schedule, have the initial candidates interview with your team leaders. Once the team leaders narrow it down they can bring in the top one or two to interview with you.
Make sure you provide anyone interviewing the candidates with the proper tools and resources for interviewing so they are asking the right questions and learning the details about the candidate that are important to know.
Bonus: When you do this, you are coaching your team members to be leaders—that’s a win-win!
Working interviews are another great way to evaluate potential candidates.
Because I work a lot with service industries, I encourage working interviews in addition to formal ones so you can see candidates in action.
Think outside the box: have them shadow the front desk for a few hours. Even if that isn’t the job they would be doing, you can see how they interact with the front desk people and how they interact with customers. If they aren’t willing to do that, or if they consider themselves “above” that work, are they the right person for your team?
Use your creativity in the interview process and develop different ways of interviewing that go beyond asking a bunch of standard questions.
Once you have found a great candidate for the job, the next task is to create a smooth onboarding process with consistent templates and systems.
First things first: when you have chosen a candidate, be sure to always do a background check, don’t skip this step!
Be a courteous interviewer and make sure you communicate promptly to the candidates that were not chosen for the job. We’ve all been there, waiting is hard and never getting a yes or no is even harder.
And you never know if someone you interviewed might be a client or give a referral down the road!
When communicating with your new hire, be thorough. Welcome them to the team and spell out what the first few weeks will consist of. When you set expectations it prevents the new hire from feeling like they’re in limbo and don’t know what will happen when.
Setting expectations and being excited for them to join your team will result in a new hire that is excited to get started, even when you’re plugging through the paperwork, processes, and procedures that are part of hiring a new employee.
We’ve all had that job where onboarding consisted of somebody saying “Here’s your desk—have fun, buh-bye!”
Be thorough and consistent with your onboarding effort.
Give your new hire somebody to shadow for the first week or two.
Sit down and try and try and step into the new hire’s shoes to list what they will need. This will involve changing your headspace from one where you have worked there for many years so everything comes to you naturally, to thinking of what it was like when you were new and knew nothing at all.
You want to challenge new employees but also help them achieve some success and wins early on.
Your goal is to set them up to have a good experience as they learn, not feel like they’re constantly struggling and challenged.
Make sure they are getting the training they need, guidelines to work within, and clearly defined expectations. Set up a 90 day plan, so they can look ahead and see what is expected of them and what training they will receive to meet those expectations.
Ongoing, Consistent Training
Once you are finished onboarding a new employee, your job is not done!
Employee retention rates are much higher in companies that continue to develop and encourage employees on a regular basis.
Use daily touchpoints and weekly meetings to check in and set goals and expectations.
These also will enable you to tell if an employee is struggling and address it before it gets worse.
In addition, you should create multiple ways to recognize and celebrate people when they are succeeding.
This ongoing employee development needs to be consistent across the board so all employees are receiving the same opportunities for recognition, development, and support.
Train your team leaders to look at each employee and ask “what are their gifts,” and “how can I help them take things to the next level?”
Perhaps there are special projects they can give their employee that will use their passions, their gifts, and their talents.
If someone shows leadership potential, what opportunities do you have for them to develop that leadership?
If someone is good at planning events, what assignments would further develop that skill set?
Shift your mindset from giving someone additional responsibilities based on a set longevity-with-the-company milestone, and ask yourself “How do we raise and elevate everybody up in a way that is best for them?”
Establish Effective Hiring and Onboarding Systems For Your Company
Building an effective team is an intentional process that takes forethought and effort, but the payoff is long-lasting.
When you build an effective team you attract and hire the best candidates for the job, train them well, and support and empower them to become valuable employees that are strong assets to your company.
Don’t Have The Time?
Do you need help developing hiring processes, onboarding templates, and ongoing employee training and growth systems that enable effective team building?
Monica Young is a productivity coach with years of experience developing individualized systems and templates for her clients.
She can help streamline your hiring process and create a structure that trains and grows each team member, while you still stay in the know about what is happening in each area.
By looking at your unique situation she is able to devise a plan specific to your business and your needs.
This means she will not take you on a generic path to success—she will find the best path for you.
Schedule a free phone consultation to learn how she can help streamline your processes and create happy, effective teams!
About Monica Young
Monica is a productivity coach for service-based businesses with teams of 2-25. Her personalized and intuitive approach has helped her clients reach their goals in a way that feels peaceful and balanced, so they can work and play with passion and joy!
Choose from coaching strategy sessions or intensive coaching plans, each personalized to reflect your specific work and personal demands.
Click here to learn more about her personalized coaching plans and how she can help you find business success while living life to the fullest!
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