Effective teams that work well together have always been integral to the success of any business- that’s nothing new. What is new is a marked shift in we live and work. From this shift, new challenges have arisen when it comes to things like developing your existing team, tracking their progress and bringing in new members as you grow.
So in light of new challenges as well as old, this article looks at how you can build an effective team by getting the right people into your business and onto the right seats.
The right people, the right seats
It couldn’t be a more crucial time to build an effective team. In good times, your business may be being propelled forwards by economic factors, and so underlying issues can go unnoticed or overlooked. This can mean that things like training and development don’t get prioritised, and poor performance can fly under the radar.
However, in times of economic turbulence or drastic change, things that went unnoticed before quickly come to the fore. In times like these, a lack of appropriate training will mean that your staff will find it harder to adapt to any changes, and underperformance will begin to take more of a toll on the business.
Review your current team’s roles
Ensuring you have the ‘right people in the right seats’ means considering your overall businesses goals and objectives. Your goal is where you want to get to, and your objectives should be the markers of your progress towards the goal.
Ask yourself, who is playing an integral part in helping you to reach your objectives to move you closer to your goal? These will be the members of staff that you rely on. Those that aren’t helping your business achieve its goals will ultimately have to be let go.
Likewise, if there are any high performing individuals that cause disruption for the rest of the team, the gains of keeping them on can be outweighed by the negative impact they can have on your business if the whole team’s work can be impacted. This feeds into the need for your business to establish positive and clear business values and work culture that nurtures teamwork and collaboration.
However, you also need to ask yourself whether your team have the right tools, support and training to deliver consistently high-quality work. If underperformance is a reoccurring problem amongst your team, it could be that they need better leadership, whether that’s more training, appropriate tools to become more efficient or something else.
Training and development
When you have the right people in the right seats, you not only want to keep them there, you also want to see them improve over time. Providing ongoing training and development for your team will keep their skills up to date as well as making them feel valued and engaged with their work.
LinkedIn’s 2020 workplace learning report found that the biggest focus of L&D in the UK the biggest focus is on identifying, tracking and closing skill gaps. After a tough year in 2020, it wouldn’t be surprising to see this trend continue as job seekers look to previously unconsidered sectors for employment, meaning training programs are set for further investment and development.
Even if you think your team is up to speed, a proactive approach to providing ongoing training development could be the difference between keeping a great staff member and having to deal with the cost of hiring and training a new employee up to the same standard.
Dealing with underperformance
If you’re trying to build an effective team, underperformance- especially if it’s undetected- will quickly take you back to square one. If you feel your team (or certain members of your team) are not performing to the standard you’d expect, you may need to take a look at the bigger picture to figure out exactly what’s going wrong.
It could simply be that a team member is a wrong fit for your business, but there can be more at play. If the whole team is underperforming, the issue likely lies in the operational business model.
A few reasons for underperformance include:
- A lack of growth opportunities
- A lack of rewards and benefits
- Poor communication between team members
- Mental health and wellbeing, such as stress
- Inefficient or wrong tools to complete responsibilities
- Poor cultural fit
- A lack of variety of responsibilities
However, it’s very difficult to figure out where the problem lies and fix it without sufficiently tracking your team’s progress, both collectively and individually.
Great project management is a great place to start. With the right project management approach, everyone is accountable, problems are raised and dealt with early, and overall efficiency improves. We recommend using a SCRUM approach- find out how to make it happen here.
Fit with culture and values
As mentioned previously, a poor cultural fit breeds underperformance- but what is it and why is it so important?
Your culture can be summarised as the environment you create for your employees. This isn’t just a physical setting; it’s a collective of a number of factors, including:
- Leadership style
- Beliefs and values
- Employee interactions
- Wellbeing and psychological safety
Something else that needs bearing in mind is that your company culture isn’t confined within the office walls, especially now that more people are adopting more flexible and at-home working. To build an effective team, your culture needs to extend the whole team and function as a support and feeling of inclusion, no matter where they are.
It may seem challenging to build a healthy culture when your team are miles apart, but with a few simple steps and consistency, it’s a lot easier than you might think- take a look at our article on how to work at home effectively with a team for more guidance.
Once you’ve laid the groundwork, the biggest underlining factor which will keep your team engaged and effective is consistency, which is why there are 4 factors actions that should be run on repeat:
- Weekly meetings
- Decision making
We’ve written a short guide to help you create the best leadership style, values and culture for your business, you can read it here.
Building an effective team isn’t just about hiring the ‘right’ people and expecting the rest to fall into place. Yes, you need the right people, but you also need them in the right seats, as well as armed with the best tools, support and collaboration to succeed. As a result, an creating and then maintaining your effective team is an ongoing process, but it’s also one that will become more solidified, embedded, and eventually, second-nature in your business as you and your team grow together.