Ask any business owner what their top frustration is, and the majority of the time, they will say: their employees. The truth is, employee problems are a direct reflection of the business’s leadership and management. If you aren’t getting what you need from your employees, it means they probably aren’t getting what they need from you.
Hiring dedicated people who do things the way you want them done starts with a vision, a picture of a business that works. That vision needs to be translated into a specific set of values and standards that define what you expect of your employees. Your business’s core values are the essence of the workplace culture that engages employees to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Successful leadership is imagining a company that inspires you and encourages your employees to fulfill that inspiration. Today I will discuss five ways to develop your team into the best you’ve ever had.
Identify and define your company values
Your company values aren’t just inspirational messages to regurgitate during staff meetings–they are the guiding force of your leadership system. Values stem from your deepest hopes and beliefs for your business and form the basis for how everyone in your company operates and behaves. It requires more than just successful-sounding words or phrases–you need to define and explain what your values mean.
When employees understand the meaning of the company values, they are inspired to implement them and appreciate the unity it creates throughout the company. If you are unsure or have not discovered your company’s values yet, begin by creating a list of five to ten of your own core values that reflect what you care about and make you feel your best. Next, see which ones can translate into company values, for instance–giving employees paid time off to spend time with their families or offering incentives for healthy habits to entice employees to take care of their health.
Have a vision for your company culture
Your company’s culture is the core values in action. Values create the foundation for your culture by establishing how your people behave and relate with one another. The culture is a byproduct of the company’s values modeled by the management team and reflected by the employees. When employees understand and share the values, it generates cohesiveness and collaboration that impacts how they engage with each other and the customers.
To build a great team that works consistently with your values, you need a vision for how you want your people to behave and work together. Asking the following questions will help guide you through creating the kind of culture you want your company to have.
How would a new employee experience it on their first day?
How do you inspire your people on a regular basis?
How is your company currently not living up to that vision?
What do you need to change?
Create Systems and Standards
Every person is different and will never do or think about things the same way. Yet, it’s the unique contributions of each employee that brings diversity and innovation to your business. To capture the values and culture you want your team to embody, you need to identify the systems and standards of your business that are non-negotiable. When employees know what rules won’t bend, it helps set up the structure of accountability that reflects fairness and discipline in the workplace.
Systems are step-by-step processes that teach employees how to produce consistent and predictable results equal to or better than your own. Standards tell your people the rules to follow as they navigate those steps. Company culture is an expression of both the values and standards that bonds the team together with the traditions of “this is the way we do things here.”
Choose the right people
People are often hired for what they can do (previous experience, skills) but are fire for being who they are (values, temperament, work ethic). Without defined systems and standards of how your company does things, people bring the habits they developed at previous employers to your business. Without clear values and systems, one toxic person can negatively affect the team and bring everyone down.
To find the perfect employees:
- Ask yourself what type of person will thrive in your business and embody the company values.
- Conduct an interview that considers both job-specific skills and personal qualities.
- Ask value-based questions that will elicit responses about how the candidate might fit into the culture you want to create.
- Include different team members—to help determine if they are a match.
If you want your team to bring the best to your organization, you need to inspire the best in them. People need expectations, guidelines, and supportive feedback, which comes from managers understanding, connecting with and mentoring each employee. Employee development is about your employees’ needs and career goals. It’s the relationship between an employee and their manager that provides continuous performance feedback, support, and coaching to discuss and strategize their current position. Employee Development gives employees both the clarity they need to do their jobs well and the room to discuss their performance and growth in the company.
In conclusion, developing a results-driven team takes time and patience to create the structure that allows you to get to know your employees as people and educate them in your way of working. It will take a while to see the fruits of your labor, but eventually, you will see employee performance–and your business–begin to shape into the best team you have ever had.