I have a bit of a reputation for building great teams and I’m proud of it. A recent conversation with a friend struggling to excel at their current employer got me thinking about writing some of my formula down.
First thing’s first. You need the right people. Those that have the right personality, positivity, flexibility and drive. These are all reflections of the employee’s character and ultimately determine whether or not they will understand and contribute to the bigger picture. Most pertinent to the startup phase but certainly applicable to any/every business.
As for the employer, here’s what you can do to maximize productivity and minimize attrition:
1. Provide employees with a proper vested interest in the company. Aside from the customary equity, options, ownership models, etc., give them the ability to share in the success and remain accountable for the failures. Reward them in any way that you can. The effort will be remembered and appreciated.
2. Provide employees with the proper flexibility. Allow them to earn trust and complete tasks by working remotely and/or “off-hours” as needed. As long as deadline-driven work is completed thoroughly, there is no need to chain employees to their desks. Productivity stems from an employee’s comfort level so they should be able to “shine” wherever they feel most at ease.
3. Provide employees with the proper tools. Similar to the point above, use technology in an efficient way. Laptops, smart phones, etc. combined with effective SaaS solutions foster team collaboration and communication anywhere, any time. This is also perceived as an investment in their credibility and future. Most of them get that.
4. Provide employees with an entrepreneurial and driven environment. Do your best to hire exceptionally so that a natural dynamic is created within the organization. Excitement and motivation is contagious and slackers need to be eliminated immediately before they develop into a cancer.
5. Provide employees with a home away from home. Not literally, but figuratively. Give them a reason to trust your business, trust your communications and trust your judgment. Ensure that they feel like you are always looking out for their best interests and that they can aid in that endeavor. Their loyalty will only be as good as their comfort level in you and your vision.
Ultimately, I am a firm believer that recruiting and hiring the right types of individuals makes the difference. When your business is small, this is imperative. As your business grows, you have less control over this but by creating the appropriate environment ahead of time (by hiring the right people early on), you inherently create a chain effect. Smart, driven, motivated people tend to flock together. Those same people tend to be annoyed by the slackers and don’t want them “in”. The motivation and reward is then not only tangible for them, but also comfortable and profitable for everyone.