One of the hardest things to do in business is building a team — a loyal tribe that would do anything for you and the business. You might be thinking, ‘Is that even possible?’ Well, the answer is yes.
Did you notice how I don’t call them employees? This is because they are team members! Every member makes your company what it is and they are a direct reflection of you and your values. So, how do you create a company culture where people want to work every day and care about your clients or customers as much as you do?
The latest Gallup poll suggests that nearly 70 percent of all employees do not feel engaged in the workplace. Unfortunately, this level of disengagement can lead to high turnover rates. Here are five ways I built a loyal tribe at D2 Branding:
Celebrate the team!
You must celebrate your team! Remember that it’s not about you, it’s about them. You need to make sure everyone on the team feels important and realizes their role is crucial to the entire company. Thanks to the guidance of my friend and mentor Alex Charfen (a super successful entrepreneur, author and business coach), we’ve implemented a daily huddle.
Every morning from 8:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., we all jump on a 15-minute call to go over our wins from the day before and the three things we are going to do that day to move the needle. So many people get caught up in trying to do 25 things on their to-do list that they feel like a failure at the end of the day when they haven’t gotten through their list. Instead of trying to take on too much, we just focus on three things we can do today to make an impact.
The huddle is also a great time to connect with your team on a personal level and start your day off on a positive note! Many of our employees work remotely from around the country, so it’s a great way to touch base before our days get busy with meetings. I highly recommend doing a daily huddle!
One thing I always desired as an employee was a flexible work schedule, but I never got it.
During my first job working at an ad agency, I worked 12 hour days every day and still got paged on the weekends (yes, I’m old enough to have had a pager!) There was no regard for family time or time off — I was at their beck and call 24 hours a day! It definitely taught me some serious work ethic, but there’s got to be a balance. Luckily, I was single then and didn’t have kids yet — there’s no way I could have managed being a mom and working hours like that!
Then I went on to work in the television industry, which required shorter hours but was still 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day. When I picked up my kids from daycare, I was always the last one to get there, and my heart sank every time I saw my sweet kids’ faces, tired from a long day and the last ones to be picked up. That’s when I knew if I ever had my own business, I would definitely have a flexible schedule for my team.
Some of the most efficient team members I have hired are moms! They are diligent in getting their work done because they know they need to get out of there and be there for their kids. When I hired my first employee, I decided we would work from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. That way, we missed the morning and evening traffic, and still had time to run errands and go to our kids’ events.
I know what you’re thinking — that’s only a seven-hour day, but I’m paying them full-time. We also implemented ‘Work From Home Fridays,’ and this was even before COVID-19 made it necessary to work from home. That way, you could get your work accomplished while throwing in a load of laundry or meeting a repairman at your house while still being productive. Guess what happened next? Production was great, the team put their work in and were much happier workers.
Flexibility is something that costs you nothing but can be a big component in creating a culture where people want to work. With an adjustable schedule, your team members will actually work harder for you and feel more loyal to your business. Plus, it’s a great recruiting tool to help you hire the right people.
Schedule regular check-ins!
Not unlike your spouse, sometimes your team members just want to be heard! You may not have a solution for them right then, but more often than not, they just want you to listen. Schedule regular check-ins with your team so you can ask them what’s going great, what’s keeping them from doing their job and if they have any suggestions about how to improve the challenges they are facing. This practice will also give you a really good pulse on what’s going on at your company.
I’m the first to admit I get really busy in meetings all day and sometimes I’ll forget to check in to see how the team is doing. I’m very task-oriented and there are only so many hours in the day, so I have to remind myself to stop and check in to see how things are going. Taking a minute to slow down is important — oftentimes, the person at the top has no clue what is going on with the team members if they are too busy to ask! You can check in with your team through weekly meetings, or even by making a quick Starbucks run to get out of the office. Just remember, nothing is more frustrating for a team member than feeling unheard — validate their feelings or concerns by providing a listening ear, then work to find a solution or compromise.
Invest in training!
If you are constantly improving your team’s skills, deepening their knowledge and rewarding them financially for hitting important milestones, they will remain loyal to you and it will make your business more well-rounded. We always try to ask if team members want to learn about another area of the business. Cross-training will help when someone is sick or on vacation and you may find a superstar salesperson is stuck doing admin work!
One way to assess the skills and personality of your team is to have them take the DISC (Dominance, Influence, Compliance and Steadiness) profile test. I first saw this from Tony Robbins and was amazed at how spot-on it was for me when I took it. It has helped us in hiring and putting the right employees in the right positions based on their strengths. If you haven’t taken a test like this, I encourage you to do it and have your staff do it as well! You may find someone is in the wrong position and will know why they are struggling.
When I took the DISC test, I learned that I am a high D. Here’s the description of a high D:
The D Personality Style tends to be direct and decisive, sometimes described as dominant. They would prefer to lead than follow and tend towards leadership and management positions. They tend to have high self-confidence and are risk-takers and problem-solvers, enabling others to look to them for decisions and direction. They tend to be self-starters.
The good news:
Type D individuals think about big picture goals and tangible results. They are bottom-line organizers that can lead an entire group in one direction. They place great value on time frames and seeing results. The D may challenge the status quo and think in a very innovative way.
The bad news:
People with a D personality style tend to overstep authority, as they prefer to be in charge themselves. At times they can be argumentative and not listen to the reasoning of others. They tend to dislike repetition and routine and may ignore the details and minutia of a situation, even if it’s important. They may attempt too much at one time, hoping to see quick results.
What’s great about this is that my assistant was the exact opposite of me on the DISC spectrum. There’s no way there could be two of me, it wouldn’t work. I need her specific skills and temperament to be a great team leader.
If you haven’t taken a personality inventory test, I recommend the DISC test or the Enneagram test!
Create a team environment
Make sure everyone on your team knows the company’s core values, what you stand for, and what your goals are. If they know where you are going, they can help you get there!
Many leaders keep this all to themselves and then wonder why the team isn’t working hard to achieve their goals … maybe they don’t even know there is a goal! Your team might just be clocking in and clocking out each day, doing their tasks without a greater goal to strive for.
We read our company tenants and core values at every staff meeting. We also give our “critical number,” or our scoreboard of how close we are to reaching our goal of 100 paying clients. Some companies use a revenue goal to go after, but we’ve found that our number of clients is something fun to track because many of our clients aren’t commission-based. It’s not as fun for them to track revenue because if their pay isn’t based on revenue!
Have a goal! Share it with the team! Celebrate the team when you get closer to your goal and go over the top when you achieve your goal! We also try to celebrate personal things in our team’s lives like birthdays, getting married, having babies or even our kid’s accomplishments! When you work together for a while, your work family can start to feel like your real family. So, treating them like family makes them feel valued and loved.
So, if you want a team of rockstars:
- Celebrate the team
- Offer perks
- Schedule regular check-ins
- Invest in training
- Create a team environment
… And you’ll be on your way!