By Teri A. Coutu

It’s always exciting to see the flowers blooming and hear the increasing buzz of birds, bees, crickets and frogs telling us that spring is here and the new season is starting. With the new season, many businesses are adding to their workforce, and hoping to find “the right fit” for their team. But, finding the right employee, whether for a customer service or C-level position, can be a challenge. And, while the success of every business rests on having a good team of employees, it is especially true for a small business where each person needs to not only “do their job,” but also interact effectively with the other people on the team. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to help build a better team, and increase your chances of a successful year.

  • Know What You Need. It may sound simple, but it really helps to have a solid job description that includes not only the tasks and responsibilities of each position, but also the behavioral style and personality required for the position that will match the culture of your company.
  • Use Technology. Over the years, the standard protocol of just using resumes and interviews has proven to be less than effective for finding the right person for the job because they provide very little information about what makes the person “tick.” Today’s technology offers some great assessment tools that can provide a company with a deeper understanding of a candidate’s behaviors, motivators, and competencies – offering hiring managers a more comprehensive picture of the job candidate. (Considering how the average turnover cost for one entry-level employee is equal to half their salary, the investment in technology could equate to a huge savings.)
  • Communicate. Small teams often need to communicate more often than large ones, and a failure to communicate effectively can create a failure to meet business goals. Business consultant, Dolores Chandler, CEO of Kaleidoscope Insights, suggests small business teams utilize DISC to help each team member better understand their communication style, and that of their co-workers. Combine this with well-structured meetings and/or a communication board, and many teams become more cohesive.
  • Be a Leader, Not a Boss. A great team starts with a great leader, and great leaders build great teams. However, not everyone is born with great leadership skills – most people need to develop them. Learning self-regulation, empathy, how to empower a team, and how to effectively communicate the hard stuff are skills that can be learned. Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the buzzword that brings all this together, and is an on-going development process I have seen transform struggling businesses into stable profit makers.

Regardless of the size of your company, your most valuable assets are the individuals that make up your team. Unfortunately, many small businesses spend more time researching and selecting their office snack machine than they do an employee. As Richard Branson says, “Take care of your employees, and they’ll take care of your business. It’s as simple as that.”

Teri Coutu is a Business and Brand Consultant, Teri@TericSolutions.com.