I work with lots of SMEs and one of the questions I regularly get asked is, "How do I keep my teams on side?" I answer this in my usual practical HR fashion but Mint HR grows, it got me thinking about how I would put my own advice into practice.
For me, the following are essential:
The right fit
A new start up or rapidly expanding business needs to have the right people on board. By that, I mean not only the right skill set, but also the right attitude and someone who holds the same beliefs as you and the others in the business. Remember - you can teach someone the ropes but changing attitudes is so much harder to do.
It's your business, so no one else is going to be as invested and excited about what you're doing - remember for the vast majority, work is what they do to pay the bills and to live. It's your job to enthuse your team.
Communication and collaboration
The more the team are bought in, the better the buzz. The only way you will do this is to let people know what's happening and involve them in as much as you can. Make your messages succinct and easy to understand and ask for their views. You won't be able to take everything on board but just explain what will and won't work and why.
I am always grateful for any support I receive and make sure I thank whoever lends a hand. This ranges from a thank-you, a comment to the person's manager, a nomination for employee of the month, right up to a personal gift. This is even more important when people are having a stressful time - notice when people are swamped and make that extra effort to recognise their impact. No matter how busy you are - do not forget this - those simple words of thanks will take you a long way.
Look for the positives
No one is perfect, we all have our faults. Rather than beat someone over the head if they get something wrong, work with them to learn and move on. Rather than focus on someone's weakness, identify what strengths they bring. I'm not suggesting you give someone endless chances, I'm saying consider if the pros outweigh the cons. If you bring someone along on your journey and see their potential, they are much more likely to stay with you and put in so much more effort.
Let's face it, work is hard work and can be so dull if you can't have a few laughs. I know the work needs to get done but if someone is bored to tears, they are more likely to sit at their screen with a blank expression than someone who is having a great day. Let people see your fun side and that you're not the master of the workhouse.
Act if it's not right
If you don't have the right person, act. Make sure they know what's not right and help them to improve. If, after that, it's still not right then you cannot afford to hang on to the person. Always consider what is right for the business - even if that will include difficult conversations. One wrong fit can have such a huge impact on everyone and everything.
You may notice I haven't placed emphasis on money - yes, it is important but you will pay what you can and will soon know if your pay levels aren't right. They key for me is getting the workplace vibe right and everything else will follow.