Having the right people around you in business is really important. The people you have on your team will be going through all the challenges and successes in your business with you; you’ll laugh and maybe even cry with these people as they walk with you on your journey.
So let’s say you have an idea for a business, or you’re currently a social entrepreneur. How do you go about building the right team that will ensure you achieve your vision and grow your success?
Network at industry events
If you attend as many industry events as you can, chances are you’ll meet people who are interested in the same things as you. Try local events, trade shows, conferences and exhibitions. If you’re looking for employees, why not see if local universities are holding events in your area of expertise?
Define your values
Think about your business values - are they things like honesty, respect, tolerance? Whatever you hold as important to running your social enterprise, find out what other’s values are too and whether they are aligned to yours. A simple litmus test would be to ask prospective employees to write a one page document for you on their core values, their passion for your industry, and why they want to work for you.
Go on recommendation
It’s always better to hire someone based on a recommendation from someone you know and trust. Chances are, they have similar values to you and so know what you’re looking for, and what would be important to you. Make sure any recommendations are from people you respect in your field of business.
Give them a test-drive
Invite your prospective team member to come and hang out at your place of work for half a day, and do some small tasks. Make the afternoon informal, and see how they interact with other staff and how they approach the work in hand. By giving them a ‘test-drive’, you’re minimising any risk to the business by learning more about them before you bring them on board.
Get people different to you
Although you want to work with people with similar values, and aiming for the same vision, it’s important that your skillsets are different. Getting a rational thinker in when you’re a visionary may not be a bad idea. You’ll find that if you seek out people that are quite different to you, you’ll find a complementary set of strengths and weaknesses to your own. For example, one person may focus on the big picture and the strategy, whilst the other takes charge of the organisational details and making it happen.
Meet outside of work
Ultimately, the best working teams are those that trust each other, communicate honestly and like each other. They’re friends, as well as work colleagues. Get to know the people you intend to employ. Go for coffee with them, take your team bowling or for a meal, and ask questions. The more you get to know what they’re like as a person, the more you’ll be able to see if they’re the right fit for your business.