As an entrepreneur, you will be the one to build your first team from scratch. The team members will become the nucleus of your business as everything will revolve around their ability to perform and to deliver and it is paramount that you select the best team because the success or failure of the company will rest on their capabilities. Read on to know more about building a team and what you should never ignore.
Create a hierarchy
Before sending out job invites decide on the management hierarchy. This will help you decide the experience level and number of people required at each level. You need not follow the traditional line of management like CEO, Head, Manager, Executive, etc. You can have a uniform system of consultants with a ‘no boss’ rule as well.
Entrepreneurs do not spend sufficient time on the hiring process, most of the time we're just amazed that anyone actually wants to work for us and sometimes we're too busy to put the proper attention into the process, often going straight for the references or speeding up interviews.
Create a checklist and see if you get answers to these questions:
- Have you defined all the roles?
- What is the minimum and maximum experience level required?
- What are you doing to maintain diversity?
- Do you have a skill chart for all the positions?
- What is your employee back-up plan?
- Where will each person fit in the team structure?
Often when we hire a start-up team, the focus is solely on professional attributes. We look for problem solvers, a decisive nature and strong minds. But a new venture is like a baby which needs to be taken care of every day. Bearing this in mind, whatever your first team will produce at work, is what your company will be all about. So look into the ethical aspects of people.
- Positive thinkers who will keep the spirit alive during tough times
- Loyal people who understand the importance of sticking around
- Modest people who trust the other member without a motive
- People with personal and professional goals so that you know what drives them
- People without any conscious or (even) unconscious bias
- Creative minds who have a unique outlook on the business
How will you ensure people go beyond small talks at work and actually come up ideas and solutions? In a start-up, a team member’s knowledge about the company and clients is the same. But as every member of the team is new to
the company, you should have a plan where your team will get opportunities to have open talks. As a leader, you can set up communication programs and decide how the team will interact. This will get the ball rolling for the team. You will see a change in how people react to each other, decide quickly and respect conflicts.
When building up a team, you can try the following ways to communicate:
- Have more talks and less work on the first day.
- Conduct an orientation program with new joiners held not by the HR but by fellow team members
- Have a morning catch-up every day during the first few months of the company
- Have Friday treats, a lunch or random coffee meet-ups
- Start a feedback plan where team members gather their feedback from everyone
- Maintain an 'open-door' policy
Have a backup
Attrition is a common enemy of start-ups. So when you are building your first team, hire a few people who can be master of more than one trade and are capable of replacing a member. Another good way of a backup is having casual workers, contract jobs and freelancers. So a crucial element of a backup plan is to know which positions need a back-up and for how long. So often, it is the entrepreneur themselves who jump on the wagon to replace ex-employees.
This is only a good idea if they know they have the skills to perform the job or they can keep the work going till the gap is filled.
When creating a team structure, take the opinion of your advisory board (if you have one) or of the people you consider mentors. The thing is, you are dealing with people here and your decisions will not only build their future but the destiny of your business. It is wise and safe to take suggestions. Even if you will have a team of 10 members, each one represents what your company will be in the near future. So believe in the people you go to for suggestions and make an informed decision.
Your first team is like impressions on wet cement, which will stay on forever until you start breaking the mould. Your ideas will be implemented by your first team. Your clients will know about your business through them, so spend some time to research the great talent in the market and hire those who will serve your business the best.