A few weeks ago, I was feeling the pressure to lay the foundation of our team culture. It’s a terrain I felt I have not travelled too far just yet. Starting one from scratch definitely put enormous self-doubt in me.
Where do I even begin? How do I do this? What do I need to do?
You might wonder why I feel immense pressure about this. If there’s one thing I noticed from all those years of working for companies, team culture is probably one of the most undervalued aspects of a company. But it really is one of the most important foundations that you can have.
Team culture can make or break how your team operates and how your team operates can make or break your business.
I looked back at the team cultures I was happy to be a part of and another roadblock entered my mind, virtual team culture is a whole different ball game. My mind was whirling. So with a headache looming, I asked a good friend of mine, Lauren Andrews, on how she was able to build such an awesome team culture.
Here’s what I learned from her:
It all starts with hiring. You need to hire people with the same values as you do, your current team and your business. (So if you haven’t defined your values, now is the time).
Train them and get to know them. Not on a superficial level but ultimately building friendships and trust. This will help you make sure if they’re a fit and if not, you’ve got to end it.
Have a probation period. Let them know (whatever your number is 60 days, 90 days) that this is a space where you’ll see if you’re a good fit for each other. Remember to talk to them after that probation period.
Immediately explain your Vision and Mission to them. Make sure that they are onboard with it and that they are in alignment with it. If this doesn’t excite them, it’s best to not waste your time and their time too. You wouldn’t want them working for something that doesn’t help them.
Be clear on the benefits of working with you. Ask yourself this question, why should they work with your rather than another company? Is it salary, freedom, fun?
Have weekly team meetings. No matter how short. This allows everyone to interact with each other, communicate roadblocks and wins, keep them up to date with what’s going on, acknowledge each other and learn from each other. (PS - Make it as a goal to have at least a yearly offsite too!)
Be transparent as much as you can. Tell them about goals and what would happen if these goals are met. This gives everyone something to look forward to.
Genuinely care for them. Routinely communicate with them, check up on them, make sure that both of you are growing from this relationship.
Guess what, after getting this wonderful talk with Lauren, our team meeting went on way smoother, lighter and better. But you have to remember, team culture isn’t just about what you do in the beginning. It is a continuous process of caring and nurturing your team. It also evolves and grows.
If we missed something, let us know! Would love to hear what you’re doing with your team.