While companies invest in everything from new software platforms to consulting services in order to facilitate growth, one essential component is often overlooked: employees.

The right team members can help your organization reach new heights through innovation, inspiration, and hard work. The key is to identify the right human capital to help your business thrive. Here are seven steps to help you build a team for rapid growth.

1. Hire new skill sets

Company owners and managers may default to hiring people who have similar strengths because they understand or identify with them. Instead, identify the skills your company needs to grow but which your current team doesn’t have and look for those in new hires, says Robert J. Phillipps, national sales director, Retail Business Banking at Citibank.

For example, if your team is great at product development and operations, but weak on gathering and analyzing data, look for a data whiz who can give you deeper insight into what your information means. Understanding data as a “language” may reveal trends, highlight customers’ buying patterns, or identify bottlenecks in your distribution system, all of which could inhibit growth. Arming your business with great product development, operations, and data-gathering and analysis can better position your business to identify future opportunities that may lead to growth.

2. Cultivate diversity

When you add team members of different genders, ages, racial and ethnic backgrounds, abilities, and other differences to your team, you benefit from new perspectives and insights that can help you better innovate and reach new markets. Research has found that companies with racial, ethnic, and gender diversity outperform other companies.

3. Look for shared vision

Your team members should understand your company and its goals and be committed to carrying them out, Phillipps says. Look for people who have a similar work ethic as your existing team. They should be excited about growth and actively contribute ideas and effort to make it happen. If your team has an all-hands-on-deck attitude toward carrying out a successful digital transformation, adding someone who is ambivalent about technology or who doesn’t “get” the potential of the effort could be a drag on your team.

4. Create a culture of “psychological safety”

In 2017, Inc. reported that one of the most important factors affecting team productivity was trust, or “psychological safety.” In other words, teams were most effective when individuals felt comfortable taking risks and being vulnerable around each other. Focus on creating a culture where team members support each other and are empowered to take moderate risks to help your company find new and better ways of doing things.

5. Prioritize communication and collaboration

Teams need structure and clarity to perform at their best. That means giving them clear roles, plans, and goals so they can work on their designated roles and tasks without hesitation. For example, if you give your team vague direction to come up with new product ideas, they may come back with some excellent consumer products ideas. However, if you were looking for business-to-business offerings, that effort would have been wasted.

6. Include your banker

Many businesses overlook sharing their business goals with their bankers.  However, when aware of your aspirations and challenges, your banker may present suggestions or alternatives to help your business get to the best outcomes. Your banking representative may have suggestions about financing options or shoring up stability during economic swings, Phillipps says.

7. Reward the behavior you seek

The way you build your team will have a direct impact on the growth of your company. Phillipps says it’s important to hire people who will take the company in the direction you want to go. So, when team members perform well or exhibit behaviors you want to replicate, be sure to reward them in recognition of their efforts. Rewards don’t need to be costly, either. A personal note or thank you from a manager or the company CEO can go a long way toward good rapport and retention.

Published on: Dec 13, 2018