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When it’s time to build your team from the ground up, the thought of making those initial hires can be daunting. While you need good employees and staff members who can help you grow your company, a bad hire at the early stage of building a new team can be a major setback to the growth of the business. Fortunately, new thinking regarding how to hire those early team members can help you make the right decisions to strengthen and grow your team.

There are various attributes to look for when evaluating a potential hire, including current skills, credentials, values, and even professional and personal attitude. Each company will have its own mission or long-term goal when it comes to making hiring decisions.

Attorney and owner of CPO for Hire Wendy Harkness, SPHR, advises hiring for a combination of attributes, including “tenacity, curiosity, purposeful self-awareness, anticipatory thinking, adaptability, and a positive mindset.” Harkness also believes that to achieve success, a company must follow the “TEAM formula” when building a new team. As Harkness explains, TEAM stands for Target, Economics, Attributes, Manager.

Putting this formula into action, a company must-

  1. Understand the expected deliverables and desired outcomes
  2. Know the expected financial contribution and funding parameters to build the team
  3. Be clear on the combination of skills, knowledge, and abilities needed
  4. Select the right manager to inspire, support, and push the team forward 

Through alignment and adaptability, two critical elements that Harkness emphasizes within this formula, open communication flows because of a rooted purpose and ability to seamlessly switch gears as circumstances change.

Another facet of hiring is focused on looking inwardly at your company’s culture to build that ideal team at the critical stage. Ultimate Software abides by a hiring strategy that is based on 40 percent skill set and 60 percent personality. Vivian Maza, chief people officer at Ultimate, advises that companies do this because she believes that it “can always provide the resources and tools that’ll help you become better at your job but we can’t teach personality.” 

Ultimate’s motto is “People First” and, as a result, the company’s culture plays a critical role in the way it hires new people and builds teams. With a 94 percent voluntary employee retention rate and more than 4,300 employees, Ultimate conducts its hiring process by a chat over coffee at its onsite Starbucks and analyzing closely how the prospective employee “gels” with potential teammates and supervisors. Maza believes that a great team consists of varying elements that include “trust, respect, care, communication, transparency, a positive attitude, determination, and commitment.” But even more important, a great team is composed of shining through adversity - business challenges, financial turmoil, and even structural changes. As Maza suggests, “The best teams believe in themselves, and when you believe in yourself, you can accomplish what you never would have believed.”



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