The Leadership Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question: How do you build a strong team? is written by Robert Hohman, CEO of Glassdoor.
Building a strong team is no easy feat, but if done the right way, it can pay dividends to any leader’s business success. Through my years leading teams at Glassdoor, Expedia (EXPE), and Microsoft (MSFT), I’ve found that building a strong team requires a company to clearly outline its goals and values, and senior leadership to establish a solid foundation that defines the culture and sets a unified mission for the business. In particular, there are three things I recommend to all business leaders to help them build a strong team:
Define a mission statement
A mission statement helps define the mountain that you want your employees to climb, and management has to lead employees along this path so they’re engaged and growing in their careers. It should not only tell your employees what your company’s ultimate goal is, but it should act as a guiding light for all of the decisions that will be made.
See also: This Is What Makes a Great Employee
Create core values to show how your team should work
Core values are incredibly important to building a strong team, as they capture the way the company operates and provide definable goals for each individual. These can be anything from how you treat customers to how you expect your employees to work, whether that means they embrace and drive change, do more with less, or have fun at work by celebrating in ways that are unique to your own company culture. One of our core values is accountability—say what you’re going to do, and do what you say. This helps us create trust among our teams, and everyone knows exactly what their responsibilities are, helping us all as we march toward our common goal.
Embrace feedback and transparency
Even in times of great success, you’ve got to remember that no one and no organization is perfect—there is always room for improvement and opportunities to improve. Time and time again, I’ve found that the best teams are built by leaders who encourage and embrace feedback and transparency. Honest and open communication is key to making sure you operate as a team, and that everyone feels their opinions and ideas are heard and valued. Transparency should be in your DNA, both as a business and as an employer. Create channels and opportunities for employees at any level or in any office location to engage, ask questions, and provide feedback. For example, we have bi-monthly company-wide meetings, ongoing open Q&A forums, weekly team meetings, and regular meetings between managers and their direct reports.
While tough feedback can be hard to hear at first, it’s important that people feel they can come to their managers or senior leaders when challenges arise. Building a culture that welcomes and embraces this kind of feedback pays back countless dividends to the business, from effectiveness in recruiting and retention to success as an enterprise.
Every company is unique, and creating and maintaining your culture is as important as any business function. Our own research shows that culture is among the leading drivers of long-term employee satisfaction. The proof is in the pudding—even more reason to focus on it and not ignore it.
Your employees are your key to success, and through a unified goal, values, and culture, organizations can build strong, productive, and satisfied teams. You can’t climb your mountain without the backing of your people, and reaching that peak is far sweeter when you have a strong team behind you.