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 Edward Fleischman, CEO of The Execu|Search Group.
To build a strong team, leaders must continuously work to attract, retain, and develop top-notch talent.
Today, talented professionals are in incredibly high demand. In this candidate-driven job market, organizations have to move quickly if they want to bring in the best employees and build great teams. As part of The Execu|Search Group’s 2016 Hiring Outlook, we surveyed both job seekers and employers and found that over 40% of companies take at least five or more weeks to hire someone – starting from the initial interview until an offer is made. Job seekers and working professionals stated that they found this length of time unacceptable. This sentiment from job seekers, combined with the current demand from companies for talent, means speed in the hiring process is critical in order to build the best teams.
Maintaining a strong company culture also plays a critical role in creating and retaining a team. Although speed is key to bringing in the best talent, hiring also needs to be done cautiously to ensure that the candidate is a good cultural fit. Even if a candidate is incredibly talented, compromising on their ability to fit into the existing company culture sets a dangerous precedent that could rapidly deteriorate even the strongest team.
In order to increase retention, managers should provide ample opportunities for team members to grow and develop. Implementing mentorship programs will help demonstrate that your organization is invested in your employees’ growth and provide them with the opportunity to develop strong relationships within a team. Managers should also give their employees room to challenge themselves and learn from their mistakes. It can be tempting to micromanage, but if you allow team members to problem solve and face challenges themselves, the result will be a highly skilled team in which every member is capable of growing and producing outstanding work.
As you work to build a team, it is critical to always promote individuals based on merit. Employees – even those not currently up for a promotion – will be incentivized to stay at your organization and work hard if they see that you make promotions solely based on employees’ contributions and achievements. By sticking to merit-based promotions and avoiding awarding promotions based on age or tenure at your company, you will keep your team motivated and accelerate the development of individual team members.
The flip side of developing team members and promoting those who deserve it is being unafraid to let weaker team members go. Of course, it is never easy to fire someone, especially if they have been with your organization for a long time, but you must remove your personal feelings from the equation and think about what will be the best for the good of the company as a whole.
Combining a merit-based team culture with fast and careful hiring will enable you to truly build a strong and successful team.