The Entrepreneur Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question “How do you build a strong team?” is written by Neil Grimmer, co-founder and chairman of Plum Organics.
If you want to build strong teams, you need to start with a clear purpose. What that means is building a company that is driven by something it wants to change in the world. So, when you bring people into companies that have that purpose baked into the organization from day one, you aren’t hiring people—you are recruiting them into the mission.
And that’s where teams begin to really flex their muscles—not so much as operating units, but as tribes bent on achieving a larger goal.
Think about a workforce without that sense of purpose. The company exists solely to meet revenue goals, as far as employees can tell. So they go to work, punch in, punch out, and leave. People get hired, but they eventually float away to other companies because they aren’t anchored by anything.
You’ve got another group of people, and their mission is to solve problems in people’s lives. It might be financial, health, entertainment, or productivity, but there is a clear reason for what they are doing.
But serving your purpose, as opposed to serving revenue goals, is a completely different orientation. It brings strength to the organization and turbo-boosts productivity. When people care about the output of their work and what it means to the world, they dedicate themselves to the task and the company in extraordinary ways. Strength is doing more, achieving more, and winning more with a smaller number of dedicated people.
In turn, as the leader of the company, you have a responsibility to meet that strength with your own. You have to reciprocate. That means giving employees skin in the game in the form of equity. The company does well from their stupendous work, and so do they. It means flexible work hours and more progressive parental leave policies.
It’s acknowledging that they are giving part of their life to you, and you have a commitment to give part of their lives back to them. It also means publicly celebrating the victories—a big sale, an award-winning campaign, a grateful missive from a customer—to reinforce what everyone is working toward.
Most importantly, you have to stay authentic to the mission. It can’t be a marketing exercise, because if it is, your employees will rebel instantly. Purpose-driven people are going to be your most loyal fans, hardest workers, and harshest critics. The company mission can’t just be pretty words painted on the wall. It has to be something everyone can feel.
If they can’t, you don’t have a purpose. And you certainly won’t have a strong team.