How to build and retain a team


You've got a great product. Your market is primed and ready. Your business plan is innovative. Your workforce is understaffed, and your employees are apathetic and unengaged. Three out of four isn't bad, right?

Not quite. A cutting-edge product and an airtight business plan can't make up for an organization filled with the wrong talent. Building the right team is critical for a successful business, and retaining your best talent is a must for sustainable, long-term growth. So how do you do it?

Get Them: Making the Right Hires

Whether you're launching a new business or just growing your existing team, one of best ways to improve every facet of your business's performance is hiring top talent.

Agree on a candidate profile first. Before you launch a search, gather your stakeholders and make sure you're all on the same page. Having a shared vision for the hiring profile will ensure that you're looking for the right talent and can present an accurate picture of the role during the interview process.

Talk to your existing team. There's one more stop before launching your search. Employee feedback should be a crucial component of your recruitment process. First, discuss your needs with them. They may have insight into the role that a manager will miss. Plus, employee referrals are one of the best ways to attract top talent. A recent article from makes a powerful case for employee referrals. Here are some highlights:

  • "Referrals are the #1 source in hiring volume"
  • "Referrals are also the #1 source for new hire quality."
  • "6% of all hires at top performing firms are referrals"
  • "[Referrals] are hired at a rate of 1 out of 3 applications for top-performing firms"

Train your interviewers. You might think you're a great interviewer, but you're probably not quite as good as you think you are. If you've ever asked, "What's your greatest weakness?" or "What kind of animal would you be?" you might benefit from some additional training.

Don't think you can change your hires. "He's a great outfielder, but we don't need an outfielder. Maybe he'd be a good catcher with some training." Sounds silly, right? It's equally nonsensical to approach the hiring process by thinking that a candidate who's great in one area can be trained to suit your needs. She might be a perfect cultural fit for your company, but if she doesn't have the right skills coming in, the time and money you spend training and ramping her up will outweigh what you spend in a slightly longer search that yields the right hire.

Keep Them: Retain Your Top Performers

Recruiting is only part of the equation. Hiring, training, and managing employees can be expensive, but it's doubly so if you have to do it often. A 2012 study by the Center for American Progress notes that the cost of replacing an employee ranges from 10 to 30 percent of their annual salary.

That statistic is sobering enough on its own, without factoring in high turnover's impact on employee morale and engagement. According to Gallup?ÇÖs 2013 State of the American Workforce report:

* 18% are actively disengaged: dissatisfied, unmotivated workers with attitudes that can be contagious to coworkers

* 52% are disengaged: doing the bare minimum required to keep their job, but without any real connection to their work

So how do you keep your workforce engaged and committed to the job at hand?

Never stop training. You might not be able to make an outfielder into a catcher, but you can make the outfielder better. A 2012 white paper by the World Economic Forum noted that: "67% of industrial hirers polled experience substantial difficulty finding employees skilled enough to do the available jobs. 56% polled said that they anticipate the problem getting worse in the near future." That means that training today is an investment in the future of your business. Plus, it keeps your employees engaged, challenged, and motivated. If they're learning, they much less likely to look elsewhere.

Train your managers, too. The quality of management is one of the primary drivers of employee turnover. Poor communication, a lack of clear expectations, and raft of other managerial missteps can cause your talent to head for the exits. Provide regular check-ins with your managers, and consider holding "skip-level" meetings where staff can communicate with their manager's supervisor. The insights you gain here may be eye-opening.

Ask for feedback. Your staff-level employees are directly engaged with your product or service, as well as your customers. They see problems occurring before management ever will. Often, they have innovative solutions for these issues. If you solicit feedback and suggestions from your team, they're more likely to feel empowered and engaged.

Offer small perks. Bagels on Friday, a quarterly team outing, or even a simple t-shirt can show employees that they're valued by the organization without putting a dent in the bottom line. Better yet, ask them what they'd like most.

For a business to become or remain competitive, the value of quality hiring and active retention can't be understated. Without it, your business will lose more than talent — you'll also lose productivity, and with that comes lost revenue.

Contact us to learn more about our staffing solutions