Grow Your Business from the Inside Out

In any company, no matter the size or the industry, it’s important for a business to put together a great team of employees to help propel the business forward.  It’s equally, if not more important to keep that team united and working towards the same goals.  In a society where everyone is focused on winning at all costs, the idea of teamwork has been pushed to the backburner in many businesses – that’s unfortunate when you really think about it.  Without a doubt a business is a team.  It’s made up of employees in different departments with different roles, all doing their individual parts to reach the same goals.  Individually, when employees are satisfied with their jobs and motivated, they use and strengthen their skills maximizing their benefit to the company.  Happy employees work hard on they’re own, but when they work together, the outcomes are multiplied exponentially!
There are several factors that play into keeping your employees happy, in turn keeping the best interest of the company at the forefront of their minds.   Possibly the single most important thing you can do to attract good employees, keep them happy and ultimately watch your business prosper is to empower them!
You don’t have to use cheesy team-building games or outdated techniques; you just have to find a way to instill in your employees a sense that they are an important part of the team and that they matter.  Doing things as simple as having meetings with different groups, such as the sales team and the marketing team, to get input into what’s going on in the company and to address concerns or praise achievements as they come up can make a world of difference.  It doesn’t hurt to throw in fun, shared activities so that employees can have fun together and build relationships outside of an environment of “work, work, work.”
Last week at ShuBee, for example, employees had a “Painting Party.”  Employees were encouraged to hang out after work and paint their offices to create spaces all their own.  It was just another way to make them feel more a part of a place where they spend a good bit of time.  The people who see one another every day in their work attire got to hang out together in their comfortable painting clothes, make the office more personal and bond over pizza.  Employees not only had input into what they wanted their work space to feel like, they had free reign to make their offices whatever they wanted them to be.  They had a sense of ownership.  Another great example of team building comes from one of our customers and Nexstar member, Rosenthal Plumbing, located in Santa Cruz, California. 
“Nexstar members are encouraged to use creative training to get the best quality retention,” Service Manager Tim Sjobeck said.  And get creative, they did!  The group decided to put together a retro rap video to use as a training tool for employees.  Incorporating every member of the Rosenthal team into the project, they produced a video highlighting their belief in the highest quality of customer service and other key focuses of the company.  The video turned out to be educational and extremely entertaining.  As far as team building goes, Sjobeck says he could not have anticipated the overall impact the project actually had on the Rosenthal group, for several reasons. 
Sjobeck says that after making and airing the video, employees developed a new and even stronger sense of accountability to the company.  If, for any reason, they weren’t before, they now HAD to deliver the kind of service the video promised.  It didn’t hurt that Rosenthal offered a discount to customers who mentioned seeing the video, so employees knew that they and the claims they made (through a rap song, nonetheless) had been viewed and customers expected them to be backed up.
“So our customers are now receiving real customer service, service the way it used to be,” Sjobeck said.  He says making the video improved their team strength and the companies positive attitude overall.  Possibly the outcome that proved to be most beneficial for everyone involved, he says, was the project created a sense of ownership.
“Pride of ownership is off the charts,” Sjobeck said.  “Our employees walk around with a confidence that we had not ever seen around here before.”
When people outside of the company saw the video, they were able to get an idea of the fun had at Rosenthal, the commitment of their employees, and, really, what the company was all about.  Everyone was impressed; some even wanted to be a part of it.  Sjobeck says several potential employees came in just from seeing the video and, now, all potential new employees are asked to watch the video.  He says having them watch the video has been a vital tool, helping to determine if the candidates are “down with [their] unique working environment.”
Creating a culture of teamwork has tremendous benefits for a business and really isn’t hard to do, once everyone gets in the “team” mindset.  Efforts can be fun and elaborate or as minimal as the team leader prefers, as long as they are effective.  Different techniques work for different people, but the fact is that creating a team culture is not only possible, but easy and benefits both a company’s employees and the company as a whole. 
Build a team of committed, forward-thinking employees and foster a team culture.  While doing so, though, never lose sight of the ultimate goals.  To keep your team on track and ensure the, there are some things you need to do to ensure the success of the teams, thus ensuring the success of the business.
Make sure that expectations for the team’s performance and outcome are clearly defined.  Explain why the team was created, their purpose, mission and what resources will be provided to help them meet expectations.  Employees should not only understand the team mission, but be excited and committed to it; if they’re not, allow them to voice concerns and address those concerns.  If you have to – compromise, as long as the team’s ultimate goal is reached and employees are happy.  Every individual employee needs to know that he or she is an important part of a team.  They need to feel empowered and have a sense of ownership in what they are working for.  The more empowerment and ownership they feel, the better employees they will be and the better your business will become.
While there’s no cookie-cutter way to build a culture of teamwork into a business setting, keep in mind that there’s also no cookie-cutter way to run a business.  Business leaders should work on finding and implementing ways that work best in their particular settings.  The more of a teamwork environment you can create, the more empowerment and ownership employees will feel, the more efficiently your business will run, the less turn-over you will experience and the quicker you’ll reach your business goals.  Your business can grow stronger than ever by working from the inside out.

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