Top tips for hiring a great team

Hiring a team is easy, but hiring a great team is a little harder. This is because many hiring managers choose a group of similar people who clash with each other, or they fail to hire people with a wide range of completely different skills. This can affect the workflow and the mood in the office, and over time it can lead to employees quitting their jobs or creating challenges for other team members.

If you want to make sure that you hire a great team who work well together and get the job done, don’t worry. Here are some top tips to help you hire the perfect team.

Plan Your Recruitment Strategy

This is essential. You need to devise an in-depth plan with a comprehensive job description drawn up in collaboration with all stakeholders. It is important that everyone involved is bought into this process. Getting this input is essential so that you can identify the skills, experience and crucially the personal traits required to succeed in your organisation. You also need to identify the correct channels to identify where to source the ideal candidate from. Posting the role on your website and job boards is unlikely to deliver the desired result. Utilising social media channels (particularly LinkedIn) is now essential. For specialist roles and highly confidential positions consider using a specialist headhunter with in-depth market knowledge.

Devise a robust onboarding process

Once you have identified and secured the ideal candidate for your team it is critical that you start off on the right foot. The first 90 days particularly are critical to ensure that new employees feel that they have made the right decision.  You need to make sure that they are onboarded in a structured manner and crucially that they understand their role in the team and how the team can support them. Draw up a a structured plan that can be used when all new staff join which quickly gets them up to speed and makes them feel valued and integral to your success.

Focus On Creating A Positive Culture

Your team will need managers and leaders, and it is important that those tasked with leadership understand how to create a positive working culture since they will be responsible for implementing it.

Choose People Who Get Along

If you are hiring people who have to work in a team with each other, they obviously need to have great communication skills but they also need patience, diplomacy and sometimes a thick skin! Ideally avoid hiring people who are very insular and prefer to work alone as they may disrupt the balance in the team. Over time this can lead to resentment and increased attrition rates.

Look For Soft Skills

Many hiring managers focus on core competencies for their teams, such as IT skills, coding skills and other role-specific skills. Important as these may be, it is essential that you hire people who have strong soft skills, such as communication and goal setting skills. These people will help the team to gel together, and if issues do arise, they will invariably be instrumental in resolving them.

Compare

Clearly, you will need to hire new people for entry-level roles, but if you are hiring someone to fill a senior position in the team it is often best to make a comparison between external and internal candidates. This is because you can identify those who already fit in with the company values, and you know that they are passionate about the team. Benchmarking external candidates with those superstar employees will either validate you decision to hire externally or make you realise that you have the ideal candidate under your nose.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1 

 

Are you listening to your team? You really should be

One of the biggest misconceptions we have about communication is that listening is a passive activity. How many times have we heard someone say, or said ourselves, “I’ll come along to the meeting, but I’ll just listen”? We understand listening is an essential quality of leadership, but most of us don’t know how to listen effectively.

In a marketplace where there is a global war for talent, it’s crucial for organisations to have strong leadership. One of the biggest motivations for team members to resign is because they do not feel heard, appreciated or understood. Here are some of the biggest management blind spots when listening to staff and how to easily fix these issues.

Did you know?

When someone is talking with you face to face about their attitudes or emotions, research shows the most dominant form of communication is non-verbal. Words account for 7%, tone of voice 38% and body language a whopping 55%. While we may consider discussing attitudes or emotions to fall outside of mainstream professional communication, the reality is most one-on-one chats instigated by staff indicate attitude or emotion at the core of what they are saying. Feelings of being overwhelmed are extremely common.

It’s the same, but different

On the surface, nothing much has changed about professional hierarchy structure. Much, however, has changed beneath the surface. Dissatisfied, frustrated employees cite not being heard as a major motivator to look for a new job. Companies need leaders to recognise the importance of caring for their team in order that the business may flourish and succeed. The powerful act of listening transforms workplace culture, creating a harmonious environment, greater respect between team members, increased productivity and employees going above and beyond to deliver results. Focus is undiluted, office atmosphere is calmer, and there are fewer misunderstandings and errors. All because people feel heard.

Listening demands focus

Today’s lifestyle both in and out of the office is distracted, fragmented and dominated by technology. When you give an employee your full attention and time, they feel empowered. Give them the time and space they need to say what they need to say. Be careful not to interrupt or “help” them as they express themselves. Avoid the temptation to fix. Instead, give the person the opportunity and experience of being heard first and foremost. Just this simple act of listening to what someone has to say is effective and empowering. If you cannot contain yourself, don’t interrupt with a statement. Ask if you can offer suggestions.

Another positive way of reinforcing that you have heard what someone has said is asking questions to clarify what they are saying. Again, don’t interrupt, but wait for a pause. When the employee has finished speaking, let them know what you understand from what they have said, then ask if you have understood correctly.

Encourage your team to listen to each other

Listening means waiting before adding any thoughts to what is being said. Take this learning to your team and encourage them to listen to each other. As always lead by example. Creating authentic working relationships built on trust encourages loyalty – we could all do with more of that. Make listening a priority and your team will thank you.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. We promise to listen to the issues you face in your business – hopefully we can help. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

 

How to improve your work productivity

Productivity is the place where smart planning meets concentrated effort. To some, this place is nirvana: a productivity paradise they have long heard of but do not expect to visit anytime soon. There’s too much to do. To others, productivity is a practical process available to all, provided that you’re prepared to chip in a bit of discipline and effort. We believe in the latter ethos. Productivity is a simple and straightforward process. We just need some coaxing to change our thinking as to how to eke out the best from ourselves at work.

Move!

You almost certainly know that sitting for most of the day damages your health. Research has proved that sitting for 8-10 hours every day without moving around in between causes heart attacks. What does this have to do with productivity we hear you ask? Your energy levels are reduced because you’re not moving around. If your energy levels dip, your concentration levels take a hit. If your concentration is impaired, your decision making isn’t what it could be. Productivity isn’t about how many hours you sit at your desk. Productivity is what you achieve without ruining your health.

Disconnect

In America alone 12.2 billion hours are collectively spent scrolling social media sites. The approximate cost of these diversions in productivity terms is approximately $650 billion per year (that’s about $4,452 per person).

Constantly switching between the task at hand to quickly check your social media feeds impairs your focus levels. While this may not affect you initially, you’ll discover its crippling effects when circumstances demand you focus for an extended period. Monitor your scrolling time. You’ll be happier, have more energy and will notice the world around you again. TV watching is another culprit. As they say, no empire was ever built watching TV. Discipline yourself to one show per evening, and notice how your concentration levels improve.

Think about what you want to achieve and look at how you are realistically going to achieve it. The temptation to escape by watching TV is real, we know, but the advantages and rewards when you resist the urge and get on with going for that swim, walk or catching up with some reading are remarkable.

Plan

Before you leave the office for the day, plan your tasks for tomorrow. Writing a to do list of what you want to get done focuses your mind. When you leave the office you are confident of what needs to be done when you return. Overnight your mind has some time to itself (because you’re not slumped in front of the TV) and, after a while, you’ll start having good ideas. You might find yourself doing some background reading or brainstorming on your commute to work.

You were right all along

Forget multi-tasking. Research has confirmed what our frayed nerves have been trying to tell us: we cannot complete multiple tasks simultaneously. The old rule of “one thing at a time” is back and we’re all more productive because of it.

The key to productivity is working smarter, not harder. You know what you need to do. Far from being a grind, being productive increases positivity, wellbeing and guarantees success. Go for it!

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1