Nadya Valova

Customer Success Manager at Hike

Nadya Valova

You already know what you need to do when it comes to running your business, I mean after all, it was you who set the business up right? But, what many start-up companies overlook when they expand their team is that their employees will not be as motivated as you are to grow your business. But, even though they all have different goals in life, seeing them work as hard as you do for your business is possible. In this article I will talk you through some great ways you can ensure that you and your team share the same goals and values.

When you join a new business, you don’t know what to expect. Every single company has a unique way of how they operate and what the overall environment is. I had very good experiences with managers and co-workers, but I also had very bad experiences too. 

We’ve all heard stories or experienced the ‘bad’ and ‘unengaged’ manager who pretty much drove you out of the company. Now, I am sure that is not how you want to be! One of the companies I worked for the director would always come out of his office and welcome the new starters, which makes the new starters feel very welcome. But, after that you would only see him when he comes in and out of the office. There was a good intention, but it doesn’t last long if the managers in that office are not as welcoming as the director was. 

You are very busy running your business, so you need to make sure that the people you hire to manage your office are the best people for that job. The question that pops up to you is ‘How can I make sure that I hired the right people?’.Glenn Smith stresses this in his article ‘The first step in finding or affirming the right people is to define your core values‘. What he means by that is not to state values like ‘dedication, customer commitment…’, but make sure you know the main core values that sum up your business. 

For example at Amazon they really stress ‘customer obsession’ to you day-to-day. If you were to ask any manager how does every worker contribute to that, believe me that conversation would not finish quickly! When I first joined HIKE they prided themselves on the simplicity of the platform. They used something as technical as SEO and made it simple enough for anyone to use, which helps small business to grow. 

When you set up interviews for new staff the questions should be around the core values as much as they should be about the position in itself. When ‘you have the right people on the bus’ you don’t need to worry about how to motivate and manage those people, as they will have a mutual accountability.

I’m afraid it doesn’t stop there. Once you have hired the best of the best you need to find the most effective way for them to understand and implement the company’s culture, values and goals. 

There are many ways for you to do that. One of the most effective ways is to arrange company overview training. Take the new starters on a little tour to each department. Before you take them round, ask every department manager to do a small introduction on what it is that they do. Paul Castain explains the benefits of doing this very well in his blog:

By spending time in various departments, you’ll not only deepen your understanding of the business; you’ll find hidden gems that can be used as selling points.

Paul Castain

Not only are you making your new starters more engaged but you’re also now teaching them the culture, values and goals of the company. Many departments have the issue of blaming another department when something goes wrong. If you have two shifts for example (day and night / morning and evening), then believe me, the first thing the staff say when they come on shift and see that something isn’t done is ‘ah.. That night shift lot!’. This is where transparent communication is key. By educating your staff on how these departments work it really will give them an excellent overview of your company in general, your expectations and most importantly how your company works. 

Having a mutual understanding of the values and goals within a business will result in your team working together. Daniel H. Pink created a very entertaining video on the ‘the three rules of syncing’. It explains that the leaders should set the pace, maintain the standards and focus on collective minds. The group timing requires belongingness which are enabled by code, clothing, and touch. Which then leads to values and goals ‘synchronised’ in a team. In other words working as one big team helps to run a business a lot more smoother.

This now brings me to one of the most important parts of any company: the managers!

Many managers are great at managing and driving sales, after-all that is why you promoted them. But a lot of them lack leadership skills. When I first started working as an area manager I was so busy focusing on my workload and all of the crazy tools I had to use. It took me 2 months to then realise that what really can make me a good manager is to set high standards and become a leader. Deb Calvert explains this very well:

The role of a sales manager involves sales outcomes and manager responsibilities. There’s something else, too, that sets the most successful sales managers apart from others. That something extra is what inspires members of the team and ignites engagement and performance. It’s leadership.

Deb Calvert

When you see your manager cut corners and not take certain tasks seriously, the team will follow that behaviour. That’s when bad practices are noticed more and more. Your company values will slowly start to fade within the team. This is where YOU need to make sure that you set clear expectations to your management team. Setting high standards for them will only encourage other employees to act as leaders too. John Mattone starts his article on leaders with a very powerful statement: ‘A leader’s very presence can be a strong motivational factor for their teams’.

These fundamental factors will guide you to create a team of people who will be just as passionate as you are about your business. But never forget about your own self-improvement. Christine Harrington wrote a very wise article on self-improvement where she said: ‘Your most vulnerable point is your mind and what you tell it. Good or bad. The implementation of your thoughts profoundly impact your actions’. 

The world is evolving every day and it is best if you grow with it. Take some time for self development, which you can share with your team. What really can be engaging for employees is to have a session twice a year on self development within a company meeting for example, where employees feel appreciated and feel that their boss cares about them. When you see that your boss appreciates your work, I’m sure you can agree that this is what keeps us motivated – the feeling of accomplishing something positive. 

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