How to build successful teams

October 20, 2021

Cultural and familial ideas of success don’t always align with individual visions. Being named “Employee of the Month” might be the pinnacle for one worker, while unfulfilling or draining to another. College degrees aren’t the plan for everyone, not to mention increasingly out of reach financially. And staying put at one company or in one career until retirement is rare these days. 

A sales associate may outperform company goals for the quarter – and that’s success. The same worker may master the art of handling long lines of impatient customers – that's success, too. They may also get promoted, increase their income, build their skillset and add value to the company. A nurse may have a breakthrough with their psych patients and feel accomplished for making a difference in someone else’s life. A utility worker may get a blackout fixed in record time, averting a grid-wide disaster.  

Success can also mean building a life around family and other passions while contributing to your company and society. Supporting this version of success for your employees will allow them to bring their complete selves to work, which helps to retain as well as attract workers. CareerBuilder recently surveyed thousands of workers and found that the top five priorities people look for when switching jobs are:  

  1. Remote work 
  2. Flex time 
  3. Short commute 
  4. Paid family leave 
  5. Training opportunities  

A vision of upward trajectory may ring true for some, but more and more workers and employers are seeing the value in redefining success, personally and culturally. With so much focus on today’s tight labor market and the re-examination of how work fits into our lives, it’s worth considering the ways success can occur – and it starts with how you hire. Hiring successful employees who will grow your company requires these three approaches:

1) A broad definition of qualified

The best candidates might be the ones you’d least expect. You might think the applicants you’re getting aren't qualified, but the skills gap is only getting worse, with 2 in 5 workers saying they don’t have the skill set necessary to advance in their career, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey. Resume gaps and less traditional career paths should intrigue, not alarm. This is especially important to support women, Black workers and people with disabilities are just a few examples of workers who may have had fewer opportunities to build their skills, and many have fallen behind and struggle to find success. Skills-based hiring and upskilling are crucial to bringing in successful employees and develop a stronger, more equitable workforce overall.

2) Work environments conducive to collaboration, productivity and wellbeing

Create a workplace environment where teams can thrive. Remote teams may need to think creatively about how they collaborate. If you can’t offer remote work, or are going hybrid, look for ways to increase flexibility, pay and other benefits.

Remind your teams that the well-being programs you offer are for everyone – and explain why – and it may even help to build in time dedicated to mental health and rest, so everyone is observing at the same time and aren’t tempted to ping their co-workers.

Most people understand that hard work can yield success. A job can be mentally or physically taxing, but as long as there's balance, breaks and extra incentives, workers will go the extra mile to realize their – and your team’s – success.

3) A culture of employee engagement

Changing your company culture from a product- or results-focus to a people focus can have profound effects on employee success and retention, and is the driving force behind ever rare company transformations, according to a group of researchers recently published in Harvard Business Review.

After you’ve mastered skills-based hiring and provided workplace flexibility, competitive pay and upskilling opportunities (we know it’s a lot; you’ll get there!), weave employee engagement into the fabric of your company. Make 1:1 meetings a priority, conduct surveys regularly, and create a space – in person or virtually – where teams of all sizes can come together and talk about more than their to-do lists for the day. Encourage ideas, however lofty, from all corners of the organization, so that employees know that they're contributing their talents. And effectively communicate expectations so that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.

Successful employees, teams and companies require energized, passionate, motivated workers from a variety of backgrounds. And in re-examining the idea of personal success, you can build the types of teams that will position your company for future success.

When we at CareerBuilder say, “Let’s Job It Up™,” we want that to ignite the recognition and motivation workers feel as they discover jobs that actually work for them – no matter their starting point. This feeling of inspiration and joy is where success begins.

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