Company Culture for Field Teams: The Why and the How
- January 7, 2017
- By: Vonigo
When you were in high school, there were kids that were easy-going and confident in a way that defied the norms of the time. And now that you’re a business owner, you notice that again but in companies. The crews that hang out for a while after work, and have an easy but respectful relationship with management. You’ve noticed in the dashboard of your job scheduling software that those teams are the ones that don’t mind putting in extra hours when the job needs it, or that respond to a last-minute call on when they are supposed to be off the clock.
This magic? It comes down to the culture of a workplace, and it’s not some gift that you stumble into. Building a strong corporate culture creates a sense of camaraderie and pride in one’s work. But how can a company that relies on roving field teams establish a united team?
Invest in an Inviting HQ
While you don’t want your employees to bunk up at your office, there’s a lot to be said for your teams having a place to come together and decompress between jobs. Build a break room where teammates have a chance to hang out and talk to each other about something other than what they do all day every day. You’ll be shocked at how far a foosball table you find on Craigslist will go towards getting people to talk to each other: especially when those people belong to different teams. When your employees have a chance to get to know each other beyond what they bring to a job site, they get a chance to understand their teammates better. Does that sound corny? We know it does. But having your team know each other and be friendly will go a long way in their desire to back each other up out in the field.
One more pro tip? Get feedback from your team as to what they would most like to see in such a break room. If they’re the ones who are supposed to benefit, it serves you to get their opinion.
Pay Attention to Team Dynamics
This is a two-pronged effort that requires you to get feedback as much as you give it. Great teams are not usually made up of similar people, and they are very rarely flat. Unclear expectations are the enemy of teamwork. By putting different members of the team in charge of their own parts of the job ensures that your jobs are completed, and it gives everyone on the team an opportunity to do a great job. That creates an atmosphere of accomplishment amongst your field teams, and nothing bonds a team quite like a solid win. Check in with your teams often to see how they are faring, and make sure that you review their performance with them. Knowing that you care – knowing that you notice – their work will go a long way.
Another benefit? When you notice one team struggling, you can identify where in the chain they are having difficulty and make smart swaps. A supercharged turbo-results team is great… for that team and those customers. It’s better for your business and company morale to share success.
Okay, we know: beer is expensive and kind of a hassle to coordinate. But it’s also a really great way to thank your team for their work that week, and to create social bonds. You can cheers to another great week before packing it in for the weekend. There’s no better way to get to know someone than over a pint.
You can claim the money as an expense on your next round of taxes, and your team will be grateful for the investment in their interests.
Make your Hiring Mantra “Attitude Over Ability”
All the beer and foosball in the world isn’t going to make up for a bad attitude. When you’re faced with two potential hires, it’s tempting to hire the one with a long job history and lots of experience over the newbie. But take into consideration the team you have carefully built and honed: which of these two are going to boost your team? Which of the two is going to be ready to learn new processes, and show up to the team building activities you’ve invested all this time and money into producing? Work history doesn’t necessarily mean a person has a “working history.” Does the candidate’s experience and interview show you that they are good at communicating? Easy to get along with? Hire that person.
And if you have by chance hired the wrong person? Don’t let a bad apple spoil the bunch. You’ve worked too hard to build a great team. Know when is the right time to let someone go.
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