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Guest blog – how to build a high-performance team

With talent shortages impacting so many sectors across the UK economy and employers now having to sell themselves to highly in-demand talent and work harder than ever to keep their top talent,

we asked Mark Lawson-Jones of Gold partner Michael Page how you can build a high-performance team.

So how can employers – especially growing technology businesses – stay one step ahead of the competition, attract the best people and keep their valued employees?

The first thing to do is to clearly define the purpose of the team, including the overall outcome it was brought together for. A team can only be truly effective if its members unite with the same vision and motivation to bring that vision to life. They must share clear, measurable goals, and be committed to each playing their part in the overall success of the group.

Ask yourself what you want to create, improve, or change and what the purpose of each person’s role is in the team. Providing a clear, inspiring vision sets the foundation for successful teamwork, and helps guide the direction of the group when they face challenges and decisions.

How do you make sure the team has the right people in it?

Aiming to be one-step ahead in the market to build a high-performance team involves more than just randomly assembling a group of talented individuals.

High performance teams usually contain individuals who passionately embrace the vision mentioned earlier, and believe their contribution is meaningful. They’re motivated to give their best effort, and trust, respect, and support each other. Select members with complementary skills and abilities, who can bring a diverse range of viewpoints and ideas to the table. Achieving a good balance of personality types will enable the group to work together harmoniously and also challenge each other when necessary.

What about goal setting?

Once the team’s established and united behind a shared, compelling purpose, the next step is to break the vision down into smaller, manageable goals and tasks. Outline the required tasks in a schedule, with agreed deadlines, milestones, and responsibilities, and decide the role each team member will play. Be sure to also consider other resources needed in terms of time, materials, space, support, and money.

How can you communicate these goals to team members?

To make sure everybody understands what’s expected of them, define a standard of conduct for the team. Will communication be frequent, open, honest, and transparent? Will contributions be encouraged, valued, and recognised? Will conflict be handled in a constructive way? And will team decisions and feedback be respected?

Setting clear standards from the outset will make sure team member’s conduct and contributions are appropriate.

What’s the best way to measure progress?

Regularly review the group’s performance through team meetings and one-on-one catch ups to make sure progress is being made. Ask questions, such as how are we doing? What have we achieved so far? What have we learned? What isn’t working so well, and how can we improve?

Monitoring and reviewing progress allows for adjustments and improvements to be incorporated along the way.

Is it important to celebrate positive results?

Yes. It’s vital. Make the time to regularly recognise, reward, and celebrate both team and individual performance. This will help to build morale and boost the motivation of the group to continue their hard work. Find the most appropriate way to celebrate team milestones, such as a personal ‘thank you’ at a team meeting, an email copied to senior managers or a team lunch.

Make sure recognition is consistent, and the method you choose inspires and reinforces the team members to continue their positive contribution to the team’s progress.

Are they any practical measures you can take?

From our recent survey of 2,000 workers across the UK, 25% said they were seeking a new role, but this rose to 50% among 18–34-year-olds, and 33% among 35–54-year-olds.

Salary remains a top priority for most professionals seeking a new role. 40% of our respondents said they were unhappy with their current salary and 1/3 said they would be put off accepting a new job offer if it didn’t offer a higher salary, so your salaries need to be competitive.

Remote and hybrid working is here to stay, and most employers currently allow people to work from home for at least a couple of days per week. With remote working, it’s critical to make sure team members are on the same page. Communication around project timelines and delivery will be important, and accountability will need to be defined. Creating trustworthy relationships to overcome the virtual distance between remote team members will impact success.

When hiring for top talent in a candidate-short market, it’s essential to bear in mind the professionals you’re trying to attract could have multiple offers from other employers. As a result, they’ll be more likely to closely evaluate each organisation’s purpose and culture.

Some of these factors will affect the individual as soon as they start their new job, like salary, benefits, and flexibility. Others, however, will be more long-term considerations, like career progression and development. These might take months or years to come to fruition but could have a bigger impact on their professional lives.

Sci-Tech Daresbury is a national science and innovation campus located in the Liverpool City Region. It’s home to nearly 150 high-tech companies in areas such as advanced engineering, digital/ICT, biomedical and energy, and environmental technologies. Sci-Tech Daresbury offers flexible space to rent within its multi-occupied buildings, showcasing high-quality offices, lab space, and technical space. Contact us to find out more.