Unemployment rates in Sacramento and across America are at historic lows. The competition for talent is fierce, because great people are the lifeblood of every successful enterprise. There is no more important role for leaders than that of a teambuilder.
It’s because of this approach and emphasis on team that our firm — Randle Communications — was honored as an Inc. magazine Best Workplace for 2019 and Sacramento Business Journal A+ Employer for nine consecutive years.
Our leadership team is a big believer in two books and feel strongly they are must-reads when it comes to organizational leadership and talent management: Jim Collins’ timeless classic “Good to Great” and Jon Gordon’s more recent “The Power of a Positive Team.” Collins stresses that a leader’s most important job is to find the right people to be on the “bus” because these people will take you where you need to go.
That is certainly true, but once you find the right people for the organization, a leader’s responsibility is to help them grow and grow together. Gordon reflects this philosophy by asserting that positivity and teamwork is not a part-time job, but rather a perpetual process at all levels of nearly all successful organizations. Once you hire the right people, you have to invest in them to strengthen the team.
Good salaries and benefits are only part of the equation. You also need an ongoing personal commitment at all levels of the organization to maintain a team-first, client-focused culture. Here are five team-building principles that have been central to our firm’s success and which could work for your company, too:
- Focus on fit. It’s not how people work; it is about how people work together. Successful companies hire “we” people — those who help support the team, encourage growth, celebrate the achievements of their co-workers and are dedicated to what is best for the group and not just themselves — and ask leadership teams to make this a priority when interviewing potential candidates to join a team. In what is a very challenging industry, our firm has people who have been on our team for eight years, 10 years and even 13 years. Public relations is always at the top of the list for the most stressful jobs, so we are extremely proud of the longevity of our team.
- Set high standards and provide a personalized career path. At Randle, every team member has a personalized career path that details their strengths, opportunities for growth and how they can grow in the company. We promote and reward people based on their individual performance and their contribution to the growth of their teammates. This approach has led to our people consistently rising to every challenge, celebrating everyone’s success and delivering world-class results for our clients.
- You’re never too good to learn. At Randle, we provide professional development through a comprehensive training curriculum that addresses professional and soft skills to learn the “Randle Way.” Team members learn how to be strategists, manage complex projects and execute communications initiatives. They also learn the importance of timely client communication, the need to support their teammates and how their individual role helps the firm succeed. We have a formal mentorship program in which every employee is teamed with a senior staff member to provide ongoing feedback and support on a weekly basis, so team members receive constant feedback and feel connected, supported and valued.
- Recognize and reward loyalty and achievement. Successful companies offer competitive salaries and benefits as well as merit and end-of-year bonuses, but we go beyond that to show respect to our team. We invest significantly to build a great office so people are productive and proud to come to work every day. Perhaps most important is a focus on consistently celebrating success. High-performing teams have a relentless pursuit of excellence and are often focused on tackling the next goal, but don’t always take the time to reflect on success. Celebrating the present achievement is just as important as focusing on the future because team members feel valued and appreciated, which is energizing and motivating as they climb the next big hill to accomplish a new goal.
- Everyone is part of the team. Family members contribute to a company’s success because of the 24/7 nature of the business; at Randle, we include spouses and children in team events like our summer barbeque. At the end of the year, my wife, Kellie, also plans a spectacular holiday party for team members and their spouses/significant others. We also celebrate professional and personal milestones of our team, from work anniversaries to weddings and (many) baby showers.
When it comes to great teams and winning culture, the bottom line is that people need to understand that you care about them and value what they bring to your organization. When it’s real and everyone buys in, you’re on the path to sustained success. In the process, everyone comes out a winner.
Jeff Randle is president and CEO of Randle Communications. Learn more at www.RandleCommunications.com.