Put Your People on the Same Team


No matter what kind of business you think you’re in, you quickly find out you are in the personnel management business. With careful hiring, mentoring, recognition, and compensation plans, your people can be your greatest asset.

Recurrent, personnel issues can be a distraction to you and your staff. Some react to personnel problems by firing the offending parties. Occasionally this may be necessary, however the issue may be a symptom of misunderstanding how your company works.

This is why it’s so important to address the main areas that can permit or actually cause personnel issues:

1. Hiring. Before you are dazzled by a stellar resume with the perfect skill set for your opening, consider the individual’s ethics, motives, and team outlook. Do they think they should be paid whether or not you are paid, or whether or not the company satisfies its customers? Are they bringing an agenda to work that has nothing to do with the job? Do they want to get paid for attendance or for production? Are they willing to take responsibility for their own behavior or are they looking to blame and complain?

2. Orientation. Don’t just show them the lunchroom and the bathroom. Show them where the funds come from that pay their salary, benefits, and bonuses. Give them an info graphic that traces the money from your customer, through your sales people, to cover your overhead and eventually pay them. Show them how their job affects the bottom line. Show them how everybody else’s job affects their paycheck. It’s easier to look beyond a co-worker’s personality when they know how everyone fits into the big picture.

3. Compensation. Most compensation plans are based on an hourly rate, which is paying for attendance, not necessarily production. Consider offering bonuses based on sales, cost reductions, and customer retention. Give them a financial reason to help the team perform. With the ideal compensation system, non-producers can’t afford to work for you and producers can’t afford to leave.

4. Mentoring. The time and attention you put into a new hire pays off. Listen to their questions. Clear up quickly any misconceptions about processes and interrelationships. Instead of narrowing down their focus, broaden their outlook to include their co-workers and the larger processes at work. Help them establish priorities. Seeing the big picture keeps the focus on their careers and performance rather than personnel issues.

5. Acknowledgement. A great way to build team spirit is to send out written acknowledgements or make an announcement when a person does something that positively affects business. We did this on each employee’s anniversary. Your people will gain more respect for their co-workers’ value as a team member. It is great when your employees can be friends, but respect and appreciation for their interdependence can be more effective in reducing personnel issues.

When your people know how their check gets to them, how they depend on their teammates, and how their bonuses are affected by the company’s performance, they are more likely to all pull together. Then you can focus on the journey and not the pebble in your shoe.


About Michael Houlihan & Bonnie Harvey

Starting in a laundry room with no money or industry knowledge, they built the iconic Best-Selling Barefoot Wine Brand - without advertising. In 2005, they monetized their brand equity and now offer proven business principles and real world experience. Visit our YouTube Channel →

3 Responses to “Put Your People on the Same Team”

  1. avatar
    Cain Adams August 29, 2012 4:36 pm #

    This article is exactly what I needed today! I was looking for some guidance concerning personnel. Did I hire the right person? How can I lower the stress in the office? A few weeks ago I found an employee talking not to well about another employee. The talker is a producer while the one he was talking about is less of a producer. Each one has a certain place in the office though. Each brings a different talent. I have been trying to figure out how to resolve the issue and I just found it. We went out for a lunch meeting yesterday. While at the lunch meeting I opened up with “I want to acknowledge the following guys”. I proceeded to speak volumes concerning their talents. Today they both came in positive and wanting to help one another. It really took a lot of stress away from the office and myself. Both are wonderful and I am glad to have them. Thanks for the guidance once again Michael and Bonnie. I am truly grateful. I know the guys are too. They had their best sales day in two weeks. Bonus!

    • avatar
      Michael Houlihan & Bonnie Harvey August 30, 2012 8:32 am #

      Thanks Cain, When your people know and can appreciate what their coworkers are doing to improve everyone’s overall success, they are more likely to develope a culture of team work. Many companies feel that praising employees sets them up for problems in the future, but they forget that personnel problems can prevent you from even getting there. Sound like you and your company are on your way to a positive and productive future. Congratulations! Michael and Bonnie


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