Setting the foundations for growth: How future business leaders should build the teams around them

team holding hands, mental health

By Chiara Greco, Chief Human Resources Officer at Deltatre

Finding the right candidates is difficult for any company.

Not only in the sense of getting the right people through the door, but also ensuring the diversity needed to deliver a stellar final product that can exceed customer expectations. There are lessons that can be learned from businesses around the world when it comes to making this a success. The very best lessons, though, are from organisations that achieve growth in traditionally male-dominated industries where the challenges – and the stakes associated with getting things right – are much higher.

The sports sector is a notable example of this. It’s also the industry that Deltatre calls home. The most important approach we’ve adopted to encourage year-on-year growth in 32 years of business lies with getting team structure right from the beginning. This includes putting diversity at the company’s core in a way that can be a catalyst for attracting the right people and creates the necessary working environment that fosters both personal and professional growth.

For future leaders that want to encourage team and corporate success for their own businesses, here are the two primary steps that should be taken to make this a reality. And the roots for both of them are set in company culture:

#1 – make active inclusion part of the company’s DNA

Company culture is the foundation upon which a successful approach to diversity must be built. Yet it’s often overlooked. Also, since the two concepts are so fundamentally interlinked, its evolution needs to be organic. There’s no point setting a fixed quota for the percentage of total staff headcount that must be female since this often has the reverse effect to what’s intended. Instead, a better idea is to use what we call the “family” model, which will often result in the same diverse balance of employees more naturally, and organically, over time.

This is important as small businesses start out feeling like a family business, yet it’s a concept that typically disappears as the organisation grows. However, losing that close-knit feel can actually be a barrier to future success and scalability. Families are built on the notion of active inclusion, which is an incredibly important trait to have running through any business. With this in place, it’s much easier to nurture talent when it arrives and to retain the workforce that’s built over time.

Creating a Premier League team and the family model benefits

There’s a natural benefit in building a culture that fosters diversity – spanning the full spectrum of gender, race, background, and life experience – because it results in a deeper pool of creativity. That’s important for any company, but it’s especially true for creative industries where innovation is often the underlying currency for success. In many cases, companies already have the innovation they need internally. They don’t need to continually source it from outside. What they do need to ensure, though, is that the company has the processes and systems in place to instill that concept of diverse active inclusion at its core in a way that can breed innovation – thereby building a framework for talent to thrive.

We make this a reality by creating a flat operating structure that encourages open communication. Having the CEO’s door be always open is a good place to start. You could also go much further by encouraging flexibility and autonomy around the personal development of team members, and by using the concept of family to encourage people to pool and share ideas.

It’s the benefit this brings to collaboration that makes the family model so fundamentally important for any business of any size. By having this ideal at our core we have been able to ensure that the values we believe as both a business and a team are consistent, driving success for both the company and employees alike.

#2 – Develop the culture in a way that retains the right people

Getting good candidates through the door is an important first step, but the work to develop company culture doesn’t stop there. Keeping them retained year after year is just as important for driving sustained growth.

One way to achieve this is to blend working groups together based on people from different backgrounds in order to drive collaboration and engagement. In a diverse team, where each member brings a different view to the table, it becomes much easier for everyone to feel truly valued. In turn, this encourages better results.

Having smaller blended teams within the much larger corporate entity is proven to lead to better wellbeing, which lowers staff churn and drives output. And getting the internal workings of the company right like this has a directly profound effect on external elements such as client service. So, by making people feel like they’re part of a family first and foremost, and then focusing on individual wellbeing and success by managing each person’s environment, you can create a team that has a positive outlook that supports the company’s values.

What does this look like in practice?

This approach has helped Deltatre beat the annual turnover average by almost half; Forbes reports the global standard is 13.2%, whereas Deltatre’s headcount turnover rate is seven per cent. 25 per cent of new hires also come from the referrals of existing staff members.

Again, this comes back to making your business an environment that, much like family, nurtures and values every individual. People leave an organisation for a variety of reasons, whether that’s for personal circumstances, professional development goals, or they’re seeking a new challenge. While you can’t prevent every departure, the right culture offsets many of the reasons an employee may choose to leave.

Ultimately, putting the systems in place to develop a team that’s engaged, capable of bringing many different ideas to the table, and able to spark off each other, is what drives success for the businesses that are able to build and retain it.

About the author

Chiara Greco is currently Chief Human Resources Officer at sports media technology specialist Deltatre. She has more than 20 years’ experience in the HR field, and prior to joining Deltatre held senior positions at the FIAT Group and Accenture.

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