12 Team Building Tips For Small Agencies

When you decide to build an agency and hire a team to work for it, it all seems easy on paper. But when you do it, that’s when you realize how complex the process is. Hiring different individuals and dealing with their different perspectives and work ethic, you are bound to get overwhelmed. In this blog, I’ve shared 12 team building tips for small agencies that you can learn from and implement at your workplace.

Hire Carefully

A careful hiring process means you need to be thorough about who you’re employing so that you don’t have to deal with unnecessary incompetence or conflicts later. Conduct interviews, take tests, get to know as much as possible, and make sure that you’re hiring new creative value to the team through the person. As a small agency, the last thing you need is to hire people who have too many demands and have little to show for it. Your team needs to understand your long-term goals and align their objectives accordingly. The last thing you need is to hire those who expect huge corporate benefits from your start-up.

Experience Over Education

Some people possess three to four degrees and yet their expertise falls short when it comes down to performing simple tasks. And others haven’t even graduated from college yet they become CEOs at young ages at corporate companies, due to their skills and talent alone. That is something you need to keep in mind while hiring employees as well as while judging the existing ones. Experience is key! Yes, it’s important to look at a person’s educational qualifications but when it comes down to it, you have to choose experience over education. When you’re aware of someone’s experiences, you get an idea of what they’re going to deliver to you as well. And that can either add or subtract value from your team. Looking at education alone can’t give you this data.

Clear Role Division

At any workplace, tasks can get jumbled up more easily than you realize. Especially in small agencies, it can be possible that one person might end up with the responsibilities of 2-3 departments, while another person only focuses on what they’ve been hired for instead of getting involved with different teams. It’s important to define the roles and responsibilities of every employee and make sure it’s as clear to them as it is to you to avoid confusion.

Value Each Team Member

Just like the tasks should be equal, your team members’ importance should be equal too. You can’t play the favoritism game at your workplace, or anywhere else for that matter. Every team member contributes their input to your goal and hence, they all have a valuable position. Yes, responsibilities for senior management and junior employees and interns can differ. And their skills and talents can differ as well. But in the end, they’re all doing something to make your company a success and you need to treat them all equally.

In a way, you’ll be showing all your employees that you don’t play office politics. You have clear goals and clear means to achieve them. This won’t just make them respect you more, but this also creates respect for each other in their mind and teamwork becomes easier when that happens.

Be Protective & Supportive

It’s important to have strict policies at work so that team members don’t do as they please instead of completing their tasks on time. But it’s also equally important to be flexible in your dealings with your employees. In small agencies, you must earn the loyalty and trust of your coworkers. You can’t provide them with material incentives all the time either because that would require a huge number of resources. But what you can provide them with is your unending support.

Let them be aware that you’re here to look-out for them if something threatens their place at the workplace. Be ready to stand up for your employees when clients become too difficult and unreasonable to deal with. Whoever works for you should have the faith that you will help them out if they come across a dead-end. And not just as a boss, but even as a coworker you need to promote these values among team members so that they’re ready to protect and support each other at times of need instead of adamant on breaking each other’s progress. A good team is one that is supportive of each other.

Avoid Micromanagement

As discussed, every team has individual differences. This means that every individual has his ideas and a planned pace to achieve them. Hence, every person works in their own time. As a boss, you have to remember to avoid micromanaging everything and make sure that one micromanager in the team (if it isn’t you!), is also taught the same rule. Don’t hover over team members’ heads and tell them what should or shouldn’t be done. Don’t change their work content to fit with your understanding of how it should be. If they’ve done a good job and the client is satisfied then you need to lay-back and let them enjoy the fruits of the work they’ve done. As long as they’re meeting the deadlines and doing a good job of it, you need to be content that your company has talented employees. No one likes a micromanager, and no one wants to work under one!

Team Collaboration

Make sure the team is communicating openly and honestly and collaborating to complete important objectives. It’s a good way to come up with effective brainstorming sessions, create positive plans and ideas, and let every team member attain a sense of achievement while learning about each other at the same time. Having the team collaborate on projects is a good way to get everyone to interact with each other and increase familiarity while also allowing members to learn from each other.

Intra-Team Communication

When members of a team fail to communicate properly, it can end up disrupting the workflow and making the company suffer. Intra-team communication is highly important, but the process is usually overlooked on paper. When team communication falls short, people end up making mistakes. These problems mostly occur because of a lack of technological options and higher management support. Hence, to make intra-team communication effective, the team needs to have proper communication channels available to them, as well as for means and flexibility at the workplace to openly communicate with each other.

Appreciate & Celebrate

For a company to thrive, work is important (obviously) but it’s also important to take a break and celebrate every once in a while. Appreciate and reward employees for their good job, celebrate birthdays of team members, go out for team activities i.e. lunch, games, picnics, etc. When these things happen, they tend to create a balance for everyone in the team and keep them motivated instead of having them sit in front of a screen all the time all year long and lead to burn-out. Promote the values of appreciation in the team so that every member learns to do the same instead of indulging in office politics and ruining the environment.

Cross-Team Learning

People need to excel at the work they’re assigned to do, but it’s also important to teach them new and different things. As an agency, you have to promote the concept of cross-team learning. Provide training and workshops for different team members to learn different things. Have a content creator learn the basics of design or an SEO specialist to learn from your expert developer about basic website management. This not only encourages an environment for growth and learning, but it also keeps individuals motivated by doing different tasks instead of having them repeat the same routine day-in, day-out.

Keep a Clear Vision

Be consistent about the goals you want to achieve. Stay focused on those goals instead of getting diverted and falling short on being productive. It’s important to entertain new ideas and projects but make a schedule and assign due dates for each goal and milestone to get completed. Everything can’t be done all at once. Also, always remember and teach new and old members alike, the importance of why you made this company and make sure you and your employees are all aligned to work toward the completion of that purpose.

Be Unbiased

No one on your team needs for you to play favorites. And no team member wants any other to behave this way either. As part of the company, you have to stay objective. Don’t take sides in the middle of conflicts, and don’t favor one task or one project over another. Everything and everyone should be equal in your eyes. That’s the only way to make a positive environment for growth amongst team members.

There are the tips you need as a small agency to make your team thrive. They’re all effectively tried and tested methods by me and my team members, respectively. Furthermore, you can research and read books to look into more methods of increasing teamwork and collaboration. Or just talk to your team members to get more insight into what works best for them as team-building exercises. If you want to add more, feel free to comment.

Safeer E Hussain

Safeer has a strong background in entrepreneurship, strategy, management. He is an expert in creating and utilizing digital collateral that produces growth results. Skilled in Team Building, Operations Management, Leadership, Consulting & Training.

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