I am confident that nearly 30 years of work experience has taught me, at the very least, the basics of how to attract and retain great talent in an organisation.
Three primary ethical concepts shape my belief in how to build a great team.
1. Clear purpose
The concept is simple: If you do not believe in what you are doing, you will simply walk away from it. The same goes for anyone on your team.
Purpose cannot be tactical in nature: Meeting a deadline or filing a report is not a purpose.
However, meeting a deadline so that work can be delivered, which empowers your customer or makes a patient healthy, is an example of purpose.
In the world of business, “purpose” and “helping others” should go hand in hand; the more you articulate that with authenticity and clarity, the greater the talent you will attract.
Once people believe in what you are doing and how it makes the world a better place, it is important they be given ownership on their part of the cycle that delivers value.
This can be tactical, such as making sure they are not micromanaged and have the space to do their work to the best of their ability.
It can also be strategic, where deserving team members become equity owners in the business or are offered profit share-based rewards for remaining part of the business and helping it succeed.
Owning equity or profit share in a business is different from the normal course of rewards (such as bonuses and travel rewards).
Owning a business is a financial matter, but more than that, it is a statement of integrity, responsibility and say over the entire organisation’s future.
There can be no better level of ownership than helping to shape the entire business with your ideas, creativity and success.
Accountability is a key component of ownership. If someone owns part of the value chain or part of the actual business, it is their responsibility to make sure things are delivered with quality and on time.
Building HR mechanisms that ensure accountability is clear to all from the start and monitored fairly at regular intervals is a key part of any organisation’s success.
The better your appraisal, key performance indicators and performance review process, the better you are as an organisation because you provide clarity and certainty, which makes every member of your team more confident and productive.
There’s no doubt that being an organisation where you have a sense of purpose and some forms of ownership are rewarding within themselves.
Not everyone gets to be an equity owner and ownership can place a heavy burden of responsibility, which can often lead to stress and other challenges.
That is why it is important there be a regular stream of rewards, which come in financial and non-financial forms, to thank people for working hard and succeeding in their tasks, but also to simply be “good humans” to one another and create an environment of trust, friendship, and joy for all.
Financial rewards come in the form of occasional salary increases or bonuses, better insurance, and travel benefits.
Operational benefits include flexible work conditions and time with family.
Non-financial rewards are often the most meaningful and include team dinners and management off sites, mentorship and individual attention as well as simple and authentic gestures of love and kindness during birthdays, weddings, new children coming into the world and other special occasions.
You will find the best organisations, teams and leaders do not even need a HR function to make these happen.
They are part of their DNA and find a way to reward people regularly, regardless of boom times or recessions.
This article gives me a renewed respect for all the leaders who care so deeply and understand there is no difference between what is business and what is personal.
Your personality defines your business actions and your ethics define your business behaviour.
That means the foundation of all success comes down to simply being a good person and treating others as you would want to be treated.
Mazen Nahawi is founder and chief executive of CARMA