Building high performance teams comes down to 2 simple things

2020 was a difficult year for most teams and organisations, and yet also an eye-opening experience to see how the teams that have survived and thrived have been the ones where its members are most aligned. How aligned are your team members in being prepared for future challenges?

We are facing more different and unique challenges having to build teams of different personalities, who work from a distance around varying arrangements, whilst trying to keep employees engaged and performing in increasingly digital workplaces. Unsurprisingly, businesses are finding that their greatest challenges are people-related, finding themselves

  1. Hiring skilled people, but providing a suboptimal environment.
  2. Building a great environment, but hiring people with poor fit.

Instead of a hiring and leaving cycle, what should we keep in mind in building more fulfilled teams? It comes down to remembering to do two basics better, in fast changing circumstances.

Hiring the right people  Creating the right environment

1. Hiring the right people -> Do you have objective candidate fit insights tools?

Many organisations make the mistake of focusing on employee engagement and creating a great environment, but are unknowingly still hiring for poor  fit; often by continuing to allow unconscious bias in the recruitment process (i.e. overconfidence in one’s ability to be a great judge of character), or using outdated and unreliable tools.

Hiring for fit means really understanding who you are hiring at the outset. 1. CAN they perform? (Skills)  2. WILL they perform? (Personality)

  • First, skills determine whether they CAN perform. That’s mostly easy and straightforward and we already have a focus on getting this down pack, e.g.  qualifications, CVs,work samples, interviews, etc.
  • What we don’t really hold of early on is, WILL they? Candidates may have all the needed skills and present well, but lack the personal attributes and fit to the particular role. There’s no point hiring someone who can do the work but a poor fit – you’ll just get short-term performers who leave quickly.

2. Creating the right environment -> Do you have the right employee engagement insights?

Employee engagement tools are becoming increasingly popular to help leaders create the right organisational culture and environment, by identifying which areas in your business are engaging or disengaging your employees. Afterall, if the work environment is poor, it doesn’t matter how great the people you hire are – nobody will be the right fit. Great employees will still leave.

Employee engagement isn’t all there is to a high performing workforce. It is all too common for businesses to have invested all that effort into engagement initiatives but find that things don’t seem to improve beyond a certain point. 

Start by looking at and reviewing decisions at the source, hiring people who are the right fit by ensuring you always have objective data and tools, rather than continuing to accept subjective processes as “they are good enough for now”. Get people who support building the environment you’ve put effort into building, rather than diluting it.

Ryan Ng

Ryan Ng

Ryan is a workforce psychologist and founder of TalentIdentify with a background in education, technology, and people science, and research in the fields of personality, negotiation, and neuropsychology. He is passionate about applying universal behavioural science through a holistic and strengths-based lens, delivering deeper insights so as to enable smarter people and culture decisions. Ryan is on a mission to drive individual, team and organisational fulfilment through helping clients identify their unique people challenges and get to success on their own terms.