How to Find Your ‘Dream Team’
If you want to build a “dream team”, the first thing to understand is that you should never wait until you actually need an employee to go looking for one.
If you are involved in your community at all, there are people all around you that you should be paying close attention to, whether you are hiring or not.
They are all around you
Kenny Pelletier, one of our team members, was the most loyal employee you could ever want to have. He just retired from our company after more than two decades of faithful service.
Kenny and I attended the same church. At our home group meetings, his daughter Elise would babysit my son. Kenny was a disc jockey at a Christian radio station when I met him; however, I began recruiting him long before I needed him.
Eventually, the perfect job became available. I needed someone for inside sales; a strong voice that knew how to read a script was the perfect solution—and that decision to hire this individual evolved into a nearly 20-year relationship between my company and this dream team member.
Good employees attract good employees
I had no idea at the time how much this hire would impact my life. When Kenny’s daughter was in her late teens, she began to date a young man named Santiago Arango.
Kenny insisted that his daughter’s boyfriend have a job with us. A 17-year-old skinny boy from Columbia applied for a job with us. And Elise Pelletier eventually became Elise Arango.
Santiago started as an assistant, became a technician, and worked his way up through the company. Santiago ended up helping me scale my business and now serves as a high-level coach in my training company.
Kenny’s daughter also filled many roles over the years. You never know how one hire can have a ripple effect. People wonder how I have so many great team members, and why so many people want to work for my company, but the answer is simply that hiring the right people attracted more of the right people.
It takes situational awareness
I developed a habit many years ago of noticing people in my space. To this day, everywhere I go—whether it’s the grocery store or sitting on the beach—I notice people and connect with them.
I have conversations with perfect strangers. I ask them about their life and their goals. As a result, I have a huge network. Recently, I even managed to meet a former president by scanning the space and noticing where he was.
It’s a habit that I recommend. Too often, business owners go about their day with no thought about who is around them. Look around. Say hello and engage. Especially if it’s a place like church, a networking group, or somewhere you often frequent in your community. By doing this one thing well, I’ve been able to build a team of almost 50 amazing people.
I know this sounds a little less concrete than placing an ad, but it is the most effective way for long-term success. Do you want short-term results or long-term results? Do you want to find someone you have no relationship with whatsoever and take the chance that they won’t ‘ghost’ you during the interview process or quit after the first few days? Or would you rather be willing to invest in the long-term success of your business by planting positive seeds in others every day?
Building relationships solidifies success
All of business and all of life is about relationships. And it’s not that difficult to connect with people. Simply take interest in them, ask them about their life and their goals, and they will ask about you. That’s when you let them know that you are looking for people who want a great opportunity (not just a job).
Too many business leaders walk around with blinders on, never realizing that the very people who need to be on their team are right there in their circle of influence. They are at church, like Kenny. Or at an industry event, like Scott Zack, who became a partner and now handles all my financial affairs. A penny doesn’t move in our business without him knowing about it! Because of him, my business is highly profitable.
If you are not actively networking in the marketplace, you’ll be forced to hire strangers through advertising—which is not as reliable as a reference that you already have a trusting relationship with.
A referral goes a long way
If you already have happy team members, encourage them to refer others to you. My operations director was referred by another team member. Johann started as an assistant, then became a technician, and rose to operations manager. Now, he serves as our operations director. He and Scott direct my cleaning company every day, with precision. I don’t even have to be there. Ever.
Your clients and referral sources can also refer you, if you are getting the word out through networking. Several of our part-time referral marketing reps came to us that way. One of them that works for us today told me at our Christmas party that she has never worked for a company as gracious as ours.
Alan O’Neil, who started his plumbing business with just one van, grew it to $10 million dollars in annual sales, sold it to a private equity firm, and then became CEO of the total combined company. Eventually, he got it to $115 million. But the important part of his story for the sake of this topic is that O’Neil told me one time if another plumbing company’s employee stopped to get gas at the same time as his plumbers, they were going to be recruited!
A great recruiting practice is to offer a referral fee for a new team member. We currently pay $300, but you may want to offer more if you’re in a more vulnerable position.
How much should you pay for referrals?
Think about how much time, money, and energy you invest in paid ads to get one ‘good’ candidate. Be willing to pay that or more for someone who is referred.
Someone who is referred will have more trust in you and you will have more trust in them. There’s also a bit of accountability involved since no one wants to tarnish their reputation by referring a person who isn’t a strong candidate.
Do you offer a referral fee to your existing team members? Are they actively recruiting for you? Are you constantly networking and noticing people in your daily interactions?
Remember that all of business is about relationships. Building your network is the most important thing you can do to find clients and team members. With this said, it may be time you find your dream team by simply looking at your close-knit circle from a business angle and considering every referral as an opportunity moving forward.
Bonus content: Watch the full interview
Howard Partridge started his cleaning business out of the trunk of his car over 37 years ago and transformed it into a multi-million dollar operation. For the past 25 years, his training and coaching firm has helped thousands of small businesses around the world dramatically improve their performance. Visit www.HowardPartridge.com