Steph Taylor is our Passionate PA based in Christchurch, Dorset. She joined us in November 2021 after a 20+ year career in Human Resources and Change Management.
In her role as a Passionate PA, Steph helps her clients manage their people through associate models i.e. where one or two directors grow their business and develop their client offering by outsourcing work to trusted consultants, associates or freelancers.
Today, we thought we’d share her top tips for creating happy, productive outsourced teams.
7 steps to creating a happy, productive OUTSOURCED team
You’re running your business and it’s going well. You’ve started to build a team around you using the associate model – choosing people for their skill and knowledge, adding value to your end clients. Things should be getting easier, right?
Ahh… but what if they are not? Creating happy, productive outsourced teams seems like a lot of hard work, and a spoonful of magic sometimes. In this blog, Steph sheds some light on the 7 things you need to consider when building the right associate team for your business.
TIP 1: Invest your time in your people
There is no CRM in the world that can replace the value of your time – so invest it in your people. Get to know them as humans, as well as for the skills and experience they can bring to your business. Setting time aside to collaborate and discuss long-term visions and relationships will lead to improve understanding and rapport.
TIP 2: Be clear on roles and responsibilities
You know exactly what you want these humans to do, but do they? Being clear from the outset (and as you progress) what skills and know-how your business needs will ensure there are no niggling feelings on either side. We advocate going so far as having a Team Handbook so that all the ‘rules of play’ are written down and easy to understand. If your team members know what’s expected, they will find it easier to deliver – and if they don’t, because you were clear, you’ll find it easier to manage their exit! When everyone is clear on what ‘good’ looks like, it’s also easier to see ‘exceptional’ (see point 7 below).
TIP 3: Don’t skip the legals
It’s all too easy to get swept away with the hubbub of the day-to-day business but contracts and Letters of Engagement are vital and should be done before any work actually takes place. These set the boundaries, ensure understanding and give everyone peace of mind. The timely production of contracts also sets the tone for the level of excellence at which your business operates.
TIP 4: Culture doesn’t happen by accident
The culture of your business is a direct result of your communications and behaviours. If you want an autonomous, responsible, proactive team then micro-managing isn’t going to get you there. Encouraging all team members to make time for each other, learn from each other and seek best practice not just motivates your people, it creates great results for your business too!
TIP 5: Clarity of communication
Whether it’s an internal 121 email, a company-wide announcement or a quick conversation, being clear, consistent and honest at all times will allow your team to trust you, even with the not-so-good news. Being open about the direction of the business is also key to building a happy, productive long-term team.
TIP 6: Know your weaknesses
A good leader will know where they are not so good. Get the right people in your business to support in these areas. For Passionate PA clients, we are often the conduit for great comms – never instead of the business leader, more a buffer/filter/positioner. There really is nothing more valuable that a seriously great PA who understands your business vision and works with you to achieve that (but we might be biased, of course!).
TIP 7: Feel good factor
Showing appreciation and recognition goes further than just paying your teams’ invoices on time. Kind words, constructive feedback, referrals for other work are all ways in which people can feel valued. And, back to Tip 2 – if you have been super clear what a good team member looks like, recognising excellence and building further on that relationship is easy.
If you’re not natural leader of people, outsourcing the task of bringing your team together through a people-centred project manager or business support professional can be an ideal way to reap the countless rewards of the outsourced team. If you’d like to have a chat about how this might work for you, book a call with Steph today.
You can find out more about Steph by clicking here!
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