A Message From Our President: New Year, New Team | NAWBO

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

It’s been a wildly eventful couple of years, and 2021 has felt endless at times. As the holidays come to an end and we celebrate the arrival of 2022, I want to take this moment to wish you a very peaceful, fruitful and relaxing New Year.

No matter how your holiday season has gone, you deserve a chance to slow down and process everything that has happened over the past two years. I encourage you to not only reflect on the last 24 months but also to reflect on what you want out of the next 24: how you want your business to grow; how you want to develop yourself; and, what you want to take with you (and what to leave behind) in what is sure to be a terrific year.

Something I’m thinking about as we look toward 2022 is how difficult and challenging it can be to hire a new team member. With this being a new year, it’s a great time to rethink how you hire and make the effort to get it right.

When I bring on a new team member, I try to avoid hiring someone who mirrors me, preferring instead to look for talent that complements my thinking, work style, weaknesses, and my vision for the future. A strong business requires a uniquely diverse group of people who think differently to thrive. If everyone thinks the same way, your business can quickly turn into an echo chamber, which stunts growth. As corporate America continues to grow, it’s vital that small businesses compete in ways that matter: strong, unique, hard-working, diverse talent. Small companies can’t always compete with corporations, so it’s important to offer something that they can’t – and that starts with your team.

When hiring, I look for potential team members who can see themselves as an entrepreneur in the future. By doing so, that employee is more eager to learn and be involved with the growth of the business as much as possible.

I’ve also learned to be willing to adapt to the next generation of employees. As an example, I personally prefer to avoid using our chat feature and would rather my team pick up a phone to call each other. However, this isn’t always doable. After reprimanding an employee for the countless questions I was receiving via chat, I picked up the phone to explain that after two questions, it’s best just to call. But as a young Gen Z member, he prefers to ask and receive via chat. To keep the talent, you sometimes have to adjust – compromise is essential – so we agreed on ways to communicate that keep us both happy and engaged.

And be sure to always keep the team in the loop. I have been as transparent about all my business dealings as possible, from finances to poor decisions to our successes. When you are a small company, being transparent and keeping your team informed makes them feel like they are genuinely a part of company culture.

And company culture isn’t just about work. To welcome and include your new hires in teambuilding and bonding, it helps if you can bring the fun. Once a month, we have Friday Fun Days. For example, we once chose Las Vegas as the theme, and everyone came to work dressed in something that reminded us of Vegas. We played blackjack and other card games for fun, and it was a great morale booster for everyone.

One final piece of advice: As women business owners, our journeys all look different though our paths are usually quite similar. If you’re dealing with team challenges, be sure to lean on your NAWBO sisters for insights and advice. Our NAWBO sisterhood is stronger together!

Elizabeth Colón 

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