How to Hire and Create a Great Team

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my career, it’s about having passion in the workplace. I remember first starting my career by sweeping the floors of my Dad’s shop for ten dollars an hour and helping haul Jaws (yes, the one from the movies) back and forth from Universal Studios. That wasn’t enough for me though; I needed to understand how everything worked so I began my career working in both Disney and Knott’s Berry Farm’s management programs to understand the ins and outs of the industry before I ever thought about opening my own business.

People often ask me how I was able to build a company from such a small group to now more than 120 employees in six years. I refer back to my first example here – sweeping the floors of the shop. Leadership isn’t something that happens overnight and in order to hire and create a great team, you have to first take into account where you started and assess where you’re going.

Want to hire and create a great team?  Here are a few simple tips:

  1. Nurture your employees and give them flexibility.
  2. Be a servant leader.
  3. Create a culture of integrity and honesty.
  4. Hire passion and train skill.

Nurture your employees and give them flexibility.

I don’t just mean with work. Of course you have to nurture your employees by creating a great workplace, but you also have to give them flexibility to be them. If they work well at night, let them do that. If they are morning people and need to get home to their families at night, let them work those hours. As long as the work is getting done, and getting done well, it shouldn’t be a problem. Not everyone works well at the same times.  Another thing that hardly any one says these days is to have fun at the office. Sure, all your time can’t be devoted to fun, but why not encourage a barbeque or nerf gun war or let employees bring their pets in? To nurture your employees, you have to create camaraderie. And as you spend a significant amount of time at work, you have to make it enjoyable and flexible.

Be a servant leader.

Herb Kelleher is someone I admire as a leader. He embodies the essence of servant leadership which means leadership that helps enrich lives. One of my favorite quotes from him is, “If you create an environment where the people truly participate, you don’t need control. They know what needs to be done and they do it. And the more that people will devote themselves to your cause on a voluntary basis, a willing basis, the fewer hierarchies and control mechanisms you need.”

Be someone who cares about the human side of work and business and support your team members in ways that make them feel significant. Some times we lose sight of the fact that it’s not just business; it’s really about the people who come together to help build your business. It’s an effort by the team, not just the leader. To create a great team, you have to embrace this.

Create a culture of integrity and honesty.

Integrity and honesty are at the top of my list and something I practice daily. It’s a simple, yet time-proven concept – lead by example.  One of the key principles in our mission statement is that we do the right thing, even when it costs us money and we do what we say we’re going to do. None of these are new ideas – but great leaders practice these principles consistently.

Hire passion and train skill.

One of the first questions I’m asked is how do you approach growing your team?  It’s easy – hire passion and train skill.  I will be the first to hire someone who raises their hand and says, “I’ll do anything to work for you,” over someone who has years of experience. I have found that the people who are most passionate about the work we do are the most engaged in the work, and we can train them for skill.

Hiring and creating a great team is quite simple, but even if it’s simple, it’s not always easy. Look at how you’re approaching your own life, and how you like to be treated. Use the experiences you’ve had to help shape the culture of your workplace. While I can’t give you the exact formula for success, I can share with you that these principles that have allowed me to hire and create great teams that love coming to work.  The golden rule remains – do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

About the Author:

Scott Acton is the CEO and founder of Forté Specialty Contractors, a Las Vegas-based construction firm specializing in building experiential venues the hospitality, restaurant, retail, nightlife and entertainment industries.


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