How to Build a Lasting Dream Team

When it comes to building your dream team, anything can get in the way. It can seem like you’ll be chasing that dream forever. The reality is that even if you do one day get your dream team firing on all cylinders, spreading positivity, and making a real impact, you’ll face your biggest challenge. It’s not just about snagging the right players – it’s about keeping them in the game! You’ll never obtain that stable dream team unless you orient your culture around staff retention.

It’s easier said than done, but it must be said. Your frequent staff turnover is costing you moneyefficiency, and likely your sanity. If your employees don’t plan to stay, you’re missing out on the innovation and creativity that can only come from someone who cares about the outcome. You want people who are passionate about improving your organization and seeing changes through. Culture is your greatest asset to achieve this and help your employees take root.

You’ve heard about the importance of quality compensation and non-cash tools for retention. Yes, generous pay attracts employees, but job satisfaction keeps them there – it’s priceless. In fact, every one of Vanderbloemen’s employees took a pay cut to be here. Inevitably, your employees will see listings of similar, higher-paying jobs they are qualified for. What those jobs don’t have are what your culture provides: fulfilling purpose, desire to participate, and genuine community. 

Purpose has always attracted and retained talent, but it’s especially critical now. The newest generation of workers values meaningful work more than ever – in an age of rising AI, people want jobs that only a breathing person can do. This should be your greatest strength as a church, school, or nonprofit – you already have a strong mission, but do you live and breathe it every day? Do you connect every person’s work to the greater purpose, and do you value them as a part of that mission? If not, your employees will notice before you will. And you may notice by the time they’re gone. Not only does purpose lead to retention, but it also builds a team that furthers your mission and brand by their excitement. Your mission cultivates evangelists for your brand out of your staff. They stay because they care.

Having an attitude of confidence in the mission invites employees to adopt a new attitude that comes when they expect to be there for a long time. Suddenly, they care about the long-term outcome of their work. This attitude is essential for your ministry’s growth. Your team members are the people generating innovation and solutions to all the minor scrapes your ministry endures. Without their investment, your ministry will slowly shred to pieces. By the time you notice the damage in your data, it’s too late. You have to examine your culture – it’s the canary in the coal mine.

If your culture has it all, but not community, your purpose-filled employee will find another team to apply their passion with. Your team should be each other’s greatest supporters. Any weakness in team culture can degrade the community feel. It’s your job (with any help you can get) to identify the reasons your staff doesn’t like or support each other and make changes to fix it. If there’s an attitude problem, personally demonstrate the attitude you want to see, and start addressing individuals privately to create a new standard. If your team doesn’t seem to have anything in common, create shared experiences for them to bond over. You are the backbone of the community until it develops the relationships to stand upright.

If you’re experiencing poor retention, it probably traces back to a weakness in team culture, whether you know it or not. These three culture features are some of your biggest indicators of retention quality, but poor retention can come from any weakness in staff culture. If this is where you’re stumped, seek the guidance of a third-party professional to identify ways your culture can grow. Vanderbloemen offers a Culture Tool to analyze your team’s culture and reveal specific steps to grow. 

When your ministry exists to nourish your community, your team acts as the roots to strengthen your mission. If your roots stay shallow, so does your work. Take the time to invest in your culture to deepen your staff’s roots and better fulfill your mission.