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5 Key Phases to Build a Winning Service Team

Nov. 15, 2023
Focusing on these five components to create a well-oiled machine capable of tackling any project that comes its way.

By Nick Scarabosio

The journey to a cohesive team starts long before a new member of an organization clocks in for their first day on the job. Here's a breakdown of the five pivotal phases to focus on.


Building an effective and productive team begins with culture—every business has a culture whether they’re aware of it or not. Culture has been defined as the shared values, belief systems, attitudes, and the set of assumptions that people in a workplace share. Maintaining a healthy culture is vital to any team’s success, particularly in the trades industries. 

You may have seen memes or other depictions of business owners throwing a pizza party to enhance culture—this alone is not an effective method, nor what your employees want. In addition to financial compensation, bonuses, incentives and growth opportunities, employees are drawn to recognition, a sense of feeling valued or invested in. It’s innate human nature for a team member to crave to do well and be acknowledged for their contributions to the project. Do they feel a sense of pride when they wear their uniform?

We recommend incorporating cultural rituals into your business to enhance your culture. Some ideas are as simple as the following:

●      Newsletters. Sharing your employees wins and successes. These can even be personal, such as recognizing birthdays and anniversaries, or congratulating someone on the birth of their child or wedding.

●      Storytelling. Communicating individual or team successes in daily huddles to motivate and encourage positive morale. This is crucial because the team will need reminders as they tend to lose sight on how valuable their piece is to the overall project. While they may feel they’re only installing the plumbing or heating on a project, they may be part of building a hospital or home for a family.

●      Onboarding. Day one should feel like a celebration. It is critical to make employees feel welcome and part of the team, rather than to send them off to the job site right away and making them feel like a cog in a wheel. Perhaps assign a peer or manager to take them to lunch or buy the team donuts to welcome the new team member. Another option to consider is to welcome them with a gift bag with company branded items, encouraging them to proudly represent their company.

●      Recognition and awards. Whether annual or in a monthly all-hands, find a way to award or reward those who are well-deserving.

Talent Discovery

Once your culture has been established or enhanced, we move onto the next phase, hiring. Think of this phase as "talent discovery" rather than mere sourcing. It has become extremely difficult to find quality labor. One issue many owners are facing, in the trades industries specifically, is they will base compensation on judgement of what they deem to be fair rather than competitive market research. This is a mistake, and many are highly under what potential hires are expecting. We recommend to find the average salary of the needed position in your industry and area.

Compensation isn’t always monetary. Your technicians may be happy if you provide a quality truck, uniforms, quality tools, flexible work hours, PTO, vacation or even if you provide ongoing training and development opportunities.

Just as you'd meticulously select the right equipment for a project, the same rigor should apply when scouting new team members. Ask yourself, how does your organization present itself to potential hires? While many businesses excel at customer-centric marketing, they often overlook the importance of employer branding. Key elements to consider include:

●      A dedicated careers page on your company website

●      A section showcasing your organizational culture online

●      Employee reviews on job platforms like Indeed or Glassdoor

On your careers page, it is imperative to clearly outline the responsibilities, qualifications, and expectations for each position. This helps potential candidates understand what is required. Trades industries often have a hierarchy, for example, technician or lead technician. Rather than sending the lead and support into the field without direction, you need to defined roles and responsibilities when hiring, such as who will measure success, and handle reporting to leadership. If you fail to state what’s expected, this can create many issues within the team. Superiors could feel undermined, and technicians could feel confused and frustrated.

When reviewing potential candidates’ applications, you’ll want to prioritize potential hires with relevant industry experience and knowledge.

Having a transparent hiring process is crucial. This goes beyond merely collecting applications and conducting interviews. It's about having a structured interview process, clear job scorecards, and role benchmarking. Implementing profile assessments and personality tests can offer valuable insights into whether a candidate is not just qualified, but also culturally aligned with your team.

To begin an interview, you may have a required test (even if verbal), such as on the spot pointing to an equipment supply and asking how many linear feet of piping is over there. Their answer may be an indicator of the technical skills they are equipped with or lacking.

Additionally, with many trades industries, safety is paramount. Ensure that candidates prioritize safety and demonstrate a strong understanding of best practices. You may want to verify that candidates have the necessary required certifications for the job. This ensures they can perform tasks safely and effectively.

Finally, a well-functioning team is essential for productivity. Look for candidates who can work effectively in a team, as well as independently when necessary.

You may also want to consider requesting references from past employers. However, if you do, clearly communicate to the potential employee that you need to speak to their former direct hire, and not a peer or personal reference. If they are unwilling or do not have those references, it’s a red flag.

Seamless Integration

"Onboarding" often implies a static, one-off process. Let's call it "synchronization" instead. The objective here is to assimilate new hires swiftly and effectively into both their roles and the organizational culture. This can be achieved through structured check-ins at the 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day marks, along with clear process maps for them to follow.

Maintaining the Pulse

Once a team member is fully integrated, sustaining a regular meeting cadence becomes essential. This isn't about micromanagement; it's about alignment and growth. Regular touchpoints like daily huddles, weekly meetings, and monthly one-on-ones with direct managers ensure that team members are not just surviving but thriving. 

The Scoreboard 

Let's face it, everyone enjoys a win. But to win, one must understand the game. Providing team members with clear metrics to track is not just beneficial—it's essential. It's how they gauge their performance, be it on a daily or weekly basis.

By focusing on these five components, you're not just building a team; you're creating a well-oiled machine capable of tackling any project that comes its way. 

Remember, finding the best team is an ongoing process. Continuously invest in your employees, provide opportunities for growth, and listen to their feedback to create a positive and productive work environment.

Nick Scarabosio, Culture to Cash cofounder has over 18 years in his career building businesses. Based in Colorado, he has pivoted from business owner to business coach assisting companies across the nation. He focuses on a wide variety of industries from trades to marketing. Nick follows his purpose, passion and vision to help business owners lead their people and scale.


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