10 principles of creating a strong team

Watch Full Video


EnCata has had a long and hard way to create a truly strong team. We have never been a startup, but we’ve always been working with them. So, we have several tips that will help both startups and companies find right employees for right positions.

  1. Festina lente

Make haste slowly. Even the best HR department will never find a good team in 2-3 days. We have been selecting employees for 3 years. Our company has grown from several businesses, where about 70 employees have been working. Only people who wanted to develop and improve have stayed with us. A long process of selecting qualified employees has begun. More than 200 people work on EnCata right now, and we continue looking for upstanding candidates, because we believe, people are the most important resource of the company.

  1. Don’t outsource HR-work

We had some experience of working with recruitment agencies. It was a disaster. Really. We’ve never turned to this recruitment method again. The special feature of EnCata’s philosophy is that we search not only for professionals, but also for people who are ready to work in the "spirit" of our company. Therefore, all decisions regarding staff are made by the company’s partner and the heads of divisions. It works like this. The heads of departments make a request for an employee. And the search begins. We receive about 100 CV for every vacancy, conduct 20-30 phone interviews, organize 10 first meetings, 5 second and 2 or 3 candidates come for a test day. Only one is left for a test month. If the test period is successful and an employee copes with all the tests – we are sure that we’ve hired a right person.

While recruiting we also pay attention to the recommendations of our working employees. A good word of our employee is already a marker specifying a candidate. Despite the recommendations, each applicant goes through a full HR-cycle of selection before becoming a full-fledged employee.

  1. Use the Employee Vector

Any recruiting agency can help you evaluate skills of an employee. But only you are able to assess loyalty and possible effectiveness of future employees that is much more important for the company. For this reason we answer the question: "who?". And only after that the question: "What?". "The employee vector" helps to answer these questions correctly:

Source: EnCata 

A, B, C are employees with completely different attitudes towards your company. Even if employee A is less qualified than employee B, you should pay attention to him, because he is more loyal to your company. It is A who will bring you benefits in future and will develop much faster than employee B, whose effectiveness will only fall over time. Employee C, who has a negative opinion of your company, will create problems for business at all. Make decisions for the future, even at the expense of your short-term financial interests.

  1. Make "orange juice"
Source: open source

In 1970, American economist George Akerlof made a splash in economic science by publishing the article "The market of lemons." The work affected the problems of buyers choosing a used car on the market. Cars, which defects were detected only after purchasing, Akerlof defined as "lemons" and second-hand cars in good technical condition as "oranges". The article drew attention to the research of potential causes of "lemons" replacing "oranges" on the market. In 2001, due to the research Akerlof and his co-authors won the Nobel Prize in Economics.

We have applied the main theses of this work in our staff policy. We consider employees as "lemons" and "oranges" in the labor market. "Lemons" are experienced candidates, who overestimate their capabilities and set too high standards for the employer. "Oranges", on the other hand, evaluate themselves adequately and accept the conditions created by the company. At the first stages of our development we had some experience of dealing exactly with "lemons". We were conducting market expertise, examining candidates, adopting their experience - "lemon juice", which we started gradually mixing with "orange juice". Today we have completely switched to "oranges", that’s why we can offer employees perhaps the best working conditions on the market.

  1. Genchi Genbutsu

We’ve never hired heads of the departments. Each of them grew up in the company and proved himself as a highest class professional. We believe that any employee, even senior managers or department heads, have to go and see for themselves, in order to eliminate the problem as soon as possible. Reflecting and reasoning we should use only the data that we’ve checked ourselves. It is unacceptable to take something for granted or rely on the stories of others. This principle is called "Genchi Genbutsu" –  it is a part of the Toyota Way philosophy. It is a part of EnCata’s philosophy.

  1. Invest in employees’ development

We encourage our staff to continually improve their skills and create all conditions for this. This principle is called Kaizen, and to implement it we use a system of processes standardization. When a problem is exposed an employee specifies the process of its solving in the standard, which becomes an instruction for other employees. Thus, any candidate is prepared to work on the shop floor as fast as possible, and the structure of the company becomes self-learning.

Also, we provide our employees with free English courses on a regular basis. Every week TIPS and Toyota Production System specialists give our staff lectures, and of course, self-education is encouraged. We will never stop spending expensive working hours on education courses, because it makes every employee better, it makes EnCata better.

  1. Fight with burnout
Source: EnCata Photo: Oleg Kondrashov

IT-startup teams burn themselves out during six months of hard work on the project. We have lots of projects, the duration of which, as a rule, does not exceed six months. Thus, the company employees do not perform the same operations all the time, and as a result they become more flexible and multitasking, herein they stay highly efficient. In addition, more than 20% of the time our designers spend on the shop floor - we practice joint problem solving that’s why manufacturing engineers will be never left without support.

  1. Be careful with options

A lot of start-ups grant projects options to almost every employee. We can understand them -   most start-ups do not have money to pay salaries to their workers. But an established company should not resort to this method - we try to divide the concepts of startup and work. If an employee wants to start a startup, we are ready to let him go, but we cannot offer him to combine positions, nor can we offer an option in the company itself. EnCata’s  R & D center is a joint structure that will cease to exist if every designer takes management decisions. In the modern HR-world there is a wide range of motivating techniques for staff.  Options are the last of them.

  1. Create a united team

Create and maintain a cohesive team is one of the most difficult and necessary goals of any company. It’s also very complicated to select staff because of trying to keep healthy climate in already established team atmosphere. People have different life goals, interests, preferences, views, so any rash HR-decision can lead to team climate disruption. The employee should like coming to work. At the same time healthy team is not the last factor of choosing place of future employment for candidates. This must be taken into account during each interview.

  1. Return former employees

EnCata is not on trend there. We do not follow professional development of employees that left us. We keep in touch, we are friendly to them. But we do not monitor their further careers. Therefore, we are really happy that former employees return to us more and more often. And we are ready to accept them. A person who has changed his mind of leaving the company and who is ready to admit that he was wrong, deserves respect and position in the company. Most "returnees" come to us not because of the salaries or other “goodies” but because of our growth and self-improvement philosophy, the advantages of which are especially obvious to former employees after a year or two outside the company.

Stay with us on Facebook and our web page.