Building Your Dream Team for Employee Engagement

What’s a Dream Team? As defined by Urban Dictionary, “There is only 1 exact definition of “The Dream Team”. And that is the 1992 Olympic Dream team composed of 10 of the 50 greatest players to ever play the game of basketball.” That seems just a bit restrictive, so looking at Google, we find the definition “a team of people perceived as the perfect combination for a particular purpose.” And finally, in The Free Dictionary, a Dream Team is defined as “a team or group whose members are among the most qualified or talented in their particular fields.”

But for managers, having a Dream Team is more than happy employees or employee satisfaction. Those bars are far too low to define a Dream Team. Having a Dream Team means having engaged employees.

As Kevin Kruse in Forbes said,” Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. This emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. They don’t work just for a paycheck, or just for the next promotion, but work on behalf of the organization’s goals.”

According to the original Service Profit Chain work by James L. Heskett, Thomas O. Jones, Gary W. Loveman, W. Earl Sasser, Jr., and Leonard A. Schlesinger in the July – August 2008 issue of the Harvard Business Review, developing a Dream Team is a critical piece of a fully functioning Service Profit Chain in any organization. There are eight steps managers must take to form Dream Teams:

  1. The Right Team. To build a Dream Team, you must carefully select the team members. You’ve heard the adage, “Hire for attitude. Train for skills.”? That’s the foundation of a Dream Team.
  2. Continuous Improvement. A commitment to best in class training and development at all levels in the organization contribute to maintaining and developing your dream team. Continuous improvement is the foundation of the Dream Team. Finally, managers coach their dream teams for performance. (And that may include getting rid of the bad apples!)
  3. Great Support Systems. In organizations dedicated to optimizing the Service Profit Chain, there are only two types of employees. The first are those who directly serve the customer. And the second are those who support the employees who serve the customers. Service is the culture of organizations who build Dream Teams.
  4. Trustworthy. Southwest Airlines famously tells its employees, “You may do anything you are not uncomfortable doing to solve a passenger’s problem.” Build your Dream Team so you are comfortable in letting them do their work.
  5. Clear Expectations. Every great sports team consists of individuals who know what is expected of them. Organizations dedicated to the Service Profit Chain have Dream Teams who know what is expected of them. Being part of a team that excels is their motivation.
  6. Appropriate Rewards and Recognition. Dream Teams need recognition. Focusing on what works, celebrating success, and acknowledging contributions are all important forms of reward and recognition for Dream Team members.
  7. High Levels of Engagement and Satisfaction. When employees are highly engaged, they are satisfied. When employees are highly engaged, work becomes meaningful service. When employees are highly engaged, work is fun.
  8. Employees Recommend New Employees. When our success leads to growth opportunities, highly engaged employees recommend prospective employees because they know who they would like to be on their Dream Team.

So, like the 1992 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team, Dream Teams are winners. And Dream Teams further strengthen your Service Profit Chain by enhancing customer satisfaction, and building your business performance. It all starts with your employees. Is your team a Dream Team?

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