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The Recipe for Building and Maintaining a High Performing Team

Lauren Milam

Regional Vice President – West Coast

Hire Up Staffing & Healthcare Services

July 26th, 2021

If you are anything like me, you may occasionally enjoy watching a cooking show. I am often inspired by a technique or special ingredient the host is using and work to find ways to incorporate those things into my own dishes. Learning from professional chefs who are in the kitchen all day can be helpful for a nighttime and weekend cook, like me.

The idea of recipes came to mind when looking to write this blog. When it comes to building and maintaining a high-performing team, there are certain ingredients that are necessary for creating a foundational flavor, and then some spices you can toss in for additional flair.  If you are interested in the ingredients that I use for building my very own high-performing team, continue reading and I will share with you some of the tricks and tips I have learned along the way.

A Recipe for Building and Maintaining a High Performing Team

Ingredient List:

  1. The Right Hire: Choosing quality ingredients is extremely important when cooking, as well as when building a team. Identifying a candidate with the necessary skills is just a fraction of what goes into selecting the right person for your organization. Ensuring that candidate is also driven and passionate about the industry and your company is a much larger portion of the equation.

Once you have selected the right candidate, share the vision as you have with the other members of your team. Be sure they understand the company goals and that they can see what they do each day impacts the overall vision. The parallels should be clear within their daily duties of the job, their annual goals, and other measurements like KPIs.

Secret Ingredient to Kick it Up a Notch: Find a way to use their fresh perspective and work to include them on projects and meetings that could use a new set of eyes. Not only does this help to acclimate your new team member to the business, but it allows them a sense of ownership by being able to contribute early on. This secret sauce builds rapport, shows appreciation, as well as demonstrates your ability to support new ideas.

  • Identify what Motivates Your Team within the Workplace: Knowing more about the ingredients in your recipe and learning how to best prepare and include each one is crucial to building optimal flavor. This same idea can be used when building and maintaining your high performing team. Everyone on your team offers a unique perspective, skillset, and reason for coming to work every day. Taking time to get to know what motivates each one of them can help to build trust and gain additional buy-in from your team.

Do the members of your team value meaningful and challenging work? Do they have more basic needs like safety or job security? Do they value recognition? Or are they motivated by dollar signs, benefits, time off? Are they fueled by a sense of belonging and tied to the culture within the organization? Knowing which workplace motivators appeal to each of the members of your team can help you to connect the needs of the business with what fires them up and gets them interested, active, and involved.

Secret Ingredient to Improve Results: Learn how the respective members of your team prefer to be managed. Do they thrive in an environment that allows them to work individually? Do they prefer check-in times to be scheduled and routine? Do they need a bit more reassurance that they are on the right track than others on your team? Identify this early and work to coordinate your management style to fit their preferences. So long as the work is getting done, it is important for managers to recognize that the one size fits all approach to managing a team is no longer effective in today’s multi-generational workplace.

  • Understand their Goals and Provide them a Growth Track: For some cooks, seeing a photo of the finished product within a recipe can be helpful for them to attempt to gauge the level of difficulty required before even attempting it. Additionally, a photo of the recipe can serve as a way for the cook to compare their actual results to the established expectation set forth. This same concept can be used when building and maintaining high performing teams. Build this track together based upon information from your career planning discussions with the individual members of your team.

Stay curious with your team. Work with them to identify what their professional goals look like and then together, create a growth track with which they can follow and see how their growth ties into the company’s vision and future goals of the organization. It is important to show what future trajectory could look like for them and it is much more meaningful to have that plan be something based upon an individual’s specific goals. Much like the photo within a recipe book, a growth track serves similar purposes.

Set the growth tracker to have important milestones and dates, when possible. Are their goals 3, 5, or 10-year? Sketch it out. Get something down to memorialize the conversation and to use as a guidepost for future performance goals and career discussions. This technique shows your level of commitment to their future. However, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you stick to the plan and your promises for supporting them through it with additional training, coaching, mentoring, etc.

  • Communicate, Communicate, Communicate: One cannot simply build and maintain a high performing team in a crockpot. This is NOT a set it and forget it activity. Once your team is up and running and thriving, it is ok to let things simmer and let all the flavors naturally develop.  That is one of the many benefits of having a high performing team.

However, you must not forget the importance of regularly communicating with the members of your team in both formal and informal ways. Checking in and keeping an open door are both crucial elements to building effective communication patterns within your organization. Creating a sense of psychological safety allows your team to feel comfortable coming to you when they are unsure how to best move forward, or if they are placed in some type of potentially negative or ambiguous circumstance professionally.

There is little worse than an organization that fears its leader. If you use your position as a battling ram, your team will not likely be intrinsically motivated, but instead moving through the motions based upon fear.  Communication is the MOST important element to building and maintaining a high-performing team, yet, HOW you choose to communicate matters.

  • Have FUN!: Getting to know your team, what motivates them, how to be their best leader, what, when and HOW to communicate with them can feel overwhelming at times. Being a leader is not always easy and leading a team of high performers can be even more of a challenge for many. One important ingredient to the success of your high performing team comes down to FUN.

Fun can take many forms, be it a random Donut Tuesday, a Wacky Tee-Shirt Friday or an impromptu trashcan hoop throwing contest, the ability to have fun within a workplace environment often relies upon what is modeled by leadership. If you want to get the most from your team, be sure to intentionally work to incorporate fun. If you are not sure where to start, ASK your team.

Building and maintaining a high performing team offers endless benefits, including:

  • Improved employee satisfaction because the team feels heard, valued, autonomous.
  • Enhanced customer satisfaction, most often reflective of happier employees.
  • Less turnover when your team is happy, thus saving you money, as well as the potential pitfalls from the fall-out of the team left to pick up the pieces when others leave.

Are you ready to get something cooking and not sure where to start? Feel like you could use some help with following this type of recipe? Contact our team. We are helping to resource ingredients like the above listed every day and would be honored to assist your organization with building and maintaining your best team yet.


There is no doubt that 2021 will bring forth opportunities with which to leverage new and emerging employment trends. Follow the Hire Up Staffing & Healthcare Services Blog to stay connected with a variety of topics aimed to help support you! Whether you are an active job seeker looking for tips and tricks to land your perfect job or an employer looking to fill a challenging position, we are here to help you HIRE UP!

Lauren Milam, Regional Vice President – West Coast | July 26th, 2021

As the Regional Vice President of the West Coast operations, Lauren focuses on the development of each Hire Up team member and office to ensure they have the tools and ability to meet the needs of all the clients and candidates. Lauren’s vast experience in the staffing industry and her passion for people, results, and success is what drives her daily. This experience includes leadership, management, employee development, sales, marketing, recruitment, client retention, and candidate retention.  Her goal is to ensure every client and candidate receives excellent service through every aspect of the process. Lauren would love to speak with you so she can help your business reach new heights.