5 May 2020

Team Composition: The unknown concept in HR that makes or breaks your growth.

We talk about our employees. And we talk about our teams. But what we never talk about is our team composition. Funnily enough, however, this quite unknown concept in HR is actually proven to be the make or break factor of your company growth.

After reading this blog you will know:

  • What Team Composition is (and what we are doing wrong for decades already when it comes to this concept);
  • Why it determines your company growth;
  • How to start acting on this concept in your company. 


Team Composition: What is it and what it definitely isn’t

A team isn’t about the sum of individuals. It’s about the mix of individuals. You can put your greatest talents together in a team who, when having to work together as a team, can provide you with the poorest results. Because having a group of high-performing people in one room doesn’t mean that these these high-performers master all skills and represent all personalities you need in order to succeed. And that’s the one thing that proves the importance of Team Composition.

Team Composition is the combination of skills, competencies and personality traits that the people in your team represent collectively. And therefore it’s not about searching for the best people over and over again. It’s about searching for the right combination of people.


So here’s what we are doing wrong

Although we might not be aware of this, we all often use the copy-paste effect in hiring. This means that, when hiring people, we tend to search for look-alikes of high-performers we already have in the team. And from a logical reasoning perspective, that makes completely sense. Cause why would you take the risk of hiring a completely different person, mastering different skills, while your high-performer has proven to be a high-performer because of these traits. But while it seems to make sense, in fact it doesn’t. Here’s why.

Teams are responsible for accomplishing company goals. So for instance your Marketing team is responsible for communicating your company’s mission and attract the right target audience that fits your customer base. Accomplishing these goals, however, isn’t that easy, because otherwise everyone would run a successful companies and failures wouldn’t exist.


Why Team Composition determines your company growth

Accomplishing a certain goal asks for people joining this mission who collectively represent a broader set of skills and personality traits. That’s where the concept of Team Composition comes in – having this right combination of skills, competencies and personalities on board. 

The copy-paste-effect that I just explained, however, will stimulate you to grow your team by hiring people with similar characteristics as your top-performer. The result: abundance of people mastering a certain skill set in your team, and at the same time a huge lack of other skills you need to accomplish your goals. An without accomplishing goals, your business won’t be able to grow.




How to start acting on this concept in your company

Of course I could promote Equalture’s Team Composition technology as the one way to go, but I would be even more happy to provide you with some food for thoughts first. Tools are always a very nice helping hand, but just like everything else, you can also start practicing this concept yourself. Just to (hopefully) make you realise that it works. So here’s what you can do. 

Pick a certain team of certain project within one of your team. For instance creating a new promo video. 

Let’s assume you have a battle plan ready for this project. You know what to do, which steps to complete in which order and who is involved. Now try to write down the different milestones you need to complete in order to launch this feature and what is needed in order to accomplish this milestone. For instance, you need determine the goal of the video, write the script, create the visuals (since it will be an illustrated video), check the result and distribute it on your different social channels. All these tasks, allowing you to accomplish your milestones, ask for certain skills or personality traits. Let’s write these traits down.

At this point you’re almost there – you almost mapped out your team composition and its gaps. Now link the people in your team to the different traits you wrote down. It’s likely that you will find out that, for some traits, a lot of people tick the box, but you’re missing out on some other traits as well. We call this your skill/personality gaps. This is great, because improvement starts with having clear insights.

From this point you can walk two different routes: (i) training people in the skills you’re missing or (ii) hiring someone who masters these skills. And that’s it! 

Here you can check out how our technology facilitates this for our customers, amongst others by using neuro-assessment games to analyse skills, competencies and personality traits and AI to assess whether your candidates for an open position can fill your gaps. 

I hope this blog provides you with some food for thought and helps you to become more aware of your team composition. After all, you’re building a company together. Company growth is a result of team success, and team success isn’t determined by the sum of all individuals. It’s determined by the mix of all individuals.


Cheers, Charlotte