Tips to grow your business by building a great team

Article by Mel Rowsell – Camp Mother at Vend

Establishing and growing a successful businesses requires a great team of people. Finding (and keeping) good staff is a challenge that’s faced by all types of companies, whether your business is web software, like Vend, or retail, like our customers.

To our great delight, last week the Kenexa Best Workplaces Awards named Vend the “Best Small Workplace in NZ.”

As a measure of how great a workplace is, the Kenexa survey relies on the level of employee engagement in a workplace; specifically “the energy, effort and initiative employees bring to their jobs.” It’s sort of job satisfaction and commitment combined.

Engaged people are more likely to want to learn and perform well, stay with the organisation, be involved and contribute ideas, commit to customers and promote the organisation. They are also less likely to slack off, bad mouth their employer and take lots of sickies.

We’re all human. We all have good days and bad days. We can’t be engaged ALL the time. But how do we work towards having most of our people engaged most of the time?

So we thought we’d share our approach to creating a great workplace. We hope this offers some helpful tips you can apply to your business.

The team celebrating in a very Vend fashion. 



We recruit people that are smarter than us, or have skill sets that complement ours. Instead of feeling threatened, we choose to feel challenged and enjoy the learning that comes from recruiting brilliant people.


We hire for cultural fit. Given the choice between a technical genius with poor cultural fit or an awesome cultural fit needing some upskilling, we will ALWAYS employ for cultural fit.


We endeavour to make Vend a fun place to work. (Which at Vend means zombies on Halloween, a pool table, a lot of birthday cakes and piñatas.)

If anything, we feel fun at work aids productivity. As much as we try to pretend otherwise, our brains aren’t machines. Sometimes they need a break. While we’re off having fun, our brains are often hard at work in the background, anyway, allowing inspiration to strike.


At Vend our metrics are shared openly with staff, so everyone knows where the business stands every day. Open communication about the business and its goals better equips our staff to understand and meet those goals.

Employees already have a stake in the business – we pay their wages, after all. We strengthen that connection by keeping staff informed and included.  This goes back to hiring. When you have the right people, there’s never a need to close doors.


We may have hired someone for a specific role, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have something to contribute elsewhere. At Vend we have open invitations to any meetings, in any department. The rule is, if you think it affects you or you’re interested, go ahead and invite yourself along. We never stymy anyone’s creativity and innovation. In fact, we rely on it.

Work-Life Blend

We believe in work-life blend, so it is not uncommon to see hangers-on in the office, including dogs and children. We allow the flexibility our team needs to juggle work, family, social, sport and other commitments. After all, we’re all grown ups and can manage our own time.

Of course, different types of businesses have to operate differently. How do you create a great workplace in a retail environment?  We’d love to hear your stories. Email or post your thoughts to our Facebook page. ^Tara

About Tara Benedict

A former retailer (and unabashed nerd) who daydreamed about integrated POS software, Tara now delightedly recruits, promotes, and enables Vend's wonderful channel of add-ons and partners. An ardent sharer of Vend news and events, connect with Tara on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ and never miss an opportunity to meet up with the affable Vend team.