If You Won’t, Why Would They? A Precautionary Note for Leadership

With marketing practices changing so dramatically over the past decade, it’s become increasingly clear that if your organization isn’t able to keep up, you’ll get left in the dust by companies who are rolling with the tide of new online marketing tools. If you look around the organization and feel frustrated by a lack of clear improvement, it’s time to review your own involvement. 

Many companies are still working under the impression that the job of marketing and communications belongs solely to the marketing department. But they’re grossly mistaken. Marketing is there to roll out initiatives, look for new ways of engaging prospects and customers, help maintain relationships with existing customers, and help communicate messageacross platforms.   

But as social media has taken a front seat in the world of marketing, it has becomincreasingly important for both the sales department and leadership to get involved in the communication as wellAnd being honest, not everyone loves this new direction. There are plenty of challenges that come along with establishing new behaviors 

You might be having trouble getting your sales team to participate on social media by liking, commenting, and sharing content your marketing team is rolling out. Or you could be trying to implement a new CRM that requires your sales team to input data on their contacts, but running into resistance from the team.  

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, you need to ask yourself if you, as a leader, are part of the problem.  

If you won’t do it, why would they? 

You’ve got a lot on your plate, and, if you’re being honest, sharing content on social media may not feel as though it should be a priority for you. Why take precious time out of your day to do what you see as the job of marketing 

Because it matters to your clients, prospects, and team members. That’s why it should be a priority. 

The frustrating truth is that just giving the go-ahead to new initiatives isn’t enough. If you want to see your sales team get on board and start engaging on social media, or correctly using a new CRM, but you aren’t taking the time to do so yourself, you’re setting everyone up for failure.  

Proving value 

When people are comfortable with a system they’ve been using for a long time, it’s difficult to get them to change their practices. They have to see it as a valued priority in the organization and your actions dictate what your team prioritizes. If they don’t see you actively prioritizing the implementation of change, they won’t believe it matters.  

By participating, and leading it, you are showing that you believe in the value of the initiative. If it’s important enough for you, it becomes important enough for them.  

Accountability  

Take accountability for your impact on the success of new initiatives. Hold yourself and your team accountable for their participation. Just saying, “That sounds great! Let’s review progress in a month” isn’t good enough. To help your team stay on track and hold them accountable you can: 

  • Set clear expectations around how and when they participate  
  • Acknowledge team members when they successfully participate in initiatives   
  • Establish consequences for those who fail to meet the expectations 
  • DO IT YOURSELF 

Holding your team accountable can be uncomfortable—especially when they fail to meet your expectations. But this is part of proving the value of the work and motivating everyone to get onboard.  

Commitment  

Your marketing team can come up with as many great ideas and new initiatives as they want, but if leadership isn’t committed to putting in the effort to contribute, then the initiative won’t be able to succeed. 

Showing the team that you are completely committed to the change will push them to accept thatyes, it is really happening, and help them to get onboard quicker and with less groaning. If you want to see your team running with a new initiative, then stop dragging your own feet and get in the race yourself. 

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners
Photo by
denisfilm

 

Recruiting Tip: Trust Your Candidates

Hiring the right candidate can be a headache for any HR team. It’s a difficult process that has ramifications on employee retention, engagement, and productivity. Hiring one bad egg can negatively affect an entire team, not to mention the cost of having to train or re-hire for the position. Getting it right the first time is what every hiring manager wishes for. But how?

Here’s a tip that might just blow your mind: Let the candidate choose you.  

Stay with us here, this isn’t as crazy as it may sound! 

By setting up the hiring process so that potential candidates can make an informed choice about whether or not they’d be a good fit, you eliminate a lot of work on your end.  People know what they’re looking for and what they’re good at. Give them a chance to assess what it is you’re offering and decide for themselves if the job will be a good fit. If they opt out of applying, you’re saved from having to spend the time and money on interviewing and vetting the wrong people.  

So how do you do this? Here are four things to keep in mind during your next hiring process.  

1. Transparency

This is a simple one. By including compensation in the job description, you are giving potential candidates the opportunity to find out if the job you’re offering is going to meet their requirements. The financial needs of any candidate will drive their decision on whether or not to apply for a position. If you aren’t offering them what they need, they won’t have to spend time going through the steps of the application process just to find out it’s a bad fit. They can opt out altogether and save you both time and money.  

Wage transparency also says something about your company. It shows that you aren’t hiding any major pay gaps and helps to build trust that you valuyour employees with fairness and honesty.  

2. Job description: Does it actually fit? 

When was the last time you reviewed your job description? Has it just been copied and pasted over and over? If so, it’s time for a refresher. Your job description should match the expectations of the role as closely as possible. This is not only important for attracting the right people with the right skills to apply, but having a description that doesn’t fit the actual position can cause frustration, confusion, and resentment on behalf of the new hire.  

If the description that drew someone in to apply doesn’t match up with the actual position, you lose the trust of your new employee—and you come off as disorganized (at the very least). If your hiring manager can’t write an accurate description, it means they: 

  • Haven’t taken the time to understand the position they are hiring for  
  • Don’t value the time and energy of the applicants  
  • Don’t value the hiring process  

Seeing the job description is often the first time your candidate has interacted with your company. It is your organization’s chance at a good first impression and the importance of this should be reflected in the quality of the description.  

3. Does the culture match?

People are often drawn to companies based on their perception of the companies’ culture and values. Use your description to highlight what it’s like to work for you and what your organization cares about. If you are able to convey your values and culture through the description, application, and interview process, candidates will be able to feel out if your company is the right community for them. 

4. Test it out 

Finally, find out for yourself what it’s like to apply for the position youre posting. If the hiring process is easy, more people will apply, and you’ll have a wider pool of candidates to choose from. Have someone from your team go through the process as if they were applying for the position themselves. Find out from first-hand experience what processes you can optimize and areas that you can improve.   

Trust goes both ways  

By providing job seekers with accurate information about the position you’re looking to fill and the type of community and values your company fosters in its workplace, you are giving people the chance to decide for themselves if it’s a good fit. Trust in your candidates to make the best choices for themselves. Not only will it increase your chances of hiring the right candidate, but it will show your candidates they can trust you. 

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by Tatiana Gladskikh

Encouraging Remote Employees: Why Shouting Down the Hall Won’t Work

So you’ve heard how remote work can promote job satisfaction, productivity, and save you real money. Your company has decided to offer remote working positions and you can’t wait to get started. But have you prepared for the challenges of having a remote workforce? Have you thought about how you’re going to show employee recognition when you can no longer walk down the hall and tell them facetoface or throw them an office party?  

Here are three great ways to make your remote employees feel valued and recognized. 

Stay Connected 

If you’ve got a remote workforce, chances are you have an online chat system to keep them easily connected. (If you don’t, you’re missing out on a vital resource). Online chat forums are a great place to recognize individuals and teams both in group conversations and oneononeThis is a great space to offer more informal and consistent encouragement and recognition for smaller, more frequent accomplishments. 

Going beyond “good job” 

Close the distance between you and your employees by being specific when you thank them for their work. What did they explicitly do to deserve positive recognition? Highlighting key moments and challenges they overcame shows them you are paying attention to their work.  Feeling seen for specific accomplishments promotes a sense of closeness and connection that is easily lost when you don’t have a shared office space.  

Support their space (and their backs) 

Make sure they’re comfortable. A great way to show you value your remote workers is to offer them a budget for upgrading their inhome workspaces. Help them build a comfortable, functional workspace by providing a budget for key office supplies such as a good chair, wrist supports for their mouse pad and keyboard and supporting tech that optimizes their space.  

There are many, many ways to encourage an atmosphere of recognition and community in your remote workforce. Make sure you do your research and put time into figuring out what works best for your team’s particular needs and location. If they are based close enough to each other, you could encourage employee outings, or monthly meetings where you can have the chance to thank and encourage your team face to face.  

Whatever ways you chose to thank them, make sure you have a way of gauging what works best and be open to improving the systems you put in place. Remember, employees who feel valued, value their position. 

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by rawpixel 

Have You Trained a Manager Today? Here’s Why You Should.

Of course you train your new hires on how to do their jobs. That’s a given. But what about your newly minted supervisors? Are you teaching them how to be good at managing people and processes? If not, you should be.

Being a good manager or supervisor requires a combination of hard skills, soft skills, and most importantly, people skills. If you’re expecting every new manager to come in hardwired with these things, you’ll be in for some serious disappointment. Even when you’re dealing with highly experienced supervisors, they may be bringing management techniques with them that aren’t aligned with your company culture, values, or style. 

Don’t assume your managers know what to do

It’s common to promote your most capable employees and assume they will be capable leaders, but just because someone is good at their work doesn’t mean they will be good at managing people.

Effective supervisors require some very specific skills that they may not have needed or learned in the past. Critical managerial skills include:

  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Performance management
  • Conflict management
  • Process management
  • Time management

It’s likely your supervisors will come into the job strong in a few areas but leaving them to figure out the rest on their own isn’t a good strategy for long term success. The longer you let them flounder, the more likely they are to make mistakes. And when you’re talking about managing people, these kinds of mistakes can have huge consequences.

Finding the balance

Managing people is part art, part science.

The art:

  • There’s the art of developing people in a structured, helpful, and positive way to bring out their best.
  • There’s the art of educating and incentivizing people to both buy into and work to achieve company goals.
  • There’s the art of managing conflict in a healthy and constructive manner.
  • And perhaps most importantly, there’s the art of communicating your various messages in an effective way. This means being responsive and receptive to what employees have to say. When it’s good news, this may seem easy. When it’s a difficult conversation or challenging feedback, not so much. Good managers need to approach tough topics in a way that still feels professional and respectful.

The science:

  • Knowing the ins and outs of your employee handbook so you can enforce rules and reinforce behaviors.
  • Understanding all relevant policies, laws, and regulations to make sure all processes and managers are in compliance.
  • Creating appropriate performance metrics based on individual and company goals, results, and outcomes, and following performance management procedures accurately.

Not training your managers on these kinds of things can lead to some very uncomfortable (and expensive!) situations.

Management training tips

The art:

  • Make sure you have supervisory role models and mentors on your team.
  • Talk about management styles and philosophy.
  • Provide classes on conflict management, dispute resolution, effective communication, and sensitivity.
  • Create a culture that values open communication and collaborative efforts.
  • Support ongoing leadership development.

The science:

  • Train your team on your employee manual and all other corporate policies.
  • Clarify organizational expectations and priorities.
  • Make sure all managerial procedures are well defined.
  • Create a library of tools and resources to help new managers develop their skills and confidence.

At the end of the day, it’s important to hold your managers and supervisors accountable not just for the hard skills they bring, but for their soft skills as well.

Not sure where to start? Consider using a skills assessment for managers and supervisors to help determine key strengths and weaknesses. You may also want to bring in an outside leadership expert and/or training company to help get your team up to speed.

Whether your managers are just starting out or have been doing it for years, chances are all of them have somewhere they can improve.

Bad management can cause good employees to walk out the door— and nobody wants that to happen. Training your managers on how to effectively lead their teams well will help everyone be their best.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by Lois McCleary

 

When Remote Work Doesn’t Work

Remote work has become more popular than ever, with both businesses and employees embracing its many benefits: increased flexibility and productivity, reduced commute times and operational costs, and happier workers.

But with remote work becoming more widespread, these same employees and businesses may also be discovering the potential downsides of remote work.

The truth is, remote work isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. If you’re wondering if it’s right for you, here are some things to consider.

Remote work isn’t for every business

Offering remote work isn’t always possible. There are plenty of companies who simply can’t function without having their people onsite. Examples include restaurants, retail outlets, and other service-oriented businesses. From production facilities to shipping companies to construction firms, many organizations need their employees to be physically present. 

Other companies have the capacity to offer remote work in a limited capacity for certain kinds of employees or under particular circumstances. These businesses will need to determine where telecommuting will and won’t work and then strive to make it available where, when, and how it makes sense.

Some organizations place a very high value on the connection that comes with sharing ideas, successes, failures, and yes— space— on a day to day basis. While these companies may be well-suited to providing remote work options, if there is a strong commitment to building a culture of in-person collaboration and teamwork, they may not want to.

Business owners will want to carefully evaluate their situation to determine whether or not remote working is a good fit.

Remote work concerns for employers include:

  • Employee accountability
  • Performance management
  • Creating/enforcing remote work policy
  • Logistics (training, technology, etc.)
  • Data and device security
  • Low engagement
  • High turnover

These are all valid concerns. In order for a remote work program to be successful, each these things will need to be addressed through the following.

1.) A well-thought-out policy 

Dealing with remote work in general terms or on a case by case basis may work for a while, but this will eventually lead to more questions than answers. A policy that has set parameters is much easier to execute, enforce, and promote. If you do decide to offer remote options, make sure you’ve designed a plan that is in line with your company values and doubles as an effective recruiting and retention tool.

2.) Plenty of manager and employee training

Managing a team can be difficult no matter where you are, but supervising remote employees brings additional challenges. Make sure anyone who has direct reports receives training on how to effectively support, mentor and evaluate remote employees. You’ll also want to establish clear guidelines for holding remote staff accountable. Your remote employees will need to have expectations spelled out for them. Are they expected to have set hours? How will they track their time and accomplishments? What metrics will they be measured on? Make sure they get full tutorials on all of the technology required to do their jobs. If they are struggling remotely, it will affect performance and morale. And you may never even know about it.

3.) Enhanced communication and technology strategies

Remote teams aren’t just in different offices or departments. They can also be in different cities, countries, and time zones. This makes communication more complex. Make sure you have a variety of ways for your team to reach out and stay connected. Project management, video conference, and instant messaging platforms can all be very helpful additions to your technology toolbox— as long as people are trained and committed to using them.

4.) Finding ways to create and maintain a sense of team cohesion

Depending on just how remote your team is, this may require a significant amount of imagination, creativity, and investment. If your employees are close enough, consider requiring regular meet-ups either at your office or offsite. If your team is more spread out, try getting them together for annual or semi-annual team meetings, retreats, or planning sessions. You may also want to try:

  • Hosting local team events that encourage nearby employees to meet in person.
  • Sending small groups of employees to relevant industry conferences together
  • Assigning internal mentors to new employees or those who have recently joined a new team, project, or department.
  • Having regular video chats and calls. Video can also be a great tool to introduce new employees, send messages from leadership, announce company news, recognize team members, or just have a little fun.

If your leadership isn’t ready to tackle these four areas, remote work may not be a good fit for your business. At least not right now, anyway.

A telecommuting strategy isn’t something you can throw together in a haphazard way. Doing so is sure to get you haphazard results. If that’s what you’ve done and it’s not working for you, perhaps it’s time to get a bit more serious about your plan.

When it makes sense and is executed well, remote work can be a great option for many employees and businesses. Why not take the time to find out if you’re one of them?

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners 

Photo by belchonock