5 Tips for Improving Workplace Communication

Poor communication in the workplace often results in sub-par performance between departments and low morale among employees. This is a rather common problem for startups and small businesses where employees have little to no idea what exactly is happening in neighboring departments. When information is not flowing across different departments, efficiency is bound to suffer. That said, here are five tips you can use to create an open environment based on clear, two-way communication between you and your employees.

1.      Transparent Workplace

One of the biggest mistakes managements teams tend to make is failing to share information within the organization. This not only demonstrates a general lack of confidence but can also result in growing distrust between workers. Preventing this from happening is as simple as practicing open and transparent communication. This should start with the company leaders, as they are the ones who need to share information with their teams, whether it’s customer feedback, fundraising, financial data, new hires or meeting notes. Don’t worry about burdening your team and have in mind that these people are capable and smart enough to be hired in the first place and could use that information to make the organization better.

2.      Assign Clear Roles and Responsibilities

A poorly coordinated team and mishaps with work delegation can negatively impact any project or task. Every employee should have a clear deadline, role, and responsibility for which they are held accountable. The best way to keep your employees focused on the task at hand is to establish quarterly objectives and results. Make sure you frame them within larger goals and try to keep them public throughout your company in order to make your employees realize that their efforts have a direct impact on the company’s objectives.

3.      Ask the Right Questions

Company employees are actually the ones who have the largest insight regarding how the company works and accessing the information they have can easily be accomplished by asking just the right type of questions. They can prove to be a valuable feedback tool used to recognize achievements and identify any challenges you and your employees might face. Try to incorporate one on one meetings and make sure to demonstrate genuine concern and interest regarding your employees. Maintaining a direct line of communication allows employers to gain a detailed insight into the way their employees operate and to resolve any issues that might arise quickly and effortlessly.

4.      Use Exit Interviews

No matter how large your company is, interviewing departing employees regarding their experiences, as well as reasons for leaving is an excellent tactic to gain valuable insight into your company’s inner workings. What makes this technique so useful is the fact that departing employees are rather open during these interviews and often provide excellent feedback. Additionally, this information can later be analyzed and presented to management on an annual level in order to retain the most valuable employees and increase morale.

5.      Collaboration Between Departments

Most workplace failures are a direct result of poor collaboration, lack of overall communication and an overwhelming “us against them” mentality which results in interdepartmental friction. If your employees don’t have a clear line of communication between departments, you should invest in an intranet connection to support communication between different departments and team-building exercises in order to strengthen the relationship between your teams. Every company should endorse a culture of clear communication and open feedback among the employees, especially when there’s an evident lack of common interests and work goals. Encourage collaboration by insisting on an open layout in the office and hosting group launches and team retreats.

Effective Communication is Key

Clear communication and honest employee feedback are important for growing a business, as they build alignment around common goals, increase loyalty among team members and results in an improved productivity. Without transparent communication, you risk creating strife between different departments and risk running your company to the ground due to poor work conditions and general distrust between workers. Although it might prove itself to be a rather difficult task to accomplish, a good communication inside the company is vital for keeping your employees happy and your company successful.

Guest author Oscar is a writer from Sydney and one of the editors at Bizzmarkblog. He enjoys conducting research in the vast fields of business and marketing and writing about the useful insights he gathers on a daily basis. Follow Oscar on Twitter.to stay updated with his latest posts.

Are You Disciplined Enough to Work from Home?

The dream of many employees is to sit around their homes in their pajamas and work off of a laptop. Okay, while some may have different visions of how working from home will go down, you get the picture.

If you’re someone with an offer to work from home, will you take it? Whether working for someone or running your own home business; avoid distractions.

For many individuals, the biggest distraction in working from home can be themselves. No matter how hard they try, they find a way or ways to distract them. As such, the work never gets done.

In order for you to be a productive home worker, what will it take?

Being Disciplined and Focused

So that you are able to get the most out of your home working opportunities, remember these tips:

  1. Discipline

Above all else, can you stay disciplined enough to work out of your home?

For instance, what if you live blocks from the beach or downtown? Will you tempt fate to go off and relax under the sun or explore the shops and other businesses?

Staying disciplined means your work will always come first no matter what temptations. Remember, it is that work keeping a roof over your head in the first place.

Once you’re done with your work for the day, feel free to go out and relax and explore as much as you want.

  1. Focus

Staying focused while working from home can be tricky at times.

Among the disruptions you can have:

  • Children wanting your attention
  • Your significant other is also demanding your attention
  • Having work done on your home or apartment all the time
  • Unwanted phone calls

As for those unwanted phone calls, you do have an option or two there.

One trick is doing a reverse phone search.

Such a search allows you to find out where that call or calls originates from. Often, it may be telemarketing, something you likely do not have time for.

It is also important that you let family and friends know that work from home is not a joke. Some people feel as if those working out of their homes have all kinds of time for things other than their jobs.

In a nice way, be clear that your work time is important to you.

  1. Hours

Finally, the hours you set at home are important.

While you may very well have flexibility with those hours, try and keep as close to a 9-to-5 schedule as possible. This is even more so if those are the hours you worked for others in the past.

The last thing you want to do is veer off course of what you’re used to for the most part. If working for someone from home, remind them you are not a doctor on call 24/7.

Some employers might think that to be the case since you are working out of your house.

The same holds true if you run a business out of your home. You do have other things to do on your non-work hours.

Remember, earning money for your business is what keeps you solvent.

Whether the work from home is for your employer or for you as a self-employed individual, make it count.

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers small business topics on the web.

Time to Put On Your Design Thinking Cap

Why should your enterprise embrace design thinking? Design thinking employs both brain hemispheres. It uses rational, critical logic as well as creativity to focus on solutions. Adopting this methodology helps decision makers optimize their choices. It offers a way to attain better outcomes.

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This article explains why entrepreneurs should embrace this methodology to enhance decision-making.

Why Does Design Thinking Matter?

You won’t need to apply design thinking to tackle every minor obstacle, of course. Instead, you’ll want to employ this approach whenever you seek innovative answers to perplexing or challenging questions. Typical situations that call for design thinking include:

  • Unexpected market disruptions;
  • Revitalizing corporate cultures;
  • Developing new business models, and more!

By applying this methodology through a consistent, well-structured iterative cycle, you’ll discover creative ways to offer greater value to your customers. These transformations foster healthy business expansion and growth. A series of uniform steps enable this iterative paradigm to promote desired changes: (1) careful observation; (2) identifying innovation opportunities; (3) brainstorming creative solutions; (4) conducting appropriate testing and (5) refining solutions.

Putting Customers First

Design thinking revolves around placing customers in a paramount position within your business framework. Previous generations of business executives adhered to the slogan: “the customer is always right”. Implementing creative design thinking requires your enterprise to uphold a slightly different motto: “the customer always comes first.”

The process of making customers a focus of your attention involves several important steps. These considerations fit together in a holistic way:

Identify The Customer

Your enterprise must clearly identify your customers in order to develop useful innovations on their behalf. Market research assists this process.

Conduct Market Research

Market research typically entails many steps. Use this business tool to learn more about the underlying problem your product or service addresses.

Personalize The Customer Experience

Today, customers value personalized assistance. Finding ways to enhance the customization of a service or a product has benefited many small businesses recently.

Develop Measures For Success

Your enterprise needs to establish clear markers for evaluating your success in addressing customer needs. Creative design techniques can help your organization contribute tangible value if you can measure the results effectively. Determining the value of a good or service to the customer helps you achieve this vital result.

Identify Customer Problems

Design thinking involves engaging with your customers proactively. You’ll need to understand the way problems impact them and develop empathy with them to better appreciate their experience using your goods or services.

Use Ideation Techniques to Identify Problem Solutions

Ideation techniques (such as brainstorming) followed by targeted customer feedback assists many businesses. Enterprises employ these tools in devising solutions for perceived problems. Used effectively, this approach can help your design team improve the customer experience.

Produce a Prototype

You’ll want to generate prototypes to enable your team to conduct preliminary market testing, perhaps with the assistance of focus groups. Development teams may then use this information to refine prototypes.

Test And Refine Solutions

Testing and tweaking proposed solutions in an iterative process holds value. It enables you to identify ways to enhance customer satisfaction.

Towards Enhanced Collaboration

Developing a genuinely collaborative, positive organizational culture won’t replace promoting creativity and innovation with design thinking. However, by implementing this methodology, your enterprise enables collaboration to flourish. By placing the needs and interests of the customer first, everyone focuses upon a shared goal.

Design thinking helps enterprises revolutionize and democratize group work environments. In the past, a speaker’s seniority or rank within a hierarchy often determined the value decision makers placed upon proposed innovations. When organizations adopt creative design thinking, this prioritization changes radically. Instead, an idea’s potential value to customers determines its significance.

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In order to supply superb customer service, everyone within an enterprise committed to creative design thinking works together as a team. The process of making changes tends to build group consensus. While disagreements do occur from time to time, the overall goal of placing the customer first provides a unifying basis for informed decision-making. This result holds many byproducts, which benefit the organization: a highly motivated, enthusiastic workforce; decreased job turnover; enhanced individual job satisfaction. Ultimately, this group effort produces better results for the enterprise as a whole.

A Worthwhile Achievement

Creative design thinking empowers business enterprises to serve customers more effectively. By focusing on customers as a priority, everyone in the organization achieves a greater sense of fulfillment. This process helps generate revolutionary innovations while also forging stronger organizational cohesion. Consider implementing this facile management cycle to infuse constructive changes into worn, tired business systems.
Author Bio

Heather Redding is a part time assistant manager and freelance writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is a coffee-addict who enjoys swimming and reading. Street photography is her newly discovered artistic outlet and she likes to capture life’s little moments with her camera. You can reach Heather via Twitter.

How to Build Customer Loyalty

Many businesses focus on attracting new customers, but more often than not, they do not focus on customers they already have. Finding more customers is a key for business growth, while maintaining a good relationship with current customers is a key for business survival. That group of people that are constantly around your business is the group you should be focusing on. Your business will have far less trouble expanding once it has a steady and loyal customer base.

As a matter of fact, building customer loyalty is what drives a business forward and after you have ensured loyalty from your regular customers you can easily grow your business and even attract new customers through good reputation. Here are a few tips on how to build customer loyalty.

Encourage Feedback

Customers that keep coming back do so for a reason and you should encourage them to provide feedback. Moreover, you should try to get feedback from every customer that you interact with, because it is the best way to learn what customers think about your business and how you do things.

That information will be invaluable to you, especially when plan to improve your business and customer experience. After all, your customers will appreciate the fact that their opinion matters to you and that you are willing to put an extra effort in improving their overall experience. Any bit of appreciation from customers inevitably leads to customer loyalty.

Better Communication

Feedback is very important, but your communication with customers should not be based solely for that purpose. Take time to chat with your customers regularly and discuss some topics that are not business related. That way you will show your customers that you enjoy talking to them for reasons outside promoting sales or offering discounts.

If you have a database of regular customers, good chances are that you will also have their personal information. Use that information to wish them a happy birthday via e-mail or by leaving a post on their social network. Furthermore, use e-mail or newsletter to chat on a more personal level or to offer answers to any question they may have concerning your business, product or service. Good communication builds trust and loyalty between a business and its customers.

Improve Customer Support

When talking about customer loyalty, great customer support is one of the most important factors to consider. Customers that deal with great customer service are more likely to be satisfied and to return to do business with you again. Furthermore, great customer support ensures that any issues customers may have regarding product or service, are dealt with in accordance with customer satisfaction. Also, some types of businesses need to have surety bonds that insure customers from fraud and protect them from incontinence, while building trust and loyalty at the same time.

Moreover, every customer complaint is a chance to improve your business and build more loyalty. When your customers see that any issues they may have are properly resolved, they will perceive your business as dependable and responsible. Also, it will show your customers that they matter to you and in return, they will reward your efforts with loyalty.

Ensure Quality of Product and Service

Trying your best to meet the needs of your customers certainly drives customer loyalty. By guaranteeing the quality of product or service, you are enabling your customers to obtain exactly what they purchased. Furthermore, by staying consistent with your services, customers will know exactly what to expect from you, elevating the reliability of your business.

In other words, when it comes to quality of product your customers will be more loyal when you sell them the product you marketed and not something entirely different. Also, be precise with delivery of product and services on agreed date and time. Your customers will appreciate the fact that you make deliveries on time and they will continue to procure services from you because they know you are trustworthy.

Appreciate Your Customers

It is not that hard to build customer loyalty, all that is required is dedication and the will to find the best way to meet your customers’ needs, as well as a way to improve their experience. After all, if you appreciate your customers, they will also appreciate you.

 

Oscar is a writer from Sydney and one of the editors at Bizzmarkblog. He enjoys conducting research in the vast fields of business and marketing and writing about the useful insights he gathers on a daily basis. Follow Oscar on Twitter to stay updated with his latest posts.

Are You Ready For The Next Step?

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If there’s one thing that you can guarantee about your business, it’s this: if it’s not moving forward, it’s falling behind. There is no such thing as being able to settle down and stay still in the world of modern business. As soon as you decide that you’re comfortable where you are, your business is going to stagnate, and your competition is going to leave you in the dust. Every business owner should be looking forward to the next stage in their business’s evolution, ready to face whatever it is that’s going to come along. Of course, the doesn’t mean that you should throw your business into the future without thinking about things carefully. If you try to push it forward without thinking carefully, then you could well end up in a pretty precarious position. With that in mind, here are a few things to think about when trying to make sure that your business is ready for the next step.

How can you reach new customers?

If you want to grow your business, then you need to expand your customer base. Otherwise, your business simply won’t be able to sustain its growth and will end up collapsing under its own weight. There are plenty of ways to reach new customers, and each come with their own unique challenges. You might want to expand to new demographics, in which case you’re going to need to put a lot more time and effort into creating effective marketing strategies. Perhaps you’re looking at expanding into more international territories. If that’s the case, then you’ll need help from one of the UK’s leading translation companies so that you can be sure that you’re communicating effectively with customers no matter where they are in the world. Being able to understand the challenges involved in reaching new customers is the only way to avoid making obvious mistakes or losing out on potentially profitable markets.

What new additions does your business need?

As a business grows, so do its needs. This could be in terms of your employees, technology, or financial support. Figuring out how any form of expansion impacts on the structure of your business isn’t always easy but it’s definitely worth doing if you really want to get the most out of any given situation. Do you need new employees? Then you need to figure out how many and where they’d be best utilised. Is your company’s tech not up to scratch? Then you’re going to want to figure out what technology will benefit your business most and whether or not you can afford it.

Do any existing elements need adjusting?

If there’s one mistake that many businesses make more than any other, it’s assuming that their existing business is strong enough to build on top of. If the foundations that you’re building on are crumbling, then everything’s going to come crashing down. Look at the infrastructure, workforce, and working methods of your business and figure out what works and what doesn’t. The things that work can act as the basis for all future developments to your business. The things that don’t need to either be adjusted and fixed or left behind entirely. Refinement is one of the most important things in your business.

Casting the Net Wider: Reach More People Today

If your business has a core group of customers but struggles to reach people further afield, you have a clear problem. It’s impossible to grow and expand a business when it’s stuck in a very tight niche. You need to find ways of casting the net wider and reaching more people if you want to make your business bigger and better. When you do this, you mustn’t forget your core customers who provide the business with its base.

Broaden the Scope of Your Brand

The very first thing to do is broaden the overall scope of your brand. If people see your business as only being for a certain kind of consumer, they will be unlikely to even listen to what you have to say. That’s why you need to actively demonstrate how the business is changing and why this matters to your customers. Set up a marketing campaign that is directly aimed at people who have never used your business before. Confound their expectations and brand your business differently. On top of that, you will have to start selling things that have a broader appeal.

Be More Open and Communicative

Being open and communicative about your business is really important at times when you are trying to branch out and reach new people. If your business is closed off and not open to new people, it’s unlikely to do very well at all. So, to ensure your business doesn’t fall behind and lost traction, you should make sure your business has a presence in social media. And when you interact with people on these platforms, make sure you’re open and willing to be humorous. When you do that, more people will see the human side of your business.

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Improve Your Website and Make Sure Content is Optimized

You’ll need to build a new website for your company if you want to make sure that it has the online presence required of modern businesses. If you run a construction company, this is just as true as if you run a tech startup. People often forget that all kinds of businesses need this strong online presence. There are companies that offer general contractor website design services if you do run that kind of business. But no matter what type of business you run, make sure the website is modern, easy to find and easy to use. You should also post content on there that is fully optimized to improve your SEO ranking.

Build Trust Over Time

Trust is important when it comes to the relationships between customers and businesses. If people don’t trust your brand, they won’t trust what it says or what it offers. So, it’s really important that you aim to build trust over time and don’t take customers for granted. It will be a slow process, so don’t expect to see instant results overnight. It simply won’t happen like that. Be prepared to prove your business is changing and appealing to more people. Eventually, the change will happen and people will begin to recognize it as well.

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Lead United: Leadership Skills For A Top-Scoring Team

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The very best sales teams can feel the pressure on occasion. The world is littered with targets and performance tools, and these can contribute to a lack of productivity, rather than aid it. People will feel the tension in different ways, and with some people, it can help them by giving that adrenaline and kick that they need, others can crumble. The one thing that can make a difference to a team is its leader. The manager of a group of people can dictate, or they can guide. The leader of a team is the barometer, people will look to that person for praise and encouragement, and there are many line-managers that don’t have the right touch, and will inadvertently cause low morale. Where do you, as a leader, begin to give your team the right type of push?

Communicate Consistently

Communicating the vision of the team is one way to reinforce the purpose. By doing this, it keeps people clear in the knowledge of what their end-product is. By making sure that each person in the team knows their own individual role and what their own goal is in relation to the bigger picture. This will instill not only purpose but focus in each part of the machine. Each team member should be able to see the vision set out reflected in the decisions you make as a team leader, and the vision should be connected to their own goals. Transparency in an organization is the valuable trait to inspiring employees and helping them to understand their part in the whole company.

Work On Developing Talent

Mentoring and feedback are something that can be lost in the midst of targets and goals. While it is an important aspect of a business to monitor the productivity of a member of staff, using their “numbers” as a reason to make them work harder is not enough. This is where the power of “why” comes into play. By asking opinions and perspectives of a situation, this will get you to the core of a person. Their attitudes and behavior is key to understanding how they work as an individual. Speak to them and see what the underlying issue is. As leaders, we are so focused on the short-term tasks that we neglect the long-term ones, and our employees are a long-term investment. We need to see if there is a fundamental skill they may need to brush up on. There is sales team performance enablement software that can be used to develop employees, from providing training to using systems to help make peoples’ jobs easier, and by using the right tools in conjunction with the development of talent; it is working to make a better workforce all round.

Express Your Gratitude

On a personal level, expressing your gratitude for a person’s work will really help to bolster performance. You are making them feel valued, and this will translate into a better working attitude. It is easy to give a pizza to your team as thanks, but personal and heartfelt appreciation will last much longer.