Best Ways Managers Can Motivate Their Team

It’s hard to keep everything right on schedule when the office morale is low and people are slacking at half of their work capacities. According to Gallup, only 29% of millennials are engaged at work, 55% of them are unengaged and as many as 16% are actively disengaged. So, how do you get the other 71% to wake up? Simple, by following the instructions below:

Make it worth their while

No matter how interesting your employees’ job may be, sooner or later, their initial enthusiasm will fade, and they’ll feel like dogs chasing their tails. As a result, their productivity levels will drop, leaving you with a workforce operating at half-capacity. To avoid this, you need to constantly be raising the bar and setting new challenges for your employees. According to these statistics, 86% of millennials would keep their current positions if their employers provided them with career training and development, while 87% of them stated that professional development and career growth opportunities are very important. This could be anything ranging from specific job-related skills, languages, computer skills, and so on. In essence, by investing in your employees’ development, you’re effectively hitting two birds with one stone, as their newly acquired skills will keep them both motivated and more productive at the same time.

Provide them with regular feedback

Providing your employees with a steady stream of feedback will show them that their efforts aren’t going unnoticed. According to PwC, 69% of employees stated that they would work harder if their efforts were better recognized. Give praise where praise is due and acknowledge all of your employees’ hard work to keep the morale afloat. Also, don’t hesitate to hand out constructive criticism to those employees who might be slightly under-performing, as 92% of people surveyed agreed that, when appropriately delivered, negative feedback is an effective performance booster. So, skip the dry formalities of the annual and quarterly reviews, and call up a meeting face to face. Just be wary, as some employees are more sensitive than others. Always give positive examples of their performance first, before criticizing them, in order to avoid hurting any egos.

Give out incentives

For some of your more competitive employees, a simple pat on the back simply won’t do. Instead, they’ll want a more formal sign of recognition for their troubles that they can share with their friends and families. Show them that you care and give them a master gift card, take them out for a fancy dinner, or offer them some paid time-off to spend with their loved ones. This will give them a sense of accomplishment that will motivate them to work even harder. Also, don’t forget to commemorate important milestones with your employees, both company and individual ones, as they are the ideal time for you to be generous and thoughtful.

‘Laissez-faire’

One of the worst possible things you could do inside the office, is to try and micro-manage each and every one of your employees. This is not only highly demotivational, but counter-productive at the same time, as frankly, no one likes having someone breathe down their neck while they’re working. What’s more, employees will get the opinion that you don’t trust them and as such lose confidence in their own abilities. Rather, what you should be doing is giving them some increased autonomy by letting them do things their way. Be flexible, let them organize their own schedules, don’t choke their creativity with unnecessary rules and regulations, and they’ll respect you more for it. According to this survey, 89% of companies reported better employee retention due to the implementation of flexible work options. So, focus your attention on more important matters, and cut your workers some slack every once in a while.

Create a positive working environment

Nurturing a healthy office atmosphere is vital for the overall productivity of your employees, and their mental well-being as well. Team-building events are an excellent way to break up the monotony of the daily grind and let your employees have a bit of harmless fun. Mind you, it doesn’t have to be something elaborate and expensive, but something as simple as a casual Friday, or a spontaneous night out. The most important thing, however, is that it’s something totally unrelated to work, as the main idea is for people to let off some steam and get their minds off work. All in all, these events present the perfect opportunity for your employees to bond with their co-workers and improve their mutual working relationships.

To sum up, different strategies appeal to different people. What works for one employee may not be the case with the rest of the lot. Therefore, it’s vital to keep experimenting with various combinations of these methods, in order to find just the right concoction for your specific workforce.

Guest author, David Webb, is a Sydney-based business consultant,online marketing analyst and a writer. With six years of experience and a degree in business management, he continuously informs the public about the latest trends in the industry. He is a regular author at BizzmarkBlog. You can reach him on Twitter or Facebook.

Tech This Out: 10 Steps To Migrating Your Business Into The Digital Age

Whether your business is a new venture, or one that has been putting off the inevitable for some years, now is the time to take it into the digital arena. This opens up the door to quicker growth, increased profits, and greater stability. Frankly, that’s everything that any entrepreneur could shoot for.

If you’re going to make this transition, though, the migration needs to be smooth. It can be a daunting process, especially when you’re not a tech wizard. As long as you focus on each of the elements below, you should be just fine.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s turn your outdated venture into a modern business that’s set for years of success.

#1. Reaching Digital Audiences

The main incentive for transforming the business comes from the potential to sell products to a far larger customer base. With over 1.3 billion live websites on the internet, grabbing your fair share of the audience isn’t down to luck. You must know how to work for it.

Search engines are your greatest asset by far as most consumers will turn to Google when searching for a product. Meanwhile, a strong social media marketing strategy should stop the threat of customers scrolling on. Just remember that different demographics respond to varying ideas. Therefore, you must know your place in the market.

It’s also worth noting that the methods used for local marketing should vary from those aimed at reaching universal audiences. Show that you understand the needs of an online audience, and the migration will be far smoother.

#2. Handling Online Payments

Gaining interest from the online audiences is one thing, but converting it into a sale is another altogether. Due to the nature of digital business, obtaining their trust needs to be one of the top items on the agenda.

There are many contributing factors to consider. But ensuring that the clients are able to complete their purchases in a convenient manner is one that must be perfected instantly. The choice of ecommerce system is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. Accepting as many payment types as possible is key.

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If the business plans to accept credit repayment plans, it must also run the necessary credit history checks. Letting money slip through the net due to bad debts is the last thing any entrepreneur needs. And if you do allow this to happen, you’ll only have yourself to blame.

#3. Using Modern Staffing Management

Moving into the modern business arena isn’t just about the way you interact with clients. The entire operational process can benefit from the introduction of advanced ideas. This is particularly evident when considering the recruitment and management of your team.

Every entrepreneur needs to be supported by productive employees. In today’s climate, it’s important to consider the benefits of outsourcing tasks to companies and freelancers. Or you can look to incorporate smarter recruitment methods when finding permanent on-site staff. The combination of those two ideas should work wonders.

Perhaps most importantly, communication and morale need to be maintained. Automated tracking and staff rewards should have a positive impact.

#4. Going Paperless

Turning your business into a digital operation allows you to bypass many problems. The ability to remove paperwork and physical filing systems is one of the most rewarding elements. This one step can save time, money, and space around the commercial properties.

First and foremost, you must look to improve the organization of anything related to the company’s finances. Investing in a new Accounts Payable system puts you in far better control of the firm’s accounts. However, you must learn to appreciate the importance of change management as well as the project management. After all, the human input is still central to the overall output.

Making the office spaces paperless isn’t just about the invoices and contract agreements. Your company handles many document types. Going digital enables quick access, even when you’re not in the office.

#5. Providing Digital Customer Care

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When thinking about the clients, your initial concerns revolve around the ability to gain their custom. In reality, as is the case with offline ventures, the key to sustained success comes from gaining their loyalty.

The lack of human interaction can encourage digital businesses to forget that consumers are still human. If anything, online interactions have an even greater need to be supported by great customer care. This can range from adding Live Chat to your website to providing telephone care and online FAQs. Either way, showing clients that your commitment doesn’t end with the sale is key.

It’s equally imperative to ensure that the company has established a fair returns policy. Removing any doubts can remove customer apprehensions. Crucially, it protects the company too.

#6. Protecting Your Assets

Avoiding the possibility of unnecessary returns is just the start of protecting assets on the digital platform. As part of the bid to provide a safe transaction, you should have invested in strong data protection. After all, one breach of data could bring long-lasting problems.

Once you become a digital business, intellectual theft becomes a far greater problem. The fact that you’ve reached a bigger audience means that your content could be seen by people that try to steal your ideas. Protecting your brand trademarks and innovative ideas is essential. Running a successful business is tough enough at the best of times. Allowing others to profit from your work is not an option.

There’s still a need to take care of physical assets, including your stock, particularly when you still run an offline store. Once again, though, digital tech and CCTV facilities are your greatest asset.

#7. Joining The Community

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The online community is simply massive, and your business needs to become a part of the conversation. Many entrepreneurs that are new to the digital arena assume that it’s them versus the world. While some companies are your direct competition, not everyone is an enemy.

It’s possible for two companies to share a similar audience without being in direct competition with each other. When this is the case, joint marketing ventures can pay dividends. Alternatively, sharing market insights can help both parties stay ahead of the crowd in their respective crowds. As a digital business, you must grab hold of every opportunity that comes your way. This is one of them.

On a separate note, you can embrace the community vibe by encouraging existing clients to spread the word. Testimonials, customer reviews, and referral schemes can all help the audience grow at a rapid rate. In most cases, this will be far more efficient than your marketing schemes too.

#8. Incorporating Time Savers

Time is the most valuable asset in any business venture. Embracing the digital arena to its full capabilities gives you the best chance of maximized efficiency. Investing in video conferencing systems can be a great starting point, as it removes the need for unnecessary travel.

It’s often worth choosing computerized systems to handle key business activities. From automated stock management to email marketing workflows, the time saved allows you to focus on other areas. If nothing else, reducing the threat of human error should provide a better customer experience.

Forms can also be used to save time during recruitment processes as well as customer interactions. Apart from saving time, it should make life a lot less stressful. In turn, this should promote greater clarity when making other crucial decisions.

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#9. Tailoring Your Operation

Every digital business is unique and should embrace its strengths to find the best route to success. However, it’s equally crucial to remember that those characteristics may need to be altered in some geographic locations. This is because cultural variances impact customer trends.

All customers need to feel comfortable. This is why you must understand the importance of presenting information in their natural language. Even if they can read English, many clients will prefer to use a website that’s easier to navigate. Besides, this step shows that you’ve actively thought about their needs.

With this in mind, many digital businesses find that hiring external help is the best way to branch out. Turn the company into a franchise, and the small profits in each new location will increase the overall takings without any extra work.

#10. Maintaining Offline Endeavors

Transforming your offline company into a digital one can take everything to the next level. But that doesn’t mean you should abandon the existing company model. If you’ve been making money from those traditional ideas, there’s nothing wrong with continuing them alongside the new ones.

In truth, the digital presence is likely to increase the company’s local presence. Still, printed marketing materials and promotional events can still play a positive role. If you make the transition to the digital playground without appreciating your old clients, they may feel alienated.

Besides, a company that achieves success on both platforms is sure to reach its goals far sooner. Given that this is the whole point of taking the venture online, this should all the incentive that you’ll ever need.

Financing a Management Buyout – 4 Key Strategies

Management buyouts are financial transactions in which businesses are purchased by their management teams. It’s an exciting concept for a lot of managers because it allows them to use the experience they have in running a business on a day to day basis and apply it as an entrepreneur.

It’s a complex process and there are a lot of factors to be considered. For instance, the management needs to be ready to take on the new role and to have a clear idea of what the company will be like after they take over it.

One of the main things a new leader needs to consider is how to finance the buyout. It’s a long-term investment which means it needs to cover the costs but also leave enough cash to work with and handle day to day expenses.

Seller financing

Seller financing is exactly what it sounds like. The sellers provide the financing for the managers to buy their business out. This isn’t exactly the best option for the sellers and it’s usually used when there are no other options available – mostly when there are no buyers out there.

The price that’s paid right away is usually nominal, but there are other ways for the owners to be compensated. There’s a timeframe (ranging from 3 to 7 years) in which the new leadership of the company needs to return the money. This could be either a very comfortable option for the new owners or a quite difficult one, depending on how profitable the company will be after the buyout.

A bank loan

The most straightforward strategy for financing a buyout is the management taking out a bank loan and purchasing the company right away. It sounds simple but it also presents the biggest burden for the managers who will then be tied in with a loan for years to come.

It’s also important to note that acquisition loans work a bit differently than ordinary loans taken by individuals or even companies with a different purpose in mind. The buyers need to have excellent credit rating and provide proof that they’ve been paying taxes for years.

These loans are also sometimes backed by the government, especially if you’re buying a small company or one in an industry that’s supported by public funds (like green energy).

Private equity

In some cases, the management can use the services of a private equity fund to raise the capital needed for purchasing the company. It’s not suited to all businesses, because equity funding focuses on large transactions. However, it’s a straightforward transaction in which everyone knows why they are getting into it.

The equity funds are looking for a fast return on investment like with any other loan or stock purchase. These goals need to coincide with the goals and plans of the buyers. There’s usually a time frame within which the business needs to financially stabilize, and it’s rarely more than 5 years.

The business plan the managers create for their new company must reflect these deals as well. That way the new ownership can plan their obligations ahead of time and have a productive relationship with the private equity fund.

Assumption of debt

This strategy is only available to certain businesses and it’s usually combined with other funding sources. It can only work if the company has a significant amount of debt that it can’t repay. The new company, meaning its owners, will then assume a part of this debt when purchasing the company.

It usually isn’t the only way used to buy a business out, since no one wants to buy a business that owes more than it’s worth. Most of the time the managers buy a portion of the company using some of the aforementioned financing methods and the debts get deducted from that investment.

In these cases, the new owners need to have a detailed plan for the future of the company. There is usually some sort of pivot in terms of the products offered or the clients pursued, because the company needs to change the ways that have created the debt in the first place.

Financing day to day activities

Purchasing a company and running it on a day to day basis are two completely different things. It isn’t enough for the management to obtain the funds to buy the company out, they also need to run it and cover the expenses for the employees and contractors.

It’s best to get a line of credit for these expenses. With a credit line, a business has a certain amount of funds available, but they can borrow and pay interest on the amounts they need at any particular time.

There are different ways of approaching a management buyout. The main goal is to choose the financing strategy that’s best suited to the business at hand and the plans you have for it.

 

Guest author, David Webb, is a Sydney-based business consultant,online marketing analyst and a writer. With six years of experience and a degree in business management, he continuously informs the public about the latest trends in the industry. He is a regular author at BizzmarkBlog. You can reach him on Twitter or Facebook.

5 Ways the Internet of Things Will Affect Your Business

As a business owner or manager, it may be difficult to overlook the increasing prevalence of the Internet of Things, or IoT, in society. In fact, you may hear about it in everyday conversation both in work and in your personal life or read stories about it online.

The Internet of Things is a term that describes the connectivity of various items to the Internet, such as wearable devices, garage door openers, cars, headphones and more. These are items that have software or sensors embedded in them so that they have network connectivity.

As a business professional, it is imperative that you think about how IoT will impact your business in various ways in the near future. Here are some points to consider.

Access to Data

Increased connectivity may provide you with enhanced data about your consumers, and your marketing and advertising efforts can dramatically be improved because of access to this data. Consider that your consumers are connected to various devices that essentially can be used by your business to gather and collect data.

You can track this data to better analyze consumer data and trends. Through this analysis, you can enhance your products and find new and creative ways to market your products and services to your customers.

On an internal level, increased access to data through the IoT can tell you more about how your employees work and how to improve operations. If you want to prepare for the incredible influx of data that you may have available at your fingertips soon, you need invest in new data analysts and visualization software.

Inventory Management

If your company keeps inventory on hand, consider that the Internet of Things can enhance how you track and manage inventory on a regular basis. You may currently use a standard bar code tracking system to manage inventory, or you may ask your employees to spend their time and energy using remote scanners to track inventory and to keep tabs on equipment and machines.

The Internet of Things could potentially improve this process by connecting your inventory, equipment and more into a single network. Your employees could, therefore, spend their valuable time on more productive activities, and you may even be able to decrease your workforce.

An improvement in your inventory and equipment tracking efforts could minimize loss. More than that, you would have real-time inventory figures at your fingertips on demand.

Remote Work

Companies are increasingly implementing telecommuting policies which allow their workers to work remotely at least one or two days a week. Studies have shown that remote workers are more able to balance their work-life responsibilities. They are also happier and show enhanced productivity in their positions than those employees who do not work remotely.

However, there are technological challenges associated with remote work activities. Thankfully, the Internet of Things incorporates cloud-based technology so that tablets and laptops can be used from any location with a wireless Internet connection.

Remote workers may also be able to access your connected equipment at work, such as an office printer or copier or even machines located on a factory floor. Ultimately, this can help you to enjoy a more productive and efficient workforce regardless of where they are located at.

Speed

In a business environment, time is money, and you simply need to find more efficient ways to complete tasks if you want to stay as productive as possible. The Internet of Things can help you and your customers speed up their daily processes in various ways.

The IoT also gives consumers easier consumer research options and faster buying methods. This decreases the length of your company’s overall sales cycle. Because all of the vendors, such as supplies and logistics providers, who you work with, will have access to this same level of technology, you will find that the entire business process speeds up. This may yield happier customers and increased profits.

Productivity

While time is critical, it is also important to consider how much you can accomplish within that period of time. Your consumers may benefit from instant gratification with a fast buying cycle and your company will benefit from improved productivity and efficiency. On a large-scale basis, your team can complete many tasks more precisely and in less time, and this includes data management and analysis and more.

You may even be able to trim down your staff while increasing productivity. Decreasing overhead while increasing productivity is a top goal for many businesses, and the Internet of Things enables this. You should be prepared to pay for the technological upgrade associated with connectivity. However, in exchange for this up-front cost, you can benefit in the long-run through improved productivity.

Final Thoughts

Technology has rapidly evolved over the last century or more, and it has continuous affected the way companies do business. The connectivity associated with the Internet of Things is the latest wave of technological advancement that is changing the business environment. As a business owner or manager, you should begin exploring different ways that you can use this technology to your benefit, and you should begin implementing its use soon to enjoy those benefits.

About the Author

Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor and a striving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in the business world. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.

 

Are Your #Managers Good #Leaders?

leaderAre you getting the best leadership from your company’s managers? Not all managers are leaders – and your business needs leaders to succeed.

Leaders can help guide your team through the everyday challenges of work, and use their vision to steer your business towards a bright and prosperous future.

What can you do to get the best leadership from your company’s managers?

Hire and Promote the Best

Good leadership starts with the right people.

Whether you’re looking to hire someone new, or looking to promote someone within your business, you should always aim to choose people with the strong leadership skills your business needs.

Skills to look for include:

  • Calmness under pressure;
  • Courage;
  • A proactive personality;
  • Strong listening skills;
  • An analytical streak;
  • Good business knowledge and instincts;
  • Excellent people skills;
  • Honesty and authenticity.

Know what makes a good leader, and look for those traits whenever you have a position to fill.

Look for Strengths

Sometimes good leadership skills are in front of you and you just haven’t seen them yet. Take the time to really get to know your team and your managers.

Ask yourself who has the right skills to be a strong leader? Who has great raw material but just needs some polishing?

As well as every day observations, you might find it useful to run some team bonding activities to really see how your managers interact with people.

This also provides your team the chance to get to know each other, which can helps with team cohesion and in turn help your leaders to steer your team.

Encourage Good Leadership

Don’t leave good leadership to chance. Actively encourage it within your management team and your business as a whole.

Talk about leadership.

Make it a keystone of your business and a definite part of your business plan going forward.

Sit down with your managers and talk about leadership and why it matters. Let them know what you expect from them and what they can expect from you in terms of support.

Offer Training

Good leaders aren’t born, they’re made.

Maybe not all managers are leaders – but many of them can become great leaders with the right support.

As the article, “Thinking Patterns to Embrace for Better Leadership” points out the greatest leaders are those who actively work on improving leadership skills until they become ingrained.

Leadership is a skill like any other, and it can be learned and honed.

Offer your managers leadership training and you’ll be equipping them with the skills they need to take your business forward.

Offer Chances to Shine

If you want to get the best leadership from your management team, you need to offer them chances to show you what they can do. If something needs doing, take a look at your team and think about who has the right skills to get the job done.

Give your team the opportunity to show that they can lead new projects or new teams, and to practice the skills learned during leadership training.

Build the Right Culture

culutreGood leadership doesn’t exist on its own, but rather is part of the overall culture of your business.

Respect, communication and openness are all key parts of good leadership, so build those into the foundation of your business.

Encourage a culture where your team is honest with each other, respectful to their colleagues, and where everyone knows management cares about and has time for them.

Good leadership skills will serve your business well for years to come.

Put in the time and effort to bring out the best in your leaders and watch your business go from strength to strength.

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a variety of topics including social media, how to build customer relationships, content marketing and how to bring out the best in your leadership team.

Does Your Management Style Click with Employees?

managementManagement of employees is tricky business. One the one hand, your own personality, personal and professional experiences, and orders from higher-ups come into play.

On the other hand, there are many variations in employee personality, experience, and common sense that are also in the mix.

As a result, when you assume the role of manager, you’ll need to ensure that you are able to juggle many different responsibilities and approaches at once.

Choosing a Management Style

While there are many management styles that are clearly defined by scholars and industry experts, none of these can easily qualify the exact demands of a manager.

This is because there are various needs for different employees or departments. What works for one may not work for all.

For example, when managing a creative team, you may need to provide additional freedom for designers so that they can work uninhibited, but you may need to offer extra guidance or feedback for developers so that they can be assured that they are on the right track with the other members of the team.

Factoring in Company Culture

Another piece of the puzzle that must be considered when managing employees is company culture.

You were hired, so it’s likely that you already understand and fit in with the company’s culture, but this fit must be exemplified in your daily professional interactions.

If your company’s culture is centered on hard work, determination, and constant hard work, taking a laid back approach might not be appropriate.

Conversely, if your company’s culture revolves around imagination, creative freedom, and innovation, watching over employees like a hawk will typically end in disaster.

When Things Aren’t Working

In the article, “5 Signs Your FM Team Isn’t Responding to Your Management Style,” the issue of conflicting styles is discussed. Here, readers learn that it’s best to work with natural abilities from each team member.

It’s important to keep in mind that not everyone is you, not everyone has the experience that you do, and not everyone will approach work problems in the same way.

As such, treat each team member as an individual while trying to achieve the same goal.

Also, it would be a good idea as a manager to not only look for the best candidates for promotion, but also to take an interest in fostering growth potential with each employee. This will ultimately establish trust, a professional bond, and higher productivity among employees.

Failing to take notice of exemplary professional conduct may make your management style come across as cold, meaning employees will be less likely to engage you when it truly matters for the future of your company.

As a manager, what style is best for you in the workplace?

About the Author: Andrew Rusnak is an author who writes on topics that include facility management and business development.