Archive for December, 2010

Tenets of Respect

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010
  • Encourage employees to express opinions and ideas.
  • Never insult people, name call, disparage or put down people or their ideas.
  • Do not nit-pick, constantly criticize over little things, belittle, judge, demean or patronize. A series of seemingly trivial actions, added up over time, may constitute bullying.
  • Implement policies and procedures consistently so people feel that they are treated fairly and equally. Treating people differently can constitute harassment or a hostile work environment.
  • Praise much more frequently than you criticize. Encourage praise and recognition from employee to employee as well as from the supervisor.

Resources: “More Tips to Reduce Employee Turnover” and “How to Demonstrate Respect at Work,” By Susan M. Heathfield, About.com

COMMUNITY OUTREACH

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Become a valuable member of your community!  This means more than sponsoring a local sports team and hosting a food drive (although these are important, too).  It is about doing ‘good’ because it is the right thing to do.

Identify a need in your community and fill it!  Roll up your sleeves and do something.  Clean up a local park or vacant lot, participate in Habitat for Humanity, build park benches, organize a local blood drive with the American Red Cross or paint a mural in your community.

Your community is tight-knit; people notice things and talk to one another.  Find a reason for people to talk about you and your business!

So, what should you do?

  • Find a need within your community.
  • Make a plan.
  • Get buy-in from your employees.
  • Invite current customers (perhaps through an email invitation).
  • Let the media know!
  • Smile and complete the job!
  • Share your accomplishments.

EMPLOYEE RETENTION

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Although the basics of employee retention are linked to compensation, (1) competitive salary, (2) competitive vacation and holidays and (3) tuition reimbursement, employee retention is also closely related to working environment.  Successful managers develop and maintain a culture to support their employees’ needs:

  1. Listen to employees and provide opportunities for them to communicate with management.
  2. Foster trust for successful two-way communication.
  3. Keep the work environment safe and allow employees to share their thoughts regarding work satisfaction and morale.
  4. Praise good efforts and results.
  5. Recognize and celebrate success.
  6. Staff adequately.
  7. Provide the opportunity for career and personal growth through training and education, challenging assignments and more responsibility.
  8. Provide opportunities for employees to share their knowledge via training sessions, presentations, mentoring others and team assignments.
  9. Communicate goals, roles and responsibilities so employees know what is expected.
  10. Demonstrate respect for employees at all times.

TO SPEND OR NOT TO SPEND?

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Most businesses are facing the same dilemma during these economic times: What costs should we cut?

Many businesses cut back across the board, marketing included, but a slash and burn method can be a costly mistake.  For instance, Ford was outperforming Chevrolet at the beginning of the Great Depression. Ford cut back their marketing efforts while Chevrolet moved forward with an aggressive marketing plan. The result – the two effectively swapped positions in the marketplace. Proctor & Gamble is also a good example – they increased their marketing dollars during the depression, and every recession since, and have seen regular increases in revenue as a result.

The best strategy in terms of long-term ROI is to increase marketing expenditure during an economic slowdown. Boosting marketing investments while competitors reduce theirs can provide a substantial advantage that could be maintained for years.

Marketing should be part of a business’s long-term strategic plan. Marketing drives revenue, and is not discretionary. The challenge is to use marketing dollars wisely. Much like the beginning or start-up phase of any business, when funds are likely low, marketing, public relations and promotion are key. The same holds true in a recession.

Opportunity knocks for those who continue marketing during tough times. This strategy takes courage and a view of the ‘big picture,’ but odds and statistics are on the side of those that view these costs as an investment and not an expense. The recession will end. When it does, the best place for a business is to still be in the game.