Friday, June 6, 2014

4 Quick Tips to Motivating Your Employees

One of the biggest challenges as a manager of a company is to keep your employees engaged and motivated. With certain companies, you can feel the heaviness of the late-afternoon hours just by walking through the office doors.

Below are some creative tips and ideas to help you keep your employees motivated. Keep in mind, this is just a small list as to what you can do - you are only limited by your own imagination!
  • Insert some "fun" into your company - Whether it's big or small, doing something fun for your employees on a weekly or monthly basis will help keep the energy up in the office. Depending on your company, you can incorporate theme days where people get to dress up like it's Halloween. Eric Ryan, the founder of Method, doesn't hesitate to surprise his workers with flash mob dances and dressing up like a gorilla to keep things fresh.
  • Make your employees feel like they're valued - Individualizing and acknowledge each employee is one of the most crucial practices to help ensure their motivation at work. Be sure to let your employees know when they are doing something awesome: a hand written thank you, addressing their accomplishments in an office meeting, or throwing a mini group birthday party for each month will help your workers feel like you care and that the company cares about them too.
  • Create some work-life balance within the work place - Some work places allot 15-30 minute nap times in the afternoon to let their workers rest so they have energy to be productive the rest of the day. Google is famous for its casual, playful environment where employees can take breaks in game rooms to help spark their creativity. Again, depending on your company, something as small as making sure your workers have an hour lunch every day and allowing them to come into work later if they stayed late the night before goes a long way.
  • Establish positive relationships and working environments - One of the responsibilities as a manager is to cultivate positive relationships between your workers. So incorporate something like a monthly get together for your team(s) to go out and get to know each other better. Allen & Gerritsen (a brand strategy agency) even implemented a mentor program where every one is paired up with someone of another specialty to work and learn from each other.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How to Resolve Personality Conflicts at Work

Personality conflicts arise at some point in everyone's professional lives. When these types of conflict occur, a handful of additional problems such as lack of productivity and unwanted stress and pressure tend to take over the workplace. As a manager, the consequences of personality clashes can greatly impact your overall business performance if left unresolved.

Below are points to keep in mind in terms of managing your employees and a few tips on how to resolve personality conflicts:
  • Realizing difference work styles - Everyone has his/her own work style. Some people work faster or with different methods than others. As a manager, you can set an example for others by accepting every one's various work styles as long as your employees are still being productive and delivering results on time. Having periodic group meetings to reiterate the expectations of the workplace and establish your company's universal goals will also help your workers see that they are all working towards the same purpose and that everyone is "on the same boat."
  • Supporting different cultures & backgrounds - All your employees grew up in different families with different traditions, beliefs, and way of doing things. A lot of times conflict occurs when co-workers don't know or don't understand each other's cultural differences. Doing group exercises in the office and hosting company get-togethers can help your employees get to know each other on an informal level without the judgment of work or pressure of performance.
  • Recognizing differences in attitudes - A negative attitude like arrogance or cynicism can greatly impact not only the atmosphere of the office but also the effectiveness of communication between co-workers. As a manager, it is helpful to identify who may be causing the negative mood and have a one-on-one chat with that employee to find out what's going on. That employee may just be having a rough time outside of work or maybe that employee just needs your help with an attitude adjustment. 
  • Promoting healthy honesty and positive communication - Just like in a romantic relationship, communication is the key to understanding one another, and ultimately, accepting the other person for who they are. Conveying this message to the employees who are having the personality conflicts can help them take a step back from all the stress, anger, and pressure they may feel from each other and calmly talk things out. As a manager, however, you also may need to realize that in some cases, just like in a relationship, it's best for everyone and the couple to break up.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

6 Rules to Improving Customer Service

The most common customer service situation many employees face is when a customer or client is seeking help or filing a complaint. So learning how to properly handle these situations is crucial to determining (1) how that customer feels when he/she walks away from you and (2) whether or not that customer is going to come back.

There are endless lists of things different people can do in different situations to provide better customer service, and while they all can work, the six rules below are some of the most effective methods to ensuring the happiness of your customers.
  • Develop a mission & value statement - Create mission and value statements of what you want your customer service quality to be and stick to it. If your statement is to provide the best customer service you can to any and everyone, then that is what you should set out to do. When difficult situations arise, go back and read what you wrote about how your company values your customers and make your decisions that support what the mission and values stand for. 
  • Go the extra mile for your customers - Take some time and effort to show that you care about your customers and make them feel like you value them individually. Think of this as the person you're trying to impress on the first date: put on your best behavior, be courteous, and be considerate. Now apply that same mentality every time you interact with a customer and always be thinking of new ways to better their experience with you.
  • Be available in a timely manner - This point is crucial to helping customers solve problems. Establish ways to work efficiently to address an issue, and make sure the problem gets taken care of as fast as you can. Don't just pass the problem to someone else and forget about it - follow up with that person and communicate your efforts and status with the customer so they know what's going on. 
  • Customers are a top priority - If you want to improve your customer service, then be sure to make them the top of your priority list. The speed, attitude, and professionalism of how you address their issues and requests will determine whether or not your customers will come back to you for return business. Also recognize that you will be dealing with different people who have different needs at different times, so be flexible in what you are willing to offer to your clients.
  • Be honest and genuine in your service - The worse thing you can do is to appear like you don't care or lie about what you can and cannot do. If your customer really has an issue that needs to be resolved then focus on the customer and genuinely do your best to solve that problem. Most of the time, your customer will see your honesty and appreciate your efforts even if the end result is not what they wanted.
  • Get feedback from your customers - Send out surveys and evaluation forms to your customers on a consistent basis to see how their experiences have been with your company. Then based on the responses, really maximize your strengths, compliments, and positives and improve your weaknesses, complaints, and negatives.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

5 Tips to Improving Your Teams' Productivity

Companies are always looking for ways to improve the productivity of their employees. What a lot of them don't realize, however, is the fact that their management style and technique are a huge part of driving employee productivity. Studies continue to show a high number of non-management employees who are disengaged from the rest of the company, and therefore, not being as productive as they could be.

Below are five general, yet effective, tips on how management can help boost the productivity of their workers:
  • Offer incentives for all levels of employment - Hosting friendly contests with valuable prizes can significantly motivate your employees to perform well. In addition, it is important to offer the same opportunities to different levels of workers within the company so others don't feel neglected or belittled by management.
  • Give feedback and constructive criticism - Establishing some sort of one-on-one meetings on a periodic basis to give positive feedback and constructive criticism will help your employees feel like they are valued in the company and can make sure everyone is consistent on working towards the same goals. This is also a great time to let your employees talk to you about any issues they are having and strategize together on how to solve those problems.
  • Provide continuous and adequate training - One of the biggest disconnects between management and their employees is inadequate training which results in the employees making costly mistakes and errors. It is crucial to take the time and effort to establish a well-organized training program for new hires and also a continuous education program for your current employees. These training sessions will also help your employees feel like they are being challenged and that they serve a greater purpose.
  • Respect employees as individuals - A part of being a good manager is recognizing your employees as individuals who have personal lives outside of work. Sometimes a dramatic situation in a certain family can influence the productivity of that employee. So by knowing  what's going on and being understanding and accepting of the problem can help you better handle and avoid possible issues that may arise. 
  • Keep an open mind - Be open-minded to changes and suggestions your employees make. Sometimes new ideas may be unique and non-traditional, but that doesn't mean it won't make your business operations better and more effective. By trying out or adopting your employees' good suggestions will show them that you value their talents, and in turn, they will want to improve their work performance.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

5 Steps to Measuring Your Employees' Performance

Measuring and tracking your workers job performance is essential to any company's success. As Info Entrepreneurs says, "A growing business needs to be closely and carefully managed to ensure the success of new investment decisions and expansion plans."

While there are many ways to measuring success with job performance, it is crucial to realize that every one is different. Therefore, some methods may work better than others on certain personalities.
Below are five general steps to measure and evaluate your employees' job performance:
  1. Find What to Track - First, make a list of what you feel is important to evaluate in an employee in terms of performance that directly ties to the success of your team and your company. Discuss this with your entire management to make sure you are covering all the important aspects of an evaluation.
  2. Establish a Metric - Now go through the list and rank the importance of each item. Then establish a scoring system to calculate the ratings of each item. Depending on your business, you may have to create separate lists for separate departments. These lists then essentially becomes your evaluation forms for your employees.
  3. Develop a Process - Once you've finalized your form(s), establish a set process as to how you are going to evaluate your workers. Figure out when you're going to do an evaluation, how often, what happens when someone falls below the average score, how are you going to deliver the results to your employees, is there an incentive program to motivate your workers to perform better next time...etc. There are many software systems that can help you manage these processes.
  4. Set Expectations - After you have the measurement and tracking system in place, set up a meeting with your entire staff and go over point-by-point what this new evaluation is. Be sure to explain to them why you are doing this, how this system makes the team and company better, and what your expectations are from your employees. Be specific!
  5. Evaluate on a Regular Basis - As Brian Sutter, the director of marketing at Wasp Barcode, says, "You need to be measuring and tracking each employee’s work performance. This doesn’t mean every six months or so. In fact, it’s recommended to continuously keep tabs on employee performance throughout the year." In addition to evaluating your employees, you should constantly assess and re-assess your procedures to see if you can make your operations more effective and efficient.