Let’s Celebrate Administrative Professionals Day!

 Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.  ~William Arthur Ward


This Wednesday, April 26, is Administrative Professionals Day. Because they are an important part of any business team, take a minute to celebrate by showing gratitude to your Administrative Professionals!  

Administrative Professionals DayHere are four ideas to show your appreciation of those who support your departments.

1.      Order Lunch! Have lunch in the office with the team today. Many restaurants and fast food restaurants will cater lunch for your office. Order ahead and get a variety of foods then take an hour out of the day to relax and have an enjoyable conversation. Tip: Give your administrators a break by doing the ordering yourself!

2.     Swag! Order some company swag for your administrators. Polo shirts, sweatshirts, pens, blankets, and keychains branded with your company logo make great gifts. Get something exclusive for your administrators to show your gratitude for all that they do within the company.

3.     Head to Hallmark! Stop into your local greeting card store and browse the Administrative Professionals Day cards (yes, there is a section for that!). Pick a card and personalize it for each administrator; express your appreciation for the work that they do for you and your department. You can also take this a step further by adding a gift card for lunch, a massage, or a local store.

4.     Extra Time! Show gratitude with the best gift you can give, and extra few hours or day off. Even though you depend on them, try to fend for yourself for an extra afternoon and allow your administrators some extra time off to themselves.

These are just a few ideas to help you recognize your administrative support team. Do you already have plans to celebrate Administrative Professionals Day? Share your ideas in the comments below!

How to Manage a Multi-Generational Workforce

In the past, we’ve discussed the different outlooks of each generation; how they like to give, their values, their buying habits. But, what happens when you put them all in one place? How do you manage an office where you have employees from Baby Boomers to Generation Z all working together? Each group has given criticism of the other over the years. How can you get them to work as a team and create a cohesive work environment in which Multi Generations in the Officeindividuals of all generations and outlooks have the chance to succeed? Let’s take a look at what makes each of these generational cohorts tick as well as how to manage and motivate these groups in the office.

First let’s breakdown the main characteristics, values, and attributes of each cohort. Keep in mind these are generalizations of each group and can vary from person to person.

Baby Boomers

  • Born between the years of 1946 and 1964.
  • In 2015, Baby Boomers numbered around 74.9 million in the U.S. and at that time made up 33% of the workforce.
  • They are work-centric, competitive, and goal-oriented in the workplace; and are motivated by positions and prestige. Many are in supervisory roles.

Generation X

  • Born between the years of 1961-1981.
  • This cohort has a population of about 46 million in the U.S. Because of their relatively small size compared to that of the Baby Boomers and Millennials they often get ignored by marketers.
  • In the workplace they are looking for a work-life balance, are tech-savvy, and independent in their work.

Millennials

  • Born between 1980-2000.
  • As of 2012, Millennials numbered around 80 million in the U.S. They now edge out Baby Boomers in size and are the largest generation in Western history as well as the most educated.
  • They are entrepreneurial in nature and value collaboration, diversity, and wellness in the workplace.

Generation Z

  • Born around 1995-2010.
  • Are around 74 million in number in the U.S. This number may continue to grow depending on immigration.
  • The oldest of this cohort are around 21 and just entering the workforce. They are entrepreneurial and practical.

Looking at these generational groups there are many different values and characteristics across them. Each has different aspects about work that drives them and what they value in a job. Managing a workforce which includes members of most if not all of these groups may seem impossible, but it is not. Here are several things to keep in mind when managing a diverse group:

Create a communication standard: Each generation has its own preference when it comes to communicating and these differing opinions can cause friction between the groups. For example, Baby Boomers are more formal in their communication, Millennials and Generation Z are fine with a text message. Setting a standard for how certain information should be communicated within the office can take personal and generational preference out of the equation and help avoid any confusion and tension.

Get them talking: Bring together a diverse group of individuals from each cohort; have them get to know each other and keep it casual. Let them talk about their differences, what they care about, and how they can better workplace relationships between the generations. In this group, you can create a new hybrid group, a “cocktail cohort” which can help foster understanding throughout the office.

Consider the individual: Though we are talking about characteristics of different age groups, this does not mean you should blindly assume that depending on which generation they fall in that they embody all or any of the attributes of said group (this Millennial hates that). Get to know your employees’ interests and be flexible and open; adjust management styles when needed. All employees want to feel they are needed and the work they do matters.

As the office demographic ebbs and flows with the retiring of Baby Boomers and additions from Generation Z, management styles will be in flux. It is important to also keep the outlook of your organization in mind when managing all employees. A multi-generational office should not be looked at negatively; use the diversity it allows to your advantage.

Employee Retention: Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

Whether you are an employee thinking about leaving your current position, or a supervisor wondering why you have so much turnover this post is for you. Today we will discuss reasons good employees leave their jobs and ways to keep them.

Why do good employees leave?

Although unhappiness may be one reason good employees leave their jobs, it isn’t always the top or even the only reason.

Thinking1.      Lack of growth and opportunity: The number one reason good employees leave is to pursue better opportunities for themselves. They may even leave for lateral or downgraded positions if they see better growth opportunities in a new company.

2.      Poor leadership and vision: Another reason good employees leave is due to company leadership. If leadership within a company is disorganized, one-sided, or barely present, good employees will look for a new position within a company that has vision.

3.      The absence of passion: Many employees will leave because they lack passion for the job, company, or field in which they are working. This is common with employees finishing degrees or training programs. They may be working in a field to get through college where they will leave to work in their field.

 What can you do to keep your best employees?

1.      Provide growth and opportunity: As a company leader, be sure to provide growth and opportunity for your employees. This doesn’t always have to be by way of money and promotions; organize lunch and learns, trainings, or meetings with executives to allow your team the opportunity to create their own growth.  

2.      Manage using strong leaders: Choose strong leaders who will lead by example for your organization. Leaders who are mentors will encourage and inspire your employees to look for opportunity within the company.

3.      Create passion: Learn about your employees’ passions. If the job or field itself is not aligned with their passion, encourage employees to pursue their passions in other ways using the organization. Allow them to volunteer, promote philanthropic activity, and allow them to share their passions with the rest of the company through newsletters or emails highlighting their efforts.

Have you already tried some of these methods within your organization? Share in the comments your ideas for employee retention.

Dress for the Job You Want: How Dress Affects the Workplace

Work clothingThey say, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” If that was the case for me, I’d be wearing a tiara and be dressed like Belle. Alas, a professional princess is a position that isn’t widely available. Dress codes are quite common in the professional world, some more relaxed than others. What you wear can affect many things–how you feel, how others react to you, even how you perform. So, why do employers institute dress codes, why are there so many controversies surrounding them, and how does it affect the workplace?

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Coaching vs. Mentoring: What’s the Difference?

Coaching

Many leadership terms sound incredibly similar, however, when used as leadership strategies they may produce vastly different results. Today we will discuss two terms that fall into this category–coaching vs. mentoring. We will discuss what the terms mean, how they apply to organizations, and the different results each strategy can produce.

 

Coaching and Mentoring Meanings

Coaching is a term used to describe a leadership strategy focused on performance and goals. A coach is focused on the group and task at hand and driven by power and position.

Mentoring is a term used to describe a leadership strategy focused on facilitating individual growth and responsibility. A mentor is focused on giving advice, personal growth, and is driven by the value of growing relationships and individuals.

What do coaching and mentoring mean to organizations?

Both coaching and mentoring have a place in business and leadership. Coaching can be used when implementing new technology or systems, developing specific skills organization-wide, or helping a group of employees meet expectations. Mentoring, on the other hand, can be used as a tool for succession planning, developing expertise in specific departments, or helping individual employees grow within their roles.

Results

Coaching produces tangible results; it helps departments to meet productivity goals. On an individual level, it helps employees learn skills that may be holding them back in terms of technology or systems. As a whole, coaching helps the organization develop groups of talented individuals to accomplish organizational goals.

Mentoring, on the other hand, helps the organization develop future professional leaders.  On an individual level, mentoring gives professionals access to current leaders and resources they need to grow professionally for their future roles.  On an organizational level, mentoring aids the organization by developing dedicated professionals for succession planning and leadership roles.

Although coaching and mentoring seem similar on the surface, there are many different approaches to workplace development. Does your workplace differentiate between coaching and mentoring?

 

 

Navigating Cloud Computing

“The Cloud.” We’ve all heard the term. We understand it in the most abstract of ideas. We can store files in it, run programs from it, heck, my fiancé talks about setting up virtual servers (whatever that means). This digital storehouse of sorts can come in very handy; but what is it exactly and how can it be used to its best advantage? Does it have down falls? Let’s define “The Cloud” and what it can do for you and your organization.Cloud Computing

What is it?

Most digital data is non-tangible but is stored on devices that are. As I type this post, the information is saved to my computer’s hard drive. The hard drive is a physical piece of equipment. It can be removed and placed into another device and the information on it accessed. With The Cloud, there is no physical device needed to reach your digital files. By using The Cloud, I am able to create and edit files from practically anywhere. It is a globally connected computer you always have access to.

How does it work?

Information is essentially stored “on the internet”. The Cloud is run by off-site servers that do the majority of the workload. Instead of having software loaded into multiple computers, it can be accessed from the servers by means of online applications. This allows the connection from any device with internet access.

Pro’s

Saves space: By operating office-site servers and not taking loading additional software onto hard drives, you don’t lose physical space in your facility nor storage space on your computers. This means less upkeep and less clutter on your hard drive.

Accessibility: Have an internet connected device? Great! You have access. You have the ability to work from anywhere, as do your co-workers, and you can all collaborate.

Cost: Before cloud computing, you would need to buy software for each computer and upkeep their licensures. Utilizing The Cloud can cut cost on the amount of software you purchase.

Con’s

Accessibility: Though accessibility is a strong point of The Cloud, it is also a downfall. If you have a subpar internet connection, good luck reaching your files. It’s in instances like this that having the software installed on your physical device would be more appropriate.

Security: The Cloud “lives” online and you can access it easily, which means if it is easy for you, it’s easy for others. You need to pay close attention to security protocols to make sure your information does not get into the wrong hands.

Control: Hosting servers off-site or contracting services from an outside source takes control away from your in-house tech team. You are no longer in charge of your own equipment and are unable to service it. You will rely on the integration of services from outside vendors, which can at times be tasking.

So what do you do with all of this information? How does this best work for your organization? What is the most cost effective? These are questions you need to ask before outlining how The Cloud will work into your business plan. If you are just looking to store a small amount of noncritical information or are just looking for email hosting, utilizing cloud services from an outside vendor may be beneficial. If you are looking to create a cloud computing system for a large amount of secure information you may want to look into buying and creating your own system so that you retain control and security options.

The Cloud is only growing. Figuring out how to utilize it in your business plan is essential. How do you already use cloud computing, or how do you plan to use it in the future?

How to Find Your Pot of Gold Dream Job

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, today we will discuss how to identify and work toward finding your own “pot of gold” in the form of your dream job. Everyone has a dream job, that one employer or position they would stay with forever. Have you ever considered what your dream job would be? Are you currently working toward obtaining your “pot of gold”?

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Making an Investment: Tips for Vetting Strategic Marketing Companies

We like to think we have it together and can do it all, but we know that it’s not true. A lot of the times we feel like we are being pulled in 6 different directions. Sometimes this is not far from the truth.

Organizations can spread employees thin on multiple projects in order to save costs. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all about saving money where you can, but spreading your most valuable resource (yourself and your employees) too thin can be counter productive.

In the workplace, when things get busy some “non-essential” projects get pushed to the back burner. When this happens, marketing is one of the areas that tends to go by the wayside. If you are looking for success and growth, ignoring to set good marketing practices can hurt you in the long run. Marketing is an ongoing project that needs continuous monitoring and evaluation. It is not a one-time thing; it’s an investment. You may think its more cost effective to figure this all out in-house, however, if you don’t have the human capital to concentrate on this, you may want to look for help from a professional marketing group. To make sure you get the best bang for your buck with said investment, here are several tips for vetting a strategic marketing company.

How’s the Fit?

When you start looking into different marketing agencies, one of the first things you need to explore is how well they will fit with your company and its needs. They will be representing your organization; are they capable of echoing your voice and values? Also will their communication styles jive with yours? If your group values face time, you don’t want to work with a strategic marketing company that relies heavily on email communication.

Collaboration

Though you are outsourcing your marketing management, you may not be outsourcing your graphic and web design projects. Or maybe you already have other vendors taking care of those needs. When interviewing potential agencies, discuss how they will collaborate with other groups in the creative process. If they are not willing or will have issues working with the platforms that have already been established, it’s best to know before signing a contract.

Professionalism

This should probably go without saying, but you want to make sure that the group you choose is professional and educated in marketing skills. You’d like to think anyone who presents themselves as “marketer” is professional and competent, but sadly that’s not always the truth. Before even picking up the phone, do some research, look at their portfolio work, do they list education backgrounds? How long have they been established? Remember you are making an investment; do some leg work first.

Know your Aim

Are you looking for more content marketing management, digital, or both? Be sure you know what your goals are before starting the vetting process or you may end up wasting time vetting marketing companies that can’t provide what you are looking for. Once you have decided, be sure to ask goal-driving questions. Just because a group says they do digital and/or content management, doesn’t mean they do it well. Find out what their strengths are and if they fit your specific needs.

References

Think of this process as you would hiring a new employee. You wouldn’t just hire someone off the street no questions asked, right? Ask for client references and a list of past portfolio work.

Marketing is essential to helping a business grow especially in the digital age. Consumers and potential clients are looking for a brand with a story. Relying on word of mouth can only go so far. Remember marketing is a long term investment for long term rewards. When choosing a marketing strategy and a potential outside company, keep this all in perspective.

Let’s Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day!

Everyone likes to feel appreciated for his or her contributions at work. Have you been making it a point to show gratitude to your employees recently? Observed on the first Friday in March each year, which happens to be today, is Employee Appreciation Day! Take some time today to participate.

Let us count the ways:

1. Organize a Recognition Ceremony
Have a ceremony to recognize the accomplishments of your coworkers. Whether it is their work anniversary year, great customer interactions, or meeting sales goals, your employees will enjoy being recognized for their accomplishments.

2. Have a Food Day
Order out for lunch, have a breakfast buffet, or bring in some baked goods. Whatever you choose, employees will enjoy free food and a reason to hang out in the break room.

3. Provide Professional Development
Become a mentor or provide training opportunities for your employees. Allow them to develop within their careers.Employee Appreciation Day

4. Send Thank You Notes
Create personalized thank you notes to recognize your employees. Take the opportunity to show your coworkers that you care about their work and accomplishments.

5. Small Gifts
This one depends on your company’s gift policy, so make sure to check with Human Resources before buying any gifts. If HR gives you the go ahead, buy small gifts or gift cards to hand out.

6. Take Time to Listen
Listening to your employees is one of the keys to great communication. In this case, listening does not mean only paying attention to work-related conversations. Take time to listen to your employees all the time. What do they like to do outside of work? Do you know?

7. Create Opportunity
Show your coworkers that you appreciate them by creating opportunities. Send someone to an important meeting to encourage him to step out of his comfort zone.

8. Extra Time Off
Surprise your office by sending everyone home early. If that won’t work, give out some PTO or vacation time. This will allow your coworkers to rest, relax, and be ready continue their great work.

9. Give Away Apparel
Giving away shirts, polos, sweatshirts, or blankets with company branding makes a great employee appreciation gift, boosts morale, and serves as a marketing tool. What more could you want?

10. Keep It Up
Don’t wait for Employee Appreciation Day to recognize your coworkers. Find ways to show your gratitude throughout the year.

How are you going to show appreciation to your employees this year? Share in the comments below!

Presidents’ Day: How will the Trump Presidency Affect Business?

Monday February 20 is Presidents’ Day and many have the day off (lucky ducks). Originally, this holiday started as the celebration of George Washington’s birthday (February 22) but has since evolved. Now it’s a Monday holiday that celebrates our nation’s presidents past and present. Presently, we are one month into the Trump Presidency, and like it or not, there have been many changes. Trump campaigned with the slogan “Make America Great Again,” with the promise to invigorate businesses and the American economy. Now that he has spent a month in the Oval Office, what can we expect the effect of his proposed changes will be on businesses, nationally and abroad?

TrumpTaxes

During his election bid, Trump promised to make taxes simpler and to lower taxes for all Americans. This sounds great, but there’s a catch. President Trump’s tax plan for businesses could hurt small business owners. His proposed tax plan would have all
businesses pay a 15% tax, which is higher than what many small businesses pay currently. So the tax plan is great for the private citizen, but not so great for small business owners. There is a bright side to this, however. With more money staying in the hands of consumers rather than the government, that means they could potentially spend more. This could benefit small businesses; if those extra dollars are spent on their products and services.

Growth

Trump is the first U.S. President to never have held a public office prior to his presidency. Much of his campaign was run focusing on his experience as a businessman and how he would make the United States a more profitable nation. The Republican Party typically takes a hands-off approach when it comes to governing and regulations. Trump followed party ideology by reversing many of the previous administration’s regulatory decisions, such as the Keystone Pipeline. His stance on coal, oil, and gas regulations can provide quite a boost for these industries; but deals a blow to the “Green Initiative” companies favored by President Obama. It is the support of industries like coal, oil, and gas which may have indeed won Trump several states like Pennsylvania (a typically Democratic-leaning state), in which these industries are a major part of the local economy.

Global Economy

Another key platform issue during the 2016 presidential campaign was foreign trade and the global economy. President Trump plans to make changes to trade agreements and taxes on U.S. companies that manufacture items outside of our domestic borders. This is in hopes that bringing industry back to the States could help the national economy and employment levels. Many companies that manufacture goods in foreign countries, such as Carrier, have now chosen to return to America to do business due to Trump’s proposed policies, and regulation changes in countries like China. The cost to do business abroad may soon increase and no longer be a profitable option. This will have a direct effect on the countries and their economies in which these industries are pulling out and could have a negative effect on the global economy.

Whether you love it or hate it the Trump administration is poised to make changes. How do you think this presidency will affect business? Will President Trump keep his campaign promises, or will he keep us guessing?