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!

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?

 

 

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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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?

14 Ways to Express Love for Your Job This Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day! While everyone is discussing ways to show love for their friends, families and significant others. We are going to give you 14 ways to express love for your job.hearts-937664_960_720

1. Learn about Your Coworkers
Instead of always covering the same topics like weather and sports, take time to learn about your coworkers’ hobbies and interests outside of work.

2. Food
Show your workplace or department some love by stopping for bagels or donuts. Even better, if you like to bake, your coworkers will appreciate some homemade baked goods.

3. Referrals
A company’s best new hires are usually referred to the organization by its current employees. Do you have a friend who is looking for a change? Refer them to your company.

4. Participate
Does your office have holiday parties, happy hours, or birthday celebrations? If so, show appreciation to your workplace and coworkers by participating as often as possible.

5. Decorate
Add your personal style to your workspace. This helps to both make you comfortable and spark conversation.

6. Say Thank You
A simple ‘thank you’ can go a long way. Whether it is an email, Post-It, or even a more elaborate card, be sure to say ‘thank you’ to those coworkers who choose to help you out during the workday.
love-your-job-steve-jobs-quote
7. Mentor
Take time to share your knowledge with those around you. There is nothing more valuable to a new employee than a trustworthy mentor.

8. Volunteer
Does your workplace sponsor volunteer activities? If so, volunteering is a great way to help your community, while showing appreciation for your workplace.

9. Give Compliments
If you like a coworker’s outfit, tell him or her! Do you like something management has changed, let them know! Compliments can spark conversation and help create a cohesive environment.

10. Be Optimistic
Even if you do not LOVE something about your job, don’t be negative about it. Optimism and critical thinking will help solve problems in the office.

11. Collaborate
Teamwork is something we all get tired of hearing at work. However, collaboration is one of the best ways to show love for your job.

12. Gratitude Board
Inspire your company or department to create a gratitude board. A gratitude board is a space where everyone can participate in leaving notes of gratitude for the office, management, coworkers, or customers.

love-903178_960_72013. Be Present
Some days you may be just going through the motions at work. Make it a point to be present throughout the day. You will do a better job if you are sure to stay mindful.

14. Be Genuine

No matter the way you choose to show love and gratitude at your job, be sure that it is genuinely how you feel.

 

Do you have any other ways to show love for your job this Valentine’s Day? Leave them in the comments below!

Customer Experience: What It Is and How to Create It

We all have certain stores and brands that we keep going back to time after time. They consistently provide us with great products and services. When our friends and family ask for suggestions, they are a name we quickly and confidently provide. We love these companies, but what brings us back for more?

Yes, they provide quality and a product. Yes, they have great customer service. But it’s more than just those things. They create and maintain an excellent customer experience. What exactly does that mean, though? How do you create it? Is it just something that happens with time? Can it be improved? Let’s discuss.

customer service
I bet you’re thinking, customer experience, that’s just a fancy way of saying customer service. WRONG. Though it does include customer service, customer experience is a mix of many things. Think about when you walk into your favorite store, there’s something about the atmosphere and the ease of finding or ordering what you need. Also, you can’t forget about the product or service. You get quality at each turn and you keep coming back.

So, how do they make it happen? Customer experience does not just happen (though if you have a good business plan it may seem like it does); it is created. It’s in the branding and package design, it’s in the materials that go into making the product, and that product’s design. It’s the look and feel of the brick and mortar location. It’s your online presence. It’s in the message the brand exudes. It’s the people and the training they receive. It’s planning. Whether you have an established company or are working to establish a new organization, here are some ways to create and/or improve your customer experience:

Keep It Cohesive

Make sure everyone and everything are on the same page. You take time crafting your mission and message, so put them to work. These should go further than just something employees read in their handbooks; be more than just a catchy tagline. They should mean something to the company and the customer. Everyone in the organization should buy into these messages, and they should carry through all facets of the brand. Also, don’t forget to make sure all branding and imaging carry through the brand as well. You want to be recognizable; make sure your theme is integrated through all platforms.

Make Things Easy

Who doesn’t like easy? Millennials and Generation Z have short attention spans. If it takes too many steps, they are moving on. We are also seeing in the retail world a move from shopping at brick and mortar stores to online shopping. If you don’t have an online presence, you are in trouble. So many locations extend their reach and experience for the customers to multiple channels; online, apps, social media, and physical locations. Each providing ease of access to products and deals. Companies that cannot convert the experience to multiple platforms are faltering. For example, The Limited has just closed all of its physical retail locations–just one of the many recent retail casualties. Though they provided good in-store experiences, The Limited was slow to transition to multi-faceted selling platforms. Only in the past several years did the brand start to offer computerized in-store online ordering, something many other brands had established long before which calculated into their demise.

People Power

Now, I know I said this wasn’t about customer service, but it is part of it. You can make sure that your online platform is easy to navigate, bug-free, and rarely down, but if your customer service is horrible, then forget it. Invest in your people, in their initial training, in their well-being, and their advancement. Happy employees carry their enthusiasm to those they interact with. I am currently planning a wedding and working to interview different “Big Day” vendors. It’s exhausting, but one thing I will say is that all of these vendors get what it means to create a customer experience. I recently said “yes to my dress,” and the experience and service there was amazing. They made sure my pregnant bridesmaids always had water and snacks; the woman who helped me find my dress even gave me her personal cell phone number so I can keep her updated on my wedding planning progress. They added the personal touch and made me feel special. If you can instill the importance of making a connection with your clients to everybody in your organization, you will have them coming back for more time and time again. Make them see the value in your people as well as in your product.

Customer experience is an expansive concept that includes, customer service, good products, easy online navigation, and more. Competition is everywhere. Make a plan that will help you stand out and connect with your client base. Plan for customer experience; don’t think it will happen magically.

Health and Wellness: Super Bowl Recipes, Tips, and a Workout!

super bowl atlanta falconsAre you ready for some football? Although our Pittsburgh Steelers will not be playing this weekend, many of us will be attending or hosting a Super Bowl party for the food, commercials, and Lady Gaga! Here at ABG Capital, we are not quite ready to give up our healthy New Year’s Resolutions for the big game. As an organization, we focus on creating a culture of health and wellness; for example, check out our other healthy blog posts here! Before this weekend’s festivities, we would like to share with you some ways to stick to your resolutions while still having fun.

Let’s start with the food! Here are a few of my favorite healthy party recipes:

Sweet Potato Bites with Bacon and Guacamole

These are a great alternative to the potato skins, chips or fries. They have just the right amount of protein and fat without all the excess starch and carbs. They’re sure to be a hit at your Super Bowl party.

Greek Lemon Chicken Skewers with Tzatziki Sauce

Who doesn’t love chicken on a stick? This recipe packs a lot of flavor while being healthy. They’re also easy to make for a big crowd as they can all be marinated and grilled easily.

If these recipes aren’t enough for your party, check out this list of 20 Healthy Super Bowl recipes from Pinterest!

Another source of calories on game day comes from your drink choices. If you can’t possibly have fun while drinking water, here are some suggestions. If you’d rather keep it simple try to stick with flavored vodka, water, and ice or diet coke and rum.

Lastly, get off the couch! Use this football workout to get your exercise during the game!

football workout[28]

Do you have a favorite game day recipe or cocktail? Will you be trying to lighten them up? If so, share your suggestions in the comments.