A Boss vs a Leader; What’s the Difference?

In comparing the terms boss vs. leader, many people often use the terms boss and leader interchangeably.

In our competitive world, being a leader is more important than being a boss to boost your performance and ensure greater success for your business. It helps motivate your employees rather than make them feel dictated and unappreciated.

A Boss vs. a Leader; What’s the Difference?

In an office environment, you need to be more like Elon Musk than Hitler.

My Transformation From Boss to Leader

When I started my first business, I was more of a manager than a leader. The business had reached $1,000,000 in sales, but it made me realize that if I wanted it to grow further effectively, I needed to lead my employees toward mutual success. It motivated me to find a business coach who helped me with personal development so I could win the battle of boss vs. leader.

The more I learned, the more I realized that it is one thing to have a plan and another thing to deploy the plan. I began to share the vision in every staff meeting and empowered my employees to feel a personal connection with the company. Thus, my business grew dynamically without my day-to-day involvement. I stayed focused on our business’s futuristic plans while our team handled the day-to-day operations with ease and more dedication than before. Many of our employees became extremely loyal to our business. Our sales rocketed to $8.5million, and our profits grew to more than $1,500,000 per year.

This immensely changing work environment encouraged me to share my vision with you. So let’s explore the differences between boss vs. leader because I intend to empower you with the ability to do the same for your trade.

With a close look at the definitions of the terms, you will appreciate the complexities at play. In the beginning, the two terms may seem somewhat alike and interchangeable. But a closer analysis highlights differences that present an entirely different meaning to both roles.

A boss says ‘go!’ A leader says ‘let’s go!’

 Definitions Of A Boss vs. A Leader

Boss 

leader vs boss pointing a finger

  • Boss is a term that generally invokes a negative idea. Whenever we label someone as ‘bossy,’ we are not paying a compliment; we are insinuating that they are manipulative and commanding.
  • In a nutshell, a boss is simply in a special position of power and will have control over his/her subordinates because of their role.
  • The terms are distinguished by precision and power. Being a boss is a position demanding the capacity to give instructions and orders, assuring people perform the job the boss instructs them to do.
  • Bosses don’t request or hope for action. They expect and state what needs to be done, which can be very off-putting to today’s self-actualized employees.
  • A boss is compelled to instruct the subordinates on what is required and make sure the needs are met.

 Leader 

leader vs boss showing a task

On the other side of the coin, the word ‘leader’ is a term that incites positivity. When we say, leader people automatically envision someone more like a coach than a dictator.

For example, “she was a true leader” or “he was a prominent and proficient leader.”

Unlike a boss, a leader is known to be a person who guides the subordinates. Instead of just barking orders, leaders actually perform the task while showing others how to do the same.

Although the focus remains on getting the task done, a leader doesn’t only emphasize the end results but also on the process.   They determine the goal and continue to guide the subordinates throughout the process until their employees are fully trained to perform the tasks themselves. From there, the leader’s role is more motivational instead of supervisory.

In a battle of boss vs. leader, a leader will always find more success simply because there are mutual care and understanding between them and their employees.

2.  Underlying Focus of Boss vs. Leader

The primary concern of every organization should be the focused goal of the company. It generally provides the direction and, to a larger extent, commands the approach to work. So what differentiates a boss from a leader where the focus is concerned?

·        The Focus of a boss is profit and control.

A boss is typically concerned with ensuring top financial results that will guarantee the company’s continuing growth.

This is the sole objective behind a boss’s interest. But ego also plays an important role in the job function of a boss. They want the job done exactly as dictated, with no room for suggestions.

Notwithstanding, the orientation towards achieving the goals may exist because the boss might be accountable to others just as the employees are to him/her. As a result, if they cannot make subordinates perform the tasks as needed for financial growth, then their position might be at risk.

Simply put, a boss is concerned with the outcome and not the process itself.

·        For a leaderthe focus is on transforming people and the organization.

A leader is in a unique position to inspire change and transform the company from a lower to a higher status quo.

The objective of a leader is centered on achieving the vision established for a particular company. Such a vision is transformative for all stakeholders. Senior managers, employees, shareholders, customers, and vendors realize benefits because of a good leader’s vision.

The leader is engaged in supporting the subordinates to thrive as workers and as individuals. Continuous improvement of every aspect of the organization is the goal of a true leader.

So when it comes to boss vs. leader:

A boss does things right; a leader does the right thing.

 3. Motivation From Boss vs. Leader

The distinctive focus and orientation of a leader and a boss are similar when measuring the motivation behind their actions.

unhappy boss

·        Bosses are motivated by standards and results.

Such standards are frequently defined by their capacity to improve productivity and profitability within the company.

A boss might employ a particular process that has proven to be fruitful regardless of whether or not their employees can adapt to it. At this level, the boss is concerned with identifying the best standards and then deploying them.

The supervisory role demands that the boss make sure the subordinates obey/maintain the established standards in their execution without any input.

·        The leader is motivated by the values they cherish.  

A leader will hold a vision, which is largely driven by their own values and mission. As specified earlier, these are not only money-driven goals but often deal with the type of business values the leader would like to achieve as a whole.

A leader’s vision can be on growth or sustainability or customer service, and these values will ultimately drive them towards success.

A leader’s personal values often become the business’s driving force and will broadly determine the way they lead. Moreover, the leader is not concerned about how that might be used to accomplish the jobs, so long as the subordinates retain the values as part of their performance.

Again, in a battle of leader vs boss, a leader differs from a boss in the style they aspire to motivate the team. 

Rewards and punishment typically characterize a boss’s effort to control and motivate the workforce. More often than not, the trend is centered on punishment, with employees being strictly monitored to assure that they do not stray from the expected standards.

As far as bosses are concerned, the worst a subordinate can do is quit following the process, as this could imply a drop in productivity and profit. They do not appreciate a new method or an unapproved one, even if it yields better results.

On the other hand, a leader uses inspiration as a motivational tool. The leader wants the subordinates to be motivated by the very vision driving their actions. This ensures that the vision remains the ultimate goal that everyone in the team is aspiring to achieve. They may use diverse inspirational tactics, but the ultimate goal remains the same; to motivate employees to perform better.

A leader offers to grant positive rewards to their subordinates, therefore inspiring them to pursue their vision.

Rather than threatening and intimidating the subordinates to perform the task, a leader presents a challenge and grants a positive reward as part of the agreement.

When there is a problem, bosses blame people, but leaders condemn processes.

 4.  Boss vs. Leader: Objectives and Approach to Work

Bosses and leaders similarly have a diverse approach to work and setting objectives.

  • A boss approaches work as an administrator.

A boss can be seen as a supervisor since the approach involves telling the subordinates about the job at hand, guiding them on how the job should be performed, and monitoring to ensure the end objectives are accomplished.

They take a dominating approach to work, demanding that the subordinates adhere to the instructions as stringently as possible.

A boss will often possess an outlined plan that their employees must follow to the letter.

It is worth noting that this rigorous approach to work doesn’t require that the boss be very qualified to set objectives.

Bosses don’t need to be the hardest or meanest to threaten people into submission. A great boss has studied the practices. Knowledge is vital to being a boss, and the subordinates are required to execute tasks as they are told for the simple reason that the boss knows best. On this basis, an employee is not supposed to contribute any insight into the jobs or assist in setting objectives.

These employees are good with repetitive tasks but prefer not to take the initiative or engage in a dialog for fear of being punished for insubordination. They may have experience but usually have low aspirations. The boss wants their obedience to assure proper implementation. The boss supplies the resources but doesn’t participate in the procedures except for, of course, the supervisory role.

 Leaders determine the what; employees determine the how.

The leader approaches work via innovation and collaboration. 

Because change is their motivation with a focus on the ultimate goal of the company, a leader’s approach varies from one employee to another. They assist in teaching and transforming rather than instructing.

It is not about following specific methods and adhering to the procedures that are proven in the leader’s view. The basis is to discover new ways to complete tasks and still achieve profitable results.

So beyond the initial apprenticeship stage, the leader doesn’t tell the subordinate how to go about the task. In fact, a leader will encourage that the subordinates suggest new and improved ideas.

A leader will encourage and guide, challenging the subordinates to be as engaged in process improvement as possible. The method is more collaborative. A leader remains hands-on with the task to set the example for the followers but trusts the employees to run the process in the future, on their own.

Basically, a leader perceives work as an occasion to educate and empower subordinates. Every task is considered a means to increase the workforce’s knowledge and quality and not merely a process to attain the set goals. A leader focuses on the bigger picture rather than just the task at hand.

Since the leader encourages collaboration, employees develop a sense of loyalty and commitment to the company for mutual growth.

5. The Origin of Authority of Boss vs. Leader

Authority is one of the central elements that a leader and a boss have in common. Simply put, authority is the power or right to command, make decisions, and intensify obedience.

  • For the boss, the authority comes from the position.

A boss remains an ‘authority figure because of a title. Consequently, anyone attaining the position of hierarchy within the workplace, whereby other workers are less in power, automatically becomes a boss. This implies that a boss’s authority comes from an outside source, like the title and position, and not in the boss’s inner abilities to control the subordinates.

However, this is by no means suggesting that the boss wouldn’t be qualified for the position. It rather says that his/her ability to influence is not the reason for his/her position. The boss could be the most equipped individual for the technicalities of the task but not necessarily the ablest at leading the team.

The leader gets his/her authority from an innate need for mutual growth

A title doesn’t make somebody a leader, as leadership can be demonstrated even from lower positions within the workplace hierarchy.

Furthermore, a leader holds authority over subordinates because the subordinates willingly offer it to them. They do so because they understand that the leader can take charge and turn things around.

The authority of a leader is usually something that requires reinforcement and real proof. To sustain their authority, the leader must present results and proceed to inspire the subordinates.

A leader undoubtedly has authority, yet this authority is not used to create an unequal work setting. The leader treats the subordinates on an equal basis and not based on their position or title.

Employees will abandon a boss but will take a bullet for a leader.

 6. Communication and Administration of Boss vs. Leader

Communication might have a positive or negative influence on teamwork.

A boss will often have a commanding style of communication.

boss pointing with megaphone

Because the approach to work emphasizes administrative features, communication in this scenario is often one-sided. The subordinate doesn’t engage actively in any discussion as the boss doesn’t encourage the need for a conversation.

The style of communication is established in directions, where the subordinates are only allowed to pose queries on how to best follow the directions.

Generally, the boss’ communication centers on passing the message across and ensuring they are fulfilled.

7. Accountability for Boss vs. Leader

Accountability is another focus area where bosses are distinguished from leaders. The major difference, in this case, is determined by the condition of responsibility and the way they both share accountability in the group.

A boss delegates responsibility and assigns accountability to others

Since accountability is shared, the subordinate may get the blame should things go awry.

The rigorous processes and stress on standards can suggest the boss finds it easy to locate the individual at fault. Whoever doesn’t adhere to the precise commands from the boss can be blamed for failing the project.

There exists no self-reflection with a boss. If the project fails, it only means one thing, which is ‘someone didn’t adhere to the procedures laid out by the boss.’ Once failure strikes a project, the boss entirely focuses on identifying the person or technician at fault.

Emphasis is on making someone else accountable for any failure.

Amusingly enough, a boss will not share the appreciation as much if the project is a success.

Failure is wholly blamed on the incapacity to follow orders, while success is attributed to implementing good procedures. The focus here is on the procedures and not especially the subordinates who obeyed them. The belief is that as long as the procedures are suitable, anyone could follow the rules. So, when success is achieved, the boss gets credit for it.

With the leader, accountability rests on them.

leader vs boss celebrating with team

Although a leader might share decision-making and responsibilities with the subordinate, they are ultimately responsible in the case of any failure.

Failures in the project are often opportunities for a leader and their team members to learn. They investigate whether something could have been done differently for better results. The leader identifies if their support was enough and whether the tools were adequate.

Moreover, the leader desires to obtain solutions to correct the failures rather than accusing the subordinates.

Accountability for leaders implies acknowledging mistakes yet not dwelling on them.

In addition, a leader acknowledges that everyone is a vital part of the team, and the entire team must work efficiently to succeed. Leaders believe that success is earned through teamwork, and as a result, will share success with the team.

Concluding views

To conclude, the roles of boss vs. leader may seem similar.  But as you look deeper into each role, you will identify remarkable differences. The difference is centered on the approach you take towards your subordinates and the objectives you fix for yourself.

‘A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.’-John Maxwell.

Boss vs. leader

Regardless of how you define a leader, you can aspire to be a difference-maker as far as success and failure are concerned. A great leader has an innovative vision and understands how to transform his ideas into real-life accomplishments.

On the other hand, a lot of bosses are basically that – a boss. They have reached a position in the controlling sector of the corporate pyramid. They occupy a good office and a special parking space. They make decisions that impact the direction of the business and control cash flow. Yet, none of these make them a leader.

However, the great news is that bosses can grow into leaders if they are open to a more productive and innovative approach.

By acquiring leadership skills, bosses can become the kind of leaders who hire and keep top talent while equally nurturing employee growth and growing a company’s output subsequently.

Want to become a great leader? Below are some of the leadership qualities that distinguish a good leader from a bad one.

Qualities of leadership

leader with thumbs up

1.       Honesty and Integrity

The highest quality of leadership is integrity. With no integrity, no actual success is conceivable, no matter the field of work.  Honesty and integrity are two vital elements that characterize a good leader. You wouldn’t expect your followers to be honest when you lack the qualities yourself.  Leaders thrive when they remain steadfast to their values and central beliefs.

2.       Confidence

To be an efficient leader, you must be very confident to make sure that others will be self-assured. If you are uncertain about your decisions and qualities, then you can’t expect your subordinates to follow you.

3.       You Must Be a Source of Inspiration 

The most challenging task for a leader is to convince others to follow. This is not possible until you can inspire your followers by serving as a role model. When things get hard, they look up to you and observe how you respond to the situation. If you set the example, they will follow you. You need to be a positive influence as a leader. This must be manifested in your actions, for instance, by staying calm under pressure.

4.       Delegation and Empowerment

As a leader, it is impossible to do everything right. You need to focus on principal responsibilities while assigning the rest to others. In essence, you need to empower your followers and delegate tasks to them.

If you proceed to micromanage your followers, this will build a lack of trust, and more essentially, you might not be able to focus on vital issues the way you should. Assign responsibilities to your subordinates and measure how they execute them. Equip them with the tools and support they need to accomplish the objective and help them realize personal growth.

5.   Vision 

Great leaders constantly have a vision and purpose. They do not merely envision the future themselves but regularly share their vision with their followers. Once their followers can view the bigger picture, they can be sure of where they are heading. A good leader works above and beyond and justifies why they are going in a particular direction to develop a defined but open plan of action to reach that goal.

The list continues with many more leadership qualities that you’ll want to adopt to join the elite club of great leaders. Among these are creative thinking and innovation, good communication skills, empathy, decision-making capacity, and commitment.

In a battle of boss vs. leader, it is always good to choose the latter because you can instigate higher productivity as part of a team. Remember, people only followed Hitler out of fear. But all aspiring and skilled employees strive to work for Elon Musk, the true leader of our generation.

Being a boss may feel good for the ego, but being a leader yields success.

 

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Part 1- How to Profit through Time Management

Profit through Time Management

Manage Time Like Money and Profit Through Time Management

Why did you get into business for yourself? Was it to be your own boss? Choose your own hours? Have more time with the family? Spend more time doing what you love? How do you profit through time management? Chances are, you answered yes to all these questions.

These days, you probably wonder where the time went. Why you spent 12 hours at work and barely make a dent in your to-do list. We already know that time is a key resource for you and your business, but it’s also a key resource in your life. Harnessing and leveraging time is the only way to enjoy life, and have a profitable business at the same time.

A few years back I was working with a client who told me that he hadn’t had a date with his wife in years! He was running a million-dollar business with ten employees but he didn’t take any time off for himself. We were able to restructure the business that made him more profitable and he was able to get regular dates with his wife.

The Pareto Principle in Business

You may be familiar with the Pareto Principle; 80% of your results can be attributed to 20% of your efforts, while 20% of your results can be attributed to 80% of your efforts. As the leader of your business, you want to focus your efforts on the activities that yield the greatest results.

Most business owners carefully manage their financial and personnel resources, and pay due attention to their performance. Marketing plans and budgets are created, people are hired and fired. What most business owners don’t realize is that time – and the time of all employees – requires the same attention and diligent management.

Time will never manage itself.

Time is invaluable when you are running a business. That is why it is important to manage time like money and profit through time management. Time will never manage itself. The decision to make a pro-active effort to manage your time must come from you. Once you have committed to taking ownership for your own time management, there are a host of tools available to you. But first, you must understand how much your time is actually worth, and where you are currently spending it.

What is Your Time Worth?

Ever wonder what your time is actually worth? Here’s a quick way to figure it out:
Target annual income A.
Working days in a year B. 235
Working hours in a day C. 7
Working hours in a year D. 1,645
A/D = YOUR HOURLY WORTH (before tax + expenses) E.

This is a very simple calculation intended to put your time in perspective. In reality, no one is productive for each of the 1,645 hours. Various studies have put actual productivity at anywhere between 25 minutes and four hours per day. Either way, there’s a lot of room for improvement.

How Many Days Do You Have Left on Earth?

Let’s look at it another way:

Your age A.
Days in a year B.
Days spent on earth to date (A x B) C.
Average life expectancy D. 70
Total projected days on earth (D x B) E.
Estimated days left (E – C) F.

This exercise isn’t intended to scare you, but bring your attention to the importance of choosing how you spend each hour you have available. It is a choice! By developing the skills required to manage your time, you will not only have a profitable business but rewarding and balanced life.

The Five Culprits of Time Theft

Chances are – if you’re like most people – you have no idea where your time goes. You’re likely frustrated by the fact that you can spend 10, 12, even 14 hours a day working, and not make a dent in your to-do list, or only bill half of those hours.

When we’re too busy and overloaded with work, we often switch into reactive mode. We can’t make it to the bottom of the pile and end up handling issues and making decisions at the last minute. One of the great benefits of choosing to become proactive in time management is that you can become proactive in all other areas of your business. When in a proactive mode, you can take steps to grow your business through networking, building programs, and establishing systems.

Before you investigate where your time goes, let’s take a look at the top five culprits of modern-day time theft:

1. Time Management and Your Email

Make profit through time management and managing your email. How many times a day do you check your email? Is Outlook or Mail constantly running on your desktop? Email – internal, external, personal and business – clogs up your day like no other communication channel. For many of us, it is possible to spend the entire day writing and responding to emails without even glancing at our inbox. The number of emails sent and received each day by the average person in 2007 was 147. Multiply that by an average of two minutes per message, and you have spent almost five hours on email in a single day.

2. Time Management and Your Mobile Phone

Cell phones have created convenience, security, and the luxury of telecommuting. PDAs and cell phones have also created a society that expects to be able to reach you at any moment or at least receive instant responses to their calls. Your cell phone or PDA not only robs you of your time during the day but also during the evenings and on weekends when you are not at work.

3. Time Management and Your Open Door Policy

If you make it easy for your staff and associates to interrupt you, they will. Too often, open-door policies are set up by human resource departments to create clear communication channels. Instead, they create a clog of employees lined up at your door seeking immediate answers to non-emergent issues.

4. Time Management in Meetings

You can profit through time management if we also manage our meetings well. How many times have you been to a meeting that was scheduled to be an hour, and ended up lasting three? How often do you attend unnecessary meetings? Or meetings that run off-topic? Meetings can be a huge source of wasted time – your valuable time. In a senior management or ownership position, your day may consist of back-to-back meetings, leaving only your evening hours to complete the tasks that should have been done during the day.

5. Time Management: YOU!

Every person has daily habits that sabotage their ability to work productively and efficiently. Many entrepreneurs and business owners can’t separate business hours from leisure hours. Some get caught in a time warp while surfing the internet. Others – mainly overachievers – can become paralyzed by perfectionism or procrastination. Mainly we just don’t have the tools to schedule and structure our time in a way that fits with our working style.

Where Does Your Time Go?

So far we’ve seen that time is a resource that should be as carefully managed as cash, we’ve figured out what your time is worth, and looked at the top five culprits of time theft. You’ve committed to taking steps to become a better time manager. What now?

Personal Time Management Research Exercise

The next step is to take a good, (and honest!) look at how you spend your time. Once you understand your patterns and habits, you begin to implement the strategies in this chapter that will make you a better time manager.

Step One: Time Audit

Use the Time Log Worksheet at the back of this chapter to record how you spend your time for three working days in a row. Be honest, and be specific. Include time spent in transit, surfing the web, interacting with clients and colleagues, as well as how your time is spent at home in the evenings. The more information you can record, the easier it will be to analyze your time management skills in step two.

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Step Two: Time Categorization

Once you have recorded your time for three days, sit down with all three sheets in front of you and identify the following using different colored markers or highlighters:

• Driving, public transportation or other travel
• Eating, including food preparation
• Personal Errands
• Exercise
• Watching TV
• Sleeping, including naps
• Using the computer, personal use only
• Being with family/friends
• Emailing, including checking, reading, and returning messages
• Talking on the phone, including checking and returning messages
• Internal meetings
• External meetings
• Administrative work
• Client work
• Non-client, non-administrative work

Step Two: Time Analysis

Now that you have identified how you have spent your time, go through the worksheets one more time and identify if you have spent enough, too much, or too little time on each main task.

Then, based on your observations, answer the following questions:1. What patterns do you notice about how you spend your time during the day? (i.e., When are you most productive? Least productive? Most or least interrupted?)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
2. Write down the four highest priorities in your life right now. Does your timesheet reflect these priorities?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
3. If you had more time, what would you do?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

4. If you had less time, what wouldn’t you do?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

5. Could you remove the items in question four and add the items in question three? Why or why not?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

6. Is procrastination a problem for you? How much?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Go here to read Part 3.
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Finding and Training Great Employees

finding and training great employees
Part 1 of 3.

The people you hire to work for your business can be your biggest assets and your biggest headaches; finding and training great employees can be a challenge. They can support and help you to achieve the vision you have for your company – but they can also prevent you from reaching that vision.

Finding and Training Great Employees

Too many businesses overlook the role of employee recruitment and retention when planning for the success of their organization. Staffing is an important exercise that needs to be purpose-driven and strategic, just like marketing.

Employees Think: What’s in it for Me?

It is vital to understand in today’s market that the relationship between employee and employer is a two-way street. Now, more than ever, employees have a “what’s in it for me?” attitude that extends beyond salary and benefits expectations into incentive and rewards programs. The days of simple compensation structures are over.

Now, this may sound like a big headache, but it’s actually a good thing! With some simple systems and open dialogue, you will be able to effectively create – and keep – your dream team.

The Power of Your Dream Team

How much of your own personal time has human resources – staff hiring, firing, issues management, etc. – taken this year? No doubt staff recruitment and retention is one of the biggest challenges facing any business owner today.

The truth is, if you spent half as much time on human resources as you do on marketing, I guarantee your sales would increase dramatically.

Employees Treat Customers Exactly the Way You Treat Them

Customers know the difference between happy employees and disgruntled ones, and it makes a difference when it comes to purchasing decisions. I’ve heard it said that your employees will treat your customers exactly the same way that you treat them. Would you rather have your car serviced by a grumpy mechanic who doesn’t feel his good work is rewarded or a pleasant one who just stepped out of a weekly team meeting?

A successful business owner has confidence in the people who work for him because he believes they are the best people for the job. Employees who know their employer believes in their skills and abilities will go over and above to get the job done, to make the sale.

Successful Business Owner Invest Time and Money in Employees

Successful business owners invest time and money in finding, keeping and training great employees. These are the people who share and support the collective vision of the company.

I’m not talking about a complicated formula or magic concoction. I’m talking about some careful thought and a proactive strategy that will make your business shine from the inside out.

how to get the best employees

 

Finding Your Dream Employees

Building a dream team starts by finding and hiring the right people for the job. Sounds simple enough. You post an ad, find someone who has the necessary qualifications and hire them on.

Not so fast. Recruitment is a complex process that can dramatically impact your business operations. Just like finding and securing the right customers, finding and hiring the right candidates requires pro-active planning and careful evaluation.

Create an Internal Recruitment System

If you currently work with a recruiting agency to build your team, now may be a good time to stop and evaluate the effectiveness of their service. While a recruiting agency can save you the time and hassle of working through the hiring process, it can also cost more money in the long run.

I always recommend creating an internal recruitment system, not because recruiting agencies do a bad job, but because no one knows your business like you do.

 

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Create an Attractive Business Culture

If you want to attract and retain the highest quality clients, you must have a culture that is attractive and a future that is compelling. Developing an effective strategic plan and including your employees in the process is a good place to start. Determine where you are going, what your mission is and how your organization will treat others. Once you have established your vision, mission, and values, then you must deploy them throughout your organization to ensure that you “practice what you preach.”

An internal recruitment system ensures that the true essence of your business culture is communicated – from advertisement to interview. You also have the opportunity to communicate expectations from the outset, instead of relying on the recruiter to relay this information. The middleman’s thoughts and impressions are eliminated, leaving you to make decisions based on your impression of the candidate and no one else’s.

Step One: Advertise the Opportunity

The first step in recruiting candidates is obviously letting potential candidates know about the opportunity with your company.

But before you pick up the phone to place a classified ad, remember that advertising for potential employees requires just as much consideration and planning as general advertising for your business.

Before You Place an ad ask yourself:

• Who is your ideal candidate?
• What are their skills and qualifications?
• What is their personality or demeanor?
• What are they passionate about?
• What are they looking for in a job?

Once you have a mental picture of your candidate, then you can begin to write an ad that will not only reach them but also inspire them to act (and submit an application).

When writing this ad, be as specific as possible and focus on the benefits of the job. Remember that potential candidates screen job postings with an eye for “what’s in it for me.” Tell them exactly that.

Here are a few sample job postings:

Are you the Marketing Assistant we need?

About You

You’re fun, friendly and have a keen eye for detail. You’re always two steps ahead of your colleagues, and eager to take on new and exciting challenges.

You’ll be the glue that keeps the marketing team operating in a seamless fashion, responsible for website updates, copywriting, event coordination and client relations. You’ll be punctual, responsible, and well put together.

You’ll ideally have an undergraduate degree in marketing or English, and some previous office experience, but a fast learner with a great attitude will also get our attention.

About Us

We are a collaborative team of young professionals. We offer a competitive salary, great benefits and performance incentives.

Think you fit the bill? Email your resume and cover letter to John Jones at [email protected] business.com by Friday at 5 pm.

Are Computers Your Life?

About You

You are smart, outgoing, and a wiz when it comes to computer programming. You’re on your friend’s speed dial for computer emergencies, large and small. Helping people understand the complex digital world is your passion.

You’ll be our Lead Computer Technician, managing our computer repair counter and five Junior Technicians. You’ll have great people skills, mounds of patience, and enjoy working as part of a dynamic team.

About Us

We operate Anytown’s leading computer repair store and are known across the region for our customer service. We work hard, play hard, and offer a competitive benefits package to our employees.

Tell us why this job is for you. Email your resume and cover letter to [email protected] by Thursday, September 23.

Both of these job postings speak directly to a very targeted audience. They’re friendly, colloquial, and communicate the job requirements in an informal way.

Every job posting should:

• Be written in the way that you talk
• Be specific
• Describe benefits
• Include skills, qualifications, duties and job title
• Be written in the present tense
• Have a great headline
• Call the reader to action
• Be simple – in word choice and sentence structure
• Be more exciting than the competition

Now that you have a great ad to post, you need to decide where you are going to publish it. This depends on the level of the job (junior to management) and on the specific type of candidate you are looking to recruit.

Here are the five major places to advertise your opportunity:

Government Employment Center

These are great places to find blue-collar or junior level employees. Candidates register with the center, which keeps their resumes on file. Be cautious with this route – it can produce a wide variety of candidates who are not qualified.

Indeed, Ziprecruiter, Etc

This is a great place to post junior to mid-level employment opportunities. You’re looking for basic qualifications from local applicants, perhaps even for part-time positions, with minimal cost.

Linkedin

Senior employment opportunities that require specific high-level qualifications are best advertised with a broad scope. This incurs a greater cost but will return a greater variety of candidates.

Online

This is a cheap way to tap into a massive database of job seekers. Post your ad online on sites like www.monster.com or www.workopolis.com and watch the resumes come flooding in. A large number of highly qualified job seekers who do not wish to register with a recruitment agency will use these services.

Referrals

The most ideal way to find candidates is through your existing network – including associates, colleagues, employees, friends and family. These candidates come to you already vetted by a trusted source. You may also wish to consider giving your staff an incentive to refer their qualified friends and associates to you.

Other Niche Areas

You should also brainstorm a list of any other niche areas that your target market may look for a job. Consider vocational schools, colleges, industry publications, industry associations, small publications, etc.

Conclusion

Once you’ve posted your ad, your next step is to manage the inquiries that come flooding in. These are just a few steps in the process of finding and training great employees.

To read part 2 Finding and Training Great Employees.

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What is the One Missing Key to Your Business Success?

business success

Just like humans, every business has weaknesses. In some cases business owners simply need to work on one or two areas to propel their business to amazing growth and profits. What is the one missing key to your business success?

One of my business ventures was a small service company with 130 employees. Our largest customer was a Ritz Carlton hotel, and the hotel chain was involved with the Malcolm Baldrige Process, a way for organizations to achieve outstanding results. Our leadership team decided to get involved with this process at a state level, and we hired a business coach to help us identify areas of improvement. We grew our profits by more than one thousand percent!

What is the Missing Key to Business Success

There are seven keys to business success according to the Baldrige criteria. Over the next few blog articles, I will be writing about these seven keys. How is your business doing in these areas? Growth normally requires things like small business loans and access to business credit lines but without these 7 keys you will not be managing that growth as effectively and efficiently as you could.

1. Leadership.

Most small businesses are strong in the area of leadership. It takes strong leaders to start and run business. However once your business is going, how do you keep the momentum going? Do you communicate a clear vision, strong values and a compelling mission? Is your team growing, learning and adjusting to the business environment?

2. Strategic Planning.

In my work with small business owners, many do not have a current business plan. That is a huge mistake, especially in this volatile business environment. For example, you would be surprised how many businesses are fortunate enough to get a small business loan but then they don’t use the funds for revenue-generating initiatives and the end result is just more debt and no new clients or business. Every business owner should have short and long term goals, and every employee should understand the goals. Consider all your stakeholders during your planning.

3. Customer Focus.

This area is also a strength for many small business owners. But as a business grows it is easy to lose touch with customers, and without customers your business is dead! Do you have ways of measuring customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction? Are you improving?

4. Measurement.

Speaking of measurement, do you know your business “stats?” In the same way that sports teams know statistics about players, coaches and their offense and defense, you need to track important information. Nearly everyone tracks sale and profits, but do you know the value of your business? What are your key business success factors? Do know how your numbers compared to competitors? You should.

5. Workforce Focus.

Many business owners struggle with finding good employees. Your employees are critical to your business success. Cutting edge leaders believe that their employees are more important than their customers. How do you attract and retain good people?

6. Operations Focus.

The way you deliver your product or service can make you or break you. If you can provide excellent products and services consistently every time, your customers will likely stay with you. Otherwise, you are “rolling the dice.” Wise business owners develop measurable processes that ensure a great customer experience with few exceptions.

7. Results.

This, of course, is the bottom line of all your efforts in business. Once you have determined what is important to measure and have established measures, how are you doing? Are your “stats” improving? How do they compare with your competition or industry? Are your sales and profits growing, or are you struggling like many small businesses? Is your business value growing?

Conclusion

After reviewing these seven keys, what are the top one or two areas that could use some attention in your business? Focus your efforts on the area where your business needs to improve. If you need help, don’t be afraid to seek it out.

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Part 3- How to Profit through Time Management

time management study
Read Part 1 How to Profit Through Time Management or Part 2 of this article.

Personal Time Management Strategy

Choose the top five tips from Part 1 that you think will help you the most, given your personal time management study. This time management study will help you finish all your important tasks and appointments on time.  Write them below, with three corresponding actions that you will start tomorrow.  For example, if you are going to set a strict schedule, three actions might be to establish the schedule, communicate it to your staff, and re-record your voicemail message.

1.

a. _______________________________________________________

b. _______________________________________________________

c. _______________________________________________________

2.

a. _______________________________________________________

b. _______________________________________________________

c. _______________________________________________________

3.

a. _______________________________________________________

b. _______________________________________________________

c. _______________________________________________________

4.

a. _______________________________________________________

b. _______________________________________________________

c. _______________________________________________________

5.

a. _______________________________________________________

b. _______________________________________________________

c. _______________________________________________________

Timesheet | Day Three

Timeslot Activities More/Less/Enough time?
7:30 – 8:00
8:00 – 8:30
8:30 – 9:00
9:00 – 9:30
10:00 – 10:30
10:30 – 11:00
11:00 – 11:30
11:00 – 11:30
11:30 – 12:00
12:00 – 12:30
12:30 – 1:00
1:00 – 1:30
1:30 – 2:00
2:00 – 2:30
2:30 – 3:00
3:00 – 3:30
3:30 – 4:00
4:00 – 4:30
4:30 – 5:00
5:00 – 5:30
5:30 – 6:00
6:00 – 10:00
(Evening)

Daily To-Do List | Business

Task Priority(1-10) Deadline Delegation?

Weekly To-Do List | Personal (Family, Leisure, etc.)

Task Priority(1-10) Deadline Delegation?

Contact Us at 888-504-0777.

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Part 2- How to Profit through Time Management

Go here to read Part 1.

Strategies for Profitable Time Management

There are many ways to curb time theft and refine your time management ability. Through a solid understanding of how you currently spend – and waste – time, you can determine which strategies you need to implement to correct unproductive behavior.

Here are 17 ways you can turn less of your time into more money:

1. Set Clear Priorities

The foundation of time management is a clear understanding of what your time is best spent on. Once you accept that you can’t do everything, you need to decide what needs to be completed now, what can be completed later, and what someone else can complete. Each to-do list you create should be put through this filter, and reorganized so the highest priority items are on top, and the lowest priority items are less visible, or on the bottom.

Once you have established your priorities – which will also naturally reflect the priorities and goals of your business – stick to them. Just because someone else feels something is of a high priority doesn’t mean it holds the same status next to your other tasks.

Prioritization is also helpful in your personal life and leisure time. Your spare time is precious – so make sure are clear on how you would like to spend it.

2. Use Your Skills – Delegate Your Weaknesses

As a business owner, your day naturally consists of tasks you dislike doing. Some are essential – signing checks, reviewing financial statements, and other business maintenance – while others are simply not within your skillset.

If you are a strong public speaker but struggle with report writing – delegate to a copywriter or editor. If you own a retail store and have no experience in design – outsource your signage. These freelance professionals often cost half as much as you and take half as long to complete the task. It is a great idea, especially if you struggle with time management. Your time is saved for tasks that use and strengthen your skills effectively, your stress is managed, and ultimately a better product is produced.

3. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate

As a small business owner, the only way you will ever get everything done is by delegating. Delegation is a vital skill that needs to be refined and practiced, and once mastered is the key to profitable time management.

Too often, owners and managers believe that it will be “faster” or “more efficient” to complete the task themselves than to train and monitor someone else. Other times, there are no internal resources to download assignments.

As a result, the following trends can be seen in many small companies:

• Owners and senior staff are stressed and overworked, while junior staff is underutilized and under capacity.

• Staff members are not given an opportunity to grow and develop in their roles and may perceive a lack of trust or confidence in their ability. The company loses good people.

• Owners and senior staff are always in a reactive state, instead of a visionary or proactive state.

• Delegation happens at the very last minute, and junior staff has little understanding of either the overall project or expectations for the task.

The easiest way to fix this problem is before it starts. Create a solid team of staff members around you who are well-trained and prepared to support the business. Attract and retain qualified and quality people who can be cross-trained and promoted within the company. Ensure that communication flows throughout the business, so everyone has the product and service knowledge to step in and assist when necessary.

4. Learn to Say “No”

It’s easy to fall into the habit of saying yes to everything. You are, after all the business owner, right? No one can complete these tasks as well as you, right? You’ll lose that customer if you don’t help them with their garage sale, right?

Wrong. The most successful business owners have a keen understanding of time management and delegate the remaining responsibilities to trusted others. It’s too easy to say yes to every request in the moment, and later feel overwhelmed when it’s added to your to-do list. You may not ruffle any feathers, but what toll does it take on your stress level? Your workload? Your time is valuable – so protect it!

Remember that if it is too challenging to say no immediately, you can always request some time to think about it. This way, you can evaluate your workload and realistically decide whether or not you can take on a new project. Then, stand by your decision, or assist in bringing in the necessary resources to get it done. time management

5. Create (and keep!) a Strict Schedule

While multi-tasking is a desirable skill, it is also often a time thief. Attempting to do too many things at one time ensures that nothing gets done. As a business owner, you need to be able to focus and concentrate on essential projects without interruptions.

The only way to do this is to commit to a strict schedule. Once you understand your work style and concentration patterns, you can allocate periods of the day to specific tasks. This includes personal and leisure time – schedule it, and stick to it.

Doing a time management by creating a schedule time for list-creation + prioritization, email messages, telephone messages, internal meetings, client meetings, meeting preparation, “me-time”, family time, recreation + fitness, daily business tasks, and blocks for focused work.
Remember that there is a training period involved in beginning a new routine – for yourself and those around you. Use your voicemail, out-of-office email message, and a closed-door to begin to let people know when you will not be disturbed.

6. Make Decisions

The choice to not make a decision is a decision in itself. The most successful business owners have the ability to make good decisions quickly
and efficiently and do not waste time deliberating over simple choices.

In leadership positions, often people are afraid of making the wrong decision or looking foolish if they make a mistake in front of junior staff. What they don’t realize, is that hesitating or avoiding decision making impacts their leadership just as much or more than making the wrong decision. Not only can being indecisive be personally stressful, but it is also stressful for those around you whose tasks are waiting on your choices.

Remember, you must make the best decision with the information you have, in the time frame you have to make the decision. No one expects you to be a fortune teller – be decisive, make some mistakes, and learn from them.

7. Manage Telephone Interruptions

This is a huge source of time theft that can easily be managed and avoided. If you are available to take phone calls at any time of day, you are setting yourself up to take work home in the evenings. The phone will always ring when you are focused on an important task, and this is something that can easily be avoided.

Figure out when you are most productive. Is it in the morning or the afternoon? Before, during, or after lunch? Once you have identified this time period, set your phone on “do not disturb” or have your calls directed to voicemail. If you do not have a receptionist, a variety of automatic answering systems are available for a nominal fee. To structure your phone time further, let callers know on your voicemail what specific time of day is best to reach you via phone. Then, set that time aside to receive and return phone calls.

8. Keep Your Work Environment Organized

Have you ever tried to make dinner in a messy kitchen? More of your time is spent looking for (and cleaning) dishes and tools than actually spent cooking the meal.

The same goes for your work environment. If your desk and office is in a constant state of chaos, then your mind will be too. In fact, some studies have revealed that the average senior business leader spends nearly four weeks each year navigating through messy or cluttered desks, looking for lost information. Does that sound like a productive time for you?

Once you make the initial clean sweep, it’s easy to maintain order in the chaos:

• Tidy your desk at the beginning and end of each day. Attach pertinent documents to your to-do list, or have clear and organized folders for loose papers.
• Organize your supplies drawer so you have easy access to stationery like pens, post-it notes, staplers, and highlighters. Every minute counts!
• Only have the documents and files you are working on, on your desk. The rest should be neatly filed on a side table for later retrieval.
• Keep personal items (like photos or memorabilia) out of your primary line of vision. These can be distracting and encourage daydreaming.

As for your office or store, there are many ways to make its layout more conducive to effective time management. Try:

• Minimizing the distance between the reception desk and electronics like photocopies and fax machines.

• Keep a clear line of sight between your office and the most productive area of your business, so you are aware of what is happening amongst your staff.

• Organize shelves and filing cabinets so files are not only easily accessed, but out of sight when not being used. Consider putting sliding doors or cabinets in storage areas, and remember that the floor is not a storage cabinet.

time management

9. Keep Your Filing System Organized

If your data isn’t organized properly, you will waste hundreds of hours searching for documents you need on a regular basis. This includes both electronic and hard copy files; they need to be organized and up-to-date.

Customer databases and inquiry records are worth their weight in gold. You can’t afford to get behind when updating this information, or poorly store it for later retrieval. There are many easy to use software programs that will manage and organize customer databases for you; it doesn’t need to be a time consuming or tedious exercise.

A simple way to manage information is to keep it in short, medium, and long term files for both hard and electronic copies. Create shortcuts on your desktop for folders or files you constantly access. Have short-term files available on your desk, medium-term files available within an arm’s reach, and long-term files stored in cabinets.

10. Clearly Communicate – Never Assume

One of the biggest issues for time management in business – and likely the world – is miscommunication. This is a dangerous issue that can cripple any business, including yours. Establishing and enforcing clear policies on things like accurate note-taking, task assignments, and phone messages will ensure your staff understands the importance of clear and accurate communication.

The easiest habit to start to curb miscommunication is simple: write everything down. Carry a notepad, and jot down key points, figures, agreements, and deadlines. Don’t assume you’ll remember later – you have at least a hundred other things to remember.

Some other simple strategies are:

• Return all communication promptly, including email, letters, faxes and phone calls
• Repeat back phone messages, phone numbers, and other figures to confirm you recorded the information correctly.
• Record appointments in your PDA or agenda the moment you make them. Otherwise, you will forget.
• Double-check and confirm everything – addresses, phone numbers, meeting locations and times.
• Maintain accurate customer contact logs with dates, times, and phone numbers.
• Post checklists in your store or office for routine operations procedures.
• Announce any changes to the policies and procedures manual immediately.

11. Stop Duplicating Efforts

This is a key element of time management that is closely related to effective communication. Studies have continually shown that many businesses often duplicate and triplicate efforts that need only be completed once.

When you have clear systems and procedures in place, your staff will not need to “reinvent the wheel” each time the task needs to be completed. Meeting minutes and individual task assignments will ensure everyone is on the same page and understands their personal responsibilities.

Simple examples of this include re-reading your to-do list each hour to determine what the next important item is. If your list is already structured by priority, this is a needless task. If two staff members are working on similar projects, but unaware of the other, the work will not only be inconsistent, but the efforts will be duplicated. These are easy problems to fix, once they have been identified and communicated.

12. Say Goodbye to Procrastination + Perfectionism

Procrastination is something we all face at one time or another – and likely have since our school days. However, given the pace that the world operates at today, you will only fall behind your competitor if you allow procrastination to rule your day. So how you do avoid it? It’s simple. Stop, and just get started, no matter how boring, tedious, or painful the project may be. Reward yourself by crossing each step off your to-do list.

Many small business owners also fall victim to perfectionism, which can be paralyzing. The fear that there isn’t enough time or resources to “get it perfect” will sometimes stop you dead in your tracks. Perfectionism can also hinder your ability to delegate and say no to tasks you believe no one else can complete “better”. Do the best you can with the time and resources you have – and just get started.

13. Avoid Needless, Impromptu + Unstructured Meetings

This may seem like a time theft issue that is out of your control, but it’s not. You are in control of your own time, and through strict scheduling can establish a structure for internal and external meetings that everyone around you can work within.
Minimize impromptu internal meetings by letting your staff know when you’re available for a “quick chat” and when you are not. If it is important, ask them to schedule a time to meet with you that works with both of your schedules. This not only saves you time, but encourages staff to find solutions to their own issues, and only approach you with more urgent or challenging matters.

You can’t avoid having meetings, but you can avoid having unstructured meetings. Ask for or create an agenda for each meeting you attend, with a clear objective and an amount of time allocated to each item. This will keep your meetings focused and on task. If a meeting does run late, give yourself a reasonable buffer, and politely leave for your next appointment. You can always follow up with a colleague to catch-up on the pertinent items you may have missed.

14. Establish Clear Policies + Procedures

A clear policy and procedures manual is like a marketing or business plan – it takes time to create, but ultimately saves everyone in your company time, money and effort. A step-by-step guide to “the way we do things here” is an invaluable resource for your existing and new staff, and provides clear expectations for how you like things done.

Too many businesses make up policies and procedures on the fly – creating dangerous scenarios where mistakes are made and expectations are not clear. Some items that should be included in a comprehensive policy and procedures manual include:
• Recruitment
• Customer relations
• Customer inquiries
• Customer complaints
• Returns
• Exchanges
• Late Payments
• Salary structure
• Bonus structure
• Employee review
• Theft
• Harassment

15. Keep the Right Set of Tools

The equipment your business needs to operate (and grow!) effectively should always be on hand, or easily contracted out. This is specific to each company, and closely related to costs – including the cost of your time.
Whether you are a high-tech business or local retailer, knowledge of the latest advancements in technology will increase your efficiency. It will help you stay on top of the competitor, maintain your position as an expert, and perhaps provide an easier way of getting things done.

Always ask yourself if these purchases are essential to your business –could you perhaps make these purchases from a second-hand dealer to minimize cost? Is it more cost-effective to outsource or sub-contract the tasks to someone with access to this equipment, or to buy the equipment yourself?

If your business relies on tools and technology for daily tasks (such as the trade profession) then obtaining the best quality you can afford is crucial.

16. Maintain Your Equipment

This may seem obvious, but you’ll understand the importance if your network server has ever crashed, or point of sale system has malfunctioned. Your business can be slowed to a stand-still if your equipment is not in good working order. Of course, there are instances that can’t be predicted, but regular maintenance of your essential equipment will reduce these occurrences and help to anticipate when old equipment needs to be repaired or replaced.

Go here to read Part 3 How to Profit Through Time Management.

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Finding and Training Great Employees Part 3

Training great employees
Read Finding and Training Great Employees Part 1 and Part 2.

Training Your Dream Employees

Once you have landed your dream employees through a rigorous recruitment process, it is essential that you continue to invest in your decision by putting them through a thorough training process. Training great employees makes them a great asset and grow professionally, and this makes them stay in your company.

Training is Important for Employee Retention

Training an employee is actually an element of recruitment. A new employee’s orientation and training set the tone for their entire employment; this includes their impression of your business, its systems, and respect for its leaders. This has an impact on your ability to retain good people and avoid unnecessary or redundant recruitment processes.

Too often, businesses rely on junior employees to train new ones without any guidelines or ‘curriculum.’ New employees are thrown into the deep end without clear expectations or an understanding of ‘how things are done around here.’

Your Leaders’ Involvement in the Training Process

These elements affect how an employee perceives their own required level of effort or performance. A business that doesn’t give much thought to planning, expectations, and preparation will end up showing a new employee that the same lack of attention is expected from them.

Here are some things to ensure you implement when you create your comprehensive training system:

Prior Learning / Existing Knowledge

Acknowledge your new employee’s prior learning, and don’t overestimate or underestimate their existing knowledge.

Choice of Trainer

Investing time and effort in training employees, make sure the person or people who will be training the new employee are sufficiently qualified and experienced. If an administrator is leading a salesperson’s training and orientation, consider asking another salesperson or more senior team member to assist on specific days or sessions.

Training Materials

Have all the required training materials handy. This includes company manuals, industry guidebooks, common reference materials, work samples and anything else that will aid in the training efforts.

Training Tools

Also, ensure you have the tools available to train your new recruit. Will the training be held at their workstation or another workstation? Do you have all the software you need? All the equipment required? Doing so will ensure the training runs smoothly and the time provided will be used effectively.

Time for Training

Provide more than ample time for training – including time for questions and elaboration. Rushing training benefits no one, including your profits.

Testing to Ensure Mastery

Consider including some ‘tests’ or checks to ensure the new recruit understands each component of the training. Ask the trainer and the trainee to sign-off on each section.

Employees’ Part in the Big Picture

Each team member’s role is part of a larger picture: the company as a whole. Ensure that the trainee understands how their role contributes to the big picture on each level. If they are a junior member of a department, they should understand how their job contributes to the department, as well as how the department contributes to the entire company.

Encourage Employee Feedback

The trainee should be able to ask questions and review information at any time – including after the training process. Create an environment that encourages open dialogue and encourages employees to ask questions when they are unsure of a task.

The other common mistake that many companies make is ending training after the first few weeks of a new recruit’s employment.

Ongoing Employee Training

Training our employees is an ongoing process for every single member of your team, and there should be a system or structure in place to ensure that staff training and development happens on a regular basis. This can include cross-training, employee development, and new systems orientation.

Benefits of Regular Training

Regular training not only benefits your staff and improves their performance, but it allows you – the business owner – to:

• Implement new policies + procedures
• Invest in your staff, thereby improving confidence and morale
• Evaluate staff performance at an individual and team level
• Reward staff based on performance improvements
• Provide a regular arena for feedback and discussion, including positive and negative experiences and issues

One-on-One Training + Evaluation

An effective system of ongoing training for employees is by weekly, monthly, or quarterly staff reviews. When conducted one-on-one, this provides a forum for regular communication with employees to review performance and identify areas for improvement. A one-on-one environment will encourage more open and honest dialogue than if the session were conducted as part of a team.

As a business owner, these sessions are valuable sources of information and insight into the strengths, weaknesses, and motivations of your team.

Senior Staff Mentoring Junior Staff

If you have a large staff, consider pairing junior staff with senior staff and establishing mentorship relationships. This is a powerful way to build the synergy of your team and frees you up from weekly meetings with each staff member. Instead, each senior staff member can report back to you on the results of their regular training sessions, and you only need to conduct these sessions with your senior staff.

Team Training Events

Team training events are great team builders and provide insight into how your team interacts as a whole. These can take the form of “lunch and learns”, where senior staff or guest speakers conduct an hour-long session with staff members or more social team-building exercises with a less formal program.

Team training exercises will shed light on the leaders and followers in an organization and bring together employees who may work outside of the office. These can be especially helpful if you and your senior staff do not see the team ‘in action’ on a daily basis.

Keeping Your Dream Employees

Now that you have spent hours of time and potentially hundreds or thousands of dollars recruiting and training your staff, your human resource job is done, right?

I suppose you’ve done what you’ve set out to do: get the right people working for you. But what happens when those people get bored? Or stolen by another company? Or feel they’ve “done all they can do” at your company?

The final step in the overall recruitment process is employee retention. This includes keeping your employees happy, supporting their development, and giving them an incentive to continuously improve their performance.

Your Work Environment

The environment you create for your staff has a huge impact on your employee retention rates. This includes the interior design and layout of your office or business, the lighting, plants, and kitchen amenities available. It also includes the culture of the company – what is the general working atmosphere? Are most people loud? Quiet? Is there a buzz or hum to the office space?

The bottom line is that employees should enjoy and feel comfortable coming to their workplace – they do spend most of their waking hours there.

Spending a little more on comfortable office furniture and amenities like coffee, tea, snacks, and social spaces will go a long way toward keeping your employees happy at work.

Recognition, Rewards, and Incentive Programs

Did you know that many employees place more value on positive public recognition for a job well done than they do on salary?

Recognition and rewards are powerful tools when it comes to keeping employees happy. Positive feedback from those in more senior positions has a higher perceived value than a 3-5% salary increase – and it costs the business little to nothing to implement.

Retaining Your Employees

Incentive programs are a formalized way of rewarding employees for their achievements and successes. Clear targets and milestones are identified, and when an individual or team reach those milestones they are rewarded with bonuses or prizes.

Recognition, rewards, and incentive programs are an important part of employee retention, as well as team building. They will be discussed in further detail in the Team Building chapter.

Professional Development Programs

Another common reason employees choose to leave their positions is professional development. Many feel they need to move to another company in order to develop their careers or gain more responsibility. They may not necessarily dislike their current role, but become bored or stagnated and believe they have ‘done all they can do’ at that particular company.

Keeping good people means providing opportunities for growth and advancement within your company. This benefits the company because you can hire from within, and save money and time on recruiting and training new staff. It also benefits your employee and increases their loyalty toward your business.

Staff Retention

Professional development programs are an important part of staff retention – but they are also an important part of business growth and development. A company with staff who are always increasing their knowledge and improving their skills will stay on the ‘cutting edge’ of their industry and have an advantage over the competition.

Ongoing training and development should be a primary focus for any growing business. Here’s why:

• Increases productivity
• Increases staff retention
• Increases workplace safety and morale
• Increases customer service
• Increases sales

Professional development programs typically focus on the big picture ambitions of the company and its staff members. The longer-term goals and career ambitions are recorded and taken into consideration.

Professional development can be easily worked into your ongoing one-on-one training systems. Keep a folder or binder for each staff member that outlines current role responsibilities, short and long term goals, and areas for improvement, and review it during your weekly or monthly meetings. Identify specific areas for growth, and develop plans of action for that growth.

For example, if your marketing assistant wants to grow into a marketing coordinator or manager role, and needs to improve her people management skills, consider putting her through a management course.

Simple System Tools for Employee Retention

Maintaining this program doesn’t have to be a time-consuming task. With some simple system tools and a commitment to regularly scheduled meetings, you can have a clear and effective program for your staff.

• Evolving job description documents to monitor roles, responsibilities, and tasks
• Regular performance evaluations
• Goal planning worksheets
• Continuing education programs at local business schools
• Regular meetings between staff and supervisors
• Rewards and incentives
• Difficult to re-organize
• Best for smaller lists

Conclusion

Finding and retaining employees is one of the most challenging issues that small business owners are facing. Implement these practices and see your business take on a life of its own!

Questions about our small business coaching services?

Call us at 1-888-504-0777,

or 

Enter your information below to start growing your revenues and profits today…

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What is the One Missing Key to Your Business Success?

business success

Just like humans, every business has weaknesses.  In some cases, business owners simply need to work on one or two areas to propel their business to amazing growth and profits. Entrepreneurs can benefit from the services of small business coaches, who can assist them in identifying areas that require improvement while also guiding them toward business success.

One of my business ventures was a small service company with 130 employees. Our largest customer was a Ritz Carlton hotel, and the hotel chain was involved with the Malcolm Baldrige Process, a way for organizations to achieve outstanding results. Our leadership team decided to get involved with this process at a state level, and we hired a small business marketing coach to help us identify areas of improvement. We grew our profits by more than one thousand percent!

Seven Keys to Success in Business

There are seven keys to business success according to the Baldrige criteria. Over the next few blog articles, I will be writing about these seven keys. How is your business doing in these areas?  Growth normally requires things like small business loans and access to business credit lines but without these 7 keys, you will not be managing that growth as effectively and efficiently as you could.

1.  Leadership in Business.

Most small businesses are strong in the area of leadership. It takes strong leaders to start and run business. However, once your business is going, how do you keep the momentum going? Do you communicate a clear vision, strong values, and a compelling mission? Is your team growing, learning and adjusting to the business environment?

2.  Strategic Planning in Your Business.

In my work with small business owners, many do not have a current business plan.  That is a huge mistake, especially in this volatile business environment. For example, you would be surprised how many businesses are fortunate enough to get a small business loan but then they don’t use the funds for revenue-generating initiatives and the end result is just more debt and no new clients or business.  Every business owner should have short and long term goals, and every employee should understand the goals. Consider all your stakeholders during your planning.

3.  Customer Focus in Your Business.

This area is also a strength for many small business owners. But as a business grows it is easy to lose touch with customers, and without customers your business is dead! Do you have ways of measuring customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction? Are you improving?

4.  Measurement in Your Business.

Speaking of measurement, do you know your business “stats?” In the same way that sports teams know statistics about players, coaches and their offense and defense, you need to track important information. Nearly everyone tracks sale and profits, but do you know the value of your business? What are your key business success factors? Do know how your numbers compared to competitors? You should.

5.  Workforce Focus in Your Business.

Many business owners struggle with finding good employees. Your employees are critical to your business success. Cutting edge leaders believe that their employees are more important than their customers.  How do you attract and retain good people?

6.  Operations Focus in Your Business. 

The way you deliver your product or service can make you or break you. If you can provide excellent products and services consistently every time, your customers will likely stay with you. Otherwise, you are “rolling the dice.”  Wise business owners develop measurable processes that ensure a great customer experience with few exceptions.

7.  Results in Your Business.

This, of course, is the bottom line of all your efforts in business. Once you have determined what is important to measure and have established measures, how are you doing? Are your “stats” improving? How do they compare with your competition or industry? Are your sales and profits growing, or are you struggling like many small businesses? Is your business value growing?

Conclusion

After reviewing these seven keys, what are the top one or two areas that could use some attention in your business? Focus your efforts on the area where your business needs to improve. If you need help, don’t be afraid to seek it out.

Questions about our small business coaching services?

Call us at 1-888-504-0777,

or 

Enter your information below to start growing your revenues and profits today…

small business coach