Fixing Poor Engagement Starts with Understanding its Cause
If employee morale and performance are waning, send your HR department straight to the source—your employees—to find out why. Start by sending out an anonymous survey and holding focus groups where you can have direct conversations with a broad range of workers. Ask how people feel about leadership, career development opportunities, company pride, and working relationships. Then assemble larger town hall meetings to publicly clarify any issues the surveys and groups uncover. Be prepared to act on what you hear.
by Mark Feffer on SHRM
The Next Generation Board Room
Want to better engage your board members and give them a chance to “live” in your company’s world? Try granting them access to real-time data. Josh James, CEO and founder of Domo, a Utah-based software company, did so when he realized directors were spending too much board meeting time reviewing data versus planning for growth. Ultimately, James found that providing a consistent feed of real-time data made it easier for board members to ask questions, offer guidance, and have a meaningful impact on the business.
by Josh James and Glenn Solomon on CEO
Here’s Which Social Network Has the Best Community for Your Business in 2018
Wondering which social networks offer the best bang for small businesses? While the nine platforms on this list may not surprise you—usual suspects Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are among them—the reasons they rank just might. For example, did you know that 50 million small businesses use Facebook to connect with customers? Or that your best bet for reaching students or graduates is LinkedIn, which boasts more than 39 million student members? Or that 59% of Internet users between 18 and 29 use Instagram?
by Warren Knight on Business 2 Community
Take It or Leave It: How the New Tax Plan Impacts Small Businesses
Tax season is in full swing and you’re probably wondering how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will affect your business’s bottom line. Here’s what to watch out for if you’re a small business owner: 1) Average tax rates will go down for businesses that are structured as C corporations and have taxable incomes that are more than ~$90,000. 2) The new pass-through deduction should provide tax savings for many non-corporate taxpayers. 3) For taxpayers purchasing new equipment, the new bonus depreciation rules should provide tax savings and cash flow benefits.
by Brock Blake on Forbes
“The Workplace Is Killing People and Nobody Cares”
Welcome to the modern workplace. According to recent polls, job satisfaction and engagement are low; distrust in management is high; and wage growth overall has stagnated. While the gig economy is growing, so is economic insecurity. And a strikingly high percentage of people, even those still covered by employer-sponsored health insurance, are forgoing treatment and medications because of cost issues. In his recently published book Dying for a Paycheck, author Jeffrey Pfeffer examines the toll that today’s work culture is taking on employees’ health.
by Dylan Walsh on Insights by Stanford Business; also listen to an interview with Pfeffer on KQED’s Forum
What Kind of Leadership Works Best at Your Company?
Just as clothing designs go in and out of fashion, so do leadership styles. For example, challenge-driven leadership, which thrives on ambiguity and endless opportunity, seems made for the high-tech industry but may never be the right fit for a small-but-growing family-owned business. The trick is to home in on the vision of leadership your company supports and then do what you can to nurture and preserve it. If you’re having trouble pinning yours down, pay attention to who quits or gets fired. Talent movement can reveal the leadership skills that matter most.
by Deborah Ancona and Hal Gregersen on Harvard Business Review
Thirteen Lessons of Innovation to Guide You through 2018
Fast Company magazine’s 2018 list of “The World’s Most Innovative Companies” is brimming with examples of creativity, discipline, and positive change. Here’s what top companies like Apple, Patagonia, and Spotify can teach your business about risk-taking in the year ahead: 1) Keep your eyes focused on the horizon, but don’t lose sight of the details that could trip you up. 2) Being transparent about your business can level the playing field and keep your competitors on their toes. 3) Machines aren’t taking over…yet…but they are enabling new activities.
by Robert Safian on Fast Company
Planning to Apply for Business Credit? Three Guidelines for Success
Did you know that lenders can request a credit check on a business’s owner as well as the business itself? It’s true. To make sure your credit scores and reports don’t unearth any surprises, conduct a little due diligence in advance. First, order a copy of your company’s business credit report from each of the three major reporting agencies and review them for accuracy. You’re also legally entitled to one free copy of your personal credit report each year from annualcreditreport.com. If you find any errors, request an investigation and get the results in writing.
by Marco Carbajo on U.S. Small Business Administration
How to Harness Employees’ Emotional Energy
Emotional energy—that special something that makes employees feel proud to work for a business and spurs them to go above and beyond on the job—is critical to understanding employee engagement. Here’s how it works: A company’s unique strengths (the way its products enhance or change consumers’ lives, for example) feed workers’ emotional energy, driving them to work harder to help the company achieve its goals. Achieving those goals fills employees with pride, motivating them to repeat the cycle and strive for even greater success.
by Alice Zhou on strategy + business
The Rise of the Servant Leader
Servant leadership, touted as a practice that “enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations, and ultimately creates a more just and caring world,” sounds lofty and idealistic. What does it look like to a manager with a budget to maintain and goals to meet? It looks like this: Through thoughtful and conscientious action, you approach difficult situations without judgment, blame, or control. You resolve problems firmly, with compassion. And you support, encourage, and strive to understand employees, treating them with respect at all times.
by Ken Blanchard on Chief Learning Officer
The Biggest E-commerce Trends You Need to Know About
According to the Department of Commerce, e-commerce sales in the U.S. soared to $453.5 billion in 2017, up 16 percent from the previous year. To build similar momentum, you’ve got to double-down on your successes, learn from your mistakes, and find new ways to capture attention, drive conversions, and secure customer loyalty. Tap into this year’s leading trends—like messenger automation, influencer marketing, and augmented or virtual reality—to reach a broader audience and provide better service and shopping experiences for your customers.
by William Harris on Business 2 Community
What to Do (and What to Avoid) When Negotiating With Venture Capitalists
When it’s time to negotiate your next funding deal, wouldn’t you like to have a few advantages on your side of the table? Start by pitching your company to more than one VC and see if you can land simultaneous offers. When it’s time to draft your terms, reduce legalese by using a Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) contract. During negotiation, prioritize landing the best terms in the category that’s most important to you (i.e., financial or control). Also, pay attention to the smallest of details and identify the deal-breakers that would make you walk.
by Annalyn Kurtz on Inc.
Viewpoint: How to Steer Clear of Ageism in the Workplace
A recent lawsuit filed against several U.S. employers including Cox Communications, T-Mobile, and Amazon has put a spotlight on ageism in the workplace. To protect your organization against charges of age discrimination, add these tactics to your HR team’s arsenal: 1) Use terms like “entry-level” or “senior-level” when describing job openings, 2) consider all applicants for every job, 3) ask an age-diverse panel to interview and evaluate candidates, and 4) make sure your anti-harassment policy covers ageism.
by Kathy Gurchiek on SHRM
The Dangerous New Dance as Corporations Balance Business and Social Risk
In response to public pressure spurred on by movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp, and #BoycottNRA, businesses are taking the lead on social concerns. Companies that fail to recognize how social consciousness (or a lack thereof) can impact their bottom line are playing with fire. Responding poorly—or not at all—to a major event like the Parkland school shooting can cost businesses valuable talent, customers, and market share. Here’s why choosing to stand up instead of stand by can mean the difference between business success and failure.
by Barie Carmichael on CNBC
The Power of a Free Popsicle
In their book The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact, authors Chip and Dan Heath explain how “thinking in moments” helps companies create memorable experiences. Case in point: the Popsicle Hotline at the Magic Castle Hotel in Hollywood. Visitors at the pool use a special phone to request a popsicle and minutes later, an employee wearing white gloves delivers a complimentary popsicle on a silver platter. Small moments like these cost little to produce but pay off by delivering something visitors will talk about for weeks.
by Theodore Kinni on Insights by Stanford Business
Most Companies Have No CFO Succession Plan
While the field of corporate finance is known for being highly disciplined, there’s one area where CFOs display a surprising degree of complacency: their own plans for succession. Despite a trend toward internal CFO appointments, a new Korn Ferry survey of finance leaders revealed that only 34% had a succession plan in place for their role. Shocked? Maybe you shouldn’t be. That’s because most businesses focus on their CEO’s succession plan first and worry about how they’re going to fill supporting roles later.
by David McCann on CFO
The Ins and Outs of Team Interviewing
Adding team interviews to your hiring process can be a great way to identify candidates’ collaborative and interpersonal skills, see how they interact with potential coworkers, and allow them to ask questions about company culture and management. But don’t pile everybody into a room without preparation. Make sure interviewers: 1) Decide in advance what to ask, 2) give everyone a chance to talk, 3) keep the gathering professional and on-topic, and 4) clearly understand how the final hiring decision will be made.
by Roy Maurer on Association for Talent Development
The Best Brands Are the Ones that Build “Belonging”
In all parts of the world, people in every household, community, and organization share a common fundamental need: to belong. Despite the growing number of ways we have to engage technologically, communication via device is isolating more people than it’s connecting. Enter companies like Crossfit, SoulCycle, Apple, and Starbucks—they’re filling the void with in-person classes, events, and gatherings that foster a sense of shared purpose, create commercial opportunities, and build deep brand loyalty.
by Sebastian Buck on Fast Company
How to Boost Revenue through Operational Improvements
While many companies are quick to boost revenue by ramping up sales efforts or revising pricing and promotion strategies, few stop to look at whether a hiccup in operations could be causing a shortfall. Review your company’s processes and procedures first and you could uncover an easy way to reverse revenue deterioration fast. Here’s how one company increased its revenue by 15 percent by homing in on—and quickly correcting—deficiencies in its quote-to-ship process.
by Renee Fellman on the Business Journals
Want Better Cash Flow? Listen to Your Credit Team
Want to maximize your company’s cash flow right now? Enlist the help of your credit team to increase your chances of landing sales that lead to profits: 1) Grant your field sales team access to your customer relationship management system and provide them with real-time credit decisions, 2) develop a list of pre-approved leads/targets and set pre-approved credit limits for prior customers, and 3) use risk-based, predictive scoring to identify customers who’ll pay quickly and are unlikely to go out of business.
by Eric Dowdell on CFO