5 Tips to Effectively Evolve Your Business
Our world moves faster than ever before. Business continues to change at a rapid pace. So how can you make sure your business stays relevant in an ever-evolving world?
At Express, we recently asked ourselves just those questions. The outcome? As our Founder and CEO Bob Funk said, “To keep fulfilling our vision, we must continue to evolve. Our new logo and name are just the visible aspects of this evolution.”
With a new brand name and a look to better reflect our business, our offerings, and the future of our company, Express Employment Professionals is simply the latest evolution of our 25-year commitment to respecting people and impacting business. If you’re looking at taking your business to the next level, these five strategic steps are indispensable to effectively evolve your business.
1. Research – Whether it involves your brand, your products, or your business model, the best way to approach change is with a solid foundation of research. When Express decided it was time for an image makeover, the first thing we did was commission a market research firm to paint a clear picture of where we were – so we could know where we wanted to go. Approaching change based on presumptions alone costs businesses time, resources, and money. Before you instigate a change in your business, make sure you have solid research that shows you a comprehensive, unbiased perspective to base your next move on.
2. Planning – Once you have the research, you can use it to create a plan. The first part of your plan should include a strategic vision for the change. Your plan will have many parts, so think comprehensively about where change can most impact your business. Then, set goals for each area that will be affected by the change. These goals will be SMART if they are: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based.
3. Communication – No matter what the change, you’ll need to communicate the plan to the appropriate people. First, consult with key leaders in your organization who will be involved in making the change happen. Next, communicate with team members, even if they aren’t directly involved in implementing the change. Finally, communicate the change to external stakeholders. This strategy of communicating change from the inside out will protect your company’s interests while making sure all employees feel valued and in-the-loop, making the process smoother.
4. Action – Change doesn’t happen without action. To effectively evolve your business, delegate each portion of the plan to the proper team, department, or individual. Make each person involved in implementing the change accountable for their portion of the whole project. And don’t forget that many of the people who will be involved have their normal workload in addition to the extra work that the change requires. Consider bringing on new staff members or temporary employees to help ensure everyone has enough time to do their best work for this important endeavor.
5. Evaluation – You’ll see the benefits of a strategic approach when it’s time to evaluate the results. Compare results against the research you conducted in the first step. Do you have greater market penetration or better brand awareness? Are your sales up? Comparing these types of metrics will help you determine the success of your process. But some elements of evaluation aren’t related to hard numbers. Is morale higher? Are clients and customers excited about your new offerings? Don’t forget to take note of these types of responses in addition to looking at what the numbers say.
You never know how your industry, market, or field will change. So, make sure you are willing and ready to implement this change-making process to make sure you remain current. Or better yet, be the one who leads the way with innovation in an ever-evolving business landscape.
7 Tips for Effective Employee Communication
Communication between senior management and employees is one of the top five important elements of job satisfaction, according to a recent SHRM report. Research shows that businesses that communicate effectively have higher employee engagement, safer workplaces, lower turnover, better teamwork, more innovation, and better decision-making than organizations that communicate poorly. Effective communication starts from the top. So, what can you do to ensure you are communicating effectively with your workforce? Start by using these seven tips.
- Be transparent. Even when you don’t formally communicate with your workforce, your actions, policies, and practices are sending a message. That’s why it’s important to officially address even the most difficult of subjects, such as a crisis or change. Being transparent, open, and honest with your workforce will build trust and loyalty in any circumstance.
- Be proactive. As simple as it sounds, taking a proactive approach to employee
communications is not only critical, it’s often ignored. With the fast pace of business, it’s easy to shuffle employee communications to the bottom of the priority list. But rather than waiting to communicate until there’s a problem, a proactive approach is one of the easiest, most effective ways to increase morale and build trust.
- Ask for feedback. Effective communication is two-way. So, find ways to receive and internalize employee feedback, whether through surveys or focus groups or in-person meetings. Then, take action on the feedback you receive, otherwise, you will create an environment where employees feel they are not heard.
- Use the right method. Employee communication can take place in many forms, from e-mail to web content, from companywide conferences to in-person meetings. So, make sure you’re using the right technique for each message. For example, rather than e-mailing a long memo about a complicated benefits change, hold several small, short meetings to address questions first-hand.
- Target your audiences. Some messages are important – even legally required – for everyone you employ to hear, so sometimes you must communicate with your entire workforce at once. Other messages are better communicated only to those involved or impacted by the message. It’s often easier to communicate broadly, but it’s most effective to make sure that every message is communicated directly with the appropriate audience, whether large or small.
- Combat information overload. The average worker spends around an hour a day just managing e-mail. But, did you know research shows that over a third of work e-mails are a waste of employees’ time? Employers themselves often add to the information overload that plagues workers by e-mailing too much and too often. To help keep this from happening, formulate a policy that determines the approved types, frequency, length, topics, and approved senders of companywide e-mail.
- Prioritize for key messages. It may be easy for you to know what information you need and what you can ignore. But for your workers, it may be hard to judge what’s really important and what’s extraneous. Prioritize for your workforce by aiming only to communicate key messages. This will help ensure that you’re not piling too much information on your team and keeping them from getting work accomplished.
By communicating effectively with your workforce, you can create a sense of trust and camaraderie that will elevate your business as a best place to work. Using these seven tips can help create an employee communication program that will add value to your workforce and enhance productivity and morale.
Smoothing the College to Job Transition for New Grads
Spring graduations are just around the corner, and employers are already looking for new graduates to fill open positions being created by the exodus of the retiring Baby Boomers. That's why it's important to start early thinking about how you can make the most of this candidate pool. Many of the best candidates have jobs lined up before they walk across the stage to accept their diploma. By doing all you can to ensure a smooth college to job transition for recent graduates, you can get the most of this eager candidate pool and prepare your workforce to remain strong and productive.
Consider their Experience
Many employers ignore applications from new graduates, thinking that they lack real work experience. But many have been preparing to enter the workforce through part-time jobs or internship programs. The Millennial generation tends to hold a different view of experience than many hiring managers, so expect to see more than simply paying jobs listed on their resume. Many spend their summers volunteering with civic programs and their semesters in campus activities. Others take time to study abroad and expand their horizons. They may not have spent years in a professional environment, but don’t discount their experiences as valuable and relevant. Overall, this candidate pool offers enthusiasm, innovation, and the latest in academic training. They are teachable and eager to prove themselves, so take time to examine their resume past the date of graduation.
Since college students today know the importance of prior work experience, an internship program is a great way to recruit highly skilled young workers. This is a win-win opportunity for employers and job seekers. Your company benefits from seeing potential new hires at work, and college students gain valuable on-the-job experience not often taught in classrooms, such as how to get along with co-workers. It’s not too late this year to offer internship positions. Many new graduates in certain fields will consider taking a paid internship even after they have their diploma in hand, especially if an internship position is the best path to landing their dream job at your company.
Create Detailed Job Descriptions
What students do day-to-day in college and what they do on a daily basis in the work world often differs. That’s why job descriptions are such a critical component in helping transition new grads into the workforce. Effective job descriptions do more than simply list necessary qualifications and skills. They give candidates a taste of how positions function on a day-to-day basis. It’s also critical for job descriptions to reflect employer expectations regarding professionalism, work ethic, and workload. Spending time crafting effective job descriptions is an important step in helping transition new graduates into the workforce, and in the long run, it benefits you just as much as it does potential hires.
Provide Training from Day One
Recent graduates have current skills acquired through their academic coursework, but their technical know-how doesn’t negate the importance of training. They may not need to learn programs, but they need to know how to do their specific projects and tasks. They also need to understand the big picture. Take time to explain how they fit into your team and how your team impacts the company overall. Also, take some time with each new graduate to explain the nuances of your workplace culture, expectations, and history. By offering recent grads training and development opportunities immediately, you can harness their ability to absorb information and shape them into professionals who can make a lasting impact on your organization.
Groom Grads for Leadership Roles
In the wake of a recruiting crunch, it’s critical to equip recent graduates to become future leaders. One great way to help new graduates prepare for leadership roles is through mentoring programs. Also keep in mind that new employees typically use their manager as a gauge for what is acceptable around the office. So, always lead by example because your actions will be closely watched. It’s up to managers to create an environment where new grads are encouraged to ask questions and request advice. Address and correct poor performance quickly, because some new grads aren’t aware of what’s acceptable workplace behavior. When you offer a nurturing and supportive environment for new grads, they will perform well and quickly take on new skills and abilities.
You can tap into the enthusiasm and energy of a new pool of candidates by focusing on making their transition to the workplace smooth. By shaping recent graduates into future leaders, your company will stay a step ahead of recruiting woes and maintain momentum as the labor pool gets more competitive.
Exchange is a publication of Express Services, Inc., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Copyright 2008.