Employees really are the most important asset in any business from a small time coffee shop to a large banking corporation. As the ‘face’ of a business and the main point of contact for your customers; employees will leave a lasting impression whether it be excellent, not so positive or just a plain mediocre service that they experience.
Having excellent employees who live and breathe the culture of your business and its values starts long before the induction and training process. It starts from the moment you decide to recruit for a new position in your business. The recruitment process and bringing someone new into your business is a big decision in itself and one not to be rushed or hastily conducted – take your time, do the ground work and empower yourself to make an informed decision.
Now what really happens in the real world more often than not, is that when you come to the conclusion that a new employee is required, you needed them yesterday and you swing into action to get that employee embedded into your business today!
The fact of the matter is that the recruitment process really is extremely vital in finding the ideal employee with the skills, experience and passion to fit the role requirements of your position. Hastily employing someone who is readily available but in fact does not have the skill set to carry out the role requirements may fill an urgent void for the short term, but will this person excel and grow in the role in the immediate and long term future?
The recruitment process should be primarily based around the position and its role requirements. With this in mind you need to start by defining the role, develop your position description – What is the purpose of the position? What are the key responsibilities? What are the core competencies required for the role? Take the time to really define the role and what outcomes you’re looking for not whom you’re looking for. With a position description now on paper and clearly defined, you’re in a position to develop a performance management system, like the Achievement Analysis System developed by The Business Group with positive and targeted growth initiatives in mind – How will you measure and monitor if the employee is successful in the position on an ongoing and regular basis?
Now that you have the position description and a performance management document, you will know the requirements of the role inside and out and can develop an advert to begin the exciting process of finding the ideal person for your position – remember you know by now the person you’re looking for, the skills they will have, the passion, enthusiasm and work ethic you’re looking for so go out and find that one person! Don’t compromise on your vision or your values to simply fill the position, keep the position description in mind and find the one person who is a ‘hand in glove’ fit for the role.
Virtual offices are increasingly becoming the way of the future. Changing how we adapt to growth, embrace technology and meet the elusive work life balance.
But, what exactly is a virtual office? A virtual office allows employers and employees to work from any location in the world, through the use of technology. The use of laptops, cell phones and internet access provides flexibility and connectability with anyone at any given time. The virtual office model has flexibility at many levels however it doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to include flexible working hours. Working hours can be set just as they are in a physical work environment.
Why is a virtual office the way of the future and how is it going to change business to create growth? There are six global trends that underpin the business world of today and will impact the future. These trends are demographic shifts, shifts in global economic power, rapid urbanisation, resource scarcity and climate change and technological breakthroughs. There is a solution to these global trends and one solution is virtual offices!
We all know about the demographic trends and the impact that it is having on the workforce. In New Zealand we have an aging workforce and our workforce is also becoming more diverse. For someone that has parents to care for as well as dependent children, it can be challenging. There is a need for a work life balance, one that is beneficial to employers as well as employees. By 2020 1 in 4 workers will be 55 years or older? Flexible work hours within virtual offices provide employees with the ability to be able to take a sick child to the doctors during the day or help their elderly parents. Having flexibility means that workers in this situation are accommodated for, and employers get to retain their staff.
The virtual office can create growth through the access to worldwide talent and the retention of talent. A small business from Hamilton is able to hire someone from London, whereas before they weren’t able to as the cost on the small business to relocate someone from London to Hamilton was often too high. With the virtual office model, you can have someone working for you that lives anywhere in the world.
Another trend influencing the virtual office movement is how expensive transportation can be, the time constraints and other associated hassles with commuting, not to mention the harmful pollution on the environment. Virtual offices lead to savings both economically and financially. It can be a great strategy to saving resources and being sustainable, businesses need to be more environmentally friendly, by changing the way we do business we can accelerate these changes.
There is rapid advances in technological innovation and this is growing daily. It is the rapid advancements in technology that will streamline and advance the way business is conducted in the future. As a business you should be taking advantage of the innovative technology and going virtual is an opportunity to embrace technology.
There are many business reasons as to why the virtual office model should be considered. Technology and social networking companies such as Facebook, Google and Twitter are very successful companies and are virtual. With technology advancing they saw a market and have capitalised on it. The companies that have adopted a virtual office model have had reduced real estate expenses, increased productivity and profits, improved customer service, accessed global markets and increased environmental benefits and ultimately enhanced employee retention and wellbeing
As you look toward to the future of business imagine going virtual and what it could do for your business growth.
During our day we will often be challenged by fear, worry, uncertainty etc. This has the affect of taking our confidence away, affecting productivity, communications and revenue. So what are we doing to replenish lost confidence and how does our level of confidence affect our Business?
If our lives are to be filled with happiness and abundance we need to be self assured, happy and have the confidence to go with our choices. People that make good choices, choices that support who they are and what they believe in, tend to be clear and demonstrate confidence and therefore have a mindset that supports them to take the appropriate action to ensures their choices have positive outcomes.
Clarity is Power and is a breeding ground for confidence. If we are walking around in the fog we become unsure of where we are going and what is ahead. This in-turn takes our confidence away.
If we do not possess that confidence, we need to STOP and ask ourselves Why? Why am I feeling the way I am? Listen to the answers that are coming your way and write them down. Is it because you have lost the passion, is it because you are worried about finances, is it because you are tired or bored or lonely or disillusioned ? Whatever it is 'Name it to Claim it'!
Once you take ownership of these feelings you can start to improve on them. And as we let our true inner passions and dreams out, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
We were born to be the best that we can be. It’s not just in some of us, it is in all of us. We are all truly unique and our business success comes from our uniqueness. Being prepared to shout out our uniqueness to the market place is really important in this economic environment. Our deepest fear may not be that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear maybe that we are powerful beyond measure. Playing small does not serve your business or the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. Buddy up with other people and talk about your business challenges.
As you get clearer about what you want and where you are going your confidence in your business will develop
Written by Pauline Meredith -King
Business Coaching is now used widely across all business sectors.
Business Coaching popularity has grown rapidly in recent years and is increasingly being accepted as a positive pro active tool to develop people, businesses and organisations.
Astute business owners and managers now accept that there are measurable benefits and improvements to performance when they utilise an independent 3rd party such as a business coach, to guide, coach and apply accountability for targeted outcomes. Many businesses also see the benefit of business coaching being available to all employees regardless of seniority to ensure performance is enhanced.
The main outcome of coaching in business is to achieve the business owners objectives.
Improving the profitability of the business and individual performance are often key outcomes. Businesses report improvement in all areas of business performance due to coaching. Some of these include:
Improvement in personal effectiveness – increased focus
The following are some areas where business coaching can be effective in obtaining positive results:
Understanding the people and how they link to the success of their business is the key that Business Coaching delivers.
Business Coaching supports Business People in their quest to build profitable businesses. Business Coaching delivers tangible benefits to individuals and businesses alike
While having a high IQ can bring a lot of merit to our careers, have you thought about how well your emotional intelligence or EQ would rate?
And while emotional intelligence may sound like another piece of jargon only used by those in certain lines of work, if you understand it, it can be useful for any work situation.
‘EQ’ describes a person’s ability or skill to identify, assess, manage and control their emotions. Career development and progression don’t always just fall in our laps. Usually, we need to strive for them. And while we can be quick to judge the environment and suggest the reason we aren’t promoted or seem stuck is because of things out of our control, we in fact need to be more aware of ourselves. How we behave and communicate is of direct impact to how others perceive us.
At The Business Group we believe the way we communicate with others is central to the levels of success we achieve and our EQ is a powerful tool that should be developed to improve career opportunities.
Since we all listen and process information differently, it is crucial to learn and become sensitive to others’ style of communication. This allows you to be proactive with your communication by aligning their style with your own and ensuring you become increasingly effective at communicating your point, listening and achieving the desired result faster.
Most of us are taught how to do our job. But we do not consider the way our energy, emotions and our reaction to stress and pressure may affect how competent we are.
While we are educated on the necessary action required to pursue our future careers, there are no lessons, only experiences, that train us to maintain optimism and focus during the many obstacles along the way.
So how do we know if we need to work on our emotional intelligence? Generally, if we are not getting what we want out of certain situations, we should check out our EQ.
There are many signs and symptoms for a low or neglected EQ.
While most of us already have EQ trait strengths, work orientated stress and neglecting our physical and emotional wellbeing means we are less likely to enforce them.
If you’re not healthy and growing within your personal life, if you’re not enthusiastic or interested in your work and if you’re not interacting positively with co-workers, the problem is very likely in you, and your EQ, could do with some recognition.
Realising you need to work on your emotional intelligence is the first step to creating better communication. Having a high self-awareness of your interaction style and how this affects your attitude, coping mechanisms and happiness are key factors to EQ improvement.
So if 2012 is the year that you are looking to make a step up, it may be that you need to look a bit deeper into yourself and see how you can develop your EQ.
EQ: Emotional intelligence describes the five elements of emotional intelligence.
Emotional Intelligence by Pauline Meredith-King
Two Buddhist monks return to their monastery after the rains. They reach a swollen river and in front of them is an extremely beautiful lady in a delicate silk kimono, distressed because she is unable to cross the river by herself. So, the older monk scoops her up, carries her safely to the other side and the two monks continue on their way in silence. Five hours later, as the two monks reach their destination, the younger monk, literally fuming, bursts out, "How could you do it? You touched a woman; you know we're not allowed to do that!” The older monk replies, "I put her down 5 hours ago, but you are still carrying her with you."
There are things we hold on to, people we bear grudges against or perhaps just feel angry or hurt about something or towards someone. Either way while we are doing this we are clouding our mind and preventing ourselves from being or operating at our best.
Letting go is about taking action in the form of forgiving or accepting.
That is… either forgiving or accepting yourself, someone else or an event or happening from the past or what may be perceived to happen in the future.
Letting go is not about condoning a situation or behaviour, it's about lightening our load. When we do let go, we do exactly that…. let go and relieve ourselves of the burden that is weighing us down. It lets us get on with our lives free to channel that energy into positive outcomes into the future.
We don't need to know how to let go, we just need to to be willing and just do it. You have no power to change what has been before, however we do possess enormous power within to change our pathway into the future.
That which we find hardest to let go is probable the first thing we need to let go of the most….
TIP: If you need to let go of something YOU’VE done, simply ask, “What do I need to do that will allow me to let this go?” Perhaps you need to make notes in your journal of what you’ve learned, perhaps you need to make some kind of amends, apologise or find a meaningful way to make it up to yourself or someone else.
While we can’t change the past, we can make amends and learn from it and practise the art of letting go
Having been in business for many years it became extremely important to me to have a structured business planning approach to growing my business that ensured business success.
The Business Planning Jigsaw segments your business into manageable chunks therefore making it easier to manage.
It allows you to have a planned approach towards improving each area of your business. It also helps you measure where your current level of expertise and strength is and identifies the areas of the business that may require your full responsibility and areas that may require some outside help and development.
Basically growing a business is about managing and utilising business planning in eight different areas. The eight areas of the business jigsaw are marketing, finance, human resource, client services which includes our products and services, capital, administration, governance and operational and these are developed through the business planning process and are held together by our business plan.
So lets have a look at these one at a time.
Lets start with marketing, and the reason I start with this is because it is marketing that brings customers to our business. Marketing is anything and everything that stands between us and our potential clients. At the end of the day if we are very good at marketing, we will be very good at growing the revenue streams into our business.
Most businesses are built one happy client at a time. Marketing not only expresses our products and services to the target market but it also showcases our products and services so that the client will want to enquire.
We should ensure that through our marketing our clients expectations are exceeded and that they want to not only return to our business themselves but they will refer others willingly to our business because of their positive experience. So, marketing is a specalised area and absolutely critical for business planning and success. It is the fuel that goes into the business to get it flying!
Secondly we look at the financial aspect of the business and I like to split that into two areas. The first area is the proactive approach to finances which is ensuring that the business has good income streams, a healthy cash-flow, defined budgets, targeted ratios and key performance indicators so that we can grow the business from a financial perspective.
The other aspect of finance is focused around expenditure, making sure once again that our ratios are right and making sure that we are profitable on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and we know at any point in time what our profitability is. Finances also covers the critical aspect of our compliance like IRD, GST and PAYE requirements.
The third segment of our businesses is our people, the human resources area of the business.
This once again is a critical factor if we want to grow our business.
For businesses to grow we need to have great people involved in them. All staff should be contributing to the overall health of the business. Good energy helps us gain traction in the market place and unresolved human resource issues slow a business down and tend to suck the life out of business owners.
Making sure we have a robust human resource management program in place, that we are using really good human relationship practices and performance management processes to grow our staff, making sure they are remunerated correctly and that emotionally they feel as if they are supported is critical to our success and the business planning process. We can't do it on our own!
Client services is the fourth area of the business jigsaw and client services like marketing talks about the interaction between the services that we are offering and our clients. It incorporates customer service, products and services. Client services to me is where we listen to our clients, we use their feedback as text books from which we can learn and we allow our customer and client services feedback to help us grow our business. It is key to the success of our Company.
The next area is Capital Development. This segment ensures that through the business planning process the business is structured in a way where by it has adequate capital to grow and that the growth of the Company is not solely reliant on growing the Company out of cash-flow. Ensuring that you have a replacement program in place for your IT systems, major equipment purchases, building or vehicle purchases is really important. Your capital development segment of your business works in very closely with the financial aspect of your business.
The administration segment of the business jigsaw is all around the paper work. It is important to make sure all paper work is filled effectively, that you have an efficient administration system so that you can quickly put your hands on anything and at any given point in time and that the Company isn't top heavy in paperwork but rather that it is efficient and effective.
The next segment of the business is in Governance and Governance. This pertains to the directorship of the business, how the business is being managed from a policy point of view, what rules you have around operating your business and what rules you have around developing the strategic direction of the business. Governance is an area that can significantly and quickly influence the positive performance of a business, especially through the development of effective Advisory Boards.
The operational segment of the business is the day to day running of the business and once again this is where policy and process comes in to play. Making sure that we have high productivity, that the day to day functions of the business are working like a well oiled machine and that we are mitigating any risk management whether it be in production, manufacturing or performance of any sort is a key to our financial success.
These eight areas of the business are held together by the very important document called our annual business plan. The annual business planning process should incorporate the milestones that we want to achieve within our business over the next 12 months. By managing a business using the eight areas of the business planning jigsaw and monitoring them through the business planning process it becomes not only extremely exciting but also much more manageable to develop and grow your business
Business Planning Jigsaw by Pauline Meredith-King
Progressive companies are more and more choosing Business Governance and Advisory Boards to improve and share their decision making capabilities, increase accountability, develop and reach objectives, plan and manage growth and risk, and expand their business networks.
Setting up an effective Advisory Board is a key part of the Business Governance process and with the help of the appropriate Board Members can be the difference between a privately owned company achieving its growth objectives, or not.
Yet why do relatively few business owners actually consider Business Governance and set up an Advisory Board?
We believe it is partly to do with understanding the benefits and knowing how to start. This is where we can help.
In a nutshell, an Advisory Board comprises a group of independent specialists sitting alongside owners and key senior management team members, with the former providing expertise, experience and if relevant, contacts.
The goal is to fast track achieving core business objectives. External guidance is on hand via regular ongoing meetings with the owners and management, yet all decision making power is maintained within the organisation.
The results gained can transform businesses by providing.
Accountability and performance improvement throughout the business
Clarity of purpose and objectives and alignment of all key people and goals
Increased business value and growth and peace of mind for the business owners
This Business Governance approach to growing your business will also help you develop your management and leadership capabilities, enjoy the benefits of positive results, learn Best Practice principles and most importantly become confident in how to grow your business through Policy Development.
If you are looking to take your business to the next level through Business Governace, then an Advisory Board may be the perfect vehicle to support you making the changes you need.
To learn if an Advisory Board is right for you, explain in more depth the opportunities it brings and work towards deciding upon your Advisory Board’s objectives and how to choose the right board members give us a call for a free 1 hour Business Governance Consultation
Do you have a website – if the answer is yes, then you probably are pretty confident you own it…. particularly if you have paid over your hard earned cash to the designers, developers and hosting company, Right?
If you had an independent contractor design or develop your website and they are or have arranged the hosting then there is a very real possibility you do not own your website nor have the capability of transferring it to another contractor.
What does this mean? It means that if you are not happy with your existing arrangements and are looking to find another person to assist you with your website, you may have to rebuild your website from scratch. Sorry, but that's the reality out there at present. There are not a lot of web designers / developers that will be very helpful should you wish to take your business elsewhere
You need to check your contract with the independent contractor and see if it contains a clause(s) that assigns all rights of and ownership in the contractor's contributions, including all graphics and images and the website as a whole, to you. A really easy way to get confirmation of this is to ask your contractor what would be the situartion should you wish to move your website business elsewhere. Would they help you transfer your existing site over to the new provider or release and give you a copy of the files, images, content etc, then wait to gauge the response.
Here is an easy checklist that you should be able to tick off all:
It is more important than ever that you take control of the ownership of you website. With the software and website platforms that are available in the marketplace, it is very easy with a little training, that should be provided by your website provider, to maintain your site without having to pay fees for every little change you want
Staff support is important in business as staff really are the most valuable asset of any business. Proactive, happy and passionate staff make a significant difference to the culture, productivity and success of any business.
Happiness in the workplace is infectious and with the right staff support strategies, performance measures communication channels and policies in place your business too can have a happy and effective team.
To explore this further take a few minutes to consider each of the points below selected from The Business Group Human Resources Warrant of Fitness. Tick those points that happen in your business on a regular basis.
__ Staff outcomes and minimum performance levels are written and accepted.
__ The culture and values of the company are clearly defined, written and understood by all staff.
__ Clear reporting lines are in place and are known by all staff
__ The team meets on a regular basis to a planned and agenda prepared meeting.
__ Team members are managed daily or weekly on results, and achievement is recognised.
__ Open communication within the team is encouraged to ensure maximisation of results for customers.
__ A planned staff training programme has been developed alongside our induction plan.
__ The induction manual provides a framework for the orientation of new employees to help them better understand the company’s expectations, operations and structure.
__ Customer quality and service standards are written and are known and understood by all staff members.
__ Regular meetings are held with each staff member to conduct performance reviews.
__ Policy is in place for non performance and staff are aware of this.
__ Any problems that occur are handled immediately and the source is eliminated. The business strives to be a “problem free zone”.
__ KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) are in place for all staff outcomes to ensure staff support
__ Appropriate staff training is regularly offered and encouraged.
__ The potential for conflict is minimised through a sound Policy and Procedure Manual and a strong team environment.
“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.”
Peter F. Drucker, Author and Management Expert
How did your business score out of 15 for Staff Supprt? Need help and guidance to ensure your business practices translate into staff support? Call us today for a free one hour consultation
Having recently returned to work after a few days break I find myself reflecting on the level of customer service I received in many businesses around the Country – and I am so damn excited!
The opportunity to remove mediocre customer service and deliver an exceptional experience is a “Recipe for Money in the Bank” and the really exciting news is that it doesn’t need a large monetary investment by the Business Owner to do just that!
What it needs is Business Owners, Managers and Supervisors with open minds that have;
It’s all about the business vision and the individuals that make up the Team. The bigger the Dream the more important the Team!
The exciting bit is that the results will be immediate , the news will travel like a virus and people will flock to the experience on offer .
So, if businesses are not prepared to stand out, if they are not prepared to strive to provide better customer service than the rest, if they don’t want to grow business income; why are they in business? They will slowly lose market share and income will dry up.
What do we need to do to be “Better than the Rest” which will guarantee us Business success in 2013?
The answer is so simple: Plan, Plan, Plan.
It’s all about having a strong written Vision that we constantly refer to – we need to know what this journey to excellence looks like for us and our business. We need to get out of the fog and get really clear about all our Business activities. We need to know the Why we do what we do . What is our compelling cause? What are our Drivers?
Once we know these things “ Where we are going and How we are going to get there” can be formulated using sound best practice principles.
To transition from a mediocre business to an exceptional customer service business is a journey of self-discovery, reward and improved profits. How much do you as a Business Owner, Manager or Supervisor want this? More importantly what are you going to do today about achieving exceptional customer service?