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How Redefining Your Core Values Can Benefit Your Business

As the new year momentum continues, it can be beneficial to review the core values of your business to see what you can amend and improve upon. Redefining your business core values to make them significant and actually mean something to your staff, partners, and customers can play a monumental role in the way your company is seen and how others relate to your brand.

A source for Harvard Business Review, who has helped companies refine their corporate values for over one decade, states that bland or meaningless values can damage the credibility of the company and alienate employees. To prevent this, revisit your current core values, find room for improvement, and take the following steps to redefine them.

Review Your Current Core Values

To start, re-familiarize yourself with the current corporate values you have established. Are they still relevant, achievable, and actually being implemented? For example, if one of the values is transparency, do your firm’s daily operations reflect that goal? Does information freely flow from top to bottom and in reverse? Are you open and honest with your investors, business partners, and clients about any issues, roadblocks or failures?

Remove any core values that are no longer important to your brand, don’t say anything about your corporate identity, or are simply impossible to achieve.

Survey Your Team

An organization is made up of the team members employed there; therefore, it can be beneficial to survey your employees to find out what their personal values are. If you able to align the personal beliefs and values of your staff with your business values, you can create a better corporate culture and overall working experience for your team.

Send out an email or online survey and ask employees to write down three to five personal values that matter to them. Review these answers and narrow down the top five to 10 choices based on popularity, significance, and relevance to your brand.

For example, if the majority of your staff value sustainability and the green movement, you may consider adding an eco-friendly component to your company’s philanthropic efforts. This can increase employee loyalty by supporting a cause that is important to them, and also start to promote your brand image with a new and important initiative.

Implement the Newly Established Core Values

Once you remove outdated and irrelevant values, and have worked with your staff to come up with meaningful new principles, you must create a plan to implement them. Core values must be ingrained in every decision and practice of the organization because they are the foundation of the brand’s identity.

If you added honest communication as a core value, for example, consider investing in training that would improve the communication skills of your managers and other staff members. Teaching them to better read nonverbal cues, actively listen, and understand difference in multicultural communication can lead to a more productive work environment.

Redefining your core corporate values can unite you with your clientele, partners, and employees by exposing the main principles that define your company and creating common goals for all staff to follow. Revisit your business’ core values while you’re still riding the momentum of New Year’s Resolutions and betterment initiatives!

New Year Resolutions: Don’t Just Make Them Personal

The new year is quickly approaching, and many of us are making plans for how we will welcome 2017. Some individuals are purchasing champagne to ring in the new year, while others are coming up with new year resolutions. It is fairly common to come up with typical goals, such as losing weight, creating more family time, and dedicating more effort to hobbies and interests, but resolutions are not only beneficial to your personal life. In addition to personal resolutions, concentrate on professional objectives, as well. In fact, it is advantageous for managers to encourage their teams to brainstorm together to plan for the upcoming year with these steps.

Prepare General Company Goals

Prior to sitting down with your team and making resolutions for the following year, make sure you are prepared. You cannot ask your employees to provide solutions without being aware of the company’s plans. It is recommended to meet with your own manager, who is likely privy to more information, and will provide you with projected goals for 2017.

Encourage Employees to Participate

Alert your employees of upcoming meetings to discuss goals, and encourage their participation. It may be beneficial to share the organization’s goals prior to the meeting, and ask your team members to consider ways of accomplishing them. In fact, you may require each and every staff member to create a plan for next year, which involves actionable objectives that can be measured and accomplished.

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A great leader will remember that their staff is not only invested in the company’s success, but also in their own. To show your employees that you are committed in empowering them, ask them to create individual professional goals as well as plans to benefit the company’s mission.

Host a Meeting 

In order to create new resolutions, you must dedicate a place and time to get your team together. Schedule a meeting, and alert your team about it in advance, so they have the time to prepare their suggestions. As the meeting commences, you can take the lead in reviewing the company’s and the department’s resolutions for next year, but don’t monopolize the conversation the entire time. Instead, allow each and every individual the time to share their thoughts on relevant steps that should be taken in 2017.

To prevent everyone from speaking at once, or interrupting each other, you may go around the room, giving everyone a chance to contribute, or use an object as a “talking stick,” only allowing the person holding it to speak.

Collaborate on creating a general to-do list for next year with measurable results that can be crossed off as they are accomplished. You can choose to meet with each employee individually at a later date to discuss their personal goals.

Follow Up

After the meeting has concluded, follow up with a written plan for 2017. Designate a team leader to oversee employees in the following year to make sure everyone is staying on track with their resolutions, and providing tools or advice to those that are falling behind.

3 Employee Retention Ideas for a Bootstrapped Budget

Employee Retention Ideas for a Bootstrapped Budget

All good small business owners know the value of key employees and their importance to their business’ success. They’ve invested time to find qualified candidates, contributed resources to train them, and are acutely aware of the significant financial and opportunity losses that would be incurred if an employee left the company. While some employee retention strategies rely on high salaries that far exceed the market average, not all organizations can afford this. So what is a bootstrapped company to do when it comes to attracting and keeping valuable employees?

There are many affordable strategies for employers to implement, and many are easier (and perhaps more fun!) to implement than you might think. It’s important to remember that money isn’t the only factor that affects employee satisfaction. Individuals value other benefits, such as flexible schedules, opportunities to grow, as well as appreciation in the form of small rewards. In this article, we will review three ideas for employee retention that don’t involve higher salaries.

 

Flexible Schedule

More and more businesses around the world are beginning to see the value of flexible schedules. While the traditional 9-5 dominates most corporate schedules, that leaves employees with little to no time to run personal errands, such as make doctor appointments or pick up their children from school. Offering your staff the flexibility to set their own schedules, whether it be to come in and leave earlier, or simply take a big break in the middle of the day, can be a big draw to keep them at your firm. In fact, a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 89% of the human resources professionals surveyed reported that having flexible work arrangements positively impacted their employee retention.

 

Mentorship Programs

A big priority for all people, especially those just entering the workforce, is the opportunity to advance their careers. While all good employee retention strategies should involve promoting from within, employee empowerment can be further achieved through the establishment of mentorship programs. Connecting seasoned and experienced employees with those recently out of college will provide invaluable industry advice and connections to your staff. Providing your team members with this opportunity to either share their expertise or learn from industry experts is empowering and can help prevent them from looking for other work opportunities.

 

Small Rewards

For employees to feel valued at the company they work for, management must make the effort to make the staff feel like they are recognized and rewarded for their hard work. While offering a large bonus may not be feasible, showing your appreciation with small rewards can be just as meaningful. Superstar salespeople can be encouraged to outsell their colleagues with gift cards to their favorite stores or restaurants. Even small denominations such as $25 or $50 can serve as motivation for excellent performance.

Acknowledgement of staff’s time and effort, such as offering your employees a half-day off after they just worked two weeks of overtime, will surely be appreciated. Other small rewards can include one-on-one time with the manager, which is something employees rarely get, catered lunches or simply a park picnic for a chance to get out of the office.

Don’t fall into the trap of believing that your employees are only motivated by money — that is far from the truth. While that does play a role, employees want to feel recognized and appreciated by their management. Flexibility, spontaneity, and creativity can go far to make up for limited funds or bootstrapping. Show your staff that you notice their hard work with small and affordable rewards.

 

An important aside to consider is that as your business’s workload grows, you may reach the point where in order to retain your current employees you need to hire more staff. Employees that are overworked on a consistent basis will look for other work, no matter how many rewards are bestowed upon them. It is advantageous for companies to have enough working capital to hire new staff for busy seasons or periods of increased demand. Small business loans through IOU Financial enable businesses to hire new employees in order to ease the burden their current staff may carry. For more information about how a small business loan can help with staffing needs, contact IOU Financial today.

 

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Team Building – Necessary?

When you hear the phrase “team building” does it make you cringe or smile with anticipation?! Chances are likely your answer depends on a number of things. Your previous experience in team building exercises, your previous experience running team building sessions and your personality. While some people love team building, others may fake an illness to get out of it!  And a lot of people fall in between the two. If you have a preference one way or the other, or you feel a certain way about team building that only goes to prove that your employees also have their own feelings on the subject. So the questions are: is team building really worth it for your company and if so, what is the best way to go about it?

The first question – is team building really worth it? YES! Team building, if done properly, can quickly open up the lines of communications between employees and increase morale.  So that was easy! But here is the tough question …

What is the best way to go about it?

Let’s start with what the worst ways are! Imagine you are a small kid in school and you are  asked to climb the rope in gym. You grab onto the rope, pull, but your body won’t cooperate and you fall right off the rope. You feel humiliated.  You graduate from school and think, “thank goodness I never have to do that again!” But then you start working for XYZ Company and they have a team building session that includes rope climbing. Fun, right?! NO! It’s important when setting up any team building exercises that no one may suffer embarrassment and that only positivity will be fostered.

When thinking about team building exercises, consider of what types of activities are right for YOUR employees and which ones will foster communication.  Here are some ideas for in the office – colleagues sitting with other for an hour to see what the other one does on a daily basis, having departmental luncheons or coffee hours, treasure hunts in the office where teams are created made up of people from different departments that have to interact with each other frequently.  For outside the office – a company barbecue, a personality assessment where an outside firm comes in and various work styles are analyzed, a cooking activity. That is just a short list – think about what is best for you and your company.

When it comes to team building the key is to create a positive environment which will foster good communication. In the end, if done correctly, team building can be a positive experience leading to enhanced communication for all involved.

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