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The Weekly Business-to-Business Forum
Editor: Andrew Wheeler 815-929-5416 firstname.lastname@example.org
B2B Illinois is a product of The Daily Journal Advertising Department.
Fire Up Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition:
How to Invite, Incite and Ignite Performance
Jay Forte | B2B Illinois contributor
Your team’s performance is just average; they do just enough to get by. Customers don’t excite them. Their work doesn’t excite them. They have to be constantly watched, even to do the basics. You are afraid to travel and leave them on their own. You catch them playing on the computer and hear talk of what other jobs are paying. Achieving performance and financial targets is a constant struggle. Sound the alarm…you are suffering from smoldering employees; they have the embers of performance, but no fire. Today, employees change jobs every 18 to 36 months. As you read this, more than half of your employees are job hunting, some actively, some passively. Statistics indicate approximately 60 percent of your employees do just enough at work not to be fired; only 20 percent actually come to work committed to make a difference. By 2012, it is expected that the number of jobs will outnumber the available employees by close to 10 million. In the next five years, 20 percent of the U.S.’s largest corporations will lose 40 percent of their top talent to retirement. This creates a workplace that is poised for an all-out war for talent. When our workplace changed from the industrial age of making things to today’s intellectual age of providing service, it significantly changed what we want and need from our employees. Thinking and knowledge now drive results. We must start to align the way employees think with the thinking needed in their jobs to activate their passion,
interest, emotion and performance. When we do, employees become more engaged and passionate about what they do and perform at exceptional levels. Consider these five steps to fire up your employees and smoke your competition: Create an employee-focused (workplace) culture. This workplace culture openly appreciates, values and develops employees, and attracts and retains the best candidates. A workplace culture that is employee-focused includes: sharing a powerful mission, vision and goals, implementing a competent, talent-based hiring process, compensating employees fairly, offering achievable incentive plans, providing recurring skill and career development and creating a culture of open participation and contribution. Hire and promote based on talents. Talents manifest themselves differently in each employee; any employee is not a good fit for any job. Employees are fired up about jobs whose thinking and performance requirements match their talents and passions. The closer they are matched, the more passionate performance happens. Match talents needed with the talents of the employees for the best performance Only those that are excited about their work (because it matches their talents and passions) will be fired up to perform. With the right employees in the right roles, now define performance expectations. Studies show employees are more excited about performance when they know what is expected and can create the plan to achieve those expectations. This personalizes each role, takes advantage of their
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talents and encourages employees to own their performance. Employees are fired up when they have a voice, are made to feel competent, and can control their performance. Build a strong personal manager connection though recurring performance feedback. Act as a coach and educator; encourage employees to continually improve their skills to achieve their performance expectations. The more contact you have with employees in a positive and supportive way, the stronger the personal connection. This connection is the core of millennial management; employees are loyal to managers who know them, care about them and spend time helping them improve. Host recurring “Career Conversations.” Employees respond to a compelling personal vision of the future. To keep employees excited about performance, host “Career Conversations” or development discussions several times a year. Discuss the employee’s talents and interests in conjunction with the needs and direction of the organization. This insures a viable plan as it blends the needs of the organization with the talents, interests and goals of the employees. Allowing employees a voice in the development process is one of the most significant ways to fire up an employee.
Jay Forte is a powerful performance speaker, consultant and founder of Humanetrics, LLC. For information on keynotes, speaking, consulting or to see the daily BLOGucation visit: www.humanetricsllc.com, www.FireUpYourEmployees.com or call: 401-338-3505.
The Coach’s Corner: Solutions for Small Business
Reneé Perry | B2B Illinois contributor
n n n n n n n
I want to hire my first employee, but I’m reluctant. Mainly, how do I handle things if I don’t like the job the employee is doing or if we don’t get along?
First of all, it’s a huge step to hire your first employee. It’s a real good idea to have an employee handbook outlining policies and procedures for all employees. This keeps everything up front with your employee(s). The handbook could include: Days off, wages paid for holidays, funerals, sick days and jury duty Your hiring process (Are you adding a 30-day probation period?) Dress code
Handling complaints Wages Warnings Safety procedures What the work days and hours are Employee responsibilities Employer responsibilities
I suggest having a lawyer look over the handbook to be sure all laws are being followed. Second, be sure to have some sort of training process for the employee. This is only fair to the employee to get a handle on how and what you want done. There needs to be some balance between the employee doing their work in a way that works for them, with the employer feeling confident the job will be done correctly and efficiently. Be sure to handle issues or problems as quickly as possible, not allowing them
to get worse. If you are having a thirty-day probation period, talk to the employee in two weeks to discuss how they’re doing and what your expectations are. Last, do not make promises you are not planning on keeping. If you promise a raise after a period of time, give it. Employees should not be put in a position of reminding the employer about promises made and not kept. This will create a distrustful relationship. Trust is a key component to an employee and employer relationship.
Reneé Perry is a small business coach and consultant. Submit your business and operations questions to email@example.com, or for more information visit www.reneeperrycoaching.com.
What’s in a Name?
Alan Brew | B2B Illinois contributor
The Importance of Company Branding During Economic Downturn
Many entrepreneurs and companies choose a name that sounds great but lacks the strategy to support a solid brand within the marketplace. Naming a company takes more than just coming up with a catchy word or phrase – there are several potential pitfalls that should be considered when developing a marketable name. Choosing the wrong name can negatively affect not only current business but future growth as well. On the flip side, selecting the right name can transform a business and establish its brand within any industry. and, perhaps equally important, which names will not. Companies must avoid the pitfalls of “generica” – names that leave little or no room for brand recognition within a given industry. In addition, companies need to avoid translation and pronunciation errors that can occur in international marketplaces. The most important thing to remember during a down turn is that things will eventually get better. Reviewing your company name and brand identity can assist in weathering the storm and ultimately help you to come out on top.
How Do You Do It?
A name is more than just a word – it is the embodiment of an entire organization. Use the name of your company to create a brand identity. Think about the things that set the company a part from the rest of the industry. Is it eco-friendly, do you use high-quality materials, or is the hand craftsmanship above and beyond the competition? If the company is unique – express that in the name and branding.
Who Are You?
Take a look at the name and identity of your company. Whether starting up, spinning off, merging or just coming to the realization that the business has changed, identifying the culture is imperative to develop a name that is relevant to the distinct personality and stage in the business cycle. Also, in today’s economy, it is important to review external influences. For example if a company name has a connotation of expense and overindulgence, it may keep customers away. Think about your name from a customer’s perspective in order to remain successful.
Alan Brew has more than 20 years of senior executive experience with some of the world’s leading branding companies, including Landor Associates, Siegel & Gale and Enterprise IG. At RiechesBaird, a brand creation and development firm that specializes in building the value of B2B companies, Brew is primarily responsible for leading the firm’s brand strategy development. Prior to joining RiechesBaird, Brew served as managing director of Siegel & Gale in Los Angeles where he worked with such clients as Adobe, Yahoo!, Intelsat, and PG&E Corp. For more information about RiechesBaird, visit www.riechesbaird.com or call 949.586.1200.
Where Do You Want to Go?
Branding companies can provide knowledgeable and well researched insights into naming or renaming businesses. It can be of great benefit to seek their input and skill when creating a brand identity and name. The industry expertise helps speed the process for companies while effectively providing a platform for designers, copywriters, namers and other specialists to be in on the process from the very beginning. Partnering with an outside source will help in the creation of brand names that strike a chord with employees and consumers alike.
Submit Your News and Articles to B2B Illinois
Part of the ongoing success of B2B Illinois is found in the quality of the articles we receive from business people just like you. Articles should be about your field in business and informative in nature. Visit www.b2billinois.com/submissions for additional guidelines. To submit an article, or if you have any questions, please contact Andrew Wheeler at 815-929-5416 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Do You Do?
The approach to naming or renaming a company is highly strategic, built upon a fundamental understanding of the industry. It’s imperative to know which names will work
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