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Employees

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As the labor market continues to tighten, there are a significant number of jobs – about 6.7 million – remaining unfilled. That means for all businesses, and particularly small businesses that may have a harder time attracting talent, creativity in terms of seeking out potential employee candidates is imperative.

 

One group often overlooked is former entrepreneurs. Ex-entrepreneurs provide a wealth of experience that can be leveraged by a business to make a fantastic employee.

 

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Some businesses may be concerned that someone used to running the show wouldn’t thrive as an employee. However, Catherine Morgan, a business consultant with Point A to Point B Transitions, disagrees.

 

Morgan offers six reasons why former entrepreneurs make fantastic employees and should be a top consideration when looking for candidates.

 

1. Ex-Entrepreneurs Know How to Manage Change: As businesses are being disrupted by technology and market needs, Morgan says ex-entrepreneurs fit the bill perfectly. “Ex-entrepreneurs are comfortable in fluid environments. They will be able to more easily navigate management or market changes.” This is a skill that is hard to learn on the job.

 

2. Ex-Entrepreneurs Are Multi-Tasking Mavens: The ability to wear multiple hats might be overlooked on a resume, but shouldn’t be in the hiring process. Morgan points out that, “Many,  if not most,  companies are trying to do more with fewer resources. Entrepreneurs have learned a wide array of skills and have performed many job functions in their businesses. These professionals can be great additions in thinly staffed organizations because they can add value in multiple roles.”

 

3. Ex-Entrepreneurs Can Make Decisions: Decisive employees can help lift the burden of the CEO in a small business. As Morgan shares, “Ex-entrepreneurs are not afraid of making decisions because they made them every single day in their businesses. Decisiveness is one of their super powers.”

 

4. Ex-Entrepreneurs Understand Financial Implications of Decisions: While making decisions is one skill, understanding the financial implications is another. What business isn’t looking for employees who understand return on investment? This is even more critical for small businesses. “Many entrepreneurs have bootstrapped their businesses,” Morgan says. “Ex-entrepreneurs are hard-wired to evaluate costs and returns on investments. They may even show your company where it can save money!”

 

5. Ex-Entrepreneurs Will Bring a Fresh Perspective: Often, those that aren’t close to a business can see things that those inside can’t. It’s that whole “can’t see the forest for the trees” problem. Morgan says bringing in an ex-entrepreneur will give your company an outside perspective. “This can be especially helpful if most of your employees have been at your company for a long time. The ex-entrepreneur’s get-it-done attitude and experience as a business owner might be exactly what you need to shake things up.”

 

6. Ex-Entrepreneurs Are Resourceful: If you need help finding new markets to explore, launching new products or mastering a new technology, a former entrepreneur could be your best hire. Morgan emphatically agrees. “Hire an ex-entrepreneur! They are used to building the plane while flying it. Moreover, they tend to be life-long learners, so if they don’t know how to do something, they will figure it out along the way.” This is a compelling skill that is hard to uncover in a traditional search process.

 

Morgan also adds, “If you have a new position or a new business venture, you can’t find a better candidate than an ex-entrepreneur. In fact, you might want to actively recruit for one.” Having someone that is used to uncertainty and is agile can help you define and execute the role in ways that you can’t currently imagine.

 

Read next:

 

 

About Carol Roth

 

Carol Roth Headshot for post.png

Carol Roth is the creator of the Future File ® legacy planning system, “recovering” investment banker, billion-dollar dealmaker, investor, entrepreneur, national media personality and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett-produced technology competition show, America’s Greatest Makers and TV host and contributor, including host of Microsoft’s Office Small Business Academy. She is also an advisor to companies ranging from startups to major multi-national corporations and has an action figure made in her own likeness.

 

Web: www.CarolRoth.com or Twitter: @CarolJSRoth.

You can read more articles from Carol Roth by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Carol Roth to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Carol Roth is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Carol Roth. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Here is how not to reward employees:

 

One summer after law school, I got a job at a law firm with a dubious reputation, but hey, it was a job. The gig was fine, not great, and so I was surprised a few months later when the firm announced it was going to have a holiday party. The first clue we had that something was amiss was that we were explicitly told that no spouses or partners were allowed at the party.

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A few weeks later we went to the party on, of all things, a Thursday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. Like I said, it was strange. But things got downright weird when the managing partner took to the microphone to announce that we still needed to bill for the two hours we had been at the party and so everyone was expected to go back to the office after it was over and work late.

 

Not surprisingly, I was thrilled when the firm let me go a few weeks later; it was like being sprung from jail.

 

There are right ways and wrong ways to reward employees. The important thing to note is that the right ways can pay big dividends long term as happy employees becomeloyal employees and loyal employees make for happy customers.

 

Here are six easy and great ways to reward employees:

 

1. Flexibility: Being flexible with your staff is simple and it can be incredibly useful in creating and maintaining a team willing to go the extra mile. Treating employees like adults and making accommodations for their lives and needs may not sound like an “employee benefit,” but if you have ever worked someplace where that is not the case, you know it is.

 

Letting people start work a bit late or leaving a bit early, or understanding that sometimes things come up during the work day, creates a cooperative culture. Your employees will appreciate and respect your flexibility, and that will in turn lead to loyalty and a happier work environment.

 

2. Special days off: It might be fun to let employees take the day off on their birthday, or anniversary, or Martin Luther King Day, or Purim, or whatever. Let them decide. When it comes to employee rewards, it is often the little things that lead to the best results.

 

3. Food/treats: As we all know, food is the way to a person’s heart and so, if you have the means to provide free food in the workplace, this can be a great benefit. Indeed, one thing you will notice if you ever see a profile of bigger businesses that get lauded for their employee benefits (think Google or Facebook) is that they consistently offer staff free food.

 

And note, it need not be free meals. If the budget is a little too tight to keep food in the office on a daily basis, consider bringing in bagels or donuts every week or two. Buy the staff lunch, grab coffee for everybody, etc.

 

4. Employee of the Month: This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it’s here because it works. The key to good employee benefits is that they make employees feel appreciated. People want to feel special, especially in a work setting, and they love it when their efforts are recognized. That is where the Employee of the Week or Month comes in. Yes, it may be a bit corny, but offering that recognition, along with a little prize, works.

 

5. Gifts/prizes: Speaking of prizes, offering up small gifts or prizes as incentives is a great way to ensure quality work. They don’t have to be grand or expensive things either. Everyone loves winning prizes/contest, regardless of what the reward actually is. You could offer tangible things, like gift cards, lunch paid for by the boss, candy, or movie tickets. You could offer up extra days off or a long lunch as potential prizes – the options are many.

 

6. Saying thank you: This one is the simplest and probably the most important. As a manager or business owner, it is your job to pay attention to how things are running, and how your employees are working and feeling. Take note of things that are going well, and look out for people who are going the extra mile, or have truly accomplished something special. Take a moment to thank these people earnestly and regularly. It will make a difference.

There are many fun, creative things you can do to keep your employees happy and motivated, and, happily, they don’t need to include working overtime.

 

Related content:

 

About Steve Strauss

 

Steve Strauss Headshot New.png

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss.

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

The U.S. government measures it, smart devices help us track it, and business leaders obsess about it. Productivity is the holy grail for business owners seeking to make their businesses more profitable.

 

Here are 10 hacks to help your employees be more productive at work.

 

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1. Encourage (or require) breaks. Whether your employees have desk jobs, manufacturing or service jobs, breaks are essential. One study found the most productive people work for 52 minutes at a stretch and then take a 17-minute break. Intense focus on work, followed by a break, rejuvenates both mental and physical energy.

 

2. Get employees moving. Breaks work best when they’re taken away from the desk, computer or workstation. Encourage your staff to do quick stretches (even as a group) or head outside for a short walk. Sit-stand desks let staffers get moving while working; Texas A&M University research found employees using them are up to 46 percent more productive.

3. Reduce distractions. For office workers, our always-on digital culture can lead to an endless cycle of checking email, chat, social media and then starting all over again. Reduce technology distractions with “meeting-free” days, “no email” days, work from home days or office quiet hours. Since email and other communication technologies are designed to be addictive, Deloitte suggests using apps to remind employees to take breaks.

 

4. Give workers autonomy. Don’t micromanage. Employees hate it, and unhappy workers are less productive. Research by the University of Melbourne shows managers who provide support and autonomy, rather than micromanaging, are more likely to have happier employees and greater workplace well-being.

 

5. Connect with workers’ deeper motivations. In some industries, such as food service, work requires following a set formula without much room for discretion. For this type of job, tying work in to an employee’s larger motivations, such as supporting their families, has been shown to boost productivity. Hold “bring your child to work” days, company picnics, and other family-friendly events that connect workers’ families and the job. If possible, allow employees flexible hours or other arrangements to meet their personal needs.

 

6. Provide stable hours. Do your employees’ hours and shifts change every week? Keeping schedule changes to a minimum has been shown to make businesses more productive. In a study with the Gap, consistent, predictable hours improved employee retention, making the stores more productive.

 

7. Create a variety of spaces. If you’ve adopted the open office trend, you may want to reconsider. Staples Annual Workplace Survey reports 37 percent of workers in open-plan offices consider their workspace distracting. Provide some quiet places, meeting rooms, and common spaces such as break rooms so employees can escape the open plan when necessary.

 

8. Light it up. Exposure to light strongly influences our alertness levels. Allow as much natural light into your workspace as you can, or purchase desk lamps that mimic natural light.

 

9. Allow remote work. Only 32 percent of employees spend all their work time at the office. More than half (57 percent) say working remotely removes distractions. Some 3.9 million workers currently telecommute at least half-time, according to the 2017 State of Telecommuting in the U.S. Employee Workforce report, which estimates half-time telecommuting boosts productivity by 15 percent.

 

10. Engage your employees. This really isn’t a hack—it’s a long-term project. According to  Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report, 85 percent of employees are either not engaged or actively disengaged at work, causing $7 trillion in lost productivity annually. Disengaged workers have 37 percent higher absenteeism, 49 percent more accidents, and 60 percent more errors and defects in their work, Harvard Business Review reports.

 

To increase employee engagement, treat your staff with respect, provide learning opportunities, offer competitive wages and benefits, and foster community at work. These actions aren’t quick fixes, but they’re worth the effort. Creating a team of engaged employees is the best way to boost your business’s productivity

 

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

Not long ago, I took ten days off to go see our daughter, who is living and working in Spain. Upon my return, I was speaking with a colleague—another small business owner—and told her about the trip. Her response?

 

“Man, I wish I could take some time off.” Followed by a big sigh.

 

Interestingly, I didn’t say that I didn’t work for 10 days because, like most small business owners—indeed like most of us these days—it is difficult to completely unplug and get away; it is just so darned easy to stay in touch, for good or ill.

 

But my friend’s response was telling, especially around this time of year. Indeed, while summer is supposed to be a fun and more relaxing time, scheduling woes often restrict the entrepreneur.

 

But it need not be. With a little planning, everyone can get some time off this summer – even you!

 

You can do so in 5 easy steps:

 

Step 1: Communicate: Understandably, employees expect to be able to take time off in the summer, what with the kids being off from school, the nice weather, partners getting time off and what have you. So, your job as a small business owner is to run a shop that allows them to do just that, while still getting the job done.32488869_s.jpg

 

That begins with communication. Start early to get an idea of what everyone’s desired time off needs are. And, while you obviously do not want to be a jerk about it, it is important that you set deadlines for employees to submit vacation requests so that you have sufficient time to figure out how to fill absences, resolve scheduling conflicts, etc.

 

Step 2: Preparation: Once you know who wants to be gone when, then you can begin to prepare to schedule for the absences.

 

Also, have the people who are leaving create an outline of what they are working on, duties that need to be covered, and key contacts. Checklists can be very helpful. Files, data, and other relevant info must also be made both simple and accessible to the fill-in help.

 

Step 3: Divvy up the work: Instead of having only one person be responsible for covering for the absent employee, what often works better is to divide up the person’s duties and schedule among several colleagues. This is usually much easier on everyone involved.

 

Of course, if having staff go on vacation would leave you short-staffed, then you should start to look for, hire, and train temporary help now. With regard to vacation, your No. 1 priority should be to be a good boss, take care of the employees who take care of you, and give your team the time off they desire. If that means hiring, so be it.

 

Step 4: Offer incentives: You will likely find that certain weeks are more popular than others in terms of wanting time off. In that case, it would behoove you to offer other employees bonuses and other incentives for filling in during those peak popular periods.

 

Similarly, you can allow team members who have similar positions to trade time off and vacation dates. As long as the work gets done and the office doesn’t suffer, that should work.

 

Step 5: Apply all of this to you: It doesn’t serve you or your business to be like my colleague and bemoan your fate as an overworked entrepreneur.

 

You’re the boss. Be a good one. Especially to yourself. This means following the same protocol as above to the extent possible. Schedule time off. Let your team know when that’s going to be. Have fill-in assistance ready. And then get the heck out of Dodge for a while.

 

 

Related Content:

How to Enjoy Vacation and Keep Your Business Humming

6 Tips for Working Better with Freelancers

6 Things Entrepreneurs Can Do to Attract and Retain Good Employees

 

 

About Steve StraussSteve Strauss Headshot New.png

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success. © Steven D. Strauss.

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Miss the first big problem small business owners struggle with? Find it here.

 

Unemployment is at record low levels—great news for employees, but not so much for employers.

 

For the third straight year, employee retention is the top challenge cited by HR managers in a survey by SHRM/Globoforce. According to the ADP report Evolution of Work 2.0, almost two-thirds of employees are looking for new jobs, and many workers not actively seeking new jobs would consider a job offer.

 

Employee turnover is costly and disruptive—especially for a small business. HR Dive reports that when an employee leaves, companies spend one-third of the person’s salary (an average of $15,000) to find a replacement. With small staffs to begin with, the loss of a key employee can cripple your business, further cutting into profits.

 

How to Retain Employees

 

1. Put your money where your mouth is. If employees can get sizable pay bumps by switching employers, it will be harder to keep them on board. Make sure your wages are competitive. Provide opportunities for employees to make more money through bonus or profit-sharing plans. This is more affordable than offering big raises, since you only pay if the company is doing well.85126505_s.jpg

 

2. Offer employee benefits. Benefits are growing in importance, MetLife’s 15th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study reveals. While health insurance is the top benefit employees want, 54% of the employees surveyed also want their employers to provide benefits that help them build financial security, such as a retirement plan. In addition, 58% want the option to choose from a wide range of benefits. You don’t have to foot the entire bill for employee benefits: The majority of workers surveyed are willing to pay for part of their benefits. Choosing a benefits package that gives your employees options is a great way to meet the needs of everyone on your team.

 

     More on this: Four Things Small Business Owners Should Consider Before Offering Employee Healthcare

 

3. Build relationships. Relationships with coworkers and managers are critical to employee satisfaction and engagement, ADP reports. The top reason employees in their survey left their jobs was because of their direct manager. As a small business owner, you’re uniquely positioned to get to know your employees—and how they get along with each other. Take steps to encourage relationship building among employees. Consider celebrating birthdays and other milestones, holding lunchtime potlucks, or starting a bowling or softball league.

        

          More on this: The importance of employee perks and how you can offer more than you think

 

4. Provide employee recognition. Everyone wants to feel respected and needed. More than eight in 10 workers in the ADP survey say they want to make a difference at work and feel that they play an important role. When it comes to recognition, little things—like praising employees in front of the team—can make a big difference. Check out these employee recognition ideas.

 

How to Recruit Employees

 

1. Plan ahead. Identify your highest-value employees—they’re likely at the biggest risk of leaving. Create a plan for how you would replace them, whether by recruiting outside or inside the company. Cross-training is a great way to build a “bench” so you can promote from within. Create detailed job descriptions for every position on your team if you don’t already have them; that way, you’ll be ready to advertise at a moment’s notice.

 

2. Keep recruiting. Stay alert for potential candidates on social media platforms such as LinkedIn. Pay attention to people in your industry you might like to have on your team one day. Developing relationships now can pay off in the future.

 

3. Promote your company as a great place to work. Job candidates will go online to get an idea of what it’s really like to work at your business. Use social media and your business website to share your corporate culture, spread the word about open positions, and spotlight your staff members.

 

An employee-friendly corporate culture is a strong antidote for the employee crisis. And in the end, it will save you time and money.

 

Read more on this topic: 6 Things Entrepreneurs Can Do to Attract and Retain Good Employees

 

 

 

About Rieva LesonskyRieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN,The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America,its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Friday, March 2, is Employee Appreciation Day. Have you made plans to show your employees you care?

 

If you think appreciation isn’t a big deal to your team, think again. In one study, 22 percent of managers didn’t think employee recognition had a big effect on their staffs—but 70 percent of employees said their motivation and morale would “massively” improve if managers provided regular recognition.

 

Unfortunately, employee recognition is often absent from the workplace. Almost half (45 percent) of 2,700 US workers in a study by Globoforce say they haven’t been recognized at work in six months or more. Worse yet, 16 percent say they have never been recognized at work.

 

If you recognize your own workplace in some of those statistics, don’t worry: It’s not too late to change. Here are 11 ways you can show employees your appreciation on Employee Appreciation Day (or any other day):63538296_s.jpg

 

  1. Throw a party: Hold a party at work or better yet, pick an outside venue and enjoy catering.
  2. Show employees you value their health: Give everyone a free fitness monitor so they can track their steps or set alerts to remind them to get up and stretch.
  3. Feed them: Surprise your team with free food – it’s always a great way to celebrate and show how much you appreciate them. You could set up an ice-cream sundae bar or cookie buffet around 3 PM when everyone’s flagging. Bringing in breakfast is also a nice surprise – and everyone loves pizza lunches.
  4. Put it in writing: Craft a hand-written note to each employee thanking them for their hard work, and share something specific that you appreciate about them. For example, “I appreciate how you always step up to take a leadership role,” or “I appreciate how your attention to detail helps make our shipments more accurate.”
  5. Give gift cards: Gift cards are always the number-one seller at holiday time, and your employees will love them any time of year. Look for gift cards that everyone can use, or tailor them to specific employees’ interests if you’re aware of them.
  6. Go to the movies: With the price of movie tickets constantly rising, just about every employee will appreciate the gift of free movie tickets.
  7. Pamper them: Bring in a local massage therapist to give everyone shoulder and neck massages in the office. Or hire a yoga instructor to lead a class.
  8. Give the gift of time: Give your employees Employee Appreciation Day off with pay or let them leave work early. (With Employee Appreciation Day falling on a Friday this year, what better way to show your appreciation than a three-day weekend?)
  9. Upgrade their workstations: Show your employees your appreciation with new, ergonomic desk chairs, new computers, mobile devices or other tools to make their work lives easier.
  10. Offer a choice: Why not let employees choose their own appreciation rewards? Set a dollar limit and within that amount, let each employee buy something they want.
  11. Put it to a vote: Come up with a few different ideas to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day. Share them with the employees, then take a vote and let the majority decide.

 

No matter what you decide to do for Employee Appreciation Day, be sure to follow the most important rule: Don’t make showing your appreciation a once-a-year event. Make a plan for regularly, consistently reaching out to show your employees how much you value their hard work. The results will be well worth it.

 

Related content:

The importance of employee perks and how you can offer more than you think

6 Things Entrepreneurs Can Do to Attract and Retain Good Employees

Do you Hire Writers for your Business? Time to Say Thanks

 

About Rieva LesonskyRieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

As your business grows, you may need more people to support the growth. Yet it is no secret that hiring the right talent has been a challenge for small business owners.

 

Hiring the right person can accelerate your small business growth. On the other hand, hiring the wrong person can ruin your growth, impact sales and deteriorate employee culture. In my experience providing leadership training to companies, I’ve learned an important lesson:

If you want to improve your sales and culture, hire slow, fire fast and reward current employees through promotion.

 

Here are four steps to hiring top talent for your small business.

 

1. Personality, Attitude and Enthusiasm. When seeking to hire employees for your small business, screen for good personalities, attitudes and enthusiasm. You can always teach new employees you hire the skills required for the job but you cannot teach an amazing personality. 53110373_s.jpg

 

Additionally, attitude and enthusiasm are infectious and transferable traits. For example, when someone is in a bad mood, the customers and colleagues they come in contact with may be affected by their bad mood. Unfortunately, this experience can hurt sales and employee morale. In my experience, when working with someone with a bad attitude, colleagues avoid that person., an approach that likely hurts the business.

 

 

2. Improve Your Job Descriptions. According to researchers for a Wall Street Journal article, job descriptions were re-written based on two approaches:

 

Needs-Supplies focuses on job descriptions that express what the company can do for the applicant.

 

Demands-Supplies focuses on what the company that is hiring can expect from the applicant.

 

 

Those who responded to the Needs-Supplies approach were rated higher than those who responded to the Demands-Supplies approach. In other words, consider writing job descriptions in a way that shows how the applicant can fit the company’s culture and future.

 

3. Improve Your Interviewing Process. Applicants are already nervous. Start the interview process and experience on a positive note. Have your staff greet interviewees on time and make them feel welcome by smiling, offering them something to drink and maintain eye contact as much as possible.

 

Try to avoid rushing through the interview. No one likes to feel rushed, especially if it wasn’t their fault. As an interviewer, if you don’t have time to interview them, will you have the proper time to answer their questions when they are stuck?


The fact of the matter is a talented candidate is evaluating their fit with your company just as much as you’re evaluating them. They are assessing the culture, how other employees respond and the overall vibe of the working environment. At the end of the day, the new employee has to commute to this location every day, so how they feel is important.

 

4. Be aware of Digital and Social Media Trends. How a person behaves on social media and how they represent themselves at the business are important for your business. Does the job candidate exhibit a social media behavior congruent with your company’s values and missions? If not, then this may be another factor to consider when extending an offer of employment.

 

Be sure to speak with your legal counsel to determine whether it’s lawful to evaluate the social media profiles of your applicants. 

 

The right employees can take your business from mediocre to meteoric. Using these tips to improve your hiring process can alleviate your leadership duties and help you grow your business.

 

Related Articles:

6 Things Entrepreneurs Can Do to Attract and Retain Good Employees

Payroll services for small businesses

 

About Ebong EkaEbong+Eka+Headshot.png

Ebong Eka is no stranger to the world of personal finance. As a certified public accountant and former professional basketball player he offers a fresh perspective to small business planning and executing. With over fifteen years of accounting, tax & small business experience with firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte & Touche and CohnReznick, Ebong provides practical money solutions tailored to the everyday person, the aspiring entrepreneur or the small business owner.

 

Ebong is the founder of EKAnomics, a sales, pricing and leadership firm. He is also the founder of Ericorp Consulting, Inc., a tax and management consulting firm. Ebong is the author of “Start Me Up! The-No-Business-Plan, Business Plan.

 

Web: www.ebongeka.com or Twitter: @EbongEka.

You can read more articles from Ebong Eka by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Ebong Eka to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Ebong Eka is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Ebong Eka. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

     

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

If you have any doubt that attracting and retaining qualified employees is one of the biggest hurdles small business owners face, check out these numbers:

    • More than half (55 percent) of small business owners say competing for talent is their top challenge (LinkedIn).
    • When they try to hire, 45 percent of small business owners find few or no qualified applicants (NFIB).
    • Some 62 percent of small business owners admit having made a bad hire (Monster).

Related article: Is Your Business Staffed with Emotionally Intelligent People?

 

The Fall 2017 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report took a closer look at how small business owners attract and keep the best employees. Here’s what you can do:

 

1.     Give them raises—Money matters to employees, but just 22 percent of small business owners give their employees raises every year, while 34 percent give raises based only on employee performance and 21 percent do so based only on business growth. If you can only spend in one place, spending on employee wages is it.49883015_s.jpg

 

2.     Offer flexibility—Only 34 percent of surveyed entrepreneurs have offered employees flexible work hours or the ability to work remotely over the past two years. The great news for small business owners on a tight budget: flexibility doesn’t cost anything to implement.

More on offering a flexible work environment: Remote Workers Are Happy Workers: My Tips for Making Smart Hires

 

3.     Offer perks—17 percent of small business owners in the survey provide perks aside from flexibility. Perks don't have to cost a lot—just get creative. A few items to consider:

      • Bring in coffee, donuts and bagels for breakfast once or twice a week.
      • Let employees bring dogs to the office.
      • Arrange with a local dry cleaner to pick up and drop off employees’ dry cleaning once a week.
      • Make a deal with a local car detailer to come in once a week and detail employees’ cars in the parking lot.
      • Barter with local businesses to get perks. If you own a website design company, would a local massage therapist give your employees monthly shoulder rubs in exchange for website design?

 

4.     Offer employee rewards—Fifteen percent of entrepreneurs in the survey do. You can set up your own rewards program or work with a company that handles it for you, like Fond or YouEarnedIt. Stay away from “rewards” like plaques or pens and give employees things they’ll appreciate, like prepaid debit cards or gifts tailored to their interests.

 

5.     Offer competitive benefits—Just 13 percent of business owners in the survey provide competitive benefits to their teams. Since so few of your peers are doing this, it’s a great way to make your business stand out from the competition. Face it: The big companies competing with you for top employees offer health insurance and retirement plans, and employees expect these basic benefits. An independent insurance agent who works with multiple health insurance companies can suggest options and ways to make insurance affordable. Affordable 401(k) plans exist for even the smallest businesses, so there’s really no excuse for not offering one.

     Offering healthcare to employees: Four Things Small Business Owners Should Consider Before Offering Employee Healthcare

     More on competing with large corporations: Infographic: Leveling the Playing Field Against Larger Corporations

 

6.    Offer paid or unlimited vacation—Only 12 percent of small business owners in the survey do this. Paid vacation is a standard benefit among bigger companies, so it’s a must if you want to stay competitive.

 

Why not start your employee reward and retention program now? Take a cue from what entrepreneurs in the survey are doing for the holidays:

    • Closing the office during the holidays: 43 percent
    • Giving salary bonuses: 35 percent
    • Giving gifts: 33 percent
    • Holding a holiday party: 32 percent
    • Offering flexible hours or vacation time during the holidays: 29 percent

 

Your business wouldn’t be successful without your employees, so treat them right—now and all year long.

 

About Rieva LesonskyRieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN,The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America,its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Affordable healthcare has long been a sought after benefit for small business owners to offer employees. In fact, affordable dental and healthcare could be the deciding factor in attracting a highly talented and skilled workforce.

 

Yet, selecting the right healthcare for your employees can be a confusing process. Here are four considerations every small business owner should take to heart before offering healthcare to employees.

 

1. Tax credits can save you a considerable amount of money52314670_s.jpg

For eligible small businesses, the maximum credit is 50% of insurance premiums paid by small business employers.

 

To be eligible for the credit, a small business employer must pay premiums on behalf of employees enrolled in a qualified health plan offered through a Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace. The credit is available to eligible employers for two consecutive taxable years.

 

Here are additional details about the health care tax credit according to the IRS:

      • You have fewer than 25 full-time employees.
      • You pay average wages of less than $52,000 a year per full-time employee.
      • You pay at least half of employee health insurance premiums.
      • You offer coverage to your full-time employees through the SHOP Marketplace. Note: you don’t have to offer coverage to dependents or employees working fewer than 30 hours per week to qualify for the tax credit.


2. Consider using an insurance broker

Small business owners have the option to enroll their company and employees into a health insurance plan directly, or they can use an insurance broker. An insurance broker can help simplify the process of enrollment.

 

There are many small business health insurance plans available. As such, it can be an overwhelming process without proper guidance. While an insurance broker earns a commission selling health insurance, he or she will likely save your business money in the future. The last thing you want is to inadvertently choose the wrong insurance for you and your employees.  Before you speak with a broker, you should have the following information about your business on hand:

      • Employer name
      • Business start date
      • List of employees (full time and part time)
      • FEIN (Federal Employer Identification Number or Tax ID)
      • Payroll records from your payroll processing provider
      • NAICS or Industry code

 

CLICK HERE TO READ ARTICLES MORE FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT EBONG EKA

 

3. Look at your business’s bottom line

How much can you afford to spend on health insurance for your employees?

 

As a CPA, I encourage all small businesses to hire an external or internal accountant whose primary role is to manage the financials of their business. In my experience, employers have based their health care costs on a percentage of payroll for each employee.

 

The advantage of this method is that you can identify true labor and healthcare costs per employee to determine salaries.

 

Deciding how much you can comfortably afford to spend on employee health insurance will help narrow your plan choices in the marketplace.

 

4. Visit the SHOP Marketplace
The Small Business Health Options Program Marketplace (SHOP) on the Healthcare.gov website is for small business owners who want to provide health and dental insurance to their employees. You can use the SHOP Marketplace if you have 50 employees or fewer.


According to Healthcare.gov, SHOP Marketplace offers the following insurance plans: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum. The categories represent how the insurance company and your employees will split the costs of care.

      • Bronze:  The health plan covers about 60% of the total costs of care. The employee pays about 40%.
      • Silver: The health plan covers about 70% of the total costs of care. The employee pays about 30%.
      • Gold:  The health plan covers about 80% of the total costs of care. The employee pays about 20%.
      • Platinum:  The health plan covers about 90% of the total costs of care. The employee pays about 10%.

 

As a small business owner, offering affordable healthcare options to your employees does not have to be a confusing experience. With the right guidance, you can maximize your tax credits and deductions while providing your employees excellent benefits.

 

RELATED ARTICLE: The importance of employee perks and how you can offer more than you think

 

About Ebong EkaEbong+Eka+Headshot.png

Ebong Eka is no stranger to the world of personal finance. As a certified public accountant and former professional basketball player he offers a fresh perspective to small business planning and executing. With over fifteen years of accounting, tax & small business experience with firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte & Touche and CohnReznick, Ebong provides practical money solutions tailored to the everyday person, the aspiring entrepreneur or the small business owner.

 

Ebong is the founder of EKAnomics, a sales, pricing and leadership firm. He is also the founder of Ericorp Consulting, Inc., a tax and management consulting firm. Ebong is the author of “Start Me Up! The-No-Business-Plan, Business Plan.

 

Web: www.ebongeka.com or Twitter: @EbongEka.

You can read more articles from Ebong Eka by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Ebong Eka to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Ebong Eka is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Ebong Eka. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

       

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

The coming holiday shopping season promises to be one of the most challenging ever for retailers—especially small retailers. Facing stiffer competition from e-commerce sites like Amazon, small retailers that can't compete on price will need to ensure a stellar in-store experience in order to succeed. For most, that includes bringing on seasonal employees to handle the holiday rush.

 

But with unemployment low, retailers face challenges in this arena as well. Target’s announcement earlier this month that it would hire 100,000 seasonal employees—a whopping 40 percent increase from the number it hired last holiday season—serves as an early indicator to small retailers that the time to start hiring is now.

 

If you hope to lure quality seasonal employees to your store instead of the likes of Amazon and Target, try these tips.

 

          CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ARTICLES FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT RIEVA LESONSKY

 

1.  Pay well. Competitive pay is one of the top concerns for hourly workers seeking jobs, according to a study earlier this year. Start by making sure your pay is at least competitive with—and ideally, a little higher than—similar retailers in your area. Most of the jobseekers in the study said $10-$11 an hour is a fair wage. 49530775_s.jpg

 

2.  Add incentives. In addition to base wages, try offering employees commission and end-of-season bonuses. Incentive-based pay motivates employees and means you don’t have to pay unless they deliver. You can also give employees in-store discounts. This not only makes them happy but also encourages more sales, since they’re likely to shop for their own holiday gifts at your store.

 

3.  Schedule smart. Getting enough hours is the top issue jobseekers in the study care about: The majority would like to work at least 36 hours a week. Hiring seasonal employees who essentially want to work full-time makes your life easier, too, since you have fewer people to train, schedule and juggle. Speaking of juggling, there are plenty of employee time-tracking and scheduling apps available that make it easy to plan schedules in advance, share them with employees online, make quick changes and keep workers in the loop. If you’re still using a homemade spreadsheet or pen and paper to plan your store schedule, search online for retail scheduling software to save you time and headaches.

 

4.  Promote your seasonal jobs like crazy. Add detailed information about job openings to your business website, and then promote them everywhere you can think of. In addition to online job listings, try:

  • Announcing your hiring on the homepage of your website
  • Putting signage in your store windows and at checkout
  • Sharing links to your hiring information on your social media accounts and encouraging people to spread the word

 

5. Hold a job fair. Big companies do it, so why shouldn’t you? Promoting your job fair in local publications and local websites can get more attention than help-wanted ads. If you don't have enough openings to justify a job fair just for your store, consider partnering with other small businesses near yours or the local Chamber of Commerce to hold a community job fair for independent businesses.

 

6.  Tap into your customer base. Do you have customers who come into your store all the time? Ask if they're interested in seasonal work. After all, they obviously love your products and probably know your stock pretty well. An in-store discount for seasonal workers would likely tempt them, too. You can also promote your seasonal job openings in your email marketing newsletters. Even if customers aren’t interested themselves, they may know others who are.

 

7.  Be prepared. Once you’ve hired your seasonal employees, get ready for the roller coaster that is the holiday shopping season. Prep for success by developing a plan to bring your seasonal employees up to speed quickly so you can hit the ground running.

 

RELATED ARTICLE: Recruiting and Retaining Talent in the Evolving Small Business Workplace

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of

America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

While you keep your head down running the macro and micro duties of your business, you may forget you are surrounded by people who can help run your business better—your employees! Your employees are on the front lines, often knowing what tasks are creating bottlenecks and even missed marketing opportunities.

 

Here are eight things that you should ask your employees about immediately. You can do it formally through one-on-one interviews, through a survey or even a good-old-fashioned suggestion box. But, regardless of what form you ask for the feedback, make sure you review and act on it afterwards!

 

1.  What do you spend too much time doing?

Feedback.jpg

 

Employees know exactly what the time-wasters are in business. Whether it’s an onerous form-filling process or other jobs that can be simplified, asking your employees for their input can help you streamline your operations.

 

2.  Where could technology make your job easier?

Technology is another great catalyst for making employees more productive. Ask them what tasks they wish were faster and

easier and see if they can be streamlined with a technology solution.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT CAROL ROTH

 

3.  What are customers complaining about?

Employees who interact with customers know where the business pain points are. If shipping is always making mistakes or you are constantly out of stock on bestselling items, your employees will be able to give you the head’s up on where you should be focused on.

 

4.  What do customers compliment us about?

On the flipside, employees who interact with customers also know what your business is doing well, so use that knowledge to make sure you focus on your differentiators.

 

5.  Are there other employees whose talents aren’t being fully utilized?

You may have talented employees that aren’t being used to their full extent and not even know it. A great way to find out who those employees are is via their peers. This helps you to not only get more from your staff, but also make sure that a good employee doesn’t get bored and leave because they aren’t being challenged.

 

6.  What do you wish we did differently or better?

There isn’t an employee around that doesn’t have an opinion (or twelve!) on what the company can do to improve, so ask them!

 

RELATED CONTENT: LITTLE THINGS MATTER TO RETAIN TOP EMPLOYEES

 

7.  Do you know any good people for a position?

One of the best sources of finding new employees that are a good cultural fit is through the employees who already work there. So, be sure to ask your employees about possible candidates for any job openings.

 

8.  Is there anything else you wish management knew?

Having an open-ended question allows for employees to share their specific insights on everything from their own goals and position to other important strategic aspects of the company.

 

Again, those working throughout the business are living and breathing it every single day and are a fountain of knowledge for business owners willing to listen.

 

About Carol Roth

 

Carol Roth Headshot for post.png

Carol Roth is the creator of the Future File™ legacy planning system, “recovering” investment banker, billion-dollar dealmaker, investor, entrepreneur, national media personality and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett-produced technology competition show, America’s Greatest Makers and TV host and contributor, including host of Microsoft’s Office Small Business Academy. She is also an advisor to companies ranging from startups to major multi-national corporations and has an action figure made in her own likeness.

 

Web: www.CarolRoth.com or Twitter: @CarolJSRoth.

You can read more articles from Carol Roth by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Carol Roth to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Carol Roth is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Carol Roth. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Speaking at a conference recently, I was wrapping things up and opened the floor to questions. All started well enough, until this one guy got the mic. He just would not, well, shut up. His questions were all prefaced with lengthy monologues and the queries themselves were all about his specific, particular situation. On and on and on he went. Finally, with the audience clearly exasperated, I had to be more direct than I preferred, interrupted him, and told him I had to move on.

 

He was not happy.

 

Everyone else was.

 

It seems that no matter where you work, there is always someone who just doesn’t “get it” – people who are obnoxious, rude, lazy, loud, mean, narcissistic, selfish, manipulative, clueless, whatever. It is a wonder they ever get hired.

 

These are the people with very low levels of emotional intelligence.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ARTICLES FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT STEVE STRAUSS

 

To understand what this means, think of the opposite of that coworker: The people in the office who really do get it; the ones who are good listeners, good conversationalists, smart, witty, fun, bright, giving, hard-working, and friendly are the ones typically with a lot of emotional intelligence.

 

That’s the kind of person people like and bosses love.

 

So what is emotional intelligence, exactly? Emotional intelligence refers to a certain savviness with emotions, in regard to one’s own emotions as well as those of others. It includes the ability to comprehend and identify emotions, and apply them usefully to life’s daily tasks. Emotional intelligence also entails having a sense of empathy and the ability to understand and appreciate other peoples’ moods.

 

Psychology Today puts it this way:

 

“Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include three skills:

 

1. Emotional awareness

2. The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving, and

3. The ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people.”

 

It goes without saying that these sorts of skills come in very handy at work.

 

The concept of emotional intelligence has been ingraining itself into workplace discourse for a few years now. Relating emotional intelligence to workplace success is not an obscure idea; these days, it makes an actual, material, financial difference. And as such, as a boss or manager, it would behoove you to take emotional intelligence into consideration in the hiring, firing, and management of employees.

 

Consider the many benefits of hiring, supporting, and promoting the emotionally intelligent person:

 

They are empathetic: Hiring someone with empathy carries its own set of obvious benefits. Empathy allows people to understand and connect with others, a trait very valuable when dealing with co-workers - as well as customers. Empathy also helps create a tolerant work environment. Empathetic employees and managers are also, generally, well-liked and great team members. In short, empathy means someone has natural, effortless people skills.

 

28402228_s (1).jpgThey are self-aware: Emotionally intelligent people have a keen sense of self-awareness. They can identify the source of their emotions and reactions, understand how they are affecting other people, and respond to this knowledge accordingly. Compare that to those people who react strongly, irrationally, and without stopping to consider whether they might be justified.

 

With whom would you rather work? Exactly.

 

RELATED ARTICLE: Want to be a Great Boss? Develop these Traits

 

They are thoughtful: Emotionally intelligent people think before they act, which is important in so many aspects of work life: Making quick executive decisions, interacting with fellow employees, juggling deadlines, interacting with customers, and so on. People want to work with people who carefully consider the best course of action.

 

They are dynamic thinkers: People with high emotional intelligence can go beyond linear, black-and-white categorical thinking. They see gray. That type of dynamic thinking allows for resourcefulness, clever problem solving, and innovation – just the type of thing you want in today’s ever-changing and demanding workplace.

 

What I am suggesting is that, as a boss, it would be emotionally intelligent of you to prioritize emotional intelligence.

 

About Steve Strauss

Steve Strauss Headshot SBC.png

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss.

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

 

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

By Erin O'Donnell.

 

SuccessionPlan_Body.jpgMore than six out of 10 small business owners have no succession plan in place. That means they don't know what's going to happen to their company when they are no longer running it, according to a recent survey of 500 small business owners by Securian Financial Services.

 

Succession planning for your business is just as important as having a will for your family. Without it, your company's future, assets, and legacy are at risk.

 

What happens when the founder retires, or is disabled or dies? Planning today for these situations will ensure that your partners, employees, clients, and other stakeholders are not left at loose ends.

 

We spoke with Larry Grypp, president of the University of Cincinnati’s Goering Center for Family and Private Business, about the importance of a succession plan and what it should include. Read below for his recommendations:

 

First steps

Grypp says founders should be planning for their exit from the beginning. "Most people have done some thinking about it, but very few have a really organized, comprehensive plan," Grypp says.

 

Ideally, business owners should have the plan in place two to 10 years before they want to exit, to achieve a good transition, Grypp says. According to the Securian study, 33 percent of owners planned to sell to a third party, 25 percent expect to close up shop, 20 percent plan to transfer to a family member, and 20 percent plan to sell to a partner or key employee.

 

Choosing a successor

Succession plans should address both company ownership and leadership: who will make decisions and carry on the firm's vision and strategy. Many, but not all, family businesses are still taken over by the founder's children, other next-generation relatives, or a trusted employee.

 

Grypp recommends that businesses find an objective facilitator. Someone without an emotional stake will be able to guide conversations such as how the purchase will be financed, what the terms of the buyout will be, and how to transition from one leader to another. This could be an attorney, a business specialist, or someone else in your industry that has made a successful transition.

 

SuccessionPlan_PQ.jpgThe facilitator can also help determine whether the chosen successor is ready and capable of taking the reins. "If the founder's retirement is dependent on that business doing well after they leave, they want to make sure that the next generation has the ability to run the company competently," Grypp says.

 

Selling the business

If there is no successor inside the family or company, a small business can position itself to sell to a strategic buyer. Look for a competitor who would find value in acquiring your company. Another option is finding an investor. But be wary of pursuing investment if your company is very small, or highly dependent on you as the face of the business or the main point of contact for customers. An investor probably won't want the difficult task of finding a new leader who can fill your shoes.

 

Alternatively, you can set up an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan), which gives your workers shares in the company trust. According to the National Center for Employee Ownership, ESOPs are often used to buy the departing owner's shares. According to the site,  "The company can make tax-deductible cash contributions to the ESOP to buy out an owner's shares, or it can have the ESOP borrow money to buy the shares."

 

Value your company correctly

It's critical to determine the true worth of your company, Grypp says. Bring in a valuation expert and work closely with your accountant to get an accurate financial picture to ensure a fair sale or buyout price.

 

Communicate the plan

Who should be the first to know? Will you hold meetings or issue a press release? Decide how and when you will tell family members, partners, employees, vendors, clients—and possibly legislators and regulators—about the plans for transitioning your company's ownership and leadership.

 

A succession plan should be a living document that is periodically reviewed to make sure it fits the company's current needs. Just like a personal will, a business succession plan should clearly define the owner's intentions for the future and leave nothing to chance.

 

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Touchpoint Media Inc. to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Touchpoint Media Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Touchpoint Media Inc. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.

 

©2017 Bank of America Corporation

It’s 8:00 p.m. on a Thursday night. A client has just sent you an urgent message, and you really want to get your team working on a solution now. Since everyone has 24/7 access to email, texts, and social media messages through their smartphones, getting in touch is a snap. But should you?

 

It’s a dilemma many business owners are faced with today. Finding the right work-life balance is a major concern for an ever-growing number of employees – but as the owner, you also have the needs of your business to consider. And with the lines between personal friends, work friends, and online friends so blurred, it can also be hard to know when it’s appropriate to connect, and when it’s not. So what are today’s ground rules when it comes to connecting with your employees during off hours? Here are the three  most important ones.

 

1. Make sure everyone knows what’s expected.

There are some businesses where after-hours contact is not just a possibility, but an integral part of the job – and that’s fine, as long as everyone is aware of that fact.

Shama Hyder Headshot.png

Whether it’s an ongoing need to keep an eye on emails through the weekend in case something comes up, or simply a position where 24/7 texts are part of the deal, as long as employees know what to expect then no one should complain.

 

The problems begin when employees who aren’t expecting after-hours work start getting work messages during this time.  Asking for a quick response to a texted question may not seem like a big deal, but if it comes unexpectedly at an inopportune time, it can cause resentment. No one wants to be that parent running out of their kid’s recital to take a call from work – but the fear of what would happen if they didn’t often makes the decision for them. By preparing employees in advance for the possibility of after-hours contact, they won’t feel blind-sided by it if you do send that text.

 

2. Stay professional, no matter what.

 

Sure, it may be Saturday morning. And sure, you may be pretty good friends with your employees. But when connecting with them during their off hours, it’s important to keep your messages and your demeanor professional. Whether you’re asking them to do some last-minute work on a project via email, or just commenting on a picture they posted on Facebook, always remember that you’re their boss.

 

Anything that would be considered inappropriate in the workplace – from an off-color joke to a political rant – should also be considered off-limits after hours. Otherwise, you could be looking at reactions ranging from embarrassment or anger, all the way to a lawsuit.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT SHAMA HYDER

 

3. Don’t go overboard.

Everyone needs downtime. And even though a quick email or text only takes a few minutes, the intrusion of anything work-related into personal time can make employees feel like they can never fully unplug. That affects not just employee morale, but also their productivity at work.

 

That’s why it’s a good idea to keep your after-hours messages to a minimum. Even too many casual social messages via Facebook can make your employees feel like their boss is always watching. Necessary work messages, yes. Friendly, professional comments and likes on social media, yes. But always be sure your employees are getting the personal time they need to really recharge.

 

RELATED ARTICLE: Employee Retention: Little Things Go a Long Way Toward Building a Small Business

 

44040400_m.jpgNot only will your employees thank you for following these three ground rules – so will your bottom line. When your team knows what to expect after hours that your messages will always be professional, and that you understand the value of their personal time as much as they do, they’ll be happier and more productive while at work – and so will you.  

 

About Shama Hyder

Shama Hyder is a visionary strategist for the digital age, a web and TV personality, a bestselling author, and the award-winning CEO of The Marketing Zen Group – a global online marketing and digital PR company. She has aptly been dubbed the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com. Shama has also been honored at both the White House and The United Nations as one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in the country. Shama has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Technology Titan Emerging Company CEO award. She was named one of the “Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25” by Business Week in 2009, one of the “Top 30 Under 30” Entrepreneurs in America in 2014 by Inc. Magazine, and to the Forbes “30 Under 30” list of movers and shakers for 2015. LinkedIn named Hyder one of its “Top Voices” in Marketing & Social Media. Her web show Shama TV was awarded the “Hermes Gold award for Educational Programming in Electronic Media” and most recently she was awarded the “Excellence in Social Media Entrepreneurship” award for 2016 by Anokhi Media.

 

Web: www.shamahyder.com or Twitter: @Shama.

 

You can read more articles from Shama Hyder by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Shama Hyder to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Shama Hyder is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Shama Hyder. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice. 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

A few years ago, a large franchise association conducted a survey of its franchisees to find out what separated the best from the rest.

 

Was it advertising, marketing, location? No, no, and no. The missing piece is you.Steve Strauss Headshot SBC.png

 

It goes without saying that there are many factors that contribute to a business’s overall success. Having loyal customers, standing out among the crowd, budgeting wisely and great customer service all come into play. However, there is one factor in particular that is as important as it is overlooked and undervalued, and it is the one that the franchise survey revealed:

 

The most important factor in creating a great small business? Being a good boss.

 

Yep, that’s right. The common denominator between the franchises where profit was solid and consistent, where employees were happy and devoted, and where customers were plentiful and consistent was the quality of the boss. Great bosses create great businesses and bad bosses create, if not bad, at least mediocre ones.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ARTICLES FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT STEVE STRAUSS

 

What this means will probably vary somewhat from business to business and from boss to boss – after all, everyone has different values, visions, and personalities. Just know that the type of boss you are makes a material and lasting difference in the overall success of your business.

 

Think about it. Bosses that manage in a way that is inclusive, friendly, open, and fun (but not too fun!) will most certainly have a happier staff. And, typically, happier employees make for happier customers and happy customers mean a happy boss. It all comes full circle:

 

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Happy boss = happy employees = happy customers = happy boss.

 

RELATED ARTICLE: IS YOUR CUSTOMER TELLING YOU WHAT THEY REALLY WANT?

 

So how can you become the best boss possible and build that happy workforce? In short, it comes down to creating a great work environment, fostering a positive culture, and doing the little things.

 

For starters, it is important to realize that studies have shown that a more relaxed work environment is very closely associated with a positive culture. Micromanaging is out. Trust is in. Respect matters. Similarly, a more relaxed work environment lessens an employee’s fear of making mistakes, and that in turn can allow people to take risks, innovate and test out new ideas.

 

And yet, while creating an environment where employees feel relaxed is one of the most important things you can do as their boss, it is not the only thing; indeed sometimes, it really is the little things that count even more.

 

Employees, just like anyone, want to feel valued and appreciated.  Simple things like giving someone recognition when they have done outstanding work can be just the incentive someone needs. Offering bonuses when warranted doesn’t hurt either. People like to feel noticed and appreciated; honoring that need is vital in creating a positive, extraordinary work environment.

 

A famous example of a big company that gets it is Google. Google’s philosophy is “to create the happiest, most productive workplace in the world.” The Google offices typically include a lot of little perks that add up to one big, positive culture:

 

  • Outdoor work areas

  • Complementary food and beverage

  • Private study rooms

  • Team activities, personally designed desks, and more.

 

Of course, small businesses do not have the budget that Google does, but the guiding principle can still be emulated in any office. Creating a workplace where employees feel valued and nurtured, where they are respected and listened to, a place where it is fun and creative to work, and where little things are done to show them they count is what makes a difference.

 

Quick Tips to Start Building a Great Culture for a Small Business:

 

1. Hire the right attitude for your business. It all starts in the beginning. A bad hire can dampen the mood and rub off on other employees. Make sure the person is the right fit for your company. For example, you wouldn’t want an unfriendly person working at a family-oriented restaurant.

2. Meet with your employees. This is a great way to build relationships and to give feedback on their performance, but remember to focus on their strengths rather than their weaknesses.

3. Have fun outside the office. As a small business owner, you might not have the budget to spend a day golfing, but you can host a summer picnic or other budget-friendly activities. This gives employees the opportunity to foster relationships with you and each other. People like working with people they like.

 

Employee retention matters. And you don’t have to Google that to know it’s a fact.

 

About Steve Strauss

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss.

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

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