This Study Shows How to Make Meetings More Productive

New information helps top-level executives recognize employee meeting preferences in an improved way. One of the most important components of productivity is employee preferences. As managers, you must understand these to help your team work more productively.

In spite of the works becoming greater, in what way can these top level executives make sure that high productivity stays as it is and that workers make the best of their time at the office to achieve maximum efficiency?

Collaboration preferences and communication tend to be as different from each other as the communities that businesses support, so they must strive to know the teams constituting their workforce.

As per the information derived from Fuze, a cloud communications and collaboration software company, knowing and meeting employee preferences, particularly of those in distributed or remote groups, is a must for productivity.

This company has looked at millions of employees and meetings, and their report outlined some important discoveries. The findings of their study are as follows.

Meeting Preferences of Workers on the West Coast and East Coast of the US

On these regions of the United States, worker meetings are probably held from Tuesdays to Thursdays. It is not surprising that Friday is the workday that is least favored for meetings.

Employees in the eastern United States typically hold conferences between Monday to Friday. On the other hand, those on the coastal states are starting to schedule some conferences on the weekends.

On the former region, 63% of worker conferences happen between 07:00 am and 12:00 pm. Conversely, employees on the eastern United States are likelier to have conferences during the evening than those on the other region. However, West Coast employees are likelier to conduct conferences over a bigger part of a workday.

Keep Conferences Short and Consider the Future of Employees

Employees like conferences that last up to 60 minutes, so avoid holding longer meetings. For your information, 26% of workers are expected to stop participating in an online conference or business call when it clocks in at above one hour.

Rather than setting half an hour and one hour as default times for meetings, think about doing 25 minutes and 50 minutes. This move will help make meetings more effective provided that everyone who attends these live in the same state. It will make it likelier for conferences to begin on the scheduled time and will provide workers a chance to reorganize, look at messages, and have some rest on workdays with more meetings ahead.

International Conferences Are the New Normal

When more groups are included in an international workforce, make sure you’re aware of the effects of adding co-workers from a large number of nations to meetings. The length of a conference will go up depending on how many nations are involved.

Going up from a nation to two will increase the duration of the standard conference from 19 minutes to 38 minutes. Adding four or more nations will increase it from 19 minutes to 57 minutes.

It’s a good idea to keep conference durations briefer when working with those based in a single nation, but you should arrange for longer conferences with global groups.

If there are people from three nations, arrange for one-hour conferences, and if there are individuals from more nations, make these longer by 15 minutes.

Bringing It Home

The preferences of workers with regards to communication differ very much on the basis of region, engagement methods, and tools. The preferences vary from one age group to the next, and businesses must think about this when holding meetings. Why? Because several workforces employ teams from five different age groups.

You must provide individuals with the essential tools to become successful at what they do, but be sure to provide workers with incentives as well. This move to incentivize your employees will encourage them to work better.

When they feel that the employer understands and applies their preferences to business operations, employees will have the essential tools and desire to put in excellent work. Both the tools and desire could just improve work efficiency, make organizational culture stronger, and impact the overall profit in the end.

How Micromanagement Can Ruin Your Business

Delegating tasks to your subordinates will never be as easy as you think, especially if you’re running a startup or a small business. In fact, many of you would have probably decided to start your own venture because of these micromanaging issues. For instance, you may think that you’ll be able to lead better than your boss. Note that it will always be hard to give one’s reins to the hands of another person, particularly if you are best at the task. However, keep in mind that micromanaging can surely hurt your employees as well as your business. Below are some of the in-depth details that every employer must take care of.

The negative results of micromanaging your staffs

Most employers might think that if they are best at something why don’t their employees follow their path and succeed in the same way? Hence, they might not find micromanaging a big issue. Unfortunately, this is not the case. On the contrary, micromanaging can cause a devastating impact on your business. Some of those major downsides of micromanagement are given below.

  • When you deal with a startup or a small business, you’ll barely have time to look after your own to-do list; let alone look after the tasks of your employees. If you’ve tried to supervise or look after every task and matter in your business, it is likely to burn you out making you less productive. This can sometimes sink your ship.
  • Happy and satisfied employees are one of the major factors of a successful business. This is mainly achieved if they are given control over their tasks. Of course, you can review their work and point out the mistakes if any. On the other hand, if you try to control or lead them every time and make them feel like a robot, they are most likely to disengage from their tasks becoming less productive and enthusiastic. Plus, you will never be able to gain their respect as an employer.
  • As mentioned earlier, dissatisfied employees who are brilliant at their work are likely to start their own business or searching for new jobs. Needless to say, this will likely make you suffer from a huge turnover.

How to figure out whether you are micromanaging your employees

Sometimes, employers might be micromanaging their employees without realizing they’re doing so. To figure this out, check out whether you exhibit the following characteristics of a micromanager.

  • Asking your staffs for daily progress reports and updates of the tasks even if they are not so urgent
  • Always asking your employees to improvise their work or never appreciating their work
  • Rather than giving a chance for your employees to take over low-value business tasks, you prefer doing it yourselves since you are much faster or you don’t trust them
  • You don’t want your employees to move on with their tasks without your approval. As a result, they are not able to meet the deadlines resulting in customer dissatisfaction.

If you are still not sure whether or not you are micromanaging your employees, follow the tips given below.

Do a one-week self-assessment year

Write down all the business tasks that you do for a week. At the end of the week, analyze the report well. Check whether you spent most of your time minding your own business or trying to interfere with your employees’ task. If you are more focused on doing the tasks that your employees can do, you have got some issues.

Demand feedback from your staff

Another way to figure out your managing skills is by asking your employees for unbiased feedback. You can ask them to avoid mentioning their name so that you can expect honest comments. If you get many negative reviews about your management style, then you’ll have to address the issue as soon as you can.

Tips to tackle your micromanaging habit

So, you have done the tests and figured out that you are, in fact, micromanaging your employees. Do you want to kick this career-ruining habit out? If so, follow these steps listed below.

  • Start giving low-value works to your staffs and work your way up slowly with more important works and build trust on them
  • Explain the objective or every task and let them decide the way to achieve the goal
  • Authorize your employees to make some decisions on their own rather than waiting for your consent every time
  • Never ask your employees to CC you on the emails that do not affect your work.

Ways to Make Email Marketing Efforts Better

This is the kind of marketing where electronic mail is used as a channel to communicate either fundraising or commercial ideas to customers. Email marketing is something that needs to be handled tactfully and carefully. Neither can you afford to just flood one’s inbox with scam-like emails, nor can you afford to send nothing at all. Doing either of those things will likely affect your brand awareness. Email marketing is one of the best ways to increase brand awareness, so you should invest money and time in it for your own sake.

The end objective is to make your customers respond to the messages you use to prompt them to take immediate action.

Present an Understandable Call to Action (CTA)

You need to focus on conveying just one message in each of your emails. Do not scramble your customer’s brains with one too many CTA’s. That is a bad strategy you need to avoid using in email marketing.

When forming call-to-action, think about the thing you are attempting to achieve and create these messages with clear-cut ideas in mind. Are you looking to tempt the target audience to sign up for your newsletters, to view your product demonstration, or achieve something else? No matter what you’re trying to make your audience do, just confirm that your call-to-action is designed in such a way that they will be prompted to take action based on that. An effective CTA is like a good teacher’s instruction – it tells exactly what customers are supposed to do and encourages them to act right away.

Give Customers a Reason to Act

Your call to action tells them what to do, whereas your content has to inform them why to take action. Explain their incentive for doing so. For example, in the case you are looking to make the audience buy something for a discount, detail how easy it is to make the purchase on your website. Give your target customers an incentive for that, such as free delivery or a gift card. They wish to receive something like that in return for purchasing online, so you should pay attention to their requirements.

Make an Engaging Email Subject Line

The first thing one sees in his or her inbox is this one-line summary of an email message’s content. Your customers will probably have a lot of messages in their inbox. So your subject line should be unique and it should appeal to them instantly. Make it short and concise; ideally, it should be up to 50 characters long.

Create Content That Is Not Too Long or Complicated

We live in a day and age of social media, where most people seek instant gratification. No one would like to go through long emails, which takes up a lot of space and a considerable amount of time to fully read. What works best is a short and sweet message. Get your point across in as fewer words as possible. Put the key details in the top half of the email body; thus, customers can find your message without any delays.

Endorse an Exclusive Offer to Customers

Give customers offers that will end after a specific number of days or are for a select number of responders. Here’s an example; “Two for the price of one exclusively for the first 100 responders”. Social and event marketing can be done this way as well. No matter what you’re offering your customers, make it a point to convey your message with a sense of urgency. Much like a call to action, urgency is also a key component of email marketing.

How to Manage Change in Your Team

It’s can be both inspiring and exciting to implement change in your team. You should take multiple factors into consideration and make sure it’s never done forcefully. Any organization that is serious about its growth undergoes periods of change. For most, change is the only thing that remains constant in the world of business. Companies that are on top of it can guide their workforce into the foreseeable future and to success.

Work Together to Make a Plan

Your employee team should feel as though they’re involved in this change process as well. So give them chances to make their individual voices heard, while at the same time inspiring them to believe in the company’s vision. Also, make sure to consider the following when drafting up a game plan.

  1. How will the change contribute to the company?
  2. What specific changes should be made to each team to make it more efficient?
  3. What systems should be in place for an effective implementation?
  4. What resources are required?
  5. How will you know these changes were successful?

Have Clear Communication Lines

Communication is vital in business. All team members have to be kept up-to-date with developments as well as objectives that must be met. Every team member should feel comfortable sharing both their viewpoints and proposals for improvement. Communication is a two-way process, and it cannot happen unless there is feedback. It’s not all about dictating requirements but rather about making the team a part of the process. Therefore, it’s crucial to choose the right individuals to lead your team.

Delegate Key Responsibilities

Sometimes, change brings about the need to structure teams again for work efficiency. You will have to identify individuals with a strong set of skills who embrace your change, to work along with managers. Those people could also act as a leader of newly formed teams so they should be chosen carefully. The decision relies on both the company structure and the change you are experiencing.

Clarify Expectations

Your team members must understand what their goals and requirements are. Both roles and expected results for each role have to be clearly defined. Understanding what each member expects from those who lead them is also very important. Their responses will help you recognize the kind of support they require in order to reach the excepted results.

Set Up a System for Responsibility

When change is brought into the picture, it’s normal for companies to hold a meeting with all their employees. The purpose of this conference is to communicate expectations from team members and to assign roles to each individual. In some scenarios, they are expected to work with tools they already have, therefore making it difficult to track the team’s progress.

In order to avoid this in your own organization, create a system in which regular feedback is needed. You can do this through reports or keeping a tracking of key metrics once a week. The whole point of this is to consistently monitor the progress of your team and make them feel obliged to meet their goals.

What is Internal Branding and What are its Advantages

Internal branding is the process of giving workers the education and training they require to not just support, protect and understand your brand’s promise, but also advocate for it. It is an important part of building a successful business. It should matter to businesses of all sizes, whether they are solo practices or those that belong to the Fortune 500 list. If workers also do not believe in your brand and get behind it as you do, how could you expect strangers to always be its loyal customers? After all, workers are part of your internal customers, and what they tell others hold more value than perhaps what you do as the employer.

Unfortunately, the majority of businesses skip this important element of business development. Workers are the most valuable advocates of a company’s brand, but few companies tap into their amazing resource.

It’s essential to give ongoing education to your employees to make sure that they know what your brand mission is and believe in it. You have to make that mission matter to all workers, and this should not have anything to do with their salaries. Check out these five reasons why you should incorporate internal branding into your company.

It Develops a Connection between Your Brand and Workers

Internal brand building provides employees with the information and tools they need to know how they contribute to the overall concept and mission of that brand and business. This way, employees learn how their work affects how the brand’s promise is fulfilled through branded experiences, which help the business meet its objectives.

Besides this personal connection, internal brand building also develops an emotional connection among your brand and employees. That emotional connection leads to loyalty among customers which in turn, acts as silent marketers of your brand. Developing that connection is one of the main steps in consumer brand building. People like talking about brands they feel connected to on an emotional level. Make your internal customers emotionally connected to your brand by educating them in a way that is consistent with the brand promise and treating them that way.

It Develops Colleague Relations

When workers believe in something common, like a brand promise, not only do they turn into a powerful force, but they also work way more cohesively. Morale and productivity will increase when workers have a common faith in the brand, and as a result the brand advocacy will also increase. Eventually, costs will drop, whereas sales and profits will increase.

It Gives Employees Focus

A strong brand is a focused one, so it’s vital that workers completely understand the focus of the brand. Teams headed in different paths are certain to fail, so give them a specific and common brand focus to keep them on course to reach collective objectives.

It Makes Hiring and Retention Better

If workers believe in your brand promise and if they feel passionate about the role they play in bringing it to life for your consumers, then, employee retention will increase and your organization could hire more qualified people. Therefore, hiring expenses will decrease, whereas employee brand advocacy, morale, and productivity will go up.

The Results of Internal Branding

It practically guarantees much lower expenses and higher profits in the long run, so make continuous employee brand education a priority if you have not already done so. Remember, every worker from the top level to the bottom, must believe in your brand and live its promise or your business outputs will not reach full potential.

Is Leadership Disrupted in the Rapid World of Business?

Gone are the days of top-down leadership approach, where the leader had as much control over the decision making process as possible. Leadership has been drastically altered, and what we see today is very different from the previous approach.

There is now a collaborative model, and it’s a chance to redefine the leadership process and instill a deeper sense of community, connection and participation in the workplace. The challenge for leaders is not about preparing for change or about implementing the right program, it’s about running their business in such a manner that it’s always in operation and prepared for change.

Today, leaders have the chance to make a big difference for their workforce, organization they lead, and the communities surrounding them. The future of an organization is people, and with the right approach a leader can help unleash their true power and get the best out of them.

In this age, leadership has to be redefined and fresh skills need to be developed. Today’s leader has to have incredible skills in terms of not just leading, but also being able to sustain change.

Most importantly, these skills should be encouraged in youngsters before they join the workplace to make them fully skilled and equipped to lead their dynamic business soon. For that, they not only need to be people-ready but also digital-ready. Here are five traits that a modern leader has.

They Connect with Individuals and the Environment

He or she is collaborative and entrepreneurial, someone who is always on the lookout of ways to work together to improve work. To achieve that result, leaders rapidly prototype, test and transform their work and that of others.

Leaders hack business processes, surveying the whole enterprise to achieve value in all phases of its processes. They have the confidence to make tough calls to mobilize their enterprise so it flourishes in today’s competitive world. They allow people at different levels and outside business boundaries to do their part in the conversation and execution of change.

Being Agile, Adaptive and Innovative

Leaders are not hesitant to use new management tools and technology to help others perform, work together and make calls by means of real-time measurement, real-time data and monitoring of results.

They know that great things happen when technology and people intersect. They build an ecosystem and monitor it to form a constant cycle for both improvement and new behaviors.

Influencer, Visionary and Storyteller

Leaders realize the need for having a micro objective and macro vision. They offer a clear vision, which links an organizational plan to an objective. They turn complexity to plans by means of execution. They give clear direction, the kind of that enables people to achieve their goals.

They influence people by practicing social fluency and by becoming skilled at influencing diverse teams and encouraging others to perform. They energize others to share stories so that everybody in the organization feels that they’re empowered and involved in the change.

They Instill Confidence

Leaders connect with their surroundings, bringing people and data together to consider what is required to succeed. They focus on individuals, relationships, work culture, and balance by leveraging data and technology to connect and be involved in conversation. They’re performance multipliers who lead teams to do meaningful and productive work.

They Have an Ever-Learning Mindset

This applies when it comes to taking in new information, developing new capabilities, and inspiring new methods of examining the old. They know that a coach and mentor is someone who talks about opportunity and growth routinely. They provide others the chance to learn, try, and experience various skills and situations.

Do you Have an Effective Manager’s Mentality?

An effective manager can lead a team that consists of people with a diverse set of talents, and move them towards a common goal. In business, these aims change often, which is why keeping employees motivated till the end is so vital. People have their own motives for working, and their personal goals do not always align with the shareholders aim for double-digit growth to please their investors.

Ineffective Management is a Cost

There’s a multitude of ways to lead a team, but each way has its positives and its negatives. Subsequently, the definition of an effective manager is one who comprehends the faults and fortes of his or her leadership style, in addition to the working styles of the rest of the team.

A leader is destined to fail if he or she tries to lead their teams in a direction that is not favored by them. It is a fact that ineffective management can be very costly for companies, and employee turnover usually is a result of that.

Most Employees Are Unhappy with Management

Here is an interesting statistic: A third of employees in the U.S. want to quit their jobs, and two thirds would rather have a different boss than accpet a salary raise. Thus, it is apparent that employee gratification is very important. It is also obvious that dissatisfaction exists among employees to a large extent, and that it does as a result of ineffective management.

Employees want people who make them feel proud of their achievement and keep them motivated. In fact, most employees who experience a lack of motivation at work admit that it is because of their relationship with their superiors. When that improves however, 60% of them believe they work harder and better. When surveyed, employees placed “trust” as the most important element in their relationship with their managers, followed by respect, patience, open communication, and fairness.

Leadership is the key

When the management of a company is ineffective, it not only damages productivity and turnover, but also the foundation of a business. The solution, from a manager’s perspective, is straightforward: become a better leader and therefore a better manager, and a business will have a better chance of accomplishing its objectives.

Customers Have Their Say on B2B Marketing

Businesses at times overuse their marketing strategies. Whether they pick B2C or B2B marketing to go with, the process itself no longer impresses customers the way it used to. In fact, these days, if you are not careful, your marketing tactics can easily end up boring them.

A recent survey conducted by advertising agency WHM looked at the Business-to-Business (B2B) advertising market. It concluded that purchase decision-makers are bored and wish for creative and engaging advertisements as part of their buying journey. Although consumer-targeted advertising is pulling on the major share of business budgets, B2B marketing is still a lucrative part of the sector for those that specialize in it. Receiving uninspiring and dull B2B marketing content is equally problematic for small and big enterprises.

“The truth is, the vast majority of buying decisions are emotional,” said the WHM agency partner Audrey Merritt, in a recent press release. Besides, if customers are fed up with the first thing that they see concerning a particular service or product, they will not get involved in it emotionally. “It’s hard to sell something if you’re boring people to death. So much B2B marketing falls flat because it doesn’t make the audience feel something,” added Audrey Merritt.

As per Thomas Whalen, another WHM partner, customers want to know two things before considering any pitch: who you are, as well as in what way can you serve them. The recent study provides some great insights into what B2B customers are looking for, and how they can be served in a better way.

Statistics on B2B Marketing

One of the most telling topics of debate which the survey raised was this: “All other things being equal, do you wish that advertising for business products and services had more of the creativity that consumer advertising is generally known for?”

Over 82.6% respondent customers in the survey answered in the affirmative, with the rest answering NO. So the vast majority of respondents have given a thumbs up to better B2B advertising only. However, the answer to another question just about contradicts this one. When asked what they make of the advertisements they receive today, 52% of the respondents said they are equally interesting because ads targeted to consumers tend to be. On the contrary, the other 48% said B2B marketing was not as creative, but rather boring. Apparently, a certain percentage of purchase decision makers are indifferent to the advertisements which they get.

Taking that into account, the next question is whether these ads really inspire them. The answers are extremely revealing since only 22.4% of respondents said they are oftentimes inspired by these ads. The other 50.1% said they are occasionally drawn in, 24.3% said they seldom feel that way, and 3.2% basically said “never”.

B2B Websites

A way in which one business discovers things about another is through the latter’s websites. In most cases, B2B sites are not nearly on par with those used by B2Cs, on the creative side that is. In the study, the respondent base was split into nearly even halves on this matter; where 50.6% of them said the websites of business services and products were as creative and interesting as consumer sites tend to be, the other 49.4% thought otherwise.

Better Buying Decisions

The survey asked participants if they believed a more inspired advertisement would help in making relatively better buying decisions. 80.8% said yes, while the remaining said it wouldn’t. In any promotion campaign, the aim of an ad is to influence or draw businesses or consumers towards that very important sale. While approaches towards that differ among businesses, the WHM survey has proven that most consumers wish to get inspiring and engaging advertisements to go on.

Four Ways to Retain and Attract Top Employees

In each and every company, it is the employees that form the heart and soul of everything. How well you maintain your relationship with them can determine the degree of success you are able to achieve, whether in the everyday developments or for the long haul. In addition to retaining your present workforce, you would also need to acquire new employees, and for that, you need to take certain steps in the right direction.

Learn From Your Employees

Start by asking them what types of incentive they find the most appealing. Get to know what your employees like about working in your company, and about the changes they would like to see, and which could get them to keep working for you. By acting on the feedback you get here, you can also improve their loyalty, aside from getting an idea about what new recruits would be more easily drawn to.

Allow them to Use their Strengths

Always look for ways to allow your workers to use their strengths. People have an innate need to keep doing the things which they do skillfully. Even if something falls just outside their job description, you can offer your employees chances to shine by setting up activities at which they know they can perform better than others. This helps them evolve and grow professionally, and also leaves them feeling more valued and respected for the contributions they made towards your company.

Provide Recognition

When someone does something well, takes an extra effort towards doing it, or does it better than they usually do, ensure that you take the time to acknowledge their contribution. In addition to that, ensure your overt praise is dispersed evenly through all levels of the organization, and hint to the acknowledged employee’s balanced career. If you start acknowledging some workers and not others, the latter could feel less appreciated, something that can cause the team morale to drop. However, if your workers know that you will call out their names for a job well done, you will be surprised at how fast and well most of them respond to changing work needs.

Build a Sense of Community

This is just as important as everything that you do towards worker-management. All employees like to feel that they belong where they are and that others would care if they were to quit. You may not be able to form a team of like-minded individuals, but you can certainly take measures to reinforce the sense of community among coworkers. Well-stocked break rooms, team-building exercises, and collaborative assignments can all help you forge good connections inside your team.

The Question of Brand Rebranding and Refreshing

Brand identity is a huge thing when it comes to running a company. As time progresses, it becomes more and more essential to evolve with current trends, innovations, tastes, and popular demands with respect to customers. The changes in the marketplace must also reflect on your brand. Under that, there is always a question of whether you should rebrand or refresh your brand.

Rebranding you Brand

When it comes to rebranding, you get something similar to plastic surgery. And what that means is you need to make a drastic change in visual appeal, culture, customer experience, and messaging. The objective of rebranding is to change ideas and influence the customer regarding a service or product. All this is done with the greater aim of rejuvenating the brand’s influence and expanding popularity among the existing customers, as well as the new ones. Under this process, storytelling, manifestos, and different presentations are utilized.

Rebrand When

  • …your brand is forming a negative impression on your audience.

  • …there is a fundamental change in our market.

  • …you come up with a totally different product or range of services compared to the original brand’s identity.

  • …there has been a major change in the administration, and you have to express yourself differently from your former image.

Interesting Example: McDonalds® implemented a complete rebranding strategy to ensure that it now underlined the importance of nutritious dining among its customers.

Refreshing your Brand

In the case of a refresh, you basically undergo a brand update. This means your audience will know that you are modern and up-to-date. Besides, it also displays your connection to the industry, and the current trends. The underlying aim is to express new energy on behalf of the brand. This includes a makeover in the appearance, aesthetics, and other things including style, color, tone of voice, and use of color. It is seen that most companies go for a simple refresh rather than a comprehensive one, because it involves less risk. However, it could still yield the results you were hoping for.

Refresh When…

  • …your brand has to establish a relationship with a new audience with a modern mindset, you also have to undergo a refresh that makes you “catchy” and attractive, while still catering to your current targeted needs.
  • …there have been drastic changes in the market.
  • …there is a bit of misalignment between your product and your brand.

Interesting Example: Southwest Airlines went through a brand refresh where they altered their visual identity into something more modern and dynamic. They did this with the Southwest Heart, which offered a matching visual character, and the change was in line with their ongoing strategy.