Managing Remote Employees: Part Two: Measuring and Communicating

Managing Remote Employees: Part Two: Measuring and CommunicatingYou don’t have the ability to always physically oversee and monitor their progress, so measuring effectiveness and keeping open lines of communication is very important.  If you introduce a framework and a structure that allows for easy communication and measure output, telecommuters can be just as effective as if you’re in regular physical contact.

What should be measured and how do you do it?

Let’s start with the obvious one – productivity: You can virtually drop into your staff’s office every day – or as often as you like – using a program that will track remote workers’ activity, including typed keystrokes, internet history, emails sent and received, webcam shots in addition to taking periodic screenshots throughout their workday.  A variety of activity tracking software exists to accommodate whatever your specific needs are and this can help improve accountability and transparency to your virtual office.  This also helps you quantify exactly how much time the workload of each project is taking.

The second – and equally important quantitative measure that both you and your staff need to keep track of – is time management.  Using shift scheduling software not only helps employees and managers stay on top of their schedules and payroll, but it also helps define how long employees need to dedicate to a specific task as well as tracking the progress being made or that has to be made for you to reach your goals and accomplish your projects.

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How to Apply Performance Management at a Startup

How to Apply Performance Management at a StartupI’ve thought long and hard but I just can’t think of a large, successful company that does not implement performance management. Famously, Jack Welch, CEO of GE, was a huge advocate of it.  The reason is probably fairly obvious. Performance management helps businesses achieve results. How so? By ensuring that all employees are performing at their best and pushing in the same direction.

So why don’t start-ups embrace performance management? Typically, there are a number of perceived barriers and questions small businesses have about how it’s done. How do you set up the process? Do you need an expensive system to manage it? Is it too much effort for the ROI (return on investment) in the end?

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5 Employee Productivity Hacks Every Workplace Can Benefit From Right Now

5 Employee Productivity Hacks Every Workplace Can Benefit From Right NowThe most important element to improving employee productivity in the workplace revolves around creating an atmosphere where an employee feels most at home. We recently noticed a huge upswing in small business owners embracing the start-up culture aesthetic – by this, we mean wearing flip flops to work, bringing pets along for the ride, and the controversial “work from home” policy. And truth be told, all of these definitely work in giving employee productivity the kick it needs. However, the most important element that business owners often overlook is the importance of ensuring that everyone gets along and here are a few hacks that can help workplaces out right now.

1) Setting The Thermostat At The Right Temperature

Nothing distracts an employee more than when others hover around them trying to fix the thermostat. For some, it may be too cold and for others it may be too hot. How do we set the right temperature? We recommend erring on the side of caution: research shows that when there is a cool atmosphere, employee productivity dramatically improves. Which means a business owner is better off creating a cooler atmosphere over a heated one, and recommending sweaters and blankets for employees who might find it too cold. This also means making sure the business has a working air conditioner and regular maintenance checks.

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How to Excel in an Entrepreneurship Catering to Niche Industries

How to Excel in an Entrepreneurship Catering to Niche IndustriesNot everybody is attracted by prospect of jobs with fat pay packages, especially if they have a desire to live life on own terms. There are numerous examples of people starting small sized ventures at home which blossomed into large companies in long run. PC giant HP’s founders started operating from a garage in Palo Alto and it grew into one of the world’s leading IT giants. If you have an entrepreneur’s spirit and teamwork and customer service skills, starting up your own business may be the best option.

However, you may want to try venturing into lesser known niche areas to make a mark for yourself and the company. Rather than joining an industry laden with cutthroat competition, changing taste of consumers and other hiccups, you may tread into uncharted territories and tap the potential.

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My Business Resolutions for 2014

My Business Resolutions for 20142013 was a great year for Guidant. We celebrated our tenth anniversary, launched a new website and helped hundreds of people realize their business ownership dreams. As the year comes to a close it’s tempting to mentally check out and enjoy the social parts of the season. But I’ve found that the quieter time that comes with people being on vacation is perfect for doing some deep thinking about want I want to accomplish in the coming year. Here are my resolutions for 2014:

1. Provide even greater value to our clients through education.

Knowledge is power, and when people have the facts about the different ways they can become business owners, they are empowered to choose what’s right for them. Our new website has a section called “Study Hall” devoted to educating would-be business owners.

2. Raise the awareness of Rollovers as Business Startups (ROBS).

The greatest challenge of our business is that potential business owners have either never heard of ROBS, or, because of its complexity make the faulty assumption that there is something quasi-legal about it. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Giving Thanks in Your Actions and Words

giving thanksBy David Nilssen

This time of year we’re told to count our blessings and be thankful. Gratitude is wonderful, but giving thanks and giving back are even more important. Here are some suggestions for walking the walk.

Giving to Charity
You’ll always be able to find an excuse for not donating time or money to those less fortunate. From cynicism about administrative costs for large charities to a blame-the-victim mentality, it’s easy to turn a blind eye to the needy. But taking five minutes to make an online donation or a few hours to volunteer your time is good for your community, your business, and your self-worth. It just feels right. At Guidant, we hold food drives for local organizations, empower future entrepreneurs through Youth Ventures, and participate in races and walks for the American Cancer Society.

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5 Reasons Why the Carrot is Better Than the Stick

When it comes to motivating your employees, there are two main methods of achieving high levels of productivity: the carrot and the stick. Whilst using the ‘stick’ method typically sees workers having to meet specific KPIs (key performance indicators) or risk facing the sack, losing a portion of their bonus or working overtime to deliver what you need, the ‘carrot’ method instead provides workers with specific rewards. These rewards may be end of year bonuses after annual reviews and smaller incentives throughout the year. As suppliers of many reward-based corporate hampers, we thought we’d take a look at why the carrot method of motivation is proving to be so effective in the workplace.

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Spotlight On: Guidant’s Office Olympics

By David Nilssen

Guidant Financial’s 8th annual Office Olympics were celebrated this past week. It’s an event that consistently brings our teams together by promoting intra-company friendships through healthy competition and some ridiculousness.

This year’s theme, “Time After Time” covered some of the most famous eras of our past, present and future. Each day, a new challenge was brought to the table for a chance to win points. The top three teams with the most points at the end of the week were awarded with gold, silver, and bronze medals (as well as Amazon.com gift cards).

Day 1: Tango of Time

On day one, after the opening ceremonies, the competition kicked off with Tango of Time, also known as musical chairs. Choosing one valiant member from each team, nine individuals went head-to-head as the sound system belted out tunes themed to “time.” Teams also had a chance to earn spirit and style points, which lead to some creative dancing and intense cheering.

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3 Important Investments to Make in Your Business

For any business owner, sustainability and growth are always top of mind. You want to invest in growth while realizing a positive return. As you contemplate your long-term goals, here are the top three investments to consider:

1. Technology infrastructure – It’s important to operate off a scalable technology platform – one that enhances employee performance. Because technology impacts every sector of your business, it’s important that it provides a simple and flexible experience for your team members so that they can maximize efficiency.

Keeping up with cutting edge trends that you can implement first in your industry is a great way for your company to stay ahead of the curve and stand out. Don’t be afraid to take risks!
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How to Build Up Team Spirit for Small Business Success

Improving and building team spirit is an essential part of business growth, more so for small enterprises. The main challenge to a business leader is to encourage the team members to bond, readily share relevant information and work together towards pushing the business brand forward. Small enterprises mostly do not have resources at their disposal to cover employee redundancy, therefore employees should be aptly encouraged to work together and market the company. The employees should readily engage in promoting and sharing of the company’s vision and mission.
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