One of the most important elements of a positive, synergistic and healthy workplace environment is trust. Trust forms the foundation for effective communication and interaction, and provides a solid platform for employee engagement, retention, successful customer experiences, and satisfaction.
Trust goes beyond being able to rely upon someone. It is about character, ability, confidence, strength, faith, and conviction. When trust exists in an organization or in a relationship, almost everything else is easier and more comfortable to achieve which is why it’s so critical to build and maintain trust.
Like organizational culture, I believe trust starts at the very top – since trusting and being trust “worthy” can only exist when top management sets the example, and then promulgates that example into every business unit and department. This means establishing and maintaining integrity and communicating your vision and values through word and deed and doing what is right.
More often than not, employees are a company’s most valuable assets, so it makes sense to invest in the corporate culture that helps them succeed. While vacation days and fringe benefits (health insurance, stock options, employee discounts, et al) are appealing lures, the heart of the employee experience occurs during business hours, as staff members interact with each other.
Good communication is square one for employers seeking to reinforce relationships with workers and it creeps in to every aspect of business operations. In many cases, communication mechanisms fall short on the job, leaving room for most companies to improve their standards and reduce the communication gap with employees.
Credibility and Communication
Credibility is an important area to focus on when it comes to influencing effective communication between employees and their superiors. When executed correctly, communication with workers reinforces trustworthiness for managers and other high-level employees. But if there is a deep communication gap between bosses and staff members, it can ultimately undermine productivity and employee engagement.
I’ve always believed that my business’s success hinges on the open and honest relationship I have with my team. I have to trust that my employees will do the job they were hired to do so I can focus on running and growing the company. However, I have unfortunately had to deal with members of my team breaking that trust in the past. And, while you should always consider giving people a second chance at the workplace, second chances also mean you should look at what they did, and determine whether what happened was a minor transgression, or a serious breach of trust.
Look at the big picture
It can be really easy to focus too heavily on the employee when making this sort of decision, but you need to consider a lot of different factors. Firing someone can leave a long-lasting impact on your business, especially if other employees don’t agree with your decision. Was this betrayal of trust more personal, or professional? Occasionally we have to swallow our personal pride for the betterment of the company, and objectivity is key to making this sort of a decision. If this is an isolated incident, then maybe a second chance is in order.
Consider the impact on your business
If this employee has proven themselves to the company and has spent years working within it, firing them could hurt your business. So you need to ask yourself if the employee’s separation will actually be good for the company. Do they contribute to inter-office harmony? Are they replaceable? Will their absence help or hinder day to day operations? Being slighted by someone you trust is always a jarring experience, but it isn’t worth sacrificing your team’s dynamic to make a point. But if this employee did actually harm the company, it may be worth sending them out the door for good.
Love him or hate him, you must admit that Vito Corleone, head of the fictional New York crime family in the film The Godfather, adeptly built a thriving “business.” Nefarious goals and bloody outcomes aside, what can we learn from him about effective business operations?
1. Branding is in the details. The Godfather without strong branding would have been nothing more than a petty criminal with an annoying voice. Instead, he built a rock solid brand, a reputation that was paramount to his success. No detail went unnoticed in establishing his powerful presence, from his dark attire, to the mood lighting in his office, to the theatrical application of that gravelly mumble. In today’s business environment, branding is the difference between being remembered and getting lost in the fray. A successful brand should be carefully crafted and bolstered with attention to detail similar to Corleone’s, including staff selection, wardrobe choices, even the font in your emails.
Many of life’s burdens – big and small – are lightened with a friend for support and this lesson has not been lost in business. If you’re thinking of starting a business with a friend or family member, you’re not alone. Some of the most enduring and positive American companies were founded by a couple of friends who had an idea. They didn’t always have a lot of start-up cash, but they had each other.
- UPS was started in 1907 by two teenagers with a single bicycle and a hundred dollars borrowed from a friend. Back then the U.S. Parcel Post wasn’t around and there was plenty of opportunity for the American Messenger Company of Seattle, Washington.
- Ben and Jerry met in seventh-grade gym class in 1963. A decade later, they took a five-dollar correspondence course in making ice cream.
- In 1978 two 20-something friends, John and Rene pulled together $45,000 to open what started as SaferWay and later became Whole Foods Market. Times were so hard on the friends they lived in the store and reportedly bathed using the hose disconnected from the dishwasher.
Online businesses have a distinct cost advantage over brick and mortar businesses – they don’t need to rent out a storefront at a good location. Their owners can save on rent overheads by running their business out of their homes.
Businesses that have a physical presence, though, have a distinct advantage in another way – people trust them more because they can see them. People buying from physical stores know that they are there for them, should a problem turn up.
They can look at the store assistants and the manager to see if they trust them through the buying process. If there’s a quality issue, it’s always easy to go back to the store for a return or exchange. They know that storefront retailers are serious businesses. They’ve invested money in launching a store and hiring people.
It is not uncommon for businesses to feel overwhelmed when trying to create an effective brand. There are so many factors that play a role in your brand’s growth that it might seem like there are too many little things to worry about in the process before you get to the more important areas. But never fear – focusing on these five things will help you stay on track when it comes to your brand.
1. Get a Logo Design
Having a logo design created is one of the first and most important tasks you should focus on when developing your brand. The logo will be the face of your business and will either stick in consumers’ minds or be easily forgotten. Work with a professional designer to come up with a design that will speak to your target audience and represent your brand well. Continue reading
The boss is away, so should the employees play? Of course not – managers deserve time off without having to worry about the office falling to ruins without them. Most people would agree, but there is still the issue about the best way to handle the boss being out of the office. Are there extra responsibilities that need to be taken up? Should anything in the office change, or should day-to-day life continue unhindered? Since our own boss is currently partying it up with Mickey Mouse on the Disney Cruise Line, the Social Media department figured that others could benefit from our sage advice on how we deal with the managerial absence in the office. Continue reading
A few weeks ago, we wrote on why you should outsource your PR to another firm. But even if you find a great firm with excellent contacts, you cannot expect them to do all the heavy lifting for your company’s PR! Our current firm is wonderful, staffed with some of the nicest and hardest-working people we’ve ever met, but if we want to get the most for our PR dollar we have to step up our game as well. A good PR firm can get you great coverage, but you can spread the word even further if you take a few steps right from your office.
Make sure all the pieces of your PR campaign fit together
1. Use Social Media!
We know, we know – we’re starting to sound like a broken record. We probably tell our readers to use social media in some form in nearly every blog post we write, but there is a good reason for that – it works. In a survey by BRANDFog, 77% of respondents were more likely to buy a product or service from a company that uses social media.
If you got an article published thanks to your PR people, or were featured in a story, don’t just expect viewers to find it. Tweet it out, post it on Facebook – spread awareness! Taking a few minutes to plug a link that makes you look good is a no brainer, so remember to try and push viewers to whatever your PR firm is working on. Continue reading
Today is National Donut Day and all throughout the country, the scent of glazed and sprinkled deliciousness is flooding our nostrils. These lighter than air confections are available from tasty donut shops like Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme for the low, low price of zero dollars today. As in, FREE! On a Friday?
Now wait just one minute. Why is today free donut day? Why did companies decide June 3rd was the best day to give away free donuts? And how late is my Dunkin’ open till again? Continue reading