Keep Your Eye on the Prize

One of the greatest challenges you have as you lead your team is to keep the entire team pulling together in the same direction. Team leaders – business owners, human resources professionals, managers – address this challenge in a myriad of ways.

Many teams have adopted the principal of setting SMART goals at intentional planning sessions – perhaps a retreat, annual meeting, or maybe as part of a rhythm of team meetings. SMART goals are goals that are “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.”

Once your team determines a goal, however, your next challenge as a team leader is to keep your team focused on the goal as you resume your regular rhythms and routines. It can be hard to prioritize bigger picture goals over daily workload, after all, so finding the right mix of keeping the team focused without becoming pesky is key.

The key, in our opinion, is to build in active and passive reminders to your team to keep them focused on the goal. You can do this a number of ways:

Regular Check In

Build a goal check in on a periodic basis to your regular staff meetings. It will bring that goal front and center and feel non-confrontational.

Build in Visual Reminders

Track your progress to your goal visually, and put it in the line of vision of your team. If you have Retriever Digital Signage in your workplace, the thermometer tool is a perfect way to visually show your progress week to week. Here’s how to set that up:

Celebrate When You Succeed

A team that celebrates success is more motivated to continue to achieve success on future goals. Finding a way to celebrate achieving your goals – even if it’s just with an “atta’ boy” – will secure future buy in on your next goals.

We’d love to help you troubleshoot your company’s goals and help your team achieve new successes – set up a free consult, and we’d love to give you some free guidance.

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Three Keys to Employee Retention

Employee retention is a huge area of focus for all business owners. When it comes right down to it, it is far more costly and challenging to hire and train someone new than it is to retain someone who is doing a great job.

Creating and maintaining a workplace where your employees thrive and feel a strong sense of belonging is crucial to the life of your business. As business owners, we get how challenging that discussion can feel. Retaining your great employees can be costly and, on the surface, it seems less expensive to pay someone new at the bottom of your salary scale.

However, the cost of hiring, training, and the time it takes for a new employee to be functioning at a high level in your company is considerable and more than exceeds any dollars saved by offering a lower compensation.

While keeping your best employees certainly requires that you offer a competitive pay, employee retention has to do with way more than their compensation package.

Employees are far more likely to stay at your company when they experience clear communication, a high level of engagement and a sense of belonging. So, how do we foster those characteristics in our business?

Clear is Kind

Relying on outdated or broken methods of communication is the first step you can take to provide an optimal workplace to your employees. The best thing you can do is identify brokenness in your communication strategies – think about frustrations, conflicts, and misunderstandings your team has experienced, and come up with solutions. Find opportunities to create reminders in your workplace, systems for distributing and finding information, and processes that are put into place to address communication shortfalls.

Plug In Your Team

One of the best things you can do for your team is find ways for them to engage deeper. Ask for their opinions, give them opportunities to plug into decisions and endeavors for your business beyond their job description, and ways for them to grow personally and professionally.

Build Your Team

Giving your team opportunities to knit together as a team creates a sense of community and a sense of belonging for the individuals on your team. Studies have proven that having a network of friends at work dramatically increase an individual’s sense of satisfaction in their job role, which directly impacts their longevity at your company.

If you’d like to learn more strategies for optimizing your workplace, we’d love to help. Click here to download our free communication guide for Human Resources managers.

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Three Things to Post on Your Digital Sign

Companies using digital signage in the workplace understand the economic and attention-grabbing value of a dynamic, colorful sign. But, many companies are under-utilizing this tool in their business.

We get it – when you’ve always used a tool a certain way, it can be easy to overlook the value of that tool for other solutions to problems for which you haven’t even considered it as an option.

From our vantage point as a digital signage company, though, we have the opportunity to see how our customers are leveraging the power of their screens to captivate their audiences and keep their team informed.

We think there are three things that everyone should consider including on their digital signage playlists:

Announcements

Digital signage is an awesome way to get the word out quickly and visually to a large group of people. When something has changed or you have something exciting coming up, the digital screens posted around your company are the optimal place to communicate that information.

Valuable Content

One of the keys to keeping your viewers engaged is to deliver them value, every time they look at your screen. Valuable content can be anything from relevant reminders, weather forecasts, local news headlines, interesting facts, profiles on individuals in your company, encouragement, photos of your customers/employees… just make sure your digital signage isn’t an endless loop of ads, or you’re guaranteed to lose viewer engagement.

Social Media Feeds

You’re already creating great, engaging content for your brand on social media, so why leave it there? Bring over that same great content on your digital signs and pique the interest of your viewer, who may want to engage with you on social media if they see something great from you on your screen, and who is more likely to watch longer if what they’re seeing is interesting.

 

We get a rush out of helping businesses like yours develop a strategy for leveraging the power of their digital signage, and we’d love to be of assistance. Click here to set up a free consult with one of our team.

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Four Common Misconceptions About Your Staff

When you lead a team as an HR leader, executive, or owner, you are afforded a perspective on your business, on your team, that few have the opportunity to share. Your vantage point as a leader allows you to see the holistic structure of your company.

Yet, the advantage of being a leader also means that there are some blindspots due to your vantage point. In our experience working with business leaders, we’ve seen four common misconceptions business leaders experience when it comes to their staff:

Your staff doesn’t care.

We all have A players and some B, C, and D players too. The A players are diamonds in the rough, often, but it can seem like the majority of your team doesn’t care. The reality is, everyone wants to have a great life, and everyone spends more time at work than anywhere else. Most people are trying their best, but if they seem complacent, it’s probably because they aren’t being engaged well.

Your staff understands the vision & mission.

High level conversations among leadership teams happen frequently, but the bulk of your team isn’t privy to that mindset or those conversations. Most people are focused on just doing the tasks set out for them. How often does your team take time to revisit your mission and vision? The value of having your full team buy into the reasons why your company exists and where you’re heading pay off in dividends. Keeping these core pieces in their easy view is key, and having real conversations about them together is critical.

Your team is motivated by the same things as you.

Leadership players are intrinsically motivated. For a leader, making sure the business gets what it needs is a huge priority, even at their own convenience. But most of your team is extrinsically motivated to some extent: work is a means to an end so they can live the life they want. That isn’t to say they’re not happy in their work, but it’s just a shift in motivation.

Behavior stems out of motivation, so it can be frustrating for someone with intrinsic motivation to see a good employee who’s extrinsically motivated not behaving in the same way as they might.

Your team knows what you know.

The days move quickly for a business leader, and it can be hard to separate out what you know from what your team knows. Building in systems of routine and regular communication is critical for a team to stay on the same page. Consider routines and systems that will repetitively and regularly update your team with the information that you want them to have, and be consistent!

At Retriever, we believe great communication is at the heart of great businesses. We’d love to send one of our communication experts to help your business step up your internal and external communication strategies. Click here to book time with us at your convenience.

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Digital Signage: Consider Your Options

When it comes to any optimization for your business, it can be hard to make sense of which features will really matter to you in application. As business owners, we get that – we’re constantly making decisions about software and hardware and weighing the benefits and drawbacks of something new without fully understanding the impact of that decision until we’re into it.

We realize that the same is true of our customers when they’re making decisions about digital signage. It can be hard to know what features are really useful, which are critical, and which are nice but will never be used.

When it comes to what we’ve heard from our users, here are the three features that are “must haves” for any digital signage solution:

Automated Publishing

The last thing you want is for people to disengage with your digital signage. People pay attention to what’s relevant – which means that if something’s outdated and is showing up on your signage, you’re telling your viewers that this sign is irrelevant to them.

People are busy, and you shouldn’t have to work hard to keep your digital signage up to date. Your digital signage should easily be scheduled to publish and unpublish so you have the right message, every day.

Fresh Content

Digital signage is an effective solution because it’s visually engaging and has the capacity to have engaging, fresh content every day (and throughout the day!) to ensure that eyeballs are regularly and repeatedly paying attention. Relevant content is both timely and valuable – educational, interesting or entertaining.

We’ve created our digital signage to engage the viewer with news headlines, weather updates, trivia, and social media updates, automatically, for this very purpose.

 

Easy to Use

Digital signage shouldn’t be the responsibility of your IT team, if you even have one. Instead, digital signage should be easily updated by the people who need to get the messages out – your marketing team, HR team, or business owners, most likely. For that to work seamlessly, it must be dead simple for the user to accommodate all levels of tech savviness.

If you’re making a decision about what digital signage is the right option for you, we want to help you find the best option. We’ve created a free downloadable comparison sheet comparing a variety of options on the market – feature for feature – to help you make an informed, smart decision.

Download the Digital Signage Comparison Sheet

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Starting Fresh in the New Year

The holidays often provide a welcome opportunity to take a break, remind each other how important they are to us, and rest. As the new year begins, though, it’s an opportunity to embrace new habits and set intentions for the next year that will take you – and your team – to the next level.

As you take time to reflect on the year and the past several years, a great place to start is to think about the victories. In what ways are you succeeding? What’s going well? Where are people the happiest?

Then, think about the areas where you’ve felt tension and conflict. Consider feedback you’ve heard from your team and problems you’ve had to resolve.

Where has communication amongst your team fallen short? What processes need to be readdressed? What pathways on your org chart or job roles need to be reimagined? Then, reconsider your successes – what makes your successful processes, people, and positions work, and how can you apply those principles to the areas that need help?

As you begin a new year, find one small area you can improve. One great place to start is with efforts to better engage your team. When you have a fully engaged team, change can happen more swiftly and thoroughly, because everyone’s pulling in the same direction.

We work with business and human resources leaders to help them fully engage their team and communicate more effectively. A great place to start is with our HR Guide to Communication, which you can download for free here.

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Three Ways to Thank Your Employees at the Holidays

The holiday season can be intense in any business. There are fewer working hours in the month, for some industries the workload increases considerably, and there’s a lot competing for the attention of your employees and your customers.

Let us not forget, however, the magic of the holidays amidst the chaos of the season. As business leaders, we have an opportunity this time of year to show our employees how valued they are by our company. When you have a great team, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.

There are so many ways to celebrate your team, but here are a few of our favorites:

Holiday Gifts

This is the obvious one, but is worth mentioning. Many businesses give holiday bonuses, and that’s a particularly helpful and welcome thing at the holidays when your team is experiencing higher expenses with gift giving and holiday events. However, a small token of your appreciation is a welcome way to tangibly show your team that you care about them personally.

Some businesses may give a branded piece of company clothing, others a luxury item like a Yeti mug or a cool piece of technology, while others may just do a small gift bag of holiday treats. Whatever you choose, giving your team a small reminder of the value they bring pours over into the rest of the year.

Tell Them

Words matter. When you take a break from the usual conversation to let your team know how great a job they’re doing, how grateful you are for them, how they’re moving your company forward, not only do they feel that appreciation, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Words of encouragement shape your company culture.

You can do this by leveraging your digital signage to regularly post messages that celebrate your team that they’ll see throughout their day, throughout your workspace!

Take a Break

While many companies do a holiday party, which is awesome, for those who don’t, consider surprising your team with a special lunch or an unexpected break. Even something small like cookies and hot cocoa mid-day is a treat that will lift the spirits of your team and let them know that you care about them as people.

However you choose to celebrate, we hope you remember that your company wouldn’t be what it is without the incredible team you lead. Finding ways to invest in them and pour into them, especially at the holidays, will return dividends for months to come.

If you’d like some other fresh ideas on how to invest in your team, we’d love to help. We’ve created this guide to communicating more effectively with your employees we’d love to share with you – click here to download it.

 

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The Value of Engaged Employees

If you’re looking to improve your bottom line and your workplace culture, employee engagement is the place to start.

When you’re aiming to increase employee engagement, however, it’s incredibly narrow to equate that with employee satisfaction or happiness, although an engaged employee may also be happy and satisfied at work. Employee engagement is the level of buy in an employee has to the organization and its mission, values, and purpose.

Engaged employees think the way the owner thinks. They hurt when the company hurts, they celebrate when the company has victories. They deeply understand the “why,” and that understanding carries over into what they do and how they do it.

According to a recent Gallup study, an engaged employee experiences, 20% higher productivity, 21% higher profitability, 37% better attendance, 25% lower turnover, 48% fewer safety incidents and 41% fewer quality incidents… it’s easy to see that the value of engaged employees more than pays for any costs incurred to get them engaged.

The fast path to engaged employees is by investing in and improving upon your internal communication. When you communicate well, employees feel committed to, in the loop, a sense of belonging, and valued.

We love helping businesses engage their employees and communicate well. A great place to start is with our ebook all about communicating well with your employees. You can download it free here.

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Tips for Working Ahead for the Holiday Break

When you have an upcoming vacation, you start daydreaming about the ways you’ll fill your freetime: sleeping in, reading a good book, family gatherings, binging that new show on Netflix…

However, the reality of taking a vacation from your job means that you may need to work ahead to keep things going while you’re out.

If you want to make sure you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your vacation, follow these tips for working ahead to take a great vacation.

Schedule Ahead What Can Be Scheduled

If you’re used to working in the moment, you probably aren’t taking advantage of some of the ways you can schedule things ahead of time. Things to consider scheduling out in advance include:

  • Retriever slide publishing & unpublishing
  • Email autoresponder
  • Social media posts
  • E-blasts
  • Emails (if your email client has that feature)
  • Blog posts
  • Thermostat heat/cool settings
  • Holiday light on/off settings

Make a Checklist

Preparing for time off can be very stressful, so it often requires a workflow beyond the regular project management. Make a checklist for those things that must be done before you go on vacation a couple of weeks out and work your way through it a little at a time.

Set & Communicate Rules for Engagement

When you’re out of the office, you determine how available or unavailable you’d like to be. If you want to go off the grid, communicate that with your colleagues and clients, and set up an alternative point of contact while you’re out of the office. This also includes turning off notifications on your smart phone for email and Slack, so you can truly be present on your vacation.

Clean Your Office

If you want to avoid any holiday pests or nasty smells when you return, take some time to clean your office before you go. Take out the trash, remove any candy or food from your office, and take home or throw out anything in the office fridge that won’t be so appetizing upon your return.

Plan for Your Return

Re-entry after a nice vacation can be one of the hardest things about taking a vacation, so take care of future you and work ahead a little bit so that when you return, you won’t be overwhelmed by a daunting workload. This might include making a checklist for first day back priorities, scheduling ahead a few extra things, blocking out some meeting-free hours on your first day back, or cleaning out your email inbox before you depart.

Enjoy your time off! When you get back, we’d love to help make your work life even better by incorporating optimal communication strategies into your workflow. Click here to schedule a free consult with a communication expert. 

 

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Great communication for business owners

When you own a small business, it can feel like you’re constantly repeating yourself. Owners burden the full risk and responsibility of their business, so everything holds a higher stake for them than their employees.

Employees in a small business are constantly looking to their owners and leaders to set the direction and lead the way. That’s why great communication is paramount for business owners… and poor communication can lead to a lot of waste and frustration.

When you as an owner think about what your employees and customers need in terms of communication, you probably think once is enough. As long as you say it clearly, the message ought to come across, however often it doesn’t. Typically it takes someone seeing and hearing a message seven times before they’re ready to take action.

Your time is valuable and you shouldn’t have to spend it repeating yourself, even if that’s what the people around you need. There should be a way to automate these new initiatives and streamline your communications so that you can use your time doing the things that made you want to own a business in the first place.

One way you can automate your communications is with good processes that build in repetition in multiple places. For example, you say it in a meeting, you recap it in an email, you save it in a document, and someone can reference back. The drawback there is that the burden is on the audience to seek it out.

We created a digital signage solution that automates repetition for you, repeating important announcements and messages on a playlist that you customize to your needs. By positioning your screens in key areas, your employees and customers are passively reminded of the important information, and you can move onto the next thing.

We actually created a guide to help you streamline your communications, and we’d love to share it with you for free. In it, you’ll learn skills and tools that will dramatically improve your communications internally, saving you time and money. Click here to download it free!

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