Your Bulletin Board is Broken

If you’re trying to communicate with a busy workforce, time is of the essence. There’s only one of you, so the best thing you can do to ensure that your message gets across is to utilize effective communication strategies.

Most offices employ a bulletin board to assist with getting the word out, but here’s the deal: no one’s paying attention to it!

We hear from businesses, “We’ve always done it this way. Why do we need to change?”

The short answer is: the world changed and we all have to change with it.

In this case, doing what you’ve always done will only get diminishing results. Paper and static signage have their place, but they’re most effective for things that don’t need to capture attention. Long-standing employment policies, employment posters, resources that don’t change – these are the things that belong on your bulletin board.

Important messages, news, updates, and announcements will get lost on your bulletin board as people skim past. 

You need a more effective way of reaching your audience, and to do so you have to go highly visual and digital. 

Visual is key because it’s passive, can happen while people are working, and images stick in our minds. People are more likely to remember things they see over things they hear.

Digital, however, seems like the less obvious point, but consider this: when things are digital, they can be easily replicated and updated from anywhere. If you have 10 bulletin boards in your business, across 10 different locations, you might spend half a day updating the signage. However, with digital signage, you can do that from your desk instantly across all locations.

We believe that communication doesn’t have to be hard in a business, and we have some great solutions to help solve your communication problem. Click the button to download our free Human Resources Guide to Communication – our gift to you:
Download our Communications Guide

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Three Factors Impacting Your Employees' Attention

In the communication age, what should be easier – communicating – feels frustrating and it’s wasting a lot of time in your week. But it’s not, is it? In fact, you probably spend more time than ever repeating yourself and trying to roll out new policies.

Why is it so much harder to communicate with your team than it once was? There are a few key reasons you might be experiencing frustration in your business:

You’re only saying something once.

We live in an age where everyone has infinite people and companies competing for our attention. If you want to get your message to land, you need to repeat it a minimum of seven times.  But, seven times can feel pretty intense, so you need to find a way to automate the repetition so you’re saying it once, but people hear or see it seven times.

You aren’t grabbing their attention in the first place.

While there are more ways to communicate with your team than ever before, you also have more competition for their attention. People get hundreds of notifications every day from their devices and are often operating on information overload. Your employees are struggling to prioritize what’s most important when it comes to their own communication overload!

The reality is, that adorable baby video is going to win out on your boring HR announcement… unless you find a way to disrupt in a way that’s highly visual and engaging.

You’re not connecting with people emotionally.

Think about a commercial you remember in detail. It stuck with you because you felt something, because you remember the faces of the people in the commercial, because it was catchy, humorous, or emotional. The same is true for the messages you need to get across.

If you can tie your new policy to the reason why it exists, it will connect in a deeper, more impactful way. But, that does take a little bit of effort for you in how you tell the story behind the announcement.

We created Retriever Digital Signage specifically to solve these communication frustrations for Human Resources departments in manufacturing. If you’re tired of losing hours in your week to ineffective communication, let’s chat for 15 minutes and we’ll tell you about how we can help. Click here to schedule.

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Retriever-for-Schools

Each new school year is a fresh start, offering opportunities for teachers, administrators and students to grow and improve. As the school year begins, it’s full of the potential to be the best year yet.

Administrators have an opportunity to empower and unite their families around their school. There’s nothing like the district coming together to cheer on the sports teams or to jump to their feet to applaud their musicians. There’s more to be done, however, to unite a district.

In fact, one of the most important things a district can do to knit their community together is to communicate exceptionally well. When people know and understand what’s happening, conflict is dramatically reduced. And, when conflict is low, people spend more time doing things in support of each other and their schools and less time dealing with conflict.

At Retriever, our mission in life is to help people communicate more effectively. That’s why we created Retriever Digital Signage – it’s an easy-to-use digital message board that has been successfully bringing schools together for years.

Our clients who use Retriever on their campuses have found awesome ways to celebrate their students’ victories, ignite their students’ creativity, communicate about upcoming events, and partner with the community using their easily synced digital signage. Retriever is updated online and syncs immediately to all screens, whether they’re on site or off site.

The platform is extremely user-friendly and students are able to be a part of the process, or any adult who is comfortable with a computer is able to schedule and update easily.

Here’s how one of our schools is using Retriever to unite their school:

 

If you’d like to learn more about how Retriever Digital Signage might be a good solution for your district, click here to reach out!

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Keep it Fresh Retriever Digital Signage

Every two days, we create as much content as humankind created in all of the years preceding the year 2003. Take that in for a second.

The pace at which content can be created and circulated in a digital society is hard to wrap your head around, but more than that, it’s hard to know what to give your attention to… and you’re not alone in having your attention divided.

In fact, your employees and customers are also uncertain of where to direct their attention. Try this experiment: spend an hour and simply put a tally mark down for every notification, call, text, interruption, message, or conversation you’re invited into for that hour.

It’s daunting to see just how many people and businesses are competing for our attention. As a result, people are doing what people have always done: they’re adapting. They’re learning what messages to tune out, and which messages are relevant.

This is why you don’t allow notifications from every app on your phone, and silence your phone during your child’s dance recital.  You instinctively know what to give priority to, and what to ignore.

The question remains: how do you ensure that your message cuts through the clutter as one of the important ones?

The key is keeping your message fresh as often as possible.

If day after day you received the same text from your friend, you’d stop looking at it. You already know the message. If your favorite television show replayed the same episode over and over, it’s unlikely you’d keep watching. The same is true for your audience.

However, if each time, the message from your friend was something new, you’d make sure you paid attention. If your favorite show releases a new exciting episode every week, you’ll tune in.

At Retriever, we specialize in digital message boards that automate the process of incorporating fresh content. Our digital signage solution, Retriever, automatically includes weather updates, news headlines, trivia, and social media feeds to do just that: keep the message fresh. That way, when our clients are too busy to update, or when one of the messages they need to deliver needs to stay the same, their Retriever is keeping fresh content a part of the process automatically.

If you’d like to see how Retriever compares to other signage options, we’ve made that easy for you. Simply click here to download a comparison sheet to see how we line up.

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Client Spotlight: Dairy Queen

We love seeing the way our clients are utilizing Retriever in their businesses in new and creative ways, and our local Dairy Queen restaurant is leading the pack with their community-minded approach to digital signage.

Business owners are curious and innovative type of people. Growing a successful business requires that its owners keep their eyes open for new ideas and ways to better serve their customers. When Jana Mulherin, Co-owner of Dairy Queen in Mansfield, Ohio, first encountered Retriever, she asked herself, “How could we use that new technology?” 

Soon after, Retriever Digital Signage was installed at her Dairy Queen location, and immediately used to promote sales, new product offerings and retail products. But, Mulherin didn’t stop with the basics.

“Over time, we found our employees liked it, customers liked it, we liked it… and we thought, ‘Let’s make it a little more personal!’”

The employees started showing off their graduation photos and prom pictures on the screens, giving their guests a new way to connect with the team. Then, the team at Dairy Queen had a fresh idea.

“Anybody that comes and shares some time with us, we ask if we can take a picture.” Soon groups ranging from little league teams to Miss Ohio contestants started to appear on the Retrievers, and customers were delighted.

“When you put something personal up, it grabs attention – they’ll say to their friends, “I saw you on the Retriever at the Dairy Queen!”

Mulherin’s community focus doesn’t stop there. At Dairy Queen, they include slides featuring local events and community activities as a service to both their local customers and out-of-town visitors.

“It really has engaged people, and that’s another reason we know it’s so effective… Retriever really tells our story.”

 

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The Simple Trick to Stop Repeating Yourself

Monday morning staff meeting, you roll out a new and important employee procedure. You tell the story about what led to this procedure, you talk about it in detail, and you make it clear that this is a mandatory and immediate change.

By Wednesday, though, your team has forgotten, and you find yourself repeating the new procedure (maybe a little irritably) over and over. You send an email, you schedule a special meeting, you try everything.

The following Monday morning, you remind your team about the change again, and still, pickup is slow. Eventually, after weeks and numerous reminders, you start to see the new procedure take root and the change begin… just in time to do something new.

Sound familiar?

You’re not alone. Human resources professionals and business leaders, and small business owners are wasting too much time repeating themselves in meetings and emails that are not turning into the productive change they seek. On average, people spend 23 hours in pointless meetings each week.

If you want to understand why your communication methods are failing, you need to understand how communication works.

On average, people need to receive information about something seven times before they are ready to take action. Saying it once simply isn’t enough – but you already know that.

At the same time, saying something seven times before seeing the change take place seems like a massive waste of time… unless you streamline the process.

Finding a way to automate repetition in your business so that you are not personally responsible for the reminders and repeated message is the key to shifting the responsibility of repetition away from you.

That’s one great way digital signage can help your business. When you place TV screens throughout your workplace in clear view of your employees, you can capture and hold their attention in a way that passively reminds them on a looping playlist throughout the day.

Imagine the new procedure rollout looking like this:

Monday morning staff meeting, you roll out a new and important employee procedure. You tell the story about what led to this procedure, you talk about it in detail, and you make it clear that this is a mandatory and immediate change.

Immediately following staff meeting, reminders, photos, and videos of the new protocol hit your Retriever Digital Signage playlists in the areas where they are most helpful. As your employees are working, they are reminded of the new procedure, and the visuals answer logistical questions they may have.

By Wednesday, you see the new procedure fully operational. At next Monday’s staff meeting, you applaud the team for their awesome work as they pivoted to the new strategy.

Sounds better, doesn’t it?

We’d love to help you get there. Click here to contact us and we can have a quick call about how Retriever might help you.

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Creative Uses of Retriever Digital Signage

Digital signage is one of the best investments you can make into your business’s communication strategy, because it’s one of the most flexible tools available to you. When you have an idea, having digital signage in place allows you to quickly and easily bring that idea to life and get the word out about it.

We love seeing the creative ideas our Retriever clients have come up with, and how they’re turning them into results.

Swap & Sell Slides

One amazing thing that we see happening a lot in our community, particularly among the non-profits, is slide swapping. Organizations will arrange to trade slides on a regular basis to promote their events or opportunities for engagement with other community entities.

Another way to leverage this idea is for businesses to reach out to community organizations and offer to include their slides in the playlist as a way of showing support.

The third way we see our clients using this idea is to sell advertising space on their Retriever screens to other businesses.

Personalize the Experience

When someone new is coming to visit your business, put their name on the big screen! Our clients who are doing this have had a tremendous response – including having people ask to take their photo with the screen with their name on the Retriever!

Delighting people by seeing their name on the screen gives you an opportunity to say, “You’re a big deal to us,” and it only takes a moment to schedule.

Watch to see how Emerson Process Management is doing just that:

Tell A Story

Want to see people hanging with your playlist from one slide to the next? One alternative to containing the entire message on just one slide is to tell a story with your slides! We recently did this ourselves for an ad, and it’s a fresh way to keep people engaged.

 

Are you creatively using your Retriever’s? We want to hear about it! Let us know what’s working for you by reaching out to contact@retrieverdigitalsignage.com.

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Delight Your Waiting Customers - Retriever Digital Signage

No one likes to wait. Because waiting often feels frustrating for customers, by the time they reach your employees the burden of that frustration is unloaded on your already overworked team, making the wait the source of a problem for your customers and employees alike.

Waiting is just a part of life, and most people are willing to accept a short wait, but anxiety and frustration creep in when a wait is long. Interestingly, when you dig into the psychology of how people perceive waiting, perception does not always match reality.

Research tells us that people who have anxiety often perceive wait times to be longer than those who don’t. In fact, perceptions about waiting vary broadly!

Individuals who have an unoccupied wait also perceive their wait time to be longer than those whose time is occupied during a wait.

Understanding or expecting the wait time plays a significant factor in how patient people feel during a wait.

People waiting solo perceive their wait time to be longer than those who are waiting in a group.

So, while you might be taking a look at the costly decision of increasing your staff to reduce wait times – and that may be a reality for your business – it’s also worthwhile to consider how you can reduce perceived waiting times.

By communicating passively with your customers during their wait, you can address numerous factors that may be impacting their perception about their wait time, and head off their negative emotions.

Strategic use of your digital signage is an awesome solution for reducing perceived wait times, because you can accomplish several strategies at once. Digital signage allows you to:

Set an expectation with your customers about average wait time.

During your busiest hours of the day, calculate your average customer wait time, and include a slide in your playlist that says something like, “Our average wait time during the lunch hour is around 10 minutes. We appreciate your patience!” Giving your customers the opportunity to decide if that’s a reasonable wait for the time they have available allows them to make a decision if they’re going to come back later or stick around.

Entertain them while they wait.

Integrate trivia, news, weather and other fun updates in your digital signage playlist, and the time will fly by (or so it will seem!) for your customers while they wait. Retriever Digital Signage comes with all of these features included, you simply need to drop them into your playlist.

Educate them about extended service products and opportunities.

While your customers are waiting, you have several minutes to share new products, services, opportunities, or promotions with them before they’re greeted by one of your team members. Don’t wait until they’re at the counter to have a conversation about these opportunities!

We’d love to help you strategize ways to reduce wait time in your business. Shoot us an email at contact@retrieverdigitalsignage.com and we can help!

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The Solution for Frustration in the Workplace

We’ve all been there. The problems aren’t big, but they’re frequent and persistent. Each day, you head home feeling irritable, exhausted, and drained. When the road is bumpy with you team, frustration is an emotion that can overtake not just you, but your entire culture.

Frustration in the workplace is a symptom of a bigger problem, and if not dealt with, it can be a breeding ground for new problems like burnout, broken relationships, and high turnover.

How do you know if frustration is pervasive in your business? Why do some periods of time in your workplace cause higher frustration than others? Why does it matter? How do you nip it in the bud?

If your company has a problem with workplace frustration, you may begin to notice your team exhibiting the following behaviors:

  • Decreased motivation
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Decreased productivity
  • Cynicism

If you’re a leader at your company in Human Resources, management, or a small business owner, you may be tempted to blame the employee for their bad attitude. But, you hired them for a reason and something has soured; as their leader, it’s on you to figure out how what’s the root cause of their frustration.

Many things can contribute to frustration among your employees: stressful seasons with higher than usual output expectations; upside-down work/life balance; lack of financial incentives; unfair treatment; bad processes; lacking opportunities for professional growth… but the number one contributing factor to employee frustration is poor communication.

Communication is a two-way street. Your employees need to hear from you and gain understanding about systems, processes, intentionality behind decisions (especially when it comes to changes), your appreciation of them, and of the successes your company is experiencing. And, your employees need to feel heard and that their input matters to those leading them.

When businesses aren’t communicating effectively, frustration is a guarantee. When communication is open, frequent and clear, even when small conflicts arise, they can quickly be resolved.

Effective communication requires intentionality, strategy, and persistence – but that doesn’t mean it needs to be time consuming or difficult.

If you’d like to learn more about how to communicate more effectively with your employees, check out our free downloadable Human Resources Guide to Effective Communication, in which you’ll find dozens of great tools and strategies for upgrading your internal communications. Click here to get the eBook free in your inbox.

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5 Ways to Encourage Your Employees

We’ve all been there. The workload is heavy, the work feels monotonous, and going to work just feels like a slog. When you’re in a funk, you need something to disrupt the daily grind, something that helps you remember why you’re there in the first place.

Disheartened, tired employees need their leaders to step into their doldrums and remind them why they’re there. But, for managers, it can be really challenging to step out of the day-to-day to remember how much their employee’s emotions about their work matters to them… until it becomes a problem.

The reality is, employee engagement makes a dramatic difference in not only your employee’s performance, but your whole business’s. According to a 2018 Gallup study:

“Organizations that are the best in engaging their employees achieve earnings-per-share growth that is more than four times that of their competitors. Compared with business units in the bottom quartile, those in the top quartile of engagement realize substantially better customer engagement, higher productivity, better retention, fewer accidents, and 21% higher profitability. Engaged workers also report better health outcomes.”

Taking small steps towards employee engagement is a worthy pursuit, not only for the good of your employees, but for the good of your business.

One really simple way to plant seeds of change with your employees is to simply focus on encouraging them. Here are a few ideas that take nothing but a little bit of effort:

Intentionally tell people what they’re doing well, when they’re doing it.

The “no news is good news” adage is simply unhelpful when it comes to managing a business. Even when the worst employees start a new job, they feel hopeful that this will be a fresh start in which they will achieve and perform well and become the person they’ve always wanted to be. The vast majority of people are trying their best, so when you see them doing well, take the time to tell them specifically what they’re doing well and celebrate that. A little bit of praise will go a long way to motivating them to do more and be better every day, in hopes of maybe earning a little more praise.

Place encouraging messages in unexpected places.

If your team is hustling underneath a heavy workload, motivation is key! Finding ways to place encouraging and uplifting messages that let them know their hard work is appreciated and that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel of the heavier workload can go a long way to shifting attitudes and increasing overall contentment in the workplace.

Demonstrate empathy.

Maybe what’s dragging your team down has nothing to do with the workplace, but has to do with their lives outside of the workplace. Maybe they’re struggling with their health, addiction, finances, relationships, etc. The reality is, whether or not it’s ideal, they bring all of that with them when they come to work and their energy will be spent on the thing that is the highest priority to them. Being empathetic when an employee is struggling and finding ways to meet them where they are puts them on the same team with you, not at odds and will foster not only a deeper level of engagement during both tough and great seasons, but a deep sense of loyalty.

Show them the why.

If your employees are behind the scenes, it can be easy to forget the purpose behind the work they’re doing. Telling the stories of end users, the people whose lives are better because of the work they’re doing right now, is critical to employee engagement. Otherwise, you’re just cranking out widgets, not creating the parts that become the vehicle that will transport a family for years of their life.

Track your goals… and celebrate the victories.

Visualizing progress and feeling a sense of accomplishment go a long way to promote buy-in from your team. If you’re performing the same tasks day after day, it can be hard to motivate yourself to do more and be better than you were the day before. But, when you see the team pulling together in the same direction towards a goal, it can change the game and give you something to work towards.

 

If you’re looking for more ideas and strategies for promoting engagement in your workplace, we’d love to help. Click here to download an eBook full of ideas for creating a culture of engagement in your business, our gift to you!

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