2020 has presented business owners and operators with significant challenges. With current events disrupting the economic and social landscape, small businesses need to focus their investments and operations on the highest priorities to meet the demands of the moment – and beyond. After wrestling with this for months, I have narrowed our company’s highest internal priorities to one thing no business can exist without.
The commonality in every single aspect of your business, for every industry, is people. Without them, you can’t provide services to your clients, create and deliver products, or otherwise operate your business. Many businesses facing market contraction simply cut their labor costs and eliminate their most valuable asset – their skilled employees.
It’s one thing to attract and hire talent, but it’s another to retain it. How does that realistically happen?
Serve Them T: Your Talent needs Time, Training, and Technology
As a business operator and manager, I’ve spent the last six months planning, re-planning, starting over, and re-creating every aspect of our business, again and again. All of our employees are already full-time remote workers, but our “T”s are not all crossed yet. However, we’re working toward those Ts by retaining and investing in our talented workforce, a workforce that continues to make clients happy and generate revenue. Here are the ways Crossroads is “crossing our Ts” to keep our staff productive and able to serve our clients:
Without a centralized workplace for our creatives, the team no longer has an easy, spontaneous and collaborative environment with other team members. Without planned interactions, we could miss the opportunity to ask, “This blue or that blue?” and move on with the project. We might miss that a co-worker may be struggling and offer them assistance. We might miss out on the water cooler discussions that share knowledge and inspire ideas.
- Make time to consistently check in on your employees’ well-being and work-life balance. Ensure your employees have the resources and assistance they need to succeed and thrive. I have an open line policy that any employee can reach out directly for any reason – sometimes it is just to brainstorm and find a way forward or resolve an issue.
- Make team calls and appointments a priority. Not only is this a way to keep the team updated on past, present, and future work, it allows everyone an opportunity to have a moment at the virtual water cooler. At Crossroads, we have daily morning team calls, a mid-week afternoon catch-up, and a Friday afternoon team video call so we can see each other’s faces. This rhythm helps us stay connected, preserving our team dynamic and ensuring clients continue to benefit from our best, collectively.
With the move to remote operations, strengthening our processes and skills to respond to a changing work environment was necessary. Project management software we had been slow to implement became a higher priority very quickly. The increased need for social media content across our client base requires more planning and development to meet consumer demand. All of this requires training.
- Provide your team access to virtual education and tutorials to optimize their skills and develop new ones.
- Ensure new software and technology that you implement has the necessary amount of support and training behind it to onboard your employees as efficiently as possible.
Your technology budget has probably taken some hard hits if your business has pivoted to a work-from-home or hybrid workforce. In some cases, employees have been able to take their workstation technology home, but there is far more to your business operations than turning on your computer and having access to the Internet. As a business, we also have to be concerned about the quality and security of the workstation, as well as whether or not our employees have what they need to produce efficiently. Working with an IT Services Provider like Newave Solutions is a great way to develop your technology plan. Whether you work with an IT service or not, here are some basic technology needs to consider in your plan:
- Technology such as workstation computers, monitors, peripherals, back-up methods, etc.
- Phone, email, and other communications technology, including software and applications with unique user access from remote locations.
At Crossroads, our team is happiest when they are productive and making clients proud of their brand and market impact. It’s my job to make sure our team has what they need to reach their goals. By investing in Talent, Time, Training, and Technology, we are crossing our “T”s and can move on to dotting those “i”s.