Five New Year's Resolutions For Your Business in 2015
Incremental improvement is the key
With the year-o-dometer turning over, it may be a Very Good Thing to look at our personal inventory of issues and try and improve ones self incrementally with a resolution or two. The same could be said for your business. Here are some suggestions for corporate resolutions that will make your company healthier, happier and more profitable in the year to come.
1. Engage completely with social media
When it comes to social media, many companies are mere dabblers. They may indeed have a social media presence but that doesn't mean full engagement. Tweeting promotional posts a couple times a day or even a couple hundred times a day (both bad ideas) does not equate to a genuine social media focus.
Social media is about branding; sharing the image of your company you wish to reflect. The only way to accomplish this is to first define what the image you feel is appropriate for your company, develop consistent messaging that reinforces the 'personality' of your brand (i.e. professional, whimsical, comical, folksy, casual) then push your branding sparingly while networking in the medium. Social media works best when it is nurtured, not forced; think conversations, not monologues.
2. Pay attention to the grumblers
Every business has its Negative Nancy's. Even Winnie-the Pooh had Eeyore in his working group. However, as much as some employees like to grumble and snipe, what they are crabbing about can be revealing. They may very well be giving voice to what the more circumspect, reasonable staff members would like to say but do not.
Paying attention to the whiners does not mean solving every whine, but instead is more about being aware of the complaints out there. Some may actually be easy to solve or serious enough to apply resources too. Never discount the rumblings out of hand as they can grow and grow into something bigger that you may have trouble defeating. Leaders who turn a deaf ear to worker's woes lose a valuable information stream about their company's internal workings.
3. Focus on retention
Competent business leaders and HR specialists know full well that a revolving door in staffing is counter productive and counter profits. It is far cheaper to pay a little bit better, do a little bit more for your people and engage them a little bit more closely than your competitors. New workers cost you money until they are fully trained. Newbies can even negatively affect productivity by taking away seasoned staff for teaching and by making rookie errors that can be quite costly.
Job one is finding out if you have a turnover problem or not. If your rate of turnover is higher than the industry standard, you really need to look deep into why this is and make real changes. Your accountant will thank you for it.
4. Be proactive concerning workplace harassment
In light of the number of recent high-profile harassment cases in the House of Parliament and at the CBC, it is important to remember that impropriety can happen anywhere, in any industry. The best way to manage this reality is to establish policies and protocols for dealing with any concerns or complaints and be prepared to handle them in a fair and non-judgmental manner until all the facts are in. This will save you from potential headaches, bad press and perhaps a lawsuit. This site may be a good place to start.
5. Give up on free
Who doesn't like getting stuff for free? Unfortunately, in business, free stuff is often a case of 'you get what you pay for'. Free organic reach in social media, for example, is every marketing wonk's dream but the reality is that for real reach, you have to pay to play, whether with Google, Twitter, Facebook or any other platforms. You wouldn't expect to get free newspaper ads, why do you think buying social media ads is any different? Whether it is text content or dynamic images for your website, or even the website itself, free is fraught with peril. Google dings you for duplicate content, you can be sued for using unpaid for pics and hidden costs that occur from "free" websites delineated here make "free" a four-letter word. In the long run you're far better off to pay the going rate for whatever your company needs.
Rome wasn't built in a day and it is usually unwise to make too many changes all at once but it certainly behoves us as individuals and companies to try and improve every year. Consider selecting just a couple of initiatives and work on those, saving more changes for when the current initiatives have become part of your culture. Don't try to do everything but whatever you do, don't try to do nothing.