How To Challenge Your Employees When You Are Away On Business

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article | Employee Management | How To Challenge Your Employees When You Are Away On Business Being a traveling business owner can have its difficulties sometimes. You may feel that your team just aren’t as productive as they might be when you’re not there to ensure that they are working hard, for example. If that is the case, what can you do?

Something you don’t want to do is to constantly have to check in on them. Not only does that make more work for you, particularly if you have important meetings and conferences to prepare for, but it also makes your employees feel uncomfortable; they will assume you don’t trust them to do their own jobs, and that might reduce productivity in itself. In the worst cases, your staff might even want to look elsewhere for work.

The best thing you can do is to ensure that your employees are engaged and challenged when you are not there. This will make them feel valued because you are trusting them to get more done, and it will give them plenty to occupy themselves with so that there will be nothing for you to worry about. Here are some of the ways they can be challenged when you are working away on business.

Ask For Feedback

Before you leave on your trip, make sure that you speak to your team, either as a group or individually, about what you want from them while you’re away. It’s essential that they know they can check in with you when they need to, even if you’re not in the office, and that you will check in with them too. Make sure they don’t feel pressured or uncomfortable about this – if you are checking in with everyone once a day, no one should feel that they are being singled out.

If possible, start these meetings with your staff before you go. You can arrange:

  • Weekly feedback sessions
  • One to one meetings
  • Weekly reviews

If you start off right at the beginning with this kind of culture of feedback and performance reviews, it won’t seem out of the ordinary if you continue to do it even when you’re working away from your usual location.

Ask your staff to prepare feedback for you so that you can understand what their frustrations are when you’re not there, and if you travel frequently, you can then ensure that the next time you go anywhere, it is better for everyone.

Give Them Harder Tasks

If your workers are doing the same things each and every day, they can easily become bored and frustrated. They might feel as though their job is going nowhere and that they should be looking to do something else with their lives. If you’re not there, that feeling can easily intensify, and you might find you have something of a rebellion to deal with once you get back.

In order to stop this from happening, add some harder tasks to the list of things that you would like to be done while you’re away. This will keep your employees interested and give them more of a challenge. They will feel as though you trust them to do something a little more difficult. Make it clear that you are there to help if they need assistance, otherwise, if the task is brand new and too challenging, you might still have problems. If you can’t be the one to offer assistance, delegate the task to someone else who will look after these issues ins your stead when you are traveling.

Make A Challenge List

In order to challenge your employees in a fun way, you can create a challenge list. This is a list of tasks that can be done at any time and in any order, and that are there to be picked up on once all the other work is done. If someone is particularly looking for an additional challenge, they can go to this list and choose something from it. The list can include anything from researching medical marijuana companies for your business to invest in, to looking up new ways of carrying out old jobs using innovative technology, to making a budget for the next advertising campaign.

The list should be available for all employees to take tasks from and to add tasks to as they think of them. Your job is to periodically check through the list and approve or remove the tasks that are there. The tasks should all be related to the company; there is no point in having anything on the list that isn’t going to benefit the business in the short or long term.

A list like this ensures there are always new challenges to look into, and could almost be seen as a reward for completing the usual tasks in a timely manner. If there is a slow week, or a gap between one project starting and another ending, this will also fill in the time and your employees won’t have a chance to become frustrated, bored, or discontented.

Train Them

No matter how much your employees already know, additional training will always be useful for them, and for you. Keeping your employees fully trained up will clearly benefit your business, but it will also show your team that you are looking out for them, and that you want the best for them. They will be able to do their current jobs more efficiently and with greater confidence, and they will also learn new skills that will benefit everyone within the business.

By offering training when you are away on business, you can provide a change of scenery to your employees, and guarantee that they will have learned something new by the time you return.

Make Your Goals Clear

Your employees may see you heading off for yet another meeting or conference in yet another town or city, or perhaps even a different country, and wonder what you are doing, and what benefit it really all is. Keep your employees engaged and focused by keeping them abreast of all the changes and updates within the company in a timely fashion. When you are going away, explain why – keep them involved. By making your ultimate goals for the business clear, and showing them how their own job can be a part of the end result, your employees will see the challenge ahead of them, and want to do their best with regards to meeting it.

3 Ways to Safeguard the Wellbeing and Productivity of Your Staff

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article | 3 Ways to Safeguard the Wellbeing and Productivity of Your Staff | Manage Staff
As a business owner, you will almost certainly come to the point of needing to manage staff — assuming you aren’t there already. Though many businesses are born as single-person startups in the solopreneur-spirit, growth invariably brings with it the need for outsourcing of responsibilities.

Of course, managing staff is not necessarily a straightforward and pain-free matter. Unscrupulous and demotivated workers can cost you money, and excessive gossip and office politics can sour the entire nature of your business and reduce teamwork and joint productivity.

Among the many requirements of good team management is the ability to safeguard the wellbeing and productivity of your staff. Here are a few strategy suggestions for doing just that.

Allow them a degree of flexibility in terms of working hours and physical location

It’s a fairly well-agreed-upon idea that employees tend to work better, and be more invested in the overall success and wellbeing of the company at large, when they feel that they are being treated with a degree of respect and consideration by their employers.

The traditional office dynamic of arriving at a certain time each day, and clocking off at a certain time each afternoon, is still very much in place as a rule, but is starting to soften significantly, with many businesses allowing for flexible hours and remote working arrangements.

Incentivise your customers to work more diligently, and enjoy their work more, by allowing them a degree of flexibility over their time and location. This could mean allowing them to clock off for the day whenever they want, as long as they meet their targets. Or it could mean allowing them to work from home for a couple of days a week.

Sponsor them for training and educational courses and programs

Investing in your employees via sending or sponsoring them for training and certifications not only helps to improve their professional portfolio, thereby enhancing their well-being, but it also makes them more directly useful for you, as their employer — that is, assuming you run your business in such a way that people don’t want to flee as soon as they have other options available.

It might be that you’re flush with resources and can sign some of your senior people up for an online MBA, or it might be that you see the benefit in putting the whole office through first aid training.

In any event, supporting your staff with this kind of training can be a great way of boosting wellbeing and productivity.

Find ways to grant your staff a greater sense of meaning during the day — such as by empowering them to work on some of their own projects, some of the time

In recent times, many high-flying companies have famously opted to give their staff a greater sense of meaning and freedom during the day, by allocating a certain amount of their working time to personal projects.

This has been particularly prevalent in the tech industry, with Google famously having followed such a policy. The upshot of doing this is that your staff feel that their own creative impulses are better represented by the company, and that they have more breathing room to do meaningful — not just obligatory — work.

How to Motivate Your Sales Team: 7 Tested and Proven Strategies

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article | How to Motivate Your Sales Team: 7 Tested and Proven StrategiesSales is the core of the business and the team behind it drives the company’s growth and success. They are responsible for the 2 most important things in a business: customers and revenue.

Every business owner or executive should acknowledge the critical role of the sales team in the organization. They should be always motivated, developed, and inspired for them to consistently perform.

Here are proven strategies to make your sales team successful:

1. Establish trust

Trust is a fundamental core value of every organization. The business can’t run effectively without it. Teams can’t work together without trusting each other. That’s why it’s important for a leader to establish full trust across the organization.

Offering full trust to your sales team goes two ways:

  • You will need to win their trust completely
  • You will need to give them your trust 100%

Establishing full trust with your sales team starts with setting the correct and honest expectations. You need to be clear about the following:

  • What’s their objective/purpose in the business?
  • What do you expect them to deliver and in what time schedule?
  • What are their targets?
  • How will you measure their success?
  • How are you going to reward them?

The second step is to let them do their job as salespeople. Lastly, you’ll have to deliver your part of the bargain, which is to consistently work with them to achieve their targets, review their performance and give them their due rewards.

2. Give them visibility to the strategy

Part of what drives the sales team to deliver their optimum performance is to give them visibility of the company’s strategy. It is important that they know where the company is heading and what’s their part in it.

Moreover, enable your sales team to be equipped as they help steer the company’s strategy. You will need to provide them access to metrics, statistics, analytics and every piece of data about the company. This information will help them forecast their output in a timely manner aligned with the company strategy.

3. Establish SMART goals

SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic and
  • Time-bound

This is a basic methodology for goal setting. It is critical to establish smart goals with your sales team in order for them to know what are you expecting from them.

Work with your sales team to agree on a defined daily, weekly, monthly and/or annual sales objectives. The key is to have a limited number of objectives or goals that are aligned with the company strategy. Then, enable with them tools that will help them track their goals against their performance.

4. Put in place an effective reward system

Sales teams are driven by rewards. They perform more when they know what they’re getting in return. That said, it is highly critical to put an effective reward system to keep your sales team inspired. For example, come up with an enticing commission agreement and/or sales incentives.

Some of the key elements of an effective reward system are the following:

  • A specific result or quota that will let them earn the rewards
  • A clear process of how the reward will be earned
  • Timeline of when they can earn and/or when the reward will be given
  • Ability for the individual to choose the type of reward they want to receive

Enabling your sales team to choose the type of reward they want will keep them excited. Start by sending out a survey to every individual so you’ll know what their expected reward is.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article | How to Motivate Your Sales Team: 7 Tested and Proven Strategies5. Make your sales team fall in love with the company

This is rather difficult but once successfully pulled off, you’ll have the best succession plan in the company. Moving your sales team away from the employee mindset and offering them the idea of being ‘company owners’ is critical.

Get them involved in building the company’s mission, vision and core values. Steer them away from being stimulated by their paycheck and let them become passionate about their contribution to the company. This may or may not work with all the individuals in your sales team but at least you’ll know who among them is truly involved.

6. Allow them to be flexible and proactive

Your sales team doesn’t become sales rock stars overnight. That said, allow them to be flexible enough in achieving their targets. It will require you to provide consistent guidance and follow through with their output.

On top of that, encourage your sales team to be proactive in all areas. Let them explore new angles and come up with out-of-the-box ideas. Moreover, encourage them to freely present these ideas and implement them.

7. Provide them with opportunities and growth

It is critical to provide your sales team with enough opportunities for growth. This will keep them stimulated knowing the fact that they know where they’re going if they become successful in the company. Keep in mind that a salesperson wouldn’t want to be a salesperson forever.

Putting a clear development and growth plan for the sales individuals is one of the required duties of a leader. There should be a clear and defined path for a salesperson to go to the next level in the organizational structure.


Motivating your sales team is a top priority. It requires diligent thought process and involvement with the team. Moreover, upgrading their performance will require time, consistency and commitment. These effective and tested strategies can help you build a successful sales team that’s always inspired and motivated. These should be an integral part of the core priorities of the company.

How To Narrow Down Your Recruitment Search To Find The Best Talent

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article | Recruiting Employees
When embarking on the hiring process, there are all the typical ways to find new employees for your business. You might post on job boards online, for example, or you might advertise your vacancies at a job fair. This is all well and good, and such methods may prove fruitful. However, you may face a huge number of applicants, and picking out the best of the bunch can be a time-consuming task. But what if there was a way to cut through all of that? What if you could gain access to the best employees in a more efficient way? Well… you can!

The next time you need to find employees for your business, consider how you might narrow down your search to find the best talent. We have some ideas here that will not only help you find employees for your business, but that should also help you get the best possible candidates for the job you have to offer. Interested? Sure you are! After all, you have positions to fill, and you want the very best people for the job.

#1: Use social media

You probably use social media for both your personal and business life, but did you know it could be useful within the hiring process? You might want to join certain Facebook groups connected within your industry, for example, as you will then have the means to both advertise jobs and network with other employers who may know of people who would be a good fit within your business. You might also use LinkedIn for the same purposes, as again, you can both post your vacancy and network with other business professionals. Social media also gives you access to HR tech influencers, the influencers and leaders in talent acquisition who may be able to give you some specific advice on your recruitment process. And you can also use social media to attract possible candidates, posting images of your hopefully happy workforce online, alongside comments from past and current employees as to why they enjoy(ed) working for you.

#2: Engage your current employees

As suggested above, you might ask your employees to post something on social media to attract the attention of job seekers. You might also offer your employees a cash bonus to refer candidates to you. They might know of people who would be a perfect fit for your business, be they friends, ex-colleagues, or people they studied with at college or university. You do need to be careful – you don’t want your employees referring people to you who aren’t a good fit, just to get that cash bonus – so you still need to be diligent within the hiring process, only interviewing those people who match your job description, and giving out the cash bonus only when a referred candidate successfully fills a position.

#3: Reach out to colleges and universities

Reach out to soon-to be college graduates, catching them early by arranging a time to visit colleges and universities to promote your business and talk about the benefits of working for you. This is your opportunity to find the freshest young minds about to embark on a possible career within your industry, so you might be able to snap them up before your competitors do. You might also post your vacancies on student job boards, publications, and social media groups. Consider running an internship programme too, giving college students the opportunity to get valuable work experience with you. Not only is this useful to them, but if you have interns that prove invaluable to you, you will have the opportunity to directly approach them with a job offer. Check out our previous article for more advice on hiring college graduates.

#4: Break down geographical barriers

Do you need to employ employees within your locale? If you are able to hire remote workers, then do so. Modern technology allows you to communicate and collaborate with people all over the world, so if you can’t find the top talent in your town or city, consider reaching out to people elsewhere in the world. Okay, so we are talking about narrowing down your search and not expanding it, but you can still channel your efforts through job ads on social media, or you might advertise and search for applicants on websites such as We Work Remotely. The world, as they say, is your oyster!

#5: Use your website

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article | Recruiting Employees
Your website will primarily be used by customers and clients, but it might also attract the attention of potential candidates. They will be Googling specific job roles, so they might stumble upon your business within their search. Therefore, create a ‘We Are Hiring’ page on your website, where people can scour the positions you have available. And even you are not hiring, or when your positions have been filled, you might still accept resumés from those looking for a job, in the event a vacancy will be opened up in the future. To ensure the right candidates find your website, use these SEO tips to optimise your job adverts, and link your website to the social media groups that pertain to your business.

#6: Consider your current employees

You might not need to start the hiring process if you have employees that are suited to the positions you have to offer. Talk to your employees about any potential vacancies coming up, and encourage them to approach you if they are interested. Or, having had a read through of their resumés you already have on file, directly approach them with the opportunity to do something different. Not only will this save you time and money on the hiring process, but you might a) find the very best person from within your team, and b) give one of your employees greater job satisfaction by giving them something more closely linked to their abilities.

Over to you

We hope these tips have been useful to you, but what do you think? Have you utilised ways to narrow down the recruitment search when you have had job vacancies within your business? Let us know if so, and give us all the opportunity to both find the best employees, and spend less time in trying to do so. Thanks for reading.

The Big Picture of Business – Each Role Matters. The Value of Support Staff

StrategyDriven Big Picture of Business ArticleEvery person in the company matters to its success. Every job is important, as is filling them with the best people for each job. The art and skill of being great support staff is a cornerstone of business success.

From pop culture, think of the great role models that we grew up watching:

Della Street was the loyal secretary to Perry Mason. She knew what everyone was thinking and was the glue to the cases. She was the model for executive assistants and office managers everywhere.

The CEO is made stronger with a good C-suite team. Ed McMahon was TV’s premier second banana. He worked as assistant, announcer, commercial pitchman and sketch narrator to Johnny Carson throughout their 29-year run on NBC-TV’s “Tonight Show.” They had previously worked together on a game show, “Who Do You Trust” on ABC-TV. Bandleaders on the late-night are vital #3 characters on the show, including Doc Severinsen, Skitch Henderson, Paul Shaffer and The Roots band.

The movie star heroes had buddies to help them navigate the adventures. John Wayne and Roy Rogers had Gabby Hayes. Gene Autry had Pat Buttram.

TV show stars had great support casts. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz had Vivian Vance and William Frawley as Ethel & Fred Mertz. This historic teaming became the formula for most other TV sitcoms. Shows like “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “30 Rock,” “The Office” and others had expanded ensemble casts.

Some performers made careers as supporting players. Ann B. Davis was Schultzy on “The Bob Cummings Show” and Alice on “The Brady Bunch.”

Back characters on TV shows included restaurant and bar operators, where the stars went top relax. There were friendly, familiar places such as Cheers bar, Arnold’s Drive-In on “Happy Days,” the Krusty Krab on “SpongeBob Square Pants,” Dale’s Diner on “The Roy Rogers Show” and other homey places. In the business world are those staff people who make us feel more like family. Therefore, our loyalty to the company rises, and we are more productive.

Still other back characters bring cohesion to the enterprise. On “Gilligan’s Island,” those glue-adhesive characters were the Professor Roy Hinkley and Mary Ann Summers. Those vital employees in the business world might include the IT guy, the receptionist, the mailroom manager, the ethics adviser and the secretary to the Board of Directors.

Great executives know the value of crediting support figures for the business success. Lt. Columbo was always quoting his wife as basis for testing hypotheses, though the character was never shown. Newspaper publisher Perry White was always upstaged by his employees, notably Clark Kent/Superman. Al Roker does the weather on “The Today Show,” and he is also the motivating segment host as well. Nobody turns letters like Vanna White, making her essential to the legacy of “Wheel of Fortune.”

And then there were those mentors behind the scene who were responsible for lots of creativity. The Beatles had George Martin as their producer. Steven Spielberg had John Williams as music composer for his films.

A host of people make the CEO look good. Further, they transform the company to greater plateaus. Warmly recognize the contributions of executive assistants, trusted advisers, mentors, support staff, hier apparents, adjuncts, vendors and outside stakeholders.

Here are some characteristics of support personnel and rising stars who will make it as professionals and business leaders:

  • Act as though they will one day be management.
  • Think as a manager, not as a worker.
  • Learn and do the things it will take to assume management responsibility.
  • Be mentored by others.
  • Act as a mentor to still others.
  • Don’t expect status overnight.
  • Measure their output and expect to be measured as a profit center to the company.
  • Learn to pace and be in the chosen career for the long-run.
  • Don’t expect that someone else will be the rescuer or enable you to cut corners in the path toward artificial success.
  • Learn from failures, reframing them as opportunities.
  • Learn to expect, predict, understand and relish success.
  • Behave as a gracious winner.
  • Acquire visionary perception.
  • Study and utilize marketing and business development techniques.
  • Contribute to the bottom line, directly and indirectly.
  • Offer value-added service.
  • Never stop paying dues and see this continuum as “continuous quality improvement.”
  • Study and comprehend the subtleties of life.
  • Never stop learning, growing and doing. In short, never stop!

About the Author

Hank MoorePower Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Power Stars to Light the Business Flame is now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.