How to Deal with Bias in the Workplace

Running a business is no easy feat, and dealing with the people within it, and the issues that arise from having so many different people in such close proximity, is challenging to say the least. If you have biases in the workplace to deal with, you are not alone. To think that bias is extinct is naïve and therefore dangerous – a problem that is thought not to exist is likely to do harm under the radar. Even if the bias is not malicious, it may still exist and have a negative effect of people of different groups that need to work together. In many respects, the bias may be an unconscious feeling that leads to certain people feeling like they are being treated less fairly or even being discriminated against. The imperfect nature of humans means that we all times judge people based on what we see or what we think about another person. Our brain may have strongly entrenched feelings to overcome, and it can be a battle to stop our synapses from connecting the dots and jumping to quick judgements of people and situations. Our own upbringing, the media, people around us, can all have an impact on how we see other people and while the circumstances that brought about these negative feelings may be uncontrollable, the reassuring thing is that you can do something to deal with the bias that results. Tackling these deep-seated issues is a must and if you are a business owner or in a position of authority, you have a responsibility to ensure that no one in your team is treated unfairly and to help those who need to readjust their view and remove their feelings of bias.

The Bias Crisis

Even in this modern day of age, when prejudice and discrimination should be a thing of the past, studies reveal that there are increasing amounts of women and people of colour that are choosing to leave their jobs due to bias in corporate America. There are greater challenges to minorities than ever before to the point that leaders across business and governmental agencies are treating these issues as a serious crisis. The long-term effects of these biases have severe consequences for the employees, their families, and their communicates. It is vitally important that employees and management staff work hard to address any bias, conscious or not, to resolve this issue. Doing so will improve a company’s reputation, attract, and retain employees and boost productivity.

The most threatening dangers are the hidden ones, the ones that are inconspicuous and therefore more deadly. Bias follows the same pattern, lurking in blind spots of the brain, emerging in subtle yet sinister ways. Simply by judging someone based on their name, the colour of their skin, or even their accent, gives evidence to a hidden, or implicit bias, that needs to be addressed quickly before the problem escalates. 

What can do you do tackle unconscious bias?

Top Tips for Tacking Implicit Bias

There are few key things you can do to improve your workplace environment and create a place that is safe and encouraging for all who work within it.

Accept that unconscious bias is in all of us. Part of dealing with the problem is recognising that there is a problem in the first place. To think that bias doesn’t exist in your workplace is naïve and dangerous. The Implicit Association Test created by Harvard is designed to help people see their underlying biases that they may not even know exist – it can be extremely eye-opening to experience so it may be worth completing this assessment to become more aware of the bias you and others unknowingly have.

Think about your decisions. Implicit bias is more likely to rear its head when it comes to making swift decisions or act impulsively. Take the lead, and encourage others, to slow down, take a step back and make a thoughtful, considered decision.

Widen out your social circle. Encourage social activities in the workplace that make people widen out in their circle of friends. If staff can move around that can choose to sit with different colleagues, opening their hearts to people from different backgrounds which will improve their understanding of the others and create a more related work environment.

Don’t be afraid to establish some rules and speak out. Set some ground rules for behaviour and standards of conduct, make your employees aware of them, and make them live up to them. If you notice bias in someone else, don’t be afraid to bring it up. Have a quiet word with the person involved as they may not even realise that they are giving evidence to any bias. If the problem gets out of hand, speak up and take it to HR. Remind staff that it is everyone’s responsibility to create a kind, peaceful and fair environment to work in.

Humbly apologise when you get it wrong. We’re all going to mess up and make mistakes, but you can show yourself to be a humble leader by acknowledging where you or the company has made errors in fairness in the past. This honesty and transparency will show the desire to change and improve. It will also set a good example for others, to know that even if they make mistakes and show bias, they can admit them, apologise and work hard to do better next time.

Emphasis education. Equality and diversity training is a must to help people get up to speed with current events, challenge their own thinking, and create a fair and equal environment where every team member feels valued, heard, and appreciated. Training sessions and workshops will go a long way in helping people understand the seriousness of the situation and hopefully improve the atmosphere of the office for all.

Employee wellbeing

Eight Steps for Long-Term Employee Wellbeing

In the wake of a 25% increase in anxiety and depression worldwide, triggered by the pandemic and compounded by economic instability and digital overload, strategies and policies that protect employee mental health must now be the norm.

“Employers have a moral responsibility to their workforce to commit to supporting their health and wellbeing for the long-term,” says David McCormack, CEO of HIVE360.

“Indeed, 83% of employees say they believe their wellbeing at work is just as important as their salary.

“One in four people in the UK experience mental health problems at some point in their lives, and work is cited as the biggest cause of stress and anxiety. Together with the unprecedented levels of mental health issues in the workplace, this impacts employee engagement, productivity and business reputation,” he says.

“A recent Mental Health Foundation and London School of Economics and Political Science survey estimates that mental health problems now cost the UK economy around £118billion a year, and the cost in the workplace is estimated to be in excess of £2,000 per employee per year, with 59% of long-term absence caused by stress and mental illness.”

In a modern working environment, Employee Wellbeing Services are essential to maintain a business, with specific mental health support improving workplace culture and staff productivity: “This cannot be achieved overnight, and employee wellbeing support must be maintained to remain effective,” adds David.

HIVE360 shares its eight steps for a long-term approach to employee wellbeing:

 

1. Provide the right investment for mental health

There can be no ‘one size fits all’ answer to employee mental health. Long-term, companies need to make the right investment in a range of services to support staff, starting with training mental health first aiders and offering employee wellbeing programmes.

 

2. Support career wellbeing

A lack of purpose and direction at work can deteriorate employee wellbeing over time. Establish career wellbeing by providing Employee Training Solutions, outlining a clear job progression, and offering meaningful responsibilities.

 

3. Create a positive community

Cultivating a more Inclusive and Diverse Workspace will take time, but it’s an effective way of making the workplace a supportive environment for employees. 

 

4. Build openness

Work should be safe space for open and honest discussions about employee wellbeing. Supported by providing managers with mental health resources, offer employees self-assessments and questionnaires, and encourage co-workers to reach out if they need to talk.

 

5. Emphasize job security

The cost of living crisis is having a huge impact on the financial wellbeing, as well as anxiety and overall mental health, and so it is essential employees feel valued for their work and that their job is safe. Free tools and resources on budgeting and household finances planning can help ease employee worries, alongside staff recognition programmes, and clear career and promotion pathways.

 

6. Work-Life balance

One of the best methods for supporting long-term mental health is to listen to what your employees want from work. Support initiatives that improve their work-life balance, such as hybrid working practices, employee wellbeing days, or even newer options like a 4-Day work week, allow staff to take the time they need to look after their wellbeing.

 

7. Track results

Staff wellbeing and employee engagement work hand in hand. Measuring and tracking engagement can be great for supporting wellbeing services, by identifying what works and what employees want, to enable modifications and enhancements to how a business approaches employee support.

 

8. Employee benefits

Have an employee benefits package that offers relevant, new and exciting discounts and services. This should be in-tune with discounts and savings on everyday bills and expenses to help ease financial worries. This reminds staff that they are valued.

8 Admirable Organisational Traits That Promote Retention & Engagement

Companies that operate on multiple continents with hundreds of employees didn’t get there without having effective organizational structures. From janitors to engineers, employees have the right to have their emotional and financial needs met.

Employees’ well-being will significantly increase their overall productivity and help them build better relationships with their managers and higher-ups. A significant number of employers, to be precise, 84% of them in 2019, have observed that wellness plans led to an increase in the performance of their employees.

Besides the obvious, there is a variety of methods and traits that will bring positive changes to your workplace. Committed employees will allow your company to have a high performance, and an increase in talent retention is of great importance in the long run.

The majority of the traits mentioned on the list are zero cost. However, they will require collective effort and time to be implemented.

1. Reverse mentoring

There are many benefits of reverse mentoring, and they can all have a positive impact on the engagement of employees. For those wondering, reverse mentoring is just what it sounds like. It is a process in which a junior employee mentors a senior employee.

The main reason behind this is that senior employees aren’t usually up-to-date with the latest technologies and methods, even though they might have considerable knowledge of their job. Reverse mentoring builds a relationship between employees, and sometimes even managers or CEOs can be mentored by junior employees.

With the emergence of the internet and social media, reverse mentoring was extremely important in fields such as marketing and software development. This process empowers junior employees by giving them a confidence boost in their skills while at the same time helping older employees to improve their skills and perform better. 

2. Useful employee records management

Employee records management is a process of maintaining and expanding the data about employees. With modern employee records management software, HR professionals can keep records on employees in an accurate and easy-to-access manner.

Such software allows HR experts to have an overview of employees. Both personal info, such as name, address, marital status, and information on work performance, can be tracked using records management software. 

This tidy system will allow companies to get to know their employees better and improve the processes within the company. It might seem more convenient and affordable to store employee data in Excel or Google Sheets, but the serious downside is that the employee data isn’t secure in that format.

Data stored in employee management software is usually encrypted, requiring the user to authenticate before using it. This is valid for both cloud-based and offline solutions.

3. Established culture and values

Organizational culture is a culture that a certain company possesses that usually isn’t defined in any guide or rule book, but it is present. Culture is a summary of how employees communicate with each other, fix problems, the type of workplace relationship, and their ability to identify with the purpose of the company.

Many studies show that workers who believe their company has a worthy mission or a purpose are more motivated to work and perform better. Company culture helps employees feel as if their work is contributing to society in a positive manner.

Companies that show that they care about ongoing problems in society, such as racial or sexual discrimination also provide their workers with a greater sense of motivation than companies that ignore such topics.

4. Straightforward onboarding process

Onboarding is the first direct situation in which an employee can get to know a company’s internal processes. A relationship between a company and a new employee can start in two different ways:

By company reaching out to a potential employee

By creating a job post to which people can apply

In both of these situations, the company should show professionalism and create a positive experience for the applicant. After the initial application, interview, and screening, a new employee needs to be welcomed to the company.

During the onboarding process, the job of a manager or an HR is to introduce the employee to the business processes of a company, the culture of a workplace, and his responsibilities. Other people that might get involved in the process are senior employees that can train the fresh employee.

5. Empowering employees

Starting from kindergarten up to large companies with millions in revenue, each individual wants to be appreciated and recognized for their efforts. Empowering your employees by trusting their decisions, giving them autonomy, and encouraging them when they have unique solutions to problems is a path to long-term success.

Employees can feel unnecessary pressure if you implement strict schedules or time-tracking platforms to “make them” do their tasks. These methods might be effective to some degree, but people feel much better when they can choose at what time of the day they want to work.

A certain individual can do a certain task in one hour, while another one can do it in three. Rather than encouraging people to do the job at their own pace, you will encourage those that do the job faster to slack off, and pressure those that can’t manage the workload.

6. Considering the well-being of employees

People need to care for each other, and companies should do their best to help workers improve their well-being and minimize their stress. Unfortunately, work is the number one cause of stress in the UK, and the situation isn’t much different in other countries.

Companies need to recognize their workers as individuals with lives outside of the workplace that struggle with their own problems when they leave the office. Financial struggles and social problems are common stressors outside of work, and companies need to be aware of that.

Actionable steps toward promoting the well-being of employees are:

Having a mental health fund for every employee

Larger breaks

Lowering the workload

Giving your employees too much work might make them have a higher output, but only for a short period of time. Overworking will quickly lead to burnout, and their productivity will decrease in the long run. With work, less is often more, and people that have a manageable amount of work will constantly deliver results without exposing themselves to burnout.

7. Monthly surveys

You can’t improve and maintain a good environment at your workplace if you don’t receive any feedback. That’s why surveys of various kinds can help you get an insight into the satisfaction of your employees.

These surveys can be done anonymously or personally, and they can be done through software or on paper. No matter which one you prefer, you need to allow your employees to leave honest opinions on different aspects of the company.

If their feedback is positive, you can continue to improve the current state, or if the feedback is negative, you should segment and fix the problems. In the long run, these surveys will allow you to track and implement gradual improvements for your company.

In the context of well-being at work, employees can present their emotional or psychical state and how their workload reflects on that. This will allow you to create better mental wellness programs and promote the well-being of your employees.

Your employees will endorse good organisational traits

A good job doesn’t end with an attractive salary. Employees are individuals that have a variety of needs and worries that need to be taken care of. Every company needs to develop a culture that will retain employees and help them improve their careers.

Even with a high salary and a nice office, workers might experience burnout or negative feelings caused by a lack of purpose at work. The traits mentioned in the article are something that every enterprise needs to consider implementing.

While changing the production or product development process might lead to additional expenses and extra time required, traits on this list won’t require significant investments.

Group of happy creative multiethnic business partners are motivated, giving high five and celebration successful deal

Five Tips To Help Employers Combat SAD In The Workplace

As winter approaches some employees may be finding that they go to work and come home in complete darkness. This lack of daylight exposure can cause some to experience winter depression, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This disorder impacts around 20% of the population and typically causes low mood, fatigue and increased irritability.

Obviously these symptoms can affect the productivity of workers and the overall office morale. To help combat the impact of SAD at work, the experts at We Are WildGoose, team building activity providers, have put together five ways that employers can help their staff stay motivated through the winter months.

 

Review your flexible working policy

For some getting to work while it is still dark may make being ready for their day a little more difficult. Employers should review their flexible working policies to give employees the option of starting and finishing later to allow them to start their working day in the daylight. It is also worth seeing if remote working options fit with your business, if not already an option. 

Offering employees the opportunity to work from home will allow them to get up slightly later and will perhaps provide them with the opportunity to experience more daylight than if they were in an enclosed office.

 

Light up the office

One of the main triggers of SAD sufferers is the dark mornings and evenings. Your body’s circadian clock responds to light as a signal to be awake, this means that without sufficient light during the day, employees can feel lethargic. There is not much that can be done about this outside, but employers can ensure that the inside of the office is sufficiently lit using daylight imitation bulbs. 

If there is the space for it you could even set up a corner of the office where there is a comfy chair and a SAD lamp to give employees the option of getting 30 minutes of exposure to help combat their SAD symptoms.

 

Promote going outside

It can be a difficult argument to make when the weather is wet and cold, but encouraging your employees to spend time outside will do them the world of good. Remind your employees to take regular breaks and get lots of fresh air. If possible, it’s also worth investing in your outdoors office spaces. If you can fit heating outside, it will be easier for your staff to walk around in the winter and stay warm. It also means they can take quick breaks from their desk without having to go too far from the office.

 

Invest in more team building

Team building is a great way to get your staff motivated and boost the mood in the office. Whether it’s games, virtual escape rooms or more adrenalin-based pursuits such as a treasure hunt, autumn/winter is a good time to plan something fun and engaging for your team to help improve morale. A Gallup study showed that employees work 20% better when motivated.  For anyone in your team who is struggling with SAD, renewed focus from taking part in a team building activity will help them to take their mind off it and will boost productivity as a result.

 

Introduce healthier office initiatives

Those suffering from SAD may be tempted to comfort eat in order to try and boost their dopamine. But this might not be the best strategy for dealing with a low mood. Exercise and a good, vitamin rich diet are known to enhance serotonin levels, making people feel happier and healthier. 

Consider introducing healthy initiatives at work, simple things like treadmill or standing desks, promoting regular screen breaks, a free fruit bowl and healthy snacks are a great start. If you have some extra budget, you might also consider organising some fitness classes such as yoga or zumba for your employees.

It is also important to ensure that your employees’ mental health is being addressed, as well as their physical health. Consider subscribing to a mental wellness app and offer training on mental health to help break down the stigma within the office.

5 Use Cases of Text Analysis In Business Management

What’s worse than not having access to the right data? Having a massive amount of unstructured data that’s hard to read and make sense of.

If that sounds like you, you’re not alone- as per reports, about 82% of organisations haven’t been able to put their unstructured data to good use. Text analysis is a breakthrough technology that helps process this data without much manual intervention.

What is text analysis?

Text analysis is an AI-powered technique that turns textual data into insights. This data can be a series of customer reviews you received for your products or your website analytics data.

Text analysis presents this data as trends, relationships, patterns, themes, and categorised and structured data. You’ll find great resources to learn more about text analysis, and Levity’s guide to text analysis is one such comprehensive bank of information.

It uses AI-powered technologies using machine learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to analyse textual data at scale. The process is either semi or fully automated.

Use cases of text analysis

1. Customer experience

For a business, customer interaction is a day-to-day activity. From chatbots to support tickets, emails, and social media chats, massive amounts of data keeps piling up.

This is where your text analysis capabilities come in handy. You get an analysis of:

The trends in customer feedback and conversations from all channels in a consolidated report help you position your product well.

Your Net Promoter Score (NPS)—a metric that rates your overall customer experience and sentiment over time.

The redundancies in customer communications and automate them to improve productivity.

Your audience and how to segment them into groups—ones that are happy or dissatisfied with your product.

Your tickets to categorise and tag them based on the type or priority.

2. Employee engagement

Only 15% of employees are engaged globally—meaning they’re either unhappy or do not find their work rewarding.

When you’re able to identify these patterns and behavioural changes, it makes the job so much easier.

Text analysis powered by ML and NLP is a solid combination that helps you uncover the sentiments of your employees over specific problem areas.

Whether a policy change, a workplace update, or management practices, text analysis helps you gather feedback and conduct bias-free surveys for 100s and 1000s of your employees.

It helps you devise policies that are in favour of your employees

You’re able to keep a close check on mental health problems such as depression or anxiety and intervene appropriately

Employees will love showing up regularly, and you’ll see a spike in the retention rate as well

3. Marketing campaigns

Social listening

With social listening tools, you can respond to customer queries proactively or engage with your audience. When launching a new marketing campaign, they help you capture the analytics in real-time and instantly pivot based on the metrics while comparing them with the historical data.

Competitor analysis

Text analysis tools will help you closely analyse competitors’ strategies and the keywords they’re ranking for. You’ll know what works for them and how to outrank them and stand out.

Branding

Text analysis lets you know what customers and prospects think about your brand or your competitor’s brand. This way, you’ll be able to map out the perfect strategy to target your customers and move them down your funnel.

4. Product analysis

You’ll get prompted when anyone on socials, emails, websites, or any other platform talks about your product.

The sales team can use this information, marketing teams, product teams, and other departments to align their efforts to maximize the launch potential.

Moreover, have insights from the warranty data of your customers showcasing their problem areas. This way, you can assess the market landscape for your brand and see what’s working and what new features to ship next.

5. Recruiting

Helping a candidate get their dream job is a highly satisfactory but quite challenging job. What makes this job even more challenging is when there’s limited staff in the HR department and 100s of candidates to assess.

Text analysis helps in automating processes, including:

Identifying skillset the job requires

Gauging candidate experience and selecting ones that fit the bill

Evaluate potential hires based on their employment history, reviews, and past records

Ready to uncover great insights?

Text analysis is your saviour when it comes to processing a massive amount of business data. With the right technology, you’ll be able to parse them and convert them into valuable insights.

Successful business women. Well educated female leaders. Young and mature ladies standing together confidently over light wall.

New Report Calls for Workplaces to Enable Women Leaders by Scrapping Alpha Male Cultures to Thrive in Today’s Disruptive, Complex and Volatile World

  • New research study interviewing 40 leading women sheds light on what makes women successful
  • Study provides alternative view to ‘Lean In’ philosophy that focuses on encouraging women to assert themselves at work and at home
  • Organisations can succeed in today’s complex, disruptive and volatile world by disincentivising alpha male cultures and encouraging women to succeed on their own terms

 

London, BRIDGE Partnership – a global organisational transformation and leadership development consultancy – has launched a landmark study titled, ‘How Did She Get There?’, analysing why leading women become successful. The research, conducted in collaboration with We Are LeftField and featuring interviews with 40 CEOs, entrepreneurs, and senior leaders, counters prevailing thinking such as the ‘Lean In’ philosophy and provides powerful recommendations to help organisations be more meritocratic and effective.

 

Commenting on the study, BRIDGE Partnership UK Client Director and Research Lead, Jane Sassienie, said: “We’ve known for a long time that organisations have been institutionally geared towards supporting men in work, however this research uncovers the potential of doing things differently. If organisations can encourage women to succeed on their own terms by dismantling alpha male cultures, they stand a better chance of thriving in today’s increasingly disruptive, technologically advanced economies.”

 

The interviews revealed common characteristics that helped these leading women be successful such as their upbringing (good and bad), being able to take diverse routes to the top, being authentic rather than trying to fit an ‘alpha male’ archetype, having empathy and intuition, and choosing partnership over dominance in the workplace. 

 

For too long women have been treated differently to men in the workplace, from unequal pay and less promotion opportunity to experiencing sexual harassment and other forms of bias against them. In its 30 years of working with global organisations and businesses, BRIDGE Partnership had often seen solutions focused on fixing women rather than tackling ineffective, institutionalised workplace cultures. While creating a leadership programme for women in a global bank in 2019, BRIDGE Partnership realised that most academic research was focused on how women fail in the workplace. This spawned a first-of-its-kind study shedding insight on common factors underpinning successful women across a breadth of sectors. 

 

The research revealed 5 recommendations for organisations and leaders:

 

Parental power: a woman’s upbringing is critical towards success.  BRIDGE Partnership say people can re-parent themselves to overcome aspects of their lives that hold them back.

At least one good parental role model helped some women to see their own potential and have the self-belief to succeed and lead. Sophie Neary, Group Director UK&I at Meta, said: “They instilled in me a self-belief, an inner confidence”. While some women who lacked any kind of caring adult when young were forced into leadership roles earlier. Both paths resulted in them sidestepping the ‘Brilliance bias’. 

 

Taking a different path. BRIDGE Partnership say organisations can empower women to succeed and retain top talent by supporting them to take multiple pathways upwards.

Rather than embarking on a meticulously planned career and life journey from an early age, most of the successful women interviewed had taken a winding path towards success. Their journeys were led by four principles: purpose and values, following curiosity, taking risks, and hard work. Vasiliki Petrou, Group CEO of Unilever Prestige said: “My first CEO valued diversity. They believed that positive disruption came from hiring people that don’t fit ‘in the box’. This nurtured a culture that valued alternative thinking and we all did better for it.” When the women were surveyed about whether they identified with the ‘Lean In’ approach, over 80% felt that being led by purpose and passion was more important.

 

If you are a unicorn don’t try to be a horse. BRIDGE Partnership say organisations should embrace diversity and dismantle the prevailing alpha male culture that often dictates how many organisations are run.

Rather than fitting in with alpha male workplace cultures, many women learned to lead with authenticity and embrace their differences as strengths. It was this shift that was key to their success. This evolution often began with a moment of self-awareness, often through good mentors, managers, or a challenging experience. Tracey Clements, now the SVP (CEO) of Mobility and Convenience for Europe at BP, recalled the early stages of her career, saying it was “Utterly exhausting and untenable”, suppressing qualities that felt more natural to her such as listening and learning from her people and customers. Talking about her moment of realisation, “Almost overnight I reclaimed myself.”  

 

Lead Like These Women. BRIDGE Partnership say organisations should begin learning from women and appropriately valuing their contributions. 

Rather than fixing women, our interviews revealed that characteristics and skills such as empathy, facilitation and intuition – skills that have been typically undervalued and overlooked by organisations – enabled the women to thrive and navigate complex challenges.When Lorna Davis, Board Member at B Lab, led a large advertising campaign for a brand that was close to collapse, she learned the value of listening. “I learned how to listen to consumers… I turned the brand around and set it on a growth trajectory… there is very little I can’t solve if I listen carefully and let the information in.”

 

Partnership not dominance. BRIDGE Partnership say organisations can foster a culture of mutuality by enabling diverse networking among their employees, encouraging collaboration and partnership rather than competition and dominance.

The women interviewed were not afraid to ask for help, taking the opportunity to learn from others and forge long term partnerships. Leonie Foster, Customer and Digital Director at Selfridges, spoke about becoming part of a network of highly capable senior women supporting one another: “We knew each other well and were each other’s support… we would operate by supporting each other’s position.” These partnerships were often rooted in purpose, as opposed to achieving personal success. 

A Quick Guide to Managing a Remote Workforce

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, many workers were wishing for the option of working from home. Only a handful of companies had previously explored the benefits of employing a remote workforce, and these were often the companies that fared best during the pandemic. That was a time when so many were shut down due to an out-of-control pandemic for which there was no cure.

Jumping ahead to the current time, a growing number of businesses of all sizes are gladly employing a significant portion of their staff as remote workers. The only problem now is that all the business management training they had previously dealt with an on-site workforce. So, how does one go about managing a remote workforce since they are just that, remote?

It’s actually not as difficult as you might think. This quick guide to managing a remote workforce offers several tips that just might make it so much easier.

Keep the Digital Lines of Communication Open

One of the things which owners and managers miss now that they are working with a remote workforce is the potential for daily interaction with their employees. Just the process of walking across the work floor gives them an opportunity to stop at a worker’s desk or station to say a quick hello and ask them how they are doing.

Employees like to know that they are appreciated and sometimes just those few words exchanged give them the needed encouragement to excel at their jobs. In fact, company culture is often at the top of the list when job applicants are considering one company over another. Those direct lines of communication are a vital part of what makes for a great company culture.

Provide Remote Support

Providing remote support assistance is something else few business managers have had to previously provide. They didn’t, after all, have a remote workforce so there was no need to understand just how vital this can be to their business.

If your company is employing a significant number of remote workers, then secure remote assistance is an absolute must. Gaining remote desktop control will enable the IT team to quickly assess what is going on and how they can solve any issue that particular worker is up against through a secure remote support server.

Enforce Strict Deadlines

While you don’t want to come across as a tyrant, it is imperative that you enforce strict deadlines. This is important for several reasons. Perhaps another department is waiting for that particular remote team member’s work, or it could be that customers are chomping at the bit waiting for an order they have placed with you.

One of the things you probably have in the back of your mind is that workers will be less productive if team leaders and department managers aren’t standing over their shoulders – not literally, of course. However, with remote access such as that mentioned above, you can gain secure access to their computers to see what they are working on and any changes that are taking place over time.

If you find discrepancies between what they are reporting for their daily hours and what you’ve actually observed them doing remotely, you can capture a log to authenticate their productivity. Without this ability, they might debate your findings and there would be no way to prove it either way. That remote access mentioned above is important on several levels with a remote workforce, isn’t it?

Video Conference Staff Meetings

Another of those things that matter when dealing with employees would be those periodic staff meetings. Although you employ several people who work remotely, you can still organize staff meetings through video conferencing software like Zoom.

Even your staff members who work on site can join in on a video conference staff meeting. They would simply remain at their desk to do so instead of migrating to the conference room where meetings generally take place.

One group email invitation can be sent out so that each person can sign into the meeting. Video conferencing doesn’t work like video chats. Most often the meeting would be scheduled, and the invitation gives invited attendees a link to the meeting being hosted by the employer. Not only can these meetings be used to apprise workers of upcoming events or new product lines, but it also gives them a chance to begin recognizing the faces of other remote team members.

The Way of the Future

At the end of the day, remote workforces are the way of the future. Not only is it often more convenient working from home but employers will find that their expenses are reduced as well. Many have expressed their desire to pass some of those savings on to their valued employees when the year-end figures are released. Either way, remote workforces are trending, and with all the benefits to be had on both sides of the fence, it looks like they are here to stay.

How to Create Signup Forms That Will Help you Grow Your Email List

Your email list is one of the most important assets of your business. You want to ensure they get what they came looking for through your signup form, and the experience is nowhere near the horrific example we discussed above.

Why are signup forms necessary?

Signup forms are your sure-shot way to leave a strong impression of your brand and get leads interested in learning from you or converting into paying customers down the link. Having a well-designed signup form with highly persuasive copy and CTA will make sure that you don’t just get subscribers but engaged subscribers who are interested in reading your emails.

Source

Step-by-step process to create successful signup forms

Here’s a six-step process that will help you create effortless signup pages and drive conversions!|

Step 1: Choose a form builder

Form builders are no-code platforms that help you build lead-generation forms tailored to your business needs.

The best thing about these is that you can create a form from scratch or pick a pre-designed template from their library and customize it.

Another crucial thing to not miss out on is whether your form builder allows you to create GDPR compliant forms. This helps you collect visitor information most securely and gain their trust.

Step 2: Pick a registration form template

Go to your form builder and select the option to create a form using templates. You’ll see an abundance of registration form templates to choose from.

Type in the keyword for the purpose you need the form. You’ll have plenty of options. Pick the one that resonates the most with your vision and purpose.

Feel free to drag and drop form elements and remove the unnecessary ones to create the form of your choice. Once done, embed the form in a webpage. Lastly, don’t forget to set up autoresponders or a thank you page to guide users when they submit a form.

Step 3: Set up double opt-in

You need genuine and engaged subscribers on your email list. You want leads that want to hear from you and are perhaps moderately or highly interested in your products. However, people leave face emails in the form just to access the incentive you’re offering or to be spammy.

Luckily, many email providers offer double opt-in functionality to help you filter out these spammers and create a clean and warmer set of leads as your email list.

Step 4: Add the form to relevant places

Once you have a signup form in place, you want it to garner the attention of your visitors. They’ll hardly notice it if it’s only lying at the footer of your website as a link. You must strategically place the form where your visitors will most likely visit.

Homepage

The homepage is always the best place to start—it’s the first page your visitors will ever see, and chances are they won’t go beyond it. Sidebars, headers, and popups can work well.

Blogs

Analyse your high-performing blogs that receive a lot of visitors every month. It’s always a good idea to place sign-up forms where visitors hang out most often.

Contact page

Say a prospective customer wants to enquire about a product and visit your contact page. Wouldn’t it be convenient if they come across your newsletter sign-up page and instantly wish to opt-in?

Social media

Actively talk about your newsletter on social platforms and build credibility there. Place the link to your signup form on your social media profile—somewhere it’s clearly visible and accessible.

Checkout

Always give your customers an option to opt into your email list—one of the best ways to practice consent-based marketing.

Step 5: A/B test

Different sites have different conversion rates, depending on their audience and the industry they are in. The only way to determine what sign-up form placement works the best for your brand is to test it out.

Create two or more versions of your webpage and place sign-up forms in a different location. These locations could be the header, a popup window, the footer, etc. While you do that, set up Google Analytics to check the performance on each page.

Step 6: Welcome emails

Welcome emails are a great way to formally introduce your brand to the email list and create a powerful impression. Tell them what they expect and how frequently they’ll receive your emails.

The Blueprint Of A Modern Leader

In a world full of individuals and a shared striving for equality, one role has pervaded throughout the course of human existence as crucial to the functioning of teams, organisations, and even entire countries. From Julius Caesar to Rishi Sunak, the importance of a leader – in some sense of the word – has been crucial for the growth of humanity.

That said, being a good leader requires more than just a self-proclaimed title. Good leadership is manifested over time and must be woven into the fabric of your every action. With rich documentation of some of the world’s best – and worst – leaders over time, there are plenty of lessons to be taken from individuals of the past, both real and fictional, into your business. This article will highlight some of the key aspects of leadership from the examples of some prominent figures in the industry.

An Unwavering Drive

Successful teams are built on trust and faith – in each other, but also in a vision or a goal. Martin Luther King – one of the most respected leaders in history – famously had a dream. His relentless pursuit of his dream despite the immeasurable obstacles in his way stands as an unrivalled source of inspiration for those looking to lead the way.

This drive must be balanced and grounded in reality, though, as MLK exemplified so influentially; we only have to consider Daenerys Targaryen from the acclaimed Game of Thrones series to see how it can go wrong, though. After her bloodline was shunted for the acts of her ancestors – explored further in HBOs House of the Dragon and summarised nicely in ExpressVPN’s coverage of the family lineage – her drive to restore her family name corrupted her virtue and turned her into an ultimate villain. One lesson we can learn from this: Don’t let your tunnel vision spoil your business.

Knowing The Difference Between A Boss And A Leader

While often used interchangeably, many would argue that a significant difference separates the two in society, as this Develop Good Habits informative piece does. While a boss might demand change, a leader drives change; while a boss may dictate, a leader inspires; while a boss may dominate, a true leader collaborates. Someone who is not controlled by the hierarchical power they are given and places themself amongst those they wish to lead will gain authentic respect as a leader. Successful corporate companies such as Zappos, who are utilising a holacratic business model, embody this mindset as an organisation

Compassion

In an economy where profit is often an organisation’s main priority, a simple display of compassion can go a long way. By going out of your way to accommodate the emotional, physical, or mental needs of your team, you show that your interests extend beyond a depersonalised, professional aspect. Having a team who are comfortable in the knowledge that their authority figure truly cares for them as individuals will do wonders for your synergy, productivity, and overall satisfaction within a team. 

Where better to look for a fictional, inspiring source of compassion than everyone’s favourite superhero, Superman? Committed to saving the lives of those not blessed with his gifts and refusing to take credit for his work, Clark Kent perfects compassion on a ‘super’ scale. Perhaps don’t try to fool your employers with a hidden identity wearing glasses, though – they might see through it in the real world.

No team member wants to work for a leader who doesn’t want to work for them; true leadership requires bi-directional care, effort, and compassion.

Shot of a businessman leading a meeting in the boardroom

Dealing With a Downturn: Leading Your Team Through a Recession

By Charlotte Boffey, Head of UK Services at Employment Hero

It’s not official yet, but the Bank of England believes the UK economy is now in a recession – and is likely to stay there for a while.

A recession means the economy is shrinking rather than growing, and for longer than just a quarter. Recessions are never easy for anyone – employees or employers. Across the wider economy, they usually result in job losses, drops in revenue, and reduced investment.

But there are ways for your business to get through such a downturn – and even to thrive.

 

The burden on your employees

Employees often carry the burden of a recession. Even the ones who will never get close to being made redundant will be a lot more worried about their economic future – especially as costs continue to rise, putting serious pressure on household budgets.

This could easily spiral into disengagement at work, which will hurt your wider business. If your company does have to go through a redundancy round the employees who stay will likely have more responsibility, making them more stressed. The stress of the general downturn – which may make their job far harder – will also add to their stress levels.

Managers will be more stressed too, which could lead to employees being mismanaged. And overall team morale is likely to drop as the budget for engagement events like parties or outings drops.

These effects could all hit your workforce – but you shouldn’t just let them. Here are some ways to combat these issues.

 

Create a recession roadmap for your staff

There’s no reason to pretend a downturn isn’t happening. Instead, you should create a roadmap to deal with the downturn and its effects on your employees.

At the heart of this plan has to be frequent and clear communication. Make sure your employees know how the wider business is doing so they understand any decisions you make. Create a foundation of trust – where when you explain something to them, they shouldn’t think you are pulling any wool over their eyes. Try to be optimistic about the future – but also realistic.

If possible, involve them in the wider decisions about how your business should get through the downturn. They are on the shop floor – is there a cost centre dragging you down you don’t know about, or an area of the business that is seeing the drop in demand more strongly? They may know before you do.

Remember empathy. The world is a scary place during a recession – there’s no reason you need to be scared too.

 

Double down on your company culture and values

Through all the stress, don’t forget why your company exists and why your employees want to work there. Remember these values, act on them, and communicate them.

A good culture should encourage a general sense of belonging at work. Do what you can to encourage that, and go beyond just banal statements like “we’re a family here”. Research suggests sustainable diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives will increase overall inclusion by 20 per cent. Here are some tips on creating an inclusive workplace.

Every business can have a healthy company culture, regardless of its size or budget and doing so will do wonders to help your employees through the stress of the downturn.

 

Reward and train staff

Employees may have to put in extra effort during a downturn, and you should do all you can to recognise that.

Obviously, in a downturn, it’s going to be hard to always give the pay rises or bonuses you might like to give staff, but there are many other ways to reward staff that don’t have to cost as much.

These can include: gift cards, longer lunch breaks, handwritten thank-you notes, actual awards, and additional days off.

You should also not let the recession stop ongoing training and professional development of your staff. A downturn is exactly when you need your team to be more productive – and that’s exactly what training can do. It will also help your staff feel valued.

Employee wellbeing should stay at the top of your agenda. Inflation and the pandemic have already contributed to serious burnout – 54% of UK employees in our recent Wellness at Work felt burnt out. Don’t let a downturn be the thing that pushes them over the edge.

Occupational Stress

Do You have the Positive Energy to See Out Another Economic Downturn?

By Mark Perrin is an advisory partner at accountancy firm, Menzies LLP.

As business leaders prepare for yet another economic downturn, driven by rising inflation, skills shortages and ongoing supply chain disruption, it is more important than ever that they adopt a positive mindset to optimise their financial performance and productivity. But do they have the positive energy leadership skills to navigate their way to a brighter economic future?

The current economic instability and political turmoil has pushed the importance of management best practice to the top of the corporate agenda. However, even well-managed businesses will struggle to fulfil orders and maintain good standards of customer service if they are shedding skilled staff, or they are unable to attract the right people to the right roles. At a time when many industries are facing skills shortages, employers are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain talented people.

Practising positive energy leadership behaviours can help businesses to retain and motivate staff and maintain outputs during challenging trading periods. However, with so many day-to-day challenges to deal with, some business leaders may feel they are stuck in fire-fighting mode and lack the time to dedicate to improving their leadership skills.

To make matters worse, rapidly rising energy and fuel costs are forcing many employees to make difficult decisions about how to manage their household income, and consumer confidence has dipped. The Bank of England has warned that the UK economy is heading for recession and as many business leaders know, this can encourage feelings of job insecurity and impact workplace morale. Demonstrating positive energy leadership can help to improve business resilience by creating a strong workplace culture where individuals and teams can thrive, while strengthening stakeholder relationships and improving cashflow management.

Positive energy leadership involves encouraging individuals and teams to be the best that they can be by promoting positive, team-focused behaviours and encouraging a positive attitude led from the top. These techniques can be used to influence all areas of business, from sales teams through customer service, as well as cashflow and supply chain management.

Whilst positive energy leadership should ideally be practiced all year round, the true test comes when the business is facing challenges and things aren’t necessarily going to plan. How leaders respond in these circumstances can have a lasting impression on the management team and the workforce as a whole, and help to nurture a dedicated, motivated group of people.

For business owners or managers looking to build positive attributes into their processes and procedures, it is important to consider their impact on all areas of business. Creating a strong communication network within a business is one way that leaders can ensure information is getting to and from the right people, as efficiently as possible. For example, positive energy leadership could involve reaching out to the workforce for cost saving ideas and implementing them. It could also involve setting up cross-functional teams to discuss pricing strategy, deciding how much cost can be passed on to customers or identifying opportunities to push for a keener price from suppliers.

This focus on positivity can also be applied to business data. For example, sharing sales data transparently across the organisation can generate opportunities to celebrate success. When staff see others doing well, this can motivate them to behave similarly and find their own way of having a positive impact on the business.

When applied to financial management, positive energy leadership will enable management teams to take a proactive and forward-looking approach. Strong working capital management based on three-way cashflow forecasting, allows business leaders to see what the future looks like using a range of scenario-based models. Positive energy leadership also means a rigid focus on cash management in areas such as credit control and pricing, protecting margins and delivering value to the bottom line.

Another way that business owners can promote positive behaviours is to make it part of their business model by demonstrating a commitment to Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG). This will help to attract talented people to the organisation. It is also important to ensure employee benefits are aligned to what workers really want. For example, putting a focus on wellbeing can be achieved by offering flexible working options, which have become a staple expectation of many employees. Promoting diversity and inclusion and embedding this into recruitment practices is also important when building an engaging employer brand.

To ensure positive energy leadership becomes part of the business and the way it operates, it is important to measure the difference it makes and establish some Key Performance Indicators (KPI). This can help to identify areas that still need focus, at the same time as giving managers a deeper understanding of the benefits it can bring to all areas of the business. For example, staff engagement surveys can provide a useful insight into what motivates staff to stay with the business.

As they prepare for 2023, business leaders must ensure they have the right mindset to get the best out of workers and achieve the best possible outcome financially and in terms of building a more resilient operating model. Leading from the top and applying the principles of positive energy leadership will mean businesses are better placed to deal with the challenges that lie ahead, while being ready to react quickly to commercial opportunities.

female leader using laptop and communicating with her business team during meeting in the office.

Bad Governance Is Keeping CEOs Awake At Night

Life as a CEO is undeniably tough thanks to the endless combination of board meetings, employee demands, colleague disagreements, suppliers wanting policy updates, investors wanting to know how their money is performing, a lack of accountability among staff and the ever-present fear of being taken to court.

CEOs shouldn’t have to tackle so many issues all the time and need to find a way to lead without the constant headaches and sleep-deprived nights. So how can CEOs manage all their demands and ensure their company is run efficiently? Governance is the key.

 

What Is Governance?

Governance is how you want the business to operate – this includes every aspect of the company and effectively creates the culture. Incorporating law, finance, compliance, strategy, HR, board management, stakeholder management and beyond, governance sets the standards for everyone involved in the company.

It tells people what their roles are and what’s expected of them, how the business and the staff are accountable. This sets the standard and leads to a supportive and productive environment, and to long-term business growth.

More and more people are starting to realise that the collapse of big companies impacts the economy and society, and the government introduced the Wates Principles in 2018, the first governance code for big privately owned firms.

 

Why You Need Good Governance

Regardless of your business plans – whether for fast growth, significant hiring, or exiting a market – the level of governance your company has will determine how successful your plans are.

If your company has bad governance, things start to go wrong. Bad governance causes investors to become restless, staff to resign, managers to refuse to take ownership of their work, the culture to turn toxic and employees to no longer want to work in this environment. On top of all this, roles become unclear, and people make bad decisions that make the company perform badly and look bad to those inside and outside it.

It is down to the CEO of a business to set the level of governance and lead by example. By ensuring the company is run well, that this comes from the top, and staff are looked after, the business is far more likely to survive in the long term and be able to outperform its competitors.

Good governance causes investors to trust you, employees to want to work for you, and managers to take ownership of their work and make smart decisions that benefit the whole company. Staff feel motivated in their roles, and everyone knows exactly what is expected of them. With support, people feel accountable and perform well, enabling fast growth of the business.

Supported staff are happier staff, and if employees feel appreciated at work, they are less likely to experience burnout or to want to leave. This creates a healthier culture for the company and means the CEO can focus on long-term goals, as the operations are taken care of, and the daily business runs efficiently.

Furthermore, with good governance in place, CEOs can rest easy and sleep well, knowing they’re able to perform their role well and without any unnecessary distractions.