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The Dangers of Silo Thinking in Business

SilosThink about each of the product or service lines your company offers. When a company expands beyond one, confusion tends to set in on how to market the business. Should you market each product/service line, or the company as a whole? Most often, one or two product/service lines are marketed, while the others don’t receive any attention and the company marketing as a whole falls by the wayside. Suddenly, prospects think the company only has one product/service line and there is little to no cross-selling happening.

This predicament can be dangerous for a company. Not only is the client not being serviced to their full potential, as there is likely more value that your company can provide them from other departments, but you are also losing potential revenue to your easiest target audience – your current clients. Even worse – what if the other departments actively prospect your current clients without knowing they are already current customers? Looks pretty bad, huh?

These scenarios are happening every day. Below are three things you can do to break down this “silo thinking” that could be happening in your business:

  1. Hire a consultant to meet with each department head and identify their top three goals.
  2. Host a strategic meeting with the department heads to review everyone’s goals. Identify commonalities among the goals and see where departments can help each other to reach their goals. One department may be looking to grow in a market already tapped by another department.
  3. Assign goals to the company as well as the departments. Each of the department heads has a responsibility to think beyond their department. Consider how the company as a whole should be presented. Is the company brand presented before the departments or is the company secondary to the department offerings?

If you have questions on this process, then please reach out to us at 515-868-0240.

3 Ways to Find More Employees

It’s no secret that the top problem for companies of all sizes is recruiting and retaining their workforce. Often times, the challenges of finding new quality sources of employees’ lies in the famous words of Albert Einstein – “We are doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.”

Oftentimes, employers will say to use that they feel like they are scraping from the same small pool of people and aren’t getting what they need. They feel that way because they are!

Everyone wants good workers, whatever that definition is to the company. It could mean highly skilled, moderately skilled or someone that will just show up and give it their best.

Many perceive that people don’t want to work anymore. This is untrue. What is true is that for many companies, their potential pool of employees they are trying to attract may already have jobs or are unable to work. So it’s time to accept that you may need to look beyond your “usual suspects” to fill your pipeline. This new pool of candidates may have different colored skin, speak another language, have a few blemishes on their record or need some help with their social skills. But they all have a few things in common: they want to work, contribute and be self-sufficient.

Our communities and populations are changing and not just in age. In order to grow, we have to look at different strategies for recruiting and retaining employees. It’s important for all companies to have a workforce strategy in place – and not just one in yours heads, it should be a written plan.

Below are three strategies to consider to fill your workforce gap.

  1. Newer immigrant communities – Immigrants came to the United States looking for a better life and seeking the opportunity to work and achieve the “American Dream”. They’ve dealt with hardship and they’ve overcome a lot. They aren’t expecting handouts and appreciate being given a chance. You can find some of these folks by contacting local faith communities. Get to know religious leaders, invite them into your facilities and talk to them about what opportunities exist for good paying jobs with opportunities for advancement. You may need to hire some interpreters for certain shifts, you may need to translate some safety signs into a different language, but given the chance and if shown you care about them and their families, these folks will acclimate and could become some of your most loyal and hardworking employees.
  1. Disabled – Most disabled persons just want a chance to be self-sufficient, contributing members of society, like us all. When given that chance, employers report they can be the most loyal, honest and hardworking employees at the company! Think creatively about what jobs you have that could be served by a person with certain disabilities. How wonderful for a “disabled person” NOT to be disabled at their job! Connect with local social service agencies that can help you identify people who would thrive at your company.
  1. Past Offenders – People make mistakes and some people get caught. For most, they want to move forward in a positive, responsible and law-abiding way. The company that gives them that chance will be one they are likely to feel great loyalty to for a long, long time. Talk with social service agencies about how you can tap into this market of folks looking for a chance at a new life with which they can be proud.

Have you had success with other populations filling your workforce pipeline? Do you have more ideas on how to tap into these populations? We’d love to hear from you! Visit our website and contact us today.

Four Steps to Increasing Employee Retention

From a business owner to a human resource manager to any other leadership role that communicates with prospects, you’ve probably honed your speech about the benefits of working at your organization.

Unfortunately, most companies tend to forget about the individuals within their walls.

How often do you remind your current workforce of the benefits of your organization?

Do you ever ask for their input and make changes accordingly?

Employee retention and satisfaction should be on the top of your priority list. Studies have shown that 25% of employees are at a high-risk for turnover. While this challenge is loudly heard with middle-skilled employees, this turnover affects low and high-skilled employees as well. It is much easier to keep an employee then to constantly replace them.

Employee benefits can come in all shapes and sizes. From health insurance and 401K options to health and wellness programs, continuing education and the environment in which they work, it’s important to know what your employees value most to increase employee retention and decrease turnover.

You might be asking yourself, “How do I go about making sure my employees are happy?” Below are four steps that will help you.

Step 1: Share with your employees all the current benefits they have available to them (there may be some they aren’t aware of!)

Step 2: Survey your workforce. Ask them what they like and don’t like. What they wish they had and why. Consider using a third-party for this survey and both online and in-person to get accurate results. You’d be surprised at what information your employees will share with a third party that they wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing with you.

Step 3: Review the data.

Step 4: Make appropriate changes.

Some changes may be more than your organization can take on right now. See what changes you can make in the short-term and long-term and appropriately communicate the changes and timeline with your team.

Some changes are easier to make than you may think. Perhaps your employees want more health and wellness opportunities with discounts to local gyms or reimbursement. Or perhaps they want more common areas for a change of scenery (especially for those that work at desks all day). Maybe they want more potlucks to interact with other team members.

Lastly, and most importantly, communicate this with your workforce. This shows you value them, their opinions and their needs.

Check out a recent case study on how Measured Intentions helped an organization with just this challenge.

Does Community Involvement Matter for Workforce Development?

Yes, community involvement is a vital part of workforce development.

Have you heard the term “culture trumps strategy”? While people want to make money and have a nice benefits package, they also want to feel like they are a ‘part of the team’ or ‘part of the family’. Everyone wants to feel important and feel like they are making a real contribution. Planned, strategic community involvement is one of the most inexpensive ways to elevate a company’s reputation in the community, attract future employees and retain current employees.

Showing that your company cares about your community and, better yet, involving your employees in those acts of caring, has some great benefits, including:

  1. Helping your workers feel like they are an important part of an influential force in their community
  2. Engendering a feeling of pride that their employer is important to the health of their hometown
  3. Drawing attention from future potential employees to your company who want to work for a company who has a management that cares

However, there must be some strategy behind your community involvement. Companies are hit up for donations and sponsorships all year long. You have to be careful not to give away the farm or allow community involvement to eat up too much valuable production time.

Check out these 5 tips to start getting involved today.

  • Employee Volunteers: Ask for employee volunteers to be part of a “contributions committee” to vet donation requests and give management/ownership recommendations. This will help employees feel they have been a part of the decision.
  • Make it Personal: Try to donate to personal employee causes: a softball team an employee plays on, an employee’s kid’s soccer team, a sponsorship for an organization that has helped an employee’s family, etc.
  • Less Equals More: Don’t spread yourself too thin that your donations aren’t noticed or as valuable. Pick one signature event where you can stand out and try to be consistent with that organization for 3-5 years. Be a leading sponsor and get your name/logo on t-shirts and banners.
  • Look for Unique Opportunities. Does your company have an empty spot of ground you could build a simple playground for the community? Is there a new event in town you can step up and secure a title sponsorship for a small investment? See if you can lock that in for a few years.
  • Get Involved! Don’t just give money. If possible, allow employees to serve on committees or volunteer at the event. One easy and inexpensive thing to do is to host event meetings at your facility. That gets people in your doors and all you need to have is some sort of conference room and some coffee.

People want to be proud of where they work. When out and about, they want to see their employer’s logo on the baseball field fence or on a banner hanging over Main Street. If their employer is important to the community, the employees feel they are equally important to the community because where would that company be if not for them!

For more ideas on simple community and workforce development, contact Measured Intentions today!

Start Living in the Present in Four Easy Steps

Written By: Kathleen Riessen

Live in the presentA mere month ago I couldn’t scan Facebook, open a newspaper or read a blog without reading about someone’s New Year’s resolution. Now that we are almost through January, I wonder how many people are actually sticking to their resolution? According to Forbes, 40% of Americans make resolutions. That’s an astounding number considering 33% of Americans watch the Big Game (a.k.a. the Super Bowl). Unfortunately, only 8% of those resolutions will be achieved.

Instead of feeling like a failure because you have already quit on your New Year’s resolution (or you are part of the 60% of us that never even made one), I ask you to join me and be a part of my yearly resolve. Instead of making a resolution to change, I choose to celebrate the successes I have made in both my personal and professional life and commit to living in the current time. When you are always focused on the future, you can’t be happy in the present. To be happy in the present, you have to study your past.

How to follow my resolve in four easy steps:

  1. Dedicate 45 minutes to you. Book a meeting with yourself away from others. I try to have lunch away from the office and by myself once a month just to clear my head and think (Side note: This is a great practice any time of the year).
  1. The first 15 minutes. Take a piece of paper and write all of the negative things that happened to you in the past year. What do you wish you could have done better? What happened that was out of your control?
  1. The second 15 minutes. Take a separate piece of paper and write down all of the positive things that happened in the past year. What surprised you? Which of these items do you want to have happen again?
  1. The last 15 minutes. Pretend it is a year from now and write a letter to yourself. What exciting things happened this year? What things surprised you? Write about the growth of your company or your personal growth. Be sure to put your letter in a place where you can find it in a year.

Key takeaway: It’s never too late to live in the present.

Try these four easy steps and let us know what you think!