Author: 17grapes

It seems like there’s never enough time to get everything done. Constant emails, meetings, reviews, and deadlines mean that more and more, managers are eating lunch at their desk, staying late, and still feeling like they’re falling behind. Here are some ways to help you get more out of your workday.

  1. Move more: Studies show that people who are more active at work get more done. Sit-stand desk users, for instance, find that adding more movement to their day by simply standing to take phone calls or work on emails helps them not just feel better, but also get more done.
  2. Take a break: It sounds counterproductive – how can walking away from your desk to not work help you do more work? But the truth is that breaks are healthy. It gives your brain and your body some time to reset and come back to your desk refreshed. Build water breaks or office walks into your day to keep the productivity up.
  3. Automate email: Email is a huge time suck. It’s revolutionized the way we communicate and is certainly a necessary and useful business tool, but it’s also a huge distraction. We have our email inboxes open all day and a constant flow of new emails can interrupt progress on a project or just pile, slowing down effective communication. You can easily set up your inbox with filters so that emails from priority people or projects get sent straight to your inbox, while other email can be looked over later. We also recommend scheduling your day so that you can break up your time to feature designated email maintenance. An hour or two in the morning and an hour or two in the afternoon usually gives people enough time to get a handle on their inbox – some people even designate an extra hour of follow up and research time so that their email time doesn’t get taken over by just one message.

What are your go-to productivity hacks? Do you power through your afternoons with a coffee or a power walk? Do you lock your office door after 3 pm? Everyone has their secrets for balancing their days to help get more done. From more movement to better task delegation, the productivity possibilities are endless.

We all know that happier workers are more productive. But did you know that for most people, money can’t buy workplace happiness? Research shows that making employees happy is more than just paying them a good — or great — salary or giving them a raise.

According to one new survey, more than half of workers earning a salary of $75,000 or more consider themselves ‘generally unhappy’ at the office. Other studies show that higher-income workers aren’t necessarily any happier than those earning moderate incomes. So what does make people happier at the office? Here are three things that research tells us employees nationwide and in a variety of industries are looking for from their jobs:

Respect. One survey found that ‘respectful treatment of employees at all levels’ and ‘trust between employees and senior management’ ranked higher than compensation, benefits and job security among employees. Researchers say that creating a more ‘human-based workplace’ can pay a big role in employee happiness — and ultimately retention — in companies of all sizes. Employers who are genuinely interested and engaged in their employees and their unique goals and challenges are rated much more highly than employers that show less of an interest.

Less conflict. Studies also show that workplace conflict is a major reason why the best and brightest employees leave companies. That includes unresolved conflict among co-workers and between employees and management. Few of us like conflict and most workers find conflict at work a distraction or at worse, a reason for seeking employment elsewhere.

Flexibility. One study by global accounting firm PwC found that workers who have flexibility, such as the option to work at home at least one day per week, have significantly higher job satisfaction than those who are not allowed some choices in when, how and where they do their work. Even those who are allowed to work at home when they have a sick child — or take time off for family obligations without feeling guilty — are more likely to be happy at work.

Employee morale can have a huge impact on the success of your company. However, many workplace leaders assume they’re doing an excellent job as long as nobody complains. The fact that no one is voicing concerns, however, does not mean your team doesn’t have any issues with your management style, and as their boss, it’s your job to ensure you maintain an open channel for honest and constructive communication all the time.

If you’re wondering what negative effect you might be having on your employees’ morale, consider these three common management mistakes and develop strategies for overcoming them:

Discouraging Constructive Criticism

A lot of business owners and managers won’t accept unfavorable — but constructive — feedback from their subordinates. After all, you’re the owner and have been in the industry a lot longer. Why should you listen to someone with less experience and workplace wisdom?

Answer: Because they may have valuable insight that you’d miss out on if they don’t speak up. If you want to truly develop an innovative workplace culture, then you need to follow through when you promise your employees that they can offer ideas or suggestions. All too often, bosses verbally encourage this, while their reactions to criticism suggest they’re not so open to feedback. Make sure your words align with your actions and be willing to accept constructive criticism from those working closely with you.

Micromanaging Every Move They Make

It’s hard to feel motivated to perform your job when you know more than half of your tasks will be scrutinized, perhaps criticized and reversed later by your boss. Micromanaging bosses tend to correlate with higher employee turnover rates because most people don’t want someone constantly checking up on them and making sure they’re doing their jobs correctly.

Micromanaging your employees can make them feel like you think they’re incompetent (even if this isn’t what you truly think), and most adults don’t want to be made to feel like children. Many employees value at least an average level of independence to complete their assignments. Do yourself and your employees a favor by learning to let go and trust them.

Prioritizing Efficiency Above All Else

If your only value is efficiency, then your employees are all machines and robots because human beings aren’t built for maximum efficiency all the time. Sometimes, life gets in the way, whether that’s a mental illness, physical sickness, issues with family at home, death of a loved one, financial struggles, or all of the above.

To avoid damaging your employees’ morale, it’s important to remember: they’re only human! As obvious as this might sound, managers oftentimes forget that every person has problems, challenges and limits, and working long hours every workday can seriously take a toll on employees’ productivity and well-being. Rather than striving for efficiency above all else, take time and make an effort to display more compassion and understanding toward your employees. Just like you, they’re not perfect. They’ll be much more willing to give you their best efforts if they feel like you genuinely care about how they’re doing.

In 2012, Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff realized something was off. It wasn’t faulty software, a lack of leadership or a toxic culture. Instead, it was something more obvious and pervasive: the company faced gender disparity and a significant pay gap. In a recent article for Wired.com, Benioff states, “I’d begun to notice, with horror, that when I called a meeting, the number of women in the room was often close to zero. I soon discovered that less than 29 percent of Salesforce’s total employees were women, and they made up only 14 percent at the leadership level.”

With all of the negative news these days regarding big business, and big tech, in particular, you might think Salesforce’s leadership team did everything they could to keep this information from getting out. Instead, Benioff decided to take a long, hard look at himself and immediately went to work making changes. First, Benioff established a new set of guidelines: any meeting conducted at any level of the company had to include at least 30% women. While this was undoubtedly a step in the right direction, the deeper Benioff dug, the more he realized how inherent gender bias was built into the company.

In his new book, TRAILBLAZER, Benioff discusses other steps the company is taking to make pay and benefits equal for all employees, but he notes that there’s still work to do. He also emphasizes the fact that business leaders should never be too proud or defensive to reevaluate their practices and make changes.

Here at 17 Grapes, we’re proud to represent a company that’s always striving to change, evolve, and provide a better work environment for all. If you’re ready to transition to a CRM that’s truly a cut above the rest, Salesforce is the way to go and we can help. Visit our website here or call us today at (801) 245-0500 to learn more.

Source: Wired.com

You’re a talented and hardworking small business owner. You’ve done your homework and know everything there is to know about your target audience, yet you’re still struggling to convert that information to sales.

Sound familiar? If so, know that you aren’t alone. For some reason, many of us think that opening the doors of our business is the hard part, but that’s only the first step of many to come. Without repeat customers, you may have to shutter — and fast. Instead of waiting for clients to come to you, be proactive. One of the easiest ways to do this is by sending cold emails.

A cold email is the same thing as a cold call. The only difference is you don’t have to get on the phone. The goal of a cold email is to start a conversation and get a prospect interested in the product or service you have to offer. There are thousands of articles that tell you how to write a cold email, but there’s really only a few things you need to remember.

First, keep your cold emails short, sweet and to the point. Second, make your short email about the recipient, not you. Third, close with a question, such as “Should we connect? or “I have some ideas to run by you. Would you be willing to schedule a phone call next week?”

Sending cold emails puts you on the radar of potential customers. It’s also a great way to build your network and list of contacts without having to attend a conference or mixer. Might as well try it, right? For additional tips and insights on cold emails and cold email strategy, click here.

Most business experts agree that there are several distinct categories that managers fall under. Depending on where you work and what your team is like, some of these might be more effective than others. Which management style matches yours?

  • Autocratic: A manager with this style often makes decisions without a lot of input from the people around them. It often leads to faster decisions and is good in times of crisis, but it can be ultimately alienating to employees.
  • Consultative: Consultative managers allow for more discussion, often soliciting or allowing opinions, but they remain the final decision maker. It can sometimes cause division in a team if a decision is based on input from some but not others. It can be a good method for managers who have more specialized teams.
  • Persuasive: Decision making control remains with the manager here as well, but a persuasive manager is often more open to listening to evidence and hearing pros and cons from the people they manage. It’s harder for this style to be effective if the team doesn’t support or trust management.
  • Democratic: Managers with this style allow employees the opportunity to engage in decision making and create an environment where decisions are based on the input of the majority of the team. It’s a more open style of management communication but can slow down decisions during the collecting and consideration of input from an entire team.
  • Laissez-faire: This hands-off approach to management means that employees make the majority of decisions with management only stepping in when necessary. Their role is more of a mentor. This management style is popular in businesses that need employees who are willing to take risks. It can lead to difficulty in creating change and actually making decisions in some cases.

Understanding how you manage employees is a good way to identify if you’re connecting with your team and why – or why not. It gives you room to understand where you can make improvements and changes that help you be more relatable and more effective.

Congrats on making the decision to implement a CRM platform at your business. This is a wise decision not only for the financial future of your company, but for your organization as a whole. Used correctly, the data you gather about your clients and customers allows you to better serve them and address their unique concerns.

It’s important to remember however, that even the best software won’t solve your problems if you don’t know how to use it. Salesforce is incredibly versatile and can track hundreds of metrics, but you have to be able to interpret the data you collect. That’s where we come in. Our expert Salesforce consultants will work with you each step of the implementation process, ensuring you’re in full control of your CRM system.

Focused. We pride ourselves in giving our customers one-on-one attention. We’ll never put you on hold or have you troubleshoot over the phone with an automated voice system. We’ll schedule a complete one-on-one training session, for you and your team, in your office or via web meeting. Plus, we’ll answer any questions you have and troubleshoot any challenges that crop up in the weeks or months that follow.

Understanding. Even user-friendly software can be daunting, and challenges will inevitably arise. We understand. Our consultants are friendly and compassionate; you can rest assured they’ll never judge or condescend to you. We believe anyone can use Salesforce, even business owners who aren’t “technologically savvy.”

Trained and certified. All our Salesforce consultants are trained and certified in Salesforce-approved practices. They’re familiar with the ins and outs of the software interface and have extensive experience setting up organizations like yours for success.

Ready to begin? Call (801) 245-0500 and request your free consultation today!

Work appraisals and performance reviews are key to helping keep employees on track, growing, and motivated. Historically, this kind of review has been conducted between the employer and the employee annually, usually around an employee anniversary date or near the time of year that a company will be issuing bonuses. While this kind of communication is important, it has tended to be a one-sided conversation, driven my managers or supervisors. Sometimes employees are encouraged to fill out a self-evaluation, but largely the review is for managers to make sure employees understand whether they are meeting expectations.

This is not always the most effective way to create better employee relationships or drive productivity. As employee expectations and motivations change, the review process may need to change as well. Here are some ideas for how to think about reshaping your employee review process for the better.

  1. Weekly check-ins: More regular conversations can give you better insight into an employee’s work quality. Hard data, like projects completed or deadlines met, doesn’t always tell the whole story. Weekly or semi-regular meetings give employees more regular opportunities to talk about challenges, ask questions, and more.
  2. Different feedback approaches: If an annual performance review is still necessary, you can change the way you give employee feedback. Capturing data not just from a management perspective but also including feedback from co-workers or even clients can be valuable to shaping an employee’s progress. Asking people from different departments who work in a capacity that’s different from the employee’s, as well as close team members, for thoughts on the employee’s work can give both you and the employee a lot of valuable insight.
  3. Separate compensation conversations: An annual review is usually associated with some kind of raise or pay increase, with the conversation around performance justifying the compensation change. This can still be a part of employee assessments, but shouldn’t necessarily be the only time employees receive formal, constructive feedback on their performance.

An annual performance review isn’t the only way to track employee progress or share performance related feedback. It’s become more important for managers to have more regular conversations with employees about expectations and goals. Managers are often already busy and have full calendars and a lot of business responsibilities, but making time for these conversations and different feedback approaches is critical in helping to guide and motivate employees towards their best work.

With all the bad publicity facing social media giants like Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter, it’s easy to assume all tech companies are in it for themselves, focused on turning a profit and nothing else. Fortunately, things aren’t as black and white as the media would have us believe. In fact, there are dozens of tech companies out there doing their part and contributing to a better society.

Salesforce is one of those companies. Its broken the mold by asking entrepreneurs to take the Pledge 1%. The concept is simple:

“Pledge 1% invites all entrepreneurs and their companies to commit important resources (product, time, and resources) to support integrating philanthropy into their business from an early stage.”

This isn’t just lip service. Since founding the company, Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff, has said, “The business of business is improving the state of the world.”

We couldn’t agree more, which is why we’re thrilled to bring Salesforce to small and medium-sized businesses just like yours. By implementing Salesforce at your office, you’re helping support the company’s 1-1-1 model.

How often do you get to change the culture of your company just by upgrading software? Until Salesforce came around, the answer was never. To learn more about the benefits of implementing Salesforce at your business, contact us!

Source: Salesforce

Whether you’re a lead account manager or an office manager, management requires a certain skill set and sense of self. If you’ve been thinking about taking on leadership roles or have aspirations about becoming the boss, here are some things to ask yourself before jumping into the talent pool for management consideration.

  1. Can you delegate? One of the primary responsibilities of management is overseeing other staff. This means being aware of all of the day-to-day business needs and overseeing them in your employees. It’s important to know how to dole out work and follow up on assignments without micromanaging.
  2. How do you deal with unpleasantness and disagreements? Sometimes management comes with having to be a mediator in disputes and being able to handle all issues diplomatically. It can also sometimes mean firing under-performers or not renewing contracts with agencies, which makes certain people feel like they’re failing their teams or letting people down.
  3. Are your organized? Even if you’re not a project manager, management needs to know about deadlines, timelines, and all ongoing projects. It’s important to be able to manage the pieces and track the work or your department or team.
  4. Are you resilient? Management can sometimes mean longer hours from fielding last-minute requests, attending more meetings, or filling in the gaps on a project if someone is missing or behind on their deadline. Managers need to be flexible, ready for anything, and able to bounce back from surprises.
  5. Does your industry have a clear-cut career path to management? Some industries or career paths don’t lend themselves as well to managerial positions as others. Sales, for instance, has more traditionally defined management roles in many organizations, while copywriters might lack a sense of direction towards advancement and responsibility in their roles.
  6. Does your organization support its managers? Another thing to consider when trying on the idea of management is how your workplace treats its managers. Do they seem burnt out or refreshed? Do they have opportunities for growth and an ability to give feedback? Are they supported by leadership so they can in turn support their teams?

Even if you don’t feel like your skills are up to par, don’t abandon your management dreams just yet. Once you’ve identified your weaknesses, it’s much easier to turn them into strengths. Take a class online or join a business association to help you gain the experience and skills you need to make it into management.