07Jul
Almost as fast as the pandemic was upon us, it appears that day-to-day business is returning to normal. What “normal” is has changed too, as we adopted new ways of doing things when we shifted to accommodate the need to change.
The excitement, combined with the anxiety of jumping back in, is why we need to do it in a way that keeps stress levels low. It’s important to take into account the hesitation of others as there are still many with reservations about getting back out there.

On the business side of things, in-person meetings are something many of us missed. And now, we are either raring to go or are hesitant because we’ve grown accustomed to the world of Zoom and feel our social skills are rusty. 

Just like anything “new,” you can test the waters while your confidence continues to build. To follow are some examples of how you can begin to immerse yourself:

Schedule shorter duration meetings

Limit the amount of time you spend at an event

Go with a someone who makes you feel comfortable

And remember, there will be many “rusty” people out there who are feeling anxious too. It’s a relevant topic for conversation as people find comfort in sharing similar experiences, so be open about how you’re feeling – in a positive manner.

If one of your reasons is that you didn’t complete your COVID resolutions, check out one of our earlier blogs, “Lack of Completed COVID Resolutions? That’s OK!

New Procedures Are There for a Reason

Many companies have established new policies to continue to think about safety while doing their best to resume “business as usual.” If there are procedures in place that you disagree with, don’t rock the boat. Unless, of course, it’s something that could negatively affect your safety and the safety of others. Everyone will have their version of what it will take to feel normal, so be flexible as you will expect the same respect should they participate in one of your meetings or events. And be proactive about communicating the measures you’ve taken to minimize risk. Most businesses have already been taking action to step up their game by:

  • Increasing their sanitizing standards beginning with a total deep clean
  • Positioning hand sanitizer stations throughout the office
  • Posting new procedures in a central location or, on the Internet or internal Intranet
  • Alerting vendors such as delivery personnel and companies that provide a service such as cleaning or catering.

In-Person Events and Meetings

Are you ready to host an event or meeting at your office or in an off-site location? If at your office, you should already have these systems in place, and if at a public venue, ask management in advance what protocols they have established. For either location option, make sure to share these safety guidelines with your attendees in advance. For some, it’s not a big concern, but for others, it will be the deciding factor on whether they will attend or not.

Offering the flexibility of a virtual option can help increase attendance, at least until all are ready for in-person. For a conference room meeting, this is reasonably easy to accomplish. However, for a more interactive event that involves networking and catered food, a virtual option wouldn’t necessarily be viable.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for getting together, but being flexible will increase participation when options are available.

Business Lunch Meeting

Your office may be where you feel more comfortable meeting a colleague or client for lunch, but getting out to enjoy a quality meal while supporting the restaurant industry, is terrific.

There’s something to be said for conducting business over a working lunch. It’s a great way to establish rapport and build on a relationship that leads to trust. Plus, a change in location helps reduce stress and increase morale.

  • If you’re meeting with employees, it’s a great way to bond as a team in an informal environment.
  • If meeting with potential/existing clients, it’s a more relaxing setting to have a confidential discussion.
  • If you’re the one buying, it’s always a great way to show your appreciation.

If you’re in charge of the lunch plans, make it easier on yourself by making upfront choices that will help demonstrate your professionalism. When you reduce the number of tasks you need to take care of during lunch, the smoother and less stressful it will be.

  • Make reservations. Not all establishments allow for reservations, but if you know you have a table in advance, your meeting can more likely start/end on time.
  • Choose a restaurant that has easy-to-eat food as most likely you’ll be in business attire. And, it’s always wise to ask the attendee(s) upfront if a particular type of cuisine works for them.
  • As always, proper etiquette while eating goes a long way as it helps to establish your personality and what they can expect when doing business with you.
  • And very important, arrive early. Be the first to arrive to ensure your table is ready and so you can be the one to greet any guests.
Whether you’re the one buying the meal, someone is treating you, or simply splitting the bill, all of the above helps you put your best foot forward.

Allowing for multiple modes of communication while incorporating appropriate safety protocol will open the door for more opportunities to build trust. But, NEVER do something you’re uncomfortable with as that doesn’t work either. When you’re ready to get out there, you will.
23Jun
For many businesses, day-to-day office functions are back to normal or almost there. And, as incoming business increases, it may be a sign that it’s time to ensure you can scale to manage everything.
If you’re like so many other businesses who found it necessary to lay off employees during the pandemic, you may now be in a position where you need to “replenish” your team.

Some of us may feel a little rusty, but when it comes to ensuring you’re up-to-date with all things human resource-related, this is an excellent time to make sure your ducks are in a row.

Let’s talk about what you should focus on initially to get things back on track before hiring new employees.

What is Your Company Culture?

Why is this such a critical question? Because it will be impossible for you to properly relay this information to hiring partners or potential employees if you don't know yourself. In addition, quality candidates will want to know what to expect so that they're able to make an educated decision before considering employment with your company. Ask yourself:

  • What are your company values?
  • Do you have clear expectations for your employees?
  • Is it apparent that you are open to diversity?
  • Are you open to new ideas so that the team can feel challenged and valued?

If you have an up-to-date employee handbook, this will make it easy for everyone to be on the same page. In addition, this allows them to refer to it when they feel themselves potentially veering away from the company guidelines. And of course, making yourself available should someone have questions is invaluable as it encourages a comfortable but professional environment. If your culture is a bit more stringent, make sure you relay that early on, as there are also people who thrive just as well in that atmosphere. It’s all good as long as there’s an upfront agreement of what to expect.

When you hire a staffing solutions partner, this is one of the areas where they can be a tremendous help. A quality firm will be experts in gathering and relaying this information to help narrow the field for you.

Create a Solid Hiring Plan

A solid team should consist of the right set of skills and those who have the proper attitude and work well within the culture you have developed.

Now that you’ve solidified your cultural expectations, you will have some good information to begin laying out your plan. When presented with a quality applicant, it makes a terrible first impression only to stumble through the interview because you weren’t clear on your company’s expectations.

You want to:
Determine their skills and how it fits within the job you’re looking to fill
Learn if they will get along with other employees by asking questions that will bring out their personality.

 

Much of this will be determined early on if you are working with a solid recruiter who can have an open conversation with the potential candidate before you even meet them.

Are You Up-to-Date With Laws and Regulations

Just like everything, human resource laws are constantly changing. But, unfortunately, this is one of the most overlooked areas because we get so busy that we may let something as simple as a one-page critical form fall between the cracks.

Ensure you have a system in place so that they are provided with the necessary forms to complete as required by law each time you onboard a new employee. And once you have the paperwork, designate a secure place to store them out of reach of other employees. Go digital when possible but remember some forms, should you be audited, are still required to be in the form of paper. If possible, delegate this process to a member of HR or another leader within your company.

Whatever system works for you, there must be something in place. It also demonstrates that you’re a professional company to potential candidates.

And, when in doubt, consult your CPA or attorney so that you know the information you are handing out is legitimate.

As a business owner, there is already a great demand for your attention. Making sure you address these Human Resource challenges properly could be one of the best decisions you make for your business.
10Jun

The search for the best person to add to your team can be overwhelming.