/Nicki Escudero
Nicki Escudero

About Nicki Escudero

Nicki Escudero is a journalist, marketing copywriter, editor and social media strategist with more than 14 years of experience. She writes for hundreds of brands in worldwide markets. Follow her on Twitter: @nickialanoche

How to Attract and Retain Skilled Workers Through Culture

If you want your startup business to succeed, it is vital to cater to millennials, now the largest generation in the American workforce, according to Pew Research Center. Professionals born between 1980 and 1996 crave engagement at their jobs, and if they aren’t satisfied, they’ll leave, 2016 Gallup research shows. Fortune Magazine reports that leaders of the top 100 best companies to work for in the United States cite culture as their most important tool to achieving success. By showing employees you value their work-life balance, giving them opportunities to learn and grow in their careers and recognizing their good work and rewarding it with fun activities at the office, a company culture thrives and motivates employees to produce better work and stay at your business.

Happier employees are 12 percent more productive, too, according to 2014 research by the University of Warwick. Decreased stress leads to less time off due to illness or accidents, as the Harvard Business Review reports that 60 to 80 percent of workplace accidents are caused by stress. Moreover, high-pressure companies spend more than two times the amount on healthcare costs than other businesses.

Taking all these factors into consideration, here is how to make your business culture stand out to those searching for jobs and how to sustain it for those who work for you.

Show off on Your Careers Page and Social Networks

Give potential candidates a glimpse of what they can expect from your company culture through the descriptions and imagery throughout your website, especially your careers page, and social networks. Write in a voice that conveys the personality of your company. Display your mission statement on your website. Create a video that gives a tour of the office. A great example of this is Toms shoes. Its homepage features the slogan “one for one” prominently, showing off its goal of donating a pair of shoes for every pair that is bought.

Include testimonials from staff about why they are passionate about working for your company. Photos of smiling faces provide evidence your business is an attractive place to work for. You can share content about your culture on everything from your Facebook profile to your LinkedIn page. If you’re looking for a good example of what to include, Amway posts updates about the company on its LinkedIn page. Posts cover everything from pictures of new employees to information about new products to trips its team leaders take.

Provide Training and Development at Work

Jobs are no longer only ways to make money for today’s employees. To stay engaged, employees require learning opportunities that help them add to their skill repertoire. This benefits your business as training enhances your employees’ competence and creativity. The Gallup poll found that 87 percent of millennials say on-the-job development is crucial to increasing their loyalty and stimulation at work.

Ways to implement development range widely and include:

  • Department-wide enrollment in online courses related to the profession
  • Cross-department training to improve how employees understand and work with each other
  • Company-wide training on skills that benefit the whole workplace, such as interpersonal communication or conflict management

Your business could employ a training professional to conduct lessons or send out a casting call for employees to lead training sessions for each other, which might make the learning more meaningful.

Respect Employees as Humans, not Just Workers

A company culture that chains employees to desks and doesn’t recognize personal needs is draining and restrictive. Employees who feel like they are able to fulfill their familial duties or personal passions while still working full-time for you will be more engaged when they’re at work. Ways to improve a work-life balance at your business include:

  • Provide childcare benefits and maternity and paternity leave
  • Offer incentives for prioritizing health, such as a paid gym membership
  • Partner with local businesses to get discounts for your employees on services such as auto repair or massages

One of the best things you can do to improve the work-life balance of your staff is to offer flexibility in hours worked, whether that means allowing them to set up their own schedule throughout the week or work remotely part of the time or when needed. A 2014 study by telecommuting job site FlexJobs found that 74 percent of people say work-life balance is affected by the flexibility of their work hours. The ability to work remotely at least part of the time decreases stress related to commutes and family or personal obligations. Working from a home office may also increase productivity for some employees.

Company culture can constantly be improved upon, so it’s a good idea to periodically survey your current employees about what is working and what is needed. When you involve your employees in creating the culture themselves, they’ll be more likely to support it and be invested in it.

 

                               

By | November 15th, 2016|Managing People, Running A Small Business|2 Comments

5 Reasons Your Business Needs a Blog

More people are purchasing goods online than ever before, and adding blog content to your website helps capture the attention of digital shoppers and beyond. U.S. eCommerce sales in the second quarter of 2016 reached $97.3 billion, an increase of 4.5 percent quarter-over-quarter and a whopping 15.8 percent increase year-over-year, according to the Department of Commerce. When your company provides blog content your potential customers are searching for, you build trust in your business and increase positive sentiment about your brand, which leads to sales when blog visitors need your product or service.

Your competitors are already blogging. The Content Marketing Institute reports that 77 percent of businesses have a blog they use for content marketing, and the same percentage planned to produce more content in 2016 compared to 2015.

If you’re still on the fence about whether or not to add a blog to your marketing tool set, consider these five advantages.

1. A Blog Is Agile Marketing

Unlike ordering hundreds of T-shirts for a giveaway donning a logo that may change next week, or investing in banners and flyers that become useless and irrelevant when your next promotion is over, a blog is changeable in an instant with minimum cost to your marketing department. You can update it quickly with breaking news about your company and post trending content based on popular hashtags on Twitter. You can also create evergreen content for your audience, which can then be re-purposed into everything from eBooks and info-graphics to podcasts and webinars for years to come.

It’s also fairly easy to measure a blog’s effectiveness, so you can adjust your strategy accordingly. Compare that to spending big money on print materials, where performance is much more difficult to track. Content marketing expert and author Jay Baer presents an easy way to calculate blogging on his site, Convince & Convert. And by working with content creation and management software such as ClearVoice, you can scale your efforts more easily.

2. A Blog Boosts Search Engine Optimization

If your business sells a service or product that has dozens, hundreds or thousands of competitors, ranking higher in search results makes you more visible to those who are searching for your solution online. GE Capital Retail Bank reports more than 80 percent of shoppers who are making a major purchase conduct research online before deciding on a retailer. By tailoring blog content based on the content those shoppers are looking for, your brand is more likely to appear in their search results.

For example, if you’re a flooring installation company, and you discover your target customers are often searching, “Is carpet or hardwood better for my floors?”, you could create a blog post using that exact question as the title so that it shows up in results to that query.

Regularly creating new content — at least weekly is optimal — based on keywords that relate to your brand and what your target customers type into search engines provides a cue to search engine bots to continue to crawl your site and index your posts in their results. Featuring guest bloggers who link back to your blog on their own credible sites, creating content that is so valuable that other reputable sites link to it as a credible source, and guest blogging on other legitimate sites in exchange for a link back to your blog page mean your blog builds authority to search engines and boosts your entire website’s search engine optimization, which in turn benefits your product pages, too.

3. A Blog Increases Your Brand’s Exposure

In addition to gaining more traction on search engines by blogging, by producing content your web visitors will enjoy and feel compelled to share means your business is equipped with a powerful new arm in your marketing department: brand advocates. These content consumers share your blog on their social media pages, they email its content to their friends who need it, and they reference it when someone mentions a need for a product or service you offer.

While it is obviously relevant to include content on your blog that relates directly to your service or product, the better content strategy is to aim to be helpful, not sales-y. Blog content should educate, entertain and delight, so that it maintains attention and keeps visitors coming back for more.

By promoting blog content through your own social media channels, email newsletters, etc., you’re allowing it to be picked up and spread to completely new audiences by people they place confidence in. Since Nielsen reports 92 percent of people trust the recommendations of friends and family over all over forms of advertising, using a blog to engage your customers so much that they want to tell their friends about your business is of paramount value.

4. A Blog Establishes You as an Authority in Your Space

Speaking of trust, creating blog content that gives actionable advice to readers, video viewers or podcast listeners extends your reach beyond content creator to one of dependable expert.

Say you sell gluten-free flour. By producing content related to delicious gluten-free recipes, how to navigate ordering at a restaurant when you have celiac disease, and how to be a better baker with instructional cooking videos, you’re presenting content that benefits your current customers as well as those who haven’t bought it yet. You’re going to show up more in search results related to these topics, so you’ll reach new audiences — people who need your product but haven’t discovered you yet. Plus, you’ll gain return visitors who keep coming back to learn more about how to thrive in a gluten-free lifestyle.

Producing trustworthy, educational, useful content may also lead to significant publicity opportunities, such as guest spots on morning television news shows or being included as a source in a larger story. A blog legitimizes your leadership in your industry, since it allows you to become the site large audiences turn to when they want to learn about topics related to what you offer.

5. A Blog Connects You With Your Customers

Your competitors have blogs, and your customers love to read blogs. Blogging platform WordPress reports more than 409 million people view more than 22 billion blog pages per month. They read them while they’re at work, they read them while they’re waiting in a doctor’s office, and they read them on the subway. You have an audience who is thirsty for content.

By blogging, you not only provide them with knowledge or entertainment, you also build a relationship with your visitors. By integrating a commenting system, you can glean insights on the demographics of your readers. You can learn about their thoughts and opinions and what types of content or products they want from you. They can tell you what they’re loving about your brand and what they wish would be improved upon.

Get Going!

The possibilities of what your business can achieve by launching a blog are vast. A blog allows for real-time marketing, for you to improve your website’s and brand’s reach among current consumers and new prospects. A blog enables you to give helpful information to those who can turn into significant, loyal brand advocates for your business. With dozens of free blogging platforms to use and the power of content ideation within everything from your staff’s ideas to what people are talking about on your social media channels, getting started can bring more positive exposure to your business and improve your marketing efforts.