Invest In Your Employees

I am really enjoying my HRM (Human Resource Management) class for it gives me hints on what to expect in my future work life. It is preparing me as an individual to know what kind of environment I will like to work at and what is expected of me as an employee/employer. When I describe to people what kind of environment I would like to work at, most of them respond by saying “I think you should work for yourself because no organization will allow that.” I know you’re already wondering what kind of environment that is but read on…

ccToday I’ll like to talk about company culture and how that affects the organization’s performance especially the employees. Before I go into details, I’ll like to define company culture. “Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts.” Therefore, Company culture is the shared values and practices of the company’s employees. Company culture is important because it can make or break your company. Company culture changes over time has new employees are hired and replacements made in the company. Companies with an adaptive culture that is aligned to their business goals routinely outperform their competitors. Some studies report the difference at 200% or more. Organizations should know what their culture is and try to move everyone towards it by making it adaptive.

Recently, the Facebook offices were redesigned and I was amazed by Mark Zuckerberg’s comment. “Our goal was to create the perfect engineering space for our teams to work together. We want our space to feel like a work in progress. When you enter our buildings, we want you to feel how much left there is to be done in our mission to connect the world.” After reading his comment, I compared it to Tony Hsiesh of Zappos who said “We want Zappos to function more like a city and less like a top-down bureaucratic organization. Look at companies that existed 50 years ago in the Fortune 500 – most don’t exist today. Companies tend to die and cities don’t.

After watching this video I think I’ll like to work at Zappos because I think the company suits my personality. I’ll be free and happy there for the culture is something I can relate to.

The above comments are all great steps in creating the perfect company culture. But when I compare creating a company culture to service design I realized that you cannot satisfy everybody. As the saying goes, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison” but there has never been a one-size-fits-all solution to making sure your staff are happy and healthy, but that doesn’t stop people trying to apply tired and ineffective motivational tactics. Creating a unique company culture that makes your staff want to spend the rest of their lives at your organization, give great customer service which makes you stand out from your competitors.

“Creating a great company culture can feel like a minefield, but everywhere you turn are warnings of what happens when a company culture goes awry. There’s a reason the oft-cited Gallup survey discovered 70% of American workers are disengaged on the job. Companies can easily get caught up in the day-to-day struggles and forget the importance of creating an unbelievable culture for employees.” John Tabis (the founder and CEO of the Bouqs Company, a cut-to-order online flower delivery service.) He also gave great tips on how to build a great company culture from the ground up. These are:

Make it personal: One of the most important aspects of developing a brand voice is to keep it consistently authentic. A good company culture should strive for the same authenticity, and this voice should come from the founder in the case of a startup, or the leadership team in the case of a larger organization. Your culture needs to be an extension of your own consistently held and demonstrated beliefs, along with a clear mission that goes beyond dollars and cents.

Find a Way to Communicate Your Vision: Communication is key, whether it’s selling your idea to investors or selling your company culture to employees. Yet communication is one place many leaders fall down on the job, especially when it comes to company culture. According to a study by SIS International Research, 70% of small to midsize businesses claim ineffective communication is their primary problem. If a founder is a great communicator, it’s pretty easy early on to get the culture moving in the right direction.

Put People First: We need to start treating people like human beings, not like cogs in a productivity machine. Look at the individual first and their role second and relate to employees on a more human level. When employees feel cared about as people, I’ve found they do their best work. They also stay longer, work harder, and produce more, which makes caring an amazing rate of increase. It’s a win-win for everyone.

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Culture is all about the people that is, company culture is all about the employees. Companies should bring their employees first, invest in them, and give them a fun and peaceful environment to work at in order to be the best. There is no culture without people, organizations should focus on what is best for their employees instead of their profit or loss.

For example Virgin Hotels in Chicago partnered with Voxy – the English language learning platform to teach their staff whose first language is not English improve their language abilities. Mars incorporated is another company with a great company culture that wows everybody. Allowing their employees who are dog owners to bring their dogs to works is amazing. Generations of one family work for the company because of their rich company culture. Some companies and schools have nurseries for babies to allow their mothers to work or learn. This doesn’t just help the company but the staff too in their private lives.

“There’s no right or wrong way to go about creating a company culture, as long as you keep the staff that it’s designed for in mind every step of the way” – Richard Branson (Founder at Virgin Group).

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Employees Are The Core Of An Organization

Today´s topic is HR (Human Resource) related. I’m going to talk about the role of employees in implementing the organizational strategies and reaching goals of the organization. For any organization to implement its organizational strategies and reach its goals, it needs to have employees. Employees are the core of an organization. They work towards the success of the organization and make things happen. It is important for every organization to hire the right people to get the job done.

Before I go further, I’ll like to explain deeper what I meant by organizational strategies and how to use them to achieve organizational goals. Organizational strategies are actions an organization intends to take to achieve its long term goals. The plans takes time and all the people (employees) in the organization should be considered when planning. The top management makes the strategic plan but the middle/lower management adopt the goals and try to fulfil the strategy step by step. With clear goals, companies tend to have effective employees performance which leads to a successful business.

imagesSEUHX2NSWhen a person is hired in an organization, he/she has responsibilities towards the organization and society as a whole. When organizations hire people, they should identify their strengths and weaknesses to help the management in their strategic decision making. Employees should be trained and educated in order to make them understand what the organization is trying to achieve. When employees know their roles and how to use their strengths to contribution towards the success of the organization, then they try to reach the goals. The employees should set their personal goals out of the organizational goals, share responsibilities for reaching the target. This will help them achieve faster and better results.

All these come down to employee engagement. But what is employee engagement? Employee engagement is a workplace approach designed to ensure that employees are committed to their organization’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organizational success, and are able at the same time to enhance their own sense of well-being.

Below is a short video that explains why employee engagement matters.

“Nobody washes a rental car” People are willing to do more if they feel they have ownership. I am going to share few tips on how organizations can engage their employees, grow their businesses and also make their employees love their jobs. I have read so many articles related to this topic but after my last session with my HRM (Human Resource Management) lecturer I realized that MOTIVATION is the key. When employees are motivated to work the outcome is greater. Organizations should learn about their employees and know what motivates them and deliver.

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There are other steps that can be taken to improve employee engagement. Some of them are:

  • Treat your employees as a valuable partner
  • Give them the chance to make decisions as long as they are going to perform well.
  • Be transparent with them, update them on every activity of the organization, whether good or bad.
  • When you make a promise, be sure to follow through it. Never make a promise you can’t keep.
  • Show your employees that their opinions matter. Provide a conducive working environment for them. Trusting, open and fun.
  • Show your appreciation, thank them. Take time to acknowledge their work.

Put yourself in your employees’ shoes. Can you achieve your goals with the present conditions of your organization? I’ll leave you with that question for it will help you rethink your actions and provide what is best for both your organization and employees.

Make a strategic plan -> Set your goals -> Engage employees -> Grow your business >>>

No goals = Weak performance

                                                      

Make Them Choose You!

It has been a while since my first blog post. I’ve been really busy with school especially assignments. This 2nd year has not been easy for me but I’m trying to get things done, thanks to my university and lecturers. My university (Haaga-Helia University of Applied Science, Porvoo) is very flexible and makes one love school. The lecturers are amazing, they don’t just teach, they involve you, make you practice what you’ve learnt and share your ideas with the lot.

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Relaxing at the Fatboy room

Are you already wondering if this is an advertisement post for my university? Well, my topic for today is creating value through good services and I would like to start with my university. Many a time, people asked me “why did you leave all the universities in Helsinki and travel to Porvoo every day? Its far and the transportation is expensive”. My response has always been “My University is different and only the people that experience it will know what I’m talking about”.

I was in a university in Helsinki less than 20 minutes from my place. There I felt I go to school because I had to, no connection with the lecturers, no team work, and no practical. It was just “lectures and go home”. While in Porvoo, I feel happy to go to school, I feel welcomed and accepted. The teacher-student relation is priceless. The laptops given to us make studying easy for us. The teachers do not photocopy endlessly but upload learning materials to our learning platforms leap and Moodle. This saves us space and information are secured. The way the campus was built is relaxing and makes you experience real life working situations. Working in real life projects with companies is one of the advantages we have against other schools. It’s not just a university, it’s a place that makes you feel like an employee instead of a student.

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Perfect for meetings and teamwork

With this example above, I wanted to show you how creating good value through service design can attract people to your organization or business. Nowadays, people don’t want to feel like they are using a service because they have to. They want to feel like they’re using it because they love to, they want to experience the best. When you design a great service for your customers and employees, you make them stay and be loyal to the organization. Distance and price do not matter anymore as far as they get to have what they’ll love and enjoy.

What is Service Design?

“Service design is the overall experience of service as well as the design of the process and the strategy to provide that service.” (Morritz, 2005)

“There is no common definition to service design. It‘s a (new) way of thinking as its focus on human rather than organization and stakeholders. The way ideas spread and how organizations are organized is shaping how service design plays out in the company. More important than thinking if service design is part of marketing or something else is to understand the value and relations between people and other people, between people and things and between people and organizations. Gaining authentic customer insights the service designer slips into the customer‘s shoes to understand their individual service experience and it‘s wider context.” (Stickdorn, Schneider 2010, 37)

Here is a short video by Yosef Shuman on ‘What is service design?’

In order to have a successful service design, companies have to study their customers to know what they really want. Put yourselves in the customers’ shoes and try to feel what they feel. Understand their lives and try to see their invisible needs. To get these insights, companies have to make research on their customers. The research or collecting information can be through interviews, surveys, through social media, etc.

Service design should not just be about the customers only. Companies need to consider their employees too. You do not create a service to please your customers and forget about your employees. Your employees should be part of the creation, they should have a say like the customers. The service should be designed in such a way that, the employees will be happy to use it.

Companies have to realize that, they cannot satisfy everyone. With their findings, they need to make logical decisions to make the customer value creation easier for them. Different people want different things, as the saying goes, “one man’s meat is another man’s poison.” Companies should create services that all their customers will love and benefit from. This might take time but using services come in stages. Be patient, don’t force it and make adjustments along the way. Good services sell themselves. Do your best and make them choose you!

‘’When you have two coffee shops right next to each other, and each of them sells exact the same coffee at the exact same price, service design is what makes you walk into one and not the other.’’ (Stickdorn, Schneider 2010, 33)

Upgrade To Sell

I know most of you know the meaning of digitalization but do you know the impact it has on sales and marketing today? Well, as an International Business student focusing on sales and marketing, I tend to explore, learn, practice and share my ideas.

A couple of days ago I was fortunate to be part of a mind-blowing event that took place at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences (Porvoo). This great event was DiGi Day. I know most of you are already thinking the way I thought when I first heard the name DiGi Day. ‘Yes! It must be about digital stuff.’ You might be right but let’s hold on with our conclusions and read on…

What is DiGi Day?

The main idea of DiGi Day was to learn about the impact of digitalization on business. How it’s changing the way we do and see things especially when it comes to the selling, buying and marketing our products and services. It focused on the modern day business, how we can utilize the available resources like technology to be successful. My area of interest as a sales and marketing student was to have a glance at how the future of business will look like.

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Digi Day

During the DiGi Day, I was able to gather many insights from the guest speakers that have great knowledge and experience in this field. With what I have learnt and gathered, I was able to come up with a collection of ideas that can help companies and customers make good use of digitalization…

But first, what is digital marketing? Below is a defination by Ari Nevalainen, the communication manager of Haaga-Helia UAS.

019Well-established companies and startup companies are making good use of technology. Using different ways of digital marketing to promote, sell and connect with their customers. After listening to Ari Nevalainen the communication manager of Haaga-Helia UAS say 80% of the university’s marketing is going digital, I realized that digitalization is a way forward for every institution or business. Ari Nevalainen mentioned the different angles of digital marketing which I found very interesting… See photo below.

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All these angles of digital marketing might be connecting, reasonable and up to date but there are obstacles that need to be conquered. Some of these obstacles are how to measure the return on investment and how to take ownership of all the digital channels since there is a huge spike in the use of these channels as I read Here. Another challenge companies need to take into account is the fact that, not all ages are active online. Companies need to consider how to overcome this challenge to enjoy the digital world. But how do companies overcome these challenges? Let’s help each other to answer this question. Every opinion matters in development.

Buying products and services has become easier for customers. We do not need to walk to the shop to buy all the things we need, online stores are making life easier for us. We can review and compare products before buying. The social media provides information about products we want to purchase. There are reviews on products and services that make you trust the product. I like the idea of online chat on websites because you can get some of your questions answered and doubts cleared before buying. Bryan Eisenberg a pioneer in online marketing mentioned in his article that, convenience, lower prices and peer pressure are some of the reasons why people buy online.

As a customer myself, I have few challenges that make me doubt online purchasing or interaction. Privacy is an issue for me, I will like to know how safe I am before putting my personal details online. Companies need to consider this and try to solve the privacy issues we face online to be trustworthy to their customers.

As a sales and marketing student, I think I need to focus on self-leadership and self-management and as Risto E.J. Penttilä, the President and CEO, Finland Chamber of Commerce said; ‘ in order to have a career in this world of technology, try to be proactive and a problem solver.’

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I would like to share some quotes with you that I gathered from the speakers on DiGi day; we can all make good use of these tips, whether you are a student, a company, a customer or someone thinking of starting a business…

“Invest in your personal development and take a leap before you jump” – Oladimeji Joseph Fakayode, co-founder of ClipMe.

“Listen to your customers and personalize your services for them” – Mika Leno, Managing Director of VAIMO Finland Oy.

“Be the guru of your business and show it online” – Janne Mikkola, owner of Mikava Oy

What changes do you think should be made to make digital marketing more flexible for both companies and customers?

Please share your thoughts on the question above -> We are all here to learn. Thank you!