Learning To Surrender Control

Managing Job Sharers: Which Work Pattern Is Right For Your Team?

Job sharing is an increasingly popular way for American workers to adapt their working patterns. Job sharing allows two or more employees to manage and share one role’s responsibilities, giving people the flexibility to work fewer hours. For managers, job sharing is sometimes a challenge, as it isn’t always easy to make sure the employees’ shift patterns fully suit the needs of the business. Make sure job sharing in your team is effective and consider which of the following working models are right for your team.

The islands model

Roles that have multiple, complex responsibilities lend themselves well to the islands model. In this case, the two job sharers divide the responsibilities of one role and take on a separate list of activities and duties.

For example, employees job sharing a role in the HR team may divide the role by business divisions, grades or functions. In this way, they would each take on accountability for separate customer groups, with little or no crossover.

This method is often popular with internal customers. Line managers know that they only need to deal with one person, and the job sharers don’t need to continually share knowledge or hand over their work.

On the downside, internal customers may become frustrated by the perception that a key contact has limited working hours. If a team needs support across the working week, this method of job sharing can lead to dissatisfaction. As such, before you adopt the islands model, you need to carefully consider the impact this way of working may have on key customers.

The twins model

Job sharers who adopt the twins model divide their responsibilities to an extent, but internal customers may deal with anyone who shares the job. The job sharers manage a single workload and work approach, dividing up specific tasks and accountabilities according to the days the employee works. With this model, there is no division between the job sharers, and internal customers will need to deal with multiple people.

The twins model supports continuity of support. Even though internal customers deal with different people, you offer the certainty that there is, at least, always one person available to manage the workload. The twins model also supports diversity of working and is often more effective when the job sharers want to continue with every aspect of the role.

On the downside, the twins model (sometimes called a job split) needs closer management, as there is a greater likelihood of inefficiency. The job sharers need to work harder to hand work over from day to day. There is also a greater need for collaboration and discussion on an ongoing basis. Managed badly, the twins model can easily lead to customer frustration, as your internal clients may find that they have to explain things multiple times.

Choosing the right model

When it comes to job sharing, managers should consider various factors before making a decision. Issues to consider include:

  • Customer expectations. It’s a good idea to canvas key customers and confirm their top priorities. Once you have this information, one way of working may become more obviously suitable.

  • Employee development needs. The job sharers may have working styles and development needs that support one of the two working models. Closely consult the job sharers about the expectations they have from the role.

  • Financial constraints. One (or both) of these models may lead to extra costs. For example, the islands model can work well if your employees want to work remotely, but you may need to pay for an extra laptop to allow this. Consider if your budgets can support the way of working you want to adopt.

In all cases, a trial period is a good way to test your decision before you make a final commitment. Make sure you define success criteria, so you know what ‘good’ looks like before you allow either model. It’s also wise to work with a compensation consultant to make sure that each employee is compensated fairly for the work they put in.

Job sharing is increasingly popular with Americans who want to work more flexibly. Carefully consider how job sharing could work in your team before you commit to a specific work style.

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Three Ways To Improve Your Productivity When Running A Home-Based Business

When you run your own business from your home, it can be hard to stay focused and productive. After all, your television, personal books, and other entertainment options are only steps away, as are distractions like the dishes, laundry, and demanding friends. To keep yourself on-task and ensure you get as much work done as possible during the work day, try implementing these strategies in your home business start up:

Set up a workspace — and use it only for work.

Have you ever noticed that when you’re in certain places — like the library or an office, for instance — working feels natural, while in other places — like on your sofa — you really have to fight your instincts to stay focused on work? Your mind gets used to doing certain things in certain spaces. Thus, if you create a space that you use only for work and get into the habit of doing work there, soon you’ll have an easier time getting and staying in the “work mindset” in that space.

Everyone has different preferences when it comes to their workspace, but in general, a workspace should have the following qualities if you want it to be a space you’ll feel comfortable and productive in:

  • The equipment you need to run your day-to-day business (for many, this is just a computer, but perhaps you need a printer, scanner, camera and other equipment, too)
  • Natural lighting to keep you alert
  • Privacy: a way to isolate yourself from others in the home, such as a door
  • Comfortable, ergonomic furniture that won’t have you seeking a sofa by 11 am
  • A well-planned organizational scheme to prevent clutter from accumulating

Set a regular schedule for yourself.

One of the beauties of running your own business from home is that you can be flexible with your schedule. If your son or daughter has an emergency in the middle of the day, you can take care of it without checking in with your boss. If you feel sick in the morning, you can start your day late. If you get into the habit of hap-haphazardly working whenever you feel like it, however, you’ll soon find that you’re not working enough. Thus, it is best to set a regular schedule for yourself, and stick to it unless you have a very good reason not to.

When you have to take time out of your regular work schedule, hold yourself to adding that same amount of work time back into your week somewhere else. For instance, if you usually work until 5:00 but have to stop working at 3:00 on Tuesday to run your son to the doctor, make up for that time later by working until 7:00 on another night. Plan when you’ll add the time back in before you take it off, rather than just telling yourself you’ll “get to it.”

Set boundaries with friends and family members.

When you work for yourself from home, it’s not uncommon for friends and family members to falsely assume this means you’re available to respond to their every beck and call. By setting boundaries from the get-go, you’ll ensure you spend more time working and less time listening to your mom gad about on the phone or watching your neighbor’s dog at the last minute.

When a personal contact calls you in the middle of the day, screen the call. Unless they leave a message that is urgent, call them back at the end of your working hours — and tell them why it took you so long to respond. (You were working and do not make a habit of responding to non-work-related communication during work hours.) Tell them when a better time to contact you is for future reference. It may take a little time, but your friends and family will soon get the message that you’re not to be bothered during working hours — and you’ll get more done as a result.

Working from home is a wonderful thing, as long as you’re able to stay focused and productive. Start implementing the strategies above, and you should find that you’re able to get a lot more done in the hours you spend working.

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Hiring A New Employee? Protect Your Business And Your Customers With These Tips And Tricks

Hiring a new employee is serious business – choosing the wrong person can make your company’s proprietary information vulnerable and put your customers’ financial information at risk. This is why it’s important to take your time throughout the hiring process so you’re sure that the person you hire makes a perfect fit for your company and current team. Here are a few tips and tricks you can use to find a reliable new employee while protecting your business and customers at the same time:

Invest in Employment Screening

One of the most important things you can do to protect your business practices when hiring a new employee is to invest in employment screening from companies like PeopleFacts that provides you with a wealth of information such as:

  • Criminal History
  • Credit Checks
  • Social Security Validation
  • Education Verification
  • Drug Testing Results

Finding out whether or not a potential employee has been charged with fraud in the past, or that their college degree has been falsified can save you lots of time, money, and energy, as well as minimize any profit losses after bringing on a new-hire.

Schedule Hands-on Training Days

Before officially hiring on a new employee, schedule two or three days of hands-on training sessions (paid of course) where they can practice their potential job duties with a manager oversees the process from beginning to end. This will help to ensure that your new employee has a clear understanding of what your expectations are, and it will give you an opportunity to ensure that they’re a team player and a quick learner who won’t hold your business back during their first weeks of employment. If things don’t work out for any reason, you can simply pay the potential employee for their time and discontinue the hiring process.

Install Mini Surveillance Cameras

One surefire way to minimize financial fraud and theft of proprietary information is to install mini surveillance cameras behind employee desks that monitor daily activities while everyone works. Not only will this keep your new and current employees on their toes, but it will give you documentation that can be used in court if you find yourself in need of defending your business due to fraud or theft.

It’s important that your employees know that their workspaces are being monitored and recorded to avoid any privacy infringement issues. Have your lawyer draw up an official notification about your surveillance policies for potential employees to sign before they’re hired.

Commit to Doing Regular Audits

It’s important to audit your employees, especially when they’ve been recently hired to ensure that they’re filling out reports correctly and that customer files are being secured properly. Have management conduct weekly audits for your new employees until you’re confident in their reliability, and then consider scheduling monthly audits to keep tabs on the small details. This is a great way to make sure that you’re catching inconsistencies early so they can be corrected before profits are lost or customer accounts are compromised. Your audits can also be used for legal purposes if necessary.

Work to Create Employee Loyalty

The process of creating employee loyalty should begin right after the hiring process. Employees who are satisfied with their jobs often enjoy helping their organization succeed and they are more likely to practice conflict resolutions, conserve resources, and even boost the morale of your entire team of employees.   

You can create employee loyalty in a variety of ways such as giving employees the freedom to make their own choices in at least some of their job duties, and offering them plenty of avenues and opportunities for promotions.

These methods will not only help you choose the right employee for your business, but they’ll ensure that your entire team stays on track throughout the full term of their employment.

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Building A Business? 2 Network Marketing Strategies You Should Remember

As a budding business owner, you might wonder what you can do to bolster your success. Fortunately, you can learn a lot from companies that use direct sales tactics, also called multi-level or network marketing. These businesses are incredibly successful, selling over 32 billion dollars of merchandise in 2013 alone. Here are two network marketing strategies you should remember, and how they can make your business more successful:

1: Start Off Strong

Although you might be tempted to test the waters of your new business by throwing open the doors and hosting a soft opening, network marketing companies focus on starting off strong. In addition to giving a good first impression, launching your business properly might help you to identify problems before customers notice your mistakes. Here are a few things you should pay attention to during your launch phase:

  • Employee Training: It might seem like a good idea to let your employees learn as they go, but if a customer doesn’t have a good experience, they might turn to your competitors. Before you open your restaurant or retail shop, make sure that each and every employee understands the rules, their role, and how to care for your customers. 
  • Store Cleanliness: Those paper scraps on your carpet might seem insignificant, but they might mean a lot to your customers. If your store is dirty, customers might take it as a sign that you don’t care about the details. When you open your business, pay special attention to cleanliness.
  • Enthusiasm: Last but not least, get your employees excited about your business. Spread enthusiasm by being positive and encouraging. When your workers are happy and confident, customers will feel more comfortable.

As you open your business, take careful notes. Listen to your customers and document their concerns. You might be able to adjust your business plan based on your successes and failures, so that you can continue to grow.

2: Know Your Products

When you order products for your business, do you really know what you are getting? Have you ever tried on those jackets, used that body lotion, or tested those wontons? Instead of ordering products from giant manufacturers and simply stocking the shelves, direct marketing salespeople purchase their own stock of inventory. Because they have more on the line, direct marketing employees tend to research their products more thoroughly and sell products that they believe in. Here are a few ways that you can understand your products, so that you can decide what to offer customers: 

  • Sample, Sample, Sample: Don’t be afraid to set aside a portion of your inventory to sample. If you have a clothing store, give out a few of those new wool scarves as part of a promotion. If you own a restaurant, let customers try that new cheesecake. By giving away free samples, you can increase customer interest, while gaining valuable feedback.
  • Let Employees Test Products: Don’t let your customers have all the fun. How can an employee sell a product they are unfamiliar with? Before you put any item on your sales floor, teach your employees about the product by letting them try it out. Your workers might be able to spot features that you overlooked.
  • Do Your Research: Do you know where that television was made or what type of wood makes up that bedframe? Since you never know what a customer might ask, it is important to do your research before you start selling. Take the time to learn as much as you can about each product in your store so that you can answer questions intelligently.

By learning from network marketing experts, you can develop a loyal following and sell better products. For more tips on network marketing, contact a company like Tall Jeff.

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