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Regardless of your business’s size, history and industry, every one of your new employees must go through an initial learning process. Despite most people viewing this “onboarding” process as innocuous, or even trivial, it’s one of the most vulnerable periods of your hiring process. How you approach it could mean the difference between starting off your new working relationship with momentum and setting up your new employee for failure.
But how can you make your onboarding process better?Why Onboarding Is So Important
First, let’s work to understand why onboarding is such a crucial development opportunity in the first place:
So how can you keep your onboarding process running as smoothly as possible?
1. Have a documented plan. Even if your business only has a handful of employees and you’re just starting out, you need to have a written plan (PDF) for your onboarding process. Take the time to hash out exactly what you want to include and finalize your document. You can always add to it or adjust it over time. This way, you’ll have something consistent to follow, no matter who’s actually doing the onboarding. It will also give you a framework to improve upon as you learn which parts of your process are effective or ineffective.
2. Train your onboarders. Next, don’t let just any of your employees step up for the onboarding process. They may be eager to show off what makes your company great, but you need to make sure they’ll hit the key points you need for setting expectations, introducing the company, and establishing a foundation for future training. Try to keep one designated person in charge of onboarding if you can. That way, they can perfect their approach over time. But make sure all your onboarders are trained in the basics.
3. Start slow. There’s no better way to scare someone off than by throwing them to the wolves their first day on the job. It’s tempting to get your employees trained and ready to work as quickly as possible for productivity reasons, but it’s better if you give them a chance to warm up to their environment. Introduce things one at a time, and give them some breathing room with breaks throughout the day. Employee retention is a marathon. You don’t want to exhaust them on day one.
4. Don’t neglect the culture. According to the Association for Talent Development, company culture is one of the most important considerations for job seekers. Make sure you show yours off throughout the onboarding process, both to pique their interest and let them know what they can reasonably expect from this work environment. Allow your new hires to meet and engage with your other workers and demonstrate what kind of atmosphere you strive to maintain.
5. Open a dialogue. Much of the onboarding process is about conveying information to the new hire in a one-sided conversation. This is inevitable. However, it’s important that you spend at least some time opening a dialogue, giving your new hire the chance to make comments and ask questions. Not only will this help to clarify some points of confusion, but it will also demonstrate that you care about them as a worker. That way they aren’t just being pushed through an onboarding assembly line.
6. Keep it consistent. Finally, keep your process as consistent as possible as you execute it with more new hires. The extra practice will make you better at the process, anticipating worker needs and finding a good rhythm, and this will enable you to make small adjustments over time and measure how effective they are at improving the process. Change is good, but only when executed gradually.
If you follow these six steps, your onboarding process will instantly become smoother, more effective and better at keeping your employees productive and content with your business. There’s no way to reduce your turnover to zero, but you will find higher employee satisfaction and less time searching for new candidates overall.
New Person Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "6 Ways to Improve Your Onboarding Process for New Hires" was first published on Small Business Trends
ShareFile, owned by Citrix Systems (NASDAQ:CTXS), is a SaaS product that allows you to choose where to securely store your files and documents, which could either be on the cloud or on the premises. ShareFile is uniquely designed for specific customer workflow and collaboration environments across multiple verticals.
Whether it’s an insurance agency with documents that need to be completed, signed and returned or an accounting firm that has large, secure email files that need to be managed, ShareFile is the all-encompassing solution for the modern workplace.A Look at Citrix ShareFile
With ShareFile, small businesses can expect the following:
Signing up for ShareFile is pretty easy. All you need to do is to sign up with an email address and a password.
Once you are logged in, you will notice that your ShareFile has its own URL in this format: https://yourcompanyname.sharefile.com.Creating Folders
On the top right corner of your home screen, you will find the “Create Folder” option. Select it and customize it by adding a name and a description. The description will be displayed as a note attached to your folder.Sharing Files
To share a file, go to the top navigation bar of your account and hover over the share button. Two options will be displayed. Select Email with ShareFile and enter all recipients’ email addresses, a subject line and a message. Click send and the message will be emailed to the recipient.Request File from Others
ShareFile also allows you to request files from your team. To request a file, click the Request button on the top navigation bar and select “Email with ShareFile.” Enter all recipients’ email addresses, a subject line and a message. You can then choose the folder in ShareFile where you want the requested files to appear. You can also customize your security and notifications options by selecting “Edit Message Options.”Pricing
ShareFile offers a couple of plans, yet each is tailored for specific users.
The most appropriate plan for a business seems to be the ‘Team’ plan that goes for $60 per month or the ‘Business’ plan that costs $100 per month. Both plans, however, ask for an additional fee if you want to set up more than five employee accounts. Here’s the pricing plan:Summary
One might argue that there already are a couple of free collaboration tools (or tools with free options) in the market already. Some of these include Dropbox, Slack and Google Docs. Hence, the argument goes, there is no need to use a paid service. But before you dismiss ShareFile, you might want to look closely at what it offers. Besides sharing and file storing, the service also provides you with remote and virtual desktop access, document signing, and other features. Most importantly, the service integrates with other platforms. It plays well with other common small business apps like Microsoft Office 365, to name just one example.
This article, "ShareFile Is Big Business-Grade File Sync and Share Solution Built for Small Business" was first published on Small Business Trends
Let’s face it, sales is a grind. The daily slog of cold calls, follow ups, and client maintenance, combined with the stress of trying to hit your monthly, quarterly and yearly numbers, can take a toll on you. As the old saying goes, working smarter not harder can help to ease the burden. Three key factors — research, attitude, and persistence (RAP) — can impact your bottom line:How to Be a Better Salesperson Research
Who is it that you need to speak to, and what do they do? It seems obvious, but using LinkedIn can be a tremendous asset towards saving you time by pointing you directly to the decision maker that you need to be talking to. Targeted list building via tools like LinkedIn will save you time in the long run by whittling your call list down to just the essential people, and weeding out the time wasters.
A LinkedIn message rather than an email shows that you’ve taken the time to learn about your prospect, and turns a cold call slightly warmer. This also gives your prospect a chance to look at your profile before responding, which can help eliminate some early questions.
Aside from learning about your contact, take the time to learn a little about the company. This will help you to better identify their potential pain points and how you can provide the solution. Part of this research will also illuminate their target markets and buying cycles, so you can make sure you’re calling them at the right time.Attitude
Sales is a business of rejection. Even the most optimistic of ratios would have you hearing a “no” at least half the time. When several of those rejections come consecutively (especially on the same day), it’s easy to let it get you down. But each new call or email is potentially the streak-breaker. Even though you’re not face-to-face with your prospect, your mood impacts your tone of voice on the phone and your word selection in emails. Negativity breeds negativity, and having a positive outlook each and every time you reach out is critical.
Part of this attitude is not just a belief in yourself, but a belief in what you’re selling. You have to know your products inside and out. Additionally, you have to know your competition inside and out. How can you be expected to solve your prospect’s problems if you don’t fully understand how your product provides the solution? Knowledge is power, and that power brings a confidence which is perceptible to anyone hearing your pitch. Your prospect will quickly understand that you firmly grasp the challenges they’re facing, and will trust that you can provide a solution.Persistence
It should take you at least five “no” answers in a conversation before you actually take no for an answer. Think of it this way. If for every 100 people that tell you “no” the first time, you get 10 to change their mind to a “maybe,” that’s 10 more detailed pitches you get to make. From those 10 pitches, if two of them decide to turn their “maybe” into a “yes,” that’s two more sales than you had before just by not giving up. The other 98 rejections were rejections the first time they said “no,” so you haven’t lost anything. Each time you hear a “no,” ask for a reason. If you’ve done your research and know your prospect and product like described above, you should be able to counter their “no” with a valid reason why they should hear you out.
Part of persistence is also a dogged determination to keep grinding. It’s simple math: regardless of your closing percentage, you’ll sell more by making 100 calls than you will by making 10. The constant rejection can wear you down, but if you follow the RAP guidelines, you’ll have better targets, a better attitude and a determination to turn “no” into “yes” that will carry you to better sales.
Rappers Photo via Shutterstock
I tend to work pretty clean. I don’t do a lot of cartoons about sex. I rarely, rarely swear in a cartoon. And for the most part, I stay away from scatological humor.
But when a picture of a pile of poo is something everyone sends to each other on a regular basis and everyone, including my mom, is pretty OK with that … ? Well, you can’t help but do a cartoon around it.
This article, "He Could Have Told Us Sales Were in the Tank; Instead, He Shows Us" was first published on Small Business Trends
Text a question like “What’s my credit card debt?” or “How much did I spend on gas this month?” and the friendly answer comes within seconds.
“Let’s see,” it begins, before listing the requested information.
This is a banking chatbot, a software program that understands and responds to questions and commands about your bank account. It’s like your bank’s customer service representative — powered by artificial intelligence.
This one is named MyKai and was released by artificial intelligence software company Kasisto in June. Any question you ask sends the bot to your transaction history for an answer.
“You can ask whatever you want, any time you want,” says Dror Oren, Kasisto’s vice president of product. “You’re not limited to the features that appear on a list of buttons and menus.”
With chatbots, learning about our finances will be quicker, more convenient, and, oddly, maybe a little more human.Chatbots for Banks Time for a chat
Customers can use the chatbot to track their finances when they create a MyKai account. Connecting it to their bank’s online account will let the bot see and read only their transactions. It can transfer money if it’s connected to a separate Venmo account. Users won’t have to download a new app — the bot operates out of Facebook Messenger, Slack or text, which customers can select through the MyKai account.
Kasisto has also partnered with the Royal Bank of Canada and DBS Bank in Singapore to provide those banks with chatbot technology, which will debut later this year. Bank of America is collaborating with Facebook Messenger to release a chatbot platform by the end of 2016.Making connections
The banking industry expects other institutions to follow suit.
“Just as all banks have apps, all banks will have bots,” says Jake Tyler, CEO of banking chatbot company Finn.ai.
The chatbot industry is in the early stages. Both Oren and Tyler expect the market to initially be cluttered with low-quality bots that might misinterpret some texts.
But eventually, bots will become so sophisticated people won’t be able to tell them apart from humans, says Steven DeLaCastro, head of the digital banking program at Cognizant, a technological consulting company.
People like engaging with an active voice over a passive one, DeLaCastro says, meaning it’ll be more fun to talk to a robot that “listens” to what you say than respond to an automated menu you might encounter in a phone call to the bank. “The interaction seems more human-like and even fulfills an emotional need.”
For customer service representatives at banks, it means less time spent answering questions about your total balance, and more time handling more complex tasks.
And for customers, it might be a break from automated menus.
Republished by permission. Original here.
Chatbot Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "Chatbots Will Soon Discuss Your Banking Info With You" was first published on Small Business Trends
The Krystal Company, the brand famous for its iconic square hamburgers, is celebrating National Root Beer Day all week. From August 8 through August 12, Krystal will offer its Root Beer floats at a special price of $0.99 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in participating locations.
The Krystal Float is made with a blend of cold and frosty Barq's Root Beer, plus a scoop of creamy Blue Bunny vanilla bean ice cream.Chains: Krystal
For nine years Wendy's has offered the Baconator, featuring two quarter-pound patties of 100 percent pure fresh beef, six strips of thick-cut Applewood-smoked bacon, three slices of cheese, and a bakery-style bun.Chains: Wendy's
Burger King restaurants are introducing a Tex-Mex twist on its famous Whopper sandwich nationwide with its new Whopperito burger-burrito mash-up. After a local market debut that sparked widespread demand from guests, Burger King restaurants is now taking its Whopperito national at participating restaurants beginning August 15.Chains: Burger King
S&D Coffee Inc. has accepted an offer made by the Cott Corporation to be acquired.
Following the completion of the proposed transaction, S&D will be a subsidiary of Cott, still operating under the S&D Coffee & Tea name. Ron Hinson, at almost 38 years with the company, will remain president and CEO of S&D, and the management team will assume the same scope and responsibilities. Cott, a global, multi-beverage leader, will enable further development and acceleration of S&D’s business model.Chains: S&D Coffee
Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, a leading fast-casual artisanal pizza chain, has opened its new flagship restaurant in Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort. Known for its chef-driven recipes, the 150th Blaze restaurant debuts in an architecturally innovative structure that was designed specifically for this location.Chains: Blaze Fast Fire'd Pizza
In response to a growing consumer sentiment towards cage-free eggs and the adoption of this policy by several other food service companies, Focus Brands is joining forces with others in the industry and announcing its commitment to sourcing ingredients that contain only cage-free eggs.
While not a large user of eggs or food items with egg as an ingredient, Focus Brands will work with its suppliers to ensure that all of its restaurant menu items will contain only cage free eggs by 2026.Chains: FOCUS BrandsCarvelCinnabonSchlotzsky'sMoe's Southwest GrillAuntie Anne'sMcAlister's Deli
Fort Worth, Texas-based Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, the award-winning, Baja-style, fast-casual Mexican restaurant group, hit a milestone this week with the opening of its 100th restaurant. The 100th Fuzzy's Taco Shop is in Oklahoma City, making it the fifth Fuzzy's Taco Shop in Oklahoma, the third in Oklahoma City, and the first tenant to open in the brand new Chisholm Creek mixed-use development in northwest Oklahoma City.Chains: Fuzzy's Taco Shop
McDonald’s is honoring the spirit of friendship that is at the heart of the Olympic values by celebrating nearly 100 kids from around the world with a once-in-a-lifetime, and first-ever, opportunity to participate in an Opening Ceremony at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The McDonald’s Olympic Kids will walk in the Parade of Nations at Rio’s famed Maracanã Stadium in front of 80,000 live spectators and billions of television viewers worldwide.Chains: McDonald's
Subway, the world’s largest sandwich chain, revealed a bold update to its iconic logo, along with a powerful new symbol. Consumers will catch a glimpse of the new logo in ads airing August 5.Chains: Subway
McAlister's Deli has announced its national partnership with Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. Throughout the month of August, McAlister’s will turn its famous sugar cookies blue, in support of the organization’s signature color. $0.75 from each cookie sold will support Autism Speaks’ mission of funding scientific research, increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorder, and advocating for the needs of people with autism and their families.Chains: McAlister's Deli