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5 Simple and Affordable Ways to Show Your Employees You Appreciate Them

Your employees work hard providing you with the services and products you need on an ongoing basis. As a result, your company is profitable and may even be growing and expanding. That's why it is so important to keep your employees happy. Many small businesses (and large ones, too) don't always see the opportunities for boosting employee morale or offering incentives because they believe these to be too expensive or not desired by the staff. Here are a few simple steps you can take that can make an immediate, positive impression on your employees…and, they do not have to cost a lot! #1: Give Your Employees Power Breaks One of the best ways to give your employees something they need - and will always appreciate - is by giving them a power break. According to TDS Connect’s March 2015 business blog entry aptly named, “Employee Appreciation: Unique perks and practices in retention”, studies show that 17-20 minute pause provides a refreshing break and yields increased productivity.   Recent surveys indicate that individuals who get 15 to 20-minute breaks throughout the workday are more productive than those who work hours on end without interruption. How can you do this? Encourage your employees to take a walk, lounge or even nap for 20 minutes in the late morning or early afternoon hours. That little bit of relaxation and peace - especially away from computers and phones - can transform them. #2: Give Them Concierge Services Help your employees focus on the job at hand by taking care of some of life’s more mundane tasks for them. For example, provide them with a concierge service that can handle their time-consuming research, like travel or event planning, take their vehicles in for service, or complete all of

Cheer Loudly!

http://www.timesquaredconcierge.com/blog/ As the president of a company in the service industry, I am always a little anxious when a customer call escalates to me.  Is someone less than 100% satisfied with our service?  So, this was no different until the woman on the other line said, “This is the first time I’ve ever attended a game.”  This customer went on to explain that, as a single working mother, it was all she could do to drop her son off then race frantically around town – to Walmart, Costco, & the grocery store – all the while praying that her son was not the last one at the ballpark when she returned to pick him up. But tonight was different because a member of our team ran all of her personal errands while she was at work.  So, for the very first time she was going to be seated in the stands watching her son’s game.  I could hear the excitement in her voice as she called to thank me.  It was almost as if she couldn’t believe that it was happening – a dream come true.  As we both fought back the tears, I said, “Cheer loudly, because the games where he looks up in the stands and sees you yelling his name – Those are the games he will remember 30 years from now.  Cheer loudly!” What motivates you to do what you do for a living?  I look forward to hearing from you.

Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast

According to this Entrepreneur Magazine article "Culture eats strategy for breakfast", Culture is today’s major performance differentiator, and I could not agree more!  This article gives details on some ways to build a great corporate culture, but we all know it is about inclusion, communication, and inspiration.  I remember when I started my first concierge service 20+ years ago, and every employee had to work a second job because the wages I could afford to pay were so low.  They willingly did so to be part of something bigger than themselves. They also did so for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our customers.  The impact was meaningful and impactful, and we continued to share these stories as the company grew rapidly across North America.  Soon we were so geographically disbursed that the employees didn’t even know what their co-workers looked like, but they felt connected in a profound way.  I am so thrilled for the opportunity to build the TimeSquared culture even better!

Leave a voicemail that won’t be deleted

According to Jill Konrath, the sales and marketing guru, busy professionals only listen to the first 2.7 seconds of each voicemail message. I admit I’m a “voicemail deleter”. I am so quickly annoyed by rambling voicemail messages. Since I’m in a confessing mood, if you are my mother, I NEVER listen to any of your messages. Why? Because I love her dearly, but her messages never tell me anything that my caller ID hasn’t already told me….”Andrea, this is your Mom. Call me back when you get a chance.” So, the question is not how to avoid being my Mom, rather … How to leave a message that compels the receiver to listen to the message in its entirety. Here are some easy steps: #1 Give them a value proposition that is meaningful to THEM. #2 Don’t start the message with your company name unless it is one that makes people stand up and take notice. #3 Speak as you are their peer – not their buddy and not subservient to them. Do not say, “I know you are super busy”. They will say to themselves, “Yeah, I’m too busy to listen to you tell me how busy I am”. #4 Ask for the next step in your sales process (conference call, in person meeting, web-based demo, etc.). Give these tips a try and let me know how they worked for you.  I'd love to hear your tips too!

The Shoes have it! Meeting Etiquette.

The Shoes have it!  Meeting Etiquette. I’ve been reading studies about the increased productivity of walking meetings as well as a recommendation for standing meetings (meetings where all participants remain standing during the meeting).  I can assure that if I’m wearing my Manolo Blanik’s – which I refer to as my “sitting shoes” – I will be distracted through the duration of the ever so brief meeting. We are over thinking this.  Meetings are simply too frequent, too long and too unproductive.  We need to get laser focused on the intended result, set a firm end time, reiterate the action items at the close of the meeting and end every meeting 5 minutes early. Lastly, we need to hold one another accountable to complete their required action items in order to move the process forward. I have found weekly status updates via email very productive.  I also am a proponent of set meetings with the same agenda so each party knows what they need to have prepared prior to attending and they know what to expect from the meeting.

Never take your customers for granted

A while ago I arrived at the hair salon that I had been going to for years. After a quick shampoo, I was directed to the chair of my stylist - who was also the salon owner. He wasn’t nowhere in sight. A few minutes later I spotted him behind the front desk handling a business matter. Since he looked busy, I got up and strolled through the salon looking for a magazine. I proceeded to wait in his chair with wet hair until I completed the entire magazine. Just then my stylist rushed over and began cutting my hair. As he finished trimming the hair on one side of my head, he was called away again. He excused himself and scurried off. I then got myself a glass of water and walked by the front desk to check on an ETA of my missing stylist. Since no one even acknowledged my lingering, I finished my water and grabbed a hairdryer. I proceeded to dry and style my almost dry hair. My stylist grabbed me as I was walking out of the salon. He apologized for being so busy and explained that he would finish my haircut as he couldn’t afford me walking around town representing his salon with a half completed haircut. How interesting that he realized that his customer represented him every day as the walk around town. However, he failed to realize the importance or cost of losing one of those walking billboards. As I sat in traffic thinking of creative ways to hide my new “half-do”, I thought about my previous experiences at that salon. Was I always treated so poorly? Of course, not. Previously, I was warmly greeted with a

Creating your recurring revenue model

Here is a link to sound advice about how to create personal financial stabiity.  This is crucially important in uncertain financial times as we face in the US today.  I think you will like this one as Rusty always presents valuable information in an easy to digest format! Enjoy and let me know what you did to take action on this! http://www.holcombefinancial.com/events/recurring-revenue-foundation-success/

Pat’s volunteer experience

A big thanks to Pat, a 2 Places employee for sharing his experience from our company-wide annual volunteer day: As you know, our company's volunteer day theme this year was to assist senior citizens.  Therefore, on Friday, September 23rd I volunteered my time and services to SAGE Eldercare in Summit, New Jersey.  Please see the attached document that provides concise text of what this organization is all about. My efforts were dividing into two parts.  In the morning I assisted Daniel, an experienced driver using his own car, to provide hot lunch to fifteen seniors in the nearby town of Springfield, NJ.  These people are either shut ins, low income or unable to prepare meals for themselves.  For most of  them, the person delivering lunch to their home is the only human that they will interact with during that day.  The vast majority are extremely appreciative of the efforts of the people bringing healthy meals to them on a daily basis. It was an eye opening experience as it showed me how many people that are living near me who require food assistance. In the afternoon I worked with Priscilla at SAGE's facility to create organized food bins to store a large amount of food that the organization recently received from the general public after Hurricane Irene. This mundane project had us sort cans, bags and packages of food that had been stored helter skelter in a very unorganized manner.  Our completed effort made the director of volunteering very happy.  She now has an inventory of easy to access food that her group can quickly utilize for whatever purpose they need it for. I left SAGE feeling very good that day because I saw how my efforts provided a small, yet positive, impact on

Lessons from the masters

My first job was working at a hair salon for blue-haired old ladies when I was 14 years old.  My job included washing and folding towels, helping customers in from their cars, and carefully covering their ears and hairline with a protective layer of cotton before placing them under a dryer to roast.  Most people would think that spending the summer surrounded by women older than my grandmother while my friends were spending endless days lounging by the pool talking about boys would be sheer torture, but not me.  I found these women fascinating!  After all, they had lived! Tales of the Great Depression, Kennedy’s assassination, and the Civil Rights movement were spinning in my head every day. But it was more than that. I read about all of these landmark events in history class.  The real stories were about how these monumental events shaped their everyday lives.  I learned of victory gardens and the personal decisions to treat people with dignity in the face of danger and alienation.  I saw how someone who did without as a child appreciates all that she has some 50+ years later and is quick to share with others as others had done with her.  I saw in the eyes of these women that a dream doesn’t die with an individual person but lives within all of us.  I saw passion, resilience, conviction, and a quiet strength.  I saw teachers who were willing to accept me as their pupil and I consider myself fortunate to have had one short summer to learn from these masters. When 2 Places At 1 Time, Inc. wass celebrating its 20-year anniversary, I  paid homage to the lessons learned from the past.  To do so, I propose that

Families bear the brunt of work-life unbalance

When Americans’ work-life balance is disrupted, families bear the brunt, according to the StrategyOne 2010 survey of 1,043 Americans; however, most report that family is of greatest importance to us.  Think about your day to day life.  What responsibilities do you put off when you are short on time?  Do you find yourself having to decide whether to take your car for that much needed oil change or eat lunch?  How about the common American dinner time dilemma of opting for take-out as the only means of fitting in both a meal and time to help the children with homework?  How often do you find yourself short on time….weekly or daily?  It happens to all of us.  Although there isn’t a cure, there are several small things that you can do to lessen the frequency of these time-crunched frenzies. The first thing is to be realistic about what is really reasonable to accomplish in a given day.  Stop saying to yourself, “If only I could get my work done quicker, if I didn’t get stuck in traffic or in a line at the grocery store...”  These obstacles are out of our control and ever present in our lives.  Second, plan for the busy week ahead.  This is the very reason Rachel Ray’s new show “Cook 1 Day, Eat for 5” even exists!  If you can find a block of time, it is more efficient to shop for the entire week at once and spend 2 hours prepping the week’s ingredients.  During my 2 year olds Saturday nap, you can usually find me in the kitchen creating homemade marinades, prepping meat and chopping vegetables to be thrown into steamers or salads throughout the week.  However, the