Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Become a Marketing Guru

Why is Marketing important?  According to an article in the Houston Chronicle, The Importance of Marketing for the Success of a Business, Marketing is the heart of business success.  Marketing is essential to business growth. An understanding of Marketing and relationship building is crucial for delivering a company’s values and mission, defining and “speaking” to the target audience, and establishing a strong customer base.

Marketing vs. Advertising

Advertising is only a small part of marketing.  Marketing encompasses: defining the product, the manner and strategy of sales, conducting market research, manufacture and distribution logistics, public relations, customer support and, yes, advertising.  Marketing is about building a relationship between an organization and its consumer.

Company Reputation

The success or failure of all business rests on the foundation known as Reputation.  Marketing helps companies communicate with their targeted audiences.  It is a way to convey the values and mission of the company.  It sets an expectation that will be delivered to the consumer and when the expectation is met or exceeded—reputation and business grows.

Find what Works

Sounds simple enough, but it requires forethought and strategy.  According to Udemy, The Importance of Marketing: 10 Reasons You Can’t Afford Not to Market Your Business, there are many ways to market and while testing the marketing waters, you will not only build a social asset for your business, but you will discover what really works for your business, as well as,  where to invest your time and money.

Ready to become a Marketing Guru? Give our Marketing Principles course a try!

Recently added to our course library, Marketing Principles explores the ways in which marketing has developed over time. If you want to learn the various facets of marketing and how marketers accomplish their goals, this is the course for you. Discover how to locate the target market, do customer research, identify the components of the product, and promote that product. Gain the necessary tools to market your products and your brand more effectively.

To see the entire course outline click here.
Ready to Sign Up? Go NOW

Watch a free lesson: http://youtu.be/cM6Upqi43tE

Friday, January 9, 2015

New Business Course: Human Resources Management

Human Resources, at its core, is a foundation that supports a business.  Employees are human resources and an organization’s most valuable asset.  To be successful a business must utilize the skills and the ingenuity of its employees.  For a business to be high-performing, it depends on the productivity of its employees. 

Human Resources Management is a field that establishes a system to manage not only the needs of the business but the needs of the employees.  Here is a short list of how Human Resources functions in business:
  • Strategic Planning
  • Legal and Ethical Business Management
  • Job Analysis
  • Benefits
  • Training
  • Recruitment and Selection of Employees
  • Negotiations
  • Motivation
  • Analyzing Business Needs and Trends
To be effective leaders, managers should be trained in Human Resources Management.  Every manager at some point in their career will have to deal with some aspect or issue of Human Resources Management and should have some basic knowledge of the laws and procedures that govern their organization.

Knowledgecity.com has introduced a new Business Course: Human Resources Management.  The course covers key areas including: Human Resources Management Process, Motivating Management, Employee Relations, Job Analysis, The Selection Process, Training, Performance Evaluations, Career Development, Improving Employee Morale, Behavior Modification Theory and Supervision Techniques, Techniques of Group Leadership and Decision Making, Management by Objectives (MBO), Organizational Development, Analyzing and Simplifying Work Process, Payroll Cost and Control System, Wage and Salary Administration, and Fire and Safety Programs.

Watch a Free Lesson:

To see the course including lessons in each of the key areas visit the Human Resources Management course page: http://www.knowledgecity.com/BUS1086-HR-Management

Ready to start training? GO NOW for a FREE TRIAL: http://www.knowledgecity.com/signup.html

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

How to Win Great Employees

Did your company make it into Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards? No? Well don’t worry, the New Year is here and what most people do every year is make resolutions.  If you recognize your company needs change this year, make your resolution to achieve a culture that your employees can thrive in.  If you are wondering what kind of culture employees thrive in, the kind that wins awards and has employees singing your company’s praises, then check out some of the perks from the top five companies on the list:

Google was listed as number one according to the Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards.  As reported by employees, some of the perks of working for an internet giant include:  Retiree Health and Medical, On Site Health Care, Flexible Hours, Work from Home, Free Lunch or Snacks, Paid Holidays, Gym Membership, Pet Friendly Workplace, Childcare, Dependent Care, Company Social Events, Professional Development and Training.  These are in addition to the basic medical insurance and 401K or other retirement plan.

Nestle Purina Pet Care Company and Boston Consulting Group employees reported Sabbaticals as one of their many perks.  F5 Networks, developers of network management platforms, offers employees 3 weeks of paid vacation in the first year of employment and “Beer Fridays”.  Most of the top five offer Free healthcare, free snacks and a work from home option.

What is the one thing they all have in common? They all have the desire to invest in their employees in ways that benefit the employee professionally.  Tuition Assistance and Apprenticeships were highly prized benefits.  Professional Development and Training programs are used to provide opportunities for employees to enhance or learn new skills.  F5 company employees believe the company’s training program is a valuable asset. 

While you may not be able to bring pets into work or offer completely free medical to your employees, you can give them something that employees themselves say is more valuable than free snacks: an education.  Helping your employees with professional development is an achievable goal for the New Year.

Knowledgecity.com offers corporate training for Business, Computer Software and Safety Compliance.  With convenient online training courses that can be taken anytime and anywhere, set your resolution in motion and offer KnowledgeCity training to your employees.  We are adding new courses all the time.  Visit our website for a FREE TRIAL.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

When it’s Time for a Change

With 2015 fast approaching most individuals naturally begin to reflect on what has come to pass and start thinking about changes they want to implement in their lives for the coming year.  Change is inevitable whether we want it or not.  The same is true in business.  Technology changes so quickly it is obsolete before it hits the store shelves.  Customers wants and needs change at the drop of a hat.  The economy booms and busts with fluctuating fanfare.

To challenge the status quo businesses need to know when it is time for a change and embrace it.  Why? To stay competitive, explore new opportunities for growth and to meet the needs of their customers and teams.  Whether you resist change or roll with it will determine how many bumps and bruises your company will endure.

According to an article in the Houston Chronicle, “Why is Change Important in an Organization?” organizations who ask “Why?” often discover the answer in new ideas and innovations that can in the long run impact the productivity of employees and the company’s bottom line.
So how do you know when it’s time for a change?

  1. Your business has hit a plateau. Your team has given all they can and used every facet of their skillset.  Much like the New Year’s diet and exercise resolution, it hits us hard.  We are struggling against a current and find the shore no closer.  It’s time for a change.  Maybe you need to add to your team—some new blood to invigorate—or perhaps you need to develop the team you have with training.
  2. Your competitors have shaken things up. Competition is never a bad thing, but it may be time for a change.  When the going gets tough the tough focus on what they do best and evaluate the situation.  What are your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats?  The SWOT analysis can lead to important changes that can keep you competitive.
  3. Your financial projections are amiss. When your financial picture looks askew, it’s time for a change.  Ask yourself these questions: Are your original projections accurate? What forces, both external and internal, are affecting these projections? When you have the answers to these questions you can work to fix what is possible to fix and make plans to work around the unfixable.
  4. Employee morale has plummeted.  It’s time for a change.  Have you ever conducted an exit interview?  Have you ever polled your staff for feedback?  These are good ways to test the waters and see where the spoke in the wheel has become unhitched.  Sometimes employees leave and never tell you the real reason why.  Don’t wait until the wheel is broken and the support is gone.
  5. Loyal customers have jumped ship.  Now, consumers can be fickle and it may not be a thing but when your biggest fans walk away—it’s time for a change.  Number one, ask your customer for feedback.  Research reviews on your business.  Ask your sales team for their insights.  Re-examine your product(s).  We can’t all be WD-40, some of us will need to change.

The best way to embrace change is to educate—yourself and your team.  Knowledge is power.  Knowledgecity.com has some courses for you to consider in the New Year: Managing Change, Building a Successful Team, Marketing Principles, Strategic Brand Management, Managing Assets, Managerial Budgeting, HR Management, Consumer Behavior, and Operating a Business are just a few of the courses that can help your business manage change with ease.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Leadership is A Skill You Can Learn

What is a leader?  A leader is a multifaceted style that encompasses more than managing people.  According to Kevin Kruse in an article for Forbes, “Leadership doesn’t automatically happen when you reach a certain pay grade.” (What is Leadership?)  It is a learning experience all its own.
"Leadership scholars define a leader as a person who sets attractive goals and has the ability to attract followers, or constituents, who share those goals. Above all, a leader must be trusted and respected. Trust between a leader and constituent’s opens up two-way communication, making it possible for them to realize their common goals." (Marvin Bower, The Will to Lead)
One of the most important aspects of leadership is good communication skills.  Whether it is coaching or delivering performance evaluations, leaders need to have the ability to communicate effectively.  Leadership and communication skills can be taught.  The ability to communicate and build teams is important for emerging leaders to be able motivate groups of people toward a common goal—the goal of the business. 

In an article, Businesses Don’t Fail – Leaders Do, Mike Myatt writes: ”Why do businesses fail? If you’re willing to strip away all the excuses, explanations, rationalizations, and justifications for business failures, and be really honest in your analysis, you’ll find only one plausible reason—poor leadership.”

In our new course series, Management to Leadership, instructor Dena Loverde explores the differences between managing people and leading them.  Not everyone is a leader, but with the skills learned in this course anyone can learn to be one.

Take a sneak peek at the lesson: Leader as Goal Setter, from the course Defining Leadership which will be posted live on our website: www.knowledgecity.com in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Increasing Productivity in the Workplace

Highly engaged employees were found to be 26 percent more productive than their disengaged peers.  How does this affect the bottom line for companies? One study found an increase in total returns of 13 percent.  Increasingly employees are looking for value and meaningful recognition that has no price tag.
So what exactly is motivating employee productivity?  Recognition, Opportunity and Relationships.

Recognition: Positive feedback is instant recognition you can give to an employee that will give them a sense of pride.  How does this help productivity? Your employee knows that you appreciate their efforts.  According to the USNews.com article, How to Give Positive Feedback at Work, identify how your employee’s efforts made a positive impact on the team and the organization.  One study suggests that recognizing employee’s strengths encourages their team to thrive.

Opportunity: Giving employees the opportunity to use the skills they have helps them develop and take their skills to the next level.  Encouraging a lifelong learning culture can take your company a long way.  According to the smallbusiness.chron.com article, Effects of Training on Employee Performance, training enhances morale on the job and can even increase employee loyalty—two important motivators of productivity.

Relationships: Leadership is not always easy.  Engaging employees can be a challenge.  The key is finding ways to inspire your employees.  Communication has been and always will be a major component of all relationships from top level management to individual team members.  Open, honest communication must be a priority in business.  Once you have your communication down, how do you get your team to adopt your goals?  According to the study, Management Leadership and Productivity Improvement Programs, management needs to focus on goals that matter.  Management support for Education and Training, Empowerment, and Reward Systems can be used to motivate employees and employees who feel that their leadership cares are more productive.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Employee Engagement & Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Employee engagement is a workplace mantra.  Managers around the globe are starting to think about how to create a culture where employees thrive and become committed members of the team.  When a company is able to inspire its employees to adopt its goals through engagement, the company will see the benefits in productivity.  One way of doing this is to start with understanding how we as humans are inspired in the first place.  What do we need to become committed and how do employers meet that need?  If you could ask noted psychologist, Abraham Maslow, he might tell you meet their hierarchy of needs.

Who is Maslow and what is his Hierarchy of Needs?
Abraham Maslow proposed in a paper he wrote, “A Theory of Human Motivation” published in Psychological Review in 1943, that people’s motivations are unrelated to rewards or unconscious desires.  He theorized that people are motivated by what has become known as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  The hierarchy is depicted in a pyramid that contains five levels.  These levels include: Physiological Needs, Safety Needs, Social Needs, Esteem Needs, and Self-Actualization.

According to SimplyPsychology.com, people are motivated to achieve each of the needs in the pyramid.  After people fulfill the needs at one level they move on to the next.  To progress up the pyramid each lower need must be met.  Any time there is a failure to meet the needs at a lower level it disrupts the person’s ability to progress.  Life is unpredictable.  As situations arise these experiences can cause an individual to move back and forth between levels.

According to Maslow, only one in one hundred people ever become fully self-actualized. This is mainly due to our society which primarily rewards motivation based on esteem, love and other social needs.

How Does Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Help Us Understand Employee Engagement?
To understand how Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs relates, we need to see the bigger picture.  Let’s start with Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace”. According to the report published last year, only 30 percent of employees are engaged.  Another 52 percent are disengaged and 18 percent are actively disengaged. What exactly does that mean?  It means that 70 percent of the American workforce is not committed to their organization’s goals and values.  They are not motivated to contribute to the organization’s success.  These workers are emotionally disconnected and less productive.

According to an article in Forbes, “Surprising, Disturbing Facts from the Mother of All Employee Engagement Surveys”, the leading factor that influences employee engagement is the relationship the employee has with their managers.  Choosing the right leaders significantly impacts the workforce.

“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” —Sam Walton
According to a study by Delloitte.com, “Global Human Capital Trends 2014—engaging the 21st Century Workforce”, 65 percent of executives rated “overwhelmed employees” as an urgent need that must be addressed.  The “always on” employee was built by mobile technology.  We are always connected 24/7.  The new “workaholic” lifestyle just increases with seniority and income.

In addition to employees being overwhelmed, some other reasons for disengaged employees are: workload is too high, companies that do not invest in talent development, no advancement opportunities for high performers, non-inclusive culture, transitions in leadership.

“People leave managers, not organizations.” —Anonymous
The key to engaging employees, motivating your team, and increasing productivity in the long run is to invest in your workers.  Re-design the position, add benefits that matter, change the work environment and develop your team and leadership.  It is not always easy to re-engage a disengaged employee, but people aren’t motivated by the bottom line.  They are motivated by the things that meet their hierarchy of needs.