This article was translated from our Spanish edition.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You’re reading Entrepreneur United States, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
The United States Government reported this Monday that it will allow entry to the country of travelers from the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) who are vaccinated with the full schedule from November.
Frontera México – Estados Unidos.
According to the Expansión site, Jeff Zients, head of the response team against COVID-19 at the White House, announced that travelers must show proof of vaccination and a negative test carried out three days before entering the country.
Travel restrictions to the United States had been in effect and unchanged since March 2020.
These are the new measures to enter the United States
Starting in November, travelers entering the United States – whether they are residents returning to the country or business travelers – must present their vaccination certificate and a negative COVID test taken three days before entering.
If it is a resident who has not been vaccinated, you will need to submit a negative COVID-19 test one day before your return trip and another as soon as you arrive in the United States.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will issue an order for the airlines to collect the information of the passengers (telephone numbers and email address) to be in contact with the passenger in case of a case of COVID-19.
And Mexico and Canada?
For North American countries with land borders with the United States, the White House said it will extend restrictions on non-essential travel (such as tourism) until October 21.
The Ministry of Foreign Relations (SRE) of Mexico pointed out in its social networks since July 7 that the US government clarified that “neither the entry of travelers to its territory nor the eventual reopening of the common border are conditioned on the use of specific rates of vaccine “.
The US government has clarified to us that neither the entry of travelers into its territory nor the eventual reopening of the common border is conditioned on the use of specific types of vaccine.
The household income of Americans fell last year as COVID-19-related lockdowns wrought havoc on the economy, according to new figures from the Census Bureau.
The median household income was $67,521 in 2020, a decrease of 2.9 percent from the 2019 median of $69,560 and the first significant decline since 2011, the Census said in its findings published Sept. 14 (pdf).
Household income includes money from wages or salaries, Social Security, public assistance or welfare payments, interest from savings or bonds, dividend from investments, veterans’ payments, or unemployment and workmen’s compensation, as well as among other sources.
Between 2019 and 2020, the real median earnings of all workers decreased by 1.2 percent from $42,065 to $41,535, while the real median earnings of full-time, year-round workers increased 6.9 percent from their 2019 estimate.
However, the total number of those who worked full-time, year-round, declined by 13.7 million between 2019 and 2020, signifying the largest year-to-year decline in the number of full-time, year-round workers since 1967.
The total number of people with earnings decreased by about 3 million.
Meanwhile, the official poverty rate rose from a 60-year low, to 11.4 percent from 10.5 percent in 2019, the first increase in poverty after five consecutive annual declines.
While the thresholds for meeting the official definition of poverty vary in size and composition, the weighted average poverty threshold for a family of four in 2020 was $26,496.
There were 37.2 million people in poverty last year, 3.3 million more than in 2019, signalling the massive economic strains the lockdowns placed on tens of millions of people who were left without work, particularly in marginalized communities.
However, government programs designed to help assist low-income families, such as stimulus checks and $600 weekly unemployment benefits, appear to have somewhat softened the blow.
The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which includes many government assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), school lunches, housing assistance, stimulus payments, and refundable tax credits, declined by 2.6 percent to a rate of 9.1 percent, the lowest level since it began being measured in 2009.
“I think this really shows the importance of the social safety net,” said Liana Fox, chief of the poverty statistics branch in the Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division at the Census Bureau. “When we see differences in trends with the official poverty rate and the SPM … that’s really the impact of our tax system, that’s the impact of our non-cash benefits.”
Elsewhere, the Census Bureau found that the share of Americans without health insurance was at 8.6 percent last year, amounting to 28 million people. For people with health insurance coverage, 66.5 percent are on private insurance and 34.8 percent are on public plans.
The report comes shortly after more than 7 million Americans lost their pandemic unemployment benefits on Labor Day, including Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)—the $300 weekly bonus checks, as well as assistance for those who are normally ineligible for unemployment insurance—leaving them with smaller payouts or nothing at all.
The Biden administration said it has no plans to reevaluate or extend the unemployment benefits, the White House said.
While some advocates of the move, including businesses and lawmakers, hope that the reduction in benefits will lead to a rise in job applications, opponents fear obstacles such as securing childcare and lingering fears surrounding COVID-19 may still hamper such efforts.
President Joe Biden and other Democrats are currently pushing for more investments into programs such as The American Families Plan, which aims to help families cover basic expenses, and extend key tax cuts to in the plan that benefit lower- and middle-income workers and families, such as Child Tax Credit.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You’re reading Entrepreneur United States, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
If you are an author, you need the best available tools at your fingertips to grow and scale your business. Business owners spend an estimated 17 percent of their time on administrative tasks. As an author, that leaves you with a lot less time and energy for the thing you love the most: writing.
While big corporations can delegate certain business responsibilities to third parties, you are going to be responsible for most of these tasks yourself. Fortunately, online tools now exist that help improve your writing skills and efficiency. You can ultimately save money by getting lifetime subscriptions to these tools at a discount through a tech marketplace like AppSumo.
AppSumo is a tech curator and marketplace where authors and other entrepreneurs can find tools they need to succeed in every aspect of their business. AppSumo provides the most cutting-edge digital tools available on the market today, which has paid out over $45M to its 3,000+ partners in just 11 years.
The Ultimate List of Book Author Tools
AppSumo offers several innovative tools that authors can use to develop their writing skills, create high-quality content, grow their business, and increase their ROI.
ProWritingAid is a tool that helps writers of all types develop their writing skills and style, as well as improve the efficiency of their writing.
One notable ProWritingAid feature that writers rave about is its Reports feature. ProWritingAid generates more writing reports than any other writing tool on the market today. These reports help authors strengthen their writing style, catch grammatical errors, notice cliches and redundancies in their writing, and even catch incidental instances of plagiarism before publication.
If you are using a certain writing platform, such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Office, Google Docs, Open Office, Scrivener, or Final Draft you can easily integrate ProWritingAid’s features into your preferred platform.
How To Launch A Book Course
Once you’ve completed your book, you’ll need to start strategizing for the book launch. The How To Launch A Book Course tool can help you do just that. Not only does this tool help writers determine their goals for the book, but it also helps them identify their target audience.
This tool educates authors on how to craft a strong book launch strategy, how to obtain reviews for your book in order to boost visibility, and how to run a successful marketing campaign with your target audience in mind.
Indie Publishing Fundamentals
If you’re just getting started with independent publishing you may wonder about your next steps. That’s where Indie Publishing Fundamentals comes in. It will help you take control of your publishing destiny and propel your book into bestsellerdom.
Learn the fundamentals of self-publishing from Carissa Andrews via step-by-step video tutorials. She will take you through the steps of getting words on the page, formulating a writing routine, mastering self-editing, and learning the marketing secrets of keeping your book ranking on the charts. You’ll also get three bonus modules to help take your book to the next level. If you’re new to the indie publishing realm this is the course for you.
Rytr is an artificial intelligence (AI) assistant that creates content on your behalf. Creating content can be mentally exhausting, in addition to the fact that it is often extremely time consuming and costs you money in the long run. Rytr generates high-quality content instantly for any type of writing or platform, such as emails, social media, blogs, ads, and more.
Utilizing this tool can help you save money and can also give you more time to focus on creating the content that you are most passionate about.
Get the best author tools on the market from AppSumo.
AppSumo’s offerings can help writers of all types stay organized and work more efficiently. Their curated tech marketplace, which includes these valuable tools for authors, offers you everything you need to grow your business.
Take a look at their Tools for Book Authors Collection and see how these tools can help you improve your content creation process and scale your business.
Last year was a difficult time for the Mexican economy. The income of different companies fell due to the health contingency. Only essential businesses were allowed to remain open.
One of the main questions that were raised on this issue was the question of what makes a business essential? The answer that first comes to mind is that they are those that cover basic needs.
However, if so, why were clothing stores or restaurants forced to close their doors? Does the sale of food and clothing not meet the needs of the human being? It would seem a bit arbitrary to make a decision about which places are closed and which are not. Those who could not keep direct selling to the public open, found a way to continue generating income virtually.
Currently, national businesses are showing good signs of recovery, despite the fact that the pandemic has not ended. Last July, the National Association of Self-service and Department Stores (ANTAD) reported that store sales showed an increase of 15.3%. In addition, most businesses can continue to operate, following sanitary measures such as site disinfection and capacity control.
After this dark period in the Mexican economy, experts were able to discern a business opportunity that had been emerging from previous years, e-commerce or electronic commerce. From 2019 to the first quarter of 2020, Mexico had increased consumption rates by 35% through digital commerce. However, the Mexican Online Sales Association (AMVO) in its Study on Online Sales 2021, states that online sales grew 81% during the lockdown.
With the exponential growth of this business model, it is more than evident that technology became a decisive factor for the success of any undertaking.
“The new consumer not only modified the demand for products, but also their traditional way of purchase. The current context brought it closer to technology and turned it into a digital buyer, which constitutes a challenge for commerce, since they will have to adapt and make investments in technology, mainly in their payment processing platforms ”, said Sergio Villarruel, General Manager at Fiserv México, during the webinar Shops facing the new reality: challenges and opportunities in their sales strategies.
Omnichannel; the future of business
Omnichannel is a business strategy that consists of offering products or services through different points of sale, both physical and digital, always offering the same sales experience, whatever the route or channel through which the customer accesses.
It offers a more effective communication that generates a greater number of sales, compared to those that could be made through a single channel. Having an omnichannel strategy is a key factor to achieve greater competitiveness in the market.
Now that we know what omnichannel is and the benefits it brings, how can we adjust it to our business? It is necessary to create a synergy between digital and physical channels, create a kind of circular experience where the customer can see the product online and buy physically or vice versa.
This is what commonly occurs with department stores that apply the “Click and collect” sales format where you pay online and go to a physical branch to collect the product.
As we mentioned before, another key point is to generate multiple sales channels. Let’s think about a restaurant for a moment, it generates income from consumption in the local, in addition to generating through platforms such as UberEats, Rappi, DidiFood, home delivery by phone, orders made by the restaurant’s own app, orders made from the web platform, among other.
Another advantage of omnichannel is the promotion that is made to the company. Word of mouth recommendation is lagging behind. Currently you can go online and see reviews from different customers who evaluate the quality of the product, people sharing their purchases on their social networks. This is another point in favor of omnichannel, having a greater online presence, greater recommendations in case your product is better than the competition and thus, position yourself as a leader in the market in a more effective and forceful way.
Challenges to face and solutions for them
Under this new sales modality, it will be necessary for entrepreneurs to adjust their businesses so that they are compatible with omnichannel.
One of the main problems to overcome is to normalize the use of technology, regardless of the line of business. What do we mean? Let’s imagine a tlapalería, a butcher shop or any small or medium-sized company; How can we ask you to start using a web portal, a digital application to be able to sell by these means?
Although it would seem that we all have access to a computer on a cell phone, many would not know how to move to omnichannel, the reality is that digitization is still a luxury. With average app development costs of medium complexity between 80,000 and 100,000 pesos, many cannot afford this investment. A solution to this problem is the use of public platforms, such as Facebook Marketplace, where small entrepreneurs can specify and agree on their sales and thus make use of omnichannel through a free channel.
The next problem to face is building trust with the customer so that they can give their payment details. The move to digitization brings with it a series of problems. The user may not feel the necessary confidence to make payments remotely, this for fear of fraud, data theft and card cloning. It is necessary to generate sufficient trust for the client to give their data. In addition to minimizing incidents such as those previously mentioned by creating a highly secure payment system.
Villarruel highlights that the companies that implemented an e-commerce page and that also opened the doors of their establishments must have a strategic plan that relies on technological tools that make physical and digital payment more efficient. Fiserv’s mission is to provide an omnichannel payment processing proposal to businesses so that it can offer its customers different alternatives to pay such as physical, mobile, virtual terminals, recurring charges, checkout integrations, interactive kiosks, links and buttons. payments, among others.
“Our products were designed to complement each other. In this way, merchants can carry out transactions by different means, attending to the different profiles of the arriving customers, providing the best experience since with all the payment solutions we offer, the merchant can accept national and foreign cards in a single terminal. , offer months without interest, receive electronic vouchers and wallets under the highest security standards ”, added Omega García Product Director for Digital Commerce in Latin America for Fiserv.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Heraclitus said, “There is nothing permanent except change.”
Well, we’ve all witnessed the validity of that claim firsthand. COVID-19 came and changed everything.
But with new things come uncertainties. We all went remote during COVID-19, but as Corona starts to ease its grip on the business world, I’m sure you’ve weighed up the pros and cons of continuing to work remotely or adopting a hybrid model.
However, in spite of all these changes, some things remain constant. For starters, your company still needs to generate new business to survive. This means having a solid process for nurturing leads into paying customers…unless you don’t have revenue goals to hit (highly unlikely).
Related: How to Grow Your Business After the Pandemic
With all these disruptions brought about by COVID-19, how do you ensure that your customers’ experience and business goals do not get tanked?
I’ll tell you. The answer is marketing automation.
Marketing automation is no longer a new concept. 75% of all companies already use at least one marketing automation tool. But now that you also have to deal with a changing business landscape, marketing automation can help ensure that your strategies and customer experience do not get interrupted.
Let’s see how.
How Marketing Automation Keep Things Consistent
While you are busy working on things you can’t automate or delegate, marketing automation can help make sure that other important activities do not get affected.
COVID-19 might be easing, but offline means of generating leads like tradeshows and conferences are either on pause or at a standstill. This means that you have to rethink the way you attract your customers.
And the way forward is to focus more on online channels. But, how do you automate the generation of leads online?
There are marketing automation tools that can help you pull key information from your site visitors with the creation of landing pages and web forms. Not only are these options measurable (so you can assess their bottom-line impact), they are easy to set up and can help you ensure that your site visitors do not leave without turning into leads.
To give your landing pages an added boost, put together some paid advertisements and incorporate them into your social media strategy to get them in front of a wider audience. Also, make sure your pop-up forms are optimized and show up before users exit your site or while they’re on high-traffic pages.
Related: 4 Things You Can Do Right Now to Generate Leads and Sales Online
Did you know that 67% of sales are lost because sales reps do not take the time to qualify their leads?
In the environment we are now, you have to be intentional about every dollar you spend. You can’t afford to keep spending on leads who won’t bring in money for you. You need to look at your customers’ journey and be able to predict which customers are most likely to convert.
With a marketing automation tool that qualifies leads for you, you can successfully score your leads at scale and move leads through your pipeline faster. This will reduce time wasted on manual scoring and allow you to focus on leads more likely to convert.
What do you do once your leads are captured?
Even if you have a small and exclusive number of leads, you don’t have the time to create individual nurture campaigns for them. Not when 83% of customers claim to pay as much attention to how brands treat them as on the product itself.
So how do you create a process that balances efficiency and personalization? This is where marketing automation comes in. It’s all about triggers and corresponding actions.
You could set triggers for actions your lead takes, like visiting your pricing page, viewing products but not adding them to cart, and so on. Anytime these triggers are activated, a personalized email (action) is sent based on the lead’s recent activities.
Related: How To Nurture Your Leads To Increase Conversion?
And the beautiful thing about automating your lead nurturing process is that you only have to set it up once. As long as the triggers keep getting activated, your nurture emails will be sent out.
This can go on for as long as you want. The length of the automation flow depends on the number of actions you want your leads to take.
Providing Customer Service
KPMG did a study on the post-COVID behavior of customers and found that 90% of customers regard issue resolution as their most important customer service concern. They want access to information they need at exactly the moment that they need it.
Now, if you need to delight customers at scale, going the manual way is definitely not an option. You need to augment your customer service efforts with automation. Chatbots are the most obvious use case.
You do not need to be available at every hour of the day. With an automated chatbot, you can provide your customers with valuable responses on social media or your website — no matter the time the customer reaches out.
Email drip campaigns can also be used to improve your customer service. A well-planned drip campaign is perfect for onboarding new customers seamlessly — helping you forge strong relationships with them.
Related: 7 Essentials of Great Customer Service
Assisting Your Own Workforce
I just talked about onboarding for customers, but what does your employee onboarding process look like?
Having a great employee onboarding process can improve your employee retention rate by 82%. This is especially important as eight in ten employees say that they will seek a new job after one bad day.
So, what onboarding tasks can be automated?
Getting employee feedback through surveys
Adding employees to your mailing lists
Sending out training materials
Syncing your employee data with your CRM
In April 2020, while the world was still in shock from COVID-19, Microsoft’s CEO — Satya Nadella — said that we’ve seen two years of digital transformation happen in two months. And that transformation trickles down to automation as we enter an era of remote everything.
By automating the things mentioned in this article, you’ll be able to increase your marketing efficiency and reach your sales and marketing goals faster, no matter where your team is located.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
After the catastrophic pandemic in 2020, this year is giving hope to professionals and organizations across the world. Companies are implementing new trends and practices to ensure that their business processes are not hampered in the future.
One of these practices is that of onboarding remote employees.
Although the remote working trend arrived many years ago, it has skyrocketed in the past two years. As professionals, we were forced to work from home and companies had to resort to virtual workspaces. HR managers had no option but to onboard employees remotely.
However, the approach to remote onboarding is not the same as traditional onboarding. An organization needs to revise its onboarding strategies to deal with employees working remotely. As these employees will not physically interact with their peers and managers, it becomes even more difficult for HR managers to ensure a smooth and efficient onboarding process.
Therefore, it is important for an organization to set up new plans for onboarding remote employees in 2021.
Before we get to the key pillars of an employee onboarding process for the remote workforce, let us understand the benefits of onboarding remote employees.
Although the last two years have made organizations face several challenges, working with remote employees has its own benefits. Here are some of the advantages of onboarding remote employees to your organization.
No geographical restrictions
On-premise hiring and onboarding often limit an organization’s choices when it comes to the location of the employees. However, when you have employees working remotely, you can hire employees working from any corner of the world. This helps you add diversity to your team and prevents you from compromising on talent just because of the geographical location of the employees.
Thanks to digitization, remote onboarding allows you to form a truly global team and get dedicated employees from across the globe onboard effectively.
Collaboration is the key to managing multiple business processes within an organization. When onboarding remote employees, always use online collaborative platforms that help you ensure that everyone is on the same page.
This improves the collaboration between new employees within and across different departments as they all view the same dashboards, access the same database and communicate on the same platform.
The remote onboarding process saves an organization from spending a fortune on organizing on-premise orientation programs, setting up new desks, providing dedicated devices and several other office expenses. Technically, all you need to onboard remote employees is a stable internet connection and essential resources for new employees.
Also, remote onboarding processes help organizations cut down training costs incurred in hiring dedicated trainers every time a new employee joins the time. HR managers can facilitate streamlined and automated virtual training by providing the new employees with all the necessary training resources.
Effective monitoring of progress
The first few weeks an employee spends in your organization requires regular and effective monitoring. This helps you ascertain the effectiveness of your onboarding process.
When you onboard remote employees, you can keep track of their progress and their work on a centralized platform. As most tasks involve using online collaborative platforms, it becomes easier for team leaders and managers to monitor the work done by the new employees in real-time.
This allows HR managers to assess how well they have onboarded the employees and make crucial decisions.
Related: 3 Tips to Leading a Fast-Growing, Remote Team
Increased flexibility and convenience
There has been a significant amount of change in employee needs over time. In 2021, employees prefer flexible work hours and utmost comfort while performing their tasks. As long as the work is done, they prefer working under flexible conditions.
The remote onboarding process provides your employees with the flexibility and comfort that is impossible to provide them if they worked on-premise. Instead of getting dressed early in the morning and traveling to work, remote onboarding allows employees to join their new company while enjoying the comfort of their homes.
This prevents HR managers from ensuring that the new employees are comfortable in their new workspace. Moreover, a decent level of comfort allows new employees to give their best, increasing their productivity and engagement with your organization.
Four building blocks of an employee onboarding process for remote employees
Seamless Employee Support
New employees are often confused and have several doubts during the first few weeks of joining a new organization. They may have a few queries as they figure things out and adjust to the new work environment. The organization needs to provide seamless support to the new employees while onboarding them in such a situation.
Remote working further increases the need and importance of employee support as your employees hardly have any options other than your service desk.
It is always advisable for an organization to implement a modern employee service desk to leverage its employee onboarding process. These service desks are powered by AI and provide personalized support to your employees, irrespective of the department they work in.
HR managers can use the modern service desks to send personalized emails to all new employees on their first day at work. These emails can contain essential details such as the contact information of team members, login credentials for collaborative platforms, company policies, roles and responsibilities and all other relevant information.
Moreover, these employee service desks use conversational AI to eliminate the use of support agents from the first level of support. They employ AI chatbots that assist your employees and interact with them until their issues are resolved.
The traditional approach to employee support is no longer relevant for onboarding remote employees as it provides them with generic and delayed solutions. The AI-based service desks understand the context of the issues raised, scan the enterprise knowledge base, and develop solutions tailored specifically for the concerned employee.
Implementing modern service desks makes onboarding remote employees easier and more effective. It provides holistic support to the new employees without looking for the same on different platforms.
A revised onboarding plan
Organizations often make the mistake of implementing the same onboarding plan for remote employees used for on-premise employees. As the mode of working changes, it becomes necessary to change the approach to onboarding employees.
An organization needs to treat the employee onboarding process like any other project to be carried out over a more extended time. Ensure you create a new plan or make significant changes to the existing plan for onboarding remote employees. Have well-defined objectives to be achieved over a specific period.
It is also advisable to set specific milestones to be achieved to measure the effectiveness of the onboarding process. A well-defined and holistic onboarding plan will allow your HR manager to deal with remote employees in a more streamlined manner.
Making employees familiar with their teams before day one
It is challenging for an HR manager to build a rapport between the new employee and their team when working remotely. It is, therefore, advisable to make the new employees familiar with their teams before their first day at work. This will prevent them from taking time for team building once they are on board and working.
HR managers often arrange virtual meetings between the new employees and their hiring managers before their joining dates. Also, all HR documentation is done earlier to prevent any distraction once the employees have started working.
When you engage with your employees before their first day and make them familiar with the team they will be working with, it helps them get more comfortable and at ease when they officially start working. An organization needs to focus on communication and collaboration while dealing with onboarding remote employees.
Regular monitoring and feedback
In order to make remote onboarding a success, organizations need to monitor the progress they are making. It is good for HR managers to keep an eye on how well they adjust to their new work environment. Make sure you keep the onboarding plan in mind while monitoring the progress to match the results with the objectives.
Also, an organization needs to ask for honest and detailed feedback from the employees about their experience with the organization. This helps the management to strengthen the processes that work and improve on the ones that don’t.
Related: Is Your Onboarding Process Broken? Here’s How to Fix It
These were some of the key building blocks for an employee onboarding process while hiring remote employees. Adhering to these processes helps HR managers ensure smooth and hassle-free onboarding, thereby increasing the organization’s rate of engagement and productivity.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
In 2021, employee engagement is one of the most important aspects of managing employees. Employee engagement helps you understand whether your employees are genuinely driven towards work and are motivated enough for your organization.
Why is employee engagement important?
Happier employees. Employee engagement equals happier employees. Gone are the days when employee needs were limited to higher salaries and promotions. Today, the needs of employees include flexibility at work, working remotely, and much more. Catering to these needs helps you keep your employees happy and more engaged.
Higher productivity High employee engagement is directly related to high employee productivity. When an employee is genuinely driven and motivated to work, they tend to work harder, increasing the overall productivity within your organization.
Improved mental health Sound mental health is extremely important. High employee engagement leads to the improved mental health of your employees as they feel more motivated towards working with their peers. Ultimately, sound mental health leads to higher productivity and an improved work atmosphere.
Reduced absenteeism Engaged employees are often connected with the organization’s core goals and want to help the company attain the same. High employee engagement leads to lower absenteeism as employees do not want to skip a day at work and are willing to give their best every day.
Greater employee retention High employee engagement allows an organization to retain more employees. If your employees are motivated and driven for work, they are less likely to leave your company or switch jobs. Engaged employees tend to stick around.
High employee loyalty Employee loyalty is often overlooked when it comes to keeping your workforce engaged. High employee engagement often leads to employees being loyal to their organization. This implies that they will not leave the company when a better offer comes their way.
Improved customer relations When your employees are engaged, they take better care of your customers and build healthy relationships. Especially in customer-facing jobs, high employee engagement leads to improved customer relations and better customer support.
Higher work satisfaction Organizations often confuse productivity with work satisfaction. Your employees can be highly productive even if they are not satisfied. Higher employee engagement results in your employees being genuinely satisfied with their work and enjoying what they do. This, in turn, leads to high productivity at work.
Related: 7 Ways to Ignite Employee Engagement and Boost Your Bottom Line
Top 10 employee engagement strategies
Employee engagement is much more complicated than it sounds. Your organization’s HR department needs to be vigilant and creative to keep employees engaged and satisfied.
Here are some of the best employee engagement strategies to help you keep employees driven.
1. Seamless employee support
It’s natural for employees to hit roadblocks and look for support. The traditional employee service desks are no longer useful in resolving issues faced by employees across all departments. An organization should implement a modern service desk to provide seamless support to its employees.
A modern service desk incorporates a single-window approach that allows employees working in all departments to obtain support from a single platform. It uses conversational AI instead of support agents to provide the first level of support to the employees. This helps your employees get their issues resolved simply by chatting with AI chatbots. The chatbots understand the context of the questions and can provide personalized solutions to the same by scanning your organization’s knowledge base.
Plus, your employees can get their cases routed to support agents to obtain more insights into their issues. Here, the service desk acts as a connecting link between your employees and the agents, helping the agents communicate personalized solutions to your employees.
2. Successful onboarding
How you onboard your employees can decide their fate with your company. If onboarded well, your employees will be thoroughly engaged while working in your organization.
Especially in remote employees, the HR managers need to provide them with all necessary resources as they join the organization. Based on their user persona, the managers can send personalized emails welcoming them into the organization. These emails can contain a welcome letter and details like company policies, the roles and responsibilities of the employees, contact information for your fellow team members, orientation dates, etc.
Effective onboarding helps make your employees comfortable in their new work environment, leading to higher engagement.
Related: 4 Essentials for Employee Engagement in a Remote World
3. Proper training
In 2021, an organization needs to be in tune with the latest technological advancements and trends in the industry. Your employees need this knowledge too. A modern service desk can help with training by adding resources to your knowledge base. Employees can now train themselves from any location and at any time.
When your employees become capable of training themselves, it boosts their confidence and makes them more driven towards their work.
4. Effective communication
Effective and streamlined communication is key to employee engagement. It’s important to establish an organized hierarchy and structure of communication to avoid confusion and get your messages through in the best way possible. Effective communication helps your employees reach out to the management and vice versa, leading to thriving work culture and a productive environment.
5. Adopting a modern ticketing system
A manual ticketing system often results in non-technical employees feeling lost and confused. It is essential to understand that not every employee is capable of using a dedicated ticketing platform. This is likely to result in reduced employee engagement.
As a solution, you can implement a modern ticketing system that allows your employees to auto-resolve their issues. Here, the service desks create and manage support tickets for your employees, relieving them of spending time and effort doing the same. A simple chat allows your employees to create a ticket and send their case to an agent.
Modern service desks keep your employees updated on their cases via periodic notifications. Once the case is resolved, the service desk automatically closes the ticket and the case without your employees making any effort.
Such ease of operation for resolving their issues allows your employees to build healthy relations with your organization, increasing employee engagement.
6. Recognizing employee efforts
No employee likes spending the majority of their days working for you without the appreciation they deserve. To increase employee engagement, it is important to recognize the efforts put in by your employees and appreciate the same.
This does not mean rewarding your employees with money. A gesture as small as a personalized email appreciating their contribution is enough to keep your employees motivated. This makes your employees feel valued and motivates them to work harder.
7. Increasing transparency in communication
When you make your decisions more transparent, it makes your employees feel included. It is always advisable for management to share their decisions with employees and take their opinions on important matters into consideration. It increases job satisfaction and makes employees feel connected.
8. Empowering managers and team leaders
Managers and team leaders are often the single-point contacts for employees whenever they encounter issues or need training. An organization needs to empower its leaders to train and manage their subordinates well. This results in an adequate delegation of authority and higher employee engagement as the needs of your employees are taken care of in the best way possible.
9. Focusing on mental well-being
As mentioned earlier, employees need to have sound mental health to give their best while working. It is always advisable for an organization to focus on the mental well-being of its employees to increase their engagement. Managers should initiate conversations regarding mental health and be sensitive to the issues faced by their subordinates to ensure they are healthy.
Related: Now Is the Time to Start Embracing Mental Health in the Workplace
10. Respecting your employees
Finally, a company needs to treat its employees with the utmost respect and value their contributions to increase engagement. Remember that your employees will be driven to work with you only when they feel like a part of your work family.
The final word
These are some of the major tips to keep in mind for increasing employee engagement within your organization. Following these tips will help you keep your employees motivated and drive them to give their best.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Online scheduling and time management are crucial for any business owner. But, if your business is appointment-based, you absolutely need online scheduling.
Patients are people and people are busy. Expectations have been raised. Rules have changed. And, instant gratification is in high demand. For the healthcare industry, technology has not kept up with the growing demands of consumer expectations. As a result, the majority of patients still have to schedule doctor’s appointments by phone. And the patient experience suffers because of it.
Providing online scheduling is a simple way healthcare practices can reinvent themselves, revolutionize the way they run, and provide an exceptional patient experience.
Related: How an Automated Scheduling Tool Helped a Wellness Center Shape Up
Keeping up with consumer demand
Online scheduling is a huge differentiating factor when searching for a healthcare practice. It’s not enough to be the nearest practice to that person’s area anymore.
When given the choice between doctors with a similar experience, proximity, availability and patient satisfaction ratings, 80% of patients reported they’d switch providers for convenience factors alone.
This is why technology is the key to pushing this industry forward because millennials, Gen Z, and beyond are not only the most tech-savvy generations, but they’re the most tech-dependent. Emerging generations do not know a way of life without smartphones, iPads or laptops. And they will choose whoever can make it the fastest, simplest process for them.
People want to reserve their appointments when it’s most convenient for them. In today’s busy and fast-paced environment, that can often mean booking appointments after hours. Self-service is the way of today. Not offering online scheduling directly results in lost leads and a backlog of work to come back to in the morning.
By making it easier than ever to take charge of their health, more patients will come and keep coming back.
Related: 3 Tactics Small Businesses Can Use to Reduce No-Shows
Creating a captivating patient experience
The patient experience goes beyond what happens at the physical appointment. What happens before they get through the door is equally as important. Turning the process of finding and booking a patient visit into a patient experience that caters to the needs of the patient will create an unforgettable memory.
No one wants to sit on the phone for 20 minutes trying to schedule an appointment, much less leave a message and wait 24 hours for a returned call. Online scheduling gets the practice staff off the phones and present in the moment. When they don’t have to deal with scheduling changes, appointment reminders or paperwork, they can get patients in and out as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Adapting to the changing landscape requires a shift from “business as usual”. Deploying the right type of tool that facilitates the experiences the modern-day patient craves — like convenience — is the critical piece of the puzzle that must be solved to create the ultimate patient experience.
Increasing your bottom line
Every business owner has a bottom line. Far too many practices focus on reducing costs to increase their bottom line when it really comes down to two simple priorities. For a practice owner, it has to be the perfect blend of investing in patient satisfaction to grow their practice which increases the bottom line.
Eliminating back and forth communications and reducing wait times will create happy patients, and happy patients will refer their friends and family.
Online scheduling is the fastest and simplest way to reduce no-shows and cancellations and save your practice thousands, if not millions, of dollars per year while simultaneously attracting new patients.
People are busier than ever these days. They don’t have time for phone calls, and neither do healthcare practices. It’s a research-backed fact that automated reminder systems are far more influential for getting people to show up on time.
The future of healthcare lies in working hand-in-hand with technology. It’s time to recognize the practice of the 1990s isn’t going to cut it when it comes to the growing expectations patients have in 2021. A digital transformation will help practices reach more patients and improve the quality of life for their community by giving them the opportunity to take charge of their health.
There’s no doubt that online scheduling and the patient experience will shake things up in 2021. Those willing to prioritize these two areas will give their practices a competitive advantage.
Related: Is Technology Redefining The Healthcare Industry In India?
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Not every entrepreneur needs inspiration; entrepreneurship through acquisition might be where you shine.
When you think of an entrepreneur, you probably imagine some visionary with a grand new idea. The archetypal entrepreneur builds a plan centered around that idea and then bootstraps the business to great heights. We’ve seen this play out again and again — but not all of us have billion-dollar ideas. Does that mean we’re not entrepreneurs?
Of course not. You don’t need an Uber- or Airbnb-caliber idea to find your place as a business leader. It’s great if you have such an idea, but if you don’t, you still have options. For one, you can just buy a business.
Related: How to Finance an Acquisition Using an SBA Loan
Yes, “Just buy a business” might sound a little like “Let them eat cake” — somewhat obvious and unhelpful on its face — but I can offer advice on how to do it and what to do once you’re at the helm.
The search-fund model is perfect for entrepreneurship through acquisition
Failures have a way of breeding successes. My first foray into bootstrap entrepreneurship — a custom clothing business called Phoenix Clothiers — was a casualty of the 2008 financial crisis. However, I emerged with plenty of valuable experience and relationships.
One day over coffee, a former customer asked if I’d considered entrepreneurship through acquisition. I hadn’t thought of it before, but it made sense. I had a degree in finance and entrepreneurship from Emory University, had been an investment banker in the U.K. and was a voracious reader of books on business and leadership. While I didn’t have a big idea for my next great venture, I had the knowledge, experience and drive to do something great.
Soon after, I stumbled on a video by Irv Grousbeck, a Stanford professor considered the godfather of the search-fund model. The Stanford School of Business defines a search fund as an investment vehicle through which investors financially support an entrepreneur’s efforts to locate, acquire, manage and grow a privately held company.
The search-fund model was designed for folks like me who are on the path to being a leader but don’t necessarily have the desire or idea to go after a bootstrap startup. It’s a good middle ground, where you find a business that has a proven track record and make your own mark.
And so I attended business school with a pretty singular focus of entrepreneurship through acquisition. My business partner and I formed Seneca Partners and began searching in earnest for a business to buy in 2013. In 2014, we purchased Krueger-Gilbert Health Physics (KGHP), which would eventually become Apex Physics Partners.
Related: Search Funds: What You Need to Know About This Investment Model
You’ve acquired a business; now the work begins
You can buy a business, but you can’t buy the hearts and minds of your new colleagues or customers. As a newly minted CEO — especially one without technical expertise in your new industry — you might find yourself the subject of many rumors and uncomfortable questions: Does he know what he’s doing? Is he going to make deep cuts to staff? Does he even care about the industry?
In his popular book The Outsiders, William Thorndike chronicles several executives who succeeded in industries they weren’t technically versed in. One of the themes is that as an outsider, you have a unique perspective of the industry and its opportunities. You have a free pass to poke and prod and ask the dumb questions. When the answers to those questions boil down to “That’s how we’ve always done it,” you have a chance to make a change.
In other words, your ignorance of a company or industry isn’t a liability — it’s an asset. As the new CEO of a business, your job for the first year or so is to listen and learn the business’s true strengths and weaknesses. You must resist the temptation to make sweeping changes until you understand what is fundamental and elemental.
It’s also critical to spend the first year or so building relationships with your colleagues and customers. Drive to where they are. Take them out to lunch. Show them who you are — don’t leave them guessing. Go beyond the golden rule and follow the platinum rule: Do unto others as they would have you do unto them. This will help you earn respect and get buy-in from key stakeholders as you pursue your strategy to grow the company.
This will be hard for some hardworking entrepreneurs to hear, but don’t try to do too much. A consultant once told my partner and me, “You’ve mastered the art of putting out fires with your face.” Yes, we put out the fires, but it was painful. There are times when the most productive thing you can do is take a step back from the day-to-day, figure out what the problem really is and lead through your team.
Related: How to Keep Company Culture Alive After an Acquisition
Entrepreneurship through acquisition is a marathon, not a sprint
In seven and a half years, we’ve taken our business from a staff of 16 people in a handful of mid-Atlantic states to an organization that employs 130 people in more than 30 states. Those might not be eye-popping numbers, but it suits us fine. I’d rather see slow and steady growth that honors the company’s values than preside over rapid, unstable growth at the expense of the company’s staff and their families.
While the path of entrepreneurship through acquisition may not result in instant, stunning profits, and it may not be a vessel for your one great idea, it offers plenty else. It’s given us the chance to pursue long-term success, satisfy our intellectual curiosity and participate in a deeply meaningful learning experience.
When you’re the CEO of a company built around your idea, it’s easy to make everything about you. I still have a ways to go before I’m the CEO I want to be, but I understand that the role of CEO is not about me: It’s about what I can do in service of the company and all its stakeholders. The lessons I’ve learned about humility, accountability and leadership can’t be found in a textbook. These are ideas I’ve worked for, and they’re worth more to me as an entrepreneur than any one big idea.
Streamline your entire customer care and claims process with Clearcover.
3 min read
Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.
It’s a tricky time for small businesses. Even though pandemic conditions are slowly improving for many people around the world, entrepreneurs face an additional set of challenges thanks to ever-changing restrictions, shutdowns, and pauses. Anything that makes your day a little bit easier is a godsend, and one company is bringing helpful technology to car insurance, making securing a policy and making claims fast, straightforward, and digital. Whether you’re putting in miles on your car to meet clients, partners, and investors, or you’re driving for personal errands and trips, dealing with car insurance can be one less hassle getting in the way of the more valuable work on your to-do list.
Clearcover is a cost-efficient and easy vehicle insurance solution. If you’ve heard of Lemonade, you’ll already have a basic understanding of what Clearcover is doing for auto insurance. Using a digital-forward platform, you can check your price in just a few minutes, switch seamlessly—which you can do at any time during your current plan term, contrary to common belief—and, when activated as a customer, make claims through their innovative app. In fact, you can do practically everything from your phone. Most of the time you don’t even need to speak to another person.
Current customers love Clearcover, and it carries a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5, with reviewers particularly praising the savings, ease of setup, and Clearcover’s helpful service. One customer, Greta R., says, “I love that I’m saving $474 and was able to apply from my phone without having to talk to anyone.” It’s true not everyone who uses Clearcover will save as much as Greta has, but checking your price takes hardly any time, and most customers do save money as compared to their current policy. Many even wind up with better coverage for that lower price. It certainly can’t hurt to take a look when every dollar saved could be reinvested in your business.
With its AI-powered claims platform, Clearcover helps take a lot of the stress out of claiming on your car insurance at a time when you’re already likely to be feeling on edge. The convenient insurance offering currently operates in 16 states around the U.S. and is expanding to more locations soon (check the website to see if it’s available where you live). Carve out just a little bit of time to make car insurance easy and fuss-free once and for all.