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October 2022 - SEO TOP AGENCY

How to improve workplace collaboration

In a small business, your people are the core of your organization. But even if you hire the best talent, it won’t matter if they can’t work well together. This can impact productivity and effectiveness, specifically in projects needing team members’ input.

Effective collaboration is crucial in driving employee engagement and performance for small businesses and large operations alike. Collaboration is crucial for remote teams, too, where geographic distance can make communication more difficult. This, according to Forbes, is one of the top five skills every employee must have to succeed in the workplace.

chicken and hedgehog shaking hands

Defining collaborative work culture

While collaboration transpires in every organization, not everyone imbibes it as part of their culture. Team members’ cooperation is intentional and regular in a workplace with a collaborative culture. Collaboration doesn’t happen from the beginning. It’s baked into the process of how people do their work every day.

At the heart of collaborative culture is the idea that the team is “better” together. It focuses on the concept that the collective intelligence of various team members delivers the most effective solutions.

According to a survey, 75 percent of employees place high importance on teamwork and collaboration. Respondents also reported being “more satisfied” in workplaces that promote a collaborative culture, making them more engaged in their tasks. The inclusivity of being part of a team motivates people to work and take on challenges.

The challenge now

Why is it essential to invest in a collaborative culture? The challenge now is keeping workers from saying, “I quit.” The past year’s “Great Resignation” was a wake-up call for companies to pay close attention to their employees’ woes.

The remote work option has changed everyone’s perspective to start thinking about what’s most important. With remote work, employees have the flexibility to handle business on smartphones and enjoy a work-life balance. This led to the growing number of hybrid work options – which made things like team communications a challenge. This is where collaboration plays a crucial role: allowing teams to work together regardless of distance and time.

Not everyone has the skills to devote themselves to a collaborative culture. Employees who may be willing may not participate when they feel unsafe speaking up. Unfortunately, most organizations love to proclaim collaboration as a value, but it’s something they only practice and emphasize occasionally. It must be consistent and intentional.

Chicken and Hedgehog collaborating

Tips for increasing collaboration

Even if it’s a hybrid working environment, there’s something you can do to make sure your cross-collaboration efforts remain successful. Here are tips to help you improve employee collaboration in today’s evolving workplace.

1. Prioritize empathy as a value

It’s hard to encourage empathy in the workplace if it doesn’t start with the leaders. An empathetic leader can help struggling employees improve their skills and excel at work. Provide them with a safe space where they can voice their thoughts and opinions.

In hybrid work environments, work and personal lives get tangled up. You must ensure each employee can manage these challenges properly. Show empathy by being accessible and visible to your team.

How? Start by hosting a weekly open-dialogue virtual meeting. Make sure to set a convenient schedule for most so they’ll be more comfortable discussing their concerns.

2. Choose proper tools for cross-collaboration

For cross-collaboration to be successful within teams, you must start from the ground up. Establishing “empathy” as a top workplace value is a good start. But from there, you have to build an effective structure that’ll facilitate your employees’ ability to collaborate.

Cloud-based project management and communication tools are perfect for hybrid teams. Efficient tools make information accessible and eradicate the silo mentality. This attitude, which signifies one’s reluctance to share information with other employees, can reduce your organization’s efficiency.

To ensure your teams can do their best work, take advantage of the best tools available today. Using an intuitive project management platform for software development like Shortcut can maximize and promote efficient cross-collaboration. From project planning to implementation, the platform automatically keeps your documents and ongoing work in sync.

Another preferred tool by small and medium-sized organizations is Google Workspace. Previously known as G Suite, it’s a set of communication tools, office productivity apps, and a cloud storage platform. It allows you to create documents, slides, and spreadsheets – and easily share them with others.

Employees need efficient tools to collaborate well with colleagues. But remember, just because you bought new software shouldn’t be a “cure-all” for collaboration. It should be much more than that.

When choosing collaboration tools for your organization to boost productivity, consider the following:

  • Company Requirements – Pick platforms that can solve specific challenges, work best for your clients and employees, and meet business goals.
  • Features – Gather insights from employees to ensure that you’re buying tools that can provide what they need. It shouldn’t complicate processes and not create more work for your people.
  • Cost – Think about the return on investment (ROI) and ongoing expenses associated with the upgrades for collaboration tools. High productivity is crucial, but you should also ensure cost-efficiency in the long run.
  • Technical Support – A reliable software vendor should provide excellent support to help you maximize workplace productivity. They must resolve issues quickly to reduce workplace disruption.

3. Create collaborative spaces

Buying tools and creating collaborative environments aren’t enough. You should also have a strategy for collaboration, like setting up in-person meetings. Spending time together and meeting in person is the best way to build a solid, long-term relationship.

Isn’t it nice to work somewhere that is comfortable and appealing instead of a cramped-up conference room? Building spaces where employees can mingle and work together will promote collaboration.

See what workspace improvements can bring people together. For instance, bumping into a colleague on the terrace or pantry can inspire conversations leading to collaboration.

Try to set up periodic meet-ups where remote workers can come together. It can be a seminar or a team-building event.

4. Set clear expectations

Remote team members may need some help to get on the same page. Setting clear expectations is critical for each project.

Use a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based (SMART) process for your goals. A SMART goal is a useful guide for goal setting to focus your efforts and increase your chances of success.

If you break down SMART goals, they mean:

  • Sspecific: Goals are clear and well-defined – meaning stakeholders can easily understand them.
  • Measurable: Goals have specific criteria whose progress can be measured towards accomplishment.
  • Aachievable: Goals should be attainable and within the capacity of involved team members.
  • Rrealistic: Goals are within reach and relevant to your organization.
  • Timely: Goals have a clearly defined timeline with a starting and target date.

Setting and aligning goals unifies your team’s efforts. Often, organizations set themselves up for failure because they decide on general and unrealistic goals with no sense of direction. The SMART method pushes your team to collaborate with a clear understanding of what they need to achieve.

Other important goal-setting factors to consider:

  • Define who bears each specific role in a team.
  • Outline the purpose of collaboration.
  • Set communication budgets, resources, and meet-up schedules.
  • Define the objectives and key results you want to achieve after the collaboration project.
  • Review the results regularly and keep your team updated over time.
Yeti chat with colleagues via video

5. Schedule time for follow-ups

Collaboration isn’t a one-time activity. It’s a recurring business approach that may take days or years. It needs constant check-ups to assess participation and efficiency.

After setting the stage and creating goals, make collaboration a full-circle activity. This means you should include follow-up activities. These may include things such as:

  • Celebrating important milestones achieved by the team
  • Planning public recognitions for moments of great collaboration
  • Asking each team member for feedback on the effectiveness of cross-collaboration activities
  • Using analytics and data to track the strengths and weaknesses of collaborative efforts

Data and feedback improve virtual workspaces well in a hybrid and remote workplace setting. Take advantage of your remote work tools to celebrate moments in the organization, too. With team members scattered in different locations, making them feel they’re not left behind is especially important.

6. Don’t be a lone wolf

Leaders must practice what they preach. You can’t tell your employees to use new tools or any collaborative framework but ignore it yourself. Team members should see leaders using them to follow by example.

Don’t do everything alone. It can be humbling for leaders to admit that they don’t have the answers and solutions. Leaders should also be part of the learning process. Seek opinions from employees and listen to their views. They may have the best ideas waiting to be explored. Doing so makes you and your team work better.

The bottom line

There are countless ways to improve workplace collaboration. But the crucial first step is recognizing its importance. Use the tips mentioned in this post to address the weak points in your organization’s collaboration projects. Effective collaboration doesn’t happen overnight. It needs constant work and input from team members.

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wpadmin October 31, 2022 0 Comments

Learning in a Post-pandemic World: How eLearning is Establishing Itself as a Major Industry

Whether picking up some phrases in a new language via a YouTube video or ending up deep down a Wikipedia hole, we’ve all used the internet to learn something.

Online learning, or eLearning, presents many opportunities to reinvent the learning process. It can engage students on many levels and tailor the learning experience to individual needs. Passing on information and teaching new skills can be done in new and exciting ways, and there’s plenty of space for innovation.

The pandemic prompted schools and universities to offer their services online (98% of universities have moved online since 2020), while many of us were pushed to consider changing careers. The eLearning industry has since seen giant leaps forward and is constantly innovating.

This article will discuss all aspects of this exciting new industry and consider its future.

What is eLearning?

eLearning is essentially digital learning. It represents all techniques and methods used to pass on information electronically. These can vary from simulations, quizzes, and games to more conventional forms such as online lectures and workshops.

eLearning, for the most part, involves structure. Think of it like a regular course, but online. Typically, a Learning Management System (LMS) is used to deliver the course material in an efficient manner.

Interest in eLearning is growing significantly, especially since the pandemic began. Statistics about online learning suggest the market is expected to grow by 110% by 2026. Our lifestyles have changed, with many of us eschewing the commute to work from home. We have clawed back time, and many of us are interested in using the extra hours to develop and educate ourselves.

What Are the Advantages of eLearning?

The advantages of eLearning are clear, both for the provider and the student. For the former, it opens up the chance to attract a more extensive base of learners. Class numbers are no longer restricted to lecture theater size, and lectures themselves can be pre-recorded and used repeatedly. To put it simply, it is very cost-effective.

For students, eLearning offers the freedom to study however and whenever they like. Learning material can be repeated, notes can be shared, and teachers can be reached quickly. Multimedia implementation makes learning fun and engaging, not to mention more efficient.

Consequently, eLearning speeds up the learning process. Many aspects of teaching, such as grading, can be automated, and answers can be obtained from learning resources without waiting for a teacher to be available.

It also opens up the possibility of learning wherever you are and, for the most part, whenever you are available. eLearning does a lot to level the learning playing field, giving people from all backgrounds the chance to acquire knowledge in a way that suits them.

eLearning is adaptable. Because of technological development, online courses can keep up and provide skills matching job requirements – courses can change or be adjusted to meet the job market’s needs. This is particularly true for tech-related courses focusing on the latest in-demand programming languages. As demand shifts, so do courses.

What Are the Disadvantages of eLearning?

There are plenty of critics of the eLearning style of teaching. Some say studying online with others takes away the social element of learning, a crucial aspect of education. While interaction is limited, many eLearning companies promote discussion between coursemates to foster camaraderie and knowledge sharing.

Another point to consider is student self-motivation – retention rates for eLearning courses vary from 35% – 60%. eLearning requires a greater personal drive and better time management skills. That’s because students are effectively on their own and must push themselves to interact with the course in a meaningful and effective way. This is why eLearning companies go to great lengths to encourage students, and many offer mentors whose aim is to keep up motivation and enthusiasm.

Finally, eLearning, by nature, focuses on theory, which isn’t that useful for some subjects. Conducting an experiment or carrying out a repair can be taught much more effectively in real life. That said, by providing an immersive online learning environment, this hurdle can be overcome.

How Is Online Learning Changing Education?

The pandemic forced learning online overnight. It was this need to bring learning resources online that has pushed through many innovative developments in education.

By trial and error, new ways of passing on knowledge electronically have been developed. Higher Ed’s 2021 annual report, which provides plenty of online education statistics, notes that half of the professors surveyed said eLearning is an “effective teaching method.”

What Are the Most Popular Online Learning Courses?

Many courses follow eLearning trends, which are often related to job market demands. While more traditional academic curricula exist, eLearning courses often focus on preparing people for work. There are a few types of online courses that stand out due to how popular they are.

Especially highly rated are eLearning courses that teach skills required by tech companies. Coding and analyzing data can be taught easily online and, more importantly, can be learned by anyone regardless of their language.

Similarly, online marketing courses are also popular. Demand for marketing roles is very high, with Marketing Week reporting that such positions are increasing at the highest rate.

Finally, the demand for online courses focusing on personal development has risen sharply since the beginning of the pandemic. This broad term encompasses everything from language learning to cookery classes. Future Learn reports that 40% of Americans are interested in studying the topic in the next five years.

How Much Do Online Learning Courses Cost?

Online course prices vary greatly. An analysis of online eLearning courses found that, on average, a course costs $177. The length of the course, resources needed, and perceived value all play a part in the overall pricing.

The fact that eLearning courses can be expensive to create also contributes to this.

What Does the Future Hold for eLearning?

eLearning is constantly evolving and adapting. There are many trends and technologies that are pushing eLearning forward.

Of all the eLearning trends, the rise in adaptive learning is possibly among the most interesting. Adaptive learning is a user-centric method of education where all resources and assignments are adapted to the student’s individual needs. This highly personalized learning experience adapts in real-time to suit the individual student’s pace of learning.

Social learning is another growing eLearning trend. The concept is simple – we all learn from people around us, so why not incorporate that into the eLearning experience? An instant chat feature in eLearning software helps students overcome boundaries in their learning. Similarly, having an online forum and dedicated communities can help foster a learning environment that provides invaluable help to students.

Elearning Is Forcing Through Progress in Education

eLearning solves many of the problems associated with traditional learning models, which often present geographical and financial barriers. It is more adaptable and dynamic than conventional forms of learning.

But with this new learning model comes new challenges. The social aspect of learning is taken away, which is clearly valuable to many people. “Learning by doing” is, for the most part, impossible, presenting obvious challenges. As a result, engagement is an issue.

It’s undoubtedly clear that eLearning is here to stay and is revolutionizing the education industry. Stuffy lectures, unhelpful handouts, and unengaging exercises are being pushed out in favor of dynamic and exciting courses that engage students better. What happens next will be very exciting – and we’re curious to see it through.

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wpadmin October 31, 2022 0 Comments

Six Steps to Get to Know Your Clients

For your business to amplify its growth, you must turn to your customers as early as possible and put the insights you get into action. Otherwise, you risk not knowing your clients enough, resulting in products and marketing activities that do not resonate with your users.

That’s why Customer Obsession is one of the guiding principles at Hostinger. We’ve been reaching out to our clients so we could actually connect with them and make Hostinger the best platform for SMBs and prosumers to achieve their goals online.

This mindset is what led to the conception of the Customer Interview initiative. I’ll share how this project came to be and how it has helped Hostinger so you can implement a similar initiative to scale your own operations!

Identifying the Issue

The web hosting industry is tough, and the competition is constantly increasing. Only the fastest and most effective businesses survive and can thrive. On the other hand, the global market is enormous, so many different players can emerge and succeed.

Hostinger is focused on having the best product and exceptional customer support. We know that users value that immensely since they like sharing their experiences within their circles.

When I joined Hostinger back in 2017, our team’s main goal was – and still is – to use the traction we have to create scalable new user acquisition loops and keep our pace of growth increasing.

At some point, we realized that we didn’t know our clients enough. We develop products and services or activate various marketing strategies but lack certainty whether they actually strike a chord with our core audience.

We understood that this was inhibiting Hostinger’s growth – for it to accelerate, we’d need to unlock real relationships with our clients.

So, we got to work.

Planning Pathways

A collage of Hostingerians in action next to Hostinger's values.

I was aware of the Golden Questions by Sean Ellis, CEO of Qualaroo. They emphasize the importance of asking the right questions to discover where exactly your customers are coming from, what their reservations and fascinations are, and how they see your business in relation to your competition.

The Golden Questions are a surefire way to get actionable feedback that can actually improve conversions. For example, asking your customer, “What’s the one thing that nearly stopped you from buying from us?” may reveal surprising answers and information you would’ve never come across otherwise.

There may be a lot of noise, but all it takes is one brilliant idea – and your customers are full of them, I assure you.

After some deliberation, we implemented the Golden Questions in our CRM process. This was very helpful, sure, but I still felt that it hadn’t allowed us to truly know our clients – not to mention the process wasn’t flexible enough.

That’s why I started looking for a different approach. While networking and seeking information from within the industry, I found the tips by Louis Grenier, the founder of EveryoneHatesMarketers.com, that changed everything.

Top Tips for Understanding

Here’s Louis’ six-step guide on talking to and setting up efficient interviews with your clients:

  1. Create a segment of your best customers (based on whatever information you have available).
  2. Write a customer interview script for your team with simple instructions (listen more than you talk, don’t be afraid to improvise, etc).
  3. Add your entire team to your Calendly (or similar) account.
  4. Create an evergreen Zoom meeting and set it to “Automatically record on the cloud.”
  5. Create a round-robin event by allowing customers to choose a time with any available member of your team and link the Zoom meeting to it.
  6. Set up an automated email after a specific customer event (eg, registered 30 days ago) and add that Calendly link.

These six simple steps were exactly what we needed. We took some time for internal promo campaigns to rustle up the project’s release.

It felt essential to have everyone from the CEO to engineers and designers take part, not just the client-facing colleagues. So we drummed up excitement within our teams, encouraging an atmosphere of communication and creativity.

And after two weeks, everything was ready to go.

Everyone Has a Story to Tell

Hostinger CMO Daugirdas Jankus engaged in animated conversation.

I was overjoyed to see the levels of interest in participating. The initial challenge of the sheer volume of interviews we had to navigate resolved itself naturally. While waiting for their turn on the schedule, colleagues watched other conversations taking place. This also helped calm the nerves of anyone new to client interaction.

It was super inspiring to watch this project develop. The more interactions we had with clients, the more amazing worlds unfolded, and we learned from each other. A deeper understanding of your customers builds empathy and establishes connections through confidence, helping all the involved parties grow.

So far, we’ve had around 1,500 client interviews. To say they’ve been inspiring would be an understatement.

For example, I talked with Paul of Peedie Models, who lives on a Scottish island with few inhabitants. Even though he is a gifted model maker, this made it challenging for him to grow the business, especially during the pandemic.

Following Hostinger Tutorials, he learned the basics of getting his craft online and spurred his online business, which is now highly successful. Without our services, this would not have been possible. He expressed so much appreciation for Hostinger during the interview – I was touched beyond words.

Talking with individuals like Paul has allowed me and other Hostinger team members to really understand how our services impact people’s lives and livelihoods.

Hearing how we’re helping a single mother move her business online, so she’s not tied to a geographical location while her son is studying abroad or how an 84-year-old pastor can reach out to his parishioners without worrying that his church’s site would go down gives new meaning to how we approach our client relationships.

And the best thing – it lets me and the other Hostingerians really live and breathe the Customer Obsession principle.

You can check out some of the stories that arose from the interviews on our blog’s Customer Experience section!

Simple Steps for Everyone

What’s become clear from the customer interview initiative is that everyone wants to interact, learn new things, meet new people, and feel good vibes.

Next up is making the insights gained from the interviews actionable. We are making business decisions based on them, like improving the access management systems for freelancers and agencies for more convenient functionalities or tailoring our Hostinger Academy YouTube tutorials around our customers’ needs and observations.

You can always do better, so we are constantly improving our processes. The initiative has started us on an exciting new journey – it’s rare for any strategy to be as valuable and as inexpensive.

We now factor customer interviews as essential to client feedback and interaction. I suggest you do the same. So grab the toolbox, put your own spin on it, and use it to scale your business.

And most importantly – don’t forget to rock & roll!

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wpadmin October 28, 2022 0 Comments