July 7th, 2011

Team News

How to Tap Employee Ideas

by Tim Donnelly

Encouraging your employees’ creativity can not only create an engaging work environment, but create new business. Seven experts share their tips on getting employees to share their ideas.

The origin of the humble Post-It Note is perhaps the best-known story about a million-dollar innovation that sprang from an unexpected place within a company.

Spencer F. Silver was working for 3M in the late 60s when he developed a resilient adhesive that would make a piece of paper stick to a surface, but was still weak enough to let the papers be torn apart again. Silver pitched the product over and over again to people around the company for the next few years, but he never caught any traction. Until, that is, another colleague came along, took Silver’s adhesive, attached it to a bookmark prototype he was working on, and the Post-It was born.

But 3M almost lost the idea that came from its own employee, even though Silver kept trying to convince his supervisors about its potential…….

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Ten Great Teambuilding Exercises on Huddle

There are many different reasons why companies use team building exercises. A small sampling of these reasons include: Improving communication, boosting morale, motivation, ice breakers to help get to know each other better, learning effective strategies, improving productivity, learning about one’s strengths and weaknesses and many others. Team building exercises can be used by any business, large or small, to promote better teamwork in the workplace, and as most business owners and managers know, great teamwork is one of the key factors associated with a company’s success.

Go here: Teams



There’s A Bully In the House … Your Workplace Environment House

From: Fox Small Business Center

Bullying today isn’t just taking place on playgrounds, instead it is a reality found everywhere from elementary schools to college campuses and even the workplace. Having a bully in your small business can affect team morale, productivity and of course, your bottom line.

Polly Wright, senior consultant for HR Consults, said bullying in businesses of all sizes is very common today. It often begins with cliques in the workplace, or managers with anger issues and bad tempers.

“I really think it takes a toll on morale, to the point where employees are so disengaged in their work environment that they are going through the motions,” Wright said. “They just go through their day with the least amount of interaction with bullies as possible.”

There are also varying levels of bullying that need to be addressed with managers and employees, she said.

“It looks a little different between men and women,” Wright said. “Usually males are yelling and screaming and slamming phones, and females are more in the cliques and circulating rumors—this is a very broad generalization.”

Bullying has the same negative impact on victims as harassment, she said. Many of the workplace policies Wright has been working on have included a phrase about bullying, she said.

“As employers, we should be handling that just as we would an unlawful harassment,” Wright said.

Here are Wright’s steps for handling a bully in the workplace:

No. 1: Train your managers. Make sure your managers are well aware of what the legal line of harassment is and what crosses it.

“As an organization, don’t you want to operate at the best practice line, treating everyone with fairness?” she said. Even things like swearing in the office can be considered harassment, Wright said. “Although it’s not unlawful, that can sometimes be the start of behaviors that are disrespectful and can move into the bullying arena.

No. 2: Investigate. Although workers may resolve conflicts among themselves, once a complaint is filed with HR, Wright said an investigation must take place.

“Find out what level of bullying it is,” she said. “Is someone truly bullying someone else, or is it more mild?”

No. 3: Address the issue. Once the level of bullying is determined, the bully and victim need to be spoken to, and depending on the severity, appropriate actions should take place.

“All levels of bullying should be addressed, and I do think training supervisors is important,” Wright said. “Depending on the culture of the organization, bullying might have been tolerated for years.”

Getting the Whole Team Involved in the Hirinig Process

Top-gun talent make ideal recruiters

by Mia Pearson

Business is heating up, and you’re in the enviable position of being able to bring in new talent to manage the workload.

To build the credibility of your small business, hiring the right people is critical to success. Recruiting for a specialized industry, however, can be a challenge. Where do you find the talent? Will your potential hire be a good cultural fit? How do you convince people to join your team when your company is not well known?

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Starting Point of Cross-Functional Team Conflict

The cross functional team has representatives from different functions. The representative of a particular function on the team is meant to work on a project with people from other functions and they are expected to blend in their collective expertise to come up with well thought out solutions, ideas and decisions. This project team is usually referred to as a task force and is brought together in the development stages of a particular project. The cross functional team has to work within a larger organisation framework and see a project through to the final implementation stage.

Quite often such teams run into problems and are unable to work to their full potential because of inherent relationship issues. The lack of co-operation soon becomes apparent when the team members work at cross purposes. Experts feel that these problems take root long before the team is actually formed.

Go here for entire article.

Managing Staff in a Tough Economy: Who Do You Fire, Who Gets That Raise

by Jamillah Warner

We’re in business, so we don’t get to sit the tough seasons out and come back when it’s all better. Despite the economy, the small business owner still has serious management issues to address.  We can tackle them head on,  grow our businesses and ourselves–or we can ignore them, but that could eventually put us out of business. Success is the goal, and the better the team, the better the business.

Here are three suggestions to help you take care of your team, so that they can take care of your clients.

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Government Again Misses Small Business Contract Goal

Federal agencies fell slightly short of the government’s goal of awarding 23 percent of their prime contracting dollars to small businesses in fiscal 2010.

That’s according to the Small Business Administration’s  latest from The Business Journals Businesses  which found that agencies awarded 22.7 percent of their contracts to small businesses last year. That represents a total of nearly $98 billion in contracts. Both small businesses’ share of federal contracts and their total dollars were up slightly from the year before.

Over $23 Million in Small Business Funds Announced

BALTIMORE, May 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Joined by  business leaders and elected officials at the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Annual Meeting, Governor Martin O’Malley tonight announced that Maryland has received approval for $23 million in federal funding to help Maryland’s small businesses access much-needed capital to expand and create new jobs. These U.S. Treasury funds are expected to leverage $230 million in small business lending in the State. In total, $1.5 billion is being allocated nationwide as part of the State Small Business Credit Initiative.