Write a value proposition

What is a value proposition?

A value proposition in HR is the key message to employees about why they should want to work for your company. It is a way of attracting the kind of talent that will make your company thrive. It is also the way to focus your strategy more and improve your business.  Remember: the  best employees solve problems and follow your strategic direction and to get them, you need to find them, and keep them.  The best way to do that?  Give your employees what you want.

To give you an example of a value proposition, I’ve pulled a snippet from Deloitte’s careers web page.  While they are by far not the only company with a good value proposition, they are one of my favorite.

Deloitte’s value proposition states:

We seek professionals who see differently, who find opportunity where others don’t, who look within themselves and know that with the right support and team they can impact the world.

This is an excellently targeted message with several key points:

  1. You as the employee make the impact: you are Deloitte
  2. Deloitte wants to hire you if you think differently

These key points are specially designed to attract a certain kind of person, a visionary who wants to make a difference.  Deloitte isn’t looking for people that are ready to accept status quo, they want “A+” players.

If you want good employees, you need to have the right value proposition

Small businesses that want to stand out in the job market must take the time to consider what their value proposition is to employees.  This is more than just the benefits your company offers: it’s the reason that working for your company matters.

When you write a value proposition, you must consider the following questions.
  1. What kinds of skills must your employees have to make your company better?
  2. What are the personality traits that you want in your employees?
  3. How can you attract these kinds of people to your company?
  4. Why would someone want to work for you?
  5. What does your ideal employee value the most in this world?
  6. How will you motivate your employees?
  7. What is your philosophy about employees and how you should treat them?
  8. What will you do if an employee doesn’t meet your expectations?
  9. What can you do to keep an employee like the kind that you are imagining?
  10. How do they spend their days/what is the best way to reach them?
Final words on your value proposition

In general, it is best to keep your value proposition between 2-4 sentences.  Short, sweet, and memorable. You want to communicate your value and convert the employee to applying for your organization, but you also don’t want employees to read a dissertation before applying.  You want to be remembered. Write for impact.

Additionally, you want your value proposition to work well with your overall mission. So make sure you don’t write a value proposition that simply cannot align with your company goals.

The 4 stages of a restaurant business

Growing up, I dreamed of launching a restaurant. Actually, I dreamed of growing an empire. When I actually launched my first restaurant: there were a lot of surprises. One thing I learned is that there are 4 major stages a restaurant goes through on its way to success. The life-cycle of a restaurant is similar to the tech trend Hype Cycle. However, the Restaurant Life Cycle follows some different patterns.

Phase 1. The launch phase.
The launch phase is the exciting time in which you open your doors to the public, put forth your advertising, and test your idea. It’s the critical time in which your first customers come through your doors, you will make a lot of mistakes and work constantly during this phase. You will be surprised by the employee mistakes and the harshness of customer expectations. The best thing to do here is be as prepared as possible–and then expect problems to arise. Respond quickly and always consider the long-term ramifications of your choices. What will you choices today say about your brand tomorrow?

Phase 2. Hype-Phase. This phase kicks in right within the first 6 months of most restaurants opening. This is the time when your sales are at their highest. You hit what’s called a critical mass: enough people have heard about your business that they come and try to it out and there’s also just enough word-of mouth for your business to feel viral. During this phase, many restaurant owners get stars in their eyes, picturing themselves as wildly successful with scores of chain restaurants under their belt. This is actually a time to be carefully monitoring your customer’s satisfaction and listening to what they want. Do you get a lot of complaints about your best seller item? Do folks like your environment? Is there one thing that literally everyone asks for you don’t have yet? What’s the “vibe” that your customers are getting from your business? The reason why it is especially important to ask these questions is that during this hype-phase, the biggest number of your customers are figuring out what they think of your restaurant. If they don’t like it: they’re not coming back. You won’t be able to keep everyone coming back, of course, but you do want to make sure your product is something that brings a lot of your customers back through your doors.

Phase 3. Down-Cycle/Trough of Disillusionment
Your sales will start to drop dramatically. This is a sign that the hype is over, the brand of your business is established and understood by the general public. You will see your sales drop dramatically and may have to make adjustments to make sure your spending doesn’t overrun your sales. During this period, it is important to recognize it is a stage. A lot of restaurants don’t leave this stage because they get discouraged and quit. This down-cycle usually hits between 8-10 months of opening and lasts an average of 3-6 months. It often comes with a seasonal slow-down, the opening of a new rival business, or the natural slow-down that comes with the exciting “newness” of your business being over. This is also the point in which many staff will leave and turnover/performance issues can become a problem.

Phase 4. Stabilization/Seasonal Cycles

This final phase is only reached once you see a sustainable sales pattern emerge. It takes most businesses around 3 years to fully establish a good flow to their sales and an understanding of their natural seasons. Stability results in a slow, steady growth of business with seasonal drops based on the year and location of your restaurant. At this point, many restaurants will add in new products to re-start the “hype” phase, or cycle in an additional service. The key risk during this phase is a major disruption or a slow decline rather than slow growth. A major disruption can through your business through an additional down-cycle and if you don’t have the capital that disruption can cause you to close very quickly. A slow decline means that for one reason or another your business isn’t growing. In this circumstance, you have a two options: 1. Figure out how to change the slow decline or 2. Close your doors.

There you have it: the 4 stages every restaurant goes through to success. While any restaurant business is risky, it is also an exciting way to get your entrepreneurial feet wet and to teach many business lessons to you along the way. If you’d like some help figuring out where to start on your planning, check out our free resources page.

How to change a toxic work-culture in 5 steps

Employers have the joy and pain of being responsible for the culture of their workplace. When culture becomes toxic, it is on the head of leadership to find fixes. Most leaders would prefer to hear otherwise, but here’s the tough truth: your work culture may or may not have been created by you, but it is up to you to change it.

So, where do you start?

1. Asses the current culture of your company. A company assessment can take various forms: a survey, a meeting, an anonymous reporting box. Whatever the method, it is important to find ways to ask questions that will give you an understanding of the underlying realities of employees’ lives at your company.

Ask questions of yourself and others like:
What’s a common trait among employees?
Why do employees continue to work for you? Why do they leave?
What’s the thing that helps employees “get ahead” in your company?
What are the biggest strengths of the organization? What are its weaknesses?

The answers to these questions give you a baseline for where you’re at right now and help you to plan your next moves.

2. Evaluate your findings. Once you’ve collected answers to the above questions, it is time for you to begin looking at the results. What trends and patterns are you seeing? What responses are equal? What trends are missing that should be there?

3. Plan your next moves. Once you’ve got a picture of your organization’s current state, you can begin planning the way forward. Set your goals and the clear vision for the future state of the organization. Consider what you would like the organization to look like. What kind of productivity goals will you have for your organization? How many employees? What roles will you create? Do any need to be eliminated? This step must not be settled on lightly. The goal, once set, should be extremely difficult to change. Making changes in the middle of the pursuit of the cultural change, can slow your progress and cause confusion. Additionally, introducing multiple or conflicting goals can breed change-exhaustion and contribute to both toxic workplace culture and change-resistance. Set a goal that is long-term, achievable, and important enough to warrant the effort you are going to put forth to make a real change.

4. Set timelines. Setting realistic timelines cements your goals and helps to ensure that you’re going to make a change happen. Setting timelines involves planning how much you can achieve within the time allotted and also involves making sure that everyone who is integral to driving a workplace change is on-board and ready to make that change happen.

5. Be consistent and rally the team. As you work towards your goals, be consistent in your communication and messaging. When you settle on a timeline, make sure that everyone involved knows about the timelines and understands their roles and responsibilities. Assign tasks carefully and don’t hesitate to make sure they are achieved. Check in with your team to monitor benchmarks and consistently remind your team of the vision ahead. Communicate with pictures and graphs that show the long-term vision. Celebrate the small achievements and progress along the way. Re-adjust the steps if you find that it is absolutely necessary, but do not change the goal.

What employers need to know about toxic workplaces

The concept of a toxic work culture is prevalent in a world where employees expect their jobs to be a fulfilling part of their lives. Their logic runs something along the lines of, “I’m going to be spending the majority of my life at work, so it needs to matter to me.” They aren’t too far off.

Today, switching employers is relatively easy and top talent can find other options that meet their personal and professional goals.

As an employer, if your employees are leaving constantly, it’s not just chance. There is a reason. We refer to this as a “toxic” work culture and we believe this goes beyond just negativity in the workplace. We believe this term refers to and describes turnover cultures.

Toxicity is defined as “containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation.” In financial terms, it means a high-risk investment that is likely to default and can’t be sold. Employers benefit from looking at toxic workplaces from a this perspective: after all, your employee is hired to fix a problem for you. They are an investment you hope pays off. If they are at a high risk of leaving you, there’s an investment that has gone awry.

A toxic culture can be caused by a handful of things:

1. Bad management that goes unchecked.
2. Work environments that destroy productivity
3. Positions that are high-risk
4. A disgruntled employee or group of employees
5. Fear culture in new and/or long-term employees.
6. Outside influences that attack one group of employees.(This can be especially true when you notice just one group has high turnover).

Depending on your case, you may be dealing with a combination of toxic influences that are leading to your current turnover problems. Remember though, that leadership has the responsibility to fix the toxic workplace problem. This task is one of the joys and pains of being an employer. You as the employer must be the one to move your company away from a toxic culture.

For free resources, contact us today! Our consultants send you in the right direction and make suggestions that actually make sense for your business. we’re trained to be problem solvers–not sales people.

Resources:

Merriam-Webster. Toxic. Retrieved from: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/toxic.

Photo Credit: Mark Oakly. “Clown Poison” Retrieved from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrmoaks/8060756409/in/photolist-9mgdMd-C3CZb-W61rLT-fs4rJu-25Vj4Fc-buGHVP-dhiu3M-YCzFLW-WSJwAX-24kxThj-FGEzqc-RkFjuX-SLnrPL-aqyQ1Q-8N3t3h-9Ti9K-fJvguc-9PNxnS-6eS1mW-8Ksn2V-o2td7-7yg1Q-chkDFG-He6eHW-7L8U7h-LjqAWj-PEzPrs-EpfBxh-4ppVwQ-GQnD5-LLFrPo-RJaaCA-FjEBau-FcPUeU-ETHA76-rupYs3-ruxwc2-Qeucwm-BpRoMc