3 Things to Know: Technology and Your Small Business

 

Do you recognize that technology is the answer to so many of your business needs, but are sometimes unsure of how to get there? Here are three things we think you should know when it comes to technology and your small business.

First thing to know: It plays a crucial role in helping customers find your business
If you want customers to be able to locate your business quickly and easily (and what small business owner doesn’t), a strong online presence is not optional. That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) technology comes in—it’s a must-have for any small business looking to rank higher in search results. 

Still not convinced? Here are five reasons why you should invest in SEO for your business. Now that you know why, let’s talk about how. Start by setting up an effective SEO content strategy with these four steps.

Second thing to know: High-tech doesn’t mean impersonal 
Are you worried about how to embrace new technological solutions without losing the human element that is so important to small businesses? Here are some tips for balancing high-tech with high-touch. And when it does feel like Zoom and other technologies have overtaken your more personal approaches, here are some ways to maintain culture and connection in a virtual world.

Third thing to know: It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Bonus: Join us for GCP Tech Week!
New technologies can often be overwhelming, especially when it’s not in your nature or realm of expertise. If thinking about investing in SEO, enlisting influencer marketing, or establishing a CRM has your heart racing, it may be time to call in the experts. Here are 10 benefits to a managed service provider for your IT needs

And speaking of technology leaders who might be able to help your small business grow and thrive, join us for GCP Tech Week 2021, September 27 – October 1. Tech Week is an annual initiative to support and engage the local tech community through education, networking, and programming for entrepreneurs, executives, students, educators, and other stakeholders of the IT industry.

Additionally, the Best of Tech Awards Finalists are now announced—join us on September 30 as we congratulate the winners!

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  • Next up: Air Sanitization: Which Option Do I Choose?
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  • Air Sanitization: Which Option Do I Choose?

    Watch GCP's recent webinar about disinfecting air streams.

    Prioritizing decisions that improve indoor air quality has never been more important than it is in the age of COVID. Building owners are putting people first.

    In a recent webinar, we took a critical look at the various air sanitization technologies and broke them down to better understand what application is right for a building. Placement of these specific systems is extremely important to ensure their effectiveness.

    One of GCP’s partner contractors, Air Force One, discussed the benefits of each of these systems to help you make an informed decision for your unique needs.

    Watch the webinar recording below:

     

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  • Next up: Back up Power to Create Resiliency and Incentives
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  • Back up Power to Create Resiliency and Incentives

    Watch the GCP Energy Team's recent webinar about finding the right-sized generator for your business and how a demand response program can benefit you.

    GCP's Energy Team recently hosted a discussion about creating resiliency, reliability, redundancy, and return on investment.

    GCP’s demand response partner, CPower and backup generator and monitoring partner, PowerSecure; both market leaders, discussed how you can optimize interior and exterior lighting & controls, HVAC & Mechanical, and Electrical systems, and reduce kWh and your carbon footprint with the right sized generator for your unique needs, and then benefit from participation in a demand response program.

    Watch the recording below:

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  • Next up: Connecting Diversity & Inclusion with Sustainability
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  • Connecting Diversity & Inclusion with Sustainability

    Watch GCP's recent webinar, Connecting Diversity & Inclusion with Sustainability.

    In a recent webinar, the Greater Cleveland Partnership's Nicole Stika, Vice President, Energy Services, discussed the Intersection of Equity & Inclusion and Sustainability in the Workplace with Melanie Larkins, Product Sustainability Leader, Tarkett USA Inc., and Monica Jackson, Vice President, Global Inclusion & Diversity, Eaton.

    Watch the webinar recording below:

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  • Next up: Employee Retention Challenges and Solutions
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  • Employee Retention Challenges and Solutions

    Does your small business struggle to hire or retain excellent employees? Here are nine suggestions for keeping top talent.

     

    As a small business you should be aware of exactly how you are actively supporting your employees’ overall success. The pandemic has shown us that employees are looking for new and better opportunities all the time and that small businesses are struggling to hire and retain employees. Whether it be to thrive in their current role at your organization or to prepare them for their next career advancement, it is your responsibility to make sure your employees grow and thrive in their jobs. Ensuring your team is equipped with the latest knowledge and skills in their field will definitely contribute to your business’s long-term success. Constant employee turnover is costly and time consuming, therefore investing both mentally and financially into your employee’s growth will help with retention issues. Employees know when they’re being supported, and when they’re not.

    Here are some suggestions you can take to increase your employee retention:

    Retention Suggestion No. 1: Open lines of communication. Goals change as we grow. Talk with your employees about their career goals. If possible, create a development plan to help them grow into management, if that is a goal, or other ways in which you can help foster their goals.

    Retention Suggestion No. 2: Enhance communication between all levels within your company. By removing the level barriers, you may find that sharing ideas will help your employees and help your company to grow.

    RELATED: Why employee motivation matters more in a small business.

    Retention Suggestion No. 3: Create an open-door policy. Let your employees know that they can come to you when they have an issue. Creating trust will help with productivity and performance.

    Retention Suggestion No. 4: Create a mentorship program. A lower-level employee can grow into a great manager. Mentoring can help your company’s culture while also providing a way for management and senior employees to get to know junior employees.

    Retention Suggestion No. 5: Invest in employee training. If you have a training program in place for new hires, it helps to avoid any disconnect between current employees and new hires. This can be done virtually or in-person as things begin to open up. And don’t forget on-going training for all employees to increase their skill set, as well as training for diversity & inclusion initiatives, HR and workplace protocols and team-building skills.

    Retention Suggestion No. 6: Invest in professional memberships for your employees. This will provide employees with a means to develop relationships and new skills and come back with new ideas and innovations.

    Retention Suggestion No. 7: Do performance reviews. Even if you have only a couple of employees, performance reviews are a way to let employees know how they’re doing, and what they can be doing differently in order to reach their goals. Be candid, but also constructive. Do annual reviews, but also think about doing quarterly reviews.

    RELATED: Read more by Tim Dimoff.

    Retention Suggestion No. 8: Recognize your employees. Find ways to recognize the accomplishments your employees make throughout the year to encourage them to keep up the good work.

    Retention Suggestion No. 9: Expand their horizons within the company. Offer employees opportunities to delve into other departments—including shadowing a co-worker for the day. This gives them an idea of what others are working on and helps them see how everyone works together to achieve overall company goals.

    By investing in these simple ideas, you are also investing in your company’s growth.

     

    Timothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues. He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University. Contact him at mailto:info@sacsconsulting.com.

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  • Next up: Electronic Communications: Employer VS. Employee Privacy Rights
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  • Electronic Communications: Employer VS. Employee Privacy Rights

    To what extent can employers monitor their employees when it comes to electronic communication? It can be confusing but it's important you know your rights.

     

    As a small business owner, it is important that you are knowledgeable about employee rights, even if you only have a few employees. Workplace privacy rights extend to all employees no matter the size of the business. 

    In simple terms, employee privacy rights are basically the rules that limit how extensively an employer can search an employee’s possessions or person; how much they can monitor employees’ actions, speech, or correspondence; and how much an employer can know about their personal lives. By its very nature, social media has increased privacy concerns and potential issues as people post, tweet or otherwise put personal information out into the electronic universe. So as a small business owner it can be confusing regarding what you can and cannot do regarding employee privacy rights. I will provide some general information and guidance, but when in doubt, always check with your attorney. 

    Electronic communication and social media are huge areas of concern when it comes to employee vs. employer rights. As a general rule, employers have the right to search through anything that appears on company computers, social media and the internet. So basically, as an employer you can review e-mails sent and received through your own server, but you cannot access an employee's personal e-mail account through a password that's stored on a work-issued device. It is important to have a policy that explains to employees how you monitor email and computers and that there is no expectation of privacy when using your computers or property.

    RELATED: Do you have these items in your employee handbook?

    The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) provides the following guidance:
    Company policies should not bar activity protected by federal labor law, like the discussion of working conditions or wages amongst workers.
    A worker’s social media comments are generally unprotected if they are minor complaints not related to a group activity with employees.

    Employers also have the right to monitor telephone calls placed to and from their locations, but with limits. The Electronics Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) prohibits employers from monitoring employees' personal phone calls even if the calls were made or received on an employer's property. The Act also requires the employer to disclose the fact that calls are being monitored and makes it a civil liability for employers to read, disclose, delete, or prevent access to an employee's voicemail.

    Employers have the right to monitor their employees by camera, including in a parking structure for both security and employee safety. However, employers are required to notify employees, customers, and all others in the range of the cameras that their property is under video surveillance. Video recordings cannot include audio due to federal wiretap laws. And cameras can only be used in areas where there is a legitimate threat of theft or violence and never in break rooms, bathrooms or locker rooms.

    RELATED: Read more by Tim Dimoff.

    As always, there are some exceptions to all of these rules, especially when electronic communications are involved. Make sure you think about who is setting up your business' social media accounts and make sure that they and you have a clear understanding upfront about who is granted access to those accounts and what rights your employees will have with regard to those accounts.

    President, SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Speaker, Trainer, Corporate Security ExpertTimothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues. He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University. Contact him at info@sacsconsulting.com.

     
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