Tips for Safely Reopening Your Business After the Coronavirus Shutdown

Everyone is eager to get back to work and to reopen their business. The problem is that it may not be as simple as just hanging out a “We are Open” sign. How can you instill confidence in your customers? Here are a few ideas you may want to consider. 

Everyone is eager to get back to work and to reopen their business. Ohio has lifted much of its shutdown order so many small and medium businesses can now reopen their doors. The problem is that it may not be as simple as just hanging out a “We are Open” sign. In order for your reopening and business to be successful, the public must feel that it is safe to return to your establishment. So how can you instill confidence in your customers that will make them want to visit your business? Here are a few ideas you may want to consider:

- Ramp up your communication efforts to make your customers feel that it is safe to return. Let them know, through emails, social media or other forms of communication, about all the efforts you are taking to clean and sanitize the premises. Tell them about how you are checking and reinforcing your employees’ health and what steps you will take if an employee gets sick. Let them know steps you are taking to abide by social distancing requirements. And don’t forget to mention what you expect from your customers. For example, if you will be requiring them to wear masks, social distance guidelines, limiting the number of customers who can enter at one time, etc.

- Show your customers your efforts. It’s all well and good to say you are taking the necessary cleaning and sanitizing steps, but it will also go a long way if they can see them. For example, have your employees clean and wipe down surfaces throughout the day so customers can see what you are doing to protect them.

- Be obvious about your security efforts. There have been a lot of protests and people who don’t believe this virus is serious. If you have to limit the number of people entering your premises or feel you may need help enforcing your mask or social distancing rules, you may want to post a security guard to prevent any possible confrontations. Make sure the guards are posted in a prominent position where they can easily be seen. If you need help, you can contact a security firm who can provide you with guards and help you put together a security plan.

RELATED: Read more by Tim Dimoff

- Be obvious about your rules on the premises. Clearly post your rules using large, easy to read signage. Guidelines should include your social distancing measures, mask rules, limits on what can be purchased, etc. Post these signs all around, wherever they are needed. One sign is probably not enough. 

- Provide necessary safety products for your customers. Put hand sanitizers around the premises. Provide masks for customers who may not have them. If needed, install portable hand washing stations. Use as many “no touch” processes as possible.

- Train your employees on this new normal. Since it is possible that both your employees and your customers could be wearing masks, the normal human communication process will be different. No one can see your employees smiling so their tone and body language is very important. Everyone is stressed and on-edge, so hearing an employee be extra nice and explain that they are keeping 6 feet apart for everyone’s safety can go a long way towards making customers feel secure. Let your employees know that it’s OK to tell customers in a nice and friendly manner that everyone wants to stay safe and that respecting these measures are important to achieve that goal.

Some of these measures may be costly, but not opening your business will be more costly. Taking the time and effort to implement these measures will go a very long way towards getting your business going again. Customer confidence is a crucial part of being successful in your reopening efforts. 

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 info@sacsconsulting.com

 
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  • Next up: Top Tech Companies Honored at 11th Annual Best of Tech Awards
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  • Top Tech Companies Honored at 11th Annual Best of Tech Awards

    Here’s who came out on top at the Nerd Oscars.

    Seven different companies took home Best of Tech Awards on April 27, 2017, during OHTec’s 11th annual Best of Tech Awards night held at Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland.

    Awards were handed out in the categories of: Tech Team of the Year; Tech Company of the Year; Most Promising Startup; Best Tech Workspace; Best Software Product; Best IT Services Company; and Best Healthcare Tech Product.

    RELATED: Check out what attendees had to say about the “Nerd Oscars” on Twitter

    “This year’s crop of finalists shows the deep bench of tech talent that exists in Northeast Ohio,” OHTec’s Executive Director Dean E. Brainard says. “At OHTec, we’re proud to support the work of these innovative companies and individuals and connect the fabric of the region’s IT community together through a variety of collaborative and educational efforts.”

    A list of the winners and finalists are below:

    Tech Team of the Year
    Winner: PolyOne

    With its world headquarters based in Northeast Ohio and through the dedication of 7,000 employees in more than 30 countries, PolyOne Corporation (NYSE: POL) is a leading global provider of specialized polymer materials, services and solutions. The company’s IT Department focuses on transforming technology into value as a high performing member of the PolyOne team.

    Finalists

    • Accellis Technology Group
    • Dakota Software
    • n2y LLC

    Tech Company of the Year
    Winner: Futuri Media

    Futuri Media is a global leader in audience engagement technology and tools to help broadcasters and publishers drive audience and revenue growth. Launched in 2009 with its award-winning Listener Driven Radio (LDR) audience engagement platform, Futuri Media now holds 11 published or pending patents and has been named to the Inc. 5000 List of America's fastest-growing private companies for three consecutive years.

    Finalists

    • MRI Software
    • n2y LLC
    • Hyland

    Most Promising Startup
    Winner: Wheedle

    Wheedle is a ticketing and marketing platform, designed specifically for the hospitality industry, which allows businesses to get more customers in the door by promoting their events and experiences. Wheedle ticketing turns ordinary experiences into in-demand events, allowing event hosts to create and sell tickets, promote the event, and manage the guest list.

    Finalists

    • Votem
    • Heureka Software
    • Revenue Conduit

    Best Tech Workspace
    Winner: Accellis Technology Group

    Founded in 2001, Accellis Technology Group, Inc. has built a tier-one nationally recognized technology services business by focusing on one simple principle—deliver great service first. The company hires bright, friendly technology resources and backs them with the tools and resources to make their jobs simple and let them focus on service. One customer, one business, and one person at a time.

    Finalists

    • Technology Recovery Group
    • FIT Technologies

    Best Software Product
    Winner: OEC

    Founded in 2000, OEC develops parts ordering solutions for the global automotive industry. The company’s customer base includes more than 13,000 auto dealers and more than 100,000 repair facilities in the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. Nearly 100% of revenues are generated domestically; 1% internationally.

    Finalists

    • MRI Software
    • Hyland
    • Dakota Software

    Best IT Services Company
    Winner: Bluebridge Networks

    Headquartered in Cleveland, BlueBridge Networks boasts best-in-class Datacenter Services, including Work Group Recovery, Virtualization, Cloud Computing, Disaster Recovery and Managed Storage and Security Services, maximize the opportunity for businesses to get their messages across, save on costs and remain highly available for their customers. With a network of state-of-the-art, geographically diverse collocation facilities located in Cleveland, Mayfield Heights, and Columbus, BlueBridge maintains the highest standards for uptime, quality and service, backed by the most powerful Service Level Guarantees in the industry.

    Finalists

    • FIT Technologies
    • Vizion Solutions
    • Level Seven

    Best Healthcare Tech Product
    Winner: OnShift

    OnShift delivers cloud-based human capital management software and proactive services to solve every day workforce challenges in healthcare. Its suite of products for hiring, scheduling and employee engagement drives quality care, lower costs and higher performance by empowering providers to staff consistently and efficiently. Intuitive design, predictive analytics and customer success management are why thousands of post-acute care and senior living organizations rely on OnShift.

    Finalist

    • iRxReminder LLC

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  • Next up: Trust Can Lead to Employee Retention
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  • Trust Can Lead to Employee Retention

    Most organizations focus on salary as a major reason people stay or leave their companies. In most cases, it’s not even in the top five reasons for an employee leaving the organization. According to a study done by Deloitte, one third of employees will look for a new job as the economy continues to improve. Even more unsettling, 48% of the reason people say the reason for the move is the lack of trust in their employers.

    Most organizations focus on salary as a major reason people stay or leave their companies. In most cases, it’s not even in the top five reasons for an employee leaving the organization. According to a study done by Deloitte, one third of employees will look for a new job as the economy continues to improve. Even more unsettling, 48% of the reason people say the reason for the move is the lack of trust in their employers.

    So how does lack of trust occur at an organization? Those answers aren’t that simple. But, it does show up in many forms. How about when someone does an excellent job on a major project and doesn’t receive the appropriate credit? During the interview process they were told the organization is growing and will have opportunities for growth but doesn’t have anything happening over the long-term? When a manager says to their group that they want something done a certain way and won’t limit the amount of creativity to get to the end of the project, but in the next meeting tells everyone to stop doing it that way and do it their way? Or when someone comes up with a great idea to bring new revenue streams to the organization and better help the customers, but it’s viewed as ridiculous and unattainable?

    Now what? Maybe it’s time to look at your organization in the mirror and ask yourself some tough questions and make some changes to meet the loss that will continue to occur while the economy recovers; especially in IT. You must quickly restore what has been broken.

    Start with being consistent. If you say something, don’t change your mind and do a 180. If you happen to feel a change needs to be made, make it with the group and get a consensus as to whether or not to make the move. When you say to someone you want them to grow, help them grow. You are not in the ivory tower and must be accessible. Great leaders know how to make time for their employees.

    Care for them like family. Be a servant to your flock. This doesn’t mean be a push over, but it means live and work to serve others. When you are treating your employees like you’d want to be treated and are serving their needs, they will trust you more to be their leader. If you ever happen to go to war, there will be people behind you. Your flock will also begin to help each other and become your problem solvers when times get tough. They will also go the extra mile for you because you do the same for them.

    Lastly, communicate your mission and translate the company’s mission as well. Employees inherently want to always try and do their best for the organization, give them the benefit of understanding the mission and what’s expected of them. If they don’t know what they are supposed to be doing or why, what do you expect them to accomplish? They’d just be working for themselves and would feel lost as to why they should try harder for you and the company. In this communication role, listen to the employees too. You need to adjust to their needs as much as you can. Remember, this isn’t about you anymore; this is about serving others and their needs.

    Bottom line on this, be authentic and start seeing retention through the lens of trust rather than on more money and benefits. If you see that your retention analytics have continued to get lower and lower, then it’s time to make a change.

    Reference: http://www.6seconds.org/2013/09/11/trust-retaining-talent/

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  • Next up: Turning Doubt into Confidence: Women in Technology
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  • Turning Doubt into Confidence: Women in Technology

    Doubt – that sense or feeling of uncertainty you get when thinking about the future. Especially that rush of doubt you feel when taking a leap of faith to change careers. Doubt in oneself, doubt in one’s financial state or doubt in the ability to live outside one’s comfort zone. It’s a common thing everyone struggles with when making decisions about the future, specifically the right career path. Turn your doubt into confidence on October 8!

    Doubt – that sense or feeling of uncertainty you get when thinking about the future. Especially that rush of doubt you feel when taking a leap of faith to change careers.

    Doubt in oneself, doubt in one’s financial state or doubt in the ability to live outside one’s comfort zone. It’s a common thing everyone struggles with when making decisions about the future, specifically the right career path.

    Turn your doubt into confidence on October 8!

    While some of these examples are out of our expertise to lend a helping hand, one thing we can help you do is turn doubt into confidence when it comes to choosing a career path.

    I know, you are probably thinking, “Wow, did Hyland add ‘therapist’ to its portfolio along with developing award-winning software?”

    No, we didn’t. However, working at a leading technology organization, I’m excited to share that we’re hosting our inaugural “Women in Tech” event at Hyland Software’s headquarters on Saturday, October 8, from 12:00 – 4:00 p.m.


    Explore your technology career options

    The free conference is open to collegiate and career-level women who are interested in learning and exploring degrees or careers in Information Technology (IT). The conference will educate women in Northeast Ohio (or if you happen to be visiting the region) about different career paths in the technology industry and provide an outlet to hear from and network with women about what a day in their roles looks like.

    We’ve planned an informative half-day event, in partnership with the Ohio Celebration of Women in Computing (OCWiC), with presentations and panels from software developers, testers and IT specialists to answer questions. Our goal is to help educate attendees and promote female leadership in the technology industry. By hosting this event, we hope to spark interest in technology careers and help women break the glass ceiling by having an open dialogue about different career paths and opportunities.

    Again, registration for the event is free. Sign-up today and confirm your seat!


    This blog originally appeared here

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  • Next up: Twitter Chat: Equity, Economy and Climate Resilience
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  • Twitter Chat: Equity, Economy and Climate Resilience

    As an advisory council member of the Cleveland Emerald Cities, I recently participated as one of several panelists in a Twitter Chat that addressed Equity, Economy and Climate Resilience. The Chat focused on the importance of infrastructure in community resilience and in building community wealth.

    As an advisory council member of the Cleveland Emerald Cities, I recently participated as one of several panelists in a Twitter Chat that addressed Equity, Economy and Climate Resilience. The Chat focused on the importance of infrastructure in community resilience and in building community wealth. The Twitter Chat was hosted by the Community Innovators Lab (CoLab), a center for planning and development within MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

    The questions we explored during the chat were:

    • What are some examples of resilient infrastructure and technologies that are contributing to community climate resilience?
    • How might resilient infrastructure contribute to community wealth?
    • What are some examples of resilient infrastructure that are contributing to community wealth?
    • What are some examples of local hiring, contracting or other policies that support the development of resilient infrastructure?
    • What partnerships around local hiring and contracting are contributing to community wealth while building resilient infrastructure?

    Check out the highlights from the chat below:

     

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  • Next up: Twitter Tech Week Takeaways
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  • Twitter Tech Week Takeaways

    Nearly 2,000 people attended various OHTec Tech Week events this year. And a lot of these folks took to Twitter to discuss the events they attended. Curious what people had to say? Take a look below:

    Nearly 2,000 people attended various OHTec Tech Week events this year. And a lot of these folks took to Twitter to discuss the events they attended. Curious what people had to say? Take a look below:

     

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