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10 Ways To Maintain Employee Trust During Tough Business Pivots

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This article features Sarah Yeverovich, Empowered Staffing’s Co-Founder on Forbes.com

Progress in business is rarely linear. Often, the entrepreneurial journey is like a roller coaster, and most companies face significant ups and downs along the ride.

These critical turning points—whether it’s a shift in business focus or a team restructuring—are necessary for survival. However, these big changes impact every person involved, at every level. As a business leader, it’s up to you to help your team weather the storm. Here’s how 10 Young Entrepreneur Council members recommend maintaining employees’ trust in times of upheaval.

Members of Young Entrepreneur Council share advice for maintaining employees' trust and engagement during times of significant change at your business.

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF YEC MEMBERS.

1. Hold Yourself To A High Standard As A Leader

In all the best-performing companies I’ve worked for, the leaders have had extremely high expectations, they have communicated hard feedback consistently and they have held themselves to those same standards. That is the key to weathering a storm. Everyone has to know what is expected of them and know it is a lot. Employees will inevitably fail and make mistakes, but this becomes a strengthening exercise when leaders deal with it imminently and in the daylight. Finally, the best leaders lead from the front and take on these seemingly impossible tasks themselves. That role model transcends across the team and is how we achieve incredible things. “Nice” is the death of survival. - Codie SanchezCresco Capital Partners

2. Increase Your Communication Frequency

One thing I’ve learned along the way is that your ability to communicate changes early and often can make all of the difference in how your decisions land. Sometimes, reaching out to team members individually can give them a chance to ask questions they wouldn’t ask in a company meeting or to have their feelings heard. It’s also a good idea to reiterate why certain things are changing and to continue to paint the long-term vision of the company. When everyone knows where we’re going, it’s easier to maintain trust and to enroll everyone in the bigger vision. - Nathalie LussierAccessAlly

3. Reconnect With Your Brand And Mission

As the managing partner of a global personal and corporate branding firm, I’ve helped lead our company through change, including expanding to new markets and pursuing new types of clients, such as Silicon Valley tech leaders. The most important thing to maintain trust is to build a very strong brand that not only clients, but your team, can connect to and rally around, and make sure that the changes you are making are in service of that brand. Your team will be able to navigate turbulence as long as they know that they are part of a mission that has great meaning and purpose. Sometimes, it is not easy to see how changes really do reinforce your brand, so take the time to message your decisions internally. - Beth DoaneMain & Rose

4. Address Rumors Head On

In a period of downsizing, rumors are sure to start flying. But a good leader will put a stop to the rumor mill in order to maintain employees’ trust. Make sure your entire team has all of the information they need at once by holding a company meeting. By giving them all of the information at the same time, it should help to avoid starting up the rumor mill. In addition, if you hear any rumors that are rapidly spreading, you should address them. Putting them out in the open and dispelling them will show your team that you won’t put up with false information and that they can come to you if they have concerns. - Stephanie WellsFormidable Forms

5. Open The Lines Of Communication

Keeping the lines of communication open with all employees (whether you have one employee or a thousand employees) and keeping them informed of each critical phase of the challenging times will help increase trust and minimize panic. Whenever we go through rough times, I keep my team informed of what my plans are. If I do have to downsize or eliminate a position, I will let the employee know as early in advance as possible so they have time to make other plans without panic. It’s only fair to give them fair warning. - Kristin Kimberly MarquetFem Founder

6. Be Vulnerable And Genuine

Trust needs to be built (and demonstrated) over time. It starts by being genuine, honest and transparent. Set a company culture from the top down where you are vulnerable and genuine, so people know they can trust you. Admit your mistakes and weaknesses and accept critical feedback from your team. Err on the side of transparency and be honest about what’s working and what’s not, even if it’s a hard message to deliver. Make sure the team knows the “why” of the company and that you are committed to making the best decisions for the whole. My team knows that we are in this together—that I will not abandon them or leave them in the dark. We win and lose together. Showing this pattern of honesty and transparency over time will garner trust when you need it at critical moments of change. - Frances DewingRubica Inc.

7. Focus On Solutions, Not Blame

I go by one rule: Be clear, be honest and talk about solutions, not blame. When things are going haywire, I’ve seen leaders start pulling teams apart by pointing fingers and placing blame. There is a difference between saying, “This is what is happening and why,” and, “This happened and it’s all so-and-so’s fault.” All this does is cause more unrest and mistrust in a time when your team needs to be able to trust you. Resist the temptation to point fingers and focus on the facts while encouraging the team to think about how to grow stronger together. That’s leadership. - Benish ShahLoop & Tie

8. Over-Communicate On Everything

Communication is essential for successfully running any business, but particularly during times of change. Whenever expectations, roles, location or systems shift, there can be an uptick in stress experienced by employees who are uncertain about the permanence of their position or unclear about a new role in the company. To quell unease, over-communicate and ensure your employees know they can come to you with any questions or concerns. - Kelley WeaverMelrose PR

9. Speak To The Future

Unite the company in speaking about being a team. A lot of the time you can’t disclose everything that happened due to legality, so instead of talking about what was, what happened and why it happened, talk about what will be. “Moving forward as a united team, we’re going to build a culture that is trustworthy and dependable. We need your help. We need to work together.” Include actionable change, such as new policies and/or processes. This way you’re essentially addressing what the problems were by leading with the solutions. This also builds trust because you’re safeguarding from this happening again. Less is more. Be concise. Be thoughtful. - Kerry GuardMKG Marketing

10. Remind Employees That They Are Valued

It is always best to be open with employees and address the company’s goals and future plans when a critical turning point or downsizing occurs. You do not want your current employees to get fearful and start looking for positions elsewhere. Sharing how the event is actually better for the company and going over future plans are key. If you act weird about the situation and are not open, it can lead to a loss in trust and morale. Your employees will be more likely to stay and feel they are a significant part of the company when you take the time to explain the situation and even have one-on-ones. If you have a strong partnership with your employees and they feel they are being valued and trusted, they will step up and help the company prosper when changes like this occur. - Sarah YeverovichEmpowered Staffing

Original Post: https://www.forbes.com/sites/yec/2019/05/16/10-ways-to-maintain-employee-trust-during-tough-business-pivots/#1dd6df1f5429

2019 Digital Marketing Salary Guide

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The 2019 Salary Guide for Digital Marketing is Now Available!

You can now access Empowered Staffing’s 2019 Salary Guide for Digital Marketing roles across Ad Agencies and Brands.

Empowered Staffing is your resource when it comes to the state of today’s Digital Marketing industry. That’s why Empowered Staffing is releasing its annual Salary Guides for companies nationwide to keep you up to date with salary information no matter which state you operate out of.

Today’s corporate landscape is candidate-driven so it is important that Hiring Managers understand what is needed to compete for talent.

To view the 2019 Digital Marketing Guide, please fill in the form below.

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The Race to Recruit Digital Marketing Talent at Ad Agencies

The Race to Recruit Digital Marketing Talent at Ad Agencies

Digital Marketing has allowed companies to grow faster than ever. With the opportunity to target the right customer in the right moment across any device, the increases in revenue major brands are experiencing have forced agencies to keep up with building up Paid Search, Display, Influencer, Social & Email / CRM Marketing teams.

Ad Agencies are using both internal and external recruiters to achieve success with building up their teams, but that is not enough to guarantee success. Strong HR Leaders in Digital have decided to pursue innovative processes to ensure that they compete in the marketplace. Every HR Leader wants to hire the best talent, and by the time there are interviews, candidates already have a multitude of options. This has created a huge impact on the interview process itself. If a candidate is interviewing with your agency, it is more than likely they are interviewing at 2-3 other companies as well. It is crucial for HR to take the interview process and cut it down to 2 interviews or else you will not be able to get the offer out before competing offers. A phone interview and an in-person interview where all the leaders can meet with the potential candidate is ideal. Get your leaders to meet and give feedback within 24 hours of an interview to make sure if the candidate is a solid potential, the candidate knows and is engaged with your hiring process. When the candidate is a great find, you really need to pull the trigger and give them an offer, and it has to be competitive for the market. If you are a hiring manager, you have hired and interviewed many times over, so when you see top talent you should know what they look like and move quickly.

If your on the fence with a candidate, of course it makes sense to compare to others, but individuals you like, do not wait.

In the market of competing offers and counteroffers, we need to focus in on how to bring on board talent and keep them happy. A lot of that has to do with not just culture, but the compensation package. If your company is below market, there is a big chance that within 6 months, another recruiter will contact your new hire and offer them $10K-$15K more in a base with even more promises for growth. Do your research in the industry and always make a competitive offer that gives candidates a bump in pay. Typically you will see candidates requesting a $10-$15K pay increase to consider leaving their role when it comes to the marketing industry.

The goal is to hire the best and keep them happy. So when interviewing digital marketing candidates, make decisions quickly and offer competitive packages.

VP of Recruiting Shares 3 Skills You Need to Get a Startup Marketing Job

Our VP of Recruiting Shares 3 Skills You Need to Get a Startup Marketing Job

An Interview with our VP of Recruiting, Daniel Miller
Article Written by: Carli Evilsizer from Branderly Media

 

There are so many tips floating around the internet on what startup CEO's are really looking for when interviewing candidates but we were curious if there's any tips specifically for startup marketing candidates. Some of the most common tips when interviewing for a startup include being truly passionate and excited about the role (and more importantly the startup itself!) as well as a "can-do" attitude. But if you are interviewing with a startup CEO for a marketing role, what are a few specific things you will need to prove to get hired? 

We chatted with Daniel Miller, Co-Founder and VP of Recruiting at Empowered Staffing to learn more. Daniel is a co-founder himself and works with many startups hiring digital marketing, e-commerce & tech roles, so he was the perfect person to share a few tips. 

 

1. What is your background?

"For over 6 years, I recruited for a headhunting agency and moved up the ladder into corporate training and management. Then in 2009, I was hired by an eCommerce startup, BuyHappier.com (Now called Digital Brandworks) that literally only had a business plan and yet to open an office. I came on board as employee #2 and built an office up to 40+ employees and we were featured on the Inc 500 as one of America’s fastest-growing companies. We were on the WGN news Around Town segment due to the culture we built, modeled after Zappos. Once the company sold, many organizations found out about my success building up the BuyHappier office, and I was getting calls left and right by startup owners looking to build teams and that is how Empowered Staffing was started."
 

2. Tell me more about Empowered Staffing.

"Empowered Staffing is a recruiting firm specialized Digital Marketing, eCommerce & Tech / SaaS industries. We have a team of recruiters based in Evanston and have experienced growth between 20-150% YOY since our inception in 2012. We have worked with small start ups to Fortune 1000 organizations. We have a fun and energetic team that is dedicated to the success of our clients which has made our firm so successful."
 

3. What are the biggest differences when interviewing for a startup vs a larger company?

"In a startup, there are usually two strong attributes employers are looking for. One, someone that is willing to be hands on and have a get it done attitude. The candidates coming from larger employers, are used to larger structures and being siloed into one aspect of their department, but in a startup you have to be willing to take on additional responsibilities and truly get involved beyond a typical scope of a position."

"The second most important thing, is personality and cultural fit. Hiring in a small company, is all about making sure personalities click and a lot of times, our Startup CEO’s will have 5 very qualified individuals to review but will usually go with the one that is more upbeat, positive & most excited to join the startup in addition to personalities meshing together well." 
 

4. What is the biggest mistake you see candidates make while interviewing at a startup?

There are two:

1) Not being prepared. Always research and review the company and get together a list of three strong/strategic questions. This will show the executive you are meeting with there is a level of engagement in the interview and that you did your homework.

2) Getting nervous and/or not letting their true personality shine through. It is always hard to make a true judgement call on a candidate when it is your first meeting, which is why it is so important that each candidate is very open and transparent during the interview so the employer can get the best feel for the individual they are meeting with. It is our job as a firm to narrow down and send in the top candidates on each search we are on, once the candidate interviews (this is not something they are used to since over 97% of our candidates have a position and they are not active job seekers) it is their job to not only showcase their hard skills but they need to bring their A game with their personality which is hard for anyone during a first meeting with an executive especially if your not a sales person. I know it sounds cheesy, as I learned this from my sister whom is the co-founder of Empowered Staffing, just like in the bachelor the people who can not open up go home first, so to when interviewing for a job, being open and letting your personality shine is key!

THE 3 SKILLS YOU NEED TO GET A STARTUP MARKETING JOB

1. ABILITY TO LAUNCH A NEW PRODUCT/SERVICE

"It is much easier to work with an established company who already has a reputation and launch something to an already existing customer base. In a startup, launching a new product or service to a new customer base is trickier. Innovation, thinking out of the box, the ability to bootstrap ideas to fruition are all very important factors that many people may have but it truly shows when working in a startup company, department or division."

"Be prepared with examples of how you have done it in the past and things that can relate. E.g. If you never worked in a startup, but worked for a major brand on a new product/service/technology with a new customer segment, that could be a great example. Come prepared with successes, things you learned along the way and remember, executive love data. If you have ROI, % increases in revenue, or $$ values that were impacted due to you, executives will be a lot more intrigued."
 

2. ABILITY TO BRING IN LEADS THROUGH DIGITAL MARKETING

"All of us are on devices: smart phones, tablet, computers throughout the day. We are all hyper-involved on social media as well, which is why we see ads that are truly targeted to us every time we log into Facebook or Instagram. The ability to target the right consumer is usually a lot easier utilizing digital methodologies because we can now track consumers better than ever via their demographic & interests and bring the right advertisement to them in the perfect moment as they are browsing online." 

"Search Engine Marketing (SEM or Paid Search) drives consumers who are searching for your exact product or service and getting them to your website via Google or Bing Search engines. SEM/Paid Search is the reason Google became a billion dollar company. It is highly effective in driving consumers instantly to your page the minute you start a strong ad words campaign. SEO is very important, since anytime we search for anything we use google and we pretty much stick with the first page of results. Those results are predicated on websites being thought leaders and having the information that consumers are actually looking for." 

"Startups need business quickly so they can survive and then grow quickly. Digital marketing allows you to quickly build up a customer base and that is why Social Media, Search Engine Marketing and SEO are so important. How can candidates show their ability to bring in leads for a startup? The only way to show your ability is to use work history examples and previous accomplishments that have a true ROI or Revenue increase attached to it. Start up entrepreneurs are already taking a risk starting up the company, so they rather hire smart candidates who have had some experience in it previous to making the hire."
 

3. ABILITY TO EXECUTE ON TRADITIONAL MARKETING METHODS

"Copywriting, partnership marketing, branding, tradeshows/sponsorships, print & marketing materials are still extremely important. Remember, although digital is great and explosively growing, traditional marketing is still much larger than digital. A lot of times, startups may be worried to put all their eggs in the digital marketing basket since it tends to be expensive. Utilizing copywriting, print and marketing material creation, it will allow a sales team to start selling the product. Also, partnership marketing is a great way to bring in revenue by creating partnerships with associations, influencers, or other companies that can make introductions to the perfect customer base." 

"It’s hard to say which is the best, but I would say copy, tradeshow/sponsorships and partner marketing can truly bring about quick success for a startup company." 

Top 6 Skills to look for in Digital Marketing Candidates

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Top 6 Skills to look for in Digital Marketing Candidates

When looking to hire a Marketing candidates, there are certain software, skills and personalities to look out for to make sure you are hiring the best out there.

Check out the list below of the top 6 attributes and in demand skills to look for in each of the digital marketing positions that would fill a marketing team.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM):

  • Strong Excel Skills
  • AdWords Certification or strong experience with Adwords and other software programs for SEM management like Kenshoo, Marin, etc.
  • Knowledge of SEO
  • Basic Technical/Programming skills is a huge help
  • A/B Testing principals
  • Strong Content/Copy and Communication skills

Email Marketing:

  • Use of Pardot, Marketo, MailChimp
  • Ability to analyze campaigns
  • A-B testing
  • Understanding of SPAM rules
  • Experience with Segmentation & List Building
  • Ability to talk about successful email campaigns prior | previous open rates & how they drove engagement

Analytics:

  • A Love for Data!
  • Strong in Google Analytics
  • Advanced SQL & Excel Skills using Pivot Tables, V-Lookups and if possible Macros and Visual Basic
  • Experience with Tag Management: Google Tag Manager, Adobe’s Tag Management are two common tools.
  • Strong ability to do A/B testing
  • Experience analyzing Display, Programmatic, SEM & SEO is ideal

Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

  • Experience using SEO analysis programs (There are many, inquire which ones they worked with)
  • Strong with Google Analytics
  • A Love for Content Strategy
  • Technical and Programming skills
  • Previous examples of getting websites to the first page of Google
  • Ability to discuss some of their white hat SEO strategies

There will always be companies that use different software programs and skills that are not common among most of the industry. It is key to find candidates that are adaptable and Tech Savvy enough to change with the times and learn the new methodologies. No matter the skills, remember to assess personality – you want to find the candidates that love what they do and want to find a workplace that they can drive growth and success. Top Digital Marketing candidates are a hot commodity in our economy, especially since the unemployment rate is at an all time low and candidates are receiving competing offers. Be sure to keep your interview process streamlined & short or else you may risk losing the best and brightest.

 

What Business Owners Need To Know About Hiring An Effective Marketing Team

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What Business Owners Need To Know About Hiring An Effective Marketing Team

This article was written by our Co-Founder, Sarah Yeverovich & also published on Forbes.com

Some of our success at Empowered Staffing is due to operating in the SaaS/tech, digital marketing and e-commerce/retail industries, where most of our clients have a revenue stream that stems from an online platform. Because online sales and properly marketing your business online is so important, we have been able to help a lot of companies that want to start investing in their marketing efforts by growing their marketing teams.

I have worked with a lot of small to midsize businesses seeking marketing managers, directors of channel marketing, PPC/SEM specialists, email and CRM marketing leaders, analysts and more. The one major thing in common for all these companies is that they experienced a tremendous amount of growth once they had the right marketing team in place.

Step One: A Qualified Marketing Lead

A clear lesson we've seen proven time and time again is that it is extremely important to hire an expert in marketing who can learn the specifics of your company and help choose and deploy the best marketing strategies to get you the best ROI. The right recruit will also be able to help with identifying out which roles to hire internally and which roles to outsource to an agency.

 

It can be difficult to figure out what that first hire or role should look like when you are eager to start building an in-house marketing team. I see a lot of companies combining two or three separate roles into one when making early hires, which can turn off potential good candidates. Start by identifying the three must-have skill sets and create the job description around those key areas. First-timers can also search the title or key responsibilities of the position you are looking to fill and find similar openings online to get an idea of what your role should look like.

When vetting a lead marketing candidate, add these helpful questions to your interview process:

  1. How do you measure success/accountability from your team once a new marketing initiative has been put in place?
  2. What are some things that you noticed from our site/ online presence that you liked and some areas that we are lacking in? (This helps to see how much research the candidate has done on your company and gives you some insight on their initial ideas and way of thinking.)
  3. Tell me about a time where you came into a new position and drove success. Tell me about some challenges along the way and how you overcame them.
  4. When you took over marketing operations, where was revenue at and where did you take it to? (This follows up on the previous question and addresses ROI.)


Step Two: Mapping The Marketing Team

The first hire of an internal marketing department is usually the hardest, and there are so many factors that differ from company to company. This is why it's a good idea to confer with other departments and leadership to define the role based on your specific needs and company goals. After you onboard a marketing lead, it is much easier to make future hires, as this lead should be able to define the supporting roles and design a starting point. It is also a good idea to create a sample organizational chart of what you would like your marketing team to eventually look like to map out marketing leadership and staff.

When you are growing your marketing team, remember that one of the biggest challenges could be the pace of hiring and attracting the best talent.

If you find a candidate you love, do not wait to move forward in your interview process with that individual. In a perfect world, it is always nice to have a choice of candidates to compare before moving forward with a hire, but many marketing positions are hot right now. With this, the unemployment being low and the need for internal marketing teams on the rise, you should be quick to hire if you find a great fit. These candidates are being approached daily — even if they are not actively looking for a new opportunity. If they are interviewing with you, chances are they are interviewing with other companies as well and could get snatched up in a matter of days.

To attract the best talent, be sure include some information on your job description about why someone would want to work at your company. Share details of the culture, benefits and in general why your company is a great place to work. Some recruiters or hiring managers get scared by this, afraid to hire someone who is "all about the money" or benefits. But remember, that is not what is going on in most candidates' minds. When you sell your company by sharing this information, you attract individuals who are passively job-hunting. The more enticing and excited about the culture of your company you are, the more you can attract top talent.

Just like in school, a student with straight As will not necessarily be accepted into the top colleges — the student needs to set themselves above the other fierce competition. So too must a company put its best foot forward in attracting talent by creating — and promoting — a great culture and workplace.

Hiring...should it be filled in house or by an agency?

Hiring...should it be filled in house or by an agency?

You might be shocked to hear this from an owner of a recruiting firm but here it goes...NOT ALL ROLES SHOULD BE FARMED OUT TO RECRUITING FIRMS.

One of the most common questions I get when speaking with my clients is why can't we find the talent you find for us? My answer is simple, time & resources! All a recruiting firm does is recruit, we are constantly speaking to candidates that could fill various roles and we are referred by candidates to passively seeking top talent that usually do not apply to positions online. We have time to actively recruit because that is all we do! It is not about putting up a job posting or sending a message and seeing what sticks; it is about networking, making calls, and doing research to hunt and find the best talent for each client.

Our clients, unlike us, have many other tasks and hiring is usually just one drop in their big buckets which makes it way more complicated to make a hire.

Having said all of that, it does not mean that some jobs should be farmed out right away to a firm. For most companies, every dollar counts and chances are you will need to use recruiters for those "hard to fill", executive level, hyper growth mode positions...so save your dollars for those roles and try these tips when you are trying to fill roles internally.

-Be on the look out everyday for top talent. Whether you are sitting in a coffee shop or going to a networking event be on the lookout and approach people you think would be a good fit for your company. You are probably thinking, this is nuts, I am not going to go up to a stranger in Starbucks and promote my company. You are wrong, you should be doing this! If you see someone who sticks out, who is put together, conducts themselves in a way you like, during an appropriate time, go up to them, introduce yourself and hand them your business card. Tell them they really stuck out to you and although they might not be looking now, you would love to hear what they do as you never know what opportunities your company could have in the next couple months AND that could match what they do! Remember, sometimes the right personality can learn the hard skills needed for the job.

-Check your Facebook, LinkedIn and any other social media sites for connections and reach out to them. Recruiting is about being proactive and hunting down what you are looking for, not waiting around to see what mediocre people come your way through a job posting.

-Speak at events and let everyone know what you do and about your company. Try and go to 2 events each quarter (networking, events around your personal hobbies or interest...). Meet new people and promote yourself and your company. The more you get out there the more people you will meet.

-Take a chance on fresh talent. Go to a top college in your area and recruit interns that have the potential of staying with your company long term.

-Give your employees a referral fee and start the recruiting process with your own top talent. Good people stick together. If you have an all star employee, ask that person if they know anyone for the role you are trying to fill. This will possibly not only land you another talented individual but you can praise your current employee by wanting to hire another individual with the same work ethics and drive!