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10 Ways To Maintain Employee Trust During Tough Business Pivots


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

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.


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

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How To Reflect On And Learn From Rejection


How to Reflect on and Learn from Rejection

It doesn't matter if you run a startup or an established business with many years of success under your belt. Rejection is never easy. It is how you deal with it, learn and grow that matters.

One of the easier types rejection to face is from someone who you have never worked with before. This isn't really a loss, it's just not a gain. Of course, it would be great to bring on every potential client with whom you have a conversation, but that is a little unrealistic. Focus on the yes's and signed deals you get, rather than fixating on the nos.

A type of rejection that is a little harder to stomach is when you get a referral but the client decides not to use your product/service at the end of the conversation. You know they have a need but you still couldn't close. Reflecting and learning after the interaction will help you overcome similar challenges during future conversations with potential new clients.

The hardest and most emotionally draining type of rejection in business is when a longstanding client decides to cut the relationship. Sometimes there was nothing you could have done to save the relationship, but if you made a mistake, ensure it is not repeated with your remaining clients.

Below, I would like to share a couple of my own experiences with rejection where reflection led to future success:

1. My partner and I started our firm in 2011, and this past year we lost a client because their feelings were hurt when I was giving feedback. In this scenario, it was the way I delivered the feedback that led to the rejection. In retrospect, I should have been aware that if I am giving a client harsher feedback, I should be more empathetic and deliver it in person instead of doing it over the phone. It still hurts when I think about it. It is especially difficult when you truly care and invest so much time into the client and their business. I know I had the best intentions, but it was not viewed the same way on my client's side.

2. I was referred to a big-time investor at a private equity firm many years ago, but I was unprepared for the questions he threw at me and the specifics he wanted. In retrospect, I realized that PE firms are looking for how you can directly contribute to the success of the company they are investing in and your process to get there. You must have your pitch down pat and show them you can help, consult and, most importantly, drive and directly contribute to their goals for success. It is not easy to work with those types of companies, but the reward when you are successful is the best feeling. My first call was a miss, but reflecting and perfecting my position helped with future opportunities. We now work with quite a few investment companies helping them build up businesses they back.

At the end of the day, rejection is never easy. Some types of rejection are harder to face than others, but it is always important to take the time to understand why something did not go the way you wanted, seek advice, learn and grow from it. Here are my top tips for turning rejection into a learning opportunity:

Take the time to reflect and understand.

Taking time to reflect is important because that is what leads to improvement. Reflect on the situation when you have a clear head and are in a calmer state, which is usually the day after the rejection. When you are first rejected, you are probably a little frantic and it is hard to think clearly. If you can relax, take a step back and reflect. After a little bit of time, you will be less emotional and better able to deal with the situation productively. Sometimes you can even come up with a great plan to turn things around. Focus on being proactive, not reactive, to move forward.

Seek advice from a mentor.

Most, if not all, business leaders have dealt with rejection at some point in time. So, seek advice from someone you look up to and trust, whether they are a LinkedIn connection or from a networking group. After your personal reflection, go over the situation with them and pick their brain on how they would have gone about the situation. This might give you a fresh perspective and will help with your personal and professional growth. Being vulnerable and able to discuss your challenges with other business leaders is not looked down upon; in fact, it shows that you are a motivated individual who is mature enough to realize when you have made a mistake and would like constructive feedback to grow.

Grow from it so the mistake is not repeated.

After the realization kicks in and you know how to better handle this type of situation in the future, share your knowledge with your team. After I experienced a loss, I reflected, got advice and then shared my findings. This was a big learning lesson for me and for my team because the best way to learn is from real-life experiences. My team really appreciated the fact that I shared the situation with them and they learned a lot from the outcome and from the alternative ways I could have dealt with the situation for a better outcome.

Although my big losses hit me hard, I believe the time I spent learning from those situations got me to where I am today. The main lesson on loss that I tell my team is that it will happen. I will never be disappointed as long as they can reflect, learn and grow from those situations.

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

Marketing Team Hiring Strategies.jpg

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

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.

5 Strategies for Hiring Millennials

Millenial hiring Strategies.jpg

5 Strategies for Hiring Millennials

Today, we need the best and the brightest. That young talent...those who question the way things are done. Those who create faster processes and are so technologically advanced it makes us question what we actually know…the Millennial.

Here are the five core strategies for hiring Millennials:

  1. Ensure Title/Responsibility Growth is to be expected for hard work and dedication and that they will not be in the same role 1-2 years down the line. Talk about how others in the role have grown and where they are today in the company.

  2. Company Culture is one of those things that you either have or don’t. If you don’t, work on it…right now! Everyone wants to work for the company that has crazy wall colors, employee outings, open door policy (Executives can be easily communicated with), free snacks/coffee, employee gamification and more. Millennials need to feel like they are joining a Google.

  3. Work/Life Balance & Flexibility…don’t worry, Millennials are hard workers. Sometimes they work so hard, they really just need some flexibility to feel they still have a social life. They need to feel like they can have a normal life outside of work. Telecommuting on certain days of the week for jobs such as design, development and the like are very normal. Remember, this generation was taught to “work to live” not “live to work”.

  4. Compensation is so important! Some companies are really trying to low ball salaries and it is getting harder and harder for them to hire the best talent. It is creating rotating door environments, especially in cold call/sales environments. If you want to give a lower salary, that is fine, just make sure the upside, bonus or commission opportunity allows for the individual to make a normal wage. Out of college $26,000 to $35,000 base salaries are normal for sales roles if the commission can allow them to double their income. Within Marketing, college grads are making $35,000 to $40,000 + bonus potential. Within Engineering, college grads are getting hired between $65,000 to $80,000. Every industry and role has their pay scale, do not fall below the norm. Given 3-5 years of experience, these individuals are making $20K-$50K per year from the starting wage. Often times Millenials will need to jump jobs in order to get the bump in salary. The goal is to keep the talent happy and on board. Typical 2%-4% yearly raises are not working to retain talent. Watch out the rising talent and compensate them, either with a commission or bonus structure. They deserve to be well compensated or else they will jump ship!

The Sell: You can have all the right things and offer amazing benefits, but if you don’t have someone really selling the opportunity to come and work for you, you wont be really getting the best talent. Those who are doing such a good job and are well taken care of, that they don’t even know about your opportunity since they are not actively on the job hunt. It is CRUCIAL to have an internal HR team dedicated to talent acquisition and well connected recruiting firm to constantly go out and find the best profiles and talent and actively pitch them on what you have to offer. How your company is presented and spoken about is very important – pay attention to your tone of voice, how excited and motivated you are to work for your company and share your opportunity in way that is intriguing. Never lie – but do not undersell and always put on you’re Sales hat, because recruiting is a sales job. If you can’t sell the opportunity of working at your company, you cannot be on the phone actively recruiting the best and brightest talent. Make sure your internal recruiter or HR Rep is the right person to be representing your company. You only get one chance to entice a potential candidate about a particular role... make that presentation count!

What to do in the first 30, 60, 90 days with a new Employee

What to do in the first 30, 60, 90 days with a new Employee.

The highest turnover time is in the first two months of hiring an employee. The first couple months with a new employee are key in determining their long term success with a company. You want to make sure you are there for your new hire as much as possible, which is why the best time to hire a new employee is during a slow time where you can really take the time to mentor and train them. It is hard enough coming to a new company, learning new systems, getting acquainted with new people and learning the company's way of doing things. This becomes so much worse if the new employee is thrown into the weeds of things without a hands-on trainer or manager really showing them the ropes the first couple months.


Employers, it is crucial that you have the time for your new employee after hiring them. Here are some ideas to implement to ensure success:


  1. Have weekly meetings to see how they are doing. Measure progress and set expectations for them to work up to each week.

  2. If they do something wrong, come to them right away and address the issue so it does not happen again. Remember new company, new way of doing things, you can not reprimand, if the employee did not know the correct way of doing something or even worse if they make a mistake and nothing is said.

  3. Get them emerged with other employees; have a group lunch, happy hours, or something that they can do with the team the first month. This creates a good culture and gets them a little more comfortable with the current team.

  4. Praise them for performance! If they think outside the box, make a great suggestion, stay after hours...let them know you notice these things. This goes a long way and they will want to go above and beyond again. Everyone likes to be noticed for the great things they do!


If you are a hands on manager in the beginning and take the time to care for and groom your employees into what you want them to be, then you do not have to be a micro-manager in the future! This will ultimately save you time and money :)

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 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!