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Management

How To Build A Global Project Management Office

A couple of years ago, I was asked to create a Project Management Office (PMO) for the International Operations Division of a large Financial Services Organization. It was the first time projects were managed at the portfolio level.

A couple of years ago, I was asked to create a Project Management Office (PMO) for the International Operations Division of a large Financial Services Organization. It was the first time projects were managed at the portfolio level.

To make sure I was being consistent with industry practices, I conducted research to understand how PMOs were designed in other companies. What I’ve found (and is still accurate today) was that there wasn’t an industry-wide standard in designing a PMO.

PMOs ranged from Project Administrators to Strategic Portfolio Managers to Managing Reductions In Force. Up until the last few years, PMOs typically had a short life cycle and would self-destruct once the office objectives were met.

So when I created the global PMO, I wanted to make sure I had a sustainable and value-add department that would not only advise senior leadership on project progress/execution but also provide strategic direction and consul.

Having the PMO became a critical part of the way this organization did business and contributed to approximately $115 MM in reenginnering savings that year.

Below are some tips that you may find helpful in creating your global PMO.

Tip 1: Include regions in defining the PMO’s objectives.

In order for the PMO to be successful, I needed to understand the current landscape. I found that the regional project departments worked independently from each other and were using inconsistent metrics to report on progress/financials.

I decided to bring the teams together to discuss how to make the PMO successful and relevant to them. In our discussions, the teams discovered that there were inconsistencies in their reporting and in some instances, duplication of efforts.

The group realized the value of the PMO and was engaged in defining the PMOs objectives. The end result was regional sponsorship, standardized metrics for project reporting, and an empowered PMO to manage the portfolio.

Tip 2: The PMO should be an independent office and report directly into the highest leader within the organization.

The division had several business process engineering departments with different remits such as, process improvement, outsourcing, or hubbing.

Initially, the PMO reported into one of these groups. Unfortunately, the PMO quickly became a platform that only showcased it’s group.

To eliminate any hidden agendas, the decision was made to have the PMO report directly into the Division head. By having direct access to senior stakeholders, the PMO was now able to provide an unbiased and holistic view on the portfolio.

Tip 3: Have internal business partner resources* dedicated to the PMO

The PMO would be the central source for all project information. I believed that people would start asking for project details once they knew about this one-stop-shop.

To add structure to enquiries, I made sure the PMO had internal business partner* representatives. These individuals would be PMO team-members and liaisons between their organization and the PMO.

These linkages ensured all teams were aligned with the numbers reported by the PMO to Senior Leadership as well as enabled team-members to update their respective organizations on progress being made.

*internal business partner is defined as HR, Finance, Technologies, etc.

Tip 4: Set expectations regarding Project Transparency

Having a PMO results in a high level of transparency; especially, for the Project Managers (PMs). The PMO set expectations with Senior Leadership and PMs that the PMO had 3 initial objectives: 1) ensure the PMO could represent the portfolio of projects, 2) provide the necessary support needed to move projects forward, and 3) showcase PMs to Senior Leadership.

The PMO created a process to capture all the project information in one place. After analyzing the project details, it was clear that there were opportunities to consolidate projects, eliminate non-strategic projects, and question why certain projects were severely behind schedule.

Heavier accountability fell upon the PMs to ensure their project details and the financials reported were as accurate as possible. It was also an opportunity to showcase PMs doing great work.

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Management

5 Common Scheduling Issues and How to Avoid Them

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Creating a reliable and effective work schedule is crucial to growing your business. A great timetable will make your employees happy, which will attract more customers.

On the flipside, a poorly-constructed schedule could have serious consequences.

Employee fatigue has been the cause of many disasters, like the Chernobyl nuclear explosion and the Exxon Valdez oil spill. As a manager, you’ve got to be aware of your employees’ feelings, mentally and physically.

Failing to notice these problems could hurt your company, causing financial loss. Read on to learn about 5 common scheduling issues, and how you can make work schedules work for you.

1. Overworked Workers

As a member of the retail or service industry, you’re no doubt familiar with the dreaded “clopening.” A closing shift (ending at 10 or 11 PM) followed immediately by an opener (beginning 7 or 8 AM) is a lot to put on one person.

Driving and taking care of essential needs can take 2 or more hours. This schedule for work leaves your employee with 6 hours or less to sleep. S/he will come in the next morning exhausted, and you’ll suffer lost time, productivity, or both.

Avoid employee fatigue with software that looks for consecutive shifts and corrects them. Combat it with breaks and regular shift check-ins.

2. Imbalances

The US ranks in the bottom 20% for work-life balance. Americans have less time to take care of themselves, even though they need an average of 9.58 hours a day to address personal needs.

Making schedules for employees requires careful planning. As a leader, understanding your workers’ needs will make you more effective.

They’ll thank you for it by being more productive.

3. Sudden No-Shows

Studies show that 38% of employees have called out of work despite feeling fine.

Last-minute absences can cause severe scheduling issues. Doctor’s appointments, children, and car problems are just a few reasons someone may fail to come into work.

Making a work schedule that fits everyone’s needs is truly an art. Smart software can help alleviate the panic of trying to cover a shift. Allowing employee swaps or having separate teams of workers can help.

Hubworks rolled out their staff scheduling app in order to combat many scheduling issues. Check out their helpful guide to discover the benefits of smart work schedules.

4. Worker Turnover

A long-suffering employee can spell disaster for your company. Losing a few employees won’t be a major downfall. However, high employee turnover can hurt your profit and image.

Hiring someone means investing time, money, and resources to training and onboarding them. If you continue to lose people, it’s time to reassess scheduling issues and management style.

Above all, happy employees mean happy customers.

5. Too Few or Too Many

Too many workers on a shift can be just as bad as too few.

Your budget will shrink fast, and you’ll have to send people home. This means less time and money in both of your pockets.

Only schedule the people you need for that shift. You should alternate workers so that no one works multiple shifts in a row. Employees notice fairness – or lack thereof.

The Art of Combating Scheduling Issues

Figuring out how to schedule employees can be the difference between an okay-manager and a great one. It takes finesse, intelligence, and a dedicated team of individuals to overcome scheduling issues.

To get the best results you’ll need an innovative support system and advanced AI. Check out these great employee management programs to simplify your life.

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Management

How to Thrive in a Competitive Industry

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There are many competitive industries in the UK. Keeping a close eye on what your competitors are doing is essential to making sure that your business can stay one step ahead of the competition.

Consumers can now find companies in the comfort of their own home. Your business may be great, but it also needs to be discovered by the right audience online.  If you find yourself getting lost amongst your competitors, try a new angle and give customers something different.

Kamran Mirshahi is the director of Canary Claims, specialising in PPI claims. Customers can choose to make a claim themselves or use a reputable PPI claims company. But, even if a customer decides to use a PPI claims service, there are a number to choose from. In July 2018, the government put in place a fee cap for all PPI claims companies – and this created even greater competition as many companies now charge the same price.

Despite challenges and rogue PPI claims companies giving the industry a bad name, Kamran has succeeded and thrived in the market. Below, he outlines how your business can do the same.

Create a Unique Selling Point

What is your business’s unique selling point? There needs to be something different about you to stand out. It could be that all UK deliveries are free or you only stock ethical products. For service businesses, do you offer something free to try and convert customers? Whatever it is, make sure it’s different from your competitors.

As a PPI claims company, making our price substantially lower than many other companies was one way to thrive in the industry.

Offer the Best Price

The price point is essential for all companies. How do you balance making enough profit with giving customers a fair price? Return on Investment (ROI) is an important sum to understand. If you believe that a lower price for customers will result in more sales, it could be the right choice for your business. If you are charging a higher rate than your competitors, you should make it clear to customers why this is – and what value you bring to them by charging more.

Have an Easy-to-Use Website

It’s been thirty years since the World Wide Web launched. The technology has revolutionised the way that individuals and companies operate. For companies, the need to stand out during a user’s search is pivotal to success. Creating an SEO-optimised website has never been so important.

But, even once a user lands on your website, they need to be able to access all of the information they require easily. This means your website needs to be user-friendly and transparent. Your target audience might not be tech-savvy – how does the site look to them?

Having an easily accessible website is a winner. Does it have a clear call to action? Is the language easy to read? Can the customer find out all of the information they need quickly and concisely? If not, address these issues.

Be Upfront with Customers

Honesty and integrity are words that a lot of businesses use. But do they all follow them through? Being upfront with customers about what they can expect from your product or service – as well as the cost – is vital.

One of the reasons for shopping cart abandonment is due to high shipping fees that customers weren’t aware of when they started their online shopping. Giving this information to customers can help to reduce this from happening. For those offering services, be clear with your fees upfront. In the PPI claims market, the percentage on a successful claim can make a huge difference to people and showing off a low price can help to increase the number of sales.

Even in competitive markets, you can make your business stand out amongst the competition. Create the best possible website and tell customers why you are the best in your industry.

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Management

5 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Rent Office Space

office

Your business is running full steam ahead! So much so that you’re looking to rent new office space.

But before you sign that dotted line, do you know exactly what you’re getting into and how it will affect your business?

Many people don’t realize choosing the wrong office space can bring business to a screeching halt.

Before you let that happen to you, here are 5 important questions to ask before you rent office space.

1. Is the Location Convenient?

When it comes to real estate matters, it’s always about location, location, location. And the same holds true for your office space.

Make sure it’s a location your employees will be able to get to easily. You’ll want your clients to have no problems finding it. And having good amenities close by is a win for everybody.

2. Will the Size Work for My Needs?

Of course, you’ll want to rent out a space that will comfortably fit your team. But also think about any future growth.

Do you plan to add team members in the future? Will other members work remote and not need a desk?

It’s a balancing act between renting enough space or renting too much. If you think your needs will change, try using flexible workspaces like beoffices.com.

3. Is the Rent Within My Budget?

You want the best workspace possible, but you don’t want to stretch your budget too thin. That’s why you need to take all costs into consideration when renting office space.

Is the rent and deposit reasonable compared to other offices in the area? Are there any extra fees such as maintenance, security, or parking? What are the average utility bills for the space?

Every penny counts when meeting your budget, so read the fine print to find out exactly where your money is going.

4. Can I Get All the Services I Need?

Most businesses rely heavily on a fast and consistent internet speed. Not to mention mobile phone service, cable, and other infrastructures that help a business run smoothly.

Contact the building owner and find out what they offer. It might also be a good idea to ask other businesses in the building, or the area, how their services are.

Check your cell phone service in different areas of the space. Ask if you can do an internet speed test. If the service is great, the owner won’t hesitate to agree to the test.

5. Does the Building Fit with My Brand?

The style of the building tends to be low on many people’s priority list when renting office space, but don’t discount it. If you’re a business that wants to project a particular brand image, your office space plays a key role in that.

Does the decor of the building blend with your brand? Are you able to make changes if not? Would you be proud to post pictures of your office for clients to see?

If any of your answers are no, you may want to keep looking around.

Get All the Facts Before You Rent Office Space

Before you rent office space, do your research. By asking these important questions, you’ll be sure to find the office space that works best for you and your business.

Now that you’ve got your office space in order, ready to build your employee engagement? Check out these 5 tips to boost engagement today!

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Management

4 Networking Tips for Solopreneurs

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As a solo entrepreneur, everything falls on your shoulders. If you don’t do something, it won’t get done. This includes networking. In order to build a thriving professional network, you have to prioritize time for establishing and nurturing mutually beneficial relationships.

The Value of Networking

Many entrepreneurs and freelancers see networking as something that they could do if they had more time. But it’s time to stop viewing networking as an optional or supplemental activity. Networking is, in fact, one of the single most important investments you can make in the longevity of your career.

Networking is all about building credibility and establishing long-term relationships that are mutually beneficial. It can take months or years for your efforts to pay off, but the results will come.

“Not all of your professional connections will need your services right away,” entrepreneur Neil Kokemuller admits. “However, since you have a connection with them, you have a top-of-mind-awareness advantage when they need your help. This point is especially true if you consistently keep your work and message in front of them.”

You’ll also find value in rubbing shoulders with people who are talented and skilled in areas that you aren’t. Not only can you gather insights and advice from them, but some of their knowledge may actually rub off on you.

4 Tips for Solopreneurs

As a freelancer or entrepreneur, you’re in a unique position. On the one hand, you don’t have access to some of the same networking resources that your employed peers do. However, you have the freedom and flexibility to pursue networking opportunities that others can’t. The key is to make the most of your situation and to continually pursue networking as a long-term investment. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Join Local Groups and Organizations

As a freelancer, you don’t have the benefit of being associated with an established business. This means you lack some of the same connections that employees of large organizations have. You can overcome this deficiency by joining local groups and organizations in your industry. Your membership in these groups will give you access to events, conferences, and career opportunities.

2. Leverage Your Personal Network

There’s also something to be said for leveraging your personal network to discover opportunities and find new connections. Every friend, relative, neighbor, or former classmate is a potentially valuable resource for you and your career. Cultivate these relationships by regularly catching up and/or informing them about what you’re doing.

3. Join a Coworking Space

For many freelancers, working from home is somewhat problematic in the sense that it eliminates your ability to rub shoulders with people on a daily basis. To combat this isolation, join a coworking space that allows you to mingle with other people, yet still remain focused and productive.

“Each tenant gets to be part of a larger network of lawyers, marketers, accountants, entrepreneurs, creatives, artists, and students,” Novel Coworking explains. “You can meet other tenants at networking events, happy hours, and lunch and learns. Your next intern, business partner, or customer could be just across the hallway from your office.”

The beauty of renting coworking space is that you have the flexibility to work when and where you want. If you’re getting cabin fever working from home, you can head to the coworking space for a change of scenery. If the weather is nasty and you don’t feel like going outside, you can simply work from home one day. It’s your call!

4. Build an Online Presence

In today’s world, online networking is just as important as in-person networking. As a solopreneur, you have just as much opportunity as the next professional to take full advantage of this.

The key to online networking is to establish a brand and build up a digital presence. You can do this by creating a website, developing social media profiles, publishing content, and utilizing LinkedIn or other online communities that are specific to your industry.

Adding it All Up

Networking isn’t easy or effortless. It’s gritty, tiresome work that often feels unrelenting and low-returning. However, a long-term investment will ultimately yield a healthy harvest of new opportunities. Prioritize networking, and you’ll infuse greater potential into your career. It’s as simple as that.

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Management

Hospitality Help: Tips to Use from Successful Franchises

startup

What if your franchise investment financially ruins you?

Most entrepreneurs hope opening a franchise is their key to sustainable profit. However, it’s easy to make rookie mistakes that sink your business before it really gets off the ground.

Fortunately, you can follow the tips of successful franchises to make your own a smash hit! Keep reading to discover our handy hospitality help guide.

Adjust Expectations

We hate to burst your bubble, but there’s something you should know: you’re not going to get rich quick as a franchisee.

Owning a franchise is mostly about embracing the “slow and steady win the race” mentality. Your goal is steady profit, and it’s hard enough to meet that goal. Overnight superstardom is not going to happen for you.

It sounds simple, but adjusting your expectations is one of the best moves you can make early on in your career. Instead of planning for explosive short-term success, you’ll start planning for long-term gains and growth.

All in all, it’s very Zen: only by accepting the very real possibility of failure can you achieve success.

Cultivate Leadership

Many workers see training as a one-shot deal. Someone like a managers gets specific training when they are hired and then they are good to go…right?

However, the challenges facing your franchise are going to change from year to year. And over enough time, your key demographics will change as well.

The solution to this is ongoing training and professional development opportunities for your managers and upper leadership. You can provide such training via multiple methods.

For example, training may be delivered via computer, in-person, or even via productivity apps such as Slack. Not only does this build better leaders, but it shows your employees you are invested in their success.

Customer-Centric

A successful franchise is something of a paradox. On one hand, part of your appeal is that customers are already familiar with your brand.

On the other hand, customers still want a unique experience. And this is where many franchises drop the ball.

You need to appeal to customers at the individual and community level. Don’t just sell them products: host special events, sponsor local charities, and so on.

Ultimately, you will attract more customers because they’ll want to support a company they see as supporting their community!

Talk With Your Peers

Sometimes, the simplest solutions are also the most effective. Want to figure out what makes a successful franchise? Then you should talk to a successful franchisee!

Don’t talk to just anyone, though. Ideally, you should speak with someone who owns a franchise of the same company and is relatively close to your area.

Such a person will know the ins and outs of running a successful franchise while navigating various corporate rules and regulations. And they will also know what makes the local population tick, giving you an advantage when it comes to sales and marketing.

You can also pair such discussions with your own external research. For instance, this helpful page is invaluable for those wanting a hotel franchise!

Everyone Trains

Want to hear the three words that spell doom for a franchise? Here they are: “not my job.”

Every employee has a special role to play in your organization. However, some employees are unable (or unwilling) to do anything outside of that role.

In a successful franchise, everyone should be willing to train everyone else. Employees shouldn’t be limited to their special skills: they must be able and willing to teach those skills to other people.

Make sure you are clear on this policy to anyone and everyone that you hire. When every worker is also willing to be a trainer and a leader, you will create a culture of success.

Set and Measure KPIs

Look, we get it: chances are you went into the franchise business to get away from the corporate world and be your own boss.

Nonetheless, there are certain corporate concepts that will help your business succeed. One of the most important is that you must have Key Performance Indicators.

The basic idea is that your franchise is never truly successful enough. You should have specific goals for the next weeks, months, and years, and you must have ways of measuring your success.

One simple way to do this is to rely on secret shoppers. That way, you can accurately gauge the experience your average customer has been having.

Location, Location, Location

You can build your franchise pretty much anywhere. Of course, that can be a good thing and a bad thing.

Many owners pick a location by going with their gut. But trust us on this one: you’ll want to go with your brain instead.

It’s important to think like a customer. Is your location close enough to the center of town? Do you have enough parking for everyone?

Be brutally honest about what the location will mean for your customer’s experiences. If things are annoying or inconvenient, they will quickly move on to a more convenient rival business!

Focus on Retention

Know the phrase “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?” That phrase applies to employees as well!

It’s great to think about strategies for hiring new employees. But it’s actually much more important to hold onto the employees that you already have. They are going to be your most knowledgeable and most efficient workers.

Try to pay attention to how long the average worker works in a position before quitting (management software can help with this). It may be possible to provide reorientation, training, or incentives to retain these workers for longer periods of time.

For the most part, your customer’s experience is determined by your employees. It’s worth it to hold onto the best ones for as long as you can!

Successful Franchises: The Bottom Line

Now you know the secrets of the most successful franchises. But do you know where to get more of the info you need?

At Business Blog Hub, we bring you the advice you need to make your company shine. To discover your next moves, check out our management tips today!

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Management

Happy Staff, Productive Business: The Best Employee Management Software Programs

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Did you know that over 21 hours are wasted each week by each employee in a company? It’s no wonder that employers are looking for ways to help put an end to time spent not contributing value to their company. The most successful businesses are those with well-managed, happy employees.

Keep reading for the top employee management software programs for your business.

The Top Employee Management Software Programs for Businesses

Profits in business are important because if you don’t bring in money, it is difficult to stay in business. Just like profits are important, how efficient your staff functions is equally as important. Employee management software helps employers have a more productive and engaged team.

When looking into employee management software, you have to understand what the company’s needs are. Knowing this will make it easier to choose the best features for the business.

Why Is Employee Management Important?

Employees are a company’s biggest asset. Without them, how will the company run? Employee management includes a few different things such as leave and vacation management, employee scheduling, task management, and attendance tracking.

With the right data from employee management software, companies can gain insight into staff shortage, when they need to hire new employees, and skill development.

What to Look for in Management Systems?

As you narrow down your choices for which software to choose, you’ll want to make sure that it offers some of these top features:

  • Employee self-service capability
  • Cloud platform
  • Analytic reports
  • Employee onboarding
  • Payroll capability
  • Applicant management
  • Remote work capability
  • Freelance integration

As mentioned before, make sure that you choose the software that will fit the needs of your company. Every company is different and requires different features to make it work best.

Saba

This is a cloud-based management system. It offers employee performance appraisals, learning management, and succession planning through a user-friendly platform. Their mission is to help their clients create a work experience that’s engaging, empowering and inspiring.

There are add-ons to choose from if your company needs certain extra features.

Gusto

Gusto is a popular cloud-based platform. It has automation for different activities such as payroll, and it’s user-friendly.

When a new employee comes aboard, it has a new employee interface where they can enter all of their information directly into the Gusto system.

Hubstaff

Hubstaff has different packages available starting from $5. Some features available include time tracking, scheduling, application monitoring, and screenshots. The features vary based on the package that’s chosen.

Hubstaff gives you the option to try them out with their 14-day free trial to make sure it’s a good fit for your company. You can set budget limits that are based on time or price.

Connecteam

This software is unique because they also have a user-friendly app that is made for the non-desktop employee in mind. Connecteam has different features available including operations, time tracking, scheduling, communication, and files.

With Connecteam, you can communicate the content you need to every employee. They also offer live chat group conversations, an employee suggestion area, and employee feedback surveys.

They have very affordable options starting from $29 monthly.

Timeclock Hub

This system is great and best of all Timeclock Hub offers a free online employee clock for up to 3 users. They also offer a starter plan for only $15 for unlimited users and a premium plan for $20 monthly plus $2 per user.

They have different features that depend on the plan that is chosen, but some of the features include PTO requests, employee scheduler, punch-in photo capture, and GPS location punch-in restrictions.

All of their plans include live chat, phone, and email support to give your company peace of mind in case there are any questions.

Bullhorn

Bullhorn is geared towards larger corporations and staffing agencies with many users. This software can be customized to fit the needs of your company.

This software system is made for the recruitment process. Some of their features include onboarding, invoicing, and time and expense.

Teramind

Teramind caters to companies that are looking for a user-friendly system that’s easy to learn and use. There are a ton of features including reporting, automation, and analytics.

Teramind offers remote employee monitoring which is perfect for the business that has remote workers. A company can track employee activity, productivity, and behavior from afar.

Another feature is for vendor access. You’re able to give vendors the access they need and have their sessions recorded and locked down.

If your company is worried about safety, Teramind has a feature that alerts a business when it notices suspicious activity.

Time Doctor

Time Doctor is great at telling you exactly how time is wasted which in turn can boost productivity within the company. Some of the features include screenshots, chat monitoring, time use tracking, billing, time use alerts, and track breaks.

Ready to Improve Profit Margins?

The first thing to consider is how efficient your workforce is. Employee management software is worth the investment if your company is looking to improve and grow. The list above gives you an idea of what different companies have to offer.

The best advice is to figure out what your needs are to ensure that you choose the best software.

Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Check out our management section to help your company level up.

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