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What Ideas Did You Steal From Your Corporate Job And Use In Your Own Business?

Discussion in 'General Business and Entrepreneurship' started by Kathryn M., Sep 20, 2015.

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  1. Kathryn M.

    Kathryn M. Member

    I feel my days in Corporate America were simply preparation for my own business. Working in large companies showed me what to do, and what not to do. Here are some things I learned while being an employee that I brought into my own business:

    1. Do not be a helicopter boss.
    I always hated bosses that hover, watch over your shoulder, and micro manage their employees while barely doing any work themselves. I've always felt that everyone working in an office is old enough to know the consequences for not completing their work. Therefore, constantly nagging people about getting their work completed is not needed.

    How I removed this from my business:
    My office hours are from 8am - 5pm. I tell all my employes to have their daily work done by 4pm each day. If their work is in by 4pm, they can go home at 4pm. They will also get a bonus if they submit their work by 4pm on a consistent basis. They never know when a bonus is coming, so it gives them motivation to keep getting their work done by 4pm so they do not miss out on cash. I'm sure you can guess what productivity is like in my office.:D

    2. Have food at the office.
    I remember working for a large, well-known oil company when I was 20 years old. The company spoiled it's employees like you wouldn't believe. The company had it's own credit union, a full sized gym, dry cleaning services, a gourmet cafeteria, an outdoor greenhouse garden connecting 2 separate buildings with plenty of seating, and plenty of overtime work. It was a joy to go to work everyday and enjoy all that. The part I liked best was the gourmet food. Every morning I had bacon, eggs, pancakes, waffles, or cinnamon rolls for breakfast. It was a very unique experience and it caused me to look forward to work and I naturally performed at high levels.

    How I added this to my business:
    Everyone usually works from home, but when we do get together, I always have food when employees arrive, such as a huge box of donuts, warm soft baked cookies, or cinnamon rolls. Enough so everyone can have about 2 or 3. It makes them happy they came. They weren't expecting free food, and if they were, they didn't expect it to be good food. If it will be a long day and I know we will be working hard, I will usually arrange to have lunch somewhere they actually like, such as Chipolte or In and Out Burger. Again, this lets employees know that if they show up to work, there just might be some free food waiting for them when they get there. This increases attendance and puts them in a good mood. Then they don't mind working because they feel they received something extra for their efforts.

    What concepts and ideas did you see at your corporate jobs that you stole and began using in your own business?
    AdventureLife and K like this.
  2. EF-Roger

    EF-Roger Member

    Good advice! Thanks for sharing.
  3. pwarbi

    pwarbi Member

    I think a lot is going to depend on what sort of business you have, regarding what you can take from past job experiences and implement into your working life now.

    Your first point about bosses, struck a chord with me, and I'd try to make sure that I wasn't anything like the bosses I've had in the past, because I haven't rated any of them.

    I've had the ones who walk around not doing anything but hovering over your shoulder like you mentioned, and I've had the other extreme we're you never see them because they're always locked in their office with the door closed.
  4. Ms Bizz

    Ms Bizz Member

    I agree, time spent in the corporate world can be a great learning experience and help identify what works and what doesn’t. You’ve taken away a couple of really good ones and no doubt your employees appreciate it.

    One of the takeaways from places I worked that I try to incorporate into my business is to allow anyone who wants a business card to have one. I used to wonder why some companies were so rigid with who within the company was able to get a company business card and more glaring, who was not. It was a small thing that made a real impact to employee morale. Later, when I was in a management role and my receptionist wanted a card with her name on it she got one. When in a meeting the warehouse manager was talking about how crazy it was that one of his pickers wanted a business card I encouraged him to allow it. Yes, there is a cost to having cards printed but it is a small price to pay for something that encourages and instills some pride for an employee. Once we got passed the need for a title and started creating a simple card with company logo etc. and the person’s name it was well accepted.
    Kathryn M. likes this.
  5. Steve Dawson

    Steve Dawson Member

    Thats great advice. I particularly like the 4pm deadline idea. I have worked in corporate financial institutions for over 25 years and find that over-zealous bosses are often the biggest inhibitors of increased efficiency and all too often the cause of low morale. I only have 6 exployees in the business I currently manage and am always open to suggestions from them on how things can be improved, both in terms of profits and in terms of employee morale. I have instigated a few additional benefits, 'casual-dress fridays', team social events and occasional doughnut days, but I have found that being a supportive manager willing to listen to employees' problems and concerns will always help keep morale and efficiency higher at no additional cost.
  6. Kathryn M.

    Kathryn M. Member

    This is a good one. You are absolutely right. I too noticed the trend of certain employees having business cards, while others didn't. In my experience, it seemed like only managers and executives received business cards. I guess a lot of companies think the receptionist and customer service representatives aren't important enough to have cards, or they think it will be too expensive.

    I remember when one of the interns I hired in the past asked if he and the other interns were going to get business cards. Normally I would have said no, simply because an intern is a very temporary position and they do not necessarily feel like part of the company.

    But the intern asking looked so excited at the possibility of getting business cards that I went ahead and approved it. That made them feel like they were a part of the company in a serious way. I truly feel that the morale would have suffered had I said no.
  7. Kathryn M.

    Kathryn M. Member

    You are right. It's surprising the number of people who are afraid to report workplace incidents, such as bullying, to their superior. A good portion of today's managers ignore incident reports, and/or write them off as petty or unimportant. This seems to have left a large majority of today's workforce feeling that there is no point in reporting problems.

    However, when you have a manager who is relaxed, approachable, and supportive, as you stated, employees are more likely to get along better with that manager, which leads to better communication.
    Steve Dawson likes this.
  8. Jessica Danes

    Jessica Danes MVP Member

    @Kathryn M. I always make sure the lines of communication are open for my employers. If they're dealing with something at home, or having difficulty with a certain task, I want them to know they can talk to me about it, and we can figure it out together. I also make it a point to get together away from work whether that be a cook-out st my house or at a restaurant. It helps make us a team, a family. Since we're a small business, we all have to know each other well enough that we know how to catch each other when we fall, or else the company falls, too. At my other jobs, I never felt connected enough to my coworkers or my boss, and I would spend 40 hours a week with them all.
    djbaxter likes this.

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