5 Ways to Make New Employees Feel Like Part of the Team

By Susan Payton

As your small business grows, you’ll hire more employees. In order to make them feel welcome and help them adjust to their new surroundings, here are a few things you can do to help the process along.

1. Welcome The New Employee Yourself.Whether you interviewed the new hire or not, make sure to greet her on her first day. Introduce her to key staff she’ll be working with and make sure she knows your door is always open.

2. Assign an Ambassador. Rather than plopping your new employee down at her desk and have her review company material (classic move for a company who really hasn’t planned out training for new hires), assign someone to show her the ropes her first weeks. It should be someone who works in the same department who can show her how to perform her role.

3. Talk to Your Team. Make sure the team that the new hire will join is aware of the new person joining their ranks, and make sure they are clear on what her responsibilities will be. This can help avoid confusion and keep them from dumping extra work on her.

4. Make Sure She Gets Taken to Lunch. You might not have time to take her to lunch (and she’s better off with her peers than the company owner or President), but make sure someone offers to take her to lunch. That will give her plenty of opportunity to get the dirt on the company.

5. Check In Often. Don’t forget about your new employee after her first week. If you pass her in the hall, ask her casually how work is going. Then schedule a meeting after a month to ensure she’s on track to understanding her responsibilities and to make sure she’s getting along with everyone.

And remember: having a clear cut training policy in place is key for helping new hires understand their roles in your company. Make sure your human resources manager has the tools he needs to create training for each role in each department.
Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copy writing and blog posts. She’s written two books: 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and blogs for several sites, including The Marketing Eggspert Blog, as well as Mashable, Small Business Trends, FutureSimple, BizLaunch and Lead411. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

9 Tips for Email Etiquette

By, Syndi Seid

1. Begin each message with a cordial greeting. A person would never dream of writing a letter or sending a fax without some form of a greeting or header. Why should email be any different. Always begin with something such as, “Dear …;” “Hello,” or at the very least the person’s name, followed by a colon, not a comma (colons are for business/professional correspondence and commas are for social/casual correspondence).

2. End each message with a signature and contact information. Always sign your first and last name at the end of each message. Configure an auto signature into your system which will contain all important contact information (including your name, address, telephone and fax numbers, and a repeat of your email address). Think of this as being no different than sending a letter using a sheet of letterhead.

3. Always re-read messages before sending them. Do not transmit messages the moment you write them. Instead, during any one email session, draft all messages and replies; place them in the out box; then re-read each message, use spell check before transmitting the entire group of messages.

4. Always make reference to the subject matter about which you are responding. With the multitudes of email messages we get daily, nothing is worse than to receive a cryptic reply, with no opening greeting, no name at the end, no previous message attached, just an, “O.K.,” “I agree,” “Do it!” attached.

5. Use the copy and paste feature to forward messages rather than as an attachment to the message. Except when messages are within the same known company or group, not everyone on email has the same platform applications and programs, allowing each person to easily open and read files. By taking the few seconds to first copy and paste the message, it will save valuable time and effort in having to retransmit what might have been important information again at a later time.

6. Review the trail of previous messages when using the “Reply To” feature to compose new messages. A) Make sure they are still relevant to the current subject listed; B) all unrelated text should be deleted before sending a new message on a new subject; C) always type a new subject line; D) keep only an average of two previous sets of messages attached, as necessary.

7. When sending group messages, especially to recipients who all do not even know each other, DO NOT send batch messages using the “To” option. Instead, use the “Bcc:” (blind copy option) to send each person the message individually. This way it will avoid: A) everyone seeing your long list of recipients; B) everyone having full access to your valuable and private mailing list – for free; C) unknown and undesired people having access to private information of individuals who may not want it broadcast. Last, do not send replies to the entire group unless specifically instructed. This item is perhaps my biggest pet peeve with email.

8. Know your e-pals. Not all systems have the same ability to read the same fonts, indents, bold lettering, centering, italics and the like … results being: A) the recipient might not receive the message at all; B) it may be received without any formatting in one long string of text; C) it may even show a series of extra and unwanted codes and lines. PCs and Macs still don’t communicate well; and some servers, such as Juno, have been strict for email messages, with no graphics or attachments possible.

9. Most importantly, especially when communicating with people in and from other cultures and countries, make sure you do not use any abbreviations, slang and jargon. Always use proper grammar and courteous language in whole, complete sentences. Be sensitive to how the tone of your message may sound and be received by the other person…by being mindful of the particular words you choose to use and write.

BOTTOM LINE: Email is a terrific, quick and easy way to communicate. Nevertheless, we must never forget to use the same care and courtesy in our writings as we would when speaking to someone in person.

Happy Practicing!

Syndi Seid is the world’s leading etiquette trainer, celebrity speaker, and founder of San Francisco-based Advanced Etiquette.

The Perfect Thank You Note

By, Syndi Seid

With Halloween coming up, then Thanksgiving, and finally all the end-of-the-year holiday celebrations upon us soon, we thought this might be a great opportunity to revisit the guidelines to sending a perfect thank you note.

No matter what, a personal, handwritten thank you note is the finest form of expressing gratitude for almost anything and everything we receive from someone in life, especially a gift.

A gift can be many things: a physical item, a good job someone has done for you at work or at home and an invitation to a party or meal. In fact, how about using the next two months to catch up on all those thank-you notes you’ve been meaning to send. In business it’s the perfect time — before the end-of-the-year rush — to send clients, customers, vendors and suppliers your note of appreciation for their business and service. By starting to get them written now, you can avoid being rushed and out of time later. Write them all now and send them later.

Here is a simple guide for thank you notes for both business and personal use:

Ideally, send thank you notes within 24 to 48 hours of receiving the gift. The sooner you send it, the greater the impact it will have. However, it is never too late to send a note. Use this month of thanks to catch up on your thank yous, no matter how much time has gone by.

To save time and stress, keep a supply of note cards and stationery, plus postage stamps to have ready at all times. Write all your notes by hand. Take your time, regardless of how impaired you think your handwriting looks. Also, forget going green on this task. It does take the most effort and time, yet is the most tangible evidence of our genuine appreciation of the person to whom it is addressed. Pay attention to how the card faces when opened. I can’t tell you how many times I receive cards written on the wrong side or in the wrong direction.

*For vertical, left creased cards: begin writing on the inner, right side of the folded card.

*For horizontal, top creased cards: begin writing on the inner, lower side of the folded card.

*Some cards are difficult to tell which way it is intended to face. Be sure to look at the back side of the card for guidance in this area.

Begin the note based on your relationship with the receiver.

*For personal correspondence where you are accustomed to calling the person by their first name: Dear John and Mary, (first name followed by a comma is correct).

*For business notes, stick to formal salutations until you are invited to address the person by the first name: Dear Ms. Smith: (an honorific and last name, followed by a colon is proper).

*For informal business notes, addressed to someone with whom you want to address by their first name: Dear John: (first name and a colon is also appropriate).

Be specific in your thanks. When thanking someone for inviting you to a meal or event, mention how happy you were to share in the experience, mention a person you enjoyed meeting, or a food item you particularly liked. When thanking someone for performing a favor for you, explain how important their gift of time was for you. For physical gifts, name the item, along with something nice and complimentary about it.

*Don’t say: “Dear Aunt Sarah, Thank you for the lovely gift. I really like it. Love, Syndi”.

*Do say: “Dear Aunt Sarah, Thank you very much for the beautiful black sweater for my birthday. It’s just the perfect item to wear at an evening occasion where I want to stay warm, yet still look dressy. Your loving niece, Syndi Seid”.

Sign your first and last name clearly at the end of your note. An exception may be to an immediate family member who knows who you are by your handwriting. Address the envelope using the person’s full name and appropriate honorific. Include your full name and return address. Use a regular postage stamp rather than metered postage to send your note.

Happy Thanking!

BONUS: This month, with enjoying football games and other events, I suggest you take some time to send at least eight (it’s a good luck number) quick and simple handwritten notes by regular mail. Take a moment to show your appreciation and thankfulness to someone you know for whatever reason you want, perhaps if only to say Hello!

Syndi Seid is a regular contributing writer, professional speaker/trainer, and founder of a San Francisco-based business that offers monthly etiquette articles.

10 Tips to Get the Most of Your Badge Holders, and Lanyards

Badge Holders and Lanyards are two of the most commonly used products in trade shows, conventions and many other events.Read below to see how you can get the most out of your investment.

1] Maintain Security
Many places of employment require ID badges; they’re great for security, and getting to know all the people around the office.The use of badge holders and lanyards is essential in keeping your ID badges safe and visible.If you know your customers or employees use proximity cards, you may want to try a proximity badge holder.These are great for keeping proximity cards in place and storing them securely.

2] Dress to Impress
For formal settings, we recommend an attached fastener for your badge holders, such as magnetic, pin, or clip, so you can display your information with subtlety.

4] Stand Out
When printing inserts for your badge holders, keep the font as large as possible.You’ll want people to be able to read your name from at least ten feet away.

5] Get to the Point
You’ll also want to make sure that you don’t have too much information on your printed inserts.Simple, concise information which can be seen clearly and read easily is more effective – and if the customer wants to know more, all they have to do is ask you!

6] Get Organized
Printing and alphabetizing your inserts & badges prior to the event is a great way to save time and effort on the day of the event.

7] Take it Easy
For conventions, fund-raisers, and trade shows, you may want the ease-of-use a lanyard brings.Put the lanyard around your neck and clip your badge holder on – it’s as simple as that!

8] Get Your Name Out There
Getting your company’s name and contact information printed on your lanyards is a great way to make sure your company stays in mind after the event.

9] Give People Something Useful Beyond the Event
Take advantage of dual-use lanyards: they carry your badge holders and agenda holders around your neck, and after the event turn into eyeglass retainers.Your event attendees will love them!You may want to consider nicer giveaway items to secure sales from those more promising leads.Neck wallets, water bottles, and other handouts with your logo/information on them are great ways to generate buzz.

10] Be Generous
You may want to consider nicer giveaway items to secure sales from those promising leads.Neck wallets, water bottles, and other handouts with your logo/information on them are great ways to generate buzz.

Get yours today!

Badge Holders

Lanyards