As a business owner and entrepreneur, your mind is never far from how to keep business churning (and hopefully growing!) month after month. Your success has likely come from your ability to wear many hats and roll with the punches.  That being said, being flexible isn’t enough to guarantee business success. You’re also called to provide consistency in business operations and customer service.

So how do you stay flexible and consistent? 

It’s a tricky balance and one that involves planning ahead to ensure you’re managing the day-to-day project workload without sacrificing the all-important customer experience. 

You don’t need to clone yourself to run a successful business, but you do need a strategy for winning new clients, managing your business on the go, and carving out dedicated time each day to actually go on-site and do your job. 

To help, we’ve put together a few items to consider as you strategize for how you can add more consistency to your business operations:

Customer Expectations

66% of customers say instant, on-demand engagement is a critical decision-making factor when they purchase new goods and services.

Especially with all the changes happening in our day-to-day lives, customers are really needing that extra reassurance that you can help them and their families stay safe during home visits and remodel projects. 

Whether you’re taking extra time to explain all of the new safety procedures you’ve put in place to keep everyone healthy, or figuring out how to incorporate more video consultations and estimates to reduce face-to-face interactions, we know that these things often require additional phone calls and longer discussions as you set-up new bookings. 

Having a strategy to accommodate additional phone time is key.

Balancing Your Home Life

With everything happening, you may find that your schedule is being disrupted by new routines. Whether your normal office is closed and you’re working from home, or you’re handling homeschool responsibilities for the first time, it’s quite possible that finding new ways to maintain consistency in your workday is one of your top priorities. 

Having a strategy to ensure you can meet both family obligations and your business needs is key.

At Ruby, we know you’ve worked hard to build your business, and you can rest easy knowing we take pride in ensuring that every one of your business calls is handled by a friendly, professional customer service expert. So whether you’re on the road, at a job site, or taking a well-deserved break, you’ll rest assured knowing every call is handled by a customer experience expert. 

For more areas you might want to consider as you plan to grow your business, be sure to check out our new ebook written specifically for home service professionals.

Let us know if we can help you in creating consistency for your business. 

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Date: July 8, 2020
Time: 11:00am Pacific

Learn how to engage your potential clients using email marketing. Plus, you’ll get real-life examples of the types of email campaigns you can send right now.

Here’s what you’ll learn 
when you attend this FREE, live event:

  • 6 reasons top businesses use email marketing
  • Why you should use email marketing to engage your clients
  • 7 real-life examples of the types of email campaigns you can send clients
  • And more!
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Meet the presenter

Brandon Olson

Marketing Communications Manager, AWeber

Brandon Olson is the head of PR and social media at AWeber, a leading email marketing and automation platform that has helped over 1 million small businesses, entrepreneurs and online creators connect with their audiences and build profitable businesses. With more than 14 years of marketing experience, Brandon helps small business owners market themselves more effectively and achieve greater success using email marketing and automation.

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Date: July 29, 2020
Time: 10:00am Pacific
Cost: $49
*Qualifies for 1 CPE credit for tax practitioners

The COVID-19 public health emergency drastically changed the employee/employer relationship. Many employers quickly transitioned to a fully remote workplace. Other employers were faced with the difficult decision to furlough or lay off employees due to a decline in business.

Recent COVID-19 legislation provides expanded protections to employees, including emergency sick leave, expanded family and medical leave, and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Employers are faced with difficult challenges: must they rehire employees discharged due to COVID-19? What steps should an employer take to make the workplace safe for employees? Are employees obligated to return to work if they are receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?

This course will provide you with the knowledge and information you need to know during this time of economic distress.

Major Topics:

  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, emergency paid sick leave, and expanded family and medical leave
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
  • Discharging and rehiring employees
  • Measures employers can take to provide a safe workplace

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Times are changing, and there’s never been a better time to take your practice virtual. From reducing overhead costs and increasing your billable hours to achieving that elusive work-life balance, there are several benefits—but is it right for you?

  • Value of a virtual practice to your bottom line
  • Evaluating your current business needs
  • Tools & tech you’ll need to succeed
  • How & when to utilize virtual employees such as paralegals or receptionists

Watch NextChapter’s Director of Operations, Mandy Ballinger, and Ruby’s VP of Customer Success, Wendy Miller, as they answer common questions and challenges solo and small firms face as they move their practices into the cloud as well as best practices gathered from current customers.

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What is a business continuity plan?

Reading time:

Want to take bets on what’s next for 2020? 

My money’s on aliens. 

Between the COVID-19 pandemic, a global economic downturn, massive protests over racial injustice, presidential impeachment proceedings, the Australian wildfires, and the appearance of murder hornets—yes, murder hornets—on American soil, the last six months have been one of the most turbulent periods in modern history. And we still have half a year to go before 2020 is over. 

Honestly, an extraterrestrial encounter doesn’t seem out of the question at this point.

Whatever the future holds, it’s imperative for your business to think ahead and prepare for the unexpected. Your organization will survive—and perhaps even thrive—in any situation if you take certain precautions now. I’m talking about implementing a business continuity plan.

A what now?

A business continuity plan (sometimes shortened to “BCP”) is exactly what it sounds like: a strategy for ensuring your organization remains operational. Companies of all sizes use business continuity plans to minimize the impact of emergencies and unexpected events on their supply chains, processes, people, and customers. 

A business continuity plan is how a restaurant chain like Waffle House is able to stay open in the midst of hurricane season, or how a company like Amazon realigns its logistics to manage supply and demand in a pandemic

But business continuity plans aren’t just for national and multinational brands. Disasters affect small businesses, too—with perhaps even more dire consequences. In fact, according to the Small Business Administration, approximately 9 out of 10 companies fail within two years of being struck by a disaster.

I bring up that terrifying number because too many businesses have been ignoring reality and simply hoping for the best. In early March 2020, when the coronavirus was still primarily confined to Wuhan, China, most organizations didn’t have emergency protocols in place. Perhaps they realized the importance of business continuity planning, but just didn’t consider it a priority at the time. 

I’m guessing those organizations now wish they had done things differently. If you want to avoid the fate so many companies have suffered, you need to think like Waffle House and Amazon and develop a business continuity plan ahead of the next crisis. Establish your framework for survival now—your future self will thank you.

How does a business continuity plan work?

A business continuity plan is more than an intention or a series of mental notes. It’s a detailed, written document that outlines what your team needs to do before, during, and after a significant disruption. 

Every business continuity plan is different, just as every business is different. That said, the best business continuity plans tend to have a few things in common

  • They emphasize employee safety. The physical and mental well-being of people is always the first priority.
  • They establish flexible infrastructures. The goal is to develop ways of doing business that work in practically any set of circumstances.
  • They don’t rely on any single human or piece of technology. Instead, they account for multiple backup systems and support roles, and include several contingency plans if the primary strategy isn’t feasible.

Whatever form it takes, a good business continuity plan contains the following:

1. An assessment of potential disruptions to the business. Floods, earthquakes, wildfires, power outages, public health emergencies, security breaches, incidents of workplace violence—your business continuity plan should cover them all, with different strategies and procedures laid out as necessary.

2. A catalog of all systems and assets the business needs to preserve to stay operational. Your essential systems may include your accounting, workforce management, sales, and fulfillment processes, as well as any technology you need to facilitate those processes. Your essential assets might include legal and financial documents, data, equipment, and/or intellectual property.

3. A set of directives for conducting business during a crisis. Once you’ve identified your essentials, you’ll need to determine how you’ll protect, maintain, and adapt those essentials. Your business continuity plan should cover how you’ll safeguard key equipment, preserve critical job functions, and ensure data security. It should also spell out which team members (individuals or roles) are responsible for which tasks, as well as what to do in the event that someone is incapacitated or unable to perform their tasks.

4. A crisis communication strategy. Consider how your business will communicate before, during, and after a disaster internally (i.e. staff talking with staff) as well as externally with any clients, customers, vendors, or other third-party stakeholders.

How to create a business continuity plan: 5 steps to get started.

1. Determine your goals and vulnerabilities. First, ask yourself: “What does successful continuity look like for my business?” Quantify this, if possible, by establishing metrics to track and assess during a crisis (e.g. business downtime, emergency notification speed).

Next, consider which elements of your operation are particularly susceptible to various disasters. For instance, would a flood destroy your servers? Would a pandemic compromise your communication systems?

2. Develop your crisis strategies. Come up with plans for short-term disaster mitigation, such as machinery replacement and remote working arrangements.

Next, consider your plans for longer-term business continuity: How will you stay open with reduced staff? Can you continue working without daily in-person deliveries?

3. Test your approach. Choose a specific threat scenario: e.g. a tornado, denial-of-service attack, or pandemic. 

Next, choose a format for the exercise. A tabletop exercise engages leaders from all departments to read through every step of the plan together and roleplay their response. A drill exercise involves the entire office, with everyone going through the physical motions of the plan.

4. Evaluate your test results and revise your plan. How did the testing go? Note any strengths and weaknesses you discovered, change your approach as necessary, and rewrite your documentation. Then test, evaluate, and revise again. And again, until you feel your organization is fully prepared.

5. Publish and promote your business continuity plan. Present your plan to your entire staff, and then take the time to review it with every employee. It’s important that you earn buy-in from each member of your team and conduct thorough crisis preparedness training.

A few more BCP tips.

  • Hope for the best, plan for the worst. Expect the unexpected. Never assume you have every scenario covered, or that a disaster will happen exactly the way you predict it will.
  • Involve every employee. The people on the front lines of your business operations can offer valuable insights regarding business continuity workflow, necessities, and vulnerabilities.
  • Use clear, accessible language. When disaster strikes, your team should understand exactly what they need to do.
  • Train, train, and train some more. Thorough, interactive training ensures every member of your team knows your plan and is capable of following through in a crisis.
  • Revisit your business continuity plan often. From operating systems and supply chains to the realities of staffing and environmental threats, everything evolves over time. Make sure your continuity plan remains relevant and up-to-date.

One item you can check off your BCP right now: customer communication.

In today’s turbulent world, business owners have a lot to think about and prepare for. When you use Ruby, you can rest easy knowing we’re taking care of one of the most important things at all times: your customers.

Ruby provides outsourced reception services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We’re ready to answer your customers’ or clients’ calls and live chat conversations no matter what disruption, emergency, or interplanetary visit 2020 throws our way next.

Get started with Ruby today.

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In this edition of our Business Unusual series, Jill interviews Amanda Soares, LCSW. They dive deep into what it means to be working from home with children, and explore some of the best strategies for keeping your cool and keeping up.

Jill McKenna:

Hi, I’m Jill. I’m the Campaign Marketing Manager at Ruby, and today I’m speaking with Amanda Soares, Mental Health Speaker, Therapist, Coach, Facilitator, and Licensed Clinical Social Worker, based in Portland, Oregon.

Jill McKenna:

Amanda, I’m so happy is here, has over 20 years of client experience, and specializes in challenging and crisis-level circumstances. You can find her at RevolutionaryTherapy.PDX.com. Thank you for joining us, Amanda.

Amanda Soares, LCSW:

Thanks for having me, Jill.

Jill McKenna:

One thing I wanted to ask was what is some of the work that you’re doing right now? I know you’re working with some companies to guide them with their employees and their leadership. What are some of the issues that you’re hearing about being at home with kids and working from home with children right now?

Amanda Soares, LCSW:

I think it’s really normal right now to hear people absolutely at their wit’s end trying to figure out how to manage at home in a pandemic, how to also accomplish some work and to then do that in the context of having no childcare, no school resources available, no summer camps, no day camps, no options to send children to even daycare shares and the pressures that that’s creating. The fears I think a lot of parents have that their kids are going to fall behind, the fears parents have that they’re screwing this up, that they’re not doing it well, they’re not doing it right. I’m glad you used the “normal” in air quotes at the beginning of that because there is no normal way any of us could have prepared for trying to do all of those things at once, at home in a pandemic, without the options for other resources to come and assist us.

Jill McKenna:

Yeah. That’s exactly what I’m experiencing and I know so many of my friends are too. I’m curious about some of the best strategies. Obviously, if you’ve got three kids at home, it’s making it through each day. And you’re trying to work or save your business or whatever you’re trying to do, maybe taking care of elderly parents. What are some strategies people can use to try and juggle kids and work and lack of childcare in school right now? Or are there any?

Amanda Soares, LCSW:

I mean, I think some of it is what you just kind of alluded to, which is you’ve got to adjust your expectations to be realistic to the situation that we are currently in. To apply old standards to your parenting, your work performance, your child’s school engagement, to apply standards that were relevant last year to this situation we are currently in is not going to work. It’s a setup for failure, and I think helping parents adjust those expectations to more reasonable boundaries and to also encourage people to let some of this stuff go.

Amanda Soares, LCSW:

This is temporary. We are surviving. This is not a long-term solution. No one’s suggesting that keeping kids on screens for too long or really not getting much schoolwork done is a long-term solution that’s viable or even that we want, but for right now, it’s going to help us survive. And I think moving that conversation from what my parenting goals were, what my kids’ scholastic and academic goals were, what my professional goals were, to a more, what do I need to do to get through this disaster, this crisis, this pandemic in ways I never had to consider, is the way to go.

Jill McKenna:

Thank you. That’s a great way of framing it. I’m curious about people with kids at home. I know kids in different age groups, for what they can comprehend, it’s very different, depending on where they’re at developmentally. But are there good strategies or tools that parents can use to help kids cope now and to help kids get through this time or have any sense of understanding of what’s happening?

Amanda Soares, LCSW:

There’s a couple resources I would really direct people to in that situation that have an array of resources arranged actually by age range, so that wherever your child is developmentally you can kind of refer to that section. Harvard University has put out an amazing tool kit to help kids at every developmental age, develop self-regulation skills and also executive functioning skills during this time. It’s through the Developing Child Center at Harvard. A simple Google will help you find it. In addition to that, PBS.org, the Public Broadcasting Service, has put together state-by-state essentially, a list of apps and resources and tools and items, not just for parents, but for kids to engage with to help them develop coping and resilience skills during this time.

Jill McKenna:

We, as humans and as individuals, we often equate grief with the loss of a beloved person, and very rarely do we remember to apply it to the grief that we experience when, for instance, we lose a house or we move from a house into an apartment because of downsizing or children leave home to go off to college. Can you speak at all about how we can honor ourselves in the stages of grief and our communities as we move through this now?

Amanda Soares, LCSW:

I think the first thing to acknowledge is that so much of this COVID-19 crisis has caused us grief. We have all lost so many things that we enjoy, so many relationships that nourished and sustained us, our socialization, our favorite places to go and be in the world, our friendships, our relational moments, our offices, just our routines. So much of that has been lost for, we don’t know how long. And I think that’s what has invoked a grieving-type process for so many of us. And, interestingly, though we don’t know everything about coronavirus, we know plenty about grief.

Amanda Soares, LCSW:

When you think about the stages of grief being shock, denial, anger and fear, bargaining, depression, testing solutions until we make it to acceptance, and then how those apply to the COVID situation we’re in, and then think about how the grieving process actually works. Sometimes we’re hit with three or four of those at once. Sometimes we move through one, we backslide, a new one comes.

Amanda Soares, LCSW:

There is something to be gained, I think, from observing what is happening with us right now as a form of grieving, and also recognizing with that, that everyone’s going to do it differently. Every child’s going to do it differently. Every adult is going to do it differently, and it will hit us in different moments, in maybe combinations. Other days might feel fine, and then others you just wake up, you forget for a moment that we’re in COVID-19 world, and then it floods you like a wave. And that really is mimicking, I think, the grief process.

Jill McKenna:

We are not at our best, right, when we are in a trauma, and perhaps we are quicker to snap or quicker to respond in a way that doesn’t, that is not our usual or our best. What’s the best way to repair with kids when we are in a place where we are extremely stressed out?

Amanda Soares, LCSW:

I think reminding yourself of the critical nature of your own self-care is one piece of that. That’s kind of a piece that happens before that ideally. It’s that same airplane instruction we all get where I can’t help you until my own mask is on. And I think remembering that if we are finding ourselves feeling more fragile, more irritable, more snappy, less patient with our kids, it might be one of the signs that we’re not taking enough care of ourselves and we’re trying to pour from an empty cup.

Amanda Soares, LCSW:

To answer the main part of your question though, I think kids understand that we are under incredible stress. They feel that, and sometimes they’re reacting when we don’t even realize they are. They’ve done studies with even very young babies, and eating and sleeping patterns change in response to caregiver stress. So even pre-verbal kids we know pick up on those cues from their caregivers. They’re very tuned in. I mean, it’s a two-fold process. You might be more snappy at your kid, but your kid’s behavior might also be more nudgy. And the interaction of those two factors is probably the first flag up where I would say take notice of where your stress levels are and how that’s interacting in the relationship.

Amanda Soares, LCSW:

Pause, remove yourself to do that self-care, but then if you find yourself in a situation where, well, you already had a snippy moment with your kid that you don’t feel good about or you don’t feel proud of, I think it’s okay to acknowledge that and give yourself some grace and explain it at an age-appropriate level. Like, “I felt really stressed. I used angry words. That’s not okay.” We’ve got to find some better solutions, like what can I do different? What happened here and working through the situation with the child in an age-appropriate way to do that repair.

Jill McKenna:

Are there other things like grounding and re-centering that we can invite kids to, to do with us, along with us?

Amanda Soares, LCSW:

I think modeling our own self-care strategies and engaging kids in many of those same strategies in an age-appropriate way can be really beneficial. Some of the stuff I talk about with adults in regrounding yourself, change of scenery, change of airspace. Go do something that soothes you. Go take a hot bath. Go color. Go walk outside for a moment. Go snuggle a pet. Go throw a comforter in the dryer for five minutes and wrap yourself tightly in it. The same things we would do for ourselves, I think it’s critical to not just model for our kids but engage our kids in, so that we can teach them to do those self-care skills for themselves and show them that they’re important.

Jill McKenna:

And that’s important. Thank you. That’s great. Amanda, I want to thank you so much for your time today. If people want to find you online, where can they go to?

Amanda Soares, LCSW:

They can look me up at RevolutionaryTherapyPDX.com.

Jill McKenna:

Amazing. Thank you so much for your time and for all of your expertise today. We value it so much and you can find-

Amanda Soares, LCSW:

Thanks for having me.

Jill McKenna:

Of course. And you can find more about Amanda in the comments or in the social media posts that we make about her good work. Thanks so much.

Amanda Soares, LCSW:

Thank you. Stay well.

Amanda Soares, LCSW

Amanda graduated with a degree in Psychology from Yale University, with a focus on Women, Race, and Gender Studies. She received her Masters degree in Clinical Social Work Practice from Southern Connecticut State University. Raised in Newark, NJ, Amanda has lived and worked in Portland, OR since 2008. In her downtime, you can find her climbing rocks, traveling, gardening, cooking, and snuggling any cat she sees.

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Three Common Pitfalls For SEO

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Almost every business wants to rank first in Google for their product niche – not only is it satisfying to win the Google ranking game, but it’s also often the path to greater revenue.

That ranking game, for many of our clients, feels mysterious and daunting. Many of them have been playing the game based on gut instinct and guesswork for a long time, and are exhausted.

Among frustrated business owners whose search status seems to stagnate, we’ve noticed some common mistakes. Here are some major ones, along with solutions that you can implement with your team.

Pitfall #1: Flimsy Content

If you’ve got a stack of blog posts that no one is reading, ask yourself: who is your audience? What interests and concerns them? And how can my blogs satisfy those interests and concerns?

Strong content covers relevant topics in an accessible way and is the key to boosting your rankings in organic search.

Let’s say your company sells contract management software and you’re writing blogs like, “The Intricacies Of Our Source Code.” Cool. But: is your audience interested in the intricacies of source code? Are they coders? Or are they contractors interested in how the software saves them time and money in daily business?

What is Relevant?
Your customers’ lives, goals, and pain points will determine what is relevant. So, how on earth do you figure that out? It’s actually quite easy: use an SEO tool to find out exactly which questions people in your industry are googling. Google apps (like Search Console, Trends, and Analytics) are free, user-friendly, and invaluable. 

Once you know the questions people are asking, you can design content for relevant answers. No guesswork required, no more time spent writing ill-conceived blogs.

You can even revise old blogs to answer the questions you find in these keyword searches. “The Intricacies Of Our Source Code” can become “Saving Time and Money Through Contract Automation.” 

What is Accessible?
Making content accessible for your audience means using clear language, helpful layout, and thorough arguments. 

These are the same criteria that the search engines are looking for. Search engine A.I. has started to take cues from human readers. So if you’ve written something that’s useful and readable for your audiences, you’re on your way to winning over search engines as well.

To really charm the search engines, make each post at least 300 words long (ideally 600 – 2000 words) and format it with proper headings and subheadings to help users easily navigate the page.

Pitfall #2: Waiting To Be Found

If you don’t toot your own horn a little bit, people may never discover these fabulous resources you’ve created for them.

Once you’ve written content that is excellent and useful and readable, it’s time to let the world know. The more people engage with your site, link to your posts on their own blogs, and share with friends, the quicker you’re going to improve your rank in search engines.

Social Posts
Let your followers know when a new post is up. Share older posts with your network any time that they seem relevant to the online discussion. Don’t be shy! You designed this content to benefit people’s lives, and you never know when a piece will make somebody’s day.

Targeted Ads
Instead of optimizing your web presence and waiting to be found, a targeted ad service will put you in front of people who are likely to appreciate you. So long as you can identify your target audience with precision, ads are money well spent. Ad platforms have made this task increasingly easy and effective.

Newsletters
The ROI for email marketing can be wild. Numerous studies have found it to be around a $38 return for every $1 spent. Newsletters usually go out to contacts whose info you’ve collected first-hand – warm leads, recent visitors to your site, current and former clients. You know they’re interested in what you do, so this is a great space to show off your latest content.

Pitfall #3: Clunky Websites

It takes all of this work just to get people to click on your links and visit your site. Once they finally arrive, don’t give them a reason to turn and leave. This is where site design and User Experience (UX) are essential.

Google takes note of how much time people spend on your site, especially newcomers. So check your website analytics. Are visitors leaving your site without interacting or reading beyond the page they came in on? This issue is commonly known as “bouncing”. If your bounce rate is high, you’ve may have some UX issues to fix. Here are major areas to consider.

Speed
The goal is for the page load to feel instant for your visitors. If it’s 1 second or less, you’re doing great. Once you get past the 3-second range, you’re in dangerous risk of losing people before they even learn what your site has to offer.

Design
Aesthetics are, of course, relative. Still, white space is always your friend when it comes to web design. We generally encourage people to use simple, spacious design – it’s easier for visitors to navigate. And, of course, make sure that newcomers can get to your best content from the landing page in as few steps as possible.

Mobile Optimization
Nearly half of all of the total U.S. commerce market will be conducted with mobile devices this year. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile use, you’re losing sales. When building, refining, and updating your site, assume that your audience is visiting via phones and tablets.  

Customer Support
No matter how brilliantly designed and optimized your site is, visitors will always have questions unique to their needs. Responsiveness is key to UX. And these days, customers are very willing to take their business elsewhere if they don’t receive the personalized service they desire. Livechat support converts sales by guiding customers through any unforeseen pain points in the sales process.

Our friends at Ruby happen to do live chat support in a fabulous way.

Steps Toward SEO Success

Optimizing your presence for search engine ranking requires attention to diverse avenues of the internet, but at its core the mission is simple: you’re trying to create valuable products and services for people and you’re trying to let them see how your business might improve their lives. 

You might have dabbled with SEO analytics tools already and found it frustrating. This is completely normal – the learning curve at first can feel really tough. But, much like learning a language, with time and experience and immersion, you can get the hang of it.

Of course, some elements of UX require outside support. A web designer can do for your site in one day what might take you several weeks to learn on your own. And when visitors to your website have questions that need to be answered immediately – say, 10pm on a Friday night – Ruby’s live receptionists and chat support are available to keep potential customers engaged.

Josh Orr is part of the team at Ercule, a content and SEO performance agency in Portland, OR.

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Webinar: Think. Do. Say. with Ron Tite

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https://www.tonytaafe.com/ NO COMMERCIAL RESALE PERMISSION

Every day, our customers and prospects are inundated with promotional messaging, constantly overwhelmed by the array of channels to consume and then left with the burden of deciphering which claims are valid and false.

The answer to cutting through the noise and building trust isn’t found in a sea of management jargon; it’s based on three words — Think. Do. Say.

Watch our webinar to learn how great people and great organizations succeed in this busy, busy world based on: 

1. What they think: The purpose behind the person or company.

2. What they do: How they behave to reinforce the purpose.

3. What they say: How they talk about what they believe and how they act. 

We’re thrilled to be teaming up with Ron Tite, founder of Church+ State, an agency that helps global brands unify content and advertising, and Editor-in-Chief of The Business Casual, for this Ruby webinar!

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Running a business dedicated to keeping your customer’s homes functional, comfortable, and safe is anything but easy. From juggling calls to scheduling appointments to doing the actual work that completes a job—there is a lot to balance. Throw in economic turbulence and a pandemic, and work is anything but business-as-usual.

In the midst of all of the busy, the uncertainty, and the unpredictable, it is easy to let customer experience fall by the wayside. The good news is, even in this new environment, going back to the basics of customer service can improve customer satisfaction, increase loyalty, and ultimately keep your business growing.

Join us on July 9th for our upcoming webinar, where we will discuss:

  • Tips for winning new business
  • The importance of consistency
  • Tools for managing your business on the go

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Business Unusual: Wellness During Crisis

Reading time:

This week, Business Unusual brings you a conversation between Jill McKenna, Ruby Campaign Manager, and Amanda Soares, LCSW. Amanda discusses what happens to the body in the midst of stress, and offers valuable tips on how to curb and interrupt the impact of anxiety.

Jill McKenna:

Hello, I’m Jill. I’m the Campaign Marketing Manager here at Ruby. And today I’m talking with Amanda Soares. Amanda is a mental health speaker, therapist, coach, facilitator, and licensed clinical social worker here in Portland, Oregon. Amanda has over 20 years of client experience and specializes in challenging and crisis levels circumstances. You can find her work at revolutionarytherapypdx.com. Hi, Amanda. Thanks for being here today.

Amanda Soares:

Hi, Jill. Thanks for having me.

Jill McKenna:

I’m glad you’re here.

Amanda Soares:

You did a great job. That was a mouthful.

Jill McKenna:

I do what I can. I am very grateful you’re here. Our customers, our community, our employees, all of us, just like the rest of the world are going through so much change. In our particular company, we went work from home all almost 600 of us within 11 days, which, as you can imagine, was a lot of whiplash, and as we experienced that, we all really thought about the experiences that our small business owners were having, their families, their loved ones, everybody in the community, and wanted to be able to offer some resources to all of us at this time for understanding what a baseline of normalcy is during a crisis so that we don’t feel so hopefully bananas and out of control, although I think that’s the name of the game.

Amanda Soares:

I think one of the most critical pieces is helping people reframe their expectations and also avoiding the draw to hold ourselves to January expectations or yesterday expectations or non-pandemic expectations. It’s just a setup I think for lack of productivity, feeling useless or worthless, and in creating a lot of anxiety and grief for people because those are not the standards of our world right now and it is physically impossible to do so many of the tasks we’re all in a position of having to do right now.

Jill McKenna:

To that point and to the point of emotional resilience, but also just dealing with the change in our bodies that comes with so much cataclysm and trauma, you and I have spoken recently and something that really stuck with me is the idea of paying attention to where anxiety registers in your body so that you can interrupt it. Can you speak a little bit to that process?

Amanda Soares:

I think when we are in a constant stress cycle, our amygdala is pumping out stress hormones into our bodies and our brains that cause changes in our ability to think and in our bodies. And, again, it’s an individualized process. People manifest that very differently. Headaches, brain fog, inability to concentrate, tightness in the jaw, the back, irritability, sleep problems, eating problems, the recurrence of old trauma. We’re seeing so many manifestations of what that can look like when the body again is flooded repeatedly with those hormones.

Amanda Soares:

And it takes the body typically an hour to clear one instance of those types of hormones flooding us much less constant streaming in fight, flight, freeze stimuli. So some of the work do is to really help people notice and tune into those processes as they’re happening in their bodies so that we can take protective action to put out those fires, so to speak, before they harm us. There’s copious amounts of research on the harm that unchecked chronic stress does to our bodies and our brains and a lot of the work I do right now is helping. I teach people concrete ways to get out of that cycle, get back into their bodies, reduce those hormones and take care of themselves.

Jill McKenna:

Thank you. And something else that we had talked about that dovetails right in with that is the idea of regression right now. When we are going through something so traumatic, it raises issues and it raises physiological responses that we maybe haven’t encountered in a very long time or possibly in decades, and so those being raised again we suddenly become maybe not our best version of ourselves for our partners, for our families, at work. Are there tools that specifically help the workplace with that either for employees or employers?

Amanda Soares:

I think regression typically stems from anxiety and that pressure cooker of stress and stress hormones that build up in the body. The best practice to rid the body of them is kind of the fastest way to address the regression. And then the flip side of that might be, are we still using unreasonable expectations about what we’re expecting from people right now? I think it’s a twofold process. Number one, we have to give people the tools they need to address that kind of pressure cooker effect that we’re all experiencing right now. But simultaneously, we have to make sure our organization’s expectations are realistic for what we want to accomplish and what we’re expecting people to accomplish. Because I think if we’re holding anyone to the same standards or ourselves to the same operating standards that were completely valid in January, I think we’re missing the mark and I think we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment and I think we’re setting our employees up for some longterm health problems.

Jill McKenna:

Wow. Are there ideas or tools that you recommend for interrupting anxiety as we do notice it arising in ourselves?

Amanda Soares:

Yes. I tend to teach the notice, interrupt, soothe model. Once we notice those signs where our body is telling us we’re overloaded, be they physical, mental, stomach aches, headaches, for me, it’s the sound of a pen clicking goes from a regular sound to homicidal impulse, when we catch ourselves and notice and train ourselves to notice that we’re overwhelmed, we’ve got to interrupt that cycle. And that can be something as simple as getting into another room, going to get a glass of water. There’s there’s many small ways we can reorganize our bodies and our brains. But then after we interrupt, we’ve got to take a second to soothe.

Jill McKenna:

How do people know at this time with so much extremity, how do they know that maybe they need a little bit of extra help right now? Maybe some of their normal tools just aren’t cutting it anymore.

Amanda Soares:

I think the first thing I have been advising people to do is check the context. Are you actually having what is a perfectly reasonable response to an intensely stressful, chaotic, and frightening situation that we’re finding ourselves in? Check in there. After that, if you find yourself continually thinking like, “Do I need extra help? Has this gone too far?” Well, maybe it has, and it could be time to reach out to additional resources. A third way is to check in with the people who love you most and who know you best. Ask them for honest feedback. Ask them if they are worried about you or if they notice changes. And then fourth, I think, check the regular issues. Are you eating okay? Are you sleeping okay? Are you using or overusing substances to comfort yourself? Have you fallen back into habits that you know are toxic for you?

Amanda Soares:

If those are themes that keep arising for you, or really if you just feel super despondent and it’s not letting up, you’re having recurrent thoughts of self harm or intrusive thoughts, it’s okay to get extra help right now. A lot of us need it and it’s completely reasonable.

Jill McKenna:

And then, finally, are there some favorite recommendations for self care that you have been suggesting right now?

Amanda Soares:

My personal favorites have been starting virtual chats with people that you love and care about, who support you, that you can be authentic with, that you can laugh with, cry with. The more people you can include at once the better because chances are you’ll all take turns. Take time to do the things you love. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Make sure you’re getting good nutrition for you. Try to move your body. Try and not lock yourself in one small space if you can avoid it. So many of the things that we used to do to cope or get stress relief, we don’t have access to right now. So finding ways that have worked for you in the past, finding ways that have soothed you in the past, things that brought you joy, taking the time to engage in those things and feeling good, practicing even small acts of gratitude for things we’ve all had to learn.

Amanda Soares:

We’ve all developed a new skill. We’ve all learned or done something we didn’t think we would do and we’ve accomplished it. And I think the most important thing is to remember that you’re surviving. The standard is not, “Am I living my personal best life right now?” That’s not what we’re doing. We’re surviving in a pandemic and also trying to get work done at home

Jill McKenna:

You and I had spoken recently and you were like, “Yeah, the whole idea of making the perfect bread and all of that kind of B.S. in the media of what we should be doing with our time is such a tricky conversation to be having with ourselves.”

Amanda Soares:

We exist in a culture that tries to convince us that if we haven’t accomplished some kind of stretch goal or learned French in a pandemic means that I’m lacking somehow, and I encourage people to push back on that and think what entity that type of insecurity serves because it’s not helpful to us. It’s not helpful for us to apply live your best life standards at home under lockdown orders in a pandemic. That’s not realistic. So constantly check in and ask yourself with the expectations you’re trying to hold yourself to a reasonable. Are they reasonable by January standards or are they reasonable by current standards?

Jill McKenna:

Amanda, thank you so much for joining us today. I’m really glad to be able to draw upon your expertise and to be able to get some ideas for how we can cope with these times. If people want to find you, where can they find you out online?

Amanda Soares:

Thanks for having me, Jill. If people want more information, they can look me up at revolutionarytherapypdx.com. Be well.

Jill McKenna:

Amazing. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.



Amanda Soares, LCSW

Amanda graduated with a degree in Psychology from Yale University, with a focus on Women, Race, and Gender Studies. She received her Masters degree in Clinical Social Work Practice from Southern Connecticut State University. Raised in Newark, NJ, Amanda has lived and worked in Portland, OR since 2008. In her downtime, you can find her climbing rocks, traveling, gardening, cooking, and snuggling any cat she sees.



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Preserving and perpetuating real, meaningful human connections is the mission of Ruby — and it takes work. From hiring the right people passionate about connecting with others to cultivating a community of empowerment to go above and beyond for the customer, we’ve learned over the years that investing in our company culture fuels the success of our business and that of our customers.

But there’s something even deeper than hiring the right people and having fun at work that drives a culture of connections — it’s being able to be your true self and sharing your humanity with others.

What is the Pronoun Project?

Ruby is all about growing and celebrating our diverse people-powered culture so, in 2019, Ruby’s Learning and Development and Employee Experience teams launched the Pronoun Project.

An annual, company-wide initiative, the Pronoun Project encourages Rubys to share their pronouns during Pride month and beyond. Email signatures, social media profiles, and desk nameplates are just a few of the digital and physical spaces that more than 10% of the Rubys chose to display their pronouns last year.

Why are Pronouns Important?

Gender pronouns (ex. She/her/hers) are words a person would like used when others talk to or about them. You can’t always know what an individual’s pronouns are by looking at them, so asking and using the correct pronouns shows your respect for their identity. Encouraging the use of proper pronouns and showcasing them in email signatures, etc. builds an inclusive, equitable culture. 

Want to Start a Pronoun Project at Your Company?

Our friends at Culture Amp have an excellent blog post outlining several steps companies can take to encourage the use of pronouns. A few ways we encourage our team to share their preferred pronouns are: 

  • In email signatures 
  • Social profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) 
  • Status or profile name in team chat/communication tools 
  • In bios or “about me” descriptions 

Of course, listing pronouns is only the first step — next is to use them correctly during communication. Pay attention to the pronouns team member’s share and use. Not sure? Don’t be afraid to ask. A simple, “What are your gender pronouns?” or “Can you remind me which pronouns you prefer?” is a great first step to building a culture of inclusivity. 

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Businesses are facing challenges unwitnessed in modern economic times, leaving owners to navigate these unknown obstacles with limited guidance and support. However, history has proven that when chaos strikes, the real “pros” show up to lead with purpose and conviction.

Leading in a moment of crisis versus calm doesn’t always require a change in leadership or a new leadership style. Instead, leaders need to rethink and recalibrate actions to address these unknown obstacles head-on. 

Great leaders are:

  • Bound by purpose
  • Defined by action
  • Adopted by communication

In this webinar, Ron Tite, author of Think. Do. Say. and host of the hit podcast, “The Coup,” shares how to start with the right leadership framework to effectively lead your business through the chaos and come out the other side⁠—stronger.

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Shop Local! It has become a rallying cry for independent businesses around the world. In the age of Google, people don’t simply stroll on down to Main Street when they want to make a purchase. No one opens the local yellow pages anymore. They open a search engine on their phone and it might take them far, far away from Main Street.

The good news? Four out of five people use search engines to find local information. Searches for ‘near me’ or ‘close by’ increased more than 900% in a two-year period.

You’ve probably conducted this kind of search yourself when looking to buy soccer cleats or hire an electrician ‘near me’. And if you’re like most people — 92% of shoppers to be exact — you choose a business from the first page of results that Google provides.

Page one of a Google search — this is the new marketing goal of any business, including yours.

How do you appear at the top of the page for every relevant search? In other words, how do you improve your local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? At Ercule, we spend every day helping businesses do exactly that.

In this blog series, we’ll be sharing insights and tips you can put into practice for your own business.

Understand Your Content Stack

Content is the cornerstone of optimizing your web presence. Quality content. Useful content. In today’s extremely competitive business landscape, your competitors are creating tons of digital content and strategically working to get it in front of as many eyes as possible. You need to be doing the same if you want to be the top local listing for your industry on Google.

We call this layered approach the content stack and it consists of several components.

Strategy

Which search terms do you want to own? What kinds of shoppers are you looking to win over? 

Production

Creating relevant, thorough, readable material that provides useful information for visitors to your website and secures your place as a trustworthy expert.

Distribution

Promoting your written content via diverse channels, including organic search, social media, email, and direct sales outreach.

Conversion

Perfecting your website so visitors have the best possible experience and, ultimately, choose to spend their money with you.

Analysis

Looking at click rates, conversion rates, revenue, and all pertinent data to understand which strategies are working well and which ones might be improved.

Strategy: Figure Out What People Are Searching For

Strategizing for your content stack means understanding the exact search terms people are using most often in your area. 

Search data is a glimpse into the hearts and minds of your community. While you can never fully predict which search terms are most popular in a given area, you don’t have to guess either. Google provides you with the data you need via free apps, such as:

  • Google Search Console
    See how your website is showing up in Google search, how often its listing is getting clicks, and any formatting errors that are causing it to be overlooked by search engine A.I.
  • Google Trends
    Enter in any keyword and see how frequently it is being searched in comparison to other keywords. For example, if you’re a bookstore you might compare the local trends for a term like ‘new fiction’ versus ‘best-seller fiction’.
  • Google Analytics
    Log in to track activity around your own website. This data can show the search terms that brought people to your site, the pages on your site that get the most clicks, and the ‘bounce rate’ or amount of time visitors spend on your site before clicking elsewhere.

You can explore each of these platforms for hours on end and get lost in data, but even basic questions can work wonders for your SEO strategy. Consider these:

  • What are the top search terms locally for my industry?
  • How well does my business rank for each of these top search terms?
  • When I search these keywords in the search bar, which local businesses have the top rank?

Doing research on your competitors and their keywords is another great way to understand what sort of content is winning the attention of shoppers in your area.  

Production: Give The People What They Want (And Help Search Engines Find It)

Now that you’ve got a list of the most valuable search terms in your local market, you can build the content that speaks to those terms.

‘Content’ is a term people throw around a lot these days to describe anything from videos to tweets to podcasts. When we speak of ‘content’ in the SEO context, there are a few basic formats that will go a long way:

  • Blog Posts
    Casual but informative pieces (like this one) devoted to a particular topic. Shoot for a word count around 600 to 1200 words.
  • Explainers
    Longer pieces (1500 words or more) designed as a primer for any newcomer to a subject. Explainers maintain a friendly tone, and go deeper into the material than a blog.
  • Product Pages
    These are in-depth pages about the product your business offers and can be great for SEO when written around specific features. For example, a locksmith might have a page built around “car key replacement” and another on “24-hour unlocking services”.

Designing Content For SEO

What kind of content will win the attention of search engines? In the old days, businesses would just repeat the keyword over and over and over in a blog post. It didn’t bring much value to human readers but it was a boon for SEO.

These days, the search engine A.I. is much more sophisticated. Increasingly, it’s learning to value blogs and explainers for the same values that human readers do.

Quality content is…

  • Relevant (and, if possible, evergreen) subject matter
  • Written in a clear, concise, readable way
  • Thoroughly researched and presented

Of course, there are other ways to tailor your content for an extra SEO edge as well:

  • Optimizing keyword placements – especially in headings, like the Ruby blog post shown below, which is optimized for the search term ‘Call Handling’.
  • Optimizing content length – Google and other search engines tend to prefer “meatier” content that encourages users to stay and interact with a page – think 300 words and up.
  • Getting inbound links – whether they are from your site or from external sites, well-used inbound links signal the value of a page to search engines. 

Boost Your SEO For Yourself And Your Customers

Boosting your search engine performance depends on the same principles local businesses have always used to stay competitive. At base, it’s about providing real value to the lives of customers and making that value easy to find.

It requires first understanding your customers’ problems, which is easier now because search engines record every question that is searched. Once you get oriented to the online tools and methods for finding those questions, you can do your work with precision.

The content you generate not only wins the attention of search engines, it highlights your expertise to people in your community, free of charge. It’s a gift. By boosting SEO, that value becomes more accessible for everyone.

And when people visit your website for that content, the rest of the site should engage them as well. That’s where features like page design and customer support come in to play – live chat on your site is one great example of this. 

We’ll be exploring these topics more in subsequent blog posts, in the meantime, you might download Ruby’s guide to live chat to learn more about how to make your optimized website perform better for you.

Josh Orr is part of the team at Ercule, a content and SEO performance agency in Portland, OR.

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Introducing: Business Unusual!

Here at Ruby, we’ve been cooking up a series dedicated to bringing expert insights right to our customers, and the small business community at large. In this installment, Ruby’s own Jill McKenna interviews Katie Augsburger of Future Work Design. They focus on building equity in the workplace during a crisis. Watch the video or scroll below to read the transcript!

Jill McKenna:

Hi! My name is Jill McKenna, I’m the Campaign Marketing Manager at Ruby, and today I’m speaking with one of our subject matter experts, Katie Augsburger from Future Work Design. Katie is an amazing HR expert and thought leader with 15 years and more of experience. And I’m going to let Katie explain what Future Work Design is and what her work is.

Katie Augsburger:

Thanks, Jill. This is super fun to have me in your studio. Is that what we’re calling these?

Jill McKenna:

It’s called my bedroom.

Katie Augsburger:

And thanks for coming to my basement. Yeah, so I founded Future Work Design with three other women and we focus on helping organizations with strategy, customer experience, employee experience, all with an equity lens, and centering equity in the design.

Jill McKenna:

And I imagine you’re probably pretty busy right now, is that right?

Katie Augsburger:

Yeah. I think I didn’t necessarily know what was going to happen when this all started. I thought that, I think for like a lot of people, I thought, “Well, this is it. This is the end of everything.” But I’m heartened to see that a lot of organizations are taking this moment to rethink how they want to be as employers when everything starts to come back. So that’s good news. That’s good news for all of us.

Jill McKenna:

And how do equity design and strategy play into current events, or how are you seeing them play into current events and what businesses are experiencing right now and for their companies going forward?

Katie Augsburger:

I think most organizations care deeply about wanting to be diverse and wanting to be a good employer, but I think this particular moment is highlighting that each of our employees has very different and vastly different experiences and it behooves us as an organization to take the time and effort to see what they need and to create an organization that’s going to meet those needs because we want them to be successful. We want to grow their careers. We want people to feel valued and we want their value in the organization. To me, what I’m seeing, of course, when crisis happens there’s a lot of bad things that are highlighted, but also a lot of amazing things about how we want to show up for each other. And I think the thing that I’ve seen most is this is truly a humanity crisis and that’s bringing out our need for connection so people are doing deep work to make sure we’re connected with each other.

Jill McKenna:

That makes sense, and we work a lot with small businesses, sole proprietors, a lot of folks in the home services industry, the legal industry, medical, all sorts of small businesses, from tattoo artists to orthodontia. And so we are hearing from our customers a lot of what you’re echoing and a lot of the same concerns, which leads me to my first question for you, and I’m going to read it so I get it right. In your work right now, with so many companies small and large, you’ve identified a fairly universal theme as being in different boats on the same water. Can you speak to managing individuals right now, managing to the individual and keeping expectations real for both employees and customers?

Katie Augsburger:

Yeah. So I will admit someone way smarter than me came up with this analogy, which is that we are in the same ocean in very, very different boats, which means that this is an experience that’s happening to everyone, but based on your identity, based on who is in your house, based on your role, you’re experiencing this really different. You might be a frontline worker, you might be sitting at home caretaking with children, you might be home bored with no work to do. You may be caring for a sick loved one or you yourself might be sick, and so each one of us is going through a very different experience right now. And what becomes really difficult is when we’re managing an organization with so many different people experiencing this event so drastically different.

Katie Augsburger:

And so it can be hard for an organization to feel like, how do I then create an experience that is equal for everybody? I want to be fair and I want to be equal to all my employees. And I’d like to give you permission to let that go right now. This isn’t a moment for equality. This is a moment for equity, meaning that yeah, things are going to be unequal. There’s going to be people who are going to need extra support, extra help right now, but that is what equitable means, which it means that we’re going to make up that difference of all of the barriers that are in people’s lives that can make it difficult and we’re going to do our best to remove those and that might mean extra care, extra time off, it might mean extra support. It might mean we move some of the job functions around. But that’s what is probably needed in your organization because people have different needs right now.

Jill McKenna:

Is there a way that you’re guiding leaders? I mean, what you said, it just strikes me because, of course, we give ourselves this space and this room in our communities. We see our family members who maybe need more, we see our neighbors who maybe need more, but we don’t always give that to ourselves and we don’t always extend it to this expectation of ourselves and others within the business world, because business has been standardized for one way for so long. So, is there a way that you’re guiding leaders at all to give some of that grace to themselves and then extend it to their team members?

Katie Augsburger:

Yeah. Well, I like to say, “Never waste a crisis.” So we have been please socialized that the way we do work is everybody gets the same thing. We don’t want to set precedent, we don’t want to give one person one thing and not the other, and that is probably a model that will not work in this new normal. And it’s okay to start experimenting with, “Well, how can this look different?” Maybe my work experience is going to have to be a few hours in the morning, a long break so I can caretake for children, and then a few hours at night.” We’re going to have to get pretty experimental and we’re also going to have to really divorce ourselves from how we used to do things because that model isn’t going to work for us anymore.

Katie Augsburger:

And I think the feeling of tension that we’re all kind of feeling is that sense of, “I really knew how to work well in this old world. I don’t really know how to work well in this new world with all these rules that aren’t formed yet.” And what’s beautiful about that, what’s less scary, is we get to decide and make decisions about that. We’re kind of our own pioneers right now and we can decide how we want work to look. And that might look really, really different. We have to experiment and be able to play in that.

Jill McKenna:

Yeah, and in your work, are you seeing that starting to unfold and maybe solidify as this more, not having such a reactive stance, but a more responsive stance and being more mutable to the changes, and I guess the other part of that is you can’t look into a crystal ball, but how do you see that potentially shaping in the future, that mutability and being open to change, and dealing with the team member in front of you?

Katie Augsburger:

I think I am seeing organizations really quickly pivot to being adaptable. Organizations that have never changed before are like, “Well, I guess in two days, we’re all working from home,” even though they may have been trying to figure out work from home policies for years before then, right? So we’re building that muscle really, really quickly. It just means that we’re not going to snap back and immediately go back to how we were working before. We all know that kind of deep down but we’re not really ready to intellectualize that. And so giving people that moment to say, “We don’t work the same, we don’t think the same, we don’t hold our attention span the same.” Our kids are in our space when we used to drop them off at school and go to work, and that is practically different and we cannot apply those rules that we’ve had for the last 200 years to today. It doesn’t work anymore.

Jill McKenna:

These psychological changes and this that’s happening, it’s not only happening to the individual but it’s happening to our holistic companies and the systems that we have built within it. So how are those reverberations happening for the customer and on their end of experience?

Katie Augsburger:

Yeah. I like to kind of reach back to that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, right? We are still, even though we like to, “I’m going to use this time to learn how to quilt and I’m going to use this time to practice yoga,” it’s like we’re still in safety and security. We’re still trying to understand how we’re going to keep ourselves safe, how we’re going to keep our bills paid, how we’re going to keep our families safe. And that’s happening for our employees, that’s happening for our customers, and so it requires us to practice deep empathy and slowing down, slowing down your expectations of how fast is a sale going to close versus how fast am I going to get this deadline met? We’re just not operating at the speed that we’re used to. And that’s really hard I think especially in our culture where productivity is so important. We measure everything against how productive am I? And we’re not there, we’re not going to be there for probably a bit.

Jill McKenna:

Thank you. That’s very thoughtful. And it makes a lot of sense and it makes a lot of sense to the things I’ve been reading and something our CEO who is very tuned in with is empathy, and that has helped our organization a lot and I know a lot of other organizations right now for getting through some of these things. Katie, thank you.

Katie Augsburger:

Thank you so much.

Jill McKenna:

Thank you so much.

Katie Augsburger

Katie has been creating and implementing successful human resources programs for over 15 years. Her work has helped organizations win Oregon’s Best Company To Work, Fortune Magazine’s Most Flexible Workplace, and Fortune Magazine’s Top Consulting Firms among others. When not advising clients you will find her pushing her thinking through speaking, podcasts and writing engagements. Katie has a M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction as well as a B.S in Sociology. She is certified as Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) and Certified Compensation Professional (CCP).

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