If your business is anything like Macaulay Gidado, then it relies on remote staff for more or less everything. Certainly you want to make sure that you aren’t paying more than you are getting from your remote workers. And you also want to make sure that your company is not spending too much time on a client’s project. Hubstaff and Trello are the time-tracking combo you need.
I mean, they work for us at Macaulay Gidado. My hope is that after this guide, you will be able to get them to work for your business too.
Of course, this all depends on what you want to achieve with the integration. I will start with the basics.
Track your employees: this entails what tasks they are working on and how much time they spend on each task.
Track your clients: that is, the collective time your organization spends on a client or the client’s project
These are the two main factors that determine how you prepare you Trello setup for Trello-Hubstaff integration.
Is your Trello set up properly for Hubstaff?
Hubstaff allows you to add projects. A project on Hubstaff equals a Trello board.
The table below shows how to set up your Trello, depending on whether you want to track your staff and clients’ projects or just your staff.
Of course, you want to seamlessly track both staff and clients. So below is what your Hubstaff and Trello setup should look like.
While you can also assign Trello boards to departments and recreate the departments as projects on Hubstaff, that setup will make tracking how much time your organization spends on a client extremely difficult.
Now that you have created Trello boards and Hubstaff projects using the configuration above, it’s time to connect the two. Or if you haven’t created any projects on Hubstaff, that’s no problem. Hubstaff will automatically create them for you at the end of the integration explained below.
On the tracker, they should be able to see projects they have been added to. These projects equal the Trello boards they are also a member of.
For effective time tracking, they shouldn’t track projects. They should rather press play on tasks under each project.
Tasks on Hubstaff = cards on Trello.
Hubstaff automatically imports Trello cards as tasks and file them under the projects linked with their respective boards
If a team member can’t find their assigned task under a project on Hubstaff, it means they are not added to the respective card on Trello. So they need to add themselves to the card and refresh their Hubstaff time tracker so the task can appear.
I hope this helps. Let me know what you think below.
This article also appeared on the Technopreneur. At Macaulay Gidado, we are all about helping entrepreneurs find success doing what they love. We evaluate your business and tell you what technologies can improve your processes. Visit our homepage to find out more.
People are the engine that powers businesses. Of course, this isn’t breaking news. The problem is that we all talk about it more often than we show it. Anyway, “people”, in this case, can be your employees or customers.
Today, I’m going to talk about your employees and what it means to foster a healthy relationship with them, to create a conducive work environment for them, and ultimately to retain them.
Employee retention… I probably should have put that last bit first, seeing as every other thing mentioned revolves around it. If you are a CEO or HR, I imagine trying to figure out how to retain your top gun makes you want to bang your head on concrete every morning. I know, it’s tough. Millennials are nasty, discontented sons of *******, hopping here and there as if the world belongs to them.
That’s the wrong thinking though.
What if I told you that your top guns are leaving because you aren’t doing enough to keep them? If you are anything like a long-time client of mine, you would probably laugh, “What’s this maniac talking about?”
Okay, calm down. Let’s back up a bit and think about this. Ask yourself these two pertinent questions:
Do I want more of my staff to stay?
Is that in my interest?
If your answer to those questions is “no”, then you should probably sell your business (if it’s worth anything), pack up, and go find a more astute CEO to work for. Should be an enlightening period of your life.
So why is “more of your employees staying” in your best interest? It’s simple: cutting down on turnover cost. In other words, it’s cost-effective.
Each time you have to replace an employee, you are looking at:
Direct exit costs like unused sick time, payouts for accrued vacation time, contributions to healthcare coverage, and so on.
Recruitment, onboarding, and training costs of new hires.
Cost of learning and development
Side effects like decreased productivity, loss of expertise, lowered moral in the workplace, and more.
Cost of time with unfilled role
Now, let’s get down to numbers
According to a study by SHRM, it can take 50% to 60% of an employee’s annual salary to find a direct replacement. When you now factor in other costs and effects associated with turnover, you’d be looking at 90% to 200% of an employee’s annual salary.
So now that I have convinced you that retaining more of your employees is in your best interest, let’s dive into more pertinent questions.
Are my staff happy?
Will my top guns stay?
What more can I do to keep them?
These are the questions smart CEOs and HRs ask themselves everyday. If your answers to these questions are favorable, chances are that your turnover rate is very low. I wish I can say the same for the other guy.
But let’s not point fingers now. I think we all can learn a thing or two from other people’s experiences. So whether you are that guy or the other guy, below are a handful of suggestions for maximizing employee retention that I share with my clients.
Offer Competitive Salary and Benefits
According to a recent Glassdoor survey, 45% of employees that quit mentioned salary as the top reason. Then another survey on employee retention saw 56% of employees saying that what keeps them in their job is healthcare and insurance concerns. Clearly, money matters, and if as a CEO you don’t offer your employees something comparable to other companies in your industry, you risk losing them.
Still money isn’t everything. There are a host of other ways to maximize employee retention.
Employ the Right Person
The survey by Glassdoor also discovered that about 35% of companies who hire new staff do so because they anticipate that a fraction of their current staff will quit in the coming year. It’s unfortunate, but this is a dilemma many CEOs face everyday.
So why not revamp your hiring process and hire the right people from the onset? Be as transparent as possible when hiring. Let applicants know what to expect from the onset. That way, they can genuinely decide on time if the job is for them or not. An ill-informed hire will most likely leave when they discover the job isn’t what they expected.
Life and Work Must Balance
A happy employee is one with a healthy balance between work and their personal life. Anything outside that leads to pain, frustration, and ultimately the gnawing impulse to quit.
As an employer, you must refrain from expecting your employees to function like robots. This can easily wear them out, thus translating to frustration, decreased productivity, and the said impulse to quit.
Instead, try your best to create a conducive work environment and also encourage a balance between their work and personal life.
How can you do this?
The answer is simple. By talking to your employees to find out what their pain points are. You can do this through a survey or direct feedback. You could also pay attention to industry trends to discover the top reasons employees become frustrated.
Then once you have done that, you take steps to alleviate any pain points you have discovered. This could mean a salary increment, offering better benefits, making sure your employees get a certain amount of weeks off each year. When your employee knows you have their best interest at heart, they will be happier on the job, they will give more, and they will be much less likely to quit.
Be a Leader, Not a Boss
Be someone your employees respect, not someone they fear. This doesn’t mean you should become best buddies with your staff. No. It means you should be a figure they can look up to. Bosses focus on numbers, leaders understand that their employees are their most important assets.
Keep Your Managers In Check
A bad manager is like a negative influence in any work environment. When your workers aren’t happy about your manager or feel your manager treats them unfairly, a good fraction of them is going to leave. This is why it’s important to always look beyond the technical aspects of the managerial position when hiring.
A good manager needs to have great people skills. They should be able to motivate different types of people. They should be skilled in conflict, stress, and crisis management. And they should be able to deal well with various personality traits.
Employee Engagement Goes a Long Way
Engagement is everything. When an employee is not actively engaged with the job, boredom and distraction set in and productivity falls. Soon, the impulse to quit follows. In fact, a poll by Gallup discovered that 73% of actively disengaged employees actively look for a new job while still on the old one.
This is every employer’s nightmare.
So what do you do? There’s no point in blaming your employee for being distracted on the job. Instead, you should remember that distraction is a product of lack of motivation. Then start working on ways to motivate your employees so they can be fully engaged with the job.
Make Your Employees Proud of Your Brand
Unfortunately, there’s no magic wand for doing this. You just need to do the age old hard work.
Everybody wants to be part of something grand and life changing. To retain your employees, why not turn your business into something grand and life changing, into something they can be proud of, something they wouldn’t want to abandon. You could start by offering quality products and services, creating a conducive work environment, and giving back to the community.
Tell me, what other strategies do you adopt to retain your employees? Please leave a note in the comment area. Thanks.
Slack ranks among the hottest next-generation communication and collaboration tools out there. You can most certainly say that the mission of the people behind the app is to change the way people communicate at work. It doesn’t matter what industry or niche you work in. Slack is virtually all-encompassing in application. If there’s a limit to what you can do with the app, it resides in how creative you want to get with its rich features.
We have been using the app for a year now at Macaulay Gidado, and so far, it hasn’t disappointed. Not writing this to promote Slack in any way. I’m basically just excited about what we have been able to achieve using the app. Here are the top seven benefits that came with moving our team communication to the app.
All Team in One Place
At Macaulay Gidado, we tried a lot of tools out there. Think Basecamp, Trello, even Whatsapp… While these other tools have their unique benefits, Slack was the only one that delivered the result we needed, especially because team communication and collaboration become extra seamless when you can intelligibly fit everything you need for a project into one place. The app makes it possible with features like mentions, file sharing, integrations, and much more.
Slack Has an Efficient Search Tool
If you have ever used Whatsapp for team communication then you probably have a hint of how frustrating locating messages from prior days or weeks is. The search feature is there, but it’s annoying. At Macaulay Gidado, we experienced this problem first-hand. Whatsapp buries chats. Short and simple.
Then we found Slack. While chats are still buried within threads on Slack, finding them is a lot easier. I dare say easier than using the Gmail search tool. On Slack, it’s super fast, user-friendly, and best of all filterable — meaning you can input a search term and other variables like date, channel to search, name of the sender of the message you are looking for.
Streamline File Sharing
Tired of always having to set file sharing rules on Google Drive or Dropbox? Tired of receiving annoying access requests to files from team members? We have been there. Trust me, it’s not pretty.
The one thing we can tell you is that Slack is your friend. First, do a one-time integration between your Slack and cloud storage. Once that is done, sharing a file and granting permissions to access request is as easy as clicking a button on Slack.
For instance, to share a file with team members, all you need to do is copy the url and paste into the Slack thread. Slack will immediately detect that your team members don’t have access to the file and will present you with options, prompting you to grant access with just a click. Also, when a team member requests access to a file, a notification will pop up on, say, the Google Drive Slack channel, asking you to grant access with a click.
One-on-On and Group Exchanges
Slack also comes with features people naturally expect from any communication tool. There are private channels and group channels. While transparency is great when it comes to team communication, there are times when you just need to chat privately with a team member or a select group of team members. Slack makes this possible.
You can create a group channel for a project all members of the team are collaborating on and invite everyone.
Also, you can create a group channel and invite a few select team members for a side task or project.
You can chat with each team member alone on their private channel.
And you can remove team members from a channel you no longer want them to access.
Integrate with Services You Already Use
Basecamp. Trello. GitHub. Google Drive. DropBox. RemoteLock. Gmail. These are just a few of the services you can integrate into your Slack.
You want to know when changes have been made to a task on Trello and by who? Slack-Trello integration takes care of that.
You want to easily share and grant access to Google Drive files? Slack-Google Drive integration takes care of that too.
These are just some of the many services we have integrated into our Slack.
On the Go Access
Like many other cloud powered tools, you can use Slack anywhere. You can easily access work chats, collaborations, notifications, and much more from anywhere and on any device that is compatible with the app. The tool is available on Windows, Mac, Android, and IOS. So far as you have an Internet connection and a compatible device, you can keep up with your team from anywhere through Slack.
No More Pesky Internal Emails
Slack is the ideal tool to use if you want to abandon internal email and improve communications within your team. Instead of sending internal messages and announcements via email, you can just post them on Slack and everybody will see them.
Also, Slack-email integration means that you can route incoming emails with certain labels to post on a specific channel on the app. That way, without compromising access to the company mailbox, you can keep your team in the know about specific projects, task, or inbound communications.
For instance, we once worked with a client who uses RemoteLock to manage access to their vacation rental property. Typically, the client issues his guests temporary access codes and RemoteLock notifies him via email whenever someone unlocks or locks the door.
The client needed to give his team access to the email notifications without compromising access to his mailbox. So we helped him set up a Slack-Gmail integration so that the notifications are automatically broadcast on the team’s Slack channel. It worked like magic. And just like that, every team member now knows whenever a guest accesses the client’s property.
It doesn’t end here. Slack has a ton of other juicy features. It all depends on your industry and how creative you want to get with integrations.
Next, I will talk about how we use Trello, Basecamp, and a host of other apps at Macaulay Gidado.
An email alias is basically an alternative email address (whether already assigned to a mailbox or not) that you can use to send out or reply to emails via your mail mailbox. Last time, I talked about how to configure catch-all routing on G Suite. Today, I will talk about setting up an email alias on your G Suite email so that you can send out, or reply to routed, emails as the address they were sent to.
For instance, if catch-all routing allows you to receive emails sent to unassigned addresses on your domain, an email alias allows you to reply to the received emails using the same email address they were sent to, in spite of the fact that the email address doesn’t actually exist.
HERE IS HOW TO CONFIGURE AN EMAIL ALIAS ON G SUITE EMAIL
Go to mail.google.com and login
On the top right corner, click the gear icon and then “settings”.
On the next page, click “Accounts”. Scroll down a bit and Click “add an email address”
On the window that pops up, fill out the name you want to use for that email address. Could be your name. It could be “Support”. Could also be “Customer Care”. It’s up to you. Type in the email address you want to create. This could be [email protected]
Make sure that the box for “Treat as an alias” is checked. Then click the “Next Step” button under.
Google will send a verification code to the email address you added above.
If this doesn’t happen automatically, click “send verification” on the window that appears.
This is where it gets tricky. If the email address you added above is an existing one, then check the mailbox for that email address to find the verification code. If the email address doesn’t exist, then make sure you have set up catch-all routing on your G Suite account so that the verification email can be routed to your catch-all mailbox. Otherwise, you will not receive the verification code.
Next, Log into your mailbox on another window or tab.
Open the email by Google and retrieve the code. Or just click the verification link in the email.
If you prefer to verify using the confirmation code, then go back to the previous window, paste the code, and click “verify”.
You will be returned to settings.
Then look for where it says “When replying to a message”. Under it, check the box for “Reply from the same address the message was sent to”
That’s it. Time to test everything to make sure it works.
Have someone send an email to your alias. If you have catch-all routing on, you will get the email.
Now reply to that email and check with the receiver to make sure that they are seeing your alias and not your main email address as the sender.
You can repeat this whole process again and again, depending on the number of email addresses you want to add as a alias. I think there’s a limit though — 30 aliases to be precise.
Well, I will show you how. First, let’s talk about what catch-all routing is and why you need it.
A catch-all, also called a wild-card email address, refers to your chosen G Suite mailbox for catching all emails sent to any nonexistent email address on your domain, and it doesn’t matter if that nonexistent address is [email protected] or [email protected]. It doesn’t matter the combination the sender uses. So far as the email address is associated with your domain, you will receive the email in your catch-all mailbox.
At Macaulay Gidado, we configured catch-all routing to avoid losing emails when customers misspell any of our email addresses. So if you are a business, I recommend you set yours up.
Catch-all routing also came in handy when we were starting out as a business.
First, it allowed us to set up email aliases (on our domain) that don’t just send emails but also receive them. The only downside to this is that all emails go into one email box, unless you set up filters and forwarding. Anyway, this is something that can also be fixed with Slack-Gmail integration if you work with a team. Using Gmail filters and labels can also help you makes sense of everything in your inbox.
Like any other business, we had departments. It only made sense to use [email protected] for sending and receiving support emails, and [email protected] for managing inquiries. It made us look professional. Naturally, we would have needed to register a G Suite user for “support”, and then another for “inquiries”, and so on. Initially, we went with combining catch-all routing and aliases. It was fun while it lasted. But it’s not scalable if you work with a team.
I think this second benefit is more suited for a one-man business. It’s not going to save you much. But the savings can buy you coffee on a boring day.
Without any further ado, here’s how to configure catch-all routing on your G Suite
Scroll to the bottom of the next page and click Advanced Settings
Once on the following page, press “Ctrl + F” on your keyboard and then type in “Catch-all” to find the catch-all section.
Find where “Routing Locally applied” is written and click “add a new routing”. This is usually not visible until you hover over it. In the screenshot below, I have highlighted where you need to hover so that “add a new routing” can appear.
On the pop-up window, check the boxes for “Inbound”, “Internal — sending”, and “Internal -receiving”.
Scroll down to “Envelope recipient” and check the box for “Change Envelope Recipient”. Under it, check the box for “Replace recipient” Then next to “Replace recipient”, type in the email address whose mailbox you want to use as your catch-all mailbox. This should naturally be your G Suite email address.
Scroll down more to “Encryption (onward delivery only)”. Check the box for “Require secure transport (TLS)”
Below it, click “Show Options”
More options will appear. Under “Account types to affect”, check the box for “Unrecognized/Catch-all” and click “Add Setting”. This will take you back to the page right under the pop up.
To save everything, click “save”.
That’s it. You are done. Now emails sent to any unassigned email address on your domain will be routed to the mailbox you chose as your catch-all mailbox.
Next, I will show you how to set up email alias so you can send out or reply to emails as up to 30 unassigned email addresses on your domain.
Many businesses incorporate email marketing in their promotional and marketing strategy. But very few are seeing tangible results.
Why is that?
The simplest and most reasonable answer is that your targeted audience isn’t engaging with your emails. And when a subscriber doesn’t find your emails engaging, the easiest way to get rid of you is to mark one of your emails as spam. Then straight to the spam folder all of your subsequent emails will go. You obviously don’t want that. It would defeat the purpose of sending out marketing emails in the first place.
The first step to solving a problem is by identifying its cause. Therefore, ask yourself these questions:
Are my subscribers’ email provider diverting my emails to spam?
Are my emails delivering or not? Find out by checking your deliverability and spam score using this tool.
Do your subscribers think you are spamming them? This typically happens when your subscribers don’t find your email content engaging enough, when your emails arrive too frequently, or when they are too focused on making sales.
Are people unsubscribing from your mailing list?
Are your subscribers marking your emails as spam?
Remember that merely identifying a problem doesn’t magically solve it. Don’t just ask questions. Don’t just try to identify the causes of your email marketing failure. You need to address and solve the problem. Otherwise, your email marketing campaigns will keep failing.
Try Email Content Filtering
This simply helps your filter both your outbound mails so as to help you avoid dispatching spammy emails, depending on your filtering parameters. When you don’t send out spammy emails, you lower the chances of your emails getting tossed into the spam folder. Services like Every Cloud Tech will even help you generate reports detailing how your emails fares out there.
Don’t Hide the Unsubscribe Link or Button
You might think that hiding the unsubscribe button or making it difficult to find will help you lower the rate at which you lose subscribers. But trust me, it’s a mistake. It would only frustrate subscribers. And when frustration sets in, the easiest way out is to toss the email causing that frustration into the spam folder–problem solved.
Why is this bad?
When a user marks your email or address as spam, their email service provider (ESP) automatically begins to divert subsequent emails from your address into the user’s spam folder. Now, when a lot of users under the same ESP mark your email or address as spam, the ESP could blacklist your address. This means the ESP will begin pushing emails from you into everyone’s spam folder. That’s including the spam folders of people that are actually interested in your emails.
Therefore, always make the unsubscribe button visible and easy to find.
Avoid Sending Emails to Non-Subscribers
Mining the web for email addresses is a shady strategy scammers and spammers use. Therefore, avoid sending newsletters or marketing emails to people that don’t want them. Doing so would only undermine your brand’s reputation and increase the chances of your emails landing in the spam folder. Also avoid sending emails to people that have already unsubscribed from your list.
Use a Reputable Hosting Service to Improve Your Email Marketing
Where do you host your email server? Make sure the IP address is not blacklisted by top email service providers–learn more here. Better still, use a reputable hosting services.
The above-mentioned tips may not entirely save your email marketing campaign. But they will go a long way in increasing your chances of finding success. They will help you keep your marketing emails from your subscribers’ spam folders.
With the number of blogs crowding the internet, it can be difficult to find your footing much less stand out in the content marketing world. However, with a simple set of rules, you can get your content to hover confidently above seventy-five percent of the multitude.
Successful companies like Amazon and The Huffington Post abide by these rules and, because of that, have seen immeasurable success.
Why can’t you?
Since you have read up to this point, there’s no reason you too can’t experience that level of success. You just have to immerse yourself and your content in the tips below.
Find Your Niche and Be Original
Maybe you aren’t plagiarizing someone else’s content, but originality goes beyond not copying and pasting. Discover your niche and expand on it. Being original doesn’t only help you rank better on search engines like Google, but helps you build integrity and reliability also.
Be Brief and to the Point
With the amount of information on the internet, the average person has the attention span of an undisciplined dog. When you now consider other parts of our lives — our jobs, chores, relationships — you begin to see why it’s paramount for your audience to easily find what brought them to your page. Dawdle over getting your points across and you will lose your spell on them.
Create Attention-grabbing Content
Give your audience something to take away from every post. Is your blog about horses? Strategically placing a new horse training or grooming tip in every post can go a long way in engaging your audience. It’s like waiting for the next episode of Game of Thrones. Your audience knows you are going to post a new tip next week and they can’t wait.
Use Captivating Titles
Some people say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but the truth is that we all do that every day. It’s the way the world works. A great title is like the beautiful wrapping around a Christmas present. Make it a promise, a mystery, a question that identifies with your audience…
Your First Sentence Matters
If your first sentence doesn’t resonate with a reader, that reader will most likely click away to a YouTube video or something else. The bad news is: it doesn’t end there. Your subsequent sentences have to matter also and build on one another.
Update Regularly with Fresh Content
If you want regular traffic to your site, whether via search engines or word of mouth, you ought to post, not just regularly, but new ideas that satisfy your niche also.
Now, think of your website as a TV series. Every week you release a new episode that further explores the world and characters. In this case, you post great, new content that explores your niche. This is what leaves them coming back.
White Space is Good
It forces you to use short paragraphs. No-one wants to read a massive lump of words because it’s tiring to the eye and brain. Using white space efficiently creates a sort of ‘pause’ for the reader, as in stopping after a distance to catch your breath. Here is a good example of an excellent use of white space.
Use Video and Audio
Some people favor watching videos to reading, and a good audio can be useful to folk who are extremely busy. A mother, who wouldn’t read while cooking, just might decide to listen to your podcast instead.
There you have it. Stick to these rules and the many others across the internet, and your content may yet rise above its peers.