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A ‘Venture Foundry’ For Founders Outside The Margins Of Traditional VC

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After a varied career, including graduating from the Airforce Academy and starting the first sustainable food truck in Colorado Springs, Jo Marini earned an MBA in business design, determined to address the staggering lack of venture capital investment in anyone but white men. To that end, she recently co-founded Mother Superior, a “venture and social purpose foundry,” as she calls it, for founders from diverse backgrounds.

Jo Marini
Arcadio Lainez
The services include counseling very early-stage social entrepreneurs on how to develop and launch their startups, providing funding and continuing to act as advisors later on. When they’re profitable, the ventures invest a certain percentage in Mother Superior.
“We provide access, not just funding,” says Marini, who is CEO of the company.
Founders in the Pipeline
Marini and co-founder Willi de Dios Cohen got started about a year and a half ago. But they decided to launch officially this month, the better to ensure all the ducks were in the right rows. “I knew the biggest criticism I would face was that this was naïve,” says Marini. “I didn’t want to launch until knew we had founders in the pipeline and metrics to back up what we were doing.”

The firm focuses on not just Black, people of color, women and LGBTQ founders, but also over 60-year-olds, immigrants and the disabled. “These are people outside the margins of traditional VC,” says Marini. The foundry part of the company works with founders for a year to a year and a half to help them launch. After that, the firm stays on as advisors for as long as ten years, “to make sure when something comes up we’re there for them,”  says Marini.
The fund has raised $3 million, mostly from individuals and family offices; that amount includes what Marini  describes as “time, resources and money to get the companies off the ground”. Investments range from $250,000 to close to $500,000.  Also, startups are obligated to pay 1% of profits into the fund once they start making money.

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Laura Costs (left) and Cara Cordoni
Mark Rutherford
A Back-Up Idea
At the moment, Mother Superior is working with four startups, beginning the work at the proof-of-concept stage. One such company is Minerva Minded in Eureka, Cal., which will sell a hardware device for cannabis consumers. Founders Laura Costa and Cara Cordoni have a prototype, with plans to launch an Indiegogo campaign in April, when they’ll take the wraps off what exactly the product is.
The partners started talking to Marini in 2019 about a different business plan for a fresh cannabis juice. After three or four discussions, they realized it wasn’t feasible. Then they presented a “back-up idea” Marini liked much better and decided to pursue that. They founded the company in early 2020 and spent the past year working with engineers to build a real production-ready prototype. “By bringing the idea to Jo, we were able to move forward,” says Cordoni. “Otherwise, we would not have pursued the project.”
Before Mother Superior makes a commitment to a startup, they work together for 30 to 90 days. After that, either side can walk away or continue. If it’s the latter, Mother Superior makes an investment. It’s a minority stake, though Marini wouldn’t elaborate further. Also in the operating agreement is a “common good commitment” to finding ways to guarantee that, as profits grow, the social purpose will be maintained. That can mean anything from how decisions are made to requirements for board members,
Later this quarter, Marini is launching a news outlet called Motherlode, which will publish stories about Mother Superior-backed founders. After that, the firm will introduce the Office of Social Purpose, through which Mother Superior will work with established companies to “build social purpose into their DNA in a way that makes sense for themselves and their investors,” says Marini.

Do You Have a Profile To Be an Entrepreneur?

Many people want to start a business, but few have the necessary characteristics to do so.
Entrepreneur’s New Year’s Guide
Let the business resources in our guide inspire you and help you achieve your goals in 2021.

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

In the world there are many who want to start a business or create a company. Furthermore, after experiencing a global economic crisis where jobs began to falter. Well, in this context, the needs to generate self-employment and an independent source of income grew exponentially.
However, there are far fewer people with the ideal capacity to become a successful entrepreneur. You should know that to start a company not only are the wants and needs sufficient; You must also meet certain characteristics in your character and preparation. What you must also complement with a good business idea and a business plan that certifies, details and supports it.
Therefore, if you have the need or desire to start a business and join the world of entrepreneurship, it is necessary that you self-analyze to see if you meet the requirements. And since our intention is to guide you, here we give you a list with six questions that will be key. Read them, analyze yourself and if you fail at one, start looking for how to improve yourself at that point. Good luck, here they go:
1. Do you have everything it takes to start your own business?
We refer to skills such as money, contacts and knowledge to start a company or own business. As important as the business idea, it is also important to carry out a feasibility study to determine if the business will be sustainable and profitable over time. You will achieve all this by carrying out a business plan.
2. Are you capable of risking other people’s time and money?
Many times, not only your money will be at stake, but other people’s. They may not fully understand your business, but they trust you.
3. Are you prepared to face the difficulties that come along the way?
This point is vital. Since, people who succumb to depression or pessimistic moods can fatally infect all employees of your company. On the contrary, when the entrepreneur smiles, his entire company smiles with him.
4. Are you an inventor or an entrepreneur?
Both roles are important in the integral process, but to start a company or business it is the characteristics of the entrepreneur that will make the difference. The inventor spends much more time on product patents and prototypes, and may neglect what really matters to promote the product and grow the business.
5. Will you accept that the company works without you?
Although it is true initially, the company depends almost totally on the entrepreneur, as it grows, new people are incorporated with new ideas and more specialized functions; therefore it may be possible that over time the company needs you less and less. This situation is ideal for a successful company.
6. Do you see yourself as a leader?
An entrepreneur is a leader and a great motivator who requires special characteristics such as persistence, creativity and tolerance for risk. If you want to start a company and be successful in business, you must start to see yourself as a great entrepreneur. Don’t forget it and work on it.

Small Business Bartering Grew During Pandemic

According to BizX, the barter exchange platform, more and more businesses are opting towards creative ways to solve the issue of cash flow by trading in services and products rather than transacting in cash. The trend seems to have grown in popularity among small businesses as they seek to find creative means to remain afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the start of the outbreak, BizX saw its membership grow by 265 members who had recognized the benefits of bartering. This led to its community transacting approximately 13 million BizX dollars, the currency of the exchange.

BizX Bartering Community
BizX currently has nearly $10 million in lines of credit outstanding to its members. All approved lines of credit have 0% interest since the beginning of COVID-19.
Among the transactions, more than 1 million of these BizX dollars transacted since the beginning of the pandemic came from restaurants. This is due to the new circumstances of operating a restaurant. This includes materials needed for outdoor dining, as well as Personnel Protection Equipment (PPE), which saw a sharp rise since March 2020.•
BizX and its members raised nearly $180,000 through its sponsorships and charitable giving arm throughout the year to 16 different charities. This includes Habitat for Humanity, Food Lifeline and Russell Wilson’s Why Not You Foundation.
Fearey, a Seattle-based public relations firm, used BizX to connect its employees through different levels of team-building exercises orchestrated by Geoteaming.
How it Works
Founded after 9/11 BizX helps businesses to connect by providing its platform to trade what they have to get what they need. The goal is to free up cash flow.
A purchasing member’s account is debited and the seller’s account is credited. The transaction details recorded in BizX and represented in both the members’ account statements.
Transactions use BizX dollars. The value of the BizX dollar is the same as the U.S. dollar. You can make payments on the market place, in-location, through the BizX mobile application or on the BizX Point of Sale web-based terminal.
Image: bizx.com

Believe It or Not, Valentine's Day is Around the Corner. Take Advantage of This Sale on Flowers.

Wake up and smell the roses. Give your valentine a great gift.
Entrepreneur’s New Year’s Guide
Let the business resources in our guide inspire you and help you achieve your goals in 2021.

January 31, 2021 2 min read
Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.
Believe it or not, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. If it feels like the year flew by – well, there is a pandemic that has seemed to distort time. Nonetheless, you’re still on the hook for the most romantic day of the year. You may be feeling some pressure to make 2021’s Valentine’s Day even more special, given how stressful and tumultuous 2020 was.
Valentine’s Day generates millions of dollars in gifts each year – but thankfully, you don’t have to spend that much. What better way to kick off the season than with some beautiful roses? Right now, Rose Farmers has a digital offer on roses that you can’t miss.
Rose Farmers is a company that delivers luxury long-stem roses directly to consumers at unbeatable prices. They connect customers directly with local farms to ensure the freshest, most beautiful product. Through their premier collection of roses, they’ll offer up an unforgettable Valentine’s Day experience.
When you redeem digitally, you can add a personal message and schedule a time for delivery, just in case you want the roses to be the first (or final) step in a series of special events. 
Here are the current offers:
Also get these long lasting rose arrangements sourced by Rose Box: 
Prices subject to change.

It’s Never Too Late To Be An Entrepreneur

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Loren Feldman and Bo Burlingham announce the Forbes Small Giants Awards winners at the 2019 Small … [+] Giants Community Summit.
Patty Rooney
Loren Feldman has been writing or editing stories about entrepreneurs for decades. But he was never a businessperson himself. Little did he know that in the midst of a global pandemic and an economic recession he would jump in feet first and peer into the unknown. What was he thinking?
Knowing Feldman for many years, I wouldn’t really describe him as a risk-taker. He’s a good family man who has had a number of well-paying and fulfilling jobs. He put a couple of kids through college and should really be thinking of slowing down a bit. But he got the itch and finally decided to scratch it.
Feldman always loved writing and wrote countless articles for his high school paper. He didn’t study journalism in college – he actually got a BS in economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He wrote for magazines in the ’80s, but even though he loved long-form journalism, he was already seeing the economic challenges facing the industry as this format started to suffer. He moved into editing because, well…that’s where the money was.  

While at Wharton, Feldman never even heard the word entrepreneurship. When a fellow graduate decided to go work for a family business, he and his classmates thought the guy was crazy for not taking a more traditional route to Wall Street.  
But after college, new relationships started his informal entrepreneurial education. He got a job at Inc. Magazine and was editing work for Bo Burlingham and Norm Brodsky, well known Inc. writers at the time. He then made it to the New York Times as editor for Small Business and continued to see the power of storytelling. 

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Loren Feldman and Bo Burlingham celebrate purpose-driven business leaders at the Forbes Small Giants … [+] award ceremony during the Small Giants Community Summit.
Patty Rooney
“I started to see the possibilities of developing a cohesive community of these business owners who I had met or heard about,” says Feldman. “I pitched these ideas to the publications I worked at, but it just didn’t seem to be a priority for them.”
The same thing happened at Forbes, where he worked as entrepreneurship editor for several years – the stories of Silicon Valley start-ups consistently took center stage. But Feldman is also a bit of a realist. Traditional business magazines were under great financial constraints as their print editions were disappearing and their online editions were fighting for clicks. He couldn’t blame them for not being as flexible and innovative as he would’ve liked. But he still wanted to pursue this idea of blending storytelling and community for business leaders.
In 2018, he finally tiptoed into the water. And it wasn’t just an alternative to finding a new job. Turns out he had registered a domain name for a business back in 2009: 21 Hats. But too afraid to go it completely alone, he looked for a media partner and partnered with Advantage Media/ForbesBooks to create a daily newsletter, a weekly podcast and designs for a website that would emphasize the engagement of the business owners he had come to know so well.  
Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit and their efforts were slowed down. And like so many others, Feldman was faced with choices about what’s next for his own career. After lots of conversations with mentors and his family, he jumped all the way in. This time with no partners – taking the risky but hopefully rewarding bootstrap approach. His company 21 Hats, in his mind and heart for years, was finally a reality, featuring a daily email newsletter and a weekly podcast that has been tracking the journeys of six business owners throughout the crisis.

Loren Feldman recording a podcast episode in a Sirius radio studio.
Jill Feldman
I asked Feldman how it felt to finally do his own thing. “It is exciting and liberating,” he said. “I now have control over my own destiny. There is no one to blame besides myself!”
Feldman has always worked well with other people: co-workers, partners and business leaders. He knows that no matter what business he is in, he is really in the relationship business.  
“I really value mentors and will take full advantage of those who are willing to help me,” Feldman says. “But I also realize that now I have to make my own decisions. It is scary, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Feldman doesn’t look at this as a particularly courageous move. His kids are on their own and he has somewhat smaller financial obligations than in the past. He knows it won’t be easy, but he feels his greatest opportunity is to prove something to himself.  
“I’ve had this idea for more than 10 years, and I convinced myself it was a good idea. I want to know if I’m right.”
Welcome to the club, Loren.

Self-Publish Your Entrepreneurial Wisdom with This Guide

Entrepreneurs are always learning. Why not teach, too?
Entrepreneur’s New Year’s Guide
Let the business resources in our guide inspire you and help you achieve your goals in 2021.

January 31, 2021 2 min read
Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.
Becoming a lifelong learner is one of the most important keys to entrepreneurial success. But, when you’ve learned a lot, you likely have a lot to teach, as well. For entrepreneurs, that may present another income opportunity. The world is filled with entrepreneurs like you who are interested in consuming as much information about entrepreneurship, leadership, management, and business as they possibly can. If you have something to say, check out The Complete 2021 Self-Publish Your Book Bundle.
This 13-course bundle offers 28 hours of education to help you write, self-publish, and market your own books. The bundle takes a primary focus on Amazon’s considerable self-publishing services. You’ll learn how to get set up on Amazon Kindle Publishing and learn the advantages and disadvantages of its premium publishing service, KDP Select. You’ll also get an introduction to CreateSpace, Amazon’s step-by-step tool that guides you through self-publishing your first book.
Additionally, you’ll learn how to analyze the elements of best-selling books in your genre and mirror what top authors do to create book descriptions that sell. There’s a guide to help you find your niche, get professional covers for your book, gather legitimate reviews, and learn how to leverage multiple income streams to actually profit off of your book. Additionally, there are several courses dedicated to being a more productive writer and helping you write compelling stories for any genre, so you can become the best published writer you can be.
If you’ve got something to say, self-publish it! Right now, The Complete 2021 Self-Publish Your Book Bundle is on sale for just $39.99.
Prices subject to change.

This Award-Winning Putting Studio Can Help Shave Strokes Off Your Golf Game

Work on your putting all winter long.
Entrepreneur’s New Year’s Guide
Let the business resources in our guide inspire you and help you achieve your goals in 2021.

January 31, 2021 2 min read
Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.
It’s the dead of winter and if you live in most parts of the country, you probably don’t think you can work on your golf game right now. Well, you’d be wrong. And good thing, too, because you never know when your play on the links might help you close a deal or two. Putting is one of the most important but overlooked aspects of golf, and with The Ultimate Putting Studio by PuttOUT you can shave a few crucial strokes off your handicap by sorting out your putting.
This home putting studio allows anybody to practice their putting stroke in the comfort of their own home. This revolutionary putting trainer includes PuttOUT’s Pressure Putt Trainer, Pro Putting Mat, Mirror System, and Pro Putting Gates, giving you everything you need to practice and improve your putting skills indoors so you’ll be ready to see real results out on the links in the spring.
The Pro Putting Pat reads 10 on the stimp meter and rolls flat straight out of the packaging. (It also comes with a drawstring carry bag to set up anywhere.) The Pressure Putt Trainer rejects poorly aligned putts by letting them roll off the side of the mat and returns correctly aligned putts to you. Putts hit at the right speed will be returned the same distance that it was hit so you know whether you were short or long. Additionally, the Putting Mirror offers two 3″ vivid alignment guides that are adjustable for your putting stroke, helping you set up in the right form and ensure your path to the pin is square. Finally, the Pro Putting Gates let you practice anywhere for more complicated challenges.
The Ultimate Putting Studio by PuttOUT has earned Editors’ Choice awards from Golf Digest, Golf Monthly, and MyGolfSpy. Find out why when you get The Ultimate Putting Studio by PuttOUT for 15 percent off at $211.65 with promo code VDAY2021.
Prices are subject to change.

Build up Your Podcast Traffic With This Online Growth Tool

Entrepreneur’s New Year’s Guide
Let the business resources in our guide inspire you and help you achieve your goals in 2021.

January 31, 2021 2 min read
Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.
Podcasts have become a massive industry. These days, it seems like everybody has a podcast — there are more than a million active podcasts. Entrepreneurs and businesses can build their brands through podcasts, promote their products, and help drive more traffic to their websites. They can be a valuable source of revenue. But, of course, if you start a podcast, you have to acquire listeners. One of the best ways to do that is to set up a website in support of your podcast, and there’s no better platform to do that than Podsite.
Podsite is the all-in-one platform to build a seamless online presence for your podcasts in as little as one minute. Podsite offers unlimited SEO-optimized pages for your podcast episodes, acting as the ultimate hub and home for all of your podcasting. You can easily promote your podcast episodes with a dedicated social media page, drive traffic through SEO, and use smart links so that listeners will auto-open their podcast apps whenever they click to listen. Podsite helps you gather sponsors to improve the overall production value and reach of your show, and even supports an email list signup form to notify listeners when you release a new episode, share exclusive content, or promote merchandise.
Podsite automatically pulls all of your latest episodes from your RSS feed and creates a dedicated page for each episode so your website is always up-to-date. Plus, with the AI-powered drag-and-drop editor, you can customize your site as much as you want, without any coding skills needed.
Find out why Podsite has a sterling 5-star rating on Product Hunt on more than 450 upvotes. Right now, you can get a Lifetime Plan of Podsite for $85 (Reg. $899) with promo code: VDAY2021. 
Prices subject to change.

5 Ways To Improve Your Work Culture In 2021

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Cheerful business team having morning briefing in office.
getty
The Covid-19 pandemic has wiped a lot of people out emotionally. That’s why fostering a positive, empowering work culture will be a critical component of your organization’s success in 2021. If you want to attract and retain the best talent, you will need to create a work culture worth embracing.
Culture starts from the top down. Managers can begin to effect positive changes in their organization by making it a personal commitment. Be the change that you hope to see in others — but only if you can do so with authenticity. Employees will be quick to spot hypocrisy.
Below are five practices that are key to bringing about a work environment that others will envy. I’m convinced that a deep commitment to these ideals has helped my companies thrive despite all Covid-19’s challenges.

Reward Prosocial Behavior
Most companies already reward employees based on their performance. There’s nothing new or innovative about that. I’ve found that many managers miss out, though, by not rewarding positive behaviors that don’t directly affect the bottom line. 
While it’s obviously important to celebrate efforts that advance your company’s financial health, money shouldn’t always be your highest priority. Your top sales rep might be head and shoulders above the closest competitor, reliably ringing up sales where others come away empty-handed. But if that person is an incredible jerk, treating other employees as if they were worthless, that’s not behavior you want to promote.

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Instead, look for what a psychologist might call “prosocial behavior”—words and actions that are intended to help others. When you see it, call it out immediately, before the occurrence slips your mind. If you can’t stop to offer an employee specific praise at that moment, jot something down that will jog your memory later. By investing effort into acknowledging this type of behavior, you’ll encourage collaborative and supportive relationships. 
Look Beyond Credentials
The best employee for your company might not be the one who comes to the interview process with the most extensive experience or impressive degrees. Your hiring practices should take non-obvious criteria into account. What are the people skills you should consider when adding someone new to the team?
You may find more long-term success by teaching and guiding a less experienced candidate with stronger soft skills than taking on an MBA with an ego problem. Work with your executive and HR teams to determine how best to weigh both credentials and intangibles in the hiring process.
Of course, we can’t hire people just because they seem nice, much as we might want to. When building my team, I look to strike a balance between soft and hard skills. I’ve learned that going to either extreme invariably leads to problems I easily could have avoided had I paid closer attention during the vetting process.
Promote Autonomy
Micromanagement lowers morale, stifles innovation, and kills creativity. It also creates a high and expensive turnover rate.
Managers can engage in demoralizing micromanagement behavior without even realizing it, setting strict guidelines and requirements where they’re not needed. In a pandemic-battered economy, where workers are already feeling stressed, smart managers will reward good work performance with an increase in personal autonomy.
Remote work arrangements during the peak of the pandemic gave numerous companies an opportunity to embrace autonomy and flexibility with their teams. One happy result of the pandemic-fueled rush to at-home work was the fact that many employees performed better when released from the 9-5 birdcage. I know plenty of people doing higher-quality work because their new remote lifestyle allows them to focus in ways that weren’t possible in an office setting.
The first quarter of 2021 strikes me as the perfect time to step back and let your employees figure out for themselves what suits them best. If that’s working from home, great. If it’s a return to the office, that’s fine, too. Ask your people to propose their own solutions to the work-life balance issue.
Make Your ‘Open Door’ Policy a Reality
I’ve found that it’s one thing to say, “My door is always open” and another to actually mean it. To make a positive work culture a priority, you will need to solicit feedback and, when appropriate, act upon it. This requires you to sharpen your active listening skills.
Even if you’re swamped, resist the impulse to be short with a worker who takes you up on your open door policy. Stay engaged when someone comes to you with an idea for improvement. If you don’t have the mental bandwidth at the specific moment they show up, schedule a time to follow up. You might be surprised to find that they have some really good ideas to implement.
As appropriate, spend time getting to know more about your employees’ lives outside the office. What are they interested in? What do they do for fun? Asking questions like these will help you connect on a more personal level and make office life a more natural extension of who your people are. Workers who are allowed to be their authentic selves at work will be happier and, thus, more productive.
Embrace Technology
While promoting a healthy work culture primarily involves soft skills, technology can really help bring your vision to life. Communication is an essential part of any healthy organization, and you’ll want to invest in technology that makes that easy, especially with remote workers in the mix. Something as simple as a company-wide messaging system will keep employees in touch with you and each other.
Your work culture can (and should) spill over into your customer relationship strategy as well. The happier your team, the better they’ll treat your customers. But that’s not to say tools can’t offer an assist. Effective CRM tools improve communication between businesses and the consumer, helping to develop long-lasting relationships that convert to sales.
A positive work culture will benefit everyone in your company as we navigate into 2021 and beyond. Begin noting the changes you’d like to make, but don’t make the mistake of pushing too far, too fast. If you set a reasonable pace, the changes to your work culture will gain greater buy-in and be more likely to stick.

4 Mistakes Leaders Keep Making With Employee Engagement

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With more people working remotely than ever before, it’s no secret that the pandemic has changed the look and feel of work. Consequently, it has also impacted employee engagement.
In a May 2020 Gallup study, 38% of employees reported feeling engaged at work—the highest reported engagement level since 2000. But the number dropped to 31% in June 2020 due to COVID-19 case surges, George Floyd-related protests, unemployment spikes, and more. Employee engagement figures averaged 36% by the end of 2020, but an estimated 29% of remote employees reported struggling with loneliness.
As a business leader, you can connect your workforce with virtual office parties, team meetings, and other social opportunities. Which technology is a valuable ally, many companies still struggle to encourage employee engagement during uncertain times. Here are four pitfalls to avoid when trying to stoke engagement among remote employees:
1. Requiring attendance at office events (even virtual ones).
According to an October 2020 Gallup study, remote employees face a high risk of burnout. Given the significant number of people suddenly working remotely this year, concerns about burnout have been ever-present. When workers are exhausted, they’re more likely to take sick days, lack confidence in their performance, and struggle with health complications.

Socialization—even virtually—can boost employee morale and improve mental health. While it might be tempting to use these virtual hangs to strengthen those areas, try not to make these events mandatory. Ryan Chartrand, CEO at X-Team, which provides companies with scalable remote development teams, warns of the downfalls of mandatory remote employee engagement.
“In a remote setting, employees should not feel like they are being forced to participate in mandatory activities that distract them from things they would rather be doing,” Chartrand said. “Instead, they should be free to engage on their schedules—and they should always be willful participants.”

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Mandatory events often do more harm than good to those who would rather opt out. Instead of requiring participation, make these events optional to give employees time to pursue hobbies and activities that they enjoy. Employees will be better equipped to avoid burnout if they can spend their free time on meaningful activities that truly engage them.
2. Forgetting the company purpose in day-to-day work.
Before the shift to remote work, most employees had daily in-person reminders of their company’s purpose. A change in surroundings has profoundly altered the morale of the workforce. According to a CareerBuilder survey, employees are split on how they feel about their current job in a typical year: 50% feel like they have a career, and the remaining 50% feel like it’s just a job.
Team success hinges on employees feeling a shared sense of purpose—the “why” behind the workday. Remind team members of your company’s importance and how they’re contributing to its success. You can also inspire employees by encouraging them to do activities they enjoy outside of work. This will increase their overall satisfaction, leading to better engagement and dedication on the job. You might also provide educational opportunities to team members who want to develop their skills further.
3. Micromanaging employees away from the office.
You might wonder how many of your team members stay on task or whether they can meet deadlines throughout the day. Even though you can’t see your employees, it doesn’t mean you have to control everything they do. Steve Jobs once said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” If you’re micromanaging your employees, try trusting them to do the jobs you hired them to do. They might discover new challenges, better solutions, and become more engaged along the way.
Micromanagement (i.e., the “my way or the highway” mentality) often stifles employee productivity and morale. Research shows that excessive micromanagement stems from a lack of manager trust and signals to workers that they do not have the capabilities to solve problems. Micromanagement damages employee self-worth, hampers innovation, limits upward mobility, wastes time, and increases turnover. Instead of continually correcting your team’s work, empower employees to take ownership of their day-to-day duties and feel connected to their work—especially while working remotely.
4. Not recognizing employees or showing that you care.
Despite the many benefits of remote work, it can get pretty lonely. Plus, many employers miss the mark when it comes to employee recognition.
According to a survey commissioned by OGO (O Great One!), 82% of employed Americans don’t feel supervisors recognize them or their contributions enough. This lack of gratitude takes a terrible toll on morale, productivity, and, ultimately, profitability. Notably, 40% of employed Americans say they’d put more energy into their work if they received more recognition for their efforts.
For example, OGO CEO David Novak recalled a conversation he had with a leading oncologist during cancer treatment at a world-renowned medical center. When asked what she received to recognize 40 years of work at the center, she told Novak that her employer gave her a keychain.
“Most workplaces suffer from what I call a ‘recognition deficit,’” Novak said. “This deficit is especially bad for those whose jobs are viewed as more mundane than a highly trained cancer specialist—for people who never gain direct appreciation from customers, clients, or others who can recognize a job well done even if an employer doesn’t.”
To boost employee engagement while your team works remotely, explore ways to provide proper recognition. From acknowledging individual achievements to offering tangible rewards and incentives, find opportunities to demonstrate how much you care.
Remote work challenges employees and employers in significant ways, and employee engagement should be one of the most pressing concerns. Sticking with the status quo and hoping for better business outcomes saves time, but it doesn’t solve underlying problems. It’s time to implement new ways to inspire your workforce and boost engagement, productivity, and overall satisfaction.