A cleaning expert reveals the everyday household items you should be using to clean your home

Following is a full transcript of the video.

Melissa Maker: Well the great thing about cleaning – and again, I talk about this in my book – is understanding the products, the tools, and the techniques that you need to do an effective clean. So, products – you don’t have to go right to the top and use the most harsh product to do a cleaning. You can oftentimes accomplish a lot of work with a pretty gentle product, whether it’s one that you’re purchasing or one that you’re making on your own. And half of cleaning comes down to tools. So, understanding exactly what kind of cleaning tools do I need to use, ’cause you know, you walk down the aisle, the cleaning aisle at a big-box store and you’re like, “What’s this? What’s this? Do I need that?” You don’t know. So once you have an understanding of the products and the tools, you can then choose the right thing for the job and then apply the appropriate technique. That’s what I call the PTTs – products, tools, and techniques and get the job done. Even a hard one.

Toothbrush is great. A cleaning toothbrush, they’re very inexpensive and frankly a great way to upcycle. You can clean your toothbrush, when you’re finished using it for your mouth and you want to move on to cleaning, by just mixing up a solution of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water and soaking it for 30 minutes. Then it’s good to go for cleaning. Dish soap is another one of my favorites. I’m telling you I probably clean like 50%, 60% of my house with some solution including dish soap. I also of course use it in the kitchen. And baking soda … I have a love affair with baking soda. So, yeah. Baking soda is a wonderful cleaning triple threat. It deodorizes, it has mild abrasion, and it also helps to brighten and whiten. It’s great.

One of the most basic recipes that I love and I whip up, and I mean, I don’t know, we probably go through a bottle of it once a week, I would say. It’s a cup of water, a half cup of rubbing alcohol, 10 drops of essential oil. And it’s my house so obviously I have a whole selection of essential oils. In my kitchen I love using thyme. And a little squirt of dish soap, about half a teaspoon. And there’s your all-purpose cleaner right there. That’s a great one.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in August 2017.

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An early-career professional’s guide to developing strong, supportive relationships at work

Carson Tate Headshot
Carson Tate is a business consultant and author.

  • Carson Tate is the founder of a business consulting firm that works to enhance workplace productivity.
  • She says building genuine professional relationships is key to having a happy and long-lasting career.
  • Follow the platinum rule when communicating with others and learn how to control your emotional reactions during tense situations.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

When you are new in your career, strong, authentic relationships are vital for career success and growth. However, too often you can unconsciously undermine relationships in your interactions with your colleagues when you make assumptions about their behavior, use one-size-fits-all communication techniques, and get hijacked by your emotions.

Here are three strategies to build strong, genuine relationships.

1. Use the platinum rule to foster mutual respect and understanding

Many of us learned the golden rule, to treat others as you want them to treat you, as a young child. Your parents, teachers, and adults in your life knew that the golden rule’s core virtues of empathy and compassion for others guided positive social interaction. As an adult, I learned about the platinum rule and came to realize that it more powerfully shapes positive social interaction. It suggests that you treat others the way they want to be treated.

The platinum rule challenges the assumption that other people want to be treated the way you want to be treated. You approach people with the intention to first understand how they want to be treated and then adapt your interactions with them to meet their needs. The platinum rule can help you avoid making a negative assumption about someone’s behavior, which undermines constructive social interaction.

2. Tailor your communication to your colleagues’ work styles to be heard and understood

To use the platinum rule and help understand how your colleagues wanted to be treated, let’s explore the concept of work styles. Your work style is the way you think about, organize, and complete your tasks. In any office you will find four types of work styles:

  • Logical, analytical, and data-oriented
  • Organized, plan-focused, and detail-oriented
  • Supportive, expressive, and emotionally oriented
  • Strategic, integrative, and idea-oriented

Think about the following questions to determine the work style of your co-workers:

  • Does she consistently complete work early, in advance of deadlines, or wait until the last minute?
  • Does he send emails with only a few words or write novels?
  • Does she gesture and use her hands while talking? Or is she more controlled and stoic in her movements?

These clues, both subtle and overt, will provide insight to your team members’ work style.

Once you have identified your colleagues’ work style, tailor your communication style to align with how they want to communicate.

  • Your logical, analytical, and data-oriented colleagues want you to focus on data and the facts. Be brief, succinct, clear, and precise. If you send an email, keep it short.
  • Your organized, plan-focused, and detail-oriented colleagues want you to stay on topic, present your ideas in a sequential, organized manner and provide detailed timelines. If you send an email, outline your main points, and clearly state next action steps and due dates.
  • Your supportive, expressive, and emotionally oriented colleagues want the conversation to be informal, open, and warm. If you send an email, include a salutation, and connect with them personally before you transition to the topic of the email.
  • Your strategic, integrative, and idea-oriented colleagues want you to communicate with minimal details, provide the big picture with visuals and metaphors, and articulate how the project aligns with the organization’s strategy. If you send an email, provide the context, and avoid too many details.

3. Identify the SCARF threats that hijack your emotions and interactions

Have you ever been in a situation where you were hijacked by your emotions? You raise your voice, get visibly angry, or completely withdraw and abandon the conversation. Almost immediately you regret what you said or did because of social concerns. You know that your reaction could negatively impact a relationship and or your reputation in the office.

David Rock, cofounder of the NeuroLeadership Institute, has proposed a framework that captures the common factors that can activate your brain’s risk or reward response in social situations. Rock calls it the SCARF model and includes five domains of human experience: status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and fairness.

  • Status is about your relative importance to others, or the “pecking order” or seniority in the office. It’s knowing who has the most power in the room due to title.
  • Certainty is about your need for clarity and the ability to predict the future. Our brains like to know the pattern that is occurring moment to moment. It craves certainty so prediction is possible.
  • Autonomy is the perception that you can exert control over the events in your life and your environment. It is the sense that you have and can make choices.
  • Relatedness is your sense of connection to and security with another person. It is whether someone is perceived as similar or dissimilar to you. We naturally like to form groups with people who are “like us.”
  • Fairness refers to just and unbiased exchange between people. It’s about a perception of a fair exchange between people.

To have more positive social interactions and build supportive relationships, identify your primary SCARF threat, and stop your emotions from hijacking your interaction colleagues.

Using the platinum rule, tailoring your communication to coworkers’ preferences, and identifying the SCARF threats that hijack your emotions and interpersonal interactions will work in tandem to advance in your career and build strong, authentic relationships in the workplace

Carson Tate is the founder of Working Simply, Inc., a business consulting firm that works to enhance workplace productivity, and the author of “Own It. Love It. Make It Work: How To Make Any Job Your Dream Job.”

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How to make sense of the COVID economic crisis, explained by a former US Treasury official

GettyImages economy covid
22 million job losses were reported in March and April 2020.

  • Jan Eberly is a finance professor at the Kellogg School and a former chief economist at the Treasury.
  • The current economic crisis is unique since the primary underlying issue is the pandemic, she says.
  • Eberly says it will take time to strengthen small businesses and the labor force after the public health crisis recedes.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

What should one make of the COVID economy?

The unemployment rate is falling, but nearly 10 million Americans who lost their jobs to the pandemic remain unemployed. A speedy vaccine rollout promises to reopen many sectors of the economy, but the national debt is on the rise. School and daycare closures have hit mothers, especially Black and Latinx ones, hard – but a new child tax credit promises to lift millions of families out of poverty.

As yet another stimulus package leaves the Oval Office with a signature – and the IRS sends an unprecedented third stimulus check to many Americans – one could be forgiven for wondering what to make of it all.

So we asked Jan Eberly, a professor of finance at Kellogg and senior associate dean of strategy and academics, for her take. The last time the US was pulling itself out of a recession – the Great Recession – Eberly was assistant secretary and chief economist at the Treasury. The experience gave her a clear view of the power and challenges of using public policy to restore jobs, incomes, and the broader economy.

Eberly explained that there is plenty that policymakers are doing to encourage a quick recovery. But it is important to understand just how different this crisis is from other economic crises.

“We can address what is happening in the economy,” she said. “But the underlying issue is the pandemic. Fundamentally, this is a public health shock and that must be first and foremost in the recovery.”

Here, Eberly offers her take on this strange, new pandemic economy.

Job losses have been stark but uneven

Prior to March 2020, the US economy was humming nicely, and weekly unemployment claims numbered just a few hundred thousand. Then, the coronavirus hit, and seven million jobs were lost seemingly overnight. Over March and April, losses climbed to 22 million.

New unemployment claims have since come down. “But there are still nearly 10 million people who have not returned to their jobs nor found a new job in the pandemic economy,” said Eberly, “which is more people than were unemployed at the height of the Great Recession.”

Moreover, she explained, job losses were not spread evenly over the economy. Unlike in previous downturns, where people pressed “pause” on purchasing durable goods like cars or furniture, two-thirds of the decline in consumer spending this time was on services. In particular, it’s the in-person services – restaurants, hotels, airlines, barbers – that have been absolutely clobbered. And because of the low wages associated with most in-person services work – as well as the overrepresentation of Black, Latinx, and women workers in these industries – the pandemic has been absolutely devastating for those already struggling economically. Women were also disproportionately impacted by school closures and the loss of childcare.

Given that the pandemic’s effect on the economy has not been equally shared, policymakers needed to focus not so much on “stimulus” as on “insurance,” said Eberly. After all, the map of the pandemic economy is so unusual that using traditional stimulus can even be counterproductive if it channels support to parts of the economy that are already spared or even thriving in a remote environment.

Instead, “it’s more like FEMA and emergency relief: effectively, a hurricane hit the economy, and you try to target policy on the people and parts of the economy that are most affected,” said Eberly. “But targeting is hard to do at the scale of the US, especially when the ways in which the pandemic hit are different than in the past. So policymakers have had to innovate or try to use existing programs in novel ways.”

The relief provided has been targeted

How have policymakers been targeting their efforts – and to what effect?

Most prominently, there was expanded unemployment insurance, which was of course targeted to precisely those individuals who had lost their jobs. The expansion boosted the size of the unemployment checks, how long they could be collected, and – for the first time – even who was eligible in the first place.

The pandemic was a “wake up to reaching the gig economy!” Eberly said. “The expanded unemployment insurance was also available to people who didn’t have formal employment. It was really a transformation in availability of unemployment insurance.”

Another targeted policy: the foreclosure and eviction moratoria, which protect homeowners and renters who have been directly affected by the pandemic. During the Great Recession, the housing market was at the epicenter of the financial crisis; during the pandemic economy, fueled by low interest rates and different living needs, housing has proven to be a relative strength. Still, that is cold comfort for the many individuals who have lost their jobs and might otherwise lose their homes.

In Eberly’s view, there is reason for cautious optimism that the moratoria are doing exactly what they are intended to do.

“The early research on this says that we’re not seeing people losing their homes – that they own or that they rent – as we did during the financial crisis,” she said. However, as the moratoria end, there is a lingering question of whether and how the accumulated arrears will be paid, and how renters, borrowers, and also smaller landlords will fare as the bills come due.

In addition, each of the three rounds of the stimulus relief checks have had income restrictions, which target them to individuals who earned less than either $100,000 or $80,000 (depending on the round) but provide broad support.

There have also been multiple rounds of funding to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was intended to support smaller businesses than those that usually benefit from broad credit relief. In Eberly’s view, this is a case where a potentially innovative program was hampered by the lack of existing connections to quickly target funds to those most in need.

With this latest round of stimulus relief, state and local funding is finally getting a boost. Earlier relief packages danced around the issue, assisting badly battered states and cities by providing funds for schools, vaccines, testing, and food assistance. But this time, money is going straight to state and city coffers. “Three hundred fifty billion for state and local governments that have been hit hard by the pandemic is what states and cities were asking for,” Eberly said. The funds “give them more flexibility to buttress programs and needs that arose during the pandemic, especially after the exhaustion of their rainy-day funds.”

Finally, and perhaps most surprisingly, the latest round of stimulus also provides targeted relief to families with children in the form of an enhanced child tax credit. For all but the highest earning families, the credit will be increased to $3,600 for kids under six, and $3,000 for kids under 18 – and critically, it will be refundable and paid out throughout the year, meaning that families who don’t ordinarily earn enough to benefit will still receive periodic checks for the full amount. Some estimates suggest that the benefit could lift 40% of children out of poverty.

“The group in the US most exposed to poverty is children,” Eberly said. “The credit is helping families with children who were especially vulnerable during the pandemic because they were vulnerable already.”

This could be transformational. If this credit is extended to subsequent years, she said, “it could reduce childhood poverty and distress for those who need it most – and where the benefits could change lives.”

What will be the long-term impact?

It is too soon to know whether economic changes, like work-from-home, and policy changes, like targeted fiscal support, will last. But the pandemic has forced action and innovation. The first CARES Act was passed in record time and provided crucial initial support. When the pandemic outlasted that first effort, policymakers came back with targeted support plus some broad measures intended to bridge the economy through a tough winter and on to post-COVID.

Eberly is optimistic that these measures will act as that bridge. Some sectors of the economy have already bounced back or are poised for a quick recovery. After all, many individuals who have remained employed throughout the pandemic have extra money in their pockets and will want to spend it. Savings are at record highs and some spending categories are already strong.

“As the underlying public health crisis recedes, some parts of the economy will come back energetically. People will be able to get out and travel and live their lives with more confidence,” Eberly said.

Still, she worries that other parts of the economy will be far slower to recover, and that many workers who have been the hardest hit will continue to struggle. One particular concern as the pandemic drags on is that, once individuals have been out of the labor force for a long time, it gets harder and harder to return. “When people talk about the ‘scarring’ of the economy, it’s usually around long-term unemployment,” Eberly said. This is especially true for groups that had higher unemployment rates to begin with and were just getting more economic traction pre-pandemic.

Small businesses, long shuttered, could run into similar problems as they try to reopen. And while new businesses will eventually step in to fill the gap, that all takes time. “We will see some good headlines, I hope. I’m optimistic about that,” she said. “But it won’t lift everyone simultaneously.”

What is Eberly not particularly concerned about at this time? The accumulated debt, which is paying for all of this relief. There is near unanimous consensus among economists that the national debt is large, and quickly growing larger. And there is concern that it may constrain our ability to act so aggressively in the future. But “the best thing we can do for future fiscal stimulus is to get the economy back on its feet,” she said. “Right now, there is a necessary focus on recovery. And with interest rates low, there is some breathing room to invest in a stronger, more resilient economy.”

Above all, Eberly hopes that the extraordinary moment will convince Americans that thoughtful, competently executed, and well-targeted government policies can go a long way toward building an economy that works for everyone. Amid the missed opportunities and unimaginable losses, there also came innovation and a deep commitment to help provide relief.

“If what people and policymakers learn is that governments can help – to intervene effectively to provide relief from a once-in-a-generation pandemic – that would be a success of policy,” she said.

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Swarovski crystal heiress Marina Rapahel explains how she achieved record-breaking sales by selling smaller handbags, donating to charity, and using snail mail to reach customers

Marina Raphael
Marina Raphael with her SS21 collection(1)

  • Marina Raphael, 22, launched her brand of luxe handbags in 2019.
  • Despite the pandemic, she said she saw an increase in sales in 2020.
  • To Insider, she reveals how she got her company through the past year.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

When Insider first spoke to Marina Raphael in July 2020, she was in the midst of leading her luxury handbag brand of the same name through the pandemic.

A member of the famed Swarovski crystal family, Raphael launched her eponymous line the year before. It was being sold in high-end retailers such as Moda Operandi; it also captured the attention of Maxima, Queen of the Netherlands.

But now, the pandemic had disrupted in-person shopping, supply chains, and manufacturing. Halfway through the year, it was too soon to have confidence in what the rest of the year would bring.

“As a young entrepreneur, everything was just moving so quickly,” Raphael, 22, told Insider in a recent interview. “But a good entrepreneur has to adapt to any situation and find quick and flexible solutions.”

Now, a few months into 2021, she reflects on her company’s record growth. It turns out, luxury consumers never actually stopped splurging on high-priced goods during the pandemic. Wealthy patrons put their money into handbags, artwork, and fine jewelry – investment categories believed to be less volatile than the stock market.

Raphael, whose bags range from 500 to 1,500 euros ($600 to $1,800), said sales skyrocketed last year, though she declined to share exact revenue figures. The team re-vamped their social media strategy, added charity initiatives to purchases, and even reduced the physical size of its products by 50% to adjust to, what she described as, the new reality of customers’ needs: “carrying less.”

The brand launched collaborations and partnerships, including one with French skincare line Vichy, and expanded its own line to create cosmetic pouches and keychains.

It also released a sustainable collaboration, using upcycled leather and cruelty-free leathers with luxury retailer Luisaviaroma and another line with art director Evangelie Smyrniotaki, which sold out in its first two weeks. Next, the company is about to launch a line with Swarovski Creative Director Giovanna Battaglia. She’s projecting a 420% increase in sales this year.

The luxury brand stayed grounded through hard times by donating 20% of sales

Raphael’s company is headquartered in Greece, but its operations are spread throughout the world. Public relations for the brand is in London, while the sales agent is in New York; quality control is in Australia, and bag production is in Florence.

Marina Raphael with her SS21 collection(3)
Marina Raphael with her SS21 collection(3)

In March 2020, the brand received its spring-summer collection, which gave it stock until August. It combined that with leftovers from the previous collection, but still sold everything by June, she said.

Having a diversified supply chain helped, however. When factories in Italy closed, quality-control in Australia was able to pick up production. The team’s small size of 14 (six of whom joined during the pandemic) made it easy to communicate, despite the time differences. And because retailers were closed, the company didn’t have to worry about shipping out the fall-winter collection.

Another challenge for Raphael was communicating via WhatsApp and Zoom, especially since she had to design handbags without ever touching the fabrics or physically seeing the final product.

At the same time, the brand had to figure out how to sell a luxury product during an ongoing global health and financial crisis. The company couldn’t just stop selling or making the bags, Raphael said. “Then our suppliers would have a problem, our production team would have a problem,” she continued. “They would lose their jobs.”

Marina Raphael with her FW19 collection
Marina Raphael with her FW19 collection

To great success, the company decided to donate 20% of all sales to charities such as Black Jaguar White Tiger Foundation and The Hellenic Pasteur Institute. Luxury retailer Moda Operandi implemented a similar strategy last year to huge success, reporting that if an item was attached to a charitable cause, shoppers were willing to spend full-price on it, even if another promotional sale was happening at the same time.

“I think that’s why we didn’t feel guilty about promoting the product, because with every sale we were helping in some way,” Raphael said.

To promote the collections, Raphael’s company began mailing puzzles and other “interactive fun stuff” to patrons. That was very successful too, she said.

“Getting something delivered to your house makes it feel more personal than at a fashion week where you are running to 15 different showrooms,” she said. “That was too much, too fast.”

In the early months, the team was in a state of panic

Raphael credits the success of this time to her team. In the early months of the pandemic, she recalled, everyone was in a state of panic. So she took it to herself to see how she could motivate her employees during this time, listening to their feedback in order to adopt new business strategies.

Smyrniotaki, the content creator and art director, told Insider that Raphael’s “strong personality” and keen leadership skills are what helped get their collaboration off the ground during this time, even with the disruptions. Her bag with Raphael was made with 5,000 Swarovski crystals to represent brighter days ahead. “It is the perfect allegory for the brighter future we see ahead,” Smyrniotaki continued.

Designing the Marina Raphael X Evangelie Smyrniotaki collaboration
Designing the Marina Raphael X Evangelie Smyrniotaki collaboration

Sometimes, Raphael still thinks about those early months of the pandemic. Customers from the United States, especially, were contacting the company in haste, trying to figure out how soon their products would arrive.

“Customers were saying, ‘we want our orders sooner – can you send us the tracking number?’ We have never experienced that before,” she said. “We were questioning, where are they going with the bags?”

Maybe it was to buy themselves gifts to make themselves feel better, she ponders; maybe they wanted to invest in nice things or were just bored at home. It’s more likely a mixture of all of the above, Insider previously reported.

That, or maybe people just really wanted another tote bag.

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4 steps diversity and inclusion consultants recommend for hiring more Black and brown employees – and keeping them long term

Unemployment, job fair
Getting people from marginalized backgrounds in the door at your company is just the start of an effective diversity, equity, and inclusion plan.

  • Corporate diversity plans will fall short if companies don’t make Black and brown employees feel valued.
  • That’s because employees who don’t feel heard will quit.
  • Successful diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) plans give employees voice and agency.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have gone from empty buzzwords to well financed initiatives within companies across the country. Industry leaders – from Google to JPMorgan – are investing in internal and external programs to promote racial equity. Leaders are hiring more DEI executives and promising more workplace diversity within the next few years.

But this progress is at risk of falling flat, some of the country’s top DEI experts told Business Insider.

Mastercard’s chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer Randall Tucker said efforts by leaders to advance racial justice and equality in their workforces will be short-lived if they focus only on getting more Black and brown employees in the door. That’s because if Black and brown employees don’t feel respected and valued at a company, they’ll leave to find another job.

“It’s not just ‘Let’s find diverse talent.’ It should be you’re hiring diverse talent, and at the same time you have the levers to retain that talent. Otherwise you’re just wasting a lot of money,” he said.

Randall Tucker
Randall Tucker, chief inclusion officer at Mastercard, said companies risk Black and brown employees experiencing “onlyness.”

It’s not enough to focus on diversity alone. Black employees make up 12% of entry-level employees, but they account for just 7% of managers, according to McKinsey research published in February. A big part of this problem is that Black employees feel less supported than their white colleagues, the same research found.

To retain and promote talent, executives and managers alike have to prioritize equity and inclusion at the same time.

Equity goes beyond equal opportunity and encompasses the distribution of resources in a way that ensures everyone is treated equally. Inclusion encourages everyone to bring their whole unique identity to work and respects and values difference.

Black and brown employees face ‘onlyness’ at work

For many newly hired or promoted Black and brown employees, there’s a real risk of “onlyness,” Tucker and other DEI experts told Business Insider.

“Onlyness” is the phenomenon whereby a person is the only person of color, woman, LGBTQ person, ect. in the room. McKinsey and Company researched “onlyness” and found that LGBTQ women of color are the most likely to feel this way in the workplace.

If leaders don’t assess their company culture and proactively give employees from marginalized backgrounds a seat at the table and a voice in company decisions, “onlyness” turns into feeling excluded, or worse.

“Diversity and inclusion have to happen in concert,” Tucker said.

Doris Quintanilla, executive director and cofounder of The Melanin Collective, a DEI consultancy, said companies are at real risk of only achieving part of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“Since Trump’s election, I’ve seen hiring of people of color in different organizations, but I don’t see them staying or being happy because we’re not treating them like the human beings that they are. They’re still tokens, they’re tokenized,” she said.

Being tokenized is “the practice of doing something (such as hiring a person who belongs to a minority group) only to prevent criticism and give the appearance that people are being treated fairly,” per Merriam Webster.

“It’s not just about getting people in the door if they walk right out in six months to a year, right?” she said.

Doris Quintanilla
Doris Quintanilla, executive director and co-founder of The Melanin Collective, encouraged executives to pay employees who lead ERGs and other diversity councils.

What it takes to prioritize equity and inclusion

Equity and inclusion can seem like such intangible ideas. But certain key steps can help make it happen.

  1. Treat DEI initiatives as core to your business’s strategy

Prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the profitable thing to do.

A 2018 study by Boston Consulting Group found that increasing diversity in leadership teams increases profits. Another study of 22,000 firms found that companies with more women in their board rooms and on their executive teams were more profitable. When diversity increases, so does company performance.

Kerryn Agyekum
Kerryn Agyekum, principal of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice at The Raben Group, a DEI consultancy, outlined multiple ways companies can champion inclusion and equity.

  1. Invest in DEI initiatives like you would other core business areas

Quintanilla of The Melanin Collective said you can’t underinvest an area and expect great results.

She suggests hiring top-tier consultants and paying employees, or otherwise recognizing employees, who lead employee resource groups (ERGs) and other important company inclusion initiatives. Indeed, more Black and brown employees are asking for recognition or payment for their ERG participation, which some call “a second job.”

Boston Scientific has adopted this approach by inviting its ERG leaders to executive-level company conferences, among other perks.

  1. Examine who’s in leadership positions in your organization

Kerryn Agyekum, principal of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice at The Raben Group, a DEI consultancy, said employees from marginalized backgrounds need to see people like them in positions of power to feel that they can aspire to similar levels of success.

Agyekum has a question executives should ask themselves: “Are we still relegating our Black and brown people to service areas or support roles within an organization or do they truly have influence and power as decision makers in business critical areas?”

  1. Remove systemic barriers that prevent Black and brown people from succeeding

There are many ways your organization might unknowingly be holding employees of color back.

For example, mentorship opportunities that rely on relationships that form naturally often leave employees of color behind, considering that many people in high-powered positions are white. And people are more likely to mentor those with whom they have things in common. This is why women of color are the least likely to have sponsors in corporate America, research shows.

Agyekum encourages corporate leaders to enact plans that give Black and brown employees equal access to sponsorship and mentorship opportunities.

She also suggests leaders revisit their hiring practices to weed out unconscious bias that favors white candidates.

In addition, leaders should conduct pay equity reports and proactively remediate any discrepancies they find, she added.

“If you’re a person in power, it isn’t your job to leave all of the Black and brown employees to figure out this whole ‘race thing’ on their own. You actually have a responsibility to remediate toxicity and remove systemic barriers,” she said.

This is an updated version of an article originally published in November 2020.

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5 ways remote work is changing the economy for the better

remote work
Remote work has been good in many ways.

Now that vaccines and a massive stimulus package are here, the US economy is uniquely positioned for a great new era in the 2020s.

A major factor underlying the great economic potential of reopening lies with how the pandemic ushered in an era of remote work, which is likely here to stay to some extent in a post-pandemic world.

More than two-thirds of professionals were working remotely during the peak of the pandemic, according to a new report by work marketplace Upwork, and over the next five years, 20% to 25% of professionals will likely be working remotely.

Remote working has caused employees to rethink and better accommodate their priorities in life and employers to rethink operations regarding how they can best work with professionals and create teams, the report stated. But it also hasn’t been without some downsides, such as blurring the lines between work-life balance and causing increased stress.

Overall, though, Upwork found the shift to remote work in the past year has ultimately benefited the economy in five key ways.

(1) Remote workers are more productive

Remote and and online collaboration technology are proving to be helpful with hidden benefits like making teams work better together, reported Douglas Quenqua for Insider. Higher meeting attendance rates, more attentive managers, simplified communication, and more breaks are just a few of the positive changes.

It’s made many more productive. Sixty-one percent of workers said their productivity increased from working remotely, according to an Upwork survey. And an Upwork survey of hiring managers found 32.2% of them said they saw overall productivity rise as of late April, compared to 22.5% that felt it decreased.

These productive effects will only further develop as people adapt more to remote work, new technology is invented, and people will start remote businesses, wrote the report’s author, Adam Ozimek.

(2) Remote work has freed up relocation opportunities

Remote work will redistribute opportunity across the US, Ozimek wrote. Upwork estimated that up to 23 million people plan to relocate.

Richard Florida, urban studies theorist and economics professor at the University of Toronto, has a similar mindset. He previously told Insider remote work will accelerate the movement of families out of superstar cities into suburbs and the 1% who are seeking lower taxes.

“I have long said that we will see the rise of the rest, given the incredible expensiveness and affordability of existing superstar cities,” he said. “But it’s not going to be the rise of everywhere. It’s going to be the rise of a dozen or two dozen places.” These places will consequently attract new talent, changing economic development.

Florida predicted that bigger cities will see a resurgence, though, as the US inches closer to widespread vaccination, reshaped by a newfound focus on interpersonal interaction that facilitates creativity and spontaneity.

(3) Employers are hiring more independent talent

Employers have become more inclined to build hybrid teams made up of both full-time employees and freelance workers, Ozimek wrote. A November Upwork survey that asked about plans for hiring freelancers in the next six months found that 36% of hiring managers plan to hire out more independent talent.

Fortune 1000 companies in particular have been tapping into more diverse talent regardless of matter location, found a recent report by Business Talent Group, a marketplace for independent consultants. Independent talent has especially increased in the C-Suite. There has been a 67% increase over the past year in executives seeking independent talent needs, per the report.

This increases the talent pool and opportunities for workers.

(4) Remote workers are saving time and money

Without daily commutes, workers have more hours and bigger bank accounts.

One year of working remotely has saved people on average nine days from commuting, per Upwork’s research. And car commuters saved around $4,350, including costs to public from their driving.

The time and money saved could boost economic growth and productivity, Robert Gordon, economics professor at Northwestern University, said in a recent UCLA Anderson Forecast interview. The labor force has restructured, with high-paid people working from home and making the same income, he said.

“This shift to remote working has got to improve productivity because we’re getting the same amount of output without commuting, without office buildings, and without all the goods and services associated with that,” Gordon said. “We can produce output at home and transmit it to the rest of the economy electronically.”

(5) Pandemic remote work is different from remote work

“Remote work and remote work during a global pandemic are not the same,” Ozimek wrote.

Many of the struggles with remote work were due to pandemic circumstances – like balancing remote work with child care while schools were closed. In a post-pandemic world, these things won’t be a hindrance and remote employees will be able to revel in fewer interruptions, which Upwork found to be one of the most cited benefits of remote work.

Remote work also won’t always be done from home. Florida thinks neighborhoods will reshape as offices.

“Even as offices decline, the community or the neighborhood or the city itself will take on more of the functions of an office,” he said. “People will gravitate to places where they can meet and interact with others outside of the home and outside of the office.”

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Why Marketing Needs to Be A Part of Everyone’s Job (and Job Description.)

Why Marketing Needs to Be A Part of Everyone’s Job (and Job Description.) written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Far too often businesses of all sizes leave the official job of marketing to, well, the marketing department, which is frequently known as the owner of the business or top salesperson turned into the marketing person. 

But, here’s a little newsflash – marketing is everybody’s job. Anyone associated with your business that comes into contact with a prospect or customer is performing a marketing function. It’s not just the people with marketing in their titles. So the question is – are these people prepared to carry out that function well?

Marketing isn’t just a new ad campaign, an email series, or this month’s current promotion. It is so much deeper than that. Marketing needs to permeate every aspect of your business and be a part of every person’s job description, from the admin department to the managing partners and so on. That’s why internal marketing and official marketing training is so important. 

What’s internal marketing?

If you think that the people outside of your marketing department understand what the marketing team does and why it matters to your business, you’re wrong. 

Internal marketing is essentially promoting your company’s goals, vision, products, and services to your own employees. Customers’ feelings and attitudes toward a company are based on far more than just the products or services you offer, but the overall experience they have with your business. And your entire organization is included in that experience.

The ultimate goal of internal marketing is to ensure that your employees can provide value to prospects or customers because they understand and believe in your company’s brand, goals and vision. And perhaps, you can teach them what they can do to help.

I believe that one of the smartest things any business can do is create and perform official marketing training for everyone in the business. Again, this goes for delivery people, administrative people, and finance-related people (especially finance-related people).

I’ve outlined an example of what should be included in an internal marketing training program that you can use for your own company.

Guide your internal marketing training program with this outline

Once a quarter at a minimum (and with every new hire that joins the company) conduct an all-hands brand meeting.

This internal seminar can and should include training and examples on things like:

  • Why you named your company what we did – attach this to your personal story
  • What colors, images, fonts are official and why – create a simple style manual of standards to share with everyone
  • Your core marketing message and why – help everyone connect their position to the message
  • The way you want the brand to be thought of in the market – your goal, your one word of association
  • Benefits of your products and services – demo them and present them just like you would to a customer
  • Description of your ideal customer – use photos and success stories of real customers
  • Your current lead generation activities – show off ads, landing pages, run radio spots – sell them on the campaign
  • Your lead conversion process – everyone should know the next step when a prospect calls
  • Key marketing metrics – sales generated, leads generated, referrals generated, PR generated, social media growth
  • Your marketing calendar – show everyone you have a plan for the future

In addition, I would help everyone write or rewrite some aspect of their position to include a direct relationship to the marketing function they perform. 

For example, an administrative person who primarily answers the phone might have the directive to answer the phone and route calls to the proper person, but in a marketing world, that person’s directive is to answer the phone and act as the very first impression and representation of the brand. Now, could that change that person’s role in a powerful way, I’ve seen it happen.

Then take it up a notch and create marketing scorecards for everyone. Simply list all the marketing-related ways that every position in your organization can score marketing points throughout the day and turn it into a game. ie – asking for and getting a referral, turning a customer complaint into a win, writing a blog post, participating in a social network, sending a hand-written thank you note, giving a referral, making a contact at a Chamber event. Challenge everyone to score X amount of marketing points each week and create an award program as part of your marketing workshops.

Getting marketing understanding and buy-in from your entire team makes them feel more empowered to act on behalf of the brand and better ambassadors wherever they encounter prospects and customers. Think about it – if you have two marketers out of a ten-person company, what would you rather: two people or an entire team of ten promoting your company’s work to the rest of the world?

How to spot signs of burnout as an entrepreneur

stress migraine
Stress headaches and constant tiredness are some physical signs of burnout.

  • Many entrepreneurs near a point of burnout eventually, so it’s important to recognize symptoms early.
  • Burnout occurs gradually and can manifest in changes in mood and personality or even physical symptoms like stress headaches.
  • Consistent tiredness, irritability, and reduced passion for work are also signs of oncoming burnout.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Entrepreneurship is challenging. Some days, it’s downright exhausting. For many entrepreneurs, there comes a “last straw” breaking point where the conditions are too stressful or too overwhelming to continue.

But for most others, the eventual loss of passion for entrepreneurship – better known as burnout – is something slower and more gradual. It’s a creeping feeling that grows from day to day and eventually begins to affect your work performance.

You won’t go from happy-go-lucky to ready to quit overnight. One day, you might be a little extra irritable. The next, you might wake up and dread the idea of going to work. Not long after, you might make worse decisions, rushing through projects, or you might seriously contemplate leaving.

It’s not a position any entrepreneur wants to find themselves in. The good news is, it’s mostly preventable.

Why it’s important to stop burnout

There’s nothing wrong with changing jobs, selling your business, or retiring. But burnout itself can be devastating. Not only will it force you to leave your business prematurely, it can also leave you feeling despair and exhaustion. Even more importantly, it can negatively affect you on a physical level; burnout is associated with higher stress, higher susceptibility to illness, and even a higher risk of heart disease.

These effects compound with time, so acknowledging and stopping burnout early can put you in a much more favorable position long-term.

The trouble is, burnout is difficult to catch, especially early on.

How to identify entrepreneurial burnout

We all feel stress. We all get nervous. We all experience anxiety or dread sometimes. So how do you know when this is just part of the job and when it’s an early sign of burnout?

  • You dread going to work consistently. One of the hallmark signs is dreading going to work. Everyone dreads going to work some of the time; there might be an awful client to deal with or negative consequences from a bad decision to manage. But if you dread going to work on a consistent basis, it’s a sign of developing burnout.
  • Your mood and personality have changed (according to others). It’s hard to notice the changes in your own personality since they often unfold gradually and beneath our notice. However, burnout often leads people to experience mood and personality changes. Talk to the people around you; do they notice that you’re more irritable, angrier, or less pleasant than you used to be? Chances are, something external is responsible for this.
  • You’re experiencing physical symptoms. As burnout develops, it tends to be associated with more and more physical symptoms. For example, you might feel more stress headaches. You might have trouble getting to sleep (or getting enough sleep). And you might even be more susceptible to contagious illnesses. Keep an eye out for these developments.
  • You always feel tired. No matter how much sleep you get, burnout will leave you feeling tired. You’ll be physically and mentally exhausted most of the time, even after a good night of sleep or a break away from work. It’s almost impossible to feel full of energy.

Solving the burnout problem

It’s tough to make a one-size-fits-all recommendation for how to get rid of burnout because there are many different types of professionals and many different types of burnout.

For example, your burnout might stem from your own over-investment, in which case, delegating more and reducing your workload could help. You might also be worn out from a specific type of stress, which might require you to change up your daily responsibilities. You might even feel under challenged due to excessive predictability and routine, in which case the solution is finding new ways to be stimulated, like learning a new skill.

In any case, one of the best steps to take to address your burnout is to take some time away. Use up a few vacation days or take an extended hiatus from your work; it’s a great opportunity to de-stress and get away from the burden of work. It’s also a chance to get some perspective. Once you’re away from the office, you’ll have a much keener sense of what’s actually stressing you out (and what you might be able to do about it).

You can also talk to the people around you for advice. They may have a better perspective on your work style than you do. Once you have a better understanding of your current position, you can invest time and energy into making an action plan. How can you change your environment and your approach to work in a way that relieves your stress?

The action plan will look different for everyone. But as long as you’re consistent and proactive, you’ll have a good chance of reversing the effects of entrepreneurial burnout in your career.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to accept tough criticism at work without taking it personally

two coworkers talking
Criticism can be difficult to hear, but applying it can help you advance your career.

  • Executive coach Melody Wilding helps people navigate their careers and find work-life balance.
  • For sensitive people, she says receiving criticism at work can be upsetting and feel like a personal attack.
  • To cope with criticism, Wilding suggests following these five steps to process the feedback.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

No one likes criticism about their work. But being hypersensitive to criticism can feel like a burden you constantly carry.

Whether you’re getting input about how a slide deck could be improved, hearing that leadership isn’t on board with your idea, or otherwise speaking up and putting yourself out there – it can be difficult to separate a person’s response from your own self-worth.

Throughout your career, you’ll always be given feedback in some form or another. Learning to cope with criticism is a key part of professional (and personal) growth, and when processed productively, can actually boost your confidence and be extremely valuable for advancing your career.

That’s not to say, though, that it can’t be extremely uncomfortable or even upsetting: You put your all into your work and take pride in your efforts, so when you’re criticized, it can really sting.

Negative feedback tends to hit Sensitive Strivers especially hard. Because we process everything more deeply, we end up taking people’s opinions personally – seeing it as a failure or indictment on our professional aptitude and capabilities. When we get negative feedback or someone throws a comment our way, we have an intense reaction to it.

Why you’re so sensitive to criticism

It’s important to understand that as a Sensitive Striver, you are wired differently.

According to research, about 15 to 20% of the population has a genetic trait that leads to a highly calibrated nervous system. This explains why things affect you more profoundly than they might someone else.

Research also shows that Sensitive Strivers have more active mirror neurons, which means you are naturally more perceptive and attuned to your surroundings.

But as a result, you might spend more time monitoring and analyzing other people’s behavior. This vigilance can render you overly preoccupied with external approval and others’ thoughts and opinions, or cause you to read into situations more easily – sending you down an intense emotional spiral.

Nevertheless, thinking deeply is a tremendous strength. That is, as long as you have tools to harness your superpowers effectively.

A simple exercise to deal with negative feedback at work

When on the receiving end of criticism, it’s essential that you separate criticism of the message from criticism of you as the messenger.

It’s important to avoid what authors Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone call “wrong spotting” – where we go on the defensive and fall down an anger spiral that can leave us distracted and depleted.

Besides, there can be a lot of value in criticism especially when it’s delivered constructively. You want to avoid your emotions getting the better of you, and blinding you from all that there is to learn from the person’s comments.

There’s one simple exercise I give my coaching clients that helps them parse helpful feedback from that which can be left behind. It also helps them slow down their own reaction so that they can think clearly and be in control of how they respond to the feedback instead.

Here’s how the exercise works:

1. Take a sheet of paper and split it into four columns

It’s best if you do this on hard copy versus a computer, as studies show handwriting is more cathartic. It forces your brain to be more deliberate and also serves a pattern interrupt (since you likely spend most of your day typing).

2. In the first column, write down the exact feedback

Transcribe what the person said, word for word. Use their exact phrasing and do not layer your interpretation on top of it. Remain as objective and fact-based as possible.

3. In the second column, list everything that’s wrong with the feedback

This is your chance to let it all out – your anger, frustration, insecurity. Mention inaccuracies, blindspots, and errors in the feedback. Don’t hold back.

4. In the third column, list what might be right about the feedback

This is where you start your mindset. Begin to broaden your perspective and consider where the other person might be coming from. Are there helpful improvements within the criticism they shared, for example? A new discovery or opportunity? What can you learn or take away from the information they’ve shared with you?

5. In the fourth column, commit to taking action

Note down your next steps. This may be having a follow-up conversation to clear the air, making a correction, or simply letting it go and moving on with your day.

This exercise provides structure so that you can process feedback in a more balanced way, get back to equilibrium faster, and take constructive steps forward.

Remember, receiving criticism is a fact of life and it can really bring you down if you let it. By having tools to process it you’ll be able to recover more quickly and shine like the competent professional you are.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The founder of Care.com uses empathy, not frustration, to combat biases at work

Sheila Marcelo
Sheila Marcelo.

  • Care.com founder Sheila Marcelo has faced plenty of biases in her rise to the top.
  • But she’s been able to overcome them with a distinctly authentic and empathetic approach.
  • Through perseverance, Marcelo led the company to a lucrative IPO.
  • This article is part of a series called “Leaders by Day,” which takes a look at how prominent business leaders are tackling various challenges in today’s economy.

When Sheila Liria Marcelo first pitched the caregiving marketplace Care.com in 2007, a male investor had assumed she was an analyst from the bank.

“No, I’m actually Sheila Marcelo,” she said, correcting him. “I’m the founder and CEO of Care.com.”

As a Filipino-American, Marcelo, 51, is used to dealing with the implicit biases that women of color in leadership roles encounter daily. She’s been overlooked, underestimated, and misunderstood by male investors who couldn’t relate to her product. But along the way, Marcelo has adopted empathy and authenticity as her weapons to combat prejudice. Marcelo has now become one of only 22 women to ever found and lead a company to an IPO.

“So much of it starts from within,” she said. “You have to be inspired yourself to really believe what’s in your heart so that you can shine that energy, and others can feel it.”

In 2006, Marcelo founded Care.com to address a problem she faced as a working mother: finding care for her two young children and ailing parents. The platform is the world’s largest online marketplace for finding child, pet, and senior care. The company’s network has extended to over 35 million members in over 20 countries.

Care.com was acquired by holding company IAC last year for $500 million. Since then, Marcelo has co-founded Landit, the career-centric online platform that connects women and diverse groups with such resources as career coaching and personal branding tools. Marcelo joined venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates in January, where she’s focused on helping other female founders get the funding they need.

Even as the number of female-owned businesses has risen in the US and around the world 28% of company founders are womenbiases within the VC industry can prevent access to funds.

“When I describe to people the challenges of a female founder, there’s a little bit of disbelief,” Marcelo told Insider. “They’re like, ‘oh, come on – it can’t be the case.’ It sometimes feels like you’re using it as an excuse when in reality, the biases are there.”

An empathy-based approach

One of the most challenging hurdles for a woman founder, Marcelo said, is getting male investors interested in what you have to offer. The gender gap in venture capital funding is a major hurdle for female founders.

Pitchbook reported in 2019 that 2.7% of venture capital went to companies founded only by women, while companies cofounded by both men and women garnered 14%. Additionally, only 13% of all venture capital decision-makers are women. Those numbers become even starker for women of color.

Marcelo noticed that when she pitched her company to male funders, they often failed to see the need for a caregiving platform, since in many traditions, caregiving is perceived as a woman’s responsibility.

“They don’t resonate or relate to the service,” Marcelo said. “But if you have a female analyst in the room or a female investor in the room, the dynamic will change.”

Marcelo tries not to respond to the biases of others with anger. Instead, she approaches each situation from a place of empathy.

“I would rather attack biases not with aggression, but with understanding,” Marcelo said. “I think it’s part of our humanity to better understand how people can embrace an educator, and really educate them about their biases so that they’re not behaving in the same way.”

When the investor incorrectly passed Marcelo off as a bank analyst in 2007, she decided not to belabor his biases. Instead, she focused on hard facts, her knowledge about the business, and the profits she had been able to yield. Under Marcelo’s guidance, Care.com didn’t just profit – it was acquired by IAC at a 34% premium for $500 million. She hopes the experience was a lesson for the investor as well.

“The next time it happens to another woman, he’s going to take a pause and say, ‘do I have biases?'”

Authentic boldness

The phrase “authentic boldness” might initially seem contradictory. Authenticity often demands vulnerability, and boldness often calls for an elevated, more confident version of oneself. But Marcelo believes the two traits are complementary.

“The more you’re open about yourself, the more confident you are,” Marcelo said. “You care less about what people think, and your goal in life is actually to serve others and not impress others. There’s a sense of coming out with who you are.”

When Marcelo participated in televised interviews, her voice coach told her that her posture and tone of voice were too low in energy. Marcelo found that it was because she was actively trying to mirror the energy of her interviewer.

She stopped trying to match her interviewer and instead projected her own personality onto the interview. And that, Marcelo said, allowed her to elevate the conversations.

That’s why Marcelo encourages others to bring their truest selves to the table. And in doing so, they’ll be able to be bold in their own authenticity.

Read the original article on Business Insider