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How to Help Someone With Anxiety at Work
Leadership 7 min read

How to Help Someone With Anxiety at Work

There's no shortage of stress at work. For individuals dealing with anxiety, this daily routine of meeting deadlines, learning new tools, dealing with conflict, and trying to climb the career ladder creates a daily struggle.

How Wrike Scales for Your Enterprise

How Wrike Scales for Your Enterprise

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Inspiring Women of Wrike Celebrate International Women's Day
Leadership 5 min read

Inspiring Women of Wrike Celebrate International Women's Day

Wrike is marking International Women’s Day by connecting with women on our own team, who share how they celebrate the day and who inspires them.

Try Wrike Free for 14 Days!

Try Wrike Free for 14 Days!

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How to Improve Customer Experience
Leadership 10 min read

How to Improve Customer Experience

Improving employee engagement to improve customer experience is an excellent strategy for customer experience management. Read on to learn more.

Ask the Industry Expert: What Soft Skills Do I Need as a Project Manager?
Leadership 5 min read

Ask the Industry Expert: "What Soft Skills Do I Need as a Project Manager?"

In our Ask the Industry Expert column, we put your burning PMO questions to Wrike’s Chris Hare, Industry Principal, PMO, who shares her extensive knowledge and expertise on how to uplevel project delivery at your organization. In this edition, Chris shares her tips on how to make an impact as a project manager in the current market. Q. I’m starting out as a project manager. The statistics out there about project failure are scary, what personal skills do I need to be successful? What soft skills should I cultivate? I can understand what you mean! The stats are scary — according to PMI's Pulse of the Profession for 2021, the failure rate of projects with lost budgets is 35% globally — but project failure, although rife in the annals of statistics, doesn’t have to be an option. But I get it — how do you avoid the pitfalls and slay the groundswell of data that has been betting on your demise for years? So many factors can influence success, but in my 15 plus years as a project manager, program manager, director of project management, and now an industry principal/SME for PMOs, I can say unequivocally that the most pivotal factor is the underdog story that stars you as the project lead.  Your role possesses the behemoth task of managing the varying skills, talents, dynamics, and everyday temperaments that is the inherited path of getting assigned a working team on a project or program. That said, it’s no wonder that according to the PMI’s 2020 Pulse of the Profession survey, a preponderance of the in-demand skills that organizations are looking for in PMs are largely leadership-based.  With the criticality of soft skills that project leads must draw from, which ones are most critical to embody for project success? Well, the PMI has recognized the need for this, and has grouped personal competencies into the following six units, which can be found in their “Project Manager Competency Development Framework - Third Edition”: Communicating: Effectively exchanges timely, accurate, and appropriate information with stakeholders using proper communication methods. Leading: Guides, inspires, and motivates team members and stakeholders to manage and resolve issues to achieve project goals and objectives. Managing: Effectively administers projects through the implementation and usage of the appropriate personnel, intangible, and other types of resources. Cognitive ability: Applies an appropriate amount of discernment and judgment to guide projects in ever-changing and evolving environments. Effectiveness: Produces desired outcomes by using proper resources, tools, and techniques in project management tasks and activities. Professionalism: Promotes and embodies ethical behavior, such as responsibility, respect, fairness, and honesty in project management.  Easier said than done, right? While driving principles like these are good guideposts, here are five quick-win strategies that you can implement right away: Be transparent in all things you do — including mistakes you’ve made and what you’ve learned from them. Expand your skills outside the realm of your current role. Find certifications or courses that are an adjunct to your skills that will help bolster your knowledge base and allow you to learn empathy for others in that role. Take on internal or pro bono projects to show your aptitude for leadership and expand your realm of project expertise and working network. Come to every meeting prepared with an agenda. Send the agenda prior to the meeting and include it in the meeting invite itself. Generously share knowledge. Find mentees who may want to learn more about your role and serve as an ad hoc mentor.  Congratulations and best of luck on your new journey as a PM! Chris Hare is an award-winning author and certified program and project management professional with 16 years of experience working for such companies as Adobe, Patagonia, and Guitar Center. Her tenure includes managing hundreds of successful projects for a myriad of client- and agency-side organizations, PMO permutations, and methodologies. At her current role at Wrike, she lends her industry thought leadership and subject matter expertise through product innovations, events, mentor groups, and blog columns. Have a question you’d like Chris to answer? Send us an email!

Efficiency Unleashed: Exploring Transformative Trends for 2024

Efficiency Unleashed: Exploring Transformative Trends for 2024

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What is the Future of Work? (2022 Update)
Leadership 10 min read

What is the Future of Work? (2022 Update)

Remote work as we know it will transform in 2022. With the effects of COVID-19 variants rippling worldwide, new workplace and project management trends for the year deal with a well-rounded approach to new methodologies. So take a few moments to stop worrying about today and take a peek into the future of work — you won’t want to miss these exciting predictions!  How is technology shaping the future of work? The emergence of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning has led to the reduction of manual tasks, which will allow employees to focus on their creativity. In order to keep up with these trends, workers will need to learn new skills and continuously improve their knowledge. Meanwhile, employers will have to strategically choose tools that are easy to master and improve productivity, despite the growing demand and complexity of work ahead.  Automation and the future of work The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many organizations to rethink their operations. The need for increased efficiency without sacrificing quality will lead to an increased dependence on automation.  According to Gartner, by 2024, organizations will save 30% on operational costs by combining task automation with existing processes. This is no surprise, as most organizations are already implementing more advanced automation methods such as AI. AI and the future of work AI is expected to completely transform the way project management and standard functions are performed by 2030. Not only will this make it easier to automate tasks, but it will also help employees companywide make better decisions. For example, project managers will continue to use AI-powered data analysis tools to predict project requirements based on evidence from past recorded work.  Future ways of working in project management The digital transformation of project management that we’ve seen over the past two decades should be the norm in 2022. New tools and methods of working allow employees to work from anywhere, while employers benefit from the increased productivity of their workers. Online project management tools are becoming more prevalent in today's business environment.  The line between home and office will blur Remember going into the office? Whether you’re fully remote, hybrid, or finally in-person again, the work sphere as we know it will continue to evolve this coming year.  Office buildings are going extinct Virtual tools such as Zoom, Slack, and project management solutions will continue to make it easy to collaborate with team members all over the world. And now that companies are pulling from overseas talent, it makes sense why the need for entire buildings with multi-floor offices is a thing of the past for some brands.  Working from home will be the norm The Global Workplace Analytics forecast states that “25-30% of the U.S. workforce will be working-from-home one or more days a week after the pandemic.” It makes sense considering how teams have adjusted to this style of work already. Between cost-opportunity savings, employees’ willingness to trade a commute for a pay cut, and the flexibility work from home offers, we can see how Global Workplace Analytics came to their conclusion.  Workspaces will be personalized  Organizations will look to technology to personalize every aspect of the office, including open workstations that will be “beamed” a worker’s lighting and temperature preferences, as well as their contacts, projects, and work files, so employees can easily move around.  Offices will be less expensive to maintain Emerging Internet of Things (IoT) technologies will measure foot traffic and daily activity to turn off lights and A/C in empty rooms, tell cleaning crews not to bother with an unused conference room, and make offices more efficient.  Technology moves from tool to strategic advantage Advances in technology will continue to be a huge driver of change. How we interact with our colleagues, clients, and employers is about to see a radical shift thanks to the prevalence of mobile devices, social media, wearable tech, and public health and safety concerns.  You'll join a social workplace  Although there was once a pronounced line between your life on social media and your life at the office, that line has blurred in recent years and will start to disappear completely as companies start implementing internal social networks like Slack and Facebook At Work.  There will be an emphasis on devices According to Gartner, “Through 2024, remote workers will use at least four different device types for remote working, up from three devices in 2019.” This includes everything from phones to computers to remote employee monitoring tools.  More collaboration tools will be adopted Collaboration apps, along with the remote teams they support, are here to stay, and more companies are using them than ever before. But in order to spur adoption of these tools among their teams, businesses will start emphasizing the benefits for individual employees (schedule flexibility, better recognition for achievements, etc.) over benefits to the company (greater innovation, productivity, etc.). Your own personal work assistant is coming soon Smart voice-activated assistants like Siri and Alexa are going to keep improving, to the point where artificially-intelligent assistants will be running in the background at work, learning our patterns in order to anticipate and provide the information we need to improve our productivity and work performance.  Expect IoT and wearables at work Mundane tasks like starting a fresh pot of coffee or turning on lights at the start of the workday will be taken care of by IoT devices, freeing employees to focus on more creative and complex tasks. Wearables will tell employees when to take a break and which foods to avoid for better energy and focus. Companies will collect data on employee activity, mood, and habits and start to experiment with people analytics in order to determine how best to support employee performance and satisfaction — without looking like Big Brother. Work management will no longer be ad hoc It’s not just the tools and technologies we use that will change; our attitude towards work and how we approach getting it done is shifting. Over the next several years, organizations will embrace new management techniques, values, and standards in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and cultural shifts around work-life balance.  Expect smaller, flatter organizations  More new ventures will keep it small, with a core group of founders and key employees, and they'll hire freelancers from around the globe to fill the other necessary roles. Meanwhile, larger companies will minimize hierarchy and embrace flat management styles like Zappos' “holacracy,” giving workers greater ownership over their projects, freedom from rigid job titles and descriptions, and more input in the company’s direction. 'Entrepreneur' will be redefined As the way we take on new projects changes, so will our concept of entrepreneurship. The word will no longer primarily refer to someone who invents a new product or launches a business; it will come to include independent freelancers who team up with other freelancers, forming a temporary group to take on bigger, more lucrative projects than they could tackle individually.  Experimentation and iteration will be the norm Companies will start to see themselves as laboratories, focusing less on refining the same standard processes and products and instead prioritizing experimentation and constant innovation.  Slacking off? You won’t have to hide it Businesses are coming to appreciate and encourage “off times” when the brain is able to wander, explore, and later make interesting connections that lead to new ideas. Companies like Google have long encouraged and made time for employees to pursue side projects and indulge their curiosities, and that attitude will spread to companies looking to keep their employees sharp and engaged. Since we as a collective have been in survival mode for more than two years, it’s no surprise that managers are interested in helping their employees thrive now more than ever.  Cross-functional and soft skills will dominate As new tools and technologies open up fresh possibilities and modes of approaching our work, the skills we'll use to succeed will become more unconventional, and soft skills will be highly sought after.  The gig economy will bring new opportunities Some of the most in-demand skills for the next decade revolve around the emerging "gig" economy, like personal brand coaches who help freelancers and consultants market themselves, and ‘Tribers,’ who work with companies to assemble the perfect teams for specific projects. Even teachers and professors will go freelance, choosing to work for one of the many on-demand, online learning platforms.  You’ll be updating your resume more often  The days of spending your entire career at one company, painstakingly working your way up the ladder to the corner office, are gone. In fact, a recent study shows “Generation Z (those born between 1997 and 2012) plans to move on from their current employer in three years or less, and only one in four plan to work for an employer for five years or more,” which means short-term gigs are here to stay.  The new norm will be to work for a company for a handful of years, gain experience and skills, and then move on to a new opportunity. It'll no longer be enough to master one skill and use it throughout your career — you'll need to master several and be able to switch between them. Highly specific "nanodegrees" that take a year or less to earn will become increasingly popular, and both companies and employees will learn to adapt to higher turnover rates.  You'll need to master remote work You’ve seen the statistics — with 80-90% of the workforce stating they want to telecommute at least part-time and 50% stating they already do, remote work is here to stay. But over the next several years, we’ll refine our approach to remote teamwork in order to better recreate the genuine social connections and collaboration that, as of now, we can only get at the office.  Companies will be remote by default Instead of established companies embracing some remote teams or employees telecommuting occasionally, companies will be built remotely from the get-go. Everyone meeting face-to-face will be the exception, not the norm, as companies embrace the technology that allows them to hire talent wherever it happens to be located.  You'll redecorate your home to accommodate work Many homes have an open floor plan, which isn't usually conducive to focusing and getting work done. With more people working from home, telecommuters will start creating spaces within their homes for work.  Culture will define company success Flexible hours, remote work, and the need to keep talented workers engaged over the long term will lead many organizations to spend more time and resources creating a company culture that makes employees want to come to the office.  Colleagues will become members of a community In a time where “85% of employees are not engaged in the workplace”, the question is more commonly not how to hire the best talent but how to keep them. Companies will focus more effort on creating a tangible and genuine sense of community, which excites its employees and compels them to stick around.  Circular evaluations and feedback are coming Performance reviews are going away as companies phase them out in favor of more flexible means of giving and receiving employee feedback. Organizations will place greater emphasis on coaching, skills development, and letting employees set their own goals, as well as gathering internal feedback on an ongoing basis so that everyone in the company is focused on improvement, from the CEO down.  And don't forget: New employee perks While health insurance, paid vacation, and other typical benefits won't go away, more companies are adding personalized perks that stress their company's unique culture and their employees' personalities. They're rethinking standard benefits to provide what their workforce really wants, like paid parental leave, ongoing learning opportunities, and helping employees repay student loans.  Organizations will prioritize diversity Facebook and Pinterest require that at least one woman and one underrepresented minority be considered for every open senior position, and Twitter and Pinterest are making their hiring goals public for greater accountability. More companies will follow suit as they become increasingly intentional about cultivating diversity on their teams, and they'll implement measures to counteract unconscious bias, like “blind” interviews where candidates and interviewers can’t see each other or their voices are masked.  Hiring managers will look for culture fit... For your next job search, experience, diplomas, and GPAs will start to take a backseat to your drive, goals, and willingness to learn. Essentially, do you fit with the company culture? You also may be able to BYOP (Build Your Own Position), focused around your specific interests and industry, developing a relationship with a company first and then creating the right role from there, rather than applying for a specific open position.  ... And you'll be choosier about accepting jobs Compensation will no longer be the top consideration. As people look for jobs that fit in with their lifestyle, values, and professional goals, organizations will adapt by fostering a sense of purpose for employees — although what that looks like can be difficult to discern (and even more difficult to deliver).  Ready to put these cutting-edge trends into practice? Get a jump-start on your 2022 project management with Wrike’s two-week free trial.

What is the Employee Lifecycle Model?
Leadership 10 min read

What is the Employee Lifecycle Model?

2022 will demand deeper HR action on employee wellbeing, even more so than 2020. In this article, we’ll explain how the employee lifecycle model can improve the employee experience and why project management may just be the key to perfecting your company’s lifecycle strategy. Keep reading to discover how to help breed longevity, success, and excellent employee engagement with just a few simple tools.  The employee lifecycle model explained The employee life cycle is a conceptual framework that explains the various stages of a worker's career. It helps track the employee's progress through various stages and provides employers with an opportunity to analyze data.  This tool also visualizes the different stages an employee goes through during their time at an organization, from initial awareness to the day they leave. The employee lifecycle model may also be called the HR life cycle or simply the HR cycle. Different phases & stages of the employee lifecycle model The employee lifecycle model is about more than just the employment period of an individual. Similar to the customer journey, the employee journey from first contact to offboarding has its own unique set of phases and stages.  HR personnel and team leaders should get familiar with each one because it will inform how they interact with employees (and potential employees), depending on where they are in the life cycle model. Paying attention to these details will ensure that each individual is valued and set up for success, whether they’ll be working in-person or remote.  Here is what they are, along with why they’re important and the actions to take during each phase to ensure success.  1. Attract The first step in the employee lifecycle is all about attracting the right people. Your relationship with potential candidates begins when they first learn about your brand. This is why dedicating a portion of your employee lifecycle model to recruitment and reputation is so important.  Not only does this help build a great product and consistent service, but it also helps retain and attract top talent. Action: Evaluate your recruitment materials with fresh eyes. Make sure social media accounts, landing pages, and physical marketing materials accurately reflect your brand while maintaining business continuity.  2. Recruit The creative recruitment stage is the second part of the employee lifecycle. It involves getting people looking forward to employment and developing a recruitment plan. This step-by-step process starts with the job ad, finding creative ways to demonstrate what your company does and what it values, and eventually leading to the hiring of a new employee.  An emphasis on career development, brand prestige, and a healthy work environment is hugely important.  Action: Map out potential career development tracks for leads so they get a sense of what the next one, three, and five years may look like at your company. Emphasize upward mobility, work-life balance, and companywide culture.  3. Onboard The onboarding process is a process that begins when a new hire accepts an offer of employment. It involves getting used to the organization's systems and expectations. Everything from the first day of the new hire's career to getting them up to speed with the systems, processes, and expectations of their role falls under this category.  On average, onboarding may last anywhere from an hour to a week and is often the shortest portion of the employee lifecycle model.  Action: Create an onboarding workflow that is easy for the new hire to follow and involves at least one executive-level manager on a personal level to better enrich the process.  4. Retain In this employee lifecycle model phase, employers must develop and meet the needs of the talent acquired in the previous three steps. You can choose to focus on keeping your top performers while improving on the strengths of others. The goal should also be to create a culture that encourages continuous improvement and development at every level.  Action: Set up and regularly maintain systems for employee feedback both formally and informally.  5. Develop  Now that you’re retaining a high percentage of staff, it’s time to further develop their skills, help them achieve their career goals, and support continued growth in all areas. This can be done through organized programs, scholarship opportunities for those going back to school, in-house mentoring, and skill development workshops.  Having a clear path forward for the next few years will also help employees see how their own personal development will influence the success of the entire company.  Action: Make a plan for what you’ll do to help employees grow and how you’ll do it.  6. Separate Separation means either one or both parties have decided to call it quits on your collaboration. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing! This is an important step in the employee lifecycle and can be helpful if you practice great offboarding techniques.  Offboarding is a process that helps an organization improve its employee experience. It’s also a way to build a better relationship with its former employees. As part of a larger strategy, separation and offboarding are often used to shape the last impressions of the employees before they leave.  The goal is to make them feel like they are left with a satisfying last impression that may interest them in returning to or recommending your business to other potential employees in the future.  Action: Like onboarding, offboarding should follow a template workflow that is easy to follow and loops in someone higher up in the company to help them leave on a good note.  Advantages of an employee lifecycle strategy An employee lifecycle strategy makes a company's time with an employee easier and less stressful. It also helps evaluate an employee's performance over time.  For managers, mapping out the employee journey helps you improve both your reputation and talent retention. It will also go a long way toward improving employee health and wellbeing while they are with your company.  As you know by now, developing and training employees is an essential part of the employee lifecycle. It can help them improve their skills and knowledge, and it can also benefit the business by ensuring top talent stays in your business.  Maintaining an effective employee lifecycle strategy can help boost employee engagement and provide them with the necessary training to excel in their roles. How to measure and improve the employee lifecycle It may be challenging to capture data on the employee lifecycle journeys at first. However, key indicators such as average employment duration and anonymous employee feedback surveys will go a long way.  Another useful metric is the retention rate. A simple formula to determine the retention rate of an employee is by dividing the number of people working for you by the end of the year. As you measure progress over time, consider documenting your efforts the same way you track tasks for team management. It’s important to describe your HR activities in the form of a flow chart or a chart during the employee lifecycle. Doing so helps map out your employees' journeys and gives you more context when analyzing KPIs.  As you map out your HR journey, pay attention to the questions that you cannot answer completely. These will help you identify areas of concern that can affect the employee experience. This list will also provide great ideas for survey questions down the road.  How Wrike can help manage your employee lifecycle journey Project software like Wrike can help HR professionals and team leaders improve the efficiency of their work by allowing them to focus on the needs of their employees without sacrificing productivity in other areas. HR project software is commonly used for various tasks, such as planning, onboarding, and employee training. In Wrike, teams can collaborate and communicate across departments at every stage of their employee lifecycle journey. Another advantage of using Wrike is that it can help increase teamwide productivity. It eliminates the need to manually update email chains and other time-consuming tasks, which can easily decrease the quality of life for employees on the job.  Agile HR methods are flexible and can help you get started with a project without missing a beat. Wrike's robust project management software can also help you track and manage multiple tasks, including creating one task for each individual. It can also create and track project budgets for recruitment activities and employee enrichment programs.  If you’re working as a team to improve your employee lifecycle model, Wrike's ability to create to-do lists with public and private tasks makes it easy to add collaborators while still keeping tasks with the sensitive information in compliance. You can also attach deadlines to individual tasks so that everyone stays on track.  Use Gantt charts to map out the tasks and dependencies across multiple projects. For example, you can simultaneously interview multiple candidates while still polishing your recruitment materials for other roles at the same time.  Wrike will even help you identify areas of concern that may affect the timeline and resources. If a person or resource is strained, you can easily spot the bottlenecks before they happen, which is especially useful in complex organizations with hundreds of employees to monitor and engage.  And as the use of electronic employee scheduling and applicant tracking systems increases, it's clear that project management software like Wrike will be a must-have in the near future.  Ready to improve employee wellbeing? Get started organizing your new employee lifecycle strategy today with Wrike’s free trial. 

Maslow's Theory of Motivation in Project Management
Leadership 7 min read

Maslow's Theory of Motivation in Project Management

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs can be used to plan any type of project. In fact, the Maslow Theory of Motivation can be the key to unlocking successful project results. Although all of these requirements appear to be unrelated to project management, they can be adapted to suit many areas. Self-actualization, esteem, belonging, safety, and psychological well-being are among the needs that project managers must strive to achieve if they want to unlock that next level of project success.  In this article, we’ll explain the hierarchy of needs, how to apply it to a project, why it is important, and how Wrike can help. Keep reading to discover some examples and benefits of the Maslow Theory of Motivation that will give you an edge in your project planning you never knew you needed.  What is Maslow's theory? Maslow’s theory of the hierarchy of needs is a concept commonly used in psychology and various professions to help people reach their goals and live happier, more productive lives. This concept was created by psychologist Abraham Maslow after he observed how certain animals prioritized their needs based on their unique behavior patterns. Nowadays, this tool is used to study how humans respond to different kinds of behavioral motivation. The goal is to work your way up the Maslow hierarchy pyramid from psychological needs all the way up to transcendence. According to Maslow, each level must be achieved in order to reach the next level and will eventually lead to fulfilling your highest potential in life.  These are the steps: Psychological needs Psychological needs include the essentials humans need for survival. Food, clothing, and adequate shelter are among our basic psychological needs.  Safety needs Safety is also sometimes thought of as security. This includes feeling secure physically, emotionally, financially, and socially. Job security is a good example of this type of need.  Belonging and love needs Human beings are social creatures and require many types of love in order to fulfill this portion of Maslow’s pyramid. Examples include romantic love, family connections, friendships, a sense of community, and even a healthy work culture.  Esteem needs This category of needs has to do with how we view ourselves or how we believe others view us. Respect, self-esteem, and status are a large part of this category.  Cognitive needs Cognitive needs are related to our mental stimulation and continued growth. Additional education, job or skills training, and a general sense of curiosity about the world are all great examples.  Aesthetic needs Aesthetic needs have to do with how we perceive our surroundings and the world we interact with. To be fulfilled in this area we must see beauty, art, order, form, and balance in the majority of our spaces.  Self-actualization This is the state we hope to achieve after fulfilling all of the lower levels. In this category, we are satisfied with our lives and our work. We are certain that we are living our best lives and realizing our true potential.  Transcendence  We have unlocked holistic consciousness and are now one with humanity, nature, and the world around us. In essence, it means to transcend so far beyond our own needs in order to be in tune with needs outside of ourselves at a high level.  Some illustrations of the Maslow theory of motivation show only five major categories: psychological, safety and security, love and belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization. These broader strokes include all of the above eight steps we mentioned but both are useful to know when studying this concept.  Hierarchy of needs example  To use our project management example, in order for a project team member to secure their psychological needs, they must first have the basics for survival, including clean water and shelter. After that, they’ll need to have a strong sense of security in their life, which in this context may mean job security. Next, their work relationships should be enjoyable and fulfilling.  Then, they’ll need to feel confident in their performance in order to reach a level of self-actualization in their project work. Once that’s achieved, they’ll have the freedom to be more spontaneous, creative, and motivated to produce great results.  The benefits of understanding employee motivation theories Having the confidence to know that your needs (and the needs of your team) are being met can help you achieve success. It can also influence the attitudes of those around you.  Self-actualized employees are a project manager’s dream come true. Their personalities are often warm, grounded, and positive. They’re able to see issues from multiple perspectives and understand human nature well enough to make fair yet balanced decisions. They also tend to be great at working both independently and in groups.  Even having just one self-actualized team member on board can influence the rest of the group and improve project outcomes or, at the very least, everyone’s experience of the project.  How is Maslow's hierarchy of needs used in project management? In project management, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is often used to determine how to motivate and make sure that the needs of employees are met.  This concept has been especially important in recent years. During the past 18 months, many people experienced burnout due to the pandemic. Aside from COVID-19, we also witnessed extreme environmental disasters and social and political upheaval.  It’s no secret that this has impacted many in the workplace. And, as you can imagine, mental health and employee wellness issues can have a significant impact on a company's culture and project goals.  Establishing a mental health program and providing resources for employees is an important step in addressing this issue. Applying the Maslow theory of motivation in project management isn’t the only way, but it is a significant one. This is especially true as we reenter the workplace after the pandemic.  Despite all of the changes in the world, our basic human needs are still the same. By honing in on the direct application of this theory, project managers can provide a foundation for employees to feel great and do great work, which is a cornerstone of authentic leadership.  Using Wrike to ensure needs are met Wrike is a project management tool used to help employees achieve their highest potential. Wrike makes it easy to communicate goals and objectives through features such as visual Gantt charts. Giving employees insight into how their work fits into the big picture makes them feel important and needed. Their work is more fulfilling when it ties back into a shared vision.  Wrike also allows project team members to be both autonomous and interconnected with the rest of the group. This is done through individual task assignments that include details such as owner, approver, and dependencies.  This level of structured freedom makes it easier to build trust among employees while allowing room for their own creativity and independence. It also allows them to take calculated risks while leaders provide oversight without micromanagement.  Wrike also gives users the ability to provide feedback at any stage, which is essential for growing employee confidence. Team members can loop others into ongoing conversations with @mentions so that they can get questions answered and receive notes as needed.  They can also apply the feedback and request approval from specific department members directly within each individual task, making teamwork easier while increasing their sense of belonging.  Ready to foster a community of employees whose work and lives are a reflection of their very best selves? Get started today with Wrike’s two-week free trial. 

A Quick Guide to Expectancy Theory
Leadership 7 min read

A Quick Guide to Expectancy Theory

Expectancy theory states people work harder when they believe they will achieve a goal. Here's how managers can use expectancy theory to motivate employees.

Is Salary Transparency the New Key To Employee Retention?
Leadership 5 min read

Is Salary Transparency the New Key To Employee Retention?

Religion, politics, money — they’re all topics we’ve been taught are bad manners to discuss or inquire about, no matter how well you know someone. Conversations about how much you or your colleagues are paid can feel awkward and uncomfortable for that very reason, and it means most people don’t know what their colleagues, managers, or employers make.  But salary transparency is a practice that’s on the rise in companies around the world and has become less of a taboo subject over the last decade. In fact, many human resources experts predict pay transparency will be one of the keys to employee retention.  For example, the social media platform Buffer publishes employee salaries, including their location and title, claiming that the increased transparency helps build trust and increases accountability. Other companies have begun to do the same in recent years, either voluntarily or due to statutory requirements.  Let’s dive into what salary transparency is and how it benefits — and doesn’t benefit — companies and their employees.  What is salary transparency? Salary transparency is the act of letting employees, and sometimes the public, know how much money those who work for the company are paid. According to an article in Time, “About 17% of private companies practice pay transparency, while 41% discourage and 25% explicitly prohibit discussion of salary information.”  In some states, there are laws that prohibit companies from taking adverse action against employees that discuss salary information. For example, Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act went into effect on January 1st, 2021, and requires employers to post compensation and benefits information with each job posting for jobs in Colorado.  The federal government is also required to operate with salary transparency, posting the salaries of each role from patent officers to the attorney general. Members of the public can use a central website to look up specific roles using a searchable database as well as an interactive map.  Benefits of salary transparency The practice of publicly sharing salary information is becoming more widespread with more companies embracing transparency to take advantage of the benefits. From employee happiness to closing gender pay gaps, let’s look at some of the benefits of salary transparency.  Increased employee productivity: In a study by Emiliano Huet-Vaughn that compared two groups of workers — one group that was informed about their colleagues' pay and one that wasn’t — there was a 10% increase in productivity by the former. Huet-Vaughn also determined that the way employees were informed about salary transparency impacted their performance relative to the control group.  Diminished pay gaps: Across the board, women currently earn $0.82 cents for every $1 earned by men. But according to research by PayScale, when pay is transparent, the gender pay gap closes: “Women who agreed that pay was transparent at their organization earn between $1 and $1.01 on average for every $1 a man earns.” The study also reported, “Participants who strongly agree that their organization is transparent are estimated to have slightly less pay equity than participants who merely agree.”  Improved trust: Another reason employers undertake salary transparency is to improve the trust their employees have that they are being paid fairly. However, it is especially important that employers have a solid salary policy to ensure that employees believe they are being paid fairly compared to their colleagues. A clear salary policy will eliminate confusion about employees being compensated more or less for vague categories like experience, which can sometimes only be determined subjectively.  Drawbacks of salary transparency However, others argue that salary transparency can cause issues for both employers and employees, from hiring limitations to employee jealousy.  Hiring limitations: When employers make salaries public, they might have to adjust salaries to ensure there are no discrepancies between salary rates. To meet tight budgets, companies might resort to hiring fewer people because they need to ensure they are paying each person a wage they feel comfortable publicizing.  Employee jealousy: With salaries made known to the public, employee animosity is a potential drawback companies could face. However, with a salary policy in place, employees should understand why their colleagues are being paid a certain rate.  Contextual confusion: Likewise, salary transparency can cause confusion when a salary policy isn’t put in place. If employees are informed of their colleagues’ pay but don’t have information about the compensation rationale, it can cause confusion about roles and responsibilities.  While these drawbacks are worth considering, both employee jealousy and contextual confusion can be mitigated by providing a salary policy that outlines compensation. Using objective information to determine salaries, like cost-of-living data about an employee’s location, their role relative to others in the company, and their level of education can lead to a salary policy that results in fair wages across the board. Additionally, salary policies should be reviewed regularly to ensure they remain accurate and effective.  Can salary transparency affect employee retention?  Employee retention has always been a key goal for most companies, but the Great Resignation has caused employers and HR managers to focus on it even more. Salary transparency could have a strong connection to employee retention, making it even more appealing for employers.  When employees perceive a gender pay gap in their company, it results in a 16% decrease in their intent to stay in their position, according to a report from Beqom. The report further determined that 58% of employees would consider changing jobs to work for a company with salary transparency, with the number jumping to 70% for Gen-Z employees.  Not only can salary transparency increase productivity, improve company loyalty, and close gender pay gaps, it might be the key to companies decreasing their employee attrition rates during a time of increased upheaval. 

How to Write a Killer Sales Pitch (With Examples)
Leadership 10 min read

How to Write a Killer Sales Pitch (With Examples)

An effective sales pitch email is a gamechanger for teams wanting to reach the next level. It sounds difficult, but our guide on how to write a sales pitch that wins clients will provide all the tips you need to convert leads.  Keep reading to learn more about why sales pitches are important plus tips for how to write a good sales pitch no matter what you’re selling. After, discover good sales pitch examples you can use to inspire your own.  Why are sales pitches important? If your customer or revenue goals are being fulfilled on autopilot every month then you can probably skip sales pitches. But if you’re like most businesses, you’ll greatly benefit from sales pitches that provide the company-wide benefits of better relationships and completed goals.  Chances are, the people you’re reaching out to have not yet heard about your company — otherwise, they may have already become customers by now. Sales pitches give you the opportunity to introduce your brand and show how you can help the customer with their pain points. They’re also a great way for you and your entire sales team to improve together.  But in order to win more clients, you’ll first need to learn how to write a sales pitch that gets results. Otherwise, you may not see these benefits right away. Even if you already know how to write a sales pitch, the following tips will help you improve your ROI rates.  Tips for writing a good sales pitch The best advice for writing a good sales pitch is to follow the three-step structure we’ve outlined below. Whether you’re leaving a voicemail or meeting in person, the following tips will help you make a strategic and strong first impression.  Tip 1: Grab attention When you first learn how to write a sales pitch, you have to start from the very beginning. Make the opening line of your sales pitch engaging so that the customer doesn’t close your email before they finish reading it. In general, you should always aim at the emotional side of the client’s mind – not the rational one. Here are three ways to grab attention in your sales pitch:  Find a creative phrase to start your proposal. This can be a joke, a piece of news, or an interesting fact. For example, you can start with the sentence, “If it saves you $50,000 per year, wouldn’t you consider spending $1,000 now?” Or show that there’s proof of the value you bring by using quantitative indicators. Engage your prospect with figures and relevant statistics right from the start. Include a relevant fact such as “more than 75% of your potential clients spend at least five hours a day on their smartphones. You can benefit from this — ! let me show you how.” Alternatively, consider personalizing your message so that your prospect knows you’re reaching out to them specifically with a tailored offer. Emphasize that your proposal is unique and available only for certain clients.  Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. What are you more likely to choose: a product available for everyone or something tailored exclusively for you? Feel this difference and create customer-focused messages.  Tip 2: Offer solutions As you continue learning how to write a sales pitch, it’s important to have a clear ‘why’ when starting out. Why are you writing to this person? Why do they need your services or products? Why are your solutions the best?  But before you tell your potential client what you can do to help, you must first acknowledge their real pain points. For example, if you’re a budget-conscious wedding planner, you may open with: “You probably think that to arrange a dream wedding, you’ll need Jeff Bezos’ fortune. We’ll show you the other way to do it.” Next, explain how you can help. That means providing real solutions to customers’ problems. Make it clear that all the client needs to do is purchase your product and put the pain out of their mind.  For example, you could write, ”We specialize in transforming outdated web design into user-friendly interfaces that are a pleasure to work with. Our best solutions are attached.” Then, include an example specifically chosen for this pain point.  Lastly, make the client admire the benefits you provide. Supplement your product with unexpected options or advantages. For example, if your service is catering, emphasize the unique benefits you provide, such as free wait staff or a cake created especially for the client’s event. Your customer will be impressed by the bargain. Tip 3: Clarify next steps If you really want to learn how to write a sales pitch that people actually respond to, you have to practice giving instructions in the form of next steps.  At the end of the email, briefly emphasize the best statements of your proposal. Choose the ones most relevant to the customer’s needs and those that are most persuasive. Then, make a clear and concise offer, so you don’t mislead your customer on what they should do next. Write this in the form of a one to two-sentence call-to-action.  You can also set a time limit. Explain that a decision should be made quickly and within the given time frame. Point out the unique benefit within your proposal that is valid for “only five days.” That stimulates the client to decide faster and to get to the next step in the sales process. For example, you can say “If you decide within 14 days, we promise you the best price with a 15% discount.” Tips for writing an email sales pitch Email, like any form of digital communication, has its own unique set of best practices and uses. As a sales tool, it’s great for either resurfacing old threads or starting fresh with a cold message. It’s so great, in fact, Inc. reported that a recent McKinsey & Co. study found email is 40 times more effective at major social media websites at winning new business. In that same article, Inc. went as far as to dub email as “the best way to reach customers.”  Here are some tips for how to get the most out of this powerful sales pitch channel:  Keep it short and sweet. In our personal experience, a three-sentence email is more likely to be read and responded to than a long-form message.  Link out to key points. If you mention your portfolio, make sure to link out to it. You can also link to screenshots of results you’ve achieved or your personal LinkedIn if you think it will help you make the sale.  Mention your famous clients. Name dropping is a great way to prove your expertise in an email sales pitch. Mention your best clients or, at the very least, the solutions and projects you’ve done for clients like them. Don’t forget about real figures to emphasize the results. Align with marketing. Collaborating with marketing ensures that your message is on brand and relevant for your email list. Your marketing team may even create or provide original content to help strengthen your pitch. Whether it’s a well-designed client testimonial or a pitch video edit, they’re a great resource for making a fantastic and cohesive customer journey from Day 1.  Good sales pitch examples Learning from the best will help you overcome common beginner mistakes and get that much closer to closing. Below are some of our favorite examples of good sales pitches that can teach you how to write a sales pitch that actually works.  Alphalake Ai’s artificial intelligence pitch video There are two things that stand out about this sales pitch. The first is the fact that it uses artificial intelligence to generate a speaking avatar, something that few can say they’ve seen in their inboxes lately. The second is that it’s quite personal. Not only does the avatar look like the sender, but it’s also a great representation of the brand itself since they offer AI products.  Shopify’s whitepaper for client sales pitches In 2019, Shopify created a sales guide for merchants who want to pitch Shopify as their platform of choice. The whitepaper itself doesn’t give a specific pitch email. However, it does outline the following key talking points:  The benefits of using a fully hosted eCommerce solution Shopify’s key solutions for merchants Simple payment plans You can easily use any combination of these points to persuade a new user to join your site. Or have your customers do the selling for you with a guide like Shopify’s.  Lavender’s foolproof LinkedIn message pitch Co-founder Will Allred recently shared this great sales pitch template that leaders at the company have had success with:  “Hey ____, Saw you're growing the sales team by 20% this quarter. Would knowing which reps are at risk of missing email quota (and why) be helpful?” With social media, it’s best to keep your sales pitches even shorter and sweeter than email, just like Allred did here.  Now that you know how to write a sales pitch that works, it’s time to continue breaking down the wall between sales and marketing with Wrike’s project management platform. Start your two-week free trial today and begin organizing lead conversion projects more efficiently and effectively.

7 Tips to Nail Your Annual Review
Leadership 3 min read

7 Tips to Nail Your Annual Review

We asked our faithful Wrike users for their own tips on how to nail your annual review. Some tips are for managers, other tips are for employees. See what they have to say, and apply what seems wise in order to get through your annual review with minimal stress. Annual Review Tips for Managers We asked: "As a manager, how do you make sure you run a fair, efficient, and effective process?" Managers from various industries gave us their best tips to make sure everyone comes out of the review process feeling like they had a positive experience. 1. Be fair and consistent "Make sure you are reviewing everyone on appropriate standards." — Matt Graf "Have appropriate and fair measures in place." — Karien Bredenkamp 2. Communicate the process and goals  "Set clear and objective goals." — Nick Stelmazuk "Daily communication with everyone and planning ahead." — Sammy 3. Have tough conversations early on "Daily communication about tasks, even if they're conversations you don't want to have (i.e. when your employee isn't performing)." — Mitchell Moss Annual Review Tips for Employees We asked: "As an employee, what are some things you do to make sure you nail your annual review?" Employees from around the globe shared tips on everything from dress code to how to prepare so you rock your annual review meeting. Decide which tips will work best for you. 1. Prepare in advance "Prepare early, track goals throughout the year." — Nick Stelmazuk "Spend enough time preparing - don't try to 'wing it.'" — Karien Bredenkamp 2. Dress for the occasion "Look snappy, and be honest." — Tory Dirk Trone 3. Show proof of results, don't just tell  "Be honest about my standing of where I am with my projects, and what I have completed and how." — Matthew Miller "Give a detailed and honest description of how I've accomplished the things I worked on, and how I've completed the tasks that have been assigned to me. Also, I track the time I spend on each task so I can have some physical proof of my work." — Ivana Reyes "I make sure that I quantify my job with my tasks in Wrike." — Christina Anstett 4. Set new goals for the next year "Review or renew my short/medium/long-term goals; Put a wish list of things I'd like; Have questions for how I can improve." — Mitchell Moss What tips can you share? Not every piece of advice on this list will be applicable for you, but hopefully you've found something useful to nudge you in the right direction. Help out your peers by sharing your annual review best practices in the comments below. Read Next: Don't Become a Project Manager from Hell!

The 10 Best Job Perks That People Really Want
Leadership 3 min read

The 10 Best Job Perks That People Really Want

The infographic below lists 10 of the best workplace incentives you can offer your employees, and even names which companies are known for offering them. Perhaps it’s time to examine some other benefits that will help attract and retain top talent.

Why is Project Management an Important Skill for Managers?
Leadership 7 min read

Why is Project Management an Important Skill for Managers?

What does it take to be a great manager? What skills do you need to be an effective leader? We break down the most important competencies you need to be an effective manager and the project management skills you need to lead your team to success.

From Big Data to Actionable Progress Insights: Instant Progress Infographics
Leadership 5 min read

From Big Data to Actionable Progress Insights: Instant Progress Infographics

Wrike Enterprise was designed to help large organizations manage their workflows more efficiently. Actionable Progress Insights is the flagship feature of this new user plan that adds even more control and visibility into the work progress. The new reporting engine crunches millions of work activity records and provides essential project data in the form of gorgeous infographics. As your projects grow, tracking work progress by sending e-mails and taking notes at meetings becomes increasingly more difficult. And you don’t need to! Now you can see where your project stands at any time and find answers to the critical questions about its status with Wrike's Analytics. How do you estimate a realistic project completion date? Take a look at the Performance Chart. What are the trouble parts in the project? What tasks require immediate action? Identify them in an instant on the Current Status chart. Are you keeping track of milestones and goals like a quarterly plan? The baseline chart shows how far you are ahead of or behind the planned schedule. How did the performance of your employees evolve over time? The Work Progress Chart shows you the week-to-week work results of each team member. Let’s take a closer look at how this feature makes reporting and progress-tracking a stress-free experience. Actionable Analytics provides you with key indicators for your project progress. It serves as a powerful tool for management and stakeholders, saving you time collecting and analyzing the most up-to-date project data. Tasks overview, performance over time, changes in the schedule, the work progress of each team member -- all these parts help you capture the full scope of a project’s health. Progress infographics are available for any project you have in the Wrike Enterprise account. Simply click on the chosen folder and select the Progress Insights view at the top of your workspace.  Current Project Status This chart is a great starting point for monitoring your progress. After a quick look at the key project metrics, you are able to reveal trouble parts and know where to narrow your focus. The tasks digest gives you a quick visual of task statuses in the folder. By seeing the important, overdue and unassigned tasks at a glance, you can take immediate action. Milestones remind you about an approaching landmark to your project's completion. Duration of all tasks in the folder and total number of tracked hours are helpful stats for allocating time and workload. The top 3 performers (those with the most completed tasks) are highlighted, so local productivity heroes always get noticed. Project Performance Chart Tracking work progress has never been this convenient. On the chart you can see how the project’s performance has evolved over time. So you can identify peak and low productivity periods and estimate more realistic completion dates. You can even create historical reports with the data up to two years old. This infographic comes especially handy when you want to estimate realistic project completion date, because it allows you to adjust the project plan knowing the REAL work pace of your employees. Baseline Chart When you need to pinpoint how your actual progress compares to the original plan, check the baseline chart. You will always know if a project is ahead of or behind the schedule and can look at what changes were made to the plan and by whom. The stroked bars indicate the baseline and the multi-colored bars reflect actual task statuses in the folder. For example, the baseline chart is helpful when you need to evaluate your performance on the quarterly plan and share the changes with the stakeholders.Work Progress Chart Tracking employee’s performance? Wondering how to allocate the workload in the most optimal way? Take a look at the Work Progress chart. This visual displays the top five people with the most number of completed tasks and indicates their stats on active, completed and overdue tasks. The graph on the right visualizes how the task structure of each team member has evolved over time. You can then easily pinpoint productivity ups and downs, identify a project’s top performers, or simply note those who need a little more motivation. In addition, you can look up the work progress of EACH user by clicking on the "Show all users" button. With this new, impressive Enterprise feature, insightful data is available at any organizational level at any single moment. Now you can make decisions much quicker, always having solid insights on hand. Wrike Enterprise comes with many more features to empower your team’s performance. Don’t miss such updates as user groups, custom calendars, extended admin rights and branded e-mail notifications!

2022 Workplace Trends and Predictions You Should Know
Leadership 10 min read

2022 Workplace Trends and Predictions You Should Know

You’ve heard that the only constant is change. Keep these five workplace trends for 2019 in mind, and you’re sure to be on top of whatever comes next.

What Is Employee Turnover and Why Does It Matter?
Leadership 7 min read

What Is Employee Turnover and Why Does It Matter?

Learn techniques for how to reduce employee turnover, improve retention rates, and avoid the roadblocks that come with excessive workplace departures.

Doing Nothing to Improve Work Management is Costing You Money (Infographic)
Leadership 3 min read

Doing Nothing to Improve Work Management is Costing You Money (Infographic)

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. We've all heard this saying before, and this couldn't be more true in the workplace. When working gets hard, we have to work harder to rise to the challenge and excel. If managing projects is becoming more and more difficult for your team, following the same-old processes is not going to help you succeed. In fact, studies show it's going to end up costing you more.  Take a look at this infographic that highlights how companies are suffering from poor work management, and see how you can do better: If you like this infographic, share it with your colleagues, or embed it on your website with this code: Infographic brought to you by Wrike Have you had trouble with any of these common pain points? Let us know how Wrike helped in the comments below.  

The Ultimate List of Legal Resources for Startups
Leadership 5 min read

The Ultimate List of Legal Resources for Startups

Intellectual property rights, patent law, incorporation, equity distribution.... Navigating the legalities of starting a business can seem like an impossible feat, especially when one misstep could spell major trouble down the line. With an abundance of questions and limited resources, startups can’t afford to keep top legal minds on retainer for whenever an issue pops up. Time and money are vital to a fledgling company's success, so save both with this list of legal resources especially for entrepreneurs. Note: This list is a collection, not a ranking.  Articles & Advice Choose Your Business Structure How to Work with Lawyers at a Startup An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Wrangling and Hog-Tying a Lawyer Online Legal Services: Are They Effective for Startups? Venture Beat's Ask An Attorney 10 Questions Co-Founders Should Ask Each Other 5 Biggest Legal Mistakes Startups Make 3 Things Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Patent Law Reform 5 Ways Not to Respond to a Cease-and-Desist Letter 10 Big Legal Mistakes Made by Startups Blogs A View from the Valley by veteran startup lawyer Matt Bartus Counselor @ Law by speaker, writer, and public policy activist William Carleton Gust.com by a group of experienced startup founders and investors The High-touch Legal Services Blog for Startups by startup lawyer Dana Shultz Likelihood of Confusion on internet trademark and copyright infringement by lawyer Ron Coleman Mashtag Blawg by Bottom Line Law Group, a firm specializing in lean startups and business growth Startup Law 101 series of tutorials for founders and entrepreneurs Startup Law Blog by prominent startup and corporate transactions attorney Joe Wallin Technology & Marketing Law Blog, award-winning blog on internet law, intellectual property, and advertising law by law professor Eric Goldman Walker Corporate Law Blog by a boutique firm that specializes in representing entrepreneurs Websites Entrepreneur's Legal Basics for Startups, a collection of expert articles and videos from Entrepreneur magazine Startup Company Lawyer answers hundreds of specific questions, from incorporation to stock options Startup Lawyer has articles on topics like incorporation and equity, plus a helpful glossary of terms Quora Term Sheet is a collection of legal resources for entrepreneurs and investors hosted on Quora Upcounsel is a service that matches entrepreneurs to legal professionals based on their specific needs Small Business and the SEC is the official SEC guide to complying with federal securities laws while raising capital Rocket Lawyer has a collection of sample documents and a group of on-call attorneys to answer your legal questions Start-Up Launchpad holds educational materials, checklists, and sample legal documents Templates Docracy is an open collection of legal contracts. Document templates are free to download, customize, store, and e-sign, including a retainer agreement template for consulting services FormSwift Customize, sign, and download common business, legal, and personal forms, including a retainer proposal Series Seed Financing Documents Free, open-source legal documents for seed financing in MS Word (.DOC) format National Venture Capital Association's model legal documents A set of legal templates and terms GitHub repository Templates of Series Seed documents Y Combinator Financing Documents Sample forms for raising equity rounds with angel investors Orrick Term Sheet Creator Create drafts of startup and venture financing documents based on your responses to a series of interactive questions Orrick Start-Up Forms Library Key legal forms for starting and growing your company Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Term Sheet Generator Generate a venture financing term sheet based on your responses to an online questionnaire Tools Founders Workbench Access useful tools such as: capital calculator, financing terms dictionary, service tax on professional fees consideration, intellectual property laws, and more Markify Searchable trademark database Viewabill View all billable activity by your lawyer: accruals, hours, and average rate Google Patent Search Use Google to search for existing patents US Patent & Trademark Office File a patent, register a trademark, and review intellectual property laws Finding a Lawyer LawKick Find a lawyer based on price, reviews, and qualifications LawTrades Get matched with a lawyer at your budget, plus free consultation, price quote, client reviews, and law office profiles LawGives Choose from a selection of flat-fee legal services packages FINRA BrokerCheck Research brokers, firms, investment adviser representatives and investment adviser firms ShouldISign.com Post a request and receive fixed-fee proposals from vetted attorneys, and check out their bank of free legal forms Checklists Start-Up Legal and Licensing To-Do List for Small Businesses Legal Checklist for Startups The Legal Checklist Every Startup Should Read What would you add to this list? Once you've set up your legal framework, find the tools you need to launch your business: 25 Tools to Run Your Startup.

How to Launch a Product in 2 Weeks (Work Management Roundup)
Leadership 3 min read

How to Launch a Product in 2 Weeks (Work Management Roundup)

Friday is here, which means the Work Management Roundup is back with links to the week's helpful articles on productivity, product management workflow, startups, team building, management, and technology. Read on! From Zero to Product in 14 Days (Medium): Ben Hoffman walks us through how he and his team built Venture Route in two weeks. An insightful look into the planning and execution of a startup's minimum viable product aimed at serving the VC community. Singing is the Best Team-Building Exercise, Study Shows (Yahoo! Finance Canada): Here's something that our colleagues in Asia have known for quite some time — karaoke singing is an awesome team activity. It allows people to let their guard down in a fun setting. All you really need is a venue... and maybe some Bon Jovi. The One Side Project per Year Challenge (Medium): Stuck wondering which side project to spend time doing? Here's a suggestion: start one side project per year. You dispense with analysis paralysis by cutting down your choices to just one and you set a 12-month time frame that forces you to buckle down and get to work. Tony Schwartz’s Internet Addiction (and Why You Should Care) (Cal Newport's Study Hacks): When a person like Tony Schwartz admits he struggles with cutting back his Internet time, that's when you know it's a serious problem. He's made a career out of coaching people to reach their full potential and yet found it easier to quit soda and alcohol than to lessen screen time. Let's face it: his struggle is our struggle too. Digital Natives: Creating and Maintaining a Work/Life Balance at Home (Fresh Business Thinking): Three concrete strategies on maintaining productivity even within a potentially distracting home office setting. More Work Management Reads Think About This: Dropbox’s Move Reminds Us Teams Must Evolve Beyond Email (Wrike) 50 Free Apps to Make you an Incredibly Productive Person (Fast Company) 23 Best Productivity Hacks of the Year (Inc) Go Try This: Stock Your Break Room for Better Productivity [Infographic] (Wrike) 5 Rules for Building a Family Friendly Startup for Grownups (Fast Company) 9 Aggressive Time Management Techniques (Sharepoint Aaron) Browse The Work Management Roundup on Flipboard If you use Flipboard on your mobile device, then you can choose to read these links via The Work Management Roundup magazine. View my Flipboard Magazine.

How to Track your Digital Channels with Digital Marketing KPIs
Project Management 10 min read

How to Track your Digital Channels with Digital Marketing KPIs

In the good old days of digital marketing circa 1971 (when the first ever email was sent), the best indicator of campaign success was whether or not someone looked at what you put out into the world. Now that technology is more advanced and the market is flooded with content, marketers need to use a more sophisticated approach. Enter digital marketing KPIs.  Today, agency and marketing directors use digital marketing project KPIs to improve profit, streamline resources, and prove return on investment to their clients. Keep reading to discover the definitions, examples, and tools top marketers use to remain competitive in today’s digital landscape.  What are digital marketing KPIs? KPI stands for key performance indicator which is also known as performance metrics. A digital marketing key performance indicator is what marketers use to measure the success of a particular strategy or marketing channel. The KPI or KPIs you choose will depend on what your goal is for the project.  Marketers will often choose one or two primary KPIs to support their main goal and a handful of relevant secondary KPIs to support any additional objectives.  For example, let’s say you run a social media campaign on Twitter and your goal is to increase your engagement percentage within your existing audience. Your primary KPIs will be the number of comments and retweets each original tweet receives.  There are three main categories of digital marketing KPIs to know: 1. Awareness Awareness is all about getting your brand in front of as many new people as possible. If your brand is already established, the next challenge is to help potential customers learn about new products or services they might be interested in. Common marketing tactics in this phase include cold emailing and calling. 2. Conversion  The goal of this phase is to make a sale. Marketers often do this by building long-term relationships and trust. Content like blog posts and podcasts with problem-solving advice for the audience works well for this stage. 3. Analysis After you make a sale you can use analysis KPIs to determine how much you spent in resources to acquire each new customer. This information will inform your next campaign. Why set KPIs in digital marketing? KPIs in digital marketing prove return on investment to clients and stakeholders. They also help you measure progress, streamline processes, and quantify what would otherwise be intangible marketing benefits. Using KPIs in digital marketing will help you better understand why something does or does not work for your particular brand or strategy.   Without KPIs, marketing agencies run the risk of throwing spaghetti at a wall and seeing what sticks. If your agency does not assert its value and authority through actual proof, it’s hard to get or keep clients long-term. KPIs translate into concrete numbers that prove what you’re doing is getting real results.  Who sets KPIs in marketing? At an agency, a marketing or agency director will set the KPIs. Otherwise, the responsibility falls on the campaign manager.  Whoever chooses the KPIs also has to come up with a plan for tracking them. They may adopt related marketing tools and habits to make sure results are consistently recorded and monitored throughout the lifetime of each campaign.  Agency project management tools such as Wrike can help streamline these processes. Users can easily assign monitoring and reporting tasks to designated teammates so that nothing slips through the cracks.  Marketing KPI examples Marketing KPIs differ from project to project, platform to platform, and goal to goal. Use these most common marketing KPI examples below as a jumping-off point: Email marketing KPIs  1. Number of emails successfully delivered, opened, and/or replied to What it is: The total of all emails interacted with compared to the total sent.  Why you need it: This information tells marketers if their messages are getting through to inboxes. It also demonstrates whether or not the subject line is persuasive enough and if the campaign promotes further engagement. How to measure it: Use an email marketing campaign software to bypass spam filters and track open rates.  2. Embedded link and CTA button click-through rates What it is: The percentage of people who have both opened your emails and clicked the link or button inside.  Why you need it: The click-through rate shows how effective your offers or calls to action are. How to measure it: Add a link tracking app to test components like CTA messages, colors, and placement. 3. Social shares and forwards What it is: The number of times a post has been shared or sent to other people from social media. Why you need it: Sharing is a high-value form of engagement that gets your posts in front of more people which is great for increasing impressions and expanding your audience. How to measure it: Most social media apps include this information within your Analytics. Social media KPIs 1. Number of followers versus number of unfollowers What it is: The total number of people who have followed your account that day or week compared to the number of people who have unfollowed your account in the same. Why you need it: Ideally you'll have more followers than unfollowers but this KPI shows whether or not your content is targeting the correct audience and is interesting enough to keep their attention. How to measure it: Your number of followers is publicly available at the top of your social media profile. However, you may need to use a third-party app to track unfollowers. 2. Likes, comments, and shares What it is: These are the top forms of engagement for any social media post regardless of what platform it's on. Why you need it: Better engagement equals higher conversion rates, steadier audience growth, and stronger relationships over time.= How to measure it: This information is made publicly available on most social media platforms.  3. New impressions What it is: The number of times your content was organically shown to someone on the platform whether or not they interacted with it.  Why you need it: This social media KPI demonstrates reach, which you should aim to increase over time through paid ads, better engagement, and more followers.  How to measure it: Creator analytics or a behind-the-scenes app will show your new impressions by day, week, or month. Content marketing KPIs 1. Unique visits What it is: The total number of people (or IP addresses) clicking on your website within a given time frame. Why you need it: Unique visits document the volume of traffic over time, which is useful for selling products and services. However, some unique visits might be from bots which is why it's critical to also track engagement and conversions at the same time. How to measure it: Website analytics platforms like Google help users track this data after it’s set up, which means historical data will not be available.  2. Average time on page What it is: The average amount of time all visitors (both unique and returning) spend on each individual web page.  Why you need it: Your goal should be to make the average time on page high because it will likely lead to better sales conversion rate. Plus it shows that your content is relevant to your audience. How to measure it: Website analytics tools will help you measure it. 3. Link and CTA button click-through rates What it is: The percentage at which all site visitors click on links and buttons. Why you need it: Most website links and buttons are tied to sales or important data capture such as email newsletters. Having a high rate of success means that your offers and audience are in alignment.  How to measure it: Website analytics tools or third party link tracking apps are best.  SEO KPIs 1. Keyword search engine ranking What it is: How high your website ranks for a specific keyword or phrase within popular search engines. Why you need it: Your goal should be to rank number 1 on Google and Bing. Or on the first page, at the very least, so that more people will find and click on your website. How to measure it: Type in your keyword phrase into a search engine to see if it shows up or use a tool like SEMRush for more advanced analytics.  2. Organic traffic What it is: Site traffic from anything other than paid ads.  Why you need it: High rates of organic traffic means that more people are finding your products and services by simply searching related questions or words, which indicates that your SEO strategy is working. How to measure it: Use a website analytics tool.3. Link click-through rates What it is: The rate at which people are clicking on paid search advertisements or web pages that appear organically in search results.  Why you need it: For paid ads, the link click-through rate shows how effective your copy is. How to measure it: Website analytics and third-party apps help you track individual links. Also, whichever search engine advertisement platform you use will likely track this data automatically. PPC KPIs 1. Click rate What it is: Percentage of people who see your ad in search engines and click on it. Why you need it: The higher the percentage, the more persuasive your copy is. How to measure it: Your advertising platform will have user analytics for you. 2. Sales conversion rate What it is: The total number of sales divided by the number of interactions with a given paid ad.  Why you need it: This number shows whether or not the offer promised in the ad is still relevant for the audience the ad is being shown to and if it aligns with their expectations enough to persuade them to buy. How to track it: Your advertising platform will have these statistics for you.3. Cost per acquisition What it is: The dollar amount you pay for every new customer you obtained through a paid advertisement. Why you need it: This shows exactly where your budget is going and whether or not your campaign is worth reinvesting in.How to track it: Use an analytics tool or divide the total cost of the PPC campaign by the total revenue made from it. What are the challenges of marketing KPIs? The main challenge of marketing KPIs is choosing the right ones, monitoring them effectively, and turning data into actionable insights. To choose the right marketing KPIs every time, create SMART goals then match KPIs to link your channel type (like email or social media) to your desired outcome. To monitor them effectively, make sure that all your KPIs are measurable and that there are tools in place to capture all related data. Finally, turn data into actionable insights by using a professional services management platform to create automated reports plus easy-to-read insights.  What to do when KPIs aren't met Now that you have your digital marketing KPIs set, it’s important to know what happens if your KPIs are failing. If they’re not connected to strategy, overshooting (or undershooting) your goals, or are too outdated now, the best way to get back on track is to adopt a marketing project management solution like Wrike.  Why Wrike can help you with digital marketing KPIs Wrike helps directors and managers use digital marketing KPIs to make informed decisions. Wrike Report automates marketing, data capture, assessment, and reporting using visual graphs so that KPIs are easier to understand. At-a-glance updates like these save time and make collaboration that much smoother. Marketing teams can also create templates for repeated campaigns or to relive the success of another client’s strategy for a new project. Use Wrike’s two-week free trial to visualize your objectives and key results (OKRs) so that your KPIs are bulletproof throughout any project. 

15 Under $15: Business Books to Gift to Your Colleagues This Holiday Season
Leadership 7 min read

15 Under $15: Business Books to Gift to Your Colleagues This Holiday Season

It's that time of year again. When you're so busy scrambling around at  the last minute trying to buy gifts for your family that you completely forget about your colleagues! The biggest challenge in colleague gifting is finding something that is both useful and inexpensive.  Our solution? A business book! A book that inspires leadership, entrepreneurship, passion, and creativity can help propel their career, and possibly benefit your team as a whole. Here's a curated list of 15 great business books under $15 to give as 2015 holiday gifts: 1. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal What turns products into habits? And how do you make those habits long-lasting? Author and entrepreneur Nir Eyal unlocks the secret to building habit-forming products with his four-step process called the Hook Model. We were even lucky enough to interview Eyal about his book and how the Hook Model helps you better understand your customers.   2. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini  An oldie but goodie: Dr. Robert B. Cialdini reveals the psychology behind why people say "yes" and how to put the art of persuasion into practice. This book explores the six universal principles of persuasion, and teaches you how to use them as well as how to combat them.  3. Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential by John Neffinger & Matthew Kohut As required reading at both Harvard and Columbia Business School, this book has a lot to offer. Everyone wishes they could be as influential as Oprah Winfrey or Taylor Swift. However, since most of us do not fall under the international celebrity category, what qualities make us influential? Neffinger and Kohut discuss how the balance of strength (root of respect) and warmth (root of affection) is the key to becoming charismatic and influential, and they reveal ways to apply that balance in your daily life. 4. So Good They Can't Ignore You by Cal Newport Have you ever heard the phrase "follow your passion?" Well, Newport says stop. He claims that pre-existing passions usually have nothing to do with why people end up loving their jobs and can be a source of anxiety and stress. In this book, Newport explores the welcoming world of people who love their jobs. He shares their strategies and experiences, as well as the obstacles they've faced and lessons they've learned along the way. 5. Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam M. Grant Praised by Amazon, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post as one of the best books of 2013, this book really brings home the spirit of the holidays. Grant shows how the secret to success is not necessarily talent or passion, but how we interact with others. He reveals how giving without receiving anything in return can positively impact success and transform organizations.  6. Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi In Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's account of psychological contentment, he describes "flow" as being a state of consciousness that makes our experiences easier to manage and more enjoyable. During flow, a person may experience joy, creativity, and feel completely engaged with whatever they're doing. In this book, he explains in-depth about how to reach this state, and even control it, on a regular basis.  7. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries Today, innovation is more important than ever. With more and more technologies readily available at our fingertips, the battle between the young startups and the tech giants continues to grow. Ries uncovers why some startups fail and others don't, and why it's important to have an even balance of efficiency and uncertainty in your startup mix. His scientific approach helps growing teams maximize their strengths, recognize their weaknesses, and embrace agility.  8. Purple Cow by Seth Godin Cow are pretty much everywhere. And once you've seen one cow, you've seen them all. Unless you see a Purple Cow; you'd probably remember where and when you saw it. In this book, Godin talks about the qualities that make companies like Starbucks, Netflix, and Apple into Purple Cows. He urges you to put the Purple Cow into everything you create, dream, and think. 9. Drive by Daniel H. Pink This book argues against the idea that people are motivated by material items such as money. Instead, Pink suggests that people are motivated by improving themselves, expanding their own knowledge and experiences, and directing their own lives. Pink's techniques for changing perspective help people transform how they think, work, behave, and live.  10. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman  Written by world-renowned author and Nobel Prize Winner, Daniel Kahneman, this book takes you on an astounding journey through the way we think and looks at the psychology of what motivates us. One side of the brain is known as fast, impulsive, and intuitive, while the other side is slower, cautious, and logical. He provides insight into our decision-making process and how we can avoid the mistakes that often lead to trouble.  11. Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull What's the recipe to magic?  Written by co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios, Catmull dives into what it's like to work at and be a leader in one of the most successful film and animation studios in the world. Also featured on our top books every manager should read list, this book really takes you behind the scenes and explores how to be a great leader at an exceptional company.  12. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho One of my personal favorites, this one is hard to put down. In this book, you join a young boy named Santiago on his quest to Egypt after having a recurring dream of finding treasure there. The story's theme revolves around finding one's destiny, and Coelho recognizes it as more of a self-help book rather than literature. On Santiago's journey, the author hopes readers find the truth in following their dreams and encouraging others to do the same.  13. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters They say imitation is the finest form of flattery. But if you're the imitator, what does that make you? This book teaches you how to build on a whole new idea of your own making, and transform it from "zero to one."  14. The 4-hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss We all know the newest from of currency is time, not money. This ultimate life productivity guide provides worksheets, templates, and shortcuts for getting more done during the week without sacrificing quality or income. It shares real-life examples of how people have doubled their income while shortening their workweek.  15. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek Another feature on our top books for managers list, this one exposes the sacrifice involved in  being a good leader. Through actual examples and experiences, Sinek proves that individuals only perform well when they feel safe within their group — confirming that the most successful teams value trust and cooperation above all else.  Any favorites that aren't on this list? Add them in the comments!