Author Archives: Scott Deutsch

Taking the Hunger Out of Summer with the Rhode Island Community Food Bank

This Post was written by Scott Deutsch
Date posted: July 25, 2018

Summer in Rhode Island is a time of fun in the sun, beach trips and food insecurity. In Rhode Island, over 57 thousand people face food insecurity every year. One-third of those individuals are under the age of 18. This stressor is especially prevalent when the school year ends, and thousands of children who usually rely on free or reduced-price school meals return home to find their family battling food insecurity. Many community members are unaware that food insecurity in Rhode Island spikes during the summer because of the abrupt loss of school meals. Additionally, with the holiday season of giving months away, the need for donating is often out of sight. Consequently, food donations plummet during the summer. This challenges the Rhode Island Community Food Bank to gather more nutritious nonperishable donations to fuel families. Continue reading

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How to Build a Successful Team

This Post was written by Scott Deutsch
Date posted: April 23, 2018

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Building a successful team is about more than putting people with great talent together. It’s a detailed process involving clear communication and getting to know your members. Moreover, the longevity of a team stems from your ability to stand out as a strong leader. As you begin assembling your group, read our tips on how to build a successful team:

Establish relationships
As the leader, it’s your job to know each member of the team. Figure out their skill sets, their strengths and weaknesses, and their professional goals. Once you understand these, you can place each person in a role that will make them shine.

You need to understand each member individually before you can begin to help them grow close to one another. Learning more about your employees helps you find ways to motivate them, individually and as a group. From there, you’ll be able to foster the relationships between each member.

Set goals and provide incentives
Setting short and long-term goals does wonders for team productivity. It establishes a foundation with which to work off of and makes daily tasks easier to manage. Consider recommending an agile approach. Continuously check in with everyone to evaluate and discuss their progress toward the higher goals.

When certain goals are met, try providing incentives where possible. This could be bringing in breakfast, offering a day where they can work from home, or giving out gift cards. It’s no surprise that incentives like these are an effective motivator.

Additionally, go the extra mile to explore what doesn’t work with motivating your team. Remember, it’s just as important to understand what demotivates people as it is to know what motivates them.

Create a culture
Just as your organization has its own culture, your team will develop one as well. As the leader, investigate what your team members consider to be important beliefs and behaviours. How do they picture working together? What do they expect when they enter a group setting? By diving into this, you can help spearhead your team culture. Create your values and expectations together so everyone is on the same page and satisfied with their work environment.

Promote transparency
A successful team communicates clearly with one another. Not only do your members keep you in the loop, but they keep each other involved as well. Don’t forget to offer feedback on a constant basis. It’s a mistake to wait until something has gone wrong to then sit down and discuss the issues. To avoid feelings of constant scrutinization, communicate frequently and informally.

With these steps in mind, remember that every successful team is different, and you need to be aware of the nuances and dynamics of your team. Be flexible enough to adapt to what they need while still maintaining your role as the leader.

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Ways to Encourage Employee Development

This Post was written by Scott Deutsch
Date posted: March 5, 2018

Image: https://pixabay.com/en/blue-motivation-neon-lights-sign-1845901/

Keeping your team motivated and productive is a task that requires some out-of-the-box thinking. There can only be so many pep talks and weekly check-ins to promote productivity, which is why it may be time for you to find new ways to engage your employees.

At Bridge, we want our employees to know that we care about their professional growth. In fact, employees are more likely to stay with a company that puts forth the effort to help them become better in their professional roles. Here are our three easy tips on how to encourage employee development:

Promote memberships in professional organizations
Team members who take part in professional organizations outside of the office tend to develop stronger leadership qualities. They want to take what they’ve learned from this outside group and share it with their coworkers. Additionally, they will learn new skills and stay current with trends in their field, while also growing their network. Encourage them to search LinkedIn groups or Meetup.com to find something that sounds interesting.

In general, allow your employees the freedom to explore outside organizations. Help them start by keeping a list of potential groups to join. Once they’ve attended some events, ask them to share their thoughts with the rest of the team. Before you know it, more people will be inspired to work on their professional development.

Encourage writing
No matter what industry you’re in, writing is a skill that everyone needs to practice. At Bridge, we keep a running communal list of thoughtful industry topics. Our employees volunteer to write them which our marketing department then shares. By doing so, we’re allowing everyone the opportunity to have his or her voice heard.

If your company has a blog, encourage your employees to try their hand at writing a couple of articles. Don’t forget, LinkedIn is about more than just increasing your number of connections. Remind your employees to use this as a platform for sharing their professional thoughts and experiences. In fact, anyone can publish an article on LinkedIn, they may just need help getting started.

Keep open lines of communication
The best way you can promote employee development is being accessible. Make it clear to everyone that you, and the company, are there to help your employees become better at what they do. Recognize their accomplishments, promote growth within the company, and act as a resource they can turn to if they are looking for ways to become a better professional.

Want more career tips? Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn and don’t forget to search our jobs to find the best fit for you.

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How to Effectively Run a Meeting

This Post was written by Scott Deutsch
Date posted: September 5, 2017

Image: https://pixabay.com/en/interior-design-tables-chairs-2591368/

Whether we like them or not, meetings are a large part of everyone’s day-to-day activities. When you’re taking the time to gather the entire team, it’s important to focus on increasing productivity by optimizing the time you have together. If you’re having trouble mobilizing your team, consider following these best practices for effective meetings:

Before the Meeting

Have a clear, organized agenda. People should know exactly what to expect before going into the meeting. You may be surprised by how many meetings begin with no real purpose and leave people feeling as if they’ve just wasted part of their day. Send out an agenda to each team member. Make sure it allocates time for project presentations, brainstorming, problem solving, and whatever else you may need. Make the meeting’s purpose clear so people know what topics are up for discussion.

Set a precedent of staying punctual. One of the best ways to ensure a productive meeting is staying consistent and punctual. If your team knows you start and end your meetings on time, they will be more likely to show the same respect and be timely themselves. There’s nothing worse than sitting around waiting to start the conference due to someone’s tardiness. Request that people arrive five minutes early and if needed, outline how long they have to discuss their projects.

During the Meeting

Follow the agenda. If you’ve gone to the trouble of outlining discussion topics, make sure to follow the guidelines you’ve set. If you’ve allotted 15 minutes of brainstorming for the first item, try not to linger on it much longer than that. People will be more energized when they see that you’re sticking to the plan and you’re ready to keep moving.

Take note of other issues. There’s bound to be a point when the conversation deviates from the main discussion topic. This is okay to a certain degree, but don’t be sidetracked for long. Acknowledge the points that have been brought up by taking note of them in the meeting’s minutes, then move on.

End with a plan. Allocate time in your meeting agenda to discuss a concrete action plan. Delegate tasks to specific people and determine due dates. By the meeting’s conclusion, each person should know exactly what is expected of them and when it’s expected to be completed.

After the Meeting

Follow up. We can’t stress the importance of this enough! Even if you had a lively, productive meeting, that doesn’t mean the work ends when the group disperses. Talking with your team at the start of the week means getting in contact again by the end of it. Use this as a way to check in on the progress of projects that were assigned during the meeting. Following up shows your team you’re organized and taking an active role in their work.

Take the time to evaluate your meeting habits and pay attention to areas that need improved. Before you know it, you’ll be executing productive, efficient meetings that leave your team feeling energized and motivated.

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