3 Creative Ways to Use QR Codes in Your Marketing

All businesses must use a diverse mix of marketing strategies to attract new customers and increase sales. A business doesn’t need to be a big corporate entity though to utilize some of the best cutting edge strategies available with recent technological advancements. Quick response codes are one of those technologies you can take advantage of today!

QR Code
photo credit: Andy Roberts

A QR code is a special barcode that people with smartphones can scan using an app. They are an engagement tool that allows you to attract the public to your business and products/services by sharing in a “scavenger-hunt” fashion facts about your company or industry, such as new product/service or job offerings, latest industry news or upcoming events.

The Look of QR Codes

Gone are the days when a QR code had to be a solid color on a white background. A QR code today can also double as a visually stimulating printed advertisement. Instead of two contrasting colors, your QR codes can be many different colors. Additionally, you can customize a QR code by inserting your logo into the center of it or by designing it to look like your logo. You can also use individual images as tiny blocks that make up the barcode. For example, you might use product images and link to your e-store, or employee pics and link to a video about them. 

The Other Paper Options

It goes without saying that you should have QR codes printed on advertisements and product packaging. You might not have thought though to print QR codes on the back of business cards, receipts, sales slicks and correspondence letters or envelopes. These codes might link to a special message from you thanking customers, discount or details about a future event. If you sell or give away gift tags and wrapping paper, you might print Quick Response codes on them that link to an app that permits the buyer to create a personal message for the gift recipient. 

The QR Code Arts

A QR code on its own already looks like artwork, but you can actually attract more people by creatively presenting codes as artwork. For example, if you sell food products, you might offer new food items shaped like Quick Response codes or print codes on different foodstuffs with edible ink. If your a fashion designer, you might create code-inspired designs on clothes. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, you might hang QR codes in frames on the walls or code-shaped objects from the ceilings; or display an entire wall of Quick Response codes. Outside your shop, you might use chalk or painted QR code designs on your building, sidewalk or parking lot, or create QR-code-shaped sculptures. You might even invest in a sculpture that doesn’t look a Quick Response code, but that creates a scannable shadow at a certain time on a sunny day.

Your opportunities to creatively use QR codes are only limited by your imagination, presentation space and budget. Even if you have limited funds, there are numerous low-cost, creative ways to engage the public with QR codes!

About the Author: Amanda Sozak is a car nut who loves to travel and talk about small business. She’s also a regular contributor at www.rittersprinting.com, and loves spending time in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale area.

Dual-Action Branding: 5 Branding Materials That Do Double Duty!

It is common to think brands can be boiled down to color schemes and logos. But, they are so much more. Your brand is your business. It is your public face. It is your constant relationship builder. It communicates who you are, what you do and what you stand for.

branded pen
photo credit: TheSeafarer

Most likely, you have spent a lot of time, energy and money developing a strong brand. Why? Because it is the message you want to communicate with clients and prospects.

While you certainly want to use this branding as the foundation for designing and decorating your business’ location, website and graphics, why stop there? By incorporating your brand into all of your business’ materials, you can maximize your return on investment (ROI). This is especially true when you utilize branded materials.

What are Branded Materials?

Branded materials are any item (physical or digital) which is decorated with your company logo (aka branding stamp). While some of these, such as a sign above your door, simply mark your location, others are products your business uses on a regular basis.

By branding products you, your employees, and your customers will use anyways, you can:

  • Instantly create additional advertising for your business
  • Enjoy lower costs for materials (when you buy in bulk)
  • Develop brand recognition among consumers
  • Foster strong customer relationships linked closely to your brand

Brand Products that do Double Duty

Business cards are wonderful, and stationery is great. Both of these necessary business items should be branded. But, both of these items really only serve one purpose – sending/handing to a client or prospect.

These five branded materials provide more than one function for your business:

1. Pens

No matter how techy your business is, it’s nearly impossible to function without pens. Sometimes, you just need to write things down on real paper. Whether you and your employees are in the office or on the go, branded pens are a great way to continue sharing your message. They also make great, lasting, leave-behinds as people are likely to keep using them for some time.

2. Coasters

Coasters are one of those small, branded touches which help your business continue to communicate its brand while also keeping your space clean.

3. Cups, Mugs and To-Go Coffee Cups

Nearly everyone drinks coffee or some sort of warm beverage. Cups, mugs and to-go coffee cups are an excellent way to keep your brand visibly in your employees’ hands at all times.

4. iPhone Cases

Even though pens are a necessity, the digital, smartphone age is taking over. Going somewhere without your handheld device is often compared to walking around in your birthday suit. Supplying your employees with an attractively branded iPhone case will help you stay front and center. (Added love goes to the boss who also supplies their employees with an iPhone.)

5. Printed Shade Cloths

Shade cloths help control dust and debris in a variety of situations such as construction sites, large events and outdoor lunch gatherings. They can be attached to fending, scaffolding and buildings. While plain shade cloths can be attained, branded shade cloths maximize your business’ exposure and give it a professional look and feel.

About the Author: Nicole is a branding and marketing expert, and has been helping businesses brand their companies for years. In her experience, Site Shade offers the best printed shades she could find.

Growing Small Business with Leadership Skills

When you are in a small business, every success you get to taste the flavour of, owes a lot to the strong team and the team leader that contribute to the overall success of your business. It is a well known fact that the effective team leaders are largely responsible for digging out the best from their team and out of their colleagues. They play a crucial role in accomplishing the goals that are being set for the different groups working in the team or the organisation. There’s certainly more to the team building and the management that the entrepreneurs and the business leaders are concerned with. A good team work always helps the leaders get to achieve the pinnacle of success and often stay at the top of the game.

business leadership
photo credit: pedrosimoes7 via photopin cc

What really makes a good team stand against all the competition that the business faces in the market? Here we are summarising the outlook behind the entire idea with 4 major points that act as key elements in building the successful business teams. Let’s take a look:

1# Focus

It sounds as simple as it is spelled but it is as easy to lose as it sounds like it won’t. There are millions of questions that appear so easy to talk about and answer such as “what are we doing here?”, “what is our goal?”, etc. It is important for the business entrepreneurs to first define a goal and then measure the impact that all those business decisions are going to make. Do they help the team achieve the goals? Do they bring you any close to the dreams? Are you working in the direction of accomplishing it? If you have logical answers to these, you are probably on the right track. Also, focus on the efforts of your team, doesn’t matter whether you are expanding or simply focussing on growth.

2# Unity

Ensuring that everyone is treated on the same platform makes way for promotion of a no-discrimination policy. This will require you to communicate on a regular basis and ensure that all the team members are aware of their roles and the tasks they are expected to perform. This gives rise to scope for promotion of team harmony and also ensures that the duplication of tasks and efforts is prevented. This is also important while you are hiring new team members; find out whether they fit into the entire chemistry of the team before they are taken in. It’s the unity in the team that not only assures the company of even a most unexpected success but also plays an instrumental role in binding the teams together.

3# Direction

If your ultimate destination is success, make sure that your team knows how they are going to achieve it. Assign them tasks that push you step by step towards the final goal; you will need to support the team wherever they need your assistance. Encourage and assist them and this is exactly where your expertise lies. If you can’t lead your team, there may be people questioning you on your leadership skills and that’s where you seem to fail. Set the direction and help your team walk on the right path. You lead them and they believe in you! That’s leadership in plain and simple way.

4# Excellence

Achieving excellence in all the tasks you do makes sure that you are determined to achieve goals. Good teams have a habit of pushing their bars of excellence a little more each time and with each achievement. Set high standards for your team and it will be fun taking up challenges for achieving the goal. Now this does not mean that you will only need to evaluate the success of your team and its progress; seek opinion from other groups, organisations and business leaders that have been inspiring you.

Finally, it’s good to remember that achieving success does not really close the book anyway. If you have succeeded as a leader then definitely there still remains to be a lot of room for improvement simply because nothing is perfect and nothing is stagnant either. Always maintain your zeal for keeping a lookout for that extra bit that can do wonders for your team and ultimately for your business. Keep striving for excellence and promote that essential bit of excellence and focus on your efforts and all that you can do to gain an edge over your competitors.

About the Author: Colin Boykins is a blogger and social media addict. He is currently associated with the UK’s most trusted supplier of security posts – Parking-Posts.com.

From Arts To War Games, It is Time to Get Excited About Team Building!

What’s missing from team building today? Imagination! Don’t book your local sports hall and hire a load of gym mats or make chairs out of newspapers, do something exciting! Bring some thrill to your workplace and get the office enthusiasm kicked up a notch.

creative team building
photo credit: tim caynes via photopin cc

Adrenaline Pumping Extreme Sports

Give your team something to plan for and look forward to with a foray into extreme living. A sponsored event is a great way to get everyone in the office involved and invested and it’s a great way to raise money. Get a few enthusiastic go-getters together and send them off on a hike up a mountain or running a marathon, it’ll bring them together and anyone who doesn’t want to be involved can fundraise and sponsor. Give your staff an incentive: sponsor the athletes and all funds go towards that stylish new coffee machine in the staff room or a posh meal out for the whole team; alternatively, for the philanthropists among you, get everyone to vote for their favourite charities and send the money raised to a worthy cause.

Release Frustrations With War Games

Now we’re talking, they’ll be no groans in the office on team building Saturday if you’re taking them out for an afternoon of paintball! Pick their teams at random and get people mixing, the atmosphere gets very real very fast so they’ll have to start trusting each other and working as a unit to ‘survive’. Paintballing has always been popular and your team can let their individual skills shine, you’ll have strategists, defenders and people with a soldier’s spirit who will take the lead and bring their side to victory! At the end of the day get everyone together down at the pub for a wind down and a relax after a hard day in the trenches.

Having Fun And Keeping Costs Low

We all know it’s a recession but team building doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, gather everyone together in the boardroom and get them laughing and talking.

Little white lies: this is a great way to get everyone to know each other a little bit better. Have everyone in the office write down 2 interesting facts or stories about themselves and 1 lie, go around the room and have everyone read out their list of statements while the rest of the team votes on which one is the lie, the person who’s lie gets the fewest votes wins! Everyone learns a bit more about each other but do try to keep the statements office appropriate!

Minefield: give your team some time away from their desks for free. Place random objects around a field or car park, use: furniture, bags of rubbish, office plants, other employees, anything you can think of. The objects act as mines and your staff are put in pairs, put one in a blindfold and get their partner to direct them across the minefield without being blown up (it’s harder than it sounds).

Get Arty In The Office

For a unique team building experience that will stand the test of time have your team channel their inner Picasso. Get your team to express themselves by having them paint a group mural, you can split them into groups and have them each design a section or do it all together and once it’s done why not hang it in reception? Let your team de-stress and get messy! You can really find your own style, if you run a library why not paint Dickens? Or if you work in a city then get into some graffiti. Whatever your inspiration art is a great way to bring people together, whatever our differences we all appreciate the process of creating something. The beauty of it is everyone can get involved; whatever your age or ability no one is hindered and what you can do with art is limitless so you can really let your team run wild, you’ll learn more about each other, have fun together and create something you can enjoy every single day.

Team building should be something we look forward to, it should be like office Christmas, not something we dread. Do something special on your next team building excursion and do more than boost morale, make memories.

About the Author: This post was written by Emma Smith on behalf of Graffiti Pro’s, Graffiti artisis who want to bring some excitment back to team building!

Why Creating Your Own Corporate Training Videos Can Save Time And Money

Keeping your staff trained can be a very demanding thing. Whether it is a new piece of software you are rolling out or some new equipment, or training on a new policy, finding the resources to do it and then scheduling training for everyone who needs it can be a mammoth project. Even for a relatively small business, it will result in a costly lack of productivity while everybody sits through the training and picks up the new skills, and then of course there are the logistical demands of finding a place suitable to deliver it all.

If you have a training need in your company, there is often a lot to be gained by producing a training video instead of delivering training in the usual, classroom style way.  Here are some of the benefits to making a video to fill your training gap:

You Can Outsource Production

Even if the training is very specific to your company, there is no reason why you can’t hire a video production company to make it for you. This means that you don’t need to tie up your own resources more than necessary to get the training done. You can meet with a production company, explain your requirements and review and approve the script using far less of your own people’s time than devising a classroom training course, sorting out the logistics and scheduling and having one of your own people deliver it. Professional video production may not be as expensive as you might think, and if you balance out the cost in terms of man hours saved you will find it to be very cost effective if your demands aren’t too complex.

You Can Let Staff View It However They Want To

Some people learn faster than others, and by making the video available and mandatory, you can let people watch it more than once if they don’t pick up on the details the first time. This makes things a lot less stressful for staff who find it hard to keep up in classroom training courses and worry they won’t come away with enough knowledge, and will make it less frustrating for fast learners or those already familiar with the content as they won’t be held back by others asking for things to be explained again.

No Logistical Issues!

Simply tell staff that they have to watch the video at least once within a certain time frame and let them fit it into their own working day, at their own desks! No finding times that suit different groups, no looking for suitable meeting rooms that are free, and no breaking up people’s flow of work and reducing productivity. If you are worried about verifying that everyone actually has watched the video, there are ways of checking this when it is posted on your intranet. You can even have someone in your web team create a quick quiz people have to fill out at the end to prove they have learned the salient points from the film.

Corporate video production for training can be a real time and money saver, and can also be more appealing to trainees, so next time you are faced with a training need, consider it as an alternative to a major program of classroom sessions!

About the Author: Phil Raymonds, an online marketing professional, prefers using the latest software and medium to get his ideas across. He is passionate about video photography and editing.

Maintaining Company Culture Remotely

When you have employees working remotely from various different locations, it can be difficult to maintain a consistent company culture. Your company culture is comprised of how each person thinks, makes decisions, works, and communicates – and it can have important ramifications for how productive and satisfied your workers are.

You can maintain your company’s attitude and values remotely by recruiting the right people, communicating effectively, and promoting an inclusive atmosphere for both local and off-site workers.

culture management
photo credit: niels-mulder via photopin cc


Leading with your culture in your recruitment strategy can ensure that you hire remote workers who hold the same values, goals, work ethic, and attitude as the rest of your company. The more you can ensure that your new hires fit with your culture from the start, the more likely you’ll be able to continue promoting that culture in your relationship with both local and remote employees.

  • Your job listing have to convey not only the position and the requirements of the job, but also information about the company itself and its values. Use your job applicant recruiting software to post listings that sell your company and use language that is appropriate for your company culture.

Look for potential employees who have the right attitude for working from a distance. If you plan to give your remote workers free reign over their projects, look for candidates who excel at time management and self-motivation. Should you desire more day-to-day managerial control, find candidates who are excellent communicators and good at taking direction.

  • Open-ended interview questions that seek to determine what kind of work style and environment the candidate is most comfortable with. Whether the interview takes place in person, over the phone, or through your office’s video conferencing software, it is integral that you assess potential remote employees beyond a resume read-through.
  • Don’t neglect reference checks. Try to get a sense of what kind of values the candidate has and how well those fit with your company.


Communication is key in any business, but it is especially important in one that deals with a mobile or remote workforce. The more closely you communicate with your employees, the better you will be able to maintain the relationship according to your company’s culture and values.

  • Make sure your remote workers have the right communication skills. They should be comfortable using web conferencing, telephone, email, and social media to touch base with their managers.
  • Chat clients – whether cloud-based, located within the email client, or installed on the desktop – help employees communicate more efficiently. They can message their team members or managers instantly in order to ask a quick question or get into a lengthy discussion.


One of the dangers of hiring remote workers is their exclusion, due to location, from their coworkers and the rest of the company. You can increase the inclusiveness of your company by implementing an enterprise social network (known as “Facebook for business”).

  • Employees use the platform as a means of communication inside of and between different departments, helping them to align goals, increase productivity, and promote interdepartmental cooperation and collaboration. Since the discussion is all taking place on the web, it matters little whether the participants are located across the office or across the country.
  • Since all conversations are open, everyone can see what everyone else is working on. Coworkers can provide input and align their own work to fit better with company-wide efforts. Everyone –whether local or remote – feels more tied to the company, its goals, and its culture.

Although it may be difficult to promote your company culture with employees working remotely, the right strategy and tools can make it much easier. Work on hiring employees who have values that align with yours, communicate with them regularly in accordance with those values, and help them feel included with the rest of the company.

About the Author: Megan Webb-Morgan is a business blogger who focuses on startups and small businesses. She writes for lead-generation provider Resource Nation. You can find Resource Nation on Facebook and Twitter!

How to Start a Business from Your Hobby (Infographic)

Regardless of how wrong some experts think about starting a business from your hobby, it is probably the most effective and efficient one. There are some reasons to that…

Firstly, you don’t have to learn about anything from scratch. It’s YOUR hobby; you ARE the expert; even if you need to learn the technicality of your hobby, you are half-way there.

Secondly, it’s YOUR passion. People can be passionate about entrepreneurship; but if you are passionate about entrepreneurship AND everything you do and every product you create/service you offer, you are taking shortcut.

But still, just like any other business, you need to take some steps to startup right. Make it Cheaper, the business cost-saving expert, publishes this interest infographic about turning your talent or hobby into a business – check this out (please click on the infographic for the original size…)

Turn your talent into a business
Source: Make It Cheaper: The Saving Experts for Business

3 Great Initial Investments for Small Businesses

Some may say that a business is only as good as the tools it uses. If you don’t start out with some form of efficiency, you could be doomed to fail. There are several initial investments you could purchase in order to start your business off on the right foot. While you don’t have to spend a great deal of money to provide stability, an investment of some kind is still required for immediate success in specific areas.

startup investments
photo credit: brianfling via photopin cc

1. Quickbooks – For the small business, Quickbooks can be one of your greatest assets. Not only does this program provide tracking for your bank accounts, but it also handles a large amount of your business practices. Inventory control, payroll, bills, and more can be tracked from Quickbooks providing a wide range of reports to help you analyze what areas your business needs to improve on.

Taxes and end-of-year business can be easily compiled and printed without putting much effort into it. As long as you entered the data correctly throughout the year, taxes could take you a fraction of the time and 1099s could be quickly produced for any contract labor you employed.

2. Computer Network – Having a computer network should go without saying. As nearly everything we do in today’s world requires access to the Internet, having a computer system can save a great deal of time and money. However, does your small business need an expensive server and network in order to function?

A file server could be beneficial if your organization uses a lot of files that need to be shared with one-another. For this purpose, a small $600 desktop server would suffice. Essentially, these servers are nothing more than a regular computer with a server software installed on it. It may not be a bad idea to increase the hard drive size as much as possible, but a file server doesn’t need to have a lot of power behind it.

For a small business, gigabit Ethernet capabilities are more of a luxury that shouldn’t be required. Again, this could greatly depend on the type of business you are starting. The basic 10/100 Ethernet network is far cheaper to build now-days and could serve your business purposes well. Unless you are planning to hammer the network bandwidth using a lot of streaming content, game playing, or other function that requires faster speeds you should save your money.

3. Website – As a large amount of people use smartphones to search for local businesses, you should have a website with all of your products and services described in detail. For less than $120 per year, you could have a website that could generate its own income or simply provide information about your business.

If you’re not interested in hosting eCommerce, your website could still serve a purpose to supply information to potential customers. With enough content, your website could generate revenue with Adsense by receiving money for hosting advertisements of other companies. There is a great deal of potential with a website and if nothing more, it can serve as a great way to advertise your business to the local community.

Although you can still start your business without any of the above tools, they are still a very wise investment. They can save you time, money, and stress from having to alter your methods of conducting business. As long as you track every dime and where it is spent, you can have a handle on how your business functions.

Author Bio: Nancy provides feedback on all elements of the site “www.enannysource.com” helping us to really make sure that we are making it as easy as possible for caregivers to sign up and find work.  In addition, she spends quite a bit of her time on freelance writing tasks.

Marketing with eBook – a Comprehensive Strategy

Do you know the bottom-line of running a business successfully? No, it is about being proactive or possessing a go-getter and killer attitude. It is about generating leads.

If you are incapable of generating leads for your business, your business is not going to make it. And probably for this reason, business owners go extreme and start doing weird things when they fail to get their business going.

They send their over-confident marketers to attend seminars to rub shoulders with marketer leaders with a desperate hope that they will be able to seal some crazy deals. Nevertheless, it rarely works. However, some others go extra miles. They invite affiliate marketers and try to make them believe that their product is going to change their lives for once and all. But this is not the way you should be marketing your business. This is definitely not going to help you generate any leads rather it will diminish your prospect.

Image Source – http://www.flickr.com/photos/libraryman/2048264201/

Rather than chasing your customers, you need to know how to provide value that will eventually draw more customers and businesses. And this can easily be achieved with eBook marketing. It is simple, cost effective and of course, it is environment friendly. However, before you jump onto the bandwagon, you need to know the rules of ebook marketing otherwise all your efforts will go wasted.

ebook app
Image Source – http://www.flickr.com/photos/epw/4857693316

How eBook work as a lead generation machine?

When you pay a visit your nearby shopping mall, I hope you have certainly seen shop owners trying to sell their products by offering some samples to try. By doing so, they are trying to provide instant value to their targeted audience and thereby making a huge stride to get them converted them into customers. Now, you can apply the same tactic while promoting your service. Since there is no option available to let your customers ‘taste’ your service, you can offer them a small eBook that will help them come to term with your offer or service.

And you know eBook is being considered as a powerful marketing tool because people do not consider them as a marketing tool. They usually take it as a source of information and therefore, you would not have to persuade them.

digital lifestyle
Image Source – http://www.flickr.com/photos/benoitmeunier/3769104218

The Obvious Benefits of using eBook

eBook comes with a unique benefit. Since traditional forms of marketing are proving less effective, ebook marketing is capturing the attention of all. As I have already said, it does not even look like a form of marketing. However, ebook does not need to be informative only; you can change the tone to suit your purpose. Just do not overdo things because it will defeat the purpose of launching the ebook.

  • The biggest benefit of using eBook as a source of marketing is that it is highly cost effective. Compared to its physical counterpart i.e. print magazine, ebook will not cost you an arm and leg. And the best part of ebook is that it does not necessarily have to 100 pages long. In fact, if you make it 100 pages long, no one is going to read this. The shorter, the better. Since people do not have much time in hand to go through a 100 pages long ebook these days, you need to make it short and sweet.
  • eBooks can be made a bit more interactive. Rather than making it another book with dry information, you can add videos, cool graphics, interactive pie charts and more. And if this is not enough, you can email your customers if you happen to update the ebook that will give a nice feeling to your customers that you care for them.
  • Since all things digital can be tracked or at least to some extent, you can measure the success of your ebook marketing campaign quite efficiently and precisely. If you have added links of your website in the ebook, you will be able to track how many visitors are actually coming to your website via ebook and how many of them are making the purchase thanks to the powerful tracking application – Google Analytics.
  • You can include call to action in the middle of texts in your ebook and believe me it can help you see some conversions. Since here the readers do not have to memorize the coupon codes or the long URLs or any other complex thing. They have to do far simple thing. Yeah, all they have to do is to click on the link and there they go. They will get landed right on your website and if the lady luck favors you, you will see more conversions and more business.

However, just publishing an ebook is not end of the task. You need to make sure that it is well written and the presentation is good enough otherwise it will not click. Here are the few things that you need to be careful about to make the ebook acceptable to your audience –

ebook reader
Image Source – http://www.flickr.com/photos/tscherno/194189530/

  • Quality of images should not be compromised. Since most people are going to scan the pages, your ebook should look presentable with loads of interesting images. As the ebook is going to be your brand ambassador, you have to make sure that the formatting, writing, presentations etc are at par with market standard.
  • You are free to add logo or other brand-based images in the ebook but make sure that they are not making it look like a promotional pamphlet.
  • Do not ignore the difference between a traditional book and ebook. For say, if you are converting a slide presentation, you should not ignore the importance of incorporating images with the texts so that the readers can have the feeling of seeing the presentation. And the same goes with when you are converting spoken content. The conversational tone should be kept intact.

So, if you can manage to follow these simple tips, you will be able to make the most of ebook marketing campaign. It is powerful and highly effective and all you have to learn is to how to use it.

Author Bio
Stark Jensen is a passionate writer and he has written several articles on web hosting. You can check his latest articles on Hosting Review: iPage.

How to Handle Conflict at Work

Conflicts will always arise at the workplace. Irrespective of how much we hate it, it is a universal truth that there is no organization in the world which is free of conflict.

It may be a small matter that can be easily resolved, or it may be a major conflict that threatens the existence of the business entity. This does not mean that the organization has to be in a chaotic state at all times. Conflict can be the beginning of interesting relations at work. The managers have to be meticulous in dealing with it. They must do so in a manner that is fair to all and the means used to arrive at a solution must be void of bias or prejudice.

workplace conflict
Image by a2gemma

Here are a few tips that are useful in minimizing and handling work related warfare.

1. Define what is acceptable

This is the first step in avoiding unnecessary rivalry. Ensure that all employees understand the kind of behavior that is expected of them. Clearly define a framework that highlights code of ethics. Let them know what will not be tolerated. In the same light ensure that everyone’s job description is crystal clear to avoid situations where there is conflict arising from ambiguity in roles. This framework should be used whenever there is a conflict, and the employees have to be aware of its existence. The policies which have been set up have to be utilized as the basis for conflict resolution.

2. Deal with conflict as soon as it arises

Tugs of war at the workplace should not be ignored for too long. Ignoring such clashes will only give them time to flare up. It may spread like bushfire, and before you know it, it is all over the organization. This particular reason necessitates prompt confrontation of the conflict before it goes out of control. Do not let it escalate to a level where you cannot effectively deal with it. Do not bury your head in the sand. A few conflicts will calm down naturally, but most conflicts do not die down without some sort of intervention.

3. Listen to all parties and then act

It is only fair that both parties are accorded an audience before action is taken. Sometimes it is not necessary to do so, especially when it is quite obvious that one party is on the wrong. However, it is only right that both sides of the dispute are heard so as to arrive at a conclusion that is free and fair. Listen to what each party has to say before taking any serious action. Ascertain the facts and then act accordingly.

4. Request a third party to intervene

Whenever there is a conflict, it is important to ask an impartial third party to mediate. This is particularly important when you have made attempts to resolve the conflict without any significant progress. A third party will bring in some fresh ideas and give the parties concerned a notion that someone has listened to them, which is a crucial step towards healing.

5. Aim at finding a lasting solution

The idea behind conflict resolution is to come up with a lasting solution. You have to be solution oriented. As much as you acknowledge the problem, you have to suggest possible solutions which will bring the dispute to an end once and for all. This will help the parties to open up as they give their opinions about the suggested solutions, which should improve the situation.

6. Keep emotions away from the process

The greatest mistake people make is to let their emotions interfere with their decisions. The same applies while solving conflicts. Emotions will only aggravate a bad situation. Try to remain sober and to think as straight as possible. Ensure that emotions are kept off the bay so that they do not interfere with the process.

About the Author: Suzan Morley has over 10 years of HR experience.