Business leaders and employees are all keenly aware of the effect COVID-19 has had on businesses around the globe. The pandemic has imposed significant strain on budgetary and operational resources for businesses large and small. Those disruptions are being felt far and wide.

Fortunately, this is also an opportunity. Business leaders willing to rise to the challenge can better address their organizational needs through leaner operations.

Fostering a culture focused on strategic action and resiliency will lead to success in the current climate.

Here are 5 steps that can be taken now to focus on the essential and ensure the future of your business:

  1. Realign with your company’s strategic vision
  2. Problem solving: be accountable, be part of the process
  3. Own the message and communicate actively
  4. Continually engage with your workforce
  5. Connect creatively with your customers and capture their insight

1. Realign with your company’s strategic vision

Whether you share an optimistic viewpoint that the economy will reignite in the coming months or feel otherwise, hoping for the best and preparing for the worst is both practical and beneficial.

Take this time to realign your focus with the core values and strategic vision of your business. This will ensure you remain on track, no matter what the future holds.

The only constant is change and the current market demands it. Times like these put businesses to the test. We can already see examples of those that are rising to the challenge.

Manufacturers, retailers, and service industries are all adapting to meet market demand in new and innovative ways.

For example, manufacturers are altering production lines to support hospitals and medical care providers with needed equipment. Textile facilities are making masks, distilleries and breweries are making sanitizers, and additive manufacturers are making faceshields. Even some of the largest auto manufacturers in the country have shifted gears to deliver other mission-critical medical equipment.

For many, using innovative software solutions to take their services online is part of the equation. Retailers and restaurants are are making the effort to offer online or curbside ordering and pickup in line with CDC recommendations and customer demand.

Fewer resources at your disposal naturally leads to doing more with less. Rethink any activity that isn’t lockstep in tandem with your strategic vision.

Reevaluate every process and take the time to get input from your employees, those who are carrying out those processes daily, weekly, or monthly.

Meeting with your first line managers is a good place to start. Use their insights between both your company and customers to inform your actions moving forward. you will also be able to identify key areas and resources ripe for redistribution.

2. Problem solving: be accountable, be part of the process

Time is perhaps the most finite resource for many business leaders. When disruption hits, it can be even more critical to solve problems quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, most will agree that time is wasted in abundance when it comes to streamlining business processes. This waste can be the result of unpreparedness, distraction, or inability to focus. Simply put, it’s not harder work that will save you time, but smarter work.

When your teams are tackling their respective components of a problem, they are looking for leadership to keep an eye on the prize. That is the bigger picture.

Be that foundational resource they are looking for and lead by example with smarter budgeting of time in tackling problems.

For example, make a shift in meeting culture. Keep meetings down to a condensed time frame and commit to ensuring all discussion topics and resources are shared and reviewed prior to the meeting. This leaves little room for wasted time in explaining and rehashing ideas.

When it comes to email communications, do away with novellas and stick to bullet points. Clean, clear, crisp communications get ideas across faster. No one should have to spend more than 60 seconds reading an update.

Committing to incremental and cultural changes pays off big in saved time. By showing, rather than telling, how to solve problems and work more intelligently.

This is how business leaders improve organizations and inspire team members to focus and prioritize.

3. Own the message and communicate actively

While there are times when delegating communications, tough times are not those. When times are tough and uncertainty is in no small supply, your workforce wants reassurance from the top of the organization.

Direct and open communications between upper management and teams fosters a cooperative atmosphere and lightens the burden of anxiety. If changes need to be made, be explicit about them and hold true to those directives.

For example, if cash flow issues make salary reductions a necessity, do the math upfront. Lay out how you reached your calculated requirements for salary reductions across the board. Give a time frame. Stick to it. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver and follow through once you’ve set your parameters.

Trust and reputation take time to built and a moment to ruin. Be the leader your teams look up to by instilling confidence, trust, and respect by giving clear instruction, finding compromise, and living up to your word.

4. Continually engage with your workforce

Maintaining employee engagement is a constant challenge for most businesses. COVID-19 and the nature of remote work has compounded that difficulty through distance. So, the question is, with all these factors, how do you keep your people connected?

Now is the time to recognize your employees at an individual level. Everyone has different ways of processing change and reactions to the current environment. There is no one size fits all solution in the New Now.

It’s up to you as a leader to recognize and be mindful of your staff’s unique reactions and feelings, if they may differ from your own. When you see negativity in the ranks, don’t dwell on it. Find ways to be supportive and create the environment for positive outcomes using your positive perspective of the big picture.

The isolation some may feel in a remote position can put people in a fog. Structure can easily go overlooked when it surrounds us every day. Now that that environment has fallen from view for so many, new and creative ways to remain connected are necessary.

Social media and networking tools are some of the available options for keeping your workforce engaged. Virtual happy hours, hobby threads, internal contests, games, and general intranet activity can help keep employees connected even though they are apart.

5.Connect creatively with customers to capture insight 

With traditional face-to-face meetings out of the question for the foreseeable future, it’s time to get more creative in how you interact with customers.

With a new landscape laid out before us, the same way of operating just doesn’t make sense.

Fortunately, modern virtual meeting platforms and social media tools make it easy to at least see each other face-to-face. Leveraging these resources gives us the virtual eye contact we need in healthy human interaction. It also reassures your customers that you are proactive and engaged with them in conversation. Conveying the tone, body language, and other social cues that email and phone calls fall short with make these tools invaluable.

Rise To The Challenge As Business Leaders

In summary, now is the time to actively adapt and strategically realign with your strategic vision. Respond to disruption using the modern resources available to you. Stay the course in regard to your company’s long-term vision and continue to strive in meeting your customers’ needs. Get rid of the wants and focus on the needs of your organization in the New Now. This is the time to run lean.

Lastly, your employees are the lifeblood of your business. Be clear and transparent in your communications with them. Lead by example and hold true to your word. This will ensure confidence, focus, and engagement as your continue to strive for success.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


The free sales tax risk assessment is a self-serve online resource that helps companies determine where they have triggered economic nexus. Companies answer three questions and receive a PDF report that provides a map and details regarding where they have triggered sales tax obligations and which states they need to watch.

Know Where You’re On The Hook With Our Free Sales Tax Risk Assessment Tool

Get a breakdown of states where you may be obligated to collect sales tax. The free Avalara Sales Tax Risk Assessment can help you determine where your sales have created a need to register to collect and remit sales tax — and guide you on a cost-effective automation solution.

Still Need Convincing To Use This Free Sales Tax Risk Assessment Tool?

Has your company triggered economic nexus, or do you want to find out if it has? Try our tax expert partner’s free online sales tax risk assessment today – Avalara will give you your own report.

Selling into states where you’re not physically located? You might be on the hook for sales tax if you’ve sold a certain dollar amount or volume.

Give our tax expert partner Avalara some of your time, and they’ll give you a customized PDF featuring each state where your sales have likely triggered a sales tax obligation and suggestions on an automation solution with strong ROI.

Get a breakdown of states where you may be obligated to collect sales tax. The free Avalara Sales Tax Risk Assessment can help you determine where your sales have created a need to register to collect and remit sales tax — and why.

43 states tax remote sales so it’s hard for businesses with national (or international) sales to know where they’re required to register to collect tax. Avalara’s new tool provides that clarity. Check it out and let’s talk about automating that knowledge.

About Avalara

Offering end-to-end tax compliance solutions to enterprises big and small, Avalara makes automated certificate validation, storage, and management easy. Avalara’s cloud-based sales tax automation software provides accuracy for all of the 12,000+ tax jurisdictions in the United States. Avalara ensures that automating sales, tax calculation, and maintaining compliance are all possible within your existing ERP, POS, or e-commerce system.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


The article “How to Consider the “What-ifs” in Times of Uncertainty” by Wayne Slater was originally published on the Prophix blog in April, 2020. you can read the original article, Here.

The word “uncertainty” immediately invokes feelings of anxiety and fear. This is not unusual, as it’s a natural human reaction to prefer the comfort of predictability over the vagueness of uncertainty. It’s in our nature to plan our day, week, and year on the data available to us. Businesses and finance professionals are no different. When the future is uncertain, this increases the risk to businesses and anxiety escalates around how to tackle the situation quickly.

Uncertain times are just that, uncertain. They make predicting the future much harder at the precise time you need to plan for it the most. Like people, businesses need to change with the times as well. Plans are no longer set in stone and need to be revisited more than twice or thrice in a year.

The need for active forecasting based on real data is paramount to making well-informed decisions about the future. In uncertain times, it’s all about becoming agile. Think about how the United States went from one COVID-19 case in Jan. 2020 to over 140,0001 by the end of Mar. 2020. Whether your organization operates in healthcare or hospitality, your plans need to adapt quickly because new decisions need to be made. Project management has already started moving from waterfall methodologies to agile for more frequent output. Ask yourself, has this sort of innovation happened in FP&A? It’s high-time finance teams are equipped with the right tools to “shift from generating data to producing insights2” that drive superior decisions.

Get access to our short 20-minute webinar on how your business can better react to and prepare for market volatility with CPM software.

an image of the future-proof your business webinar hosted by Prophix

The World of CPM

Welcome to the world of CPM – Corporate Performance Management – a tool that transforms your finance department by making processes more efficient, agile, and automated, so that you can leverage your data to improve planning, reporting, security, workflows, and consolidations, all while reducing human error. Ultimately, CPM lets your organization be proactive, forward-thinking, and enables finance leaders to better guide the organization during uncertain times.

Agile Scenario Planning

An especially important application in these uncertain times is scenario planning (see Fig.1 for contextual and transactional environmental factors involved in scenario planning). What realities is your business facing? What happens if consumer spending falls by 25%? Or if product revenue falls by 15%? Or customers need to renegotiate payment terms? Whether sales are booming or declining, finance leaders need to go back and revisit their forecasts to assess the impact to cash flow and profitability and set correcting strategies. Having a centralized CPM tool like Prophix can make your life easier because it allows you to easily run scenarios on-the-fly.

Fig. 1: The Role of the Contextual Environment in Scenario Planning | https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/using-scenario-planning-to-reshape-strategy/

an iamge of how to future-proof your business using contextual planning

Powerful tools let you transform your data and allow you to better model your operations, especially in regard to “what-if” scenario planning. Positioning your company for success involves tough modeling to ensure business continuity.

Some industries are experiencing tremendous growth like healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and groceries. Concurrently, there are those that are being hit hard financially such as hospitality, aviation, and retail. Cash flow planning becomes critical during uncertain times. With a robust CPM tool, you can easily model changes to your plans and move forward. It’s all about enabling you to plan smartly.

Your finance department probably spends long nights doing month-end and operational tasks. If they’re already spending 80% of their time on transactional tasks, it can be hard to shift focus to complex planning. Is your team equipped and ready to model endless scenarios in price adjustments, changes in capital spending, and fluctuating labour needs? Now, try to imagine a world where you already had a plan and solution in place to successfully steer you out of uncertainty…

Unsure how to move forward in uncertain times? Listen to the upcoming Prophix webinar on the benefits of proactive scenario planning.

Planning for Uncertainty

So, how you do you plan for uncertainty (see Fig. 2 for some tips on scenario planning)? Well, it depends on many factors, but it starts with having a tool that can effectively and centrally manage your data, so that all your users can view and interpret the same information.

To prepare for uncertainty, you need to set the baseline financial plan and the appropriate objectives/strategic goals. Next, prepare for different outcomes by involving more people in your planning process and consider best- and worst-case scenarios. CPM software lets you do this seamlessly through workflow project management capabilities.

Once your data is centralized, it’s easy to assess your performance against planned objectives. As you understand your variances, you can measure performance, visualize the future, and adapt accordingly with agility. Once everyone agrees, you can automate report distribution, buying you more time for value creation and generating insights.

Get your guide to corporate financial planning during the pandemic – watch the webinar.

Fig. 2: The DOs and DON’Ts of Scenario Planning | https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/overcoming-obstacles-to-effective-scenario-planning

an image of how to future proof your business using the do's and don'ts of scenario planning

As you can see, scenario planning is closely linked with both budgeting and forecasting. Things change, uncertainty arises, and plans evolve. In finance, scenarios act as guiding frameworks about events that may or may not take place in the future.

As finance leaders, we must proactively plan for the unknown and incorporate it into our forecasts. We must assess more frequently whether we are meeting our objectives, and if these objectives need to be changed. Scenario planning helps mitigate variances by focusing on the realities of the business. It helps finance leaders manage resources and improve decision-making by considering opportunities and risks.

In summary, the strategy is all about envisioning and implementing ideas and goals that let you compete and win in the marketplace. Don’t let old habits of the past slow down your organization and its predisposition to change. CPM tools like Prophix provide you with the technological solutions that help innovate the Office of Finance in a rapidly evolving environment to give you a competitive edge in a world of big data and increasing complexity.

Consider the “what-ifs” in Prophix’s webinar on proactive scenario planning – watch now.

Join the live discussion with Q&A to learn what CFOs around the globe can do to respond to changing conditions and ensure business continuity while improving planning and minimizing risk.

Footnotes:

1 – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html

2 – https://images.info.deloitte.ca/Web/DeloitteManagementServicesLP/%7B161111db-4cc2-4d68-a272-96bd0a7d551a%7D_ca_en_FinanceTrends_16_3730T.PDF

About Prophix

Prophix develops innovative software that automates critical financial processes such as budgeting, planning, consolidation and reporting — improving a company’s profitability and minimising its risks. Thousands of forward-looking organisations in more than 90 countries use software from Prophix to gain increased visibility and insight into their business performance.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


Sudden and abrupt change can interrupt anyone’s mode of operation. This couldn’t be truer than in manufacturing and distribution industries. When that change affects supply chains, livelihoods, and communities, anxieties are compounded. In these situations, people look for business leadership as a source of answers to the unknowns that are feeding their anxiety. Here are 3 ways to lead your organization through a crisis and towards a better outcome.

Business Leadership – Success From Uncertainty

There are many qualities that make a great leader, such as passion, delegating, owning responsibility, honesty, and active listening. However, not all leadership qualities are created equal when it relates to business. This is punctuated when situations are considered critical. Our current business and economic climate qualify soundly for this designation. From this point of view, below are three of the most effective and essential business leadership qualities that will help your organization endure a tough situation and lead to overall business success.

1. Give Clear Direction

A light in the dark can be more than a means of finding your way around after the power goes out. A clear path delivers comfort and confidence to move forward. In the dark, your teams may stumble over their anxiety of what may or may not come next. Direction delivers many essential signals to your organization, here are four among the most effective:

Be Calm – “Calm is Contagious” I’m not sure if its an idiom, but it should be. People react to the signals they are given every day. The most primal of which is behavior. Your calm and reassuring body language, sincerity, and timeliness reinforce the reassuring effect that essential to every level of your organization. Understanding you’ve provided a behavior to emulate every member of your organization can move forward with focused and unencumbered with anxiety.

Communicate Openly – By maintaining direct and open communication, you negate the inherent anxiety that comes with moving through the dark. Whether delivering good or bad news, your communications need to come when they are needed and provide details that lead forward. You don’t have to have all the answers, but you must let your teams know the one’s you do have.

Be Precise – Clarity is an important part of giving direction. Don’t leave room for misinterpretation. Keep your workplaces free of inefficient language and processes. By communicating in clean, clear, crisp directives, everyone remains on the same page and works towards the common goal.

Maintain Your Connection – Your organization may have been founded by an individual, but I guarantee it was built by people. Some of them may be senior members of your organization, some of them may have joined you days before any significant change upended your day-to-day. It’s important to remember that they are all invested in your continued success. If you don’t treat them as though they have a stake in the game, you may be compounding the problems you are already facing.

By giving your teams a clear direction moving forward, you enable them to keep their focus and put the unanswered questions out of their path. This leaves them free from distractions to continue towards their goal. This leads us to the next point.

2. Outline achievable goals

One of the biggest components of business leadership is to include yourself as part of the solution. Having a goal in mind helps to maintain focus. To that effect, the notion of “here’s what I, you, and we can do now…” can be real foundational support for those who can let their minds wander into the great expanse of what comes next.

By ensuring everyone has a goal, is on task, and maintains accountability throughout your organizational structure, your place in the supply chains remain uninterrupted, your products reach their destinations, and your relationships remain in good standing.

3. Identify Opportunity And Implement

This is where you show your organization that you are in control of the situation. You’ve given everyone the rundown on what’s happening form an operational standpoint and measures being taken to alleviate constraints. With the staff at ease, they can go about achieving goals and completing tasks in their “new now” modes of operation.

By identifying key opportunities that you can take advantage of during this change of pace, you communicate to everyone that growth is still happening, even if it may not be apparent on the surface. Big ships take time to steer and those efficiency projects that kept being pushed onto the back burner due to high volume orders fulfillment or staff shortages are now primed and ready to be implemented. At the very least, you can outline your strategy to achieve the implementation of new ideas and projects so that you can hit the ground running when the conditions permit.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


Whether you are a large or small organization, have low or high turnover, you probably think you understand the cost of hiring someone new into your company. There’s the cost of advertising, interviewing, drug testing, onboarding, training, etc. But what are the hidden costs of hiring the wrong person? What if you find out months or even years down the road you hired the wrong person from the beginning?

The True Cost Of Making The Wrong Hire

Research from Gallup shows 67% of your employees are not engaged at work. What does that mean in practical terms?

  • Organizations with low engagement experience higher turnover.
  • Companies with low engagement scores earn an operating income of 32% lower than companies with more engaged employees.

In contrast, companies with high engagement:

  • Have earnings-per-share levels 2.6 times higher than companies with low engagement
  • Organizations with highly engaged employees experience a 7x-greater 5-year total annual shareholder return than organizations with less-engaged employees.

Think back to when you started your job, you were likely excited and eager to learn. So how do your employees become disengaged? The chart below illustrates a typical process for having engaged or unengaged employees:

 an infographic explaining the true cost of a bad hire

In Quadrant 1 employees are hired and brought into the organization. Regardless of the job, most employees are highly engaged and chomping at the bit to get started. They are not particularly competent at this stage but are learning and their competency and value to the organization grow each day. Employees stay in Quadrant 1 for 3-12 months depending on the complexity of the job.

In Quadrant 2 employees are highly engaged and have learned enough to be fully competent and of high value to the organization. If the job is a good fit for the motivational needs of the employee, they may stay in Quadrant 2 for quite a while and this is obviously where we want all our employees to be and stay if possible. Unfortunately, we know most employees are not fully engaged so many moves to Quadrant 3.

In Quadrant 3 employees become disengaged and over time begin to lose their competence. If they stay in Quadrant 3 long enough, they may move to Quadrant 4. It is possible for the employee to become re-engaged either through strong leadership or through a new project or role opportunities within the company, moving back to Quadrant 2.

If employees move to Quadrant 4, they can become so disengaged they lose competency. If an employee stays in Quadrant 4 for very long, they will either leave on their own or be fired at which point the employer starts the cycle over, hiring a new employee.

What causes loss of employee engagement? Is it:

  1. Lack of effective leadership
  2. No shared vision
  3. Weak or toxic organizational culture
  4. Poor communication
  5. The job does not meet the motivational needs of the employee
  6. All of the above

The answer varies from one organization to the next but most often the answer is some level of “All of the above.”

Turn-over is just the cost of doing business, right? But what is the cost, really? Earlier we shared how engagement impacts performance metrics over time. Based on the employee engagement process model let’s explore the real $ cost of low engagement.

Sample Cost To ABC Widget Company
Total number of employees 100
X Percentage in Quadrant 3 (per Gallup research) 67%
Estimated number of employees in Quadrant 3 67
X Average Monthly Compensation per employee in Quadrant 3 $4,000.00
Estimated Average monthly compensation for Employees in Quadrant 3 $268,000.00
X Cost of lost effectiveness (100-67%) 33%
Estimated Monthly Cost of employees in Quadrant 3 $88,440.00
Estimated Annual cost of lost productivity of employees in Quadrant 3 $1,061,280.00

This is just a model and you may say that number is wrong and unfortunately you would be right. This example only considers the hard cost of each disengaged employee in Quadrant 3. That’s bad enough but these disengaged individuals don’t just sit there quietly.  They play a game called “ain’t it awful”, recruiting others to their side. They do this in the break room, over a beer after work or even at company events. You know it’s true because you’ve seen it and maybe at some point in your career played the game yourself.

How To Avoid The True Cost Of The Wrong Hire

It doesn’t have to be this way. Even under the best circumstances you will have disengaged employees, but you can dramatically reduce their numbers and improve your bottom-line in doing so. Here are a few things you should consider:

  1. Use assessments in your hiring process. Scientifically valid assessments like those Jamesson Solutions offers are the only way to get an objective view of how the person will show up to work behaviorally and if the job fits the motivational needs of the person. You are not doing yourself or the applicant any favors putting them in a job that does not fit them.
  2. Have a clear mission and vision for your company and make sure everyone in the organization knows them, what they mean and what their role is in making the mission and vision happen
  3. Assess your current organizational culture and whether that culture is conducive to enacting your company’s mission and vision. If not, actively work to make the needed changes to your culture.
  4. Most are not born leaders but rather grow to become leaders over time, through learning on the job, through mentorship and through dedicated, focused leadership development. It is as critical to your organization for you have a solid leadership pipeline as it is to have a solid sales pipeline. So, make sure you are developing your people at every level.

About Jamesson Solutions

Specializing in workforce development, talent selection, and personality assessment and evaluation, Jamesson Solutions provides numerous proprietary tools and methodologies to find the right people to fit the right roles, provide visibility and action plans for management, and Business Simulations that allow people to learn through self-discovery and by doing.

Each Jamesson Solutions Associate brings her/his own unique experience in developing individuals and improving organizational effectiveness to each client engagement. Their interest, their passion and their commitment are in supporting you, the client, and your organization in achieving your objectives NOW and in the future.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.

 


Are you getting the most out of your people? It’s complicated. Increasing employee engagement is a critical component of a healthy workplace. If you’re looking for ways to improve this important metric, keep reading to learn how you can get more from your talented workforce.

Employee Engagement Metrics

According to a recent Gallup Poll, only 33% of employees are engaged in their work.  Another survey cites a lack of appreciation as one of the most significant reasons people are disengaged or leave the job.  Well then, the problem is solved; to get your employees engaged and to retain them, you only need to make sure you show them more appreciation. If only it were that simple.

As managers and leaders, we are bombarded with statistics that tell us or imply the reasons ALL employees are more engaged or less engaged, why they leave or stay in a job.

The problem with this approach is it really tries to apply a one-size-fits-all solution. It attempts to answer the problem in simple terms.

The challenge is understandable by anyone who has tried on a shoe that is two sizes too small…it just doesn’t fit. It fits many people but not everyone.

As leaders, we are challenged to find solutions that motivate and engage everyone to the best of our ability and that solution is not a one size fits all possibility as much as we would like it to be.

“The old ways — annual reviews, forced rankings, outdated competencies —
no longer achieve the intended results.”

Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO, Gallup

What Appreciation Means To You Versus Your Employees

The truth is even if the survey that cited lack of appreciation is generally correct, it doesn’t go deep enough. What does appreciation mean to you?  If asked that question, you probably have a very quick answer that is solid and real… but it’s just for you. Personally, appreciation to me means I received a raise or bonus for the good work I did. For someone else, it might be my manager praising me in front of all the staff. While for another, having a manager come into my office and tell me quietly and in person how much they appreciate my contribution would do the trick.

The point is we are all motivated by different things. The leader’s job is to understand how each of us are motivated and work to make sure the job rewards what motivates us.

Understanding Staff On An Individual Level

Over time we can observe if a person is more or less dominant, more or less outgoing, detail-oriented or not; in other words, HOW they go about doing their work. Understanding WHY they do their work or, more accurately, what motivates them is challenging and requires more sleuthing on the part of the leader.

It’s natural for us to project our own “WHY,” and that’s the biggest trap leaders face. We have developed our own assessments that take the guesswork out of those processes and accurately identify an individual’s WHY, making a Leader’s job much easier.

The key is to put your own notions of need aside and really understand your people’s needs may be very different from your own.  It takes a little more time upfront but, in the end, it will save you time in refilling positions and improve your organization’s performance.

About Jamesson Solutions

Specializing in workforce development, talent selection, and personality assessment and evaluation, Jamesson Solutions provides numerous proprietary tools and methodologies to find the right people to fit the right roles, provide visibility and action plans for management, and Business Simulations that allow people to learn through self-discovery and by doing.

Each Jamesson Solutions Associate brings her/his own unique experience in developing individuals and improving organizational effectiveness to each client engagement. Their interest, their passion and their commitment are in supporting you, the client, and your organization in achieving your objectives NOW and in the future.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


How to Apply for SBA Loans: A Step-by-Step Guide was previously published by Justin Biel, here. You may also follow the steps and resources outlined by the Small Business Administration at sba.gov.

SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Update

The Small Business Administration has released its 11-page Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application.

Experts from Tuggle Duggins P.A., TowneBank and Smith Leonard PLLC provided the following tips for the best chance at receiving forgiveness:

    • Start by reading through the forgiveness application a couple times.
    • Be patient. The application is complex and time-consuming.
    • You must apply for forgiveness through the lender who processed your PPP loan.
    • Don’t try to figure it out yourself. Work with your lender or another trusted adviser to ensure the application is completed properly.
    • Provide your lender with lots of documentation. This is easier if you keep your PPP money in a separate account. Make sure there’s a paper trail of how COVID-19 is affecting your sales, current and 2019 payroll costs and any layoffs that would have happened without PPP.
    • Employees who decline to return to work after being furloughed or laid off will not impact your ability to get the loan forgiven. However, your offer to return and the employee’s refusal must be documented in writing.

How to Apply for SBA Loans: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you’re a growing business in the U.S., you’ve probably heard the news: The federal government’s Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering its Economic Injury Disaster Loans to small businesses across the country and its territories that are experiencing a temporary loss of revenue due to COVID-19.

Here, we’ll break down how to apply for these loans, including the site you’ll need to visit, the information you’ll need to provide and what to do after clicking “submit.”

What is the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program?

The program existed before coronavirus changed the financial landscape for businesses across the U.S. However, some of its details changed with the passage of The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27. Currently:

–The program provides “small businesses,” or those with fewer than 500 employees, with working capital loans of up to $2 million.

–During the application process, businesses can also apply for a $10,000 loan advance, which, if granted, they’ll receive within three days of a successful application, per the SBA. Unlike the working capital loans above, these advances will not have to be repaid.

–Each of these loans “may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other costs but are not intended to replace lost sales or profits,” according to the SBA.

To learn more straight from the SBA, visit the Administration’s page about Disaster Loans.

How do I apply for an SBA Disaster Loan?

The application is a short and simple online survey you can complete in less than 30 minutes. To get started, visit the application page.

Information required to apply for an SBA Disaster Loan

While filling out the application page, here is the information you’ll be required to give.

I. Business information

–Business name/trade name

–Organization type (also known as your business structure)

–For nonprofits and franchises: check a box stating your business’s identity as such

–For sole proprietorships: provide your EIN/SSN number

–Gross revenue, in dollars, for the 12 months before the date of the event warranting need of a loan. (For COVID-19, this is Jan. 31, 2020.)

–Cost of goods sold, in dollars, for the 12 months before the date of the event (Jan. 31, 2020)

–Business contact info (address, phone, email)

–Date business was established

Current ownership date

–Your “business activity.” (The drop-down list includes categories like “Communications,” “Eating & Drinking Places,” “Freight,” etc.)

–Number of employees

II. Business owner(s) information

This basic form includes information like your name, email, address and social security number. You’ll also state your percent ownership in your business.

*A note on the amount of your loan

You will not state the amount of the loan you’re seeking in your application. Once you apply, a loan officer will check your credit rating, income statements and tax returns “to determine how badly your business needs the loan,” explains bookkeeping company Bench.

The current application page does, however, allow you to check a box that denotes you’d like to be considered for the $10,000 loan advance and provide details for a bank account to which the SBA can send that money. (Again, the Administration says the funds should arrive within three days of a successful application.)

Completing the application process

Once your business information has been submitted, you will receive a 10-digit application number. Print that page, and save the application number for your records.

Congratulations, you have now completed your application for the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan!

Okay, I’ve applied. What do I do now?

Unfortunately, there’s nothing to do but wait. The SBA will contact you at the email address provided if they need additional information after your application has been processed. They’ll likely connect you with a loan officer and case manager who will request additional paperwork including income tax returns and profit and loss statements.

We’ve asked businesses in our network whether they’ve received a loan and, if so, how long it took. So far, we haven’t got any reports back. It looks like the Twitterverse is in the same boat: Many report having applied for loans, but we’ve yet to spot a tweet from someone who received SBA funds. We’ll update this post as soon as we have stories to share.

Are there other federal loan options for small businesses?

Yes, but you can’t apply just yet. The government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act made available an additional $350 billion to help small businesses. The new program that will distribute that money, known as the Paycheck Protection Program, will provide low-interest, federally-backed loans to small businesses. According to the small business checklist provided by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “the administration will soon release more details including the list of lenders offering loans under the program.”

We’ll provide a rundown of how to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program in an upcoming article, as well as stories from businesses who’ve obtained these loans. For now, we recommend reviewing the Chamber of Commerce’s guide so you’ll be prepared to apply when the program kicks off:

Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist

PPP Loan Forgiveness Calculator

How to apply for SBA Loans

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


As more and more of our ERP implementation and Upgrade customers find their business operations slowing and project teams moving into remote-based roles, I am frequently asked:

  • Does it make sense to continue our project?
  • Can we be successful while working remotely?

Maintaining Project Continuity

It may not seem like it, but slower times in your business can actually be turned to your advantage, and work to drive a rapid, and successful project.  Some typical project challenges are listed below, along with how you can turn a period of slowness in your business, into an accelerated plan to implement or upgrade, such that your new system is ready when your business is. Project continuity will ensure that any active or planned undertakings continue to make use of any momentum that preceded a period of disruption.

Systems Design

While we move to design a system for our clients that correctly supports their desired future state, it’s very important to be able to model end to end processes with subject matter experts in the business.  This can be challenging as these individuals are almost always key business roles, and it is normally difficult to get dedicated time.  With more bandwidth for each subject matter expert (SME) to work remotely with the lead on our side, the process modeling that can sometimes take months or more can be compressed into just a few weeks, leaving us plenty of time to complete any gaps – like custom screens, reports, or integrations –  so that the system is ready for your team.

Education 

It is common during a project for end-users to struggle to find time to attend education classes, workshops, and to make time to do their homework while they keep up with the demands of their 9 to 5 job.    This can be a good time to allocate some time each day for them to focus on learning the system, and ensuring readiness for UAT and cutover.

User Acceptance Testing

Ideally, project team members all need to get together to run high-value business streams through the designed system, to validate all gaps are closed, and the system is ready for production use.  These UAT exercises take key people out of their jobs, for a period of several days.  While things are slower, an activity like this can be tightly scheduled, such that this demanding exercise is out of the way, and the system is ready when business picks up.

As a consulting firm, we are accustomed to working remotely.  As such, we can assist your own project team to be able to be effective and productive, even if much of the team are working from their homes.  The key is to define roles and tightly scheduled tasks within our clients’ organization, build a collaborative way for issues to be logged and addressed, and with a good schedule in place, set periodic meetings to review issues, answer questions, adapt to change, and foster constant communication.

Things Encompass can work with your project team to do are:

  • Define a point (SME) for each business group
  • Set up a tracking system that the client and ESI can collaboratively use to track issues.  We are currently opening our own system to customers, via a web-based portal, free of charge.
  • Set periodic team meetings with SMEs to review critical issues, and let them get updates from Encompass on anything that we have been asked to assist with.  Early morning,  and right before lunch are typically times to meet.
  • Have each SME/Lead funnels all issues from their department to the portal at the end of the day- including questions from their team.  The SME can then set a priority on issues, which might range anywhere from ‘I can’t perform a process’ to ’nice to have in Phase 2.  This is the input to the morning meetings, where the customer’s internal project manager, and the Encompass project manager can set further prioritization as needed.

We realize that while you probably do not want to cut over to a new system while most of the team are remote, we can definitely plan intelligently for project continuity.  By leveraging some of the available time your team has right now, work together to accelerate your project, such that your business can go live as soon as you are ready, rather than trying to restart a project right as things get busy.

I am always available to take a call and help you work through a process that will work for your organization, to ensure project continuity with remote team members, and to prepare for success when things return to normal.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass has helped modernize operations and automate processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


“3 Ways to Manage COVID-19 Disruption on Your Supply Chain” Was published by SourceDay CMO Sarah Moore on March 16, 2020. you can read the full article HERE.

“How many of your PO lines have exceptions?” – Account Executive at SourceDay

“These days? All of them.” – Global CPG Manufacturer

Manufacturing is no stranger to change, but the coronavirus is changing the game. Schools are closing, and companies have told employees to work from home. Major sporting events and tradeshows are canceled or postponed. Supply chains have started to experience all kinds of disruption. Some will struggle to keep up with record demand, as consumer fears create runs on toilet paper and canned goods. Others will shut down production because of canceled orders and watch their inventory pile up.

Unfortunately, most manufacturers depend on email and spreadsheets to manage open orders with their suppliers. Rather than foster resilience, this approach makes it more likely that they will struggle to manage the impact this global pandemic could have on their businesses.

As the supply chain point person, I rest easier knowing that SourceDay can bring me completely up to date in short order!

Troy Mauk
Director of Global Procurement at Global Interconnect

In the year 2020, there’s no need to depend on manual updates to spreadsheets and ERP systems. By using SourceDay’s cloud software and managed services, you can have a single source of truth on every line of every order. And it can be accessed by your teams from anywhere at any time.

“I immediately started looking at SourceDay to see what was confirmed and what was late. I put priorities on the hotlist, and said to our suppliers, ‘here’s what you need to focus on for the next 4 weeks.’  We implemented critical use of the ‘Hot List’ function to shepherd our suppliers in deliveries and to gain real-time insights into confirmed shipments.”

Troy Mauk
Director of Global Procurement at Global Interconnect

3 Ways to Manage COVID-19 Impact

There are three primary ways SourDay solutions help you manage the unprecedented impact COVID-19 could have on your supply chain:

  1. Get real-time visibility to all open orders. Use SourceDay to move your open order report online so buyers and suppliers can collaborate on changes to dates, quantities, and pricing. Any approved change is automatically updated in your ERP.  This will give your demand planning engine accurate supplier order fulfillment data and lets the whole business know what to expect on every line of every order.
  2. Help your buyers and suppliers focus on the most critical exceptions. SourceDay automatically filters PO’s to help buyers prioritize the most important exceptions that might impact production. When buyers and suppliers spend less time updating each other in email, spreadsheets, and data entry, they spend more time making sure you ship your orders on time.
  3. Contain cost with streamlined communication. As customer demand shifts throughout this crisis, Sourceday can help you stay on top of changes that could drive up costs. Communicate push outs and pull-ins more quickly and systematically. Use SourceDay software to safeguard against price gouging and excess inventory.

As SourceDay CEO Tom Kieley wrote last week, the manufacturing industry is resilient. It’s weathered countless global crises because its leading companies found innovative ways to overcome unprecedented challenges. We’re being called to do that again now.

Use SourceDay Free for 90 Days

COVID-19 has moved our supply chains into uncharted territory. Global and local leaders worldwide are ready to do whatever it takes to ensure they continue to run as smoothly as possible. SourceDay’s mission has always been to do the same. That’s why we’ve decided to offer new customers the SourceDay PO Collaboration and RFQ Collaboration solution free for the first 90 days. We know this global pandemic will make the next few months particularly challenging. But we also know we can help you get through this stage if we start now.

Together, we’ll get through these unprecedented times.

  • Sarah Moore, CMO at SourceDay

About SourceDay

SourceDay’s platform provides a digital interface between a manufacturer’s ERP system and hundreds of suppliers, automatically updating changes to delivery dates, pricing, and quantities throughout the order lifecycle and across the supply chain. Replacing manual processes with software improves customers’ understanding of the many changes that occur throughout the lifecycle of an order. Procurement teams stop spending their time on fire drills and reacting to expensive surprises. Now they have time to manage suppliers more strategically, proactively addressing pricing and quality issues and ensuring their factories receive the materials they need to meet customer commitments on time.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass has helped modernize operations and automate processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


The Greensboro Chamber of Commerce has been very active in delivering useful information to citizens and businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. One topic, in particular, was too relevant not to share with our partners and other small to medium-sized business owners in the state. Small Business Disaster Relief Loans are now an option for many businesses in North Carolina as a result of the public health crisis.

These low interest, working capital loans are available to those in affected disaster areas.

If you want to know more about the Small Business Disaster Relief Loans, whether you qualify, and how you can apply for these funds, please watch the full action call – HERE.

You can apply online – HERE.

North Carolina Small Business Disaster Relief Loans FAQ

  • WHAT ARE SBA ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOANS? 

Low-interest working capital loans of $2 million or less for small businesses and certain nonprofits.

  • WHO SHOULD APPLY?

Any small business impacted by COVID-19. Business owners should apply even if they don’t have the best credit or if they can’t prove they’ve exhausted all other means. Additionally, the SBA does not deny disaster loans solely on a business’ inability to provide collateral. If you are denied, you can reapply in 60 days.

Exclusions for the loans include religious and charitable organizations; farmers and ranchers, who are eligible for USDA loans; and small businesses that derive more than 1/3 of their revenue from gambling.

  • HOW CAN I USE THE MONEY?

The purpose of economic injury disaster loans is to restore businesses to their pre-crisis state. The money can be used to pay for necessary business expenses like payroll, mortgage or rent payments and inventory. It can’t be used to expand your business or consolidate past debts.

  • WHEN AND HOW DO I APPLY?

Apply as soon as possible to get the maximum amount of funding. You will submit your application online, but the SBA recommends looking through the paper application first so you’ll know what you need.

All businesses will need to provide:

  • Tax Information Authorization (IRS Form 4506T) for the applicant, principals and affiliates.
  • Complete copies of the most recent federal income tax return.
  • Schedule of Liabilities (SBA Form 2202).
  • Personal Financial Statement (SBA Form 413).

Some businesses will need to provide:

  • Complete copy, including all schedules, of the most recent federal income tax return for principals, general partners or managing member and affiliates.
  • If the most recent federal income tax return has not been filed, a year-end profit-and-loss statement and balance sheet for that tax year.
  • A current year-to-date profit-and-loss statement.
  • Additional Filing Requirements (SBA Form 1368) providing monthly sales figures.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.