Whether you pronounce it ess-em-ee or smee, a good SME (subject-matter expert) is worth their weight in gold. The SME is the person who knows their stuff—the details, the ins and outs, the gotchas … everything about a particular subject. They are the go-to for that topic. But here’s the thing. Being an SME isn’t actually their job. It’s simply a result of whatever responsibilities they’re tasked with on a day-to-day basis. And the better they are at their SME-iness, the more in demand they are to share that expertise, and the more likely people within the company are to say, “we need to clone” the SME.
It used to be if you wanted to learn about a topic, you’d have to find a source of knowledge—say a user manual, or an encyclopedia, for example—and then pore through it to find the information you needed. It took a lot of time. Depending on what you wanted to learn, it might be difficult to even get your hands on the right reference. Mastering a subject required training, whereby an expert builds a curriculum and then teaches it. It’s an event—even if it’s delivered digitally—that happens separately from the practical application of that knowledge.
Technology has radically changed business communications. Remote working is widespread. And even co-workers who sit next to each other as just as likely to communicate via email or IM as have a live conversation. And it seems like no one picks up the phone any more. Which is all great.
Except, is it?
Do you know how much communication power you hold in the palm of your hand? In just a couple of clicks, you can capture a multi-sensory experience. Want to have a little more production value? There are lots of inexpensive tools that anyone can use to jazz it up, no film school education required. Hosting and distribution are no big deal, either.
If you work in any industry that involves software development, you know there can be a disconnect between development teams and the “front of the house” sales and marketing teams. Even in small companies. We can preach corporate buzzwords like “HR synergy” until we’re blue in the face, but it can be really difficult to align these groups.
Collaboration is a critical component to sales success. In fact, according to a survey by Salesforce.com, 73% of sales professionals across all performance levels say that collaborating across departments—sales, service, marketing—is absolutely critical or very important to their overall sales process. And the results bear this out. 60% of sales professionals say that collaborative selling has increased productivity by more than 25%, and more than half (52%) say it has done the same for increasing pipeline.
Twenty-six years ago. That’s when Adobe announced version 1.0 of PDF. It took a while to catch on. It didn’t help that you had to pay big bucks to both create and read PDFs. But once the free version of the Acrobat Reader was released, the Portable Document Format (did you know that’s what PDF stands for?) started to take off. And it’s been great. PDF has proven to be an easy and flexible way to distribute fully formatted documents that can be viewed consistently no matter which system or device is being used.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5.7 million Americans were hired in the month of June. At that rate, companies onboard over 65 million new employees in a single year. The quality of the onboarding process matters. It’s the first time employees get to interact and engage with all facets of the business, from meeting new people around the office to getting set up with HR and IT, and the process can make or break a new hire’s perception of their employer. And that perception can have a huge impact on employee retention. In fact, a survey by Robert Half showed that 28% of workers would consider quitting within the first 90 days of starting a new job if they were unhappy at work. In today’s war-for-talent job market, that’s a risk organizations can’t afford to take. Without a formal onboarding process, important information and resources can fall through the cracks, leaving the new hire feeling unprepared. Many formal onboarding programs, however, are highly standardized and tedious—it’s just something the new hire “has to get through.”