Mediaplanet: What’s your advice for employers looking to build an engaged workforce?

Robert Herjavec: No one will be as passionate about your business as you are. Your job is to share that vision and passion so that your employees feel that they are part of something great.

Here are my top tips for keeping your employees engaged:

  1. Show appreciation. 
    If an employee has done well – let them know you know it!
  2. Involve employees.
    Involving them in company decisions will make them feel part of the organization & give them a sense of ownership of their success.
  3. Understand what motivates your employees.
    Seek feedback regularly on what’s working and what’s not!
  4. Use their talents. 
    Find out what your employees are the best at and ensure they are using their talents and developing in the right areas when delegating projects.

MP: What’s your advice for employers struggling to effectively engage their employees?

RH: I’m always asking questions. You’ve got to get feedback and take people’s opinions into account. The more you take the opinions of your team into account, the more empowered and trusted they feel. Better yet, explaining your perspective and taking the time to provide insight can rally a team effectively.

Also, communication goes a long way. A vested interest in your team will translate to them having a vested interest in your business. Employees want to feel valued and know that their work is meaningful. Give them an interesting and challenging project to work on and ensure they understand its importance. Then let them see it through, whether it’s delivering and presenting the information, or being a part of the decision-making process. The more you trust and respect your team, the more secure, confident and engaged they will feel.

MP: How are technology and software innovations changing the way employers interact with their employees?

RH: Technology continues to reshape the way companies operate. It’s increased worker mobility and given us the tools to provide flexibility and accommodation to our employees in ways we could not easily provide before. It has expanded our reach and allowed employees to work remotely without missing a beat, freeing them from their desks and allowing them to connect from almost anywhere in the world. With that said, nothing can replace the fundamental need for face-to-face interaction.

MP: What’s the most important consideration for business leaders who want their organizations to remain healthy, productive, and successful?

RH: Culture is key! The values and identity of your organization will impact how it’s perceived both internally and externally and will impact how you attract and retain employees. A positive and healthy culture will foster productivity and in turn, success.  One of the most important things you can do is to collectively work with your employees to define their career paths within your organization. Help set their goals and provide support in paving the way for their success. This, in turn, will create a sense of loyalty, promoting a positive environment. And never underestimate the power of a simple thank you!

MP: How should companies approach cyber-security differently when it comes to using web-based management systems containing sensitive information?

RH: As with anything digital, your information has a higher chance of being targeted when it’s web-based. That being said, security by design is critical from the onset. All too often we see accessibility and convenience prioritized with security left as the afterthought.  As the cybersecurity landscape continues to evolve, companies need to know how to be proactive vs. reactive when handling their sensitive information.

Here are a few tips to safeguard your data when engaging with web-based management systems:

  1. Keep the system patched.
  2. Use HTTPS - Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the secure version of HTTP, the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website that you are connected to. The 'S' at the end of HTTPS stands for 'Secure'. It means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted.
  3. Use multi-factor authentication (MFA).
  4. Monitor the access logs for authentication attacks.
  5. Use a Web Application Firewall and monitor for attacks to the requests.
  6. Keep the database separate from the application server.
  7. Change default passwords, especially for the SQL server.

MP: With some companies recently facing data-breach threats, how do you see the shift towards cloud-based management solutions benefiting large businesses?

RH: As with every shift in technology, cloud-based management solutions bring exciting benefits like accessibility, time to value, and allowing IT departments to streamline their cyber defence plan.  Cloud-based management enforce security measures from the very start of a company’s cyber defence plan. For large companies with many moving parts, having something that’s secure and efficient is a top priority. It’s important to understand where the responsibility for security lies in cloud-based services. Many public providers protect the cloud, but not the data within the cloud, as an example. At Herjavec Group we encourage customers to engage with a managed security services solution to ensure they are proactively monitoring threat detections, as well as security controls. This is particularly true in a cloud environment where there is no such thing as a “set it and forget it” solution.