Tag Archive: employee

Ensure A Rewarding Experience When Hiring Others

Ensure A Rewarding Experience When Hiring Others
Hiring an employee can be a big step for many small business owners. It means the end of doing EVERYTHING yourself and passing off some of the work!

In order to make the experience rewarding for both you and your employees there are a few things that every boss and leader should do…

1) Reward people for a job well done.  Its frustrating working for someone who enjoys all the financial rewards of the efforts put forth by the entire team, especially if they don’t recognize what everyone has accomplished and contributed.

It doesn’t take much to acknowledge the effort of your staff. It makes a HUGE difference in the working atmosphere when you take a few moments to acknowledge your team. People like to know that they’ve done a good job.

2) Always provide a balance between positive and negative comments. Your job as a leader is to recognize the talents of those around you and feed them with the motivation and positive energy to take YOUR ideas to entirely new levels. Help them serve you better by building up their confidence… not tearing it down.

3) Step up and accept responsibility for your projects. At the end of the day if things don’t go according to plan, in my opinion, the responsibility falls onto the leader’s shoulders. Stand up and accept the responsibility should anything ever go wrong.

If your staff always bear the burden of projects gone bad, it will drag people down and destroy your working environment. Start contributing to the emotional bank account of those around you.

If you acknowledge the behavior you want to see more of, you’ll start seeing more of it. Be positive and accept some responsibility when things don’t go according to plan.

4) When you have good people it’s your responsibility as a leader to hold on to them. People with talent will take your company to entirely new levels but if they keep leaving, the growth of your company will be stinted.

People with skills know that they have options. Hanging the carrot of a potential big pay day will only work for a certain period of time. After a while it wears off and they start looking elsewhere. The last thing you want is for them to end up with your competition.

So the moral of the story is find good people, train them, treat them well, and your business will take off.

4 Tips in Rewarding Experience When You Hire

4 Tips in Rewarding Experience When You Hire
Hiring an employee can be a big step for many small business owners. It means the end of doing EVERYTHING yourself and passing off some of the work!

In order to make the experience rewarding for both you and your employees there are a few things that every boss and leader should do…

1) Reward people for a job well done. Its frustrating working for someone who enjoys all the financial rewards of the efforts put forth by the entire team, especially if they don’t recognize what everyone has accomplished and contributed.

It doesn’t take much to acknowledge the effort of your staff. It makes a HUGE difference in the working atmosphere when you take a few moments to acknowledge your team. People like to know that they’ve done a good job.

2) Always provide a balance between positive and negative comments. Your job as a leader is to recognize the talents of those around you and feed them with the motivation and positive energy to take YOUR ideas to entirely new levels. Help them serve you better by building up their confidence… not tearing it down.

3) Step up and accept responsibility for your projects. At the end of the day if things don’t go according to plan, in my opinion, the responsibility falls onto the leader’s shoulders. Stand up and accept the responsibility should anything ever go wrong.

If your staff always bear the burden of projects gone bad, it will drag people down and destroy your working environment. Start contributing to the emotional bank account of those around you.

If you acknowledge the behavior you want to see more of, you’ll start seeing more of it. Be positive and accept some responsibility when things don’t go according to plan.

4) When you have good people it’s your responsibility as a leader to hold on to them. People with talent will take your company to entirely new levels but if they keep leaving, the growth of your company will be stinted.

People with skills know that they have options. Hanging the carrot of a potential big pay day will only work for a certain period of time. After a while it wears off and they start looking elsewhere. The last thing you want is for them to end up with your competition.

So the moral of the story is find good people, train them, treat them well, and your business will take off.

 

How Background Checks Can Help Your Business

How Background Checks Can Help Your Business

How Background Checks Can Help Your BusinessHow Background Checks Can Help Your Business. If you are running a business, you probably know that the people that you hire can either make or break your business. This is why it is so important to make sure that you hire only the best employees to work for you. However, it is easy to accidentally hire an employee that is a “bad apple” and you’ll definitely end up paying for your mistake. If you want to make sure that you hire only the best employees, then it’s time to start running background checks on employees before you hire. How Background Checks Can Help Your Business

There are many employers today who are turning to employee screening to make sure they get the best employees possible. If you’re not sure that background checks are the right choice for your business, here are a few of the main benefits that may change your mind.

Benefit #1 – Lower Turnover – One of the main benefits of using background screening on your potential employees is that it can actually lead to lower turnover. It can be quite expensive for your company to have a high turnover of employees. However, screening before you hire can help you avoid this.

Benefit #2 – Better Attendance – Attendance is important to your company as well. Your company cannot function well when employees are constantly absent from work. Employee screening can help you week out people that have a bad attendance history at work .How Background Checks Can Help Your Business

Benefit #3 – Reduce Incidents of Theft – You’ll also find that background checks can help you reduce incidents of theft at your company as well. They allow you to take a close look at the criminal record of potential employees to decide whether or not they are trustworthy or not.

Benefit #4 – Experience Productivity – Another great benefit of using background screening before you hire is that your company will experience better productivity when you do this. You won’t end up with people who slack off on the job or who don’t want to be there. You’ll have quality employees who really make your company better.

Benefit #5 – Find Qualified Employees – Having qualified employees is very important if you want a profitable business. So, take a look at their background checks to see how they have performed in the past and if they really do have the qualifications that they say they do.

Benefit #6 – Make Sure the Person is Who They Claim to Be – Last of all, employee screenings allow you to make sure that the person you are considering for hire is really who they are claiming to be. This makes sure that you are protected and that you really know who you are hiring. How Background Checks Can Help Your Business

 

Ways to Engage Your Employees This Summer

Ways to Engage Your Employees This Summer.Ways to Engage Your Employees This Summer

Ways to Engage Your Employees This Summer. One summer, I interned at a law firm in San Francisco. I wanted to impress the partners so that they would offer me a job after I graduated the following year. This was back in the day when law firms really wined-and-dined their potential associates.

 

Man, I loved that summer.

 

The partners took us river rafting, invited us to fancy dinners and drinks at their homes, and yes, they even took us in a hot-air balloon. Oh yeah, we also did a little work too. Needless to say, I really wanted to work at that firm. Well, I got my chance a year later, and let’s just say that the real world was a tad different than my summer of fun. Ways to Engage Your Employees This Summer.

 

It turns out that many businesses are learning that one of the smartest things they can do, especially at this time of year, is to take advantage of the natural rhythms of the season and give employees their own summer fun. Ways to Engage Your Employees This Summer.

 

In fact, if you take a close look at the latest edition of the spring 2013 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report (SBOR), it turns out that many employers are taking this idea of creating a strong culture seriously. The Report found that almost nine in 10 small business owners offer some type of benefits to their employees.

If you want to engage your employees this summer, here are a few tips mentioned in the SBOR that will make your employees feel more engaged:

 

1. Offer flexible work hours: Forty-five percent of the entrepreneurs surveyed in the SBOR said that they reward their staff with flexible hours and/or they let them work from home. While this used to be an exotic idea, it is much more commonplace today. Between the cloud, smart phones, apps and laptops, anyone can work anywhere at any time. Ways to Engage Your Employees This Summer.

 

So let them.

 

Especially during the summer, it makes sense to give employees some flexibility and some time to enjoy the nice weather.  By allowing your employees to get work done at a time more convenient for them, they will reward you with their loyalty and hard work.

 

2. Share amenities like free lunch, massages, etc. When you visit a large, successful Internet company like Google or Facebook, one thing that is very noticeable is the amount of free (or subsidized) food available. No, it’s not cheap, but it is a benefit that keeps people at the office and not taking two-hour lunches.

 

For small businesses, one alternative might be to provide free, healthy snacks like fruit and water, which are affordable and appreciated.

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3. Lead team building events:  According to the SBOR, only about 25 percent of the small business owners surveyed used this tactic, and I think that is a mistake. In the summertime, when everyone is thinking about a lot more than just work, a fun event together away from the office is often just what the doctor ordered. Whether it is going out to dinner, a game, or a concert together, a team-building event is the best way to grow as a team and build a strong culture.

 

4. Allow social media at work: This is a tricky one. Twenty-four percent of those surveyed said they use this tactic to reward employees. However, as we all know, social media can easily gobble up a whole lot more time than one anticipates and potentially decrease productivity in the office. I recommend offering this perk to employees as it is a great way to take a short mental break from work, but certainly speak up if you feel the privilege is being abused.

 

5. Give unexpected freebies: Give employees some free time off. Have a spontaneous contest and give the winner a pair of seats to a game. Buy gift cards from Starbucks and hand them out. Give everyone an unannounced afternoon off.

 

This is the time of year when people like to take advantage of the outdoors. Let them and you and your business will both be rewarded. Ways to Engage Your Employees This Summer.

 

Small Business Guide to Using Freelancers

 Small Business Guide to Using Freelancers

Small Business Guide to Using Freelancers by Robert Lerose.

Small Business Guide to Using Freelancers. Freelancers in the workplace are nothing new. Businesses have consistently relied on them under a variety of circumstances: to handle the overflow in a company’s workload, to step in when key members of an organization take time off for vacation or maternity leave, or to provide a fresh perspective on a project. The game changer in this working relationship is technology. Today, thanks to the digital revolution, freelancers can specialize in many more services than a generation ago, and businesses can literally search the world for the best resources for their needs.

Still, even though the Internet has broadened the field for both sides, a measure of due diligence and open communication is recommended to forge a stable working relationship. We called on three experts from different realms of the freelance world to share their perspectives on working with outside service providers. Small Business Guide to Using Freelancers.

Get more done with a virtual assistant

A virtual assistant (VA) is generally someone who provides creative, technical, or administrative services from a remote, or offsite, location. Besides handling traditional chores such as transcribing and coordinating meeting schedules, today’s VAs can give more hands-on support. For example, a VA can go through and prioritize your email before you wake up in the morning. They can write your blog posts, look after your Twitter and Facebook accounts, even update your website regularly.

“They can do everything but bring your coffee,” says Tawnya Sutherland, founder of VAnetworking, a social network for virtual assistants that she launched in 2003. “Once you work with them, you can outsource different things to clear up your schedule, so you can do things you love to do—whether it’s marketing your product or producing more product, or whatever it is.”

Evaluating a VA is no different than hiring a permanent, onsite employee, Sutherland says. Small businesses should check out the potential candidates’ websites, ask for references, and, of course, interview them—either over the phone or through webcam technology, such as Skype. Small business owners can also go through a network like Sutherland’s that lets them post requests on a job board. Small Business Guide to Using Freelancers

A common mistake among small business owners is not maintaining clear, regular communications with their VAs. “If you’re hiring them for five hours a month, you don’t need a once a week meeting,” Sutherland says. “But if you’ve got a fulltime VA, you need to be in contact with them, whether it’s through texting, Skype, or a project management system.”

The amount of contact is “a personal preference” that is hammered out between the VA and the client, according to Sutherland, depending on factors such as personality types, the number of work hours reserved, and the scope of the projects themselves. For example, hiring a VA to design a new website will likely require more contact than transcribing a recording.

Fees for virtual assistants are across the board, depending on their experience, type of services offered, and length of term. For example, you might be able to negotiate a discount rate for a VA who is on a monthly retainer. Other VAs offer package deals, such as writing a certain number of blog posts, editing and posting them, finding pictures for them, and handling comments—all for a fixed price.

“You’re getting a full hour’s work,” Sutherland says. “If they get up to go to the washroom, they’re not charging you for that time. What takes a secretary two to three hours to do with all the interruptions, a VA can do in an hour.”

Distinguish your company with a graphic designer

Freelancers who provide creative services—such as copywriting or design—have always been prominent in business, advertising, and marketing circles. Small businesses can find hidden benefits in working with them, such as getting an objective perspective on an inhouse project. Small Business Guide to Using Freelancers

“It’s good to have a fresh outlook,” says Carrie Scherpelz, freelance graphic designer and sole proprietor of Design that gets results, based in Madison, Wisconsin. “[Creative freelancers] can help your business stand out and communicate well.”

With a strong background in direct response, it’s no surprise that Scherpelz is big on results when it comes to small businesses evaluating the work of freelance designers. For example, asking the designer how an ad performed or the number of responses that a brochure generated can help determine if they’re right for your company.

Scherpelz collaborates closely with clients, especially new ones, to get a sense of what they want in a design. She’ll give them samples to see what they like and what works for them, and then use those as a starting point before tackling an assignment.

“I don’t believe in a big, glitzy presentation of three ideas that the client chooses from. Instead, I believe in rough sketches back and forth [to find] what they like. Then, I’ll combine them in our second round into something. That way, it goes faster and you get a result that everyone’s happy with.”

For example, she recently submitted a wide range of logo roughs to a client, who told her by email that he didn’t like any of them. Instead of replying by email, Scherpelz called the client and talked through the designs over the phone. During the call, the client realized that there was a logo that was close to what he wanted. Scherpelz added one word to the design and the client was satisfied. “It was kind of a mutual problem-solving exercise,” she says. “It turned out there was even one in the first round of roughs that was very acceptable. But you have to get on the phone and say, ‘What are you looking for? What are the specific things?’ It can’t just be through email.”

Build your business with a bookkeeper

Like other outside service providers, freelance bookkeepers bring a fresh set of eyes that can help a business prosper beyond merely recordkeeping.

“As a business owner, you have so much going on in your head that it’s really hard to see certain things in your financial setup that a freelancer can,” says Susan Osborne, founder of SheBuildsABusiness, an online resource for solopreneurs.

She found that one of her small business clients was paying $50 a month for website hosting. Osborne created a new website for her and moved her to an $8-a-month hosting service. For another client who manufactures a diaper bag product, Osborne identified ways to increase her revenues and trim unnecessary costs. For example, she was able to cut her client’s monthly cell phone bill from $200 to $160 by finding a plan with fewer bells and whistles.

“Like most small business owners, [my client was] so busy that she didn’t have the time to look closely and think about these things,” Osborne says. “But as the freelance bookkeeper, I do have the time. That’s my job.”

Whether your freelancer takes such an active role in your financial operations or not, it’s imperative that you stay involved and refrain from turning over too much control. For example, business owners should still sign all checks and have the sole authority of moving money around from one account to another.

Osborne says that the accounting software can be handled in different ways. In most cases, the small business will supply the software—QuickBooks, she says, seems to be the preferred bookkeeping/accounting program—to the freelancer. In other cases, such as when the freelancer wants files stored in a cloud-based environment—which usually costs about $35 to $50 a month—some bookkeepers will work that into their fee and then handle paying for it themselves.

Many bookkeepers charge hourly rates ranging from $25 to $70. Freelancers who regularly handle a company’s books can charge between $250 and $500 a month, according to Osborne. Business owners who want guidance beyond standard bookkeeping typically seek out a financial adviser or CPA, she says.

“Look at this relationship as a partnership or collaboration with another professional,” Osborne says. “I approach it as how I can help them run their business better.”

Where to find freelance help

In addition to the resources cited above, small business owners can also check out these sources of freelance help:

Elance: Businesses can post job requests for free, but they’re charged a commission of between 6.75 percent and 8.75 percent of the project fee, payable upon approval of the work. Mostly for creative services and IT-related jobs.

Guru: Markets itself as providing technical, creative, and business specialists. Freelancers are charged both membership and transaction fees to be matched to the right business project.

Freelancer: Bills itself as the largest outsourcing marketplace in the world with over 6 million service providers where freelancers bid on assignments.

oDesk: Lets you post jobs, in either a public or private forum, and interview freelancers for free, but charges a 10 percent commission on the fee for assigned projects.

8 Different Types of Small Business Management Styles – What’s Yours?

There are numerous perspectives on the different types of “small business management styles.” To help you identify your type, or learn more about, we’ve outlined eight different small business styles below.

Active leadership: Active leaders tend to lead by example and set a high standard Business handshakefor themselves and their employees. They wouldn’t ask an employee to take on a task they’d be unwilling to do themselves. They are highly involved in the day-to-day work and fully aware of what’s taking place in the office.

Democratic leadership: This style seeks to take all stakeholders’ opinions into account and achieve consensus before reaching a final decision. While this style can be frustratingly slow, having all parties involved in a decision can make for an easier and more seamless implementation process. This style promotes more trust, harmony, productivity and job satisfaction in the overall organization.

Directive leadership: Although less authoritative than autocratic managers, directive leaders do not typically solicit employee input. They often cite a short time-frame, an unpredictable client or an emergency situation as the reason for acting unilaterally. Often this may be true. Other times, they may just have a bit more difficulty letting go of control.

Paternalistic leadership: This style is also similar to autocratic, except more sensitive to employees perspectives. Managers who embrace this style are concerned with employees’ feelings and well-being. However, they will not place individuals ahead of the organization’s success.

Participatory leadership: Based on a coaching philosophy, this style focuses on empowering employees to seek their own knowledge and make their own decisions when appropriate. It can be very effective in fluid work environments with shifting priorities. A more advanced version of this style is the flat management style, where different managers take the lead on projects, depending on their expertise.

Servant leadership: Based on a “people-come-first” philosophy, this style has been made famous by writer Robert Greenleaf. The style is based on finding the most talented people to run your organization and then empowering them to do what they do best. The leader sees him or herself as a “servant” to the customer and encourages employees to adopt the same attitude.

Task-oriented leadership: Leaders who use this business style may have once been project managers. They are experts in planning projects, allocating resources, assigning roles, setting benchmarks and keeping to strict deadlines.

You may recognize yourself in some of these small business or business management styles and may be turned off by others. You could even aspire to start using a style that’s unfamiliar to you. Or, you may realize you need to play up one or more of the styles to keep your staff happy. No matter what you decide about your own style, you should give it some careful thought, because it is always better to manage with self-awareness than blindly. Which style(s) would you identify yourself as having? What do you think works? Does not work?

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