Do Interns Play A Major Role in Your Brand Promotions?

An important facet of any business these days is social media. Without a social media face, businesses are missing out. Social media is critical in gathering new business, keeping customers informed of your world and keeping up with current business trends and efforts.

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But who’s going to run your social media? Do you have the time? Do you have the know-how? If you or someone else at your business doesn’t, you may want to think about using an intern to run your social media.

Why would you use an intern to run your social media?

  • Twenty some things are the experts on social media. They know what sites are hot, which apps are hotter, and the best ways of reaching out on social media.
  • They usually bring an energy and excitement that social media needs and expects which may be lacking in your older, busier employees.
  • It doesn’t necessarily have to be a full time position, so they can either be part time or else have other responsibilities in addition to social media.
  • They can teach you a thing or two so when they leave, you can pick it up.
  • Your intern can sift through social media communication and answer what’s easy and pass on what needs a more expert touch to you or the appropriate contact.

Many people are still asking how important is a college degree in 2014? The answer is very; employers want to see a college degree. Therefore, college kids are working hard and trying to make the most of their college experience to prepare for the work world. Internships are pretty critical aspects of education, and using an intern is often a win-win situation for both student and business. Still, you should watch out for a couple of things when considering an intern.

What to be careful of if using an intern for social media:

  • They may not be as consistent or as invested as you or other employees (however, usually interns work hard because it’s the first step in a career and you have the potential to be a really good reference).
  • Though they may know social media, they may not know your industry as well as you do. You don’t want misinformation or a major faux pas landing in the big world of the Internet.
  • The possibility of overloading them exists and your social media could suffer. If you’re piling on other responsibilities that may seem to take precedence, social media could suffer if it’s perceived to be less important. Just make it clear what your expectations are.

Social media is tricky – it often appears to be a small part of running a business, but instead, it’s an important marketing face. Social media needs to wear an excited, current tone, and who better to direct that than an excited, current intern?

Just remember, handle things on your end, too, and give clear expectations and guidelines. You never what you may learn, too, and soon you can be tweeting and Instagramming yourself!

About the Author: Heather Legg is an independent writer covering topics related to social media, small business and health and well-being.


Smart Money Lessons from Everyday Savers

We live in a world where we see celebrities flaunt their lavish lifestyle on TV 24/7. It’s easy to look up to people who have big homes and fancy cars, and many equate having a lot of money with happiness.Some of us, however, have discovered that there’s joy to be found in frugal living.

Saving money doesn’t mean doing away with the things that make life comfortable. It’s about making smart decisions every day to help you save a dollar here and there, which all add up in the end. Instead of focusing all your energies trying to earn more money, you could spend some valuable time instead doing things that really make you happy.

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Here are a few smart money lessons that you can adapt to your lifestyle today:

Save When Grocery Shopping

Do you make the trip to the grocery every week? Grocery shopping presents a lot of opportunities for saving money:

Use Coupons

If you’ve seen the TV show Extreme Couponing, then you’ve probably seen how some people can leave a store with a car full of groceries, paying only pennies and sometimes even nothing at all. You may lack the skills to pull that off but you could still save a lot by spending a few minutes cutting up coupons and using these on your next store visit.

Buy Store-Brand Items

Store-brand items are usually cheaper than branded ones. Try these out and you may find that these are of the same, even better, quality than their branded counterparts.

Look at the Price Per Weight

Food items usually come in different package sizes.When you’re doing your groceries, look into which package size actually gives you the best price. Whip out your phone and use the calculator to divide the price over the product’s weight. Try this out when you buy cooking oil, spices, and grains.

Stock up on Staples When These are on Sale

Save a lot when you do your grocery shopping during a store sale. You can get better beals on almost everything so take advantage of these events. Stock up on staples, such as sugar, condiments, and canned goods, since these have a long shelf life.

Save on Home Services

The money you pay for utility services such as water, electricity, and Internet takes a huge chunk out of your paycheck. Follow these tips to cut your home expenses:

Conserve Energy

Saving electricity isn’t just good for your wallet, but for the environment as well. Replace your light bulbs with energy efficient LED bulbs and turn off lights that aren’t being used. You could also get an advanced power strip, which could help you cut the power for devices such as TVs, DVD players, and game consoles that consume electricity even while on standby mode.

Reduce Your Water Consumption

Have leaks fixed immediately when you see them. Replacing the gasket on faucets is easy and is usually the only thing you need to fix a leaking faucet. You could also limit the times that you wash your car and water your plants to cut your water bill.

Look for the Best Internet Deals

Don’t forget to periodically review your Internet plan. You could be missing out on a more affordable yet faster connection if you don’t shop around. If you’re not locked into an existing plan, compare Internet plans and look for one that is both faster and cheaper.

Not All Savings Accounts are the Same

Now to set aside all the money you manage to spend after following the above mentioned tips, you’ll need a good savings account in your name. Not all savings account are the same though. Take the time to study your options and look for savings accounts that offer high interest rates and low fees.

These are just some of the things that you could do to save money. You don’t have to give up the things that you are used to, or stop spending on your hobbies or stuff you like to do—you just have to realize that there are far more affordable alternatives and that if you’re willing to explore, you can drastically reduce your expenses and be able to get more savings.

Author’s Bio:
Mark Yasay is a freelance writer and digital strategist for MoneyHero, a comparison site in Hong Kong that helps residents find the best value for medical insurance, financial services and products they need. MoneyHero also provides free financial advice that supports individuals and empower them to meet their financial goals and attain financial freedom.

 


Essential Tips on Planning Your Financial Future

Everyone knows that they should be actively planning for their financial future. However, knowing what needs to be done and actually doing it are two very different things. Experts and analysts are now predicting that today’s university graduates won’t even be able to retire until they are in their mid-70s, and that even assumes a fair amount of saving in the here and now.

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Faced with statistics like that, it is more important than ever before that today’s rising professionals get serious about saving money and planning for their financial future. Along those lines, we’re going to look at some tips for getting started planning your financial future:

Learn to distinguish between needs and wants.

This is a core consideration for anyone struggling to save for the future. It is absolutely imperative that you learn to tell the difference between things that you need and things that you would just like to have. Without a clear grasp of these essentials, you are going to struggle with budgeting for the present—let alone with saving for the future.

Learn to be consistent.

For younger people who are just getting started with saving, it can be difficult to establish a consistent lifestyle. People in their 20s are likely to spend lots of money right after payday, only to slip into a much more Spartan lifestyle near the end of the month. This is the recipe for living paycheque to paycheque, and it is not going to lend itself well planning your financial future. Indeed, when you run out of money every month, there is really no point in making plans at all. Once you develop some financial consistency, you’ll be able to add savings to your monthly budget.

Make the most of employee benefits

It is essential that you are aware of all of the potential benefits that are available to you through your employer. Specifics vary depending on the company you work for and the position you hold. Some employers will offer to match investments that you make from your paycheque into a retirement savings account. Find out the upper limits that they will agree to match, and make sure that you are paying at least that much every year. Failing to do so is literally turning down free money. If you are afraid that you cannot afford to tuck away that much money each month (due to cash flow concerns), schedule a consultation with a employee benefits consultancy such as Jelf Group PLC Company for some professional insight into your specific situation.

Accumulate cash reserves

Any well-organised financial plan is going to be built upon a base of cash reserves. Most financial planners recommend setting aside an amount equivalent to between three and six months’ wages. This should be viewed as an emergency fund that you can fall back on should something happen. In other words, any savings for big purchases, holidays and spending sprees should be considered separate from these cash reserves.

Pay down debt

One of the biggest hindrances to your financial future is your current burden of debt. Any borrowed money that you owe on today is going to compound with interest until it is paid down. Along those lines, paying down one pound of debt today is going to save you from owing more than a pound in the future (i.e. that original pound plus interest). The results can be surprising (and are dependent on the interest rate); however, it’s safe to say that paying a few quid per month now will save you from owing thousands in 10 years.

 

About the Author: Jelf Group PLC Company is a consultancy firm that provides individuals and businesses expert advice on financial planning as well as insurance, employee benefits and healthcare.


Make Employee Satisfaction and Productivity A Priority

Employee satisfaction and productivity are fundamental to the success of any business. Listed below are several ideas to motivate your employees and significantly improve the success of your employee engagement initiatives.

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Remember the importance of regular and constructive feedback

One of the most effective ways to increase the productivity of your employees and boost their motivation is by offering regular and helpful feedback. Endeavour to provide constructive feedback which incites your employees to work harder and improve, as opposed to blunt criticisms which will only deplete their motivation and spark resentments. This is not to say that your feedback must always be positive, but it does mean that your feedback must always be constructive. Aim to inspire your employees to work towards an objective, and regard feedback as a means of helping them to achieve this objective rather than just berating them. Use feedback sessions to demonstrate to employees where they were going wrong and illustrate methods through which they can improve. In this manner, employees will leave feedback sessions with an incentive to apply these methods and improve, rather than feeling disheartened. Moreover, by helping your employees, they will feel more confidence seeking your advice in future; thereby avoiding any issues which may have arisen later due to their lack of knowledge regarding a particular issue.

Provide clear employee roles and objectives

If you allocate clear and concise roles and objectives to your employees regarding what you expect them to do, and what they can expect other employees to do, then both your business and your employees will have structure and purpose. Sarah Maynard states how “it is important to remember that each team member is a part of the team for a reason – they are competent in their specialty. Therefore, by defining clear employee roles, you offer individual members of your workforce to exercise their expertise and take pride in their work”. Employees will work more diligently and productively if they feel their work is appreciated and held in high regard. Not only do these clear roles enable employees to work on their individual roles more competently, but it means they will also know who to turn to when they need information or help on a specific aspect of a project. If your employees know their specific roles and aims, as well as the roles and aims of the other members of their team, your company can function with structure and cogency.

Communication is key

Whether you are running an international corporation or a start-up business, it is crucial you equip your employees with efficient communication resources. Paul Williamson of Realia Marketing argues that “the need for internal communication is arguably as great as the need for external communications”. Therefore, you should provide your employees with online communication tools such as instant messaging and project management resources so that your workforce can be connected and communicative at all times. In this way, your employees can be notified immediately of any project updates or changes, irrespective of where they are located within your business. The majority of employee disputes and issues are a result of a lack of communication. Subsequently, by providing employees with a direct channel of communication between one other, you can eradicate communication-related conflicts and inspire confidence within your employees.

Offer employee incentives

If your employees feel valued, they will possess a greater motivation to work efficiently. A great way to show you value your employees is by offering employee incentives and rewards. The best incentives are those which impact individual employees the most, therefore design incentives which reflect their ambitions. For instance, you could place an employee in charge of an important project or presentation, or offer them the opportunity to train in another department. Ultimately, if your employees feel their skills, and themselves personally, are being valued by the company, consequently your workforce will be more productive and committed to the advancement of your business.

Guest post by George Campbell
Freelance Writer
@George1Campbell
George Campbell G+


Employee Engagement: Is There a Strategic Advantage?

According to a recent Gallup study, worldwide, only 13% of employees are engaged at work. In a 142-country study on the State of the Global Workplace, about one in eight workers — roughly 180 million employees in the countries studied — are psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations.

Companies that understand the value of employee engagement know that motivating high performance and aligning talent with business strategy requires getting to the heart of what matters to employees. Employee engagement is largely about social connections happening in organizations and aligning work experiences with employees’ cultural needs.

How do the best places to work succeed at employee engagement?

  • They understand what employees are thinking.
  • They create an intentional culture.
  • They demonstrate appreciation for contributions big and small.
  • They commit to open, honest communication.
  • They support career path development.
  • They engage in social interactions outside work.
  • They know how to communicate the organization’s stories.

Read more here – http://www.talentculture.com/career-strategy/employee-engagement-is-there-a-strategic-advantage/


Seven Solutions to Common Problems Freelance Professionals Face

The problems that a freelance professional could face are seemingly limitless. From clients who just can’t pay on time to competing with better established firms that are able to undercut your rates, there’s ostensibly no end of problems that affect freelancers.

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So why do we do it, i.e. work freelance? For the freedom, for the work-life balance it (supposedly) provides us with and amongst other things, the opportunity to work on projects we enjoy.

Here are seven common problems that freelancers often face and (hopefully) seven viable solutions.

1. You can’t find enough clients to keep your head above water.

This is a common problem many freelancers face and not only when starting out.
There are a number of websites for freelancers to promote themselves and their services on, though don’t limit yourself to one or two, make the most of the abundance of these websites by promoting yourself on as many as you need to, and more importantly, as many as you can manage.

2. Your clients aren’t paying on time (or at all)

This is frustrating and often takes its toll on freelancers’ cash flow. One way to deal with this problem is to ask for a small up-front deposit though bear in mind that this could make your services unappealing to potential clients. This common problem can also be addressed with proper client communication that clearly outlines expected timescales, payment times, etc.

3. Your clients are in different time zones

This is one of the joys of working as a freelancer, i.e. connecting with clients the world over, but it can also be a source of frustration. In addition to proper client communication to the effect that you aren’t rising at 4am for a VoIP meeting, a mutual compromise regarding time zone management is in order. Some freelancers avoid incurring this problem altogether by limiting their clients to manageable time zones.

4. You have to work with different currencies

You can generally expect to have to work with different currencies if you have clients from all four corners of the globe. Currency fluctuations can really harm your bottom line so keep an eye out for currency fluctuations, or alternatively, work in a base currency, e.g. US dollars or the Euro.

5. You’re worried about taxation issues

Taxation is something that we all have to deal with and it’s important to keep your taxation responsibilities under control. Two of your best options here are to work with (for) an umbrella company like GiniWealth or get yourself a good accountant, one with ample experience working with freelancers.

6. You’re experiencing cash flow problems

As a freelancer you’ll generally find that you don’t have the same cash flow options that established businesses do like invoice discounting and factoring. Keeping your personal and business finances distinctly separate is an excellent way of dealing with this, for example paying yourself a small wage and then working out your business finances at convenient times of the year.

7. You find it difficult to enjoy a good work-life balance

A more attractive work-life balance is a prominent reason for freelancing so as to enjoy more time at home with the family, though things have a tendency to work out differently at times. Break up your day with exercise, lunches out, the occasional afternoon (or day) at a local co-working space and set a time to finish work. Many freelancers find that although they have to get up early on occasion it sure beats working into the night and missing out on dinner with the family. Working freelance should be rewarding – Keep it that way.

About the Author:
A London-based company, GiniWealth offers a range of employment solutions including tax efficiency, legal assistance, and tools that help contractors maximise their wealth and expertly plan their future.

 


Want to Build a Dream Team? This Will Help!

I don’t know of any manager, leader, or company owner who does not want to build the best possible team to work with. This series of posts by Holly Regan and Dr. James Maynard of Software Advice may provide some useful insights into the types of people you would want to have on your roster.

Ragan and Maynard identified 4 distinct psychological profiles of certain team members and their associated characteristics; the Giver, the Champ, the Matrix Thinker and the Savant. Below is a summary of their findings. I encourage you to read the whole series to learn more!

The Giver

Givers like to give to other people. They put the company and their co-workers ahead of themselves. They work hard, and go above and beyond. Givers tend to be great lieutenants, they often do not want to take a management role. They do best when they’re taking their marching orders from someone else and representing that person or organization. They may be good leaders, but they typically don’t want to be the boss.

Characteristics of Givers:
• They’re loyal.
• They give it their all.
• They’re team players.
• They play by the rules.

The Champ

The Champ is high-energy, optimistic and loves engaging with people. They’re also extremely skilled at reading people—a skill which often comes from their upbringing. Champs tend to come with another distinguishing characteristic: the “Chip” on their shoulder. That Chip can come from a variety of sources, such as the socio-economic status they lacked as a child, their physical appearance or their educational background.

Characteristics of Champs:
• They’re optimistic.
• They’re confident.
• They strive to be the best.
• They’re “people persons”.

The Matrix Thinker

Matrix Thinkers are the creative types. Highly-functioning Matrix Thinkers have developed an ability to synthesize the many inputs they’re receiving. They maintain clear thinking, connect the dots and present their ideas in a way that makes sense to other people. Whereas poorly-functioning Matrix Thinkers are often impulsive decision-makers with chaos and disorder in their personal lives.

Characteristics of Matrix Thinkers:
• They’re good problem-solvers.
• They’re creative.
• They’re trailblazers.
• They take in everything.

The Savant

The Savants are really good at what they do. They have the ability to become skilled in many, but not all, fields. Savants are creatures of habit: they have a very specific working routine. Commonly, they need to isolate themselves in order to work effectively; outside noise is very distracting, and they are sensitive to environmental factors such as temperature or even the clothes they’re wearing. Once settled, however, they will work with laser-like focus, concentrating intensely on a given project for hours on end.

Savant characteristics:
• They’re really good at what they do.
• They’re focused and determined.
• They love to learn.
• They’re perfectionists.


What personality traits do you look for when hiring team members? Do you have these personality types working with or for you? Personally, I think you need a good mix of people to create a high performing team. Understanding what makes them tick can certainly be beneficial for managers and HR.

Read the full series of posts on workplace personality profiles.


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