3 Million Americans Quit Their Job Every Month: Top Tips for Employee Retention

Employees deserve to feel satisfied about their work, but it appears that a record-setting number aren’t. According to a survey of employment trends, approximately 3 million Americans quit their jobs each month. For many companies, this is a huge loss–both in talent and in money. After all, it can be expensive to replace your employees. In order to prevent your employees from walking out your door for good, you need to strategize carefully to encourage employees to stay. Yet, it may not be as hard as it may seem. Here are some pointers to help you retain your workforce.

Invest in Your Office Environment

Look over your budget and see if there is room for you to invest in sprucing up the office. It’s been proven that employee performance is significantly impacted by what their workplace looks like. You can start out small: consider redecorating to create an open floor plan, which in turn fosters greater collaboration. A support network like that makes everyone look forward to going to work.

Foster Positive Workplace Culture

The mental atmosphere in the office is just as important as the physical one. Organize regular team building events that go beyond building marshmallow towers or egg racing. Get creative with activities such as a volunteer outing or cooking classes. This helps employees feel a greater personal connection to each other and the organization, and will make them want to stay as a result.

Survey Your Employees

Your own initiative goes a long way, but you should also take employee input into consideration. Send out regular surveys to monitor office morale—but not too often, otherwise employees may feel annoyed. Checking in to see how everyone’s feeling shows you care. It lets them know that your staff are valued and are a critical part of the organization so they’re less inclined to take off. Surveys don’t have to be direct, either: you’ll also learn a lot from just taking part in the classic water cooler conversation.

Encourage Professional Development

Employee retention also has a lot to do with creating opportunities for growth. Give them something to work towards as much as you give them to work on. Hiring an executive coach can help with this. Bring one in for a workshop or similar event. Your employees will then recognize their own potential within your organization and be motivated to work harder as a result. It’s also been said that a rising tide lifts all boats, so if even one employee gets inspired, that extends to everyone else, too.

When you’re a business owner, you’re especially concerned about keeping employees on board. Making sure that your organization’s goals align well with their personal interests will keep them from jumping ship.

Five Things You Didn’t Realise You Needed in Your Office!

Your office is so much more than four walls. It’s the space where your workforce spends most of their days, and so it makes sense that it should be a nice environment. Not only will this be more pleasant to work from, but improved mood is likely to boost productivity, meaning better work produced and more profits for you! If you look after your employees, they will look after your customers, clients and business- and providing them with a decent space to work from is one of the ways you can do this. We all know that we need good technology, ergonomically designed furniture and proper storage in the office- but there are a few other details that you might have overlooked. These things can improve worker happiness and productivity and make your office run that bit better. Here are ideas for five changes you could make!

Lots of Daylight

Daylight is a natural mood booster, and when your workers are happier they will do better work. You might think as long as your office is well lit, it doesn’t matter how much daylight comes in but it’s not the case. Make the very most of the natural light you have coming in. This could mean moving to an office with large windows, or if you own the building you could have the windows made larger. It could mean switching up the blinds or window treatments you have up to allow more light to come in, or changing the layout so that desks are positioned next to windows. It’s simple but so easy to overlook, if you want happier and more motivated workers a quick switch up in the office could really help you to achieve this.

A Light, Neutral Colour Scheme

As well as getting in as much natural light as possible, the way you decorate your office can have a big impact too. Choosing a light, neutral colour like a white, magnolia or very light grey can help make the office look more spacious and bounce the light around as much as possible. If your current space is looking a little worse for wear, a lick of paint can make all the difference. It will help to make the office look clean, modern, bright and airy. Even if you’re renting your office, you will usually be allowed to make cosmetic changes. Keep it simple yet beautiful and really make the most of any light coming into the room. According to colour psychology, blue makes people most productive and has a calming effect on humans, For this reason, adding some blue to your office could be beneficial if you wanted to bring in a bit of colour.

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Plants

Psychologists have shown that plants actually increase productivity in the workplace. In general, plants and flowers also help to boost our mood and reduce stress. This is thought to work on the principle of color psychology (green being a calming colour) and evolutionary. Our ancestors would have worked hard to produce crops and flowers and plants were seen as a ‘reward’ of this hard work. This is great as it means a few simple plants added to the office can make a big difference. Encourage workers to bring in a plant they love to put on their desk- and dot around a few bigger potted plants. As well as boosting mood, they’re a professional and unfussy way to decorate. The leaves add colour and texture to a neutral space without making it look cluttered.

Exercise Equipment

Unfortunately, office jobs tend to be pretty sedentary. This is bad news for employees, sedentary work can increase the chances of obesity (and its related ailments such as high blood pressure, heart issues and diabetes). It can reduce mobility and fitness levels and overall have a negative impact on health. As employers, once of the ways we can help to combat this is by providing office exercise equipment. Something like an active stool or exercise ball instead of a normal chair is good for posture, balance and core muscles. An under desk treadmill, stepper or exercise bike can be good for leg muscles and provide light cardio exercise. You could also switch to standing desks for some job roles. To take this a step further, you could add a stability ‘fitness wobble cushion’ which requires you to stand and keep your balance as you work- great for legs and core. Either way, getting employees moving in some way is good for their health, can reduce stress and even reduce sick days in the future. You’ll improve focus and productivity and decrease restless energy. Even the best employees can struggle being cooped up all day, these things can help to alleviate that feeling. If you have a social area, how about adding a pool table or a mini office golf putting set?

 A Social Area

Do you have a social area in your office, for break and lunchtimes- or a place to sit before work? If not, it’s well worth setting one up. First of all, workers won’t have to leave the premises when they go on breaks, and this can mean you’re not losing minutes here and there from them returning back a little late. It can also help with socialisation and bonds between employees. Businesses need workers who don’t just work well themselves, but who can also communicate and work well with others. Giving your employees a space where they can chat and get to know each other can be very beneficial. Collectively, companies spend a fortune each year on things like team building activities and events that bring employees together to improve communication. So this isn’t something to be overlooked. A few comfy chairs, a coffee machine and a vending machine would suffice. Ideally a kitchenette area with a place to heat food would be better.

Had you considered any of these things for your office? Do you have any ideas on how you can make your office more pleasant for workers, therefore boosting mood and productivity?

5 Key Areas That You Should Always Look To Outsource

In business, everyone will always have their own way of doing things. Some prefer to micromanage, others want to take a step back, and some will prefer to only keep their toes in what’s going on. And whatever works out for each business the best, is often the greatest solution for them. However, from here, there’s also the great debate of working out where you sit when it comes to the idea of hiring in-house or outsourcing. Both options come with their ups and downs, but when you look at outsourcing, it’s hard not to be impressed by the benefits. Because when you outsource a certain function or area of the business, you’re going to save yourself time and money. And the best part is that you’ve got experts working on it, so you know that it’s going to be done properly. So let’s take a look at the five key areas you should consider outsourcing.

Customer Service

First of all, you have your customer service. And this is always the first thing to think about outsourcing. But we’re not just talking about sending it off to some company that can just take it off of your hands. Instead, you need a dedicated company that is going to be able to do a much better job than you can. Because keeping your customers happy should be at the core of everything that you do. So you need a service that will be able to talk to your customers from all angles and really ensure that their needs are met and queries are taken care of.

HR

When it comes to HR, there’s often a lot that you need to cover off. And it can be overwhelming. There are a lot of rules and regulations that you need to, and making mistakes is not something that any of us wants to do. But when you outsource to a specialist company, you don’t have to worry about it. You know that the team will be taking care of everything, keeping you legal, and ensure that your staff are looked after.

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IT

When you’re busy, you do not want to be dealing with computer issues. So this is where IT support comes in. By hiring the right support company, you don’t have to worry about downtime or having to deal with issues yourself. It will all be taken care of for you.

Finance

Next, you’ve got finance. And this one can be debatable, but unless you want to bring a full team in to take care of things, outsourcing your finance department could be what you need. After all, you need to keep your eye on the prize, so things need to be taken care of expertly.

Sales

And finally, you’ve also got your sales department too. If you know that you’re not great at making sales, and you really don’t have the time to take this on, then bringing in a specialist sales or business development company will not only save you time, but it will be in the best interest of your business.

What is mobile marketing automation?

There have been a lot of new terms that business people, customer service representatives, and marketers have come to know over the last few decades. Take mobile, for example: Where once we used to be desktop or laptop based work spaces and free time, in the past few years mobile has re-made how we do nearly everything. And mobile has grown at a pace that few expected when it was first introduced. In fact, mobile-only users are now expected to top over 50 million in just a few years. That means those people may not even have a laptop, at all.

So marketers have to figure out how mobile users are different than other users, and marketers also have to figure out how to use automation when possible in order to make their more complex job easier. How do they do that? This graphic explains it.

What Is Mobile Marketing Automation?

5 Common HR Mistakes Every Business Owner Can Avoid

Often described as the key mediator between employees and you, the business owner, your HR department relies on your leadership to steer the ship that is your company in the right direction. However, the process of hiring, training, and retaining your employees is a fluid and ever-changing one, especially considering the same changing nature of the laws on which you base your collaboration.

With so much on your plate already, it’s no wonder that many business owners, no matter the size of their company, let a few key HR steps fall through the cracks. More often than not, these issues can be easily avoided, so let’s see which HR pet-peeves you should keep an eye on, and how you can make sure they never affect your business again.

Hasty dismissal

Unless there was a flying copier incident that jeopardized the safety of your employees, you cannot fire an employee on the spot without properly investigating the situation. If you are not satisfied with that particular employee’s performance, there should be a written record of your attempts to help them overcome any issues, followed by a proper training protocol, and an account of why you are not satisfied and how that has affected your business.

Sometimes all it takes is a few training sessions to help your employee perform better, but even if that is not the case, the least you can do is save yourself an unfair dismissal claim from a disgruntled employee.

No hiring strategy in place

It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a single person to handle your social media, or an entire team of graphic designers to build your brand, every company needs a reliable onboarding process. It serves to test the candidates on several levels, filter out the unsuitable ones, and help you focus on the ones with the most potential to fit into your company culture.

In fact, a single mismatch can cost your company as much as $50,000 in the long-run, according to this 2013 study. So, take your time to refine the hiring process, it will be worth your while, as well as your budget.

No binding contract

There are no exceptions to this rule: even if you are hiring remotely or choose to work with freelancers only, every collaboration requires a legal basis. While online platforms such as Upwork have their own pre-defined legal terms of each contract, every employee should have a clear idea of your expectations, their rights, and the scope of work involved.

All of these essential bits of information can be included in your employment letter, but they should be further elaborated and agreed upon in a legally-binding contract. That way, both parties involved kick off the partnership knowing what to expect and what is expected of them.

Lack of training

Another common HR issue is offering regular growth opportunities to your employees, but not just in the form of a simple title. Every team needs a chance to improve their skills and master the latest techniques in their field of work, which is an investment that benefits both your employees and your entire business.

This is one of the key factors that contributes to the happiness of your employees, because they will recognize a chance to grow out of their current role without leaving their post at your company. Consider visits to various conferences and seminars, as well as in-house mentorship programs for employees of all experience levels.

Not matching skills and pay

Complying with the basic Modern Awards and the National Employment Standards is another pivotal piece of the employment puzzle that often gets neglected. As a consequence, many businesses end up with significant back pay claims, and even more importantly, with a severe blow to the reputation of your business.

Even if you do comply with the essential provisions of Modern Awards such as paying the needed rates for the specified position, you also need to ensure that other details of the contract are in accordance with the law. Are they getting paid for working after hours? Are they aware of their leave rights and other benefits? All of these and many other details should be regularly checked and updated depending on the position, seniority, and advancement of your employees.

No matter the size of your business and how long you’ve been in the game, keeping your HR practice up to date and in excellent working order is crucial for your entire company. There will always be roadblocks to tackle during the growth of your business, so make sure this aspect of its operations works smoothly so that you can devote your attention to other, more pressing matters of your company.

Guest Author, Raul Harman, s a B.Sc. in Innovative entrepreneurship and has a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing.  While he’s not enjoying travel, football and great food, you can find him on Technivorz.com.

Business Expansion: 5 Concerns When Moving Your Company across State Lines

The fact that your business is growing is good news. However, with expansion comes a new set of challenges. Whatever your situation, here are five concerns to consider when moving your company across state lines.

Regulations

Some states will have fewer regulations than others, or regulations on one thing but not something else that was more heavily regulated in your old state. For example, a product may be required to be made without a certain material or you may now be allowed to sell certain kinds of products. Other important regulations to follow include any relating to employees. Different states have different workplace rules that you must follow as an employer.

Taxes

Taxes may be a significant part of the reason why you’ve chosen to move your business in the first place. Some states have much lower taxes than others, and it can be advantageous for businesses to move where they will be afforded a tax break. In some cases, however, you may be moving to a state with a higher tax rate. It’s important for all business owners to understand their tax burden and properly plan for it. Don’t forget to plan for tax that must be collected on sales across state borders—especially online sales.

Licenses

This is not relevant in every industry but it is important to a number of professions. For example, trade careers, such as electricians and plumbers, are almost always licensed at the state level. Restaurants need to be properly licensed in order to sell food and alcohol. Don’t forget about any local licenses your business may need. Check with your new state to see if anyone on your staff requires a license to perform their job.

Insurance

Due to a number of factors, including different laws and even different insurance companies servicing the area, your company will likely have to obtain new insurance coverage when moving to another state. This includes worker’s compensation insurance, liability coverage, vehicle insurance and more. Check to make sure your new location is not in an area that floods frequently. Flood insurance is not usually included in most policies but can be purchased separately if you have need of it.

Business Registration

You will need to register your business in your new state. This is usually as simple as filling out a form, especially because the business is already likely registered on the federal level. Consult with an attorney for any inquiries about business registration in the new state. While you work to get the registration sorted out, a multipurpose moving company such as Kloke Group Moving & Storage can store your company’s items and then move them when you are ready.

Moving a business across state lines is not as simple as it may sound. There are a number of concerns to investigate, with the most important being listed above. Educate yourself and plan ahead, and your move should go smoothly.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

 

5 Key Points of Successful Marketing Strategy

There is no other way to navigate the tumultuous world of marketing than to plan ahead of time and put everything down in writing. Things like promotion and branding are not something you can do sporadically, haphazardly, or in isolation from other core business aspects.

That is why a sound marketing strategy is integral to achieving success. It lays out objectives, means of executing them, and channels of message delivery. What is more, it fleshes out your ideas and visions and offers them to the scrutiny of market realities. So, it is time to assemble a skeleton of your strategy and set the foundation for long-term success. Here are the crucial moving parts you must have in place.

Goals as guiding lights

On the broadest level, marketing strategy is aligned with long-term business aims and aspirations. It supports strategic planning and takes an overarching view of the business organization as the whole. For this to really work, there must be a high-level of coordination across strategic documents and different departments and teams (especially those like sales).

Furthermore, a marketing strategy is supposed to define clear, specific, realistic, and measurable goals. Some of the most common objectives that companies pursue are increasing word of mouth, generating leads, retaining profitable customers, tapping into new markets, successfully introducing new product/service, etc.

Market research

Research is the cornerstone of any solid strategy. A thorough market analysis requires you to grasp multifarious factors such as the size of the market and its growth potential. Moreover, it is used to uncover target customers and gain deeper insight into their habits, behavior, spending patterns, lifestyle preferences, etc.

So, dive into demographics and historic online data. Another staple of market research comes in the form of competitive analysis. You should scope out what others are doing and try to draw lessons from their experience. Finally, focus on your own strengths and weaknesses, trying to emphasize the former and offset the latter.

Segmentation and targeting

The next stage involves making the leap from theory into practice. Namely, once you have identified your target customers, you have to segment them into different groups according to their varying needs and characteristics. This approach, which is the opposite of a scattergun tactic, will allow you to target with precision and come up with personalized and tailored solutions.

Ideally, you should get a clear idea of how your products and services match expectations and how you can offer something that others cannot.  Use your unique value proposition (UVP) and unique selling point (USP) to highlight the benefits that you have going for you.

Tools of the trade

Good communication is the key to really getting your messages across. This is to say that your strategy has to determine the key ingredients of your marketing mix, which is the combination of all the tools and channels you are going to use. The two mainstays are digital and traditional advertising and it is a good idea to employ them both in synergy, to your maximum advantage.

Thus, it would be wise to delight customers with tangible items like free catalogs, but also communicate via social media and other online channels. Use word of mouth PR, advertising, print media, shop displays, promotion, and whatever works in the context of your target audience. Investing in marketing is not the cheapest activity for companies,  but even if you are a freelancer you can consider applying for personal loans and start promoting your business ideas.

Keeping it in check

What is left is a system of checks and balances that hold your marketing strategy together. They typically fall into the marketing plan segment, a longer and more detailed document. So, set up a budget as well as a timetable for reaching objectives. Allocate resources optimally, where they matter the most and bring the maximum ROI.

Finally, designate tools for keeping track of performance indicators and evaluating the impact of your campaigns. You might want to take into account various telltale signs like the number of clicks on the page, time spent there, conversion rates, social signals, etc. There is an ocean of data out there and cutting-edge tools for gathering and processing it lie at your disposal.

On top of the game

If you want to piece through the marketing noise out there, work out a clear path of action and master the art of planning, designing, and implementation. Lay the groundwork for detailed market research and analysis. Use facts and figures as building blocks of your campaigns. Sketch the logistics of distribution channels and set the tone for how the products and services will be presented to people.

Monitor the results of marketing activity and achieve victories on both fronts, both the digital and ‘real world’. Bear in mind that your strategy is not set in stone. Things change fast, which means that you might need to make regular updates and tweaks to your plans and strategies. Using five vital elements, you should be able to spread the word, produce healthy recurring revenue, and get ahead of the pack in 2018 and beyond.

Guest author, Raul Harman, is a B.Sc. in Innovative entrepreneurship and has a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing. While he’s not enjoying football and great food, you can find him on Technivorz.com