The Employment Process: 3 Things You Need To Know

If your small business has grown during the last twelve months, you might want to employ some staff members. That is a brilliant situation because it means your company is becoming successful. Of course, the employment process isn’t always easy. There are lots of things you could get wrong if you don’t have experience. For that reason, it’s vital that you get all the advice you can find. Today, I’m going to provide you with three things every entrepreneur needs to know. With a bit of luck, this information will assist you in avoiding mistakes and wasting time. So, put it to good use during the next couple of months.

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  • There are good and bad ways to advertise a vacancy

Firstly, I wanted to talk about how some entrepreneurs promote jobs. Many company bosses make the mistake of using government-run websites. That would be a brilliant idea if there weren’t so many unemployed people. When you use government sites, you will always receive applications from candidates who are unsuitable for the job. That is because the state forces out-of-work individuals to apply for roles to get their benefits. So, do yourself a favor and avoid those websites altogether. There are plenty of niche job boards you could use to achieve better outcomes.

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  • Your interview technique is important

As you receive applications, you will create a list of candidates you want to interview. That should include no more than ten people for the best results. After all, you don’t want to spend weeks trying to find someone to fill the role. When the interviews begin, you’ll have to think long and hard about your approach. The goal is to learn as much as possible about the individual. However, you can’t do that by just looking at their CV. You need to dig a little deeper if you want to make the right decisions. Ask the candidate about their hobbies and interests, and get to know them on a personal level.

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  • Lawyers should create employment contracts

There is no getting away from the fact that you require watertight employment contracts. In most instances, you will have to pay a lawyer to create those documents. Failure to do that could mean you get something wrong and end up in trouble. The files should contain information about job descriptions, salary, and responsibilities. You can then store them all using the latest enterprise contract management software. That is the best way to ensure the contracts are kept safe, and they are always to hand. You never know when you’ll have to refer to the document during the disciplinary process.

If you consider all those points when navigating the employment process, you should find it plain sailing. At the end of the day, there are specialists you can call for assistance at every step. If your think your interview skills require some work, just research the subject online. Many blogs like this one provide excellent advice that any entrepreneur could use. Whatever happens during the next few months, I sincerely hope your company continues to grow!

How To Keep Your Employees Safe

The people that work for you are your greatest resource. They are more versatile, creative and productive than any other aspect of a small business. As great as technology is, its intelligence is still artificial and many supposed smart systems actually just use brute force in the form of processing power to solve problems that humans require a great deal less work and energy to figure out. Besides, computers cannot come up with new ideas or offer the sort of professional and personal support that makes an office a productive, successful environment. That is not to say that computers are not useful, it is just that they are a tool rather than the core of your business. With this in mind, it is apropos to consider how you, as the business owner, can best protect the people that work for you. This concern is obviously of a moral character, but it is also has a more practical, possibly cynical, component. That is that if someone is injured on your property, you could be liable. Lawsuits are expensive. When you win, you still have to pay all of your legal fees. This is why it is important to invest in professional liability insurance. However, prevention is better than the cure in this case too. Here are a few ways that you can help ensure that your office is a safe, happy environment that is not a threat to the people who work there:

You may not give much thought to the value and usefulness of electricity until it is not available, but it is also quite dangerous. With the average volts running through the sockets in your building being 110 to 120, it is imperative that the system is properly maintained. A shock from 120 volts is exceptionally serious and can kill. As a responsible employer, you should make sure that you regularly invest in rcd testing. This refers to a residual current device which prevents accidents from occurring by detecting and disconnecting the power to your system. However, it is not just the electronic aspects of your building that you need to worry about. The threat of fire is quite serious, not only to you and your employees, but also to the continued viability of your business. You should also consider investing in commercial property insurance, as it will also cover you in the event of flooding, burst pipes, storms and subsidence theft. However, to make sure that these things never happen and that your insurance remains just a useful salve for your peace of mind, you should learn about the fire codes in your area and ensure that your business is compliant. If you do have a fire break out and your office is destroyed, you may get all of the money back, but the time and stress involved in rebuilding is simply not worth it.

Not every threat is so concrete though. A strong, dynamic HR department is crucial if you are going to ensure that your employees feel safe while at work. A lot of cases have been coming to light recently that involve charges of discrimination or other types of abuse. These are not only reprehensible, they can also be expensive. Ensuring that these things don’t happen in your office is a matter of communication.

5 Tips for Improving Workplace Communication

Poor communication in the workplace often results in sub-par performance between departments and low morale among employees. This is a rather common problem for startups and small businesses where employees have little to no idea what exactly is happening in neighboring departments. When information is not flowing across different departments, efficiency is bound to suffer. That said, here are five tips you can use to create an open environment based on clear, two-way communication between you and your employees.

1.      Transparent Workplace

One of the biggest mistakes managements teams tend to make is failing to share information within the organization. This not only demonstrates a general lack of confidence but can also result in growing distrust between workers. Preventing this from happening is as simple as practicing open and transparent communication. This should start with the company leaders, as they are the ones who need to share information with their teams, whether it’s customer feedback, fundraising, financial data, new hires or meeting notes. Don’t worry about burdening your team and have in mind that these people are capable and smart enough to be hired in the first place and could use that information to make the organization better.

2.      Assign Clear Roles and Responsibilities

A poorly coordinated team and mishaps with work delegation can negatively impact any project or task. Every employee should have a clear deadline, role, and responsibility for which they are held accountable. The best way to keep your employees focused on the task at hand is to establish quarterly objectives and results. Make sure you frame them within larger goals and try to keep them public throughout your company in order to make your employees realize that their efforts have a direct impact on the company’s objectives.

3.      Ask the Right Questions

Company employees are actually the ones who have the largest insight regarding how the company works and accessing the information they have can easily be accomplished by asking just the right type of questions. They can prove to be a valuable feedback tool used to recognize achievements and identify any challenges you and your employees might face. Try to incorporate one on one meetings and make sure to demonstrate genuine concern and interest regarding your employees. Maintaining a direct line of communication allows employers to gain a detailed insight into the way their employees operate and to resolve any issues that might arise quickly and effortlessly.

4.      Use Exit Interviews

No matter how large your company is, interviewing departing employees regarding their experiences, as well as reasons for leaving is an excellent tactic to gain valuable insight into your company’s inner workings. What makes this technique so useful is the fact that departing employees are rather open during these interviews and often provide excellent feedback. Additionally, this information can later be analyzed and presented to management on an annual level in order to retain the most valuable employees and increase morale.

5.      Collaboration Between Departments

Most workplace failures are a direct result of poor collaboration, lack of overall communication and an overwhelming “us against them” mentality which results in interdepartmental friction. If your employees don’t have a clear line of communication between departments, you should invest in an intranet connection to support communication between different departments and team-building exercises in order to strengthen the relationship between your teams. Every company should endorse a culture of clear communication and open feedback among the employees, especially when there’s an evident lack of common interests and work goals. Encourage collaboration by insisting on an open layout in the office and hosting group launches and team retreats.

Effective Communication is Key

Clear communication and honest employee feedback are important for growing a business, as they build alignment around common goals, increase loyalty among team members and results in an improved productivity. Without transparent communication, you risk creating strife between different departments and risk running your company to the ground due to poor work conditions and general distrust between workers. Although it might prove itself to be a rather difficult task to accomplish, a good communication inside the company is vital for keeping your employees happy and your company successful.

Guest author Oscar is a writer from Sydney and one of the editors at Bizzmarkblog. He enjoys conducting research in the vast fields of business and marketing and writing about the useful insights he gathers on a daily basis. Follow Oscar on Twitter.to stay updated with his latest posts.

How Your Colleagues Can Save Your Life

Every single day you put yourself into situations where you are at risk. You don’t think about it at the time, because it usually revolves around crossing roads and walking past open business sites. Those situations are risky ones that you deal with every day and yet still feel safe while you do it. For eight hours or more a day, you sit in the same office or work on the same site as a team of colleagues. Those people that you work with every day have the power to be able to save your life, should the need arise. There are many things we take for granted, and the team we work with is one of the biggest. Your safety on the job at work, particularly if you are working in manufacturing or in a high-pressure environment, is paramount.

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Without knowing, it’s your colleagues you rely on for your continued safety at work. In saying that, it’s common to have at least one person that you work with who practices unsafe work techniques. This doesn’t always mean that they are reckless or particularly want to break the safety rules. There’s every chance that your colleague used to work for a company who didn’t push the safety regulations that could keep them alive, so they never thought about what they are doing as unsafe. What’s important here is that you are the person who steps up and keeps them safe, while explaining that what they are doing is unsafe. Workplace safety is responsibility of everyone involved on the floor. Colleagues depend on each other to stay safe, to watch for hazards and warn of hazards if they arise. If you are working with someone who is repeatedly unsafe in their practices, they will push your risk of harm right up, and that just won’t do.

It’s a problem to be around people who can put you in danger. If you work for an employer who won’t install the correct safety swing gates, for example, you are being put into danger of falling whenever you are working in the factory on site. The first step to helping your employers and your colleagues to improve workplace safety is to discuss is. Open communication is so important to staying safe and sometimes, people just don’t realise when things are going wrong. Employers who have done things the same way for years may need a re-education on new safety practices. While that isn’t overly your responsibility, it is up to you to mention something if you find it jeopardises your ability to work in a less risky environment. If your employers and colleagues do not realise the impact that their behaviour has on the entire office, they may be apologetic and make the right behavioural adjustments once they know. Extra training, offering to guide them on the safest way to do certain things and generally doing better at work are all things that need to happen to increase workplace safety.

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It’s an uncomfortable conversation to have when you believe someone you work with is being unsafe. It’s not easy to approach someone you work with and tell them that something is wrong. However, if an uncomfortable conversation is going to be the step you need to take to save a life, then it’s something you must do for your own conscience. You cannot be passive about workplace safety, but you can have a conversation about doing things differently without coming over as aggressive. If your colleague doesn’t believe that they are acting inappropriately or unsafely at work, then they can become defensive, which can end in an argument. Approach with caution when you are speaking to a peer at work. If you’ve tried before and nothing has changed, approaching management may be your only option. Workplace safety can result in a loss of life if regulations are not enforced correctly. When you engage in a discussion about inappropriate behaviour, remain as calm as possible.

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You may get lucky! If you’ve pointed out unsafe behaviour that hasn’t been noticed, it could immediately change and then your risk of working with your colleague goes right down. A chat may not guarantee a change in the way they approach their job, but it’s a start. When you’re at work, you need to have ongoing training in health and safety to be able to stay up to date with safety regulations. It is not just the job of management to keep you all safe in the main working environment. If you or your colleagues are working at a height, it makes sense to double check safety harnesses and swing gates and have another set of eyes on dangerous working at all times to ensure your protection. Everyone in the working environment will have something different to offer at work, depending on their experience. You should always feel comfortable pointing out risks to your employer if you spot any, as it doesn’t mean you are trying to do their job, just that you are being vigilant about your job. Getting involved in workplace safety plans is a smart idea for all employees, so that you are aware of what is expected of you in the workplace.

If you have a leadership role at work, you will need First Aid training in CPR and general medical care so that you can be on point for accidents at work. While the ongoing training mentioned should keep you safe, accidents sometimes will happen and you should be aware of them. All new employees should be rigorously taught what not to do at work and all guidelines on machinery should be followed closely. Your colleagues are people you spend time with for most of your working week and keeping each other safe is a given to ensure that no one is in danger where possible. Being aware of your actions and the actions of others can make a huge difference, and if you can be the person who makes that difference, you won’t regret it.

Are You Working with the Right People?

As you run your small business, think about all the different people that come into your life on a regular basis. You have employees, vendors, customers, those pitching their products, and many others.

With that in mind, how do you know if all these people have your best interests at heart One of the ways to go about learning more on someone is by background checks.

No, you do not need to spend time on a background check with everyone entering your life.

That said doing some research on those who will matter to you is not a bad idea.

What Should You Look for in a Background Check?

If you move forward with background checks, what exactly should you be looking for Well, the answer to that depends on how these individuals will incorporate into your life.

Here are a few examples:

  • Vendors – Hiring the right vendors to assist your small business can be a tricky proposal at times. While you may very well be on a limited budget, you still want quality products for your business. The best thing to know about vendors is if they’ve had any run-ins with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and others. Always know who is supplying you with the products you need to run your company.
  • Customers – Often, you’re not going to delve into your customer’s backgrounds. Sure, you want to know what their spending habits are etc. but that is often going to be about it. On the flip side, if you’re a gun shop owner, you want to do background checks on those purchasing weapons. If you spot any red flags, make them know so the wrong individuals do not end up with weapons.
  • Partners – It is not uncommon for small businesses to look for partners. That is even more the case when financial times get tough. That said a background check of a potential partner is but one of the things you want to do. Even when you find out about their background, you must decide if working with them would be the right call.

Among the factors to consider:

  • Who will have primary control of the business or will it be 50-50?’]
  • Can you see yourself having joint ownership with one or more individuals? For some owners, sharing the fruits of their labor with others is something they’d rather not think about.
  • Will working with another manager or managers be an issue? Some individuals will find over time that their managerial styles will clash. Always iron out ahead of time what your expectations are and understand their goals too. By knowing all you can about how they’ve run their companies, you will be better prepared.

By doing a background check when you deem it to be appropriate, you are much more likely to find out what you need to know.

In some cases, that information can prevent you from making a bad business decision.

To set your brand apart from competitors, knowing those you are working with is worth your time.

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business topics on the web.

 

Are You Disciplined Enough to Work from Home?

The dream of many employees is to sit around their homes in their pajamas and work off of a laptop. Okay, while some may have different visions of how working from home will go down, you get the picture.

If you’re someone with an offer to work from home, will you take it? Whether working for someone or running your own home business; avoid distractions.

For many individuals, the biggest distraction in working from home can be themselves. No matter how hard they try, they find a way or ways to distract them. As such, the work never gets done.

In order for you to be a productive home worker, what will it take?

Being Disciplined and Focused

So that you are able to get the most out of your home working opportunities, remember these tips:

  1. Discipline

Above all else, can you stay disciplined enough to work out of your home?

For instance, what if you live blocks from the beach or downtown? Will you tempt fate to go off and relax under the sun or explore the shops and other businesses?

Staying disciplined means your work will always come first no matter what temptations. Remember, it is that work keeping a roof over your head in the first place.

Once you’re done with your work for the day, feel free to go out and relax and explore as much as you want.

  1. Focus

Staying focused while working from home can be tricky at times.

Among the disruptions you can have:

  • Children wanting your attention
  • Your significant other is also demanding your attention
  • Having work done on your home or apartment all the time
  • Unwanted phone calls

As for those unwanted phone calls, you do have an option or two there.

One trick is doing a reverse phone search.

Such a search allows you to find out where that call or calls originates from. Often, it may be telemarketing, something you likely do not have time for.

It is also important that you let family and friends know that work from home is not a joke. Some people feel as if those working out of their homes have all kinds of time for things other than their jobs.

In a nice way, be clear that your work time is important to you.

  1. Hours

Finally, the hours you set at home are important.

While you may very well have flexibility with those hours, try and keep as close to a 9-to-5 schedule as possible. This is even more so if those are the hours you worked for others in the past.

The last thing you want to do is veer off course of what you’re used to for the most part. If working for someone from home, remind them you are not a doctor on call 24/7.

Some employers might think that to be the case since you are working out of your house.

The same holds true if you run a business out of your home. You do have other things to do on your non-work hours.

Remember, earning money for your business is what keeps you solvent.

Whether the work from home is for your employer or for you as a self-employed individual, make it count.

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers small business topics on the web.

How to Tell You Are Running a Successful Small Business

Running a small business can be extremely rewarding when done correctly, but it can also be a significant source of frustration. If you are a small business owner, it can be difficult to determine exactly how you’re doing. A perfectionist business owner might feel like they’re failing, when in reality they’re doing a great job and just need more time. On the other end of the spectrum, many business owners think they are perfect and fail to see the imperfections in their own companies. How exactly do you know if your company is doing well?

Motivated Employees

One of the best barometers of how well your small business is doing is the condition of your employees. Do you have a high turnover rate or are your employees staying for the long-term? If your employees are highly motivated and feel sufficiently challenged, that is a good sign that you’re doing well.

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Happy employees provide better customer service and seem generally fulfilled in their roles. In an environment that employees are comfortable in, they will be free to express both praise and criticism without feeling fear of consequences. Conducting anonymous employee surveys is a great way to gauge how the employees feel about their work environment.

Happy Customers

Are your customers happy when you’re done conducting business with them? Do they refer others to you and sing your company’s praises? If so, this is another great sign that you’re doing a good job. It should be easy for new customers to find you and it’s simple to do business with you.

If customers like what you’re selling, believe in the product, and tell others about you, this is the goal of any successful small business. Making a positive difference in the lives of your customers should be what you ultimately strive for.

Expert Credibility

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If others seek out you and your employees as experts in your field, this is a sign that you’re on the right track. For example, when a local news story pertaining to your industry comes up, the news seeks you out for a comment. This shows that they believe in you as a leader in your industry and in the local business community. When you can call yourself an expert and people believe it, this leads to increases in profit and margins. Experts can charge more for their services and people will pay the price.

Flexibility

One of the major advantages that small businesses have over big companies is that they can be flexible. They don’t have hundreds of employees that require a cultural change every time something in the industry changes. You can stop on a dime and pivot to a new direction if need be.

If your company is able to be flexible and adapt to the changing market, this bodes well for your success overall. This also requires you to stay up-to-date on changes in the industry. Embracing change is the key to success in any small business, and those who do it the best are the most likely to succeed.

A Healthy and Caring Work Environment

One of the biggest indicators of success in small business is a healthy and caring work environment. The happy employees that you have all care about each other and the ultimate success of the business. They are constantly putting others before themselves and sacrificing for the good of the business and their fellow employees. This creates a positive and infectious culture that is palpable.

While this is a great sign, it can also lead to problems over time. If too many employees are working too hard for too long, it can lead to burnout. As the business leader, you have to look for signs of burnout and do whatever you can to avoid that. That could mean randomly giving your employee a day off or recognizing them for their hard work in front of others. Regardless of what you decide to try, make sure that their sacrifice for the company does not go unnoticed.

Don’t be overly demanding of your employees at any point. Give them plenty of leeway to do their work without micromanaging them. It’s up to you to set the clear guidelines of what you expect and then get out of the way. One option that you might want to consider is allowing employees the option of telecommuting. By allowing them to work some from home, you’ll help them avoid burnout and get some time away from the office.

You should also have fair and transparent HR policies that determine how time off will be handled. It needs to be the same for everyone, and make the policy as compassionate as possible. Allowing for holidays, vacation, and sick days is important to ensure that your employees stay happy over the long-term.

Focusing on the Future

While you have to be aware of the day-to-day details of your business, focusing on the future of the company is another good sign that your heart is in the right place. You should want to ensure the success of your small business over the long-term for you and your employees. Seek out industry experts to help with things like management strategy, growth, and innovation.

If you take the time to analyze your business from an outsider’s perspective, your chances of success are amplified. Periodically evaluating your company and its culture are imperative to your success over the long-term.

 

About the author

JenJen McKenzie is a freelance writer from New York, NY. She is fascinated by all things having to do with words, business, education and cutting-edge. When Jennifer is not busy writing, she enjoys taking long walks and spending time with her two pets Brando & Marlon. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie