Let’s Play Ball: Gamification For Businesses

Gamification – have you heard the term? The odds are high that if you haven’t, then you will soon. Recently, this method of increasing customer participation has taken off within the industry. It’s the process of using video game-style features to boost the customer experience. For the most part, it tends to make marketing more fun and enjoyable. The same also goes for the products and services themselves.

People who have never heard the term before won’t have a clue regarding implementing it into their business plan. That’s why this post is here – to give you a helping hand. The following are the things to take into consideration.

Valued Learning

Duolingo is a language app which helps its users to learn words and phrases. The way it does this is simple: it starts off small and works higher and higher. Anyone who needs to get to the next level has to unlock the one they are on first. Otherwise, they plateau until they get it right. Adobe Photoshop has a similar strategy with its LevelUp campaign. The competition is the part which engages customers and makes them come back for more as humans hate being beaten. Plus, it helps users take a complicated goal and break it down into bite-size chunks.

Distractions

There are bound to be times when customers lose interest in, well, anything. Whether it’s a marketing ploy or a product itself, people will get bored. Distractions exist and it is your job to find the major ones and deal with them as soon as possible. The reason this is essential is that gamification can lend a hand and make it less monotonous. Then, the level of focus should bounce back and no one will disengage. Use analytics to figure out where people are running out of patience and then gamify the area. Alternatively, you can use your gut.

Tracking And Reporting

Putting a gamified version of the brand out into the world is only a baby step. Those who want to go to the next level need to track results and report on the data. Again, analytic software is available so there is no excuse. And, IT support is accessible across the world regardless of location. Anyone who wonders why this is important should remember two things. The first one is that you can analyze whether the feature is achieving the goals you set out in the beginning. Secondly, it allows the customers to improve, which is added value.

Offline Synchronization

Never forget about mixing virtual and real elements. For example, Foursquare is a program that rewards its users for checking-in to places and events. It also offers incentives for frequently using the app. Anyone who owns a “retro” high street store can use this to merge their strategies. Get your customers to check-in to Foursquare when they are in the store to receive their rewards. Once they start to link the two, they will shop with you more often.

So, the question is: are you game for gamification?

Job Recruitment Trends to Watch Out for in 2018

The earlier part of the decade was tough for new graduates, but thankfully, recent years have seen prospects for job growth, and a plethora of new trends emerging – including multiple employment, diverse income streams, and career agility. Job growth also means tighter competition. To attract the attention of your target companies, it is important to strengthen your online presence and use social media to build vital networks. In this post, we present a few trends to watch out for.

Online Job Searches

LinkedIn has 500 million users, many of whom use the job section to recruit new talent. Make the most of this service, by signing up for jobs alerts and discovering connections that might serve as a bridge between you and a recruiting company.

Other companies use automated software to find candidates. In either case, make sure you use the right keywords and list your achievements in a clear and appealing way. Don’t simply upload your CV; develop a detailed plan for finding a job, which includes building networks and being active on them. Share content, provide links to your blog or website, and show companies your area of interest of specialization.

LinkedIn now has a paid service which allows you to send private messages to members you may not be connected with. Signing up for this service may be worth your while if you are trying to break into an industry or find employment in a specific group of companies.

Social Media and Other Checks

Once you are shortlisted for a job, be prepared for social media checks. How vocal were you during the last election, and what type of content do you regularly post? Be sensitive about the type of media (especially imagery) you upload and ensure there are no inconsistencies between what you communicate to a company, and what your social pages reveal – for instance, dates and qualifications listed on your CV and LinkedIn profile, should be identical.

Job Advertising on Social Media

Savvy companies often advertise openings on their social media pages. Make a list of target companies and check daily for any job posts advertised on their Twitter and other social pages. Job boards are likewise important, with Forbes reporting that search engines and job boards produce 94% of interviews and 86% of hires among companies who use external sources for recruitment. Top boards include Indeed,com and CareerBuilder.

As for internal origins for candidates, referrals still rule. This is precisely why being active on LinkedIn and other social networks is key; you never know if the person you spend time chatting with online, knows of a job opening or is impressed enough to recommend you in an organization they know or work for.

New CV Trends

Recruiters faced with a plethora of CVs have just a few seconds to look at each one. It is important to catch their attention by creating your personal brand and style, without going overboard in design features (since simplicity is key).

  • Make sure your CV is keyword rich, in order to be ‘caught’ by automated software.

  • Focus on only relevant experience; don’t list every single responsibility, but rather, list the results you obtained in each post you have held.

  • Market your CV at the particular employer by focusing on areas or abilities you think will capture their attention. Be brief and edit your CV various times to allow for conciseness and clarity.

  • Finally, use bullet points or (if you are applying for a creative job) infographics to make your CV easier on the eye.

It is an exciting time for job searchers and recruiters alike, with online apps, software and social media sites offering new ways to connect companies with top talent. Make sure to use LinkedIn and other sites to your advantage, learn how to use keywords in your CV, and most importantly, build vital networks. In the new millennium, the old adage is truer than ever: sometimes, who you know matters more than what you know.

Guest Author, Jenny Holt, is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and ageing, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.

Getting a Leadership Buy-In For Your #LMS

As an L&D professional, you probably know that Learning Management Systems can truly diversify your eLearning system.

If you already have employee profiles handy, focus points of the program ready, content topics worked out and even a prospective LMS, congratulations! You’re off to a great start. (If not, then don’t worry. You can find out how to do it step-by-step here)

You’re probably very enthusiastic about your brand new training initiative and can’t wait to implement it. So, what’s the next step?

Getting a leadership buy-in, of course.

However, convincing your decision makers on investing in a new learning technology is not a walk in the park. If you think that you have it covered with your list of ‘reasons why the initiative is important’ and ‘how it will boost productivity of all employees’, then Stop.

You may not have realized it, but you have been focusing solely on how to sellthe initiative.

Have you ever come across salespeople who are fast-talking and pushy. Salespeople who are so engrossed in the merits of their product that they completely forget to listen to what the customer wants and answer his/her questions. These customers may feel that the salesperson is trying to force them into giving in to the product.

You don’t want to be that salesperson and jeopordize your initiative do you?

Take a step back and put yourself in the shoes of the customer — or victim — of a hard sell. You would probably be left thinking:

“Instead of talking, listen to what I need first. Find out what my pain points are. Then we can start talking about how you could help me.”

Now that you know what you are doing wrong, let’s focus on how to do it right by focusing on these key steps:

  1. Listen

It’s not that difficult to figure out what your leaders want. Check your company’s website, your CEO’s tweets, press releases, company newsletters, and internal memos. Do your leaders want to cut down costs? Or perhaps transform the company culture? Maybe, they want to expand into new markets? Or maybe, they have multiple goals in mind.

If your LMS powered initiative directly addresses one or more of these goals, that’s great. Move on to step 2. If your training does not directly address a stated company goal, search for a connect that shows how your training can indirectly compliment a goal.

For example, if your CEO wants to cut down costs and your LMS is capable of improving customer service, do some research into how improved customer service results in reduced costs of handling customer complaints.

  1. Look for a Champion

Search for a senior leader outside of your department to champion the initiative. The mere presence of an influencer on your side would boost your credibility and chances of getting a funding. It would also bridge the gap between the senior management and your L&D department.

  1. Ask Questions

Once you’ve selected your potential champion, discuss your training initiative with her. Be on the lookout for any pain points that she mentions. Ask her about the obstacles she sees to implementing your initiative, any changes she could suggest etc.

  1. Build a Team

Reach out to HR professionals, IT professionals, procurement professionals etc to help evaluate and select the best LMS for your initiative. Having multiple votes on your side always helps in the long run.

  1. Identify Key Metrics

Even though the main focus of your strategy is to gain a buy-in for your initiative, it is vital to prepare for what happens once your initiative has been accepted and put into effect. Your leaders will want to see a clear return on their investment and it’s your job to figure out a way to measure it. To do this, define metrics for your success prior to implementing it. You can use metrics such as cost savings, increase in sales, reduction in training costs, improvement in customer satisfaction etc.

  1. Develop a Change Management Strategy

Introducing a new technology always requires some level of change management. For eg, in some organizations, the introduction of an LMS involves moving away from paper-based training to eLearning. With a decent change management strategy in place, your decision makers will be more willing to accept the introduction of a new learning technology into the organization.

Change management for an LMS implementation begins with pulling two teams together — your IT team and your LMS administrator team.

IT Team

Work with your LMS vendor to ensure that your IT team knows the in and outs of the new LMS. Including aspects like integration, troubleshooting, implementation, data transfer, user transfer, content transfer etc.

Admins

Your LMS administrators will most likely come from your HR /Training department. These guys would be on the front line of your training initiative. Arrange multiple demos of multiple LMSes with all admins to know which LMS suits them best. You need to make sure that they know how to operate the LMS perfectly as they would be the ones training content authors, trainers, HRs, managers and end users.

Delivering Your Case

Now that all of this is done, approach your executives with the help of your champion(s) and present your case for your LMS powered training initiative.

If you receive the green flag for your initiative, good job! Inculcate the habit of reporting to your champion and to the leadership team at timely intervals.

Even if your plan was not approved, keep your seniors informed about changes in the organization which may suggest that it’s time to give your LMS a shot again.

Guest Author, Mahati Vanka, is a Business Development Manager at LearnBee, which enables companies to train their workforce with the help of cloud-based learning solutions. Drop a line to me at mahati@learnbee.co if you are want to inculcate a culture of learning in your team.

The article was originally published on Nectar, where LearnBee’s top team contributes actively to Enterprise Learning.

Is ReactJS Effective For Use By Large Businesses, That Require Intricate Applications?

Why would large businesses make a use of such a simple JavaScript library as ReactJS? Well, the answer, partially, hides in the question itself. Also recent statistics are strongly on the side of React. And statistics are a tough assertion to argue with.

But where its effectiveness comes from? What are React’s pros for large businesses, that require intricate applications? Let’s find it out in this article.

Since its initial release in 2013 popularity of ReactJS has been increasing slowly but surely. Today it offers fierce competition to rival Angular from Google, and has been adopted by some of the most powerful companies in the world, including:

  • AirBnB
  • Uber
  • WhatsApp
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Atlassian
  • KISSmetrics
  • Reddit
  • Salesforce
  • Twitter
  • Yahoo

Some might argue the very fact that such huge businesses have already utilised React JS, demonstrates it is up to the task of meeting the needs of huge corporations. However, some remain sceptic and perhaps for good reason.

But the question remains straightforward; has React JS evolved efficiently, enabling it to cater for the complex and varied demands of large global businesses? And what can be done with ReactJS? Whilst small to mid-sized companies require speed and efficiency, large corporations demand scalabilityreliable support and cost effective client-side technologies.

Support and Development

For React to be ready to serve the needs of big businesses, it needs to offer reliable, evolving support, and it has managed to do precisely that. It boasts a wealth of community support that are always on hand to respond to ever changing problems.

Not only does React have a widely praised discussion forum, Stack Overflow, it also has over 550 contributors and offers dedicated Discord and IRC to stay in touch. Plus, because the main documentation remains open sourced and stored on Github, it can be constantly corrected and updated. This is a truly promising sign, suggesting React is developing into a modern, well supported library, that can remedy problems and stay up to date with the ever changing demands of large businesses.

Having said that, it is worth highlighting that community conventions are still developing, and some remain dubious that the React community is simply not large enough to offer a solution to everything. But overall, React shows promising signs of flexibility and forward thinking, making it precisely the type of application building technology big businesses want to utilise.

Quick and Easy Start Up

Another sign React is ready to meet the needs of the biggest and best, is that it can be swiftly adopted by new developers. Large businesses can lose serious cash if they have to have to spend thousands of hours training new developers, but most decent software developers will be able to get to grips with React in a short time frame.

Businesses can get employees up to speed using the variety of tools available, such as:

  • Online tutorials
  • Codecademy
  • Egghead
  • Codementor
  • Blog posts
  • Even following key contributors like Dan Abramov on Twitter can speed up the learning process.

Cutting the time it takes to bring new team members onboard, ensures maximum productivity, is cost effective and mitigates the risk of investing in new technologies. So, the fact React JS can be picked up promptly by large businesses suggests it certainly is ready to play in the big leagues.

Big Business Hurdles

Whilst it may all seem plain sailing so far, there remains some hurdles that React still needs to overcome if it wants to succeed with the biggest players. One understandable concern centres around data/state management.

React relies on a tree like structure. This means all data is managed at the upper level, which then passes down references to the lower levels. This means that when data changes, it has to call back up to the top levels to change any data. This won’t present too much of a problem in the small applications required of small to mid-sized businesses, but in the complex applications of large companies, you run the risk of writing numerous duplicate functions to manage even bite-sized amounts of data.

This presents a real obstacle to use by huge corporations. They don’t want to waste time, money and resources on an inefficient data management system. They need speed and efficiency from their data/state management systems.

Fortunately, you can make adjustments to retain control over substantial, complex applications. Redux is a state container, that acts like a database. It allows you to manage serious amounts of data on the client side, without getting too bogged down through the React components. So although justifiable concerns regarding data management systems may worry some large businesses, React offer a viable solution with the use of Redux to alleviate concerns.

The Final Verdict

Since Facebook launched React JS, it has helped build applications for some of the largest companies in the world. That alone demonstrates React is up to the task of facilitating the complex demands of BIG business. With a whole host of online resources and communities to rely on, large companies can adopt React quickly and efficiently.

Whilst there remains concerns as to whether the community is large enough to remedy all problems, and complex data management systems may hinder progress in large, dynamic applications, React is addressing those issues. Overall, it has illustrated it is certainly up to the job of meeting the demands of the biggest and boldest of global businesses.

Author – Alex Volski:

I’m a content writer at Thinkmobiles for 5 years. And I have a confession to make. I’m keen on web development and I’m going to become one very soon. That’s why I’m constantly bothering our web developers =). So if you’d like to chat about web React, Angular, JS or whatever – please contact me. Hope to hear from you soon.

3 Everyday Habits Of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs

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Credit: Pexels

There are all kinds of things that go into building a successful business, and every entrepreneur will have a slightly different approach to kindling and expanding their operation. Having said that, there are certain universal habits that all business owners can benefit from, regardless of their background or niche. Here are just a few you should be trying to develop…

Take Your Emotions Out of the Picture

 Far too many start-up owners allow their emotions to get in the way of their business, getting caught up with grandiose dreams for the future and regrets from the past, when they should be concentrating on the task at hand. Everyone faces failures in business, whether it’s one little slip up with a marketing campaign, or a blunder that drives the whole operation into a financial nosedive. However, pointing fingers, feeling sorry for yourself, and losing confidence won’t get you anywhere, and will in fact slow you down when you need to be the strongest and most resilient version of yourself more than ever. Money isn’t influenced by emotions, and as such, your business needs to be handled with a fitting level of objective, detached logic. The less you allow yourself to get caught up in your emotions, the more time you’ll have for developing your business.

Keep on Learning

 habits2

Credit: Pexels

You may have an excellent track record of experience in your field, but no industry sits still, and with this in mind, you need to get into the habit of constantly developing your knowledge and experience, ensuring that you keep your skills and mindset up to a standard needed to succeed in the modern business arena. Make a point of investing in yourself, and making room for learning, no matter how jam-packed your schedule happens to be. With all the online distance learning companies like Maryville University out there, there’s really no excuse for letting your knowledge and experience stagnate. Even if you only spend ten minutes reading an industry journal in the morning, every little bit of self-education you can fit in will help you become the leader your business needs, and keep your whole organization one step ahead of your closest competitors.

Schedule Everything

 By everything, we mean everything. One of the most valuable habits you can develop as an entrepreneur is buying yourself more free time through a strict schedule. A lot of naïve start-up owners tend to waste a lot of time by procrastinating between different activities, and sleeping too little. Set healthy times for going to bed and getting up every day, along with a schedule of the tasks that you’ll complete one after the other with as little distraction as possible. Limit frivolous things like checking social media accounts to as little time as possible, and make a commitment to work first, and play later. Sure, you might be making progress by developing your business in a disorganized timetable, but when you set yourself a schedule that works and then stick to it, you’ll achieve much more in a much shorter space of time.

 

Onboarding New Employees? Buddy Up!

I went to summer camp for most of my life and in order to go swimming everyone had to have a buddy. During general swim, when the whole camp was swimming for fun, there was always a buddy call where everyone had to stop and count off with their buddy.

shutterstock_415184509While you might think that this makes sense for water safety, I would argue that we need the same type of system in place when we on-board employees to ensure that they all make it safely through the process.

Eco Canada has an employee partner program in place as part of their on-boarding program that matches new employees with experienced staff members for their first few months of employment. Eco Canada does this to:

  • Provide the new employee with a point of contact for general inquiries regarding day to day issues—both formal and informal. This includes information about policies, dress code, work rules, and other workplace issues in which the new employee might experience uncertainty.
  • Foster a comfortable relationship in which the new employee can access someone who is familiar with the corporate culture, norms, and expectations of the company.

Employee partners help establish a sense of belonging for the new employee. With an effective on-boarding partner, a new employee will quickly become a contributing member to his or her new department and team.

Onboarding partners’ responsibilities include:

  • Act as an informational resource for the new employee on policies, procedures, work rules, norms, etc.
  • Help socialize and involve the new employee in workplace activities
  • Assist with instruction and training
  • Act as an “office tour guide”
  • Identify resources and explain important details about the workplace, corporate culture, and organization
  • Introduce the new employee to other staff members

New York University also has a buddy system for new employees. Buddies partner with new employees for the first 2 months of their employment. While primarily responsible for offering advice and guidance regarding the day-to-day aspects of working at NYU, the buddy may also offer encouragement and knowledge resources, as they help introduce the new employee to the NYU culture.

NYU looks for buddies that have these key characteristics:

  • Communicator: A buddy should encourage open communication. The buddy should provide relevant information to the new employee and encourage a process of continued, self-directed learning.
  • Role Model: The buddy should be a model employee and exemplify NYU values.
  • Motivated: The buddy should have a positive outlook on his/her work and use that perspective to help build self-confidence and loyalty in the new employee. The buddy should lead by example.
  • Strong Performer: The buddy can help guide the new employee in many situations based on his/her experience and knowledge obtained in the work environment.

There are many advantages to implementing a buddy system; however, as the Society for Human Resource Management points out, the buddy’s role is not to supervise the new employee. A successful buddy should be a well-designed process that includes:

  • Expectations for the new hire, buddy and supervisor.
  • What knowledge the buddy should impart to increase productivity and performance.
  • How much time the program should take.
  • Requirements for “check-ins” and follow-up from the buddy and new hire on program effectiveness.

Do you have a buddy system in place to on-board new employees?