Empowering Your Employees: It’s The Ultimate Investment

You’re one in a million! Few people would have the gumption and self determination to quit the rat race and carve out your own niche for yourself in the fast paced and ultra competitive world of modern business. Moreover, none could do it with the same flair, panache and expertise that you have. Yet, amazing as you are, you’d be the first to admit that you can’t do it alone. Your fabulous employees have been with you almost every step of the way. When things have been at their worst you’ve always known that you have a fantastic team that you trust and can fall back on. You respect, love and appreciate your team and you want to make sure that you keep them. But while you enjoy their respect and admiration, these alone will not prevent them from straying into the arms of your competitors the moment they stop feeling valued.

This is why employee empowerment is so important to SMEs. Fortunately, there’s a great deal you can do to make them feel more valued and empowered. Some of it is simply a matter of good practice, like ensuring a safe and pleasant working environment for them some will require some upfront investment. But while entrepreneurs tend to be a little gun shy when it comes to racking up overheads, empowering your employees is an investment that will continue to pay dividends for years as your employees take you to dizzying new heights.

Give them the flexibility they need to achieve work / life balance

Some employees will have young families. Others will care for sick or elderly relatives. Some will have disabilities which you need to bear in mind. For many reasons you may need to be a little flexible in your working practices to enable them to work remotely from home every once in a while. This can be done fairly easily and with a modest outlay thanks to solutions like Vertex who offer Cloud Computing Solutions For Businesses. This empowers your employees by giving them a cloud based desktop filled with secure copies of their emails, apps, and data to enable them to do their job anywhere. Allow your employees the opportunity to do their job well while honoring their other commitments and they’ll reward you with loyalty.

Keep your distance, yet always be there when they need you

Nobody likes bosses who are relentless micromanagers, always standing over them, scrutinizing everything that they do. Not only is micromanaging dangerous and a potential impediment to productivity, it’s rarely the best use of your time. Give your employees some space yet give them the guidance and support they need when they need it and they won’t disappoint you.

Give them a voice

A hearty “thank you” is good. A competitive incentives structure is even better. But there’s a difference between making your employees feel like valued collaborators and making them feel like well paid slaves. Make sure that they always have a forum in which to voice their ideas, suggestions and objections. This can be anything from a suggestion box to a Facebook group.

Deny them an opportunity to make their voices heard, however, and they’ll wonder how much you really value their input.

How to Keep Employees Productive during Renovations

A renovation can be a great way to improve the productivity and effectiveness of your business. Whether it be renovating facilities that have become outdated, performing necessary repairs, or building out a brand new space, renovations can be an exciting time and can serve as a great rallying point for your employees. The problem comes, though, when trying to figure out how to continue to effectively utilize your employees, even when their typical workspace is disrupted in some way. Fortunately, there are a few areas where you can re-direct their attention and energy to ensure they continue to make a valuable contribution to your company.

Let Them Help

If the renovations are fairly minor and low-risk, you can potentially recruit interested employees to assist in the renovation efforts. Now, to be sure, some renovations, like metal roof repair, knocking down walls, or electrical work, should be left to the professionals. However, more simple tasks, such as painting or organizing, can be left to those employees who are displaced. Just be sure to keep the activities especially low-risk to help prevent any worker’s compensation claims.

Let Them Prospect

If your business depends on customer retention to succeed, it’s likely that most of your business’s efforts are focused on doing just that. Of course, you probably have employees dedicated to prospecting new customers as well, however, the more energy you’re able to devote to prospecting, the better. Allow employees who can’t be at their desk to engage with local businesses to network and prospect, even if that’s not what they normally do. By taking this time to allow them to re-focus by doing a different task, they’ll be even more effective and productive at their typical task when they’re able to return to it.

Let Them Dream

Any interruption in normal business activities is typically an opportunity for your employees to talk amongst themselves. Why not take advantage of this talking to gain new ideas for your business, moving forward? Gather affected employees together and guide them in discussion of what ideas they have, what changes they would like to see, and any other contributions they can make to the future of the business. By letting them know their voices are heard, you’ll increase retention and potentially gain some great ideas in the process.

Let Them Serve

If your normal business location is going to be totally out of commission for a while, it can be a great opportunity to do some community service while you wait to be able to return. Get your employees out in the community picking up trash, repairing homes, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or whatever else you’re passionate about. These times of service help your community, improve your public image, and help give your employees greater appreciation for the company they work for.

Keep It Smooth

Whatever you do during a renovation, ensure that you have it planned out well in advance to ensure your employees’ engagement doesn’t suffer. Let your employees know that things are likely to be different but that doesn’t mean your expectations are lower or that they’re free to do as they please. If you still plan on paying them, they still owe you work of some kind in exchange for that pay. If you can make that work stimulating and beneficial, then all parties are sure to benefit.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

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.

Devious Dealings: Handling An Errant Employee Properly

Providing a comprehensive security in your business isn’t just relegated to your IT infrastructure, you have to consider the human aspects too. There are some industries where this can be low down on the priority list. But, there are personal issues that are very difficult for a business to deal with. An errant employee, either one who isn’t pulling their weight, or is even committing fraudulent activities on site, is something that every entrepreneur and business owner can have a struggle with. Firstly, it reflects poorly on the business if any employee does anything to undermine the company, but also, dealing with the person can be a very sticky situation. So, generally, how can you deal with the person, but also, how can you make sure that this doesn’t happen again?

Astute Observation

For something like an employee committing fraudulent activities on site, you need to make sure you gather enough evidence. Nowadays, there are so many different approaches to collecting this data, there are companies like WesTec Services that provide video security, so you can see exactly what is going on. On top of this, if the offending employee knows how to cover their tracks, you may need to spend a lot more time developing more sophisticated ways to keep tabs. You have to be very careful when amassing evidence, because if you are accusing someone of something that they will flat out deny, whether it’s a criminal offence, or if it’s something relating to their personal attitude towards the work, you need to ensure that you can display this evidence clearly before progressing with any form of punishment or feedback.

The Punishment Matches The Crime

For something like criminal behavior, it’s more clear cut; it’s usually an instant dismissal. But when it comes to making sure that the person who isn’t pulling their weight in a business is adequately punished, this is where semantics is best discussed. Especially, with regards to HR rules and regulations, you need to make sure that you are developing the member of staff appropriately, and not punishing them needlessly. Learning and development, as well as constructive criticism are things that will help, but also, implementing specific deadlines can be something to ensure that they are taking the feedback seriously. This is why quarterly reviews and one-to-one sessions are so beneficial now.

Give A Clear Message

It’s a very overused sentiment, using someone else “as an example”, but it’s important that you give a message to the other members of staff who are going down this slippery slope. For something like criminal activity, an instant firing can give the right message to the employees, but for those employees who are underperforming, using someone as an example is certainly a great way to make sure all that other workers are performing to standard. In addition to this, this communicates to clients and people outside of the company that you have a handle on dealing with these types of employees appropriately.

It’s very difficult from the perspective of a business owner, because you have your own reputation as well as your business’s reputation to maintain. You don’t want these types of employees to show up your company, and this is why you have to have something in place that deals with these errant types effectively.

A Beginner’s Guide To Starting A Stock Market Trading Business

The stock market is often seen as this mysterious thing that people throw money at in the hope that they’ll get more back in return. Many people believe that trading stocks is something you do in your spare time, or as a long-term investment on the side. However, starting a business in this industry can be one of the best decision you ever make.

If you look at some of the richest people on planet earth, a lot of them have a history of trading. There are massive companies on Wall Street that trade millions, sometimes even billions, of dollars worth of stocks/shares. They make in one day what a lot of businesses would be lucky to make in a lifetime.

Obviously, you won’t see this type of success right away; every business has to start somewhere and grow to be great. Keeping that in mind, how can you get involved in the stock market, and start your own trading business? If this is something that interests; you, then you’re in the right place. Below, there’s a guide to help you pursue this business idea:

Brush Up On Your Stock Market Knowledge

It would be fair to assume that most people interested in this business idea will already have a bit of an interest in the stock market. As a result, you could already have some semblance of knowledge on this subject. However, it’s well worth brushing up on your stock market knowledge and becoming something of an expert. This will help you learn more about the field you’re going into, and figure out some of the tricks of the trade. A simple bit of research and studying can help you understand basic things like the best times to trade, which stock markets you should trade on, and how much money you should start with. Of course, the more you trade, the more this knowledge will grow. But, it’s definitely worth taking a few weeks or months to properly study the stock market before you start opening your business.

Decide How Much Money You Want To Start Trading With

A stock market business requires you to have a pool of money to kick everything off. This can come from your own bank account, or you may think about applying for a relevant loan to raise the capital. Some people have sold their home and downsized just so they get enough money to start trading with. It’s entirely up to you how you get this money, but it’s not exactly the same as looking for regular startup funds. With many businesses, you have lots of startup costs and overhead expenses. As a result, you can apply for business loans, look for investors, or start crowdfunding schemes. With a stock market business, it’s unlikely that you’ll find an investor or manage to raise money crowdfunding. Your best bet is either your own money or a loan. Regardless, think about how much money you want to start with. This will be your little pot of trading cash, and the key is that it’s never empty. No matter how many trades you make, you should never have a point where there’s no money in your account. The more successful you get, the bigger this pool of money becomes!

Get Your Hands On The Right Software

Trading businesses are pretty much built around the trading software you use. As someone who will devote their life to trading, you need to ensure you have the best tools at your disposal. There are loads of different software offerings around the web these days. Some of which include features that let you run simulations, analyze data and find the best trades to make. For someone starting a business, you need to think about software that allows you to do algorithmic trading. Why? Because this type of trading is automated. The software creates algorithms that let you run so many more trades per day than you could possibly do by yourself. This is how all the big boys make their money; they have computers running the numbers and doing everything for them. It’s an essential part of your business, and you need to make sure you have the best software available.

Slowly Bring In Some Staff

The great thing about this business is that you can start it on your own. You can begin trading from your bedroom and enjoy a fair bit of success. The other great thing is that it’s a business idea that you can grow. Not only that, but growing and expanding your stock market business is much easier than many other businesses. One thing you can do is hire some staff. Bring in some more traders, and you have more heads trading stocks and making money for the company. This is how you go from being a lone trader in your bedroom to a big company in a massive office on Wall Street! Success clearly doesn’t happen overnight, but you can slowly build up to it by bringing in more people as you become more successful. What’s more, the people you bring in can be experts in certain fields. One person could be an expert on the UK stock market, while another could know everything about the US one – and so on. This helps your business as you get more knowledge aboard the ship, which helps you sail towards more successful trades and higher profits.

stock2

Grow your business and get an office like this! Source

Start Offering Trading Services

Another way you can expand your original business idea is by offering different trading services to individuals. Remember way back at the start when I said most people see trading as a hobby or investment opportunity? Well, it’s time to cater your business to them. As well as making your own trades and earning money that way, you can charge a fee to invest for other people as well. Essentially, you act as a broker and help them spend their money in the best way possible. They pay you, and then they end up with profits thanks to your trading expertise. Why don’t you do this in the beginning? For me, it’s better to focus on trading on the stock market to earn money for your business at the start of this idea. You’ll be new to the scene, and you may struggle to find success at the beginning! So, if you took on clients at this time, then you could have a lot of unhappy people knocking on your door after you lose their money. But, as you become more successful, then it only makes sense to branch out and create dual streams of income. Especially as you now have employees to pay as well!

Admittedly, this business idea isn’t for everyone. However, if you want to get involved with the stock market, then it can be a great way of making money. One of the main reasons to start this type of business is that you pretty much control the growth of it. If you want it to remain a one-person operation, and you’re happy with the money you make, then you can do that until the end of time. But, if you want to grow and create a massive company, then there are easy ways to expand and do just that. What’s more, it’s a rare business idea that doesn’t depend on finding customers – at least not until you offer brokerage services. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about marketing your company or reeling in leads, all you need to care about is the stock market itself!

Hiring Your First Employee Without Losing Your Mind

Hiring a new employee is supposed to make your life easier, but it doesn’t always go that way. Sometimes, it can feel like they’re more trouble than they’re worth! But fear not, because you don’t have to be forever facing an uphill battle when it comes to employees, and not even the very first one that you hire. Below, we take a look at a few simple steps you can incorporate into your hiring process to ensure your employees bring nothing but good tidings to your company.

In Advance

You don’t hire your first employee when you need them. You hire them before you need them! That way, they’ll be ready to help you when the busy times arrive really. If you wait until you’re swamped, you’re going to have to try to do all your work and train a new employee at the same time. If you can sense that you’re taking on more work and it’s projected to carry on, then begin to think about hiring an employee. You can always have everything ready to go and then begin the process when you’re sure it’s the right thing to do.

Hire Correctly

Of course, you’ll be making it much easier for your staff to bed into your new company if you have a hiring process that delivers the best workers. There is an art to writing a job description, so don’t just write down the first thing that comes to mind and post it on the job sites. You can use a recruiter to help you find the highest quality candidates if you’re not confident in your own abilities. In any case, your company will be well served by having a long-term hiring process.

Time on your Side

You’ll quickly find that while a new employee does free up some of your time, it also means you have some extra responsibilities. You’ll need to train them, for starters, and then sort out things like payment, tax, and any other employer duties you need to fulfil. You can help yourself by having training take place during a quiet time for your business, and by using software like a speedy pay stub generator to simplify the payment process. You’re going to have to give up some of your time, but by being smart, you’ll find that you get it back pretty quickly – and for the long-term, too.

Bedding in Time

Even with your excellent training skills, there’s going to be a bedding in period for your new employee. Nobody, no matter how talented they are, will be able to pick everything up straight away. Make sure they have a few weeks to get up to speed before expecting too much of them.

Cutting Ties

Sadly, not every employee will work out. There’ll be times when you need to cut your ties. If you have doubts, first try speaking to your employee. If they don’t respond to your encouragement, then it’ll likely be better for everyone involved if you go your separate ways.

Signs That Your Company Is Growing Faster Than You Can Manage It

Who wouldn’t love to grow their business? It usually means more attention, more profits and more ideas, but there will always come a point where you’ll realize that your business is actually growing faster than you can manage it. If you want to detect the early warning signs that your business is growing out of control so you can manage it better, then here are a couple of things to look out for.

growth1

Photo Source

  1. Your infrastructure is starting to cost too much

If your basic business infrastructure, such as paying for cloud services and salaries, is costing you far too much of your budget, then there’s a good chance that you’ve started to outgrow what you can manage and you might need to start shuffling your money and removing expensive services like freelancers and outsourced work.

  1. You’re running out of space to grow

Physical space is another concern. You can easily run out of office space if you’re not careful and you’ll want to ensure that you always have extra space for new employees to work and storage space for your products.

  1. You’re hiring people far too often

If you find yourself hiring people for every little task, then there’s a good chance that you’re going to run out of money extremely quickly. You’ll need to start training employees instead of just hiring someone for every problem you encounter.

  1. You’re investing in things you know nothing about

Whether it’s a laser drill, networked devices or a powder coating booth as part of your manufacturing line, if your employees are asking you to invest in things you know nothing about then there’s a good chance you’re starting to grow beyond your knowledge. Regardless of if you’re planning on upgrading computers or adding a laser drilling service as part of your workflow, it’s a good idea to learn more info about it so that you better understand how it plays a part in your business. If you lack this knowledge, then consider speaking to your employees and having them explain it to you without technical jargon.

growth2

Photo Source

  1. Your team is starting to grow further apart

Have you ever noticed that your team are starting to disagree on more things and work less together? If so, it’s a clear sign that your business is growing large enough to need separate departments that will rarely ever speak to each other. 

  1. You and your staff are lacking in direction

If you’re lacking a sense of direction and you’re unsure how to approach your business growth or adapt to new market conditions, then you need to be wary because you could start making poor decisions that affect your success in the future.

  1. Your employees aren’t growing anymore

Once your employees hit a wall, it can be difficult to overcome it and teach them new skills. This is a problem that can be overcome with professional training, or you might need to bite the bullet and hire more agile and flexible employees to replace them.

  1. You’re failing to communicate with your customers

Lastly, if you’re failing to communicate with your customers in a meaningful way then it’s possible you’re starting to grow too large for what you can handle.