Why Encouraging Diverse Representation Will Help Your Business Grow

Diversity in the workplace is a hot topic for business owners in recent years, changing from a novel idea to a necessity for success. Diversity comes in many shapes and sizes; differences in age, gender,economic background, race, and cultural differences are just some of the ways your business can focus on representing a diverse workforce.

While not always easy to achieve without dedicated time from your hiring team and management, when done successfully encouraging diversity at your business can actually help you reduce turnover, increase innovation, and help your business grow overall.

Improved Market Share

One of the most crucial parts of having a successful business is understanding your products and services and who your target audience is. Only employing staff from similar backgrounds in the name of ‘culture fit’ limits your understanding of other markets and ways your business could grow and succeed when marketing to these diverse groups.

By hiring employees that come from a wide variety of backgrounds, religions, sexual orientations, genders, age groups and spending habits, you are gaining insight into the market groups you want to learn more about. This allows you to create products and services that are sustainable. for them more effectively and it enhances your chance of capturing a wider market share.

Increase Innovation

Not surprisingly, an increase in difference of opinions, experiences, and ideas can lead to innovation in your business when a safe space is created to share such ideas. A study by NC State’s business school looked at 3,000 of the largest publicly traded companies and found that those with a diverse workforce were better at developing innovative products and services.

This is especially helpful for those companies working in global markets, which tend to evolve more quickly and compete with other businesses who also hire diverse workforces. It is important to emphasize that your staff must feel that their differences in outlooks are respected and they are encouraged to express these differences to their coworkers to maximize your potential for innovation.

Recruit and Retain Talent

Finding talented workers can be a difficult task for a business, especially as you compete with other jobs that may be able to offer better benefits or pay. One easy way to do this is by hiring diverse employees. A company that embraces diversity is automatically throwing a wider net to applicants of diverse backgrounds, letting a larger audience know they would be welcome and fit into your company culture, increasing the talent pool you will see.

A recent study from Atlassian found that 80% of respondents believed diversity and inclusion to be important in the workplace, and companies like B Corps, who openly are rated on their employee happiness and diversity are highly sought after by top MBA students. Tiffany Jana, CEO of TMI Consulting, a B Corp, stated that, “I can barely keep up with the droves of highly qualified, passionate, values-aligned millennials who want to work for TMI. I no longer search for high-potential staff; they now come tome.” As you bring in a more diverse staff and focus on employee well-being, you will see a positive impact on your reputation as a great place to work.

When it comes to retaining employees, diversity can also help. It does this by communicating to employees that your business is open-minded to different ideas and ways of doing things, which research shows greatly increases employee happiness. When workers feel a sense of autonomy in daily operations, meaning they have a say in their own goals, responsibilities, and creative process, they perform higher, have a better moral, and tend to stay with that business longer.

It also communicates to your workers that you do not practice workplace discrimination, which again increases workplace morale and trust in you as the employer, leading to longer retention rates.

Increased Profits

Another benefit of having a diverse staff is an increase in profits. If your employees are helping you improve your market share, increasing the level of innovation at your business, and you are recruiting highly talented workers and are able to retain them, it is easy to also expect an increase in profits for your business. A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that diversity increases the bottom line for companies,especially when that diversity is in the board room. 

Of the 1,700 companies surveyed, those companies that reported above-average diversity on their management teams reported 19% higher revenues than those companies with below average leadership diversity, with innovation cited as the reason for increased revenues. 

Overall, improving your workplace diversity can help you attract and keep talented employees, increase creativity in your workplace which can help you better understand your markets, and increase the profitability of your business. But despite the overwhelming evidence that diverse workplaces help your business grow, many businesses still struggle to implement changes that are sustainable. Check out this list of easy steps your business can take to make sure your business is successful at encouraging diversity and reaping the benefits.

Sam Casteris is a small business owner and freelance writer operating out of Phoenix, AZ. You can find more of her work on Contently.

Prepare For The Hurricane That Is Success

The dream for any business is to explode like a fireworks finale above some capital city on Old Year’s Night and, if you work hard enough, you’ll find the chances of this happening are in your favor. The dream is an exponential rise, the kind that will be written in the folklore of Forbes Magazine.

However, the dream is very different to the reality because, if you don’t prepare your business for this level of success, you’ll see it fall by the wayside thanks to good old instability. Yup, seizing the opportunity to grow requires having everything in place to rock n’ roll with the momentum you’ve earned.

That’s why we’ve pulled together a lost of ways you can effectively grow your business and ride out any and all the brisk changes that crop up on the way up:

  1. No Weak Links

The thing that makes growth possible is a sudden charge of customers running toward your gates. However, if things aren’t absolutely watertight at your end, you’ll find they turn around just as quickly as they came, taking everyone with them. That’s why you need to have everything in check. You need to make sure you are presentable from every direction, have a great online presence and that all your operations are able to run smoothly no matter how many people cue up. Think of this growth as a hurricane; the only thing that will help you survive is a strong foundation.

  1. Have The Resources

This is the balancing act that you need to master in order to make growth possible. You need to have all the resources ready without having any unnecessary overheads. Our advice: utilize technology and make the most of outsourcing. Call ATB Technologies and ask them about their cloud storage solutions so that your IT can withstand the growth, build a pool of trusted freelancers you can call on during peak times so that you don’t put your business or brand at risk of onboarding problems and have automation processes in place so that human error isn’t a burden when the pressure builds.

  1. Hire The Best Talent

Growth is not possible without having the right team around you, which is why you need to make this a priority. These people are a crucial part of your success and will either help big time or hinder you massively. Don’t just pick the person with the best qualifications though. Think about their soft skills, how they will fit in with your culture, the context they have applied their experience in so far, heir ambitions and everything else that makes up their professional personality. Yes, their experience is key, but you want them to be able to roll with the punches and fight for the same goals as you. Dedication and commitment – those are the two defining traits you are after.

  1. Perfect Your Procedures

We’ll keep this one short: you need to have the proper procedures, processes and strategies in place if you are going to seize the opportunity to grow. That means having the right systems, tech, software, workflows and everything else of that ilk. It won’t be possible to succeed without them.

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.

Lead United: Leadership Skills For A Top-Scoring Team



The very best sales teams can feel the pressure on occasion. The world is littered with targets and performance tools, and these can contribute to a lack of productivity, rather than aid it. People will feel the tension in different ways, and with some people, it can help them by giving that adrenaline and kick that they need, others can crumble. The one thing that can make a difference to a team is its leader. The manager of a group of people can dictate, or they can guide. The leader of a team is the barometer, people will look to that person for praise and encouragement, and there are many line-managers that don’t have the right touch, and will inadvertently cause low morale. Where do you, as a leader, begin to give your team the right type of push?

Communicate Consistently

Communicating the vision of the team is one way to reinforce the purpose. By doing this, it keeps people clear in the knowledge of what their end-product is. By making sure that each person in the team knows their own individual role and what their own goal is in relation to the bigger picture. This will instill not only purpose but focus in each part of the machine. Each team member should be able to see the vision set out reflected in the decisions you make as a team leader, and the vision should be connected to their own goals. Transparency in an organization is the valuable trait to inspiring employees and helping them to understand their part in the whole company.

Work On Developing Talent

Mentoring and feedback are something that can be lost in the midst of targets and goals. While it is an important aspect of a business to monitor the productivity of a member of staff, using their “numbers” as a reason to make them work harder is not enough. This is where the power of “why” comes into play. By asking opinions and perspectives of a situation, this will get you to the core of a person. Their attitudes and behavior is key to understanding how they work as an individual. Speak to them and see what the underlying issue is. As leaders, we are so focused on the short-term tasks that we neglect the long-term ones, and our employees are a long-term investment. We need to see if there is a fundamental skill they may need to brush up on. There is sales team performance enablement software that can be used to develop employees, from providing training to using systems to help make peoples’ jobs easier, and by using the right tools in conjunction with the development of talent; it is working to make a better workforce all round.

Express Your Gratitude

On a personal level, expressing your gratitude for a person’s work will really help to bolster performance. You are making them feel valued, and this will translate into a better working attitude. It is easy to give a pizza to your team as thanks, but personal and heartfelt appreciation will last much longer.




Retain Your #Employees by Focusing on #Retirement

retireAny business that wants to attract and retain high-quality, loyal employees must offer a solid benefits package.

One aspect of that package is the retirement benefits.

Since most employees don’t want to work forever but retire and enjoy life in their later years, a package that plans for the future is usually a win-win for both the employer and employee.

Attract Better Talent

According to a study back in 2012, only 30 percent of Fortune 100 companies offer retirement benefits; down from 40 percent in 2009. Studies show that even fewer small companies include 401k plans or other retirement options in benefits packages.

While these statistics may be disheartening to today’s job candidates, they’re good news for you.

If your business offers such a package, you’ll stand out in the crowd.

Not only will you attract more high-quality candidates, but you’ll retain the people you hire.

Most people don’t want to give up a benefit they already have, so they’ll be less likely to accept a job offer that doesn’t include retirement benefits.

Create Better Company Morale

people_potentialjpgEmployees want to know their employer cares about them, and a retirement plan is one way of stating that fact. By offering such a plan, it shows you are concerned about more than the bottom line.

You want your employees to be happy and cared for, too. And if you contribute to the plan, you’ll be thought even more highly of.

Employees who have a positive opinion of their employer are more likely to be loyal, dedicated workers.

They will go the extra mile and put in their best efforts over someone who has a negative or even neutral opinion of the company they work for.

Protect Your Own Future

Small business owners often fail to plan for their own retirement.

When you sign up for a 401k plan for the company, you can begin planning for your own future. Many of these plans provide rollover benefits.

What this means is you get to keep the plan even if you start another company or someday decide to sell the business and become an employee again. This allows you to plan for retirement even if you aren’t sure what the future holds.

Minimal Maintenance

Many of today’s plans are administered by outside companies. This reduces the burden on small companies with a limited HR staff.

The benefits company will handle the signup and maintenance of the program, so your staff doesn’t have to.

Many of these companies also provide seminars to educate people about financial planning.

As the article, “Make Sure Your Retirement Plan is Ready to Slide into Home Plate” says, not having a retirement plan can be a little scary.

Professionals can answer questions and help your staff make good planning decisions and you won’t be responsible for providing the detailed information.

Almost everyone hopes to retire someday, but many fail to begin planning for that future.

Businesses that help employees start saving with a retirement plan will benefit in many ways.

About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including HR and finance.


Are You Hiring the Best Candidates?

talented_candidate“You know what I love? Job interviews.”

You rarely hear people saying these two sentences together.

If you’re the job seeker, the interview process can be incredibly uncomfortable and high pressure. If you’re the interviewer, they can be just as stressful since you will be judged by your fellow employees based on the success or failure of the candidate you choose.

While stakes of the hiring process are high on both ends, there are a number of techniques businesses can employ to ensure that they’re making the best hiring decisions possible:

Keep the Interview Process Uniform

robotHumans, fortunately, aren’t robots or computers.

Even the best hiring managers have their own personal, unconscious biases when it comes to whether or not they think highly of a candidate.

Liking the same sports team may make a candidate feel like a better drinking buddy, but this has nothing to do with whether they’ll do their job effectively.

To eliminate these possible biases, it’s important to keep each interview as uniform as possible.

This means having a clear list of questions set up ahead of time and committing to time-management during the interview to make sure that everyone gets a fair shake at answering all of them. Uniformity should also come in the form of how or where you choose to interview.

If all of your candidates are local, you should try to get face-time with all of them in person rather than interviewing some over Skype or the phone.

Keeping these variables to a minimum can help you focus on candidate’s merits alone.

Ask the Right Questions

When an interviewee starts name-dropping big clients or high-profile projects they’ve worked on in the past, it’s easy to get swept up in that hype.

But it’s vital for interviewers to continue probing and asking important, specific questions like, “Did you meet that client’s KPIs? What were those numbers? How did you do it?”

As the article, “How to Be the Top Candidate at Every Interview” points out, candidates should be comfortable with giving out these specific examples at past jobs if they are truly qualified.

It’s also important to freshen up your standardized interview questions after a certain period of time.

While sites like Glassdoor are great for posting jobs, they’re also an opportunity for possible interviewees to get the inside scoop on exactly what questions you’ll ask.

If you want to get a true sense of a candidate’s impromptu answers, make sure to change questions regularly.

Don’t Be Afraid to Give a Test

This shouldn’t be an arbitrary pop quiz or some equivalent to an SAT or IQ test.

If you know the daily tasks of this job role, have prospective employees complete a test that is an example of that work. If you’re hiring a copywriter, have them complete a test assignment.

This will give you a real idea about whether or not they’re capable of completing the job’s daily tasks and you can gauge their level of talent.

Walk Away Feeling Good

Job interviews are a lot like dating.

This isn’t just about you finding the best match. It’s also about that person thinking that you’re the right match for them.

If a candidate is highly qualified, educated, and wildly talented, they’re likely in high demand. They can have competing offers and you want them to choose your company.

By making the interview process as positive as possible, you’ll not only get the best out of your interviewees, but you’re effectively creating good PR.

In committing to making interviews a great experience, Google found that even when candidates didn’t get the job; they’d recommend a friend apply to the company.

When interviewers put their biases aside, ask the right questions, and deploy smart testing, they find the best candidates for their open positions.

Following these suggestions plus making the interview process a positive experience for the candidates can help your business grow with the right team.

About the Author: Kristin Livingstone writes on a variety of topics including small business and hiring.

Are You Inspiring Greatness in Your Company?

greatnessYou’ve hired the right staff of competent professionals. You’ve perfected your workflow and process.

If your company is a machine, you’ve kept it very well oiled. But it’s time for that next step – taking your team from good to great.

Here are just some of the ways you can inspire greatness in your company:

Lead by Example

You hear this all the time, but there’s more to the advice than the usual cliches.

As a manager, you can be in charge of creating an atmosphere that fosters real growth.

If you want your employees to stay curious and innovative, model that behavior by asking them questions.

Show that you are interested in your education and gaining a new skill set. It will help create a culture where it’s okay to not have all the answers because that’s a learning opportunity.

Likewise, if you believe that having a healthy work-life balance is what makes a company great, live by that.

Don’t send your employees emails at midnight with information that can wait until tomorrow.

Put a Clock on Pep Talks

When it comes to motivating employees, the corporate world can borrow from sports.

As the article, “Knute Rockne And Making the Effort to Inspire Greatness explains, famed coach Knute Rockne knew that if he wanted to truly reach his players he needed to keep his pep talks short and sweet.

You don’t want your team to be watching the clock rather than listening to your very important motivational meeting.

Take the coach’s advice and make sure you’re not delivering a monologue.

Show respect for your team’s time by keeping these talks short and show that you’ve put thought into them by taking the time to edit your messaging.

Get Vulnerable

If you own your own business or are a member of upper management, a number of your employees likely look up to you as a model for success.

You can inspire greatness in them by reminding them that those goals are within reach. Open up to your staff about your own personal professional journey. Most bosses aren’t born in the C-Suite but rather have risen up through the ranks.

Sharing those stories about the climb can help the people that work for you better see themselves on a similar trajectory to achievement.

Be Accountable For the Not-So-Great

Just as everyone is human, no company is perfect. But how businesses and individuals react to those failures is what separates the good from the great.

As a manager, you want to maintain a climate of transparency and accountability from the top down. Mistakes are bound to happen but you can make sure that people own them, learn from them, and keep it moving.

When you create an atmosphere that isn’t based on a fear of making mistakes, you’re effectively inspiring employees to take risks. You’re inspiring greatness in that you’re encouraging your staff to get out of their day-to-day comfort zones.

Greatness isn’t built overnight. It takes committed managers and motivated employees.

By modeling the right behavior, fostering open communication, and being cognizant of your worker’s time, you can take you company from good to great.

About the Author: Kristin Livingstone writes on a variety of topics including small business and motivational strategies.