StrategyDriven Talent Management Article

Young Business Owners: Gain Respect From Older Employees

When you’re working with a team of people who are older than you, it can be difficult to get them to take you seriously. It doesn’t matter how qualified you are or how much experience you’ve gained in a short amount of time; an older generation will always believe that life experience is more valuable. It’s a tough situation to be in, but you won’t be able to achieve your goals if your team can’t view you as their boss. The fact that youth doesn’t necessarily equal inexperience is something your employees will need to learn. Here’s how you can prove it to them.

Show Your Knowledge

There’s no point walking into a room full of older people with plenty of knowledge and only knowing bits and pieces. You need to demonstrate that your knowledge of the industry is second to none. Make sure you’re doing thorough research and staying abreast of innovative ideas. Subscribe to reading material with the latest trends and make connections with people of influence. Most importantly, focus on doing your job well, instead of showing off. If you’re dedicated to your job and willing to go above and beyond, you’ll gain more respect than if you were to spend your time competing against employees.

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Lead by Example

There’s no doubt that every business owner has to be a leader. If you’re managing a team of employees who are older than you, you need to be the best leader you can be. Perhaps you could benefit on a leadership MBA online to brush up on your skills.  When you want to set a good example, you have to be the first one to arrive at the office and the last one to leave. You have to do your fair share of work, but you also have to have others on your mind. The point of being a leader is guiding people in achieving their goals.

Allow Suggestions

No matter what your age is, no-one likes a boss who thinks they’re better than everyone else. If you’re working with a team of older people, you’re in a prime position to gather valuable advice. Don’t get so preoccupied with proving yourself, that you forget to take advantage of the expertise of your team. No-one knows it all, and trying to demonstrate that you do just because you’re young is a fool’s errand. If you want to be taken seriously, learn to listen. People are far more likely to want to work with you if their suggestions are used.

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Be Determined

One of the barriers to working with an older generation is that they may be used to using different methods in their work. As a young boss, you may have more insight into how to move the business forward. You’ll have a fresh perspective that some of your workers may not agree with. This is when you’ll need to put your foot down and demonstrate the benefits of your ideas and overrule anyone who disagrees with you. However, if there are instances when your ideas prove to be wrong, it’s important that you admit your mistake instead of making excuses. Your staff will respect you more, even if you feel embarrassed.

Stay Calm

There are many times when business doesn’t go to plan. You’ll be faced with difficult decisions and stressful times. You may be under a lot of pressure, but it’s important you remain calm and don’t let the pressure effect your mood or your relationships. As a boss, your staff will be judging you on your behaviour during the most testing times. So, show them you can handle stress as well as they can and you can come up with solutions when they’re needed. Your calm attitude will reassure them in times of high stress.

Dress Appropriately

If your staff members are turning up to work in a suit and tie, well-groomed and ready for anything, and you’re turning up in a t-shirt and jeans, you’ll inadvertently be making the gap between you and your staff even larger. If the older members of your team are putting a huge effort into the way they present themselves, you need to do the same. You won’t necessarily have to wear a suit every day, but it’s important you show up looking smart. You can also try introducing a more relaxed dress code for work so you and your team meet somewhere in the middle.

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Your Business Persona

The way you behave in work may be very different to the way you are outside of work. As a boss to older people, you may not have the luxury of being their best friends. You need to present yourself in the way you want people to see you. So, if you want to be respected leader, you need to act like one. Ask yourself how you want to be viewed in your job role and create a business persona accordingly. Sometimes, it has nothing to do with your natural personality. If you have to act your way through to getting the respect you desire, don’t be afraid to do it.


Lastly, start off your new team with an open mind. It isn’t safe to make assumptions because you may have one older person on the team who is determined to find fault in your leadership and one older person who’s determined to help you reach your goals. It’s important that your employees know what you expect of them and you listen to them when they tell you what they expect of a good leader. Always keep the lines of communication open and never forget how much an older person can bring to a team.

At the end of it all, the best way to show your team, no matter what age they are, is to achieve your desired results. It’s only when the business reaches desired outcomes that your employees will see the benefit of working hard and working together. So, as a leader, be patient and let your work speak for itself.

The Keys to Strong Working Relationships

You may enjoy your job immensely, but if you haven’t got good working relationships with the people you work with on a daily basis, it can make your life a misery. All it takes is one failed relationship to make your whole view on your job change completely. You may feel like you want to change jobs or you may feel like you’re unable to work with the individual in question. Building strong working relationships will not only mean you’ll be able to enjoy your job, but you’ll also have support when you need it and you’ll be more likely to succeed. Good working relationships are important in every sense – an employer with employees, employees with their employer and colleagues with one another. So, here are some tips for perfecting all three.

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An Employer with Employees

You’re reliant upon your employees to do a good job in order to keep the business running as successfully as possible. Your employees need to know that they’re able to come to you with problems and you’ll calmly offer solutions. If your employees are afraid to bother you or believe they’ll be reprimanded for small mistakes, they’re less likely to keep you informed. So, how do you build a relationship that allows your employees to enjoy your company and respect your views?

First and foremost, you need to remember that your employees are the ones who are the first point of contact for your customers. What they do is important and employers often forget that. As an employer, it’s easy to feel like you’re superior to your employees, when in fact, their jobs are just as important as yours. If you present yourself in a way that makes your employees feel inferior, they may not believe you’re approachable.

As the businesses boss, you’re sometimes the odd one out. You’re doing a different job and it’s likely that you have your own office space, away from everyone else. Therefore, you have to do what you can to blend in with the crowd. Come out of your office at break times and enjoy a coffee with your employees so you can find out more about them and their lives. Consider how you’re dressing too. If you’re walking into work wearing a designer suit and tie, you may be inadvertently setting yourself apart from the rest. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be turning up looking smart; but, you don’t have to throw your superiority in everyone’s faces.

It can sometimes help to go back to basics. When you’ve been running a business for so long, it can sometimes be difficult to remember where you started. Try to trigger your memory by doing your employees job for a day could help you to realise the pressures they’re under and what you could do to make their jobs easier. Ask your employees for any suggestions and don’t try and keep secrets. It’s important you have an open relationship with your employees, where you can say what you need to say and they can return the favour.

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Employees with an Employer

If you can build a good relationship with your employer, it can make your job so much easier. Even if you’re only in your job for a short amount of time, you’ll need to rely on your employer for a good reference and they may be able to point you in the right direction when you want to climb the career ladder. So, how do you create a relationship with your boss that will benefit you both?

One of the main things to remember is that your boss is human. There may be days when your boss is under immense stress and that could result in you and your colleagues getting the brunt of it. It’s difficult not to take it out on the people you work closely with when something major goes wrong. Don’t take it personally and try to remember that there are more good days than there are bad. Underneath the title, your boss is just like any of the rest of you. So, build a relationship in the same way you would with any of your other colleagues.

Along with your quality of work, your boss will also expect a high level of reliability and honesty. So, if you’re known for pulling a few ‘sickys’ and your boss has to deal with unfinished work, you aren’t going to build a strong foundation for a good relationship. Can you imagine if you turned up to work and the doors were closed with a note saying, ‘sorry, but I won’t be paying you today’? Trust and reliability works both ways.

It’s always nice to be told that you’re doing a good job or your work is fantastic. But, your boss may not always have time to give you praise. Don’t sit there and wait for praise to come and then get upset when it doesn’t. You should be able to tell when you’ve done good work and be proud of yourself regardless. Everyone has a different kind of communication style, and it’s worth taking the time to figure your bosses out. It will be easier for you to figure out your boss’s style than your boss attempt to adjust his style to each individual employee. Once you’ve cracked it, you’ll have a much easier time when it comes to talking to your boss one-to-one.

Creating a good working relationship with your boss doesn’t mean you need to be best friends. In fact, it doesn’t even mean you have to like each other. But, you do need to rely on each other. So, do what you can to show your boss that you’re willing to go above and beyond and you may just get the same back.

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Employees with Employees

Colleagues have the opportunity to become lifelong friends. In fact, many colleagues do become best friends. If you think about it, you probably see more of your colleagues than you do your own families. This is especially true for people working shift jobs, like nurses. Take a look at vacancies for phlebotomists and care assistants and you’ll see the type of hours they work. So, it’s important you build great relationships with your colleagues so you have a better chance of enjoying the work you do.

It’s a much different type of relationship than that of an employer and employees. You’ll spend a lot more time with your colleagues than your employer, so you’ll have more of a chance to get to know one another. Be honest and open from the get go. Learn to communicate well with others. Some basics are eye contact and body language. Don’t be afraid to be truthful about your flaws. It isn’t like the playground at school – no-one is going to tease the new kid. In fact, many people end up bonding over similar flaws.

Remember that everyone is different. When you attempt to get to know people by chatting and opening up, you may come across people who are less enthusiastic about building a relationship. Some people are quiet and reserved, so it doesn’t mean you’ll never have a relationship with that person, it just may take longer to develop. When building relationships with colleagues, it’s important to be observant. You may spot someone reading a book you’ve read before which could be a good talking point for you both. You may notice someone suffering from a head cold, so offering to lighten their load or making them a cup of tea could go a long way to starting a lasting relationship. People don’t often remember what you said, but they’ll certainly remember the way you made them feel.

One of the most important things you can do when you’re starting new working relationships is to find some common ground. Perhaps you like the same TV programmes or you enjoy going to Yoga class. Perhaps you have children of a similar age or you have a family member that drives you crazy. There are lots of things, some surprising, that can help people to connect. It also worth remembering not to be a colleague snob. There are many companies where colleagues stick to the same department when it comes to building relationships. Someone from the I.T department surely couldn’t be friends with someone from the marketing department? Thinking like this will only result in you missing out on valuable friendships. If you have the opportunity, try and connect with people from different areas in your workplace. It’s not only good for you to establish as many relationships as possible, but having connections can often lead to new opportunities. You’ll never know if you’ll be interested in swapping departments in the future.

Working relationships have the ability to make your working life wonderful or a living hell. Which would you choose? Make an effort with your relationships by following these steps and you could find a workplace that you’re happy in for years to come. After all, isn’t that the ultimate goal?

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article

Staffing Problems: How To Start Hiring The Right People

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Forget the advancements in tech, the improvements in your management systems, and the upgrades you have made to operational functions; there is only one place true success comes from in business and that is your employees. It may not be easy to measure, but that is a fact by the way. Unfortunately, hiring the right employees isn’t easy, which is a slap in the face because getting your staffing wrong can have a negative effect on both your bottom-line and your reputation (which then affects your bottom-line).

So, to help you land the talent your business is absolutely crying out for, we have come up with some strategies that can make your recruiting process really work, and here they are:

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Think About You

You cannot possibly hope to land the perfect employee if you don’t know what you want from an employee. It’s that simple. As such, always start by figuring out what it is your goal is. Could be customer service mixed with adaptability, proactive mixed with technical skills, friendly but dedicated. Once you know what you are looking for it becomes much easier to find it.

Honest Job Descriptions

The more detailed and honest your descriptions are the more chance you have of walking into an interview and knowing they understand exactly what you want. Just look at Applebee’s application information at They give it to prospective applicant straight – hours, wage, positions, experience, training etc. Don’t be scared that your description may put a lot of people off because that is what you want. You want to find those that meet your very specific needs and wants so that you know you are getting the right person.

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Look At Social Media

When you get an application, it is going to be tailored to meet your needs and say the thing you want to hear. That is why it is so important that you have a little look at their online profile and find out a little more about their personality as explains. This will give you an idea of how they may fit in with your other employees, which is crucial to your success.

Two-Way Interview

It is so important that you don’t paint a picture of green fields, red roses and the sweet smell of a fresh bread when describing your company because that won’t weed out the chancers from the serious candidates. Instead, give them the reality so that they can paint an accurate picture in their head and decide for themselves whether they will be a good fit. Interviews should be two-way, and the person in front of you will only excel if they want to work in your company.

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Skill Isn’t Enough

Too many employees get it wrong by focusing on technical skill and past experience. What you want to focus on is personality traits so that you can understand what their future with you may look like. That’s how to nurture leaders from the get-go. You can teach someone new skills, but you cannot teach them how to be responsible, respectful and great to work with. That’s another hard-to-measure fact.

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Why Employee Training Is A Wise Investment For Your Business

Businesses can only thrive when they benefit from regular and targeted investment. There will be many areas of potential investment including physical infrastructure, consumables and professional services that all compete for a limited budget. Whilst employee recruitment is usually viewed as a legitimate area for investment, employee training has traditionally been overlooked and often comes at the bottom of spending priorities.

This is a mistake but there is more bad news. When business owners are looking to make savings in their outgoings, employee training is usually the first budget to be slashed because it is an easy target. This short-term view is not what is best for your business going forward and could be highly damaging. There are many compelling reasons why you should target your investment at employee training.

This may require a shift in attitude. You need to start viewing employee training as a way to make you more money rather than a waste of money. It is a long-term investment that will pay you great dividends in the future.

Why you need to take employee training seriously

Your employees are one of your greatest assets. You have made a lot of effort to recruit the right people for the job. The recruitment process is costly in both time and money. If you do not look after the employees that you have recruited then this has been a waste of time and resources.

If your business is to thrive, it is essential that you manage your workforce effectively. This is a lot more than ensuring that they turn up on time and that they stay as long as they are meant to. You need to make sure that you are making the most of them whilst they are at work. An experienced and well-trained employee could be your greatest business asset.

Human resources management is all about striking a balance between encouragement, rewards, and sanctions. It is also about developing each employee as an individual and nurturing them so that they can feel fulfilled and make the best contribution to your enterprise. On-going training is a vital element of this. It is viewed by employees as a reward because it has benefits for them as well as your business. It renews interest in their task and keeps them engaged with your operation. They will also enjoy being viewed as an authority in a particular area. Rather than relegating it to the bottom of the pile, you should place employee training at the center of how you manage your employees.

An employee that is trained in all the latest skills and techniques and who is provided with the latest knowledge will be able to complete their job more effectively. They are also more efficient so they get the job done faster using fewer resources. This is good for your cash-flow.

Trained employees are happier and feel more highly motivated at work so productivity is increased. Business research shows that employee training correlates with increased job satisfaction and higher morale. The workplace becomes a happier and more productive place and profits increase. It also means that employees are more likely to stay in their job and your staff retention is improved. Ultimately, this saves you money.

If your employees are using outdated techniques, technology, and modalities then they could be harming your business. It is time for a change in attitude towards employee training. You are leading a team and you should want that team to be the best that it can be.

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Areas for employee training

Some employee training will need to be targeted at the specific role that they play in your organization. Training does not mean that employees need to leave the workplace to take advantage of it as there are many courses provided online these days.

If your business operates in the retail sector, you should invest in sales technique training. This will equip your sales team with the latest techniques for converting visitors into paying customers and even into repeat customers. If your business is associated with technology then you need to provide training on the latest technological developments – see programs relating to technology. Information technology skills are highly relevant to any business. Once the training is complete you could designate one employee as your IT expert. This will mean that you do not have to rely on an external organisation to provide your IT support and it could save you a huge amount of money. As an employee who is on site all the time, they will be able to spot problems before they occur and will understand how your business systems operate.

Training in cyber security is increasingly important for all of today’s businesses. Every business is a potential target for such an attack and the only way to effectively protect the business is to train employees in what they must do to prevent it.

If you operate in a specialized sector such as the provision of services to children, it makes sense to train employees in the area of child development and learning – see programs relating to early age education. You can provide your employees with courses such as Child Development, Assessment, Observation, and Intervention and Exploring the Principles of Education. Typically, the training programs focus on how to create healthy environments that encourage and stimulate children. This would provide valuable insights for your business.

Generic training for all employee

There are some areas where all employees need to be trained and health and safety training is one of these. It is an area that is often neglected but is essential in all work premises. As an employer, you have a duty to protect the health, safety, and welfare of your employees and training is a big part of that.

You cannot ask an employee to carry out a task without providing them with the appropriate training. If you do not do that, you are putting them and everyone around them at risk. Health and safety training could include any of the following:

  • Training in how to carry out a particular job. Every time you require an employee to carry out a job, you must ensure that they have been trained in how to do it safely. This includes training them in a safe system of work, how to spot hazards and what to do if something goes wrong.
  • Training in how to use equipment. When you require an employee to use a particular piece of equipment you must ensure that they are trained in how to use it safely. That includes how to use any safety features that the equipment is provided with and if there are any checks that need to be carried out before the equipment is used.
  • Training in how to use personal protective equipment. If your employees have to use some sort of personal protective equipment (such as ear defenders or breathing apparatus) they must be trained in how to use it correctly. It is not sufficient to simply provide the equipment because if it is not used properly it will not offer the protection that it has been designed to provide.
  • Training in spotting and reporting hazards. You cannot be everywhere in your business at the same time and so it is essential that every employee knows how to spot potential hazards. They are your eyes and ears throughout the organisation. They also need to know how they should report it to and how they should do that.

First aid training is useful for all employees and some workplaces are required to have a trained first aider on site. Employees with first aid training have saved thousands of lives in workplaces up and down the country. There are several different levels of first aid training ranging from simple first aid to CPR and serious incident management.

Training must be an ongoing activity

It is a mistake to view employee training as a one-off provision. It is actually something that needs to be kept under continual review. There are always new courses and new opportunities that you can take advantage of. You need to be continually assessing who needs training and what training it would be best to provide them with.

One approach that works well is to integrate an assessment of training needs into your staff appraisal so that employees are actively involved in identifying what they need. The findings could be reported back as part of an annual review so that you can work out your budget requirements.

If you are not sure of the latest training courses in your particular industry you can check these out on trade organisation websites and journals. However, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. A training course from an entirely different sector may bring the innovation that your business needs.

Finally, it is not just your employees that need training. As the business owner, you owe it to yourself to keep up to date with the latest developments. You may enjoy learning more than you thought you would!

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Harmony vs Chaos: Keep Employees on the Same Page

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Making sure everyone in your business is on the page shouldn’t be seen as mere courtesy. When everyone is on the same page, then it becomes much easier for business to go smoothly! You want everyone working in some sort of harmony, in order to fight off the chaos that big business projects can often bring.

Employees are your strongest asset, but you’re doing them a disservice if communication and collaboration isn’t that strong in your business. Here are a few tips you should keep in mind.


If employees don’t feel all that involved in certain aspects of the business, then it’s going to be more difficult for them to really engage as deeply as you want them to. One of the best ways to encourage professional harmony in the workplace is to get more employees involved in the planning process of a particular project, or even in its inception. Of course, you have to balance this with the risk of having too many cooks in the kitchen – this approach may stretch out the planning process. It could benefit the project in the long run, though.


The easier it is to collaborate, the more people you’re going to get on the same page. Thankfully, there’s a bunch of software and web applications you can use to facilitate this. SharePoint, a Microsoft Office feature, is currently gaining popularity in this area. It’s relatively new to many people, however, so consider working with a consultancy business such as HingePoint to help people get used to things. There’s also suites such as Google Drive, communication programs such as Skype and Google Hangouts, and project management web apps such as Trello and Basecamp that are all recommended.

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Whether it be documents detailing the goals of the project or notes taken from meetings, keeping strong documentation of the project is pretty essential. When people get a little lost, they can refer to a central piece of information – such as a project bible – to help them get back on track and see what the particular aims and expectations are. This is also very useful for instances in which employees are late, have to take a sick day, and return from vacation. You should make sure that these documents are kept up-to-date, too; they shouldn’t be static texts. After all, things are probably going to change a few times on a given project!


A lot of business owners see encouraging sociability to be something quite peripheral to work. They want to keep things friendly in the office, though they also know that these good vibes can also increase satisfaction, which helps drive productivity and focus. But encouraging sociability really helps in a very direct way when it comes to people being on the same page at the workplace. When bonds grow between employees, they don’t only talk about private or trivial matters – they also begin to talk about work more frankly, and become more enthusiastic to offer each other help. So arranging after-work social events, as well as allowing employees a bit of space to talk casually from time to time, can help your business more than you might think.