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Ways To Help Support Your Staff More

Helping support your staff more in the business can be really beneficial to your company. Looking after your employees and making sure they’re happy at all times is the secret to a productive work environment. Here are some ways to help support your staff more when they’re working for your business.

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article | Ways To Help Support Your Staff More | Talent Management | Entrepreneurship | Staff Support

Listen To Their Needs

Their needs should always come first, and as a result, you’ll likely see a change in the way they see the company and the respect they have for you as an employer. Listening to their needs and what they want can be done in a number of ways, the most important being through regular meetings with them on a one-to-one basis. This can be helpful in getting them to talk through their concerns or what they want to change. If they’re seen as a valued member of staff, rather than just a number, that’s going to help build work relations across the company. Try to change what you can in order to make their working environment more enjoyable at all times. Obviously, not everything can be honored, but at least you’re trying.

Improve IT Services

IT problems tend to be something that a lot of businesses have a problem with, and if there are problems with your equipment and staff workstations, then you’ll find productivity levels are going to dip. Staff need to be able to get on with their work with little distractions or disruptions. Otherwise, you’ll find the concentration for them to continue with their work will be severely depleted. IT services & support are in constant supply, so if your current situation isn’t working for you, look at other companies who might be able to help.

Encourage A Work-Life Balance

A work-life balance is one thing that many of your staff members will probably want in life. After all, we spend so much of our time working, it’s important that we are able to get the most out of life outside of work too. Try to encourage a better work-life balance and change the benefits that some of your staff might not currently be getting. A mental health day can be good for those who need a break every now and then to reset the batteries. Being flexible with working from home can also help.

Assist With Company Progression

Company progression might be on the cards for some of your employees, and so if they wish to rise through the ranks, it’s good to help them in whatever way possible. That might be offering them extra training or courses to improve their resume, and it might also be offering promotions and career opportunities both inside and out of the company.

Supporting your staff as a company is important to maintaining happiness levels and overall job satisfaction. So, keep working on ways to make the working environment better. Improve job prospects and encourage a good balance of work and personal life. Improve what’s not working properly and listen to their needs whenever you can.

Why Professional Mentorship is a Highly Underrated Business Tool

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article | Why Professional Mentorship is a Highly Underrated Business ToolIf you’ve never heard of a mentorship program, look no further.

Mentorship programs are often overlooked by business owners because they’re seen as an expense instead of a beneficial investment. You should understand the importance of mentorship because it will help you and your company.

Mentors can provide a plethora of benefits to employees and business owners that allow them to make better decisions and improve their workspace. This will allow any business owner to earn more money in the long run.

Keep on reading to learn more about mentorship programs and what they can do for your business!

What Is a Mentor?

A mentor is someone that can enter a company and guide both the employees and owners. They act as the eyes and ears of the operations because they’re constantly involved with employees and see what goes on daily.

Depending on the size of a company, there may be multiple mentors. The more employees you have, the more mentors you’ll want so that everyone can get mentored equally.

Mentors typically go to school to learn how to deal with people. They’re effective at providing support to others and giving business recommendations when needed. You can learn more about the experience that mentors have if you’re interested in hiring them.

Asking Questions and Getting Advice

One of the main benefits of mentorship programs is that they allow employees to ask a question and get advice whenever they need assistance.

Many employees, especially newer ones, struggle to get the hang of things when they enter a new job. This is because they’ll go through a standard training procedure that all employees do and will be expected to start working efficiently right away.

The problem with this is that each role needs to be trained in a certain way so that employees aren’t confused about what their job is.

Bringing in someone to mentor employees will ensure that they do their jobs consistently and effectively because they’ll have someone that’s always available to answer questions.

Receiving a Different Perspective

It’s important to hear from another perspective before deciding to do something because it helps you guarantee that what you’re doing makes sense.

One of the mentorship program goals that most programs have is to provide unbiased and useful information. Whether a business owner or an employee is looking to hear from someone else, a mentor can give them their thoughts and explain other scenarios.

Improving Key Skills

The main purpose of mentoring is to guide someone through a process by helping them improve their key skills.

If you have a new IT employee that doesn’t know how to repair a broken motherboard, a mentor can show them what they need to do. In this case, the mentor would act as a trainer.

Should your employees constantly complain about not knowing how to do things, your mentors will tell you how you can make the training process better.

Venting with a Trusted Person

Although a mentor will often assist employees with tasks, they’ll also be a person that employees can go to when they want to vent. If an employee feels as though they can’t express themselves, you’ll usually see a decline in their work because they’ll feel stressed.

Similar to a counselor-patient relationship, mentors won’t disclose the personal information that’s shared between them and the person they’re mentoring.

Expanding Networks

Mentors give employees and business owners the opportunity to expand their networks by introducing them to new people. Most mentors have worked with several companies, so they can give you contact details and mention you to others.

Even inside a business, a mentor can expand a new employee’s network by introducing them to other coworkers. It’s common for employees to not know everyone within a company, especially if it’s larger.

This benefits business owners because they can start partnering with other companies, and it benefits employees because they’ll be able to interact with more people and feel included.

Methods and Strategies

Every business has a set of methods and strategies that they employ to fulfill their services. A mentor can drill these things into employees, making them better employees as they won’t feel lost when they’re working.

If a strategy is outdated or isn’t working as effectively as it should, mentors will make recommendations to improve the system. They’ll have a better idea of what’s working because they’ll be interacting with various employees daily.

Confidence to Make Better Decisions

Having a mentor gives employees the confidence to make better decisions because they’ll know they can fall back on someone if they mess up.

Their guidance encourages employees to make bolder decisions, even if there’s a lot of risks involved. They’ll do the same with a business owner that’s struggling to decide on something.

Start Looking Into Mentorship Programs Today

Investing in a mentorship program is one of the best things you can do as a business owner because you’ll save a lot of time and money in the process. Instead of having to deal with employees when they’re stressed or don’t know what to do on the job, a mentor will take care of that.

If you own a business, we encourage you to start looking into mentorship programs in your area to help you take your business to another level. You’ll quickly notice that the company is more productive, ultimately allowing you to maximize your profits.

Browse our articles to learn more about mentorship programs and other business ideas.

Can Your Employees Sue You for Emotional Distress

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Suing for Emotional Distress|Can Your Employees Sue You for Emotional DistressAny business should consider the mental wellbeing of its employees. Work is stressful enough without people having to deal with the outrageous behaviors of others. Major depression and burnout cost companies billions of dollars every year. In this context, the stress in the workplace is not something to neglect. From a legal standpoint, employees have the right to sue a business for emotional distress. Here is what you need to know.

Employers Have Double Legal Duties

As an employer, you have the legal duty to avoid inflicting emotional distress to other people. You must use reasonable care to prevent such issues. You are responsible for all your employees’ conduct. Say an employee causes emotional distress to another employee or a client. If you knew and did nothing about it, you are vulnerable to a lawsuit.

Making the Difference between Legal Types of Emotional Distress Cases

An employer must follow the letter of the law and its spirit. You may do everything right and face legal exposure. Some of your employees may have asked themselves, “can you sue for emotional distress” at least once. The answer is “yes,” but it depends on the situation. Most people will not sue you because you are annoying as a person. They will if:

  • you are a negligent manager;
  • engage in reckless/outrageous behavior towards them;
  • your management led to workplace accidents and injuries;
  • you ignore their complaints.

With burnout syndrome, depression, or sexual harassment, the law is intricate. In this context, you need to know the difference between NIED and IIED.

The best way to move forward is to hire legal aid. It may be hard as a small business to find the right law firm. But, it will save you money in the long term. Most likely, it will protect your reputation.

NIED – Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

Employees can sue for NIED when someone else’s negligence leads to their emotional distress. The proof varies from state to state. These are the general provisions when making a case:

  • The employee must prove that the defendant (employer) engaged in a negligent activity.
  • The employer is open to an NIED suit if he/she willfully violated a statutory duty.
  • The plaintiff suffered significant emotional distress (as described by the law). They must prove its occurrence, persistence, symptoms, etc.
  • The plaintiff’s emotional distress is a direct consequence of the defendant’s negligence.

Example: Employees can sue within an NIED framework if a piece of equipment fell and nearly crashed them.

IIED – Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Bad behavior opens the door to an IIED suit. There are no guidelines on what represents extreme, reckless, or outrageous behavior. It is why IIED is hard to prove in court. Don’t misjudge the courts and lawyers, though. An IIED claim must target conducts that go beyond the usual workplace insults, threats, or annoyances. They should not exist, either, but they do not pack a big punch in court. What comes with heavyweight is the following combination of factual elements:

  • The employer/their agent’s conduct was deliberate and reckless. And there is proof to back up this claim.
  • The defendant/their agent engaged in extreme or outrageous behavior (and the plaintiff can prove).
  • This conduct led to an employee’s emotional distress.
  • The employee can prove the causality and the severity of the distress.

Example: You are open to IIED claims if you neglected an employee’s complaints regarding sexual harassment. Your failure to respond to numerous notices for months will most likely put you in the defendant’s chair.

In IIED claims, fright or shame can fall under the umbrella of “emotional distress.” As we said above, you are responsible for the conduct of all your employees. Consider promoting a safe working environment. Remove any risks of sexual harassment, bullying, shaming, emotional abuse, social isolation, etc.

Can You Put a Price on Your Employees’ Feelings?

If an employee wins an NIED or an IIED claim, you have to pay for damages. The payment is relative to the severity of the emotional injury. You should consider legal advice in such cases, even if you are a small business. Many NIED and IIED cases settle outside of court. You need to know your rights, your employees’ rights, and the methods you have to make their lives better and safer.

Employee Wellness: Tips To Make Employees More Productive At Work

StrategyDriven Managing Your People ArticleAny company will reap many benefits when they have healthy and engaged employees. An employee wellness program curated and designed correctly will boost morale, increase productivity, and reduce stress. Wellness programs have always been thought of as something nice-to-have rather than a must-have. What employers don’t think about is the benefits in the long term. In the long run, the company will see the results. Wellness programs help employees to stay healthy and lessen absences. The cost of having this employee wellness program will just be minimal compared to the benefits in the long run. Listed below are some tips to make employees more productive at work.

1. What is a Wellness Program?

Before crafting and designing your employee wellness program, you first have to understand what it is. A wellness program is any program with the goal to improve the health and well-being of the company’s workforce. Wellness programs are supposed to help employees overcome general health issues and educate them about what they should do to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Usually, companies hire third-parties to conduct the program and seminar depending on the need and expertise. There are many great ways to increase productivity, and wellness programs are one of them.

2. What improvements to target?

The way to design your wellness program should address specific needs and target personal wellness. Programs structured can target physical fitness and stamina through regular exercise, Zumba, or yoga classes for employees. This doesn’t only increase welfare but also improves self-image and self-esteem, which you want in your employees. At the same time, this also reduces the stress that your employees feel. Targeting specific health-related issues will translate into a more reliable workforce and smoother workflow.

3. What are the kinds of wellness programs you can implement?

There are tons of programs that a company can implement for the well-being of their employees. Be sure to provide flexibility in the programs so many of your employees can join in. Here are just some suggestions and recommendations for great employee wellness ideas:

  • Zumba Classes
  • Diet Guidance Programs
  • Physical Fitness Programs
  • Quit-Smoking Programs
  • Physiological Testing Programs
  • Stress Management Programs
  • Nutrition Classes
  • Blood Pressure Screening
  • Cholesterol Tracking
  • Fitness Tracking
  • Gym Plans
  • Guided Meditation Classes
  • Cooking Classes
  • Team Building Activities
  • Anxiety Workshop
  • Annual Corporate Flu Shots
  • Healthy Lifestyle Education
  • Mental Health Days
  • Emotional and Mental Health Education and Resources
  • Book Clubs
  • Healthy Potlucks

4. Healthy Snacks

With working for at least 8 hours a day, employees will grow well into the snacking culture in no time. Unfortunately, most companies only have low-quality vending machines that offer junk food such as soda, candy, and chips loaded with fat and sugar. These snacks not only decrease productivity, but it also makes a serious dent in the health and well-being of an employee. An excellent way to improve the nutrition of your employees is to provide easy access to healthier snack choices throughout the day.

5. Launch Health Competitions

Nothing else gets people off their chairs than incentives. If economics taught anything, it’s that people respond well to incentives. Why not incentivize health? Gamify employee fitness by starting challenges and giving incentives. For instance, you can start giving out gift certificates for the employee with the most visits to the gym or went running. You can also provide employees with fitness trackers to keep them in shape and encourage them. Another competition you can start is a step competition or walking challenge. You can give out cash incentives to those who hit step targets. The goal is to keep your employees in good shape, keep them motivated, and up on their feet.

6. Pet-Friendly Office Initiative

Another way that has been proven to keep employees motivated and increase productivity is to bring in your furry, four-legged friends to the office. These are tested and proved to improve collaboration among employees. Some offices even encourage to bring pets and have pets running around the office.

Keeping your employees healthy and educating them about well-being does reduce not only absences but also boosts productivity and efficiency in employees. Even though it costs very low, this initiative from companies can go a long way in helping out employees while benefiting the company. The connection between employee wellness and productivity has already been proven and well-established. Hope this guide was able to give you some tips on how employee wellness programs can help in boosting productivity and effectivity.

6 Ways Entry-Level Engineers Can Get an Employer’s Attention

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article | 6 Ways Entry-Level Engineers Can Get an Employer's Attention | Talent Management | Resume | Cover LetterYou are about to graduate with that coveted engineering degree. It’s the ticket you were told would land you a high-paying position in that big (or rising) tech firm you’ve had your eye on. Yes, the economy appears to be humming along with many companies eager to hire. But before you prepare your resume and cover letter, there are several things you need to do to make yourself more attractive to today’s CEOs and the people that they trust to make the best hires for them.

Here are six helpful tips that will be a sure way to catch that employer’s attention:

Clean Up and Polish Your Social Media

A recent Harvard Business Review article noted that many recruitment subcontractors scour LinkedIn and other social media to find potential candidates. They’ll trace your “digital exhaust” from cookies and other user-tracking programs to learn who you are. So, ditch those college party photos you have on Instagram, Facebook, etc. Replace them with photos or videos of you working hard at that tech firm you interned with during the summer. Don’t have any intern photos? Plug in some pics of tech projects you worked on in your garage or senior lab. Use photos of you attending tech seminars and symposiums – preferably those attended by that tech firm you want to join.

It also doesn’t hurt to add a professional bio to your social media account(s). And replace college handles and URLs with those that make you look more professional. Create a brand that sets you apart – post, share, or re-tweet anything related to the industry you’re eager to enter. Follow blogs, news sources, and any other websites that represent thought leaders in the tech field you want to work in.

Network like Mad

Referrals and professional networks are 1st and 3rd in order of what CEOs consider sources of quality. People in the tech industry know that you’re young, hungry and need advice. And many are all too willing to share what they know. They remember what it was like when they tried to break in. So go to every trade show, conference seminar, and networking event you can get into. Talk to people in booths and after seminars. Ask what you can do to get into their apprenticeship, internship or mentor program.

Print out 500 “job seeker” business cards with your name, major and the job you’re looking for. Include your contact info and website if you have one. Hand these out to people you meet at trade shows, tech conferences, and seminars. They may not have an opening, but word gets around about your unique approach. And someone may just call you.

Another tactic is to attend any social/community outreach programs which the firm you’re interested in may be sponsoring. Talk to the people there and ask if you can help. People are more open at these events and the conversation tends to be more relaxed. It also builds your reputation as a caring individual; the kind that other employees like to be around. Who knows, you may end up serving food to the homeless next to the firm’s CEO. (if that happens, ditch the hard sell, but answer any questions—just make sure they remember your name. Write your last name out clearly on your “Hello, my name is” tag.)

Sell Yourself in the Cover Letter

The letter is a key element in any job search. It paints a picture that CEOs, recruiters, and hiring managers will create in their minds about the kind of person you are. Like your resume, your letter should dovetail with the firm’s needs and requirements. If you met an engineer or other tech staff member from that company at a seminar, conference or other event, namedrop that in your letter. ‘Beta test’ your letter with a career counselor or someone you know in the industry. And keep it short, no more than a page – single-spaced.

Fine Tune Your Resume

If you’re an astute tech grad, you should know how to write a resume. There are all sorts of resume writing tips and templates online. The important thing to remember is to fine-tune your resume to the needs of the tech company you’re eager to join. That means including any internships and mentor programs you’ve completed. Don’t forget to stress any senior-level projects that align with the company’s product or service.

And don’t ‘fudge’ your background—many university career counselors advise students not to be as forthcoming with their qualifications or remove entire degrees if the job posting doesn’t call for it. While this may get you the interview, it will bring up more questions that will put off hiring managers when they ask you for details during the interview.

As with your cover letter, beta test it with guidance counselors and any pros you know in the industry. You can also get a free resume evaluation at Monster’s Resume Writing Service. You’ll get detailed feedback, including a review of your resume’s appearance and content, as well as a prediction of a recruiter’s first impression.

Make Your Resume Bot Friendly

It’s a regrettable fact that many recruiters, HR managers, and other gatekeepers use applicant-tracking systems (ATS) to pre-filter resumes. These bots look for keywords and key phrases. So include verb phrases and skills written in the firm’s job description. Use both the acronym and the spelled-out form of any given title, certification, or organization. And dump the ‘career objective’ section. Bots ignore this and so do most gatekeepers. Replace it with a qualifications summary – a bullet-pointed section packed with ATS-friendly keywords that highlight your achievements, applicable skills, and internships. Use spell check and grammar-check programs to wipe your resume (and cover letter) of any mistakes.

Ace the Interview

You made the shortlist and got a face-to-face interview. At this point, the job is yours to lose. So learn all you can about the company. Scour the firm’s website. Commit to memory the company’s key current events found in the ‘news’ section. If you met any company employees at a seminar, trade show or other function, be prepared to talk about your conversation(s) you had with them.

If you don’t know the answer to a tough technical question, own up sooner rather than later. It’s much better to admit temporary ignorance than fake your way in front of a potential expert. And do ask questions. If you don’t ask anything at the end of an interview, it shows a lack of interest in the company and what your typical workday might be like.

Know your resume like the back of your hand. Be prepared to discuss how your skills and talents align with the needs of the company. By the way, you should already be familiar with the basics of interviewing – firm handshake, smile, good eye contact, and dressing a step up from the person you meet. Check out a few videos on body language as well. And do follow up promptly after the interview with a thank you email – that’s one more chance to stand out among the other in-person interviewees.

You will want to start working on these steps well before you graduate so that when that graduation ceremony comes up and you get your cap and gown, you are well on your way to landing your first dream job.


About the Author

Dr. Radu Reit is the Vice-Chair of the Marketing Committee at the Society for Information Display (SID). Display Week 2020 will be held June 7-12, 2020, in San Francisco. For more information, visit www.displayweek.org.