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StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Great Ways To Improve Your Work Environment

Being a business owner, whether it is a small company or a larger one, is one of the most challenging activities, which is one of the reasons why not everyone can launch a business and make it work long-term. Entrepreneurs have a lot of commitments and daily responsibilities to take care of; besides having the necessary knowledge and skills to start a business, one has to be truly organized and know how to establish relationships with workers. As no one likes working in a disorganized environment, it is important to make changes to the workplace. It is a well-known fact the productivity of the employees is often linked to the environment where they have to perform their tasks.

Optimizing that space and making it look and feel as comfortable and welcoming as possible should be the main priority for business owners. Making a small investment is worth it in this case because your workforce will appreciate your effort and your company will benefit a lot from that. Contrary to popular belief, improving the work environment does not always involve spending large amounts of money. With the help of some simple yet effective tips, business owners can improve the mood, drive, and performance of their workers.

Hire Great Team Members

In order to be able to make a business work, it is essential to hire the best professionals out there. The hiring process is the first step to creating a great work environment. Generally, professional people have a positive attitude and know how to handle difficult situations. If you already have a team of workers, you might want to take some time and assess their work performance. Don’t be afraid to let go of those who are not good enough for your company. You want to avoid hiring toxic workers at all costs as they will easily transform the general atmosphere from a normal one to a negative one, which will decrease the productivity of your workforce. Let poisonous employees go no matter how hard it is for you.

Improve Communication

Working as a team leads to success. As a business owner, you need to be careful when communicating with your team members as your message can be misunderstood. A simple way of motivating workers to become better is by making them feel valued and giving them positive feedback. Your employees need to understand that their work is very valuable and it contributes to the success of your business. Moreover, they need to be able to establish connections between them and know how to communicate effectively. Improving communication is simple if you keep your employee’s feedback in mind. Ask them how they feel about this aspect and think of ways of showing gratitude for their work.

Create a Comfortable Office

One of the most important aspects that provide great results is the office where your employees perform their work. You need to make sure that little aspects such as lighting and office furniture are comfortable enough for your workforce. Working in a clean, organized office can have great effects on the team members and their relationships with both you and each other. For example, you need to allow employees to work in a comfortable place, whether it is a certain area of the office or a standing desk. If the furniture of your office is considered “bad” or “uncomfortable” by the workers, they will be less productive. A virtual office is a great option in this case because they are a lot cheaper and provide all kinds of facilities.

Add a Nice Smell

According to academic studies, there is a close relationship between certain scents and memories. They found that certain scents can have a positive impact on people. Although different people can react in different ways to certain smells, there are subtle scents that add to the overall atmosphere. Therefore, if you’re working with traditional office space, you can add a few flowers and plants to each corner of the office. For a fresh and clean atmosphere, you can count on air fresheners. However, opening windows or burning a scented candle has a great effect as well. A cheap bouquet of fresh cut flowers works wonders in any office. It does not only elevate the aesthetics of the place, but it also provides a fresh smell.

Schedule Breaks

Breaks are an important part of the workday. Most workers tend to stare at their screen for a long period of time without taking any breaks for their eyes. You should encourage your employees to take regular eye breaks each time they get a chance. Even a few moments of looking away can make a big difference for the health of their eyes. At the same time, it is just as important to step away from what you are doing. When you step away from your work and focus on your surroundings, you come back with a fresh pair of eyes and mind. You can create a relaxing room where workers can play games, chat or listen to music while they are on their lunch break. Make sure breaks take place often in so that you can prevent burnout.

Water and Snacks

Work days are long and tiring, and people need to stay hydrated all through the day. Nonetheless, water is a pain to drink for some. A great way of motivating people to drink water while they work is by adding a bottle next to their desk. Water improves brain functioning, prevents headaches and makes you feel fresh. As plain water is boring for some, it might be a good idea to provide workers with either flavored water or lemon and fresh mint so that they can prepare lemonade. Moreover, taking a few short snack breaks is just as important when it comes to improving the work environment and the general atmosphere. Workers are encouraged to disconnect from work, communicate with one another and leave their chairs for a few minutes.

No matter where you work, you need to make an effort to create a comfortable space. These tips might come in handy whether you are a business owner or a simple worker. They can be easily customized to your needs as there is no strict recipe for success.

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article

What You Should Consider When Hiring Your First Employee

When you own a small business, you’d expect that over time it’ll start to grow. As it grows there’ll be more tasks to deal with and not enough resources for it.  Help will be needed to manage your build up of tasks, in which case it might be worth considering hiring your first employee. It could be seen as a big step as you’ll now have to teach someone else how you run your business and you’ll be letting someone into something that’s really special to you. But if your business requires extra resources and you want it to grow further, it’s the jump you have to take. So, here are the things you need to consider when hiring your first employee.

What are the Requirements for the Job?

It’s good first of all to identify exactly what person you require to fit a job role and the skills they need. Note down what it is this person needs for them to be successful in the role you’ve put on offer. From running the business and working on day to day tasks, you’ll know where you need the help and what it takes for it to be completed. After you’ve done this, you should get a better idea of what you’re looking for to put into the job specification.

How Does your Brand Look to Others?

SImilar to how customers use a brand to buy services and products from, you want to be able to show the same to potential job candidates too. They should be able to benefit from working in the business and want to be attracted by your business in some way to apply for the job. You could conduct some market research on what others think of your brand, or just ask close family and friends. It’ll help candidates understand what you do so it can help them decide whether it’s right for them.

Do You Offer Any Training?

If there’s space for an employee to grow, it can be a great plus in attracting candidates. This is, of course, dependant on the type of person you’re looking for, as someone more experienced may not necessarily need the training. Someone who’s ambitious though may see training as a valuable asset for later in their career.

What Type of Working Hours Will You Be Offering?

Nowadays, there are more people looking to distance themselves away from typical 9-5 working hours, as flexible working becomes more popular. Consider the type of working hours you’ll be offering as flexible working hours is known to be more popular when candidates are looking for jobs.

Do You Have Any Perks That Come With the Job?

It can difficult when jobs don’t have a good work-life balance. It can be more appealing to job seekers when there are benefits in the role as it can have a great effect on morale, encouraging a better work ethic. Within the job description be sure to outline any benefits that you may be offering as it’s likely more people will consider working for you.

Writing Up a Contract

Let’s say that you’ve managed to find your successful candidate, and you can’t wait for them to start work. Bear in mind that details in a contract are one of the most important things when hiring a new employee. This is crucial in making sure all parties involved are on the same page and everyone’s protected, including your business. If you’re unsure of how to write up a contract there’s always employment solicitors that you can involve who can help you along the process.

It’s always worth considering the best ways your business can grow, and retaining your best staff for a successful future. Considering these aspects can go a long way as you want to make sure the first employee is the right employee.

StrategyDriven Organizational Performance Measures Article

Predictive Analytics Tools Can Create a Better Workforce

Understanding What Predictive Analytics Is

Predictive analytics (PA) is well known in many business arenas but has never entered Human Resources until recently. PA is a form of technology that learns from other existing data. This process results in predictive results. It is most frequently used to predict very specific individual behaviors in Human Resources.

Predictive analytics examines data or content to answer the question “What is likely to happen?’’ This is important in any business area but is critical to Human Resources who previously depended on intuition to determine future needs of both the company and employees.

With the support of predictive analytics, it’s no longer necessary to make decisions because of intuitive feelings, or ‘’gut’’ reactions to some issue or plan. Data is gathered, analyzed and presented quickly, without stumbling or bumbling on the data or statistics. Intuition or ‘’gut’’ feelings are often unsuccessful, while data mining information that predicts uncertain outcomes is much more reliable and trustworthy.

How Predictive Analytics Affects Recruiting

Applying predictive analytics in Recruiting and Staffing helps companies foresee and enhance several areas, including:

  • Potential top talent is easier to identify with predictive analytics. This makes a recruiter’s job much easier and accurate. Predictive analytics can easily identify the candidates with the most potential, better understand when these talents can be contacted and understand if and why a job opening may be attractive to candidates.
  • Predictive analytics helps companies optimize the responses to their job openings. The analysis can help companies understand how duration, location, occupation and industry will likely affect recruiting results.

Why Companies Utilize Predictive Analytics in HR

73% of companies surveyed said the primary reason they used analytical data was to make the workforce planning process more efficient. 69% believe the main reason to utilize predictive analytics is to more accurately plan for the future and also, create plans to eliminate skills gaps in their organizations. 65% of companies credit predictive analytics as identifying high potential employees.

Other companies indicated that predictive analytics provided better analysis of company needs to align people and company strategy; while others indicated that analysis provided the needed links between performance and compensation; the remaining companies surveyed stated that predictive analytics provided more in-depth knowledge of external talent pools.

Predictive Analytics Helps HR Look Forward

HR has historically been responsible for forecasting the right amount of talent and knowing when to hire additional talent. Unfortunately, before predictive analytics was utilized in HR, the forecasting was more backward-looking than forward. For example, one or more employees terminate, and HR suddenly decides there is talent disproportion.

Unfortunately, few companies have implemented predictive analytics for their HR groups. According to Deloitte, in 2015, only about 8% of global organizations have adopted PA for their Human Resources groups.

The few companies that utilize predictive analytics have had great success and freely share their efforts and results. For example:

  • Google: This company is a strong advocate of statistics and freely admits that it is the most critical tool in their Human Resources group. All interview questions in their hiring process are computerized and perfected to ensure that the best candidates are hired. Additionally, Google’s predictive analysis can estimate the likelihood of future terminations, why they are terminating, and what could have been done to circumvent the termination.
  • Hewlett Packard (HP): HP is also a leader in the HR predictive analytics arena. Recently, HP shared with news media that ‘’when their attrition rates started moving upwards, they utilized predictive analytics to predict which employees were likely to leave by developing a ‘Flight Risk’ score.” This analysis was able to define both the ‘who’ and ‘why’ of their 300,000+ employees who would potentially terminate. For example, higher pay, promotions and better performance ratings were negatively related to flight risk, but the analysis proved that there were strong relationships between these findings. For instance, they were able to analyze that a promotion without a substantial pay increase would likely result in a termination.

“HP’s Flight Risk scores helped managers make better decisions since the early warning signal from Flight Risk allowed time for managers to intervene or if the loss was unavoidable, it prepped the manager to react accordingly. The predictive analysis in Flight Risk allowed HP to save an estimated $300 million.”

The extensive time previously spent on creating charts, reports, quotients, etc., will soon be history because predictive analytics easily allows organizations to analyze the past and predict upcoming trends for both positive and negative analytics.

The end result of having predictive analytics in Human Resources is the ability to predict future needs that are accurate and verifiable. This becomes the organization value to business that Human Resources has long struggled to create. HR has for years attempted to get the infamous ‘’seat at the table’’ and predictive analytics will ensure this happens.

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article

You CAN Get The Staff These Days: Improving Your Hiring Process

Tired of hiring the wrong people for your company? Improving your hiring process could allow you to find better candidates, allowing you to build a stronger team of employees. Here are five ways that you can improve your hiring process.

Fine-tune your job description

Your job description should be carefully worded to attract as many applicants as possible. Advertise the perks of the job and use a professional sounding job title. Whilst you should detail certain qualities that you’re looking for, try not to make the job sound too demanding as you may scare off applicants – the bad ones and the good ones.

Use social media

There are all kinds of places to advertise job vacancies including job listing sites, newspapers and public bulletins. Social media is fast becoming one of the best places to advertise jobs. It’s also a great means of screening applicants to check that they’re the right fit. LinkedIn is one of the best social media platforms for screening applicants as it tells you which previous job people have worked. You may also want to check someone’s Facebook profile – even if it’s set to private, an inappropriate profile picture could be enough to tell you that a certain candidate isn’t right for you.

Create an online test

Online tests are a great way of deciding if people are the right fit for your job. This could be a personality test, a decision-based test or test of knowledge. Afterwards, you can look at the results and determine which candidates should progress forwards. Online tests could save you having a trial shift and could help to weed out applicants that are good blaggers.

Hire a recruiter

To save yourself time and increase the range of your search, you could hire a recruiter. This will cost you extra, but it could help you to find better candidates. Recruiters can be useful when it comes to hard-to-fill vacancies – these may require very niche skills or could simply require gruelling responsibilities.

Leave yourself enough time

The biggest mistake that employers make when hiring new staff is rushing the process. By giving yourself more time to advertise the vacancy, read CVs and interview candidates, you’re more likely to make the right decision. Manage your time effectively so that you’re keeping interviews on schedule and replying to queries from applicants promptly. If you’re struggling to find the time to do this, you may be able to get help from a senior employee of yours or use a recruiter to handle aspects such as interviews. On top of leaving yourself enough time for the hiring process, remember that you’ll also need to pour some time into training this new staff member and taking them through introductory paperwork. Many employees that leave soon after being hired do so because they haven’t been trained properly or haven’t been made to feel welcome – even if you’re hiring someone with ample experience, you company may have a different way of doing things, so help them to adjust.

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article

Tips for Employee Appreciation

All employees like to feel appreciated but not all managers know how to show gratitude. When employees feel valued, their levels of productivity and happiness increase. Here are some tips that will help you to appreciate your employees:

Notice Daily Contributions

You should not wait for the annual general meeting to tell your staff how much you appreciate their contributions. You can make them feel your gratitude on every day of the week. If possible, you should say thank you to each person that works for you daily.

If this is not possible, you can hold a weekly meeting and thank your employees at the end of it. Staff members can also raise their hands to shout out the coworkers who helped them. Love is contagious and fostering it at your workplace will create a better working environment.

You can even give out small, non-monetary rewards, that reflect team-spirit, hard work, endurance and persistence. Description sounds familiar? Well, the army has already found a very sentimental way to express this gratification using challenge coins. You can find more information about them here.

Invest in Them

You can acknowledge outstanding work by giving your employees a bonus or raise. On the other hand, if you want to recognize a specific contribution, you should give spot bonuses. Moreover, you can reward the staff by offering development opportunities. This refers to opportunities for learning new skills, presenting their work at large team meetings, or taking the lead on big projects.

If you pick employees as a way of acknowledging their contributions, you should tell them why you chose them. This will help them to reinforce what they are doing and increase the efficiency at your workplace.

Be Specific

It is important that you give recognition to your employees in a way that is clear and significant about why it matters to the company. Instead of telling an employee that you like his work, you should consider delving deeper into what you liked about his work. When you are specific about what you like, you will encourage them to keep doing the right thing instead of leaving them wondering.

Ask What They Prefer

Managers usually make the mistake of showing appreciation in the way that they would like to be appreciated. If you do the same, you will have a recipe for disaster on your hands. Instead of making assumptions about people, you should ask them how they want you to be shown appreciation.

Giving shout outs during a company meeting might work for some employees but others might find it embarrassing. Some people prefer text messages to verbal thank yous or small bonuses to vacation days. Each person is different, which means that making assumptions is not right.

Offer Flexibility

You should make it obvious that you want to keep your top employees by giving them the best job arrangements. For instance, if you want to appreciate an employee who is also a mom, you can help her to find the right daycare or giving her a flexible work schedule that works for her. If possible, you should consider allowing your best employees to work remotely for several days a week.

If you track their time using software such as Clockspot, you will know how to assign extra time for rest and relaxation.

Surprise Them

You can choose to surprise your employees with a shortened workday or unexpected treats. You should also opt for activities that benefit the company and its employees: team building activities and fully paid education courses.

Encourage Their Feedback

You should give your employees a survey that allows them to provide anonymous feedback. Ask questions about teamwork, career growth, and leadership to measure movement on all directions.

Appreciating your employees goes a long way towards fostering a good working environment. Moreover, you will notice an improvement in the levels of productivity at your company.