How New Tech Is Revolutionizing HR

Human Resources is often looked upon as a sort of necessary evil in every business. But that couldn’t be further from the truth, as cutting-edge technology is helping HR departments in companies of all sizes evolve into a field that is equally relevant and innovative.

Tech including artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain are helping to streamline HR processes, while cybersecurity is taking the front seat where company data and privacy is concerned. Here’s what you need to know about how an HR department can harness the power of new tech to change its influence and impact within companies, and by extension its reputation as a whole.

The Role of Cybersecurity

A big part of the job in HR is keeping employee personal data secure. In our digital age, it’s easier than ever for cyberthieves to hack into data systems. That’s where cybersecurity comes into play.

As an HR professional, it’s your job to hire individuals who are educated in the latest technologies and equipped to protect the organizations they work for. This can be especially challenging if you have staff members working remotely.

Remote workers are increasingly becoming the norm rather than the exception, with more than 40 percent of workers reporting that they perform some remote duties. As an HR rep, it’s your job to clarify policies and provide resources for remote employees so that they understand how to protect themselves, as well as company data, while working remotely. It’s also your job to anticipate and identify potential security issues before they turn into a major problem.

Your company may even consider putting together a cybersecurity team to address today’s security needs. A cybersecurity team is made up of individuals who are trained in information sciences and cybersecurity. Typically, those professionals are up-to-date on the latest equipment and technologies in order to effectively perform their duties.

Some companies are taking the cybersecurity hiring process even further by designing and building a cybersecurity control room. This move highlights the vital role a cybersecurity team plays in day-to-day operations. HR professionals should work closely with their cybersecurity team in order to answer any question that may arise.

AI and HR Analytics

AI has been changing the way we work for several years, but we’re only starting to see how it can help streamline the field of HR. The technology is meant to work in tandem with human processes, effectively doing three things:

  • Amplifying human function
  • Automating tasks
  • Augmenting human capabilities

AI use in HR starts with the hiring process. Automated software can help narrow down candidates without bias, based on information provided by potential hires. This is where amplifying comes in, as automated screening amps up the capabilities of HR professionals.

With AI, corporate training and payroll are augmented and automated. The use of AI reduces the chance of human error and keeps HR reps accountable for the data collected and processed. AI also allows for better tracking and accountability of remote workers.

Utilizing AI is a smart move for every business since the technology is becoming so ubiquitous. According to Personnel Today, nearly 40 percent of businesses were already using AI in some form as of 2017. A further 62 percent said that they expected to adopt AI into their business model in the near future.

Bitcoin, Blockchain, and Beyond

Payroll is an intrinsic part of the job for many HR professionals. And in today’s landscape of digital payments and other currency forms, payroll may seem more complicated than it has in the past.

If your business has remote workers on your payroll, chances are some of them are part of the emerging bitcoin and blockchain revolution. But what does that mean for you? Put simply, bitcoin is a form of digital currency, and a blockchain is an encrypted digital ledger of those funds.

Data indicates that about 28 million people around the world have a blockchain wallet. On the business end, more than $110 million in bitcoin payments are made every month. These numbers are growing, and HR professionals should have at least a basic understanding of blockchain technology.

Savvy business owners and HR techs should keep payment methods flexible and able to incorporate bitcoin and blockchain as needed. There are now more than 1000 types of digital currency that can end up in a blockchain, worth a grand total of more than $22 billion. That’s a number that’s hard to ignore.

While your company may be years away from adopting blockchain technology, it may be prudent to put together employee training sessions that revolve around digital currency, including bitcoin.

Final Thoughts

Our modern digital age has brought numerous, exciting changes to the realm of HR. Corporate data privacy issues and security training are increasingly part of an HR rep’s job description, alongside recruitment and payroll. Those duties are becoming easier, thanks to the automation, innovation, and augmentation found in new tech such as AI and blockchain.

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How Office Design Can Inspire Employees and Keep Them Motivated

Close to one-third of your life will be spent in your chosen profession, in some cases probably more than that. If you’re going into a traditional office environment for work Monday through Friday, then you’ll be spending that third in the same place looking at the same walls for close to 90,000 hours. There’s a good chance that the way your work environment is designed can greatly impact how you feel coming in each day.

Office design is crucial for boosting employee morale and efficiency. People are more likely to accomplish more in a day if they enjoy the space that they’re in, which is why a modern design and comfortable atmosphere is key. You can feel free to embrace your company’s brand personality within the office as well — for example, if you’re a whimsical company, play with space to create that sense.

By creating a desirable atmosphere, you’ll be helping employees feel their best so they can work their best. You’ll also be helping to promote an office culture that takes regular breaks, believes in being comfortable while working, and offers employees the best environment you can. Your team will appreciate being in a space they enjoy and your company will see the results.

Design Impacts Productivity

You may not have initially realized it, but the actual floor plan of your company can communicate goals and objectives to your team. You’ll need to thoroughly understand and analyze your company’s needs and standards for the day-to-day workflow in order to design the best possible floor plan. Think of it like this: if your company needs teams to collaborate together frequently, you’ll want an open floor plan over rows of cubicles.

You’ll also want to be sure you’re incorporating encouragement to take breaks as a healthy work-life balance is important for equally healthy workers. Putting in a comfortable and accessible break room will encourage employees to take their regularly scheduled breaks and lunch hours. It may also be worth it to stock snacks regularly in the break room to further facilitate people spending time in there.

Between allowing coworkers to collaborate and talk with one another easily, and providing a comfortable place to take regular breaks, you’ll be giving your teams the best resources to be energized and encouraged in their day-to-day work. Just like the life of each team member, your office should be balanced and efficient — not burnt out and tired. In this way, the design of your office not only communicates objectives, but values.

Stand Out From the Crowd

Of course, you also don’t want your office to look just like everyone else’s. Having an office that stands out in people’s minds from others they’ve seen can be a competitive draw when hiring new talent. Remember: people are planning on spending 40 hours a week in their offices, they’re going to take design into account when deciding whether or not to work with your company.

One way to stand out is to bring a little greenery into the office and not just the run-of-the-mill office fern we see so much. Succulents are low-maintenance, come in many varieties, and can add a modern touch to any office. Also, it’s been shown that offices with greenery can boost positive physiological impacts in the people who work there.

Finally, consider hiring a local artist or muralist to create art especially for your office. Facebook, for example, has been commissioning artists to paint in its office since 2005 and the project has since expanded into a full-on artist residency program. Art can make your office unique while bringing in a diverse view of the world that can help to inspire your teams throughout the week.

Tips and Tricks

There is no wrong way to design your office, but going in with a plan is always a good idea. You should decide what kind of ambiance you want to create for your employees. For example, if you want the office to feel cozy and comfortable, installing a fireplace in a shared area could be a great place for people to curl up and enjoy their lunch or plug away on a project for the afternoon.

If you’re looking for a space that’s more sleek and modern, then clean lines and a strict color palette can help maintain this. You may also want to consider custom tables that you can design to your specifications to match the tone of each room in the office. It’s really all about what you want to evoke in people as they enter each room and set to work for the day.

Finally, having accessible entryways and ergonomic seating is always a must when it comes to employee access and safety. Working in an office may not seem like it’s dangerous, necessarily, but injuries like back pain and carpal tunnel are common if not given the proper positioning and seating. You also want to make it possible for all types of people to enter the workplace — for both employees and potential clients.

Overall, creating a beautiful and inviting office environment is worth the investment. You’ll have an easier time attracting new talent because they’ll want to be in the space you’ve created. Additionally, your current employees will be happier and more relaxed at work, helping to improve your company overall.

What HR Professionals and Employees Can Learn From Motivational Speakers

What do human resources professionals and motivational speakers have in common? For starters, they both provide inspiration and tips on how to engage employees.

So it makes sense that the best HR pros strive to bring motivational speakers into the office in an effort to encourage employees to do the best work they can do. Whether your teams are feeling uninspired or even jaded, struggling to meet previous goals, or your company is pushing in a new direction, it may be a good time to invite an inspirational speaker for some outside guidance.

Let’s consider at a few things HR professionals can gain from listening to motivational speakers and why it’s important for employees as well:

Employees Want to Know HR Cares

If your company does hire a speaker, look at it as an investment in your employees. By investing in employees, the company is showing that you care about them and their work. There are many ways to show your employees appreciation, and having a good motivational speaker come in is just one tool.

“The best motivational speakers deliver a quick snapshot into the ideal attitudes, behaviors and mindsets for a high-performing organization,” according to The Meerkat Motivator. “Their invigorating one-hour keynote talks inevitably ignite a series of teachable moments.”

In turn, HR can take what they hear and learn from inspirational or humorous stories and apply it in a genuine way to fit your corporate culture. HR professionals may come up with their own ideas to incorporate as a result.

If HR learns new ways of thinking and teaching, and shares it with employees, it shows employees/teams that the company is invested in their career development and care about them as people too. When employees are happy, they are less likely to leave the company they are working for.

A Motivational Speaker Breaks Up the Monotony

Office attitudes can get pretty stagnant sometimes, especially if people see and hear the same things day in and day out. An outside, fresh perspective can help employees look at challenges and problems differently and may not even see them as such. A motivational speaker may have the ability to look beyond the daily grind because they aren’t entrenched in it every day.

“One of the greatest advantages that a motivational speaker has is that they are outside of the daily processes,” says business writer Alfred Stallion. “Instead of being bogged down by the daily grind, they can see the bigger picture and will probably see the way forward much clearer and easier than your staff, or even you, will see it. Their expertise in the field can be used to provide a new perspective and reinvigorate the staff and you to push the business in a new direction.”

At the same time, employees sometimes just need to be reminded that they are doing a good job from an outside source. Staff that are consistently good at their jobs often get overlooked and eventually can feel unappreciated.

Maybe they just need a pep talk that they are doing a good job from an expert who isn’t necessarily associated with your company. However, the motivational speaker may have experience in the industry you’re in and can give you insight into what other companies are doing, provide a new point of view, and motivate staff.

What Kind of Speaker Do You Want?

Perhaps the speaker doesn’t need to be related to your industry. Maybe he or she is there to simply encourage the employees by sharing their life viewpoint or maybe how they’ve pulled themselves up by their bootstraps.

“Motivational speakers don’t necessarily need to be related to your industry,” according to an article on CultureIQ. “Instead, these speakers re-energize your employees through their stories and approach to life. Motivational speakers are particularly appropriate when morale is low or the team is heading into crunch time.”

Even if people generally get along within the office environment, it never hurts to have a pep talk. Meanwhile, some companies need more innovation introduced to them because that’s what they are seeking to stay on top of their game. A motivational speaker can address new ways for employees to tackle their work, share their entrepreneurial story, or talk generally about creativity or innovation.

Conclusion

As we head into a brand new year, your company has probably already set new goals for the year and identified weak points that need addressed. Now may be a good time to bring in a guest to talk about what skills the company needs to be successful and the importance of work/life balance.

Whatever the reasons are for bringing in a motivational speaker, hiring one may be a good opportunity for human resources, managers, staff, business owners, and the company as a whole. Everyone should be inspired to work a bit harder. Sometimes people just a reminder that what they do matters. Purpose in your work life is a good thing, and sometimes all that is needed are some inspirational words to help define that purpose.

How Surveys Can Help Improve Both External & Internal Company PR

Information serves a large variety of purposes in business. Specifically, looking back through annual information can help a business determine where their shortcomings are, as well as their strong points, which can help them decide what areas of their business they should grow or scale back on. There are a few ways to gather this data, but depending on the information you’re looking for, surveys are often the best way to understand both the internal and external perception of your business.

Survey Uses for Management

Company surveys can indicate a lot of things about a company, such as receptiveness to customers and employees, and caring about quality and ambition. When a company holds surveys within their personnel, either for specific departments or general employees, it can sometimes indicate that there is a business practice concern they are trying to work out. Depending on what questions are being asked of their workers, surveys often gives employees the impression that their company cares about them and that if there are concerns they want to bring up, they can be addressed.

If you’re considering using a survey to gain an understanding of employee satisfaction or what employees are looking for in the workplace, make sure you use an effective survey method that follows guidelines for effectiveness to achieve optimal results. This may include a platform that will allow you to ask both open- and close-ended questions, as well as survey channels that are convenient, like SMS. Another important aspect of surveys is to ask the right questions by using careful phrasing in order to receive the type of response you’re looking for.

Employee surveys can help your company come to solutions regarding business structure changes you’re considering making. They are a good way to gauge interest if you’re seeking to begin outsourcing work to freelancers rather than in-house workers. Although these decisions can be controversial, 11 percent of the U.S. workforce get their full income from gig economy, so it’s not uncommon to do so. In fact, there may be a significant number of employees seeking the benefits of gig economy work, such as heightened independence, flexibility, and at times better pay. If you’re gauging employee interest for a change like this, a survey could help your company establish goals surrounding prospective changes.

Improving External Company PR

Surveys can also provide companies with an idea of the areas that your PR team should work to address. A company’s reputation can be instrumental to its success, and if there’s any ongoing speculation about areas of your company, your PR team should be dedicating resources to addressing them. It is then up to the company to make both internal and external changes to get down to the root of the problem.

Although seeking out client reviews is generally a good practice, especially considering that most individuals seek out company reviews before getting involved with a company, surveys allow companies to receive a more thorough understanding of the customer experience. It also gives customers and clients a chance to voice their concerns before any incident that occurred becomes so overlooked that there is no hope in getting their business back.

Although clients are arguably the most important audience for a company, a business cannot succeed without all of the cogs in the wheel that keep the business turning; such as clients, employees and suppliers. It’s important to have a skilled accounting department prepared to handle accounts for your business to ensure suppliers are receiving the attention they need. If your company takes too long to pay clients and vendors, it reflects poorly on your company’s reputation. Therefore, if there are ongoing issues in this field, your company may want to consider adopting accounts payable automation to help facilitate these processes.

If surveys indicate low satisfaction rates due to a lack of innovation or slow growth within the company, consider incorporating some new tech trends that are capable of redefining your business. These can include hiring cybersecurity professionals to limit the number of IT incidents and incorporating AI, chatbots and predictive analytics to help with hiring processes. New technology can help facilitate many steps in business, and by finding small ways to innovate, your company can start to improve its internal and external perception.

Surveys can be helpful in understanding where you company stands to improve and can give you an idea of the ways your clients and employees want to see you innovating. By regularly surveying personnel, as well as clients and other companies you associate with, you can ensure that satisfaction is high and that any ongoing issues are taken care of before they become a PR concern. Internal and external company PR are both almost equally important, and it’s vital to the success of your company to ensure you’re taking care of both.

How to Recruit Millennials and Keep Them Motivated

There’s no doubt that millennials have transformed the way the traditional workplace functions. Millennial employees bring creative thinking skills and radically different attitudes towards work to the table — aspects that are integral when it comes to organizational success. Recruiting millennials and keeping employees satisfied at work requires a significant shift in thinking as opposed to previous generations. HR professionals play an important role in implementing new strategies to ensure that millennials stay motivated at work. Here are some ways to attract and retain the best of millennial talent:

Market to Millennials

To get your organization’s name out there and attract younger talent, it’s important to market in a way that is suited to a millennial’s lifestyle. Traditional methods of marketing won’t stand out to millennials; instead, they will propagate the image that your organization is old-fashioned, even if it truly isn’t.

To recruit millennials, you first need to reach them. An article on Entrepreneur recommends using high-quality video to get the attention of skeptical millennials. For instance, as opposed to simply posting in the job classifieds, consider making a recruitment video that details what you’re looking for in a candidate, and why your organization is one that millennials would want to work for.

Creative advertising will generally have better results with millennials than standard marketing techniques. As stated in the article, “Millennials are largely fed up with traditional methods of advertising, and while they want information, they want to select it instead of having it forced upon them.” Millennials tend to trust people in their social networks, and so, utilizing social media marketing strategies is a prudent way to get your company’s name out there.

Similarly, using Search Engine Optimization (SEO)  is a great way to make your presence known. As defined by RivalMind, SEO is “a process that helps a business become ‘more search engine friendly’ and rank higher on sites like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others.” This is especially appealing to millennials, who want instant information at the click of a button, and will often not look past the first page of search results.

Create a Culture of Care

Workplace culture is an important aspect of any organization. As stated by experts at Rutger’s University, “Corporate culture plays a huge part in the success of an organization and can profoundly affect its performance, both positively and negatively. An organization’s culture affects employee retention rates, as well as its ability to recruit new talent. Research has found that culture affects productivity, creativity, work-life balance, and even things such as safety, accident rates, and the process of recovery after missteps or mistakes are made as part of the organization’s operations.”

Millennials, in particular, value a great workplace culture and a variety of company perks. The employees of today find benefits like free breakfasts, nap rooms, mini-gaming arcades, and pet-friendly policies very appealing. Furthermore, the physical layout of the office plays an important role in keeping millennials motivated. Thus, you might want to consider utilizing an open floor plan to increase collaboration or even adopting an activity based office design. Office Boy states that “The purpose of an activity-based office fit out is to create different work areas that are best suited to different tasks.” Activity-based office designs are well-suited for millennials, who prefer dynamic workplaces rather than being bound by the four walls of a cubicle. This holistic culture creates a rounded sense of well-being in the workplace that attracts millennial employees.

Provide Ample Learning Opportunities

Millennials value the opportunity to learn different skills through the duration of their jobs. They want to be challenged, and want a career that allows them to develop intellectually. Millennials want to become as marketable a possible, and ironically, the more marketable you make them, the more likely they are to stay at your organization. In fact, according to the Gallup School of Management, 80 percent of employees say that job training is key to keeping them as employees.

To ensure that your young employees feel like they’re continuously learning, consider offering training programs to help them hone various skills. Help them create a personalized career path, with regular check-ups to ensure that they are meeting their own personal career goals, as well as company growth objectives. You could also provide a mentor or coach to ensure that millennial employees are constantly learning something new, under superior guidance.

As we’ve mentioned in a previous article on what millennials really want from work, “Millennials want to be coached: they crave and respond to a good, positive coach. Overall, Millennials want feedback 50% more often than other employees. Their number one source of development is their manager, but only 46% thinks that their manager delivered on their expectations for feedback.” Providing supportive leadership and critical feedback is key when it comes to keeping millennials motivated and satisfied at work.

Allow for an Entrepreneurial Lifestyle

Published findings from Millennial Branding show that 61 percent of current high school students (Generation Z) said they “prefer pursuing business ownership as an entrepreneur instead of working as an employee.” This information is crucial when it comes to millennial recruitment and retainment strategies. To foster an appealing entrepreneurial vibe at work, you will have to incorporate strategies that allow employees to be their own bosses.

One way to do this is to make allowances for remote working, or telecommuting. This gives employees the ability to work from anywhere, make their own schedules, and promote a healthy work-life balance. Today, remote working is extremely popular. In fact, a study released by Zug, a Switzerland-based serviced office provider, shows that about 70 percent of professionals work remotely at least one day of the week, while 53 percent work remotely for about half the week. So if your organization hasn’t yet made allowances for telecommuting, then they’re way behind the curve. Other strategies for promoting workplace flexibility and independence include providing volunteer opportunities, encouraging employees to go out during lunch breaks, and even providing on-site health and fitness classes.

Hiring millennial employees is essential to keeping the workplace current. As stated in an article on Forbes, “Millennials have been transforming the workplace for the past decade or so, emerging on the scene with new attitudes and striking characteristics that inspired excitement and resentment from previous generations.” Although the “excitement and resentment” can be challenging to deal with at times, recruiting millennials and keeping them adequately motivated is absolutely necessary to succeed as a business.

Leading Employees Through Interpersonal Conflict

Not everyone gets along all the time. This is especially true during times of high stress, which can turn minor differences of opinion into full-blown arguments and trigger all sorts of stress reactions.

High-stress situations and conflicts can also bring to the surface underlying biases and unpleasant reactions to women in positions of authority. Because of this, managing conflict can be a point of particular difficulty for women in the workplace, no matter how well trained and skilled they are as managers or HR professionals.

Managers need to be savvy and adjust the leadership style they employ, as well as carefully investigate the source of a conflict in order to diffuse issues. These are excellent best practices to employ anyway, but the stakes can be especially high for women, who may find more authoritative styles of leadership backfiring.

 

Digging to the Root of a Conflict

The good news is that the extra work women often need to put in to conflict resolution tends to lead to better management as a result.

Quickly and permanently resolving a conflict requires finding and addressing its cause. Otherwise the issue is likely to boil over again. There are different types of workplace conflicts, each with a different impetus. The solution to two people quarreling over differing social values will vary greatly from employees butting heads because they have too few resources for everyone to do their work effectively. Both of these are very different from conflict caused by policy violation or harassment.

The idea is simple: solve the specific problem that causes the conflict. If employees need more resources, but those resources can’t be allocated quickly, some creative solutions to how people work together might be needed. Someone may need to be assigned different tasks in the meantime, or there may be a broader cultural issue if certain people’s needs are routinely neglected. Finding other ways to keep employees motivated will help with stressful work environments.

When the cause of a conflict can be traced directly to the actions of an employee, things can become complicated quickly. Poor internal policing of harassment is a common problem in many industries, and if a harasser enjoys the protection of someone higher up on the food chain it can be extremely difficult to correct their behaviour or dislodge them.

 

Leadership Strategies for Conflict Resolution

Once you know what’s causing a conflict, you can apply the type of leadership that you feel will work best. There are a number of different leadership styles, each with pros and cons, and differing effects on different demographics and workplace cultures.

If a conflict arose due to differences in values or different interpretations of workplace culture, a more restorative and transformational type of leadership may be required. Sitting down with employees to work through their differences and seeking common ground can help them work together in the future. Issues like these may also indicate that company policy may need to be updated to be clearer about workplace goals, and re-affirm which types of conversations are not work appropriate.

If employees butt heads due to resource allocation, workload, or other stresses related to the work environment directly, then a more authoritative resolution could be disastrous for a manager of any gender. Employees may need to be reminded of appropriate conduct, but the structural issues putting stress on them in the first place need to be addressed.

Cases of harassment present a whole host of frustrations. Harassment can be difficult to prove, and firing someone without a strongly documented case against them can land a manager in legal nightmares, not to mention internal scrutiny. In many cases your hands might be tied to even make those decisions.

The two most important things about cases of harassment are documentation and supporting the victim. Accurate, dispassionate documentation is vital, especially if the behaviour dips into criminal territory and the police need to become involved. It also protects you and the company against legal action when disciplinary measures are taken.

You may need to invoke several different leadership styles to navigate the situation, to make victims feel safe, to convince other employees to tell you truthfully what they witnessed, and to handle the perpetrator of harassment according to the specific statutes, legal definitions, and workplace laws in your state.

 

Preventative Measures to Take Against Conflict

The earliest preventative measure against conflict is the hiring process. Every company has a unique working environment, policy, and culture. Hiring people only for the skills they possess might get work done, but could result in a volatile mix of differing work ethics, team dynamics, and people skills. Creating a workplace with little conflict starts from the very first hire. No workplace can be 100 percent issue free, but a candidate with the best resume but a bad attitude can cause a lot more damage than someone with less experience and an eagerness to cooperate. That’s why many companies choose to look for evidence soft skills, leadership ability and even teamwork on applications.

A robust onboarding and training process, even for experienced hires, is also a big part of helping people adjust to the ins and outs of their new environment. Assigning new hires to mentors — peers who can help them adjust and answer lighter questions — is another great way to ensure that employees come to understand the social dynamics of the workplace quickly.

Having enough employees to complete the work, paying enough, providing workplace resources and having policies that promote work-life balance are all also preventative conflict resolution. People who are happy coming to work are less likely to lash out.

There’s no catch-all answer to conflict, but many of the things you do every day to make your workplace better are also conflict-prevention strategies. Being proactive about employee satisfaction and mental health can go a long way to preventing problems in the first place. When resolution is needed, a little investigation and a firm but fair hand can keep the work environment pleasant for everyone.

Incentive Dos and Don’ts for Your Company

Company incentive programs are intended to keep employees motivated and engage them in their own performance. However, if they are not executed carefully, the reward system can result in jealousy among staff and decreased performance.

When planning incentives for your work staff, you need to consider a myriad of factors to avoid workers ignoring safety or other corporate rules to reach unreasonable sales or performance goals. The goals should be challenging but attainable with the reward gratifying.

To maintain fairness and equity with your incentive program, set up key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate employee’s progress and valuation adequately. These metrics will help you drive the success of your program but also company milestones. Consult this list of dos and don’ts when incentivizing your staff.

Incentive Dos

The first thing to do is to know your audience. If your staff is replete with millennials, they may appreciate vintage 90s swag rather than cash rewards or extra money in their 401k. If your workforce is young, hip and the company based near water, consider giving water sports gear or ski jet rentals as incentives. Make incentivizing fun for your whole organization.

Do remember to inform all employees about the rewards program. Make sure you stick to a regular schedule and operate with fairness and equality when doling out incentives. Ensure your incentives are goal-oriented and measurable. Involve your employees in choosing rewards that are meaningful to them. Consider their input when devising the program; they may have great ideas for performance indicators and goals as well.

Make rewards frequent enough to keep everyone motivated. Instead of just an annual bonus, build in daily, weekly and monthly incentives as well. Structure the program so that you can give many small incentives with more substantial rewards less often. For example, when the team reaches a sales goal, hand out company sweatshirts, mugs or other logo-decorated swag and when a particular employee is chosen for his or her annual contribution, perhaps a cash bonus makes sense.

Base rewards on peer input and not just management-focused goals. Letting your team pick the best of the group helps to build respect and teamwork within your organization. Recognition from peers is sometimes even more rewarding than from top level management. Plus, your employees know each other much better than managers do and might be aware of performance improvements that you may not know of.  

Incentive Don’ts

First, don’t forget about the budget. When you build incentives into your company culture, factor in the cost of living and staff growth and make sure you can easily afford it. Don’t make the goals so easy that everyone achieves them, and you have to pay out, leaving nothing for the future.

Don’t offer “one size fits all” rewards — have options. Some employees might like swag and others might like an Amazon gift card instead. Variety can also ensure you are motivating your whole team, not just a select few. Don’t forget that you want your staff to work as a team so don’t create a rewards program that has everyone out for themselves. Team goals are good too, then the whole team wins the reward.

Don’t give inappropriate or unsafe items like e-cigarettes that are dangerous to your health and promotes a bad habit. Don’t set up programs based on one person’s opinion, such as an “employee of the month” where a manager chooses. Instead, use KPIs to evaluate all employees equally and know precisely what you are rewarding.

Don’t ignore your best people, be sure to incentivize them properly when they reach their goals. If everyone gets the same bonus and your top performers have been working harder than most, they will see it as an insult and feel unappreciated. This one misstep can cost you great employee assets, and it will actually hurt motivation in the long run.

Final Thoughts on Incentive Programs

You should reevaluate your incentive program each year. As the business grows, KPIs and other goals will change too, and the program should change to reflect this growth. Be careful not to use incentives in place of a proper salary.

The key to a successful incentive system is communication. Make sure all levels of management understand the program thoroughly and then have them communicate it to the rest of the staff working for them. Clearly spell out the expectations of the plan before implementing it. If no one understand the program, they won’t use it.

During the planning stages, it is important to discuss as a company what your purpose is for incentivizing your workforce. Once you know your own goals, it will be easier to devise milestones and rewards that are meaningful. Have a strategic plan rather than a vague notion of why it makes sense. Your incentive program should motivate and encourage your workers to strive to do their best.

Millennials: Why So Many Businesses Want to Hire Them

 

Image Source: Pixabay

Millennials are changing what most human resource department know about recruiting. There has been a shift in priorities and driving factors for job seekers, as the current job-seeking market is in search of positions that would offer the feeling of doing “meaningful work.” The baby boomer generation is getting ready to retire, and their working population numbers are dwindling. Their generation was more directed at finding a solid, good-paying job and working that position until they reached retirement.

 

With a growing global economy, employment opportunities have widened in their offerings. Millennials are educated, skilled, more worldly and more culturally diverse (in the United States) than previous generations. They have more job choices than ever and have much to offer to the job market.

Innovation

Many millennials are starting their own businesses and are set towards accomplishing their goals in life, which is a very attractive quality to employers. It’s this drive and determination that  compel companies to want to hire more millennials. At the end of the day, many millennials want to feel as if they contributed to bettering the world — make sure that the positions you are hiring offer this to attract the younger workers. When individuals are passionate about what the projects that they are involved in, they tend to be more productive, creative and goal-oriented, which all benefit their employer’s bottom line.

 

Young adults have the ability to see new solutions to problems that may have troubled a company or organization for years. This is thanks to their ability to be a fresh set of eyes in established workplaces, bringing varied toolsets to contribute to their company. Their “out of the box” style of thinking can be contrary to the rational-minded baby boomers, but many great solutions have been a result of debate.

Technology

The young people in the current workforce are a different breed, and their minds work in a different way than that of baby boomers. They see technology as a possible solution rather than a setback or challenge to overcome. Between 1982 and 2000, there were 83 million people born. By 2020, 46 percent of workers will have been born during that time frame. Millennials are the biggest generation since the baby boomer generation and are poised to have the biggest online presence, making companies eager to hire them because of their tech savviness.

 

The interconnectedness of technology and business makes millennials a perfect candidate in nearly every realm of business. The younger workforce has the advantage of growing up in an age where technology is evolving on a daily basis, urging them to be open and adaptive to change — both valuable attributes of an employee.

 

In addition to adapting quickly to new technologies, adding millennials to your team could also help boost your social media presence. Currently, 52 percent of all millennials have over 300 Facebook friends, making your employees a free marketeer to at least 300 people every day they post something related to your company. While you can’t directly require your employees to post on their social media to benefit your company, you can offer them incentives such as giveaways and sweepstakes to do so.

Keep Them Around

According to a survey by Deloitte, the average time that 43 percent of millennials will stay in a position is about two years before they transition and begin their job search again. Once the HR department has attracted employees that suit the company well, it is wise to do your best to keep them before their loyalty begins to sway. In the same survey, nearly 80 percent of millennials responded that they would prefer to have on-the-spot praise than receive a formal review. Reward your young employees with small yet meaningful incentives such as treating them to lunch or awarding them additional paid time off hours. Nurturing a company culture that is inclusive, comfortable and promotes work-life balance will be alluring to any millennial.

 

In addition to wanting to do meaningful work at their day job, they also truly value a work-life balance. Consider offering extracurriculars that your employees can participate in that can either be spent doing service work for their community or enriching their professional development that they can easily opt-in or out of without judgement. Connecting with their peers and mapping out professional goals with achievable milestones are assets that may help you to retain your employees longer than other companies.

 

Longer tenure can be expected if the company puts forth the energy to keep their millennial employees interested and engaged. By being forward-thinking, your company may benefit by attracting the next generation of innovation.

What to Know About Worker’s Compensation and How it Can Benefit Employees

Worker’s compensation laws have been around for a long time, and during that time they have experienced little change. It is easy to see why there hasn’t been a radical change in the system — it has been effective for years without any real need for innovation. However, as technology advances and the workplace evolves, worker’s compensation needs to change with it.

Even the nature of workplace injury has changed significantly. While in the past you would associate worker’s compensation with grievous injuries caused by malfunctioning equipment or careless operation of heavy machinery, today those collecting worker’s compensation may suffer from something as banal as carpal tunnel syndrome. Understanding how and why worker’s compensation benefits a business in the modern era can not only demystify the system but show where it can be improved in this new technologically powered age.

Lack of Technological Innovation

As the rest of the business world embraces technology that helps make completing tasks easier, worker’s compensation continually lags behind. This stems from an “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” attitude, which will stifle innovation in any industry. While some companies have started to adopt technology to assist with expediting compensation claims, overall the need for progress in the field of worker’s compensation has been largely ignored.

However, that doesn’t mean that innovative technological solutions aren’t being developed, just that the adoption rates of these technologies are still low. Technology is already changing worker’s compensation in small but meaningful ways. Communications with and between employees, workforce training, managing claims, and delivering care are all influenced by technology. Even using simple smartphone applications cannot only assist directly with worker’s compensation claims but also help with prevention of workplace injury in the first place.

The advent of wearable technology also has interesting implications for worker’s compensation. Wearables like FitBit or Apple Watch are currently popular for their personal healthcare management applications, but their usefulness can stretch beyond the personal and into the world of business. Wearables have the potential to monitor whether employees are in a dangerous area on a construction site, track an employee’s health post-injury, and reduce, manage, and prevent workplace illness and injury overall.

How Worker’s Compensation Helps Employers and Employees

Worker’s compensation is an important facet of business in the United States. It not only protects employees but employers as well. While the rights to worker’s compensation were hard fought, many workers and employers can find themselves at a loss as to why it is important to them, especially if their work doesn’t appear to be dangerous from the outside.

Though it has been in effect for decades, many people still find themselves wondering exactly what worker’s compensation is and how it works. While many states have different worker’s compensation laws, the premise is essentially the same across the board: if you are injured on the job, you can file a claim in order to receive worker’s compensation benefits. These benefits are intended to relieve the financial burden from hospital bills on a worker and to ensure that they are healthy enough to continue working without issue.

The benefits of worker’s compensation aren’t solely for the employees, either. Employers rely on worker’s compensation to reduce their liability due to workplace injury with great success. If it is shown that an employee sustained an injury intentionally, were harmed in the course of a fight that they instigated, or were under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the time of the injury, the employee is not eligible for worker’s compensation claims. Additionally, worker’s that accept worker’s compensation insurance forfeit their right to sue their employer, adding an additional layer of protection for the business.

Safety Should Come First

Regardless of who benefits more from worker’s compensation, workplace safety should be the number one priority for both workers and employers. Two of the most common workplace injuries sustained in the office are slips or falls and repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. Both of these types of injury are easily mitigated through regular cleaning and maintenance of the office, as well as regular breaks for employees coupled with education on proper technique when typing.

Staying safe on the job whether you’re a social worker, construction worker, or surgeon doesn’t have to be an endless struggle; in fact with the implementation of just a few safety procedures, workplace injury can be drastically reduced. Providing readily accessible alarm systems to alert employees to safety risks, secure entryways, and even something as simple as having well-lit hallways are all easy and cost-effective ways to help prevent workplace injury. Additional training for employees also provides another layer of protection, as they will better understand how to take charge of their own safety by avoiding workplace injury.

One way that technological innovation actually shines when it comes to worker’s compensation is through prevention. Head into any office around the country and you will find it chock-full of injury-preventing ergonomic technology from keyboards and mouse pads, to standing desks and office chairs specifically designed to prevent injury. While these small things may not seem like the heroes of workplace injury prevention, their ubiquitous presence contributes to prevention in spades.

Conclusion

While workplace injuries won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, be prepared for them with worker’s compensation insurance and preventative measures is just good business sense. As new technology develops, it will only make the workplace safer as we go, claims easier to process, and fraud harder to commit. All-in-all, as we look to the future of worker’s compensation, adopting and implementing new and existing technology can only help.

The Importance of Targeted SEO to Your Company’s Visibility (& Linkability)

SEO has often been viewed by businesses as an ethereal, mysterious thing that a company does for you, and with a sprinkle of magic marketing dust, you are ranking number one on Google for the right keywords and your niche. However, good SEO has been made up of a number of the same things for several years:

  • Good Web Design: While this goalpost has moved over the years, from optimized for desktop to optimized for mobile, from high-resolution video and photos to speed of loading, a modern web design that is responsive and provides a good user experience is essential.
  • Good Content: A website must have good content, from product pages and descriptions to landing pages and blogs, content needs to be informative, well written, and user-friendly.
  • Backlinks: These can be paid, earned, and social. Google expects businesses to pay for ads, earn links from reputable sites, and appear on social media. Link exchanges and guest posting is one of the best ways to earn backlinks. While the search engine still claims social links and shares do not affect ranking, they certainly can have an effect on organic traffic, and there is some debate about when they might become a legitimate factor.  

There is a bit more to it than that. The smarter Google becomes, the more it looks at websites like a human user does. Artificial intelligence and machine learning mean that user experience and relevance will continue to mean more than they ever have. This means SEO work needs to be targeted, implemented with a deliberate strategy, and treated as a continuous process.

Here are some reasons targeted SEO is important to your company’s visibility and linkability:

The Need for Linkable Content

As mentioned above, there are multiple kinds of backlinks. They are paid, earned, and social. The number of paid links your site has can be absolutely controlled by your ad spend. However, earned links can be partially controlled and deliberately built, and social links can be encouraged but only minimally controlled by you.

What is the key to earned and social links? Your content. It also determines how effective any paid links you have to your site are. Simply put, you need linkable content. Category or service pages, product descriptions, and thin blog posts are not link-worthy pages. Years of experience have taught link building companies what linkable content really is.

Fortunately, in November of 2015, everyone got a look at the Google Search Evaluator guidelines at the time. They confirmed much of what we had already learned. Google and users look for a few key things in your content, and Google uses those things to help determine your page rank. It is known as the E.A.T. principle:

  • Expertise: Not only does Google look at your company, but at the author of the content to determine expertise.
  • Authority: This is in the part where links come in. Outbound links to authoritative content establish you as an authoritative source, as do inbound links to the content itself.
  • Trustworthiness: This is also determined by organic, authoritative links to your content and the accuracy of what you have written.

Not only does content need to meet the E.A.T. principle, but it should also be informative and well written. Remember: Content is also a part of user experience, and thin content produces high bounce rates, sending users looking for the information they need elsewhere. It certainly means they will not link to it on their own website or share it on their social media profiles.

What makes content linkable is how informative it is, the clarity of the writing, and how well it is optimized for both search engines and real people. Without content that is worth linking to, it is difficult to either build or earn links.

Researching Relevancy

How do you know if your content is reaching the right searchers at the right time? Fortunately, this is easier to figure out than it ever has been — and yet more challenging as well. There is more data out there about users and their behavior on the internet than at any other time in history, and nearly any business can access this data through some simple analytics tools.

This means not only do we know what our potential customers are interested in, we know how they interact with the internet. Beyond just demographic analytics, we have access to behavioral analytics which are much more powerful.

All this data not only tells us what our ideal customers are searching for but how they are doing it. This can be taken from the general fact that over 60 percent of Google searches are done on mobile devices, and more people than ever are completing purchases on portable devices as well. You can also determine what devices your customers search on most frequently, whether they are iOS users or Android fans, and how much time they spend reading a blog post, and even how many searches they perform for a product or service before they make a purchase.

What this allows you to do is to target your content more specifically, and even create different content that will appeal to different sets of buyers. Relevant content is much more linkable, whether you are earning those links organically, want your users to share it on social media, or are engaged in a link building campaign targeting specific keywords.

Creating a Strategy

Now that you know why linkable content is necessary and you have established what is relevant to your potential customers, you need to create a targeted content strategy. Why? It’s simple: Without targets and specific goals, how will you know if your linkable content is working?

So what is a content strategy? It is deliberately creating content to support your efforts to rank for a specific keyword or set of keywords, and building and working to earn links to that content. This usually involves several pieces of content of varying lengths and types, internal linking, good onsite technical SEO, and content that is well written and informative.

A good SEO company will not only help you with your onsite technical SEO and link building but can also help you with your content strategy and creating linkable content. This entire process, which you should thoroughly understand, takes a lot of time, and unless you have a capable team in your marketing department, the time and money an outsourced expert will save you is more than worthwhile.

Filling in the Content Gaps

So now you understand the need for linkable content, you have done your research and know what is relevant, and you have a content strategy. Now it is time to fill in the content gaps on your website. Whether you have a robust blog filled with content or are just starting out, once you establish your content strategy, you’re going to find that you have content gaps.

What is a content gap? They are areas where you are missing content that is essential to your content strategy. It is essential that you fill these gaps in order to satisfy not only Google but your potential customers. You need the linkable content in order for targeted SEO to be effective.

Want to rank higher in Google for critical searches in your niche? Want your business to be more visible to searchers? It’s all about relevant content that is part of a content strategy, linkable content, and then building links to that content. Those are all a part of targeted SEO, the key to your company’s visibility and linkability.