Client Communication: How to Do It Right

Communication, they say, is the basis for any healthy relationship. Much like in romantic bonds, family relations, and our friendships, transparency and honesty are necessary for all parties involved to feel appreciated and to know each other’s expectations. It’s not much different with professional bonds, isn’t it? The clients that give you the most trouble are the ones that send you lengthy emails with zero useful feedback, the ones that bombard you with information you cannot use, and the ones that don’t know what they want. 

Whether you’re working as a solo freelancer or you’re a part of a larger agency, if your role involves any amount of client interaction, you know that misunderstandings can cause more headaches than any amount of actual work ever could. Implementing certain rules, sticking to specific habits in client communication, and setting boundaries are all very important ways in which you can ease those headaches and make sure that your collaborations are more effective.

Define the process

Some companies and freelancers still assume that every single one of their clients has the same idea of the services they provide. For example, the field of digital marketing is a vast one indeed, and if you haven’t specified which particular areas your expertise covers, you can expect your clients to either come to you with a slew of questions, or to assume that you do exactly what they need and want. In both situations, you’re already in a mess. 

First of all, make sure that every touchpoint of your communication entails clear information. Your website, for starters, should have a clear page explaining your services in full. When someone reaches out to you, before the collaboration even begins, you should make sure that they know exactly what you can do for them, and what your business doesn’t cover. That way, you’ll prevent many misunderstandings and you’ll be able to qualify client leads more efficiently than ever. 

Establish boundaries

We’ve all been there: a client sends you emails in the middle of the night, with no regard for your personal time off, expecting you to reply as soon as yesterday, and constantly in need of changes and alterations to your original service. Some clients are needy, others are borderline certifiable, but sometimes you cannot assess if they are a good match for your business until very late in the collaboration. 

In any scenario, setting those boundaries early on can help you manage those complicated relationships better. For starters, you can emphasize your work hours and when you’re available for communication via chat, phone, or email, and how long it typically takes you to respond. You should also let your clients know that when they need changes to your provided service or product, you have a process to stick to, and explain how long it takes. All of these details could be beneficial for letting your clients know how to get the information they want without disrupting your workflow. 

Embrace discovery

Especially when you’re in a creative industry, delivering something that will be in line with your clients’ expectations and needs can be tricky. Creative work is very individual, although based on expertise, and if you’re running a web design agency, for instance, you can often go through several stages of back-and-forth communication before you actually complete the work at hand, by no one’s fault in particular. Those interactions can still take away a chunk of your valuable time, and preventing that can be beneficial for you and your clients.

You can create and send out a customized web design client questionnaire as a part of your discovery process in an attempt to cover all of your bases and prevent all those changes early on. Of course, it’s always possible for your client to send the design back for tweaks, but you can at the very least prevent major, time-consuming changes that can affect your productivity. This is especially handy if your customers aren’t familiar with the industry and wouldn’t know what kind of details you need to begin with, so some guidance is essential.

Ask for feedback to improve 

Some clients like in-person meetings, some love Skype, while others enjoy the email correspondence that comes with clarity and transparency. In any scenario, you might not be perfectly compatible in terms of those preferences with each and every client, but you can find ways to accommodate their needs without disrupting your own process. A great way to avoid conflicts would be to ask your clients for feedback regarding your performance but also your communication and availability. 

Insights collected in that way could be helpful in defining your future relationships and in redefining expectations in your existing collaborations. In a similar manner, you should feel free to provide your own comments and feedback if you feel that your client should give you more space or that they aren’t available enough to the detriment of the project, causing missed deadlines and the like. Transparency in the form of regular feedback is a healthy way to let your client relationships blossom over time.

 

Although it takes time to evolve as a freelancer or even as a part of a team within an agency, you can certainly find ways to improve how you interact with clients. Take these tips into consideration, and you’ll be able to ensure long-lasting bonds and more satisfied clients down the line.

How To Prepare For An International Business Conference

Entrepreneurs are still keen on networking events, even though we live in the digital age. There’s always good potential in attending an international business conference. You can meet new business associates, find a mentor and expand your network of contacts. 

However, there’s also the chance that attending such an event will be a total bust but it’s a risk you must be willing to make. That’s why preparing for attending such a conference is very important because you never know what might happen. With that in mind, here are a few ways how you can prepare for an international business conference. 

Do some research first

It’s always a good idea to research the location where the conference is taking place. Usually, international business conferences last for a couple of days but you won’t be spending the entire day at the conference, that’s for sure. Therefore, treat it like any other trip and research some sights worth visiting or some entertainment that will make your visit more enjoyable. 

Also, as soon as you find out what is the location and the duration of the event, get to know more about travel insurance options for that country. This helps you make the right financial plan beforehand and get yourself insured in advance.

Plan your trip thoroughly

In most cases, the conference hosts plan every detail, including accommodations for their attendees. However, oftentimes, you’re only invited to attend, nothing more. If that’s the case, you’ll have to do the preparations yourself. Here’s a list of tasks you should focus on.

  • Book a hotel or a motel room.
  • Book a flight to your destination.
  • Arrange for someone to pick you up at the airport.
  • Arrange transportation to the conference.
  • Confirm your attendance.
  • Pack everything you need.
  • Make sure your passport hasn’t expired.
  • Plan your trip back as well.

It might not be a long or a demanding trip but you have to make sure you’re adequately prepared nonetheless. 

Protect yourself

Every international trip is not without some risks. That’s why it’s very important to protect yourself properly. As an example, keep your passport with you at all times and your valuables under lock and key. 

Moreover, check in with the travel advisories to determine what kind of documentation, if any, you should bring along. Last but not least, bring more money with you in case some unforeseen circumstance rises up, such as your luggage being lost or something similar. 

Plan to make connections

As an entrepreneur, your mission is to get the most out of the business conference you’re attending. More often than not, that means making as many connections as you can. Therefore, bring along your business cards you can hand out to potential associates. Exchanging information with key people is essential at networking events. 

Also, prepare your speech or presentation well if you’re one of the public speakers at the conference. After all, you want to put your best face on and make a good impression on the crowd. In addition, not every lead is worth pursuing. Try to determine what will benefit you or your business and focus on making connections there. If you try to explore everything, you might miss out on a good opportunity. 

Get some rest when you arrive

Arriving at a foreign country for a business conference usually means two things; travel fatigue and jet lag. If you can avoid any appointments as soon as you arrive, do so and get some rest, beforehand. Don’t  hesitate from investing in good accommodations. 

After all, a good night’s rest is required to retain your focus and have a better perspective on things. You will need some time to adjust to the new environment, as well as the new culture, which is next to impossible to do if you’re not well-rested. 

 

Attending an international business conference is always a good idea for aspiring entrepreneurs. You can learn new things and meet new people who can help you out in some way or another. That’s why it’s important to have a game plan and prepare yourself for what lies ahead. 

Healthy Communication in the Workplace

Image Source: Pexels

Communication is one of the foundational elements of a properly functioning workplace, and as an HR rep, you’re likely going to be at the heart of your office’s communication channels. Whether you’re discussing work-life balance, resolving interpersonal conflict, or training employees regarding company policies, communication is going to be a key to success.

Why Good Communication Matters

A company is a living organism, and as is the case with all living organisms, communication between its various members is essential. Whether a business functions within a single office, maintains several locations across a country, or is completely remote in nature, healthy communication, among other things, helps to:

  • Communicate company objectives and values.
  • Promote teamwork and collaboration.
  • Maintain healthy professional relationships.
  • Encourage work-life balance.
  • Resolve interpersonal conflict.

The list goes on and on. One way or another, healthy communication is involved in nearly every facet of a successful company, which is why HR professionals, in particular, should make it a priority to facilitate and promote proper communication within the workplace.

Tips for Good Communication

From general training to specific person-to-person interactions, here are a handful of the best ways you can facilitate good communication within your company.

Offer Training

Training is a useful tool that allows a large amount of information to be communicated to an entire group of people efficiently and effectively. You can promote communication within your workplace in multiple ways by utilizing training sessions and seminars.

For instance, you can establish clear boundaries and protocols in order to avoid blurred lines when it comes to things like personal and professional relationships within the workplace. All staff members should be clearly informed regarding topics like sexual harassment and how to communicate sexual consent with a work colleague. They should also be made well aware of how to report issues of misconduct to a superior.

Along with protocol like this, you can also use teaching scenarios to help communicate to employees the importance of finding work-life balance and maintaining their mental health while on the job.

Promote Resources

It’s also important for HR representatives to establish themselves as a central source of resources for those in need. For instance, it should be made clear that if an employee is struggling in their personal life, they can come to HR in order to find resources for counseling.

Another example of providing resources would be informing a victim of sexual assault where they can find a sexual assault nurse examiner. Even someone simply trying to maintain a healthy weight should be able to come to HR in order to find important health information.

If employees are continually empowered with resources that help them maintain their health and well-being, it will go a long way in helping to promote interactions and communication with an office as a whole.

Keep Lines of Communication Open

A good HR rep is going to keep their door open at all times. If you want to promote good communication, you want employees to feel that they can come to you whenever they have a need without the fear of being turned away or asked to wait. This kind of communication starts with a good open door policy, which helps promote trust and encourages those with a need to approach you confidently with an issue or concern.

In addition, make sure that you take the time to learn how to look for common signs of distress, even if someone isn’t consciously communicating something specifically with you. If, for instance, an employee is failing to relate their particular issue with you, you may be able to identify what they’re dealing with by looking for other signs.

Say, for instance, that an employee is struggling with the recent loss of a loved one or the fact that they’ve checked out of their marriage. You may be able to pick up on the signs that they’re unconsciously projecting and help them communicate their struggle.

Be a Mediator

While it’s always nice to be a source of comfort, sometimes providing good communication requires some less desirable action. Any HR rep worth their salt is going to be ready to step into the role of mediator whenever the need arises.

The less-than-savory task of leading employees through interpersonal conflict takes focus and skill. A good mediator will be willing to dig to the root of an issue and then provide strategies that are aimed at resolving the conflict and preventing further problems from arising in the future. If you find yourself faced with the task of being a mediator, it’s critical that you step up to the challenge with grace and wisdom in order to maintain the relationships at stake and restore healthy communication between the aggrieved parties.

Practice Active Listening

Finally, it’s always wise to both practice and promote active listening. If you want healthy interconnectivity to percolate throughout your workplace, you’re going to want to start with your own communication efforts.

Start by taking the time to actively listen to your company’s employees. Avoid passing judgment, be patient, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to summarize and clarify in order to make sure everyone has been heard. If you can demonstrate active listening on a regular basis, you’ll provide a benchmark of healthy communication for others around you to follow.

Achieving Proper Communication

Training, seminars, resources, mediation, active listening, and open-door policies are all essential ingredients for maintaining healthy communication in the workplace. However, the most important thing of all is for you to take the time to properly prioritize communication in the first place. If an HR rep focuses on keeping proper lines of communication open within a workplace, potentially negative scenarios can be identified and addressed quickly and appropriately, leading to a smooth, functioning office over the long term.

How to Plan a Successful Networking Event

Building your company’s profile can be a challenge. The marketing department only has so much control, but the overall image of your business can impact how well you attract and retain top talent.

Fortunately, you can make a big splash without having to run a significant PR campaign. By planning and hosting a successful networking event, you can position your company as a leader in your community and your industry.

What makes networking so powerful? And how can you ensure that it will be successful? Here’s what you need to know.

The Power of Networking

You may be tempted to think that networking is best suited to a time when you, as an individual, are looking to break into a new field or a new position. The truth is that a strong network can give you a competitive edge at every stage in your career, and this includes every stage of a business. Keep this in mind as you plan your networking event. Help people get the most out of the experience by providing tips on how to network successfully.

You can emphasize the practice of soft skills such as eye contact, positive body language, and listening. Encourage attendees to ask targeted questions and show genuine interest in the people they meet. Most of all, be a valuable resource for those who attend and continue to keep in touch after the event is over. Your organization should be building long-term relationships, after all!

As you think about who to invite and who should speak, consider those who have a lot of awareness of your industry and its challenges. These could be people within your company, or you can invite speakers from other areas within the business. Be sure to include people with a variety of backgrounds, such as cultural, gender, educational levels, and more.

A successful networking event can help put your company on the map with potential customers, employees, and others in your community. People love to talk about the great events they’ve been to, so you gain exposure well beyond the attendees.

Make it Easy to Sign Up

The tech behind your enrollment and reminders can be one of the best assets you have for your event. Not only is it easy for attendees to use, but it will also hold a wealth of information about the people at your event that you can capitalize on later.

Of course, you need an idea of the headcount so you can plan your event accordingly, but don’t overlook the contact information you gather. These people are the potential employees, clients, and connections that your business needs to grow and move forward.

Once folks arrive, have them check in even if the event is free. This allows you to see how many people actually attended compared to who signed up. Create badges from the registration data that you can scan before speaker sessions. This will allow you to see what sessions were the most successful. You can then follow up and get feedback on the event and connect more closely with attendees. With excellent networking on your part during and after the event, you’re much more likely to win new clients and attract high-quality employees to your organization.

 

Choose a Great Location

If your building has an appropriate gathering space, you can hold the networking event at your own location. However, most of the time it’s better to choose an upscale venue that’s nearby, such as a hotel.

An upscale venue gives a sense of professionalism and special access to the event. This helps attendees feel important and facilitates a strong connection to your brand. You can also have a larger event due to the space available in hotels, and the accommodations offer a place to stay for guests who travel to attend.

Find out what options you have for low-cost or even free events at the hotel. For instance, if you hold it near the hotel bar, you may be able to get a lower price. Be sure to choose your date wisely – you don’t want to overlap an important local event or game that may cause the hotel to be less flexible with you.

Choose an Effective Format

How is your networking event going to operate? Unless everyone already knows each other well, simply tossing a bunch of people into a room isn’t likely to be effective.

Choose one or more high-quality speakers to anchor the event who can give tips and tricks about industry topics. This can be a big incentive to attend and gives people something to organize the evening around. For a more creative option, organize a group activity that encourages interaction and cooperation, such as a cooking class or local tour.

Before and after the structured activities, encourage people to chat and share information. You can set up an official format for this, like “speed networking” where people meet for two minutes and then swap, or you can let it happen more naturally.

To keep things moving, have some of your team work to engage those who inevitably hang back. Knowing how to encourage introverts to network can be very helpful.

Evaluate Your Success

Once you’ve held your event, it’s time to look at how things went and what you learned. Don’t jump to conclusions too quickly – it can be hard to know right away whether your event was successful. The time it takes to build relationships means that you won’t know immediately if you’ve successfully gained new clients or high-quality applicants from your event. It might be weeks or months before this particular effort bears fruit.

To measure your results, keep track of your follow-up with those who attended. Make a special effort to connect with ideal clients or high-quality job candidates. Take note of how many become new customers or employees over time.

You also need to learn from any you made and what you want to do differently next time. Be sure to record those insights with your coworkers, so that you or the next event team can remember those lessons and improve the next networking experience.

Build Your Business With Networking

Networking events go a long way to boost the profile of your company. This not only helps you attract and retain the best employees, but it can also lead to additional clients or customers as well. You will also gain respect from others in your industry.

This can make a big difference, not only for your company but for your own career. You’ll be building new relationships for yourself as well as for your business.

Are you ready to make a splash in your industry? If so, get started planning a networking event today. Everyone will benefit, and it will create a lot of buzz in your community.

How to Organize a Business Trip for Your Employees

For any prosperous small business, business trips are a necessary element which contributes to them growing and developing. Regardless of whether such trips are to the neighboring city or some other country, their significance demands that they would be thoroughly organized both in terms of business and travel arrangements. 

Making sure you and your employees arrive at their destination safely, that they have decent accommodation, optimal working conditions, as well as for them to know what to expect requires you to plan in advance which is not that complicated if you follow some guidelines. To help you organize your business trip so that both you and your employees are satisfied with the results, here is a short list of some things to keep in mind. 

Share traveling details

Although you are going on a business trip and not on a vacation with numerous activities, there will still be some itinerary that you need to share with your employees so that they know what to expect. Knowing the details about where and when they will be going during the business trip can help them organize not only regarding their tasks and presentations but for instance, regarding the choice of clothes so they don’t come casually dressed to dinner with clients. 

Also, it wouldn’t hurt to share with them some templates to help them organize – for instance, a checklist for important items such as cords, adapters, flash drives, devices etc. It would be useful to have certain documents printed and handed out, such as the itinerary, and you can also provide each employee with an envelope for travel receipts and other essential travel or business documents.

Research the most economical options

If you have complete freedom when it comes to arranging transportation and accommodation, it would be best to thoroughly research all possible options, especially if your team is traveling abroad. If the latter is the case, you need to get acquainted with the city and find the optimal accommodation solution in terms of the distances between the hotel and other places you will be visiting. 

When it comes to the means of transport, you can look into bus lines and airlines which offer discounts for a group of people traveling. Also, your choice of a credit card can be of importance in this case since different cards can offer different discounts and schemes for travel points. You can also opt for credit card free luggage promotions that can help you cut costs which is important since you are covering the expense of more people. Some credit card issuers throw in additional benefits such as a free suitcase or a night at a certain hotel. 

Be clear about your travel policy

Having in mind that you plan for the budget allocations to be the same for each employee, it is crucial they are clear on the transportation choice, the time of the travel, luggage requirements, and other details. It would be good to email them to all travelers in advance so that they have the time to read it properly, especially if it is a lengthy piece of writing.

In case that there are some remote employees or that your travel policy is flexible, your employees need to know the exact amount of money they have at their disposal so they can organize their transportation. If you already have some deals with a particular airline or bus line, you need to also mention that to your employees or to restrict their choice to those companies. Providing them with clear guidelines will help both you and your employees feel more comfortable and confident and that will increase the chances for the business trip to become a success. 

Include employee leisure time

If you wish for the employees to be motivated to give their best on this business trip, you need to provide them with some leisure time since you wouldn’t want the amount of work and stress to lead to burnout. A few working days on a business trip can be even more demanding than the same amount of days in the office, so it is good for them to get an opportunity to relax and to see a bit of the city they are in.

You can go about it in a number of ways and besides organizing and paying for them to attend some interesting event unrelated to business, you can also just give them some free time they can spend either exploring the city on their own or resting in their rooms. Another option is for them to stay a bit longer, so for instance, if the trip ends on Friday, they can stay a bit longer as long as they come to the office on Monday, rested and ready to work.

Conclusion 

To ensure a prosperous business trip, your employees need to be acquainted with the itinerary and their tasks because you cannot expect high productivity if they are left in the dark. This trip also needs to include some free time for them so they can recharge their batteries and increase efficiency. In addition to that, the more time you spend researching, the greater the chances of finding an economical transportation and accommodation solution so that you get optimal results without spending too much.

The Role of AI in Human Resources

Author: Kim Coombs, Talent Director, EMEA at Riverbed Technology

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is improving human resources (HR), streamlining processes and empowering employees to perform better. Employee data that was once banished to the archives can now be combined with the huge volume of data running through a business’ network to identify talent gaps, learning and development initiatives and provide recommendations to HR professionals and managers.

It is becoming clear that the future success of businesses will be defined by how well they are able to optimise the combination of human and automated work.

There have been some controversial headlines surrounding automation in the workplace and earlier this year, the World Economic Forum projected that the demand for ‘unique’ human skills will grow. While its research suggests 75 million current jobs will be displaced as artificial intelligence takes over more routine aspects of work, 133 million new jobs will be created. This report concludes that skills in both emotional intelligence and technical intelligence – like technology design and programming – will be essential for the future workforce.

HR needs to help employees strengthen their core skills and capabilities through targeted training or development initiatives. On top of this, they are responsible for proactive candidate selection as part of the recruitment process, which involves an excessive amount of time, resource and admin. AI is opening up new opportunities to enhance the human experience and is expanding the remit of the HR function within a business. It is important for business leaders to consider the introduction of AI-led infrastructure as an opportunity to improve existing, outdated, and sometimes archaic processes and message the benefits of these changes down to their managers and employees.

Kim Coombs photo1
Kim Coombs, Talent Director, EMEA at Riverbed Technology

The human experience

With the introduction of AI, businesses are positioned better than ever to improve their employees’ human experience. In the modern enterprise, AI is already beginning to streamline admin heavy tasks to free up time for employees to focus on adding value to the broader business.

For example, team leaders and middle management are often required to make the same decisions over and over again, including approving time off requests, approving timecard exceptions and scheduling staff. If you speak to managers performing these tasks, you will often find their perspective is the same: they are repetitive, time-consuming, and while relevant, deliver little value. These are precisely the tasks that AI can tackle first —  the routine, daily, difficult processes that will free up the manager to handle more strategic management matters.

With less time spent on the high touch, low value tasks, managers can be far more aligned with their employees’ needs, boosting employee wellbeing and increasing staff retention. In addition to the general alleviation of admin, AI is also making huge strides in the realms of learning and development.

 

Training talent

There is no “one size fits all” approach to learning and development. As the war on talent grows ever more competitive, organisations that can provide their employees tailored opportunities to grow will set themselves apart. Traditionally doing this has involved significant manual workforce auditing and data analysis before programmes can be put in place. However, with the latest developments in predictive and prescriptive analytics, this heavy lifting no longer falls within the remit of the HR team.

AI has the power to monitor business performance and create bespoke suggestions around talent management and recruitment. This technology feeds off data so unfortunately this is redundant if HR does not engage with the technology and embed AI into the workforce’s natural workflow. The more HR engages with the technology and nourishes it with use cases; the more mature the artificial decision making will become. Supporting use on this scale requires a significant cultural shift. Once this shift occurs, HR can begin to embrace more creative and engaging ways to implement learning and development, with actionable data points already provided for them.

 

Combined intelligence

It will be a combination of human and artificial intelligence that will ultimately drive success for the future enterprise. For an AI implementation to demonstrate its full worth, businesses need to first fully embrace digital change in every aspect of their business. Any system is only as fast as its slowest link, and the goal of using AI to free up managers to solve more substantial organisational challenges will never be achieved if manual, high-touch processes and policies remain.

Staff must be onboarded and reskilled effectively. The IT infrastructure should be able to support higher volumes of data, and senior management needs to ensure digital transformation initiatives are given adequate funding and support.

As AI alleviates admin heavy tasks, roles and responsibilities will begin to shift, enabling the workforce to add a significant layer of additional value to their business. More importantly, workers will be able to focus on tasks that are far more engaging and fulfilling. This can only be achieved if HR teams begin to adopt this technology and implement new processes to support AI adoption in the wider business. The winner in all of this will ultimately prove to be the human experience.

About Workers’ Compensation for HR Administrators

How well do you know the facts about workers’ compensation? Regardless of your business, there is always the chance that a worker can get hurt on the job. If they are, you want to be sure that your company is prepared to proceed appropriately.

Workers’ compensation helps employers and employees alike, so all human resource administrators should brush up on state regulations and know how to tackle a workplace incident. Here is a workers’ comp refresher for those new to HR.

What Employers Need to Know

In general, workers’ compensation is a program meant to protect employees and employers alike when a worker is involved in an accident that results in harm or prevents them from working in the future. The first responsibility of the employer is to have workers’ comp insurance, which is required by most states for a majority of companies, with the usual exception of independent contractors. This type of insurance is instrumental in preventing lawsuits in civil court. 

To prevent a claim from getting to that point, workers’ compensation insurance provides wage and medical benefits based on the requirements of the state in which they work. The insurance also pays death benefits to the families of employees who die on the job. However, there are circumstances that insurance doesn’t cover including intentionally sustained injuries, injuries while intoxicated, and emotional harm.

If an employee is injured on the job, it is important to remember that they cannot be denied medical care. Also, if there is a legitimate claim, then the employer must bring the employee back once they are ready to return to work. Most importantly, a company should not hold any grudge or retaliate against an employee for filing a claim. It is their right to get the help they need, and failure to comply could result in a lawsuit.

Employee Responsibilities and Claims

When an employee gets hurt on the job, they have a responsibility to report the injury immediately to your HR department. HR will then take a detailed report of the incident, including the date and time, the type of injury, and where it happened. If it is an emergency, the employee should be brought to the hospital. For less threatening injuries, they should consult a doctor. In any case, a medical report is needed.

HR is responsible for providing all necessary forms to the employee, including insurance forms and information about their rights, as well as what happens when they are ready to return to work. A claim is then filed with the insurance carrier, and it is there that the claim is either approved or denied. If it is approved, the employee will get an offer or settlement for their damages. If it is denied, then the employee can appeal.

During this time, the company must keep the job open for the potential return of the worker. If the employee cannot return to work due to disability, then the insurance company may continue paying benefits for an undetermined amount of time. All records of the claim must be filed by the employer and kept for a pre-set amount of time as determined by your state laws, which is usually a number of years.

How to Prevent Workers’ Comp Claims

It is very important for employers to not take a workers’ comp claim personally or hold it against the employee. Not only is it the law to avoid doing so, but the employee isn’t out to get you. Instead, they are only trying to get the monetary amount that will allow them to take care of themselves and their family. The best defense against workers’ comp claims is to have a proactive approach and a safe work environment.

Create a culture of safety at your workplace where everyone watches out for one another, and any hazards are immediately reported. Hold safety meetings on a regular basis where you reward employees for meeting safety goals. Create posters and signage to remind employees of general hazards and make sure all hazardous materials are properly attended to and labeled.

Even if you have all of these processes in place, it is possible that an employee could still get hurt by doing repetitive processes without proper safety precautions. Not lifting heavy items properly, using a computer for long periods of time without proper support, and standing in one place for too long can all result in common injuries ranging from carpal tunnel syndrome to bursitis, which affects the joints.

Keep in mind that not all states cover repetitive motion injuries, so be aware of your state laws when filing. Regardless of the state law, as HR administrators, ensure that all employees are taking their regularly scheduled breaks, sitting in proper chairs that encourage good posture, and are using an ergonomic mouse that reduces the risk of carpal tunnel.

When it comes to the well-being of your employees, extensive knowledge of state laws and policies is a must. Be informed about workers’ compensation, so your employees can get the care they deserve.

5 Things That Produce Customer Loyalty

Every business understands the importance of attracting new customers. You can reach new demographics, grow your business, and see success when you have a marketing plan that attracts people to your goods or services. 

But, there are a few problems with only marketing to new target audiences. Eventually, those audiences will run out or start to dwindle. You’ll run out of people to attract to your business on your own. Furthermore, small businesses don’t typically have the budgets or resources to compete with big businesses when it comes to attracting new customers. 

So, what’s the answer for a business looking to grow and find success? It’s about focusing more on customer loyalty and their experience as well as building onto your business’ foundation, rather than constantly chasing target markets. 

The best businesses know how to treat their customers well and give them the things they want, so they’ll not only keep coming back, but they’ll tell others about the business. There is no better form of advertising than word-of-mouth, and the best way to achieve that is to create a following of happy, loyal customers. 

1. Make it More Than Marketing

A solid marketing plan is important for the growth of any business. Your marketing plan should have achievable goals you can reach quickly, as well as long-term goals. But when you’re trying to appeal to people and promote your brand, it’s about catering to their psychological triggers. 

What does that mean? Instead of creating a marketing plan solely focused on a new product, service, or deal, determine what the people who already love your business really want. Treat your current customers like royalty. Provide them with superior customer support and dedication. It’s easy to create a marketing plan when you’re trying to attract someone new. But, when you’re developing new ideas, don’t ignore the people who have stood by your business for a long time. By including them in your marketing budget, you’ll ensure that they keep coming back to you. 

2. Cover Your Bases

No business is perfect, but the ones who come close tend to cover their bases in every way so they always appear trustworthy and reliable to their customers.

You’ve probably heard about some data breaches and hacks in various companies over the last few years. Hackers are looking for everything from personal information like social security numbers to financial information like credit cards. When they get that kind of info, they can steal identities, spend money, and learn just about everything there is to know about your customers. While bigger companies can sometimes get away with this kind of hit, not every business is so lucky. 

Protecting your customers is crucial, which is why it’s a good idea to have proper storage solutions in place for records and data. Implementing a business record retention program is a great way to have your customers’ important information at your fingertips. A record retention program can keep track of business records, financial records, insurance records, copyrights, and more. It will also help you to determine how long you should hold on to certain documents and when it’s okay to get rid of them via shredding. 

Covering your bases as a business also means preparing for any possible scenario when you’re ready to launch a new product, service, or campaign. No solid company wants to think about all of the things that could potentially go wrong, but the ones that do are prepared and take less of a blow if one ever occurs. Some companies create user experience scenarios when launching a new product, deal, service, etc. This helps them to see what could potentially go wrong, what they could do better, and how people might respond. As a result, they can go back to the drawing board if needed and make sure their loyal customers will be pleased when the final product or idea is eventually rolled out. 

They’ll also be prepared for any potential problems. For example, take a look at Gap. Back in 2008, the clothing company launched a new logo in an effort to be more modern. The logo instantly received an overwhelming amount of backlash, and it only took the company two days to return to its original imagery. 

Of course, it’s important to protect yourself from a legal standpoint, too. Strong companies fully understand the legalities behind the promises they make and the things they offer their customers. It’s important to have a working knowledge of legal terminology and how to understand contracts when you’re in the business world. It will keep you from getting burned, and ensure the promises you make your customers are always kept. 

3. Offer Rewards

Everyone likes to be rewarded. Attracting new customers and audiences with special incentives and deals is great, but don’t forget about your loyal customer base. Creating a customer loyalty program is a great way to get people coming back. 

For some small businesses, a loyalty program can be something as simple as a punch card — buy five coffees and get your sixth one free! After all, customers are 82.4% more likely to shop at a store that has some type of loyalty system in place. 

If you want to go bigger, you can create a “points” system to reward loyal customers. Popular retailers like Old Navy, American Eagle, and Carters have reward point programs. The more customers spend, the more points they receive that can later be turned into discounts or money to spend at the store. This allows your business to keep adding revenue and tips your hat to those who are consistently spending with you. 

4. Take Feedback Seriously

Customers want to feel as though they have a relationship with the businesses they frequent. So, take their feedback seriously, whether it’s positive or negative. Even small businesses will benefit from some kind of customer support team. When a customer feels ignored or that their comments are falling on deaf ears, it never sits well. Even acknowledging what they have to say will make a difference in their overall experience. 

There are tools you can use to stay within your budget and still handle customer feedback with professionalism. There are a variety of resources that are great for offering customer service on virtually every channel possible. 

Getting caught up in the excitement of attracting new people to your business can be fun, but it isn’t a sustainable business plan that will allow you success and growth. Keep your current customer base in mind when it comes to everything you do. The loyalty you show back to them will end up rewarding your business in the long run. 

 

New ServiceNow Research Highlights What Employees Really Want

Perks at work have become a source of pride and a competitive differentiator for companies vying for top talent. Stocked fridges, catered meals, on‑site fitness facilities, laundry services and complimentary transportation are just a handful of popular perks companies offer to lure new employees. But according to new research by ServiceNow, an effective way to build an engaged and productive workforce is giving employees a better employee service experience during big moments and even small ones in between.

ServiceNow’s “The Employee Experience Imperative” Report, which studies the service experience at work, reveals that employee enthusiasm for work peaks at the start of a new job, but wanes by 22% shortly thereafter. Where are employers missing the mark? The findings tell us that employers aren’t supporting employee’s basic needs on a day‑to‑day basis during the employee lifecycle: 41% still struggle to obtain information and answers to basic questions, like finding a company policy or resolving an issue with their equipment. Furthermore, only 41% believe their employers make it easy to select their equipment before their first day and only 51% of employees believe their employers make it easy to receive equipment necessary to perform their job responsibilities at the onset of their job.

Employees today – regardless of their role or generation – want to be heard and valued, and they want an employee experience that suits their needs throughout their career with an organization,” said Pat Wadors, Chief Talent Officer at ServiceNow. “If an employee’s experience is lacking at the onset of their new job, the impact for some employees can likely be felt until the employee’s last day. By creating beautiful and meaningful experiences and an environment where work gets done efficiently, employers will benefit from a more engaged and productive workforce.”

Pat Wadors, Chief Talent Officer, ServiceNow
Pat Wadors, Chief Talent Officer at ServiceNow

Where Can Employers Improve? Mobile Work Experiences

One‑third of our lives is spent at work. And, employees want their experiences at work to be more like their experiences at home – like having mobile technology at their fingertips to make finding information and accomplishing tasks simple, easy and convenient. In fact, more than half (54%) of employees expect their employers to offer mobile‑optimized tools at work. Yet, the majority (67%) report not finding it easy to complete necessary paperwork on a mobile device before their first day and only about half (52%) of employees have been allowed to use a smartphone or tablet to access employee tools from HR or other departments. However, those who do have such access self‑report higher productivity than those without these mobility tools. This is a miss for employers who haven’t yet introduced mobile self‑service to their workforce, especially for those aiming to retain and attract millennials, as over half (59%) expect employers to provide mobile‑optimized tools.

A Generation Gap? It’s Smaller at Work Than You’d Think

Baby boomers and millennials aren’t so different at work, after all. Across the four generations that comprise today’s workforce – baby boomers, Gen‑Zs, millennials and Gen‑Xs – employees want a better experience at work. The research found that, across generations and departments, employees are losing faith in their employers to deliver positive employee experiences:

  • Less than half (48%) of employees believe that employers are invested in improving the employee experience;
  • More than half (61%) of employees rate their employers poorly based on a negative experience with personal leave;
  • Less than half (45%) of employees feel that their opinions and perspective matter to their employer. However, millennials (43%) are more optimistic that employers will address feedback when compared to baby boomers (35%);
  • Only 37% of employees believe that employers automate processes to improve the worker experience; and
  • Less than half (44%) of employees believe employers provide them with easy access to information from HR and other departments; the same number felt they did not have access to the information vital to their job on day one.

A positive experience at work strongly correlates high employee net promoter scores (eNPS)– meaning, employees that create great employee experiences are likely to have more loyal, satisfied employees. That’s real business value.

Digital Marketing Agency vs. Freelancers: Who to Hire?

It is not a secret that digital marketing can give anyone’s business an incredible exposure in and out of the social media world. A small business can be a recognizable and successful venture especially if it is equipped with reputable sites, blogs, and links on reputable blogs, plus excellent customer feedback.

But, the success of any venture will not be possible if the people who will be behind the marketing campaign are not good and credible on what they will do. There are the marketing agencies who are equipped with people with the right attitude and the best of abilities to make your campaign the best. Also, some freelancers are passionate about their crafts in boosting your brand. 

There are many ways to choose between a freelancer or a marketing agency, but in this article, we will discuss reasons to hire either a freelancer and an agency which can surely help you decide.

Reasons to Hire a Freelancer

  1. Greater Flexibility

Since freelancers work as a one manpower man, they are more flexible to work with few people to work with which means fewer and simpler adjustments as well. Also, their dedication to their work is guaranteed since they work on a particular project at a particular time.

  1. Lower Costing

Compared to the rates of an agency, freelancers have lower rates, so they are more practical for simpler projects. Also, some of them are working for a certain project, so there is no need for a longer-term of the contract. 

  1. Focus on your Campaign

Dedication on your brand’s campaign guarantees their focus and passion to accomplish it on the schedule, and with your desired results. Freelance management isn’t an easy task but through finding the right freelancers, you’ll be able to achieve your goals.

Reasons to Hire a Marketing Agency

  1. Guaranteed consistency

If you are looking for a long-term project for a more sustainable campaign, the agency is the answer. Moreover, agencies can surely handle almost every aspect of your marketing aspect, from the website to every content of your campaign.

  1. Better discussions

Digital agencies, especially those that we consider working for the long term, would have to know your company’s visions and objectives so that they can align their marketing projects on the company’s goals. With these, you can talk to them regularly, ensuring that they can cater to your expectations, and expect them to send you comprehensive reports telling them on their developments.

  1. Assured quality of the work

Freelancers can give the best quality of their work too, but especially with a bigger project, digital agencies can make the most for your product. A good digital agency has every person equipped for every aspect the best project can have. Also, agencies always have the strategic methods that will make your project the best one. 

Which One is for You?

Both of the freelancers and digital marketing agencies can both be a great help in bringing your business to a higher level upon invading the digital marketing world. However, being clear of your goals, equipping yourself with researches and determining your budget are some of the things you have to know before fully deciding which of these two best options you will choose.