Is it possible to make a career out of trading?

Nowadays, there are various investment opportunities that people can explore, in order to maximize their profits or secure additional funds for other long-term goals. It goes without saying that the stock exchange market is the most popular destination for both experienced investors and newcomers alike. The main reason is that the stock market is quite stable and highly regulated trading platform.

In addition, it’s also rarely volatile but it does heavily rely on the global economic and geopolitical stability. Many people avoided investing as a form of a career because up until recently, the stock market was considered a barrier-to-entry area. In other words, there were difficult obstacles standing in the way and preventing competitors from entering an industry with ease.

However, modern technology and modern solutions have reshaped even the trade industry, making this area easily accessible to anyone willing to commit to trading regardless of their initial capital. To put things into perspective, it’s possible to make a living from trading but it’s never as easy as it may seem. Therefore, here are a few things you should know if you decide to make a career out of trading.

What does stock trade mean?

As you may already know, investing in stock means buying a small percentage, also called a share of a company which includes all of their equity and assets. The price of stocks is determined by a company’s overall performance on the market. The main reason companies offer their shares on the market is to raise money and spread the risk of ownership to a group of shareholders.

Now, when you acquire shares of a company you are considered a shareholder. You can sell your shares if the price suits you or buy more if the price is low. Moreover, you can hold on to your stocks and enjoy a dividend income. Nowadays, anyone can buy and sell stocks, as long as they have the initial capital. Furthermore, you can engage in trading even if you have a family at home you must commit to. Strategies, such as day trading can be adjusted to your personal life.

What’s required for stock trade?

Aside from capital, you’ll need to sign up with a broker, in order to start trading, unless, of course, you want to become a broker yourself. A broker will buy or sell assets on the behalf of a client or a company that employed them. A broker must also perform analysis on investments, in order to secure a deal that will suit their client’s needs. On the other hand, you can become an independent trader and focus your investment solely on personal gains.

However, in order to become a successful trader, you have to understand well how the market operates and what’s involved. Moreover, you have to be able to devise good strategies on the go and ensure you don’t lose your investment. The fact of the matter is that there are always risks involved when it comes to trade. A good trader knows how to minimize, as well as mitigate those risks.

Identify good opportunities

The key to successful trading lies in spotting a good opportunity and capitalizing on it. It sounds much easier than it actually is, to be frank. There are a lot of companies on the stock market and not every one of them is bound to ensure long-term success. The fact of the matter is that you cannot predict how a company will perform, you can only estimate their performance at best.

However, jumping on the opportunity, while it’s still good has a good chance of yielding a return on investment (ROI). In order to achieve that, you must familiarize yourself with the market and conduct constant research. That way you’ll also familiarize yourself with the use and the demand for resources, as well as be able to spot companies with good growth potential.

Even the most specialized industries are looking towards the future by implementing technology and digital opportunities for its customers, resulting in long term success and a good investment opportunity. As an example, a division of Schlumberger Technology Corporation called Hexacom launched an e-commerce platform last year where oilfield professionals can get everything from tubulars to drill collars.

In any event, opting for a good opportunity will depend on your investment goals, such as short-term, mid-term or long-term goals.

Portfolio diversification

As you’re probably aware by now, any type of trade has risks involved. Becoming a good investor means learning to be flexible around those risks. That’s why many experienced investors always diversify their investment portfolio. Diversification means investing in other opportunities, instead of focusing on a single one. If you’ve made profits from stock investments, you can consider investing in other methods as well. For instance, you can invest in mutual funds, ETFs, bonds and so on.

Also, you can consider alternative investment types, such as precious metals, real estate, antiques etc. The purpose of this strategy is to secure your wealth, as well as minimize the risk of your investments. In other words, if you have multiple investments at once you can easily recover if your stock deal, for example, doesn’t turn out as expected. Simply put, investment portfolio diversification is there to ensure you don’t lose all of your money on a single investment deal that went bad.

Forex market (FX)

Another market aside from stocks, you can explore is the foreign exchange market or Forex. FX is similar to the stock market but FX deals in currencies. That being said, over 4 trillion dollars worth of currencies are traded on the market each day. That makes the Forex market one of the most liquid trading platforms in the world. Currencies are traded in pairs and there are a lot of strategies to explore that can get help you turn a quick profit.

However, 96% of new traders fail at their first attempt at currency trade. The main reason is that the FX market is primarily designed for insiders who understand the market trends well. Still, if you lack the experience in trading currencies, you don’t have to start risking your own money straight away. As a matter of fact, you can create a demo account and try out different strategies with virtual money but in real-time scenarios. That way you can build up experience until you’re comfortable enough to trade with real money.

Cryptocurrencies

Another form of trade worth exploring is cryptocurrencies. This trend has grown in popularity ever since the first cryptocurrency Bitcoin had emerged back in 2009. Ever since then, there’s been a huge development in the crypto market that now favors over a thousand different offerings, whether in coins or in tokens. The purpose behind cryptocurrencies was to create a trading platform that’s independent of any government imposed regulations and without the middleman like central banks.

That’s why the technology behind cryptocurrencies also known as blockchain was developed to act as a decentralized publicly edger that will record peer-to-peer transactions. However, the fact that it’s unregulated makes the crypto market a very high-risk market. Extreme volatility and instability may prove to be too risky for investors. If you’re new to the whole trading concept, you might consider less risky options before you move to cryptocurrencies. The main reason is that in time, the crypto market will undoubtedly stabilize. But until then, the crypto market is reserved for the bold.

 

Trading in assets and making investments can be a great opportunity to maximize profits and gain a significant ROI. To answer the question at hand, it is very much possible to make a career out of trade alone. However, don’t leave your day job until you learn the ropes first. Needless to say, with careful research and good planning, you can make your investments worthwhile.

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5 Small Business Ideas for Women Entrepreneurs

The reason why running a small business is so hard is due to the fact that it takes too much time and energy for one to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Needless to say, for female entrepreneurs who also hope of starting a family, this might be even more challenging. Fortunately, we now live in a time when there are so many options available, that it shouldn’t be impossible for you to find something that can fit even in the tightest of schedules. With that in mind and without further ado, here are five small business ideas for women entrepreneurs.

1. Home-based catering business

The first idea that comes to mind is to start your own catering business, which you can further specialize by taking only certain types of events. For instance, you can specialize in corporate catering, small business catering or catering for parties. In order to achieve this, nonetheless, you need to compose a menu that you can work with, as well as find suppliers for, have an adequate kitchen facility and make sure that you follow sanitary rules and regulations. Also, the type of the event also mandates the size of your operations. Doing a catering for a huge wedding requires more hands, equipment, supplies and time than doing so for a small office party.

2. Creative freelance work

The next thing you can consider is doing some creative freelance work like writing content, blogging, selling photographs online and similar issues. The advantages of freelancing are numerous and straightforward. You work from home, which means that you can multitask while you’re at it (even though this drastically cuts down on your efficiency and productivity). Second, you get to choose your own work hours, which gives you the freedom to make a schedule with a better work-life balance. Lastly, there’s so much room for growth and advancement. In other words, you can start this out as a hobby or a source of side-income and, in time, turn it into a full-time.

3. Beauty therapy

Another great idea that you could pull off is start a business within your own home where you can meet, greet and treat clients. All you need is to take a single room that you’ll set aside as a home office, get the necessary equipment, purchase a brochure display for some brochures and flyers and get right into it. Offering services in the field of beauty therapy are always popular and quite profitable, yet, they this field is usually quite competitive. This is why getting a degree from a recognized educational institution like Perth Beauty College might help you get the reputation boost that you’ve needed all along.

4. Developing an app

Even though it’s true that this field requires a lot of specialization and technical prowess, the truth is that app-development has never been easier. In fact, there are some app builders out there that work on a drag-and-drop principle, meaning that all you need is a new idea in order to put your plans into action. Sure, sticking to these simplistic tools keeps you somewhat restricted in options, yet, this is still an option and, once you start earning money from this, it might be worth your while to learn a thing or two more about app development.

5. Online tutoring

One more business idea that you could try out is tutoring people online. If you have a skill, knowledge of a language that’s in demand or anything similar, you can find students online and hold lectures via a webcam in order to make an income. For those who are still unsure about how all of this work, they can always find an agency that provides these services and start working from them. Later on, you can find your own clients and enjoy the luxury of not having to share your profit with anyone else. In time, you can even start hiring tutors and make an agency of your own.

In conclusion

As you can see, these ideas greatly differ in business type and model, which leaves you with so much room for customization. This will allow you to make a business model that fits your own lifestyle and aspirations. Also, it gives you a chance to slowly scale your business over the course of time.

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.

STEAM Vs STEM: Adding Tech Skills to Your Resume

STEAM — science, technology, engineering, arts, and math —  is becoming a popular topic of discussion in educational institutions, but there is somewhat of a disconnect between education and the workplace. STEM careers prioritize technical skills, especially in the hiring process, which can make students rightly wonder what the point of additional arts and humanities training is.

In an educational environment, adding the “A” to STEM means students gain vital critical thinking, discourse, writing, and leadership skills, as well as greater understanding of arts and culture. This makes them excellent candidates for leadership and mentorship positions, and key allies in reducing employee churn. But when it comes to job applications, they know that recruiters and algorithms are both looking for mainly technical skills-related keywords.

The value of STEAM educated employees

Employees with a background in the humanities have a ton to offer, even (and especially) in technical roles. STEAM is about much more than learning art; the arts, humanities, and languages teach students about thought, logic, argument, ethics, and many other aspects of humanity. According to Concordia University the STEAM job market in the United States will grow by 14% by 2020, and even employers in highly technical fields are beginning to see its value. The arts give students a grounding set of both soft- and social skills, and arms them with different modes of thinking about the world. However, not everyone is convinced yet, and graduates entering the job market can be hesitant to express these skills in a job search.

If you’re into recruiting leaders, and people who improve the work environment around them, STEAM candidates are highly prized — or should be.

People don’t need to be in leadership roles for their leadership skills to be valuable. There are many different styles of leadership, and some of them don’t require a position of authority to be effective. Transformational leadership, one of the most effective styles, involves lifting up other group members and transforming the work environment to better achieve organizational goals and uplift other employees. Some of the most important characteristics of these types of leaders are emotional intelligence, mediation, and the ability to think in new and transformative ways. These are all skills honed in the study of the arts and humanities.

Another key trait possessed by people who have training in the arts is increased exposure to new and foreign ideas. These are people who have been taught how to learn, and learning is a skill in and of itself. So if you’re looking to hire people who will make learning new things a priority, who seek experiences outside of their comfort zone, and who will respond well to internal uptraining, the answer is STEAM.

If you’re looking for employees that will stick with you, and improve the performance of everyone around them, hire people with additional background in the arts and treat them right.

Attracting STEAM candidates

The trick is convincing students and job seekers that employers see those additional skills as valuable. It’s not enough simply to start looking for those skills. There are new generations of tech workers going through their training that need to be convinced to invest time and energy into the arts, or simply told that those interests are valid to pursue.

This means outreach during college career fairs, on websites, and on job descriptions. Start actively supporting and looking for the “A” skills in candidates by putting them into job posting descriptions. Start highlighting the value of these employees internally and externally, at company events and conferences, and build a culture of support and confidence.

As you build out culture and PR that values soft skills as well as technical skills, it may be necessary to retrain recruiters, interviewers, and adjust any keyword scraping algorithms. Many people groom their resumes specifically for certain keywords they believe companies want to see. A common strategy is to pick out keywords from the job posting into their applications. So changing those keywords is a great start.

In the end, the people you hire create your company culture. A culture infused with not only the skills that come from the arts, but the beauty and soul that comes from communities who are passionate about arts and humanities — that kind of culture sets employees and companies up for long-term success.

How to Write a Thank You Letter After a Job Interview

If you’ve never been in an interview before, the idea of a thank you note might seem a bit silly.

After all, once the face to face interview is complete, it’s customary for both parties to thank each other for their time on the spot—so what purpose does a follow-up email serve?

Sending a follow up thank you letter will reinforce and reiterate your enthusiasm for the open position. Additionally, a thank you letter is a great way for you to remind your interviewer of your talents as well as demonstrate that you’re a professional who is willing to go the extra mile.

However, there is a right and a wrong way to write a thank you letter. In the below article, we provide best practices for writing an effective thank you letter following an interview.

How to Write a Thank You Follow Up Interview Letter

The great thing about thank you emails is that they aren’t too complicated. However, this doesn’t mean they aren’t intimidating. Below is a simple outline to help you get started with writing your post job interview thank you note.

  1. Pay Attention to the Subject Line

When creating the subject line, remember to include your name, the position you’re interviewing for, and the phrase “thank you”, as this will help the interviewer remember who you are and what you’re applying for.

  1. Include the Name of the Interviewer in the Opening Line

Since this is a professional email, make sure to include a courtesy title (e.g., Mr., Ms., etc.,) and the last name of the interviewer.

  1. Thank the Interviewer

Your opening paragraph should consist of a couple sentences that express your appreciation for the interviewer’s time during the interview and your interest in the position/company.

  1. Reiterate Your Strengths in the Body

The body of your thank you note is where you will express why you feel that your unique skills and talents would be a great fit for the company and for the open position.

  1. Thank the Interviewer Once More

Finally, end the thank you note by once again thanking the interviewer for their time and by briefly reiterating your excitement to work for the company.

Should You Write a Thank You Note?

Unless your interviewer specifically requests that you do not follow up with a thank you note (highly unlikely), it is always a good idea to send a short thank you email after the interview.

Thank You Follow Up Interview Tips

To help you perfect your thank you email, below are some Do’s and Don’ts for writing a thank you email:

Do:

Send your email within 24 hours

Sending your thank you email within 24 hours is important for two reasons: first, the company was willing to give you a shot at the open position, so showing your appreciation is a courtesy that must be extended in a timely fashion.

Second, interviewing candidates is a time-consuming process, and the hiring manager conducting the interview has tasks of their own to complete; therefore, by showing your genuine appreciation, they will be more likely to remember both you and your talents.

Remember to include all interviewers in your email

Many companies use multiple interviewers to evaluate the true fit of a candidate, so sending a thank you note to all interviewers is a good idea.

Restate why you believe you’re an excellent candidate for the position

As mentioned above, it’s critically important that you reiterate as concisely as possibly why you believe your skills and talents are a perfect match for the open position.

Remember, the interviewer reading your email should be able to quickly recognize who you are (by name) and scan your thank you note to see what specific talents you possess.

Make it easy for your hiring manager to find your work

After reiterating your qualifications, provide the hiring manager with links to your portfolio, social media accounts, or personal blog so that they can quickly find your work.

Following this information, remember to include a reliable phone number so the interviewer can reach you if they have any additional questions.

Keep it brief

Interviewers don’t have time to read a short autobiography about your life and work experience, so your thank you note should be no longer than 3-5 short paragraphs.

Don’t:

Harass Your Interviewers

Once your follow up email has been sent, there is no need to send a second thank you note or make a follow up phone call (at least not right away).

The interviewers will likely be busy with their day-to-day tasks and interviewing other candidates. They need time to sort through all the new information being thrown their way, so once your thank you note has been sent, it’s time to preoccupy yourself with other tasks.

After a week or so has passed, you can then consider sending another email or following up with a phone call.

Include typos and grammatical mistakes in your email

Nothing stands out more to an interviewer than a thank you note littered with typos and grammatical errors.

While no human on Earth is perfect, your thank you note absolutely needs to be perfect, so even if it takes reading it over five times before you hit send, it’s still better than sending the interviewer a note filled with glaring grammatical and spelling errors.

Be too casual

No matter how casual your interview might be, your thank you note still needs to be professional and well-thought-out.

Interviewers want candidates who are serious about landing the job, so being informal in any sense of the word is a risk not worth taking.

Come across as desperate

Finally, interviewers are quite aware of the difference between candidates who are motivated and candidates who are desperate.

Don’t be the desperate candidate.

Being desperate makes you look both unprofessional and unqualified. Instead, be cool and confident in the fact that your interview provided a good representation of you as a candidate.

Looking to Streamline Your Recruitment Process?

Are you a hiring manager or recruiter looking to streamline your hiring process? Having an applicant tracking system in place will ensure you never let another follow up email go unanswered or miss an interview due to lack of communication. Candidates are trying to make the best impression on your business, so make sure your business makes the best impression on them.

Employee Experience Is New Way to Win Talent War: ServiceNow Research

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Digital experiences outside of work have made life simpler, easier and more convenient. Today’s top talent is demanding the same at work, and global research of 500 human resources executives across 20 industries reveals that providing excellent employee experiences, enabled by technology, are becoming the new way to win the never-ending war for talent.

“The best talent today expects great digital experiences at work,” said Pat Wadors, Chief Talent Officer, ServiceNow. “Top talent can work anywhere, and they are choosing companies that embrace advanced technology to make work simpler, faster, better. A fundamental shift is under way, and top human resources leaders are creating a new employee experience, realizing that great benefits and cool office perks are no longer enough. Employees want great digital experiences that make work, work better for them.”

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

Insights into this digital transformation of the employee experience were released by ServiceNow in “The New CHRO Agenda: Employee Experience Drives Business Value.” “The New CHRO Agenda” report details the Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO’s) journey to greater impact; how the employee experience is evolving to impact business results and the impact of an HR function’s capabilities on retaining and attracting the best talent.

From Tactical Manager to Strategic Leader

Over the last three years, CHROs have seen their responsibilities move beyond the core responsibilities of delivering HR services, record keeping and attracting top talent, to a broader role in leading key strategy discussions around advancing corporate goals, driving digital initiatives, and contributing to business performance. 

  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of CHROs say it’s their responsibility to drive corporate performance.
  • CHROs expect their success to be defined by the consumer-like employee experience. In fact, more than half of CHROs (56%) say the ability to create a digital, consumerized employee experience will define their roles in three years, compared with just 6% who say traditional HR will define their role.
  • 66% of CHROs say the employee experience will drive quantifiable productivity gains across the business.
  • 44% of CHROs expect to be judged on their digitization success achieved not alone but by partnering with other C-level executives to set and manage strategy.

Digital Transformation of the Employee Experience

From how employees access services and information to how global teams collaborate, business as usual is being redefined for the digital era by a new breed of CHRO.

  • Three out of five CHROs say HR is now a driver of digital transformation, a top strategic priority for most enterprises.
  • 77%, or more than three in in four, of CHROs say they expect to see improved employee experiences from digital transformation in the next three years.
  • 83% of CHROs say the employee experience is important to the organization’s success.
  • 68% of CHROs say that their HR technology allows them to improve employee experience.

Investing in the Modern Employee Experience

For employees, the workplace will become more personalized, predictive, and seamless. Their needs will be met through consumer-like digital interactions, such as push notifications for administrative work updates, recommendations for services based on recent actions, and instant answers to questions through chatbots that receive data from multiple departments.

  • 70% say the use of technology to foster a sense of community and healthy corporate culture is a goal.
  • In the next three years, almost half (48%) of CHROs will use an HR platform – not applications – that systematizes automation of HR process and collaboration, up from just 14% today.
  • A significant percentage of CHROs are budgeting for technologies (82% on cloud, 69% on social/collaboration, 65% on mobile, and 47% on function-specific applications) that will help them deliver superior experiences.

CHRO Leaders Show the Way

CHROs who are using technology to improve employee experience are winning the war for talent. The survey divides CHROs into a three-tiered model mapping CHRO-led digital transformation of HR functions, and the business overall. HR leaders taking advantage of more strategic investments fall into the top tier, Level 3.

  • 97% of Level 3s are much more successful in recruiting talent, vs. 80% of Level 2s and 53% of Level 1s.
  • 79% of Level 3s are much more successful at retaining talent, vs. 63% of Level 2s and 14% of Level 1s.
  • 84% of Level 3s report lower turnover than their peers, vs. 77% of Level 2s and 52% of Level 1s.
  • 63% of Level 3s successfully reskill their existing employees, vs. 58% of Level 2s and 41% of Level 1s.

Healthcare Leads, Financial Services Lags

Healthcare CHROs trend ahead of the pack in prioritizing superb HR experiences and building positive relationships.

  • 68% of healthcare CHROs say they are successful or highly successful in using technology to make it easier for employees to do their jobs, vs. 55% for non-healthcare industries.
  • Nearly three-fourths (72%) of healthcare CHROs said they are more likely to be successful at delivering HR experiences that match the technology that employees use in their personal lives, vs. 58% in other industries.

Financial services CHROs are more focused on creating an experience that meets individual needs rather than a sense of community and collaboration – and they’re lagging their industry peers in building a workforce that meets business objectives.

  • 54% of financial services CHROs say the use of technology to foster a sense of community and corporate culture is a core goal, vs. 72% in other industries.
  • 52% of financial services CHROs are less likely to agree that a platform that streamlines cross-functional collaboration would drive productivity and improve the employee experience, vs. 70% in other industries.
  • Only 28% of financial services CHROs say they have built a workforce to meet future business objectives, compared with 42% in other industries.

Five Lessons Learned From 100 Years of Human Resources

Human resources departments are invaluable assets when it comes to protecting companies from potentially devastating losses or game-changing mistakes. All too often, career-ending mishaps could have been avoided with a quick trip to HR, but even the department has occasionally had to learn on-the-job, as it were. After 100 years of HR, you’d think that we’ve learned all there is to know about what companies can, can’t, and really shouldn’t do. Still, here are five lessons that always seem to be a surprise whenever the ball gets dropped.

The Trap of Ignoring Morale

Morale is crucial to working environments. Happy employees are productive employees, after all. When markets move against companies, however, the metrics-based focus of “crunch times” can cause severe loss of focus on this important consideration. As HR, it falls to us to remember to keep the “human” part of human resources in mind at all times. Amazon.com recently found itself under fire for warehouse and worker conditions after metrics-based performance incentives cut the legs out from under the company’s morale. Amazon’s perception in the media and public at large also shifted negatively when word got out about the conditions many workers face in the organization.

The Risks of a Politicizing Company Culture

Company culture can, and often should, change over time. Dramatic shifts, however, should be democratic and involve workers at all levels. When a company decides to make a move that brings it into the political spotlight, it can have repercussions well beyond its own halls. Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments, learned this the hard way when he announced a $70,000 minimum salary for his employees. The move thrust him into the spotlight surrounding minimum wage arguments in the nation, clients cancelled their work because of differing political views and lawsuits were filed against the company. This came on the heels of the decision to raise wages for employees by slashing his own.

The Snare of Insider Trading

One of the great cautionary tales of HR comes at the expense of financier Ivan Boesky, who in 1986 made over $200 million investing in corporate takeovers. Unfortunately, his seemingly smart predictions landed him in jail as they turned out to be based on insider trading. HR departments around the world send regular updates to stockholders who may have insider knowledge to help them avoid this type of disaster. Boesky also paid over $100 million in fines for his illegal actions.

The Dangers of Old Buildings

When the real risks of asbestos and its link to mesothelioma were exposed to the public sector, companies poured millions into removing the material from walls, ceilings and other key infrastructure. Unfortunately, removal of the material often freed it into the air, causing workers to inhale the substance and suffer effects years, potentially even decades, down the line. It falls on human-resources personnel to make sure that the right persons are responsible for all disaster and cleanup operations, lest the company be found responsible for damages due to its well-intentioned policies of replacement and repair of worn-down structures.

The Pitfalls of Miscommunication

In the BYOD business world, communication moves at about the speed of light (over optical networks). This means that it’s nearly impossible to bury bad news, especially using press releases of good news. HR and PR departments must work shoulder-to-shoulder to make sure that the press doesn’t feel hoodwinked by a show of good news when bad is developing, as happened when Walmart made its grand announcement about its new $11 an hour minimum wage. Unfortunately, the same day, the closure of over 50 stores became public knowledge. The news about the closure spread quickly, as employees are rarely slow to share such information, and bad press followed closely on the heels of the closure news, offsetting any gains from the minimum wage announcement.
As companies strive to keep top talent and protect themselves against lawsuits and game-changing errors, HR departments are more critical than ever. Savvy human-resources professionals aren’t afraid to speak up against bad policy or advise on important matters, and the best are more than willing to go to bat for the future of their companies. With 100 years on the job, HR pros understand what is at risk and have the tools to keep businesses going strong in the decades to come.