6 Must-Consider Courses for Small Business Owners

Nobody said that college education does not help in the business world, but even without an academic background, an entrepreneur can learn the ropes and build a profitable organization. Examples of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg have shown that college dropouts can easily enter the global business pantheon.

Still, there is little doubt that lack of knowledge and expertise quickly spells doom for small businesses. Even with enough money to hire experts, it pays to be in the know when it comes to things that impact and shape your company. Besides, there is a wide range of valuable courses available these days. Thus, do not miss this opportunity to grow personally, professionally, and propel your organization towards success.

Marketing

All entrepreneurs are engaged in marketing one way or another. Like it or not, this is the only way to break out in the market and get products and services in front of people. A solid marketing course should provide deeper insights into conducting market research and identifying the target audience.

Moreover, it is designed to help you select proper channels and tools for the delivery of your messages. Upon completion, entrepreneurs are able to develop digital and traditional campaigns, engage the customers, allocate resources better, and achieve a good ROI. All in all, they are better prepared to elevate your company above the competition.

Financial planning

The financial side of running a business can be daunting for unseasoned founders. Yet, it is precisely the ability to master financial planning and management that goes a long way towards improving your bottom line. So, seek credible financial planning courses as well as those on general finances and accounting.

You will figure out the optimal capital structure, recognize growth opportunities, balance the budget, use balance sheets properly, manage the inventory, maintain a firm grip on cash flow, keep track of transactions, and make sound financial projections. So, it is time to get on top of the numbers game and monitor the financial health of the organization.

Business management

To be a proper leader, an entrepreneur has to be on the ball at all times, successfully handling daily management tasks. Therefore, a management class is one of the essential steps towards climbing up the career ladder. You have a chance to hone your soft skills and learn to lead by setting a good example.

Furthermore, courses in this department emphasize the value of business communication, proactive employee motivation, company-wide collaboration, task delegation, supervision, performance assessment, etc. Ultimately, you should be able to better inspire the troops and let them march towards business greatness.

Building a startup

If you are yet to launch your small business, you must ponder courses on building a startup. They help you familiarize yourself with validation of business ideas and the creation of killer business models. You become aware of strategies used to secure a market share and set up the foundations for sustainable growth.

Certainly, you will not be in a conundrum when figuring out the best model of incorporation and all the requirements associated with it. Therefore, you should have a nice head start in a long business race, instead of stumbling at the first hurdle.

Developing innovative ideas

Ideation is a name of the business game. It drives innovation and enables small businesses to get ahead of the curve. Courses that cover the process of idea generation teach you how to think creatively, overcome practical obstacles and realize the potential and value in novelty concepts.

Armed with such knowledge, your every idea will be more than a wild guess and become a calculated risk at worst.  Most resources also give you an understanding of how to properly communicate, pitch, and present your ideas, via presentations, visual media, meetings with investors, etc.

Legal issues

Constantly evaluating and optimizing your business from a legal standpoint is paramount. In case you have trouble even thinking of that, do not fret. Take on a course in law in entrepreneurship. These courses empower businessmen to fine-tune their business plans, select a business name, and protect intellectual property.

Also, legal courses better equip business people to steer away from business-sinking scenarios, such as trademark infringement. Finally, along the way, participants are in taught to recognize the value of forming strong relationships with business attorneys and other legal experts.  

On a steady course

Having a college degree is not a prerequisite for running and managing a business, but possessing the know-how is. Courses are an invaluable asset to you and to your company and they are becoming a standard across industry sectors. You have more tools than ever before.

So, step up your game and tap into great and affordable online sources of knowledge. You will save a lot of money and headaches down the road. Move forward with confidence, whether you are facing number crunching, strategic planning, day-to-day management or some other vital task. Be as independent and resourceful as you can.

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Artificial Intelligence trends become today’s HR realities

Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2017

The emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies in the past years has profoundly impacted a tremendous number of companies and sectors. Take the example of supply chain functions – these have been completely reshaped and fully robotized warehouses are now the new standard. In parallel, other support or corporate functions have also caught this technological wave, but not with the same speed and pace. Human Resources today are the perfect illustration: the shift towards Digital HR has started for pioneer organizations, but the majority of companies are still in the reflection and conceptualization stages. On one hand, there is an overwhelming feeling related to the immensity of ‘the possible’ in terms of HR technology offerings, and on the other hand, there is a need to answer growing expectations from an evolving workforce.

Today, HR C-levels are facing a common main equation: Ensuring that HR roadmaps will become even more relevant in the C-suite and help streamlining organizations while improving the employee’s experience.

But how are AI technologies concretely impacting the HR community?

Beyond the reflection and conceptualization stages mentioned earlier, AI is clearly acknowledged as a critical component of the future HR service delivery model. Most of discussions today are about how to incorporate chatbots, robots or other cognitive solutions within Human Resources departments.

Just to name a few examples:

  • Robotic process automation (RPA) is a new norm today. Any process optimization exercise almost always considers robotic automation as a solution. In this context, almost all HR processes are subject to automation. The main recurring ones that we observe are related to recruitment, core HR administration, compensation, payroll and performance, but all HR processes that require significant manual input are candidates for automation.
  • Chatbots are also getting a lot of traction. For example, in the HR space, chatbots are replacing traditional FAQs. Cognitive chatbots can also be trained by humans in order to improve their correct answer rate. This is a real game changer and robust accelerator to change the employee experience.
  • Robots are less and less considered as exhibition gadgets and can now be found in some HR front office departments.
  • Voice assistants on mobile for any employee, anytime, anywhere are becoming more common – say hello to the new HR ‘Siri’. A vacation request for example can then be part of a quick phone conversation, instead of several less efficient transactions involving HR systems and emails.

What we are observing, is that AI technologies are becoming fully embedded within the HR community. The initial doubts and fears have been overcome by most HR professionals and AI is recognized as a real added value to the employee. The HR operating model shift is ongoing and we are only at the early stages as the technological change is evolving at an exponential speed. Tomorrow new Artificial Intelligence offerings will emerge and will continue to reshape HR departments.

For more insights, please visit hr-jump.com

Author: Thomas Dorynek – Manager, People Advisory Services, EY

Thomas is a seasoned consultant with extensive experience in HR Digital Transformation projects. Views are his ownFollow @tdorynek

Affordable Care Act Reporting Software

The Biggest Challenges of Affordable Care Act Reporting

Written by Adam Miller, HR Compliance Manager, Passport Software, Inc.

Affordable Care Act

I’ve helped hundreds of Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) manage their Affordable Care Act requirements and file their 1094-C/1095-Cs. Though each had different reporting needs, the same question kept coming up…

How do I complete Part 2?

1095-C Part II
The original source: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1095c.pdf

Lines 14, 15, and 16 make up Part 2 of the 1095-C and provide details of an employer’s offer of coverage to a full-time employee. Knowing how to correctly complete this section is imperative for Affordable Care Act compliance and avoiding penalties.

Line 14—Use code 1E.

Choosing a line 14 code requires you to know three things:

  • Was coverage offered?
  • Did it meet minimum standards?
  • Was it available to the spouse and dependents?

Deciding on the best 1A-1K code to complete line 14 has one extra nuance, and it can save you hours of scrutiny: If a full-time employee is offered coverage and has the unconditional option to add their spouse and dependents to their plan, you may use the corresponding 1E code for all employees offered coverage—even those who are not married or do not have children. Since spouse or dependent coverage doesn’t need to meet any cost standards, there is little reason not to offer it.

With this allowance, most fully ACAcompliant companies will find they can use Line 14 code 1E for every 1095-C they submit, instead of 1B for single employees, 1C for single parents, and 1D for childless couples. Your life is already easier, isn’t it?

Line 15—Forget about Line 14.

This continues to be a very tough concept to nail down. The IRS wants to know: What is the monthly employee’s share of the least expensive, employee-only plan available to this person?

Let’s review each part of that statement.

  • Employee’s share—the employee’s remaining portion after the employer’s contribution.
  • Least expensive—the qualifying plan with the lowest monthly cost available, often referred to as bronze level. This is not what the employee is paying for a more comprehensive plan.
  • Employee only—One Person. Forget that on Line 14 you reported that the offer included the spouse/dependents. For the purposes of ACA reporting, it does not matter which plan an employee actually enrolls in, only what they could have chosen and what it would have cost them.

Line 16—What happened after Line 14?

It isn’t difficult to find that code 2C applies to employees who accept an offer of coverage, or that 2B is used for a part-time employee. Things start to get murky with code 2D. Code 2D refers to the variable-hour[i] employee who is in their Initial Measurement Period, also known as the Look-Back Method.

People start to panic when it comes to employees who were offered insurance but declined. In their 1095-C Instructions, the IRS wrote 1181 words describing all the Series 2 Codes in use. Nowhere does it say “Use code __ if the employee declined coverage.” In cases where you have made an a fully qualified offer which an employee has turned down, use whichever of 2F/2G/2H matches your method for calculating their income and ensuring affordability:

  • Use 2F if you look at W-2 Wages
  • Use 2G if you use the Federal Poverty Level
  • Use 2F if you look at the employee’s Rate of Pay

Congratulations…

Not only have you completed Part 2, but unless your company self-insures, you can bypass Part 3 completely!

What’s the next step?

Knowing how to correctly use the codes and contribution fields is fundamental, but organized tracking of ACA-related information throughout the year is equally important to save time and avoid penalties. A good, regularly maintained spreadsheet is a serviceable option for smaller ALEs with straightforward ACA reporting. For larger employers, or more complicated reporting, a specially designed software solution or service will reduce the compliance workload and help avoid penalties. A good one will help you accurately manage changing and editing data and even create the 1094-C/1095-C forms or electronic files.

Passport Software’s ACA Software and Services range from on-premise software to full year-round compliance management services. Our friendly service is fast and accurate, and our customers have given us great reviews. Our software is IRS-certified and we are IRS-approved to file on behalf of our clients.

Dealing with past years reporting troubles? We can help there, too.

Learn more about Passport Software’s ACA Software and Services, or call us at 800-969-7900.

[i] variable-hour refers to cases where it is unclear whether the employee will be comfortably above or below the 130 hour per month full-time threshold.

Form 1095-C
The original source: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1095c.pdf

About the Author:

Adam Miller

Adam Miller is the HR Compliance Manager at Passport Software, Inc. He designed their ACA Software and, as a support tech, he has helped hundreds of people with Affordable Care Act compliance and reporting.  Adam has a background in engineering, the service industry, and print, which makes him a technically proficient and friendly communicator for Passport Software.

Passport Software, Inc.

181 North Waukegan Rd, #200

Northfield, IL 60093

800-969-7900

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Engaging Executives: HR’s Responsibility to the Higher Levels

Engaging Executives: HR’s Responsibility to the Higher Levels

Engaging Executives

When experts talk about employee engagement, most people imagine lower-level employees and middle managers. These workers have minimal authority over their daily tasks, they are the least job-secure, and they tend to receive the lowest pay and worst benefits packages, meaning they are most likely to be disengaged from their work. As a result, the web is filled with engagement solutions to keep lower-level employees around.

Yet, while HR professionals devote the bulk of their energy to engaging this portion of the workforce, executives are suffering. Though they have greater responsibility and greater remuneration for their efforts, executives can still disengage from their work, lowering their productivity, and endangering the entire business – including those workers at lower levels. However, the engagement solutions that work for lower-level employees rarely apply to higher-level business leaders. Therefore, HR professionals need an entirely different strategy for executive engagement.

Understanding Executives

HR typically doesn’t pay much attention to executives for a couple reasons:

  1. Executives already earn high salaries, and they generally have more control over their schedules and tasks. Therefore, the monetary rewards and engagement strategies HR is most familiar with don’t work.
  2. Most HR reps can’t relate to executives.

Most HR professionals have more in common with low-level employees than upper-echelon executives. Most HR reps earn respectable salaries and average benefits; they complete daily tasks that have little bearing on the greater goals and direction of the company; and only the CHRO and similar top-tier HR workers ever interact with executives. Thus, few members of HR comprehend the lifestyle and struggles of working in the higher levels of an organization.

The first step to engaging executives is understanding executives. It is important to consider that although executives might boast different responsibilities, they are still human. As such, they experience stress and concern for their jobs, their subordinates’ jobs, and their families’ well-being. Further, executives have interests and hobbies, they consume media, and they take pleasure in small joys like the rest of us. Remembering this, HR reps should find it easier to empathize with higher-level workers.

It might also be useful to know what executives discuss with one another – which is not nearly as disparate from the lower-levels as HR reps might expect. Alongside infrequent discussions about business direction and organization design, executives lament their full schedules and intrusive meetings, gossip and chat about mutual acquaintances and people within the organization, and generally talk about what work needs to be done. A savvy HR professional will note that their discussions are nearly identical to those of lower-level workers.

HR’s Responsibility to the Higher Levels

Engaging Executives

Aside from their wealth and authority, executives aren’t terribly different than anyone else within a business. Therefore, HR reps only need to determine what motivates individual executives to develop effective engagement tactics for the upper echelon. Some common higher-level motivators are:

  • Need. Executives have finely honed talents, and they want to know their talents are integral for business success.
  • Passion. Like everyone else, executives want to like what they do.
  • Chemistry. Workplace culture is important; even executives want to like the people they work with.
  • Challenge. Executives tend to be competitive. If a job isn’t challenging enough, most will disengage.

It isn’t difficult to develop engagement programs around executives knowing how simple and common their needs and wants truly are. To stimulate their need motivation, HR reps can institute a “thank your boss” day, where higher-level employees receive executive gifts. To improve chemistry around the office, HR can organize team-building exercises that are mandatory for the C-suite.

Another useful tactic for engaging executives is to connect them more closely with their subordinates. While some high-level managers are naturally proficient at seeking out and befriending low-level employees, most executives maintain a boundary between themselves and the grunts. HR should strive to coach executives in their behavior toward lower levels, revealing their blind spots when it comes to leadership methods and results. HR should lead by example, placing people first and exemplifying how executives should interact with other members of the organization.

If necessary, HR should encourage executives to enroll in leadership training courses; just because they’ve reached the higher levels doesn’t mean they can’t acquire new skills and knowledge. If an organization invests in its people, its people will invest in the business – even executives understand the value of that.

About the Author:

Tiffany Rowe

Tiffany Rowe is a leader in marketing authority, she assists Seek Visibility and our clients in contributing resourceful content throughout the web. Tiffany prides herself in her ability to create and provide high quality content that audiences find valuable. She also enjoys connecting with other bloggers and collaborating for exclusive content in various niches. With many years of experience, Tiffany has found herself more passionate than ever to continue developing content and relationship across multiple platforms and audiences.


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HR Specialists Talk About Their Stances On Time Tracking | Featured Image

HR Specialists Talk About Their Stances On Time Tracking

HR Specialists Talk About Their Stances On Time Tracking | Main Image

The exponentially growing digitalization of business and life itself is disrupting almost any industry in every country, and it didn’t bypass their HR departments either. Until recently, HR has operated relatively separately from the other parts of the organization, but the evolution of HRMS and SaaS solutions made the HR embedded in everyday business just as much as Marketing or R&D. On the other hand, just like new technologies have created new forms of organizing work (think about digital nomads and virtual organizations), so must the way of managing those employees differ from the conventional ones.

In my attempts to understand the challenges of managing people in large enterprises, as well as the shift in the approach that technology brings in this area, I spoke to a couple of experts in this area – a director of HR department in a large corporation, and a CEO of HR software developing company, about their views on employee time tracking as a business practice. Their rich experience in “both sides” of human resource management allowed them to discuss the benefits of this concept, but also to elaborate their objections.

It’s not for everyone

The first professional I talked to is Sonja Jovanović, head of HR in Serbian branch of accounting and advisory company Ernst&Young. Besides using manually filled timesheets for tracking revenue streams, and punching cards system for checking in and out of the building (although this serves primarily as a security measure), the company does not use any other forms of time tracking, nor do they intend to in the future. Working hours are flexible, remote work is allowed in some circumstances, and their company culture simply doesn’t leave much room for implementing this type of business practice.

The very nature of the industry of providing high-quality services to business clients requires a substantial level of professionalism and severity of their personnel. It takes a tremendous amount of confidence, followed by the strong and thorough selection, to entrust a client to a group of employees. “ […] Therefore, I do not see a situation in which a time tracking tool could bring any value to our organization,” says Sonja.

In EY, performance reviews and feedbacks are being conducted through the complex network of department managers and counselors, and though the employees do use computers, their performance simply cannot be seen nor measured by the amount of time spent on particular computer activities. “Our HRM is digitized in many ways, but tracking time does not fall into that. It simply isn’t applicable, because you cannot gauge the scope and quality of intellectual work by time,” she explains. “The more you try to frame people and their creative process, the greater the set-down will be, and the poorer results you can expect. This simple principle is something that many discipline-obsessed managers fail to understand.”

It’s about culture and priorities

In order to find which companies do find time tracking useful, or even a must have solution for their business, I spoke to Ivan Petrović, CEO of WorkPuls, a company providing time tracking solutions for businesses around the world.

“When it comes to implementation of time tracking solutions in medium and big companies, there are two basic factors that affect this. The first is the company culture, and the way productivity is understood in the company. The second factor are the individual views of managers, especially the HR Directors and their priorities”, says Ivan. WorkPuls works with various companies, from BPO companies, software and video gaming companies to construction companies and e-commerce businesses. While they think that there are certain patterns that one might observe among use cases of different customers, they say that there are also differences among specific goals different managers want to achieve.

“If you are in charge of HR in a company that has more than 500 employees like one of our clients, and your top level management has an initiative to increase productivity, or just wants to gain better insights into current ongoings, you might sometimes feel that it is impossible to know what everyone is working on currently, how happy or productive they are, and whether some teams or employees might be too loaded with work. So you want to find a way to get your insights efficiently, and this is what a good time tracking solution should provide. Such software gives you an easy overview of what your employees are doing at any given time, if this is what you want to know, but also whether they are getting more or less productive over a specific period of time; if they have too much work to do, whether they are “morning birds” or “night owls” and so on. With these insights, it is easier to work together with your employees to optimize workflow, provide a better working atmosphere, and consequently bring up the productivity of the whole company. Of course, all under the condition that your employees’ work is dominantly computer-bound,” explains Ivan.

Smaller companies, however, seem to have a different motive. “Speaking of smaller to medium size businesses, many times owners or managers look for an easier way to monitor whether everyone is working as promised, or they want to use insights to reduce the waste of time,” explains Petrović. “But there have also been cases where business owners used time tracking to see whether their employees needed any additional training with the tools they use. If some of your employees are spending way more time on those Excel sheets or Google Translate then the rest of the team, that might suggest that it’s time for additional training in that specific area.”

Since large companies already have their own payroll accounting solutions and punch in/punch out systems, the analytics side of time tracking software here becomes much more significant. Ivan mentions security related questions, along with the need to integrate time tracking data with other data in the company.

“There is an increasing need in this field to provide ever more flexible solutions, balancing the transparency for the employees with solid protection of security and privacy, within the company, but also towards the outside. Integration with other systems is also important.”

Control or motivation?

The overall impression was that for companies like these time tracking would not be yet another control mechanism, but a tool for improving the insight of HR professionals in everyday work and interactions of their people as well. It seems that if you are willing to dig deeper into the metrics, you might discover some remarkable ongoings which would hardly be detected in traditional ways of performance management. For many managers, this feels like a big step forward.

Although the digitalization of HR activities has opened great opportunities in terms of increasing the speed and quality of analytical processes and providing greater insights into organizational affairs, while at the same time reducing costs, there are still some downsides to be looked after. Downsizing the HR departments or burdening HR professionals with technical details are the first threats to successful adoption and modernization of people management. The serious threat to privacy that technology presents is the main reason why the initiative for using such tools should and must come from the HR. Bearing all this in mind, we can conclude that the basic challenge of the profession will be to recognize, develop and exploit the positive potentials of digitalization, while at the same time avoid, or at least minimize the concomitant risks.


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Crelate’s Opportunity Management Tool Is Coming

Recruiters Are Searching for an All-in-One Solution

Have you ever dreamed of being able to manage ongoing candidate searches alongside your clients and sales pipeline? Ever wish your sales and recruiting efforts were always on the same page? That’s the value of a unified Recruiting Opportunity Management and Applicant Tracking Solution and this is what Crelate Talent has been building for the past several months.

Recruiting is very difficult and can be quite stormy. It’s ideal if you can gain access to a technology solution that helps calms the waters and helps you be more productive. Technology shouldn’t get in the way of you doing what you do best: connect with others and build relationships.

Recruiting can be Difficult – Technology should help Calm the Waters

Crelate Talent has been building an applicant tracking/talent management system since 2012. During this time as we have developed software solution for recruiters and talked to hundreds and hundreds of ATS users. One request we’ve heard over and over is: Can we get an applicant tracking system (ATS) and a customer relationship management (CRM) solution in one system? The hassle of working with multiple systems can be time consuming, require doing tasks twice, and pose the risk that the systems won’t play nice with each other. There is a better way.

One of our key principles is that recruiters should “Spend Time Recruiting Not Entering Data”. Therefore, having an all-in-one solution for ATS + CRM has always been on our road map. Further, we were founded on the notion that recruiting is about ‘Creating Relationships’. We see recruiting as the process of aligning the right talent to the right opportunity at the right time. Recruiters are constantly meeting new candidates and meeting potential clients and, therefore, need a way to track these vital connections.

Technology can edify this process and lead to helping good recruiters be great. Just like you need to connect with candidates recruiters also need to build long-term relationships with customers and clients. And wouldn’t it be awesome to have both of these processes in one system? We are excited to bring our Recruiting CRM/Opportunity Management solution to your business.

Crelate’s Opportunity Management Solution

ABC :: Alway Be Closing

Crelate is excited to announce that coming in the fall our recruiting solution will be updated to include a full-featured Opportunity Management system that will live along-side our ATS system. CRM solutions are talked about often in recruiting. The reason we’ve chosen to name ours “Opportunity Management” is we see it as a way to manage your sales pipelines and potential clients in a similar way to how you manage your candidate pipelines.

In a similar way to managing a candidate pipeline you can also view the sales process as “managing the sales pipeline.”

Our opportunity management system allows recruiting agencies ways to better engage customers, mange their sales process, and forecast potential revenue. Pairing this functionality with a fast, modern ATS is a powerful combination.

What’s more, we’ve built our Recruiting CRM solution to function in a similar way to our ATS–meaning keeping the same ‘drag and drop’ style that is user-friendly and is easy for your team members to learn.

Value of an Opportunity Management Solution for Recruiting

There are many ways that an effective opportunity management system can help your business. Here are 3 to start with:

  • Better Engage Clients – We live in a fast-paced world where we are constantly making connections and meeting new people. As recruiters meet potential clients they must be able to capture the important information and get those folks in their database. Once they are in the system, and the relationship continues to blossom, it’s critical that recruiters be able to quickly recall personal information.
  • Manage the Sales Process – Every agency has their unique sales process workflows and so it’s critical to have a CRM that fits exactly what you do. Your opportunity management solution should be fully customizable and work how you do.
  • Forecast Potential Revenue – Every business clamors for more data and information on how their business is doing and where it’s going in the future. If you can have a system that can provide you with a quick snapshot of the business in real-time that is a difference-maker. This also allows you to see where you need to focus your efforts and the potential value (ROI) of opportunities in your funnel.

If having an integrated ATS + Opportunity Management sounds intriguing contact our Customer Success Team today for more information on our Opportunity Management Solution.

Drag and Drop Feature for your Sales Pipeline

Source: Crelate’s Opportunity Management Tool is Coming – Crelate

Developing A Proactive Crisis Management Plan

Developing A Proactive Crisis Management Plan

Reputation

Since the arrival of platforms like blogs and social media, brands have been granted many more opportunities to be transparent, authentic, and accessible to their audience. The capacity for instantaneous communication, however, have also created spaces in which negative narratives can spin out of control faster than ever before.

While no brand ever intends for something to negatively impact the online reputation of its business, it’s still crucial to have a contingency plan in place. 59% of businesses will encounter a crisis at some point in their lifespan, and the after-effects can continue to plague their search results long after they navigate through it.

How To Manage a Reputation Crisis for Your Business

Preparation is key in mitigating future problems, so it’s worth taking the time to develop an actionable crisis management plan with your brand’s key stakeholders and communication experts before a crisis strikes. Forming a crisis management plan drastically reduces the probability that an erroneous or negative article will rank in your top search results long-term.

Engage With Your Customers

According to a study conducted by global advertising agency Havas, consumers are more likely to support companies that take the time to engage with their audiences. Make sure you know where people are talking about you, and keep track of what’s being said. It’s easy to focus on one platform or a single negative article and lose sight of the big picture as it relates to your brand.

Engaging with your audience through social media has many benefits, but it’s important to go about it the right way. It’s impossible to foresee every scenario, but there are a few things to keep in mind when attempting to strike the right balance.

  • Always be mindful of tone and context when posting.
  • Respectfully acknowledge and reply to complaints and criticisms of your business online, don’t avoid them.
  • Promote your brand, but don’t overdo it.

A recent study found that 85% of respondents needed to see a product or service more than once before deciding to purchase it, but that 58% were annoyed by too many promotional messages on social media.

For more tips on how to prepare for a crisis – and weather the storm if you find yourself in the midst of one – check out the following guide:

The 4 Pillars of Crisis Management by Reputation Management | The HR Tech Weekly®


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CEO’s Corner: Charlene Li on Technology and Employee Experience

Charlene Li

In the end of June 2017 CEO’s Corner post put a spotlight on Charlene Li, Principal Analyst at Altimeter (a Prophet Company) and keynote at this year’s HR TechXpo. Li supports leaders to thrive with disruption, primarily focusing on creating business strategies and developing leadership around digital, social, and emerging technologies. An analyst since 1999, and having seen business, society, and the world undergo seismic changes over the last 18 years, she’s driven to create research and thought leadership that helps to bring greater clarity and inspire audacious actions.

The interview is hosted by Greg Mortona corporate strategy and growth development specialist and Chief Executive Officer of the Northern California HR Association.

Q: You talk about the seismic changes that have recently occurred in the workplace. Besides the obvious impacts of technology, virtual work, and social media, what’s a change you are observing that most people are underestimating? 

A: One of the biggest overlooked opportunities is thinking about the employee experience, as opposed to employee engagement. Employee experience is when you look at a situation through the eyes of the employee, and focus on how the day-to-day experience creates a deeper relationship between the organization and employees. This is a significant shift for HR who must shift from managing transactions (recruiting, hiring, evaluations) and risk mitigation (training and compliance) to nurturing relationships. Technologies makes this easier but it’s only when technology fades into the background, and the relationship work comes forward, that the experience becomes a differentiator to the employee.

Q: What is the biggest takeaway you hope readers get from The Engaged Leader?[i]

A: Relationships form the foundation for leadership and I hope that by reading the book, people understand that digital channels must be part of the repertoire of skills leaders use to develop relationships. My hope is that readers are inspired to hit the pause button on their busy day and take a few minutes to reflect on how they need to be better engaged — even if it means simply listening to the people crucial to the achievement of their goals.

Q: We’re getting ready for our 2nd Annual HR TechXpo which last year was quite an exciting event showcasing the intersection of HR and Technology. You have talked to hundreds of providers, so are probably not easily wowed. What are one or two technological features you have seen in HR solutions that have knocked your socks off?

A: I’m excited to see SaaS-based strategy planning and execution tools getting traction in the market from companies like StrategyBlocks and Cascade. The software makes explicit and transparent the strategic plan of the organization, so that everyone across the organization is connected to the strategy. This means it’s clear how what you do every day impacts the long term strategy. It takes the idea of “connected workforce” and gives it a direction and objective, where the purpose of the connection is a strategic objective. This is exciting for HR because it ties together HR functions (workforce management, performance evaluation) and ties it directly to strategy and business outcomes.

You can find Charlene Li on LinkedIn and on Twitter.

You can find Greg Morton on LinkedIn or on Twitter.

[i] Charlene Li. The Engaged Leader: A Strategy for Your Digital Transformation – Wharton Digital Press, 2015

Banner HR TechXpo 2017

2nd Annual HR TechXpo will take place on August 25, 2017 in Hilton Union Square, San Francisco.

The HR Tech Weekly® readers get a free registration! Enter promo code hrtechweekly at time of checkout when you register here: http://hrtechxpo.com/register.

Please use #HRTechXpo to share the news about this exciting event showcasing the intersection of HR and Technology.

If you’d like to comment or have further questions for Charlene Li or Greg Morton, you are welcome to leave your reply here or post on social media adding #CEOCorner.


Source: CEO’s Corner: Charlene Li on Technology and Employee Experience

Brand Lightbulb

How to Build a Strong Employer Brand Image

Employer Brand

There are many benefits to having a strong employer brand. It can decrease the cost per hire by 43%, and even decrease the likelihood that new hires will leave their new company within the first six months by 40%.

75% of job seekers say that an employer’s brand is a deciding factor when applying for a job. That’s 3 out of 4 qualified candidates that you could be missing out on because of a poor employer brand.

You could even be affecting your stock prices by up to 36%.

We looked at the impact of a negative employer brand in a recent post, but if you’re just starting out – or are changing direction – how do you build a strong employer brand?

Create a positive candidate experience

Creating a positive experience for candidates, whether they’re successful or not, improves your brand image and makes people more likely to reapply for future roles.

Creating a negative experience for candidates makes your company seem less welcoming to work for and could put off prospective candidates.

The easier and more open you make the application process, the happier candidates are likely to be. They may even advocate for you even if they’re unsuccessful!

If you create a negative experience, you may lose customers, as Virgin Media did in 2014. Thanks to a poor hiring process, they lost 7,500 customers.

More and more candidates and employees are leaving reviews on sites such as Glassdoor. Like it or not, these reviews have a significant impact on your employer brand.

As many as 52% of job applicants research a company on Glassdoor before applying for a role. If they don’t like what they see, that’s 52% of potential candidates you could miss out on.

Positive Candidate Experience

Give your employees more reasons to stay

Richard Branson once said, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” He went on to say: “If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers.”

When employees feel welcome and appreciated, they’re more productive and more likely to stick around.

One of the best ways to foster employee loyalty is to keep employees engaged. Allowing them control over their schedules, automating dull tasks and offering staff training are just some of the ways this can be done.

Offering employees perks such as flexitime, being able to work from home, or even discounted gym memberships all help to make employees feel valued. They will, in turn, be more likely to promote the company’s culture to their social circles.

This organic promotion of the company can yield great dividends. Discovering how well a company looks after their employees may make friends and family members more likely to consume their products but also more interested in working there.

According to StackOverflow 2017 Developer Survey, 27.8% of employed software developers found their current position through a friend, family member or former colleague. Given how expensive and time-consuming it can be to find developers this is a key growth factor.

Dog Loyalty

Be engaged and engaging on social media

Social media is a ubiquitous part of twenty first century life whether we like it or not.

I don’t know about you, but the first time I hear about a company, I search for them on Facebook and Twitter, before even visiting their website. And that’s just to find information about their services not because I want to work there.

According to CareerArc, job applicants use the same tools when researching a prospective employer – 62% of candidates research a company on social media ‘to evaluate an employer’s brand‘.

Not having a social media presence takes away an opportunity to display your business’ culture and identity. For example, you could use your company Twitter account to share your teams’ accomplishments and deal with customer queries.

Being active on social media helps promote a positive company image to both consumers and potential hires. Be friendly, inclusive and helpful – somewhere a twenty-first century candidate will want to work at.

Social Media Employer Brand

Building up your employer brand with Calendar Sync

Creating an engaged and informed candidate experience benefits your company in both the long and short term. It helps to attract and keep the best talent, as well as improving the likelihood that unsuccessful candidates will reapply in the future.

When employees are engaged, they feel valued and are more likely to speak positively about your brand. Whether positive comments are shared online or offline, they help to improve your employer brand and in turn attract the best talent that will help your company grow.


Source: How to build a strong employer brand | The Cronofy Blog

About Cronofy

Cronofy connects HR software to users’ calendars via a unified calendar API.

To discover how calendar sync can save you and your users time and money, and help to hire the best candidates, watch our Real-Time Scheduling video.

10 Things You Need to Know About Digital Transformation | Featured Image

10 Things You Need to Know About Digital Transformation

Digital Transfomration

Digital transformation isn’t just a phase or a buzzword. Business leaders are now fast waking up to the important role technology is set to play in their growth strategies, with the latest report from Gartner showing a rise in the number of CEOs ranking IT as a priority – “The IT-related area rose from 19% mentioning it as a priority for 2016/2017 to 31% in 2017/2018.”[i] The recent explosion of connected devices and platforms, for example, has made it imperative for companies to quickly adapt their products, services and processes, and move towards the digital world. This, naturally, requires transformation of some kind.

However, the reality is that digital transformation will require some tough choices to ensure your business isn’t dragged along or left behind. But we all know that change is not easy. You might be thinking how do you start transforming? Does it have to cost lots of money? Or perhaps you’re experiencing resistance to change. What’s the problem with doing things the ‘old’ way anyway? Here are ten considerations that that will help companies on their digital transformation journey.

Digital transformation will change your business, but focussing on the right level of change is key

New digital technologies should be seen as an enabler for better, more seamless and streamlined business operations that make your business competitive – driving growth. Focusing on where digital transformation can deliver the most benefits and add the most value in your quest for growth should be where you begin the change process.

Technology investment is crucial to growth but just because the technology is new, doesn’t mean it’s right for you

Sometimes less is more. The right use of technology can radically improve your business, but the deployment of technology for technology’s sake can be self-defeating. Being open to the transformative impact of new technologies is the most important consideration for companies around the world.

Consider where your company is on its digital transformation journey

Growing your technology platform doesn’t necessarily mean your business will grow too. Sometimes it’s better to have fewer solutions than more, but it can be challenging for business managers to keep on top of the latest tech trends and new solutions being launched in the market.

Many competing technologies profess to drive digital transformation, however, the utility of solutions depend on the stage your company is at in the transformation journey. From mobile sales and field services, to wireless sales counters and warehouses, to advanced inventory management – different solutions provide new ways to reduce costs, improve the customer experience, and improve the bottom line.

Not everyone in your company will feel comfortable with digital transformation

Society and technology are changing more quickly than most companies can adapt. From enterprise resource planning (ERP) to cloud computing, new tools, platforms, and channels are creating unprecedented opportunities to connect with customers and improve internal processes—but only for the businesses agile enough to transform and adapt to these new digital realities.

Even so, there’s no single roadmap for digital transformation and the path is different for every company and industry. However, there must be attempts to get employee buy-in from the start. This requires a commitment to digital technology from the boardroom to all levels of staff. You should have leaders with the right mind-set and motivation to lead the digital transformation process.

It’s no good having data if you don’t know what it means

Firms that undergo a true digital transformation programme put data and information at the heart of their technology focused business models. Many are shocked to see just how much information they had but were not utilising properly. The new data landscape provides you with unique opportunities to turn data into insights – the fuel for any digital transformation journey – with real-time updates providing opportunities for better business decision making.

In fact, Forrester Research has found that more than 70% of decision-makers report planned or current initiatives to encourage more data-driven decisions, making unlocking the value of integrated business data critical to success in today’s modern distribution marketplace.

Digital transformation won’t grow your profits overnight – embrace change as part of a wider growth strategy with measurable goals

Change is a constant in today’s dynamic marketplace, but it’s important to be realistic about what you can achieve in a short time. A recent survey we sponsored, highlighted how high-growth companies embrace change. Seventy-six per cent of high-growth companies prefer constant innovation to business stability, while only 49% of low-growth companies do so. In an age where innovation is driven by rising customer expectations, growing companies have distinct short-term goals that embrace innovation and business change as part of a wider transformation journey for growth.

Digital transformation should make your business more adaptable but it won’t make you immune to competition

It has never been more important for business leaders to carry the torch for digital transformation, but the most important factor is making sure digital potential is translated into competitive advantage. This requires top executives to champion the deployment of flexible, digital technologies that change the way they engage with their customers.

As Gartner rightly states, “technology shapes business strategy, but market, political and financial factors prevail.”[ii] Nevertheless, embracing the right technology brings people together, allows businesses to land and expand into new geographic locations with minimum resources, and makes the product development lifecycle more responsive to consumer demand than ever before. 

It takes more than just digital technology to encourage collaboration across departments and divisions

To begin digital transformation, you need to look at your business from the inside out – consider the tools and systems you use, what works well, what doesn’t and ways these can be improved. But when technology is heralded above all else, there becomes an even greater disconnect between employees and the challenges that their business is trying to solve.

There might be isolated investments that are doing very well, but they’re still isolated. New solutions must be an enabler aligned with a bigger mission – to evolve internal processes, structure and culture, or to match the evolution in customers’ behaviour. Consider how you communicate both internally and externally, the strengths and weaknesses of your staff and if their skills are fit for purpose. Do you need staff with more digital skills and will you need to recruit them throughout the process?

Your customers don’t think about your digital transformation, but they do expect it to happen

The digital trends that are impacting every part of business operations will not slow down, and it’s the same playing field for all of your competitors, and every start-up that’s gunning for a piece of your world. Your customers expect that you are embracing digital transformation because they are doing so, and they need you to join them on the journey. 

You can talk the talk, but make sure you walk the walk

To make digital transformation happen, high-growth companies don’t just pay lip service to ideas such as new technology and innovation – they back them up with investment. The growth survey we did, found that in the coming year, 88% of high-growth companies are planning significant investments in technology and innovation, while only 49% of slow-growth companies are doing so.

Digital transformation is different for every business. While some manufacturers will have more challenges than others, and while some will also embrace more technologies than others, being aware of the ten considerations above will be helpful to every business that is embarking – or has already embarked on – this journey.

[i] Gartner, 2017 CEO Survey: CIOs Must Scale Up Digital Business (March 2017)

[ii] Gartner, 2017 CEO Survey: CIOs Must Scale Up Digital Business (March 2017)

About the Author:

Sabby Gill, EVP, Epicor Software

Sabby Gill brings more than 20 years of international sales, operations and enterprise software industry experience to Epicor. In the role of executive vice president (EVP), International, Gill is responsible for operations including sales, professional services, and field marketing, with a focus on accelerating company growth throughout Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific (APAC).

Prior to Epicor, Gill was senior vice president of International Sales for IGT, a gaming technology company. He has also held executive management roles with leading technology companies including HP, CA Technologies, Oracle, PeopleSoft (acquired by Oracle), and DEC.


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