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Management

What Do I Need To Prepare Before Hiring Staff?

Your employees will be one of two things for your business. Either, they will ensure that your company soars to new heights on the market. Or, they will bring your business model crashing down. The results of hiring the right or wrong way could be that dramatically different. It all depends on whether you prepare your business before making your first hires. Specifically, you should be thinking about the possible legal issues that come with hiring business staff. Everything from accidental injuries to wrongful termination lawsuits can be a problem for your company. So, what do you need to do before you begin putting the team together?

Well, you may want to reduce the chances of lawsuits in your company. To do this, you could think about hiring a legal advisor. A legal advisor will aid you by ensuring that you are kept up to date with the latest rules and regulations affecting your company. Essentially, they can make sure that you are not leaving your business open to a lawsuit. Lawsuits are almost inevitable when you run a company. But there are ways you can protect yourself early on.

What Is Required?

You must make sure that employees know their place in your business. There should be clear lines drawn in the sand to show exactly what employees need to accomplish to be considered an asset for your company. This includes long-term goals that will be constant every working day and weekly or daily targets that employees should be reaching. By doing this, you can make sure that if any employee doesn’t match these requirements, you can fire them without the fear of a lawsuit in the wake of your decision.

Approach Terminations Carefully

You shouldn’t rush terminating an employee’s contract if you do choose to let someone go. Instead, you should give them ample time to improve and perhaps adopt something similar to a three strike rule. If an employee has been hired by your business, you will have already invested time and resources into them. You should not be so quick to throw that investment away. Of course, if the situation doesn’t improve you still need to explain why they are being let go. Try to be as discreet as possible. Make sure you have a plan for terminations in place before you start hiring people. That way, you won’t be caught off guard when the time to take action arrives.

Remember, there are various ways an unhappy previous employee could cause havoc for your business. Negative online comments for instance will make new candidates think twice about joining your business.

Zero Tolerance And Plenty Of Training

Before you start making your first hires, you should consider the issues that could be devastating for your business. We’re talking about the possibilities of bullying, discrimination and prejudicial views. You may not realise this, but any issue like this in your workforce will be detrimental to the workings of your company. You need to make sure that you are offering training on how to deal with issues like this and ensure that you adopt a no tolerance policy. If anyone is guilty of this type of behaviour, you might want to consider firing them immediately. Don’t forget an issue like this won’t just open up the possibility of lawsuits. It will damage your businesses performance because employees won’t be as effective.

By The Book

Do everything right when it comes to your employees, and you might still find you’re hit by a lawsuit eventually. As we said, they are almost unavoidable. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do everything in your power to ensure that you are following rules and regulations from day one. By providing evidence that you were working to keep your business up to code you can guarantee you have a solid defence in any legal matter.

Personal Files

You need to keep personal records of everything that happens in your business. Any issues or incidents should be noted down, and the logbooks must be kept up to date. Again, this will help you defend yourself and your business in the case of a lawsuit. By showing an accurate history, you can argue against any accusations that have been completely fabricated.

Of course, lawsuits aren’t the only issue employees can bring. You might find that they simply aren’t up to the tasks and this will be the case if you don’t take your time choosing employees.

Test Them

Before you think about hiring employees, you may want to test them. You need to make sure that they are the right fit for your business model with the personality and traits that you need in your company. With tests like psychometrics, you can get a good feel for a candidate long before the interview and weed out the weakest possibilities early on. You will also be able to compare the results of the test to the interview and catch out any liars.

With tests like this, you can look at everything from skillsets to personality traits to problem-solving abilities. You can find out how potential employees would respond when presented with a situation they could encounter working in your company on a daily basis.

Check Their Background

A background check on anyone you hire will bring up some red flags sooner rather than later and avoid you being held liable for hiring negligent workers. For instance, you should certainly looking for any criminal records and don’t take employees at their word on their resume. Many will lie and hope that employers don’t run that check. You shouldn’t make this mistake. You can also look at background checks like credit histories if the job in question is in any way related to finances.

Keep It Fair And Legal

Finally, you should look at each position in your business and decide how much you should pay employees. If you are running unpaid internships, you need to make sure they are legal. If you are hiring freelancers, you need to check the typical rate of pay for this type of labor. And if you are hiring full-time employees, look at the national averages. Aim to pay slightly more than your competition as this will attract skilled workers and give your business the upper hand. It will make your company far more attractive to the top candidates you need to take it to the next level.

Additional Resources

Hire Your First Employee
6 Steps You Must Take When Hiring Employees
How to Hire Your First Employees

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Management

Is Work-Life Balance Making Us Less Productive and Lazy?

smartphone

Striking the right ‘work-life’ balance is still the talk of the town among workers of all ages and experience.

Job seekers, are no longer afraid to mention they have a home life, and that they won’t be married to the job.

Also there’s the realities of harmful stress on health and relationships, it has been a reality check for many of us over the years and now we value more freedom and flexibility often more than our pay packet.

Businesses have been slow on the uptake however that is changing albeit not through altruism  but from it’s huge cost savings in operations including less office space and technology required.

Startups can engage staff where they reside not necessarily where the business is located.   Still there remains  some doubt as to it’s real value to economy.

Are we losing overall productivity?   Is flexi-time, more holidays and remote working making us lazy?  If you don’t have to go into the office why would you and is this affecting team relationships and the sharing of information?

There are so many questions and no right or wrong answer.

Work-life Conflict

Why is it still a thing some 40 years on?  To find out we need to look at some of it’s drivers; namely technology and women.  The work-life conflict was first mentioned by workers in the UK in late 1970s and a few years later in the US and here we are today nearly 40 years later still flying it’s flag, women probably more so than men.

Women

Positive female role models and more women in the workforce, has kept the movement alive and well and some might argue it has been the driving influence of better employment terms, and pay. Only recently it was reported Canadian women are investing almost as much as men in the market now and that’s due to the shrinking wage gap, and lower unemployment, among other factors.

Technology

The use of systems that allow workers to be monitored while working remotely, has given the power back to the Business. Not only can they keep tabs on their workers and their productivity via software like online chat they can grab the huge savings less office space and services allows.

Hot desks are now the norm in corporate offices. Plus companies can also get away with providing less technology too. Hardware like desktops are less in demand now as workers can use their own computers.

BYODs

Workers in many industries are now encouraged to use their own hardware and software. This means some may use Apple while others use Microsoft and then there’s also the array of smart devices in use too.

BYODs (bring your own devices) can be secure in the workplace with firewalls and other security systems. They access company systems and software as well as their own personal assets. This technology leap is a big win-win for both the user and the business.

Final thoughts

The way we work is forever evolving and technology means we are more connected now than ever before.

Reading emails and texts in the evening or first thing in the morning and on weekends suggests we are probably working more, and we’re more productive with our time now than previously.

What we do know is nothing stands still. Change is inevitable, especially in business, and with technology. Soon everything will be using AI, so you can be sure there’s a lot more transformation in the way we work and where we do it just around the corner.

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Management

Work Times Are Changing For The Better

phone

Leaders in business have always had more leeway with their working hours.  They have never been restrained by the standard business hours most of us are contracted to do every week. You know what I’m referring to, most ‘wage-slaves’ i.e. employees, need to work Monday to Friday between 8am and 6 pm, for 40 hours a week.

Flexi time for workers has crept in, in many industries, over the years, particularly with startups and more forward-thinking organisations keen to get the work-life balance right. Remote working has been popular with these businesses, but any change to the norm has been slow progress particularly with the mainstream majority. Let’s take a quick look at the adoption curve which explains uptake trends.

Adoption Curve

The early and late majority is the big peak in the ‘rate of adoption’ curve aka diffusions of innovation.   This curve presents the way innovation (particularly in technology) is adopted by us – human kind and the curve is an illustration we can view and instantly comprehend.

Work times are changing but arguably it’s yet to become the norm with the ‘majority’, (the peak in the curve). There is some way to go before we see real change the times we work and for it to be part of our employment agreements.

Slow on the uptake

Business owners and their management have not been quick off the mark with remote working or flex time and there’s a perfectly valid reason for their reluctance.

Trust and accountability

A lack of trust and the ability to keep a watchful eye on staff, when they’re not in the office, is the main reason for the slow uptake of more flexible working hours and working away from the office.

Leaders are inherently naturally driven and motivated to put in the hours due to their status within the business, therefore working from their home or holiday is not a constant distraction. Their staff are likely to take more liberty with their new work environment and a lack of personal oversight has deterred many businesses to the leap of faith until now.

Technology

Technology is the game changer and it is empowering businesses, like never before. There are many tools like chat Apps, readily available to assist both staff and management’s trust issues.

Chat App

Staff can be hired in different locations and remote workers can be part of team meetings via conference calls.  Plus there’s the use chat bot software so the power and control is there for the business to watch over their staff.

More Flexibility

The natural progression of work is more flexible work times, as jobs also change.  The earlier risers can get their work done when they’re most productive, in much the same way as the night owls among us can log on and be equally as productive during the dark hours of the day. Rising early though has gotten a lot of attention lately.

Just look at the rising times of some well known Entrepreneurs.  BBC has recently done a story on the unorthodox waking hours of successful business owners, celebrities and famous people and questioned if rising early meant more success.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is up at 03.45am and Actor, Entrepreneur, Mark Wahlberg really uses the 24 hours in day to work for him.  Rising at 02.30am and going to bed at 7.30 pm.

No longer does it need to be daylight before we rise and get to work and it’s likely this way of living where we elect when we work during 24 hours of the day, will extend to the rest of us non super stars, as evidence suggests, when productivity goes up so to does the revenue and profit.

So as for the early bird does get the worm idiom, yes it’s real but for everyone and that’s why work times are changing as businesses need to be more competitive.  The desire to make more money will keep pushing the envelope in all areas of business and with the enabler of technology to track and measure us, it won’t be long before there’s no such thing as standard work times.

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Management

Giving Your Travel Business An Edge Through A Call Handling Service

people, calls

It is clear that the telephone plays a vital role in the day-to-day running of businesses, especially for a travel agency. With the development of digital technology, the telephone can now be carried by anyone in the form of a small hand-held device wherein you can call, chat or video chat with someone located on the other side of the world in real time, and seek and find information on just about anything through the internet, all at the touch of a button or a click of the mouse. This technological breakthrough has made being connected not only easy and convenient but also a must. But what happens when the calls continue to come even after work hours and even during holidays?

If you take a close look at a business such as a travel agency, this is exactly the type of organisation that can really benefit from a call handling service.

Taking Bookings

The primary role of a travel agency is to make airline ticket bookings, which is a role that a virtual receptionist can carry out from a remote location. Remote bookings are now made easier because of the Internet. The digital platform provided by the Internet makes it possible for a professional receptionist who is remotely located to book flights for clients. Because all travel businesses have to use a cloud-based online booking system, the call centre can easily access this, allowing the receptionist to have up-to-date information on bookings.

By having someone to answer phones for the travel business round-the-clock, none of its clients are left ignored. With just a call at any time of night or day, clients will be confident that a travel business personnel will always be around to book their flights once they decide on the schedule.

When you’re running your business remotely a virtual receptionist service can made a fundamental difference to your customer service.

Providing Information

A virtual receptionist would be able to answer queries about flight availability or enquiries on working out a connection to somewhere on the other side of the world, just as anyone would if they were actually in the travel agency office. This is a skilled job for anyone, yet it does not mean that the person must be located within the premises. In fact, many travel agents use call handling services as this is the most cost-effective way to offer a professional service to their clients.

Booking Holidays

While some travellers like to book their flight and accommodation separately, there are many who take advantage of the package tours on offer and by using a virtual receptionist who is fully-briefed on all available packages, they can make bookings on your behalf and the customer would assume the receptionist is located at the agency premises.

Busy Periods

Holiday season and other festivals are definitely busy periods for travel agencies and if your receptionist is stretched at this time, why not let a call handling provider deal with any extra calls? We all want to get away in the winter months and during the peak holiday season, you can use a call handling service and when things get quiet down again, you can put a hold on the service.

Holiday Cover

Even people who work in the holiday industry need a holiday sometimes and losing your receptionist for a couple of weeks could really put a spanner in the works. With an established call handling company at your beck and call, you are always assured that your customers will be greeted professionally and your business will not suffer.

Customer Satisfaction

If your main goal is to ensure that questions and requests by clients are paid enough attention, then hiring a virtual receptionist will be beneficial for you. A virtual receptionist is trained to handle calls courteously and professionally, so you are rest assured your clients are talking with well-trained people round-the-clock.

Profit Increases

With the top-notch quality of service virtual receptionists are giving your clients, you can increase your profit while saving on labour costs. Satisfied clients can bring in new clients through word of mouth. Plus, calls by those who are only available after work hours are also paid attention to.

Unlike in-house receptionists, virtual receptionists are paid only with the service they provide and once they provide it. They can answer large volumes of calls with unwavering amount of attention to every call.

If you run a travel agency, talk to an established call handling provider and they are sure to have a package that is ideal for your business, and if used as a back up to your directly employed staff, this service is an essential requirement for all businesses.

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