A business’s founder has the incredibly important and rewarding task of building a venture from the beginning. While many continue to run the business themselves, statistics show that by a company’s third year, only 50 percent of original founders hold the role of CEO. There are a variety of factors that contribute to such a change, and occasionally this was the founder’s goal all along. Regardless, when a business surpasses $20 million in revenue, it’s time to decide if the individual who initially launched the business is able and willing to take on a C-level role.
By Elena Tinaglia
Let’s be honest. We’ve all found ourselves in the grips of a little midweek or mid-day slump. A good inspirational and uplifting quote can inspire you to get out of that slump and turn you back into the goal crushing machine that you are! Take a few moments, grab a cup of tea or coffee, and read on to re-energize yourself with these inspiring and motivational quotes from some of the world’s greatest thinkers.
1. Becoming is better than being. —Carol Dweck, Mindset
2. If I had nine hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first six sharpening my axe. —Abraham Lincoln
3. Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. —Stephen Hawking
4. Leaders can let you fail and yet not let you be a failure. —Stanley McChrystal
5. Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships. —Michael Jordan
6. Do or do not. There is no try. —Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back
7. Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. —Judy Garland
8. The only way to achieve the impossible is to believe it is possible. —Charles Kingsleigh, Alice in Wonderland (2010)
9. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too. —Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
10. Hey there, Mr. Grumpy Gills. When life gets you down do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do? Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim. —Dory, Finding Nemo
11. Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings. —Salvador Dali
12. If something is wrong, fix it now. But train yourself not to worry, worry fixes nothing. — Ernest Hemingway
13. Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. —Robert Louis Stevenson
14. For artists, scientists, inventors, schoolchildren, and the rest of us, intrinsic motivation—the drive to do something because it is interesting, challenging, and absorbing—is essential for high levels of creativity. —Daniel H. Pink, Drive
15. Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and again and bring their friend. — Walt Disney
16. Innovation distinguishes from a leader and a follower. —Steve Jobs
17. Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear. —George Addai
18. The best way out is always through. —Robert Frost
19. It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe. — Muhammad Ali
20. There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas. —Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
21. Unless someone like you care a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not. —Dr. Seuss, the Lorax
22. Someone, at some point, came up with this very bad idea that an ordinary individual couldn’t make a difference in the world. I think that’s just a horrible thing. —John Skoll
23. If you light a lamp for someone else, it will also brighten your path. —Buddha
24. If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears. —Simon Sinek
25. Very often, a change of self is needed more than a change of scene. —A.C. Benson
26. Learning never exhausts the mind. —Leonardo Da Vinci
27. Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity. —Seneca
28. Don’t persuade, defend or interrupt. Be curious, be conversational, be real. And listen. — Elizabeth Lesser
29. The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. —Buddha
30. As long as they are well-intentioned, mistakes are not a matter for shame, but for learning. —Margaret Heffernan
31. In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and – SNAP – the job’s a game! —Mary Poppins
32. You can’t change how people treat you or what they say about you. All you can do is change how you react to it. —Mahatma Gandhi
33. Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you. ― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
34. Fulfillment isn’t found over the rainbow—it’s found in the here and now. Today I define success by the fluidity with which I transcend emotional landmines and choose joy and gratitude instead. — RuPaul
35. Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. — Carl Sagan
36. If I create from the heart, nearly everything works: if from the head, almost nothing. — Marc Chagall
37. The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. — Confuciusm, Confucius: The Analect
38. Failure it appears is not the regret that haunts most people; it is the choice not to risk failure at all. ― Dr. John Izzo
39. Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. ― Will Rogers
40. Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions. ― Albert Einstein
41. Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor ― Truman Capote
42. Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. ― Maya Angelou
43. The difference between try and triumph is just a little umph! – Marvin Phillips
44. Someday is not a day of the week. – Janet Daily
45. What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us – Ralph Waldo Emerson
46. The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach – Thomas Edison
47. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. – Unknown
48. Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful – Albert Schweitzer
49. It is better to be prepared and not have an opportunity, than to have an opportunity and not be prepared. – Unknown
50. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose. – Dr. Seuss
By Elena Tinaglia
Coaching is defined as an ongoing approach to managing people that creates a positive and motivating climate for performance, improves the match between an employee’s actual performance and an employee’s expected performance, and increases the probability of an employee's success by providing timely feedback, recognition, clarity and support. Coaching is an alternative to discipline by passing the ownership of performance improvement to the employee rather than the manager. Coaching also works to frame the “issue” as an opportunity to grow and improve rather than the employee “getting in trouble” for something they did wrong.
In this article, we will be focusing on coaching, what effective coaching looks like, and the 6 steps to providing effective employee coaching:
What Is Effective Coaching?
Why/When Should Effective Coaching Be Used?
Step 1: Create Ownership In The Process
Step 2: Get On The Same Page
Step 3: Remove Barriers To Success
Step 4: Collaborate And Brainstorm Solutions
Step 5: Write It Out
Step 6: Make A Time To Follow Up
What Is Effective Coaching?
Effective coaching not only provides positive feedback about employee contributions but also lets employees know when they are effective contributors to the workforce. By providing this positive feedback, the employee’s actions and contributions are reinforced so that they continue to perform in this way.
Why/When Should Effective Coaching Be Used?
Effective coaching can also be utilized when there are performance issues with an employee. Employee coaching feedback assists the employee to correct minor issues before they become significant detractions from their performance. The goal of coaching is to work in a collaborative way with the employee to solve performance problems and to improve the work of the employee, the team, and the department.
Coaching & Performance Management
The first step in any effort to improve employee performance is counseling or coaching. Counseling or coaching should be part of the day-to-day interaction between a supervisor and an employee who reports to him/her. Done well, coaching can help an employee continuously improve their skills, experience, and ability to contribute.
Here are some steps that management can take to provide effective employee coaching:
Step 1: Create Ownership In The Process
Show that you have confidence in the employee's ability and willingness to solve the problem. Ask them for help in solving the problem or improving their performance. Create a common goal to increase the employees' effectiveness as a contributor to your company.
Step 2: Get On The Same Page
Describe the performance problem to the employee. Be sure to focus on the problem or behavior that needs improvement and not on the employee themselves. Provide concrete examples of the behavior so that you and the employee share a common understanding and meaning. Ask for the employee's view of the situation. Do they see the same problem or opportunity that you do?
Step 3: Remove Barriers To Success
Determine whether there are external issues that exist that may be limiting the employee's ability to perform the task or accomplish the objectives. Four common barriers are time, training, tools, and temperament. Find out if these barriers exist and how to remove them. Does the employee needs your help to remove the barriers? Are they able to remove them by themselves?
Step 4: Collaborate And Brainstorm Solutions
Collaborate with the employee to brainstorm potential solutions to the problem and create action items to create improvement. Identify the core goals and achievement markers that the employee must achieve to reach the level of desired performance.
Step 5: Write It Out
Core goals and achievement markers can be put into a formal written document between the employee and manager so each party is held accountable to the process and the results.
Step 6: Make A Time To Follow Up
Set a date and time for follow up, whether this is internally made by the manager to check in with the employee at a later date or a mutually agreed upon time to revisit the employees progress. Following through to check on improvements and progress is an important part of coaching.
What Else Can A Great Manager Do?
As a supervisor, offer positive encouragement and express confidence in the employee's ability to improve. Recognize, however, that the only person who is in charge of their performance improvement is the employee. They are ultimately the one in charge of their own progress.
This process allows your employee to take ownership of their own growth thereby creating an employee who is fully engaged in their own performance. Investing in your employees’ development and growth by communicating your commitment to their success through effective employee coaching will help you build an engaged, skilled team for your business. By following the steps above and maintaining positive reinforcement and follow up, your employees will be well on their way to owning their experience!
By Sophia Xu
You need to bring on a new team member. You’ve interviewed and met with multiple outstanding candidates; now you need to make the decision: which person should you hire? Wait- before you send over that offer letter, consider that there are two main aspects to consider when determining whether the candidate should or should not be hired: job fit, which is what you most likely have already addressed, and organizational fit, which we will discuss more in this article.
We will discuss:
Person-Organization Fit Theory
First and foremost, when you are hiring, the candidate needs to meet the requirements of the role. An individual is considered a good match for a job if his or her background and experience aligns well with the job description and are able to carry out the responsibilities of the role. The concept of Job Fit helps an employer determine how well a potential candidate may be suited for the role.
Does the candidate fit all the requirements and qualifications of the role you are looking to fill? Do they have the experience to carry out the responsibilities of the role? Job fit and cultural fit, which we will talk about next, are assessed throughout the steps in the interview and hiring process. However, the vast majority of traditional questions asked during a phone screen, an interview, and traditional tests/assessments are used to evaluate a candidate’s job fit with the role. These are used to measure knowledge skills and abilities of an individual against the competencies required for the job. This can make hiring and predictability of an employee staying in a role, and being happy and productive there, less predictable than we would like. It also can make candidates blur together- there are a lot of qualified people out there, especially for entry level roles.
Let’s use that as an example for how to explain cultural fit: let’s pretend you have 2 potential hires who are both outstanding but you only have one position to fill. How will you decide which of the two to hire?
Here’s when you will want to consider cultural fit. You want to hire the right person for the organization, not only someone who is capable of getting the job done. You need to ask yourself, and the candidate:
Does his or her goals align with the company’s mission?
Will the individual be happy working within the organization? Why?
Like Job Fit, Cultural Fit is also evaluated throughout the interview and hiring process. For example, when interviewing candidates, you can ask questions that regarding core values and the culture of the organization. To do so, you need to define what your company culture is.
Your company’s culture should reflect the mission, values, and ethics of the organization. Different attributes contribute to a company’s culture, such as communication and employee engagement, leadership and decision making within the organization, and recognition of employee contributions. Matching a person to a job which they are capable of performing is important; however, matching a person to an organization in which he or she is compatible with is just as vital.
Person-Organization Fit Theory
The Person-Organization Fit Theory is the concept that describes the compatibility between people and organizations. This takes into consideration the compatibility between their values and expectations of the employee. Employees tend to be attracted to organizations that share similar values and goals as the individual. When an employee obtains a position within an organization that meets his or her personal and professional requirements, it will encourage positive results.
For example, let’s take an example of a company hiring for a role that is very team-oriented and involves a lot of collaboration. If the candidate is capable of completing all the responsibilities required of the role, he or she would fall under the category of a good job fit. However, if this person is not fond of work that requires heavy communication and collaboration with other team members, he or she may not be a good culture fit. On the other hand, if the candidate can excel at all the responsibilities of the role and also strives to work with others in a collaborative environment, they would be a good fit for the job and the organization.
How Person-Organization Fit Impacts Productivity
A good person-organization fit can positively impact one’s productivity and performance as well as job personal wellness. One study shows that there is a positive correlation between an employee’s culture fit within the organization and the employee’s longevity at a company. When an individual has higher job satisfaction, they will be more committed and thus, more likely to remain with the organization.
Some other benefits of person-organization fit include:
Higher quality of work and increased productivity
More efficient collaboration amongst team members
Improved employee retention
Increased levels of engagement, contribution, and creativity from employees
Happy employees make great company ambassadors!
What if you don’t use Person-Organization Fit?
On the other hand, a poor person-organization fit can lead to negative outcomes. Results of hiring an employee that does not fit well with the organization’s culture and values may cause lower job satisfaction and affect one’s mental health. This in turn will lead to lower rates of productivity and a higher turnover rate within the organization.
Some other consequences could include:
Increased physical and mental exhaustion and stress
Low morale within the team
Lack of individual and team motivation
Low productivity/ unsatisfactory work
Increased costs on hiring and training
Employee turnover increase
In the end, it is not a simple task to hire the perfect candidate. Being aware of different factors that contribute to an employee’s commitment to the organization and its values are important when pursuing a potential candidate. Determining whether a candidate is a good fit within the company will require effort that starts even before the interview, but a positive fit can benefit both the employee and the organization in the long run.
By Elena Tinaglia
The workplace is rapidly changing, more so now than ever with the continuous inclusion of cutting edge technologies. The past year HR departments all over the country were prioritizing the well-being of their employees in several different realms. Executives, in conjunction with HR departments, began to invest more time in their employees by creating a better workplace environment. Company culture and employee engagement were huge in 2017. In 2018 we will see a continuation of these priorities (with some tweaks) as well as many others, most of which are technology centered.
Let’s talk about:
Move Over Employee Engagement, Employee Experience Is Here
Making Friends with AI
Microlearning For Employees
The Shift from Wellness to Well-being
Read on for more about HR in 2018!
1) Move Over Employee Engagement, Employee Experience Is Here
With millennials being such a large part of the workforce and the increased transparency brought about by the inclusion of cutting edge technology, employees are expecting a more engaging and life-affirming work experience. Gone are the days of head down, nose to the grindstone work ethics. Employees today are expecting a lot more from their employers.
“Employee Experience” is defined as the sum of the various perceptions employees have about their interactions with the organization in which they work. It is the totality of an employee’s experiences, so it encompasses all of the narrower aspects of how an employee perceives his everyday life at the office, both good and bad.
The employee experience ecosystem combines three core aspects: engagement, culture, and performance management. The main idea behind employee experience is to optimize every touchpoint that an employee comes in contact with, to create a unified experience that feels holistic throughout every stage, both of which involve treating the employee with the same degree of care that you would treat your customers.
2) Making Friends With AI
Employees today want to develop their skill sets and fulfill personal value-based goals; they expect their employers to provide them with the opportunity to do so. The modern-day workforce will forego the highest possible salary to instead worth an organization whose culture matches with their fundamental values. The opportunity to learn and obtain regular feedback are things they crave.
Learning and Development (L&D) programs from employers are more important than ever to establish the new employee’s reality. Employers are utilizing AI (Artificial Intelligence) to provide personalized programs for each employee that are tailored to their unique needs, career goals and learning styles.
AI is also increasingly being used to streamline HR practices such as recruiting, hiring, and training. AI in HR offers a great opportunity to automate many of the busy, repetitive tasks HR practitioners have to deal with HR professionals can spend that time on the core business of HR: people. Specifically, the recruitment and acquisition of great new people and the retention of current staff members. When it comes to finding those great new people, AI can help recruiters and hiring managers on another level by cutting human bias out of the process as well as predict a candidate’s suitability for the job.
3) Microlearning For Employees
Millennials will make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025 and the human attention span is getting smaller on average. Microlearning offers a chance to educate employees by providing learning content in very specific yet small bursts. The reason microlearning is becoming more popular is due to the increased flexibility it gives to the learners. The learners have control over time management while learning because the learning program is organized into a number of short courses. Employees can use this approach to learn a concept specific to a job and utilize their new found knowledge right away.
Microlearning helps employers save on both time and cost, especially on expensive training consultants if you contrast it with other traditional methods of training like day-long seminars. HR professionals leading or administering the more traditional employee trainings can be freed up to turn their attention to more pressing HR work.
Gamification is the usage of game-thinking and game mechanics in non-game scenarios such as business environment and processes, specifically in recruitment, training and development, and motivation; in order to engage users and solve problems. Today you can see examples of it everywhere: receiving stamps for cups of coffee, gaining new features in running apps, even military training utilizes gaming features.
Gamification has been known to increase productivity by providing employees with independence and choice. Employees responded with higher job satisfaction, job performance, innovation, and workplace satisfaction than those who did not have any choice. Independence and personal preference within gamification can all help promote autonomy within roles. When we accomplish something or reach a goal, our brain releases dopamine, making us feel euphoric while reinforcing the behavior that released that dopamine. Gamification utilizes the chemical reward process in the brain.
Finally, gaining new features or reaching new levels in gamification provides measurable results, reinforcing the idea that the employee is learning and growing. Employee engagement is beneficial to productivity and profitability; the promise of individual growth will ensure that engagement.
5) The Shift from Wellness to Well-being
Well-being expands the view of wellness to cover more than the physical body. It encompassing an employee’s mental and emotional state as well as their productivity and ability to perform at the peak of their capabilities. Well-being initiatives are moving away from being centered primarily around getting in shape and eating healthily, increasingly mental and financial wellness are also earning attention from forward-thinking employers.
Some common ways HR departments and employers are increasing the focus on well-being are providing on-site yoga, fitness, and meditation classes by a certified instructor, providing gym discounts, allow for flexible working hours, promote the use of productivity boosting devices like the Headspace app, incorporating team activities, and financial advising.
In the End
While no one can know for sure what HR trends 2018 will deliver, it is evident that the increased use of technology in HR and the continued implementation of employee experience techniques will be hot topics in 2018.
By Swanie Brooks
A few weeks ago, a young lady applied for a HR role with an up and coming HR & Consulting firm. There was the initial phone screen with the CEO, the 2nd interview with one of the senior consultants, and the final step was an in-person interview (along with one other potential candidate) with the entire HR team…no pressure. Although a bit worried about the stiff competition, she left the interview feeling pretty good. Within a couple of hours, an offer letter was extended. I graciously accepted.
What ultimately separated me from the other candidate...my upbeat personality, winning smile, great conversation? Absolutely! But, it was the thank you letters I sent after each interview that made a huge difference. How do I know? The CEO told me so.
It’s interesting how we are taught not to sweat the small stuff, but something a small as “…thank you for taking the time to speak with me today…” can ultimately be just the extra push you need to set you apart from the pack. I bet you are saying to yourself, But I was nice, polite, said please and thank you…even shook their hand before I left...that should be enough right? Maybe. But let me give you a few reasons why a simple “thank you” is so important.
First, the job market is super competitive. Yes, I know your resume is all shiny and well-laid out with its streamlined formatting, clean font, and bold headline that highlights your vast knowledge, wealth of experience, superior skills, and super hero ability to save sinking company profits in a single bound. So does hundreds, if not thousands, of other applicants that are vying for that one available spot at the same company. Very few applicants send thank you notes after an interview, let alone a phone screen with the recruiter. Sad, but true. Will it hurt to take a few extra minutes to send a thank you to the hiring manager? Not at all. Could it make your resume and winning personality stand out even more? It could.
Second, it gives you a chance to reiterate how you will be an asset to the company. Yes, I know you stated in the interview how you single-handedly saved your last company from the brink of disaster and financial ruin. Or maybe you forgot to elaborate more on how you were the lead behind the new software integration project that was completed before deadline and under budget. A thank you letter is a great opportunity to briefly restate why you are the best candidate for the job.
Third, and probably the most important, it’s just plain common courtesy. In our modern society of text and direct messages, tweets, and chats, it is easy to forget that everyone’s time is valuable. In a time where sending an emoji through an application confirms restaurant reservations, schedules your doctor appointment, and breaks off a tumultuous relationship without so much as an actual phone call, let alone human interaction, it’s polite and respectable to acknowledge and thank your interviewer for taking the time out of their day to meet with you. Just like you, the hiring manager could be doing other things with their time – like interviewing other candidates (hint, hint). Instead, they are taking the time, effort, and resources to get to know you, schedule time to talk with you, invite you in for an in-person interview…you, you, you. See where I’m going with this?
Writing a thank you note doesn’t require a great deal of time. Ideally, you should send a thank you note the same day as your interview. It may not be a big deal to you, but it could make all the difference between hiring you and the other guy who was invited to the interview. Thank you, 4 Point Consulting.
Swanie Brooks is the HR & Recruiting Intern at 4 Point Consulting.
By Beth Smith & Brian Montijo
At 4 Point Consulting (4 Point), one of our central beliefs is that people are the core of every business. That is why we take a comprehensive approach to wellness. Christy Hopkins, the Founder and CEO of 4 Point, incorporates wellness into the everyday life of her team members. This should come as no surprise given her background. Over the course of her career, Christy realized she wanted to merge her love of business with her love of helping and supporting people. Lucky for her employees and clients, this love does not exclude them.
4 Point recognizes the demands of the consulting lifestyle and the challenge employees can face to strike a balance between life and work. This is why she began to incorporate wellness and team building exercises during the tail end of 2017. But what does Christy do to foster a culture of collaboration, teamwork, and cohesiveness amongst our group of remote workers? Let’s take a look at the support she offers our team.
Our wellness initiative follows a holistic view that respects all areas of employee life. So far, we have enjoyed a variety of team building activities that reduce stress, promote mindfulness, and build resilience. These activities include hosted lunches, off-site socials, yoga, pilates, boxing, interval training classes, and barre workouts. And if you think it ends there, we have news for you! Each employee’s compensation package includes wellness reimbursement to help lead a healthy lifestyle. All of these initiatives result in employees feeling truly cared for and translates into the quality of our service. But enough about us! How can you nurture wellness to support your employees? Let’s first talk about what wellness is and how team building can help your organization.
Wellness Programs & Team Building
Multiple organizations have followed the trend of offering team building activities and implementing wellness programs. In fact, according to a survey administered by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), approximately 25% of companies increased their wellness benefits between the years of 2006 and 2017. In this article, we will provide insight on what you need to know about wellness and team building to improve your organization:
What is wellness and team building?
How can wellness programs and team building improve the life of your employees?
What kind of activities can promote wellness?
How can you incorporate wellness into your organization?
What is Wellness?
The term wellness not only refers to the absence of illness. It also refers to maintaining your body in good condition, with proactive and preventive measures. With this in mind, organizations have been taking wellness to a higher level by adopting a more holistic view that treats the employee as a whole person. This all encompassing wellness approach considers the physical, social, mental, and emotional needs of employees and provides support so they can overcome and/or prevent issues related to the four aforementioned needs.
The degree to which wellness is integrated into employees’ day-to-day life varies across organizations, and so do their benefits. On an organizational level, these benefits include increased productivity, lower healthcare costs, and higher retention. However, in this article we are going to shift our focus to explore how employees and teams benefit from wellness programs. Wellness programs are intended to improve the health of the workforce by helping employees perform at their peak as individual contributors and as members of a team, and one way to do that is through team building exercises.
What is Team Building?
Team building has become a hot topic in recent years and for good reasons. The success of most organizations depends on their ability to build effective teams. Team building activities are a great way to provide realistic experiences that empower employees to contribute to common goals. Programs or activities that foster team-building provide an upbeat and powerful team experiences that allow companies to compete effectively by enabling their employees at all levels to work as true team players.
The main goals of team building are to improve productivity and motivation. Structured exercises, especially when done outside of the workplace, help break down political and personal barriers, eliminate distractions, and not only encourage individual development but also brings all members together for a common goal.
Team building exercises are important not for the immediate experience of the activities performed by the team, but also for the group skills, communication, and bonding that result from them. Team building exercises work to boost a company’s bottom line, reform a company’s culture, and also have many wellness benefits for individual employees.
How can wellness programs and team building improve the life of your employees?
Team building and wellness programs can improve the lives of employees in the following four areas: physical, social, emotional, and mental.
Referring to things that are of nature or the body, physical wellness:
Allows employees to release and manage their stress.
Instills healthy habits to create a better lifestyle.
Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.
Having to do with employees working together as a group, social wellness:
Encourages communication by breaks down communication barriers.
Allows employees to develop and discover their strengths.
Gives employees the ability to draw on and develop team process skills to complete group-oriented tasks successfully.
When it comes to employees’ internal state of being and involuntary physiological responses, emotional wellness:
Builds organizational trust.
Related to employees’ ability to cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and fruitfully, and make contributions to the workplace, mental wellness:
Gives employees time and tools to develop skills.
Encourages mission focused behaviors.
What kind of activities can promote wellness?
Provide opportunities for your employees to try running, yoga, pilates, boxing, barre,...you name it! Choose something unique and slightly outside of people’s comfort zones can encourage teams to come together in new ways.
Host an on-site or off-site lunch for your work team, department, or the entire company. This can give coworkers the chance to unwind and get to know each other outside of the work environment.
Professional development activities.
Create opportunities for development where employees can share their learning experiences and have the opportunity to discuss their newly acquired knowledge and skills, and how these can be applied at work. Taking employees to an off-site training workshop or conference fosters learning and provides an opportunity for employees to interact.
Encourage employees to form clubs, such as a book, article, or podcast club. Employees can take turns leading discussions about articles, chapters, or podcast episodes, the implications of what they are learning, and how it applies to the company and their work. This can encourage cross-departmental interaction and allow employees to share different viewpoints and gain a better understanding of each department’s contribution to the company’s overall goal.
Pay it forward by having a volunteer day or afternoon once a quarter. This gives employees the opportunity to give back and learn about the community they are in and how to serve them. Companies can also partner with a local charity or nonprofit organization and generate volunteering opportunities internally by offering resume building workshops, tech courses, or various other activities.
How can you incorporate wellness into your organization?
Ask employees what they want.
Survey employees to learn about their interests in health promotion and related activities. Involving them in this process can increase participation and the sustainability of the program.
Make it convenient, practical, and accessible.
It is important that wellness facilities and activities are readily accessible. You and the company leaders should encourage employees to take a break during the day, use the gym, go for a walk, or attend a yoga class.
Integrate wellness into the company structure by leading from the top.
Make sure to have buy-in from the top before launching your program and have management lead by example during the program. Provide training for managers on new wellness initiatives so they can best understand and communicate them.
Make the program a key focus by incentivizing employees.
Advertise the benefits constantly to make the program a part of your corporate culture and provide ongoing incentives for employees to care about becoming healthier. This could be a small monetary incentive, a raffle for a fitness tracker or gym pass, a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership, etc.
Invest in the program.
While companies do not have to spend an excessive amount on trips or experiences, they should not skimp either. Some low cost ideas include offering flexible work arrangements, coordinating volunteering days, and arranging group socials.
The Final Word
In all, team building activities and wellness programs can maximize profitability by allowing employees to better combine their skills to achieve more, meet cross-functional challenges, and be able to respond quicker to rapid change. Implementing a wellness program and having regular team building activities will instill a greater sense of involvement and belonging in your employee population. It will also empower teams to become more mission focused and achieve more with less direction. By investing in your employees, you will make your organization a place where they want to be, saving time and money.
We encourage you to follow these tips to transform and engage your organization. Work towards sustaining them and you will see the results!
Be on the lookout for Glamour Magazine’s April issue to find an article on mental health in the workplace by 4 Point’s Founder and CEO, Christy Hopkins!
By Stephanie Geistel
As the holiday season approaches, we’ve assembled a list of ideas for the best, most unique and personal gifts to give to your clients or employees with cost in mind. Small business owners, read on to shake up your holiday gratitude gift ideas:
7 Beyond Knick-Knack Gifts
Want a real actual gift you can wrap? Here are some gift ideas that are both affordable and meaningful for your clients or employees.
Multi-Port Rechargeable Power Banks
Most of us rely on at least 2-3 electronic devices during the workday, and a rechargeable power bank can come in handy in busy times or times of desperation. These are excellent to have around the office to loan out to delivery drivers, during meetings, business travel, presentations, lunches, etc. Check out the top rated Rechargeable Power Banks and consider giving this as a useful gift.
Personalized Stationery, Post-It’s, etc.
Personalized paperwork can be fun for both a client or employee. It’s easy to order personalized stationery online, we recommend using Shutterfly. They are top rated, and are almost always running a promotion, saving you a few bucks along the way.
There are many ways to purchase calendars: themed (how well do you know your client?), personal planners, large, small, hanging, tear away, personalized. A quick trip to your local bookstore will yield dozens of calendar options, but if you’re looking for something unique or personalized check out Zazzle.
What’s an electronic notepad, you ask? This trendy, helpful tool is equipped with an LCD screen that allows you to sketch down ideas, notes and drawings by hand and upload them directly to your computer via USB. The most popular and highest rated LCD Notepad is the Boogie Board.
Essential Oil Diffuser
Oil diffusers are the popular, safe and enviro-friendly alternative to burning candles. Not only are they less hazardous, but they also improve moisture in the air, provide ambiance, and some say essential oils have health benefits that go beyond simply smelling lovely. Be sure to include a few essential oils with your gift, in case they don’t have any. You can usually find oil diffusers at big box stores like Target.
Not only will this provide a good chuckle, it’s great decoration for your client or employee’s desk and is another healthy way to spend screen breaks or entertain guests. You can purchase Desk Golf at Uncommon Goods.
Custom-Made Bobble Heads
A hilarious way to build rapport and express your sense of humor. At AllMiniMe.com, the bobble heads can be customized and themed to fit your client or employee’s interests and hobbies, but don’t delay! They typically recommend ordering 2-3 weeks in advance.
Maybe you want something more outside the box than a typical wrapped gift? No problem!
5 Gifts that are a Little Different
Perhaps you noticed a few blank spaces on the walls the last time you visited your client or had a meeting in your employee’s office? Or maybe there’s a popular artists in town you know they’d love… Artwork is a very personal gift, so do your research and find something that speaks to you and would speak to them. This is also a great opportunity to support the arts!
In-Office Yoga and Meditation Classes
Many companies are adding midday yoga classes as a part of their employee benefits packages. For advice on hiring a great teacher for your own business or for a client’s, call around to your local yoga studios - most of the time they will provide someone lovely they have on staff AND take care of logistics. It’s a win-win!
Charitable Donation in their honor
‘Tis the season for giving, after all. Why not use this opportunity to show your client or employees your altruistic side and make a donation in their honor? The best giftable donation is something that speaks personally to your client, yourself, or the current times.
Almost every industry has a themed magazine, and not only are they a great resource and go-to - they are also a great way to entertain visitors, and are helpful for staying engaged and motivated during much needed “screen breaks.” When in doubt, a subscription to Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, or something local to the recipient’s City or Town are all safe ideas.
There’s no better way to stay at the top of your game with an ambitious and empowering read, adn the same goes for your employees and clients. Here’s a list of the “15 Most Inspirational Books for Entrepreneurs,” (you’ll be happy to know they aren’t ALL non-fiction).
Want something more traditional? Don’t forget about the tried and true gifts like:
8 Old Favorite Gifts
Gift baskets are a common gift during the holidays, and are great for sending to small businesses in the sense that there is truly a little something for everyone, whether it’s for your own people or your client’s people. The best way to give a gift basket (in our opinion) is to contact a local favorite whether it’s a bakery, artisan shop, etc. and have something familiar and special prepared.
Fruit of the Month Club
This is a modern-twist on the classic fruit basket. We recommend The Fruit Company, who has everything from exotic, americana, to organic and fresh fruit delivered monthly.
Plants improve air quality and ambiance, and are something the entire office can enjoy. Be sure to do your research and pick a plant that can survive in an office setting. Here’s a list of the best office plants for reference.
Catered Breakfast, Lunch, or Dessert
What better way to show your appreciation than surprise bagel delivery on a Monday morning to your client’s office? You might want to tip off someone what’s coming though so that someone is there to receive it. Or get a little more creative and think of a dessert or hot chocolate delivery.
Go Have Some Fun
Treating your client (and perhaps his/her team) or your own team to a local sporting event, concert, or other bonding activity outside the office is not only a great gift - it’s a great way to establish rapport, and can also show that you value team building in the workplace.
Snack Nation provides a variety of snacks for up to 15 employees on a one-time, weekly or monthly basis. Your client’s sweet tooth will thank you! : www.SnackNation.com
Coffee Shop Gift Cards
A tried and true gift, and a traditional way of expressing gratitude. Load enough on the card that your client or your employee can treat themselves properly!
A Sincere, Hand-Written Card
At the end of the day, the best way to express your gratitude to a client or employee is by taking the time to write to them personally. Be sure to thank them for investing in your endeavors, believing in you, and let them know you look forward to the growth that lies ahead.
In conclusion, you certainly do not have to give gifts to your clients or employees, but it can be a nice way to stand out and share the love this holiday season.
By Stephanie Geistel
Tis the season for Open Enrollment! With a shortened enrollment period, take the next few weeks to learn about new benefits and maximize your family’s health care plan and financial well-being. Here are a few things you should know:
1. Shorter Deadline...Move Quick!
Open enrollment began November 1st and ends December 15th, a span that lasts a mere 45 days and is your only chance to apply for 2018 coverage. Beat the rush and apply today: Healthcare.gov.
2. Penalties, Fees, and Exemptions
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is still law, and you may still have to pay a penalty if you don't purchase coverage in 2018. Also, be mindful while shopping for insurance plans - many websites and providers are not ACA approved and purchasing one of these plans will still result in a fee come tax time. There are, however, certain exemptions based on household income, to learn more visit: https://www.healthcare.gov/exemptions-tool/#/
3. Shopping For the Best Insurance Plan
Marketplace premiums are increasing 27% on average in most states, but the government is offering higher subsidies to offset the rising costs. Being that silver plans are experiencing the highest hikes, this may mean you can upgrade to a gold or platinum plan at no or little additional cost to you. Shop around! We can't say this enough.
4. Prices Changes and Auto-Renewal
Speaking of shopping around...If you don't intend to change your plan, be sure to review any price hikes and subsidy changes before the enrollment period ends on December 15th. Plans are set to auto-renew on December 16th, 2017 and with the price increases and subsidy changes - you wouldn't want to get locked into the wrong plan for an entire year!
Have questions? Ask us at email@example.com.
By Beth Smith
Did you know that only 15% of employees worldwide report feeling engaged at their place of work? Employee engagement has emerged as an important topic as business owners continue to battle for talent in the marketplace. Employee engagement strategies can help organizations compete and perform in a dynamic and competitive environment, reduce turnover, improve productivity and efficiency, and improve the wellbeing of employees. The need to increase employee engagement is pressing across all businesses, but especially small businesses and startups where reducing turnover and productivity are key to the organization’s financial health.
Although employee engagement is a continuous process and is highly organization specific, there are some general tips to facilitate an engaged workforce. We will be covering 5 employee engagement tips that managers can follow to drive engagement in their workplace:
Tip 1: Support and invest in employees
Tip 2: Allow strength-based flexibility
Tip 3: Provide training and coaching opportunities
Tip 4: Recognize loudly and proudly
Tip 5: Nurture relationships among employees
Before discussing tips for an engaged workforce, it is important to highlight some of the advantages of having energized workers. Engaged employees are:
More than twice as likely to remain on the job as those characterized as disengaged, and more likely to refer friends, and family members for employment. These factors lead to lower costs of recruitment, hiring, and training
Up to 2.5 times more productive than a disengaged employee
Less likely to be absent, work more safely on the job, produce fewer quality defects, and are less likely to steal
Able to foster higher levels of customer engagement that lead to higher customer loyalty, greater growth (and thus higher profits)
Let’s discuss our first tip now:
TIP 1: SUPPORT AND INVEST IN EMPLOYEES
The relationship an individual, or team, has with their manager is one of the most significant influencers of engagement. Managers are critical players in the effort to foster engagement and help maximize productivity by building strong, positive relationships with their employees. Great managers work to understand the sources of intrinsic motivation of their employees and develop flexible strategies for engaging each employee accordingly.
One way managers can help employees feel supported is by providing them with the tools and processes they need to succeed in their role. Managers can spend more time ensuring their employees have all the resources needed to perform effectively and then get it for them. By doing so, the focus of management shifts from management as control to management as facilitation.
Another way managers can help support their employees is by taking a keen interest in what is going on in each of their employee’s life at work and sometimes outside of work. Managers can help employees feel valued by paying attention to what their employees have to say and acting on the feedback.
This comprehensive approach to listening and investing in employees can help an organization identify and address problems that arise. Encouraging frequent communication and feedback among employees helps to develop trust and a feeling of belonging in workplace. By fostering a workplace environment that emphasizes communication, respect for others and collaboration among workers at all levels, higher levels of engagement from employees can be expected.
TIP 2: ALLOW STRENGTH-BASED FLEXIBILITY
For many employees, increased autonomy and responsibility in their roles can lead to higher levels of engagement. Often the flexibility and autonomy to decide when and how they complete tasks also motivates them to do better work and be more invested in their work. A strengths-based approach to managing talent adopts practices that help employees identify, cultivate, and use their strengths at work. Managers should grant employees greater input and autonomy to use their strengths and gravitate towards roles and responsibilities that align with their inherent abilities. By allowing employees to identify, develop, and use their natural talents, their strengths have the potential to also significantly improve workforce productivity. When employees utilize their strengths on the job, their work can feel less like work to them.
At the group and organization level, team members who know each other’s strengths can relate more effectively to one another and become more cohesive, which can result in a sense of empowerment that benefits each employee, the team, and the organization. When employees feel empowered by higher levels of autonomy and flexibility, this can promote the development and implantation of new ideas that benefit the organization. Without the opportunity to use and develop their strengths, employees can become less motivated and productive, which in turn negatively impacts their engagement. Encouraging employees to use their skills and abilities can make their jobs more meaningful in the process. Managers can help their employees thrive by helping them understand and leverage their skills and abilities by focusing on what is strong rather than what is wrong.
TIP 3: PROVIDE TRAINING AND COACHING OPPORTUNITIES
Creating a culture that fosters continuous development helps employees build the skills they need to do their job and communicates that the organization values its employees and believes in their potential. The more employees feel like their future is invested in, the more engaged they are. A key way this can be accomplished is by cross-training employees so they have a broader understanding of the organization and how it operates. Having employees work on “other duties as assigned” is an informal way cross-training can put into action. Some of the benefits that employees experience from cross-training include:
Exposure to a new set of co-workers, managers, and customers, which broadens their network and strengthens their reputation within the company
Development of new skill sets
Opportunity to test out another area of interest and learn about the realities of other roles
Increased marketability and leverage to move up within the company
Coaching is another way engagement can be developed. Managers and employees should be encouraged to engage in coaching exercises to improve performance, develop skills, and build on employees’ strengths. Managers should be coached on taking an active role building engagement plans with their employees and be continuously focused on engaging with their employees. Through coaching, managers can establish trust, reinforce ethical standards, display active listening, and greatly assist in creating a strong, engaged workplace.
TIP 4: RECOGNIZE LOUDLY AND PROUDLY
Another way to cultivate a sense of engagement is by recognizing employee performance. Employees respond well when they are appreciated for their hard work- it facilitates motivation, a sense of accomplishment, and makes them feel valued. The benefits of recognition also extend beyond engagement and can improve productivity and commitment to the company, which can lead to higher retention of employees. When employees feel that their best efforts are not adequately recognized, there are twice as likely to say they will quit in the next year.
Organization should broadcast the meaning of their work so employees have a clear idea of what kinds of behaviors will be rewarded and how they fit into the mission of the company. The act of recognition is a tool for personal reward and it also reinforces the desired culture of the organization to other employees. Recognizing employees who perform above and beyond is motivating to employees throughout the organization and sends the message to other employees about what success looks like. One of the best ways to recognize a high performing employee is publicly acknowledging them by means of an award, certificate, or commendation and private recognition from a manager, fellow employee, or customer. Managers can promote a high-recognition environment and reinforce company values by voicing praise frequently and being aware of how their employees like to receive appreciation.
TIP 5: NURTURE RELATIONSHIPS AMONG EMPLOYEES
The final top tip for an engaged workforce is to create opportunities for employees to build personal connections with one another. Hiring the right employees who mesh well and motivate one another is essential to nurture these important relationships. One way to bring employees together outside of the office is through team-building activities or service projects that focus on building relationships. Creating a team-building event where employees can get to know each other on a personal level can instill a sense of common purpose among employees and can make working together more enjoyable. These team bonding experiences are most effective when:
Company goals and objectives are clear
Information on employees’ learning styles, expectations for the event, and physical capabilities are known so everyone can everyone can participate in a meaningful way
The activity, the site, and size of the group match
There is a willingness to invest time and money
An assessment follows the activity that ties the event back to the company goals
After a team-building exercise, participants’ can be reconfigured into different teams and encouraged to share their experiences and insights with one another.
THE FINAL WORD
An important consideration when implementing approaches to develop engagement is to evaluate your progress. To measure employee engagement, it is recommended to assess effects, such as corporate results, employee attrition and absenteeism, or even desired behaviors at work, than to merely measure employee engagement.
Having engaged employees is one of the most effective competitive strategies available to many organizations as it supports their growth and survival. When employees are dedicated and absorbed in their work, they are emotionally invested in and focused on creating value for their organization every day. The top tips for an engaged workforce outlined above are some excellent ways managers can develop highly engaged employees who are committed to their organization's goals and values, motivated to contribute to organizational success, and have an enhanced sense of well-being.
By Brian Montijo
For the first time in history, our national workforce is made up of five distinct generations. Much has been said about what makes each generational cohort different, especially Millennials. Our focus, however, will not be on how to engage or attract millennials, but on 5 ways to manage generational diversity in the workplace. To give you a quick outline, we will cover the following 5 ways to manage generational diversity in the workplace and each way’s benefits.
Get generational diversity out in the open (and 3 ways how to do so)
Use a custom approach to managing employees
Adapt and encourage varying communication styles
Implement mentoring practices
Ensure that your recruitment process is generationally friendly
Let’s get started with our top way to manage generational diversity in the workplace.
Generational Management Technique 1: Get generational diversity out in the open
The never-ending discussions about generational differences usually focuses on how each generation is different. Take the initiative that, when these conversations start (either planned or unplanned), to be a leader and put a positive spin on the dialogue. Another way to achieve getting these conversations out in the open in a constructive way is to implement communication strategies that educate employees on the strengths of each individual, some of which result from the particular characteristics of their generation. Organizations can then foster a better understanding of team member’s background and perspectives.
Here are 3 specific ideas on how to do this:
Idea 1: Create an employee engagement program
We are sure you have heard about employee engagement before, and there is a reason for it. Research shows engagement to be a good predictor of performance. Therefore, investing in employee engagement programs is well worth your time.
What is the key to improved engagement levels, especially across generational differences? The key is to survey employee perception, have them be a part of the creation of engagement programs, and incorporate feedback loops to determine which elements work and which ones should be modified to increase and maintain the levels of engagement across all employee levels and ages.
Idea 2: Get crafty with company events
Person-organization fit theories posit that the compatibility between an employee and an organization is significantly related to important job outcomes such as job satisfaction, organizational commitment, individual work performance, and turnover. More importantly, person-organization fit is highly influenced by an employee's perception of belonging, and relationships with other employees pulls a great weight in that perception. You can attempt to increase employees’ sense of belonging by creating company-wide events that span generational interests. By enabling employees to interact with each other in spaces other than work, they participate in interpersonal exchanges that foster group cohesion.
Team-building exercises are a good way to promote a sense of mutual support amongst employees. Furthermore, when group activities are tied to the overall goals of the organization, they can serve as a reminder of what really matters at work, and strengthen the ties between employees and the organization. So think outside the box and stop just going to happy hour with your young team members… instead think of events that span all generations like a holiday potluck, a book exchange or club, or a sillier event like bowling.
Idea 3: Create cross-functional teams
Diversity is often undervalued, especially the diversity of skills each generation has to offer. Creating cross-functional teams can tap into those skills. The benefits of doing so include, but are not limited to the gain of different points of view, the improvement of knowledge sharing, the breakdown of status barriers that result from stereotypes, innovation, and overall better solutions.
Next, we will look at employee management styles as part of the generational diverse workforce.
Generational Management Technique 2: Use a custom approach to managing employees
In her blog, millennial workforce expert Lindsay Pollak reminds us that “one size fits all” approaches to leadership are no longer effective. Simply put, the composition of the current workplace cannot be managed the same way it was some decades ago.
Although it can be difficult and time consuming to adopt a management style that motivates each individual team member, it is not impossible to do so. As a leader, instead of following stereotypes and making assumptions, you should survey your employee groups to determine the specific ways they prefer to be coached, and maximize leadership efficiency and employee performance.
Generational Management Technique 3: Adapt and encourage varying communication styles
The widespread assumption that younger employees prefer text-based communication while older employees prefer face-to-face interaction can sometimes be unwarranted. As an extension of our second recommendation, we suggest that you and the employees in your organization communicate with their colleagues, management, and peers in the ways each person prefers. You may be thinking this takes a good amount of effort, and you would be right. However, when compared to the amount of miscommunication that can be prevented, it is well worth your time. You also might want to extend these communication styles into how you manage projects or clients as well.
Generational Management Technique 4: Implement mentoring practices
Organization-wide mentoring programs have the potential to develop employees in significant ways. It presents them with the opportunity to learn from and teach others. To establish a mentoring culture, you must first evaluate the needs and desires of employees. That is, what knowledge, skills, and abilities are lacking in your organization and what the employees want to gain from a mentoring program. Often times, the implementation of mentoring programs fails due to lack of a comprehensive needs analysis (aka taking the time to assess what your organization actually needs to gain from this mentoring program).
You must also determine what types of mentoring would produce the best results in your organization. Would your employees prefer the traditional, one-on-one career development type of mentoring, or would they prefer a peer-to-peer or situational approach? Once you have found the answers to these questions, it is time to get buy-in from senior leadership. Without it, it will be difficult to reap maximum results. Having it will encourage employees to take advantage of the program.
Finally, cross generational mentoring will foster interaction between younger and older employees and lead to the acquisition of new experiences, perspectives, and skills that would be impossible if members of different generations didn’t interact with each other.
Our last technique is closely related to the person-organization theories mentioned above in that it is the first opportunity an organization has to hire employees that will thrive in the organization.
Generational Management Technique 5: Ensure that your recruitment process is generationally friendly
Our last recommended technique is to take a close look at what each generation values in terms of compensation, perquisites, and career goals in order to hone and refine your recruitment strategy to be generationally diverse. There are certainly differences amongst generations and they mostly relate to employees’ ability to contribute to organizations, flexible work arrangements, meaningfulness of the work performed, the ability to voice opinions, recognition, and the desire to build a career in one company alone.
Pay and benefits are not the only determinants of a perfect workplace, or at least not all across the different generations. Considering all these differences makes recruiting more difficult. It is important then, that if you want to attract and select members from each generation, your organization has something to offer every potential employee.
The Final Word
In essence, generational differences among employees can be difficult to manage, but they are also a great opportunity for your organization to thrive. What matters is that we take the time to understand these differences, cater to them, and make sure to engage all employees in working toward organizational goals. The performance of your organization depends on each employee. The previous techniques will help make your organization a more attractive one, where individuals will want to work, and employees will want to stay.
By Angela Lindberg
In less than two years, newcomer Comparably has managed to shake up the public employee review space. By collecting survey data as opposed to solely open text reviews, Comparably provides 100% free compensation and culture data that can be used for employer branding resources and to match job seekers with companies. The Goliath’s Glassdoor and LinkedIn should be on their toes as Comparably moves toward “making work transparent and rewarding.”
In this post, we will reveal what makes Comparably stand out amongst its larger competitors. We will dive into why employers should take advantage of Comparably’s free tools and how it can create a competitive advantage for your organization as you grow!
We will go over:
Comparably for Employers
Comparably for Job Seekers
How Comparably Works
What This Means for an SMB Owner
Let’s start with the mission of Comparably.
Comparably’s mission is to provide the most accurate and comprehensive compensation and culture data, to understand employees’ true value and needs to make work better.
The company breaks down into the following four easy to remember “C” categories:
Comparably’s approach is two-pronged, and it has notable advantages for job seekers and employers alike.
Comparably for Employers
All four of Comparably’s founders have one thing in common, experience in small businesses and startups. Their leadership and expertise have led them to create a unique and versatile product that has notable advantages for companies of all sizes. Here is what you need to know:
Compensation: Access to a comprehensive database of salaries for free to see how your team’s comp compares. Run unlimited salary reports and get the most accurate & specific data on what candidates are paid.
Career: Meet candidates that match specifically to your company. Access a rich dashboard of interested and quality talent and post unlimited jobs for free.
Companies: Build your company brand and promote transparency with your team and potential hires. Update your public company page with images & videos of your team & share access to your Employer Account with other key stakeholders.
Culture: Discover how various departments rate your Leadership, Compensation, Team, Environment, and Outlook. Access your competitive culture analytics and see how your employee culture ranks vs. the market and your competitors.
Comparably’s product is so noteworthy that investors have taken great interest. Comparably continues to to offer a cost-free product to employers where they can access mountains of valuable data and gain insight into their company culture.
Comparably for Job Seekers
Employees are drawn to Comparably as a one stop shop when it comes to looking for careers. Comparably’s platform allows job seekers to view compensation data and be matched directly with jobs based on their profile. Candidates can even show interest in companies and increase their chances of being matched with their dream job and employer. Comparably for job seekers:
Compensation: Access to free fair pay reports so you can be prepared for salary negotiations. See what people like you get paid at work.
Career: Have your dream job find you by discovering the companies you match with. Your anonymous profile can show interest in certain companies that may reach out to your for hire.
Companies: Review company ratings from real employees. Get a sense of what it is like to work for a company by viewing photos, videos, culture scores and more.
Culture: Discover what your peers think about work. See how a company culture fares against its competitors and view how their employees are rating them.
The 4-C’s allow candidates to get a real feel for what it is like to work for companies. As job seekers do more research on potential employers, Comparably’s survey data answers what employees want to know.
So how does it work?
How Comparably Works
Millions of active and passive job seekers visit Comparably per month. Upon visiting, they are asked to anonymously fill out data about their company resulting in over 2 million company ratings and 250,000 written reviews about compensation, competencies, culture, experience, engagement, gender, race, ethnicity, and much more. Numerous validating tools and anonymizers are in place to increase accuracy and promote participation. For example, Comparably has verified compensation analysis partners. Thus, if a salary is recorded for a job title that is out of range it is flagged and reviewed for accuracy.
Comparably takes it one step further by offering an internal culture survey tool for employers, which is what makes it so unique compared to LinkedIn and Glassdoor. Although some review spaces provide analytics, Comparably’s 100% free tools focus on your current team by gathering results with a unique URL in real time allowing employers to understand their organizational culture. The internal assessment tool can also be used to override currently published data or be utilized privately by the company itself. Whereas Glassdoor only allows employers to respond to poor reviews and highlight strong ones. With Comparably, the employers have the choice whether to publish the internal survey tool data or not.
The recently released (and did we mention, also 100% free) tool allows employers to:
Publicly showcase what's great about your company culture for job seekers, your current team, and stakeholders
Ensure that only currently employed, verified employees are leaving feedback
Get detailed cultural insights on every facet of your company culture, and see how you compare with the market and your competitors
See your culture trends over time and track the ongoing performance of your culture initiatives
Get access to more digital candidates on Comparably to hire (Engineering, Product, Design, and Marketing)
Let’s now talk about what’s in it for you.
What This Means for an SMB Owner: Company Culture Insights and an Edge on Recruiting
Internal Survey Tool: Gain 100% Free Insights Into Your Company Culture
Startups and SMBs have a huge advantage when it comes to perfecting their company culture. It is easier to move an anthill as opposed to a mountain. On the other hand, a smaller team means a smaller sample size and the effect size of employee data can sway results drastically. For example, one employee can account for a large percentage of survey results, however, that one employee is an accurate representation of the population.
It can be daunting to think that one person can significantly sway results in one direction or the other and this is why we love Comparably’s internal survey tool. Conversely, on Glassdoor and Indeed employers have little to no control over what is posted about their company which can make or break a potential rockstar candidate's decision to entertain a phone screen or sign an offer letter. With Comparably, the company itself decides whether they want to publish the data which can mitigate the occasional bad review from a disgruntled former employee. Publishing the data can also promote transparency within your organization, gain valuable insight into your team and benchmark your employer brand versus your competitors.
Stop fighting online employee reviews, 4 Point Consulting recommends administering the internal survey tool to increase your employer brand and identify opportunities for growth with you organization. We can help you formulate action plans and highlight employee sentiment data ultimately leading to increased retention, reduction in turnover and control how your company is perceived by job seekers.
The Fight For Top Talent: Recruiting with 4 Point Consulting & Comparably
Job seekers do more research on companies than ever before. With Comparably, the power is in your hands and their data driven approach allows you to highlight your employer brand and attract the diverse talent pool through any channel you are acquiring talent. 4 Point Consulting can help you leverage this data to benchmark your organization and stand out among competitors. Comparably notes that strong employer branding communicates your employer values to high-quality candidates. By optimizing your recruiting strategy with 4 Point Consulting and Comparably you can define and manage your company’s reputation as an employer.
Comparably also allows you to post unlimited jobs for free. In addition, their survey tools for both employers and job seekers can be combined to match job seekers with potential employers. Over 20,000 candidates have been matched to companies using Comparably. Recruiters and hiring managers can view candidate work profiles and access a rich dashboard of interested and quality talent. According to Comparably, 70% of their millions job seeker visits per month are open to new opportunities and roughly 65% of those are in Engineering, Product, Design and Marketing.
We also love how Comparably can grant admin access to multiple users. For example, you can utilize 4 Point Consulting to manage your company page, post open jobs, match you with potential candidates and promote your employer brand! Over 4,500 employers are currently using Comparably to increase their engagement and benchmark their company’s culture. Also, companies can find and engage with top talent and provide insights into what it is like to work there. Job seekers are flocking to the site to get a “like me” perspective into potential employers.
The Bottom Line
We encourage you to take advantage of Comparably’s free tools and leverage 4 Point Consulting’s expertise to establish and promote your presence with Comparably and its millions of visitors. Establish and promote your company brand and start attracting top talent today!
By: Kiara Lawson
As our world continues to change and evolve, so does our workforce. Our current workforce includes a variety of different people with very different backgrounds, needs and interests. With all of that in mind, each year we notice a set of top HR trends that emerge to accommodate for our ever changing world.
Here are a few of the top HR trends of 2017:
Engaging Millennials in the Workplace
Creating a Great Culture through More Work/Life Balance
Focus on Diversity and Inclusion
Focus on Ethical Practices
Wage Increases and Closing the Gender Pay Gap
Increase in Employer-Sponsored Professional Development
Let’s now look at our first HR trend of 2017:
HR Trend 1: Engaging Millennials in the Workplace
Those darn millennials...they’re everywhere now (which makes sense since they are all out of college, and consist of those born from 1981-1997)! There have a been a lot of articles written about the new millennial generation in the workforce. Regardless of how a person may feel about the millennials and their work tactics, one thing is for sure: they are definitely bringing in change! With this new millennial workforce, they definitely have some different goals and priorities when it comes to work. Millennials value topics, such as work-life balance, job satisfaction, culture, social responsibility, growth opportunities and learning and development, to be major factors when choosing a job.
HR Trend 2: Creating a Great Culture through More Work/Life Balance
Considering how much our jobs/careers mean to most people (especially millennials, and considering we spend at least ⅓ of our day working), employees are now stressing the importance of having a friendly culture as well as their need for more work-life balance… and employers are finally hearing them loud and clear. Companies are working hard to not only brand how great their culture is, making recruitment almost like a sales process, and also actually taking the necessary steps to prove it to their employees.
One of those ways of creating a better culture creating a work-life balance, or a work-life inclusion, as it’s increasingly become known as. More companies are now offering flextime options, such as remote jobs, work from home days, and even seasonal (i.e. summertime) schedule options. Check out Fortune’s 50 best flexible work companies.
In addition to work/life balance, another company culture focus for 2017 is:
HR Trend 3: Focus on Diversity and Inclusion
With a variety of different types of people making up our modern workforce, it’s important that companies are more representative of the general population. According to Harvard Business Review, more diverse teams have been found to be more smarter because they focus on the facts, they process the facts more carefully and they are more innovative.
Not only are companies increasingly working to recruit a more diverse workforce, but they are also to working hard to retain them through creating an inclusive culture. In order to foster this inclusive culture, companies can do things such as change some of their policies to include and/or represent the underrepresented groups, creating networking groups specific to a protected class and/or creating a sensitivity training related to race, gender and/or sexual orientation. Another less serious idea to to encourage things like company potluck meals where people bring homemade dishes to share and explain their origins (or label them with an index card)... you could even have a recipe exchange at the end!
Let’s now talk about our fourth HR tread of 2017:
HR Trend 4: Focus on Ethical Practices
Another major HR trend in 2017 has been the need to focus on strict ethical practices. Considering the number of high-level corporate scandals related to unethical business practices, companies are becoming stricter on their ethical requirements and ensuring that their culture depicts that ethical standard that they have set. Not only can unethical business practices directly affect employees, but it can also damage the company brand and lead to huge lawsuits the could require a huge settlement. Ultimately, companies are realizing the ROI on implementing stricter ethical standards is greater than having to pay for all the damages a huge lawsuit can have.
On a similar note, closing wage gaps and making equal pay more of a priority is our next trend for 2017.
HR Trend 5: Wage Increases and Closing the Gender Pay Gap
With the current economy and changes in minimum wage, a lot of companies have been forced to increase their minimum wages for their employees. Having a higher minimum wage can be great for the employees, but can be somewhat strenuous for some companies to be in compliance. Companies are needing to be more creative in how to increase profits from their workforce to accommodate this, which usually actually results in employee engagement initiatives like daily sales competitions.
In a similar vein, though women are climbing more and more up the corporate ladder, it seems that their paychecks still may not reflect that of their male counterparts, which is troublesome. Therefore, this issue will continue to be an HR trend from 2017 to 2018 to try to ensure that everyone is equally paid regardless of their gender.
Need help assessing your compensation for current employees? Contact us for a free consultation, we can help!
HR Trend 6: Increase in Employer-Sponsored Professional Development
Companies are realizing more and more the value of investing in their employees. It seems that a common theme prevalent among employees now is that they want to work at a place where they can continue to grow and hone their craft and skills. Therefore, companies are providing professional development opportunities, training and even mentorship programs to continue to cultivate an environment of continuous learning. Research shows that continuous learning work environments have been shown to lead to more productivity, more job satisfaction, better performances, desired results and more retention.
The Bottom Line
In our constantly changing society and workforce, the top HR trends of 2017 will continue to change and adapt to meet our employees’ needs as we start to move into 2018. The HR trends mentioned above are only a small portion of the changes being made this year. It will be interesting to see how these trends continue to grow, mold and shape the HR world.
What do you think will be some top HR trends of 2018? Feel free to comment below.
Outsourcing recruitment is a phrase that, as a SMB owner or leader, probably made you cringe at the dollar signs from what you know of recruiting agencies and recruiting platforms. But what if we could tell that you the old, huge retainers or large bounty models are being put down by newer firms that understand what SMBs need- reasonable prices and no hidden fees. That aside, how do you know when it’s time to outsource your recruitment process?
Here are the top 10 signs that your SMB needs to consider hiring an outside perspective for recruiting:
Sign 1: The People You Hire are Fired within 6 Months
Sign 2: The People You Hire Quit within 12 Months
Sign 3: You Are Losing Candidates “To The Process”
Sign 4: You are Hiring for More Than 2 Positions
Sign 5: You are Hiring for Specialized or Technical Role(s)
Sign 6: You are Spending over 15 Hours/Week Recruiting
Sign 7: Your Time to Hire is Over 60 Days
Sign 8: You Lack a Recruiting Message or Employment Brand
Sign 9: You Only Hire Applicants
Sign 10: You’re Not Using Technology to Recruit
Let’s start with perhaps the most obvious sign you need recruitment help: most of the people you hire need to be fired pretty quickly.
Sign 1: The People You Hire are Fired within 6 Months
Employee turnover, which is the fancy term for the number of people that leave your business (whether fired or quit), is a major cost center for many SMBs. It is especially costly if you are having to fire employees, and fire them quickly after hiring them. This is because the employee likely hadn’t even brought value to the company yet within their first 6 months, so not only do you have the recruiting costs, but you have the costs of training and lost time, plus the liability of firing someone and potentially needing to provide severance or engage an attorney.
Zane Benefits estimates that the cost of employee turnover for even a $10/hour job are over $3,000… and for a salaried, managerial position, you are looking at $20K and more per employee that turns over!
Outsourcing your recruitment process, or even bringing a recruitment expert in to analyze why you are hiring the wrong people, can save you a boatload of money in the long run when you think about employee turnover costs.
But what about if people quit on you constantly?
Sign 2: The People You Hire Quit within 12 Months
The second sign your SMB might want to outsource recruitment is that your employee turnover problem is from people quitting within their first year. Even with the current rampant stereotype that millennials and generation Z are “job jumpers”, the studies show that, if employees are happy, no matter what their age, they will stay with your business.
If you are losing people to other jobs or to burn out within a year’s time, you should certainly be considering outsourcing recruitment, as well as potentially looking for an HR or change management consultant so that you can dig deeper into the true, albeit potentially messy, roots of voluntary turnover.
Want a free 1 hour HR and recruiting consultation from certified HR professionals? Click here!
Another common recruitment problem is that you can’t seem to get to the actual hire.
Sign 3: You are Losing Candidates “To The Process”
Whether you are the only one who can do the actual hiring for your company, or if you have a process that takes awhile, if you find you are losing candidates to the length of your process, you should consider outsourcing recruitment. Why? Because recruitment consultants move more quickly than SMBs can and have things like offer letters, background check providers, and more on the ready so that when you find that dream candidate you don’t lose them to another offer, a competitor, or to self-doubt about changing jobs altogether. Recruiters can also be helpful to “keep a candidate warm”, sending them feelers on where else they are looking and what’s going on in their lives so that they can give you insight into how quickly you need to move.
However, it’s hard to move quickly at all at an SMB if:
Sign 4: You are Hiring for More Than 2 Positions
If you have 1 HR person or if you have a leader who is the HR person plus their role (usually falls to the CEO or CFO) and you also have more than 2 positions open, you should strongly consider outsourcing recruitment. Especially if both of those positions are managerial or salaried roles, that alone can be a 20+ hours/week commitment while those roles are open in order to get the right candidates in the door.
This is when an outsourcing recruitment can be helpful, especially if you contract a company like 4 Point Consulting. When you need 4 Point’s services, you can turn the switch on… and when you don’t, you can turn it off, so that you save money and time, but also get to the hires without overburdening your current HR person or your managers.
This is even more true if:
Sign 5: You are Hiring for Specialized or Technical Role(s)
With talent in technical fields hovering at an estimated zero to 3% unemployment rate (which some have speculated is voluntary unemployment), if your SMB is looking for technical talent or other specialized roles, outsourcing recruitment makes sense in order to save you time, and in order to find the right people since these are not active job seekers.
But wait? Nervous about the whopping 20-40% finders’ fees that many agencies slap you with? Don’t be. Look for an SMB-focused agency like 4 Point Consulting (who charges by the hour with capped maxes or a flat fee that is 10% or less), or consider hiring a contract recruiter as a temp employee at an hourly rate. Try looking on Upwork or other freelancer websites for contract recruiters in this space.
Sign 6: You are Spending over 15 Hours/Week Recruiting
Similar to signs 4 and 5, if you are spending over 15 hours/week on recruiting, that’s 15 hours per week or more than you aren’t spending on clients, spending on growing your business, spending on doing the things that probably made your business grow enough to recruit. If this happens year round, that is almost 20 weeks of recruiting time. Outsourcing recruitment can get you this time back, which essentially is a part time job (perfect for a recruiter!).
Did we mention also that professional recruiters move faster? So not only might you get this 20 weeks of time back, but a professional recruiter should be able to move around twice the pace of you, plus they can also cut down on time to hire.
Sign 7: Your Time to Hire is Over 60 Days
Unless you are recruiting for a software engineer or a certain strategic member of the C suite, a SMB should be able to capably hire people in 60 days or less for any position. Managerial roles usually should take around 45 days (2-3 weeks to post/find candidates, 2-3 weeks for interview phases, 1 week for the offer to be accepted); lower level roles should be done in 30 days time. If you outsource your recruitment process, this time can become even more compressed and you can hire even more quickly.
Sign 8: You Lack a Recruiting Message or Employment Brand
Any good recruiter will tell you that they are, inadvertently, in sales. Which means that every role, every company or client of theirs should have a pitch and a brand. Is the company a tech startup that allows dogs in the office and has Beer Fridays? Is the client a buttoned up investment firm that has the Rolls Royce version of all benefits known to man (but you are going to sleep at the office)? These are recruiting messages that make up an employment brand. Even from these cursory two examples, you are probably picturing the type of person who works at each of those places.
If you just realized that your SMB has no employer brand or recruiting message, this could be a huge part of why you are missing the mark with candidates needing to be fired, quitting, or being lost to other offers. When you outsource your recruitment, the recruiter or agency should work with you to figure out what your message is and what kind of employee you want working for you to create their pitch to candidates… and better yet, not waste your time on applicants or candidates who don’t fit that pitch!
4 Point Consulting takes it a step further; we are a data-driven company and we A/B test messages to our sourced candidates to make sure we make the most of our time working on your positions.
Not sure what sourced candidates are?
Sign 9: You Only Hire Applicants
Speaking of applicants, is that the only pool of people you have time to consider? While there can be some great applicants out there where it’s a right place/right time situation and someone is ready for their next move, recruiters add huge value from sourcing passive candidates. Sourcing is the fancy term for finding passive candidates who may not be actively looking, but whom look like a perfect fit for your role. They usually are the best hires, especially for managerial level roles or above, as they have a strong work history and are actively choosing to come work for you (versus running away from a bad situation).
Here are 4 Point Consulting, we even just do sourcing for some of our clients who prefer to do the outreach and phone screens on their own. You would be amazed what 10, 20, 30 hours of sourcing passive candidates for a profile can do for the quality of your hire and for the cultural match of the candidate to your company!
Sign 10: You’re Not Using Technology to Recruit
If you are still waiting for employee referrals and resumes to come to your “firstname.lastname@example.org”... well, we have got to get you into 2017 where technology is the best way (and almost the only way) to effectively recruit. From having a large database of qualified candidates to making sure your job postings actually make it to job boards, outsourcing recruitment can be a sure fire way to get your recruiting process into 2017 and make the most of the technical advantages out there (without you having to deal with setting it all up!).
To Sum It Up
Whether you related to 1 or all 10 of these signs, we’d like to invite you for a free 1-hour recruitment process consultation with 4 Point Consulting. SMBs attract passionate talent, from millennials who say believing in the mission of their company is crucial to their happiness to seasoned professionals who are in danger of corporate burn out. Here at 4 Point Consulting, all we work with are SMBs who take care of their people, and the people we hire for them relate to that concept as well.
Like politicians, recruiters have a constituency - job applicants! That can be easy for many to forget at times. However, to successfully recruit, you need to find and attract quality candidates. This means making the job application process as easy and seamless as can be.
It’s important to always keep the applicant in mind. If you’re out of touch with how people search and apply for jobs today, it makes your job as a recruiter 10 times harder. Tailoring job applications to the needs of candidates is the only way to go. Here are four ways to make the application process better for job candidates.
1. Streamline the Application Process
If you have a tedious job application, you’re going to lose out on qualified candidates. After all, top job candidates are busy people and fielding opportunities left and right. They may also already be working, and don’t have the extra time - or want to spend it - on a lengthy application.
A survey from Indeed found that the median time of a job application for all Fortune 500 companies was 13 minutes. The longest rang in at a whopping 52 minutes! They found that on average, a Fortune 500 company’s application included 63 screener questions. Who’s got the time for that? Nobody wants to wade through a complex job application that feels like an exam. Another recent study found that 30% of candidates will not spend longer than 15 minutes on a job application, and that applications with more than 45 screener questions will lose nearly 89% of applicants who quit before completing it.
When crafting your job applications, be sure they are short, sweet and to the point. Include only a few screener questions that collect absolutely the most important data that you need at the time to make an informed decision on a candidate. Save the rest of your questions for the interviewing process.
Simplify the process as much as you can for candidates. A clean user interface does wonders as it won’t distract applicants with a messy, confusing aesthetic. Test out your application experience as well. Make sure it can accept a variety of document types that a candidate’s resume, cover letter, etc. might come in. If a candidate navigates away from the application for a bit, ensure that their progress will be saved. Finally, asking candidates to create user accounts or provide lots of references and previous work samples will likely turn off many of them. Get around to those when necessary, not at the beginning of the process.
2. Make the Application Process Mobile-Friendly
Everything is coming up mobile, including job applications. Many companies have been slow to adopt mobile-friendly job applications despite the fact that 70% of applicants desire the ability to complete an application on their mobile devices. This is causing many companies and recruiters to lose out on qualified job candidates. 20% of applicants surveyed said they’d abandon an application that couldn’t be done on a mobile device. Meanwhile, a whopping 78% of applicants would apply for jobs more using mobile if the process were implemented and streamlined.
Ensure that your mobile job application web page is easy to view and navigate. Making the decision to go mobile with your job applications will attract top talent and reduce the burden of completion and effort on their end. It’s simple to modify a mobile application process so that applicants can quickly and easily apply for your job postings using their LinkedIn accounts. This no fuss application process is catnip for highly qualified candidates.
It’s also beneficial to you as well! Mobile job applications can help you automatically collect important documents, as well as establish more manageable applicant tracking metrics. This leaves recruiters and HR professionals with more time to actually do more pressing work. Why wouldn’t you want to introduce a timelier, more productive application process?
3. Update Your Applicants Throughout the Process
Don’t leave applicants hanging! Many job candidates are applying for multiple jobs, and they want to be kept in the loop about decisions made in your hiring process so they can manage their applications. It’s important to establish a helpful applicant experience so they feel acknowledged. This boils down to establishing effective communication.
Be sure to let candidates know when you’ve received their applications and what the next steps are in your hiring process. When a candidate advances to the next stage, have an automated message set up that thanks them for their time and details what’s coming next. You could also consider adopting an applicant portal that allows them to log in and track their progress. Even when you decide not to move on with a candidate, it’s important to reach out and let them know.
Constant communication with your applicants is the best way to keep them engaged and excited about the prospect of working for your company. Whether you use emails, calls or texts, just keeping them in the loop does wonders for creating a positive applicant experience. Maintain a human touch as well - simple things like catering your automated messages to include their name makes them feel like more than just cogs in the applicant machine.
4. Walk a Mile in the Applicant’s Shoes
Being an applicant isn’t easy. The stress of finding and applying for a new job is real, and any kind words you can provide will go a long way. Recruiters should always be empathetic towards job applicants. Understanding what an applicant goes through when they apply and how difficult the process can be will help you tailor your own to better suit candidates and simplify their experience. Establish a friendly, positive rapport with candidates so they feel validated.
In creating a great candidate experience, you’ll be able to build up the reputation of your brand and company. Potential candidates will be more likely to apply if your applicant process has a reputation of being positive and welcoming. This will help you retain a pool of top talent and will drive your recruiting efforts towards greater success in the future.
People talk, especially online. Poor candidate experiences will travel by word of mouth and prevent potential candidates from applying. They can also negatively impact your company as a whole. A survey by CareerBuilder found that 44% of applicants had a worse opinion of a company after applying and not receiving a response, while 32% were less likely to buy products from a company that refused to reply. Bottom line: treat your candidates well. It’s common courtesy and the right thing to do.
Implementing these four strategies will ensure that your application process becomes better for all of your job candidates. This will lead to more qualified applicants coming your way, and can help relieve some of the burdens on your recruiting process as well. Want some help making your application process better for job candidates? Contact 4 Point Consulting and schedule a free hour long consultation today!
By Dustin McManus
In a world where we can order self-driving car services, it boggles the mind how some industries have refused to integrate technological advances into their practices. Human resources and recruiting departments — consider the finger pointed in your direction!
As job candidates continue to become more savvy with the way they search, network and apply for jobs, recruiters can need to be light years ahead when it comes to the use of newfound technology. Outdated, inefficient practices are stifling many recruiting and HR departments, and many of these problems have simple technological fixes practically begging to be used. The future of hiring is here, and it’s time to embrace the technology that is driving it.
Noteworthy Recruiting Tech Trends
It’s important to understand why leveraging technology is essential for recruiters. Below are some trends and statistics that prove those who embrace technology in the hiring process are reaping huge benefits.
94% of recruiters already use or are planning to use social media as part of their recruiting efforts
47% of millennial job searchers are using mobile in their job hunt
64% of companies say they want a hiring solution that will source higher quality prospects faster.
So, what lessons can HR professionals and recruiters learn from these statistics? For starters, to remain competitive for top talent, staying plugged into social media is crucial. Additionally, adopting mobile-friendly processes for things like job applications is a much faster and more effective way to attract and connect with a more savvy applicant pool. Leveraging these simple technologies that are easy to adopt and require little in the way of work can speed up any hiring process and make great strides in the way of efficiency and convenience.
Secondly, a more comprehensive hiring system can drastically cut down on inefficiencies that plague the hiring process. Automation is a key component of this, and there are many hiring automation tools and software available that can completely overhaul a bloated and ineffective hiring protocol.
Hiring Automation Tools
To fully embrace technology in the hiring process, you must adopt tools and software that will automate menial tasks and improve the hiring process ten-fold. That’s where hiring automation tools come into play. A comprehensive and tech-fueled hiring solution will enable recruiters to better track applicants and their position in the hiring process. Not only will a hiring automation platform streamline and simplify the hiring process, it will lessen the workload for recruiters and HR departments, siphon administrative costs and help save money in the long run.
Technology Improves the Applicant Experience
Hiring is a two-way street — the process and system a company sets up needs to be efficient, effective and inexpensive while attracting the best possible talent around. On the flip side, to get the cream of the crop, recruiters need to keep the applicant experience in mind. Technology can streamline many tedious systems to make a more user-friendly and desirable process for applicants.
Candidate job portals, automatic tools on job boards, employee onboarding portals and referral networks are all great tech solutions to revamp and redefine the hiring process for applicants so it’s not such a time-consuming drag. As a bonus, many of these integrated and automated tools make for a more collaborative hiring experience on both ends that translates into a more cost-effective strategy.
Tech Solutions to Consider
Justworks: Justworks is the recommended PEO by 4 Point Consulting. Not only is it easy to work with and completely affordable with great customer service, but it also offers great affordable benefits for your employees. What more could you possibly want in a co-employer and PEO as a solution for your HR department needs?
BambooHR: BambooHR is a great HR software system that comes highly recommended. BambooHR focuses on everything employees - from performance management to recruiting to onboarding new employees. While they don’t provide benefits or payroll services, they do seamlessly integrate with many of those providers, making it an easy add-on for businesses ready to take their HR efforts to the next level.
Harvest: Harvest time-tracking is a fantastic software system for small business owners and HR departments. If you have employees in various locations, Harvest can help you track their time by client and/or by project and create invoices for your services. It also gives you reports on their work in real-time while ensuring you pay them accurately.
ApplicantPro: ApplicantPro is an applicant tracking system that creates a custom careers page for your business. This ATS embodies customer service. When it comes to helping you get your recruitment applicant tracking up and running effectively, there’s no better system to have in your corner.
DeepTalent: DeepTalent is the recommended performance management and performance review system of 4 Point Consulting. Why? Because it's reasonably priced, incredibly easy to use and scalable. That means a startup or small business that’s growing can use it without breaking the bank. You’ll be hard pressed to find an easier tech solution for setting up performance reviews and cycles, taking that huge paperwork burden off of your HR department.
Whether it’s streamlining an outdated hiring process, more effectively utilizing hiring personnel, shortening the hiring cycle, attracting better quality candidates or decreasing administrative costs, the solutions can almost always be found in technology! There’s no shortage of tech tools and solutions for recruiters and HR professionals when it comes to revolutionizing and improving how hiring gets executed. Don’t you think it’s about time you embrace technology in your hiring and HR processes?
Ask us how! 4 Point Consulting does cost/benefit analyses of software systems, PEOs, benefit providers, and other software systems, as well as implement them, for clients to streamline their processes without any hassle.
By Dustin McManus
When done well, an HR department can become the nucleus of any company. Much burden is placed on an HR department - it not only has to work towards the growth of the company and help it achieve its goals, but also maintain the culture of the company and protect the wellbeing of each and every employee. That’s a lot to juggle, which means an effective HR department has to be efficient in order to satisfy these lofty duties. Whether you’re a one-person HR machine or have a highly skilled team in place, there are some simple steps you can take that will right the path of any HR department.
Here are five great tips on running an efficient HR department:
Tip #1: Brainstorm a Strategy
This may sound like a no-brainer, but diving head first into all the duties human resources requires with no solid plan in place will cause you to sink rather than swim. Take some time to devise a strategic plan that hits on how you will implement and achieve goals around everything from recruitment and retention to employee engagement and development. Another great option is to formulate an HR mission statement that will govern your department’s work and tactics. This will put you on the right track to running an efficient HR department
Laying out this sort of strategy will also help you determine the HR department’s role in the overall scheme of the company, and how your department will be able to assist with the growth and success of the company. Once you have a strategic plan in place and have established the goals you need to hit, set up a management process that details how you will go about achieving these goals and monitors your progress.
Not sure where to start? Contact us at email@example.com and contact us for a free consultation! We implement HR software systems and help companies hire their first HR professional (and we can help you in the interim).
Tip #2: Put on a Happy Face
As the human resources department, you’re the welcoming area for new employees into the wild, wonderful world of the company they are about to join. The first impressions new employees will form about a given company are formed based off of their experiences with HR. An HR department that runs efficiently goes a long way towards inspiring confidence in new hires about the company they’re joining, as well as keep the current team churning and burning at a high level.
To ensure that employees have a positive first impression, an HR department should go out of their way to ensure an employee’s initial satisfaction and offer assistance to any and all needs a new employee may have. One way to get ahead of this and show that you’ve really got your stuff together is to develop a straightforward and useful employee handbook that addresses everything from company culture, etiquette, dress and attendance policies, expense procedures and more. Take some time to go over this with new employees and let them know that if they have any questions or concerns, your doors are always open.
We create employee handbooks for a reasonable project-based fee. You can customize your handbook with our handbook “menu”. Contact 4 Point at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details and, if you cite this blog, we will deduct 20% off our estimated price for you.
Tip #3: Encourage Employee Feedback
Employee feedback and engagement is a crucial component in human resources. If you don’t create an open, welcoming environment where employees fill they can come to discuss any problems or concerns freely, it can stifle productivity, disrupt a harmonious company culture and lead to poor employee retention. All of these will make your job much harder in the long run. To avoid these problems and keep your department running smooth and efficient, set up a system that provides employees with real-time feedback.
By keeping this instant line of communication open, you’re not only giving employees the peace of mind to express their opinions, but you’re also bestowing upon them a more frequent delivery of performance feedback that will undoubtedly yield higher quality results and ensure their long-term happiness and success. Just like that, your employee retention rate is rock solid. Rather than hold monthly, quarterly or even yearly performance reviews and feedback meetings, an open, available system will reduce the burden on the HR department, save time and resources and will allow you to correct issues before things get too out of hand.
Tip #4: Embrace Technology
Technology is your friend! This cannot be overstated enough when it comes to running an efficient HR department. There are so many free or low cost tech tools out there that specialize in streamlining and automating the HR workflow. These include hiring automation software like BambooHR, electronic applicant systems like ApplicantPro, Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) like JustWorks, electronic documentation signing and much more. Not only will these technological wonders save you time and money, they will drastically improve the efficiency and communication within your HR department and leave you more accessible and open to taking care of your employees (like Tip #3 suggests).
Technology isn’t just good for HR administrative duties or recruitment efforts. Once you use all of these handy, convenient tools to recruit and hire employees more efficiently, you can also use some of them to manage and help you retain them as well. Talent management software like DeepTalent is a great way to track, develop and retain your employees without placing too much manual burden on your HR department. You can do everything from performance assessments to rewarding your top employees through these systems, saving you even more time and money and ensuring that the people you hire stick around because they’re growing and thriving.
Tip #5: Go Paperless
Arguably the biggest key to running an efficient HR department is organization. If your department looks like a tornado ran through it with papers everywhere and no discernible organizational structure, you’re going to be wasting a lot of valuable time simply rummaging around. In fact, more than $1.5 trillion a year is spent on dealing with the hassle of organizing, reformatting and uploading paperwork. There’s a simple solution to all of this that is also eco-friendly: going paperless!
Yes, going paperless can take considerable time and effort, but those short-term hurdles end up paying off in spades in the long run. Going paperless will drastically reduce the time you spend searching for documents, plus electronic storage of documents is also a much more secure and reliable means of accessing and remaining compliant with important employee information like healthcare. Boost your efficiency and organization and save your time, money and the planet by going paperless.
Need help going paperless? Try BambooHR. They can store all of your documents and get e-signatures right in the software.
These five tips will greatly bolster your running an efficient HR department. Here’s a sixth tip on the house: 4 Point Consulting is also available to help you get your HR department running smooth and efficient. An hour long consultation is free - simply contact us through the form on our website or email us at hello and we will get back to you within 24-48 hours!
By Dustin McManus
For small businesses, recruiting top talent can be a challenging endeavor, especially when competing against bigger companies that have more resources and money to throw into the ring. With that said, never count yourself - the underdog - out! Thanks to a wealth of recruiting tools available today, small businesses can remain competitive and put up quite the fight when attempting to hire and recruit the best possible employees.
The wonderful world wide web has democratized the recruitment process, making recruiting tools that were once hidden weapons of the most renowned agencies available to the masses. Best of all, many of these are free or low cost options that can improve your recruiting process ten-fold! With the right, reliable recruiting tools, your end-to-end hiring process will be bolstered and your outcome will be finding quality hires much quicker and cheaper. Consider adding the following recruiting tools to your repertoire, broken down by key stages in the recruiting process:
As the best recruiters can attest to, proactively searching for candidates to fill open or upcoming positions can yield some of the best new hires. But sourcing qualified job candidates can be like diving head first into the ocean rather than gently wading in. To get the most out of sourcing, you need a way to navigate all of the candidate fishes in the hiring sea, and collect relevant data and information about them that you can turn around in your recruiting efforts to ultimately fill positions.
Networkmonkey utilizes a systematic approach to find qualified candidates, both active and inactive, who may ultimately be interested in or match the requirements of a position you’re looking to fill. By monitoring social media activity according to criteria and filters you establish, Networkmonkey employs predictive analytics to determine if a candidate is currently looking for a new job and then collects their contact details so you can begin recruiting them.
By using Meetup, recruiters can come into contact with a wealth of professionals in a specific industry. This curated pool of talent is a great jumping off point when starting to source qualified candidates. Through Meetup, you can then contact candidates that catch your eye or sign up and attend events where a group of these candidates are planning to gather in order to get in some quality, in-person recruiting.
Online Job Posting and Boards
The name of the game these days when it comes to posting jobs and reeling in applicants is online jobs boards and social media. Sites like Indeed and Glassdoor are great, highly visited job boards that you’d be foolish not to consider utilizing for job ads and postings. If you’re looking for a new, hipper approach, Facebook Marketplace is a burgeoning platform for job postings and recruiting. Meanwhile, recruiting potential candidates and prospects on more professional social media platforms like LinkedIn is a must for the serious recruiter. Still, with all of these social media and online platforms at your disposal, there are recruiting tools out there that can help you optimize their potential for maximum effect.
If you know you should be recruiting on social - and you should - but aren’t sure where to start, HireRabbit is here to hop to your rescue. It enables you to combine your mobile career sites and social media pages into one unit, leading to a greater online connection that makes it easier for potential candidates to find you and apply to jobs you’re looking to fill.
If you’re more inclined to use Facebook, but miss the built-in recruiting tools that a LinkedIn provides, BranchOut is the merger you’ve been waiting for. This system overlays employer information on top of a user’s Facebook interface, allowing recruiters to search for candidates by job title or company. Based on the criteria you set up, BranchOut will offer up candidates that are a match and show you your shared connections with them. It basically turns Facebook into LinkedIn, but with the potential to search through all of Facebook’s 800 million active users - a number that LinkedIn can’t even scratch.
Hiring Automation Systems
Hiring automation systems and other HR software are technological wonders for recruiters and companies who are actively recruiting. These recruiting tools are state-of-the-art, and can greatly help recruiters refine their process and assist them with everything from communication, speed, data and analytics, background checks, document signing, applicant experience, onboarding and more! And yes, while a comprehensive, all-in-one setup like a hiring automation system might be off-putting for small businesses on the basis of cost, there are quite affordable options out there that will be a boon for small business recruiting efforts without breaking your bank.
ApplicantPro is an applicant tracking system that creates a custom careers page for your business. Their hiring software is designed with one specific goal in mind: to help you hire smarter, better candidates. If you’re looking for a dedicated hiring software and applicant tracking system that embodies customer service and helps you get your recruitment tracking up and running in no time, ApplicantPro is worth considering. Also, check out this comparison guide of similar applicant tracking systems to see how ApplicantPro stacks up to the competition.
BambooHR offers a complete, comprehensive human resource information solution. This hiring software and automation platform focuses on everything employees - from performance management to recruiting to onboarding new employees. They also integrate with many payroll providers, making it an easy add-on for small businesses ready to take their HR efforts to the next level.
Video interviews are the way of the future. When it comes to hiring workers that will be freelancing or working remotely, there’s no better way to conduct an interview than over video. It’s the best way to stage a virtual face to face meeting with candidates that may not be in your backyard and available to come for in-person interviews. Plus, because it’s all automated, you can even set up a video interview process where you record yourself asking questions and then have candidates film their responses - saving you valuable time in the recruiting process.
SparkHire is an innovative platform that specializes in video interviewing. It allows you to create an archive or template of interview questions so you don’t have to actively interview each candidate yourself, while candidates have the freedom to answer questions at their convenience. If you want a more hands-on video interview experience, you can engage in completely interactive interviews remotely from anywhere. Finally, every video conducted over SparkHire is recorded, so you can revisit any candidates’ answers at any time.
Sample Questions & Templates
To help prepare yourself for video interviews, or to come up with a bank of questions you can record yourself asking for an interview template, there are tons of resources at your disposal. If you want to take a more behavioral approach with your video interviews, check out this guide on conducting behavioral interviews with a free interviewing template. Want a breakdown of how to properly conduct an effective interview? Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to walk you through it. Finally, if you need some inspiration on just what exactly to ask your candidates during a video interview, here’s a collection of 120 great interview questions to get you started.
With these amazing, intuitive and inexpensive recruiting tools at your disposal, your hiring efforts are about to bear witness to a major overhaul. Remember, we’re also a recruiting tool you can turn to in your time of need! We are here to help at any stage of your recruiting process and can offer a free recruitment consultation to assess your particular situation. Schedule a consult with us today!
By Dustin McManus
In the fast, bustling world of recruiting and small business, the main objective when looking for a new employee is to hire the best candidate for a given position as quickly and efficiently as possible while keeping hiring costs manageable. Sounds easy on paper, but it’s a much harder feat to actually accomplish. There are a number of recruiting pitfalls that can knock your recruiting efforts off course if you’re not careful.
Here are the top 11 recruiting pitfalls to avoid as a small business owner (and solutions on how to fix them):
Recruiting Pitfall #1: Rushing the Recruiting Process
Naturally, you want the hiring process to be fluid and quick in order to fill open positions fast, but not at the expense of excessively costly hires or an inefficient process that results in multiple mistakes and, ultimately, a wrong hire. Spontaneity is not a trait that you want defining your recruitment efforts. Simply hiring someone to fill an immediate gap, rather than taking the time to strategically evaluate the position, is one of the most reckless recruiting pitfalls.
Solve This Problem: Take some time to know exactly the type of position you’re looking to fill, the roles this employee will take on, what they’ll contribute to the overall goals of your company, and the person that will ultimately be best suited for the job in order to find the right candidate. Going a bit slower and steadier leads to much more competent new hires.
Recruiting Pitfall #2: Describing the Position in Vague Terms
It’s fundamental to start the recruitment process with an accurate, detailed job description so you can get the right candidates applying and filtering in. A vague job description is misleading to potential candidates and could start off your recruitment process on wobbly tracks.
Solve This Problem: Take some time to highlight all of the key responsibilities of the job, and be sure to describe the goal of this role and the purpose of this position in the overall scheme of things. Being upfront about everything the position entails will help you get the kind of candidates you want applying for the role.
Recruiting Pitfall #3: Recruiting Only One Way
Don’t pigeonhole your business when it comes to how you recruit. There are so many different ways to find talented candidates these days, everything from old-fashioned referrals to posting on online job boards to scouring and networking on social media platforms.
Solve This Problem: For every tried and true method of recruiting you already employ, switch it up and try something new alongside with it. If you’re strictly a referral person, try posting on a simple job board like Indeed. This will greatly diversify your candidate pool. You can even use professional recruiting organizations like 4 Point Consulting, perfect when looking to hire for a highly specialized role, to ensure you get the best possible hire.
Recruiting Pitfall #4: Focusing Too Much on Experience
Experience in a given field or particular job isn’t the be-all-end-all when recruiting the right candidate. You have to take into mind other things, such as how well they’ll fit into your company’s culture, their propensity and capability to grow and add greater value down the line to your company, and their propensity to remain loyal to a work environment or cause.
Solve This Problem: Don’t let the resume solely dictate a hire. To truly suss out if a candidate is right for the job, consider giving them an aptitude test or trial project. This way you can get a first-hand look at the work they can do in order to see how they may or may not thrive in a given position.
Recruiting Pitfall #5: Not Considering Unconventional Candidates
Focusing on and recruiting people from certain schools or educational backgrounds, or whose careers are exact matches to a given position, can cause you to overlook unconventional candidates who could bring added value you never thought about. It can also result in less expensive hires, due to the fact that these out-of-the-box candidates may not have quite as many years of experience in a given field, thus not expecting a top salary.
Solve This Problem: Don’t boil down a potential hire to just a rudimentary check list. Be open to creative problem solvers and candidates from outside your given industry that still have reputable skill sets, backgrounds and references. If you see a really qualified, but not exactly appropriately matched candidate, reach out by doing a phone screen and give them a chance to explain what they feel they could bring to your company.
Recruiting Pitfall #6: Rejecting Overqualified Candidates
Whether you think they’ll be too expensive or they might end up getting bored and leaving sooner than you like for something more challenging, someone who’s overqualified isn’t necessarily a bad hire. Their immense talent and skills will be an asset to your company no matter what, or how long they stay.
Solve This Problem: Once again, a phone screen is the quickest, simplest, most convenient way to suss out a candidate you may otherwise ignore. If you see an ideal applicant who seems too good to be true, ask them upfront and see why they applied. Give them a chance to assuage your concerns.
Recruiting Pitfall #7: Waiting for a “Unicorn” Candidate
Hate to burst your bubble, but there is no such thing as that one perfect job candidate to rule them all. Don’t waste time and money by holding out for something that doesn’t exist. Drawing out the recruiting process to hunt for that nonexistent unicorn candidate can also lead to productivity issues by keeping your company understaffed and overworked for too long.
Solve This Problem: Do some research of similar positions in your zip code. Look at job boards like Indeed and Glassdoor to get perspective on where you may be missing the mark. If all else fails and you’re still looking aimlessly for something that might not be out there, schedule a free consultation with us and we’ll do our best to get you on the right recruiting track!
Recruiting Pitfall #8: Falling Prey to Bias
Just because you “like” someone for who they are doesn’t mean they’ll be good at the job. This is known as the “similar to me” bias. Recruitment isn’t a popularity contest - you want someone who can bring in fresh, new perspectives rather than the idea you’ve generated in your head as being “right.” When this happens, diversity in the hiring process diminishes as well, derailing the chance for a balanced and multi-talented team.
Solve This Problem: Consult with others at your company and bring in outside voices and opinions when you’re narrowing down candidates. Get their insights and impressions about candidates, and be sure to take into consideration the thoughts of those they’ll be working the most closely with.
Recruiting Pitfall #9: Overvaluing the Interview
Interviewers can waste a lot of time trying to solidify their intuitive first impressions about a candidate within just seconds of meeting them. Conversely, candidates can act or say what they think interviewers want to hear in order to land the job, making the interviewing process a facade more than anything. Make sure you look at the whole picture of the candidate- the resume, the phone screen, the in-person interview, and the references.
Solve This Problem: Consider adding in another interview step, like giving an assessment test or exercise to really ascertain how a candidate will behave in a given position - this will offer a more definitive assessment to base your hiring decision on. Using a system like BambooHR, where you and your colleagues can collaborate and take notes, as well as rank candidates and store documents related to someone’s candidacy can also prove extremely helpful.
Recruiting Pitfall #10: Ignoring Rejected Candidates
Many companies and recruiters are incredibly guilty of failing to follow-up with candidates that don’t make it past certain points in the recruitment process. Not only does this leave a bad taste in the mouths of candidates, but it can start to take a hit on the reputation of your company based on how you treat job candidates.
Solve This Problem: Your recruitment process and company brand can greatly benefit by giving some quick, simple feedback to rejected candidates. This goes a long way when tapping into former applicants for new positions that may open up. Plus, it’s the polite thing to do! Consider using this template for job rejection letters as a starting point.
Recruiting Pitfall #11: Being Stingy with Salaries
Salary negotiation is always a tricky aspect of recruiting, but good candidates know their worth and won’t entertain offers that aren’t up to their standards and capabilities. Ensure that the salary expectations for the position are set before going too deep in the recruiting process to avoid wasting your time cultivating a candidate to find out they won’t accept the position based on what you’re offering. To that end, make a respectable offer that matches their title, experience and value.
Solve This Problem: Don’t want to talk about money with a candidate? Use 4 Point Consulting for your phone interviews so that we can ask them about it right off the bat and get you the information you need without disclosing your budget.
These 11 recruiting pitfalls are commonly made mistakes for a reason. It can be hard to identify potential roadblocks as an overwhelmed, overworked small business owner. It’s easy to get stuck with tunnel vision and simply look for the fastest way to recruit possible. Staying mindful of these recruiting pitfalls will have you accelerating toward the best hire in no time at all… and remember, we are here to help and can offer a free recruitment consultation to assess your situation.
By Dustin McManus
So, you’ve decided you need to fill out your ranks and bring a new team member(s) on board to help your company achieve greater success – fantastic! However, don’t let that enthusiasm make you too trigger-happy when it comes to finding that special somebody for the position. After all, hiring the right employee is a big undertaking, one that can quite literally cause your business to thrive or die.
Hiring the wrong person for the job is not only a waste of an HR department’s valuable time and resources, it’s a costly endeavor that can have negative ramifications for your company’s work environment.
Hiring the right employee, however, will reap many benefits. Not only will you be confident in your choice that this person can execute the job like a champ, but you’ll have hired someone who is a boon to employee productivity, gels well with your existing workforce and becomes a profitable asset.
So, let’s dive into it and talk about how to ensure you hire the right employee for your business:
Figure Out Your Hiring Needs
Before you even begin your search and start in on all of that recruiting, you need to have a clear idea of what your staffing needs are. Simply filling a position with someone before you know the full structure and scope of the value they’ll add to your team and how they can contribute to your business is a huge error.
Defining the position, knowing what qualifications and experience you want someone to bring, establishing the positive impact such a position will have on your company – then, and only then, are you ready to dip your toes into the talent pool.
Hint - you probably need a create a job description. Feel free to ask us at 4 Point for help on that so you can be confident that you’ll hire the right employee!
Streamline Your Hiring Process
Once you know exactly who it is you’re looking for in terms of the capabilities, education, skills and knowledge of potential candidates, make the recruiting and hiring process easy on yourself. This means maximizing your time and minimizing your hiring costs. A candidate may look good on paper, but a resume doesn’t tell you the whole story. That’s why it’s important to pre-screen candidates to save valuable time during the interview process.
A prescreening questionnaire or quick 5-10 minute phone interview will bridge the gap between paper and person, letting you know for sure whether an individual might be the best fit for the job. When it comes time to get to the actual interviews, it all comes down to asking the right questions in order to hire the right employee. Tailoring the questions specifically to the position will help you weed out the duds from the winners.
Keep Your Company’s Culture in Mind
You’ve already got an existing workforce that hopefully works like a well-oiled machine. You’ve no doubt established a specific working environment that works best for your company and those it employs. It’s important to keep this in mind in order to hire the right employee. You want to find someone who can fit in seamlessly, not someone who might struggle with or disrupt your company’s culture.
Ascertaining a candidate’s social skills and asking them about previous working environments and relationships is a great way of discerning if they might be compatible for your company. One of the best ways to get an inside peek at the more personal and social aspects of a candidate is to go to the heart of the matter – their social media presence. You can discover a lot of helpful information about a candidate based on their social media profiles, granting you valuable insights on who they are and what makes them tick.
Commitment Is Key
One of the most overlooked aspects when it comes to vetting candidates is how committed they are to their careers, and how loyal they have been to their past employers. A candidate who has bounced around from job to job without setting up roots is probably someone who lacks loyalty to an employer or cause, and is instead looking to solely climb the corporate ladder. If you see a candidate who looks like a skills fit, but has jumped around - ask them about it! Gauge their response - was it bad luck or do they lack commitment?
Pay close to attention to the duration of each of their previous positions – this can tell you a lot about the candidate’s professionalism and devotion to their career. The best candidates will possess an unbridled willingness to work with you and your company.
Consult Your Coworkers
Ensuring you hire the right employee for your company isn’t a solo endeavor. Rather, you should include your coworkers in the interviewing and evaluation process. Sure, this may lead to a flood of different opinions, but it usually results in better overall hires.
Just make sure everyone is on the same page about the position’s needs. This can be achieved through simple recruitment planning meetings so you can establish a firm strategy that governs the process. You’ll want to know the impression a candidate leaves on others to get a better overall picture of who they are – after all, you won’t be the only person working with them.
Hiring the right employee will help your company accomplish their goals, bolster your workforce, increase employee morale and set your company on a path towards greater success. These simple considerations above can make all the difference when it comes to picking the right person for the job.
If you need help on any of the steps, don’t hesitate to reach out to 4 Point Consulting for help. An hour long consultation is free - simply contact us through the form on our website and we will get back to you within 24-48 hours!