Best Office Gift Ideas

Best Office Gift Ideas

The questions of what gifts to give can be quite perplexing. Giving the boss a gift can be seen as brown nosing, but not giving the boss a gift can be seen as an insult to them. Oh, what to do in this world of hypersensitive office environments? Well, here is a list of things to give that will not have you as the subjects of the twittersphere while still wishing your coworkers a token of appreciation. Here is a list of gift choices that are appropriate for your fellow employees:

  1. Food is good, but some people only eat bird seed and leaves, so a box of donuts is not appreciated. Plus, some people are trying to watch what they eat during the holidays and are insulted when the food is not part of their diet or because it is part of their diet. On second thought, food is not good! However, food gift cards, like a Honey Baked ham or Starbucks, lets them do the choosing. A much better idea.
  2. Sports team memorabilia- this can be a nice choice as long as you are sure what team they support, and they have not recently lost a major game causing all true fans to be depressed.
  3. Toyish trinkets- Think spinners or Rubik’s cubes; items like this are seldom inappropriate and can be fun knick knacks.
  4. Office safe potted plants- It is important to choose ones that can sit on the desk and are able to live in the dark with no water for weeks. If the office environment has the option of keeping a plant at the desk, these work well. Plus, there are plants that live basically in the dark with water every few months, and plants tend to cheer people up for a long time.
  5. Coffee cups, water bottles, etc.- These actually work well, especially if a nice, politically correct, logo or saying is on them. Avoid using company logo —giving those just says you care enough to raid the conference room closet.

Whatever you do, keep it inexpensive. Government employees cannot accept anything with a value over $25 and that is a good rule of thumb. If there is someone very special, then do not use their holiday office gift as their gift. Make it a personal gift and give it outside the office environment.

Top Mistakes As An Interviewer

Top Mistakes As An Interviewer

1. Be On Time

Most interviewees are on time to their interview, so it’s important you do the same. If an interviewee has to wait for you to bring them in, it will start them off with a bad taste in their mouth

2. Read Their Resume

Interviewees submit their resumes so that you can read them beforehand and get to know them a little better before they actually get there. Having an interviewee summarize their resume during the interview is not only a waste of everyone’s time, but it’s also incredibly rude to the interviewee who took the time to send you their resume in the first place.

3. Let Them Speak
Don’t make the interview all about you, they're not there to learn about you. The interviewee is there strictly to learn about the company and tell you about themselves to see if they would be a good fit for the company. Let them speak, show them that you care about what they have to say and what they bring to the table.
4. Stay On Topic
Don’t ask interviewees tough questions that have nothing to do with the position they’ve applied for, not only will this confuse them as to what the position is about, but it’s also not necessary. Stay on topic and focus on discussing the position to figure out if you should hire them or not. If you choose to hire this person, then you will have more time to discuss off topic things with them, but interviews are strictly to figure out if an interviewee is right for your company.

5. Give Them Time
Rushing the interview can make the potential employee feel as if you don't have time for them or you are not interested in what they have to say, so it is important to allot a good amount of time for each interview so you can give each the attention it deserves. Also, interviewees are typically nervous, so if they feel rushed, their answers will not be as great as they would if they had time to really think them through.

How To Reduce Office Turnover

How To Reduce Office Turnover

Office turnover rates are one of the biggest issues in the common workplace, but employee retention doesn't have to be so hard. Here are 7 ways to reduce employee turnover and overall make employees much happier:

1. Hire Better Employees

It all starts with hiring better employees. If you discuss the position in the interview and the interviewee does not seem all that interested, they're probably not, so move on to the next candidate. If you hire employees who are not excited about the company and the opportunity, then they likely won’t be there long and they definitely won’t be the right fit for what you need.

2. Make Sure The Team “Fits”

If you do end up hiring an employee and discover that they aren't the right fit, don't hesitate to let them know. This employee will either work harder to be what the company needs, or it will become necessary that they part ways. A more cohesive team works better together and is more likely to stick around for the long run.

3. Offer Competitive Pay and Benefits

As much as an employee may long a certain company or job, it is increasingly necessary in today’s economy to go where the money takes you. Therefore, offering competitive pay and a variety of medical and other benefits will ensure employee retention.

4. Foster Team Building

The team may be together all the time at work, but how much do they really know about each other? Bonding outside of the workplace can be crucial to allow the team to bond with one another. With the team more bonded, people will feel more like they belong and they will be less likely to start looking for somewhere new.

5. Recognize and Reward Hard Work

If an employee does a great job on their task, let them know. Rewards don't always have to be promotions or pay raises, a simple congratulations can go a long way to boost morale and make an employee feel better about the company and the individuals that they are working for.

6. Be Compassionate, Be Flexible

Some employees have families or other outside commitments that they need to tend to, remember this. Expecting long hours and denying off requests from employees is not the way to make anyone happy. Be flexible, if someone needs to take a day off because their child is in a play that they need to go see, be open to working with them. This doesn't have to mean let anyone take off whenever they want with no notice, but being willing to be flexible with employees from time to time will mean a lot to them.

7. Allow Advancement Opportunities

No one wants to work at a company long term if they know that they will never advance. Offering employees the opportunity to move up within the company is a great way to ensure employees stay on longterm to see what could come of their hard work.

How To Properly Scale Your Business

How To Properly Scale Your Business

Scaling a business can be hard in today’s ever-growing and changing economy. Here are three tips to help you get started:

1. Invest In Your Business

Your business won’t grow unless you put a little of your own money into it to help it along. More so than just money though, you have to be willing to invest time and resources to your business. If you have to get a business planner to help you figure out the next steps, do it. If you have to update your technology or business model to better meet today’s demands, do it. All of your investments will eventually come back to you and seeing your company grow and succeed will make it worth it in the end.

2. Find The Right People

You cant grow a company with employees that aren't willing to grow with it. It’s important that you find employees with similar values who share your frame of mind and want to see the company grow and succeed. Don't be afraid to cut out employees who are hindering the growth of the company, you can find better employees who will be more beneficial to the company’s growth.

3. Market Your Business

Marketing is the most overlooked portion of a business, but it is also one of the most important, especially when you're looking to grow the business. Getting the company out there on as many platforms as you can and promoting events and sales in every way possible will greatly increase sales and help the business grow. There are professionals whose job it is to help market business, so if you're struggling with marketing, there is someone who can help you get your company out into the public eye.

Best Ways To Foster Teamwork

Best Ways to Foster Teamwork

Teamwork is a crucial part of helping a business run, because if the team is not working then the business isn't either. Here are four ways to foster teamwork among your employees:

1. Hire the Right People

It doesn't take very long into an interview to know if the interview is what you're looking for or not. It is typically easy to tell whether they will be a good fit for the team, so if you interview someone that you can tell won't mesh well with the team, refrain from hiring them. Seek out candidates who will fit well with the employees you already have to ensure that the team works together more smoothly.

2. Promote Outside Team Building
Having a retreat or other outing outside of the office to promote team bonding will help them get to know each other so that they may work more effectively as a team. When team members become more comfortable with each other, they will be more likely to help one another and overall work better together.

3. Encourage Collaboration
Collaboration is key to team success, as the team has to be able to rely on one another when they get stuck. When employees collaborate, ideas are better and the team works better knowing that they're not alone.

4. Communicate
It is important for the team to always keep an open line of communication so that no one is feeling left out or harboring other negative emotions that may slow down the team. Knowing that they can communicate with one another is crucial for employees to be able to work better together knowing that they are always heard.

Pros and Cons of flexible work Schedules

Pros and Cons of flexible work Schedules

Flexible work schedules can be good or bad, depending on your business and the employees you have. Below are some pros and cons of flexible work schedules:

Pros:

Flexible work schedules make it easier to find employees and it makes the ones you have happier and more loyal to the company, because it makes all employees feel as if their needs are being met and you care about how they feel and what they think.

The flexibility also reduces employees stress and makes them less likely to call off from work, because they will have more time to focus on their own mental and physical health when they need to.

Allowing employees to choose when they work also increases productivity because team morale is higher and people are more eager to work for the company that is working for them.

Most importantly, flexibility helps employees improve their work-life balance, which is ultimately what most employees are looking for in a job.

 

Cons:

Some employees like having a set work schedule because that's what they're used to and it works for them.

Allowing employees to choose when they work does reduce employer control, and can possibly lead to employees taking advantage of the policy.

Also, for some jobs, flexible work schedules just aren't possible, as work needs to be done on a set schedule and not whenever employees can get there.

This flexibility also makes it more easy for there to be a breakdown in communication, possibly making it more of a hassle than it is worth.

Fostering Collaboration Among Remote Workers

Fostering Collaboration among remote workers

Having remote employees can make it very difficult for teams to collaborate with each other, but there are ways to make it easier on everyone.

It is incredibly important to always ensure that communication lines between remote employees are open. Setting ground rules, like when and how employees communicate also helps prevent potential problems down the line.

However, no matter how much the employees attempt to communicate, progress can not be made without the proper equipment. It is important to ensure that your employees have the proper technology they need to communicate electronically with remote employees.

Even if employees are too far apart to meet in person, having Skype interviews can be a great way for employees to feel more like a team, allowing collaboration to be much easier.

Also, on the rare occasion that Skype isn't good enough for what they need to get done, it is good to have a set location somewhere in the middle where employees can travel to in order to collaborate better in person.

5 Tips for Successful Job Interviews

5 Tips for Successful Job Interviews

Job interviews can be a difficult task for some job seekers, below are 5 tips for more successful interviews:

1. Familiarize Yourself With The Company

Before going in for an interview, it is helpful to do a little research on the company that you'll be interviewing for, and it can even be helpful to familiarize yourself with the person you'll be interviewing with. Getting to know the company will not only help you answer the interviewer’s questions, but it will also make you seem all around more prepared.

2. Make A Good First Impression

It is important to make a good first impression with the way you speak and act. However, possibly more importantly, it is crucial to make a good first impression in the way you present yourself. Showing up on time and looking professional are two great ways to present yourself to make a better first impression.

3. Be Positive

There is nothing an interviewer hates more than a candidate with a bad attitude. Even if you did not like your previous job or employer, focus on some things that you did like, make the negative more positive. Also, if an employer asks about your personal weaknesses, that is a great opportunity to show your positivity, don't just list your weaknesses, talk about things you're not great at and discuss ways you plan to improve in the future.

4. Ask Questions

Near the end of the interview, when the employer asks if you have any questions, think of something to ask. Asking meaningful questions about the position lets the employer know that you were not just listening to them, but you were also processing what they were saying and you are interested in being more informed.

5. Send A Thank You

Whether by phone or email, it is important to follow up with an employer shortly after an interview to thank them for the opportunity to interview. This not only keeps you fresh in their mind, but it also lets them know they you are truly interested and dedicated to the position.

3 Ways to Become a Better Leader

3 ways to become a better leader

Leading a team or even just a few individuals takes practice, here are 3 tips that make being a better leader just a little easier:

Be A Good Role Model

Employees notice when their leaders follow their own rules, and they notice even more when they don’t, so being a good role model for your employees is crucial in leading a team. It is not possible to lead a team through words alone. If you just tell your employees how you want them to act or what you want them to do, they will not know exactly what you're hoping for. However, if you model the tasks and behaviors you want your employees to follow, then they will be encouraged to act more like you and follow your lead.

Encourage Creativity

Allowing your employees the creative freedom they desire will not only allow them to do their tasks more efficiently and at a higher quality, but it will also make them more excited about their job. When employees know that you will allow them the freedom they need to do their job, they will be more likely to want to follow you on future projects. Being a leader is not just about delegating tasks, but it also about trusting your employees to do what they need to complete their assigned tasks.

Communicate

Communicating with employees is by far the most important part of being a leader. Simply communicating effectively with your team makes it much easier to leave them  and it makes them much more likely to actually want to follow you. Communicating with your team doesn't mean just telling them your expectations, it means being open and honest with them when things go right, and even when they don't.

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Benefits of Vacation on Employee Performance

Benefits of Vacation on Employee Performance

There have been endless studies, articles, and blogs about the importance of vacation for employee performance. Humans are not machines; we wear out eventually especially when creativity requires constant fresh input to keep it going. Employees need to take the time to experience new things outside of their work environment in order to incorporate new ideas when they come back to it. People call it recharging your batteries for good reason because it restores employees’ abilities to concentrate and to think. Here is a list of a few of the best benefits that come from vacation time for employees:

  1. They get to a break from their daily routine and scenery- As humans, we want to explore and see new things. It can become tiring to see the same places and same faces day after day. Vacation time allows employees to interact with other people and take a break from the daily grind.
  2. More time spent with friends and family- Employees may enjoy their coworkers, but they do have lives outside of the office. Vacation time allows them to bond with their family or make memories with their friends. This will make them happier and they will bring that happiness with them back to the office.
  3. Exposure to other culture- This one is a bit more specific to employees that use their vacation time to travel, but many people do. Travel can be one of the most beneficial uses of a person’s time because it exposes people to different cultures. This can be an enjoyable and educational experience that will allow your employees to explore their interests, see new things, and try different activities. They will come back with new experiences which can aid them in their creative endeavors. 

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