5 Tips For Building Workplace Etiquette

5 Tips For Building Workplace Etiquette

Workplace etiquette is critical in running a business: it can change how employees interact with each other and with their employers. Below are five ways to build workplace etiquette to ensure everything runs smoothly:

Make A Good First Impression

Coming into a new workplace is difficult, you don't know anyone and you don't know the current dynamics of the workplace. However, making a good first impression will make colleagues more likely to bring you into the workplace environment. This will make the team work more cohesively to accomplish things faster and easier.

Keep Communication Lines Clear

Communication is the key to any working relationship, including employee relations in the workplace. Communicating when something is bothering you, in a professional manner, will help solve problems quickly and easily before they start. However, it is important to remember that not all communication is good communication. Gossip, complaining and other forms of negative communication should never be able to find their way into the workplace.

Be On Time

Being on time to work is one of the hardest things for employees, but constantly arriving late to work while all of your colleagues are on time can wear on the team. Continually asking your colleagues to cover for you because you're running behind, again, can cause the team to start to resent you for not doing your part to further the team. Being on time will make the team get along more and be an overall more cohesive unit.

Be Available

Being available to your colleagues is incredibly important. Not just being in your cubicle able to be called on when needed, but responding to emails in a timely manner and answering phone calls when you are able to. It is also important to remember that your off days are not everyone else's off days. If you're off and someone calls with a question it is important that you respond at your quickest availability to help your colleagues further their projects.

Plan Outside Team Building

Planning outside team building activities can greatly improve team morale and make the team work together as a more cohesive unit. Activities such as team building workshops, or even a team lunch, cam greatly improve how the team works together. The better a team is able to work, the better the workplace as awhile is able to function.

3 Common Motivators For Employees Outside of Money

3 Common Motivators for Employees Outside of Money

Money is one of the biggest motivators to employees when finding a new job, but there are many other things that can motivate employees. Below are three things that can motivate employees more than money:

Experience

Starting a new job can be a great feeling, but if you already know exactly what you're doing when you start then that job is not really benefitting you the way it should be. Ever new job should be an opportunity to gain new knowledge and experience to make employees more well rounded, employable individuals. So experience, regardless of pay, can be more than enough of a motivator to employees who need more experience to get a higher up job in their field.

Progression

Employees like to be able to see where they are in a job, and how far they've come since they first started, seeing yourself progress can be a great motivator to employees to keep up their hard work. However, with profession comes recognition, meaning employers must know how to recognize their employees' progression and properly reward them when they have done well. This doesn't mean giving employees big, fancy gifts, but simply telling employees that they are doing a great job can go a long way in boosting morale and increasing their motivation.

Responsibility

Giving your employees responsibility, whether promoting them or allowing them to lead a project, can motivate them to work harder to produce a greater outcome. Promotions tend to come with increased pay, but if you were to increase an employee’s pay and not increase their responsibilities, they would not be greatly motivated to try harder. Employees find joy in being able to lead and accomplish tasks at work, and the first step is to motivate your employees by giving them more responsibilities at work.

What to Look for When Recruiting Staff

What to Look for When Recruiting Staff

When hiring a recruiting staff, most people will say that they look for a specific skill or experience in a particular industry. That is the easy part; recruiters that do not understand the job will often rely heavily on those specific skills in their selection criteria because they do not know what they should be looking for. What should they be looking at? There should be a focus on a match between the human characteristics of the job and the candidate pool. Proper identification of the true characteristics of the successful employee in the job is the key to finding the best candidate.

Let’s say you are trying to find a candidate for an isolated, boring, and repetitive job, what kind of person do you need? A type A hyper-creative team player who is also highly disciplined and well educated will not be successful in this role. The type of person who would be best suited for this role would be a loyal, predictable, and dependable person that thrives on routine. In this case, a recruiter should not be looking for someone who has a specific skill because most people can be taught, it is the core personality that needs to fit.

To find the best candidate for each job, recruiters need to fully define the characteristics needed to be successful in the role and then select people based on those. There are of course a few general aspects that should be consistent across all roles: maturity, morality, ethics, and judgment. Outside of these key qualities, each job requires a different type of person and by identifying that personality type you can successfully recruit staff that will be suited for their jobs.

Managing Millennials: Tips and Downfalls

Managing Millennials: Tips and Downfalls

Millennials are often treated as if they are some special generation that requires extra care, but they are no different from the Woodstock idealists and those that came before them. The unifying characteristic of Millennials is they want to change, and the world and they want to do it NOW. Knowing this is essential to being able to manage Millennials as it is one of their best and worst characteristics. They are no different than the Baby Boomers of old except they are a bit more socially aware and the Boomers were more socially aware than the WWII generation and so on and so forth. Millennials want to work on something that has meaning, is that really so different than the desires of the generations in the 1960s?

            As I mentioned before, the key to managing Millennials is recognizing their drive to make a change. This has resulted in a generation that is self-driven and works better when they organize themselves; give them a goal and let them figure out how to get there and accomplish their task. The methodology behind this managerial style is used in computer application development which is known as the “Agile” method, and this system has shown tremendous results by not managing the people on a team. How it works: a product owner identifies, defines, and prioritizes functions and features to be developed. The team is responsible for determining how to do this work, in what sequence, and assigns the tasks to get it done. While to some people this sounds like chaos, it has been proven to yield great results. Toyota first introduced this idea in their Lean Manufacturing technique, and this proves allows Millennials to be high performing, top quality, and enthusiastic workers.

            The downfall of managing Millennials is the same as dealing with any other generation: it is important to recognize what they want and what they are willing to work for and utilize that to get the results you want. This is an idealistic generation, so they need to see how their work is going to be effective in the long run. Any good manager identifies what is important to their team and focuses on that to create the best results. In the case of Millennials, they need to be given a basic structure that they can freely work within and to let them see the impact of their work. 

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Incorporating Self-Care into the Workplace

Incorporating Self-Care into the Workplace

Self-care has become a hot topic in the media as people are trying to be more intentional about taking care of their mental and physical health. It is both the right and the responsibility of the employee to take care of themselves, but employers can take steps to ensure their employees feel comfortable doing what they need to do. Often, simply knowing that the employer cares and tries to help is enough to instill loyalty and inspire motivation in employees. It is important to remember that each employee is different, and every job is different, but some things transcend the differences. No matter what, every employee needs to be physically, mentally, and emotionally fit for their role.

            Office workers who sit at a computer all day may need a periodic break to stretch and move around; health studies have shown that simply standing and walking a few dozen steps every 20 to 30 minutes dramatically increases an individual’s energy level as well as having long-term health benefits. An employer should communicate that they know this and promote that 1 to 3-minute break to help their employees get better work out of the rest of their time. Mental stress can also be reduced by having these mini-breaks incorporated into the workday.

            Health and wellness committees at different companies can really help to improve and promote self-care in the lives of their fellow employees. Some programs that are popular are: lunchtime walkers, diet support groups, etc. These types of initiatives show that the employer appreciates their workers and cares about their general well-being. A great way to encourage team and relationship building among the workforce is to have these programs be employee led. This is an area which has a strong influence over employee retention.

            Another area for self-care improvement is the stress induced by having personal business which must be postponed or delegated due to lack of available time. Giving employees an area and some time to make private calls or do online work for personal business, awards points to the employer too. This does not have to be much time either! Just 5 to 10 minutes a day to call a doctor or dentist, order a gift online, or fire off a quick note to a teacher from a personal email, can be the difference between feeling stressed by the job and feeling appreciated. People will take this time anyway, but by making it official is what counts for happy employees.

            Finally, offer help with career coaching and planning for the future. No matter what the age of the employee, they are considering their future whether it is at the company or elsewhere. Smart employers recognize this and make available resources that may not even be directly related to the employee’s current role. Bringing on-site a short seminar or class is what shows the employer actually cares about employee growth. Examples of this might include hosting a Toastmasters group, bringing in a financial planner for a seminar, small-scale technical seminars, or classes; all show commitment to growth for the employee. Even try hosting a local college or trade school fair where employees can see what educational opportunities are available and negotiating a discount for company employees is often quite easy. The key to incorporating self-care into the workplace is to be obvious and intentional about any programs supported by the company that are meant to help their employees.

Making Connections: How to Effectively Network

Making Connections: How to Effectively Network

The first step in successful networking is identifying what you want in a connection; relationships take energy and you have to be willing to put in the effort into the connections which will make a difference. Be sure to spend some time and physically write down the goals you for the connection, this will ensure you get results. In most cases, the connections we want are business oriented. We want sales leads, future employers, potential employees, technical ideas, or simply credentials that come from belonging to the “right club”.

The best way to make connections in the modern business world is to have a professional social media presence, i.e. LinkedIn, Ladders, etc. This is a pre-requisite, as anyone you might start to connect with will use these to check you out at some point in the relationship formation process. Notice that this is necessary, but not sufficient alone to establish a strong network. Physical presence is almost always required to start a relationship. You have to go to where the right connections go, talk the talk and walk the walk. You will find that many groups are welcoming to new members, as long as you have shown the initiative to find them. Social and service organizations have traditionally been the best places to meet local business and political leaders. Beware, you may also be meeting nothing but salesmen eager to network with you. Another idea for find groups: look online at places like Meetup.com. These websites are especially useful for connection with specific populations interested in a well-defined topic. If you do not find one convenient to you, then start one in your area!

That is the easy part; you now know where to find and meet contacts who could be good connections and you are ready to start networking. What next? The first step to prepare yourself is to dress appropriately for the group. In some cases, this means: a dark suit, white shirt, power tie and other times it means jeans and a clean t-shirt. Always dress based on what you think the contact would be comfortable wearing themselves. Do not forget to bring a stack of business cards with you; in addition to giving them to a potential connection, they are good notepaper. Bring a pen and an extra one in case someone else needs to borrow yours.

Networking is all about establishing a relationship. The best way to do that is by paying attention to the other person and asking questions that give them the opportunity to speak; basically, show interest in them! At a first meeting, your objective is simply to get to know them. If they have a business card, take it and use it to make notes about them and their situation while they talk. Practice your own short introduction about who you are, make it short and then turn the conversation back to them. After your first meeting, you need to decide whether the person meets the criteria for a good connection. If they pass, then send them a note, and email is fine at this point, expressing your interest in what they were talking about and try to ask a question. The follow up is critical as it cements the start of a network relationship.

The next step in the networking process is to schedule a coffee or a lunch. You should have plenty to talk about due to the email correspondence. By the time the next meeting of your group occurs, you have established at least one contact in your network. Remember to maintain your network with a monthly email and contact at the group event. Follow these steps and you will be a professional at making business connections and expanding your network.

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Tips and Tricks for Noteworthy Presentations

Tips and Tricks for Noteworthy Presentations

There are many companies that teach seminars and even college credit classes focused on the topic of creating a noteworthy presentation. For those of you who are still looking to improve, here are ten steps which, if followed, will get you 80% of the way to outstanding presentation skills. As a bonus, here is how to get started: close that blank PowerPoint presentation that you had opened because you need to think first.

  1. Know what results you actually want from the presentation- Be honest! If all you want is to impress the audience with your vocabulary, knowledge, and wit, then admit it. Usually, the desired outcome is an action you want the audience to perform: closing a sale, making a correction in business tactics, or perhaps going in a new strategic direction. Think carefully about what you want your audience to do! This is your win for the presentation. Now, write your goal down on a stick note and put it on the wall in front of your face. It is far too easy to forget the main purpose when you get deep into putting the actual presentation together. Make it so visible that every time you look up from the keyboard, you will see your note.
  2. Define the audience members- Who are they? What is their role? Are they supporters? Are they skeptics? Decision makers? Influencers? Vetoers? What is their age, intellectual, and cultural background? The more you can know about them, the better chance you have of getting the results of Step 1. Write down anything you know in a list. Hint: skipping the part about writing this down will guarantee that you will not convince them. It is a mental trick on yourself, so use it!
  3. Take the list and write in one sentence why they care- Are they concerned? Do they want something? Are they scared of something? You are defining the wins and losses for the audience, and to be successful you need to address each of these items. Note: “so they will understand” is not a reason for your audience to attend the presentation. They want or are worried about something.
  4. Presentation logistics- You need to write this down as well; consider whether this will be an in-person or electronic communication. Will the audience be able to see a visual presentation, or will it be solely audio? What time of day/week will it take place> Are they going to be at a biorhythm high or low? What are the cultural considerations? How long do you have for the presentation?
  5. List three points you intend to make- This means only three points. People do not remember or even notice anything over three major points, but they also may actually get insulted and feel their time was wasted when only one point is made. This is not an easy step because you have to address all the concerns listed in Step three while still requesting the result of Step 1.
  6. Write the conclusion first- This goes back to Step 1 because people tend to remember the last, most important, and first things they head in a presentation, in that order. Make sure the last thing they hear or see is the very best. This should include all three of your points and a request for your win from Step 1. Please do not end with a question and answer session! This is a guaranteed way to ensure the presentation is less memorable than the odd unanticipated question which inevitably comes up. If you must do a Q&A session, then give your conclusion after that time.
  7. Define a few example stories for the three points- This means only for the three points! If you tell an entertaining story which does not illustrate/support one of those points, you have potentially replaced a significant point with an insignificant piece of entertainment.
  8. Pictures and diagrams- These can be great, but only if they illustrate one of the points. The same risk as Step 7 applies here.
  9. Practice, practice, then practice again- You should have your presentation memorized by the time you finish practicing. This enables you to maintain audience contact as well as bolsters confidence during the actual presentations.
  10. Retrospect- Shortly after the presentation is complete, sit and evaluate your work, consider the message given and the methods you used, and then think carefully about how you handled yourself as the presenter. Write all of these thoughts down so that the next presentation will be even better.

 

Good luck!

4 Key Attributes to Look for When Recruiting Staff

4 Key Attributes to Look for When Recruiting Staff

Knowing who to hire is difficult enough but knowing what to look for in prospective employees doesn't have to be.  Here are four key attributes to look for when hiring new employees:

1.   Ambition

You want to find employees that are not only going to show up to work on time, but that are also going to go out of their way to get things accomplished.  Ambitious employees can also encourage their coworkers to become more ambitious, which can tremendously improve company morale and productivity over time.  When an employee takes charge and finds things that need to be done without waiting for you to instruct them, they not only save you time, but they can also take extra work off of your plate and help their coworkers out if they are struggling.

2.   Honesty

Honest employees are a necessity.  If an employee is honest and straightforward, even about past mistakes, it can make them easier to work with and it can save you the trouble of having to double check everything they do. When you know an employee is honest, you know that you can trust them to do what they are supposed to be doing, and trust that they are doing it right, which saves you from having to check up on them, which means that you are left with more time to do your own work.  Also, with honest employees, comes loyalty, so you don't have to worry about them leaving you on short notice for another job, as they are more likely to be straightforward and tell you beforehand when another opportunity comes along.

3.   Passion

Anyone can show up to a job and do the work, but it is important to find employees that are truly passionate about the work that your company is doing. Not only are people who are passionate about the work that they do more likely to stay with the company in the long run, but they will be more driven and thus more likely to help drive the company towards accomplishing their common goals.  Also, people who are truly passionate about their job are less likely to create unnecessary work drama or simply hang out without doing their work.

4.   Detail-Oriented

Finding employees that see a task as a combination of all of its little parts, rather than one big picture can be valuable for any company.  Seeing the parts that make up a task, ensures that the employee is more able to focus on every part, making them less likely to miss small details in a big task. Over time, production can not only increase, but better end products can be produced, which can mean an increase in clients or sales.

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Three Tips to Deal with Difficult Co-Workers

Three Tips to Deal with Difficult Co-Workers

Working in any job can be difficult but when adding in office politics, work can become almost impossible. Everyone has different personalities and it can be hard to navigate difficult coworkers on a daily basis. Here are three tips to help deal with coworkers so that you can stay focused on your job:

  1. Avoid “watercooler” gossip- It is one thing to come home to your family and friends and blow off a little steam by talking about an incident, but do not discuss these issues at work. It may seem like you can trust your co-workers to remain quiet, in many cases you can, but word spreads like a disease in an office environment and the person you are complaining about will find out. Avoid any extra drama that may be caused by talking about people behind their backs.
  2. Create boundaries- When dealing with difficult coworkers, it is important to maintain a professional relationship; there is no reason you have to be best friends with them. Create boundaries that prevent you having to spend extended amounts of time with any coworker that you have problems with. By limiting the amount of personal time you spend with this co-worker, you can hopefully avoid any extra stress. Try changing the time you eat lunch or taking a walk when you feel any frustration starting to rise. Keep boundaries between your professional interactions and personal ones in order to deal better with a difficult coworker.
  3. Confront them with any major issues- The best way to get rid of any issue with a coworker is to try and work out a solution with them. Do not be rude or try to incite anger; just talk with them about the issue and politely try and come up with a solution that works for both of you. If your co-worker becomes angry or does not agree with a solution, try talking to the HR department about mediation. By allowing issues go unresolved, the tension will continue to rise and it will become more difficult for you to work with your coworker.

All of these tips will help you to better handle working with a difficult coworker, and just remember that they are just one part of the job. You will always have to deal with people you do not like and find ways to handle your differences. This being said, if you feel your coworker is crossing any lines such as harassment, then file a formal complaint with your superior. It is one thing to deal with someone who is very nosy or steals your food, but you do not have to tolerate any illegal harassment. So take charge of your interactions at work and find a way to be comfortable in your office environment. 

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