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Via The Ladders : 7 innovative ways to increase workplace productivity

Regardless of your business field, your employees are what keeps your business going. If they are motivated, healthy, and inspired, they will work better, and consequently, your business will grow. The more efficient they are, the more quality work gets done in less time. However, in order for this to happen and for your employees to stay motivated, the environment they work in needs to inspire productivity. So, here are a few things you can do to boost your employees’ mood and efficiency.

1. Be a good leader

A good leader inspires productivity as well as loyalty since employees are more likely to work hard for you and even look up to you if you show them that you actually care about your business. Moreover, research has shown that workers who consider their boss to be a good leader are much less stressed out at work. So, show passion about your work, keep improving your communication skills even if you think they are already good enough, spend time with your employees, listen to their needs, and keep looking for new creative ways, ideas, and approaches to improve the way your company works.

2. Use positive reinforcement

There are more than a few ways to motivate your employees, but the one that works best is positive reinforcement. This means that you should reward your employees for good work, so they would constantly feel encouraged to work even better. Moreover, introducing the culture of positive reinforcement is not difficult – you just need to come up with rewards that are appropriate for your business field, type of work, number of employees, etc. You can always start small, and as your business grows, your rewards for the people who helped you get where you are should grow as well.

3. Equip your employees with proper tools

In order for your employees to do the best job they could, they need to have the right tools. Of course, this depends on your business field, as not every business uses the same tools. So, for example, if you happen to own a private school, if you’ve been assigned as a director of a public school, or if you’re working in some similar field of education, consider equipping your teachers with a good student management software. It would allow them to track and organize their work much more easily, which would also leave them more time to actually focus on the practical part of their job.

4. Keep training your employees

Confident employees are productive employees, and in order to improve your employees’ confidence in their skills, you need to help them actually improve those skills. So, provide them with all the necessary training, send them to seminars and conferences, organize team-building activities, etc. All of these things can help them become more engaged in the workplace. Moreover, you as a leader can also serve as their mentor, so if there is something you can do really well, teach your assistants. Just keep in mind that this also makes them more valuable to you, so if you want to keep such employees, work on boosting their loyalty to your company as well.

5. Introduce more flexible schedules

Aside from those duties that actually require your employees’ presence, like customer service, office meetings, and similar, most of the schedules can be arranged to fit your employees a bit better. By allowing your employees to adjust their schedules a bit, you’d be helping them achieve a better balance between their private and professional life – and we all know how important that is. It would also allow them to work when they know they feel the most productive, whether that’s early in the morning or late at night. Plus, if you also let them work from home from time to time, you’d definitely boost their loyalty as well.

6. Discourage multitasking

Although multitasking often sounds great and it can feel like a superpower at times, in reality, it can’t do much for the quality of your work. The thing is, every additional task your employees have to do means less dedication to individual tasks. Essentially, it’s nothing more than very fast task switching without much dedication. This is why it’s always best to delegate tasks so they can be performed successfully without too much time pressure.

7. Encourage self-care

In this day and age, avoiding stress completely is near impossible. However, one of the most common causes of stress is work environment. So, the least you could do for your employees is make sure their work environment is as stress-free as possible and encourage them to take care of their well-being. After all, a stressed-out employee is not going to be focused on their work, so forcing them to do that when they aren’t feeling their best can only lead to mistakes that some other team member would have to fix. Therefore, listen to your employees’ needs, and show them that you value things like healthy food choices and good sleep.

For your business to thrive, you need to have productive and skilled employees who care about the quality of their work and want to do their best every day. And, in order for that to happen, you need to provide them with optimal conditions. So, think about the listed suggestions, apply them to your business depending on what type of work you do, pay attention to the needs of your employees, and your business is bound to grow.

Via Times Square Chronicles : 5 Things to Think About When You’re Considering a Career Change

Some of us aren’t sure what our dream job is. Some search for it for a long time. And that’s perfectly fine. Research is continually showing that you’ll have numerous careers in your life. Millennials, for instance, expect to stay in a particular job for less than three years and most will undoubtedly change careers as their idea of a dream job changes.

Whether you’re one year or several into your career, attempting to change your course isn’t easy. In the end, you have a particular set of experiences, skills, and knowledge, and why would you put them aside? However, changing your job is quite possible, as many of us have done it already. Here are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about a career change.

RESEARCH YOUR DREAM JOB

So, maybe you’re thinking about moving into a salesperson role. However, you’re stuck because of something. And you can’t quite figure out what it is. Your colleagues and friends don’t see it either. Therefore, maybe their advice isn’t what you are searching for. Instead, there is a better way.

Talk to people who are already working in sales and to people in your network who are in this industry you want to transfer to. Learn what they do, how they do it, how they got there, and what they think an individual requires to make it in this niche. Especially ask them what skills and talents are required.

We said skill and talents – not years of experience or a job to apply for. Right now, you’re in exploration mode, discovering everything there is to know about your new industry.

LISTEN TO PODCASTS

Not an avid reader? Perfectly fine. Fortunately, there’s a podcast out there for everyone these days – and those related to careers aren’t in shortage. For instance, The Big Payoff is a weekly podcast that deals with the connection between life and work, and all the twists and turns in today’s workplace environment.

The producers of the show are big fans of finding a new career path – one that you will love. Another one that receives excellent reviews is The James Altucher Show, it doesn’t only include interviews with amazing, influential, successful people – it will also make you laugh from the heart and think outside the box.

TAKE AN ONLINE CLASS

There are many online courses out there designed to help you figure out what type of role you’d excel in, or help you develop a plan for obtaining it. Cheap or expensive – you can get something from each and every one.

For instance, you can obtain a Certificate III in Business that is particularly created for persons trying to develop their administrative and business skills. This kind of online course will deepen your knowledge about business ins and outs, which is always a nice bonus for any industry.

Or you can take Career Hacking – a practical and affordable course for identifying a job you’ll like. It also has tips about obtaining your dream job, including how to edit your resume.

TAKE AN ASSESSMENT OF YOUR GENIUS

Most of us don’t stop and take a look at what we can offer. Evaluate your experience and find what skills are transferable – those are the ones you will want to showcase when you’re promoting yourself as a relevant candidate. Ask yourself these five key questions:

  • What skills do I have?
  • What specific outcomes have I achieved?
  • What tasks have I performed?
  • How did I complete those tasks – what qualities did I exhibit while working?
  • What particular experience do I have?

READ ARTICLES

Although this one seems a bit basic, there is so much amazing advice out there. Research, and then some more research is the new motto for anyone in any career. Just like you’re reading this article right now in order to find out how to change your career, you can also read other articles about what skills are needed for your new career, what talents and what kind of mindset is suited for it, etc.

Finally, remember to articulate clearly why you’re a viable candidate who should be hired. In whatever industry you’re moving into, you want to sell yourself in the best possible way. However, you need to do this indirectly and discreetly. Rather than inquiring about open positions, have a casual conversation that demonstrates why you’re equipped to make this transition and what the business (or even the industry) can gain through you.

Via Global LT : 5 TIPS TO BE A SUCCESSFUL INTERCULTURAL LEADER

Globalization trends make it extremely likely that business leaders will need experience managing intercultural teams at some point. Working with people from different cultures, norms, and values has become common within most organizations. People and businesses are communicating virtually across regions that have never been accessible before, and although these new connections open up a world of opportunity, they also come with challenges. Intercultural communication can be complex, but there are methods that you can put in place to help manage your company’s growing interaction with diverse cultures.

Here are five tips for successful intercultural communication:

1. Adaptive Behavior

It’s no secret that one of the most valuable skills a leader can have is the ability to adapt your approach to fit each situation. Scenarios involving diverse cultures may require even more flexibility, as the people you are interacting with vary greatly in their personal and professional understandings. For example, you may be motivated by learning new skills and working with people you consider friends, while others may be motivated by financial achievement or moving up in the company. If you were to apply your motivators to them with your leadership style, you could negatively impact their motivation and create a disconnect.

2. Action then Modification

When faced with a situation that you are unsure of, don’t just think about it. Act, then change your approach if necessary. Ask questions and follow up on your actions to decide how you can tweak your approach. For example, an American manager gives feedback to a Japanese team in a direct style indicative of his culture, but to his team, it feels like a slap in the face. The manager could observe his team’s reaction and alter his feedback to be subtler and more indirect, while still getting his point across.

3. Open-mindedness

You make decisions based on your culture, but others will make different decisions based on theirs. Take the time to try to understand others’ decisions based on their experiences. Even a quick Google search can help you gain more cultural competence and understand a culture other than your own a little better. This can help you adapt your mindset and actions accordingly.

4. Embrace the Unknown

Get used to being uncomfortable and recognize new and puzzling situations as an opportunity for growth. Try to put yourself in new situations on a regular basis, so you become more comfortable dealing with things you aren’t accustomed to.

5. Use Cultural Tendencies with Caution

There are many cultural tendencies that will affect your contact with others in the workplace. Everyone is different, and it is important to use cultural tendencies as a guideline, not a rule. For example, in High-Context cultures such as Asian and Arab cultures, communication tends to be understated and indirect and leave meaning to be read in between the lines. In lower-context cultures such as German and American culture, communication tends to be precise, explicit and direct. Be able to differentiate between these cultural tendencies and remember that cultural tendencies are a spectrum – not confined to just high or low context but anywhere in between.

Via Forbes : Trying To Attract Millennials To Your Organization? It’s All About The Benefits

Millennials (those born between 1980 and the early 2000s) now represent the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, according to Pew Research Center. Not only are millennials the fastest growing workforce, but also they are becoming the new “sandwich generation,” often taking care of younger children and aging parents simultaneously and within the same household. In fact, a record 64 million Americans live in a multigenerational household.

The result is that millennials who have kids and parents under the same roof are going to be carefully considering companies that offer great benefits not only for themselves but for their dependent family members. The numbers are staggering: Pew’s analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that last year, 56 million millennials were working or looking for work — that’s more than the 53 million Generation Xers who make up a third of the workforce.

Appealing To The Millennial Generation

While a lot has been written about millennial traits, a critical look at millennials you know, especially those in the sandwich generation, will likely point you in the right direction to address benefits that are of interest. The millennials I know are technologically savvy, motivated by a variety of tasks and a flexible work schedule, prefer to work in a collaborative team culture and want to work for an environmentally friendly company that gives back to the community, nation and planet.

It will take a commitment from every department to be sure that you offer the right benefits, which can include time off for charity work, paternity and maternity leave, and ridesharing, to name a few. The way you document and share this information can have a significant impact on recruiting and retention success.

Communicating Your Benefits

Your company’s HR and marketing teams must be able to create internal and external content that clearly articulates all your benefits. Most of those benefits are easy to explain. If, for example, your company offers a club/gym membership or has a workout facility on-site, it is pretty straightforward to understand and document. Conversely, selecting the right health care option is complex, impacts the employees’ paychecks and is one of the most important benefits to the sandwich generation.

Helping millennials understand high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) and HSAs should be at the top of the recruiting and new-hire orientation list. Why? Because according to another study by Pew Research Center, 1.2 million millennial women had their first baby in 2016, raising the number of millennial moms to 17 million. Additionally, Visa’s recent presentation at the 2018 ECFC symposium featured research showing that only 35% of millennials own a health savings account (HSA). A great health plan will become a key factor when millennials make a career move or decide to stay with their current employer.

Educating Millennial Employees

Having a great health plan is not enough. It’s important that employers understand these benefits so they can better educate their employees — something I often coach fellow business executives on. Employees need to understand that to have an HSA they need to have an HDHP, which is a plan with lower premiums and higher deductibles than a traditional health plan.

With an HSA, millennials can save money today and set aside money for the future. And when the time comes that they need that money for medical bills, they can have peace of mind knowing that funds are available. Here’s what millennials need to know:

• Money in an HSA can be an investment. Mutual funds, stocks and bonds are often available through a brokerage account. Simply stated, an HSA is a type of retirement account.

• HSA money can be carried over every year. It isn’t like paid vacation time where you “use it or lose it.” It’s important that millennial employees understand this, especially since health care costs typically increase every year.

• The tax advantages are significant. Contributions are pre-tax, free from Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes and grow on a deferred basis. And when millennials need the funds for approved medical expenses, withdrawals are not taxed.

There are a plethora of insights and options to share when it comes to HSAs; this is where your organization can stand out through transparent discussions and resources that can answer questions and provide clear documentation. Here are a few key points to include in HSA communications for millennials:

• An HSA is similar to a regular savings account but with an annual limit.

• In 2019, the HSA contribution limit for employees under the age of 55 will be $3,500 for an individual and $7,000 for a family.

• Employees can also contribute to their HSA outside of payroll, such as through a credit union or bank.

• If the HSA is paired with an HDHP, provide information on whether your company offers a wellness program that can help people stop unhealthy habits like smoking.

• HDHPs with HSAs are usually the least expensive health coverage option for employees.

• Your HSA stays with you during your entire career; it can go with you when you leave the company, or you can open another one.

If your organization puts the time and effort into understanding millennial employees and their evolving family needs, you will be in a great position to recruit and retain a strong workforce. By educating millennials about the investment features an HSA provides, they can make informed decisions about this vital employee benefit not only for themselves but also for their dependent family, all while also planning for retirement. There is a lot at stake.

Via Business Of Fashion : Insider Insight on How to Excel at Job Interviews

According to Musa Tariq, who reached the C-Suite by the age of 35 following roles at Burberry, Apple and Nike, job applicants should not strive to be perfect, but instead strive to be personal. Here, he tells us how.

NEW YORK, United States — Just as workplace dynamics are shifting to account for the impending millennial dominance in the working population by 2020, so too is the process of getting a job.

That’s why BoF has partnered with Musa Tariq for our latest exclusive online course, Build Your Dream Career. Tariq had an impressive career trajectory which saw him appointed chief brand officer of Ford Motor Company aged 35, following senior leadership roles at Nike, Burberry and Apple.

“I want to make sure you are aware of the change in culture and change in time that allows you to be slightly more personal when you’re going through interview processes,” Tariq explains. “Interviews are my most favourite part of the job application. It’s an opportunity to get to know someone.”

BoF sat down with Tariq, to hear about the “tips and tricks on things that I find useful in interviews” and how to differentiate yourself in a competitive market place.

What conversations topics are important to prepare for a job interview?

I’m a big fan of people who have done their homework before they come to an interview — not just on the company, but individuals. When you’re going for an interview, ask the recruitment team, or HR, for a list of the number of people you’re meeting. Spend time doing your homework on each one of these. This is something that’s really simple to do, but you would be surprised by how few people tend to do it.

You should also think about the stories you can tell that make you sound different. It may not be relevant to working in fashion, or in advertising, or marketing, but at the same time, when you take that story and talk about what you learned, it just makes you more human. It just gives you a perspective so that person interviewing you thinks, “Right, this is an interesting person, and someone I could get along with.”

As an interviewer, what do you look for especially in your interviewees?

When you are sitting in the hiring position, you are recruiting people that you will have to spend maybe 6 to 12 hours a day with. I need to know I get along with you. I also need to know that you’re a right cultural fit and that you are as smart as your resume says you are.

I’m not just interviewing you for what you can do, I’m interviewing you to recognise whether you and I can get along together. The more that you and I relate, the more likely I am to feel you are right for the job, that you’re a good cultural fit, and the more likely you are to get the job.

The interview process is also really a way of both them interviewing you, but you interviewing them. If they are not comfortable with the way you behave, the way you talk or the way you dress, then the job is probably not right for you.

In your experience, what interview question are people least prepared for?

The number one question people prepare the least for is: “So tell me about yourself.” In all interview processes I want to get to know you, I want to hear about your story, and we tend not to prepare for this question because fundamentally, we think that’s the bit that we know the most about.

Trying to craft your story is really important. Trying to think about how you’re going to tell that narrative is really important. You are more than just your resume or the number of companies that you’ve worked at — you have a personality. There are stories that will make you well-rounded as an individual.

What advice would you give applicants for after the interview process?

A guaranteed part, towards the end of any interview, is when the interviewer asks if you have any questions. It happens a lot when people say, “No,” and walk out. This is an incredibly missed opportunity and it either means that that person was not listening, that they are not curious enough or they haven’t prepared for this moment. Think about the questions you are going to ask at the end that will have the interviewer thinking differently.

How should you approach an interview that has gone badly?

A terrible interview is not the end of the world. Chances are, if an interview has gone horribly, it is because you did not mesh with that person. This is actually a positive sign because you have recognised that you and the person do not necessarily get along or do not think the same way. You do not want to take a job where you are not going to get along with that person. It will only end up as a bad thing later on.

People aren’t expecting you to be the most perfect candidate for that role. They are looking for someone who is willing to learn because everyone wants people to come into an organisation and learn, and they want you to bring your expertise. It’s that combination that most people are looking for in a role.

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