Professional Development Training: A Win-Win for the Entire Team

Professional development training is overlooked and underappreciated as an employee retention and recruitment tool. In fact, it’s often one of the first things to go when budgets get cut. Here are some reasons why investing in the growth and development of employees is a smart idea that is evergreen.

Offering professional development training programs allows employees to perform better and prepares them for positions of greater responsibility. But it can also help employers attract top job candidates, retain their best workers and identify future leaders. Moreover, ongoing professional development is very appealing to many employees today who are looking to keep their skills relevant in a rapidly changing world.

Investing in each of your workers is beneficial to the whole organization and can boost the bottom line. Following are six rewards you can realize if you support or provide professional development training initiatives:

1. You increase the collective knowledge of your team

Encouraging your employees to train in relevant subjects and applications — an advanced course in a software program they use daily, for example — can have an immediate effect on productivity. Professional development can also help raise overall staff expertise when employees with vastly different backgrounds and levels of experience are encouraged to share information.

Idea: Consider supporting continuing education by offering tuition reimbursement or covering the costs associated with pursuing industry certifications. Paying for employees to take a course offered by a local university or technical school can be a simple but invaluable way to help them grow their skills. You also might invest in a group membership to an e-learning training site, or simply allow employees to view educational webinars during working hours.

2. You boost employees’ job satisfaction

When staff members can do their jobs more effectively, they become more confident. This leads to greater job satisfaction and improved employee retention. There are a range of low-cost professional development training options to choose from, including mentorships, job shadowing and cross training.

Idea: Leverage the expertise you already have within your office. A mentor, for instance, can serve as guide and teacher and help mentees sharpen both their soft skills and technical abilities. Gaining practical knowledge, institutional insights and hands-on guidance is a highly effective way for mentees to become more valuable and versatile employees.

3. You make your company more appealing

When you offer training and development opportunities, you’re building a positive reputation as an employer that cares about its workforce and strives to employ only the best. Your customers and clients will benefit, too, from the high level of efficient service they receive. And keep in mind that your employees are your brand ambassadors. When they attend conferences and seminars, they represent and reflect all that’s good about your organization.

Idea: To encourage knowledge sharing after events, have brownbag lunches or ask team members to lead a meeting to share what they learned at an industry conference. Beyond helping the employee sharpen his or her presentation and teaching skills, these gatherings can boost the group’s knowledge base and help establish a greater sense of camaraderie.

Competitive compensation is critical in the tug-of-war companies are waging over skilled professionals today. As you set compensation levels for new hires and talented team members, be sure to visit Robert Half’s Salary Center.

4. You attract the right kind of in-demand candidates

Do you want to attract the most highly driven and career-focused candidates when you post a job opening? Offer them more than just a competitive salary and benefits; paint an enticing picture of how they can grow professionally or expand the career avenues available to them if they come to work for you.

Idea: In job postings and during interviews, actively promote that your company does all it can to help employees develop and refine their skills. But you should also play up your company’s learning culture and commitment to professional development training when meeting with potential employees at career fairs, conferences, networking lunches and other industry events.

5. You aid your retention strategy

Your workers want to feel like they’re appreciated and making a difference. But they also want to feel like they’re gaining expertise and becoming more well-rounded. If your team members don’t feel challenged, or they sense stagnation in their careers, they’ll look for advancement opportunities elsewhere. Lifelong learning exposes your employees to new experiences and keeps them engaged in their work. Professional development training helps build and maintain enthusiasm, but it also inspires loyalty.

Idea: Make sure employees know that you care about their evolving professional interests and objectives. Check in regularly and communicate your desire to help them build a long-term career with your firm. Giving high-potential team members challenging “stretch assignments” along with ongoing professional development and skill-building opportunities is a winning combination for improved retention.

6. You make succession planning easier

Do you feel like some employees clearly fall into the management material category? Leadership development programs are tools for grooming future leaders for your organization. If you’d like to be able to promote staff to managerial positions in the future, targeted training now can help you ensure your best and brightest are prepared to move up.

Idea: Sending top employees to accredited leadership training seminars and conferences can be a great move. But it’s also important to expose promising candidates for executive- and management-level roles to different parts of your organization. These individuals may even work for other functions temporarily under the tutelage of seasoned leaders in those departments. The purpose of this type of professional development training is to help future leaders gain a more complete understanding of how the business operates, and to acquire a broad set of skills that will help them guide the firm through change.

Finally, set a good example. Reinforce your commitment to professional development training by seeking educational opportunities for yourself. Research from the Center for Creative Leadership finds that it’s increasingly important for company leaders to take charge of their own learning. Plus, your promotion of professional development training to employees will be more impactful if it’s clear that you practice what you preach.

WHAT DO YOUR EMPLOYEES VALUE MOST? TRAINING

According to a Bridge by Instructure survey, training is the most important learning opportunity for job satisfaction, coming in above mentorship, a tuition reimbursement program, sabbaticals, and international fellowships.

We all know training is important for a company or organization to be successful and stay current, but many companies do not realize how important training is to their employees, or how much their employees value training programs. Bridge by Instructure conducted a survey of more than 1,000 working men and women across the U.S. that shows just how important training in the workplace is to employees.

According to the results, training is the most important learning opportunity for job satisfaction, coming in above mentorship, a tuition reimbursement program, sabbaticals, and international fellowships.
Some other interesting facts about training that the survey revealed include:

Both men and women noted that informational training is key to their satisfaction at work. In the next five years, continuous learning opportunities about their industry are what employees want most.

Men and women have slightly different opinions about the different types of learning at work. After training, men care more about mentorship (8% vs. 5% want it), while women care more about tuition reimbursement (14% vs. 10% want it).

Offsite training is another type of training companies should consider as 17% of employees reported their company does not offer offsite learning/training opportunities.

What does all this information mean for employers? Companies need to ensure they are offering adequate learning opportunities for their employees. As companies review the benefits they offer to employees, training should be top on the list of priorities.

8 Results-Driven Reasons You Need Employee Engagement

Andrew Carnegie once said, “You must capture and keep the heart of the original and supremely able man before his brain can do its best.”

Although Carnegie wasn’t explicitly talking about employee engagement, this quote perfectly illustrates how vital it is to engage your employees so they will be happier and perform to the best of their abilities.

Unfortunately, employee engagement is sometimes an afterthought. Instead, engaging employees should be practiced at all levels of the business hierarchy and cultivated on a regular basis.

Studies show that less than a third of American workers are engaged at their jobs, so there is definitely room for improvement. But why exactly does employee engagement matter?

Here are eight reasons why employee engagement is vital to your company.

Employee Engagement Helps Cause Marketing

1. Employee Engagement Can Help Your Cause Marketing
If your nonprofit takes up a particular cause throughout the year or during a specific time period, having engaged employees is a must.

Nothing is worse than trying to get people on board with a cause they don’t care about or making them participate in an event that they don’t want any part of.

But engaged employees can be a boon for your company’s cause marketing efforts.

Engaged employees enjoy being part of a solution. They like to participate in events and volunteer with nonprofits.

Employees who are engaged at work will be more than willing to help out when the company they work for pursues a noble cause.

Better Engagement Means Better Productivity

2. Better engagement means better productivity
Corporations whose employees are engaged perform better than companies whose employees are not by over 200%.

When employees are engaged at work, they feel a connection with the company. They believe that the work they’re doing is important and therefore work harder.

According to Gallup, the lack of employee engagement costs American businesses anywhere from $450 billion to $550 billion a year when workplace accidents, absenteeism, and larger heath care costs are factored in. This massive chunk of money could significantly shrink if more companies emphasized employee engagement.

Engaged Employees are Less Likely to Quit

3. Engaged employees are less likely to quit
If you’re completely happy and content in a relationship, why would you break up with your significant other?

You probably wouldn’t.

The same principle goes for employees’ relationships with their employers. Nearly $11 billion is lost due to annual employee turnover.

But, if the members of your team are engaged and feel appreciated, they are less inclined to look for other employment opportunities. Fostering a culture of employee engagement can be the key to reducing turnover rates and boosting employee retention.

If employees feel needed and wanted when they go into work each day, the connections they form with the company and their other coworkers are not easily eroded. By cultivating and maintaining these relationships, you reduce the risk that your employees will quit.

Engaged Employees Bring a Positive Attitude

4. Engaged employees are positive
Workers who feel disconnected and disengaged are more likely to have negative things to say about your company. If a disengaged employee leaves or is fired, they are able to vent their frustrations on any number of social forums and sites.

Because negative feedback tends to be magnified more than positive, your company’s reputation and credibility could be damaged due to a single disengaged, disgruntled employee.

Conversely, engaged employees are positive and have enthusiastic things to say about where they work. Whether they are bragging about their job to customers or simply telling friends and family how much they enjoy working, employees who are engaged will help spread good news about your company.

Employees are Satisfied when they’re Engaged

5. Employees feel satisfied when they’re engaged
Employee engagement isn’t just beneficial for your company, however. Employees who are engaged at work feel satisfied with their careers and are generally happier individuals than employees who aren’t engaged.

It’s important to remember that boosting employee engagement isn’t simply about creating more productive, robotic employees and increasing profits. Employee engagement is advantageous for both parties and should be treated as a two-way street.

One of the biggest advantages to increased employee engagement is that you’ll be surrounded by happy workers who enjoy coming to work nearly every day. Engaged employees are cheerful employees.

Engaged Employees are More Philanthropic

6. Engaged employees are more philanthropically minded
Employees who are engaged at work want to know that the company they work for cares about the community. If the company encourages volunteerism or provides matching gift or volunteer grant programs, engaged employees are more likely to take advantage of these opportunities to donate their time and money toward worthy causes.

Learn how to use matching gift programs to foster employee engagement.

By creating an atmosphere of corporate philanthropy, you can not only help employees contribute to nonprofit organizations, but you can also help them feel more engaged and fulfilled at work.

Discover the top ways corporate philanthropy can help your company increase employee engagement.

Engaged Employees are Better Communicators

7. Engaged employees are better communicators
Employees who care about their jobs are more effective communicators with their coworkers, leaders, and customers alike. Disengaged workers may mindlessly go through their day without remembering any of the conversations that they had (if they had any at all!).

Engaged employees, however, will engage each other in stimulating discussions that could turn into productive brainstorming sessions. Incorporating a culture of employee engagement can not only help employees connect with one another, but it can also help create new innovations and ideas.

Engaged Employees are More Creative

8. Engaged employees are more creative
All of the conversations that will spring up within your company because of increased employee engagement have the potential to make your employees more creative.

Disengaged employees rarely produce new solutions or bring innovative ideas to the table; they have little interest in contributing to the bigger picture or being creative with their job.

Engaged employees, on the other hand, find creativity to be essential. They thrive on knowing that they can find new ways of completing tasks and projects and are always looking for fresh takes on old ideas.

By creating an atmosphere of employee engagement, you can not only boost productivity and profits, but you can also help your employees reach their full potential and look forward to coming to work each day. Your workers will feel more satisfied and content with their careers, and your company will benefit from higher productivity and profits.

Learn more about increasing employee engagement. We at Infuenz can help create a better process of engagement to bring out better connectivity with employees.

Comment and like this post and let us know. We can be reached at +91-9999566706 or influenz.training@gmail.com

 

The Reason Why Most Businesses Struggle

Lack of fundamental business building knowledge is really the primary cause for so much struggling and time wasting, it’s sad. It’s the reason why the overwhelming majority of people new to running businesses will fail in achieving their dreams even if they plan their products, study the market religiously and work extremely hard.

In this article, I’m going to address the issues I see. And you will gain clarity about your relationship to your business that you’ve never had before.

Putting it Into Perspective

Before we dive in, we need to step back and put business into perspective. You need to see how it fits into the larger world of “business.”

Looking at how traditional business evolves will give you some idea of where the current state of business is, and how it’s changing. Understanding the current state (maturity) of online and offline business is critical to your long term success.

Practically every week, I see business that are successful offline that want to bring their niche marketing online. You also have very successful direct response companies that have already made the transition to the online world that are continually looking for hot niches where they can point their deep resources of talent. Oh yes, let’s not forget you also have all the other Internet marketers who are looking for hot niches, too. This means there are an awful lot of people out there looking to take your lunch money!

But before I go any further, I want to share what a shoplifting prevention expert once shared with me. He told me that the sensors on the clothing and the guards roaming around the store were not really about catching shoplifters, it was to make your store less appealing than other stores to shoplift in.

Ultimately you want to create the same effect in the niche that you operate in. You should build a business that works so well, where you are so strong, it makes competing with you undesirable.

The good news is that you still have time. You can still stake out your niche and build a real business in it, but the opportunity won’t last forever.

Obstacles To Achieving Your Business Success

Now that you know you should be focused on building a real business, let’s take a look at the obstacles you might face in actually creating a real business that has staying power.

Here’s an example of one fundamental problem most Internet marketers experience.
Symptoms: Selling anything that looks like it’ll make you money, and getting no results.

Cause: Opportunistic thinking.

Business Problem: Lack of Strategy

The very first obstacle we need to look at is you and your thinking.

The way I see things is that there are two different diametrically opposing ways of thinking when it comes to building a business and making money . There’s opportunistic thinking and strategic thinking.

An opportunity seeker is always looking for their big opportunity to make lots of money from the hot opportunity of the moment. Their only criteria is, “Can I make money from this?” So today it’s this bright concept, tomorrow it’s something else, and yesterday it was some other hot concept already forgotten.

A true entrepreneur, on the other hand, has a clear vision of what they want the business to become. Because they have a vision, they can analyze their own strengths, their competitor strengths, the marketplace preferences and devise different strategies for achieving their vision. The entrepreneur knows that their biggest opportunity is always inside their business, following their ideal strategy, and not the hot product of the week.

And here’s the rub. The overwhelming majority of businessmen are nothing more than opportunity seekers.

They have no strategy, they hop from one approach to another, and while they may have some arbitrary income goal they have no vision of the business they would need to create in order to achieve it. And since they don’t have a clear vision they cannot follow any sort of detailed plan to accomplish it.

Poor Business Design Results In You Doing All The Work

But we can dive a lot deeper into a business. It’s not so simple. We can break out each of these areas into smaller functions – the actual stuff that needs to get done.

Let’s take a look at what each of these activities consists of…

Marketing activities include: Articles, Products, eBooks & Physical books, apps, Content pages for SEO, Graphics, Blog Posts & Podcasts.

List activities include: List building tactics, List management, Segmenting, Deliverability.

Finance activities include: Merchant accounts, Paying affiliates, Accounts payable, Vendor sourcing, Budgets, Taxes, Insurance, Payroll, Accounts receivable.

Traffic activities include: SEO, Link buying, Link building, JV recruitment, Viral programs, Pay-per-click, Blogs, Buying existing and expired domains, RSS feeds, Banner advertising.

Client relationships activities: Getting testimonials, Customer service, Free offers, Return processing, Fulfillment.

Marketing analysis includes: Niche detective, Surveys, Keyword research, Up-sells, Backends, Bumps.

Business building activities: Acquisition of related business,

Tax filings.

Affiliate marketing activities: Scanning of programs, Finding out which affiliate programs you should be a member of so you can promote other people’s products.

And after breaking out all the activities that need to take place in your Internet business (and by no means is this exhaustive) you are left with a business model that is quite ridiculous.

Now isn’t that ridiculous?

And here’s the really crazy part, even though this is the model that most businesses are following, do you know what they spend an overwhelming amount of time on? Searching for more activities, tactics, and tricks to squeeze in to the chart above… its crazy isn’t it? It screams OPPORTUNIST!

Let me clue you in on a small piece of advice. As long as your organizational chart looks like the “YOU” chart that just blew you away, you’ll always be spinning your wheels wondering why you are not achieving the level of success you’ve always wanted.

Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, or Friends: Pick 3

Randi Zuckerberg. CREDIT: Getty Images

Randi Zuckerberg calls this the entrepreneur’s dilemma. Does it ring true for you?

Want to see your kids, keep fit, and keep your business going? Forget sleep, according to this formula. And you won’t be spending much time with your friends, either. As Zuckerberg explains in this short interview, for her, fitness and friends often fall by the wayside, a sad reality but one she’s willing to level with the world about.

Some founders agree.

This sounds harsh, but it’s true, according to a recent interview with Storenvy founder Jon Crawford on Founder Dating. “Work, sleep, family, fitness, or friends–pick three. It’s true. In order to kick ass and do big things, I think you have to be imbalanced. I’m sure there are exceptions, but every person I’ve seen riding on a rocket ship was imbalanced while that rocket ship was being built. You have to decide if you want it,” Crawford declares.

“If you want to spend a lot of time with your friends and see all the Oscar-nominated movies and get good sleep at night and exercise, then it’s going to be hard to give a start-up everything it needs. If you care about your startup more than you care about all those things, then go for it. But it comes with sacrifice,” he says, leveling with would-be founders. Along similar lines, other entrepreneurs (or more often ex-entrepreneurs) have confessed that the start-up lifestyle and family life can be an impossible balance.

Is this true for you?

Zuckerberg’s hard formula has the benefit of concision and clarity, and the endorsement of Crawford and others, but I’m curious, is it true for you? Several high-profile entrepreneurs, such as Basecamp co-founder and CTO David Heinemeier Hansson, have publicly declared that they can get all the work required for their start-up to succeed done in a moderate 40 hours a week, leaving, presumably, enough time for exercise, family, friends, and fitness (or at least more than two of those).

Are these apparently more balanced founders benefiting from special circumstances? Are they painting a slightly rosier than reality picture of their workloads and lifestyle for public consumption? What do you think?

Is Zuckerberg’s formula too gloomy, or refreshingly honest?

Please Comment and Like so that we know that we are reaching you in the best way. Thank You

6 Tips for Managing a Small Business Finances

finance_budget

Every company, big or small, is always concerned about one thing – managing money. Proper financial management is crucial to surviving a volatile economy and the industry competition. Small businesses, especially, need to exercise caution with their financial decisions from the very beginning. It takes more than just a good idea to run a business. Every business needs a financial structure that generates a profit to stay credible. Entrepreneurs need is to be equipped with good money management abilities to turn their venture into a success story.

Not all business owners, however, are adept at handling finances. But that doesn’t mean all hope is lost.

Here are 6 tips for managing small business finances.

Educate Yourself

One of the first things that you should do is educate yourself about the various aspects of finance. For starters, learn how to read financial statements (if you don’t already know how). This is one important statement that tells you all about your money – where it originated from, how many hands it changed, and where it is.

Financial statements contain 4 essential details – cash flow statement, income statement, balance sheet, and statement of shareholders’ equity. The cash flow statement analyzes operating activities, investments, and financial in/outflow. The balance sheet provides information related to the company’s assets, liabilities and shareholder’s equity. The income statement reflects the revenue earned within a specific period of time. Shareholder’s equity represents the amount by which the company is financed through common and preferred shares.

Separate Personal and Business Finances

Always keep your personal and business finances separate. This entails getting a business credit card and putting all related expenses on it. This should help you track your outlays and keep you in control.

You will also do well in opening a savings account dedicated to your business, wherein you can transfer a certain amount of money from each payment that you receive and gradually build a considerable corpus. You can use this money to pay taxes.

Cut Costs

It is important that entrepreneurs stay tight-fisted to keep their expenses in check without hampering customer satisfaction. This, especially, holds true for small businesses.

Every business endures 2 types of costs – fixed and variable. While fixed costs have to be borne irrespective of whether your business is making money or not, there is scope for savings in variable costs.

For example, instead of buying costly branded software, you could work with free, cloud-based, open-source software, which is equally good. Conduct free online calls, video conferences instead of travelling lost distances. You could also try bartering your services with other professionals and cut costs.

Invest in Cloud-based Accounting Software

While you can definitely download regular accounting software to manage your finances, it will never give you the kind of convenience cloud-based accounting software can.

Web-based software provides you with real-time insights as most allow you to store, update, track, and access data from anywhere at any time. Whether you’re at home, office or are travelling, you can conveniently work with your data from anywhere you like. It is error-free, hassle-free and dependable.

Monitor and Measure Performance

It is crucial that you, as a business owner, keep tabs on the movement of your money, especially when large amounts are involved. Keep looking at your company’s financial performance in comparison to the past financial statements to project your future revenue, expenses and cash flow.

Being aware of these aspects will help you make informed decisions for your business.

Hire Professional Help

Everyone needs help, especially a budding entrepreneur interested in making a huge success of his venture. Sometimes, it pays off to engage the services of an expert, even if it is on a part-time basis. They can help you determine where your business is, where it is heading by using and analyzing your data. Make sure you hire someone you trust, though.

Whether it is tax planning for the next financial year, or payment for the current year, their expertise can go a long way in guiding you and bringing you peace of mind.

Conclusion

While owning and running your own business can be exciting, it can also be nerve-wracking, especially when it comes to handling finances in a lucrative manner. Don’t let your business suffer due to poor money management. Keep the above tips in mind and give your venture a bright future.

Ease of doing Business or Easy Business

easy business

Browse through the mission, vision, or value statements that corporations post on their websites, and you’ll notice that almost every company includes a statement about integrity. And if you Google the following examples, you’ll find that many companies use these stock phrases:

“We combine integrity with excellence…”
“We act with integrity in all we do.”
“We hold honesty and integrity as our guiding principles.”
“We are proud of the integrity, sincerity and transparency our employees demonstrate every day.”

Morally upright statements, right? But have you ever wondered why they are needed in the first place? After all, integrity should be the basic building block for doing business: Nobody wants to get involved with a company that lies, cheats, and tricks its customers; nor do people want to work for a company (or a manager) that is dishonest and disingenuous with employees. In other words, integrity should be a given, without the need to trumpet its existence. As one senior executive said to me, “Integrity is a threshold characteristic for our people — if they don’t have it, they aren’t here.”

Yet it’s not that simple, for two reasons: First is the innate human ability to rationalize behavior. For example, if you ask high school students whether or not it is right to cheat, most will say that cheating is wrong. Yet research suggests that as many as 95% of such students admit to having engaged in some form of cheating. Most of the time, this involves a specific incident where the students had to make a choice. In hindsight, the students justify the choice as “not really cheating,” “no big deal,” or something that “everyone else does.” In other words, they rationalize their situational behavior, and this way they can still consider themselves to be honest.

The reality is that all of us (and not just students) face integrity-based choices on a regular basis. Do we tell customers about all of the warts on our products? Do we reveal everything to a prospective buyer during due diligence? Is it acceptable to hide certain aspects of our background in a résumé? What’s considered a legitimate expense on a business trip? How much of billable time is really devoted to a client? How honest should I be when giving feedback to my boss or subordinate? None of these situations have clear answers — and no corporate policy can cover every contingency. As a result, no matter what choice we make, we can convince ourselves that it was made with integrity.

And that leads to the second reason why integrity is so difficult: Everyone defines integrity differently. Falsifying information to one person might be considered an acceptable business practice to another. This is further exacerbated by differences in culture — for example in some business cultures people are expected to openly do favors for each other, while in other cultures those favors would be considered bribes.

The power of rationalization and the difficulties of definition reveal integrity as a subject that is neither easy nor simple. That’s why solely relying on compliance functions, policies, rules, and audits — the integrity police — is usually inadequate. These mechanisms guard against gross and clearly illegal violations of integrity standards, but they do not deal with the integrity choices that we face every day. These choices require personal judgment.

In some ways the value statements about integrity are meant to remind us that integrity is not just a corporate responsibility, but a personal one as well. If you are a manager, you can apply these values by setting aside time with your team to share integrity dilemmas and choices and discuss the thinking behind individuals’ decisions. Make sure these meetings take place in a “safe” environment, where people can openly share their thoughts. If you hold these discussions regularly, you’ll gradually get beyond the rationalizations and develop more common definitions of what is acceptable and what is not — which is the essence of an integrity culture.

What’s your experience with making integrity more than just a word in your company’s mission statement?

Please like and comment to let us know your viewpoint