It’s often said that the company is only as good as its employees. This is true, but it’s only the half the story. The company should always strive to get the most out of its employees by creating the atmosphere that fosters productivity and collaboration.
This is only partly about money and bonuses. It’s mostly about making your employees feel appreciated and a part of a team that values their strengths and talents.
Match tasks to skills
The first thing every manager needs to deal with is how to delegate the right task to the right employee. This is an especially difficult task in a small company that has limited resources and almost all employees need to pitch in on all positions. This often means that the strengths of various employees aren’t being utilized properly. It isn’t only bad for productivity but for morale as well.
Research shows that revenue is directly correlated to the allocation of labor. The only way to accomplish this is to know your employees and to focus on what they could bring to your company. Specializations such as this may take longer and be more expensive, but they’re a more productive way to go in the long run.
Every business owner knows that time is the most important resource. Most of the time is wasted because the team in your company isn’t communicating effectively. It’s your job to set up clear communication channels and to allow the employees to contribute to the process in an open and fair way.
It’s also of great importance to prepare for possible conflicts, because there are going to be some. The company should be a platform where everyone can express their problems and concerns. That’s the only way to discuss issues that might arise among coworkers.
Keep goals clear and focused
The biggest confusion within a company probably comes from not having clear goals for the employees. This happens when goals are too broad and thus the employee is left on their own to choose how much to do and when to do it. However, a problem could also arise by making the goals too specific and hand-holding the employee too much.
According to one study, workers can be up to 15% more productive if they have a clear task delegated to them. This process should be prepared in advance and carefully studied.
Cut out the excess
One of the most important pieces of productivity advice out there is to limit the number of tasks you do per day. Employees often have one or two really important things to do on any particular day and lots of smaller and mundane tasks.
These less important tasks take their toll and waste a lot of time. Try to avoid assigning less important tasks on the days when there’s real work to be done. It’s probably best to assign a particular day or week to deal with less important projects.
Train and develop employees
A lot of companies are afraid of providing their employees with in-house training and development. They believe it’s an expensive proposition and there’s a good chance the employee will leave the company after they’ve acquired the skills needed to move on.
That’s a mistake, research shows that providing employees with proper training affects both their productivity and overall job satisfaction. It might even have the opposite effect and make the employee more loyal to the company by making them feel like a part of a team.
Provide proper equipment
Companies are relying on having the right equipment and tech more than ever. This is one area where you can’t lag behind or you’re going to get crushed. There are ways to accomplish this if you’re just starting out, like renting or sharing equipment before you get on your feet.
When this is the case, you must try to personalize the computers for each employee. Setting up a unique infrastructure for your organization as a part of your IT-cloud solution will allow each of the users to keep track of their data. This is especially important if it’s sensitive and confidential.
In the end, try to collect feedback from your employees about the state of affairs within the company. These types of reviews are very important to get a feel for how employees are working in a team and how to improve this facet of their working experience. It also helps the company reward those employees that really deserve it.
Don’t hesitate to give rewards when they are due. They don’t always have to be in the form of bonuses; sometimes a pep talk and a handshake are all that it takes.
There are ways to improve staff productivity without breaking the bank. All you need to do is to understand your business and your employees and to match one with the other.
The way you measure profit can make all the difference in the world as to the way you run your business and the decisions you make. And I’m not talking to the controller or even the CFO; they are primarily concerned with accuracy, adhering to professional accounting standards (i.e. GAAP or FASB). I am instead talking the CEO, president or those with P&L responsibility who need to make decisions based on the real performance of the company. This is often called “management accounting.”
Let’s start with the big divide, which is choosing between a cash basis or an accrual accounting system. To determine the performance of business one usually uses an accrual system so that, for example, the way bills are paid does not distort the real performance of the company. For instance, if one forgets to pay their rent in one month and profits are higher, that does not mean the company is doing better; conversely if one doubles up next month and pays last month’s rent as well as this month’s rent it, does not mean that they are suddenly doing worse.
Accrual accounts book rent as an accrued expense in the month it should have been paid and does not double count rent in the following month, but treats it as a prepaid liability. Similarly, if one has a big Christmas party in December as a reward for a great year, they should accrue for that expense each month as one-twelfth of the estimated cost. Otherwise, December may look terrible when it really wasn’t. Not all costs can be anticipated, but with a bit of planning, a good many things can be anticipated and dealt with in this manner.
Additionally, owner’s compensation cost for small, private companies should be adjusted to reflect the fair market compensation and cost. Otherwise the owner can pay out all of the profits in compensation cost and totally distort the true profitability of the company.
Other things that distort a company’s activity include not matching up revenue with expenses that are related to those revenues. For example, if a sale is made in the first month and the commission or other compensation is not paid two months later, that expense should be accrued for in month one so we don’t overstate profit in that first month and understate it in the third month.
There are many other similar situations that arise, but I think this illustrates the available choices. One can always revert from an accrual to a cash basis by registering changes in the balance sheet, providing both a management P&L — which gives a more accurate picture of the company’s operating performance — as well as a cash flow statement that reflects how much money is paid out and reflects a check book approach to accounting.
It’s evident that technology is causing disruption in every industry — and finance and accounting professionals are not immune to these new innovations. According to Randstad Professionals’ whitepaper on Technology’s Impact on Finance and Accounting, robotics will automate or eliminate up to 40% of transaction accounting work by 2020. However, with the right approach, employees can work alongside technology to improve their work, and ultimately provide better recommendations for their clients and stakeholders.
The shift from traditional skills to being digitally dexterous is here and finance and accounting professionals must rise to the challenge in order to meet workplace expectations. Those who are eager to learn relevant skillsets will see technology serve as a tool rather than a hindrance in the following capacities:
The pace of technology is only going to increase and promises to deliver more over time. Its permanence is undeniable and employees who fail to embrace it will lose out on the benefits of innovation. Accounting and finance professionals need to begin future-proofing their career by learning, adapting and evolving your skills beyond those that are subject to automation. And, they need to start now.
To learn how to embrace technological disruption in a post-digital age, download Randstad Professionals’ latest whitepaper on Technology’s Impact on Finance and Accounting.
Questions redefine relationships between people – when I am “advising” or “managing,” I am the expert. But when I’m “asking” you for your ideas, I’m a peer. Questions honor you as a person and communicate your value as an equal. Ask open-ended probing questions like, “Will you help me understand things from your point of view?” or, “Might there be other ways of looking at this?”
And because this asking approach changes the relationship, it also changes you. Think of an instance when you left a conversation thinking, “Well, that was one-sided! The whole thing was about him.” We all hate it when others can’t stop talking about their own thoughts and ideas, but we’re blind to how often we do it ourselves.
Organizations would be wise to put more emphasis on training staff how to approach and execute meaningful conversations – and it all starts with questions. This is when the magic happens. Individuals, teams, and their organization begin to blossom and flourish around effective communication.
Train on generational similarities, not generational differences: Emotional intelligence and conversational capacity
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is an ability to recognize and understand our emotions so to manage our reactions. Emotions are not a choice and you cannot manage them. They are psychological reactions to events in life and can only affect you. On the contrary, you can (and should) manage your reactions to these feelings. This is where we can get into trouble because our reactions will be perceived as good or bad – and they affect everyone.
When employees are well versed in self-awareness and self-management, productive communication occurs. This then leads to heightened conversational capacity.
What is conversational capacity?
“Conversational capacity isn’t just another aspect of effective teamwork — it defines it. A team that cannot talk about its most pressing issues isn’t really a team at all. It’s just a group of people that can’t work together effectively when it counts.” – Craig Weber, Author of Conversational Capacity
Like EQ, conversational capacity is about approaching conversations, being genuinely open, really asking, and paying attention to the other person’s response. It’s about interrogating the issue and not the person. When people engage in this everybody gets to advance towards their better selves, as individuals and together as a team.
While the workplace may be in constant change, one thing will remain the same, our need for communication with others. Here at the JFC Staffing Companies, we treat dialogue as a discipline. It begins with the onboarding process when new hires go through three training sessions with me personally (CEO aka Chief Enthusiasm Officer). The idea is to set our people up for success when communicating with others. After all, communicating in open, balanced, meaningful ways creates winning mindsets, winning teams, and winning organizations. Who doesn’t want that?
My closing advice to the managers reading this: Exhausting precious time and energy on all the differences between generations is futile. Focus on what each era needs, which is meaningful communication with others. Invest in training your people to have meaningful conversations. Once mastered, everything else seems more manageable and conquerable within multigenerational teams.
Reach out to me if you’re interested in learning more about these topics. I offer insight/training, free of charge, to area businesses as my way of giving back to the community that I live and work in.
Picture the scene; you have a recent graduate working alongside her seasoned 58-year-old colleague on a critical project. Both are working toward the same goal, yet each come with a different set of expectations and views of the task at hand.
Stacy’s new ideas are clashing with what Bill’s many years of experience tells him and tensions start building. What happens next?
It’s safe to say that workforce trends have shifted over the past decade. For the first time in history, we have five generations working side by side; Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, and Millennials. Instead of embracing the many perspectives, we muse on how perceived differences of others hold us back from achieving “workplace Nirvana.” You’ve heard the stereotypes: Baby Boomers are stodgy workaholics, Gen X is callously indifferent, and Millennials are lazy with a false sense of entitlement. It’s safe to say that each generation brings its own priorities, interests and communication style.
Clearly, people of various ages view their workplace differently. However, this is not the likely culprit for generational conflict. The conflict has less to do with age differences than it does with miscommunication. Whether this multi-generational workforce is viewed as happy and productive or challenging and stressful is, in large part, up to one thing – conversations.
Think about it. No matter your age or your profession, the one thing you will have almost every day is a conversation with another human being. No matter the generation differences we all want to have a voice and be heard. Therefore, communication is increasingly important in present times. Yes, it is such a cliché term. Yet when you really think about it, each conversation has the power to either advance or derail teamwork and progress towards goals.
Thus, when it comes to addressing five generations in the workplace, focus on the common daily activity each will have: conversations. Take for instance what Susan Scott of Fierce Conversations says:
“Our work, our relationships, and our lives succeed or fail one conversation at a time. While no single conversation is guaranteed to transform a company, a relationship, or a life, any single conversation can. Speak and listen as if this is the most important conversation you will ever have with this person. It could be. Participate as if it matters. It does.”
Whether you are a Traditionalist, a Millennial, or anything in between; connversations are what bind people together in work and in life. How we approach our communication with others will be a decisive factor in our success. It is as simple and complex as that.
Too often people hastily enter conversations through a lens of “judgment” where we are bent on winning the dialogue. This is when we interrupt by talking over the person speaking, jump in with a declaration before the issue has been clarified, and/or respond quickly with little or no thought. The end result with this approach is never optimum.
What we should do is silence our inner biases so to enter conversations from a place of wonder and curiosity. This is when we resist our primal hard wiring of fight or flight and remain present in the conversation. We seek to understand the other person’s point of view. Rather than cast judgement, we work to identify why each side might see things differently. This is made possible when we ask questions to frame the issue(s) at hand.
Herein lies the key to addressing multiple generations in the workforce; train your entire organization how to approach conversations with more questions than declarations.
We’ve heard a lot about the nursing shortage that has impacted healthcare. The gap is projected to grow as patient demand increases and healthcare professionals reach retirement. This scenario has been a cause for panic, pressuring provider organizations to ramp up their recruitment efforts.
The nursing shortage is problematic – impacting staff morale, patient satisfaction and quality of care. While provider organizations may feel overwhelmed and unable to control this lack of nursing resources, there are opportunities to leverage the workforce they currently have to mitigate problem.
It’s not an easy pill to swallow to realize that organizations’ staffing and scheduling practices have fed their own nursing shortage. But that’s the reality for many organizations. The good news is that with the right tools and strategies, it is within their realm of control to fix. Three overlooked practices that are attributing to their staffing dilemma are:
When feeling understaffed, the first metric to monitor is “FTE leakage.” This refers to the hours lost due to core staff not being scheduled to their FTE commitment. For example, Nurse Jane carries a 0.9 FTE commitment, so is expected to work 72 hours within a two-week period. In one week Jane works 36 hours, but in week two she calls in sick for a 12-hour shift and does not work any hours to make up for the missed shift. The FTE leakage caused by Jane’s failure to either work or submit benefit time is 12 hours. As a result of these lost hours, FTE leakage creates a unit’s own nursing shortage. This requires the organization to fill these shifts with more expensive contingency labor – core staff in overtime or float resources – or pull staff from other units to cover the need.
Not scheduling to volume patterns
Scheduling that is not aligned with patient demand is typically at the root cause of staff shortages. The number of core staff scheduled for each shift should vary according to the trends in patient volume and predicted demand. For example, if a unit experiences its peak volumes on Wednesdays and Thursdays, the number of staff on those days should be higher than the number of staff on days with lower volumes. Establishing the correct number of core staff in a facility relative to that unit’s forecasted demand, and scheduling staff to that demand, reduces instances of over or under staffing.
Turnover related to scheduling issues
Core staff working on a unit that is constantly understaffed, forcing them into extra hours and overtime, is quickly going to become frustrated and burned out. Exhausting your core staff leads to job dissatisfaction and them seeking options outside of the organization. Turnover is costly for organizations, and a high turnover rate can significantly impact revenue. With the average cost of nurse turnover ranging $35,000 to$50,000 per RN, there are significant cost-savings opportunities associated with retention efforts.
While recruitment of new staff takes a concerted effort, there are strategic ways an organization can leverage the workforce they currently have to mitigate understaffing problems. Predictive analytics can accurately forecast staffing needs months in advance, allowing provider organizations to optimize their staff and schedule to demand. Technology-enabled solutions are also able to effectively monitor if staff are meeting their FTE commitments each schedule period, reducing instances of FTE leakage. Creating more accurate schedules sooner and ensuring core staff is working to their commitments will improve staff morale, ultimately having a positive impact on patient care.
It’s not a new concept. Plumbers, electricians and graphic designers all engage in short-term contracts with little conventional job security. Retail, healthcare and academia industries operate zero-hour contracts too. It’s estimated 20% to 30% of the US population is engaged in the gig economy in some way.
The line of difference between the old and the new, and one reason for such recent buzz, is the interface through which consumers and businesses engage these services. An app versus a recommendation from a friend paints a more transient and transactional picture of employment.
Technology has been the catalyst. Uber, Deliveroo, TaskRabbit and countless jobbing platforms have disrupted the service model putting flexibility, options and opportunities (literally) in the palm of our hands.
For these jobbers, barriers to entry are low, although reputation (in the form of reviews) is vital to survival. Consumer loyalty is to the platform, not the person, and here’s where the murky waters creep in.
For some, the gig economy is an opportunity. It means freedom or a chance to supplement income with a flexible, low-maintenance boost.
For others, it’s a challenge. Workers’ rights are diminished. Income is reduced. Amazon’s workhouse treatment of its staff was well documented in BBC’s 2013 exposé.
So, what of the future of the gig economy? How will this marketplace evolve to accommodate an empowered workforce and demanding consumers? What will businesses have to do to stay ahead of the gig economy curve?
Know the next generation
When you’ve witnessed numerous institutions collapse and the life expectancy of a Fortune 500 company fall by half, following in the footsteps of the old is not an attractive path.
Millennials want to go their own way, and they have the technology and confidence to do so. A career for life is no longer the raison d’etre and when the next gig is around the corner, why stay? Meanwhile, values-based decision making means financial remuneration no longer cuts it.
Step up, don’t cough up
Businesses are tackling this in numerous ways. Some design state-of-the-art Google-like offices. Others ensure there’s meaningful work at hand along with interesting and varied career progression, playing to the desire to have a ‘portfolio career’. Now and in the future, businesses must attract and retain talent through passion and purpose. Start with why, as Simon Sinek would say.
Embrace freedom through technology
Commuting is down 6%. Given the reputation of certain British train operators in populous areas of the UK, one wonders if that statistic is fed by those frequent commuting dilemmas alone.
Regardless, the desire to work from home (or anywhere) is held by employees across all age groups. And technology means it is a genuine reality.
Technology remotely connects a workforce. It enables parents to work flexibly, without the shackles of a long commute. It increases productivity and eliminates unnecessary meetings. With people working and living in the same area, it has the potential to build communities, reduce transportation costs and pollution, too.
“Digital readiness” embraces the cloud and businesses looking to inspire trust and loyalty in their recruits would be wise to do the same. Those unable to adapt to value-focused lifestyles may see staff retention suffer.
Things could get taxing
The enforcement of IR35 from early 2017 has cast a shadow over non-traditional employment options. The legislation was brought in to clamp down on tax avoidance, preventing those who are employed on a Friday, turning up on a Monday with a limited company. Paying less tax as a contractor but ostensibly doing the same job as an employee was a tax break the government would no longer tolerate.
The London Employment Tribunal mixed things up when it stated that Uber drivers were workers and not self-employed. As such, they are entitled to rights such as holiday pay, sick pay and minimum wage. As there is no legal definition of employment, and IR35 is deemed applicable based on a picture of a contractors working day, the haze surrounding this legislation may take some time to lift.
If talent (of any description) is increasingly only available in ‘gig’ format, businesses must be confident of engagement practices and clear on the law. There may be a call for HMRC to rewrite the legislation to better suit modern-day workers. We may see the introduction of simpler hiring models that facilitate greater visibility and accountability.
Foreign workers in the UK on a temporary basis make ideal candidates for short-term contracts. But of course, Brexit could jeopardise this. It’s currently unclear just how much of the gig economy is fuelled by overseas workers. Is the UK population open to gig work? While technology connects us to talent elsewhere in the world, is it enough and can it plug all the holes?
For those interested in capitalising on a flexible workforce, or adjusting to the changing demands of the workforce, HNRS can help audit your existing workforce and supply flexible solutions. For more information, contact us here.
Running pre-employment screening checks such as credit checks is an important part of the hiring and staffing process. It can protect a company’s valuable assets, encourage compliance, facilitate loyalty, and foster a feeling of safety amongst employees.
Credit checks are more important for positions that require a person to be responsible for handing and moving large accounts and investments. The greater responsibility and financial management a given position requires, the more crucial a credit check should be on an application. For senior executives of major corporations and for people in the financial sector, credit checks should be standard when recruiting and hiring.
If something shows up on a credit check that’s not even an actual offense, but points to an unhealthy relationship with money, this can be a red flag about a person’s character. When a credit report reveals a history of questionable behavior — for instance, not paying taxes — this can be an indicator of a bigger problem of untrustworthiness.
On the flipside, the more a person has a clear understanding of investing and other options for financing themselves, the more they are likely to understand how to do this for your business.
Whether or not a person is rich or poor over a given period of time, red flags can show up as inconsistencies over time. For instance, if people have gone through periods of extreme poverty or debt, they may have felt deprived, and when people feel deprived, their moral behavior can be compromised — in other words, people who feel extremely stressed out about their financial situation may be more tempted to lie, steal or cheat to get more.
So, a part of this process is to look at overall behavior and character, rather than the exact mechanisms or amounts at play.
Lower Risk Means Higher Payoff
Hiring an employee is a long-term investment, in most cases, so mitigating the risk of a person making a mistake or actually committing a crime that could cost your company thousands of dollars or more just is not worth it. Doing a credit check at the outset helps to ensure the safety of your business. Just like any investment, the lower the risk at the outset, the more of a chance a person will help you grow your business over time.
The greatest number of fraud cases tend to appear in the banking and financial sectors, government and public admin and manufacturing. So, if your company falls into one of these categories, it’s important to be especially diligent about the possibility of fraud and other financial crimes.
Safety and Retention
If other employees experience financially-motivated trauma or fraud (for instance, identity theft or monetary theft), those other employees may not only cost the organization in legal fees, they may also have to take time off work due to trauma and the like. Your bottom line is effected when you lose the services of valuable staff who may not feel safe in the workplace or may ultimately require extra coverage such as workers’ compensation benefits.
While doing employment screening like criminal records checks may seem like an obvious component of an application — especially if the position requires handling sensitive information — there are many other types of background checks that can help keep your organization safe and running smoothly.
Running an employer credit check as a standard part of the hiring process can provide valuable insights into the character and capabilities of employees. This involves looking into a person’s debt history, their situations with loans and mortgages, their payment history, and whether or not they have ever had tax liens. The process is not about exploring “how much” they owe — it is really more about getting a sense of their financial behavior and habits.
Compliance and Transparency
One of the most basic reasons to do a credit check is as a means of showing transparency and understanding whether you can trust a potential employee. The more transparent a person is about their background, the less likely they are to engage in unlawful activity on the job.
When you do a credit check, you are also checking to see if the person is willing to own up to mistakes. For instance, they may have made a mistake that caused a blip in their credit record — but did they admit it on the application? This might be a good indicator as to whether, for instance, they would be willing to admit to an inventory accounting error.
You can protect and grow your bottom line simply by ensuring that employees are willing to comply from the start.
According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the global loss of revenue due to fraud is some $3.7 trillion — this is not a number to be taken lightly! When hiring people that are responsible for large assets and the like, it’s important to take a look at their personal background for inconsistencies that can act as red flags.
Methods of Securing Financing
Credit checks investigate financing and debt patterns. If a person shows a clear understanding of how to secure and manage credit for themselves, especially in large amounts, it’s a good sign that they will also be competent managing the financial aspects of your business.
Financial Criminal Offences
If someone is being pursued by the IRS, you may be aggressively pursued by them for information about the employee. Wage garnishments and other collections-related IRS actions can cost employers time and money that they could otherwise be using to grow their bottom line.
Besides that, legal situations that an employee may currently be facing can take up time and resources if they involve constant phone time or missed work. If there is a financially related court case going on, a credit check is one way of finding out.
If someone has a history of financial upset, this could be an indicator of a bigger problem that there were other illegal things going on. It’s important to look at a credit record to investigate whether or not a person may even have the potential to steal or commit fraud.
It’s official. We, the employers, lost. The candidates and job seekers have won. Despite the fact that we have the jobs, the benefits packages and the growth opportunities, they still have the upper hand in today’s job market — and it’s not because of the talent shortage.
It’s because of technology.
In a job market where candidates have near limitless digital paths to job postings, employer research and networking opportunities, the job seeker has the upper hand. The paths they can find to jobs and employer information continue to explode across the digital landscape. They are more informed, savvy and smarter than ever as job seekers. It’s very hard for employers to keep up and when employers can’t keep up, they miss out on talent.
I was reminded of this fact recently at a CIO event in Australia. One financial services business leader lamented how his customers are always finding new ways to bank, and many times it’s not through his organization’s banking systems. He asked a CIO on the panel this: “What are we going to do when customers want to make deposits or withdrawals with Alexa or Google and our company is no longer in their mind as the bank?”
And how did the CIO reply? “You follow the customers and go where they need you to be,” she said, explaining that customers are digitally native consumers now. They have strong ideas of how they want to buy, sell, shop and engage. You have to go where they are. In the digital marketplace, the customer leads.
In the job market, the story is much the same. Job seekers are calling the shots and employers are following their every move, competing vigorously for candidate attention. You only have to look to recent moves of tech giants like Google, Facebook and Microsoft, the latter of which bought LinkedIn in 2016, to see how hard businesses are working to follow and capture candidates.This past June, Google launched its own job search tool, aggregating job board results from most every major job board and leveraging the company’s machine learning capabilities to power job searches and recommendations. Meanwhile, Facebook announced a partnership with ZipRecruiter as it works to “capture the attention of job seekers.”
Digitally native job seekers have more job search options, resources and opportunities than ever before. From their own online social and business networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) to job aggregators, job boards, company sites, freelancing sites, virtual job fairs and now even search engines, job seekers have seemingly endless ways to look for work. Just as that Australian banking executive spoke of consumers using voice activation technology to manage their finances rather than his company’s online banking platform, job seekers too will embrace new technologies and pathways to opportunity as quickly as they arrive. With so many gateways to job opportunities and into companies, it has become nearly impossible to control when and where you will engage a candidate.
What’s the answer? Give up control. Rather than trying to regulate where and when the engagement happens, funnel candidates through one standard experience and hope candidates have the tenacity to find you, employers have to be willing to personalize the engagement experience for candidates and go out and hunt for candidates in thoughtful ways. Is your business ready to follow the job seeker’s lead? Here are three tips for how employers can give up some of the control in the engagement process in order to better engage the candidates where they are.
It may be a job seekers market but the fact is digital belongs to everyone. Employers need to follow the lead of job seekers but also watch for ways to turn the many digital pathways job seekers are using today into opportunities for smart talent engagement.