Tips for hiring and training seasonal employees

If you have a management position in an industry such as tourism, hospitality, service or retail, that responds to seasonal factors, you go through a yearly seasonal hiring and training process. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you start searching for your summer hires. Use social media If your business has social media accounts—which it should—that’s a great place to post seasonal job openings. It’s safe to assume that most of your potential employees are avid social media users, and the most promising of these future hires are the ones that already follow your Instagram or like your Facebook. They already have a certain level of loyalty and understanding of your business, which makes them a good fit for your staff. You can also reach people who don’t follow your brand by posting a job advertisement. For a relatively small amount of money, like 25 to 50 dollars, you can deliver your job posting to thousands of people that you specifically target based on their demographics, interests and location. Cast a wide net A large number of seasonal employees are students who are on break from classes. But there are other demographics that make great seasonal employees, as well. Open up your hiring search to retirees seeking part-time work. These people are generally very reliable and responsible. Plus, it can be easier to retain them from season to season because you don’t have to worry about them moving away. Specify the timeframe and hours up front It’s very important to be up front with seasonal status of the available position. People tend to assume that...

How to evaluate the success of Q1

A fiscal year is split into four quarters, so we are now approaching the end of Q1. The end of a quarter is a great time to evaluate your business’s performance; to see what’s working and what’s not working. But what standards are business owners and managers using to determine the quality of Q1? Here are a things you can take stock of. Analytics Your Google analytics give you a great insight into how online users interact with your website. You can find out what sources lead them to certain pages, what pages cause them to leave the site, what times of day they’re most active on your site, and many other valuable statistics. But these numbers are only valuable to you if you know how to use that information to improve your site’s user experience. Here are a few metrics you’ll find in your analytics. Conversions rate – Your analytics will show you conversions, which means someone taking a desired action on your page. For example, if you have an eCommerce site, a conversion would be a purchase. But to measure the success of your website, you need to know your conversion rate, or the number of people who visit your site that actually become conversions. Simply divide the number of site visits by the number of conversions. If your conversion rate is low—meaning you have lots of people who visit your site but don’t convert—you could add prominent calls-to-action leading visitors to take that desired action. Bounce rate – A bounce means someone leaves your site. You can see the bounce rate for each page and if...

Productivity Hacks for Small Businesses

Create a healthy company culture Counter to outward appearances, an employee who is diligently hunched over his or her computer screen is not necessarily a productive employee. Many people accomplish more quality work throughout the day when they take breaks and prioritize their mental and physical wellbeing. As a small business owner, you can encourage this behavior by creating a company culture that emphasizes health and happiness. Stock the break room with healthy, energizing snacks or beverages. Provide your employees with standing desks and hold walking meetings outside. Create comfortable collaboration spaces throughout your office building where employees can convene to share ideas. Not sure what healthy hack to implement first? Try setting up a ping pong table in an unused office or in the corner of the break room. It’ll bring employees together, which will lead to employee bonding and, hopefully some idea generation. Use digital tools Streamline your workflow with powerful digital tools. Here are a few to get your started. Asana Asana allows you to organize tasks, projects and conversations. Users can be grouped into teams—i.e., sales, marketing, and development—and each user can see assigned project and tasks. All tasks and projects are stored in one place with clear due dates, benchmarks and assignees. If you just want to give it a try, you can download the free limited plan for 15 people. Slack Slack is a messenger service that will streamline in-office communication. At its most basic, it is an instant messenger in which employees can chat directly or in groups. You can also create communication channels organized by topic using hashtags. Slack is great...

Three ways small business owners can save money

Go paperless The cost of endless printouts can add up, so explore ways you can go paperless. Internal handouts, receipts, and other documents and communication can all be digitized. Not only do digital files cut down on paper costs, but they are easier to store and organize long-term. Rethink your marketing Having a small budget for self-promotion doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing your marketing efforts. You just have to be smarter about how you spend your ad dollars. With new technology and communication platforms constantly emerging, there are plenty of opportunities to spread your message far and wide at little to no cost. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are entirely free for businesses to use. You can put a small advertising budget behind social media posts to ensure they reach a wider audience, but you can accomplish the same goal organically simply by creating high-quality content on a consistent basis. Think of your small budget as a blessing in disguise, because you can’t simply rent out a roadside billboard or produce a cheap television commercial. But you can write blog posts, speak at local events, start a podcast, or populate a company YouTube channel with videos shot on your phone. And in utilizing these free communication outlets, you’ll establish your business as a relatable, helpful industry thought leader rather than a stuffy, glossy brand. Automate when possible Time is money, so make sure you’re using your time wisely by automating tasks whenever possible. You can automate certain aspects of your digital marketing, like social media posts and emails. You can also automate parts of your customer service,...

Improve your employee training by following adult learning principles

What do you take into consideration when designing your employee training plan? You probably analyze the needs of the company and the specific position first. However, to ensure your employees get the most out of their training, you must also build a program that aligns with principles of adult learning. Applying these principles, known as Adult Learning Theory, will greatly improve the effectiveness of your employee training curriculum. The differences in how adults learn versus how children learn have been extensively studied. Malcolm Knowles’s Theory of Andragogy outlines the way in which adult curricula should be designed, centering around five adult learning assumptions. Self-concept When possible, adults should be encouraged to direct their own learning, because they are at a mature development stage. Past learning experience Adults have decades of experience on which their new knowledge can build. Readiness to learn Adults are more likely to view learning as an opportunity rather than a chore, because they’ve experienced the value of knowledge in their careers and daily lives. Practical reason to learn Adult learning should be goal-oriented because adults return to learning for specific reasons, such as gaining skills to progress their careers. Internally motivated While children are driven by external motivations such as punishment or reward, adults are driven by an internal desire to gain knowledge. Based on these assumptions, Knowles states that adult curricula should be designed following these principles: Because they are self-directed and self-motivated, adults should be given some say in the process and content of their education. Adult curricula should take into account past experiences, and build on that prior knowledge. Curricula should focus...

Tips for handling time-off requests around the holidays

With the holidays approaching, employees are planning their trips to catch up with distant family members or escape to tropical destinations. While it’s completely understandable to want time off between Christmas and New Year’s Day, if every employee leaves town that week, there will be no one left to keep the business running. So, when the time-off requests start trickling in, it’s up to human resources personnel to manage these requests in a manner that’s fair to both the company and its employees. As an HR manager, you want to grant every time-off request that comes in, because you know firsthand that taking time away from the office to spend with loved ones allows you to recharge and be more productive when you return. But it’s always not feasible to give every employee the precise time off they request, so here are some tips to handle these requests fairly. Ensure the company’s time-off policy is understood Make sure all your employees are aware of the company’s time off policies, and the manner in which time-off requests are granted. You can inform employees of this when they’re hired, but it’s not a bad idea to send out an annual reminder via company memo. That way, when the holidays approach, employees should know to plan ahead and comply with the company time-off policies. Grant requests in a fair manner The best approach is usually to grant employees’ requests in the order in which you received them. If seniority does play a role in receiving PTO, make sure this is known by all employees, so no one gets the impression that you’re...