How to make your office more parent-friendly

Offer flex time or remote-working polices With technology like video conferencing and cloud storage, employees around the world can share ideas and files as if they were right next to each other. These advances in communication have made it possible for many industries to operate with some or all of their employees working remotely. Consider if your company is in one of these industries; whether there’s a need for employees to actually be in the office to be productive. If not, allow your employees—especially parents—the chance to utilize flex time, work remotely, or work part-time. Offer child-care If you can’t give your employees the option to work remotely, consider offering childcare at your workplace. This will not only allow your employees to continue their regular work hours, but it will give them peace of mind knowing their child is close by. If you have a large enough company, you can invest in an on-site daycare program. If you don’t have enough employees to make this kind of initiative worth the investment, you can partner with nearby companies to create a program. Offer leniency for new parents When new parents do return to the office, remember that they are juggling their workload with their responsibilities as a new parent. There’s a good chance they’re functioning on very little sleep. Respect that by not coming down too hard on them. At the same time, make sure you’re not belittling them or depriving them of difficult tasks because they are a parent. Let them dictate what sort of workload they can take on. A parent-friendly environment can help immensely in employee retention...

How training benefits all levels of employees

New hires A standardized training program greatly helps in onboarding new employees. They will know what is expected of them and feel prepared for their role. Mid-level hires Your mid-level hires also benefit from a training program, because they can refresh their skillset on a regular basis. The tracking aspect of Conductor’s employee training tracking software is also helpful because it helps employees who have been with the company for a few years keep track of what training they have completed. Senior employees Your senior employees can not only keep their own training current, but they can use the software to track training for junior employees. Conductor’s training tracking software allows managers to access, maintain and manage all employee training metrics in one location. They can retrieve relevant records in a matter of clicks if the need arises.  Sometimes, human resources personnel or senior managers must provide proof of employees’ professional development history, completion of necessary training certifications and specific class attendance records. Conductor’s software allows them to access over 30 reports without the need for software add-ons or manipulating information contained in an external database. The reports are fully customizable for any date ranges, user-defined filter parameters and more, giving you hundreds of options for producing documentation. If you’re ready to see how Conductor Orchestrating Training can help your company and its employees at every level, download our free...

Summer workplace hazards

One of our goals at Conductor Orchestrating Training is to mitigate workplace accidents by enabling easy and thorough employee training. But when it comes to workplace safety, one factor many don’t consider is how season changes factor in. Especially if your employees work outdoors, you will face different hazards in the summer than in the winter. Here are some risks to be aware of as we move into the heat of summer. Heat-induced illness If your employees are working outside, they are susceptible to dehydration, overheating, and other issues exacerbated by hot temperatures and direct sunlight. Give your employees regular breaks; at least five minutes every hour. Provide shade and water or cold popsicles to help them lower their body temperature. Remind them to protect themselves by wearing sunscreen and a broad-brimmed hat. Make sure they recognize the signs of dehydration or overheating so they can recognize the symptoms in themselves or their coworkers. For example, they might be dehydrated if they feel dizzy, extremely tired or have a sudden headache. Symptoms they can watch out for in others are sunken eyes, rapid breathing or a rapid heart rate. Stress from overworking Summer is a popular time for employees to request time off to go on vacation. While a short summer vacation works wonders for these employees’ mental wellbeing, it can leave your other employees stressed as they compensate for the reduced manpower. Carefully document time-off requests so you don’t end up understaffed. The fairest method for handling this is to grant requests on a first-come, first-serve basis. Be on the lookout for employees who are working extra hard...

How to hire and train recent college grads

It’s that time of year when students finishing up their senior year in college are creating their first professional resumes and considering what life outside the classroom might hold for them. You might think there’s too much uncertainty in hiring someone without any work experience, but these recent grads can actually be great additions to your staff. For one thing, if they obtained a degree relevant to your industry, their skillset and knowledge reflects the very latest advances in the field. But to get the most out of your hire, keep these tips in mind. Consider both hard and soft skills If you are hiring in an industry that is constantly changing, like technology or medicine, you will likely be impressed by the cutting-edge hard skills listed on the resume of a recent college graduate. But regardless of the industry, transitioning from using those skills in a classroom to implementing them in the real world is challenging. You want someone who is willing and eager to learn, change and adapt to fit the specific needs of your company. You can glean some of these soft skills during the interview by asking how they would respond to hypothetical scenarios. Implement a structured internship program First, consider bringing recent graduates onto your staff without hiring them full-time. Accepting interns is a great way to do this, but make sure your internship program is structured. Set the expectations of the internship at the outset. Define the internship’s length, hourly compensation, and weekly hours. Also create expectations for what happens when the internship is over. If the intern seems like a good fit...

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...

Four unexpected ways employee training can benefit your company

When you consider reasons to have a well-documented employee training program in place, your mind might jump to the legal ramifications of being unable to prove your workforce is properly trained should a governing body like OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) stop by for an unannounced inspection. But are many other benefits to implementing a robust employee training plan using innovative tracking software like Conductor Orchestrating Training. Internal communication Good internal communication is key to a business running smoothly. One way you can encourage that in your company is to ensure all your employees are trained to the same standards. Employees generally arrive at your company from a wide range of backgrounds, which can hinder collaboration. Including extensive training as part of your onboarding process ensures all your employees use the same methods, best practices and terminology, so they can better communicate with one another. Employee retention Internal communication is just one factor that contributes to a high company moral, and a positive moral and supportive culture leads to better employee retention. Employees are more likely to stay with your company if they enjoy their time in the office and respect their colleagues. But furthermore, employees are less likely to leave if they know that you’ve invested in them. Giving them the opportunity to enroll in job-related training to help them advance increases their loyalty to your company. Safety If your company deals with chemicals, harmful substances or heavy equipment, it is critical that your employees are trained to a certain standard. Having documented training can not only reduce workplace accidents, but it can save your company from...

How to get your employees to buy into training

As a business owner or manager, you’ve probably thoroughly explored the benefits of training your employees with the most advanced software for training employees and tracking that training. But implementing an employee training program that’s sustainable and successful requires that your employees also see the benefits of the training. And that’s up to you. So here are a few ways you can get buy-in from your employees. First impressions are everything Anytime you implement a new program in your office, the way you introduce it plays a critical role in its long-term success. Rather than dropping by individual offices and casually bringing up the topic in the breakroom, make sure all employees are told about the new program at the same time in a formal setting. That reinforces the importance of the implementation and ensures no one feels left out of the initiative. Call a company meeting and make sure everyone can attend. Prepare what you’re going to say so you can pitch the news with deliberate phrasing to strike the proper tone. Make sure you emphasize that the purpose of this new program is to help employees’ jobs easier, not challenge them by putting extra tasks on their plate. Provide just the right amount of details Make sure you are clear when providing your employees information that this program will benefit not only them, but the company at large. Give them the big picture first and then address the details. Tell them when the program will start to take effect and any other significant dates related to the implementation. Leave something behind Everyone processes news, like changes in...

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,...