Six New Year’s Resolutions for your Small Business

Just as your resolution to eat more green veggies can lead to a healthier body, resolutions to improve your company’s practices can lead to a more successful business. Keeping these business resolutions through the year, in spite of the major tests to your willpower that you’re bound to experience, will not only inspire success, but it will lessen the blow when you inevitably fall off the kale and broccoli wagon. Develop company culture Company culture is your business’s personality, and is defined by the environment in which your employees work and the ethics and goals that your business represents. Culture is key to recruiting and retaining talented, motivated employees, but it is also a quality that must be actively nurtured and developed by you and other members of management. You can create company culture by encouraging inclusiveness, kindness and enthusiasm. Lead by example in promoting company ethics and attitude. Define a mission that your employees can align themselves with, so that they’re not just punching the clock but working towards a larger goal. Set goals Use that company mission to set some specific short- and long-term goals. Use the acronym SMART to guide your goal-making. SMART goals are specific (clearly defined), measurable (milestones have been identified), attainable (realistic and manageable), relevant (aligned with your business model and mission), and time-based (given a hard deadline). Define best practices First, make sure you’ve outlined the processes and methods that your employees should use to help your company succeed. Then, make sure every person affiliated with your business knows and utilizes these best practices. For specific tasks, outline a clear order of...

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...

Debunking three myths about HR managers

HR are the Office Enforcers Yes, it’s the job of the human resources manager to police many aspects of the office, but that doesn’t mean they spend their workdays lurking in the shadows of your cubicle, waiting to catch you in the act of rule-breaking, or actively searching for disputes to regulate. It’s more accurate to compare their regulating role to that of a sports referee, whose job is to step in only when needed to ensure the game continues to run smoothly. Enforcing office policies is a small part of an HR manager’s role, anyway, and they’re often very busy with the other facets of their position. HR can help you negotiate your pay While your human resources department often plays a part in payroll, promotions, hiring and firing, the individuals working in HR don’t exist to help you negotiate these touchy subjects. Don’t discuss how much of a raise you seek or how generous of a severance package you deserve. Of course, they’re constantly working to ensure these issues are handled fairly, but they can’t share and freely discuss these details with individual employees. Human resources just hires and fires Human Resources does have a role in choosing new hires and letting employees go, but they also fulfill many other duties that keep the company running smoothly. They help interview potential employees, handle payroll, make sure all state and federal employment guidelines are being met, and meet with managers to find out employee needs. It’s also their job to design and manage employee training. This is a crucial part of their job because if an overseeing organization,...

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...

Tips for organizing the corporate Halloween party

Falling leaves, shorter days and chillier mornings signal the onset of autumn and the approach of the season’s sweetest holiday: Halloween. It’s an occasion for assembling a creative costume and indulging in candy—and why should children have all the fun? If you’re in charge of organizing your company’s office parties, you’re probably in the midst of planning some sort of Halloween celebration. And while these festivities can provide a morale-boosting diversion from the typical workday, it’s important, when throwing company-wide events, to ensure that the fun is good-natured and inclusive. Here are a few tips for throwing a Halloween party that’s both lively and workplace-appropriate. Specify costume guidelines Creative getups are an essential part of Halloween, and, therefore, most Halloween parties. Just make sure all employees are on the same page about what sort of costumes, if any, are expected at your company Halloween party. No employee wants to be the killjoy who doesn’t dress up. But it’s equally horrifying to enter the office decked out in full costume while everyone else is in business attire. Avoid confusion by sending out a company memo outlining the nature of this Halloween celebration. Tell employees there will be prizes for the most creative costume, the most colorful costume, or the best homemade costume, to provide parameters for their costume selection. Schedule a start and end time for the party so everyone knows not to schedule client meetings during this time. Use your best judgment to help employees avoid offending their coworkers with their costume choice. Every company culture is different, but it’s better to be overly cautious and specify ground rules...

Three common scenarios that require employee training tracking software

If you occupy a role in upper management or human resources, part of your job entails ensuring all employees are properly trained as well as managing the repercussions if they are not. You and your business will, at some point, encounter one of several scenarios that not only require that all employees meeting training requirements, but that you are able to provide proof of that training. Tracking employee training with powerful software instead of spreadsheets and documents will allow you to navigate these scenarios more smoothly. In the case of an accident In certain industries, workplace accidents are inevitable, and they can cause impacts and complications that are potentially damaging to your company. Even if employee negligence or company practices aren’t to blame for such accidents, providing standardized employee training can mitigate the chances of accidents occurring. If an accident does occur, having documented records of that training can protect your employees and your business. If legal issues arise due to an accident, you will be able to prove that your company did everything within its power to ensure that employees were correctly certified and trained to industry standards. In the case of an audit Many industries require employees to meet certain training standards as outlined by the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA standards require employers to train employees in the safety and health aspects of their job, to   ensure workplaces are free from serious recognized hazards. New employees must complete this training within the first few weeks of being hired, and refresher training must be completed annually. To ensure businesses comply...

How Employee Training Improves Office Culture

The most obvious results of investing in Conductor’s employee education training tracking software are the skills and knowledge your employees will gain from the program. But equally important are the emotional benefits which, in turn, boost overall office moral and culture. Here are several ways employee training creates a more positive office environment. Hire the right people If you don’t list your employee training as a perk when advertising open positions, you should! Many adults get caught in a cycle of completing their daily tasks and rarely have time to devote to learning new skills, so they recognize the value of an employer who will offer free education that is also directly related to their respective field. Not only will you attract more applicants, but you’ll attract the right kind of employees: those who view education as a valuable opportunity. These people are naturally curious, proactive, and motivated — soft skills that will help them to not only excel in their daily tasks, but also motivate fellow employees to do the same. See confidence rise Employees thrive when they know what is expected of them and feel they have the knowledge to fulfill those expectations. Standardized training makes them feel prepared for situations they might encounter during the workday, and that feeling of preparation boosts their mood and confidence. Improve in-office communication Every person in your company has a different background, and therefore a unique skillset and knowledge base. Overall, this is advantageous, because it gives your team a greater variety of tools and approaches to solving problems in order to fulfill company needs. But it helps to first...

Tips for Onboarding and Training Remote Employees

Digital and technological advancements have greatly improved remote communication, and therefore made it possible for employees in different locations — or even time zones — to work together seamlessly. The ability to hire remote employees improves your workforce by allowing you to bring on the best person for the job, regardless of his or her physical location. Follow these tips to correctly onboard and train remote hires. Consider creating a remote-hire package If you have multiple remote employees, it might be best to put together a resource package for remote hires containing relevant contact information, passwords, names and titles, and anything else they might need to work with one another each day. This will avoid back-and-forth communication and, thus save time in the long run. Arrange an in-person introduction, if possible If the employee lives reasonably nearby, arrange for him or her to come to office headquarters for a few hours or a half-day prior to starting employment. Remote employees can feel disconnected from the business and its mission, so letting them tour the facility and meet their coworkers in person will help them feel part of the team. Your remote employee will get an impression of the company culture, as well as other employees’ communication styles and personalities, which will then greatly help future collaboration. Plan a video call if the employee can’t meet in person If logistics or distance make it impossible for the employee to get acquainted with the team in person, schedule a video call to facilitate that necessary meeting. Introduce each member of the team to your new employee, but don’t make it too...

5 Benefits of Employee Training Tracking Software

Tracking and maintaining employees’ records is crucial for any successful business. A strong training tracking system provides essentials tools to enhance companies that want to improve. Tracking all this limitless information is overwhelming when using excel spreadsheets and paper documents. However, with innovative software like Conductor, this task will be much more effortless. Training tracking software keeps information easily organized, but there are many other benefits as well. Here are five benefits of using employee training tracking software. Increased motivation. Education and development makes employees feel valued. This helps create a relationship of trust and loyalty. Tracking this progress keeps you and your employees “in the know” about training status. Seeing progress, reaching goals, and receiving reminders through software is a huge motivator.     Save money. Saved time equals saved money. Less time with data entry and fumbling through paperwork means more time dedicated to other important tasks. Make a great impression. Make a great impression on new and old employees alike with Conductor’s easy-to-use interface and innovative design. With organized and streamlined systems, you are sending a clear message to your staff—we know what we are doing and we want you to help us achieve our goals. Get better perspective. With Conductor’s tracking and reporting tools, you will have a clear picture of how your employees are engaging with and understanding your materials. It will compare required scores with actual scores and alert you of any students who may be struggling. Stay compliant. Well-trained employees improve the quality of your operations and minimize safety risks. Completed training and organized records to prove it can limit your company’s liability in...

A Quick Walk Through of Conductor

If your managers are losing their minds trying to manage a business, train employees, and track their progress, it’s time to streamline your process. With a program like Conductor Orchestrating Training, you can quickly create reports requested by surveyors, track employee training efficiently, and, most importantly, help your staff succeed with by helping them stay up-to-date with licenses and certifications. Conductor is easy to use, yet flexible and powerful enough to handle the training needs of even the largest organizations. Keep reading for a quick walk through of Conductor’s superior software and learn why your company needs this today. Store Information for Each Individual. Conductor’s profile screen organizes all students’ information. Conductor can also group, sort, and filter thousands employees by common factors identified by you. With Conductor you can also import profile information from an existing database, track modifications, and communicate with students. Organize training tools. Conductor’s catalog screen serves many purposes. While assisting with the management of training, it logically organizes all of your training classes, seminars, computer based training modules, licenses, and certifications. The catalog screen provides anything you need to track, from drivers licenses all of the way to liability insurance renewals. Just like it does for your employees, Conductor creates an easy-to-understand profile for each training item. It sorts these criteria by position and location, making creating training plans for specific groups of students incredibility intuitive. Create and assign plans. The compose screen organizes your program even further by grouping training items into course templates, which allows you to assign a complete training plan in one quick step. Set prerequisites within a course to...