Author Archives: papeditor

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8 Ways Emotional Intelligence Impacts Quality of Leadership

Emotional intelligence is one of the most talked-about soft skills in HR today. While originally coined in 1964, Emotional Intelligence or EQ became popular in the 1994 business book of the same name by Daniel Goleman.

Today, EQ is offered as part of business development, leadership development, and communications in organizations and universities across the world. While it overlaps with IQ and other personality testing, EQ gives businesses a defined way to measure and train specific soft skills to improve interpersonal communication between individuals and groups.

That’s crucial for leaders, especially as more and more people move to remote work conditions, and establishing good communication becomes critical to not just high performance but good performance.

The following article covers 8 ways emotional intelligence impacts the quality of leadership.

Interpersonal Communication

Emotional intelligence was first fully defined in 1990 in an article; Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the collection of abilities used to identify, understand, control, and assess the emotions of the self and others

This definition was further refined by Daniel Goleman in his book, where he broke “EI or EQ” into 5 measurable parts.

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Self-motivation
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship management

Essentially, emotionally intelligent leaders are able to recognize and assess the emotions and wellbeing of their team. They can further regulate their own communication to meet the needs of the individuals they are communicating with and for.

Over time, this improves the communication of the whole team, as the leader is able to facilitate and to create channels for effective communication.

Conflict Resolution

Emotional intelligence impacts conflict resolution in much the same way as it affects interpersonal communication. An emotionally intelligent leader is able to recognize underlying problems, handle existing emotions with care, and to ask the individuals involved to do so as well.

This might involve recognizing why someone is actually upset (or thinking to ask) and creating a resolution process that leaves both parties feeling recognized.

For example, an emotionally intelligent response to conflict would be to:

  • Stay calm
  • Ask questions
  • Make every party feel heard
  • React to how others are feeling, not just what they are saying
  • Working with both parties to create a long-term solution

Conflict resolution can vary a lot in organizations. Some have a simple policy of “don’t”, others have well-planned methodology for dealing with when teams disagree, or conflicts happen. Adding emotional intelligence, at any level, only smooths that process further.

Employee Loyalty

Emotionally intelligent leaders respond to their teams and people as people. Rather than simply going off business needs, the emotionally intelligent leader responds to the needs of the individual at the moment to create the best outcome.

For example, if we take an example of someone being late for work…

Option A: Josh is 2 hours late for work. He rushes in and explains that his wife, who has been expecting, went into labor that morning and in the chaos, he forgot to call it in. David, his manager, is livid. The entire team was hung up on Josh, who was supposed to give a presentation that morning. He reprimands Josh and informs him it will go into his performance review coming up later that month. Josh goes back to work with negative feelings about his boss, his work, and his future with the company.

Option B: Josh is 2 hours late for work. When he explains, David, who has recently followed an Emotional Intelligence course, recognizes that Josh is excited, distracted, and had little control over the sudden turn in his life that morning. Guessing that Josh will be little able to focus or achieve much at work with his wife in labor, he tells Josh to take the rest of the day off to spend it with his wife at the hospital. Josh comes back the next day a proud father, grateful to his employer for giving him the opportunity to be part of the birth. He’s motivated to contribute to his team and take part in a workplace that allows him to be human.

In this scenario, the emotional intelligence of the person in a position of power results in a completely different emotional reaction from the employee. You can apply similar processes to everything from requesting vacation time to planning and scheduling, to asking to switch roles.

An emotionally intelligent leader will respond with what’s best for the individual’s happiness and personal comfort (and therefore productivity and long-term loyalty).

Personal Development

Emotional intelligence entails self-awareness and regulation as well as social awareness. This means the individual is highly likely to be self-critical and analytical, to strive to improve, and to work to improve the soft skills that contribute to communication, emotional regulation, and management.

This means an emotionally intelligent person is more likely to recognize and want to work on their own flaws and weaknesses, to take those flaws into account when making decisions, and to actively seek out personal development to improve.

Employee Development

An emotionally intelligent leader will actively work to recognize, reward, and improve the people under them. This often works out to coaching, development, and skills-building across the team or teams.

For example, an emotionally intelligent leader is more likely to recognize when some members are struggling. They’re also more able to sit down with those people to talk about why, to discuss options, and to deliver solutions.

Eventually, this results in a team where people who are having difficulty are able to work on those problems or find resolutions rather than simply falling behind.

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily work in all traditional performance management systems, where leaders are rewarded for being able to fire poor performers. However, it does work in modern 360-degree feedback systems, where everyone is given feedback throughout the year and asked to improve and progress.

Delegation

Good leadership is about delegation, not technical skill. But good delegation means understanding which people are best capable of what, why, and how much they can take.

A good leader can properly delegate tasks so that everyone remains challenged, fulfilled, and feels that they are treated fairly. This might involve sitting down with teams to ask questions about tasks, capability, speed, and preferences.

It might also mean giving high-potential individuals more complex responsibilities so they can grow into leadership roles. And, it always involves managing work in ways that meet the emotional and mental ability and needs of the individuals in the team.

Team Building

Good relationship management means facilitating how people work together, communicate, and collaborate. Applying that skill to a team allows you to build stronger teams. This starts with recruitment, where an emotionally intelligent leader could better gauge if a candidate will fit into their team. It also includes understanding the needs of a new hire and what they need to get to know everyone and start building trust.

Over the long-term, emotionally intelligent leaders are better able to understand the emotional interactions of their team. This allows them to facilitate better communication, to coach anyone having issues, and to offer solutions and processes to conflicts and problems.

Setting an Example

People have a very strong tendency to follow the example of their leaders. This is true in change management and it’s true in employee culture. If you want to create a culture of emotionally intelligent communication, it starts with good leadership.

Simple aspects of emotional intelligence like staying calm, approaching conflict with rationality rather than emotion, and seeking to understand what people actually mean or want will transfer to their employees over time. While you should still eventually deliver emotional intelligence training to your teams if you want this behavior, it’s important to establish it in leadership first.

Emotional intelligence is a set of skills, mostly made up of personal and interpersonal regulation, awareness, and management. This means that most people can be trained to be more emotionally intelligent, although some will always be better than others.

For example, anyone with autism on your team will likely struggle in comparison with someone without a social disability.

However, using emotional intelligence as a primary aspect of leadership development can greatly improve the quality of leadership as a whole. Hopefully, these 8 factors have helped you understand how EQ impacts leaders and their teams.


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How to Drive More Value with Performance Reviews

Performance reviews are incredibly popular. In fact, some 91% of organizations used them in 2019. While that’s down from a reported 96% in 2012, it’s still a significant portion, especially considering data shows that modern, merit-based appraisal is toxic.

A Gartner study found that in 82% of organizations performance reviews either did not contribute to goals or directly negated them. Modern performance reviews, which involve collecting data and delivering a single performance review at the end of the year, do little but show that a manager is able to lead some people better than others. Essentially, they offer very little value.

While more and more organizations are dropping them altogether, others are shifting focus to use performance reviews for positive organizational change. Making those changes is likely essential to the ongoing value of performance reviews. The same Gartner study listed above suggested that 20% of C-suite leaders wanted changes to performance programs in 2020. What should those changes look like?

Make Performance Reviews Ongoing

One of the largest flaws in performance management is that it means managers cannot give real live feedback. Instead, they are reduced to delivering threats like, “That will go in your performance review”. Employees who are certain they are already losing the “game” have no incentive to improve or better their performance because they’re already at the bottom and they will stay there.

Yet, management best practices, ranging from the much-read “1-Minute Manager” to Emotional Intelligence and many other tactics all recommend avoiding this. New management techniques ask managers to offer feedback in real-time.

For the popular “One Minute Manager” that feedback looks like:

  • Clarify and agree on goals
  • Confirm what happened/describe the mistake
  • Mention why this is concerning
  • Highlight that the person can do better than this and help the person find solutions (do not make the solutions for them)
  • Offer praise for good behavior this person has shown

This approach means that employees immediately know when they’ve done something wrong. This gives them the opportunity to resolve it and replace the behavior with something else. This sort of hands-on approach also means that managers directly play a role in what their employees do by offering feedback on whether something is working, whether something is acceptable team behavior, etc.

For example, if someone is spending 60% of the time in meetings and is not meeting other goals, a review here could include a quick meeting about why this is not great and what is going wrong because of it. The manager would ask the employee to come up with solutions.

S/he might say they often have to delegate content for another team to avoid bottlenecks, which would shift the performance issue to another person entirely. Resolving that would free up the first person to do their job well, completely avoiding a negative rating and potential lost employee.

Integrate 360 Feedback

360-feedback involves collecting feedback from managers, employees, and underlings. This means that HR gets a much stronger overview of a person, their performance, and their contributions. It also avoids potential issues in terms of tracking metric inefficiency.

If HR is measuring performance in terms of output in a development team, but this person has been assigned the role of proofing his or her colleagues’ work to reduce total bugs, their production would look low.

360-degree feedback allows you to get a better picture of the total performance and interaction of the individual in the team.

However, 360-feedback also has flaws. For example, people are significantly more likely to rate someone with a positive review, regardless of the actual quality of work or contribution, if they have known that person for 5+ years.

This means that you must account for how well colleagues know each other when gauging the accuracy of a performance review. Combining 360-degree data with traditional data can help to overcome this.

Stop Highlighting Failure

Most of us would react very badly if someone walked up to us and went, “You’re the worst person on earth, here’s the data to prove it”. Yet, organizations do that every year to the bottom 2% of employees.

These employees are ranked, sometimes publicly, with percentile ratings and informed they are in the bottom “low performance” section. Sometimes their team and the entire organization are informed as well. That’s incredibly demoralizing for most.

Shifting away from negative feedback and towards positive feedback designed to highlight what you did well and what you can improve can greatly change that.

For example, if you avoid ranking employees in any system they can see, you remove the interpersonal competition which leads some employees to work outside the best interest of their team. You also remove demoralizing and demotivating messaging from performance reviews. And, by directly linking negative feedback to “improvement opportunities”, you could encourage employees to make an active change.

Develop 2-Way Dialogue to Share Responsibility for Results

Many employees are resistant to performance reviews because they feel they aren’t’ given the tools to succeed properly anyway. Opening dialogue for employees to share what they do need to succeed can change this. This is especially critical if long-term hires are suddenly not performing, if entire teams aren’t performing, or if performance drops following a change in leadership.

For example, personality clashes with leadership can result in poor performance from an otherwise stellar employee. Similarly, changes in process or tooling can reduce productivity. And, if employees don’t have the tooling they need to properly do their job, it’s unfair to rate them accordingly.

Link Performance Reviews to Personal Development and Coaching

Some of the most common traits linked to poor performance are simple behavioral issues. These soft skills or (negative) competencies are trainable. This means you can deliver personal development and coaching to poor performers to help them excel.

For example, some of the most common traits linked to poor performance include:

  • Clock Watching – these people are the last to arrive and the first to leave, they aren’t engaged in their work, just in doing the job and going home. Time management, motivation training, and better employee engagement all help with the time-wasting and lost hours that result from this behavior. 
  • Resistance to Change – Changes to the company, to software, or to the employee’s job result in resistance and lack of performance. Implementing coaching and training to show the individual they are still valued and can still provide value in the new system can help 
  • Complaints – Everyone complains, but constant complaining is demoralizing and hurtful to those that have it worse. Coaching can help. For example, introducing a meeting protocol where problems are brought up in meetings and discussed in a resolution scenario before being aired outside of meetings can reduce much of this. Of course, that employee has to feel listened to for this to work. 
  • Poor Collaboration – Collaboration and teamwork skills can be resolved with training, coaching, and interpersonal skills development. You should undertake any training of this sort as a team, but some individuals may need extra coaching or help to get through it. 

Performance reviews can add a lot of value. However, many organizations use them in ways that add little to productivity, performance, or ongoing development.

Shifting the current performance review to an ongoing process, with reviews focused on future development and improvement, plus room for discussion with HR, can greatly improve this.

And, if you take the time to offer development or coaching to struggling employees, to discover why they’re failing, and to communicate what needs changing when problems occur, even the worst employee can improve.


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10 Skills Gaps in Leadership and Management

Today’s managers and leaders are increasingly in charge of not top down work delegation, but, rather, people and strategy management. This shift has changed now just how leaders work, but also which skills they need to succeed. Good project management is no longer enough to take on a role as manager.

Despite that, many leaders are promoted internally from technical positions, hired on following having similar roles in other organizations, or simply promoted internally for no reason other than seniority.

This leads to massive skills gaps in leadership and management, which do ripple downward, no matter how flat your organization.

In fact, Burning Glass Technologies shows that management skills gaps are significantly larger than employee skills gaps at any other level.

Despite those gaps, many businesses don’t actively work to correct these leadership issues. One study by APQC shows that 80% of employees recognize a need for different leadership styles, 21% think leadership is effective, and just 46% of companies place any priority on remediation efforts.

Good leadership impacts every part of business. It affects how individuals feel about work, team management, work delegation, motivation, and much more. While, eventually, you will need a skills gap analysis to correctly determine where to invest remediation efforts, most leaders can improve on many of the following 10 skills.

Closing these skills gaps can improve leadership style, boost employee retention, and improve productivity.

10 Skills for leadership to improve

1) Team Building

While team building has largely and historically fallen on HR, it’s critical that leaders be involved. Not only do leaders, whether team leads, branch leads, or managers, have to interact with teams daily, leaders know the work being completed.

Anyone in a leadership position should interact with HR and help make key decisions regarding hires, placement, and restructure. Leaders should be able to:

  • Recognize when personality conflicts get in the way of a team
  • Coach and manage teams to improve how they collaborate
  • Choose new people and introduce them to a team efficiently and effectively
  • Create a team environment built on trust and collaboration

2) Strategy

Strategy was once pushed down through an organization from the very top. Today, many teams and departments are relatively autonomous, with freedom to work on goals however they see fit.

This creates a rising need for those organizations to ensure leaders have strong strategic planning, with a good understanding of business goals, the ability to link daily work and tasks to business outcomes, and sound logic in building plans. Much of this is a learnable skill, although some people will show no aptitude for it whatsoever.

3) Listening

Listening is one of the largest parts of people management, but many managers are still more accustomed to talking. Why is it important? Listening is a critical soft skill that contributes to good people management in multiple ways.

For example, it ensures the leader understands situations as related, can learn more about both sides of a situation before acting, can make individuals feel heard, and can weigh in on arguments and conflict with relevant information.

Listening means paying attention to what the individual is saying, understanding their meaning, and taking body language, emotions, and contextual information into account.

4) Knowledge Sharing

Organizational transparency is quickly becoming not just a key point for developing trust, but also a key reason that employees stay with companies. Leaders who don’t share information, whether information regarding upcoming goals, drivers behind projects, stakeholder feedback, or news of an upcoming restructure, will quickly lose the trust of their teams. Knowledge sharing means being able to push information to employees in a sensitive, contextual, and appropriate manner.

5) Inspiring Commitment

Getting new people onboard with and motivated to stay with a company, to start a project, to reach a deadline, or otherwise achieve something is difficult. In fact, many leaders are bad at it.

Working as an inspirational leader means developing the trust of the team, properly leveraging incentives, utilizing good teambuilding, and knowing how and when to push people to keep them motivated and on-goal. This is, understandably, incredibly important for most organizations. Yet, it’s one of the largest gaps in leadership skills.

6) Receiving Feedback

You can’t properly give feedback unless you’re willing to take feedback. Yet, many leaders simply aren’t accustomed to sitting down and requesting feedback from staff or making changes accordingly.

Leaders who can sit down with their teams, accept criticism, and discuss improvements that work for the team and the people will be valued, respected, and listened to.

Here, 360-degree feedback can be valuable because it gives teams an easy way to offer leaders feedback from every perspective. Most leaders should also be comfortable having sit-down sessions to discuss leadership style, what can be improved, etc., as a normal part of process.

7) Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Emotional intelligence is widely recognized as one of the most important leadership skills. Daniel Goleman’s book on the topic redefined how people see leaders. Yet, more than 20 years onward, it’s still one of the most lacking skills in leadership.

Emotional intelligence encompasses how individuals are able to recognize and manage their own emotions and those of others, responding to emotions in others, and making decisions based on those emotions. It benefits organizations because it builds team trust, improves employee loyalty and happiness, and ensures that teams are happy and productive by taking their mental and emotional wellbeing into account.

8) Coaching

Coaching is the process of working individuals through a process or problem and helping them to find solutions, to grow, and to improve themselves. It’s a critical part of personal development, and a critical leadership skill.

Why? A leader without coaching will simply tell someone how to solve a problem or tell them what to do. A coach will explain the problem and help that person figure out how to solve the problem on their own. The next time it comes up, that person is well-equipped to repeat the thought process and solve that or a similar problem on their own. Coaching helps people learn, to improve, and to be better at what they do.

Many leaders simply don’t do coaching at any level, even when in charge of onboarding new hires, when in charge of developing potential new leaders, or when choosing candidates for their own replacement. Integrating and teaching coaching skills could greatly improve all three of those leadership responsibilities.

9) Change Management

Change management is quickly moving from something organizations needed once a decade to something needed on a yearly or bi-yearly basis. New technology, new tooling, new workflows, remote work, digital workspaces, virtual computers all require change and change management. A quickly changing world means industries and markets constantly shift, leading to faster restructurers, more mergers, and new business branches that come and go. Leaders must be equipped to help their teams through those changes, offering guidance, acting as an example, delivering coaching, and offering reassurance.

10) Delegation

Many leaders are promoted from internal positions, meaning they come from skilled and technical work, not from management work. While not all leaders will have this problem, Ram Charan’s Leadership Pipeline cites it as one of the primary barriers to promoting leadership.

Work delegation means that when new work is available, leaders should be responsible for delegating and helping their teams to do it and do it well. Their job is to facilitate, not to complete work. Leaders who attempt to do so, even if doing work is simply reviewing work completed, eventually function as bottlenecks rather than as functional parts of the team.

Still, making the change from doing technical work to delegating work is a large one, which means your organization should offer training each time someone is promoted through the ranks to a new leadership position.

Leadership skills gaps affect the organization as a whole. They impact productivity, team motivation, employee loyalty, and collaboration. Performing a skills gap analysis, conduction 360-feedback, and offering courses and workshops to help close the gaps you do find can greatly benefit the organization for the long-term.


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Remote Work Trends That Will Shape 2021

Remote Work Trends of 2021 and beyond

This is a guest post from Angelo Castelda, a freelance writer from Asia. Besides writing, he also spends his time traveling and learning about diverse cultures, which opened his heart more to learning and imparting knowledge about homebased online jobs and TESL.

Working outside of an office is now a popular option for many industries. Because of the pandemic, it became even more popular because it’s a much safer choice than having employees travel to their places of work. Even now, when most countries are on their roads to recover from the pandemic’s impact, human resource experts and stakeholders forecast that remote work is here to stay.

While it has its disadvantages, just like any work setup, its advantages are much more appealing. For entrepreneurs, it lowers overall business costs and reduces short-term absenteeism of employees due to sickness. On the other hand, employees get to enjoy location independence when choosing an employer and the savings of not traveling to work and paying for food regularly.

As it looks like it’s going to remain for a while, it’s only fitting to focus on what will happen moving forward. For both employers and employees, it’s important to stay updated on the future of working remotely. Let’s explore it in this article, starting with the remote work trends that will shape 2021.

Reshaping of HR practices

Since the shift to remote work happened, HR departments also had to shift their practices. And since remote work will go on, more HR specialists will be reviewing their usual approaches to see how they can change them for the better. They have to basically reform and invent a new worker experience to adapt to the new normal.

The focus will shift to making the virtual worker experience better this year. HR specialists should adjust in-person practices to be more acceptable in a virtual setup. Such methods include hiring, employee orientation, training, and termination.

Because of the popularity of online jobs worldwide, HR has to cultivate a good virtual relationship with employees. Besides communicating and connecting with employees, they’ll also focus on shortening clerical work because of the rising trend of paper digitalization for data collection and processing purposes.

Competition to attract talent between cities and states

Historically, states and cities compete to attract businesses to relocate to their area to provide more job opportunities for their citizens. Now, they’ll be competing to attract talent to relocate to their jurisdiction due to remote work breaking the boundaries of location.

Since remote work broke location boundaries, city governments will shift to promoting incentives of relocating to their jurisdiction for professionals. It’s a much more affordable method of increasing employment in their area rather than giving tax credits to companies to relocate. This competition will add to the appeal of remote work and relocation in a world where an employee’s residence isn’t tied to their place of work.

Urgency in upskilling

Upskilling means providing an employee with more advanced skills through additional education and training. The shift to remote work for the new normal led to the acceleration of the necessity of upskilling. This year, more businesses across different sectors will be busy with training and educating their remote employees to upskill.

According to recent statistics on remote work trends, at least 54% of a company’s staff will require significant reskilling by 2022. This will prompt managers to create a shift away from specifying roles toward needed skills for a company. Changes of such magnitude will entail crafting new skills to help employees respond to them better.

This year, employees will be trained and educated by their companies to gain cross-functional knowledge. Businesses will also be quicker in adopting upskilling programs to help their workforce gain essential skills.

In conclusion

Businesses that’ll go on with remote work will have to humanize and work on improving the skill sets of their employees. More people will also benefit from working from home because of the incentives from different locales for relocation. The year 2021 looks to be an even better year for remote workers and people seeking remote job opportunities as the world adapts to it being the new norm.


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The ultimate guide to LinkedIn strategies for recruiters

LinkedIn has been a primary recruiting platform for over a decade. That’s never been more true than today. In fact, with 765+ million registered users as of 2021, LinkedIn is the largest it’s ever been. That’s important for recruiters, especially as the pandemic pushed cultural shifts to work-from-home, digital communication, and digital hiring.

That combination, plus LinkedIn’s 400+ million daily active users, make the platform a prime part of your recruitment strategy. Of course, any LinkedIn strategy must be multi-faceted. Running ads and using job profiles can get you hires in the short-term. Building networks and connections, sharing your teams on social media, and building a following will help you to gain access to higher quality talent and better hires over time.

Most recruiters should use a combination of strategies, mixing short-term hiring strategies with long-term talent acquisition strategies for the best results.

Recruitment is digitizing & LinkedIn is an ideal platform

Today’s recruitment is increasingly digital. That’s important in a world where the average corporate job listing sees 250+ applications. Filtering technology, AI, and document scanners are crucial tools to help recruiters do their jobs. And, LinkedIn has many of these tools built in, except you’re looking at profile keywords, profile settings, and similar rather than resumes.

LinkedIn is already used by more than half a million people, most of whom only use the platform for work and networking. That makes it an ideal place to connect with the intent of building work connections – because people are actively looking for them. That’s significantly different from other platforms, like Quora, Reddit, or even Facebook, where most people view unsolicited adds and messages as nothing more than spam.

LinkedIn also offers other benefits. For recruiters, it’s a great chance to learn about the person’s interests, views, and ideas and see whether the candidate will be a good fit for the company. For organizations with a strong culture and an established set of values, it is especially important to select people with a similar mindset and attitude so that everyone feels comfortable.

People can also share their expertise on LinkedIn, allowing you to immediately assess whether they are skilled and knowledgeable enough for a certain position. This might be in the form of sharing blogs or projects, it might be in the form of public commentary, or in the form of shared certifications. However, it gives you an at-a-glance look at that person’s workplace behavior, training, and expertise in ways that a resume rarely does.

And, LinkedIn allows you to easily connect with networks. For example, if you need a new software engineer, you can see not only your direct contacts, but second and third contacts as well. You can then reach out to the people who know those prospects to gauge interest, gain clout, or get a referral. That holds true even if you’re building future networks – because not all networking should be about jobs you need right now.

Get your LinkedIn content in top shape

Getting a foot in the door with current or future prospects means using good content, good ads, and ensuring that job profiles, company pages, and your own profile are optimized. This is an important first step before you should even think about moving on to running ads or doing direct outreach.

Optimize your LinkedIn company page

A company LinkedIn page is vital for connecting to talent and opportunities. Having a LinkedIn presence is great for business-to-business as well as business-to-consumer companies since it shows what services are available through your company. A LinkedIn profile is the equivalent of a Facebook profile for the business world and is a company’s social networking “face.” Below are a few simple ways to optimize your LinkedIn company page for great results, aesthetics and connections.

  • On creating your company page, get followers by emailing employees and current customers. Utilize email lists, newsletters, and databases to get the word out. Insert a follow button on your website and blogs and promote your LinkedIn profile on other social media channels.
  • Make sure your company profile picture is your logo for the sake of brand recognition.
  • LinkedIn banner images are similar to Facebook cover images. They are 1128 x 191-pixel images displayed at the top of your company page. Make them eye-catching and they can bring your page to life! A banner can include a call-to-action, your company colors, or your brand.
  • Your company “about” information should be up-to-date, free of spelling or grammar errors, and succinct. This is a great place to insert your mission statement and a little bit of history.
  • Choose your specialties wisely, and only use relevant keywords to describe your company so that you will show up on relevant LinkedIn searches.

Your company LinkedIn page is the first place most prospective talent will click through from a job posting. It’s always a good idea to optimize it to appeal to customers as well as to prospective employees. That means filling out bios, sharing full details, adding photos, and making it a window into the organization’s culture.

The success of a LinkedIn page is also a team effort. Ask your employees to generate thoughts, updates and contributions. This will result in a wide variety of topics and create interest throughout multiple groups.

Engage with current employees

Get employees and LinkedIn members excited about your page by adding value for them. Share information they need, post company updates, and share employee successes and team highlights on the page. This gives you a place to direct internal traffic for updates – while showcasing company culture. 

Offer training

Provide training and opportunities for employees to create full LinkedIn profiles that they enjoy investing time in. Expose employees to compelling information that they can share on LinkedIn and help them become LinkedIn thought leaders in your company’s industry.

Add personality

A LinkedIn Company page offers a number of different features to optimize content and convey important information to visitors. The page design has been tested and developed so that a company can feature what they want, and garner attention with well-placed call-to-actions. Utilizing that will help you to improve your recruiting strategy. For example, you can showcase products employees might be working on. You can share think pieces and company culture. You can share photos of the office or showcase employees “work from home” offices. And, you can share content created by your employees.

Showcase your team

That can also extend to incentivizing employees to build their profiles. Top talent will click through employees at a company before deciding to work there. Showcasing your one of your primary attractions, your human capital, can be important for drawing that talent. Provide training and opportunities for employees to create full LinkedIn profiles that they enjoy investing time in. Expose employees to compelling information that they can share on LinkedIn and help them become LinkedIn thought leaders in your company’s industry. If this is too much investment, you can try simply encouraging LinkedIn contributions to the company page by sharing and posting items your employees write to the page.

Go through the tab options, decide which to add to your page, and make sure it’s well filled out. It’s always a good idea to have “People”, “About”, “Content”, and “Posts”. But, adding a products page allows you to showcase a product or downloadable file that could add interest to prospects.

Optimize your personal LinkedIn profile

One of the biggest mistakes many companies make is ignoring their own social media profiles when looking for candidates online. In the world of the Internet, your social media profile is your trademark. It represents the identity of your brand and immediately informs the visitors about your mission, values, and goals.

For example, if someone visits your page and it’s empty, they will most likely leave – simply because your profile doesn’t seem trustworthy. Always make sure your page looks good before engaging in outreach:

  • Fill in about information
  • Make sure the company you’re hiring for is visible on your profile
  • Post content that reflects your company culture
  • If you are a recruiter for a recruitment company rather than hiring internally, you can always post specific job listings to your profile to ensure it looks relevant
  • Use the right hashtags and tags
  • Ask for references

Improving your own profile ensures you look credible when you go to make a hire. If you’re associated with a specific company, simply viewing someone’s profile can send them to look that company up. Make sure the data people need to find you is on your profile.

Build attractive job listings

A good job profile will make or break your hiring – but it has little to do with networking. Job profiles can link to ads, to individuals making hires, and to ongoing hiring campaigns.

  • Be thorough, always include as much information as-is available about the role
  • Try to include information from the internal job profile
  • Share what software and tools people will be using
  • List hard and soft requirements
  • Be specific about salary ranges, as this is a better way to attract top talent
  • Link jobs to company profiles
  • Share team data. If someone is working at home over communication platforms, share it. If lex work is possible, state that. And, if you know which team they are going in, share something about the team.

Tips for setting up job listings

LinkedIn offers dozens of tools for creating and advertising job listings. These include resumes, branding, search tools, advertising, and much more. Some do cost more money, but it’s worth considering when setting up a recruiting strategy on the platform.

Use targeted recruitment ads – Ensure that only relevant applicants see your vacancy; this doesn’t cost more than a normal recruitment ad.

Don’t forget SEO – Use good keywords to show up in LinkedIn search and increase your search ranking in Google.

Set the right skills – These come up as part of LinkedIn Search.

Open to LinkedIn applications – Allow prospects to apply right through LinkedIn. This “fast application’ reduces the amount of time the applicant spends on the application. But, while it can mean getting more “spam”, it also means seeing more casual candidates, who might be good fits for other roles as well. Plus, LinkedIn applications often allow you to see a resume plus the LinkedIn profile, so you get a more thorough picture of the prospect. 

Add screening questions – These can help you reduce spam, so you get higher quality applicants. 

LinkedIn job ads can be a great way to make immediate hires. But they also put your company page in front of future prospects as well.

Get your team involved on LinkedIn

Internal PR is all about promoting the company’s image and brand among the company’s employees. So, what does it have to do with LinkedIn recruiting?

Internal PR is one of the best ways to advertise that you have a great company to work for.

Satisfied and loyal employees usually become the company’s ambassadors and gladly share their experience and ideas with friends and peers. Once you create a strong internal PR culture and enhance the company’s culture, the employees will more actively talk about the company online – thus, attracting new potential candidates. People greatly trust the feedback from friends and family – use it to your advantage.

When your team is highly engaged, productive, and happy at work, they’re more likely to tell those positive stories to their friends, family, and professional networks. By shifting your focus to recognize team members as your very own, built-in influencers, you can further grow your business by leveraging your team’s strongest suits.

Your employees are connected to ten times more people than your brand. That pays off when it comes to recruitment.

A study on employee activism revealed that, on average, 50% of employees share photos and videos on social media about their work, and a third of them do this with no encouragement from their employer. If your employees are already singing your company’s praises, how can you leverage their networks without being heavy-handed?

The answer is pretty simple: Provide them with the tools and resources that make it easier to promote your brand. Create a Brand Bible, if you will, that clearly explains the vision, mission, and history of your organization. Give your team training on the company’s “elevator pitch”. Make brand promotion part of your corporate culture.

Engaged employees are more likely to refer talent to your organization when openings arise, meaning Human Resources gains access to better talent pools with fewer resources spent. Simply leveraging an employee referral program can help you attract – and retain – the best possible talent!

While it’s not necessary to offer stock options to employees to reap the benefits of ownership mindset, it is up to leaders to create positive change and a culture of empowerment by recognizing, fostering, and nurturing internal brand ambassadors.

Use brand ambassadors

A brand ambassador is someone who speaks highly of your business. Today, most people associate brand ambassadors with highly paid celebrities acting as the face of a brand. But, brand ambassadors have traditionally been individuals who are hired by companies to help entrench the brand into the community by leveraging already established networks and market the brand through word-of-mouth tactics.

To identify potential internal brand ambassadors, look for team members who:

  • Ask questions aimed at discovering new ways they could be more effective or helpful
  • Talk about the brand and may engage with internal branding experts or managers to ensure they’re on the right path
  • Share their thoughts and ideas on how the company could improve
  • Think about your company and/or their role even while they’re not at work
  • Arrive at work each day inspired to do their work and share their thoughts
  • Advocate for the organization online such as by sharing content related to your brand initiatives on their personal social networks

If you’re working internally, it’s also important to encourage these qualities in your team on a large scale. As you identify the employees already demonstrating their enthusiasm, curiosity, and engagement, it’s important to support them to help them flourish. Good company culture is just that, culture.

Bring a human touch to the recruiting and onboarding process

  • Start with proper onboarding – From the moment you make a new hire, all efforts should be made to welcome your new team member and engage with them – from the time the offer letter is sent to the time s/he walks through the door on their first day. That can be on LinkedIn, or not, but you should always maintain contact through LinkedIn. 
  • Make a good first impression  Make an excited introduction to the team, share profiles so people get to know them. 
  • Assign mentors and buddies – Create a buddy system so candidates know who to reach out to for questions, and new hires have support through the early days.
  • Get feedback – Check in frequently to see how candidates find the recruitment and onboarding process, and if they have suggestions.
  • Keep your team in the loop – Keep the team that a candidate would be working with informed throughout the process, especially during the final stages. They may even want to reach out to candidates they liked to make a connection.

Your employees can only be as engaged as you let them. For this reason, keeping your team close to the action and ensure they’re informed about the business, how it’s doing, and the ways their work ladders up to the strategic priorities and goals of the organization. Eventually, they will likely be your largest source of prospects and new leads on LinkedIn.

If your current team is willing to reach out to their own network, you can ask them to share your job openings and careers page on their personal social networks. Your team is in a unique position to sell the company culture, since they are a part of it. They can share their experiences with the company, how they’ve grown, and other reasons they enjoy working with your business. Just make sure they have good experiences to share before you ask them to advertise an opening.

Use LinkedIn networking

Networking is part of your long-term recruiting strategy. It allows you to build and nurture contacts. It allows you to work your way into groups where you see people looking for jobs. And, it allows you to create leads out of cold contacts by offering them value over time. However, there are always rules and doing things the right way usually means spending more time.

Join groups

Join existing LinkedIn groups and take part in them. Comment, answer questions, ask questions. Do not, under any circumstances, spam the group with job ads unless the group allows that.

LinkedIn groups are either open or private communities where people can share their expertise and thoughts. Unfortunately, marketers actively use these groups as well as an easy way to promote the company’s content. Because of that, it becomes hard to find one experienced candidate among dozens of marketers or expert wannabes.

While the presence in LinkedIn groups is preferable, do not see it as your only or primary talent pool.

Use relevant filters

Filtering is probably the easiest way to find the right candidates, but many recruiters still seem to ignore it.

Filtering allows you to search the candidates by location, experience, occupation, etc. So, once you have a profile of a perfect candidate, match it to the right filters and it will be much easier and quicker to find a person.

Be responsive

Build relationships with your followers and other professionals in the industry. This will give you a direct line to your potential candidates, and it’ll allow you to interact with them and see how they treat your content. Pay attention to whether they share your blogs, the quality of their posts (their work and insights, not grammar), and how they brand themselves online.

Use Hashtags – Hashtags allow you to see and engage with posts from all over the world. Choosing and following relevant hashtags gives you insight into people looking for work, people hiring, and even education and certifications in the field. You can apply this on a broad level with hashtags like #softwaredevelopment or you can do so on a local level, with tags like #Manilla. You can engage, or just keep an eye on what is going on.

Don’t underestimate cold contacts

Cold contacts might include people who are in jobs now. They might include people who qualify for roles you need in one to five years. But, they represent future prospects. Building networks with them now and investing in them now can lead to you hiring them well into the future. Plus, building relationships with people, while asking nothing out of them, makes it easier for them to decide to send job prospects and contacts your way when you do post job listings.

Try a direct outreach

Direct outreach is a viable tactic, but you have to be careful not to come across as pushy or to spam prospects.

Avoid spam

The worst thing that a candidate may receive on LinkedIn is a random and non-personalized message from a recruiter.

On one hand, it is understandable that after screening 100+ profiles, a recruiter can make a mistake and send the wrong message to the wrong person. On the other, if you want to show genuine interest and respect for a person, always take some time to personalize the message and make it interesting for the candidate.

Personalizing messages can mean investing in reading profiles. But that will save you a lot of mis-placed emails and content.

Offer value

Whether you’re contacting a prospect for a position now or one that might open in 2 years, offer some value. That might be access to free training. It might be valuable information. It might be spending 20 minutes offering a free review of their resume. But, that time investment gets you in the door and works to build trust. When you do approach with a job role, you’ll already have established a relationship.

Running your LinkedIn recruitment strategy

Once you know what to use, it’s important to define how much, how, and how to follow up. You can normally work out LinkedIn recruiting strategies based on budget, team involvement, and total number of hires needed.

  • How far forward do you have hiring prediction in place?
  • What is your turnover rate? Can you plan to have contacts in place to fill roles as they empty?
  • Are you adding on new roles? Can you plan to fill them before hiring becomes an immediate necessity?
  • Can you align hiring with teams so that those teams post about and share roles themselves?

Using LinkedIn to research candidates

LinkedIn showcases someone’s interests, hobbies, and even personality. By looking at a person’s profile, you can spot their favorite places, ways of spending time, and even learn about their views on modern trends and culture.

However, you cannot predict whether a person will be a perfect fit for your team or not just by looking at their page. People behave differently at home and at work.

However, looking at posts, content, and personality on pages can give you a good idea if someone will fit into a team.

What to look for

Social media check should not be the primary factor upon deciding whether to hire a person or not. However, a social media profile may have some red flags that you should pay attention to.

Professional profiles

All people are different, and all have a different opinion about things. This is perfectly fine. However, if you see poor behavior social media, like an open combative argument online, that should be a warning sign.

People have a full right to agree or disagree with things. But an aggressive imposing of opinion may lead to conflict in the future. If the person cannot handle him or herself on social media, there is no guarantee s/he can be professional at work.

Communication styles

The way a person communicates with the followers may say a lot about the candidate. If a person is rude, arrogant, passive-aggressive, or never agree with the opinions of other people, this should concern you. Most people tend to keep the same conversational style both at work and at home.

If you see that a person cannot efficiently communicate, think twice about inviting him or her for an interview – most probably, s/he cannot work as a team player and could introduce constant arguing and temper tantrums.

Things to look for:

Now, let’s look at what can actually help you determine whether the candidate is the right fit for your company.

Content that supports expertise

While scrolling the feed, you may see the photos from conferences, re-posts from industry leaders, links to the online courses, etc.

These posts support the expertise of a person and show that they are willing to network and grow their skills. But if there are no such posts, that’s OK too. After all, many people prefer not to mix work and personal life.

You should also look at references, recommendations, interactions, courses taken on LinkedIn, and even listed certifications – whether or not they have anything to do with the specific role. This will give you a significant insight into the person’s total expertise and willingness to learn.

Content that showcases creativity

Creativity is awesome because it helps employees make unusual decisions and find unique solutions.

So if LinkedIn posts show a creative mindset, it’s a good sign. Creativity in your personal life can greatly help at work and would become a great asset for an employee. In addition, creative people tend to be independent thinkers who may as well become good leaders.

Content that shows personality

Let’s be honest – you want to know a bit about the person before inviting them for an interview.

LinkedIn can be a great source of information about the person in terms of habits, interests, hobbies. However, it is limited, because it’s always geared towards work. In a way that’s great, because you see exactly as much personality as that person is willing to bring to work.

Taking the next step

Eventually you’ll move candidates and prospects off LinkedIn and hopefully into an interview and then into a role. As you do, it’s important to continue to dedicate the same amount of attention and time. Offer perks to keep hires engaged. Use good onboarding to ensure the hiring experience is good. And, make sure recruiters continue to work with hires to ensure they are moving towards not away from professional goals. Doing so will ensure that they not only stay with the company – but will improve your existing LinkedIn networking.

Conclusion

Eventually, no LinkedIn recruitment strategy will ever be perfect. You’ll always run into issues. Someone will always eventually accidentally send a copy paste message to the wrong person. And, you can engage with candidates for months only to have the role vanish in a restructure. The important things are to set a budget and keep recruitment efforts within that. You also want to ensure that you continue to tweak your strategy over time, so that you invest time and effort into the people and hiring strategies that matter. That always means keeping job profiles and descriptions up to date. But, it also means changing which groups you interact in, tweaking engagement strategies, changing which roles and skills you look for, and otherwise keeping things relevant. And, if engagement doesn’t’ work, it’s always a good idea to stop and look at why, change tactics, and keep moving forward.


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5 Ways to Optimize Performance Reviews to Streamline Your Workforce

While performance reviews are massively popular with organizations, most employees hate them. In addition, most performance reviews don’t actually achieve any goals. They simply represent a point in time when organizations take stock of employees and gauge them according to some metric or other.

While performance reviews are “old-fashioned” and often associated with top-down management in waterfall style organizations, they can offer a lot to companies that use them well. Yet, according to a Gallup Poll, just 14% of employees surveyed say performance reviews incentivize or help them improve.

So, what goes into optimizing your performance review? While that largely depends on where your organization is now and what you have set up, the following options are a great place to start for most businesses.

Link Performance Reviews to Competency and Skills Frameworks

Most organizations have or are in the process of implementing skills and competency frameworks. Many fail to link those frameworks to performance review or performance management. This is a wasted opportunity, considering integration allows you to create at closed loop of feedback for the existing framework and for the employee.

Why does it help optimize your workforce? Tracking performance against skills and competencies (providing skills and competencies are correctly registered) allows HR to track performance against what is assumed to result in performance. Therefore, it validates (or doesn’t) the competency framework.

At the same time, aligning performance management and competency frameworks allows HR to see which competencies consistently contribute towards success, which are missing in individuals with low performance, and so on. This can work to improve hiring. You can also use it to contribute towards personal development by working to close skills gaps.

Focus on Improvement and Recognition over Evaluation

The yearly evaluation and scoring, where individuals are given a performance percentile is quickly becoming a thing of the past, and for good reason. It achieves nothing, outside of a few competition-based niche sales industries, but making the top few percent feel good and everyone else feel bad. This is especially true considering 20% of your employees will always be responsible for 80% of your output.

This doesn’t mean others aren’t achieving work or that they aren’t necessary, it just means a small percentage of people are highly motivated and very able to do large amounts of work in short periods of time. They’re your “star” employees, but most people aren’t actually capable of functioning at that level.

What can you do about it? Remove ranking equations (at least public ones) and instead integrate public-facing measures involving constructive criticism, recognition of efforts, and positive reinforcement. If someone truly did badly, apply constructive criticism, empathetically approach the situation to figure out why, and assess additional factors like motivation, team environment, and personal environment.

You can still track high performers, but if the people in your middle 60% are still doing what you pay them to do and doing it well, there’s no reason to make them feel bad or second rate just because someone in accounting did 400% more work. This will happen no matter how good the median employee is.

Integrate Personal Development and Learning

Any performance review should follow up with opportunities to improve. If performance is about learning and improvement, employees see value. You can offer this by implementing competency frameworks, by analyzing work, by recognizing shifts in technology, and by reviewing external factors like home and team environments, motivation, or even commute.

What factors contribute to poor performance

  • Skills Gaps > Train the skill
  • Technology gaps > Train the technology
  • Motivation issues > Figure out motivation or move the individual to another team
  • Team conflicts > Teach interpersonal management, communication, emotional intelligence, etc. Check team balance and leadership styles and reallocate where clashes are problematic
  • Leadership problems > Train leadership and work to address relationship problems for the team
  • Personal problems > Offer flex work and/or stress and relationship management courses

Every aspect of a person’s life will contribute to their performance at work. If you understand why performance is low, you can work to improve that performance, delivering real opportunities for employees to grow, change, and improve with the company.

Offering that also makes performance reviews about learning and growing, rather than receiving a rating, which will make employees that much more incentivized to put in the work. And, of course, you should reward improvement with something they want, like a cash bonus.

Connecting Performance and Individual Contribution to Company Goals

It’s impossible to truly track performance if you don’t link goals that matter. At the same time, you can’t track employee performance in alignment with company goals unless employees are aware of those goals, are given short-term goals aligned with longer-term goals, and are able to autonomously work towards those goals. If someone is simply handed top-down tasks designed by a manager or team lead, you have to judge them based on performance of those tasks.

So, if hierarchy allows, integrating how employees contribute to and move towards company goals, as individuals and as part of a team, can add considerable value to performance reviews. Why? It doesn’t tell you how many tasks someone did or how often (Someone can sit in meetings every single day, day in, day out and achieve nothing), it tells you what they actually do to move the company forward.

This ties into setting company goals as well. Performance reviews should give your organization a very good idea of what it is able to achieve and who is able to achieve it. This allows you to set realistic goals that move your company forward.

Create a Two-Way Conversation

Performance is about how an employee is able to and motivated to function in their work environment. Your organization contributes to employee performance as much as they do. If you don’t make performance talks a two-way discussion, where employees can freely give feedback, discuss their work environment, and actively contribute to how their performance is seen, what changes are made to improve that, and what they are offered, you’re missing out.

A simple discussion with an employee might tell you they’re struggling because the team isn’t getting along, and management isn’t helping. The manager would likely never tell you that. You might also learn that a top employee has been offered a better-paying job and was waiting for performance review to determine if they wanted to make the switch. You’d have the opportunity to offer incentives to stay.

Having discussions would also allow you to help employees find their own ways to improve and to do better in their environment, to set their own goals, and to build their own motivation. That’s a lot more motivational than simply handing that employee yet another to-do-list of things to learn and improve at.

Your organization’s performance management system should ultimately reflect the organization, its hierarchy, and its goals. A good performance management system feeds into training, hiring, development, and setting goals and directions for the organization. If it isn’t, you have to step back and ask where it is adding value and if you actually need it.


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The psychology behind appreciation and acknowledgement for employee retention

What do your employee turnover numbers look like? Hiring top talent is great but retaining that talent will be far more beneficial to your business performance. If you wait until your employee hands in their resignation to find out how they feel about work, you are missing a valuable opportunity. You will miss the chance to keep a valued member of your team; and you will also miss the opportunity to identify and fix issues within your organization.

Developing an employee retention strategy that appreciates and acknowledges your employees and their needs will allow you to retain top talent within your company. Higher levels of employee retention will also benefit your business bottom-line and ongoing performance.

What is employee retention?

Employee retention is often shown as a statistic to showcase the percentage of employees that have remained in your business for a fixed period of time.

This is calculated by working out the total number of current employees minus the total number of employees that left. This figure is then divided by the total number of employees which is then multiplied by 100 to give you your employee retention rate.

Employee turnover relates to the percentage of employees who leave your business. You may often hear companies talk about their staff turnover rates when discussing employee retention. Across all industries, the average employee turnover rate in 2019 was calculated at 3.7%. Keeping this average turnover rate in mind, a 90% employee retention would be considered a good employee retention rate. However, the average employee retention rate may differ based on different industries.

According to research by Jobvite, 33% of new employees quit their job within the first 90 days of employment. Reasons for leaving include the job not being as expected, misinformation about the company culture, and poor leadership practices. Understanding why an employee leaves can be an important component in learning how to improve your employee retention rate.

Why is employee retention important?

Now, you might be wondering why employee retention matters so much. Investing time, energy, and resources in improving your employee retention rate can have rewarding benefits for your business. 

Having a high turnover rate can be costly for your business. Recruiting, replacing, and re-training employees can have a significant financial strain on your company. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) estimates the average cost of replacing a salaried employee as being equivalent to 6 – 9 months’ salary. For an employee earning $60,000 per year, that totals approximately $30,000 to $45,000 in recruiting and training costs. Naturally, your finance department would much prefer you to reduce those overheads by ensuring you have a strong employee retention rate.

Cost isn’t the only important factor involved in employee retention. A high turnover rate can also be damaging to your business performance. Focusing on employee retention could positively impact your business performance by ensuring stability within your team and, in turn, within your processes.

Employees who are happy in their jobs are more likely to stay and will also be more productive and produce a higher quality of work. Of course, in some situations, a new hire could help bring a new perspective and productivity to your business. Therefore, it’s important to frequently check in with your employees to make sure they are satisfied and performing optimally.

How do appreciation and acknowledgment affect employee retention?

Employee appreciation and acknowledgment are two factors that can positively impact employee retention. By making employee appreciation a central part of your business strategy, you can help to improve the employee retention rate of your organization.

Appreciation can be defined as the “recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.” Therefore, by showing your employees that they are appreciated, you are informing them that they are an integral member of your team and the wider company network.

Research by TINYpulse states that 21.5% of employees who don’t feel recognized when they do great work have interviewed for a new job. In contrast, this figure was only 12.4% when employees do feel that their work efforts are recognized. Further to this, a report by Appirio found that 60 percent of surveyed employees highly valued being appreciated by management, and that appreciation played an important role in their decision to remain with an employer or interview for a new role.

From this research, it is evident that appreciation and acknowledgment should form part of your employee retention strategy. In order to effectively implement a successful retention strategy, it is also important to understand the driving forces behind those feelings of appreciation.

The psychology behind appreciation and acknowledgment

In order to increase employee retention, you must first understand the psychology behind appreciation and acknowledgment. By doing this, you will be able to better understand what makes your employees happy. 

Appreciation and acknowledgment are, at their core, constructs of intrinsic motivation. In psychology, there are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation refers to the act of doing something without any external reward. Someone who is intrinsically motivated will engage with a task because they enjoy it and get personal and internal satisfaction from it. On the flip side, extrinsic motivation refers to the act of doing something in order to gain an external return.

Goals that are intrinsically motivated will be focused on outcomes that satisfy your basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. In a work environment, this could refer to feeling like you are part of a team or having your hard work be acknowledged. Another example of workplace intrinsic motivation would be taking on more responsibility because you enjoy being challenged and feeling accomplished.

A report into the psychological effects of appreciation and acknowledgment in the workplace found that appreciation and acknowledgment were two important tools in worker motivation and organizational success. By regularly expressing appreciation for employees, employers can also minimize their employee turnover rate. This report also highlighted when employees feel appreciated and esteemed for their commitments at work, it leads to increased employee commitment and lower staff turnover.

Creating a culture of appreciation and acknowledgment

There are several ways that you can harness a culture of appreciation and acknowledgment within your workplace. In order for employee appreciation to have significant effects on your employee satisfaction and retention levels, it needs to be ingrained into your company culture. Simply setting one day a year aside to champion employee appreciation will not be enough.

You can create a culture of appreciation and acknowledgment by allowing employees to provide feedback without judgment or risk of repercussion. If employees feel like their voices are heard, they will be more likely to feel valued at work.

You should also ensure that a culture of appreciation is evident at all levels of your business by encouraging employees and managers to show gratitude for one another. One way to do this could be through employee of the month nominations, or encouraging employees to give positive (and genuine!) feedback to another team member during daily stand-ups. 

Other ways to instill a culture of appreciation include offering valuable rewards to employees that work hard, celebrating employee effort rather than outcomes, and analyzing your company values to make sure they are reflective of an appreciative company culture.

Investing in your employees as a way of showing you care

Employee training and development can also be a crucial factor in ensuring a high staff retention rate. According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report, 93% of employees stated that they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers.

Investing in your employees shows that you care about them. By providing your employees with learning opportunities, you are letting them know that you value their input and that you care about their long-term success. This shows your employees that you are focused on their personal growth and long-term performance, rather than focusing on short term business objectives.

Therefore, if you really want to show your employees that you genuinely value them, you should look to invest in employee learning and development opportunities.


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7 Reasons employee learning should be a top business priority

Does your organization prioritize employee learning and training? Employee learning has been shown to have links to business performance. A recent study found higher rates of business performance in organizations where employee learning and performance lay at the heart of their human resource and leadership strategy when compared to organizations that did not invest in human resource development or utilize transformational leadership styles.

There are various types of employee learning. The different methods of employee training include:

  • eLearning
  • Orientation and onboarding
  • Instructor-led training
  • Mentorship programs
  • Skill development
  • Lectures
  • Team training, activities and discussions
  • Examinations
  • Case Studies
  • Hands-on training
  • Leadership training
  • Simulation-based training
  • Role-playing

Your organization will likely use a combination of various employee training methods dependent upon your business needs. When developing your employee training program, it’s important to understand the various benefits of employee learning.

By understanding the benefits of employee learning, you will soon learn to understand why employee learning should be a business priority for your company.

1) Increase job satisfaction

One of the most notable benefits of employee learning is its relationship with job satisfaction. Many studies have shown that investing in employee training results in those employees having greater levels of job satisfaction.

Job satisfaction should be recognized as an important component of an employee’s lifecycle and their motivations to remain loyal to their current employer. For example, a study into hotel employees found that employee training was positively related to training satisfaction and job satisfaction. This then had an indirect effect where job satisfaction positively led to intention to stay at their job.

Investing in employee training should, therefore, be a business priority if you want to benefit from having employees who are satisfied within their current role.

2) Maintain and nurture top talent

Developing an employee training program within your organization will also help you to better maintain and nurture top talent. Nurturing your existing employees and helping them to unlock their full potential by providing learning opportunities can turn “average” employees into top performers.

Research has found that internal employee development has a greater organizational benefit than external recruitment. Benefits of nurturing internal talent include improved motivation, lower staff turnover and reduced business costs.

3) Reduce employee turnover

It has been stated that two in three workers have changed jobs due to a lack of learning and development opportunities. Having a high employee turnover can be costly for your business. However, providing employee training can significantly reduce your employee turnover rate.

In order to reduce employee turnover, you should look to provide employee training for new employees as part of their onboarding and as an ongoing process for existing employees. One of the reasons why new employees leave a job within the first six months was due to a lack of training. In this same study it was also found that on-the-job training was one of the requests on a new hires onboarding wishlist.

A report by LinkedIn found that an impressive 94% of employees would stay with their current employer if they invested in employee learning and development. Knowing this, it is evident that employee learning should be considered a business priority if you want to retain employees and minimize the costs associated with having a high employee turnover rate.

4) Gain an advantage over competitors

It could be argued that a company’s greatest asset is its employees. In fact, a research report noted that, in a competitive environment, people make a difference and the quality of an organization’s employees can impact the organization’s productivity, customer service, reputation and survival. Investing in your employees can, therefore, help your organization to get an industry advantage over your competitors.

Rather than hiring new employees, it would be more beneficial to invest in employee training in order to enhance the skills and capabilities of your current employees. This, in turn, will help your business stay at the forefront of your industry.

5) Boost company reputation

The reputation of your company can be integral to its success. Having a strong positive reputation can allow your organization to be perceived as providing high levels of value. This perceived value can enable your business to charge a premium, can increase customer loyalty and can attract better people to your business.

As we know employee learning will improve job satisfaction and performance, it can be said that these factors will, as a result, raise the reputation of your business by showing employees, competitors and customers that you are a company that truly cares about employee experience and business performance.

6) Reduce stagnation

When employees become comfortable in their role they run a risk of complacency. This complacency could turn into demotivation, boredom and eventually underperformance. A workforce study by Gallup found that 55 percent of employees are not engaged at work. This disengagement could stem from a lack of meaningful relationships at work.

There are several ways to combat employee stagnation. One of which is by making employee learning a business priority. Investing in employee learning and development can help stagnated employees to set in-house career goals and objectives to work towards. Thus, helping them to develop a meaningful connection with their work.

7) Improve your bottom line

Ultimately, the purpose of any business is to turn over a profit every year so that you can remain a profitable, successful business for the long term. One way to improve the bottom line of your organization is by prioritizing employee learning.

By improving employee retention rates through training you can avoid company costs associated with hiring and training new employees. Other ways that employee learning can impact your organization’s bottom line is through improved customer service and reduced error frequency. All of which can add up to have a significant positive impact on the profitability of your business.


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Key soft skills to look for when hiring remotely for eCommerce

When scaling up your eCommerce business, there comes a time when you need to consider bringing more people onto the team. From finding the right candidates to understanding what roles to prioritize, building a strong team to support the growth of your eCommerce business can be a difficult feat. Outsourcing common eCommerce roles to a remote team could be the answer to all of your hiring problems.

As an eCommerce company, operating online should be second-nature to you. So, if your online customers can trust you to deliver high-quality products, you should be able to do the same with your team. Building a remote eCommerce team harbors great benefits for you and your company. But first, you need to understand what qualities to look for when hiring the perfect candidate for your team.

In this article, we’ll share with you six common eCommerce roles to hire for your eCommerce business. We’ll also delve into key soft skills to look for when remotely hiring for these common eCommerce job roles.

Virtual Assistant

If you’re looking to hire your first employee, a virtual assistant is often the best role to start with. As an eCommerce business owner, you’re likely spinning lots of plates at once which can lead to job overwhelm. Hiring a virtual assistant can help reduce your responsibilities. This allows you to focus on other key areas of your business while your virtual assistant hands some of the more general duties and administrative tasks.

Key responsibilities of a virtual eCommerce assistant include:

  • Updating your online store products
  • Processing online orders
  • Responding to customer enquiries
  • Managing online promotions
  • Handling your finances
  • Maintaining your website

The key soft skills to look for when hiring a virtual assistant to support your eCommerce business are:

  • Organization
  • Adaptability
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication
  • Customer service
  • Teamwork
  • Time Management

A strong virtual assistant will be highly organized and able to manage their time well, able to adapt to different tasks and have a keen attention to detail. They should also be able to work as part of a wider team and effectively communicate with customers.

Copywriter

The words on your online website can be the difference between your website visitors making a sale and clicking off your website never to return again. Having website copy that connects with your audience, captures their attention and encourages them to make a purchase is vital to creating a successful eCommerce business.

Hiring a talented remote copywriter will ensure that your website features high-quality copy that turns your website visitors into customers. Your remote copywriter can also assist you with e-mail copy for your transactional and marketing emails, and by writing marketing copy for use in both online and offline adverts.

The key soft skills to look for when hiring a remote copywriter to support your eCommerce business are:

  • Storyteller
  • Inquisitive-thinking
  • Innovation
  • Empathy
  • Creativity
  • Organization

A copywriter must be someone who can put themselves into someone else’s shoes and tell a story. They need to be inquisitive and creative; and having an innovative mind will ensure that they write compelling copy. An organized copywriter will also be able to handle their workload and effectively juggle multiple copywriting projects at once.

Marketer

As an eCommerce business owner, you would benefit greatly from hiring a skilled Digital Marketer to manage your eCommerce marketing activity. Marketing is an integral component of any eCommerce business.

From re-engaging visitors with abandoned carts to building brand awareness and ensuring visibility online, optimizing your eCommerce marketing can be a time-consuming process. Hiring a remote marketer can help you do more with your time without worrying about neglecting your marketing efforts.

Some tasks that a remote marketing assistant would be able to assist with include:

  • Create a successful marketing strategy
  • Implement SEO, conversion rate optimization, and user experience actions on your website
  • Keep your social media channels updated
  • Manage your email marketing campaigns
  • Develop influencer relationships
  • Write and distribute press releases
  • Market product launch campaigns

The key soft skills to look for when hiring a remote copywriter to support your eCommerce business are:

  • Organization
  • Curiosity
  • Persuasion
  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Resilience
  • Communication
  • Teamwork

When hiring a marketer for your eCommerce business you will need someone who is highly organized. However, they also need to be creative and flexible as they work on various creative projects and tasks. Marketing is similar to sales and, therefore, a good marketer should be persuasive. Curiosity, resilience and teamwork will enable a marketer to work well with our employees and test various SEO, CRO, and UX frameworks to ensure your company gets the best results from its marketing initiatives.

Financial Manager

Running an eCommerce business involves a lot of financial work. Hiring a finance manager will allow you to keep your company on track to hitting its eCommerce goals. A skilled finance manager will analyze data to develop and execute an online financial strategy for your eCommerce business.

Example tasks that a financial manager may be responsible for in your eCommerce business include:

  • Updating Profit and Loss statements
  • Managing payroll
  • Processing returns
  • Producing financial data reports
  • Developing departmental budgets
  • Conducting financial risk assessment
  • Handling company taxes
  • Sales forecasting

The key soft skills to look for when hiring a financial manager to support your eCommerce business are:

  • Decision making skills
  • Organization
  • Analytical
  • Attention to detail
  • Negotiation
  • Problem solving
  • Dedication

Financial managers need to have strong problem solving and decision making skills as they will be responsible for making crucial financial decisions for your eCommerce business. As their work will require a lot of analyzing data and crunching numbers, they also need to be organized, analytical and attentive. Working in finance will also involve managing business costs and department budgets therefore it’s beneficial for your financial manager to have strong negotiation skills.

Graphic Designer and Photographer

The visuals of your website play an important role in converting visitors into customers. Outsourcing graphic design and photographer work to experienced graphic designers and photographers will ensure that your website stands out for all the right reasons.

You may not need a graphic designer or photographer to work for your business full-time. In this case, outsourcing this work to a remote designer or photographer will be the most cost-effective solution for your eCommerce company.

From product photographs and ad banners to social media graphics, lifestyle imagery and website headers, well thought-out visuals will capture the attention of passersby and encourage them to engage with, and shop from, your business.

The key soft skills to look for when hiring graphic designers and photographers to support your eCommerce business are:

  • Communication
  • Active listening
  • Creativity
  • Time management
  • Persistence
  • Understanding
  • Problem solving

When hiring either graphic designers or photographers, you will want to look for individuals who are good communicators and listeners as they need to be able to take feedback and suggestions on board. They will also need to be creative and good at problem solving so that they can work on creative briefs to develop strong visuals for your brand.

Ads Specialist

By 2022, mobile advertising spending is expected to surpass $280 billion dollars. The world of online advertising is vast. You can advertise your business on search engines such as Google, on marketplaces like Amazon, on social media platforms like Facebook, or on other websites using banner advertising. You can also engage in affiliate advertising to generate sales through affiliate partnerships.

If you are interested in exploring online advertising for your eCommerce business, you should consider hiring an Ads Specialist. An Ads Specialist will be able to generate powerful advertising results for your online business through their expert understanding of various ad platforms, advertising best practices and optimization skills.

You may want to hire different Ads Specialists for each of the platforms you intend to advertise on. This will ensure that you get the best possible results from each of your adverts. However, if you choose to go down this route, make sure that your team of ads specialists communicate with each other to harmonize brand messaging across all ad platforms.

The key soft skills to look for when hiring graphic designers and photographers to support your eCommerce business are:

  • Problem solving
  • Results oriented
  • Communication
  • Persuasion
  • Persistence
  • Analytical
  • Organization
  • Reactive
  • Decision Making

When hiring an ads specialist, you want to hire somebody who is a strong problem solver and confident decision maker. Someone managing ads needs to be able to analyze ad performance and decide what the best next step to take is to ensure success. They will, therefore, also need to be analytical, results oriented and persistent. Being reactive will help them create ad amendments in response to unexpected changes. They will also need to have great communication skills as they will need to liaise with various other members of your marketing such as graphic designers and copywriters.

Focusing on a potential employee’s soft skills, as well as their hard skills, will ensure that you always hire the right person for the role.


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Screening for Distributed Workforces: Traits to Look for in Distance Employees

Organizations are more and more often supporting flex and remote work, with employees who come into office a few days a week or not at all. Globally, some 50% of professionals work out of the office at least two and a half days a week.

These shifts allow for greater flexibility, personal time, and reduces costs for the employee and the company, as well as greater opportunity for safety in light of a global pandemic.

At the same time, allowing or asking employees to work from home means asking them to work in a completely different environment, necessitating different soft skills and different competencies.

If you’re hiring new people in this environment, hiring for remote work should be part of screening. That means looking for traits and competencies that allow people to succeed and thrive in a changing environment.

Importantly, if you’re eventually planning to switch back to full time in-office work, it’s important to screen for that as well.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Emotional intelligence is often recognized as the number one soft skill for leaders. But, it’s also incredibly important for distributed workforces. Emotional intelligence or EQ is a trait best described as awareness and perception of your emotions and those around you, and the ability to regulate your own emotions.

While emotional intelligence is a hugely positive trait in any employee, it becomes more so when employees interact with each other at a distance. Collaboration often requires individuals to empathize with and understand the other. Communicating, sharing, and engaging in a functional way requires that same empathy. And, empathy is harder to establish when you don’t see your colleagues in the office every day.

People with emotional intelligence can gauge coworker’s reactions to a statement, offer useful criticism, and act in ways that benefit their team. Someone who is emotionally intelligent can review their colleague’s emotional states, respond to people in ways that elicit the hoped for responses, and be conscientious of how requests, comments, and actions make others feel.

Self-Driven and Self-Motivating Traits

Self-motivation is a critical trait when employees work in their own spaces, without top down management. Remote work often relies on employees taking initiative, performing work, and doing so without someone constantly checking or managing what and how they are doing it. Self-driven and motivated employees are more likely to get up in the morning, do work, and have free time and a healthy work-life balance, whether or not they have to work traditional hours.

Persons without that motivation are more likely to have uneven schedules, to spend long periods procrastinating starting work, and to only pick up items when they are specifically assigned. Because it’s cheaper and more effective to hand remote employees a goal and to allow them to work on that goal with as little oversight as possible, the former is significantly better.

While it can be difficult to assess for self-driven and self-motivation traits in pre-employment screening, there are many ways to look for those traits. They include screening for elective education and self-improvement, personal hobbies, and similar. They can also include electives added on to the assessment, which employees can choose to take.

Communication Skills

Communication is a quality skill in any environment. It’s more so when people can’t check in with others to quickly see what they are doing, what they are working on, or if they need help. Remote workers need to seamlessly communicate progress, issues, bottlenecks, and offer assistance to their team to make things worse.

This means the candidate:

  • Easily and naturally offers progress updates and is willing to check in
  • Documents their work as a matter of course
  • Is fluent with different communication tools including video chat, chat apps, etc.
  • Can manage and maintain multiple lines of communication
  • Can voice their needs and feedback in ways that are understandable to others

Communication skills are a must-have for most offices. And, as a soft skill, they are difficult to train in. For many, they improve as individuals adjust to work routines and to colleagues. However, anyone in remote work needs a strong foundation in these skills to succeed.

Task and Time Management

Task and time management include a range of skills like prioritization, managing how long they spend on tasks, and appropriately scheduling tasks so that they can be completed on deadline, without stress. This is especially important when people are likely to be either home, in an environment that is likely to have distractions (chores, pets, children, partners), or in public spaces. Without company policy and bosses around to motivate people to finish up and clock out, people need to be able to manage their time and tasks.

  • How well does the candidate prioritize tasks?
  • How well does the candidate manage time, e.g., time per section on an assessment that’s too long to be completed in the available time
  • Is the candidate familiar with using digital planning tools for project management and task management? Are they familiar with the option your team uses?
  • Is the candidate able to sit down and focus on a task to complete it within a reasonable amount of time, without being held accountable?

Time management is difficult to gauge as a skill but you will quickly see large differences between individuals with and without a strong ability to manage their time.

Adaptability

Digital work environments are constantly changing. Employees might be asked to work in-office, in the home, and in changing digital environments. You need people who can quickly move back and forth between different work environments.

You also need people who can function with different levels of autonomy. If people move to an office and are largely autonomous in how and when they work but then are required to move into strict 8-hour days with a team lead guiding their work, they have to be flexible enough to make that shift.

  • Are there differences between face-to-face performance in interviews and virtual interviews?
  • How does the candidate perform in virtual tasks versus in-office ones?
  • Does the candidate exhibit a preference for strict routines and processes?
  • Can the candidate switch between different assessment methods or between different styles of communication fluently?

Many people can be relatively inflexible and still be good at remote jobs. At the same time, they’re less likely to be able to move back and forth between different work environments until both become a routine.

Tech Savvy

Digital work is performed in digital spaces. Remote workers must navigate project management tooling, collaboration tooling, and the tooling where they perform their work. Depending on the role, this might be as simple as Microsoft Office and a suite of project management tools.

Whatever those tools are, your candidate must be able to quickly adapt to and succeed in changing digital environments, even if you change tooling. This means it’s more important to look for candidates who can adapt to new technologies quickly rather than people who are fluent in the specific tools you already use.

Digital and distributed workforces are becoming more common. Many organizations are forced into them as employees demand more flexible working conditions, cheaper labor is available elsewhere, and safety concerns push for remote work opportunities. Whatever the reason, it’s important that you take the needs of a distributed workforce into account when screening for and hiring for those roles.


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