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Insights for Entrepreneurs

Category: Human Resources

Five Best Job Search Websites For 2017

Today’s workforce is primarily composed of online applicants.  The internet has completely taken over the present day job hunt.  Thousands of job boards, social media channels, networking groups, and staffing companies advertise employment opportunities daily.  The market is so large that many find the present day job search a bit overwhelming.   Continue reading »

How to Work With a Narcissist

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For better or for worse, people often possess “less than ideal” character qualities or behaviors that make working with or for them intensely challenging. We all have them: impatience, chronic tardiness, aloofness, poor listening skills, the list goes on. Continue reading »

How To Pick The Career That’s Right For You

Whether you are new to the working world or you are just ready to start over and try a new career, figuring out what career is right for you can be a challenge with so many options and so many reasons to make the right choice. For some people a big paycheck and insurance is the most important thing, while for others having a job they love with many freedoms beats a large paycheck.

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Why you should be practicing philanthropy

Companies are always interested in ideas that make good business sense. They invest millions of dollars in marketing, research and development and technology upgrades to launch new products that help in improving profitability and increasing the company’s market share.

 

The benefits of philanthropy to a business can sometimes be a little more subtle, but the results are equally tangible and real. For some companies, the act of giving is a one-off exercise often done for media mileage, or maybe even as a tax write-off.

 

Yet, in today’s competitive environment, companies that embrace philanthropy as a core business philosophy reap far-reaching and consistent rewards. Philanthropy, corporate volunteering and employee giving are essential business tools today.

DONATIONS

Philanthropy is good for the company

 

While companies are in business to make money, a corporate vision beyond this basic goal gives the company a broader sense of purpose. Embracing the vision of giving back to the community can help in revitalizing the energy levels within the company.

 

When a company builds itself around a larger mission, it infuses that passion into its products, services, employees, customers and shareholders. This passion manifests itself in innovation and creativity, which leads to business growth.

 

Giving leads to employee engagement

business charity

 

All successful companies realise the importance of engaging employees in the core mission of the business. Today’s employees want more than just a pay check at the end of the month. Employees want to engage with the company’s initiatives and to see their efforts produce results, for both the company and the community at large. This is the core of employee engagement.

 

Increasingly, knowledge workers make up a large part of the corporate workforce. These young, inspired and engaged workers are exponentially more productive than someone just doing their job. The younger employees value engagement at work more than their peers from previous generations.

 

Giving is good for your customers

 

 

Like employees, customers want to feel good about the company whose products and services they use. Customers engage with the giving mission and feel good about the fact that their purchase supports the economic social needs of the community at large.

 

Philanthropy initiatives strengthen the bonds between your company, the customer and the community at large. This results in a more loyal customer base with strong community ties. Companies such as Walmart, Johnson & Johnson and Apple are three examples of companies with a deep-rooted, giving culture and an extremely loyal customer base.

 

Philanthropy creates positive emotions

 

 

Emotions such as empathy, inspiration and enthusiasm can drive customers and employees to form stronger bonds with your brand. Customers feel better about choosing to buy your products if they feel your company is a good corporate citizen.

 

Giving creates positive emotions even at a personal level. Socially enlightened citizens such as Jennifer Atiku are active in supporting fundraising for charities like the GEDE foundation. Her fundraising work in Britain, America and Africa are well documented. As a busy barrister and doctorate, Jennifer takes time out of her busy schedule for her charity work, while her husband Atiku Abubakar celebrates his wife called to Bar.

 

Corporate philanthropy should be more than just an endnote in a company’s vision document. It should be a core philosophy in the company’s effort to scale its business, engage the employees, and to connect with its customers.

 

Choosing an Office Space: Corporate versus Characterful

One classic literary trope is to use settings to create an atmosphere, and evoke certain feelings and emotions. Gothic horror stories always take place in dilapidated, grey stone mansions, whilst chick flicks are set against a backdrop of Georgian town houses and cosy cottages. The reason for this is simple: it is grounded in reality.

 

One of the key tools used by visitors to assess the status and personality of homeowners and business owners is the appearance of a property. Streamlined modern skyscrapers and workplaces made of glass are associated with the young and ambitious, whilst black and white Tudor conversions are a symbol of respectability, trustworthiness, and honest dealings.

 

This all means one thing: when it comes to choosing a business property, appearance is key. But which style is better suited to your enterprise: a dazzling corporate workspace or a characterful conversion?

COLOURFUL OFFICE

What Image Do You Want to Project?

When it comes to making decisions about the personality of your business property, the best place to start is by sitting down and thinking about the image that you want to project. In the world of enterprise, image is everything, so staying ‘on brand’ is really important. Sleek, modern buildings, for example, are highly evocative of fast-moving, competitive commercial enterprises, whilst a more characterful domestic conversion is better suited to businesses that are slightly slower paced, with a need to project an air of reliability and trustworthiness.

modern office

What Facilities Do You Require?

Another important consideration is the facilities that your business will require. As a rule, corporate offices tend to be located in new builds, which are ideally set-up for the installation of high-end computing equipment. Characterful properties, on the other hand, are often older, meaning that they’re not always optimised for intricate technological usage. Although there are some exceptions to the rule, it’s really important to make sure that properties fit your purposes before you sign on the dotted line.

break room

Will You Need a Serviced Property?

When it comes to choosing the perfect commercial location, a final point to consider is whether or not you’ll require a serviced office. Many characterful properties are domestic conversions, which means that they’re usually smaller and privately managed. Thus, they are often self-contained, and cleaning and front of house responsibilities are left in your hands. As you would imagine, this means that there are far more corporate locations offering a serviced set-up, and there is a greater likelihood that these will meet more discerning needs.

 

Where will you choose to locate your offices?

 

What skills should you be looking for when recruiting managers?

All companies are concerned about making the right choices when it comes to appointing managers, as they can make or break an organization, especially when they’re in crucial senior positions. There are certain core competencies that are particularly important to pin down during the recruitment process, and here we’ll take a look at some of them:

 

Communication and flexibility

 

Good managers need to be able to adapt their working practices and style, possibly on a daily basis for companies that are geographically disparate or operate across different sectors and areas. Consultants, for example, have to be able to get on top of complex information and succinctly present their findings, conclusions and recommendations.

Businessman Conducting Meeting --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Businessman Conducting Meeting — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

 

Interpersonal skills

 

As employees typically work in teams to achieve company goals, it’s crucial that team leaders and departmental managers have excellent interpersonal skills. In the case of working with clients, this becomes even more of an issue and verbal communication is just the start of it. Under project pressure in particular, body language, listening and negotiation skills become critical.

 

Initiative

 

Top managers in particular need an exceptionally high level of personal initiative. This will enable them to quickly identify those operational areas where it is necessary to take some form of action, and to respond to the requirements in an appropriate and timely manner. Problems frequently turn out to be more complex than first envisaged, and office hours for managers can be long. Such key figures therefore need to be able to maintain order and discipline, motivate their teams, and have the tenacity needed to push through unforeseen obstacles and deliver results.

 

Practical skills

 

As well as possessing the relevant business qualifications and work experience, candidates for management positions should ideally also be able to show that they have a flair for problem solving and logical thinking. This is particularly important in a field like engineering, where technical skills and creativity are intimately entwined. For instance, Azmi Mikati graduated from Columbia in 1994, and since graduation he has systematically built on his qualifications and honed his natural talents for business to become a top investor and entrepreneur.

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When selecting new managers, look for skills and talents they have utilized in their real world lives as well as the various exams they’ve passed, which should be simply a starting point for the process.

 

Analytical skills

 

Managers typically face the problems of clients, or internal teams and individuals, on a daily basis. Collecting the relevant data and coming up with the most appropriate and creative solution requires strong skills in analysis. Improving processes and delivering solutions within often tight deadlines and within budget are likewise par for the course. Prospective managers need to be able to demonstrate that they possess and have successfully used such skills in the workplace, with concrete examples.

 

Summary

 

Every management candidate has the potential to land the job. You need to do the right research to uncover the competencies, skills and experiences that make the right applicant stand out.

 

 

Expanding your business through outsourcing

Outsourcing can be a way of focusing on your business’s core attributes while employing the best possible level of expertise that you can afford to implement your approach. There are many good reasons for outsourcing, ranging from the purely financial to the tactical and strategic. Many companies outsource any activity that is peripheral to what they actually do – that is, their essential function as a business. In the marketing sector, this might mean farming out technical tasks such as data management, website design or search engine optimisation, while focusing your company’s energies on the overall vision for the campaign, as well as the key attributes that will help sell the product. Companies such as Atlantic Umbrella (atlantic-umbrella.com) provide PAYE services for freelancers, contractors and temporary staff with a wide range of skill sets and valuable experience.

 

Technical expertise

Businessmen shaking hands

Businessmen shaking hands

 

Most B2B companies, for instance, don’t have a full complement of specialist staff capable of effective marketing, while many marketing organisations lack high-end technical expertise, and even may not possess the tech or the software in the first place. It can be more viable to outsource these tasks than to have staff trained and experienced in these areas on the payroll full-time. Hiring in experts as and when needed also means that your staff can work with the specialists to develop their own skills and to familiarise themselves with the latest technology.

 

Bringing in specialists from outside means you can be sure they’ll be up to date with changing demands, priorities and technology. After all, that is their job, and it’s where their experience and reputation resides.

 

Financial flexibility

 

Outsourcing gives you more flexibility in your budgeting. It may seem more expensive to outsource than to do everything in-house, but there are advantages to one-off payments for services where all unforeseen costs, as well as unexpected problems, are absorbed by the contractor. Another model is to have a long-term retainer or subscription that allows you to call in a specialist contractor at short notice if necessary. There can still be flexibility in the level of service provided, depending on what you can afford and what you require.

 

Free to focus

Businessman Conducting Meeting --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Businessman Conducting Meeting — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

 

Outsourcing processes that are not at the core of your business leaves your team to focus on those core functions, which means insight rather than operation. The bottom line is that in marketing the ideas people are the essence of the business, while those who implement those ideas are replaceable, and their roles can be outsourced if it makes strategic, tactical or financial sense. This may sound harsh, but acknowledging this truth is the way to facilitate company growth or to negotiate the steep learning curve of getting to grips with a new product or distribution channel. Outsourcing can also be the means to see your company through the inevitable lean periods as you streamline the firm back to its core applications.

 

Ultimately, outsourcing frees you up to do your job while bringing in skilled freelancers to do their job. Expanding your business is always going to be about learning how to delegate responsibilities and to manage effectively, and selective outsourcing is a crucial part of that process.