Category Archives: Business

How to motivate the employee

Moving up the corporate ladder means more to many employees than getting a bigger paycheck, new research finds.

A study from the people and organizational advisory firm Korn Ferry revealed that 63 percent of employees would prefer to get a promotion with no raise than a salary increase with no promotion.

Dennis Baltzley, a Korn Ferry senior partner and the firm’s global head of leadership development, said employers should take this finding into consideration if they want to hold on to their top workers.

The biggest problem for those who haven’t moved up the corporate ladder, the research found, is that employers aren’t doing a good enough job of creating advancement opportunities. The study found that 56 percent of those surveyed who hadn’t received a promotion within the last year said the main reason was because of a “bottleneck or nowhere to go” within the company’s hierarchy.

In addition, nearly 20 percent of respondents said office politics got in their way when trying to move up the ladder. If they were passed over for a larger role within their organization, 84 percent of those surveyed said their first steps would be to figure out the reasons they didn’t get the promotion and then work to improve in those areas.

The study showed that when they want a promotion, nearly 90 percent of employees first have a discussion with their bosses to identify growth areas that would enable the individuals to move into the next role. “The last thing any boss wants is to have an employee demand a promotion or lament that they were not chosen for a role,” said Peter Keseric, a managing consultant at Korn Ferry Futurestep. “Conversations should start early on and include details on the exact key performance indicators (KPIs) that need to be achieved to earn a promotion, and there should be regular meetings to ensure progress is being made.”

Overall, 38 percent of those surveyed said they expect to be in a position for two to three years before being promoted, with 33 percent saying it should take anywhere from three to five years. “The key is ongoing development and feedback to ensure the professional is ready to take on added responsibility in a role,” Baltzley said. “And, as this survey shows, knowing that a promotion is a possibility is an excellent way to retain top talent.”

People and Purpose About Advetiser

The millennial generation faces a tough job market. Fewer jobs and increased competition mean millennials have to get creative with their career paths. Their professional values aren’t the same as older generations, resulting in a different approach to developing their career. “Millennials simply have a different perspective,” Nicole Francis, director of the Center of Recruiting Excellence at ManpowerGroup, said. “Rather than climbing the corporate ladder, they prioritize people and purpose.” A recent survey by ManpowerGroup confirms this notable difference in millennial career aspirations. Just 13 percent of millennials rank “aspiring to leadership roles” as a top career priority, the survey noted.

Millennials are focused on developing their individual skills, rather than learning to manage others, the study found. Furthermore, 35 percent want to make a positive contribution, while 25 percent want to work with great people, which contrasts with only 1 percent of those who prioritize managing others, the survey showed. “Employers need to show millennials how taking on management roles aligns with their long-term career goals and will help make them more employable in the future,” Francis said. “Demystifying leadership, breaking it down into practical, achievable and desirable skills is an important part of that.”

Since millennials don’t necessarily want to manage others, what do they look for in the people who manage them? Two-thirds of millennials surveyed said they are pleased with their managers. However, most ranked their own people-management style more positively than that of their managers when it comes to listening, offering feedback and giving encouragement. “Just as annual appraisals are slowly giving way to more regular career conversations, we are seeing a significant shift in how individuals like to be managed, and with that, management styles are evolving,” Francis said. She added that, broadly speaking, the millennial generation prefers a more open and familiar relationship. Communication is a high priority, and older managers are still adjusting to this style, Francis said. Hiring managers advise millennials to prioritize an upward path over a perfect fit, in addition to lower initial pay expectations, the survey reported.

Prospective employees should also consider developing soft skills and focusing on networking. Francis offered three tips for millennials trying to choose or change a career. Have regular career conversations. Catch up regularly with your manager about your career path and development. Rather than annual reviews, focus on near-term objectives and implement plans to achieve them. Use these conversations to connect how your work today will enhance your career prospects and longer-term employability.

Easy Tips for Write Job Resignation Letter

If you’re quitting your job, don’t walk out the door without submitting a formal letter of resignation to your supervisor.

A resignation letter may seem like a chore, but many employers require it as part of the exit process as proof that you are voluntarily terminating your employment. Even if your boss or HR manager doesn’t ask for one, it’s still good practice to submit one anyway. In an article on The Balance, Alison Doyle, founder and CEO of CareerToolBelt, noted that your letter can help you maintain a positive relationship with your old employer, while also paving the way for you to move forward.

It’s important to note that resignation letters are not rants on why you’re leaving your job or why you’re unhappy with it.

“Regardless of your work experience, good or bad, it’s not advisable to use a resignation letter to burn bridges with previous employees,” Liz Torres wrote for Monster.com. “You never know who you could work with in the future or what connections your current employer has in your industry.”

Unless your employment contract states otherwise, Doyle advised turning in your signed formal letter as a follow-up to an in-person resignation, ideally at least two weeks before your intended departure. Here’s what career experts have to say about the dos and don’ts of writing a resignation letter.

Resignation letters should be fairly simple and straightforward. Vicki Salemi, a career expert for Monster, said the four basic pieces of information that must be present are:

  1. The date you’re submitting the letter (usually included in the heading)
  2. A formal statement of resignation
  3. Your proposed end date
  4. Your signature

Beyond the basics, it’s a good idea to express gratitude in your letter. Even if you had your differences, thank your supervisor for the opportunity to work for the company.

“Conjure up … the best time at your job, and have that image top-of-mind when you write your resignation letter,” added Alex Twersky, co-founder and vice president of Resume Deli. “Let your boss think they were great, even if they weren’t. [You might] get a good recommendation out of it.”

Twersky added that you should offer your assistance in training a replacement and preparing the team for your departure during your last two (or more) weeks.

Businesses Still Value in Meeting

Videoconferencing technology has made it possible to conduct business meetings from anywhere and any device, which is a huge convenience for many busy entrepreneurs and executives. However, sometimes it’s still worth it to make the time for an old-fashioned face-to-face meeting with your business stakeholders.

According to a survey by Meetings Mean Business and APCO Worldwide, a whopping 96 percent of small business owners say in-person meetings yield a return on investment.

Richard Harper, co-chairman of Meetings Mean Business and executive vice president of HelmsBriscoe, said face-to-face meetings are an important way to create personal connections, drive business opportunities and support local communities. Here’s how small business owners feel about in-person meetings, along with some tips to make the most of face time with clients and partners.

There are certain discussions and decisions that are best made when all parties involved are meeting face-to-face. Negotiating agreements, training new employees, engaging with the community, networking, finding potential hires, building partnerships and exploring new business opportunities all ranked as the top subjects small business owners agree are best done in person. It’s worth it to travel for meetings. The survey found that all of the top reasons to travel for in-person meetings help to grow a business’s bottom line. Making connections with vendors and business partners, and obtaining new customers or business leads are the top two reasons for traveling for a meeting. Ninety percent of small business owners plan to spend as much or more on travel for meetings in 2017 as they did in 2016, the survey found.

 

“When asking to attend, host or travel to an in-person meeting, stressing the value and return-on-investment to the decision makers will help them understand why meetings are so critical,” Harper said. “Not only do they develop relationships in a more personal and meaningful way; they help businesses win new customers, close new deals and develop high-performing talent.” Tech-focused small businesses value off-site face-to-face meetings. All of the tech-focused small businesses surveyed said meetings yield a return on investment, and this is why they value face-to-face meetings more than other small business owners as a whole. These types of small businesses place high priority on networking (75 percent), and prioritize industry conferences and trade shows (81 percent). Overall, 91 percent agree that connecting face-to-face with customers and attending or presenting at conferences improves their ability to run their business.

VoIP Solutions for you

Many SMBs and SOHOs are walking away from their traditional phone companies and moving to the Internet for their telephony needs. In tech jargon, they’re switching from POTS (“plain old telephone service”) to Voice over IP (VoIP, pronounced as one word). Read on to find out what it is, why you should use it, and what to watch out for.

VoIP lets you make phone calls over the Internet with a number of advantages over your landline. It gives you low calling rates, especially when making overseas calls; excellent voice quality, rather than the muffled squawk of a traditional phone; and extra features (or easy access to the hard-to-use features you already have).

A phone using VoIP is different from a regular phone; instead of connecting to an analog phone line, it connects to a computer. That computer is usually called a VoIP gateway, and it’s the bridge between the handset and other telephone users.

 

Breaking it Down: VoIP Types

 

Cloud vs. Local

The gateway connects you to the regular telephone network, or to other VoIP users. Your gateway might be on-site, or it might be a hosted service—“in the cloud”—that you connect to via the Internet.

Running it yourself might be a good option if you have the expertise in-house, but for most people, a service is the simplest and least expensive option.

 

Which System?

Classical VoIP is based on Internet standards like SIP and RTP. The best-known example of a commercial service like this is Vonage; the best-known in-house product is probably the Cisco UCM Suite.

Some newer systems are based on a different standard, called Asterisk. This is a robust, battle-tested system supported by many vendors, including Fonality.

(Normally, you can ignore all this nerdy alphabet soup, but it’s helpful to know which standards your system uses, in case you ever need to know about compatible add-ons.)

No discussion of VoIP software would be complete without mentioning Skype. It’s probably best known as a consumer-focused, free, peer-to-peer service, but the company also offers a service aimed at businesses of all sizes. It’s not just a program you run on your computer; you can also buy dedicated desk phones that work with Skype.

 

Security

One of the advantages of VoIP over regular phone service is the extra security. In the VoIP world, voice scramblers aren’t just the preserve of the military.

It’s similar to working with a secure website, such as your bank. By enabling encryption, you get privacy for your business communication, plus authentication (i.e., protection against call rerouting).

While we’re on the subject of security… remember to stay safe. If your users connect to any Internet services—including VoIP—make sure they’re protected with business-class security.

Also, check with your provider about emergency calling (911 in North America, 112 elsewhere). Some providers do a better job than others of routing your call to the correct dispatcher for your location.

Tips for Reduce Your Investment

Trojans, worms and spyware sound like elements straight from a summer blockbuster, but the kind of action/adventure they provide on your PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets make them more like a horror movie.

By deploying effective endpoint security, you can help prevent attacks and keep your users safe from viruses and other malware, such as spear phishing and advanced persistent threats. Today’s  state-of-the-art endpoint security has come a long way from its early roots in “antivirus” and has morphed into a complex suite of sophisticated protections against modern threats.

 

But good protection isn’t free; so, how can you save money, while still protecting your computers? Here’s how to reduce your investment….

 

Keeping users safe

In an ideal world, users would be perfectly security conscious. These mythical users wouldn’t:

  • Click on suspicious links.
  • Open file attachments emailed by criminals pretending to be their friends.
  • Respond to phishing messages that appear to be from a bank.
  • Disable software updates because warnings and reboots are annoying.
  • Disable a security product because it slows down their PC.
  • Install free software from an untrustworthy developer, because their friend liked it on Facebook.

Sadly, our world is less than ideal. Much, much less: A recent report said that 86 percent of U.S. businesses surveyed had lost sensitive data during the previous year.

User awareness training helps, but it isn’t sufficient. That’s why your endpoints need securing. Doing so helps prevent your users from accidentally exposing sensitive business information, such as your  banking credentials, secret-sauce recipes or future product plans.

 

Save time and money on endpoint security

Your challenge is to protect your users while minimizing costs: How do you save time and money, while keeping your company safe?

Look for a modern endpoint security solution – not one thrown together from an old antivirus program and a fresh coat of paint.

Endpoint device security

The variety of ways workers are now connecting together and to the web to work more effectively continues to grow.

 

As the connections expand, so do the steps that need to be taken to ensure those connections communicate with the network in a secure fashion.

Because employees increasingly are using mobile devices to connect to the corporate network, this puts pressure on IT to provide endpoint security and device management solutions that make sense for both the mobile worker and the enterprise.

Research firm IDC predicts that the number of mobile workers will increase to 1.19 billion by the year 2013. The variety of devices that these workers use to connect to the network will also continue to grow.

According to the iPass 2011 Mobile Enterprise Report, 73 percent of enterprises allow non-IT managed devices to access corporate resources. This is a figure that is likely to get larger as 83 percent of firms said they expect to support Apple’s iOS, while 77 percent anticipate supporting Android-enabled devices.

Each mobile device provides its own set of security vulnerabilities. Additionally, mobile equipment has less evolved security applications – most have no anti-virus or anti-spyware protection on the devices themselves. So endpoint devices are among hacker’s preferred targets.

According to the Juniper Networks Malicious Mobile Threats Report 2010/2011, there was a 400 percent increase in Android malware between June 2010 and January 2011.

To take advantage of the productivity offered by web-enabled endpoint devices, including laptops, smartphones and tablets, it is essential that firms adopt policies and procedures that protect enterprise data while enabling staff to use the mobile devices that best fit their needs.

Moving to the Cloud for Your Web

Why move to the cloud? There are plenty of good reasons, but mainly it makes good business sense. You can call it efficiency, or call it doing more with less. But whichever spin you prefer, cloud computing lets you focus on what’s important: your business.

Cloud computing can be used for almost all types of applications, not just business security. While the idea of cloud computing can sometimes seem hard to grasp, it’s clear that it saves its users money – especially SMBs, including small office/home office (SOHO).

 

Plenty of oh-so-clever industry people will tell you what cloud computing is and isn’t. Here’s my simple view: It’s what we used to call software as a service (SaaS), but it’s set up so it’s easy to switch on, simple to expand and contract, and usually has a usage-based pricing model.

Read on to discover why moving to the cloud will save you money in five ways (six, if you’re picky)….

 

1. Fully utilized hardware

Cloud computing brings natural economies of scale. The practicalities of cloud computing mean high utilization and smoothing of the inevitable peaks and troughs in workloads. Your workloads will share server infrastructure with other organizations’ computing needs. This allows the cloud-computing provider to optimize the hardware needs of its data centers, which means lower costs for you.

 

2. Lower power costs

Cloud computing uses less electricity. That’s an inevitable result of the economies of scale I just discussed: Better hardware utilization means more efficient power use. When you run your own data center, your servers won’t be fully-utilized (unless yours is a very unusual organization). Idle servers waste energy. So a cloud service provider can charge you less for energy used than you’re spending in your own data center.

 

3. Lower people costs

Whenever I analyze organizations’ computing costs, the staffing budget is usually the biggest single line item; it often makes up more than half of the total. Why so high? Good IT people are expensive; their salaries, benefits, and other employment costs usually outweigh the costs of hardware and software. And that’s even before you add in the cost of recruiting good staff with the right experience.

When you move to the cloud, some of the money you pay for the service goes to the provider’s staffing costs. But it’s typically a much smaller amount than if you did all that work in-house. Yet again, we have to thank our old friend: economies of scale.

(In case you worry that moving to the cloud means firing good workers, don’t. Many organizations that move to cloud computing find they can redeploy their scarce, valuable IT people resources to areas that make more money for the business.)

 

4. Zero capital costs

When you run your own servers, you’re looking at up-front capital costs. But in the world of cloud-computing, financing that capital investment is someone else’s problem.

Sure, if you run the servers yourself, the accounting wizards do their amortization magic which makes it appear that the cost gets spread over a server’s life. But that money still has to come from somewhere, so it’s capital that otherwise can’t be invested in the business—be it actual money or a line of credit.

IT Outsourcing

Just a few short years ago, the image of an IT department for small and medium businesses was one of Dilbert-looking technicians noodling around with Cat 5 cable and speaking in a blend of Klingon and Robot. In other words, IT seemed completely remote, complicated and inaccessible to most employees. Additionally, each new hardware and software deployment, including installing malware protection, could take weeks to manually implement across the enterprise, and rarely went smoothly.

One solution – outsourced IT – has found greater acceptance in the past few years as its benefits have become more tangible to even small businesses. It is estimated that globally, 74 percent of companies use some form of outsourced IT solution, up 25 percent from 2009.

 

Read further for compelling reasons why a small or medium business should consider the IT-outsourcing trend.

 

Cost savings

Moving IT off-site can save an SMB thousands of dollars per year. As most business decisions are predicated on the bottom line, this is often the main driver in the decision to migrate. Areas of savings include:

Reducing hardware expenses. Servers, storage, cabling, cooling, and datacenter square footage expense can now be on a cloud vendor’s dime, not yours.

No salary or benefits expenses for IT employees.

Potential tax savings by converting capital expenditures (servers), that depreciate slowly over time, to a monthly cost which can potentially be deducted in the current tax year.

 

The latest software versions – hassle-free

Outsourcing IT means software, including malware protection for endpoints, can be updated automatically by the provider. This obviates the need for a local tech to run around taking workstations offline for upgrades.

Furthermore, updating software not only unlocks newer features, but also closes exploits in older versions that might allow hacker penetration. So it’sworth exploring any platform that can make this process painless and automatic, such as a cloud service.

 

Focus on your business, not technical issues

Anyone who survived working in Corporate America from the 1980s onwards is familiar with the spectacle and lost productivity that accompanies the proverbial “system going down.”

When outsourcing IT to the cloud, this nightmare occurs less often as data is often distributed redundantly across many servers that are monitored constantly, leading to greater stability and uptime, and less worrying about IT matters.

 

Improved security

Reputable outsourced IT providers are dead serious about security against malware, zero-day hacks and other intrusions and constantly monitor and update their protection schemes.

For most SMBs, outsourcing will provide a more frequent and secure back-up solution than their existing IT setups. Furthermore, as the data is kept off-site, it is well- protected from a local catastrophe, such as a fire or flooding.

 

No new employees to manage when scaling up

Scalability is easy with outsourced IT – simply contact the vendor for more storage, memory and processors as needed. There is no longer any need for job postings, interviews, expensive training, personality clashes, worker’s compensation or other common HR issues and liabilities just to get tech personnel to handle the increased operations.

Instead, you can focus your payroll budget on production or sales staff that directly drive revenue.

Network secure and your mobile workforce

Are you tiring of users continuously badgering you to get corporate network access for their mobile devices?  Does your corporate management want to buy tablets for the sales team? If so, your small- to medium-sized business (SMB) needs to start proactively addressing mobile security breaches such as malware.

Modifying your existing security policies and protocols, establishing new policies and educating your mobile workforce are economically sound frontline solutions for securing your corporate enterprise and trade secrets.

Here are some tips on how to address mobile device security breaches beforethey happen:

  • Establish corporate information access guidelines. It’s important to pre-determine how mobile device users will access corporate information. Will users download data to devices? Will they access the data remotely? The answer will vary from company to company, so be sure to consider your situation uniquely.  If your company has to be in compliance with a regulatory body like PCI Data Security Standards (DSS) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), then consult with your auditor before enabling network access to mobile devices.
  • Establish device control policies. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) can be full of benefits like saving on corporate hardware purchases and increasing productivity for your mobile workforce and SMB. However, the negatives can outweigh all those positives when a BYOD device brings malware into your network. Create a policy that governs how your corporate IT staff can gain control over a personal device, while maintaining your network security. Include information about how to keep personal information private (e.g., via a mobile device backup strategy that doesn’t touch personal data) and define corporate ownership over data and applications.
  • Enforce device-level security.  Both corporate-owned and personal devices should have secure passwords and screen locks; document this requirement in your mobile device policies. In addition, make sure it’s clear that both personal and corporate mobile devices maintain up-to-date corporate-approved (and preferably corporate-managed) antivirus and security software installed to guard against malware and other security risks.
  • Develop and deliver mobile workforce security training. Education can be just as powerful a security tool as technology. Develop and deliver mobile workforce security training built around keeping your mobile workforce productive and prepared to be the first line of defense against malware and other security threats to their mobile devices. Spell out your corporate policies and include a participant sign-off stating that they understand and will abide by the policies.