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Employees

17 Posts authored by: Rieva Lesonsky

It’s probably safe to say, most plans for an extended vacation in 2020 have been altered and are likely leading to your employees feeling frustrated and overworked. pexels-cottonbro-5053733.jpg

 

While remote working has saved workers time in commuting hours, it’s also added hours on to the average workday. According to an evaluation of server activity on its network, NordVPN found that the average working day has grown by three hours in the U.S. since mid-March.

 

So, how can you encourage employees to take time off and what should a vacation policy for small business look like during the coronavirus-battling new normal?

 

Small Business Vacation Policies

 

Even though you are not required to offer paid vacation benefits to your employees, most companies do. And it is important to understand what your small business vacation should look like before making COVID-19 adjustments.

 

Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 76% of private industry workers are given paid vacations. Besides the mental and physical values, paid vacations make an employer more desirable to potential employee candidates.

 

According to Patriot Software, the typical vacation policy allows for the following number of days:

  • 10 days paid vacation/year for employees with a business for 1-5 years
  • 15 days paid vacation/year for employees with a business for 5-10 years
  • 17 days paid vacation/year for employees with a business for 10-20 years
  • 20 days paid vacation/year for employees with a business for over 20 years

 

In addition to paid vacation, your business may also offer paid holidays and paid sick leave (mandated by some states) and/or personal time off. It’s important to have a clearly outlined vacation policy in your employee handbook so your staff knows the requirements for days off, such as giving notice, number of days off allowed and limits on accrued days off (“use it or lose it”).

 

Likely your employee handbook does not cover how to handle paid vacation during a pandemic, so let’s take a look at the changes you may need to make.

Pandemic-era Vacations

In a recent Forbes article, Lara Hogan, founder of Wherewithall, a management consulting company, points to three reasons employees may be hesitant to take time off right now.

 

  1. Childcare issues. Taking time off may just mean more time devoted to childcare, which could be a plus, but could also be another source of stress.
  2. Job security. Employees might be feeling their jobs are in danger of being eliminated and therefore are saving paid vacation days as possible payout when layoffs occur.
  3. Work distraction. Finally, work can be a welcome distraction to the stress people are experiencing about the current state of the world.

 

In addition, workers may want to save their vacations for later when travel options open up. Travel companies such as Travelzoo are offering tons of flexible deals such as no-fee travel cancellations and “buy now, pay later” options.

 

Why Business Owners Need Options

 

Employers are struggling also, realizing letting employees carry over tons of unused time or paying them for their unused time is too cost prohibitive in a slowing economy.

According to a survey by consulting firm Willis Towers Watson, 42% of companies surveyed have made or plan to make changes to vacation programs. In addition, more than half of employers plan to enhance vacation flexibility, either by allowing negative balances or by increasing accrual allowances. A smaller share of respondents (16%) requires employees to take vacation time to reduce the build-up, and another 22% are planning to or considering instituting that policy.

Another option is allowing employees to donate unused vacation time to fellow workers facing unusual circumstances.

To encourage employees to take time off, business owners should lead by example:

  • Take time off yourself and make sure employees know time off will not put their jobs in danger.
  • Suggest long weekends or days of the week you know are slower business days.
  • Encourage employees to take time for themselves, even if that just means time away from their workstations.

 

The Benefits of Time Off

 

Taking time off from work to recharge has long been shown to have significant psychological and physical benefits. A study released by the American Psychological Association determined vacations reduce stress by temporarily distancing people from the actions and environments associated with stress and anxiety. Subsequently, less stress leads to:

  • Better resiliency
  • Less impatience, irritability, and anger
  • Greater intuition capability
  • Improvement in memory, focus, other brain functions
  • More daytime energy and more restful sleep
  • Lower risk of high blood pressure

 

Bottom line: taking a vacation leaves you and your employees more satisfied, with a better life balance, and less chance for burnout.

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and theRieva headshot.pngblog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation

Paid Parental Leave.jpgby Rieva Lesonsky

 

With the majority of new hires under the age of 39, what’s important to Millennials and Gen Zers needs to be important to your small business.

 

Not only are Millennials currently the largest generation in the workforce, but Gen Z is  the biggest generation on the planet, comprising 32% of the global population. That’s a lot of potential talent looking for workplaces offering benefits in sync with their lifestyles. And since these two generations are in their prime childbearing years, you can be sure they’re checking out your parental leave policy when deciding whether to work for you.

 

Millennials and Gen Zers are having children later in life. According to childcare marketplace Winnie.com, the younger generations feel by waiting to have children, they get more time to enjoy adulthood and become more established in their careers. The result is they have children when they’re ready. And, because for them parenthood is a deliberate decision, employees expect their workplaces to accommodate their needs for life/work balance.

 

Federal Laws are Lacking

 

More than a million millennials become new parents every year, according to Pew Research, but the United States remains the only country among 41 nations that does not mandate any paid leave for new parents. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is more than 25 years old and seems sorely lacking in providing equality in the workplace, especially when it comes to being able to care for a newborn.

 

The FMLA merely provides “certain” employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave per year—so employees won’t lose their jobs if they choose to stay home to care for a baby, but companies are not required to offer any compensation.

 

The issue of paid parental leave recently received a boost of attention when MSNBC anchor Katy Tur shared with her audience challenges following childbirth, including an underweight newborn, painful C-section, postpartum exhaustion and more. Tur used her spotlight to call out Congress for the “shameful” lack of federal paid family leave in America.

 

Although the FMLA was designed to “help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons,” without requiring companies to compensate employees, many workers must return to work earlier than desired to pay their bills.

 

Currently, five states require companies to provide paid parental leave to certain employees.

 

For example, the 2019 California law called the New Parent Leave Act is for employers with at least 20 employees and enables some workers to take up to 12 weeks leave to take care of a new child (biological, adopted, or foster). There are some stipulations such as how long the employee has worked at the company and how many hours have been worked before the leave. Employers are also required to continue group health coverage during the leave and employees must be able to return them to the same jobs they had before they left. You can read more about California's short-term disability and paid leave programs.

 

The Demand is Real

 

While employees of any generation would consider switching jobs for better benefits, millennials and Gen Z want better parental leave policies for both genders and frequently, for non-traditional families. According to Glassdoor, it’s important for company benefits to reflect how inclusive the business is to all family scenarios.

 

Companies should consider not only providing paid parental leave for the traditional male/female partnership but also family and medical leave to care for domestic partners as well as the children of a domestic partner, regardless of biological status.

 

Perhaps because businesses understand providing paid maternity and paternity leave will help them attract and retain talent, 40% of companies in the U.S. now offer paid parental leave compared to only 25% in 2015. Big companies like NBC where Tur works, Microsoft and Bank of America offer generous parental leave policies.

 

Small Business Tips for Paid Parental Leave

 

But, it’s hard for a smaller company to offer similar benefits. One way you can possibly “pay” for parental leave is as an extension of your state’s temporary disability insurance program. Small percentages of money are withdrawn from every employee’s paycheck and the leave is fully funded by the workers. Usually, the paid family leave insurance fund pays about two-thirds of the employee’s weekly pay. The benefits of paid parental leave are two-fold. Employees get the support they need to keep their jobs and start a family and employers benefit from workers who are more motivated, more productive, they have greater loyalty.

 

And call your Congressional representatives to ask for better, federally mandated parental leave policies.

 

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

Employee Raises.jpgby Rieva Lesonsky

 

It’s the phrase employers dread hearing from their employee: “Can we talk?”

 

Often what follows is a request for a raise. As small businesses continue to struggle with retaining employees—this will likely come up more often in 2020.

 

If talking about raises has always been uncomfortable for you, knowing the right way to handle the conversation can leave you and your employees feeling satisfied and optimistic about your future working relationship.

 

But first, just how important are raises to employees?

 

Mo’ Money

 

According to a survey from Kelton Global, commissioned by QuickBooks Payroll, while health insurance and paid time off matter to employees, salary is important to showing how much you value them.

 

Not surprisingly, the survey shows 44% of small business employees are not satisfied with their pay and 49% of those surveyed complain their salaries haven’t kept up with the cost of living. And if they haven’t gotten a raise in the past year, 54% are not satisfied with their individual salaries and their overall compensation packages. Which of course leads to unhappy employees who believe they could be earning more money elsewhere (69%). More troubling, only 55% say they’d actually ask for a pay raise, so the first you’d know about their unhappiness with their salary, is when they quit.

 

Low salaries and financial worries are the leading causes of workplace stress, according to Dr. Greg Willard, a Harvard University professor and executive at Cangrade, a job candidate screening company. Stressed employees are usually less productive.

 

If you have been giving annual raises, don’t stop now. When asked what would happen if they didn’t get a raise this year, respondents said: They would immediately start looking for a new job (37%); request a meeting with the boss (30%); or ask for a new benefit to compensate (21%).

 

Bottom line, salary is important, and the survey shows more workers are motivated by making more money (41%) than by getting benefits (31%).

 

How Much is Enough?

 

You should arm yourself with competitive salary information. For an overview of salaries by industry and location, check out the Salary Data & Career Research Center (United States) or at Salary.com. To know what wages your competitors pay (those businesses who want to “steal” your employees), check out job offers on Indeed and Glassdoor.

 

It’s not a must to match the highest salary out there. Hopefully, there are other factors about working for your company that are an incentive for your employee to stay such as company culture, small perks, room for advancement, etc. Even a small raise might make the difference between keeping and losing a valued employee.

 

An Indeed survey about how workers feel about their salaries revealed employees would like enough money to live comfortably. Only 18% said their lives are “comfortable” with their current salaries, the majority (61%) thought a boost of $6,000 would do the trick.

 

According to the Kelton Global study, of the respondents looking for a raise this year, 52% plan on asking for a 5% increase or less, 41% plan to ask for a 6% to 10% raise and 7% will ask for more than a 10% boost.

 

Having “The Talk”

 

It’s important to make the conversation as comfortable as possible. Don’t be defensive or standoffish as employees will feel your vibe and immediately believe you don’t feel they’re worthy of the conversation, let alone the raise.

 

Assume your employee has a number in mind and will likely come to the meeting with knowledge of competing salaries and an expectation. Be prepared to talk about other non-direct compensation perks.

 

If the salary increase is tied to a performance review, underperforming employees will be disappointed, so you need to offer examples of where performance lacked and future expectations. Conversely, if the raise is substantial, the performance discussion should focus on the positive aspects of the employee’s performance.

 

Employees rarely think their raises are high enough. If business is tight, don’t alarm your employees, so they panic and immediately start looking for a new job. Be honest, saying, “business is tight right now, but in a few months we can consider another increase.”  Don’t say this if there’s no intention of following through.

 

No matter how hard the conversation may be for you as the boss, your employees trust you to respect and validate their value.

 

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

3 Great Emplyee Traits.jpgby Rieva Lesonsky

 

Before I started the entrepreneurial chapter of my life, I managed a staff of 30 who ranged from recent college graduates to those nearing retirement. And, although they were at different life stages (and therefore had different motivations and goals), I tried to build a cohesive team that thought outside the box and worked collaboratively to build the best product possible.

 

Oh, there were some bad seeds every now and then, but I learned as you try to foster certain traits in your employees, you’ll be rewarded tenfold. I was always conscious of the bad bosses I’d had in my career and vowed to never be like them—creating a corporate “golden rule.”

 

These are the traits I found to be the most important to foster in employees.

 

1. Flexibility and adaptability

 

I believe in the “if it ain’t broke, break it” theory of management. Every so often I’d announce to my staff,  “let’s shake it up.” The end result was usually better—and even when it wasn’t, we still learned a valuable lesson.

 

For structured personalities, being flexible might be a difficult trait to learn. But, in a small business, everyone needs to be flexible enough to handle difficult situations and adaptable enough to come up with solutions.

 

The American Psychological Association reports there are three types of adaptability:

  • Cognitive: the way one thinks
  • Emotional: the way one feels
  • Behavioral: the way one acts

 

The idea is to make employees, well, comfortable with being pushed out of their comfort zone. Once they are, you end up with a team able to handle new challenges without flipping into crisis mode.

 

It’s important to lead by example when unpredictable events occur. Be calm and discuss possible solutions with your team. By showing your staff how compromise, collaboration and calmness can prevail, you’re modeling how to handle future challenges.

 

2. Perseverance

 

As an entrepreneur, you know the road to success is fraught with setbacks. You won’t succeed without having the “grit” to persevere and keep moving and the resiliency to bounce back when obstacles appear.

 

Fostering the same attitudes in your employees is just as important. When you assign a large or difficult project to an employee, explain the goal and the difficulty. Offer encouragement and support. Commiserate when needed. (I found feeding my staff kept them going). Fostering perseverance results in confident, resourceful and self-reliant workers who take pride in their work.

 

3. Self-confidence

 

You probably learned this on the playground in elementary school, but the more insecure a person is, the less willing they are to work with others and the more disruptive they are to your business. Sometimes insecurity in the workplace can lead to a toxic environment that breeds distrust and unhealthy competition. My most self-confident employees were the ones more willing to share and encourage others.

 

Some people are seemingly born confident, but it’s possible to “breed” confidence in those who lack it. One way to do that—recognition. Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report shows how “recognition motivates employees, gives them a sense of accomplishment and makes them feel appreciated for their work.”

 

The report says the “act of recognition also sends messages to other employees about what success looks like. In this way, recognition is both a tool for personal reward and an opportunity to reinforce the desired behavior to other employees.”

 

Being acknowledged for a job well-done instills self-confidence and encourages employees to accept more responsibility and greater challenges going forward. Adding a small reward (a $25 gift card; a comp day) encourages people to work harder.

 

Today’s business owners are worried about employee attraction and retention. Many businesses are focusing on the attraction part while ignoring the retention aspect. But making employees a valuable part of your team, fostering these traits and empowering them can lead to a better business with less turnover and more profitability.

 

 

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

As the holidays approach, your employees may have visions of bonus checks dancing in their heads. But whether or not to give your small business employees a holiday bonus depends on several factors, including your employees’ expectations, your own generosity and your business’s financial situation.

Here’s what to consider when deciding whether to give out bonuses.

 

Meeting Employee Expectations adult-birthday-birthday-gift-box-360624.jpg

 

A previous employer taught me that once you start giving holiday bonuses, you can’t stop. What’s more, you need to keep the bonuses at a comparable level from year to year. If you give everyone a $1,000 cash bonus three years in a row, then suddenly drop to a $25 Starbucks gift card the fourth, you won’t win any fans among your staff.

If this is the first year you will be giving employee bonuses, set reasonable expectations. Even if your business is having a great year, huge bonuses can set a bar you may not be able to meet going forward.

 

Consider starting with a small, base bonus you feel confident you can continue offering in the coming years. Then add extras, such as gift cards or holiday turkeys, depending on company performance.

 

How to Give Holiday Bonuses

 

While performance bonuses are often reserved for managers, holiday bonuses should be given to everyone. If you feel certain levels of workers deserve bigger bonuses, you should still make the amount consistent. For example, you could give everyone a cash bonus that’s a percentage of their salary or equivalent to a week’s pay.

Unlike performance-based bonuses, holiday bonuses should have no strings attached. They’re simply a gesture of goodwill and a way to spread holiday cheer.

If you do give out performance-based bonuses, consider doing so in January to keep them separate from holiday bonuses.

 

What to Give as a Holiday Bonus

 

There are several options for holiday bonuses; consider one or a combination of these.

 

  • Cash: Cash is king for the holiday bonus. Everyone can use cash and employees will appreciate a little extra help paying for holiday gifts. 29% of business owners look forward to providing employees holiday perks or bonuses says BofA’s 2019 Fall Small Business Owner Spotlight.
  • Gift cards: When giving gift cards as part of your bonuses, look for those that appeal to the widest possible audience. For example, everyone needs to buy food, so grocery store gift cards are a good bet. Gift cards to Amazon, Target or similar major retailers are also likely to be appreciated. You may be able get gift cards at a discount online or at membership discount stores.
  • Time off: If your budget, industry, and business allow for it, consider closing your office the week before New Year’s while still paying employee salaries. Your team will come back rested and ready to work. If that’s not realistic, giving employees a day or two off with pay, or letting them leave early on Fridays during December, is a nice reward to help them manage their holiday schedules.

 

Giving a holiday party or giving employees gifts are nice gestures, but they don’t really replace the holiday bonus. A party is more of a group celebration, and gifts may miss the mark. A holiday bonus, in contrast, is sure to be appreciated.

 

How do you plan to reward your employees this holiday season?

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and Rieva+Lesonsky+Headshot.pngentrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

Whether you’re a retailer, a manufacturer or own a seasonal business such as a ski resort, now is the time you may need more hands to meet seasonal customer demand. For example, retail job openings typically start accelerating in early September and peak in mid-October, according to job search site Glassdoor.

 

Yet if hiring has already peaked, does that mean all the best employees are already taken? No. If you still need seasonal workers despite the late date, follow these steps to find them. women-s-white-collared-long-sleeved-shirt-3170928.jpg

 

Make your jobs more appealing

 

It’s a job seeker's market, and lots of companies are competing for seasonal workers. Thanks to a strong economy and optimistic holiday sales projections, Glassdoor expects seasonal holiday hiring to rise by about 4% compared to last year. Target, UPS, Amazon and Kohl’s are just a few of the big companies hiring seasonal employees, and they’re offering good pay and perks to attract workers.

 

Start by making sure your pay is competitive. If earning holiday pay and overtime are options for your seasonal workers, promote that too. Highlight any perks, such as performance bonuses, employee discounts or flexible hours. Are you looking for workers who can stay on after the holidays? Then promote the opportunity to transition to full-time work.

 

Ask your existing employees to spread the word

 

Desirable employees tend to have friends with similar habits and work ethics. Let your employees know that you’re looking for seasonal workers. Consider offering a referral bonus if an employee refers someone you end up hiring.

 

Reach out to previous seasonal employees

 

Go back to your employment records to find some of your top seasonal workers from years past. Contact them to see if they’re looking for work again.

 

Get social

 

Loyal customers can be great employees, so use your social media accounts and your website to let people know you’re hiring. Also spread the word on community-based social media sites such as NextDoor or your town’s Facebook group. People often turn to community sites for leads on jobs.

 

Give them a sign

 

It’s old fashioned, but it still works: Put up a sign to let people know you’re hiring. My local Target and Kohl’s both have big sandwich boards out front advertising seasonal jobs, with a number to text for more information. You can do the same. Do you have delivery vehicles or company cars? Put magnetic signage advertising you’re hiring on the vehicles.

 

Think outside the box

Teenagers and college students aren’t your only resource for seasonal workers. Stay-at-home moms and retirees often want to earn extra money around the holidays. Advertise on job sites that specialize in these markets such as RetireeWorkforce, Workforce50, Women’s Job List or FlexJobs. Snag is a popular job search site specializing in hourly workers. You can also contact local groups catering to those demographics, such as retiree groups, PTAs or parents’ groups, and let them know you’re looking for seasonal workers.

 

Consider a staffing agency

 

When your business is hitting its busy season, writing and placing job ads and scanning responses is the last thing you have time for. Outsourcing to a staffing agency specializing in temporary workers takes these headaches off your hands. You will pay more for these employees since the staffing agency will take a cut. However, you’ll save time and can rest assured the staffing agency has handled background checks, references and other steps involved in finding qualified candidates who can hit the ground running.

 

Finding qualified seasonal employees can be a big challenge for a small business. By taking these steps to widen your search, you’ll find the workers you need so you can benefit from all that the busy season has to offer.

 

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and Rieva+Lesonsky+Headshot.pngentrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

Take it from me, a CEO with a staff of two—no matter how few employees you have, there’s room to delegate.

 

If you use delegation strategically, your employees will gain needed experience and your business will be better off. Of course, not every task you delegate will be fun (someone has to answerall those emails). However, in addition to rote assignments, be sure to include some more challenging work that allows employees to stretch their capacities.

adult-brainstorming-business-1181622.jpg

 

I know, I know—you don’t want to give up any aspect of your “baby.” But delegation has many benefits for a small business owner:

 

  • It hones your leadership skills. If you don’t delegate, you’re not really the boss—you’re just an employee.
  • It expands your employees’ skills, enhancing their value to your business and their job satisfaction.
  • It frees up your time for long-range planning, innovation, business development, and other big-picture tasks.
  • It reduces your stress so you’re more effective and productive.

 

Follow these steps to get started.

 

Step 1: Choose duties to delegate

 

Make a list of the duties you’d like to pass on to your team. These could include:

 

    • Administrative tasks: Your time is too valuable to spend scheduling meetings, ordering office supplies, or booking travel arrangements.
    • Tasks you’re not good at: For example, my business is a lot better off if I’m not the one managing the books.
    • Tasks you hate doing: We tend to procrastinate on things we dread, which can hurt our businesses.
    • Tasks your employees are interested in: Find out what skills your employees want to learn that can help your business.

Step 2: Create a delegation plan

 

Once you’ve identified possible tasks to delegate, talk to your employees and create a game plan. If you delegate haphazardly or just hand off busywork, your employees won’t learn from the experience—they’ll just resent you.

 

If you’re nervous about handing off a task, ease yourself in by delegating just part of the job. For example, suppose your work involves gathering information, writing proposals, and creating sales presentations. Delegate the research to an employee and keep writing the proposals yourself. Or do the research and writing, then put an employee in charge of “jazzing it up” in a presentation. Starting small will help you get over your fears of delegation and help your employees gain confidence as they learn by doing.

 

Step 3: Educate your employees

 

When you delegate a task, take the time to educate the employee about how the task fits into the company as a whole and why it matters. People want to feel that the work they’re doing is valuable.

 

You may need to create directions or process guides for certain tasks. Having written documentation of how to do things will help as your business grows. Make sure employees have the tools, information, and authority they need to do the job.

 

Clearly explain your expectations, deadlines, and deliverables and make sure the employee understands them.

 

Step 4: Stand back

 

It’s hard not to micromanage employees once you’ve handed off a job. Of course, some processes must be followed to the letter, but if a task offers leeway for creativity, don’t insist the person do it exactly as you would. You’ll be surprised how often an employee comes up with a way to do something faster or better—that’s one of the benefits of delegating.

 

Step 5: Provide feedback

 

Let employees know they can ask you questions at any time. Check in regularly to see how they’re handling the task and what they’ve learned.

 

If an employee messes up, your instinct might be to fix the work yourself or take the job back (“I knew no one could do it right!”). Instead, provide honest feedback. Helping the employee learn from their mistakes will save you time in the long run as they gain experience.

 

Step 6: Delegate for growth

 

If you trust no one else to do the difficult work, your business can’t expand beyond your capacity. Delegate increasingly more challenging tasks and watch both your employees and your business grow.

 

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

Rieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

Hiring sources.jpgby Rieva Lesonsky

 

If you’re having trouble finding qualified job candidates for your small business, you’re not alone. According to a survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife, 55 percent of small business owners are focusing more time and money on training existing employees because they can’t find qualified workers to hire. Eight in 10 are working longer or handling more duties to fill the void and 61 percent have asked existing employees to work more hours.

 

Finding qualified job candidates starts with where you search. Here are the best places to find employees for your small business.

 

Online job boards

 

The secret to successfully listing jobs online is to choose the right job boards for your needs. If you want a high volume of candidates, Indeed.comis the best known and most popular job search site, and also lets you list jobs for free. Because of the volume of postings, however, your job might get lost so you’ll probably want to spend the money to promote your listing as a Sponsored job. You only pay per click, which helps keep this cost manageable.

 

GlassDoor and ZipRecruiter are also very popular mass job sites; however, they charge to post jobs. On both sites, you can choose a Standard plan where your job appears on the website, or a Premium plan where your jobs are included on job alert emails sent to jobseekers.

 

For a small business that doesn’t want hundreds of resumes, niche job boards can be a better option. Targeted to specific industries, they can deliver more focused results. Popular niche job boards include:

 

 

Outside the box (and around the world)

 

If you can’t find the talent you need in your community, look farther afield. Many jobs can be done remotely. You’ll have access to a much wider range of talent if you expand your job candidate search nationwide or even worldwide. Use We Work Remotely, FlexJobs, JustRemote,and Outsourcely to post remote jobs.

 

On social media

 

Sometimes the best candidates aren’t on job boards because they’re not actively seeking a job. Use social media to reach these “passive” job candidates. On LinkedIn, keep your eye out for people who might fit your needs, or use keywords related to the skills you need to find potential candidates. LinkedIn Recruiter Lite, designed for companies that hire only occasionally, lets you accessup to third-degree connections and gives you 30 free pieces of InMail per month to contact candidates. Another tactic is to post jobs on your Facebook Business Page, then use paid promotion on Facebook to boost their visibility to potential candidates.

 

At school

 

Looking for recent college graduates or entry-level employees? Contacting local colleges, high schools and trade/vocational schools is often a good way to find enthusiastic employees with up-to-the-moment skills. For example, if you’re looking for a marketing person, contact a local college with a strong marketing program.

 

Networking

 

Seeking job candidates in networking groups you belong to is a no-brainer, but why stop there? Find networking groups targeted to the role you want to fill (such as graphic designers or real estate agents) and see if any of their members are looking for a job.

 

Your employees

 

Promoting from within is a smart strategy for building employee loyalty. However, if you don’t have the necessary talent in-house, enlist your employees as recruiters. Have them spread the word that you’re looking to hire and offer a bonus for anyone who recommends a candidate that makes it through your probationary period.

 

Finding new hires isn’t easy—but by trying the routes above, you can boost your chances of discovering the perfect employee for your business.

 

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

It’s the time of year when business is booming and holiday celebrations abound. During this busy season, employees at many small businesses work harder than ever. Whatever your industry—retail, service or B2B—the year-end rush is real.

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Are you also remembering to celebrate your employees’ hard work?

 

Employee recognition is more than just a “nice thing to do.” Over two-thirds of HR professionals in an SHRM/Globoforce survey say employee recognition has a positive impact on employee retention. For small businesses in today’s competitive hiring landscape, that can make a big difference.

 

Here are 27 ideas for celebrating your staff’s hard work—at any time of the year.

 

Celebrate the individual.

 

Did one employee go above and beyond the call of duty? Treat them like a star.

 

    1. Give them their birthday off with pay.
    2. Buy them a comfy new ergonomic office chair or that standing desk they’ve been wanting.
    3. Give them a small budget to redecorate their office or workspace.
    4. Take them out to lunch.
    5. Buy them a tech tool that’s useful for work but also for fun, like noise-canceling headphones so they can focus (or listen to music).
    6. Say it with food. Give them a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant, pay for personal chef services for a night, or have a basket of their favorite dessert delivered to the office.
    7. Pay for a month’s worth of housecleaning or car detailing services.
    8. Give them the best parking space at work for a month. Put up a sign with their name on it in the space.
    9. Give them an all-expenses-paid weekend away with their significant other.
    10. Give them a gift card for a spa day or stress-relieving massage.
    11. Buy them tickets to an event they’ll enjoy, whether that’s a baseball game or the ballet.
    12. Pay for cooking lessons, golf lessons, dance lessons or whatever they want to learn.
    13. Write them a glowing LinkedIn recommendation.
    14. Give them a year’s subscription to a “something-of-the-month club.” You can find subscriptions for everything from food or cosmetics to neckties or coffee. 
    15. Buy them a membership to a local museum you know they’ll enjoy.

 

Celebrate the team.

 

Want to celebrate the achievements of a particular team, department or even the whole company? Make it a group gift or activity. (If your staff is mostly millennials, keep in mind they tend to prefer experiences to things.)

 

    1. Cater breakfast, lunch or dessert.
    2. Take the team out to lunch or dinner.
    3. Give everyone a comp day to take whenever they want.
    4. Knock off early and take the team to the movies. Buy everyone candy, popcorn and soda.
    5. Take the group to a sporting event.
    6. Go bowling.
    7. Play miniature golf.
    8. Have a paintball battle.
    9. Rent an ice skating or roller skating rink for the afternoon.
    10. Throw a party.
    11. If you think your team will like it, try something extreme. Take them zip lining, go bungee jumping or go for a ride in a hot-air balloon.
    12. Give everyone a bonus.

 

Rules for success

 

No matter what approach you take to celebrating your employees’ efforts, follow these three rules:

 

    1. Do it often. Don’t wait until the end of the year or annual review time to acknowledge hard work.
    2. Let employees have a voice in what kind of celebrations they want. Get ideas from your team to come up with a list of possibilities. Offer the employees you’re honoring a choice among different options.
    3. Be willing to invest. Put some money into employee recognition. According to an SHRM study, devoting at least 1 percent of payroll to an employee recognition program makes it more likely to be effective.

 

 

Read next:

 

 

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

Rieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

Millennial employees have a reputation as job hoppers. While that rep isn’t entirely undeserved, a new study by OC Tanner  reveals the problem isn’t millennials—it’s their jobs. Keep reading to find out what your company might be doing wrong and what you can do to retain your millennial employees.

 

Millennial misery by the numbers

 

The majority of millennials in the survey (60 percent) have worked at 2 – 4 companies. However, 24 percent have worked at five or more places.

 

Of course, many millennial employees are still in the early stages of their careers, when switching jobs is a natural way to explore options. But OC Tanner uncovered a vicious circle: The more often millennials switch jobs because they’re dissatisfied, the less satisfied they become. For instance:

Rieva_Article_Table.png

 

The growing dissatisfaction of millennial job-hoppers isn’t all that’s worrisome. When 20 percent of entry-level workers don’t trust their managers, and more than one-third are bored, feel stuck or believe work is damaging their health, there’s something seriously wrong.

 

Millennial retention tipsHow can you nip millennial job-hopping in the bud? It’s actually really easy to do. OC Tanner has identified six key aspects of company culture that people look for in a great place to work:

 

  • Purpose
  • Opportunity
  • Success
  • Appreciation
  • Wellbeing
  • Leadership

 

Companies that are even marginally better than average in these six categories enjoy a host of benefits, OC Tanner reports. Their employees are substantially more engaged. They’re more likely to be innovative. They have higher-than-average revenues. To boost your business “above average,” take these steps:Millennials have a lot to offer your business. Keep them happy at work, and their energy, passion and creativity will help power your company to new heights.

 

1. Purpose: Three-fourths of millennials in a Deloitte survey believe businesses have the potential to help solve society’s economic, environmental and social challenges—but just 47 percent believe businesses behave ethically, down from 62 percent last year. Give your employees a sense of purpose by clearly conveying your company’s vision and mission, how it contributes to making the world a better place, and the role their job plays in the big picture.

 

2. Opportunity: Even entry-level millennial employees want to strut their stuff. Give them ownership of a project or the opportunity to lead a group. Provide the tools and information they need, then let them take charge of the job.

 

3. Success: Providing growth opportunities helps millennial employees develop the skills they need for success. Be sure to celebrate both team and individual achievements.

 

4. Appreciation: Millennials crave feedback about their performance. Tell them how they’re doing daily, not just during performance reviews.

 

5. Wellbeing: Health insurance and flexible work schedules are two of the top benefits millennial employees want, Pentegra reports. See if your health insurance offers an employee wellness plan. Be open when employees want to adjust their work hours to accommodate not just family demands, but also personal passions such as traveling or training for a marathon.

 

6. Leadership: Two-way communication between management and millennial employees is essential to building trust. Transparency and honesty will help create bonds with millennial employees.

 

Millennials have a lot to offer your business. Keep them happy at work, and their energy, passion and creativity will help power your company to new heights.

 

Read next:

 

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

Rieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

 

Employee Productivity.jpgby Rieva Lesonsky

 

The U.S. government measures it, smart devices help us track it, and business leaders obsess about it. Productivity is the holy grail for business owners seeking to make their businesses more profitable.

 

Here are 10 hacks to help your employees be more productive at work.

 

1. Encourage (or require) breaks.

 

Whether your employees have desk jobs, manufacturing or service jobs, breaks are essential. One study found the most productive people work for 52 minutes at a stretch and then take a 17-minute break. Intense focus on work, followed by a break, rejuvenates both mental and physical energy.

 

2. Get employees moving.

 

Breaks work best when they’re taken away from the desk, computer or workstation. Encourage your staff to do quick stretches (even as a group) or head outside for a short walk. Sit-stand desks let staffers get moving while working; Texas A&M University research found employees using them are up to 46 percent more productive.

 

3. Reduce distractions.

 

For office workers, our always-on digital culture can lead to an endless cycle of checking email, chat, social media and then starting all over again. Reduce technology distractions with “meeting-free” days, “no email” days, work from home days or office quiet hours. Since email and other communication technologies are designed to be addictive, Deloitte suggests using apps to remind employees to take breaks.

 

4. Give workers autonomy.

 

Don’t micromanage. Employees hate it, and unhappy workers are less productive. Research by the University of Melbourne shows managers who provide support and autonomy, rather than micromanaging, are more likely to have happier employees and greater workplace well-being.

 

5. Connect with workers’ deeper motivations.

 

In some industries, such as food service, work requires following a set formula without much room for discretion. For this type of job, tying work in to an employee’s larger motivations, such as supporting their families, has been shown to boost productivity. Hold “bring your child to work” days, company picnics, and other family-friendly events that connect workers’ families and the job. If possible, allow employees flexible hours or other arrangements to meet their personal needs.

 

6. Provide stable hours.

 

Do your employees’ hours and shifts change every week? Keeping schedule changes to a minimum has been shown to make businesses more productive. In a study with the Gap, consistent, predictable hours improved employee retention, making the stores more productive.

 

7. Create a variety of spaces.

 

If you’ve adopted the open office trend, you may want to reconsider. Staples Annual Workplace Survey reports 37 percent of workers in open-plan offices consider their workspace distracting. Provide some quiet places, meeting rooms, and common spaces such as break rooms so employees can escape the open plan when necessary.

 

8. Light it up.

 

Exposure to light strongly influences our alertness levels. Allow as much natural light into your workspace as you can, or purchase desk lamps that mimic natural light.

 

9. Allow remote work.

 

Only 32 percent of employees spend all their work time at the office. More than half (57 percent) say working remotely removes distractions. Some 3.9 million workers currently telecommute at least half-time, according to the 2017 State of Telecommuting in the U.S. Employee Workforce report, which estimates half-time telecommuting boosts productivity by 15 percent.

 

10. Engage your employees.

 

This really isn’t a hack—it’s a long-term project. According to  Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report, 85 percent of employees are either not engaged or actively disengaged at work, causing $7 trillion in lost productivity annually. Disengaged workers have 37 percent higher absenteeism, 49 percent more accidents, and 60 percent more errors and defects in their work, Harvard Business Review reports.

 

To increase employee engagement, treat your staff with respect, provide learning opportunities, offer competitive wages and benefits, and foster community at work. These actions aren’t quick fixes, but they’re worth the effort. Creating a team of engaged employees is the best way to boost your business’s productivity

 

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

Find and Retain Employees.jpg

by Rieva Lesonsky

 

Employee turnover is costly and disruptive—especially for a small business. HR Dive reports that when an employee leaves, companies spend one-third of the person’s salary (an average of $15,000) to find a replacement. With small staffs to begin with, the loss of a key employee can cripple your business, further cutting into profits.

 

How to Retain Employees

 

Put your money where your mouth is.

 

If employees can get sizable pay bumps by switching employers, it will be harder to keep them on board. Make sure your wages are competitive. Provide opportunities for employees to make more money through a bonus or profit-sharing plans. This is more affordable than offering big raises since you only pay if the company is doing well.

 

Offer employee benefits.

 

Benefits are growing in importance, MetLife’s 15th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study reveals. While health insurance is the top benefit employees want, 54% of the employees surveyed also want their employers to provide benefits that help them build financial security, such as a retirement plan. In addition, 58% want the option to choose from a wide range of benefits. You don’t have to foot the entire bill for employee benefits: The majority of workers surveyed are willing to pay for part of their benefits. Choosing a benefits package that gives your employees options is a great way to meet the needs of everyone on your team.

 

Build relationships.

 

Relationships with coworkers and managers are critical to employee satisfaction and engagement, ADP reports. The top reason employees in their survey left their jobs was because of their direct manager. As a small business owner, you’re uniquely positioned to get to know your employees—and how they get along with each other. Take steps to encourage relationship building among employees. Consider celebrating birthdays and other milestones, holding lunchtime potlucks, or starting a bowling or softball league.

 

Provide employee recognition.

Everyone wants to feel respected and needed. More than eight in 10 workers in the ADP survey say they want to make a difference at work and feel that they play an important role. When it comes to recognition, little things—like praising employees in front of the team—can make a big difference. Check out these employee recognition ideas.

 

How to Recruit Employees

 

Plan ahead.

 

Identify your highest-value employees—they’re likely at the biggest risk of leaving. Create a plan for how you would replace them, whether by recruiting outside or inside the company. Cross-training is a great way to build a “bench” so you can promote from within. Create detailed job descriptions for every position on your team if you don’t already have them; that way, you’ll be ready to advertise at a moment’s notice.

 

Keep recruiting.

 

Stay alert for potential candidates on social media platforms such as LinkedIn. Pay attention to people in your industry you might like to have on your team one day. Developing relationships now can pay off in the future.

 

Promote your company as a great place to work.

 

Job candidates will go online to get an idea of what it’s really like to work at your business. Use social media and your business website to share your corporate culture, spread the word about open positions, and spotlight your staff members.

 

An employee-friendly corporate culture is a strong antidote for the employee crisis. And in the end, it will save you time and money.

 

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Friday, March 2, is Employee Appreciation Day. Have you made plans to show your employees you care?

 

If you think appreciation isn’t a big deal to your team, think again. In one study, 22 percent of managers didn’t think employee recognition had a big effect on their staffs—but 70 percent of employees said their motivation and morale would “massively” improve if managers provided regular recognition.

 

Unfortunately, employee recognition is often absent from the workplace. Almost half (45 percent) of 2,700 US workers in a study by Globoforce say they haven’t been recognized at work in six months or more. Worse yet, 16 percent say they have never been recognized at work.

 

If you recognize your own workplace in some of those statistics, don’t worry: It’s not too late to change. Here are 11 ways you can show employees your appreciation on Employee Appreciation Day (or any other day):63538296_s.jpg

 

  1. Throw a party: Hold a party at work or better yet, pick an outside venue and enjoy catering.
  2. Show employees you value their health: Give everyone a free fitness monitor so they can track their steps or set alerts to remind them to get up and stretch.
  3. Feed them: Surprise your team with free food – it’s always a great way to celebrate and show how much you appreciate them. You could set up an ice-cream sundae bar or cookie buffet around 3 PM when everyone’s flagging. Bringing in breakfast is also a nice surprise – and everyone loves pizza lunches.
  4. Put it in writing: Craft a hand-written note to each employee thanking them for their hard work, and share something specific that you appreciate about them. For example, “I appreciate how you always step up to take a leadership role,” or “I appreciate how your attention to detail helps make our shipments more accurate.”
  5. Give gift cards: Gift cards are always the number-one seller at holiday time, and your employees will love them any time of year. Look for gift cards that everyone can use, or tailor them to specific employees’ interests if you’re aware of them.
  6. Go to the movies: With the price of movie tickets constantly rising, just about every employee will appreciate the gift of free movie tickets.
  7. Pamper them: Bring in a local massage therapist to give everyone shoulder and neck massages in the office. Or hire a yoga instructor to lead a class.
  8. Give the gift of time: Give your employees Employee Appreciation Day off with pay or let them leave work early. (With Employee Appreciation Day falling on a Friday this year, what better way to show your appreciation than a three-day weekend?)
  9. Upgrade their workstations: Show your employees your appreciation with new, ergonomic desk chairs, new computers, mobile devices or other tools to make their work lives easier.
  10. Offer a choice: Why not let employees choose their own appreciation rewards? Set a dollar limit and within that amount, let each employee buy something they want.
  11. Put it to a vote: Come up with a few different ideas to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day. Share them with the employees, then take a vote and let the majority decide.

 

No matter what you decide to do for Employee Appreciation Day, be sure to follow the most important rule: Don’t make showing your appreciation a once-a-year event. Make a plan for regularly, consistently reaching out to show your employees how much you value their hard work. The results will be well worth it.

 

Related content:

The importance of employee perks and how you can offer more than you think

6 Things Entrepreneurs Can Do to Attract and Retain Good Employees

Do you Hire Writers for your Business? Time to Say Thanks

 

About Rieva LesonskyRieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

If you have any doubt that attracting and retaining qualified employees is one of the biggest hurdles small business owners face, check out these numbers:

    • More than half (55 percent) of small business owners say competing for talent is their top challenge (LinkedIn).
    • When they try to hire, 45 percent of small business owners find few or no qualified applicants (NFIB).
    • Some 62 percent of small business owners admit having made a bad hire (Monster).

Related article: Is Your Business Staffed with Emotionally Intelligent People?

 

The Fall 2017 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report took a closer look at how small business owners attract and keep the best employees. Here’s what you can do:

 

1.     Give them raises—Money matters to employees, but just 22 percent of small business owners give their employees raises every year, while 34 percent give raises based only on employee performance and 21 percent do so based only on business growth. If you can only spend in one place, spending on employee wages is it.49883015_s.jpg

 

2.     Offer flexibility—Only 34 percent of surveyed entrepreneurs have offered employees flexible work hours or the ability to work remotely over the past two years. The great news for small business owners on a tight budget: flexibility doesn’t cost anything to implement.

More on offering a flexible work environment: Remote Workers Are Happy Workers: My Tips for Making Smart Hires

 

3.     Offer perks—17 percent of small business owners in the survey provide perks aside from flexibility. Perks don't have to cost a lot—just get creative. A few items to consider:

      • Bring in coffee, donuts and bagels for breakfast once or twice a week.
      • Let employees bring dogs to the office.
      • Arrange with a local dry cleaner to pick up and drop off employees’ dry cleaning once a week.
      • Make a deal with a local car detailer to come in once a week and detail employees’ cars in the parking lot.
      • Barter with local businesses to get perks. If you own a website design company, would a local massage therapist give your employees monthly shoulder rubs in exchange for website design?

 

4.     Offer employee rewards—Fifteen percent of entrepreneurs in the survey do. You can set up your own rewards program or work with a company that handles it for you, like Fond or YouEarnedIt. Stay away from “rewards” like plaques or pens and give employees things they’ll appreciate, like prepaid debit cards or gifts tailored to their interests.

 

5.     Offer competitive benefits—Just 13 percent of business owners in the survey provide competitive benefits to their teams. Since so few of your peers are doing this, it’s a great way to make your business stand out from the competition. Face it: The big companies competing with you for top employees offer health insurance and retirement plans, and employees expect these basic benefits. An independent insurance agent who works with multiple health insurance companies can suggest options and ways to make insurance affordable. Affordable 401(k) plans exist for even the smallest businesses, so there’s really no excuse for not offering one.

     Offering healthcare to employees: Four Things Small Business Owners Should Consider Before Offering Employee Healthcare

     More on competing with large corporations: Infographic: Leveling the Playing Field Against Larger Corporations

 

6.    Offer paid or unlimited vacation—Only 12 percent of small business owners in the survey do this. Paid vacation is a standard benefit among bigger companies, so it’s a must if you want to stay competitive.

 

Why not start your employee reward and retention program now? Take a cue from what entrepreneurs in the survey are doing for the holidays:

    • Closing the office during the holidays: 43 percent
    • Giving salary bonuses: 35 percent
    • Giving gifts: 33 percent
    • Holding a holiday party: 32 percent
    • Offering flexible hours or vacation time during the holidays: 29 percent

 

Your business wouldn’t be successful without your employees, so treat them right—now and all year long.

 

About Rieva LesonskyRieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN,The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America,its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

The coming holiday shopping season promises to be one of the most challenging ever for retailers—especially small retailers. Facing stiffer competition from e-commerce sites like Amazon, small retailers that can't compete on price will need to ensure a stellar in-store experience in order to succeed. For most, that includes bringing on seasonal employees to handle the holiday rush.

 

But with unemployment low, retailers face challenges in this arena as well. Target’s announcement earlier this month that it would hire 100,000 seasonal employees—a whopping 40 percent increase from the number it hired last holiday season—serves as an early indicator to small retailers that the time to start hiring is now.

 

If you hope to lure quality seasonal employees to your store instead of the likes of Amazon and Target, try these tips.

 

          CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ARTICLES FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT RIEVA LESONSKY

 

1.  Pay well. Competitive pay is one of the top concerns for hourly workers seeking jobs, according to a study earlier this year. Start by making sure your pay is at least competitive with—and ideally, a little higher than—similar retailers in your area. Most of the jobseekers in the study said $10-$11 an hour is a fair wage. 49530775_s.jpg

 

2.  Add incentives. In addition to base wages, try offering employees commission and end-of-season bonuses. Incentive-based pay motivates employees and means you don’t have to pay unless they deliver. You can also give employees in-store discounts. This not only makes them happy but also encourages more sales, since they’re likely to shop for their own holiday gifts at your store.

 

3.  Schedule smart. Getting enough hours is the top issue jobseekers in the study care about: The majority would like to work at least 36 hours a week. Hiring seasonal employees who essentially want to work full-time makes your life easier, too, since you have fewer people to train, schedule and juggle. Speaking of juggling, there are plenty of employee time-tracking and scheduling apps available that make it easy to plan schedules in advance, share them with employees online, make quick changes and keep workers in the loop. If you’re still using a homemade spreadsheet or pen and paper to plan your store schedule, search online for retail scheduling software to save you time and headaches.

 

4.  Promote your seasonal jobs like crazy. Add detailed information about job openings to your business website, and then promote them everywhere you can think of. In addition to online job listings, try:

  • Announcing your hiring on the homepage of your website
  • Putting signage in your store windows and at checkout
  • Sharing links to your hiring information on your social media accounts and encouraging people to spread the word

 

5. Hold a job fair. Big companies do it, so why shouldn’t you? Promoting your job fair in local publications and local websites can get more attention than help-wanted ads. If you don't have enough openings to justify a job fair just for your store, consider partnering with other small businesses near yours or the local Chamber of Commerce to hold a community job fair for independent businesses.

 

6.  Tap into your customer base. Do you have customers who come into your store all the time? Ask if they're interested in seasonal work. After all, they obviously love your products and probably know your stock pretty well. An in-store discount for seasonal workers would likely tempt them, too. You can also promote your seasonal job openings in your email marketing newsletters. Even if customers aren’t interested themselves, they may know others who are.

 

7.  Be prepared. Once you’ve hired your seasonal employees, get ready for the roller coaster that is the holiday shopping season. Prep for success by developing a plan to bring your seasonal employees up to speed quickly so you can hit the ground running.

 

RELATED ARTICLE: Recruiting and Retaining Talent in the Evolving Small Business Workplace

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of

America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

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