Employee development: The term on the tip of company tongues right now

If we were to wind back the clock a couple of decades ago, we would assume that the term “employee development” did not exist. Even if companies were aware of its meaning, the chances of them implementing its philosophies would be slim to say the least.

However, over recent times there has really been a shift in culture in relation to this. Big companies in particular are happier to invest in the development of their employees, whether it’s through training programs or even just sending them to industry conferences.

Whether or not this is the case for smaller companies, who perhaps have more constraints in relation to budgets, is debatable. However, business education is shifting; whether it’s from single day training courses or online MBA programs.

Following on from the above, let’s now take a look at some of the reasons more companies are getting more comfortable with employee development, and how you might decide to follow the same pathway.

The employee turnover numbers

Any company that has a high turnover of employees is asking for trouble. Let’s not forget that the recruitment business is an expensive game. Positions tend to be left open for long periods of time, leading to unproductivity, while once you do find your star candidate there is every chance that you might have to pay a recruiter fee or something else to guarantee their signature.

As such, training is a means of keeping employees and ultimately making your business a much nicer place to work. It is regarded as a “perk”, and a way of showing your employees that you respect their career. It’s something that will tend to breed loyalty and ultimately, weaken the chances of them jumping ship at the first opportunity.

It becomes easier to promote from within

This follows a similar vein to the previous point we looked at. As anyone who has been involved in recruitment will testify, as soon as you start looking to fill more senior positions the business becomes much tougher. There are far fewer candidates out there, while their higher salaries naturally means it’s a bigger risk.

If someone is trained internally meanwhile, the process can be made much easier. They already know the culture of your company, while you already know all about them so the risk is much smaller.

Employees tend to be more engaged at work

This next benefit works in several ways. Firstly, an employee who is picking up new skills suddenly has a lot more options available at work. They can apply themselves in different ways and this should, theoretically at least, prevent boredom occurring.

Then, there is the training itself. Once upon a time training courses were one of those things that everyone tried to avoid – they were boring to say the least. Now, the outlook has changed, and an interactive way of learning means that employees actually look forward to them, and see them as a positive to their daily routine.

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What is the crack with foundation problems?

What is the crack with foundation problems?

They are one of those areas of the home which are out of sight, but to say that foundation issues are out of mind would be a gross understatement. In truth, they are one of the most important elements of a home and if they fail, you can be left with all sorts of problems.

These problems can result from cracks emerging in the walls, to full-scale flooding that will require emergency water damage repair. In short, it’s a costly affair, and the one expense that insurers are the most afraid of.

To highlight the different types of problems that can impact foundations, let’s take a look at some of them in-detail.

Soil that expands or heaves

One of the big complications about foundations is that they all depend on the type of soil that your property is built on. If we turn to the likes of clay, momentarily, this is something that can be subject to expansion. This is because as soon as clay comes into contact with moisture, it has the habit of expanding.

Clearly, if we’re talking about small amounts of water, this isn’t going to be a problem. However, if your local area is subjected to heavy rain, there’s a chance that this can leak into the soil and make it expand. From that point on, it can cause the soil to heave upwards and ultimately, cause those dreaded cracks that are an insurer’s nightmare.

Soil that consolidates

Whilst clay soil is renowned for expanding, the opposite can be said of other types of soil. There are some types out there that when they dry, they constrict. This means that it starts to pull away from your foundation.

You’ll start to see your house settle if this occurs, which effectively means that it moves downwards. Again, it can cause all sorts of cracks, and even leaks, if these cracks become substantial enough in size.

Large trees growing near to your home

This is perhaps one of the more interesting points we will talk about. While trees are utterly desirable for most people, whether it be for privacy or beauty, from a foundations point of view they can be terribly damaging. For those of you who have filled out a home insurance questionnaire, you’ll have probably stumbled across the question asking if your home is near any large trees, so let’s now delve into the true answers behind this.

As we all know, large trees have large roots. This poses a problem for foundations in particular, as the roots will attempt to consume all of the water that surrounds them. In the case of some soils, that are subject to shrinkage, this can cause settlement.

Some people therefore take it upon themselves to cut the tree down. Unfortunately, this brings even further issues, as the water that was previously used by the roots is returned to the soil. As such, the foundations are provided more water than ever before, leading to even worse foundation issues.

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BUNDESLIGA CHAMPIONS BORUSSIA DORTMUND IN MARKETING PARTNERSHIP WITH GMO TRADING

June 29, 2018 – GMO Trading is proud to announce that it has entered into a partnership with Borussia Dortmund the Bundesliga Football powerhouse for the 2018-19 football season.

GMO Trading is a worldwide investment firm that has created a secure and simple to operate trading platform for traders of all skill levels. The platform meets the needs of clients for a platform that can be accessed anywhere and at any time during the day. Reception to the platform has been outstanding by customers throughout Europe.

From GMO Trading: “We are delighted to be a regional sponsor of Borussia Dortmund, one of the Bundesliga’s finest football teams. As home of the ninth largest stock exchange in the world, Germany is an important trading market and presents a key growth area for GMO Trading. This partnership will help raise awareness of our offering among European business leaders.”

Beginning in August of this year, Borussia Dortmund and GMO Trading will work together to market GMO Trading to markets in Europe outside of Germany.

The partnership will allow clients of GMO Trading the chance to participate in a range of exclusive offers and benefits from the club, and the chance to get VIP tickets and official merchandise.

GMO Trading will use social media and its website to introduce Borussia Dortmund branded initiatives to the market. To discover how you could benefit from GMO Trading’s services, please visit www.gmotrading.com.

For more information, please email Rebecca Wharmby – Rebecca.Wharmby@Threepipe.co.uk

About GMO Trading

GMO Trading brand name of Royal Forex a Cyprus Investment Firm, regulated by Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission

The GMO Trading platform offers clients an unmatched trading environment and superior service, allowing them to access global trading arenas with great security and comfort.

GMO Trading puts at its clients’ disposal an unsurpassed variety of account options that can perfectly fit any trader’s requests. Clients benefit from innovative trading tools that delivers them the possibility to turn their trading desires into reality.

For more information, visit the GMO Trading website at www.gmotrading.com or  visit its Facebook at www.facebook.com/gmotrading/.

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Building a Team: The Basics

Hiring is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make at work. The people you bring in to your business don’t just bring a skillset and experience, they bring personality, attitude and the ability to influence the people around them. Your company culture is only partly set by corporate diktat: what really creates your working environment is the people who fill it.

Hiring is a chance not just to find a new programmer, executive, or department manager, it’s an opportunity to make your whole company more committed, more sustainable, fairer, more diverse or whatever you’ve decided your priorities are as a business owner. If you say you’re running a company that values it’s employees, that wants people to work smart not hard, and support a healthy work-life balance, but you don’t hire executives who believe in this and encourage those values, you don’t really have that philosophy at all. So when you’re building a team you need to make sure you’re talking the talk as well as walking the walk.

Today we’re looking at how you can do that, and build a team that works for you, your company and your employees.

Shortlisting

The first, and most important thing is to make sure that your values and culture are built into the recruiting process from the off. Whether you’re using your internal resources to recruit or retain an executive search agency, don’t just include a list of the experience you want, whether that’s managerial, in client facing roles, or developing products. Include your values as requirements, and your candidates will know from the start whether this is the job for them. If you’re consciously building a diverse team (and research suggests you should be), an upfront discussion of that as part of your job description will help you find the candidates who will fit into and foster that culture.

Regulations

When you’re doing this you need to make sure that the culture you’re trying to foster is supported by the law. If your attempt to build a company based on ‘old fashioned, reliable values’ and that leads to you turning away highly qualified women and minorities, what you’ve actually done is built prejudice into the heart of your company.

Run your ideas past a lawyer to make sure your corporate values don’t have a darker side, which could lead to you ignoring valuable talent as well as ending up on the wrong side of the law.

Interview

Don’t neglect to discuss what’s important to your company at the interview stage, and as with your other questions don’t hedge around in hypotheticals. Get specific. If you value a good work life balance, ask what they’ve done to foster that value at other companies. Ask how they’ve reacted when their personal feelings have conflicted with a company’s stated position.

If you can follow these three important points you’ll find you’re building a team that gels well and gets results!

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Top 5 Things You Should Know About Your EIN

An EIN number is a nine-digit number required by the IRS for businesses in the United States. The Employer Identification Number is mainly used as identification of your business by the IRS, however, the number has other uses. Once you apply for an EIN online, you will have the number you need to use for your business. Below are the top five things you should know about this number as it is associated with your business.

Open a Business Account

One way you can use your new EIN number is to open a business bank account. Most banks will require your business to have an EIN number before you will be allowed to open up a new account for the company.

Business Permits

Another use of your EIN number is for business permits. If you need permits for your business based on the type of company or location, you will need an EIN number. With this number, you will be able to apply and secure such permits for your company.

Filing Taxes

With your EIN number, you can file your taxes with ease. An EIN number for a business is considered to be like a Social Security Number for an individual. With this number, you can file taxes for the business as well as focus efforts on employee payments and tax needs.

Credit Card Needs

To help with expenses, a credit card for your business will be needed. Applying for a credit card requires an EIN number when considering a company card. The EIN number will ensure that a card is issued to your business so that purchases can be made as needed.

Applying for Loans

An EIN number is also required by banks for a business to be able to apply for a loan. If your business will need monetary assistance via a loan, the EIN must be secured first before applying.

As you can see, there are many ways that an EIN number is used within a business. Be sure to file online to secure the number you need to get started.

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Sticking the Landing – How to Perfect Your Point of Sale

If you are in retail business, whether it is selling clothes, cooking food, or any number of other products and services individuals purchase, you know how vital point of sale is. You want a sales-friendly environment and be able to upsell to any customer with ease.

You also want software that can assist you in your retail endeavours. Since technology is the future, it is time to get on board with point of sale or POS software. This software tracks critical information that you need regarding your clients and their wants and needs.

Continue reading below to learn how you can make your point of sale operate more efficiently.

Know Your Busy Times

Regardless of the type of retail business you own, you need to know your busy times of the day, week, month, and year. You need to know this information to be able to schedule appropriately as well as order the right amount of inventory. To be able to perfect your point of sale, you need software that can track this data to be able to better your company and get the highest ratings from clients that you can.

Market To Current Clients

Another excellent way to increase your point of sale is to keep in touch with repeat customers. If a customer has purchased with you before and had a good experience, they are more likely to come back and purchase from you again. Take advantage of this and market to your returning clientele.

Many businesses will focus on getting new customers in the door. However, if you can get repeat business, that is where the money is at. Find software that will integrate loyalty reward programs as well as personalized mailings and emails to clients who have already shown you some love.

Simplify Inventory

Inventory is needed in any business, whether that inventory is ingredients for a restaurant, or clothing for a fashion store. Inventory can be fickle though. How can you make the process simple, especially if you have multiple locations, new staff, or a tricky budget? You need to investigate software that can scan the current inventory in stock and recommend what needed items should be ordered. Certain software can also make it impossible for store clerks to lower prices or change the price at the register.

Make Your Register Precise And Accurate

The most crucial item you need to perfect your point of sale is an accurate and precise cash register. You want software that can work offline if you lose internet connectivity and that will save the transactions on the device and sync to the cloud when the connectivity returns. You also need to have the ability to run the point of sale software on the go, especially in a restaurant setting.

Involve Your Employees

The last vital tip to perfect your point of sale is to involve your staff with the acquisition of new point of sale software. This is an important gesture as the employees are the ones who will be using the software the most. It will also show your employees that they matter in your decision-making, which makes morale rise and respect gain momentum.

Why Should I Change My Software For My Business?

As a business owner, you want to have the top of the line software, and other technological advances as that are what consumers are looking for. They do not want to do business with an outdated or antiquated retailer. That is why many customers go online to shop, as it is so much easier.

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If you want to stay relevant, you must switch your software and the way you do business. By doing so, you can market to repeat customers for additional sales, know when you are the busiest to appropriately staff and order the correct inventory. But, most importantly, you can have pinpoint accuracy with your cash register where errors are a thing of the past and move towards a more efficient point of sale setup for your business.

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District Dilemmas – 3 Areas in Hong Kong to Consider for Your Business

Those who have been fortunate enough to visit Hong Kong have experienced the wonder one of the world largest economies. The city, home to a number of financial institutions and corporate conglomerates, has one of the most thriving hospitality industries boasting some of the most luxurious hotels and restaurants. However, Hong Kong is really known for an economy supported by a variety of industries.

In this island city, this wealthy locale has been an attractive place for many entrepreneurs for years. Finding office space is no longer a problem, as Hong Kong’s commercial real estate market has a number of traditional and alternative office leasing formats. In addition to the standard co-working and virtual office formats, serviced offices in Hong Kong can accommodate your business. The problem is no longer whether you can find affordable space but where to set up shop.

Let’s take a look at some of the best locations to get started with a serviced office space in Hong Kong.

The Central

While you can consume a good portion of your time in the Golden Shopping Centre, and your money, a few miles away in Hong Kong’s central business district, known as The Central, professionals can experience the awe of working among some of the most internationally-known, wealthy institutions. Key areas that are a draw for both business and tourism are the Bank of China building and HK Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The area is located below Victoria’s Peak, which is directly across the harbour from Kowloon. In this area, financial titans, government consulates, and other corporate interests make this location their home. The area bordered by Aberdeen (Wing Kut Street), Admiralty and Victoria Peak has been the centre of international trade and finance since the British colonial era in 1841. For those looking for office space, this area is serviced by a few leasing companies that can provide you with office space.

The Pearl River Delta

Another possible lucrative market is the Pearl River Delta (PRD) located around the Pearl River estuary. As one of Hong Kong’s most densely urbanised areas, the PRD is known for being a consumer market, a trading hub, a services market and place for investing. The area has one of the fastest growing economies, and because of its link with Hong Kong, it has seen rapid growth in the last couple of years.

Described as a boon economy, the PRD’s economy is primarily supported through trade of goods, services and capital among major cities Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Macau, Zhongshan, Dongguan, Foshan, Huizhou, Huiyang, Huidong, Zhaoqing, and Jiangmen. For this reason, this area’s population is expected to become one of the largest in the world, overtaking even The Central in terms of business. Those looking test out this market might take advantage of the numerous all night co-working spaces or even the virtual office, both offering professionals a lot of flexibility.

Container Terminal 9 (Container Port)

As with many other international locations, where there is a port, there are opportunities for business, and Hong Kong’s Container Terminal 9 offers prospective business interests the opportunity to take advantage of this area’s import/export trade. The port is undergoing a facelift that when completed will provide those doing business in this area six berths with a capacity to hold more than two million twenty-foot equivalents (TEO) yearly. This area is primed to be one of the busiest ports in the world.

An Island With Plenty Of Growth

Hong Kong’s beauty is the stuff of legend, but on a more mundane level, its business economy offers any entrepreneur a number of options. Entrepreneurs can find they have a place among all three areas whose intertwining interests go back and forth between finance and trade. The Central, PRD and the port are the financial backbones of a city-state whose economic presence in the world has been long-standing.

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How to Choose the Best Utility Broker for Your Business

In times of confusion, it is refreshing to find someone who can help you sort out things, especially if you are putting up a business or a company. You don’t want to go through the hassle of picking the perfect electricity and gas provider for your business when you are too occupied by work stuff, right?

So how do you choose the perfect utility broker for your start-up company? Here are some tips.

Pick someone you can trust

From your set of employees, pick someone who is knowledgeable about energy tariffs and other things related to energy. You may want to assign someone who is budget conscious, curious and a perfectionist. Let them understand that you have entrusted them with a very vital task which will affect the company as well as their co-workers.

Research

Pull up Google and start typing “the best utility broker” then it will show the list of the most reputable brokers in town. Look into their history, the services they provide and of course, customer reviews.

Reading customer reviews both on the company’s official website and other sites will be helpful for you. You will have a clear view of how they handle their business and see if customers are satisfied with it or not. You may also want to consider the following factors:

  • How long have they been in the business?

  • How long should you wait to receive a quote?

  • What are the terms and conditions?

  • Do they bill a reasonable price for the service?

  • Are they really good at negotiating prices with energy companies?

  • What do customers say about the company?

  • Do you have to spend too much time negotiating with them?

List down choices

After your thorough research, you may want to take notes on the companies that appealed to you the most. Take note of their phone number as you will be needing it in the next couple of days. At least pick 2 of the best companies and you can start from there.

Call and make an appointment

Some utility brokers offer free consultations while some charge for a quote. You may want to talk to those who offer to provide quotes for free before going to those who charge. Once you are fully decided, you may set an appointment and take time to finish the forms as soon as possible.

Finding the perfect energy company is a pain but with utility brokers like Utility Bidder you can surely save more money. They eliminate the hassle of completing a lot of paperwork and will surely be by your side until you have signed the contract. They are not biased, and they conduct research to be able to provide you with the most cost-efficient energy provider for your business.

Utility brokers are here to make your business decisions easier. So, before you jump into a contract with an energy company, consider using a third-party intermediary in the market.

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Like a Boss – 6 Secrets to Being a Great Employer

A company’s employees are its greatest asset. Too often, workers feel undervalued or as if their work isn’t making any real difference. People thrive on recognition and positive reinforcement. It’s human nature. There is no shortage of ways that an employer can demonstrate to their employees how much their efforts are valued to ensure their happiness and productivity continues to thrive! Here are a few of them:

  1. Show Appreciation

It’s natural for employees to want to feel recognized and appreciated for the work that they put in to contribute to their company’s success. It might come as a surprise to know that in many cases, this does not have to take a monetary form. In fact, more tangible forms of acknowledgement such as a thoughtful personalized corporate gift, a new work computer or phone, or even a free lunch at a nice restaurant can be more effective in communicating how much you value their contribution.

  1. Genuinely Value Your Employees

Treat your workers like family. Sure, this must be balanced with a degree of professionalism; however, the workers who feel more at ease and valued in their workplace are typically more efficient, creative and productive in their roles. Make a habit of expressing positive feedback and feelings to your employees, so they know that they are considered an integral part of your team. Respect your staff, and watch your business thrive.

 3. Give Them a Life Outside of Work

‘Work-life balance’ is the buzzword of the decade. In an age of 24/7 connectivity and the idea that if you aren’t burning the candle at both ends, you’re not doing it right, the need for some downtime is at an all-time high. A recent survey found that the demand for remote work is climbing as more people crave more flexible workplace arrangements. Consider providing your employees with the opportunity to work from home if appropriate. Workers appreciate having the option to be flexible. In return, you will see higher standards of work.

4. Cultivate Proper Leadership

Without a proper leader, the flock will begin to scatter. Your workers need engaging leaders to help drive better work performance. The right leader will help to energize and assist managers and employees and enable an open and honest dialogue between workers and management. Think about developing a mentorship program that can provide opportunities for growth and leadership among employees. Employees work hard for leaders they believe have their best interests at heart.

5. Long-Term Relationship

Encourage employees to want to stay long-term by providing them with the best loyalty incentives. Foster a growth mindset, and help your employees to flourish and achieve their long-term goals. Personal growth leads to professional growth. With your assistance, your employees will find more motivation to stay.

6. Funny Business

A fundamental way to cultivate better employees is to make them happier employees. Yes, even the Financial Times reported that being funny at work is good for business. Here’s why; work doesn’t feel like work when you’re having fun! Encourage your employees to bring joy into the workplace by hosting themed office parties or provide a games area for workers to let loose during lunch-break. There’s an ulterior motive to those office day’s out, not only are they fun, but they’re also great for team-building.

To be the best, you have to produce the best. Loyal employers foster loyal staff in return. The key takeaway from all this is that as an employer, your primary business should be the happiness of your employees. All of these strategies will help to make your business more effective, more productive and more successful.

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Are you spending too much on office supplies?

Running your own business provides the type of freedom that many people spend years dreaming of. And if it is a home-based enterprise, you have the added bonus that costs and overheads are kept to a minimum. It all sounds great, until you look at the bank statement at the end of the month and ask yourself just where all that money is going.

The problem is that whether it is in a traditional corporate environment or a room at the back of your home, an office soaks up money in consumables. Generally, it is more in the form of small drips than major floods. However, that is only the more dangerous, as those expenditures are harder to spot, yet they can still add up to a significant dent in your bottom line. 

If you’re scratching your head as to how you’re managing to spend so much on office supplies, here are some areas to look at that might just alleviate the problem. 

Paper

An office gets through lots of paper. That might come as a surprise in this largely online world, but it is true, and it goes to show that we are not quite as paper-free as you might think. In part, however, our use of paper is down to habit rather than necessity. Some people still prefer to read a hard copy of a document, as opposed to simply viewing it on a screen. 

If that’s because they want to make ink annotations, fair enough, but if it really is simply to print it, read it then throw it in the recycling, it is a habit that you should encourage them to break. Also, adopt a policy of printing double sided, or of placing waste sheets face down in the printer feed so that they can be reused. 

Ink

Reduce the amount of printing, and you won’t just save paper, you’ll also use less ink. It is one of life’s ironies that while today’s printers are incredibly cheap, their consumables can still cost a fortune, especially if you buy direct from the manufacturer. It is both cheaper and easier to buy Canon ink from third parties, and they typically stock cartridges for other major manufacturers such as HP, Epson and Xerox, too. 

Desktop stationery

A basic fact of life is that you can never find a pen when you need one, and this is particularly the case when you operate a business. You can order pens, staplers and so on in bulk, but the problem is that if you employ staff, they can start to assume there is a magical and inexhaustible supply. The result? A few weeks later, you are having to order more. 

You don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill and start rationing out paperclips, but if you choose wisely and give one person the responsibility for stocking, distributing and reordering stationery, there is a 100 percent guarantee that people will take better care of it, and what was lasting only six weeks will suddenly keep you going for six months! 

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