6 Smart Ideas for Building a Strong Employer Brand

Employer Branding

Every company wants to hire the best possible people for each position and is always looking to recruit top talent. And even though many businesses offer great job opportunities, they don’t get nearly enough high-quality applicants because they don’t have a strong employer brand.

Companies with a strong employer brand see 50% more applicants. If you want to attract the right talent, you need to focus on building your employer brand. When you position yourself as a brand people want to work for, you’ll have no issues attracting the right applicants.

And here is how to do that.

 

Utilize social media

Today’s younger generations don’t find jobs as people used to in the old days, and one of the most popular ways of getting hired for the Millennial and Gen Z generations is via social media. In fact, 73% of job seekers between the ages of 18 and 34 found their last job through social media.

Your social media platforms are a great place for you to build your employer brand and give insight into it to favorable talent. You can highlight information that shows what makes your company a great employer and also show appreciation for your current employees across all platforms.

However, before you can utilize social media for building your employer brand, you need to grow your following. Without followers, you can’t reach people. For instance, if you use Instagram as your main platform, you need to learn how to grow Instagram followers who will help your business expand. If you can’t do this on your own, try hiring a marketing agency.

 

Organize lunch and learn programs

A business with a strong employer brand treats its employees right and always finds ways to show appreciation. A great way to treat your employees to a social event that also gives them a chance to learn something new is to organize a lunch and learn program.

Lunch and learns are short programs that take place at the worker’s lunch break during which employees of a company discuss a new strategy or key topics important to the company. They’re a great opportunity for colleagues to bond and share experiences and knowledge.

These programs provide a chance for colleagues to get to know each other on a more personal level, support professional development, and offer a space for discussion. Hoppier has some great lunch and learn program ideas in case you need any inspiration for what to do during these activities.

 

Use current employees as brand ambassadors

You can’t ask for a better brand ambassador than a satisfied employee. The reason why your current employees are great brand ambassadors is that their endorsement is authentic. When potential candidates see how satisfied they are with your company, it will strengthen your employer brand.

The most important thing about using this strategy for strengthening your employer brand is to allow employees to be honest when promoting and recommending your business.

Create a social media campaign that’s centered on individual employees in all departments of your company and let every employee talk about their personal experience with your company. They can talk about what they love about working for you and their favorite perks that come with the job.

 

Interact with potential candidates early on

It’s never too soon to start thinking about the next generation of employees. One of the best ways to make yourself known to potential future employees is to attend university events for your industry where you have a chance to make graduates notice your company.

During these events, you’ll have a chance to present your company and your industry to people who don’t have the necessary experience yet and are looking for guidance. And when the time comes for them to enter the workforce, your company will be the first that comes to their mind.

 

Understand different generations

Generational differences have always been present in all aspects of life, and that includes company culture and employer branding. Within most companies, there are employees from multiple generations, spanning from the baby boomer generation all the way to Gen Z.

Each of these generations has different expectations from their employer, and you need to understand how those expectations differ and find the best ways to cater to them.

For example, while baby boomers and Generation X are used to the classic 9-to-5 workday and prefer it to any other regimen, Millennials and Gen Z like to have a flexible work schedule.

 

Stand out from your competitors

No matter what industry you’re in, you probably have countless competitors looking to hire the same type of people as you are. To make sure you’re the one who gets the best candidates and the best talent, you need to find ways to show why your company is the best choice.

Identify what makes your business so different from all of your competitors. When you figure it out, highlight your differences across your websites, social media pages, and LinkedIn profiles.

 

Final thoughts

Every company wants to have the best employees and hire great talent. But you can only attract the best if you offer great working conditions, an amazing company culture, and most importantly of all, have a strong employer brand. And if you follow the tips you just read about, that is exactly what you will achieve.

A Guide to Email Marketing

Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most dynamic and cost-effective ways to reach existing and potential new customers. It gives you the opportunity to showcase your products and services and expand your potential reach with a soft-sell and relatively unobtrusive approach.

 

What exactly is email marketing?

Email marketing is more than just sending an email. It’s an intelligent form of targeted marketing that introduces news products, services, discounts and special offers to customers and contacts on your email list. It can be a crucial component of your overall marketing strategy, generating leads, selling products, encouraging sign-ups, strengthening brand awareness and relationships.

Email marketing and useful email marketing software will keep customers engaged with your brand between their purchases through different types of marketing communications. It delivers important marketing messages to targeted recipients who have already formed some sort of connections with your brand, either through a previous purchase, email sign-up or request for more information.

 

Why choosing the right email marketing platform for your business matters

If you’re looking to begin email marketing then having a reliable platform to deliver your marketing is essential. Different platforms offer a range of different features and benefits, with some being more suitable for some businesses rather than others. Some businesses will require more facilities and greater scalability, others will only need a streamlined set of features to help them deliver a basic set of marketing messages.

It’s important therefore to think about the kind of strategies you’re likely to employ when it comes to email marketing and how they will integrate into your wider marketing approach. As well as exploring the features each platform offers you should also consider how easy it is to use.

A complex email marketing platform with a multitude of features might be superfluous for your needs. Likewise, you should consider how your email marketing will develop over time, and how important it is that your email marketing platform is able to deliver increased email volume.

 

What criteria should a platform be judged on?

There are a range of criteria to bear in mind when looking at which email platform is likely to be best for your business. These include:

 

Ease of use

Firstly, how easy is it to use? Does it allow you to get started quickly and won’t require too much time spent learning how it operates. Errors can be costly and time-consuming to put right, so having an easy to use platform is a real advantage.

 

Features

You should pay close attention to the range of features that each platform offers. Typically you should look for a comprehensive range of templates, as well as easy management tools. A good platform will incorporate good reporting software and offer integration with other tools you use such as WordPress.

 

Pricing

Pricing should always be a key consideration when comparing platforms. They should offer an introductory trial option to give you the opportunity to try out the platform, assess its features and decide whether or not it’s suitable for your needs. Is the pricing structure realistic for your business over the long term?

 

Compliance

A platform needs to take into account UK compliance requirements. Your email marketing needs to stay within relevant legislation and your platform should make it easy for you to do so by providing tools to encourage credible sign-ups.

 

Scaling

It’s important to think about the likely trajectory of your email marketing strategy and how it might need to be scaled up in the future. Is the platform you’re considering flexible enough to allow your email marketing to grow?

 

What platforms are available?

There are a number of different platforms available and here we’ll take a look at each of them in more detail:

 

Email Blaster

Email Blaster is one of the UK’s leading email marketing platforms. They make it easy for you to get an email marketing campaign up and running. By using drag and drop, importing your email database is a simple task. The online wizard also allows you to add data saved from any spreadsheet application.

Once you’ve added your database you can choose from a wide variety of free email marketing

templates. These allow you to add text and images direct from your computer, making it easy to personalise templates to suit your needs. Once you’ve compiled your email content, you can then hit send, or schedule the date and time of delivery that best suits your needs.

Crucially, Email Blaster makes it easy to keep a track on how your campaign is progressing. You can access information about how often your emails are delivered, opened, read, clicked and more. Charts and graphs help you assess how successful your campaign has been. Integration with mapping software allows you to locate where your customers are. All of this data can then be used to help inform the next stage of your campaign.

In terms of pricing, Email Blaster is highly competitive offering a range of packages based on the number of emails you will be sending per month. Accounts are free to open and you can try each of the packages for free.

Email Blaster also provides accessible, UK based support that is available when you need it most. To help you grow your email marketing lists it comes with a powerful subscribe app free of charge.

All in all, Email Blaster provides an easy to use and accessible means through which to start developing an email marketing strategy.

 

Mailchimp

If you’re looking for an email marketing platform you will almost certainly encounter Mailchimp. They are one of the world’s biggest providers of email marketing tools and have a large marketing budget themselves. For this reason, many people opt for Mailchimp without considering some of the alternatives.

Mailchimp provides three different versions of its platform: Forever Free, Growing Business and Pro. The key difference with each of these versions is the number of contacts and emails you can send each month.

The free option provides an accessible way to get started but without any analytical tools, it doesn’t offer you any means to monitor how your campaign is doing. As a result, you can end up wasting a lot of time and energy on fruitless campaigns.

Mailchimp offers a range of integration features, including a FacebookAd option, but many of these may be superfluous to most small business users. One factor where Mailchimp loses out to some of the competition is its very basic automation options. Without automation you’re left doing much more of the work.

In terms of support, Mailchimp is US based so what support it does offer may be difficult to access. Overall, Mailchimp may be a decent option for the occasional email or newsletter, but if you’re intending to use email as part of an integrated marketing strategy then other options are more suitable.

 

Sendinblue

Sendinblue started out as a digital agency. They developed their email marketing platform when they identified just how difficult it was for small to medium sized businesses to develop effective email marketing strategies. It contains a comprehensive set of features, including CRM, marketing automation, transactional emails, SMS, landing pages and Facebook ads.

Their free plan gives up to 300 free emails a day, along with 60 days of free (US based) phone support. Their paid plans begin at $25 dollars a month for 10,000 emails.

The plans are low cost and the platform is accessible and easy to use. Unlike Mailchimp, Sendinblue offers a comprehensive automation feature. On the downside, the free plan is very limited in terms of the amount of emails you can send, offering more of a platform taster than a realistic means by which to develop an email marketing strategy.

The newsletter templates perhaps look a little dated and the available choice is limited. If you want to expand your available templates you will need to upload your own HTML. Also, the system can feel a little slow at times.

All in all, Sendinblue is a budget option that offers a basic service for people starting out with email marketing. It now looks and feels a little dated and as a US based platform, isn’t tailored to the UK market.

 

OptinMonster

OptinMonster is a lead generation tool that allows you to integrate email sign-up forms on your website. It can be integrated with a range of email marketing platforms. Starting out as a WordPress plugin, it’s now an adaptable cloud-based tool that allows you to create and manage email sign-up popups without having to rely on WordPress.

OptinMonster has an easy to use interface, which makes creating email sign-up pop-ins relatively straightforward. It allows you to create a variety of different campaigns, from small pop-up boxes to whole screen fillers, as well as slide-ins, floating bars and a sidebar form.

While OptinMonster does offer a range of tools that make it easy to set up sign-up forms, they do have their limitations. While OptinMonster has simple intuitive UI, and its design editor doesn’t require any coding knowledge, it doesn’t offer any internal analytics to help you assess how your pop-ups are performing. It also still works best with WordPress.

While OptinMonster offers an achievable means for businesses to grow their email marketing lists, other options may be preferable, not least lead generation tools designed specifically to work with the email marketing platform of choice.

 

Campaign Monitor

Campaign Monitor is an email marketing platform that promises to get users emailing quickly through its easy-to-use features. It’s targeted primarily as small-to-medium sized businesses and offers a range of tools that they may find useful.

One of these tools is its campaign tracking analytics which give the user the ability to assess how any particular email is performing. These are available at every pricing band. The design feature includes drag and drop graphic elements as well as one-click access to a stock image library.

In price terms, Campaign Monitor is one of the more expensive options, with a $9 a month basic package that allows for just 500 emails a month. The potential for customisation is limited and its direct support channels are lacking compared to some of its rivals.

That said, Campaign Monitor does have some benefits for small businesses looking to quickly establish an email marketing campaign. As another US based platform, it may have some drawbacks for UK based companies.

 

An effective means to communicate with customers

Email marketing provides a simple and highly effective way to communicate with customers. Email marketing platforms make it easy to create and manage an email marketing campaign offering a range of templates, analytics and other tools to simplify the entire process.

Email Blaster is a UK based company offering email marketing solutions with high-levels of support and great functionality to businesses of all shapes and sizes across the world.

You can find out more about Email Blaster, what makes it different and how it could benefit your business right here. If you’re ready to get started then why not sign up for a free account today?

Issue 10 2021

Welcome to the October edition of Corporate Vision Magazine, providing you with all of the latest news and features from across the corporate landscape in 2021.

The fundamental elements of a strong and successful business may have evolved over the years to include cutting edge technology, versatility and better CSR, but one thing has always remained central: people. From the senior executives to the staff to the clients, it is the people that shape a business and ensure it continues to move onwards and upwards.

This is sentiment is confirmed in this month’s issue of Corporate Vision, which features companies across industries that are striving to be better for the people they serve. Our cover company, for example, is Rightsure, a technologically adept insurance platform that is constantly enhancing its offering to provide the best in guidance and services to its clients across Arizona and beyond. This month, we find out more about how President Jeff Arnold is continuing to examine how he and his company can contribute to a stronger and fairer insurance sector for all.

Here at Corporate Vision Magazine, we hope you enjoy exploring more stories of people-centric services and successful innovation from businesses around the globe. As ever, we wish you all the best for the month ahead and look forward to welcoming you back for our next issue soon.

Ableism in the Workplace: We Need to Stop Limiting Talent

Disabled man working as an engineer in a factory

Racism and sexism are terms we are all very familiar with and encompass discrimination against someone based on their skin colour or gender. But have you ever heard of ableism? Ableism is discrimination against people with disabilities or those who are perceived to be disabled. Unfortunately, it is rife in the workplace.

 

Ableism in the workplace

A new report from May this year by the International Longevity Centre UK (ILC) – the UK’s think tank on longevity in society – reported that prevalent ableism across the world is excluding a significant number of people from the workplace, particularly as they age. Not only is this unfair discrimination alienating people with disabilities, but it costs employers and the economy.

It’s no secret that a diverse workforce helps create a successful business – so why are so many organisations in the UK failing to embrace this? A review at the end of last year from the UK government reported that in October 2020 to December 2020, there were 2.6 million disabled women in work (an employment rate of 53.1%) and 1.8 million disabled men (an employment rate of 51.3%). For those who didn’t have a disability, the employment rate was 84.2% and 77.8% for men and women, respectively. That is a huge amount of untapped talent in the jobs market.

Companies that promote a positive culture attract and retain the top talent in the job market. By promoting inclusive policies, there will be many benefits beyond attracting top talent from a diverse candidate pool. This includes eliminating offensive and close-minded decision-making, providing a fresh perspective on something that everyone else is looking at in the same way, providing a better platform for innovation and creativity, and an improved customer experience.

Employees must feel comfortable reaching their potential, which should be supported by diverse and inclusive policies. Sadly, not all companies do that, and they are paying the price – Jaguar faced an employment tribunal following a genderfluid employee receiving abuse and a lack of support at work.

 

Disability employment gap has decreased, but not enough

Although the Equality Act 2010 was introduced to set a minimum standard, a genuine diversity

policy goes beyond legal compliance and adds true value to a company while driving workforce wellbeing. A 2019 study of 140 U.S. companies found that companies with inclusive working environments for disabled employees generated an average of 28% higher revenue than those who didn’t. With the U.S. and UK having similar cultures, it is reasonable to assume similar statistics here.

While the disability employment rate gap is decreasing when comparing 1998 figures to 2019, it is still significantly high.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that a higher proportion of disabled employees were made redundant than employees who are not disabled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Between the months of July and November 2020, 21.1 per thousand disabled employees were made redundant in comparison to 13 per thousand employees who are not disabled.

 

Diversify the board

Often among businesses, board members play it safe and promote and hire similar candidates – which can limit a company and render its approach monotonous. Executives should improve their recruitment methods and increase the pool of potential candidates. By seeking diverse workers, they will better utilise the talent pool.

Following research from KPMG and Purple, boards are being encouraged to assign board members and senior managers to those with disabilities in a bid to encourage a commitment to supporting employees with disabilities and uncovering new talent. This will help stimulate the employment and promotion of more people with disabilities and hopefully encourage other businesses to follow suit.

Tony Cates, KPMG Vice-Chair and Board-level Disability Champion, said: “We have set this target because we believe what gets measured gets managed. We’ve seen how the introduction of the mandatory gender pay gap reporting requirements has pushed that issue up the boardroom agenda.

“We have a real opportunity now to use that focus and energy to engage the board in a broader debate around diversity and inclusion – and the opportunities opening up workplaces up and down the country to more talented people can bring for UK plc.”

Previously, to combat gender inequality in the boardroom, in 2008 Norway introduced legislation where companies were required to appoint at least 40% of the directorship positions to women. The same sort of successful regulation could be applied to the issue of disability in the workplace.

 

Diversity training

It’s important to remember that ableism exists in the workplace today and must also be combatted to create a safe and inclusive environment. Ableism isn’t always overt with blatant remarks and aggression. It can be covert and displayed through microaggressions and prejudice. This can be just as damaging for those with disabilities who may feel uncomfortable raising the issue. Addressing the way people think can be done through inclusivity and diversity training at work so colleagues know what isn’t acceptable and how their behaviours and words can actually be offensive. People need to be called out on their biases and learn to become better. In the 21st century, there is no excuse for covert ableism and microaggressions.

Workplaces can be adapted to be disability friendly. Even minor adjustments can create big improvements to a person’s day-to-day work life. Accommodating the needs of others will cultivate productivity and creativity, as happy workers are harder workers. Speak to employees to see how you can upgrade your office.

It’s important for industries to learn to be inclusive to those with disabilities, not just to generate more profit but to encourage others to follow suit in helping create a new normal in the world of work. Businesses will stagnate when everyone thinks the same way and is limited by their own experiences. Employing workers from diverse backgrounds and demographics will add new perspectives – an invaluable resource for companies. Sectors should take a look at what the Top 50 Inclusive Companies are doing to adopt a culture of inclusivity and diversity.

7 SaaS Website Design Tips to Convert Visitors into Customers

Website Design

SaaS companies are booming, and competition in the market is fierce. With so many options for customers to choose from, it’s crucial that SaaS websites have a really catchy design which will impress potential clients on first sight! 

If you fail at this, users might start looking elsewhere- but not before they take their business away with them too if left unchecked. To avoid this, check our 7 useful tips on SaaS website design that help convert visitors into customers:

 

1. Make your website simple and responsive

SaaS websites are usually designed in a simple way because the users don’t want to spend a lot of time on them. If your site looks too complicated, users will leave it immediately. So, make sure that your website is easy to navigate and doesn’t have any unnecessary elements which could distract the visitors from what they came for.

Also, make sure that your site is responsive and works well on all devices. According to research, around 66% of the visitors are using portable devices to access the Internet. It means that if your website is not mobile-friendly, you could lose a lot of potential customers because they won’t be able to see it properly on their phones or tablets. 

 

2. Use clean navigation buttons

When designing a SaaS website, use clean navigation buttons that are clear and easy to understand for everyone. Don’t use too many different colors or styles in them, otherwise your website will look messy and hard to navigate through. Use only one color scheme for the whole site and make sure that you don’t have any broken links in it as well.

Also, make sure that there are no unnecessary pop-ups or advertisements which would distract users from what they want – to find information about your product.

 

3. Make sure that you have a great landing page for new visitors

If you want to attract more customers, make sure that your landing page is designed well. It should be clear and easy to understand, so the visitors won’t have any difficulties with finding information they are looking for. You can also use some interesting facts about your product or company to keep the visitors interested in your website.

 

4. Make it easy for visitors to reach out for help

If someone has questions or problems with using your product or service, they should be able to reach out to you without hassle and get an answer as soon as possible so that they can continue working with your product without getting distracted by technical issues. That’s why it is crucial for SaaS companies to provide live chat support and quick response time in case there are any problems with using their product or service.

 

5. Use clear call-to-action buttons

Call-to-action (CTA) buttons are one of the most important elements of any website because they help users convert into customers. That’s why it is crucial for SaaS companies to use CTA buttons on their site because they should clearly show what users will get if they click on it. For example, “Get Started” button will encourage users to sign up for a trial version or the “Buy Now” button will encourage them to buy a product/service immediately after visiting the site.

So, make sure that your CTA buttons look attractive and compelling enough to persuade users into taking action. Also, try using different colors for different CTAs – red/orange color usually works best for call-to-action buttons that encourage users into taking action (e.g., signing up for a free trial), while green/blue color usually works best for call-to-action buttons that show what user will get after clicking on it (e.g., buying the product).

 

6. Use images and videos on the site

Images and videos are very important when it comes to SaaS websites because they help users understand what kind of services you offer better than just text would do. So, make sure that you have plenty of them on your site because they will help users get a better idea of what kind of work you do, how it works, etc.

Videos are especially useful if you want to explain how some complicated features work or show how to use them properly. Also, don’t forget to mention which devices are supported by your software or service – pictures are not enough for some people who might need more detailed information about how their device works with your software/service before making a purchase decision.

 

7. Add a blog section

Blogs have become an integral part of online marketing strategies because they help you build trust among your potential customers by providing valuable content on your niche. Also, blogs allow you to connect with influencers in your industry, which can be very helpful if you want to increase brand awareness or get more traffic from search engines.

Pronoun Badges: Supporting Gender Identity in the Workplace

Illistration of a person with a badge with their

Equality and inclusivity are high on any workplace’s priorities — after all, employers are keen to make sure their workers are comfortable and happy in order to be more productive. However, according to Totaljobs, 60% of transgender employees have suffered workplace discrimination. The same study revealed over half of trans workers felt they had to hide the fact they are trans from their co-workers.

More positively, 51% of those asked said they felt that acceptance of transgender workers had improved recently, thanks to media coverage. Yet, there is still work to be done, as Totaljobs’ report found that transgender workers felt the biggest challenges remaining in the UK workplace are:

  • No support
  • Misgendering
  • Discrimination
  • Lack of awareness
  • Transphobia
  • Rejection
  • Fear

Let’s look into the issue of transgender support in the workplace, and how employers can implement measures to ensure their company truly has a foundation of equality.

 

A quick guide to gender identity

It’s important to understand the concept of gender identity — it goes beyond merely female or male. ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) offered a guide to gender identity terms, covering transgender, gender fluidity, and non-binary terms:

  • Trans — this is often used as an umbrella term. It is used to describe a person who does not identify as the gender assigned to them at birth. Not identifying as your birth gender does not necessarily mean you identify as the opposite gender
  • Transgender — someone who is transgender does not identify with the gender assigned to them at birth. For example, someone who was born biologically male, but identifies as female, would be transgender. Note that this term is usually preferred over the older term
  • Cisgender — this term refers to someone who identifies with the gender assigned to them at birth. So, someone who was born biologically male and identifies as a male would be regarded as cisgender
  • Non-binary — someone who is non-binary does not identify as male or female, identifies as both, or views their gender as something else
  • Gender-fluid is often considered to be related to non-binary, in that someone who is gender-fluid may feel more masculine or more feminine from one day to the next
  • Intersex — being intersex means a person is born with both male and female biological traits, such as chromosomes, hormones, or genitals. This term replaces the now out-of-favour term

 

Misgendering

Misgendering a transgender person may be unintentional for the most part, but it signals part of a greater problem — assuming something about a person based on their appearance, manner, or voice. Using the wrong pronouns for someone can be highly upsetting, and wholly disrespectful in the event that misgendering has occurred out of a refusal to use specified pronouns.

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) points out that using pronouns is one of the most personal ways to address someone. If someone requests that you use a different pronoun for them, it is the most basic form of acceptance to use them.

It’s important to know someone’s preferred pronouns, but it can feel a little awkward asking. But it can be worse finding out via misgendering. HRC advises creating opportunities to ask about a person’s pronouns, such as during the interviewing process, or during induction paperwork by having a box to declare which pronouns would be preferred. If your company has an online profile for employees, allowing them to select pronouns on their profile can be helpful too.

Another effective way to prevent misgendering problems is the use of pronoun badges. Brighton & Hove City Council recently made the news when it announced its staff would be able to choose pronoun badges to wear at work. The move has also been used by the University of Sussex, which distributed pronoun badges during International Transgender Day of Visibility. The badges, which were optional to wear, included a range of pronouns, plus a blank version for people to fill in their own choice if needed.

 

Pronouns: he, she, they, zie, ve…

If you’re planning to have pronoun badges available in the workplace, you need to know which pronouns might be required. After all, he/she does not cover non-binary employees. The option to have a customizable badge left blank for employees to fill in is fine, but it’s worth familiarising yourself with some of the pronouns most commonly used. The University of Wisconsin’s LGBT Resource Center provides an excellent table of pronouns, with reference to he/she pronouns and their gender-neutral alternatives:

He / She Him / Her His / Her His / Hers Himself / Herself
They
Them
Their
Theirs
Themself
Ze or Zie
Hir
Hir
Hirs
Hirself
Zie
Zim
Zir
Zis
Zieself
Xe
Xem
Xyr
Xyrs
Xemself
Ve
Ver
Vis
Ver
Verself
E
Em
Eir
Eirs
Emself

This list isn’t inclusive, and it may seem like a lot of variation to start with. But if you look a little closer, you’ll see a lot of them follow a similar pattern of endings, or sound similar. It’s really a very small task to address someone correctly, and it makes a huge difference in comfort and support.

 

Workplace support of trans workers

Issues with trans and intersex employee support stem from a variety of observed sources, such as:

  • Stigma concerning trans issues
  • Leaving it up to trans employees to push for changes in the workplace
  • Lack of consideration regarding toilets, uniforms and data management
  • Poor manager training — managers who lack an understanding of the needs of trans employees

There are plenty of ways a workplace can support trans workers, and most of it is simply down to courtesy, respect and awareness. Like Brighton & Hove City Council, you could choose to have optional pronoun button badges offered at work to help trans employees with a quick and easy way to communicate their pronouns. You could also run events in the office to raise awareness or collaborate with an LGBT charity to help with this. But a sense of workplace support needs to be integral to the company’s attitude, as a whole.

For example, ACAS highlights the need to make sure written policies are trans-inclusive. According to its research, only 20% of leading LGBT+ charity Stonewall’s Top 100 employers have trans-specific HR policies. Having policies regarding gender reassignment can help support workers who need to change their gender within the workplace by having processes in place to update records and informing colleagues where needed. Even something as simple as a review of terminology in processes can help — if your written policies are old, they may contain out-of-date terminology that needs an update.

One of the biggest workplace supports, however, is arguably the simplest and yet the hardest: having acceptance be the ‘norm’. Speaking in ACAS’ study, one manager noted that policies were not enough, rather, there has to be a strong sense of work culture — that acceptance of people of any and all genders is simply how this company works day-to-day.

It’s hugely important to be aware that your workplace may indeed have transgender, gender-fluid, intersex, or non-binary staff without you being aware. Not everyone will feel comfortable coming out, so it’s important to encourage the right attitude of acceptance and support within the workplace even if you think there’s no one in your workforce who is trans — you simply can’t assume.

Another way to encourage a healthy work environment could be to set up a support network within the business. This could be as simple as having a representative as a go-to person to confidentially talk to about any concerns or worries they feel too anxious to go to their line manager about. ACAS notes that while having a transgender member of staff volunteer to be this representative is hugely beneficial, care must be taken not to overwork them in terms of expecting them to be at every event or meeting regarding the matter. Cisgender allies are also able to provide this support, with the right approach, even without personal experience.

 

Is your workplace truly inclusive and supportive of all walks of life? What changes can you make to ensure your company is welcoming for everyone you hire? It’s always good to do a review of workplace practices to make sure they’re still working for everyone, so why not take another look and see if you can support the trans community more effectively within your business?

Three Technological Solutions That Have Reshaped Modern Workplaces

People chatting in an office. A computer is in the foreground with java script coding

Technology has revolutionized the way we work. From large-scale changes to applications that improve our productivity, we can do more than ever – and faster too.  

As well as improving customer experience and employee efficiency, we’re also seeing solutions that improve employee experience come into play. After all, employees who are supported in their role and have a good experience at work will be more loyal.

Here, we delve into the latest digital solutions that are improving the employee experience.

 

Delivering seamless video experiences

Video has become an essential tool for employees. Videos have a place in the modern business world, whether you deliver training or inductions via recorded videos, share important business updates, allow employees to carry out research for their job, or you work in an industry that relies on live news streams.. This is especially true in the age of remote events and working.

The increased need for multicast enterprise video streaming has seen businesses struggle to balance network performance with demand. Delivering streamed video to multiple endpoints once needed dedicated servers. Many were previously required to choose between prioritizing IT infrastructure resources and video performance. But now, this no longer needs to be a choice.

Solutions like Vitec’s Multicast-to-the-Edge offer a solution to these problems, allowing multicast videos to be delivered to multiple users without compromising network or infrastructure quality. Not only does this allow employees to engage with videos on their devices, but important live video streams can be cast to multiple shared devices.

 

Improving performance reviews

Formalized performance reviews and progression plans are key to employees’ career development. Many organizations take a scattered approach to this, which doesn’t benefit the company or its people.

Technology allows us to manage this process in a more organized and efficient way. Performance reviews can be more structured and a solution like BambooHR allows for guided personal and managerial assessments. They also allow you to track employees’ training and progress towards their goals, which can be documented.

These solutions not only allow you to track employee progress since your last review but also to look forward, which is essential for successful performance reviews. 98% of employees want regular feedback from their managers, while businesses that provide this see a 14.9% lower employee turnover rate. These solutions allow you to record both ad-hoc and formal feedback to create a rounded picture of an employee’s performance.

 

Replicate mobile experiences in the office

As consumer technology evolves, business technology should follow. Smartphones are now a staple in our everyday lives, and we can carry out so many personal functions on them. Shouldn’t the same apply to business functions?

Apps like Hummingbird are designed to be used in the workplace and beyond, and they bring everyday business tasks into a format most of us are comfortable using. These apps allow employees working in a hybrid office and home environment to remotely book their days at the office, book rooms, and if your business utilizes hot-desking, reserve a workspace. They can also request services such as tech support, cleaning, and catering, and even schedule mail and food deliveries when they’re in the office. What’s more, these apps integrate with other apps that offer services such as ride-sharing. Giving your employees the option to request these additional services blends their home and work life together in just the right way.

 

Technology has made our lives easier and has vastly improved experiences at work for many of us. Whether we’re able to stream crucial content to our own devices or multiple endpoints in a workplace or use our mobiles to manage our workdays, technology continues to offer a helping hand.

Is It Better to Buy a Business or Start Your Own?

Business

The SBA estimates that 90% of startups fail in their first year. This alarmingly high statistic poses a challenge for entrepreneurs, with many opting to buy an existing business rather than start their own.

But whether you launch a start-up or buy an existing business, each comes with its own challenges. There are pros and cons to both, and what makes the decision tricky is that it’s hugely dependent on personal situations.

An entrepreneur needs to carefully consider the options, and decide how these will impact on their ability to start and manage the business. There are certain key areas that need serious consideration before prospective owners take the leap.

 

Are You Prepared to Start From Scratch?

Starting a business from scratch is certainly a lot harder and more complicated than buying an existing venture. You’ll start with nothing but an idea, and put all the pieces together from there. This includes elements like registering the business name, creating a new brand identity, and finding suppliers.

Most of the time, when purchasing an existing business, many of these elements are already in place. When you take the reins, it becomes a case of building on whats already there, but you have a base to work from.

If you’re not prepared to start from the very beginning, buying a business is going to be a far more attractive proposition.

 

Weighing Up Your Skillset

Never underestimate the amount of skill that goes into starting a business. If you’ve never done so before, you may soon discover there’s more to it than you anticipated. You need to become incredibly driven, highly organized, and an expert planner. You’ll face piles of admin, and if you’re hiring staff, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with this process, too. Without these skills, your business may never move beyond an idea.

Buying a business bypasses many of these administrative requirements. As the new business owner, you can immediately pour your energy into certain aspects of the organization that you feel need attention. You don’t necessarily have to acquire any new skills and can focus on whatever you feel would benefit from your expertise. As the business is already running, you have far more freedom and flexibility.

 

The Cost Factor

Purchasing an existing business tends to be a far more expensive endeavor than starting your own. Essentially, you’re buying someone else’s hard work and customers. Plus, not only are you buying the tangible assets, but you’re also getting the intangible ones, like goodwill too. And these assets all come at a price. You may need to seek additional funding or investors, and this could see you start with a considerable amount of debt.

On the other hand, starting your own business is something that you can do relatively cheaply. You can begin small and grow as your revenue does. However, it could take you several years to build up a customer base and turn a profit.

 

A Question of Revenue

When you purchase a business, it will already have a financial history. Even if it has yet to prove profitable, it will have generated revenue that provides an indication of potential sales. You can also continue selling an existing product or service, versus marketing one from the ground up.

When starting a new business, you can forecast potential revenue, but there’s no guarantee your market research will prove correct. It could take a considerable length of time before you start generating revenue, and you’ll need to have the finances to support yourself and your startup for as long as necessary. However, if your costs are kept to a minimum, a smaller turnover is less problematic.

 

Room for Creativity

Starting a business from scratch allows for plenty of creative scope. It’s easy for a small business owner to put their personal touch on virtually every aspect of the business. From the logo to the marketing material and the invoices, every aspect is yours to customize. You’ll create all processes and procedures too and can personalize them to suit your requirements.

If this amount of creative freedom seems overwhelming, purchasing an existing business is certainly the way to go. Taking over an established business allows the new owner to make their mark on the aspects that they’re most interested in. In all the other aspects, the business will keep running as is. This reduces the stress and time commitment required, at least to some extent.

 

Purchasing a Franchise

Purchasing a franchise offers its own unique set of possibilities. It’s something of a middle-ground between a start-up and purchasing an existing business.

A franchise allows you to capitalize on an existing brand’s popularity, and it allows very little room for changes or personal flavor. What it does provide is a rigid structure. But most importantly, it offers access to a business model that’s proven to work.

Purchasing a franchise might cost more than other similar businesses, but much of the hard work is completed before you even start. Suppliers, branding, and products are all in place and it’s simply up to you to run the operation successfully within the confines of the franchise agreement.

 

A Personal Entrepreneurial Choice

There’s no right or wrong choice.

Buying a business or starting your own is different for each individual. The key is to research each option in-depth, know exactly what your financial position is, and whether you have the drive and skillset to work your way up.

4 Tips to Encourage Employees to Save for Retirement

Retirement Plan

If you happen to be a business owner, one of the employee issues and concerns that you need to be mindful of is their retirement plans. It is imperative to be practical in these uncertain times, so having an early savings mindset can help sustain their future. However, as much as you know its importance, some of your staff might not feel the same way.   

It might be a challenge to put away some funds for emergencies and as savings. But fortunately, there are different ideas to help employees start their savings journey as early as now. As the leader, it’s your responsibility to encourage and support your employees to make their future seem more secure. 

If you’re having a hard time pursuing your employees to save up, apply the following pointers:

 

1. Offer Individual Retirement Account (IRA) Options  

Many business owners fail to offer retirement plans because they believe they’re too small. They feel it’s mandatory to contribute to these savings and might not have the funds. However, that’s not the case. Although employer contributions are getting commonplace in larger business institutions, this is not entirely the only way to push your employees to save up.   

You can contact your company’s tax professional for advice on which plan is right for them. For instance, individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are an effective method of saving some future funds. The following are some IRA options:

  • Gold IRA 

In a gold IRA, you invest in precious metals rather than stocks and bonds. In addition to gold, other precious metals like platinum and silver are also available investments. There are mutual funds that some companies offer for employees who want to opt for a gold IRA. These funds will be invested in bullion, gold stocks, or gold indexes in the market. Help your employees understand more of this IRA option by letting them visit this site: https://www.oxfordgoldgroup.com/how-to-invest-in-a-gold-ira/.

  • Payroll Deduction IRA 

Payroll deduction IRAs are essentially similar to that of the standard personal IRAs. You can encourage your employees to participate by offering them the option of a payroll deduction. It’s like saving through automatic system options so they won’t feel the burden directly.   

You might prefer this option if you want a simpler saving model. The only downside is that this IRA comes with a contribution limit for people aged 50 years and above.   

  • Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) IRA 

You could also opt for the Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) IRA if you employ lesser workers in your business. However, this will require you to make some contribution along with your workers too. It is a great idea to reward your tenured and loyal employees.


2. Encourage and Educate Your Employees About Saving 

Bringing the attention of your employees towards workplace retirement plans might put them to savings. As most companies offer this workplace retirement plan, this is already a method for pressuring employees to save up. However, some employees might still don’t understand the purpose of such retirement saving funds. Hence, this next tip is about encouraging and educating your employees about the importance of savings.   

As the business owner, your responsibility to raise awareness of the importance of retirement plans among all your workforce is a challenge. Your employees need an ample amount of information on the importance of planning for their financial future. Increasing your employees’ financial literacy is a win-win strategy as it may also boost your business.


3. Pay Employees Sufficient Salaries and Provide Opportunities for Growth 

It’s critical to pay your employees a fair wage if you want them to save and secure their future. Aside from suitable salary ranges, you can provide promotional opportunities or career growth to step up and improve their earnings.   

Ensure that what you pay them is still adequate by regularly checking their salaries against inflation. You can also offer bonuses, commissions, or other financial motivators that can help increase productivity, boost employee morale, and encourage financial savings. As a result, they can have the reason to save for their retirement.


4. Motivate Employees to Increase Contributions 

An automated enrollment tool can improve participation rates, but the default rate is often too low to achieve meaningful results. As their employer, you can encourage them to increase contributions, at least little by little. Experts in the retirement industry predict employers should automatically enroll employees into retirement plans by setting savings rates no lower than six percent at the outset and then gradually raising them to at least 10% annually. Inform your employees about whatever retirement plan your company has established to maximize their contributions.    

A significant obstacle to preparing for retirement is a lack of information and knowledge. Hence, as mentioned above, it’s often a great idea to have financial advisors assist and advise employees about their retirement plans. Stress the importance of financial planning and consistently execute motivation and support in these areas.

 

Conclusion 

In the workplace, organization’s leaders must stress how important it is to save for retirement, setting the expectation that those who have saved will retire comfortably. There are various ways to establish a call to action for your employees; it’s just a matter of motivating them and educating them more about the importance of saving for the future. Hopefully, you can apply some if not all of the tips enclosed in this article.  

No-Code SaaS Developer, Odesso Gives Businesses Making the Digital Transformation Pivot Fighting Chance

Digital Transformation

By Zee Rizvi, Chief Executive Officer of Odesso

Over the last few years, advancements in the digital space have pushed small and medium businesses across all industries out of their comfort zones. They have been forced to adapt, innovate, and pursue digital transformation. These changes, however, don’t happen overnight. It can take months or even years before companies can transform and meet the needs of a digital world.

Leaders in digital transformation, like Odesso, an enterprise SaaS software development company, understand no-code/low-code software is a crucial enabler of digital transformation. No-code platforms are the future and can solve unforeseen challenges while speeding up the process for businesses. It can offer improved agility, less business costs, increased productivity, and an overall more vital customer experience.

Here are factors to consider when choosing no-code/low-code software:

Software that quickly engages with the market

Today’s market is rapidly changing. Your selected no-code or low-code software must be able to keep up with the sudden appearance of market opportunities. It must be able to keep tabs on any compliance requirements that may pop up along the way.

This eliminates any additional technical debt that you would normally encounter with less efficient technology.

Efficiently deploys technologies across multiple devices and platforms

You need software that allows you to build an app designed specifically for your business needs. Odesso, for example, provides options far more customizable than standard no-code/low-code software, allowing for more complex functions.

Odesso has excelled in its design of a transformational adapter to extend legacy IT with cloud-native architecture. This allows organizations to manage their operations and connections across public and private clouds, which isn’t typically offered on standard no-code/low-code software.

Unites disparate systems

Your low-code or no-code software should be able to effectively bring disconnected systems together and make them work as one. This makes the workflow smoother, and it ensures that all of your data is in one place.

Choose providers that eradicate inefficient business processes by optimizing operations through business process management tools. With a streamlined workflow thanks to the right software, your business can operate more efficiently.

Actively listens and has effective detections

Low-code or no-code software should be able to detect any issues immediately. With active listening, the software will detect any anomalies within the system and take the necessary measures to correct them.

A platform that offers seamless integration will be able to pinpoint any glitches or snags and inform your organization as soon as possible. This allows you to quickly come up with strategies to repair any damage.

Assists and empowers your business’s front line

Coding language can be quite daunting to those who aren’t familiar with it. With the right low-code or no-code software, your business’s front line can be equipped with the tools they need to address and respond to any issues that the business may face without needing to know how to code.

These factors are geared to maximize the efficiency of businesses and optimize performance. No-code software is an excellent app development solution for organizations that have minimal coding knowledge, so best to watch for these possible setbacks:

Lack of flexibility and customization options

Most software can only offer basic functionality and is often too restrictive when it comes to more complex use cases.

Because of these limitations, businesses can be limited when it comes to streamlining their operations. More complex integrations and workflows often require more than a no-code/low-code platform.

Possible security issues

App building and workflow automation can leave organizations vulnerable to security issues, especially if there aren’t any security protocols in place.

No-code/low-code software can also create shadow IT. Shadow IT is an IT system that is outside of the list of platforms approved by a company’s IT department. One example is the use of cloud services that don’t meet company data storage protocols. Another example is third-party Software-as-a-Service applications outside the control of an IT department. Though shadow IT can make employees more productive, it can eventually expose a company to security threats.

Selected no-code/low-code platforms must have built-in security protocols that prevent business owners from creating potentially unsafe apps. Additionally, IT teams must be able to keep tabs on the created apps seamlessly.

Digital transformation is simple with a no-code approach

Today’s fast-paced digital world can be overwhelming for small and medium enterprises, but adopting no-code software will help make digital transformation easier and much smoother.

With the right provider, your business can become more self-sufficient, and you can ensure that all operations are running as smoothly as possible. You will also be able to optimize your workflow, set the groundwork for scaling your business, kick-start automation, and encourage digital transformation.

How Can Data Enrichment Help Protect Online Businesses?

Data Enrichment

Whether you have an established business or you are just starting up, one thing is sure, you always want your customers to have the best experience. One way of offering your customers the best service is by making them feel confident and secure that every transaction they do is legit and safe. You need to make sure that your platform is safe enough for them to give you their confidential information.  

Aside from securing all your platforms, it is also your responsibility to verify if you are dealing with a legit customer or a fraudster. We all know that numerous cybercriminals are lurking on the internet, waiting for someone to fall into their dangerous traps in this modern age. Cyber threats are everywhere now, and nobody is safe anymore. Online businesses and organizations need to be more aware of all the threats they are facing in order to protect themselves and their customers. 

Cyber criminals are constantly working on updating the threats, but luckily, cyber security tools are also getting more effective and sophisticated. One of those crucial tools is called data enrichment, and it can help you stop the fraud before it even happens.

 

What is Data Enrichment?

Data enrichment is also known as data augmentation or data appending and in simple terms it is a process of gathering data that helps your business and customers become protected from any online fraud attacks. This is done by taking raw data points and enriching them with similar data points from a more extensive database. By collecting all of this additional data you will be able to get a clearer picture about who your customers are, what they want and ultimately if they are legitimate users or a fraudster. Truth is, the more data you can gather, the more your business will become secure against online fraud.

 

Why is Data Enrichment Essential in your Business?

The main reason why data enrichment is essential to your business is because it makes it possible to protect your customers from unwanted risk. It does that by providing you with more information about your user without you having to ask them for more details and possibly upsetting them. Simply put, you can verify someone’s transaction by merely asking them for a single piece of information, such as an email address and with the help of your internal database and in addition to a third-party provider, your system can then verify if you are dealing with a real customer or a fraudster. For example, it can compare customers’ IP addresses or their email with the internal and external databases to confirm it wasn’t involved with any previous data breaches or spam blacklists. If the email address has been already reported as being involved in a data breach, you can react on time and block it from any further actions on your website and request additional verification methods to confirm the customer identity. 

Did you know that 54% of consumers said they have encountered fraudulent or suspicious actions on the Internet? Do you want your business and your customers to become a part of that statistics? By using data enrichment, you can make sure this doesn’t happen to your business. Just think of data enrichment as an additional layer of protection without giving your customers some user friction and delays in their service experience.

 

What are the Benefits of Data Enrichment?

Adding data enrichment at the core of your business brings you many different benefits when it comes to the fight against cybercriminals. But before data enrichment started being used as a cyber security tool, online businesses and organizations were already using it in their everyday business because of all of the other benefits it brings. 

Let’s take a look at some core advantages.

  • Accelerate the review process – By simply using a data enrichment tool, you can minimize the time for verifying user information. 
  • Minimize User Friction – Instead of asking your users about the various personal information, data enrichment tools can simply pull out all necessary details. Google’s autofill setting is already using this feature to more easily fill out your details across your devices.  You can secure both your users and your business without damaging your customers’ experience.
  • Know your Users Better – Gathering all vital information will allow you to know more about your user, thus hindering cybercriminals from using their account details for transactions.
  • Real-time Results – By investing in data enrichment tools, you can verify your customer identity in a matter of minutes, making it easier to react on time. 

 

Businesses that Needs Using Data Enrichment

Though almost all businesses that are conducting their business online need to invest in data enrichment tools, some industries need it the most. Here are some examples.

  • SaaS – Software as a Service companies are expected to invest in data enrichment since most of their transactions are done using online payment methods.
  • Lending/Finance – Banks, Credit unions or Fintechs are well-known users of data enrichment tools since they need database access to check their customer’s profiles.
  • Insurance – Similar to banks and other financial companies, insurance businesses are also expected to add this security layer. 
  • Marketing – Any marketing business that wants to stay competitive needs to start using data enrichment tools in their everyday operation. Their main goal is to gather as much information about the user as they can so they can make informed decisions. By knowing what the user wants or needs, they can even implement targeted marketing and achieve better results. 

 

When Do You Need Data Enrichment Tools?

And as a business owner, it’s your responsibility to protect both your business and your customers. Considering the threats lurking online, it’s safe to say that implementing data enrichment tools needs to happen sooner than later. 

4 Online Tools That Will Help You Set Up a Remote Team

Online Tools

Remote work is becoming more and more popular because it offers employees the opportunity to spend less time commuting, which means they have more time for their families and hobbies. 

It also gives organizations the opportunity to hire talent from all over the world without having to relocate them. With that said, there are a lot of challenges that come with remote work, such as managing projects and staying organized.

This blog post provides 4 online tools you can use to set up your remote team successfully.

 

1. 10to8 Meeting Scheduling Software

For there to be success among the remote team, there is a need for constant communication. There are specific recurring meetings, for instance, the daily standups, which help in knowing the primary role of the day.

Secondly, there is a need for a weekly team meeting as this offers an opportunity to summarize the weeks’ work and even give room for the next week’s tasks. 10to8 meeting scheduling software can make such meetings much effortless to organize.

Amazingly the tool allows communication even in multiple time zones.

 

2. File Sharing on Various Formats

Documents generally come in different formats depending on the source. The main formats are PDF, Ms-word, Ms-excel, PNG, TIFF, and JPG formats. Typically, these various formats will be in the channel of sharing between the remote workers.

Without the right tools, it can be hard to do the conversion, which automatically paralyzes information sharing.

There is software that can help you change the documents from one format to another safely. For instance, if you want to convert words to PDF, you’ll have an easy time doing it. When it comes to the word document, there is a downside that prompts the need for conversion.

The main one is that Ms-word can reformat documents when you reopen them on a different computer. This hardly happens with PDFs. Also, it’s a format that is relatively mobile-friendly.

 

3. Soapbox

Through remote working, it becomes impossible to engage in ad-hoc conversations like other onsite workers. When you finally manage to hold the meetings, you want to maximize the time and make the most of it.

At such moments, you may need Soapbox. This is an agenda tool that makes one-on-one sessions materialize in a better way.

The app acts as a central place where teams may collaborate and share notes, agendas, and feedback. In most cases, it helps in the assignment of the next steps. The tool comes with an AI feature that allows the bringing up of insights on the progress of your meeting.

It breaks down the insights into four aspects which are growth, motivation, work, and communication.

 

4. Zoom Video Conferencing

Face-to-face conversations are always more effective than written messages. These days, some tools help you break the geographical barrier brought about by remote working.

This means the team can engage in a virtual face-to-face meeting with each other. Zoom video conferencing tool is very relevant here.

Additionally, it’s possible to engage many users in virtual discussion. You can easily host webinars with specific people you want. This is where you create invitation-only meetings, which means that there are no interruptions by uninvited persons.

Therefore, when holding a severe meeting, this is the tool to run to.

Another significant feature of the software is the recording option. This is very beneficial for sales teams. For instance, when engaging with an enquirer, your remote sales team can record the discussion and use it as a demo for other clients.

Remote working is trendy these days, and the best part is that it’s bringing more efficiency. But this happens when you know how to prepare for the remote working environment. Make use of modern tools, and you’ll never go wrong.

These days, there is various software serving different roles. Some help in the conversion of documents from one format to another while others in communication.