Employee Recognition: Vital For Businesses?

Employee Recognition

By John Allen – Director, SEO, 8×8

These are not easy times for businesses, big or small. There are some considerable challenges on the horizon – not least of which is employee retention.

Keeping people satisfied and excited at work is key to growing and maintaining a successful company. Though it can be easy to think of staff only in terms of statistics and output, it’s crucial to remember the human faces behind all those reports and numbers.

Employee recognition is one way of doing this, and it’s a great way of making staff feel valued and seen. In turn, this is more likely to make them want to stay at your company and work hard.

We’ll first run through a quick refresher of what employee recognition is as well as how critical it can be for your business. Then, we’ll take a look at how exactly you can implement an employee recognition program at your company.

 

What is employee recognition?

If employee recognition sounds simple, that’s because it is. Employee recognition means you acknowledge all the great stuff that your employees do – and not just big achievements.

It could be as small as a pat on the back for a well-executed presentation, or a quick thank you when you notice a colleague’s positive effect when teaching others how to use the company’s small business CRM

Recognition doesn’t have to happen solely in the office, either. With the rise of remote working over the past few years, there are some great business virtual phone systems that allow you to hop on a quick 1-1 to make your appreciation known.

In simple terms, employee recognition means acknowledging any quality or action of an employee that you appreciate – from mundane tasks and team interactions to workplace behaviour and more.

 

The benefits of employee recognition

Have you ever heard that people don’t quit jobs, they quit their managers?

Employee recognition helps prevent this. People are four times more likely to be engaged at work and five to eight times more likely to see their future path at that company if they receive authentic recognition.

What this really means is that simply acknowledging the hard work your employees do will make them work harder and smarter. It will also make them more likely to stay.

Employee recognition can also have a positive effect on work relationships. Happy employees tend to work better together, especially if they don’t feel like they have to compete for their superior’s attention. 

Moreover, if you can encourage peer-to-peer recognition, staff are likely to feel more positively invested in the people around them. Building on this, using a staff-wide VoIP communications system can be crucial for maintaining staff morale when your teams are meeting virtually, as they often are nowadays.

Finally, outwardly acknowledging and valuing positive behaviour is a great way of moulding the culture you want in the workplace. Simply put, rewarding an employee for an action incentivises this employee – and anyone else around – to continue acting in this way. 

 

What employee recognition isn’t

It may seem as if recognising your employees is the same thing as giving them a reward – but not quite. There are some slight yet significant differences between these two concepts.

Firstly, rewards often take the form of financial compensation. They tend to be strictly transactional, in that the employee receives a tangible benefit for a specific performance or occasion.

In contrast, employee recognition is not done in exchange for anything else. It is a simple, quiet acknowledgement of positive behaviour. 

Crucially, it is also relational, as it builds trust and confidence between the two parties – precisely because it is not transactional. What is important is the acknowledgement itself, rather than any concrete benefit.

 

Implementing an employee recognition programme

So now you’re all up to speed on the importance of employee recognition to both your company and your employees. But perhaps you’re wondering how to implement all this in a programme?

Your first step would be deciding on what type of behaviour you want to reinforce.

 

Define the behaviour

Bearing in mind that employee recognition is a key step in reinforcing your company’s values, you need to get specific about what actions you deem valuable enough to acknowledge. 

You may want to focus, for example, on particular behaviours that employees exhibit. Various qualities can be suitable for recognition, such as being:

  • Creative
  • Solutions-focused
  • Motivated
  • Quick to learn
  • A strong team player
  • Adaptable
  • High-performing
  • Long-serving

 

Once you have this list (feel free to write it down – and add your own!), it’ll be easier to acknowledge these qualities in the moment. 

Next, you should think carefully about how each person prefers to receive feedback.

For example, your quieter employees may prefer a quick word in private. Their more gregarious counterparts, in contrast, might enjoy a company-wide announcement. In fact, you may even want to send out a mass email on such occasions.

 

Define the method

Finally, it’s important to decide what method you’d like to deliver your acknowledgement.

Are you partial to a quick thank you email? Or will a verbal, in-person acknowledgement suffice?

Recognition can also come in other forms. Days off, certificates, holidays and team-building days are all great ways of showing your team that you recognise and appreciate their value and input. Providing employees with ample health and wellbeing benefits is becoming increasingly important, as folks begin to put emphasis on a healthy work-life balance.

And one final tip? Don’t wait too long to shoot off that thank you email. Immediate recognition helps promote a sense of authenticity and connectedness.

 

The future of work

The pandemic has forced us all to really think about what it means to run a business well. Remote working has shown to be key to making the workplace more inviting, as a way of attracting and retaining new recruits. 

This can be intimidating for smaller companies, as traditionally this technology has been expensive and geared towards larger companies. However, opting for a small business VoIP phone system is a cheaper and more effective way to give your workers the flexibility they deserve.

Seen in this context, employee recognition is simply another string to your bow to keep employee engagement and retention at satisfactory levels.

Basic Security Measures for Your Small Business

Security is not often the most pressing concern facing you as a business owner. As inflation rates continue to rise, many entrepreneurs and business owners have more on their plate than the relatively quotidian task of shoring up their office security – not to mention the possibility of budgetary difficulty. But as a potential depression looms, security could be the one thing that prevents your business from losing liquidity altogether. What are the most effective measures you could employ?

Cameras

The most commonly-considered form of commercial security measure is perhaps the CCTV camera, ingrained as it is in our cultural consciousness as an objectively useful monitoring tool. Security cameras certainly have their uses as part of a more comprehensive security system, but not quite in the way you might suspect.

The core function of security cameras is to monitor environments. Without a 24/7 security team on task on your premises, this core function will not necessarily prevent criminal activity. Rather, it will capture and record it. You may suffer financial losses or property damage, but the evidence is there to potentially identify the perpetrators and validate an insurance claim.

However, alongside other effective security measures (and in the absence of an active security detail),
there is an ancillary effect that security cameras can have: one of deterrence. If your security cameras are prominently displayed and obviously in operation, potential trespassers may be less likely to attempt their entry.

Alarm Systems

Deterrence is the essential purpose of alarm sirens as part of your office security system. Sirens attached to motion detectors or other forms of intrusion detection serve to draw attention to a given location or premises, supposedly increasing the likelihood of investigation by local law enforcement or even passers-by.

Whether or not someone would actually turn up and catch a would-be criminal in the act is unimportant; the result is a heightened level of trepidation on behalf of would-be criminals to attempt trespass. Of course, alarm systems can also be hooked up to automatically alert local police or a private security team.

Security Lighting

Another strong deterrent comes in the form of lighting. Just as alarm sirens can be tripped by motion or light detection, so too can high-powered security lights. These are particularly effective on the perimeter of your office premises, to illuminate the location of a would-be trespasser – exposing them both to passers-by and to your camera system for easier identification.

Keyless Entry

Not all criminal entries are done in the dead of night, though. Many criminals attempt entry in broad
daylight, through attempting to impersonate a member of workplace personnel or even a courier. Entry during office hours can be much harder to police – rendering unique entry systems incredibly effective at heightening your daytime security. With fob entry, only employees and visitors with the correct RFID tag
can enter.

The Benefits of Pop-Up Events For Businesses

Blank mock up creative exhibition stand design with shapes.

It doesn’t matter if business is an international success of not, a pop up event could be enough to attract unsuspecting clientele and boost brand’s visibility, including younger demographics. Exciting and innovative, pop-up events might be the commercial glow-up you’ve been looking for.

This article will explore some of the benefits of pop-up events. Whether you’re an entrepreneur eager to expand your market base or a welfare officer searching for ways to boost morale, this could be the next step for your business.

 

Utilising empty storefronts on the highstreet

There’s no denying it – online retail is taking over. According to the Future Retail Distribution 2021-2022 report, 28% of all retail sales will be online by 2026. As a result, more and more highstreet retailers continue to close throughout the nation. In fact, one in seven shops were empty in 2021.

To revitalise the world of in-person shopping, your business can consider taking part in a pop-up event. There are lots of different pop-up shops to choose from, such as seasonal or marketing event pop-ups. These can take place in shopfronts that were previously abandoned, bringing life back into a fast dissolving highstreets throughout the UK.

This is useful for a number of varying businesses, From a sole trader from the countryside looking to find a base in a bustling city centre to an established online brand experimenting with bricks-and-motor. Either way, a pop-up event could be the next best thing for your business.

 

Creating excitement for your online brand

The pandemic contributed to the change in online retail. Even as the world begins to resemble its former self, online shopping trends continue to dominate the market. In fact, 50% of everyday consumers still prefer to do the majority of their buying online today.

These trends are beneficial for online retailers. However, considering we can buy all nature of goods online in the technological age, how can your business stand out from the crowd and continue to entice its customers?

One of the best ways to attract customers is to create excitement for your brand. One of the best ways to do this is a pop-up event. Whether you sell bespoke chandeliers or vegan chocolate, you can hire a storage container and take the Sunday markets by storm. To keep the lights shining bright and the music playing all day long, an onsite generator might be the solution for you. Convenient and hassle-free, generator hire may be the best way your business to obtain one of these.

Pop-up events are normally a temporary alternative to bricks-and-motor stores. So, you may want to forewarn your customers of your pop-up event. To do this, you can create excitement on social media.

 

The number of people using social media in the UK is set to rise in the coming years. This includes over 61 million people in 2022 and almost 64 million in 2026. The power of social media is evident and ready to be utilised by online businesses, including yours.

 

Having fun as a business

Pop-up events are fun for the whole business. As well as attracting customers with something new and exciting, this is an opportunity to let your staff try something new – or yourself, if you’re a sole trader. After a worldwide pandemic, we’re all searching for enjoyment in everything we do, including our working days. So, mx things up and consider throwing your own pop-up event this year.

These are three reasons why your business should consider utilising pop-up events. They don’t have to be a grand or expensive affair. A simple shopfront or a sipping container for hire is enough to pull in your next clients. After all, something simple could be exactly what you’re looking for. When will your business have a glow-up?

What Employers Must Do to Retain Staff

Stack of hands. Unity and teamwork concept.

According to new research by the CIPD Good Work Index, over 6.5 million people in the UK are considering leaving their jobs in the next year. Employee turnover can lead to issues with productivity and efficiency within the company. It can also be an indicator of problematic areas within your company which you might need to pay attention to.

While 23% are looking to leave for a change in career, a larger percentage of workers are looking to move due to a range of workplace factors.

Here, we will explore changes your company can make to retain your employees.

 

Start off strong

The employment journey is a long one which starts with recruitment. Making sure you are recruiting the right people for the job can help with employee retention. Hiring the right person for a team can help create synergy and productivity within your company. However, hiring the wrong candidate can negatively affect the team – which could lead to resignations. If you are going to hire enthusiasm over experience, it is important to have a good training scheme in place to help your new recruits settle in. Nearly 59% of employees claimed to have received no training at all within their roles. By establishing a training scheme in each of your company’s teams, you can help new recruits get the most out of their job role quickly.

Choosing candidates with the right experience and enthusiasm for the role can help maintain retention. Using recruitment software can help your HR department effectively select candidates, comparing the abilities, experiences, and soft skills of each candidate across the board.

Starting off strong also includes having effective orientation and onboarding programs in place to welcome new recruits. The Society of Human Resource Management found that 69% of employees who experiences a good onboarding scheme were more likely to remain in their role for three years or more. Among other things, a good onboarding procedure is tailored to new recruits and their job descriptions, allows time for the recruit to meet their teammates, and is simple so that it doesn’t become overwhelming.

 

Development schemes

Development schemes are another way to encourage employee retention within your company. Allowing your employees to expand within their roles can help maintain worker morale, as well as satisfaction within their job role. CIPD found that 27% of workers want increased satisfaction within their jobs.

A strong culture of education within a company can lead retention rates to rise by 30–50%. Managing a strong development scheme can establish your company as an employee-conscious business. By encouraging personal and professional growth, your employees won’t see their role as a dead-end, but rather as something to progress in. 18% of employees planned to quit their job due to boredom, so providing development opportunities across a broad range of subjects and sectors can help reduce the issue of role stagnation leading to resignation.

 

Company culture

Another factor which can contribute towards increased employee retention is company culture. Not only can a good company culture help manage retention, but a high turnover of employees can also negatively impact company culture. Research conducted by Wiley Edge has found that 22% of long-term employees have left due to changing company culture, with the same percentage of organisations finding a rise in toxic culture within the workplace.

A good company culture depends on multiple things. Management must be approachable. Your workplace should also encourage teamwork, focusing on the involvement of all levels across the business. A good work culture takes care of your employees. Your company should prioritise employee well-being and establish healthy work practices. Another Wiley Edge survey found that younger employees were more likely to stay at a job if they worked with supportive management and colleagues (54%) and experienced a culture that matches company values (44%). So managing your workplace environment is important for the retention of employees. 46% of repondents also claimed they would consider remaining longer at their job if they had a socially active team, so encouraging communication and team bonding can actually help your company.

 

Work-life balance

Something which has grown more popular among workers in the last few years is a desire for a work-life balance. By managing flexible working hours and arrangements, you can increase your company’s employee retention rates. Employee burnout can lead to an increase in resignation rates as over one-third of employees have quit a job due to stress. And with 46% of employees claiming to have extreme stress levels due to their work, it is more important than ever to recognise signs of burnout in order to maintain employee retention.

Offering flexible working times and arrangements, including hybrid and remote working, can encourage staff to stay in their role. Not only does it help reduce stress, with 39% of employees claiming working flexibly helped their mental health, but it can also increase employee productivity. Airtasker found that by allowing flexible work arrangements, employees worked an average of 1.4 extra days per month.

High rates of employee turnover can be detrimental for any business as it increases onboarding and recruitment costs while reducing productivity across the company. Employee retention is crucial for the progression of your company, and the loss of skilled workers can result in productivity issues for the entire business. By focusing on your company culture, healthy work habits, and effective training and onboarding programmes, you can increase the likelihood of employee loyalty.

Why IT Compliance Is Important For Your Business

Information technology (IT) compliance refers to the policies, procedures, and regulations that govern how you use technology in your business operations. These policies cover everything from information security to data privacy, which are critical components in ensuring your company can operate safely and efficiently.

Businesses must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a set of rules and guidelines that protect customers’ data. For instance, companies must obtain informed consent before collecting personal information, and they’re not allowed to store it for longer than necessary. Similarly, they must ensure it’s secure and notify individuals if a breach occurs.

When you stay compliant with regulatory guidelines relating to IT, your business stands to gain the following advantages:

1. Ensures Data Protection

Without proper security measures, it’s easy for sensitive information like financial records or customer details to get lost or stolen. An IT compliance audit can help you determine whether your employees are using their work devices appropriately. If they aren’t following policies on personal use of company devices, this can lead to security breaches and even data loss.

Give yourself peace of mind that you won’t lose confidential data that might damage your business operations by initiating an IT compliance audit. Go for the best tech & it support in Orange county, as they have already gained reputation of helping companies identify vulnerabilities before they become a problem. 

2. Boosts Customer Confidence

A secure IT infrastructure reduces risks related to data breaches and other cyber threats, so it helps increase customer trust in your business. It also builds brand loyalty among existing customers by providing them with a safe online experience when interacting with your company through websites and apps.

For instance, compliance with the GDPR gives users confidence that their data are protected and prevents them from being bombarded by spam or scam emails. This helps build trust in your company’s products and services, ultimately leading to increased sales.

3. Protects Business Assets

If you have been in business for a while, then a substantial amount of information is stored in your database. This includes business assets like customer records, payroll data, and employee information. The problem with keeping this kind of information is that if someone gets their hands on it, they can use it to their advantage. They might even use it against your company if you are not careful.

Through IT compliance, your company can protect these assets by making sure that only authorized personnel have access to them. You can also guarantee that they are kept safe from cyber criminals and other bad actors who might want to steal them or change them without your knowledge.

4. Limits Liability Exposure

In today’s world, many laws govern how businesses should operate, covering everything from privacy to discrimination among others. Suppose your company does not comply with these laws or follow them correctly. You could be held liable for any violations and damages resulting from them. This can cost your company thousands of dollars, if not millions, so staying up-to-date on all of these rules is necessary.

For example, if hackers get their hands on your customer list, they could call all of your customers, asking them to give their credit card information over the phone. This could be devastating for your business if it happens enough times that people stop ordering from you because they think something is wrong with your company. But with data compliance, you can ensure that no one ever gets access to this information and prevent such problems in the future.

5. Prevents Fraud

IT compliance can help your business prevent fraudulent activity. For example, if a computer system has been hacked, it could lead to fraud or theft of personal information. To prevent this, you must conduct IT compliance audits to ensure that all devices and software are secure and that employees understand how to protect themselves online.

If the database has sensitive data like social security numbers, credit card information, or personal medical history, then it might be used by identity thieves to gain access to bank accounts and other financial services. Another concern is that this type of information could be used to blackmail employees or company officials into doing something they would not normally do. This can lead to violating privacy laws and lawsuits against your company if anyone gets hurt.

Key Takeaway

In the business and IT field, compliance is a process that must be understood, implemented, and followed by every company all the time. Companies must be compliant with data and cybersecurity regulations to control their data correctly and protect themselves from unscrupulous cyber-attacks. If they do so, they can gain these five benefits that would save them from costly regulatory fines and customer loss.

Can a Remote Work Set-up Really Cut Company Expenses?

Remote Work

By Grace Lau – Director of Growth Content, Dialpad

One of the major shifts in the world of work right now is remote working.

Recent years have seen this work model explode in popularity, and whilst many employees do prefer working from home, the businesses that employ them are confronted with a pressing question:

Is it time to return to the office, or stay remote?

We’ll tackle that question by explaining the benefits of a remote work set-up, as well as considering potential drawbacks, and the solutions used today by leading businesses.

So, whether you’re new to remote working, or are an expert simply looking for a refresher on your knowledge, read on to learn more about whether remote working is right for your business…

 

What is remote working?

In simple terms, remote working is when an employee performs their work duties outside of a company’s premises.

It can be summarized by the mantra: “Work is what we do, not where we are.”

That means that employees can ditch their traditional office HQs to work wherever they wish. Quite often, they will choose to work in a home office, Internet café, or telecenter.

The concept of remote work goes back a long time. However, today the term is almost synonymous with “teleworking” – first coined back in 1973. This is essentially a subset of remote working that relies on an Internet connection and PC programs to keep employees connected.

Today, remote companies are building entire digital workspaces. You’d expect to see a communications app for voice calls, video meetings, and file sharing. Workflow apps, like an integration for Formstack, also allow executives to track their project’s progress.

With this has come a rise in flexible offices and coworking spaces around the world. Plus, with platforms like coworking software, it’s increasingly easier for employees to work from anywhere and still access the tools they need, when they need them. 

 

Cost-cutting aspects of the remote work model

So now we’re clear on what remote working is, what are the benefits?

 

Lower wage costs and a broader talent pool

A primary advantage of remote working is that you have access to a wider talent pool. Think about it: you may hire employees from all over the world, rather than just those who live near your offices. 

This may be particularly beneficial for highly qualified employees who have an employment gap through no fault of their own, yet are struggling to find work where they live.

The reason of course is that, on the Internet, we are all neighbors. Aside from tracking the latency rate, you would have no idea if you were connected with someone from your city, country, or continent.

So, how is this useful from a business perspective? Well, it means that you can hire overseas employees with ease. That’s especially true if you’re based in a Western country where wages are generally high. You may find that an international workforce is a completely different employment situation, with far lower wages for the same skills.

Of course, there are challenges to overcome when creating a dispersed, global team. Namely, the problems of time zones and communication. If portions of your team are offline during your active hours, you can see how this would require significant operational planning.

But if you’re a global business, having global employees is a great solution – especially if you need to take calls. Instead of having a bunch of queued calls waiting because no-one speaks the right language, you can simply ensure an employee who does is available.

 

Increased employee productivity

A widely-acknowledged benefit of remote working is that it boosts worker productivity.

In fact, a study from 2021 found that 90% of employees who worked remotely reported no detriment to their productivity, with them being 22% happier across the board. And how does that help you? Well, happy employees are:

  • Less likely to be absent from work.
  • More likely to stay with your company for longer (increased employee retention).
  • Happy to market your company by word-of-mouth to other potential candidates or customers.

However, these findings are of course qualified by other exceptional criteria, owing to the various differences in a company’s workforce or sector.

For instance, employees with less than 5 years of experience were more likely to see their productivity decline when working from home. The reason, of course, is that new employees need guidance. Without the support of an in-person work environment, their skills may lag behind their peers. As such, extra care may be needed to foster this development.

 

Cheaper overhead costs

Finally, adopting a work-from-home business model could remove huge costs from your company’s balance sheet.

A dispersed team does not need a big downtown office. They might not even need an office at all. You could run your business out of the study room in your house and save a small fortune on rent, utility bills, and cleaners. That’s not to mention the savings you could make on tax.

Of course, new costs will appear in place of these savings. Without physical infrastructure, you will need to build out a digital workplace for your employees. Instead of a PBX telephony system, you would opt for an Internet-hosted VOIP service, for example. 

There are some clear benefits to using SaaS providers. The most notable being their low upfront cost and maintenance. You simply sign up for a recurring payment plan and be ready to go almost immediately. If at any point you’re not happy with the service, you can cancel your subscription. Plus, you can scale as needed, instead of paying upfront for things you might not need.

Of course, you’ll still need to train your employees on the best ways to use these programs. The best programs will offer advanced features as part of a custom package. This allows you to tailor it to your exact needs, e.g. three-way calls, custom caller ID, or voicemail to text.

 

Conclusion: Should you make the switch to remote working?

Remote working is certainly a dynamic opportunity for the businesses of today.

It offers several key advantages over a traditional office set-up, and looks set be the work culture of tomorrow. Employees seem to prefer it, companies can cut down their costs, and it brings together dispersed global workforces.

On the flip side, it also introduces new challenges for business owners. If you’re new to the concept, you might find it very different from your previous ventures. The online economy can be a volatile place where you’ll face stiff competition from rival businesses.

However, even if you don’t choose to go fully remote, there are lessons to learn from those who too – for instance, digitalizing your workflows, looking further for talent, and getting rid of all those extra costs you don’t necessarily need.

5 Simple Ways to Wow Your High-Value Clients (and Keep Them for Years to Come)

With today’s business atmosphere becoming more and more competitive by the day, one thing is for a fact. Businesses that manage to go the extra mile to make a customer feel appreciated and extra special tend to come out on top. This is not to mention that acquiring new customers is actually much more expensive than retaining the existing ones.

And as much as you might not be able to wow every customer every time, focusing on providing the best experience to your high-value clients can go a long way in attracting their loyalty. Some of them could even become ambassadors for your brand in various capacities.

Without further ado, here are five simple ways to wow your high-value clients and probably keep them for years to come.

1. Exceed Their Expectations

More often than not, high-value clients will have high expectations from you and your business. If they order some products, you will want to ensure a seamless delivery process so they get their goods on time and in the best condition. If they paid for certain services, they’ll expect nothing short of superb quality and timely completion.

But such a customer is more likely to stick around if you go above and beyond in delivering your promises, better than they expected in terms of time and service quality. Nonetheless, always be honest and upfront with them. Be clear about what you can and cannot do.

2. Send a Gift When You Start Working Together

Corporate gifts are among the best ways to wow high-value clients and let them know how much you appreciate them as a client and as a person. A small, thoughtful gift such as a bouquet of flowers for business can go a long way in making your clients feel valued.

If you have the budget, you can also consider giving a more lavish gift, such as tickets to a show or a weekend getaway. Whatever you choose, be sure to put some thought into it and make it something your clients will appreciate.

3. Offer Them Exclusive Deals and Perks

Want another way to make them feel they are getting value for money? Especially on special seasons like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, go ahead and show your high-value clients just how special they are by offering exclusive deals and perks that they can’t get anywhere else. There’s a big chance you’ll keep them for many years to come.

4. Stay In Touch – Even When They’re Not Using Your Services

In today’s exceedingly social world, it’s essential to keep your high-value clients updated on what’s going on with your business. Keep them engaged through social media, email newsletters, and even courtesy calls every once in a while.

This gives you a chance to let them know you appreciate their business, even when they’re not using your services at the moment. On the same note, it’s good to make sure you are always available when they need you, and that you are quick to respond to their inquiries.

5. Build a Personal Relationship with Them

Last but not least, it pays to get to know your top-tier clients on a personal level and show them that you care about them as a person, not just as a client. According to digital growth strategy specialist Matt Bertram, relationship building is instrumental in fostering brand loyalty and increasing customer retention. Establishing healthy customer relationships can help boost sales, referrals, and brand image, all of which are instrumental to the growth of any business.

As a business owner, you know that your high-value clients are the key to your success. By appreciating them often, keeping in touch, providing unique deals, and building personal relationships with them, you can wow them enough to retain them for many years to come.

What Happens When a Limited Company Becomes Insolvent?

Business owners often await budget announcements with bated breath, especially amidst the economic turbulence of the last few years. And after months of political chaos and U-turns, the chancellor’s autumn statement finally provided some clarity, allowing businesses to plan for 2023.

That’s not to say it didn’t present serious challenges, however. With extended freezes on thresholds for income tax and national insurance, analysis suggests many small businesses will need to tweak their finances – altering the way entrepreneurs pay themselves – to avoid unnecessary insolvencies.

In short, insolvency occurs when a company can no longer afford to pay its debts. With recession
widely forecast
, its likely that insolvencies will increase, be it due to cash flow struggles or increased expenses. Seeking expert advice can be crucial for survival in such situations – though there are ways to test solvency in the first instance.

Testing for insolvency

The first method is a balance sheet test. This means balancing a company’s assets against its liabilities (debts). If the latter is greater than the former, a company is classed as balance sheet insolvent.

The second test focuses on cash flow and looks at whether a company has the funds to meet its obligations in full and on time. If not, then it’s classed as cash flow insolvent.

Below, we’ve highlighted three potential avenues for limited companies who fail either test and enter insolvency.

Liquidation

Liquidation is a formal insolvency process in which a liquidator sells a company’s assets and delivers proceeds to its lenders. After completion, the company is removed from the Companies House register, and directors are investigated for wrongful or fraudulent trading activity.

The two main types are compulsory and voluntary liquidation. The first is enacted by creditors, while the second, and more desirable, is enacted by the insolvent company’s directors.

Administrative receivership

In administrative receivership, a designated receiver – such as a licensed insolvency practitioner – takes control of the insolvent business. This receiver is selected by a secured creditor such as a bank.

The receiver takes on various duties relating to recovering the debt owed by the company. This may involve selling said assets, selling the company itself, or continuing trading, depending on what will deliver the maximum return to the lender. Unlike administration – covered below – saving
the company is only an afterthought.

Only lenders with a floating charge before 15thSeptember 2003 can put a company into administrative receivership, however.

Administration

A third option for an insolvent business is administration. This option can be enacted by court, certain creditors or the business itself.

The primary goal of administration is usually to rescue the insolvent business, though it may alternatively focus on achieving an optimal result for its creditors. Whatever the case, an administrator will take control of said company and its assets to guide the process.

Ultimately, the right option for any insolvent business will be unique to its prospects and objectives.

Burnout Britain: How UK Employers Can Recognise the Signs & Symptoms of Burnout

Burnout

Research shows that employee burnout has steadily risen by 17% since 2020. People no longer want the archaic working model, and they’re actively looking for roles where workplace wellbeing is prioritised and more flexibility exists because they’re putting their mental health first. Research from Deloitte has revealed the cost of poor mental health to UK employers has increased to a staggering £56 billion. A significant part of the business cost is due to reduced productivity caused by employees who are unwell but still come to work, known as presenteeism.

Burnout goes way beyond a buzzword. It is impacting businesses on an unprecedented level. Especially financially, absence due to poor mental health costs employers twice as much as that relating to physical health. A recent report from Westfield Health found that 59% of respondents said their mental health was driving them to find a new role. Striking the balance between a healthy, happy workplace and lifestyle for employees has never been more important for businesses.

 

What is burnout and how can you recognise the signs and symptoms?

People who are finding their work and the workplace difficult to manage may be at a higher risk of burnout. Burnout can leave them feeling empty, worn out and unable to handle the weight of life’s obligations. While burnout is not deemed a psychological disorder, it should still be taken seriously.

Here are three ways to recognise employee burnout:

 

1. Cynical disposition

No one loves their job 100% of the time, and some cynicism is natural. However, if someone is displaying an increased negative outlook both in terms of the work itself and towards their colleagues, this could be a sign of burnout, especially if their normal disposition is usually upbeat. It could be that they’re displaying signs of more irritability than usual or are unable to accept feedback.

 

2. Performance and productivity

Employees suffering from burnout may have been less engaged with their work than normal. They may feel as though they can’t get anything right and show signs of frustration. Many people feel unable to manage their frustration and stress levels at work, leading to decreased productivity and, in turn, a poorer quality of work.

 

3. Detachment

When an employee is experiencing burnout, it can be very difficult for them to feel as though they are part of a team, especially if their workload is unmanageable. Isolation may set in, and they may feel as though they cannot participate in company activities because that will impact their work, leaving them experiencing more stress and anxiety. The longer this is the case, the more detached from the business they will feel.

Knowing which work-related pressures trigger burnout and what to avoid as a manager can be most helpful.

Here are some of the key causes of burnout:

 

  • Lack of support from their manager and team
  • Uncertain or excessive expectations
  • A toxic environment
  • Feeling unvalued
  • Pressure to be online/available constantly
  • Being micromanaged

 

What can you do to help?

The first thing you should do is be aware and acknowledge that your employee is struggling. Start the conversation – they may well feel too stressed or anxious to ask for help, so it’s up to you to look out for the signs and to offer help and support. Be empathetic, as feeling understood at work is crucial in their recovery. Don’t vilify them for not being able to cope; instead, listen to what they need and recognise the areas where you can help immediately alleviate some of the pressure.

Here are some of the practical ways to offer support:

 

  1. Check in with them, but not in a ‘monitoring’ sense, as that will only add to their stress. Drop them a line to see how they are and if they can manage their workload daily.
  2. If your company has mental health support services, ensure they know how to access them and that they are available to help as well.
  3. Encourage them to take some time off to relax and reset. Be flexible with their working hours to allow for their current needs.
  4. Delegate their workload across the team to take some of the pressure off. Avoid overwhelming them with projects you know will be highly stressful.
  5. Be human. Yes, it’s work but remember we can all experience burnout at any level. They need to feel like a person, not a number.

 

Preventing burnout

Naturally, avoiding the causes and circumstances that could lead to burnout is the greatest way to safeguard employees’ mental health. Although doing so might necessitate a total change in your business’ culture, it is vital to foster a nurturing and supportive workplace for your team.

Investing in your people is paramount to your company’s success and profitability. Research shows that on average, every £1 you invest in employee well-being, sees a £5.30 return. A team who feels valued and supported with a work-life and wellbeing balance is a happier team and, in return, will be far less likely to leave. So, if you’ve noticed burnout amongst your colleagues, maybe it’s time for a culture shift.  

Virtual Learning: Four Ways to Develop & Deliver an Impactful Experience

Virtual Learning

As more and more people embrace hybrid working, training and learning sessions have had to adapt in a swift fashion. Learners have certainly not changed – they still possess a strong thirst for knowledge and are eager to enhance their personal and professional skills. However, traditional learning has gradually been rehashed to suit people’s new needs, with many classes being hosted on virtual platforms.

As with any learning, designing the experience is one of the most crucial steps of the whole process. For virtual learning experiences, in particular, it is important to balance a well-thought mixture of methods and techniques.

If you are designing and developing the session, you need to be equipped with the right knowledge and abilities to actively educate and engage your audience.

Here, with Dominic Fitch, Head of Creative Change at Impact International, we take a look at some, we explore some of the best practices for delivering powerful virtual experiences to drive team development and spur your employees’ curiosity.

 

1. Set up a safe space

First of all, you should bear in mind that many people still do not feel overly familiar with webinars or virtual training classes. For this reason, it is vital that – as a coach – you aim to be as authentic and human as possible to build trust and credibility. For instance, you can throw in some ice-breaker questions at the start, asking how they are and whether they are looking forward to the session. This will help you significantly when trying to instil the right level of intimacy with your learners and establish a safe space.

You will also want your people to feel comfortable during the training class. If you are using a virtual platform such as Zoom or Teams, some individuals may find turning on their cameras both daunting and distracting. Let them keep their video off, as it will allow them to concentrate solely on the content and other people’s contributions.

 

2. Favor conversations and interactions

In a virtual setting, it is easy for participants to lose focus and drift away. Therefore, make sure to keep engagement levels high by encouraging interaction and conversations.

To make room for greater accountability and involvement, it may be wise to divide people into sub-groups from time to time. Dozens of employees might be attending a virtual training session, and discussions may soon become chaotic – and unproductive – if everyone tries to chip in with thoughts and comments. Certain digital platforms allow you to split attendees into smaller groups, enabling space for reflection, processing, and support.

What’s more, you can spur interaction by setting up anonymous quizzes. Not only will it be a good way to monitor participants’ performance during your coaching session, but it is also a useful tool to pinpoint potential areas for improvement in your own delivery.

 

3. Visual appeal

Another way to create a successful virtual learning experience is to minimize the amount of text on the screen. Indeed, humans struggle to listen and read at the same time, as our conscious mind cannot deal with more operations at once if they have to be processed by the same parts of the brain.  

At the end of the day, you want your learners to listen to you rather than read lengthy sentences on a screen. They can do that in their spare time after the session. Instead, make sure to fully use images and visual connotations that immediately convey information while you talk. This way, you will be able to deliver a more powerful, straightforward message for your learners to enjoy and digest.

 

4. Share resources and implement lecture capture

Virtual learning sessions allow you to share content, documents, and valuable resources. Not to mention, you can record the entire class, too, making it easy for your learners to go over specific topics they would like to recap and consolidate. As the trainer, it is essential that you make the most of these useful, effective features to tailor a solid and successful learning experience.

When recording your session, you may also consider implementing lecture capture, which is habitually adopted in colleges and universities. Lecture capture provides people with the possibility to rewind the training session and post comments at any point of the recording where they require clarification. In turn, you can reply and offer further explanations, addressing any gaps or misunderstandings.  

 

Ultimately, there are many ways to make your virtual learning experiences both impactful and memorable. From establishing a safe space for learners and favoring interaction to taking full advantage of visual information, resources, and recordings, your learners can satisfy their desire for knowledge and enhance their skills. With these tips, it is up to you to deliver successful classes and enjoy the coaching process.

Technology Leaders Are Facing Unique Challenges – Only a Unique Approach to Leadership Will Solve Them

Businesswoman sharing new ideas in meeting

Putting expansion plans on pause and re-thinking hiring strategies will help tech companies overcome industry struggles

As spiralling inflation, interest rate hikes and the threat of recession drive up the cost of doing business, tech leaders must be agile, look to new methods of management and be open to rescheduling pre-existing plans. This is according to STX Next, Europe’s largest software development company that specialises in Python.

Alongside economic struggles, talent shortages are continuing to expose skills gaps in technical teams – 68% of tech companies say they are held back by a lack of qualified staff – while decision-makers are still struggling to fine-tune remote working models and implement new technologies in the workplace. However, Maciej Dziergwa, CEO of STX Next, believes that tech companies can survive and thrive by adapting practices to reflect the business landscape.

Dziergwa said: “It’s important that tech leaders recognise the current economic slowdown is halting the IT industry’s momentum, and react accordingly. For instance, they shouldn’t be afraid to rein in growth plans during the height of the crisis, allowing for flexibility if the climate suddenly worsens.

“Downsizing is a concerning trend in the tech industry – Amazon, Meta and Twitter are the latest high profile organisations to slash employee numbers – so it is vital that businesses grow sustainably to avoid turning to job cuts.

“Technology leaders should also prioritise the investment of time and funds into client acquisition and retention. This involves adopting a more client-focused approach, such as travelling to meet existing or potential partners face to face. Regular contact shows a business will be far more dependable during an economic slowdown than less visible competitors.”

To cope with the shortage of IT workers, Dziergwa believes that technology companies should seek to enhance the employee experience in order to set themselves apart from competitors.

He added: “With skills shortages putting a strain on recruitment strategies, it’s time for business decision-makers to be more proactive to attract new talent or retain incumbent employees.

“Flexibility is a priority for the bulk of today’s workforce, so appealing to candidates begins by ensuring that remote working models are watertight, and that staff are well-supported even if they are based at home.

“It’s important to remember that the offer of hybrid work is now a minimum requirement for prospective staff. The tech companies that differentiate themselves will go above and beyond to meet employee needs, providing financial, emotional and educational support to guide workers through the cost-of-living crisis.”

He concluded: “Times of economic slowdown are great opportunities to pinpoint areas for improvement and strengthen company culture. The pandemic came as a shock and stopped the world in its tracks – tech leaders must not let history repeat itself, regardless of what transpires in the coming months.”

Technology leaders can share their thoughts on how to weather the oncoming storm by completing the CTO Survey: https://www.thectosurvey.com

The Art of Sales Prospecting – 5 Challenges and 5 Tips

Prospecting is the first, and one of the most vital steps in the sales process. This important stage involves identifying and communicating with potential clients with the goal of generating new business. Without prospecting, there are no customers, and without customers, there are no sales. The survival of the whole company rests on this crucial task. Effective prospecting is a sure and fast way of increasing your rates of conversion and closing. However, as important as it is, sales prospecting is also a challenge. Almost 50 per cent of sales representatives say that the task of prospecting is one of the parts of the sales process that they find the most difficult.

Why is this crucial aspect of sales so challenging?

5 Obstacles to Successful Sales Prospecting

There are several reasons why sales reps may slow down in their prospecting efforts, or even grind to a halt completely. Consider just 5:

It feels like hard work, and it takes up a lot of time. Just a short break in the habit of prospecting and it’s all the more difficult to get started again.

There is little recognition for the hard work put in. Sales reps have to face a lot of rejection as they work through sales prospecting. This can feel demoralising, and then the tendency is to look for positive reinforcement by visiting existing customers, ones that will give good feedback and create a feeling of safety and security.

Sales reps are not making the most of the tools and technology available. While the traditional methods of prospecting are painfully slow, there are great advancements in prospecting tools, with the aid of technology and software, that are making the process a lot more productive and effective. Things like the implementation of a lead generation software solution could completely change the game for a sales rep. If they try and struggle along with paper tracking system and post-it notes, the cracks in their methods are slowly going to show. Furthermore, even if software is in place, there may be a growing frustration with its capabilities if it is not up to date or suited to the task. Some processes are inconvenient and cumbersome due to the fact that the business has gone for software that puts functionality above usability. If using the technology is going to give a sales rep a headache, they’re not going to use it. Instead, it’s important that businesses look for ways to successfully get into the digital world of sales prospecting.

There is little direction and support. Without clear direction from leadership teams and explanation of the expectations in place, sales reps can end up spending time and effort on prospects that are not suited for the company. If a sales rep is left to go it alone, with little instruction from ones who know the business model well, they won’t know which prospects to focus on that will bring the most rewards. 

A sense of complacency makes prospecting seem unimportant. After scoring a few big deals, sales reps can begin to think that their job is done, and they don’t need to prospect any more. If this happens, as previously mentioned when the need to prospect arises again they will have gotten out of the habit and the idea will be as daunting as ever.

5 Tops Tips for Sales Prospecting Success

In a task that has so many challenges, how can you make sales prospecting a success? When it is done right, it has the potential to be an exciting experience that not only hones the skills of sales reps but draws new customers that fit your business. Here are 5 top tips for sales prospecting success to help get you started:

Think about the perfect prospect profile. Do your homework to discover exactly what kind of customer you want to attract, based on the customer base you already have and through some external market research too.

Find ways to contact these perfect prospects. Once you have a clear profile in mind, think about the best way to contact them. Should you have a stand at a trade show? Should you attend community events? Should you post ads on Facebook, Instagram, or another social media channel? Once you know your ideal customer, do some research into the best places to find them. In this way you will be putting yourself in the best place to make a sale.

Work on your call lists. You no doubt have many lists of different contacts to call. Improve the usefulness of these lists by prioritising the contacts you have, and then act by setting aside a little time each day to work through calling them. Don’t underestimate just how powerful a phone call can be! Be prepared and rather than using their time to offload your sales pitch, ask open-ended questions, listen to their responses, and adapt accordingly. Keep in contact with the people you reach out to, and with consistent effort and a friendly manner you will be able to turn cold calls into hot leads!

Send out emails that are personalised for the prospect. Another valuable contact tool is that of email but be warned that bulk or mass emails are far less effective. You need to make sure that for a customer to actually open and read your email, you customise it and make it personal to them. Think about their individual needs, adapt the email to read well on any device, and carefully consider the content you will include.

Always remember to follow up. Take the time to cultivate your leads and prospects. You won’t see growth from the off and it may take time to see the lead grow but be patient and persistent. Build a relationship with the prospect and demonstrate what a reliable and trustworthy business you represent.