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Author Archives: Trevor

pro

10 Things every employee should know about their company

Trevor No Comments

Regardless of which department you belong to, knowing these 10 things about your company will make you more valuable to the company.

 

1. The company’s current share price (if it is publicly traded)

 

2. Market share or growth over the last two years

Has your company grown at all over the last two years, and if so, by how much?

 

3. Primary product brands or services offered

Do you absolutely know everything that your company sells? Can you name them all off the top of your head?

 

4. How the company makes money

In a company that provides a variety of products and services, it’s still important to identify the top sellers.

 

5. How customers are being satisfied

What purpose does the product or service hold for the customer, are you meeting their needs?

 

professional welding

6. How the product is manufactured or service is delivered

Understand where the product or service is coming from, what does it take for it to be delivered to the customer.

 

7. How products/services are developed, marketed, and sold

What’s the company proposition of value? What do you sell? How do you sell? These are all essential questions that should be answered.

 

8. Customer retention and attraction strategies

After a sale is completed, what does the company do to encourage a repeat consumption?

 

9. Key suppliers and customers

Knowing who they are will enable you to prevent faux pas with key clients or suppliers. These are people that keep your company running smoothly, don’t jeopardize it.

 

10. What gives your company a competitive advantage?

A key question! You know the products and the services that are being sold, but what is their competitive advantage amidst your competitors? Are you selling what other people are selling? I certainly hope your answer to that was not ‘yes’.

 

Sources: PaulSohn

hr things should know

5 things every HR professional should know

Trevor No Comments

ONE. Set aside “1 career hour” a week. 

It’s important to manage your career, so don’t let a busy schedule keep your from activities like:

– Keeping your resume up to date

– Keeping your professional social media content up to date

– Participate in professional activities like workshops, summits, conferences, etc.

– Network with people that may someday offer or refer you to your next job

– Returning headhunter calls you’ve gotten to provide them with a referral to keep that relationship going.

 

TWO: It’s ok to steal (from something that is proven to work)

Why waste your time reinventing the wheel? Observe and apply all those practices that are working

Steal from other departments. Swipe from other divisions. Take from other firms. BE sure you give them credit then add your unique twist. If it’s proven and it works, why not? Bury your ego. Creating new stuff from scratch always take more time than you think and is highly overrated. (PaulSohn)

 

THREE: The 3 most important key in managing your poor performing employees:

– Clear expectations

– Documentation

– Feedback

A poor employee might just be getting poor direction. Make sure you present expectations clearly, keep track of his performance and provide them with feedback.

 

FOUR: Look into your turnover numbers

It’s not about how many you’re losing, it’s who your losing. Quality over quantity. Losing your top performing people is substantially more hurtful than losing people in any other group.

 

FIVE: Think Big  

 David Ogilvy, the well-known advertising wizard who founded the Ogilvy & Mather advertising agency, never spent a day in HR, but had an orientation practice that all HR leaders would appreciate. He established a wonderful tradition of welcoming new leaders in his organization with a gift of five wooden dolls, each smaller than the other, one inside the other. When the recipient finally gets to the fifth little doll, the smallest doll, and opens it, he finds the message:

“If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs, but if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.”

 

Sources: PaulSohn

team building

4 Easy Team Building Activities for Any Company

Trevor No Comments

Team building is about focusing a group’s energy on problem solving, task effectiveness, and maximizing the use of available resource to achieve a common goal. Team building involves a variety of activities and discussions that create a climate that encourages and values contributions of the team members.

Most companies plan one or two events per year to address the issue of team building; but the reality of the matter is that, in order to create a strong team, frequent activities are necessary. A solid team is the result of constant practice; a professional athlete doesn’t train one or two days a year, they train constantly. In the same manner, company leaders should seek frequent team building activities that will strengthen the company as a whole.

Team building serves and addresses different team issues, so before you begin make sure you identify the areas that need improvement; some common challenges are:

– communications kills.

– leadership skills

– personality differences

 

Here are some examples of activities

back to back team building activitiy

Back-to-Back Drawing 

Divide your group into pairs, and have each pair sit on the floor back to back. Give one person in each pair a picture of a shape, and give the other person a pencil and pad of paper.

Ask the people holding the pictures to give verbal instructions to their partners on how to draw the shape – without actually telling the partners what the shape is. After they’ve finished, ask each pair to compare their original shape with the actual drawing, and consider the following questions:

– How well did the first person describe the shape?

– How well did the second person interpret the instructions?

– Were there problems with both the sending and receiving parts of the communication process?

Activity from mindtools.com 

 

Following activities from onlineexpert.com

dancing team building

Push-Push

Time: 1–2 minutes

Purpose: Releases anxiety and reinforces idea of cooperation

Participants: Partners

Materials needed: None

Instructions: Partners face each other and place hands palm to palm. Partner A is told to

push as hard as possible. Next, Partner B is told not to push but to move their hands in a

gentle swaying motion.

Desired outcome: When you push, others push back; when you dance, others follow

your lead

mood buttons team building

Wear Your Attitude

Time: A few seconds

Purpose: Encourages all to be conscious of attitudes they are displaying

Participants: Everyone can play

Materials needed: Attitude buttons

Instructions:

Have buttons or laminated cards with a variety of attitudes on them; such as happy,

angry, friendly, generous, sad, worried, excellent, etc. As each person enters work, allow

them to pick the attitude they would like to display. People who pick unattractive ones

can be avoided and the pleasant ones will get all the smiles, encouragement, and

positive attention.

Anyone can change their ‘button attitude’ at any time.

Desired outcome: Bring awareness about how transparent our moods are and what we

get as a result.

 

mingle before meeting team building

Purpose Mingle

Time: One minute

Purpose: Focus participants before the meeting begins

Participants: Everyone attending the meeting

Materials needed: None

Instructions:

Before the meeting begins, everyone must stand up and tell as many others as they can in

one minute what they hope to contribute to the meeting.

For best results, offer a simple prize for the most people contacted and a bigger prize for

the most generous contribution expressed.

Desired outcome: Allows players to think about what they will give to a meeting rather

than what they will get. Encourages participation from the start.

 

Other sources: exforsys.com

 

uber

Uber Lawsuit over Gratuities

Trevor 4 comments

Uber has come under scrutiny as Uber drivers file a class action lawsuit.

“Uber drivers have filed a class action lawsuit claiming they have been misclassified as independent contractors and are entitled to be reimbursed for their expenses that Uber should have to pay, like for gas and vehicle maintenance. The lawsuit also challenges Uber’s practice of telling passengers that the gratuity is included and not to tip the drivers, even though you are not getting a tip.” From uberlawsuit.com

Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, must disclose some of the emails to the plaintiff lawyers in judge ruling. These emails would serve as evidence to their tipping practices or misleading information.

Uber’s business practices have come under scrutiny, with some customers alleging privacy violations. (Reuters).

 

Not sure what Uber is? Check out our related article ‘Why everyone is talking about Uber

 

thanksgiving

15 Thanksgiving English Words To Know

Trevor 3 comments

1. Acorns – (noun) the fruit of the oak, a smooth oval nut in a rough cuplike base.

acorn

2. Autumn – (noun) the third season of the year, when crops and fruits are gathered and leaves fall, in the northern hemisphere from September to November and in the southern hemisphere from March to May.

autumn

3. Carve – (verb) cut (a hard material) in order to produce an aesthetically pleasing object or design; cut (cooked meat) into slices for eating.

carve

4. Cider – (noun) an alcoholic drink made from fermented crushed fruit, typically apples.

apple cider

5. Cornucopia – (noun) a symbol of plenty consisting of a goat’s horn overflowing with flowers, fruit, and corn.

cornucopia

6. Cranberry Sauce – (noun) a jellied sauce made from cranberries, a traditional accompaniment to turkey.

cranberries

7. Feast – (noun) a large meal, typically one in celebration of something; (verb) eat and drink sumptuously.

feast

8. Gobble – (verb) to eat (something) hurriedly and noisily; Also:

– use a large amount of (something) very quickly.

   “these old houses just gobble up money”

– (of a large organization or other body) incorporate or take over (a smaller one).

   “he amassed his packaging empire by gobbling up National Can Corporation”

gobble

9. Gravy – (noun) the fat and juices exuding from meat during cooking.

gravy

10. Harvest – (noun) the process or period of gathering in crops.; (verb) gather (a crop) as a harvest.

harvest

11. Pumpkin – (noun) a large rounded orange-yellow fruit with a thick rind, edible flesh, and many seeds.

pumpkins

12. Stuffing – (noun) a mixture used to stuff poultry or meat before cooking; padding used to stuff cushions, furniture, or soft toys.

stuffing

13. Turkey – (noun) a large mainly domesticated game bird native to North America, having a bald head and (in the male) red wattles. It is prized as food, especially on festive occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

turkey

14. Turkey Day or Cranberry Day – (noun) refers to Thanksgiving (informal).

turkey

15. Yams – (noun) the edible starchy tuber of a climbing plant, widely distributed in tropical and subtropical countries. Also known as sweet potato.

yams

 

twitter icon

Twitter rolls out ‘Rebate Button’ on Tweets

Trevor No Comments

For a company valued at $15 billion by investors, it is still trying to justify their hefty price tag since their IPO. From a financial standpoint, Twitter has been gaining revenue through their advertising platform; however, in the digital world, ‘amount of users’ is just as important. Needless to say, Twitter has not been attracting new users; and their community seems to be stagnating. Since their IPO in November 2013, they have increased their active monthly users by roughly 17%. They currently stand at 284 million active monthly users.

With Google Wallet and Apple Money, it is clear that a shift in buying tendencies is happening as we speak. We no longer rely solely on physical credit cards; we can perform a myriad of transactions without inconveniencing ourselves at all.

How will the ‘Cash Back button’ work

Mathew Lynley from Buzzfeed writes “The company is beginning the test with a collection of brands over the holiday season. When a Twitter user sees an offer, they can add it to their credit or debit card. Then, when that user makes a purchase, the cash-back offer is redeemed directly to their card within a few days, the company said. Advertisers will be able to measure the uptake of the offers and see how each offer is translating into in-store sales, much like how they can monitor how specific ads are performing.”

Another Twitter purchasing feature that is being tested by a small percentage of users is the ability to buy products from within the app’s feed.

 

Sources: Forbes, Buzzfeed, Statista

 

infected computer with virus

How e-cigarettes can kill your computer

Trevor No Comments

You know that e-cigs are here to stay when one of Oxford’s words of the year is ‘vape’. With an ever increasing market that is bombarded by all forms of competitors, there are some dodgy manufacturers out there that might hardwire malware into the USB charger.

There are different ways of recharging an e-cig; most of which involve a USB port. The USB can be plugged in through a specialized cable and then plugged into the wall; plugged into the computer or skipping the wire, and plugging directly into the computer. Once you plug an infected e-cigarette into your computer, you are basically granting the supplier access to it.

The guardian  mentioned a report on reddit which stated that  “One particular executive had a malware infection on his computer from which the source could not be determined,” the user writes. “After all traditional means of infection were covered, IT started looking into other possibilities.”

“The made in China e-cigarette had malware hardcoded into the charger, and when plugged into a computer’s USB port the malware phoned home and infected the system.”

Dave Goss, of London’s Vape Emporium, says that vapers can remain safe by buying from respected manufacturers such as Aspire, KangerTech and Innokin, and by checking for “scratch checkers” on the box, which mark out authentic goods from counterfeits.

KangerTech’s authentication process through “scratch checkers” refers to “All genuine KangerTech products are packaged with this sticker on the outside along with printed instructions inside each and every box. This sticker has a scratch-off with a product code under it.”

kangertech scratch code

 

Sources: The Guardian, NY Times, KangerTech

butn meeting the world

ButN The new standard for Business Networking?

Trevor 3 comments

Where Linkedin meets Facebook and has an affair with Tindr. ButN is a business, social and location based app that allows you to maximize your business trips.

Their primary premise is ‘don’t waste time in the hotel; this is the perfect time to be networking with likeminded individuals’. With ButN you can create, schedule and attend events created by yourself or others in the app.

Planning a trip to a summit? With ButN you’ll be shown an array of users by job professions and their distance from your location. So once you arrive to the summit, you’ll easily identify the people that hold a business interest to you. All you would have to do is contact them through the app and set a meeting up! However, like Tindr, both parties need to consent to the meeting before contact information is shared. If you are not interested in a contact, you can easily ignore or block them in the future. Also, depending on your settings; you can alert your contacts when you’re close to their location so you can set up a meeting.

An interesting feature is that you can write private notes on every contact. Is there something that you should never mention with this contact because it generally turns a meeting sour, or do you have a hard time keeping track of all your contact’s family members? This is the perfect space for all those thoughts and quirks you’ve learned from your contact. Have horrendous memory? No problem, jot this thoughts down so you can do a quick review right before the meet-up.

Although this is a new service that is still trying to gather memberships; it will be interesting to see whether or not it’ll catch on; or whether or not it’s just a matter of ‘how long’ until it becomes functional.

 

Sources: ButN

hand pushing like button

Facebook @ Work Service For January 2015

Trevor 4 comments

Banning Facebook from the office environment might be a thing of the past as FB prepares to launch a platform geared towards businesses.

As Facebook reaches saturation in the social networking arena, it aims to address the increasing business market. Linkedin alone has 332 million users (28% more than 2013); and in 2013, they had 259 million users (up 38% from 2012). This is a huge chunk of market to ignore. More importantly, 40% of the current users log in on a daily basis; that’s 133 million users logging in on any given day.

With Facebook at work, you’ll have your profile, newsfeed and colleagues as contacts. You will also be able to collaborate through productivity apps such as Google Drive; however, business profiles will not mix with personal profiles.  As noted by The Independent, Facebook At Work “could lead to distracted employees and breaches of confidentiality.”

As businesses become more social, productivity platforms have had to adapt to it. Although Facebook believes that this is a market opportunity, there are already some heavy competitors such as Salesforce. Not only does Salesforce have a fully integrated CRM, they’ve implemented a Chatter add-on years ago, which allows in-house communications and collaborations.

Robin Chater, founder of ButN, a new business network notes that “It will be interesting to see the heavyweights in the social networking market fighting it out for business users,” he said. “Facebook can see how quickly LinkedIn is growing – in spite of its many critics – and think it can do better.”

Facebook is currently on beta testing and is expected to launch in January 2015. It is expected that the initial accounts be free and ad-free, as well. It will definitely be interesting to see how a social platform attempts to battle on the business field.

Sources: Forbes, Expanded Ramblings 

motivate smart 2

On Demand Economy

Trevor 2 comments

Everything is ‘on-demand’ these days. Somehow everything became available and scalable through the internet. There is no longer any need to invest heavily on capital, as things are focused now on the service side of the business. You essentially pay as you go, which allows everyone to have access to absolutely anything and everything. Publish your own book without the need to order thousands of copies, keep an endless stock of hundreds of different graphic T’s without having a warehouse, there is no limitation for entrepreneurial activity these days.

business on demand chart

 

On Demand Talent

The employment landscape is also shifting with the fast-paced technology. The freelance market for technology based services is definitely on the rise. With so many video and productivity apps in the market, there is less need for people to be physically in the same office. This, however, implies that a new set of abilities and skills is required to manage a team and tasks.

“According to the IT staffing firm Mondo, 73 percent of CIOs are using contractors for tasks such as app development or programming. And as full-time IT hiring slows, the firm surveyed 200 IT decision makers, 48 percent of whom reported they planned to add more contractors than full-time staff over the next 12 to 18 months.”

“The freelance marketplace approach is clearly here to stay,” says Scott Galit, CEO of Payoneer, a global payment service that has worked with companies such as oDesk. “This is a permanent addition [and] change to how this industry operates and many companies are seeing the cost and productivity benefits. We’ve seen tremendous growth for our customers in this space — showing this is one way that businesses will continue to staff diverse needs around the world.”

On Demand & Consumer Behavior

For slow moving industries such as transportation, grocery and restaurants- they are now experiencing a substantial boom. Transportation has become incredibly efficient and on demand through services like Uber. Restaurants are now subject to unprecedented scrutiny through Trip Advisor and Yelp; and let’s not forget the badges and promos from Foursquare when it was in it’s prime. Grocery shopping has become incredibly convenient as well, never forget ingredients by taking your apps with your fave recipes, or let them tell you when you’re next shopping trip is due. Ordering online has never been so easy, especially with giants like Amazon.

“The internet makes human desires more easily attainable. In other words, it offers convenience. Convenience on the internet is basically achieved by two things: speed, and cognitive ease. If you study what the really big things on the internet are, you realize they are masters at making things fast and not making people think.” — Ev Williams, Twitter co-founder

 

 

Source: Business Insider, Forbes  

 

 

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