Human Resource Management is my passion. I have lectured in the field of Human Resource Management for my than 15 years in subject areas such as International Comparative Human Resource Management, Employee Relations, Managing Diversity, Employee Development and Training, Organizational Behavior, Effective Team Performance and Management, Human Resource Planning, and Reward Management. I hold a PhD in Business Administration specializing in Human Resource Management from Northcentral University, USA; MSc in Human Resource Management and Development, University of Leicester, UK; and B. A. (Hons.) in International Business Administration, University of Lincoln, UK. As a senior lecturer I love teaching and I see teaching as a learning experience for both my students and myself. My ultimate goal as a lecturer is to support my students during their academic journeys. The value of people cannot be epitomized enough. I believe no man is an island and we all need each other, team work is where we can optimize our strengths and minimize our weaknesses!
As an employee, the road to becoming a successful communicator begins your first day on the job. As an employer, it is your responsibility to provide your employees with the proper tools in order for them to thrive in all aspects of the job. Unsure of where to begin? No matter which end of the spectrum you land on, a great place to start facilitating a working relationship is through communication.
Communication can be broken down by being either one-way or two-way. One-way communication means that the delivered information is meant to only be digested. In other words, the recipient is only meant to read the message is not required to respond immediately if at all. Two-way communication is the exact opposite. A message is delivered and should be met with an immediate discussion. Utilizing both types of communication facilitates a strong overall organization for more reasons than one:
Unites the Team(s): Good communication practices allow all members of the organization to communicate in a productive manner. This aids in setting clear goals and expectations for all of those working toward a common goal.
Reduces Miscommunication: Frequent communication means that there are numerous opportunities for messages to be discussed and elaborated on. Not only does this leave room for questions to be asked, but it also means that opinions and constructive criticism can be given to further benefit a given conversation or topic.
Improves Efficiency: Being able to communicate effectively using both the written word and verbal communication is vital. The more opportunities there are to communicate, the more clear and concise messages will become.
So how do you come to enjoy the communication benefits listed above?
Utilize the Internet
Strong workplace communication starts when employees are given multiple channels of communication to accomplish day-to-day tasks. There should be avenues that support both one and two-way communication. In this digital era, we have set the standard for instant and constant communication. This is much in part due to the internet and its capabilities.
Utilizing the internet to better connect employees and customers is the most direct avenue businesses can take. Communication methods such as email, instant messaging, and video conferencing are the first things that come to mind. However, as of late, standard phone services can also be attained through an internet connection. Employers can utilize VoIP, or Voice Over Internet Protocol to enable employees to utilize typical phone functionality through a simple internet connection. This is a benefit for many reasons. Perhaps the most important being that all employees really need to communicate with each other is a computer and an internet connection.
Set the Standard
Each workplace has likely established multiple channels of communication that are available to employees. It is important to standardize which channels are appropriate for different types of messages. This may vary by department or even team, but in order to obtain a streamlined communication process, here are some things to keep in mind:
As stated previously, we live in a digital age where we have the resources to communicate using different messaging platforms and apps. However, there is a unique level of clarity and understanding that is achieved when you are able to interact with a person face-to-face in real time. In-person communication creates strong working relationships among coworkers because you are able to digest more than just the written word.
Body language and tone of voice allow recipients to have a deeper understanding of the message that is being communicated. Not only that, they are able to ask questions and provide commentary instantly that can change the directory of a conversation. Person-to-person communication:
Sets the foundation of all working relationships
Personalizes messages through nonverbal cues
Allows for immediate response and commentary on the receiving end
Once a familiarity between coworkers and teams has been established, communication becomes much more clear and concise.
Email is typically used as a form of one-way communication. It is a great tool to use when recapping previously discussed or agreed upon objectives. With that said, email is most effective when used to:
Provide brief updates regarding team and project initiatives
Send attachments including relevant and detailed information
Be a source of reference
Serve as a record of communication
It is not effective when used to:
Share new information that has not been previously discussed
Share high-level instruction
Share messages that require a direct and immediate response
Instant messaging, much like its name describes, is used for instant communication. It can almost be viewed as a hybrid for face-to-face and email messages. Users have the ability to communicate with the written word, but also have the concept of instantaneous responses through chat. This is a great channel to adopt when you have established an understanding of your team’s personality and the tone of the messages that are being transmitted. Instant messaging provides the benefit of:
Real-time communication no matter where your team is located
Hosting one-on-one or group conversations
The ability to multi-task and not have to halt work on a project to be immersed in a conversation elsewhere
A Special Report is content that is edited and produced by the Special Reports unit within The Irish Times Content Studio. It is supported by advertisers who may contribute to the report, but who do not have editorial control.
Feedback, coaching and recognition are essential for retaining employees
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 06:00
In association withGreat Place to Work
Talent retention has moved to the top of the agenda for many organisations
With the labour market at its tightest for many years, talent retention has moved to the top of the agenda for organisations. “Unemployment is at its lowest level since 2007 and turnover has been creeping up and has now reached 11 per cent,”says Chris Kerridge, employee engagement expert with MHR UK and Ireland, a specialist provider of HR, payroll and analytics software and services.
“It comes down to engagement levels in organisations. One of the key issues is around employee and job alignment. If the job or the organisation is not what the employee perceived it to be or if there is no alignment with the culture, they won’t stay. Linked in with that is feedback, coaching and recognition.”
Kerridge believes employees need regular feedback on their progress in their jobs and on their contribution to the organisation reaching its goals and objectives. “On the flip side, if employees are not progressing and not receiving feedback on why and not receiving help to develop that will ultimately lead them to disengage.”
John Goulding, founder of employee engagement and internal communications company WorkVivo, points to some of the positive aspects of employee engagement. “It’s hard to recruit talent and the challenge is to hold on to it,”he says. “Employee engagement is one way to do it. We know if you get it right good things happen.”
He cites research by Gallup and Gartner indicating 37 per cent less absenteeism, 65 per cent lower employee turnover and 30 per cent greater customer satisfaction in highly engaged organisations.
That improved customer satisfaction is a natural function of high levels of engagement and retention, according to Kerridge. “An organisation with low turnover levels will gain a highly skilled workforce with detailed knowledge of the company’s products and services; the customer experience improves as a result.”
Recognition is also important, and can be small. “It doesn’t have to be a big thing like an award or a bottle of champagne,” says Kerridge. “A simple thank you or a pat on the back to say well done will do. If employees are not getting that it leads to unhappiness.”
Goulding agrees. “Lack of recognition is one of the reasons people become disengaged. It can be very quick and easy to recognise people for their contribution. You don’t need formal awards.”
The negative impacts of poor engagement and high staff turnover levels can be significant. “High turnover impacts morale and motivation,” says Kerridge. “Employees will be concerned about what’s happening in that situation. That diminishes productivity. One of the main negative effects is cost, as the average cost of recruiting a new hire is around €30,000.”
Goulding believes the key to good employee engagement is communication. His company’s internal communications platform looks and feels like a social media site and facilitates two-way communications between organisations and their employees.
“Companies need to invest the time to connect with their employees,” he says. “They have to explain the goals and objectives of the organisation and bring them alive. They have to explain why the goals are important to the organisation, and not just monthly or quarterly. Communication has to be constant. This facilitates recognition and improved engagement.”
If employees know they have a future they will be more likely to stay
There are other things employers can do to improve engagement. “Companies can support personal development and set out clear career paths within the organisation,” says Kerridge. “If employees know they have a future they will be more likely to stay. They can offer things like flexible working. Attitudes to the work life balance are changing. Employees now expect a level of flexible working.”
Measurement is also critical. “Employers should measure the impact and success of these things through regular surveys. They should do regular pulse surveys weekly or even monthly rather than just once a year.”
Indeed, the very act of carrying out the surveys can lead to a feedback loop which generates improved engagement.
And these steps can be taken by any company, regardless of size, Kerridge concludes. “Feedback and recognition don’t cost anything. Putting a career roadmap in place can be done at little or no cost. Flexible working such as working from home or starting earlier and finishing later needn’t cost a lot to implement. All these things help.”
A personal loan is defined as money loaned to individual borrowers by banks, credit unions, or private lenders. The money can be used for just about any purpose. Personal loans are paid out in a single lump sum, and often repaid over a number of years. The typical personal loan is repaid in monthly installments over an agreed-on period of time and personal loans are typically unsecured, meaning they aren’t backed by collateral (homes, cars or other types of property).
“A personal loan is a convenient borrowing alternative, often at a lower rate than a credit card and with funds disbursed much more quickly than getting a home equity line of credit.”
Interest rates for personal loans are largely determined by your credit score. Your annual income and the amount you wish to borrow are important, too. Interest rates for unsecured personal loans generally range from 5%-36%. You can apply for a personal loan through a bank, credit union or finance company, including online marketplace lenders.
Average Personal Loan Rates by Credit Rating
AVERAGE PERSONAL LOAN INTEREST RATE
Why do people take out personal loans?
Some of the most common reasons for considering a personal loan are:
Funding major purchases, such as weddings or vacations
Even if these reasons don’t apply to you, you may still benefit from a personal loan. Bankrate’s personal loans marketplace can help you find the best loan and the best lender for your situation.
Pros and cons of personal loans
Know the advantages and disadvantages of a personal loan, which include:
The convenience of receiving the money upfront in a lump sum
You can get the money quickly — in as little as one day, depending on the lender
They’re easier to apply for than mortgages or personal lines of credit
You’ll likely pay a higher APR with an unsecured loan
A low credit score can make it more difficult to get the lowest available APR
You may have to pay an origination fee to process the loan
Frequently asked questions about personal loans:
What is APR?
APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate. APR refers to the extra amount borrowers pay in interest and fees on an annual basis. Lenders calculate APR on a yearly basis, but borrowers are most often responsible for paying APR on a monthly basis.
For more detail on how APR can affect your monthly payments, check out our loan calculator.
What’s the difference between a secured loan and an unsecured loan?
Secured loans are backed by a piece of the borrower’s property as collateral, typically a vehicle or house. Because the borrower stands to lose personal property if they default, secured loans tend to have lower interest rates.
Unsecured loans are not backed by collateral, but instead by the borrower’s creditworthiness. Because the lender takes on more of a risk with an unsecured loan, interest rates tend to be higher. Lenders also require that borrowers seeking an unsecured loan have a higher-than-average credit score.
What’s a repayment term?
A repayment term refers to the length of time borrowers have to repay their loan. A personal loan’s repayment term can vary between one and ten years, depending on the lender.
How does my credit score affect my offer?
Because personal loans are often unsecured, they may come with higher APRs. With unsecured loans, lenders tend to pay extra attention to a borrower’s credit score.
The lower a borrower’s credit score is, the more they’ll have to pay in APR. Lower credit scores can lead to APRs in the double digits.
What’s the difference between fixed-rate and variable interest?
Depending on the loan and the lender, you may have a choice between fixed rate (which stays the same over the life of the loan) or variable (which can rise or fall depending on changes in the market).
The interest on a variable rate loan often starts low but may increase over time. The terms of the loan agreement will specify how often the lender is allowed to raise the interest rate, and some loans cap the maximum rate at a certain percentage. By contrast, the payments and interest charges on a fixed-rate loan will remain the same.
Base your decision on whether you prefer the stability of a fixed rate or the possibility of saving on interest with a variable rate.
COMPARE PERSONAL LOAN RATES: Enter your information in the Your info/Loan info box at the top of the page to see offers from Bankrate lending partners.
Transitioning from College to Career: A Guide for New Grads
Graduating from college, while a great achievement and cause for celebration, can put many young adults in a difficult position. Expectations are high for landing the right entry-level position, while for many the threat of student debt and rent create a feeling of financial instability.
This guide is here to help you figure out what you need to know to get on your feet and keep moving, as your academic development turns into professional development.
A business can’t thrive without reliable staff, so regardless of how small your business is, human resources (HR) will remain a crucial part of your journey to success. If you’re still unsure where to begin with establishing your HR practice, then this article is for you. We’ve asked the experts to give us guidelines on how to maintain the best HR practices to help you grow your business.
Here are the top 33 small business human resource tips from the pros.
Owners of very small businesses often do everything themselves, including HR. Where this involves employment laws, employers need to be aware of best practices. The main wage and hour points to keep in mind are: know how overtime accumulates, be aware of state laws, classify employees correctly, track time for hourly employees, and pay employees for all working time. You can find more details on these wage and hour pitfalls in our infographic. The penalties for violating overtime laws can be very costly and the Department of Labor does routinely perform investigations. To protect yourself, stick to the rules and keep accurate records.
Take the time to set up a feedback process for your company’s employees. Feedback is extremely important for an individual employee’s growth as well as the growth of your company. To keep employees engaged, HR officers can encourage leadership to provide employees with personalized constructive feedback, both positive and negative. If employees are taking the time to develop high-quality work, it’s up to managers and leaders to recognize their efforts and their success. I’ve found that a simple hand-written note, an email, or even a cup of coffee to congratulate a team on a job well done is great for morale and encourages them to keep up their good work.
As for negative feedback, it should always be our number one goal to allow our employees to grow personally and professionally. When a task or strategy isn’t executed as well as it should have been, managers can take the time to review the mistakes with their employees and educate them on how they can improve next time. We are strong advocates for constant learning in our office, and if employees never understand what they did wrong, how will they ever know how to improve on it in the future?
3. Know the Law
Dr. Jennifer Trout, Department Chair, Human Resources & Organizational Leadership, Business Management and Healthcare Management, Rasmussen College
It is important to understand federal laws when it comes to your employees. Basic functions such as safety and security, hiring practices, compensation and benefits required, work schedules, vacation time, and leave times are swirling questions for any small business owner. A good place to start is by referencing with the Federal Employee Handbook. Once you have familiarized yourself with these laws and regulations, you are ready to move to the next focus areas.
I think one of the smartest things I’ve heard in recent years regarding HR practices is to be cognizant of the way you lean into myths about Millennials in the workplace. I’ve worked almost exclusively with Millennials as my staff and found every last one to be exceptionally dedicated to their job, eager to learn, full of bright ideas, and not afraid to share them. That’s a good thing. An easy rule of thumb: if you can swap out “Millennial” in any of these statements for the name of another marginalized group and it sounds bad, don’t say it. Also be aware, whether you realize it or not, many Millennial stereotypes are specifically aimed at young women (being flighty, taking selfies, being into frivolous trends). This kind of generalization can easily overlap with (or lead to) sexist or harassing behavior among your staff, if not careful.
It is wise to do everything possible to lower the risks of attrition and increase the chance that your new hires will find everlasting joy in their new place of employment. Studies show that the number one thing that we can do to substantially increase a new hire sticking it out during the predictably challenging first few months of employment is to have them forge a relationship with someone within the company, that they are comfortable going to with questions, and for advice. This person does not necessarily have to be their direct report. In fact, it can be a peer, or a manager one level above them, in another department.
Having someone that the new hire can go to, that he can bounce ideas off of, gauge the impact of company announcements, personalities, changes within management, etc. can serve as a barometer that can calm a newcomer as they acclimate to your company’s culture.
The most effective action HR can take in a small business, is to digitize and centralize their personnel files. So many smaller companies make the mistake of ‘making do’ with paper files and spreadsheets, but it causes a nightmare when the time arrives to expand the workforce. If you get into the best practice habit of maintaining a centralized, digital HR database, you’ll have an excellent foundation for company growth. And if you choose the right HR system to help you, you’ll get far more value than just easy access to employee records and company policies – you’ll enjoy a streamlined recruitment process via the ATS (Applicant Tracking System), performance reviews will be consistent, and HR data will be easier to analyze.
Small business owners with fewer than 50 employees often can’t justify the cost of hiring a full-time HR generalist, but not incorporating legally compliant HR policies and procedures into your business is a liability. Professional Employer Organizations, or PEOs, may seem like a good alternative, but since they co-employ your staff, you lose control over your company’s culture. Instead, bring on an HR consultant to write your handbook and hiring documents, and who can train your bookkeeper to handle payroll and benefits. The consultant can function on an “as-needed” basis going forward for sticky employee relations issues.
8. Use Personality Tests When Sourcing for Employees
As a small business owner, I wear the hat of Human Resources Director. As part of our interviewing process, I give a Myers Briggs personality test to every candidate so I can be sure their natural personality will fit with the role for which they’re being hired. The personality test I use is at 16personalities.com and is free. Understanding a candidate’s natural tendencies is important in certain roles. For example, I would be unlikely to hire a Myers Briggs “P”—the type of person who hates lists and likes to let life unfold naturally—in an administrative role that required control and structured organization. The website where the candidate takes the test provides a nice overview of their strengths and weaknesses so I don’t have to interpret the results myself.
9. Remember that Company Culture Relies on Employee Engagement
Creating and maintaining a thriving company culture really boils down to one thing: employee engagement, because employees are most engaged when they have a strong sense of purpose. So define your company’s vision, align corporate goals around the vision, and communicate the vision and goals early and often via a consistent elevator pitch. Each person in the company should know the elevator pitch to evangelize the company’s vision.
When it comes to hiring, we all want to hire the best and brightest in our respective industries – but skill sets are not the be-all, end-all of good hires. A super-talented and highly skilled candidate may not be the right fit for your corporate culture. Finally, great leaders and managers realize that you have to be very selective. Hiring the right people at the right time means making sure each hire’s skills, personality, and temperament align with the values and behaviors that the company holds dear.
10. Track Employee Goals With a Performance Management Tool
Constructive feedback can boost employee morale and encourage them to keep up their good work and improve their performance. By tying feedback to specific goals, managers can get a clearer picture of what’s working and what needs to change. Zoho People is an HR tool that lets managers offer feedback to employees, set goals, and track their performance. Employees can also review their peers, highlight their own skill sets, and view ratings from their managers. Click here for a free trial.
As a business owner, what steps can you put in place to shield yourself from your environment escalating to become a hostile environment? According to the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC), US Companies have paid out more than $295 million in sexual harassment over the past 7 years. And with these payouts, the companies also are experiencing the indirect cost of decreased productivity, increased turnover, and reputational damage.
In a 2016 Task Force Task Force Study, the EEOC recommends that employers should conduct climate surveys to assess the extent to which harassment is a problem in their organization.
Provide a clear, multifaceted, ‘multiple point-of-contact’ process on how to report a violation. Yes, you can keep your open-door policy and encourage employees to go to HR, but it’s in everyone’s best interest if you develop a more robust plan. Ideas include: training a team of first respondents, violation hotline, access to a 3rd party HR resource, peer-review board.
Once you have established how you will move forward, get out your Sexual Harassment Policy and your red sharpie and give it a do-over. Write it like you mean it, in clear uncertain terms. Look at it through the lens of someone who has been harassed.
An important component of creating an employee experience that will help your team feel more connected to your company is incorporating the right digital technology tools into their workflow. The key to remember here is that the tools should focus more heavily on catering to employee needs vs purely fulfilling business requirements. That being said, there are apps and platforms that are mutually beneficial to employees and their employer alike. Productivity and organizational tools like Basecamp, Slack, and Trello work well for this. For improved employee engagement, there are pulse survey tools that help management regularly tap into how employees are feeling about their overall work experience. Providing employees with wellbeing apps – like Limeaid – is another way to show you care about your team beyond their work-related contributions to the company.
The tip I regularly make for our small business clients (frankly, every client) is — document, document, document. It is a simple fundamental and yet the lack of documentation, particularly when there’s an issue developing or at hand, is startling. About 90% of the time, when we are engaged on an HR issue there is little or no documentation to substantiate the employer’s assertions. I always suggest logging the time, date, attendees, and summary of any conversation – even if you don’t think it will be a problem in the future. Just write it in your notebook or even just in an email to yourself (so it’s time and date stamped). If you never need it, no worries, but if you do, you have it.
We only hire techs who have high school work experience. So, we ask them, “What did your high school job mean to you?” We expect our techs to have a good work ethic and to treat customers with respect. I have found that this question screens for those attributes better than any other. I want them to reveal what their priorities have been, not what they say they will be in the future. If work is not first or second, it’s not a good match.
15. Hire Virtual Employees to Expand and Diversify Your Talent Pool
The talent pool for small businesses is typically limited to candidates who are willing to commute to the office. By hiring virtual employees, you can delegate more tasks while saving your business some overhead cost. Hiring employees that live in different places also broadens your talent pool and diversifies your company’s culture.
Virtual employees, like the assistants at Time etc, have years of experience, are heavily vetted, and can perform a varietyof tasks such as data entry, content creation, search engine optimization, order input, and invoice creation, document editing and formatting, and much more. Try using Time etc and hire talent you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. Click here to start your free trial.
After 9 years of working to answer our new employees’ questions through live chat and calls, it was not until 4 months ago that we started developing our own HR chatbot. Thanks to Artificial Intelligence through Deep Learning with Google’s TensorFlow platform, we were able to automate 66.9% of queries. With this, new employees get answers to their questions in seconds and our team only has to answer those questions that were never consulted before. This also helps the whole team because we do not have to spend time answering the same questions more than once. When using an HR chatbot, it is important that during the first few weeks, someone from your team is assigned to monitor each conversation to correct the bot when necessary. We made the mistake of thinking that everything was solved which led to “unhappy” new employees.
17. Hire Candidates Who are Compatible with Your Business Culture
As an owner of a small business, you spend the bigger part of your life at work and you can’t avoid interaction with every single employee. That’s why it’s important to choose candidates according to their personal qualities. Hire only those people you feel comfortable to work with. To make sure that you’re on the right way, introduce testing days or short probation periods. Do not invent tasks for your candidate, let he or she join the process as it is and you will see if a person is able to cope with the tasks. Also, make a list of the traits personally you appreciate the most and include them into a job description. Most of the companies copy this part from each other and it appears that everybody is looking for “sociable team players”.
If you prefer working with independent people, don’t be shy to indicate this information. Being honest and standing out of the crowd will increase your chance to fill the vacancy with the needed candidate.
18. Use Flextime and Self-Scheduling to Increase Productivity
One of the biggest struggles in customer-facing industries is presence. You need to balance being available to customers, while also offering employees morale-boosting work-life balance. Flextime self-scheduling arrangements are proving to be the solution. Employees have the ability to select their hours and schedule their work around other priorities in their life. Managers host a wide pool of talent, so there are always workers available to pick up shifts. This transfers the ownership of scheduling from manager to employee, which reduces the costs of absenteeism, presenteeism, and unfilled hours. Providing employees with flextime arrangements is the key solution to overcoming the scheduling challenges that plague HR departments today.
19. Promote Diversity and Inclusiveness in the Workplace
Begin cultivating a diverse and inclusive workplace with small, easy changes. As you know, this is a current hot topic and an important area of focus for all sizes of companies. However, SMBs can often feel hamstrung by their budgets and resources when it comes to rolling out a Diversity & Inclusion program. Here are a few easy to implement tips for SMBs:
Convert all job descriptions and website content to using gender-neutral language
Hold an international foods potluck as a way of appreciating different cultures in your office
Celebrate holidays and events for underrepresented minorities like Black History Month or Gay Pride Week
Millennials can have a negative rep in the business world and many business owners may stray away from hiring Millennials, but it can be a costly mistake. When hiring, it is important for biz owners to stop comparing Baby Boomers to Millennials and implement a company structure that merges the two generations cohesively to bring out each of their strengths and similarities for a profitable, productive, and happy company.
21. Consult with Key Officers Before Rolling Out New Programs
I believe that, whenever possible, Human Resources should look to receive feedback from key team leaders on new programs or processes before rolling them out. Leaders should be identified as members of the team that have an influence on others and are looked up to by peers. By doing so, you will get valuable feedback from people who are impacted but also get buy-in from key stakeholders. It is much easier and quicker to get people to adopt changes when they feel as though they were a part of the process. This can also lead to overcoming potential issues or obstacles before everyone has access to the changes. There is nothing worse than running into a bunch of issues after rolling something new out that could have been solved in the development phase, this often leads to a distrust of the new changes.
22. Invest in Employee Training & Keep Employee/Culture Handbook Up-to-Date
Small businesses often build the best brands but we’re faced with limitations that corporations don’t have to struggle with (time, resources, plentiful workforce). To ensure you’re effectively implementing best HR practices, begin crafting your employee handbook and company policies on day one and continue to keep it relevant and up to date as your small business grows; communicate these policies to every new hire during training/onboarding. By investing in employee training and company policies, you’re investing in your team members and creating a policy compliant workspace for everyone.
My advice to any small business is to network with an HR professional or keep an HR consultant on-call if possible. The laws continue to change in this country and it impacts large and small organizations the same. Reviewing handbooks, labor posters and conducting HR audits is necessary to be successful and legal in this evolving business climate. Work with someone you trust and attend trainings on HR related issues. Chamber events, local HR chapter events, webinars are great places to pick up knowledge. Ask questions and do not assume a quick Google search will provide legal expert answers.
If you want to push boundaries and achieve outstanding results, you need to take a risk or two. However, your employees will only take risks if they feel like they can. The company culture at many small businesses can lead to employees playing it safe in the fear of losing their jobs if a risk backfires. This can stifle growth and discourages creative employees from trying new ideas. It can be difficult for small businesses to take risks as the potential impact of them going wrong could have a greater effect on the future of the business, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider taking any. Encourage employees to propose radical new ideas even if they could be risky, then calculate the risks and decide if they are worth taking.
25. Provide Your Employees with a Clear Vision of their Role in the Business
Being able to illustrate the future, to smart capable people, is critical to have them see their place within our organization. We provide a clear strategic vision as to how being a part of our enterprise will fulfill their ambitions, with boundless opportunity. It starts with a clear understanding of what the organization chart should look like today, five years from now and ten years from now.
Each key manager is provided with a copy of a “Gold Book” for their particular business. This is a book where I define the opportunity of the business, today and into the future, provide the strategy for achieving very large ambitious goals, their place in it and their future with the company. From there, populating the org chart with the right people and constant training and communication (hours of my time every week) and having daily reports to measure their success. Investment includes outside seminars, conferences, reimbursement of tuition and constant interactions to make sure they do not lose sight of their longer-term goals.
Small businesses should always be recruiting talent. When you go out to eat, notice the service you get. When you’re interacting with the other parents at your kid’s school, think about who fits with you. The best time to think about adding someone to your team is when it’s not imperative that you have that spot filled today. If you’re able to take your time and select the right talent you want on your team for the long term, you’re setting yourself up for a much smoother ride. Hiring mistakes are some of the most costly things you can get wrong in business.
This is something that all businesses should now be doing when hiring. The way people act during interviews doesn’t always reflect the person that they actually are. Remember, an interviewee will display a sensible, professional attitude to try and impress you, to land the job. As an employer, you will get a much better idea of who they are by scanning their social media profiles. After all, you don’t want to hire a candidate who posts abusive comments and inappropriate photos on Facebook. That’s why more sensible and professional candidates will likely have their accounts set to private.
Often, small business owners are pressed for time as it is, and trying to fit in HR activities can be a challenge. Hiring is one of them; super time consuming, but necessary. Why not get your staff involved? Who better to help assess candidates than those who will be working side by side with them and know the job well? Give your team a few parameters to go by, and then let them take on the task and present you with their recommendation(s). This also increases engagement of your existing staff, when they are given opportunities to go outside of their normal duties and contribute on another level.
At Badger Maps, we highly encourage and value constructive and regular feedback from our employees in order to constantly improve our processes and management. Google docs and surveys are a great way for us as small business to collect, manage and analyze employee feedback. We send out surveys to new employees after their second week at Badger and then again after 8 weeks to evaluate and improve our onboarding process. We also send out regular surveys for general feedback to all employees. Creating Google surveys is very easy and fast which saves the HR team a lot of time. You can adjust the surveys or create different versions, so it’s a scalable process, and it allows you to see and manage the results immediately and get a great overview of the responses.
30. Set Up a Formal Onboarding Process
Tom Hammond, VP of Corporate Strategy & Product Management, Paychex, Inc
While many small businesses think they’re too small for a formal onboarding process, the truth is streamlined, electronic onboarding can help level the recruitment playing field between smaller companies and larger organizations. From pre-hire through their first six months, employees form critical impressions that impact retention and performance – and establishing a clear, formal onboarding process can set each new employee up for success by helping them navigate an organization and understand what it takes to thrive in their new position. A comprehensive onboarding process should communicate cultural norms, clarify expectations for performance, and help improve internal communications and relationships – all the better if onboarding can be completed through automated, paperless software.
A HRIS system (or Human Resource Information System) is a comprehensive software that allows one person to do it all – alter payroll, hire and terminate employees, update addresses, track vacation, etc. Small businesses shouldn’t be put off by the potential cost of an appropriately sized HRIS system. Many also have features that allow for applicant tracking during recruitment. If you want your employees to get behind HR initiatives, start by ensuring they’re being properly handled.
If you want to build a top performing team, it will not be for everyone. Sometimes letting someone go is the caring thing to do, both for that individual and the team as a whole. When someone is unsuccessful and underperforming, by all means, teach, coach and provide opportunities to improve. But when you know in your heart of hearts that additional effort will not help, do the compassionate thing and fire that person.
While you’ll find that there are many performance appraising instruments and methods out there, whatever the instrument used, you should regularly evaluate and memorialize the state of your employees’ performance. This is true, not only to assess if the employee’s current performance meets, exceeds, or falls short of expected performance, but also from a developmental and career pathing standpoint. Remember, performance appraising should not be done casually. It is imperative that your supervisors be trained on how to appraise correctly so to avoid potential rater errors. Frequent errors include:
Halo effect, the tendency to make inappropriate generalizations from one aspect of a person’s job performance,
Leniency, the tendency to evaluate all people as outstanding and to give inflated ratings rather than true assessments of performance,
Central tendency, evaluating every person as average regardless of differences in performance, among other rater errors.
And, while there is an assumption that your employee is being evaluated on what you hired them to do per the job description; however, this is not always the case. While most of the jobs are broken out between: must do/know, need to do/know, and nice to do/know, sometimes supervisors overly focus on how well the employee is doing in the nice to do/know, while overlooking that the employee might be marginal in the must or need to do/know.
BONUS: Don’t Wait Until the End of the Year to Do a Performance Review
Data shows now more than ever that waiting until the end of the year to discuss an employee’s performance – whether good or bad – is not only ineffective but leads to employee dissatisfaction and turnover. When meeting with employees, provide constructive feedback and be prepared to include suggestions for future improvement, discuss upcoming goals (set by both you and your employee) and learn what resources the employee might need to be successful and motivated. Quarterly performance evaluations can help implement a culture of constant learning, development, and improvement where the performance evaluation becomes a dialogue of accomplished goals rather than seen as unattainable. However, it is no good to provide constructive feedback to employees but not follow up when there has been no change or not praise the employee when expectations have been met.
The Bottom Line
The role of human resource within a small business highlights the importance of the relationship between the company and its employees. It’s important to remember that while every business starts out small, how you establish your HR policies will heavily impact your business growth as well as your reputation as an employer.
About the Author
Anna Lynn Dizon specializes in writing tip lists and other content for Fit Small Business. She is a business and finance major who previously worked for a US risk mitigation company in its regional office in Singapore. Anna started her writing career as a research and writing assistant for eBooks on various niches. She spends her free time giving English tutorial lessons. She is also currently working on her Master’s Degree in Language and Literacy Education.
Last updated: February 13, 2019 | By Jessica Leone
From hiring a team to creating a marketing strategy, every business venture involves some level of risk. As a business owner or entrepreneur, risk-taking is simply part of the role.
While it’s impossible to predict how a decision will pay off, there are steps you can take to mitigate cost and uncertainty. Below, we outline the steps and potential benefits of calculated risk-taking. For a condensed version of our take, jump to the infographic.
What is a Calculated Risk?
A calculated risk is a risk that’s been given thoughtful consideration by weighing all potential costs and benefits. Calculated risk-takers carefully take steps toward a goal. They don’t gamble on the future. Instead, they find ways to mitigate risk as much as possible.
With every business decision, you consider the outcome and advantages or disadvantages. This is even more important with business risk-taking when the stakes are much higher. The more you can lower the potential for loss or injury to your business, the better.
How to Take Calculated Risks
When faced with an opportunity, consider these steps to work toward your goal in a thoughtful way. Even if you think of yourself as risk-averse, the below tips will come in handy for non-risky business decisions.
1. Break down the decision – Assess the larger end goal by shrinking it into smaller, individual risks. It’s far less daunting and enables you to evaluate each risk at the micro level. Start by writing down each of the component parts that make up your decision. What will be the real effort required? Begin with the easiest of those parts first.
2. Ensure your bottom line is balanced – Can your bottom line take the hit if the opportunity you pursue happens to go south? As a business owner, shareholder or employee, check your numbers quarterly or after each accounting period to assess the effectiveness of your strategy and management.
3. Evaluate the opportunity – Take a step back to gather as much valuable information as you can. Create a road map or plan of action and list possible outcomes to weigh how the risk will play out. As Richard Branson was starting Virgin Atlantic, he negotiated in his contract with Boeing the option to return the 747 plane at the end of its first year if the venture didn’t work out as expected. His team spends time finding innovative ways to protect the venture from potential risks.
4. Be OK with saying no– Keep in mind that not every idea should be pursued. If your plate is always full, it’s more difficult to find the time to go after an unexpected or shocking opportunity. In 2008, when Facebook offered $500 million to take over the growing Twitter platform, it promptly turned the offer down. The Twitter founder and team believed in its original vision.
5. Be flexible – Learn to change course if something isn’t working, but keep a forward-thinking mindset. It’s best if you can anticipate an issue before it affects your business or bottom line. For example, you pursue a new venture that’s allotted a $50,000 budget, but find out two months into the four-month-long project the budget is getting cut by $10,000. Instead of getting frustrated, head back to the drawing board to come up with a creative solution.
6. Set checkpoints – While you may be months or even years from reaching your goal, check in on your progress. Regular checkpoints will help you stay on track.
Risk-taking can mean the difference between ordinary and extraordinary. Don’t let fear get in the way if you are passionate about the direction of your goal. Your business growth depends on your willingness to try something new, even if it ends in an epic fail.
1. Gain a competitive edge in the market – Demands are always changing, along with customer needs. If you’re willing to take a risk when competitors or other businesses aren’t, people will remember you for it.
2. Drive transformational change – Status quo isn’t an option in business anymore. What will push the needle when it comes to your services and products that no other business is doing?
3. Overcome fear of failure – When you’re willing to take risks, it empowers you to break through limits (whether self-imposed or external) that may be holding you back.
4. Learn to trust more – As you overcome a fear of failure, it will instill a willingness to trust the process. If you’re unsure how to do that, lean on your team or business partner for an extra boost of confidence.
Pursuing a risk takes time, effort and courage. Particularly, in business, when there is a lot riding on your decision. However, calculated risk-taking lends itself to true innovation and growth. Industry leaders got where they are because of strategic planning and a willingness to take chances.
Now read on and let’s get started with the Ultimate Guide to Psychometric Tests!
FREE BONUS: Get free unlimited access to Psychometric test practice (for 30 minutes) on our partner website JobTestPrep.
Psychometric tests are used in recruitment because companies want a means of fairly and accurately predicting which applicants are likely to be successful in a particular job.
The tests aimed to assess the specific abilities of candidates as they related to the requirements of the role.
For example, if a job requires the ability to work with and process numerical data, it is better for employers to be able to test whether a candidate is able to do that, rather than just asking them: candidates might over-estimate their abilities or lie. There was a need for better solution.
There are many different types of psychometric tests but broadly speaking, they fall into two categories: tests of ability (what a person can do) and tests of personality (what a person is like).
Let’s take a look at some of these different tests.
These tests assess a candidate’s ability to understand and manipulate numerical data. You can find our expert guide to Numerical Tests here.
They typically present the candidate with numerical information, often in the form of tables, graphs or charts, and ask the candidate to manipulate the information in order to answer the question.
They tend to be used for jobs where being able to use and understand numbers is important, such as accountants or analysts.
Here is an example of a typical numerical reasoning question (correct answers highlighted in bold):
Q1: What was the most popular flavour of preserve in 2016?
a) Strawberry Jam
b) Raspberry Jam
c) Apricot Jam
d) Plum Jam
Q2: Which country had the greatest percentage increase in preserve consumption from 2015 to 2016?
d) Argentina e) India
Q3: In 2015, people in the UK ate an average of 20% more preserve in 2014. What was the average preserve consumption per capita in 2014?
b) 8.16 kg c) 8.50 kg
d) 8.72 kg
e) 9.27 kg
Verbal Reasoning Tests
These tests are designed assess a candidate’s ability to understand and manipulate written material. You can find our expert guide to Verbal Reasoning tests here.
There are various types but the most common tend to present the candidate with a passage of information and ask them to assess whether statements are true, false or impossible to say on the basis of the information in the passage.
Other questions assess your understanding of words or grammar.
They are often used when the job requires a candidate to accurately read and interpret written information, such as roles in marketing or customer services.
Here is an example of a typical verbal reasoning question:
You will be presented with a passage to read and a statement about that passage. You must select one of the following answers:
TRUE: The statement follows logically from the information contained in the passage
FALSE: The statement is logically false from the information contained in the passage
CANNOT SAY: It is not possible to determine whether the statement is true or false without further information
“Working in a holiday resort is a popular option for graduates wishing to see the world. It gives them the opportunity to experience foreign cultures, make friends and build lifelong memories. As the skills required for securing a job tend to be low, most graduates choose not to turn their experience into a career, but enjoy the time they spend abroad. But there is a dark side to this kind of casual work: often workers’ rights are ignored and they may find themselves working long hours for very little money, as holiday resorts often do not adhere to the standards we might expect in the UK”
Statement 1: Many graduates enjoy working in holiday resorts so much they choose to develop a career in hospitality.
(The correct answer is false: the passage says that ‘most graduates choose not to turn their experience into a career).
Statement 2: All graduates who spend time working in holiday results make friends.
(The correct answer is cannot say: the passage says that it gives [graduates] the opportunity to make friends, it is impossible to say whether all graduates do so).
Statement 3: Graduates working in holiday resorts often find that the pay and working conditions are lower than they might expect in the UK.
(The correct answer is true: the passage says that graduates may find themselves working long hours for very little money, as holiday resorts often do not adhere to the standards we might expect in the UK)
This video explains true, false, cannot say type questions in more detail:
Whilst the example above is the most commonly found type of verbal reasoning question, there are other types, as follows.
Free Text Editing
Here you must correct the text shown below.
“Many cat owners’ love there animals very much. It can be dificult four them to understand why other’s don’t also enjoy they’re company. Living with someone who cat’s effect differently can be hard particularly if their allergic, but with practise gets easier”
As you can see, this passage contains a number of spelling and grammatical errors. The correct answer is shown below:
“Many cat owners love their animals very much. It can be difficult for them to understand why others don’t also enjoy their company. Living with someone who cats affect differently can be hard, particularly if they’re allergic, but with practice gets easier”
These questions require you to arrange the sentences in order, depending on an understanding of the language they use.
You have invited a number of colleagues to a meeting. Please rank their responses from the most to least positive:
1. Ok, sounds good, please can you send me the agenda? 2. I’m sorry, I can’t make it but thanks for inviting me. 3. No. That’s not convenient for me and I don’t think I need to be there anyway. 4. Great – I’ll look forward to seeing you there 5. Is it important that I’m there? Is there any chance I could grab the minutes from someone instead?
The correct order is:
1. Great – I’ll look forward to seeing you there 2. Ok, sounds good, please can you send me the agenda? 3. I’m sorry, I can’t make it but thanks for inviting me. 4. Is it important that I’m there? Is there any chance I could grab the minutes from someone instead? 5. No. That’s not convenient for me and I don’t think I need to be there anyway.
Abstract/Logical Reasoning Tests
These tests assess a candidate’s ability to understand novel information, patterns and trends. You can find our expert article on Logical Reasoning tests here.
They typically present you with a sequence of images or patterns and ask you to identify the next in the series or the odd one out.
As they require no specific learned skills to complete they are often seen as the ‘purest’ test of ability as they are less affected by education level.
Abstract reasoning tests tend to be used for jobs where the candidate will need to problem solve effectively, manage new situations and understand how different elements can interrelate, as such they are often used for leadership and managerial roles.
Here are some examples of abstract reasoning questions:
Look at the items in the top row and decide which of the items in the bottom row comes next in the sequence:
The correct answer is D. To solve this, you will need to have identified the two rules operating here: Rule 1: Odd to even, the shapes row move one position upwards, reappearing at the bottom when they disappear off the top. Rule 2: Even to odd, the shapes move one position to the left, reappearing on the right when they disappear off the left side.
Abstract reasoning questions often involve movement of shapes.
Look out for different rules that operate on odd or even questions as they are becoming more common.
Here is another example of a tricky abstract reasoning question:
Look at the items in the top row and decide which of the items in the bottom row comes next in the sequence:
The correct answer is A. To solve this question, you need to understand that the squares in the top half of the boxes tell you something about the shapes below them – they are a kind of code. In this case there are four rules:
Rule 1: Grey square means that the shape and colour of the shape below are correct.
Rule 2: Striped square means that the shape and colour of the shape below are incorrect.
Rule 3: Black square means that the shape of the shape below is correct but colour is wrong.
Rule 4: White square means that the colour of the shape below is correct but shape is wrong.
Mechanical Reasoning Tests
These tests evaluate competence in mechanical or technical ability.
They tend to be used for jobs where there is a need to understand how things work technically, such as engineering roles.
They often include questions on topics such as levers, gears, pulleys, springs, screws, acceleration, gravity, clamps, shafts, pressure, friction, eights, volumes, conveyor belts, kinetic and potential energy, balancing scales, simple electrical circuits, applied maths, magnetism, mirrors and reflection.
This film gives a good introduction to solving different mechanical reasoning tests.
Critical Thinking Tests
These tests aim to assess the candidates’ ability to think critically about information.
This includes analysing, conceptualising and reasoning.
To be successful candidates must be able to structure and appraise arguments, identify assumptions and inferences, and understand and synthesise information, these tests are primarily used for lawyers but they are also used by other organisations where a high level of analysis is required.
The most common critical thinking test is Watson Glaser.
You can find out more about these types of tests in this video:
These tests aim to understand what a person is like and how they are likely to behave. You can find our expert guide to Personality Tests here.
There are many different personality tests available, the most robust are based around the ‘Big Five’ personality traits: Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism, an example of this would be NEO PI-R.
There are other personality tests that are particularly relevant to the workplace, such as the OPQ (Occupational Personality Questionnaire) or that assess how an individual is likely to respond to authority (e.g. FIRO-B).
Others assess how individuals are likely to behave under pressure (such as Hogan Dark Side).
A more recent trend has emerged in which one test can provide a wealth of different psychometric data in one go, such as Talent Q Dimensions.
These tests aim to understand what is likely to drive or motivate an individual.
There are many different things that might motivate someone, things like the need for sustainability (e.g. money and security), relatedness needs (e.g. recognition, affiliation and competition) or growth needs (e.g. power, advancement and achievement).
Understanding what motivates someone is particularly useful for understanding whether they are going to find the culture and expectations of the organisation agreeable, and in establishing whether they are likely to focus effectively on the priorities of the role.
Situational Judgement Tests
These tests are designed to understand how a candidate might actually behave in the workplace.
For example, are they likely to be a good team player?
Are they likely to show high levels of perseverance?
Or are they likely to focus mainly on themselves and give up at the first hurdle?
This is assessed by presenting candidates with a hypothetical scenario, relevant to their desired job, and asking them to select the option which they see as the best response.
These tend to be useful to assess attitude, motivation or organisational fit.
This film introduces situational judgement test in a little more detail:
In reality it is not unusual to be asked to complete several psychometric tests for the same role: numerical, verbal and abstract reasoning is a particularly common combination, particularly for leadership roles.
‘How can I be sure that the test I’m taking is a good test?’
Good psychometric tests have good validity, reliability and use norm groups to interpret the results.
They should also be fair and unbiased against any particular group, and they should be administered and interpreted by someone qualified to do so.
Let’s explore what this means…
Validity means that the test does what it says it does.
So if a test says that it assesses numerical ability, does it actually do so.
There are a number of different types of validity:
This is used to explore whether the test actually measures what it is intended to measure, and not something else.
For example, if a numerical reasoning test were only available in English, then for international candidates it would not only be measuring numerical skills, but also their ability to read and understand English.
This is used to explore whether performance on the test is correlated to other variables.
For example, does a candidate’s performance on a verbal reasoning test correlate with their real work verbal reasoning skills.
Predictive validity is one particularly important kind of criterion validity; this explores the ability of the test to predict future performance.
This describes whether the test ‘looks like’ it is assessing what it says it is assessing.
For example, if an applicant to a job were told that their logical reasoning skills would be tested by measuring their baking skills, it would be hard for candidates to feel that the test was accurate or worth using.
Reliability means that the test consistently or reliably measures the same thing.
It’s no use if a test of numerical ability only sometimes measures numerical ability!
It needs to always measure the same thing to be of any use.
These are a number of different ways of assessing reliability.
Here are some of the most common:
If a person takes the same test (and they hadn’t done anything to improve their performance) you would expect them to have a similar score, and this is what test-retest reliability evaluates.
A group of individuals are given the same test over a period of time to evaluate whether their performance changes.
A good test will have a high degree of stability over time.
Internal consistency reliability
This assesses how consistently a person performs over the different test questions.
One might expect that a person might answer similar questions in a similar way – if they don’t, then there might be a problem with the questions.
This is typically measured by split-half (or parallel form) reliability, which involves splitting all of the questions into two groups and examining the correlation between performance on both question groups.
The higher the consistency, the greater the reliability.
This examines the extent to which different people would draw the same conclusions from the results of the test.
In a test with good inter-related reliability, different people would tend to give the same rating.
Norm referencing is a way of interpreting an individual’s performance on a test.
Norm referencing involves comparing an individual’s performance on a test, to the performance of the norm group (a norm group is a group of other people that have also competed the test).
I.e. it shows how well you have done, compared to other people that have taken the test.
This is useful because it tells us how well someone has actually done on the test.
For example, knowing that someone had scored 13 out of 20 on a test doesn’t tell us that much.
It could be a good score if everyone else scored 10 out of 10 or poor if everyone else scored 20 out of 20.
However, knowing that someone scored better than 79% of the norm group tells us far more about how good actual performance was.
It is important that the test administrator selects an appropriate norm group to compare your performance to.
Some typical norm group characteristics are age, educational achievement level, or job level.
Fair and Unbiased
For a test to be fair and unbiased, no individuals from any particular group should be disadvantaged when completing the test.
For example, if women or black people consistently performed worse on a test than other groups, this would not be a fair test.
Psychologists are aware of the and the test development process should have identified and corrected any adverse impact of a psychometric test.
Other ways of making the test fair, relate to reasonable adjustments for people who need them, for example individuals with dyslexia might need longer to complete the test.
If you have any additional needs, it is important that you mention these to the test administrator so that they can put any necessary adjustments in place.
Administered and interpreted by a someone qualified to do so
The British Psychological Society requires individuals to complete a qualification before they are allowed to administer or interpret psychometric test results.
This ensures that the tests are used appropriately and fairly. There are several different levels of qualification:
Assistant Test User: Occupational Test Administrator
This qualification allows an individual to administer a test under the supervision of an Occupational Psychologist who is registered in their use.
This qualification allows an individual to administer and interpret psychometric testsof personality. Typically, a user will have to complete an ‘additional instrument’ qualification for each test they use.
Specialist in Test Use
This is a qualification for individuals who want to be able to use a wide range of personality assessments.
Psychometric tests are widely used because they are a cheap and effective way of distinguishing between candidates and accurately identifying who is likely to be successful in the job role.
They can be administered to candidates early on in the process and don’t require a face to face meeting, thereby reducing the time and costs associated with selection.
They are also the best predictors of job performance: research has shown them to be 14 times more predictive of job performance than the average interview (Hunter and Hunter, 1984 1) ).
Psychometric testing is particularly useful for ‘volume recruitment’, this is when a job attracts a large number of applicants.
In this instance the psychometric tests are often used to sift out candidates who don’t achieve a specified level on the test.
Other organisations prefer to use psychometrics to support a wider selection process; the tests might form part of an assessment centre for example and the candidate’s performance on the tests will be considered amongst a range of other evidence in considering the candidate’s suitability.
Psychometric tests are becoming incredibly common – around 80% of the US Fortune 500 and 75% of the UK Times 100 companies use them 2) , and the rate of test use is growing by 10 – 15% per year in the US 3) .
Whilst psychometric use is well established in most European countries, it is growing in other countries around the world, with over 56% of India’s top 100 organisations now using psychometrics 4) .
It would be impossible to list all of the organisations that use psychometric tests but here are a few examples: Bank of England, Ford, Deloitte, Procter and Gamble, Hewlett Packard, JP Morgan, Citigroup, Microsoft, McDonald’s, 3M, Barclays, E.ON, Ernst and Young, RBS, Pizza Hut and KPMG.
Psychometric tests are typically short, intense and challenging!
The often last less than 30 minutes and require candidates to complete a number of different questions.
Broadly speaking psychometric ability tests measure either speed (how many questions a candidate can complete in the given timeframe) or power (the most difficult question a candidate can correctly answer) or some combination of both.
Some newer psychometrics are ‘responsive’ which means that they can react to a candidate’s performance on previous questions and present different questions depending on their performance so far.
This allows for an even greater level of discrimination between candidates.
Personality tests are rarely subject to a time limit, but tend to ask candidates to respond to a range of questions, often asking candidates to rate how closely a statement reflects them.
Psychometrics are now primarily delivered online. You will be sent an email including a link which will enable you to access the test.
You should research the test published before clicking on this link so that you know what the test will look and feel like.
You should also expect to be retested.
Where psychometrics are used as a screening tool and completed online, organisations tend to retest candidates at the interview so that they can be sure that the candidate did indeed complete the test.
It really is not worth cheating by trying to get someone else to help you with tests as you will probably get caught out later.
Psychometric reasoning tests measure your ability, and to some extent this is fixed and your ability to dramatically alter your results is limited by your actual ability level.
What you want to do is ensure that you are performing at your maximum level.
The best way to do this is to practice.
Familiarise yourself with the different types of questions that psychometric testspresent.
Completing lots of practice questions will allow you to identify areas where you need to revise or learn new techniques, and equip you with strategies you can use to solve the questions.
For example, the more you practice abstract reasoning tests, the more familiar you become with some of the different ways in which questions are constructed, this will enable you to decode them more effectively.
It is also worth revising for numerical and mechanical reasoning tests to ensure that the tools and techniques you need to use are at the forefront of your mind and you don’t have to waste time trying to remember them.
To give yourself the best chance of success, you need to prepare yourself.
This means sorting out your IT and making sure you understand how to access the test.
Ensure that you have the things around you that you might need: as a rule of thumb, make sure you have a pencil, some scrap pencil and a calculator with you, and that you can see a clock.
You might also find it useful to have checklists of how to complete common mathematical tasks, for example.
Make sure that you will not be distracted in the middle of the test – speak to the people you live with and ask them not to disturb you.
Place a sign on the door if you need to, and turn off notifications on your phone and/or computer.
Boost your chances of success by making sure you are on top form for the test.
Do it at a time of day when you feel most alert.
Make sure you are well rested, not hungry and thirsty, and that you don’t have a hangover! Keep calm, even if you feel anxious about the test.
Some people find that spending a few moments practicing mindfulness before starting the test gets them into the right frame of mind.
What to do if you don’t hit the grade?
Don’t worry if you don’t get the results you were hoping for in your psychometric tests; it is often only one part of an organisation’s selection process and you may be able to impress assessors in other exercises.
Often assessors consider a candidate’s performance holistically using psychometrics to support their observations from different exercises.
Remember, psychometric tests are supposed to be hard. If they were easy then there wouldn’t be any point in using them.
Keep practicing and make sure that you are doing the best that YOU can do.
If you’ve not been successful, try not to worry about it too much.
Tests are used because they indicate who is likely to be able to successfully complete a job – if you didn’t pass the test then there’s a strong chance that you wouldn’t enjoy the job anyway.
You might be better off looking for a job that is a better fit with your aptitudes and preferences where you will be able to flourish.
As a small business owner, you’ve likely mastered the self-management techniques necessary to be your own boss. If you’ve grown your business enough to require employees of your own, it can be exciting to bring on new members to your team. However, learning to successfully manage others is a unique challenge that takes practice and patience. No matter if you’re a large business or only managing two other people, being in charge of others can challenging — and incredibly rewarding.
It’s important to make sure your employees have the tools, skills, and experience they need to be successful in the role, but it’s also essential to your job to make sure you’re managing their morale. Low morale can be caused by high stress, infrequent praise, overly aggressive management styles, and poor communication. Employees produce their best work if they feel supported, appreciated, and rewarded. High employee morale reduces absenteeism, increases productivity, and lowers employee turnover. This is the reason why organizations with engaged employees outperform those with low engagement by 202%.
There are no hard and fast rules that will work to raise the morale of every employee, and it’s important to remember that you can learn everything you need to about managing your employees, from your own employees. Stay engaged with your workers and show them that you care about their happiness just as much as their productivity. More than running a good business, keeping your employee morale high requires being a good boss.
Keep reading if you want some tips on how to maintain high morale while growing your business:
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
When you wake up each morning and prepare for the day ahead, what motivates you?
What internal or external forces push you forward to live and work and even play for the 16 to 18 hours each day that you are awake?
Is it the want to see and spend time with your loved ones?
The desire to do a job and earn money and praise?
Or is it the simple, instinctive aspects of human nature, such as waking up because you don’t want to sleep all day?
Do you even really know?
Regardless of the triggers for our actions, understanding what stimulates us, as well as those around us, can have a profoundly positive effect on our day to day lives.
Let’s explore motivation – how it moves us, why it’s essential, and if we’re lacking, what we can do to gain back our inspiration.
What is Motivation?
The textbook definition of motivation is reasonably simple – it’s our basic reasoning for, and the need, want, and willingness to do something.
However, identifying motivation on a more granular level is not as simple.
Because, as humans, our desires and goals are all different, both in where those desires originate and in how they evolve.
The reasoning or justification for moving (or not moving at all) from point A to point B varies from person to person.
Consider an office environment where two co-workers of equal education and talent, apply themselves to a project for entirely different purposes.
The first one works hard to complete the task because it means a Friday off from work. The other does it for a promised bonus.
So how are we to recognise motivation in ourselves to achieve the goals we set?
How do we connect with others and help discover what will move them to reach their potential?
To help inform our understanding of motivation, we need to know what exactly motivates us. And why what drives one person, may not even be a consideration to another.
What Motivates Us?
Many theories have arisen over the past 100 years attempting to explain what moves us to act towards a particular goal. The most popular ideas often fall into one of the following three categories:
The thought that individuals are driven to act to maintain a specific state of euphoric feeling. For example, someone who requires high-arousal will seek out activities that push the edge such as skydiving or riding roller coasters.
A person with a lower arousal threshold may look for more low key fulfillment, like cooking or watching a movie.
Here, an individual’s behavior is propelled by the instinctual necessity to serve their own fundamental needs or the needs of their loved ones. For instance, a parent may be motivated by fear to protect their child or by love to provide for their well-being.
Finally, this level of motivation stems from behavior that is driven by a biological desire to fulfill a requirement. You eat because you must to survive. You work because you require financial rewards or want to feel part of a team.
The Maslow Hierarchy of Needs
The consideration of needs has shown the most traction for the actual basis of motivation. One of the most famous reviews on the subject dates back to 1943 and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
With a focus on what makes a person happy and what individuals did to achieve those objectives (instead of the standard approach at the time to look at what was wrong with a person), he devised five levels of need:
The most basic needs and requirements to sustain our survival. Food, sleep, water, and air.
The need for security whether it’s by way of physical security (such as a roof over our heads), financial stability (savings or retirement funds) or general health and well-being.
Love and Belonging
Also known as social needs, this includes a sense of community in a family or social network or being loved by others.
Include the desire to be recognised or to achieve prominence and stature. These needs are common in professional settings but are also huge factors in a social environment.
The highest and most complex level on the Maslow hierarchy, this involves the fulfillment of potential – where an individual looks to their personal growth and reaching their highest capabilities.
Most often cast as a pyramid, the foundation of the hierarchy consists of the basic requirements for survival. As we meet primal needs, we yearn for more significant growth and achievement.
Maslow’s theory does have detractors – mainly those who claim that our ambitions do not easily align along a one, two, three step process.
Yes, that may be true, but when looking at where motivation comes from, the hierarchy helps define what sparks an individual’s specific drive.
Let’s look at our earlier example of the two co-workers, of equal talent, skill, and knowledge, with one driven by time, the other by money.
With the hierarchy as a general guide, one might surmise that the employee-driven by the extra free time grew up in a household that revolved around family. Their upbringing was such that greater value came from spending time with loved ones.
The employee aiming for the bonus may have grown up poor, or conversely in a family with financial security. Either way, their value of money, no matter the reason, help define their motivations.
This tells us two things.
First, once specific needs are met, or if we find it unnecessary to fill particular requirements, our motivation moves toward unrealised pursuits.
Second, the things that motivate may also be a learned behavior. In the case of the employee growing up with financial security, their environment taught them the value of having that safety, and they resolved to never go without.
Why is Motivation So Important?
So why does knowing your motivations matter?
For one, knowing what moves you leads to seeking out conditions and experiences that result in higher overall well-being.
Failing to grasp what drives you may result in dissatisfaction, or unhappiness with the way things are instead of you creating the life you want for yourself and your loved ones.
Second, with the knowledge of specific motivation, you can help spur others to realise their goals.
Do you have people that directly report to you? Much like our scenario, you can identify what drives them to better performance and results.
If you’re a parent, you can identify what triggers your child will best respond to help them reach their potential.
To inform that identification, two levels of motivation further define where a person’s incentivisation may stem.
This originates from an individual’s inner desires and fulfillment for their personal satisfaction. For instance, a person who pens poetry for their own enjoyment and not for publication does so for intrinsic reasons.
From a professional standpoint, you find intrinsic motivation in someone who enjoys their work for the knowledge gained or the satisfaction they receive versus any monetary rewards it provides.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, extrinsic, as the name suggests, comes from outside aspirations. In both a personal or professional setting, this involves tangible rewards or recognition – anything from trophies to monetary prizes to general praise or acknowledgment.
Whether intrinsic or extrinsic, knowing which is more important to you (and others) will ensure you gain more from your pursuits – personally and professionally.
How Do You Improve Your Motivation?
The reasons we lose motivation are legion.
A bad grade in school.
Poor feedback from a supervisor at work.
A recently ended relationship.
Those, of course, represent the extreme scenarios, but they do prove the point that challenges in life exist, and if not careful, they can easily derail us.
How then do we keep our heads high and motivation up?
Here are a few points to help push your forward:
Don’t Aim for the Result, Instead Appreciate the Journey
This may seem to run counter to conventional wisdom, but in only looking ahead to the finish line, we fail to see the road the race is run on. Without a clear focus, we often stumble.
Instead, break it down, focus on how you will get from point A to point B to point C, and anticipate and prepare for any challenges you might face. That way you know your way around the course and can more easily take on adversity as it appears.
Control What You Can, Don’t Worry About What You Can’t
Many times when we aim for a specific goal, a lot of “what ifs” start to creep into our heads.
Heading to a job interview – “What if they don’t like me?”
Giving a presentation – “What if they don’t listen?”
Even asking someone out on a date – “What if they say no?”
The world is full of variables that we don’t control – from personal relationships to professional tasks and beyond – and never will. Being hung up on those outside forces is a disservice to the time and effort you put into achieving what you set out to do.
Zero in on what you need to be successful and let go of any fear of the unknown. The more focused on what you need to do, the more motivated you’ll be to succeed.
Seek Out Positive Reinforcement, and Be Positive Yourself
If you surround yourself with negative information and negative people, you’re bound to find yourself brought down to a similar level. If you quest for positivity, the opposite will be true.
Sure, you can’t always dictate who or what you’ll be around (an unhappy co-worker, for instance). You can though infuse uplifting stimulus through music, books or other media.
Ultimately, you might be unable to eliminate your exposure to negative elements totally, but you can expose yourself to factors that help boost your positivity and in turn your motivation.
Motivation is often a concept that doesn’t always receive the attention it should. Typically, we go about our lives paying little notice to how to achieve the goals we set for ourselves.
To truly be fulfilled though, we must seek out what will make us better. Not just for our well-being but those around us.
Take time to understand and appreciate what motivates you, and seek out ways to feed your aspirations. Not only will you fully understand why you get out of bed each morning, you’ll also look forward to it.
ALAN is CEO of CD as well as a qualified executive coach and a seasoned business mentor. He challenges progressive business people to step-up & realise their vision.