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Millennials are known as the generation of smartphones, over-priced coffee, and a reputation for entitlement and leisureliness. Despite this, the success of millennials is becoming increasingly apparent in the workplace. Look around your office and you’ll probably notice the ages of both employees and managers is decreasing significantly. A survey by office-equipment maker Pitney Bowes found that about 20% of mid-level corporate employees now report to a boss who is younger than they are.


However, in this age of entrepreneurial startups and advancing technology, different work styles and perceptions of those differences can create many challenges. For example, there is a stark difference between millennials and baby boomers. While older workers spend more time in the office within regular work hours, the younger generation often prefers getting their work done whenever, whether at home or from their laptop in a café. These kinds of philosophical differences can have negative effects on productivity. However, there are ways for younger people in authority to handle this gap. Below are a few tips on how to instill authority and respect in the workplace.


Be Mindful


Older employees can certainly be put off by having to report to a younger manager. It’s important to be aware of those feelings and acknowledge them. Don’t assume you have the upper hand due to your higher position. Express an interest in your employee and ask them for their opinions on how you can improve as a leader. They may very well have insights that can benefit you, and they will appreciate your respect for their experience and knowledge.


Give and Take


Give lessons, provide feedback, and offer firm and feasible guidelines for your employees. In return, take feedback as well. Older employees are often more knowledgeable about the company and its history. Take advantage of their deeper well of experience, both in the office and generally in life.


Do Your Job


It can be daunting being a young manager. However, instead of shying away from being an authoritative, strong leader, it’s important to keep your goals in mind and get the job done. Not confronting older employees who aren’t working to their full potential, or letting others take the lead merely to make them more comfortable, will only decrease productivity. You’re the manager for a reason; prove why.


Older employees should implement these tips in the workplace as well. Along with being mindful, providing feedback, and doing their own jobs, it’s important for older employees not to get too bogged down in ego and commit to working with a younger manager. The knowledge and experience of the older generation and fresh perspective and energy of the younger age group can be combined to contribute to the workplace in a positive manner. Getting past age discrimination – from both sides – will help everyone work together and be more productive.


Tasnia Nasar | Contributing Writer

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Blog

Third-party outsourcing is growing in popularity among big and small businesses alike. Outsourcing, or “contracting out,” refers to the practice of hiring a third-party to perform tasks typically done by in-house staff. Jobs affected range from customer support to manufacturing. Outsourcing was recognized as a business strategy in the late 1980s, and later became an integral part of international business economics throughout the ‘90s.


The most common tasks businesses choose to outsource usually fall into three categories: repetitive, specialized, and expert tasks. Repetitive tasks include data entry, specialized tasks comprise of jobs like IT support, and jobs such as financial analyst fall under expert tasks. One trait these jobs have in common is that it’s not necessary for them to be done in-house.


Businesses can lower labour and overhead costs substantially by outsourcing tasks such as bookkeeping, graphic design, and customer/technical support. Virtual receptionists can also be outsourced: a remote first point of contact that usually performs the tasks of trained customer support personnel – sometimes around the clock – without having to maintain a receptionist’s office.


You may have the skills in-house to do it all, but while you handle all the minute details on your own, you might not be able to concentrate on expanding the core areas of your business, which can hurt you in the long run. However, there are downsides to outsourcing as well. It all depends on the needs of your business.


PROS


Cost advantages


Perhaps one of the most obvious benefits to outsourcing is the savings. When you have a good outsourcing partner, you can get the job done at a lower cost, usually due to the difference in wages (since most of the work is done overseas where labour costs are much lower).


Increased efficiency


When you outsource certain work, you’re handing it over to someone experienced and with understanding of the job. This leads to an increase in productivity; you’re not just adding these tasks to the bottom of somebody’s to-do list within the office. Access to skilled resources also means faster and better services, depending on your outsourcing partner.


Focus on main goals


Outsourcing certain tasks means everyone in-house is free to focus on building your company and brand, as well as investing in research and development to take the steps necessary to expand.


Save on recruitment/infrastructure costs


Outsourcing cuts the need for investments in infrastructure since the responsibility of business processes falls on the partner. You can also avoid investing in expensive recruiting and training resources for your business.


CONS


Communication issues


A lack of communication between your company and the outsourcing partner may cause delay in the completion of projects or other issues. Different time zones could also contribute to communication problems.


Security risks


If you decide to outsource things like human resources, payroll, or recruitment, you risk exposing confidential information to a third party.


Shortcomings in expectations


If you don’t choose the right partner, it could result in delays and sub-standard quality in output. Add to that the difficulty of regulating these factors outside an office and it defeats the whole point of outsourcing.


No customer focus


Outsourcing partners may be doing work for multiple organizations, so they may not be completely focused on the requirements of your specific business.


Before approaching a service provider or outsourcing partner, it’s beneficial to consider all aspects of outsourcing, and whether your company is in a position to benefit from its services. Once you’ve analyzed your requirements and are confident you would benefit from outsourcing, you can move on to researching a suitable partner. Consider these six elements when searching: reliability, quality, experience, range of services, good communication, and value for money. Don’t just select one that provides the lowest cost. Choosing a successful vendor will lead to first-rate results and benefit your organization in the long run.


Helen Jacob | Contributing Writer

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Blog

A key aspect of successful businesses is what sets them apart from their competition. The unique qualities of running a business, such as focusing on steady performance as opposed to operating on survival mode, can make the difference between an innovative company and a struggling one. Businesses running on survival mode are normally unstable and only focus on short term goals. This eventually leads to a difficult work environment. A flourishing business knows how to compete by incorporating the use of non-traditional methods, having a steady focus on what their clients need the most, and a great understanding of how their service or product can positively affect the world. You too can set your business apart from the competition by following the traits of these leading businesses.


The Best Opportunities Are Outside the Box


Instead of competing in cluttered and saturated markets, strong organizations seek out the opportunities that others miss. These leaders are not afraid to test out new methods and create new industries – even if they might fail. Great companies focus on developing new and myriad innovative products that give the user or client a unique experience. They embark on projects that others would deem difficult or unnecessary. Efforts are directed towards developing products and services that change the lives of individuals in great ways. For example, companies like Uber, Skype, Facebook, and Apple have developed game-changing products and services. In addition, great organizations hire the best and unique talent to assist in the creation of new opportunities.


A Structural and Entrepreneurial Balance


This is not an easy balance to achieve as most businesses either have a structured or entrepreneurial strategy. However, successful businesses such as Facebook and Google have mastered this tactic.  These companies operate on a structured basis while maintaining a flexible entrepreneurial mindset. They ensure that they meet all the organization’s performance goals while encouraging innovation, new ways of thinking and action towards projects. To accomplish this, it is essential to have a leading team that is open to celebrating uniqueness and differences, while maintaining trust in its employees. It’s important to note that success comes from a diverse team who can find success in a variety of ways – not just one. This often leads to breakthroughs in companies as they end up discovering innovative solutions that others miss.


Avoid Distractions at All Costs


There are many distractions that a business can face. Businesses have a hard time staying focused especially when the economy is unpredictable. Essentially, being strategic does not only revolve around focusing on your competition, but it also means being openly aware of change and crisis that can potentially occur. Businesses that are strategically wired can foresee changes in how the marketplace flows and its regressions. Surprises may arise when competition grows unexpectedly (e.g. the rise of the iPhone and Android OS, and the plummet of Blackberry and Nokia). It’s crucial to have a leadership that has a 360-degree view of market changes and strikes when opportunity arises.


K. Nwankwo | Contributing Writer

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Blog


Laid off when you least expected it? Passed over for that promotion you were counting on? Maybe your small business failed? In today’s climate, between an ongoing global pandemic and burgeoning social and political unrest, we must still remember that the only place we should keep moving is forward. It’s not the end of the world, and the most difficult times can be learning experiences.


Here’s how to pick yourself up when faced with career (and personal) adversity and look to the future with renewed enthusiasm and confidence.


Take a Moment


Take some time to acknowledge this major life change or disappointment. It can be quite a jolt to your routine when you don’t have to wake up in the morning to get dressed for work. Breathe and take it one day at a time – it’s perfectly fine to mourn the loss of a good thing, especially if you loved what you were doing. Activities like long walks, listening to music, and meditating in the morning to relax are great opportunities to take stock, and can help you reboot your system. It’s crucial to purge yourself of the negativity and despair that can come with being laid off before you start job hunting, for example. Wipe that slate clean!


Look at the Bright Side


Remember that it wasn’t all bad, even if you didn’t get that promotion. Make a note of some of the positive experiences at your past (or current) job, or lessons learned from a failed startup venture. How can you use that to your advantage moving forward? Perhaps your organizational skills were instrumental in the success of a project, or maybe there’s still a great idea in your failed business. “I’ve made billions of dollars of failures at Amazon.com,” Amazon founder Jeff Bezos told Business Insider. “Literally billions of dollars of failures. You might remember Pets.com or Kosmo.com. It was like getting a root canal with no anesthesia. None of those things are fun. But they also don’t matter.”


Spruce Up Your Skill-set


Treat as a learning opportunity and write out a list of things that you think you could have known or done better. This could include freshening up your social media skills or updating your knowledge of your industry’s best practices. You can go back to school for short-term courses, watch webinars in your area of expertise, start a blog, or do some volunteering (which looks great on your resume). The learning process never stops, and with the rapidly-changing job market, it will do you good to stay on top of the latest trends. You never know when your next opportunity – a new job, or another promotion – might come along. Be ready.


Move on Confidently


With your new knowledge and insight, it’s time for the hard work to begin. You’re wiser and more experienced, so position yourself in the professional world accordingly. Focus on your strengths. Remember to put things into perspective – layoffs aren’t personal, or you may get that promotion next time. Failure is the stepping stone to greatness, and things don’t always work out as planned. As Sir Winston Churchill famously said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”


Baisakhi Roy | Contributing Writer

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Blog

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” One can understand the importance of teamwork from the above quote by Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company. Without proper teamwork and cooperation between individuals, it is difficult for organizations to succeed in their business ventures. Let us have a closer look at more components of working in teams.


Business Goals


Organizations must achieve their targets and generate revenues so employees have to finish their tasks within the desired timeline. By working together as a team employees can share their ideas and finish the required work efficiently and quickly. In addition, individuals can help one another and correct each others’ mistakes instantly through teamwork.


Competitiveness


When working as a team, there is always fierce competition among employees to outperform each other. This is mutually beneficial for employees and the organization. Moreover, teamwork brings in a sense of urgency to complete tasks.


Improving Cooperation


Employees can understand their strengths and weaknesses better and improve their cooperation levels by working together. Having better relations increases the bonding between employees and that makes them perform their work diligently. Every member in the team can support other and it brings out the best in everyone.


Scope for Specialization


Exhibiting strong teamwork at the workplace enables managers to delegate job responsibilities more easily. The quality of work increases by dividing tasks among staff members with specialized skills and interests. Hence, organizations can accomplish their set goals and make more profits.


Positive Corporate Culture


Working in teams motivates employees to work harder and smarter in order to get the respect of others. It develops positive workplace culture and earns brand recognition from customers and the public.


Skill Development


Individuals can learn new things and develop themselves through teamwork. Seeing other members with different skill-sets can improve everyone on the team to acquire the same skills.  It results in the overall well-being of the organization and personal development of all.


Sharing Workload


Forming teams and working towards a common goal is a good way to share the workload among employees. It builds a strong support network within the organization. Delegation of responsibilities to the right people will ensure it’s of high-quality.


Great Learning Experience


It is always fascinating to know about new things and teamwork provides the perfect opportunity for that. Working together with people from different skills and backgrounds is a great learning experience for staff members.


Hence, organizations should encourage teamwork at the workplace as it strengthens bonding between workers. Employees will feel motivated to finish their tasks and contribute to the overall success of the organization.


Magesh | Contributing Writer

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Blog

How you finance your business can become the difference between profit and loss. In a recession-plagued environment, it makes sense to tap into different funding sources for your business. This may sound like a hassle, but such a strategy will greatly reduce the company’s cost of capital and save it from bankruptcy. Here are some sound methods through which a business can raise capital:


Think About Factoring. Raise quick money by selling your receivables at a discount. The invoices can be for anything, right from manufactured goods to medical services. Some banks have factoring divisions. You can also Google search private factoring firms. However, this is an expensive way of raising money as factoring firms typically charge a fee that’s a percentage of the total loan amount.


Apply For Bank Loans. Though lending standards are more strict now, bank loans are the safest and most secure way to raise funds. On the other end of the spectrum are credit card loans. The writer agrees this is a dangerous route as a default would pull the curtains on the business. However, it’s quick money and when managed properly, can help the business tide over an immediate cash crunch.


Use Microloans. If you don’t have a credit history or collateral, apply for a microloan. This is a small business loan ranging from $500 to $35,000. Micro lenders also require less documentation than banks and often apply a more flexible underwriting criteria. The only hitch is they usually charge higher interest rates than traditional banks.


Launch Crowdfunding. In recent years, crowdfunding has become an effective way to raise finances at a low cost. You set a target amount to be raised over a period of time, then your friends, family, and even strangers pledge money for your cause. Crowdfunding is, however, not meant for the long-term. People who use crowdfunding websites, like Kickstarter or GoFundMe, usually aim to raise money for one-off projects.


Seek Out Angel Investors. When pitching to angel investors, follow these rules: Avoid jargon, present a sound business plan, have an exit strategy, hire experienced people, and display your expertise in the field. Angel investors usually invest at the early stage of the company in exchange for a 20-25% return. Many prominent companies like Google and Costco had angel investors. Even if you don’t hear back from a potential investor, fret not. Keep in touch as they may become interested at a later stage.


File For A Grant. Research-based businesses may apply for government or private grants. The winners are expected to meet the government’s R&D goals and also have huge potential for commercialization.


Raise Money From Kith & Kin. When starting a new enterprise, it’s natural to approach your family and friends for small loans. Ensure to supply them with a formal financial projection and when your loved ones can hope to receive their money back. Remember to make the terms (equity investment or a loan) clear. Most important, emphasize the risk involved so that your family members can make informed decisions.


Nithya | Contributing Writer

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Blog, Blogging

If you’ve already taken all the necessary steps to become an entrepreneur, then chances are you’re looking into other ways to expand your reach. Depending on your business, there can be a number of ways to best engage your potential customers. Starting a blog can be a great way to answer questions that people have about a business, in general and it’s a chance to show off your expertise.


Knowing Your Audience

You’ve probably already got this part figured out, since you would need to know what kind of clients would require your services, but it doesn’t hurt to mention it again. In order to grow your business through the ancient art of blogging, you have to know where your influence is strongest and that means knowing your audience.


Adding Content

This step may seem simple, but it can easily get overlooked. When venturing out on your own or dealing with the changes and challenges of being your own boss, it can be hard to keep up. This means that you may not always have time to update your platform, but that’s not something you can afford to do. Life often gets in the way and there will always be something that takes your focus and time. Make sure to stay on track and add to your blog regularly, to avoid losing readers and potential customers.


Being Transparent

People want to partner or buy from brands they can trust, which often means knowing about you, as a boss and as a person. Being able to connect with your readers about why you’re blogging is important and it should also be seen as a way of advertising and marketing yourself. You don’t have to be too personal but don’t be too mysterious, either. Show people why your business is worth their time and money, by relating to them and what it means to you.


Dontei Wynter | Staff Writer

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Blog, Human Resources

Consultants sometimes have a bad reputation with management experts, often face criticism regarding the cost of a few weeks of work (sometimes in the millions), or for being paid to tell leadership teams what they already know. However, there are a number of reasons why businesses benefit from consultants.


It can be hard for existing management and/or employees (busy with daily tasks) to take а step back and analyze a potential problem in their business or office. Consultants offer а fresh set of critical eyes that can help with measurement, analysis, and improvement. Critics might write this off as glorified common sense, but new insights and the ability to identify underlying issues can add significant value to operations. А fresh perspective is critical to а company restart, or to new business ventures where employees and/or management are too involved with the project to recognize possible issues.


Functions and Levels

In most cases, the consultant or firm will build а fact base over а period of а few weeks to а month. They’ll interview people across the board, as well as observe daily routines. Consultants will often start with the organization’s customers (if possible) and then work up through sales and line roles. This information offers lots of insights into the company that the executive team might miss or lack the time to investigate themselves. Interviewing people across functions can also help foster creative problem-solving (something that rarely happens in larger companies). It’s а good idea to have а consultant on board to unlock this kind of insight.


Problem-Solving Expertise

When you’re hiring а consulting firm, you’re hiring а dedicated group of people with one objective: to solve your problem. Having people who can focus their attention on а defined project is a valuable asset. In many ways, they’re better able to make observations, efficiently assess and improve the company than current employees who already have plenty on their plates.


Consultants have also likely served multiple clients before you. They can recognize problems quickly and apply lessons learned in previous cases. They possess an expanded knowledge base that can be valuable to your company. They also belong to networks and associations that give them access to resources you likely don’t have. Given their training and skills, consultants are quick learners, capable of understanding a problem and developing а strategy to solve it, helping a company achieve its objectives.


Impartial Advice/Observation

Consultants can give advice through а more objective lens. They’re independent from the organization, so there’s no hesitation to give unbiased observations and recommendations. This is partially why companies choose to hire outside consultants rather than rely exclusively on internal feedback; those within an organization can be conflicted and sometimes hesitant to give accurate recommendations for fear of being harsh.


External Change Force

It can be difficult for executives and CEOs to do what’s right for their company if it requires changes or reductions in benefits, major operational changes, or even layoffs. It may seem like an easy way out, but many companies hire consulting firms to do the “dirty work.” In а sense, the consultant becomes the scapegoat for those who want to distance themselves from making individuals unhappy while reaching the company’s goal. This provides political cover for senior management, and if something goes wrong, the consulting firm can take the responsibility.


Implementation and Training

As an executive, you have а lot of things on the go; you don’t have time to train everyone on adopting new technology or implementing new strategies. Almost every consulting project incorporates client training. This means whoever you hired to do your consulting will educate your employees on necessary skills, knowledge, technology, etc.


There’s no point in receiving recommendations if employees are unable to integrate and maintain suggested changes. In this way, consulting firms add enormous value to your company. Not only will they tell you what’s wrong, they’ll equip you with the knowledge required to overcome the problem and reach your goal.


There’s а reason why consulting companies rake in $2 billion а year. Generally, business consultants help companies and small businesses improve performance and streamline operations to become more efficient. They identify problems and create solutions, as well as provide objectivity. They’ll also do some unpleasant tasks for you, such as eliminate staff. They know how to get the ball rolling when it comes to revamping your company and offer much more value to a business than just advice.


Helen Jacob | Contributing Writer

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Blog, Human Resources

Older generations have always been critical of the younger ones. From Socrates referring to youths as “bad-mannered tyrants with a lack of respect for their elders” to current young people being blamed for killing countless industries – the toxicity is real.

The current generation receiving the criticism flack is the “millennial,” currently between 21 and 37 years of age. The accusation that they’re the reason for the collapse of several businesses isn’t unfounded. They just can’t afford diamonds, houses, and sometimes even cereal. This comes as no surprise, as millennials carry an average debt of $42,000. As these debts soar and inflation continues to rise, it’s likely the deaths of once-booming industries won’t end any time soon. On the surface it appears as though millennials are doomed to fail, but is it all bad?

The average Canadian lifespan, as of 2011, is nearly 82 years. Compared to the 57-year average in 1921, Canadians are living approximately 25 years longer than previous generations. It was once believed that as people aged, they became more politically conservative. The millennial generation proves that it isn’t age that makes one conservative, but wealth – and millennials don’t have much of that. There’s a reason why money isn’t everything for the younger generation; they prioritize work that’s ethical and makes a social impact over a big paycheque, are more politically engaged, and more educated than any preceding generation (thus the heavy student-loan debt). Despite what some baby boomers might tell you, millennials are hard-working and motivated, making them an asset in the workplace.

Passion is what drives millennial ambitions. Previously, working hard at a job you hated wasn’t frowned upon. Now, you can work just as hard at a job you hate, just like your parents and their parents before them, and still struggle to make ends meet. Suddenly, working as a teacher might be just as risky as pursuing dreams of being an actor or painter.

But the ideal life is no longer built around a picket fence and a 9-to-5 job with benefits. In fact, millennials are dominating their side hustles, and putting their passions into overdrive on top of their regular work week. In the U.S., more than half of millennials are starting apps, freelancing their talents, or trying their hands at things like YouTube channels.

With all of this time and energy going towards work and passion projects, more and more members of this generation are waiting longer to have children, which also has its benefits. Having children later in life has proven to make you a more patient parent, and also makes you more likely to raise emotionally healthy adults. And, with people living into their eighties, waiting to have children doesn’t mean sacrificing time you get to spend with them.

All in all, millennials take a lot of criticism from previous generations, but obtaining multiple degrees and working longer hours doesn’t leave much time to dwell on those judgements. And eventually, we’ll turn our attention towards the entitled kids of the next generation.

 

Jasmine Cormier

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