Think Brand Doesn’t Play a Role in the Hiring Process? Think Again.

In today’s world of online expansion, many aspects of business success have changed dramatically, influencing the way companies compete with each other, connect with their customers, and even make sales. Companies have had to adjust their priorities, setting their online presence and customer experience at a much higher bar. It isn’t far-fetched to say that brand image is a major source of life blood to a company, playing a massive role in attracting new customers and filling the pipeline. 

These days, customers have access to an immense amount of information about your brand, from reviews of products to price comparisons between your competitors. People trust each other’s online reviews nearly as much as they trust personal recommendations. More than half of consumers will only purchase from a company with a star rating of four or more. It’s up to your business to stay ahead of the curve and ensure that what’s being said about it online is beneficial to the company.   

There are countless B2B services based on this idea. Marketing agencies, website developers, customer outreach teams, and data analysists all working to build and maintain a healthy brand image. But there’s a whole part of building a brand image that isn’t talked about nearly enoughemployee and candidate experience.  

Everyone matters 

It goes without saying that what people say about you online matters. But when was the last time you checked to see how candidatefriendly your hiring processes are? Have you ever looked up employee reviews of your company on sites like Glassdoor? What about internal surveys to gauge the employee onboarding experience  

Unfortunately, candidates are often the last priority on the long list of people companies are worried about. But this is a mistake, especially now when the employment rate is at a record high. Companies have to compete with each other for talent and stand out as a preferred place of employment to potential candidates. And anyone who comes in contact with your company has the potential to influence your brand image through online reviews. 

So how do you make sure your candidates (whether or not they become employees) walk away feeling good about their experience with your company? 

Call them back 

A common mistake that many businesses make is failing to communicate with candidates. Making sure to call them back, whether or not they’re getting an interview or moving to the next step in the application process, isn’t just polite, it’s respectful.  

If someone has taken the time out of their day to apply to work at your company, they deserve the two minutes it will take to call and acknowledge their effort. Remember, everyone who interacts with your company should have a positive experience. They may be a future customer, or reviewer, or even a candidate for a different position. Treating them with respect by taking the time to call them back and tell them where they are in the process is paramount to ensuring they walk away having had a good experience.  

Be transparent 

An informed candidate is a higher quality candidate. Think about it. If a candidate has to jump through hoops to submit their resumeor doesn’t know if the position is offering the salary they need, or can’t easily find the job description, they’re going to be frustrated at best. 

Being transparent about everything from the application process to the starting salary and benefits allows candidates to ensure they aren’t wasting their time applying for a job they don’t want, or that isn’t right for them. If you provide them with clear expectations around how they will move through the process, you remove confusion and increase ease. Its better for them, and you.

Be Timely  

Just because someone is applying to work for you doesn’t mean you should prioritize your time over theirs. More often than not, candidates are already employed and have to take time out of their workday to come to an interview. So it’s costing them money and/or time to arrive for an interview. Make sure your interview process reflects your understanding of the time and effort needed on their end. Don’t show up late or cancel last minute.   

Additionally, companies often make the mistake of thinking their candidates are only in competition with each other, when in fact, your company is in competition for the best candidate. Don’t make the mistake of waiting too long before reaching out to them. Or you’ll lose them to a company that beat you to them. Plus, there’s nothing worse than to be left hanging. Let them know whether or not they got the job or are being moved to the next round. Even if you call to let them know they didn’t make the cut, at least they won’t be left wondering.  

Take the opportunity 

Every time your company interacts with someone, you have an opportunity to make a positive impact on your brand image. Each person who walks away from your company is a potential brand ambassador, customer, or reviewer. If your company is really about creating a positive experience, then every interaction, internal and external, should play into those values.  


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The Critical Role HR Plays in Business Success

HR plays an integral part of any organization. The roles of these professionals include much more than recruiting new employees; they also develop strategies geared towards productivity, training, and employee engagement. For the most part, a company’s human resource department oversees and helps facilitate a large portion of business operations. 

HR responsibilities are often comprised of behind-the-scenes work and are not always viewed as playing such a key role in the success of a business. Yet its this department that is dedicated to finding people with the right talents, skills, values, and attitudes to get the day-to-day responsibilities taken care of. They’re responsible for ensuring that once you find the right people, they get to work in an environment that’s welcoming, inspiring, and productive. 

Without HR doing this necessary legwork, how would a business exist?Following are four critical HR functions that contribute to business’s success 

Recruiting and hiring 

Finding the right people to fulfill job responsibilities is not an easy task and companies that fail to see the complexity of the process often end up losing money. Hiring is a big project for just one new or replacement position. When you have ongoing hiring needs, it can be a full time job itself.  

Of course, when there’s an open position, hiring managers want it filled ASAP. It makes sense, but it puts tremendous pressure on HR to not only get it done, but get it done well. It’s difficult and time consuming to sort through the applications, looking for the most talented people who will be competent in the job role.   

And when you find the people with the right skills, you have to continue sorting through during the interviews to find people who will be a good fit with the company culture. A good skill fit does not equate to a good culture fit. And a poor match between employee and company culture can spell disaster. Not only will the employee not be happy, everyone around them will feel it as well. One employee who doesn’t fit the culture well can disrupt the whole company.   

Poor hiring choices can result in lost revenue from lost productivity due to unnecessary distractions, the potential loss of other employees who are negatively impactedand the expense of having to search again and replace the ill-fitting employee. And these are just the revenue issues, not even mentioning the other HR nightmares (social, emotional, reputational, legal that come from a bad hire! 

All in all, there’s a lot to gain and a lot to lose with hiring and it’s in HR’s hands to make sure the process is done successfully. Whew!  

Training and development  

HR has the responsibility to ensure that employees are skilled and working as efficiently as possible. This starts from the very beginning of the new relationship with the onboarding process and continues throughout their lifecycle with the company.  

Conducting ongoing job performance assessments and identifying skill gaps for their teams is a critical role that hiring managers play. This information then gets rolled up to HR to help find the training resources to raise the skill level of the team.   

Company productivity, quality standards, and employee safety are all dependent on keeping staff trained with the knowledge and skills needed to perform their roles at the highest level.   

Employee engagement 

One of the most common reasons for employee turnover is dissatisfaction in a job. So, once again, we turn to HR to help identify the issues and provide the solutions.  

Employees who feel connected to the company, their supervisor, and their teammates are much happier and engaged in the work they do. The culture fit is back as a critical element, and so is the fit for the job. Doing work they enjoy with people they enjoy makes for a happy work day.  

Most people want to excel at their job, and when they receive the necessary direction and feedback about the work they’re doing, they’re much more likely to feel engaged. It’s really hard to do a job without feedback and without coaching help along the way.   

Supervisors may not feel comfortable giving this constructive feedback. But on the flip side, employees are not likely comfortable doing a job blindly and having to wait for an annual performance review to get some nuggets of retrospective advice. While HR may participate in some of these conversations with employees, most importantly, their role is to train supervisors to have these ongoing, constructive coaching/feedback conversations themselves 

As important as the constructive feedback is, recognition plays an important part of the employee engagement equationEmployees who receive recognition for hard work and accomplishments feel valued and are more productive as a resultSo HR to the rescue again, finding ways to keep a pulse on the organization, acknowledgachievements, and encourage and nurture a positive rapport with employees 

Building a positive environment 

The work environment is critical! Not only does HR need to ensure they’re hiring for the right cultural fit from the beginning, but they need to ensure the environment stays positive and productive all year round.  

This starts from the very beginning with candidates and new hires alike, conveying the importance of contributing to a positive environment. The goal should be to create a pleasant work environment where everyone feels appreciated and works together as a team.  

Through documentationongoing discussion, and even training sessions for  company values, ethicsand policies, HR emphasizes the importance of having positive, respectful environmentNot only does this create a safe environment for the employees on the team, but it protects and enhances the company reputation, as well.

The HR department is always developing new strategies to increase performance, find and retain great employees, keep everyone happy, and ensure the budget is metHR professionals could say this is only a fraction of what they do, and they certainly wouldn’t be wrong! 

HR is incredibly valuable to your company strategy and  they could probably use a little extra recognition anappreciation for the difficult work they’re responsible for managing. You never know, they might just be whats standing in between your company and a compliance disaster, or hiring debacle, or budgeting nightmare.  Support your HR team. Celebrate them. It’s well deserved! 


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Photo by langstrup

Cultivate a Healthy Work-Life Dynamic for the Health of Your Business

In this era of smartphones, email, texting, and social media, it’s too easy to always be available. The traditional lines that once distinctly separated work and home are no longer so clear. While all the communication tools we now have access to certainly have their advantages, there’s still a need for designated downtime and complete removal from work. We all need time to recharge and concentrate on family and personal needs.  

Employees are looking for a good work-life balance now more than ever before. And employers realize that by cultivating this dynamic, employees avoid burnout and work more effectively when they are on the clock.    

However, recognizing its importance is only part of it. Managers need to actively encourage and support it as well. Try these tips to promote a healthy work-life dynamic in your business. 

1. Find out what your employees need 

The definition of a healthy work-life balance will vary among employees, ranging from scheduling flexibility and total hours worked to supporting those who are responsible for the care of young children or elderly parents.  

The simplest way to determine your employees’ needs is to ask them. This may be best done through one-on-one conversations or having your team complete a survey. You’ll likely get a ton of useful information, and while you may not be able to accommodate everyone’s needs, the information should help you make changes to affect the majority of staff.  

2. Look for signs of burnout 

Employers should not only be assessing employee job performance, but should also be watching for signs of stress or burnout such as physical signs of fatigue, increased absenteeism, or poor job performance. When you notice signs of burnout, it would be an ideal time to talk with them about their responsibilities and assess their workload.  

3. Provide employee education on the importance of work-life balance 

Educate your staff on the benefits and importance of a healthy work-life balance. Offer webinars, on-site speakers, or access to online apps that teach your team how to live a healthier lifestyle.  

4. Promote good physical and mental health 

Critical components in supporting a healthy work-life dynamic include supporting both physical and psychological health. Encourage employees to live an active lifestyle. Support them with reimbursements for gym memberships or other physical activities, organize group participation in local runs/walks, or simply provide space for people to share pictures and stories of their adventures.  

Encourage employees to pay attention to their mental health. Support them with creative outlets at work, offer opportunities to learn new skills, encourage time for personal recharging such as breaks during the day, vacations, or personal days. 

Be it physical or mental health, allowing flexibility to attend healthcare appointments is a great way to show that you value their health and want them to be able to bring their best selves to work. 

5. Consider flexible schedules 

Offering flexibility with schedules can be an easy opportunity to win some big points with your team. When it works for your company schedule, allow some flex time for employees to take care of their responsibilities outside of work – kids’ events, appointments, or caretaking.  

This fairly small gesture acknowledges that you support your team not only as employees but as individuals with families of their own. And that goes a long way to earning some much-desired loyalty.  

6. Support telecommuting 

Working remotely can be a great perk or a necessary business function. With more and more people leaving the traditional office setting, companies and entire industries are being created to cater to this demographic. While it may have seemed like a stretch a few years ago to make this dynamic successfully work for your company, give it a new look and see how it may be beneficial for your employees and your company as well. You may consider allowing remote work a few times a week or month, or you may find that it will enable you to hire much-needed talent from a different part of the country.  

If your concern has been productivity, or lack thereof, then part of the consideration should be to evaluate the systems you have for tracking and logging employee work, the communication protocols you have between employees and their supervisors, and the communication channels for the company.  

7. Take vacation 

Lead by example and let staff see that you consider it essential to take care of yourself and value time with your family. All too often leaders and employees alike accumulate paid time off, but are too hesitant to actually take a vacation. 

And when you are on vacation, set boundaries and limit your availability for phone calls and email. Show your team that vacation time should be cherished and taken without guilt. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of actually being on vacation. It’s a win-win! 

Your company may not be able to accommodate some of these ideas due to the type of work you do. And that’s okay. But taking the time to show your staff that you care about them should be something every business can do.  

Supporting your employees as individuals shows that you’re paying attention – to them. And what do we want more than just about anything as human beings? To know that we’re seen and that we matter. Find ways to show your team that you care.  


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Photo by melpomen

Create a Culture Where Innovation Thrives

The world of business is changing and changing quickly. Whether in the form of marketing, sales and prospecting, company culture and employee satisfaction, new solutions and practices are sprouting up everywhere. Competition has always been at the heart of our culture but keeping up with such a vast number of moving parts is a huge challenge.  

So how do you keep your business moving and growing in a constantly changing environment without breaking the bank? You take full advantage of the resources already available to you: your employees.  

Your greatest resource, your driving force, your differentiator—each one of your employees has their own set of experiences and tools they bring to the table, many of which you may not even know about. It’s critical to develop a company culture that enables employees to expand to their fullest potential so the pool of resources you have access to grows larger and more readily available.   

But how do you access those resources? How do you design a company that’s able to tap into the greatest potential of their employees, and thus the company itself?  

Here’s where to start: 

1. Accepting failure as part of the game 

Creating an environment where failure isn’t discouraged, but celebratedis key to making people feel comfortable trying new things. Failure is a symptom of having tried something, which is in itself a success. Teach your employees not to fear retaliation for having failed at trying something new. Instead, celebrate their initiative and use it as an opportunity to learn how to do better next time.   

The more people feel free to try out new things without being afraid of negative repercussion, the more willing they will be to give their ideas a shot.  

2. Change is expected 

Embracing innovation means there will be change. It’s core to the definition of change itself. Consider the many roles of your employees. Have you structured your company in a way that keeps people in placeor created a more fluid organization that allows for the flexibility and movement of your employees?  

When you bring people onto your team, do you talk about how their roles might change or do you simply give them their handbook and leave them to it?  

If you allow your employees to get too comfortable doing the same thing over and over again, they will resist change. It makes sense, right? Change is difficult and takes work. If employees aren’t used to being asked to adjust to new ways of doing things, they’ll get frustrated and push back.  

Train your employees to expect change from the get-go. Get them excited about how their roles may develop and evolve over time and encourage them to think critically about how things might be improved.  

That way, you have a team full of people who aren’t afraid to go full speed ahead with new initiatives, technologies, and systems. You’ll also start to attract employees who are big thinkers and who value a rich, ever evolving office discourse. Sound like the people you want working for you? 

3. Leadership 

You probably know that company culture comes from the top down. It isn’t enough just to expect your employees to come up with great new ideas. Leadership also needs to devote time and energy to thinking critically and looking for new solutions and opportunities for growth.   

Without the motivation of leadership, the energy and momentum needed for innovation will dwindle. There’s no problem solidifying what you’ve already got—especially if it works. But it’s just as important to keep your eye on the future. How will your company stand out from the crowd? What can you do to optimize your processes, expand your audience, and grow your business? What big new idea are you bringing to the table? 

The real value 

An innovative company is one that can keep up with changing markets and evolving competitors. Investing in practices that cultivate and nurture innovation in your company is investing in your company’s present and future.   

People want to be a part of growth and are inspired by a company that values a healthy exchange of ideas. You never know what you can accomplish if you keep your company flexible and open to the next big idea.


Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by yarruta

Building A Foundation for Communication

Internal communication is at the very heart of making sure your company is running smoothly. Not just within each department, but between departments, leadership, and HR. You’re probably nodding your head (or rolling your eyes) because this is basic, like really basic, for every company ever. So why are we writing about it? Because lack of communication is something many businesses struggle with and it can cause big problems. 

When a company suffers from a lack of communication, there’s always fallout: 

  • Accountability drops 
  • Resentment builds 
  • Important information gets lost  
  • Initiatives fail 
  • Employees start looking for other employment 

The list can go on and on and on. Lack of communication can leave employees feeling directionless and disengaged at the very least, and at worst, cost the business serious money in wasted initiatives, botched sales, and confused and frustrated customers.   

So how do you ensure your company is communicating effectively? Start by pick your channels. 

In-person meetings 

Setting up a reliable schedule for meetings is a key part of maintaining consistent communication. There’s a lot of talk about how meetings can be a waste of time if executed improperly and without an agenda, but that’s not a reason to stop having them. Instead, make them better.  

  • Set up weekly or monthly meetings between team leaders to review overall company goalsupdate each other on current projects and challenges, and stay uptodate on interdepartmental projects. Come into the meeting with an agenda and stick to it. If new topics come up during the meeting, make a note and address them at another time. 
  • Set up 5minute startofday meetings within departments for managers to highlight daily goals and agenda. 
  • Set up endofday (or week) meetings covering what has been accomplished and/or what needs to get done next.  

Digital communication 

Inperson (or video) meetings are critically important to developing relationshipsbut they shouldn’t be the only way of communicating. Supplement regular meetings with a digital communication channel to keep the communication flowing and document what’s been discussed.  

Thankfully, there are countless apps and programs companies can use for internal communication channels. While email is a standardit’s also so overused that it’s not always the most efficient way for companies to communicate internally. Think about your inbox—there are probably emails waiting to be sorted, emails you haven’t had time respond to, and emails you’ve forgotten entirely. Add in the back-and-forth messiness that comes with email conversations and you’ve got a recipe for poor communication.  

While email can be a good option for some communications, it shouldn’t be the only one you use. There are plenty of apps such as Slack or Microsoft Teams that are great for more efficient and effective communication.  

With digital apps, you can have direct conversations between individuals. And you can also have conversations in a group format where everyone in the group can see what’s being discussed. Keep this really focused by setting up multiple discussion groups, and have each be for a specific topic. This lets people choose the topics relevant to themselves and their roles. 

Whether it’s a direct or group conversation, the digital apps provide a great way to have a string of conversation that is saved and easily searchable.  

Keep it consistent  

Consistency is at the core of good communication. Once you choose your channels, stick with them. Create an expectation that everyone from the top down consistently participates in the meetings and uses the technology. Make it clear how and when the different channels of communication will be used. The more they’re used effectively, the more people will depend on them, and the more efficient everyone will become. 

Leadership must set the example and take the lead in adopting any new technology. If your leaders are still stuck using email or the whiteboard in the common area, the time you spend training your employees to use the program will be wasted.  

If your company is struggling with a lack of clarity and communication, ask yourself if everyone has a reliable way to contact one another and discuss internal topics in a timely manner. Then ask if your leaders are committed to using those channelsPeople will do as you do far more than they’ll do what you say.  


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Photo by Bonzami Emmanuelle