Blog

How Employers Can Be More Supportive of Women in the Workplace

Over the last few decades, women have made exponential strides in the way they are treated and supported in the workplace. However, despite these advances, there are still many improvements to be made. Here are three ways that employers and fellow employees can be more supportive of women in the workplace.

Pay Them Equally

It is no secret that throughout history women have traditionally been paid less than their male counterparts. This unequal pay has persisted despite females doing similar or even better work. One of the best ways that employers can support the career aspirations of women is to simply pay them equally. It is important to have business practices in place that continually guard against this type of pay discrimination. To do this, business leaders need to address their unconscious bias by undertaking a thorough pay gap analysis. Staying on top of the pay grade issue will help to ensure that women are being compensated in line with their male counterparts.

Zero Tolerance for Sexual Harassment

In order for women to be productive, they need to feel safe in the workplace. Promoting a clear zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment will ensure that your place of business is safe for all employees, not just females. There are many types of sexual harassment, so mandatory training will help all employees know what behaviors are prohibited. The mandate for sexual harassment training and awareness needs to come from the upper echelons of the company. Mandating this training and making sure that every employee takes part in the process will send a clear message about the company’s position on this issue.

Support Family-friendly Practices

In addition to providing women with the maternity leave they need, employers should also make their transition back to work easier. Managers can do this by furnishing nursing rooms, offering flexible work schedules, and being supportive of women who are trying to balance the demands of work and motherhood. Savvy business leaders also understand the importance of extending family-friendly practices to the male workforce. Offering new fathers paternity leave and other benefits that promote healthy families will make a big difference in how women perceive the company and its attitude.

All of these efforts should work together in tandem to deliver a safe and encouraging workplace for females. By providing women with the support they need and deserve, everyone in the company will benefit.

4 Unconventional Careers You Didn’t Know Existed

Whether you need a change from one career or you’re just starting out in the job market, you don’t have to stick to the run of the mill office hours with a 9-to-5 job or relegated to driving people around to pay your rent. There are some out of the ordinary jobs that might be just what you’re looking for.

Cartographer

Did you ever think that someone made the maps you use on your phone? A cartographer is a person who does that. Cartography is part science, part art. Training is necessary. Depending on where you live, though, a high school diploma and bachelor’s degree in a specialized geography program could lead you to a job as a cartographer. Your income could eventually be as high as $80K a year.

Sommelier

It sounds classy. You would be, too, if you decide to take the career path to be a sommelier. More than a waiter or waitress, you wouldn’t just pour the wine, you would know all things wine. There is training involved but worth it if you love the grape and want to share your knowledge with your customers in fine dining establishments. The beginning salary starts at about $30K a year. A master sommelier can make $100K or more a year.

Professional Organizer

If you like order and structure, you might love being a professional organizer. There is no formal training, and clients often pay anywhere from $50 to $200 or more per hour for someone to organize their stuff. Closets, kitchens, offices — you name it! If there is a mess somewhere, a potential customer in need is waiting to find out that you can help them.

Railroad Conductor

Railroad conductors are responsible for everything concerning his or her train. if you choose to become a railroad conductor, everything onboard including contents of the cargo area, communicating with your crew, tearing tickets, and the wishes of the passengers would all be your responsibility. You would not drive the train but would communicate with other trains and act in a supervisory position. Working as a railroad conductor is generally safe, however, anyone working on a railroad needs to be cautious about injuries common to the industry. On-the-job training is usually the way to become a railroad conductor. The average pay for a seasoned conductor is about $60K a year. If you love traveling by rail and meeting all kinds of people, being a railroad conductor might be the job for you. 

These are just a few of the career choices you have available to you whether you want to start your first career or are looking for a change with a new one. If you’re looking for a career change, make sure to take these versatile skills with you!

3 Effective Advertising Strategies for the Digital Age

In this increasingly digital age, the market is seeing a downturn in print advertising and a drastic uptick in online marketing. If you’ve traditionally advertised via newspaper, local magazine, or flyers, it’s probably time to start thinking about revamping your marketing strategy. What can you do to drive more traffic to your business and to increase sales? Take a look at these high-performing digital age advertising strategies to spark your marketing creativity.

Word of Mouth

Word of mouth marketing has long been one of the most effective advertising strategies in business. Why? Because when people trust someone else’s opinion, they are likely to follow that person’s recommendations. If your best friend gushes about a restaurant she recently visited that she thinks you would also enjoy, you’re likely to trust her opinion. Therefore, the next time you’re planning an evening out, you’re much more apt to reserve a seat at that restaurant. 

The same goes for physical products, digital products, consulting services—you name it. Plus, word of mouth advertising targets the exact prospects a business hopes to reach. People aren’t likely to recommend a product or service to friends or family if they know those people do not have any interest in it. Rather than putting an ad in the newspaper, which hundreds of uninterested eyes might see, word-of-mouth marketing puts products and services in front of the right people who are likely to take action.

Social Media

With nearly 3.5 billion users across multiple social platforms, social media has grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade; social media marketing has exploded, too. With the average user spending over two hours per day browsing social media platforms, advertisers can benefit tremendously from getting their products and services in front of social audiences. 

Not only can users instantly share products, ideas, and services with their social acquaintances, but influencer marketing has also proven to be very lucrative. Much like word-of-mouth advertising, social media marketing often works on the principle of trust. When an influencer has amassed a large following, he or she has earned the trust of that audience. When that person recommends a product on his or her page, users who follow that influencer are likely to investigate what all the hype is about.

Pay-Per-Click

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a paid marketing strategy that charges website owners each time a user clicks the link to their sites. Often referred to as paid search or search engine advertising, PPC has been around for years because it’s a highly effective advertising strategy. With PPC, you can leverage the tremendous search power of major search engines to drive traffic to your website. With paid search, users make a search query on a major search engine, and if your website offers an applicable service, it will show up among the top search results. 

Each day, web users perform over 6 billion searches, so the chances of you getting traffic from a PPC campaign are very high. If you’re looking to target leads in a specific geographic area for local business advertising, make sure you use geo-targeting in a PPC strategy to get the leads you want. 

In this increasingly digital age, there are innumerable advertising options available to business owners. While you’ll need to conduct testing to find the marketing channels best suited to your business, with a smart strategy and a bit of persistence, you should have no trouble getting your products and services in front of the right people.

How Your Company Can Strive for Ethical Behavior

An ethical company becomes one with long-lasting potential. Don’t believe all the stories about “lying and cheating” business owners who game the system and get away with it. Unethical behavior eventually catches up with a crooked entrepreneur. He or she might thrive as a cheat for the short-term, but the law and, yes, the customers, do put a stop to bad behavior. Not every troubled business owner fails to toe the line out of malice. Some find themselves getting off course and making mistakes due to a lack of knowledge. Others cut corners, thinking they aren’t doing anything all that bad. Don’t fall into such traps, or your business will suffer. Here are five things to consider when trying to run an ethical business.

Treat Your Employees Well

This one practically goes without saying. Treating employees poorly does nothing but set the stage for their departure. Significant employee turnover eventually drains a company of its most valuable resource: people. The costs associated with replacing departing employees also consume budgets. Then there is another crucial matter to take into consideration. The poor treatment of employees can represent more than being called a rude boss. In some cases, the treatment results in criminal or civil actions. Follow the letter of the law when dealing with your staff. Treating your employees well and promoting ethical behavior will help to ensure that you have a successful and ethical business.

Keep Accurate Records

Terrible recordkeeping is more than sloppy. Depending upon your business, a failure to maintain accurate records can be a crime. The Internal Revenue Service certainly has rules regarding keeping files on expenses and deductions. Trouble arises when you make mistakes due to poor recordkeeping. Even when an error is not deliberate, business owners face the fallout of any result in problems. Sometimes, partners or other businesses commit illegal acts. Accurate records might serve as evidence for a defense. If your records are in poor shape, start working today on improving them. Otherwise, the snowball effect of poor record management will catch up to you.

Comply with Laws

Violating the law opens the proverbial Pandora’s box of troubles. Criminal activities arouse suspicions which, in turn, lead to investigations. When you’re guilty of a crime, investigators use their experience to figure things out. Look at all the incidents of people attempting to defraud insurance companies. The percentage of those who get away with it is low. The number of convicted felons ranks high. Eventually, people who violate the law will get caught. If an employee becomes aware of fraudulent activity at your company, they can become a protected whistleblower and expose the activity to the government. Afterward, a legal disaster may ensue. Whether you get caught or not, however, isn’t even the issue here. Violating the law is unethical, illegal, and flat out wrong.

Admit Your Mistakes

Mistakes happen. People don’t always exercise the best judgment. Sometimes, the mistakes reflect severe violations of the law. When appropriate, admitting to one’s mistakes is the best course of action. The public, generally, isn’t fond of people deflecting blame onto others. Quickly admitting to an error and working to fix it could mitigate some of the damage. Moving swiftly to admit mistakes means something. Waiting too long or dragging out the apology process undermines effectiveness. Some may assume the apology is insincere and forced when delayed. As soon as apologizing makes sense and doesn’t add to legal woes, own up to mistakes.

Work on Fixing Your Reputation

Reasons exist why reputation management services exist. They prove exceptionally helpful when the public’s perception of a business falters. Sometimes, reputation management services assist a company in performing “penance” for misdeeds. For example, the company may rely on press releases to reveal the charitable work intended to pay back the community for transgressions.

Acting ethical is vital to any business’s health. Find out where you are going wrong and change course. Otherwise, risk facing harsh consequences.

Here’s another article you might like: Ethical Marketing: What it is and Why it Should Matter to You

4 Fastest Growing Industries in Which You Should Get a Job

Finding the right job and career can be a tricky business. The job market regularly shifts and what may be hot today may fall by the wayside tomorrow. However, the following industries are experiencing rapid growth while also showing the potential to remain viable over the long haul.

Beverage Manufacturing

While craft breweries have become common in the past few years, beer is hardly the only beverage experiencing a craft renaissance. Wineries, distilleries, cider mills, and sparkling beverages have exploded in the craft beverage world. Indeed, as beer alternatives have risen, the craft beer market has leveled off. The industry, however, remains exceptionally strong. Diversified offerings, expansion into new markets and a focus on taprooms and direct distribution are ensuring strong markets for all craft beverages.

Car Sharing

Car sharing has become increasingly popular in the past decade with apps like Lyft and Uber appearing on the tech scene. With this increased popularity comes an increased demand for car sharing drivers. In fact, the worldwide car sharing market is estimated to grow by over 30 percent by 2020, due to more businesses using these services for their employees. And the good news is, all you need to know to succeed at this job is how to drive.  

Specialized Freight Trucking

The trucking industry, in general, is facing a distinct shortage of drivers, which means better wages and more openings. The most lucrative trucking options involve specialized trucking. This includes things like driving livestock haulers, dump trucks and auto carriers. Generally, most cargo that involves irregular shapes, loading, weights, and so forth fall into this category. Many companies will provide training in this specialized hauling and will provide regular work.

Pest Control

Research is predicting that pest control will see over a 5.5 percent expansion through 2020. This industry, in which agents remove insects and animals from homes and businesses, has grown rapidly with residential and commercial building spurts. Additionally, as the science behind things like insect sprays and chemicals has advanced, pest control agents are increasingly becoming more knowledgeable and specialized, with training provided by many companies. Being able to properly assess and treat a pest problem can be a tricky task and is not one likely to dry up anytime soon.

Whether starting a new career or contemplating a change in your life, these options could be what you are looking for. They all have been around for a long time, but are seeing unprecedented growth, profits and wages. Additionally, all look to be viable ways to earn money both now and for years to come.

Why Should Businesses Conduct Health Risk Assessments?

A health risk assessment utilizes a few different methods to determine what a person’s state of health and wellbeing is. This is information that can be used to predict disease, medical emergencies, illness, etc. In the workplace, there are several benefits associated with doing health risk assessments on employees. This process helps people understand what they need to do in order to become healthier and happier.

Understanding the Problem

Many people don’t understand that their lifestyle may be contributing greatly to how healthy they are or are not. People need to understand the problems that are present. It’s important that a company shows its employees how much they care. Providing health risk assessments is one way, but there may be follow up programs and services that can help everyone get healthier, according to The Commonwealth Fund. It’s also ideal to have healthy employees. This will cut down on sick days, increasing productivity overall.

Using the Information

Health information needs to remain private to a certain degree. Your health risk assessment results shouldn’t violate any kind of HIPAA rules that are present in the office. According to Carenet Health, the results from HRAs can be used to point employees in the direction of resources that can help them improve their health. You don’t have to inform other employees of what a specific person’s results are, but you can categorize people based on their results and give them the education that they need.

Risk Assessments

There are a few health concerns that scare people, and rightfully so. You can use a health risk assessment to inform a person when there is some sort of risk factor present in their daily life. This could be a risk for heart attack, stroke, cancer, injury, diabetes, disease, etc. These risks may increase because of something that someone is doing. They may not be taking proper care of themselves; they could be a smoker, or they could drink excessively. Even in the workplace, they might not be taking the appropriate steps towards being safe on the job. Sometimes a person needs to hear the truth before they will start to make changes in their life.

If you are wondering how you can utilize a health risk assessment in your own company, there are several resources and businesses that provide information and services for this purpose. You can tailor your own health assessments to fit the people you have on-site and the type of environment that they are working in so they can best fit your needs.

We Don’t Talk Anymore: Communicating Effectively at Work

The level of productivity that a company experiences often relies a lot on how well employees are communicating with one another. There is also a level of communication that should exist between employees and upper management. In many companies, this communication isn’t occurring. If it does occur, it isn’t being done effectively. In many cases, upper management doesn’t know much about the people who are working for them. If you’re looking to improve the level of communication at your business, let’s look at some tips that can help.

Use a Combination of Face-to-Face and Digital Communication

There are many different methods of communication in this day and age. However, digital options are proving to be quite difficult for effective communication. According to a new survey of more than 250 communications professionals, 48 percent said that to the extent employee engagement is important to their organizations, companies need to rethink digital workplace internal communications. Speaking in-person is still a great option. It allows you to see a person’s facial expressions, you can hear what they are saying, and you’ll be able to understand their message better. That doesn’t mean you should completely give up on digital methods. Try a combination of both to see what happens.

Ask Questions

Employees should always be encouraged to ask questions, especially when they need help. No question is unnecessary if it helps someone learn how to do their job better. If people are nervous about asking a question in front of their colleagues, come up with a system of submitting questions anonymously. The questions can be addressed at team meetings or in a group email. 

Handle Conflict Positively

It is inevitable that conflict will arise within the office. A disagreement could occur because of two differing opinions. It’s important that everyone handles this issue positively and professionally. Have a method of dealing with inner-office conflict. Make sure the problem is addressed for both parties, in a way that won’t harm the flow of business. You also want to make sure everyone is getting along with each other. Being able to handle conflict in a mature, productive manner is an essential characteristic of a good leader.

It’s very important that everyone in your office gets along and can communicate properly. Not everyone has excellent communication skills. You might want to offer some training sessions or team building exercises as a way for people to communicate things that have been on their mind. Learning how to communicate more effectively will help generate better morale and increase productivity.

3 Ways to Earn Side Money Without a Degree

While it may be easier to find higher-paying jobs after graduating from college, there are plenty of ways to make money without a degree. Creating a side hustle can help you make extra money on your own time, which can make it easier to pay bills or save for your future goals. In some cases, one of these side hustles can become a full-time job or a thriving business that creates jobs for others in the community.

Become a Real Estate Agent

If you want to go into a profitable field, consider becoming a real estate agent. All you need is a real estate license to get started. Generally speaking, anyone who is able to pass the license exam can enter the field regardless of their level of education. Whether you represent the buyer or the seller, it’s possible to earn thousands of dollars from a single listing. Even if you only help to sell a few homes per month, it can be a lucrative career path.

Get at Gig as a Food Delivery Driver

To be a food delivery driver, you typically need little more than a driver’s license and a reliable automobile. You can choose to work for an established company or deliver food on a freelance basis. Since there are undoubtedly many delivery services you can join in your local area, it’s not difficult to find work—this field is steadily growing. One of the perks of bringing people food is that they are likely to tip their driver. This gives you an opportunity to earn significantly more than the base wage an employer pays for your services.

Work as a Freelance Writer

There is a huge demand for quality content that can be posted on blogs, social media accounts, and other online properties. Individuals and companies are also constantly on the lookout for authors to ghostwrite their books. If you don’t want to write, it may be possible to earn money editing what others have already created. In some cases, editors may be able to charge more than authors. This is because authors are usually willing to pay a premium to ensure that their content is free of spelling or grammar errors.

If you have a unique talent, there is a good chance that someone will pay for your knowledge or skills. This is true whether you have an advanced degree or no degree at all. While you may need to spend some time marketing your services, doing so can help put you on a path to financial independence.

Looking for more ideas? Explore more business ideas and personal development resources from Chance and Confidence. 

How a Japanese Concept Can Improve Your Productivity

While kaizen, according to its original Japanese definition, can mean either one-time or continuous improvement, many life-coaches and businesses try to adopt a continuous philosophy that can be implemented for long-term progress. First developed in post-WWII Japan, the philosophy emphasizes productivity while eliminating wasteful actions. Eventually, this improvement concept was adopted by the Toyota Motor Corporation in 2001 as part of their official corporate culture and became known as the Toyota Way.

What is Kaizen?

According to Kaizen News, kaizen means continuous improvement, and it’s a philosophy that is effective at all levels of a business, from its corporate culture down to a single individual. From CEOs to production workers, anybody can practice this philosophy. It can also be applied to processes such as purchasing, operations, manufacturing, and logistics in a variety of industries. Its many benefits include waste reduction, immediate troubleshooting, improved utilization of resources, and better teamwork.

There are multiple forms of this philosophy: point, line, plane and cube. The point system is the most basic improvement. You and your team are only focused on making a single improvement. If something is broken in a production system, you implement a solution to fix the problem. The line system extends the single point improvement down to another point. The solution used can also be used by another department. 

Sometimes, the strategy used in one point can be extended to multiple departments or processes and become a plane system. A cube system is a system where multiple planes of improvement connect in upstream or downstream processes, and each improvement plane affects and is affected by the changes made by other departments in an organization-wide restructure. According to Value Based Management, this philosophy exceeds at eliminating waste and inefficiency. 

Steps of Kaizen

While the steps can be customized to different company cultures, the basic process involves identifying the problem, studying the problem, identifying the root causes, making changes, implementing the changes, and evaluating the changes. In the case of any ambiguity, work is stopped and communication is established between managers and employees to resolve any confusion.

Application

The application of this Japanese concept is an interactive problem-solving process. You and your team need to have a vision of your long-term goals, and actively challenge yourself and your employees to seek to achieve these goals. Since the application of this philosophy is circular, you and your team must continuously return to the beginning of the cycle after evaluating the effects of the previous improvement.

While the application of the Toyota Way can be used in corporate culture, individuals can also use this philosophy as a way to make lifestyle improvements. Proactive and empowering, continuous improvement seeks to align both individuals and companies with long-term goals.

Productivity in the workplace is vital for success. Here are some common stumbling blocks in the workplace that inhibit productivity and how to bite them in the bud.

How to Overcome Productivity-Killing Obstacles in the Workplace

No matter how hard you work to excel at your job, there are bound to be a few factors that get in your way. Learning to identify these obstacles and deal with them effectively is sure to increase your confidence and effectiveness in the workplace, so let’s take a look at some common work issues that sap productivity.

You’re Doing Too Much Work

It’s surprisingly easy to take on too much work to reasonably handle, especially if you’re the ambitious workaholic type. You might think that the best solution in most cases is for you to simply complete the task yourself, but your productivity will be crippled if you burn out.

If you’re feeling overloaded in the workplace, see if you can delegate helpful tasks to other employees. If there’s too much even for the whole team to handle, consider asking your boss if he or she would be willing to hire more people.

Discrimination

Unfortunately, discrimination in the workplace is a very real issue that can seriously hamper productivity. If you feel that one or more of your coworkers might be discriminating against you and hindering your ability to get your work done, then talk to your employer.

Be prepared for the talk by documenting all the details such as names, places, dates, and times. If you still cannot work out a solution in-house, even after repeated attempts to communicate with your employer, then file a claim. You can file an employment discrimination claim at the local EEOC office or on their website.

Your Coworkers Don’t Pull Their Weight

Sometimes, despite your best efforts to work cooperatively with your team, things still don’t get accomplished because your coworkers aren’t on the ball. If someone in the workplace tends to drag their feet or does a poor job of working with others, then it can kill productivity for everyone.

People come with many different personality types, and a simple change in your approach might be all that’s needed to smooth things out. If you can’t find a way to engage unproductive workers, then you may need to enlist a supervisor to help.

You’re Distracted by Digital Alerts

Do you get push notifications on your computer or phone from social media sites, email, or apps? If so, these might seriously slow down your productivity rate. It’s nearly impossible to resist the urge to quickly check on notifications, and every time you do, it saps some energy and breaks your concentration.

Go as minimalist as possible with alerts and notifications, or put your phone on silent and keep it face down while you work. Turn off desktop notifications for your email and allow only the most urgent ones, such as emails from your boss.

No matter how great your work ethic is, there are several obstacles that can pop up in the workplace to slow you down. Keep an eye out for these productivity-killing issues in the workplace and combat them effectively in order to get things done.

Nothing kills productivity like an employee that’s a bad egg! Click here to learn about how to hire better employees!