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Archive: Nov 2018

Learn how to recruit good candidates in the new year

Posted: November 30, 2018 2:26 pm
There is an art to recruitment – those businesses that tend to recruit the best people understand how it works. If you’re looking to find great candidates for your business in the new year then you might have to rethink in terms of the process that you use.

The trick is to start recruiting before you need to

Mistakes in recruitment tend to happen if you’re forced into going through the process under pressure. You may not have the resources in place to find the best people and you might feel that you have to make a decision using a basis that you’re not entirely clear on. You don’t have to wait until you’re hiring to start building relationships with great candidates. or to work on the perception of your business that future employees are likely to encounter. The more you establish relationships and systems, the easier it will be to activate them when the time comes.

The key components in recruiting good candidates

When you embark on the recruitment process make sure that you have the following in place:

A useful job description

This should “speak” to the right potential candidate, informing them not just about the job itself but the type of person who would excel at it and the business culture that exists in your organisation.

The time to dedicate to the recruitment process

Particularly at the initial screening stage it can be time consuming to go through CVs – but it’s important to do it thoroughly.

A strong interview structure

It’s key to develop interview questions in advance – avoid any with a “yes” or “no” answer and focus on the questions that will give you insight into the characteristics of the candidate, not just skills and experience.

Where to find your ideal candidates

Many organisations make the mistake of looking in a limited number of places for candidates – which effectively restricts the talent available. In fact, there are lots of places where you can seek out new people for your business.

Word-of-mouth and employee networks

If your employees love working for you they are the best brand ambassadors when it comes to recruiting other top talent.

Industry groups and memberships

Your own networks and organisations and events (such as conferences) that regularly take place within the sector can be fertile recruitment ground for any business.

Your website

Dedicate a section of the website to “jobs” or “work for us” and provide any potential candidates with the information they might need to get in touch about making an application. Many of the best candidates are proactive in their job search and will find you first online, so ensure that your website shows the business off in its best light, including what the perks are for employees.

Open communications

You may have a pool of fantastic candidates but only be able to recruit one – that doesn’t mean you need to let the others escape you. Stay in touch with those who are interested in working for your business, from giving them the chance to sign up for the newsletter to sending out regular recruitment briefings. There are lots of options out there to help support every aspect of your recruitment process. From agencies and headhunters through to online recruitment websites and social recruiting experts, you don’t have to do it all alone. Our Recruiting the Best People course is designed to help you find and recruit the best possible people for your business. Book your place today.

How can you implement great performance management techniques?

Posted: November 23, 2018 3:45 pm
Performance management is about so much more than just individual reviews and assessments. It’s an ongoing process that involves identifying goals, tracing the steps to take towards those goals and monitoring the progress that is made. Rather than something that happens once, maybe twice, a year, performance management is an ongoing process of guiding employees in the direction of progress. Although essential, performance management is often not a skill that many managers have – but it’s something that every great manager needs to learn.

Performance management skills and techniques

The ability to use SMART goal setting

Guiding employees onward with SMART goals is a very useful technique for performance management. Those goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. They should integrate the overall values and vision of the business but also be broken down into achievable steps for the employee to follow.

A system of ongoing feedback

Giving constructive feedback can be essential to employee progress. However, so many organisations wait to provide this feedback at a single performance review. More effective is an approach by which feedback is given as soon as the event or experience that triggered it has happened. Finding ways to instantly feed back to employees will make it much easier to manage performance on an ongoing basis.

Balancing analysing the past with looking to the future

Performance reviews often get too bogged down by what an employee has already done. Whether these are achievements or moments that left room for improvement, it’s never particularly constructive to dwell on them for too long. It’s essential to be able to balance this assessment with a forward-looking approach to achieve great performance management. Reflections on the past are always best positioned in the context of what could be done better in the future. Identify obstacles, issues, slow progress, as well as wider situations that may be affecting the team and then look for solutions, as opposed to getting stuck in too much analysis of historical events.

Keep it simple

It often seems that the less frequent a performance review is, the more complex it tends to be. Steer clear of extensive questionnaires, lists or forms to fill in and instead have regular face-to-face performance management sessions that require little or no preparation. These meetings can highlight issues, deal with areas where the employee needs help, identify achievements that can be built on and shift priorities appropriately. Most importantly of all, these regular management meetings ensure that communication is positive and frequent.

Give the process credit

Perhaps the most important part of performance management is gaining an understanding of just how important it really is. Managers who are doing it simply to tick the right box are unlikely to see – or reap – the full potential of successful performance management. It’s crucial to get behind the process and the vision to see real results. Our Performance Management course gives managers practical ways to help employees set and achieve realistic objectives. It’s ideal for those who are looking to improve performance management techniques.

How can you improve the way that you manage credit control?

Posted: November 16, 2018 1:39 pm
Credit control is an important part of financial management for any business. It not only allows an organisation to build strong relationships with customers and accelerate sales but also helps to avoid potential problems that can arise from non-payment and bad debts. Improving the way that credit control is managed can be transformative.

The consequences of poor credit control

Credit control starts the moment that an order is placed. It’s a function that needs to be integrated throughout the rest of the business to ensure that it provides maximum input. Without effective credit control it’s easy for late payments to spiral into non-payments and bad debts. The consequences of this can range from a lack of cash flow in the business to the company being unable to pay its own debts. If credit control is currently poor then it’s crucial to take steps to improve the way that this is being managed.

Improving credit control management


Establish a clear credit control process

It’s all too easy to overlook the need to have a clearly defined credit control process in place. This should cover all the stages involved, from the moment the order is placed to the point at which polite phone calls chasing invoices become more formal action.

State your terms and conditions clearly up front

It’s important to ensure that your customers know how long they have to pay. Equally crucial is making clear the steps that you will take where payments are late, including applying interest and fees.

Carry out customer research

It really pays to take the time to establish the viability of your customer before extending credit to them. Make sure you have key data such as name, address, company details and registration, as well as who is responsible for making the payments. You may even want to look into whether it’s worth getting a credit expert to carry out a credit check on your behalf (with the customer’s consent).

Make sure your invoicing process is sound

Be efficient when it comes to invoicing and make sure customers get theirs as soon as possible. Ensure that the invoice is correct, clear and addressed to the right person. It can be useful to include your payment terms on the invoice too.

Give customers plenty of payment options

The easier you make it for customers to pay (e.g. cheque, bank transfer, standing order, PayPal), the less likely you are to run into issues of non-payment.

Keep a note of problem customers

Maintain a regularly updated list of businesses or customers who have proven problematic in the past so that you don’t end up overextending credit to them in the future.

Take action as soon as credit terms are exceeded

Credit control requires swift action to avoid a late payment situation escalating. Don’t be afraid to take action – it is usually possible to preserve a positive relationship with a client by politely but firmly setting out what is required in terms of action on their part. Our Credit Control course is ideal for anyone looking to have a better understanding of credit control and how to manage it. Get in touch to find out more today.

The importance of facilitation in the workplace and how to achieve this

Posted: November 8, 2018 1:29 pm
Facilitation is essentially a process by which consensus can be achieved. It is a method that enables more productive outcomes and so has significant value to any business. Managers with facilitation skills can help to ensure that outcomes are positive and group sessions or meetings remain focused and efficient. But what does facilitation look like in the workplace and what kind of skills does it require?

Why is facilitation important?

Having a facilitator in a meeting can completely change the experience of that meeting. Not only will the facilitator ensure everyone remains focused on the issues, saving time and resources often wasted on distracted discussion, but they will also be able to keep the momentum of the meeting moving. Facilitators can resolve disputes, manage difficulties and find a consensus that might otherwise have been out of reach.

Achieving facilitation in the workplace

Individual facilitation

This type of facilitation is usually required where two people have found themselves at odds with each other. Being a facilitator here requires standing as an arbitrating figure, setting mutual goals or providing a debrief on a project or experience. It’s about finding consensus and a way to move forward past a dispute, as well as helping the individuals concerned to develop.

Group facilitation

The challenge in group facilitation is dealing with all the parties involved and keeping multiple minds focused on the same topic. This can be achieved in a number of ways: • Creating a structure for the meeting beforehand, designed to help achieve specific objectives and maintain momentum. • Ensuring that information or data is being presented simply and in a way that everyone at the meeting understands. • Getting everyone invested in the outcome of the meeting so that there is a sense of shared responsibility. • Establishing a process that will engage participants in achieving objectives before the meeting has even begun.

Facilitation skills

A number of key skills and characteristics are required for a good facilitator, including: • Being empathetic and developing strong listening and communication skills • A good understanding of interpersonal dynamics and how to manage them, for example creating a group signal that any of the participants can use to indicate the need for a change of pace, such as taking a time out or intervening to make a point. • Effective group leadership • Being able to structure training and team building so that everyone feels the desire to participate • Developing an understanding of communication, both verbal and non-verbal, such as using signals (e.g. a wave or eyebrow raise) to indicate that it’s time for someone else to speak or the topic needs further discussion. • Comprehension of group dynamics and not being afraid to intervene where necessary to preserve the flow of the meeting or session • A sound understanding of the infrastructure and processes of the workplace. Our Introduction to Facilitation Skills course is designed for those looking to use facilitation as a means to engage, enroll and enthuse people to adopt a change in working practices.

6 ways to manage your team more successfully

Posted: November 1, 2018 2:27 pm
People skills are essential for managers at any level. From difficult individuals to situations that require careful handling to resolve, there are many instances in which a skilled manager can make a difference. 70% of an employee’s motivation is influenced by a manager so businesses really value people who are able to handle a team successfully. If your goal is to progress in a management position then there are a number of key skills to learn.

1. Empathy

Empathy in a management context is demonstrating an understanding of an employee’s own individual circumstances when making decisions that affect them. So, that could be approving a holiday request that coincides with a child’s time off school or presenting concerns raised by the team to upper management to argue their case for change. Empathy is a very powerful force for connection and essential for managers keen to succeed.

2. Engage with your team

If you want to improve team management then your presence in the team needs to be felt. Engage with all team members on a regular basis don’t sit in your office behind a closed door. Attend team events and company parties, start random conversations, have an open door policy and ask questions so that you can begin to understand your team and build stronger connections as a result.

3. Avoid micromanagement

Micromanagement will suck the motivation from any team because it demonstrates a lack of trust in their abilities and doesn’t give them room to thrive. Provide the support and guidance that your team needs to move forward of their own accord and then take a step back. With the space to grow and develop your team will feel nurtured but not controlled and could go on to do great things.

4. Support ongoing professional development

The first step is always to provide regular opportunities to assess performance and progress, and identify ways in which these could be improved. Once you start to acquire more knowledge of where your team members succeed and fail you can design solutions that help them to do better. That may be finding training or courses to improve a skill set or giving them more opportunities to do a specific task every day.

5. Keep the lines of communication open

Successful managers know when to listen to their team. Even if it’s negative feedback or complaints, it’s important for everyone to feel like they have a voice within the business. Equally, when it comes to talking about progress or development within the business, make sure your team is kept well informed and isn’t the last to know.

6. Reward success

Reward and recognition is essential to good management and has a key role to play in how engaged employees are and whether motivation is maintained. Look for ways to recognise and reward everyone, not just those who regularly do best – that way the whole team will progress in the right direction and no one is left behind. Our People Management course is specifically designed for managers looking to progress, from those at the early stages to more experienced individuals. Book your place today.