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It's About Time! The Journyx Blog
You might remember in our most recent monday link-ups post, we put a heavy emphasis on GP. Well this week, we're going to branch out and show a little bit of love to our SL and AX friends. There is so much support out there for these other three fan-favorites that we thought we'd be remiss if we didn't put the spotlight on them as well.
- The Microsoft Dynamics AX Forums has a robust community of users sharing info and learning together. The community for AX ranks at about 19,000 companies using the software as their ERP solution with the software being pitted against big competition like Oracle.
- The Microsoft Dynamics SL Forums is key to implementing your ERP Software, with SL ranking at about 13,500 companies deploying it as their solution in 2014, you'll need all the help you can get. They boast training videos and CustomerSource access at the tips of your fingers.
- AXUG is not just a silly acronym for the in-crowd, it's access to the community beyond even the forums. You get the latest updates, the inside scoop, access to partners and vendors catering and tailoring their solutions to AX. Highly recommend.
- DSLUG is essentially AXUG but tailored toward SL users, vendors and partners. If you're ERP solution is SL, we could not recommend more that you join this group and get involved ASAP.
There are also tons of ways to be a part of the community online and in the social space. Check out these LinkedIn and Google+ groups and pages to get involved with.
- Microsoft Dynamics AX Forum (LinkedIn)
- Dynamics ERP Professionals Group (15,000+) (LinkedIn)
- Microsoft Dynamics AX Professionals (LinkedIn)
- Microsoft Dynamics (AX, NAV, CRM) Add Ons (LinkedIn)
- Dynamics SL Users Group (LinkedIn)
- Dynamics SL (LinkedIn)
- Microsoft Dynamics SL Freelancers (LinkedIn)
- Dynamics AX (Google+)
- Microsoft Dynamics AX Blog Community (Google+)
Are you spending time on social media? As a business executive you should be. According to a new study by BRANDfog, 75% of employees believe that executives who participate in social media are better leaders. And the same percentage believes that executives that communicate the company’s core values via social media are more trustworthy.
"In today's hyper-connected, information-driven world, CEOs and senior executives are expected to have an active social presence," explained Ann Charles, BRANDfog CEO. "The survey results were definitive - social media is an extremely undervalued channel for managing brand reputation, building brand trust and better leadership."
Social media is no longer just important for tech-minded companies; it’s a vital avenue of brand building and customer outreach for all companies. But many CEOs still don’t use social media, including 70% of Fortune 500 CEOs.
Fortunately, there are some easy steps you can take to become social media savvy in no time.
Focus on the Right Sites
As a small business executive, your time is important. So when you participate in social media, be sure that you are spending your time on the right sites for your business. You first need to figure out where your customer base spends its time. One way to do this is to send out a survey to a pool of your current customers, or conduct your own informal research on the major networking sites. You also want to be sure that the site you choose works with your company’s brand. Does your company present itself visually? Then Youtube, Pintrist, or Tumblr might be the place for you. Do you value discussion over visuals? Then consider Facebook or Twitter.
Get the Right Tools
Another way to make social media communication more time-efficient is by investing in the right set of tools. Social media tools can help you easily post and monitor several social media accounts at one time. One such tool, Buffer, lets you a build a queue of content that is then automatically posted on a regular schedule. This way you can write your social media material when you have time and not have to worry about whether or not it’s the right time to post it. For more social media tools for small businesses, check out this article.
Build a Consistent Brand
As the CEO and/or owner of your small business, you are the face of your company’s brand. For this reasons, your social media presence is an important component in brand building. In fact, in the aforementioned BRANDfog study, over 80% of employees believe that executive participation in social media raises brand awareness and is a valuable way to manage brand reputation. But you have to be careful that the brand you are building is consistent. Make sure your visuals and messaging stays the same across social media sites and within the context of your overall brand. And don’t get pulled into negative interactions on these social sites. As the face of your company, you should be personable and engaging, but also professional at all times.
Don’t Just Talk Business
Social media gives executives the ability to put a human face on their company and connect with customers personally. So don’t bore your audience with constant shoptalk. Richard Branson, the CEO and chairman of Virgin Group, gained a massive following on Twitter by tweeting regularly on a variety of topics, including his travels and his participation in extreme sports. Chris Brogan suggests you use the magazine model when deciding on how much corporate self-promotion to post. Magazines usually have 60% content and 40% ads. You audience won’t mind reading your company messaging as long as you also provide fresh, engaging content unrelated to your business.
Social media is not going away any time soon, so smart small business owners should stop ignoring it and start using it to spread their brand and grow their customer base. And who knows, you might even start to enjoy it!
Easily spotted in one of our favorite corners of the internet is ERP Software Blog. Edited by Dynamics ERP veteran Anya Ciecierski, ERP Software Blog has lent itself as a thought-leader in the Dynamics space, heralding breaking news and the latest Microsoft Dynamics updates. Our very own Curt Finch has even been given the opportunity to write for them.
Below is an article debating the importance and need for add-ons in an already-robust Dynamics ERP space. Visit their site here for the full story.
In a LinkedIn group recently, a member asked fellow users of Microsoft Dynamics GP for some sort of documentation with an explanation for why GP needs and benefits from third party products. It is a fascinating and relevant thread, potentially a challenge to Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), and a bona fide query for Dynamics loyalists. Other users gave their two cents, and a few themes naturally came out of the conversation. Firstly, some posited that a software producer, even Microsoft, cannot manufacture a solution that responds to each individual organization’s demands. Similar to Apple products allowing operators to install Google Maps as an application, despite the fact that Apple offers its own map app, so do ERP systems like Dynamics GP, and this flexibility is a necessity for modern businesses. As any corporation who implements Dynamics GP has specific needs, goals, regulatory stipulations, and unique budgeting requisites, features and functionalities will vary in their value from company to company. Third party offerings empower organizations to individualize their corporate performance management to best meet their needs.
President Obama recently signed an executive order calling for new rules on overtime pay. Currently, salaried workers in executive, administrative and professional positions aren’t eligible for overtime pay if they make over $455 per week. The President suggested $600 or $640 as the new threshold, the current standards for New York and California.
Unfortunately, these new rules, if put into effect, will most likely disproportionately affect small businesses. While most large firms can absorb new regulatory costs, small businesses have less revenue to spread the costs across. As Marc Freedman, the executive director of Labor Law Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, explained, "Similar to minimum wage, these changes in overtime rules will fall most harshly on small and medium sized businesses."
It is predicted that some small companies will see a significant increase their payroll costs as lower-level employees working 50 or 60 hours a week become eligible for overtime. And in the current economic environment, many small businesses don’t have the available revenue to cover these additional costs. The overtime pay changes could also potentially devastate startups, which often depend on long hours and under-paid dedication from their employees in order to get off the ground.
While a proposed rule is not predicted to come out until the fall, small business owners should start thinking about how they might mitigate these costs now. Some companies may have the revenue to just pay for their newly eligible employees outright, but many small businesses don’t have that luxury. Those already under financial constraints may need to consider raising their prices or reducing their employee number.
There are also some other measures small businesses should consider to mitigate these possible regulatory costs. Instead of hiring full-time employees to provide a needed service, small businesses can save money by hiring contract workers or outside service providers. These entities are dictated by contract law rather than employment law, and so are not eligible for overtime or benefits. They can also dictate their own payment terms. As Paul Christiansen of Fox Business explains in a recent article, “The corporation is the magic strategy that can open up opportunity, freedom, flexibility and choice for both startups and their service providers.”
Small businesses owners should also consider investing in an automated time tracking system. If the overtime law is changed, it will be more important than ever to track how employees are spending their time in order to ensure that no unnecessary overtime hours are logged. A fully integrated system can also show small business owners which employees are profitable to the company, making any budget-induced staff cuts more straightforward.
If the overtime law rules are changed in the coming year, many small businesses will face additional payroll costs. But with the proper preparations, these costs can be mitigated.
We are totally head-over-heels for the Dynamics GP community. If you took a quick look at our website, you might be able to see why. We compliment their workforce tools like peanut butter and jelly, and are fans of their support community as well. With that, we'd like to give you this week's link-ups of Dynamics GP support tools of all types - whether it's in the social space or the Microsoft-funded one, we've got the resources here.
- Microsoft Software Assurance Program is the upgrade-as-you-do feature provided by Microsoft themselves. It is THE place you can enter in support tickets and get the help you need directly from the source. There is also their "Premier Support" package that breaks out even more support documentation, training, software deployment tools and more.
- The Microsoft Dynamics GP Forums had just 20,000 posts from users today alone; but don't worry, if your questions aren't getting answered there are bound to be questions similar to yours that are.
- CustomerSource is the place you'll find Dynamics training tools, the knowledge base and more.
- MSDynamicsWorld.com is the premier place for all things Dynamics - including the latest news, updates in the Dynamics GP community and more.
- ERP Software Blog is a haven where vendors and partners get to compare and contrast their favorite products, tools, add-ons and upgrades, and they don't miss a beat.
If you're looking to go a little more social, there are many groups and organizations currently talking about the very questions you might be asking. Check out these LinkedIn and Google+ groups to see the conversations they're having.
HR.com is an online hub for all things Human Resources advice, tips, latest products and more. With over 200,000+ peers writing, contributing and simply visiting the site, HR.com is the perfect sort of massive organization and community just for those in the HR industry. They even publish works by our very own CEO, Curt Finch.
A growing number of companies and job-seekers are taking a temporary route to finding full-time employees and jobs. Temp-to-hire – or hiring after completion of a temporary assignment – is increasingly being used by job-seekers looking for full-time positions and companies that want to try out workers before making a decision whether to hire them, according to OI Global Partners, a leading human resources consulting firm.
Temp-to-hire has expanded beyond its traditional role in recruiting primarily administrative positions to include executive, managerial and entry-level posts in accounting and finance, information technology, medical, sales, legal and other professions.
A big reason why temp-to-hire has been steadily rising is because companies are reluctant to add full-time workers in an uncertain economy. More employers are requesting that job candidates work 3- to 6-month temporary assignments before determining whether to hire them full-time.
Especially in the American culture of overworking and under-vacationing, we're constantly being inundated with messages of "Best Tips to a Better Multitasking You" or "Top 5 Ways Multitaskers Win". Whether it's taking phone calls while commuting, writing emails during meetings, or switching rapidly between projects, multitasking seems like the perfect way to get more done in less time.
But does multitasking actually make you more efficient? Current research says no. A 2010 report in the journal Science revealed that the human brain can handle only two tasks at once, because it divides the responsibility between its two frontal lobes; if a third task is added, the brain gets overwhelmed and starts making errors. Additionally, multitasking over a long period of time can have lasting effects on your ability to work effectively. According to a recent study called Cognitive control in media multitaskers, chronic multitaskers have problems with filtering information, memory management, and task switching – all necessary talents for an effective business leader.
So what can you and your employees do to reduce the negative effects of multitasking? Well, the obvious answer is to stop multitasking. But in today’s information-saturated, communication-centric world, that’s easier said than done. So here are a few strategies to help you focus on one task at a time.
The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method invented by productivity consultant Francesco Cirillo. The idea is simple: commit yourself to a 25-minute session of uninterrupted work on a single task. Close your email. Put away your phone. If someone comes by your desk, ask them to send you an email that you can check later. Don’t let anything distract you until the end of the session.
You can purchase a physical Pomodoro timer to time your 25-minute sessions, or invest in a Pomodoro app, available for iPhone and Android. As a small business owner, you can also encourage your employees to try the technique and implement rules on not distracting coworkers during sessions.
Mindfulness is increasingly being touted as the solution to our overly multitasking culture, and it's less of a new-age mindset than you might think. Jon Kabat-Zinn, professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, describes mindfulness as “non-judgmental attention to the experiences of the present moment.” And here's the thing: it’s effective. A recent study looked at how knowledge workers dealt with being assigned multiple tasks in a short amount of time. Those trained in mindfulness were better able to focus on the tasks and remember pertinent details. In short, they were better at juggling multiple tasks.
So how can you be mindful? Just focus your attention on the present moment and try to be open to your current experiences. This means that you need to stop worrying about next week’s meeting and instead focus on the email you’re writing. It also means accepting even your most difficult and tedious tasks. Once you’ve accepted the necessity of, say, inputting data into a huge spreadsheet, your mind will have a much easier time getting through it.
Keep An Active To-Do List
It may seem obvious, but the importance of a well-maintained to-do list cannot be overstated. It will both help you remember to complete all your tasks, and keep you from switching between objectives while you’re hard at work. If you think of something that needs to be done – say an email or an errand – just jot it down on the to-do list rather than breaking away from your current task.
Though multitasking may always prove tempting, it is detrimental to your productivity and the health of your company. By managing your time, sectioning off tasks, and putting your head down for uninterrupted sessions, you’ll be able to get work done more efficiently and with better results.
Happy Monday, all! It's the sweet beginnings of summer which also means that we're just at the very peak of hiring season. So with that, we're serving up the latest blogs, sites, social media pages and groups to bookmark on your browser and follow. For those who are looking to get hired or looking to bring in new staff, we've got the best sources to get the absolute best talent out there.
- Fistful of Talent not only boasts a quippy name for fellow western-movie lovers, but they're serious about great hiring tactics, too. They have a plethora of the what's-new and who's-who in the hiring world, where to best post up your resume and where to find the best gigs all in one. They're no Monster.com since they are blog-focused, but they've got the information to stand up on their own.
- HR Daily Advisor is the "it blog" of HR professionals on the web. They boast daily tips and share great ideas on not only how to get the best talent, but how to keep it, too. They even have helpful templates, webcasts and documented research from laureates around the world. Check them out to see the real deal for yourself.
- Speaking of Monster.com, the Monster.com Career Resources Blog is one of the biggest hubs for helpful tips and resume help around on the web. It's the foremost tool people seeking for jobs use to get the info they need to land their next gig -- so if you already already parsing the site, check it out now.
- oDesk is the number one resource for freelance gigs - and we certainly can't forget about our freelancer friends. It may be filled to the brim with mostly writing opportunities and short projects, but oDesk is also for those creative types looking for a video job, graphic design projects and etc. They also have an amazing blog with helpful ideas on how to land the project, making it on your own as a freelancer, how to form the best relationships with the talent you've hired and so on.
Of course there are so many more websites for jobs such as the Craigslist/jobs section for your area, as well as Indeed.com, careerbuilder.com, simplyhired.com and The Resumator. So don't forget to get your feelers out on those sites for great talent as well -- or to post your resume there for those on the hunt for the right job. Still looking for more though? Check out these Google+ and LinkedIn groups discussing the latest in the hiring and staffing industries.
- HR Jobs - Linked In
- Pharmaceutical Jobs Biotech Life Science Healthcare Pharma & Medical Devices Careers HR Recruitment - LinkedIn
- Engineering Career Opportunities: Jobs and Employment - LinkedIn
- Oil and Gas Jobs Recruitment Network - LinkedIn
- Engineering Jobs Worldwide - LinkedIn
- IT Networking Jobs - LinkedIn
- Law Jobs Network - LinkedIn
- Freelance Writers - Google+
- Graphic Design Resource Centre - Google+
Vistage - The Executive Street Blog is a highway of sleeves-rolled-up no-hold-bars advice, latest stats, and innovative ideas from CEO's all over the nation. A cultural hub for exeutive thought leadership, Executive Street has writers from all corners of the world with over 30+ published authors and 180+ regular contributors. They've even been kind enough to post some writing from our very own CEO, Curt Finch.
Below is an article highlighting Fast Company's Top 10 of the "World's Most Innovative Companies of the Year". Visit their site here for the full article.
Every year, Fast Company reveals its list of the world’s most innovative companies of the year. With the topic of innovation front and center, Fast Company considers themselves to be a progressive media brand “written for, by, and about the most progressive business leaders”.
For the most part, this year’s top 10 listing comes as no surprise presenting Nike, Amazon, Square, Splunk, Fab, and Uber as the top 6 champions of innovation.
Initially, I had thought to only mention the top 5. But for turning the taxi and town-car industry upside down, I thought Uber deserved a mention as well. After all, it is not often that a company takes on innovation in an industry dating back to the early 1700’s. Then again, who would have thought you could turn the soap industry on its head with foaming soap dispensers? It goes to show that no industry old or new is without room to improve.
First place on the list, Nike was highlighted for their culture of pushing boundaries which resulted in not just 1, but 2 groundbreaking inventions in the past year. The first is the fuel band, a relatively affordable electronic bracelet that measures movement through the day; whether you go out for a run, play a sport, or just walk around the grocery store. Their second breakout invention is the Flyknit Racer, a feather-light knitted shoe that required Nike to re-invent their entire manufacturing process.
Not many companies, much less a company already successful and thriving, would take such a big risk in the name of innovation. However, Nike knows that in order to sustain innovation, risks must be undertaken. No Risk: No Innovation. Put another way, no guts, no glory.
Congratulations to Titan Salvage on being chosen as Journyx Customer of the Month for June!
“Titan Salvage had outgrown the old method of tracking labor in our warehouses. Previously, multiple people would send spreadsheets by email to a payroll person, who would have to consolidate the hours for corporate payroll, which led to untraceable errors and no ability to manage labor on a world-wide basis,” said Daniel Dolson, Operations Manager at Titan Salvage. “Journyx has been a significant leap for the entire Titan organization to centralize labor time recording and to manage job costs across the organization. Individual location managers now have access to track our labor spending at their depots and the company directors have big-picture views of true job costs for labor.
“In addition, the centralized collection and reporting gives our payroll team a reliable single-source to pass to accounting. The built-in audit trail for recording prevents mistakes and gives the employees higher confidence in the company.”
Founded in 1980, Titan Salvage expanded over three decades from a one-tug boat mission crew to a massive worldwide organization owned by Crowley Maritime Corporation. In that time, Titan has performed over 70 major “salvage and wreck removal operations, and more than 300 projects overall.” A loyal Journyx customer since 2012, Titan has gone on to clean up wrecks as massive as the Costa Concordia and become sponsors for the American Salvage Association National Salvage Conference. Learn more about Titan Salvage and what they do here.
Today we have guest blogger Diana Gomez, Marketing Coordinator at Lyoness America. Lyonness is an international cross-sectoral shopping community active in over 45 countries. You can check out Lyoness on Twitter for more.
It's a symptom of many office environments, even small ones, that employees might begin to feel ineffective over time and, consequently, unimportant. Despite their hard work and extra efforts, nothing seems to change. And that can bring someone's morale down pretty quickly, even with "Free Donut Fridays".
When it comes to increasing employee morale at the office, it's important not only to show your team how much you appreciate them, but to also provide them with an outlet through which they can see their efforts making a direct and positive impact. And there are few better ways to do that than by giving back.
The Psychology of Giving
While you can throw sales goal achievement parties and reward effective actions with financial incentives, there is a particular quality inherent to the act of giving that boosts one's mood in a much more meaningful way. And that's a psychological fact.
When Jorge Moll and his team at the National Institutes for Health looked into the mental impact of giving, they found that the same area of the brain that reacts when we feel pleasure, trust and a sense of "well-being" also illuminates during the act of giving. In fact, additional studies have found that participating in charitable actions can even have a positive impact on one's overall health.
And by providing your employees with a way to give back to the community, you're not only giving them a way to feel better about their jobs and themselves in general, but you're also improving the general public perception of your company.
The Social Impact of Giving
Whether it's helping to build a new home for an underprivileged family, planting trees in a downtrodden neighborhood or sponsoring a gift giving drive during the holidays, a company is making a win-win-win decision when they decide to give back to the community.
Win #1: Employees benefit from the opportunity to participate in a charitable action supported by their company.
Win #2: The community benefits directly from the action.
Win #3: The company benefits from the positive word-of-mouth and social influence of their charitable act.
The "How" of Company Giving
The act of giving back also has the benefit of being something that even a one-person business can take part in. The first step, however, is deciding which charity you want to align your company name with.
1. Choose a Charity that Shares Your Company's Values/Focus
There are currently more than 1.4 million charities in the United States alone, so finding one that fits with your company's focus and/or values might take some digging. However, a few hours on a reputable charity listing website such as CharityNavigator.org or CharityWatch.org should result in a good list of choices.
2. Do Your Due Diligence
Despite the large number of charities to choose from, there are still many organizations out there that claim to be nonprofits but don't have the paperwork to back it up. Once you've narrowed down your list to a top few, be sure to check the following:
- The charity is listed with the IRS as a tax-exempt organization
- The charity can provide you with a copy of their Letter of Determination
- The charity is willing to share detailed financial reports showing the income and dispersal of funds
Most of the time, if the charity is listed with one of the reputable charity listing sites, the website will likely provide you with all of this information and more. But not being listed on one of these search engines doesn't automatically mean that the charity isn't on the up and up. Just be sure to verify their financial and legal status.
The New Business of Giving
Now and then, no matter how hard you look, there just isn't a nonprofit that fits well with your company. Whether it's because no charity seems to compliment your business' ideals, your top choices seem to have poor leadership or you simply found a niche in your community that no charity is currently supporting, sometimes the best idea is to go out and start your own nonprofit.
Take the Greenfinity program, for example. The second nonprofit organization launched by online shopping community Lyoness (full disclosure: my employer), this program was created not only to promote the use of renewable energies and climate protection to countries around the world, but it also helps the company reach its goal of becoming entirely climate neutral. And Lyoness' first nonprofit, the Child and Family Foundation, has programs in several countries helping to provide children and families with education and family support.
While you may not be ready to take your nonprofit global, you can make a significant impact in your local community with the right focus. The team effort needed to make it happen undoubtedly will imbue your employees not only with a strong sense of accomplishment, but also with the sense of loyalty created when one helps to build a good program from the ground up.
There are a lot of steps in the charity creation process, but there are also a lot of organizations out there to help you get started. And whether you go with creating your own company charity or simply teaming up with a nonprofit that fits well with your own business team, the impact you'll have across the board is going to be a positive one.
About the Author: Diana Gomez is the Marketing Coordinator at Lyoness America, where she is instrumental in the implementation of marketing and social media strategies for USA and Canada. The Lyoness Child & Family Foundation (CFF) is actively involved in supporting children, adolescents and families worldwide, especially in the field of education. Check out Lyoness on Twitter.
For those Type A Project Managers, the first thought after completing a project is usually: “What could I have done better?” And really, if you are not capitalizing on every opportunity within the means and scope of the project at hand, the odds are that you will be overrun by those companies that do capitalize on them. Fortunately, it is not difficult to see where these potential profit areas exist. Let’s take a look at some important areas where you can uncover opportunities to make more money and save more time.
Rally Your Troops
For project managers, the resources you'll need refer to the people available to work on a project and the material (software etc.) that will be used to complete it. It is incredibly important to know exactly what resources are available, and when, in order to successfully set budgets and deadlines. However, in practice, that data can be surprisingly hard to find.
Instituting an automated time and project management system allows you to view exactly where resources are employed, what hours employees have available, and when they will be able (or unable) to work on a project. For instance, let’s say a key employee is going on vacation to Bermuda and won’t be able to work on the project for the duration of his visit. Gaining this information weeks in advance (via the automated time system) would allow you to redistribute his workload and avoid project complications or delays.
Give Them Some Space
Do you know how efficient your employees are? Having employees track time to individual projects allows you to view their efficiency at particular tasks, as well as the status of the project as a whole. Viewing this information on a daily basis let’s you know when employees should be moved to different tasks. It also lets you view project completion as an ongoing event rather than a set series of checkpoints. That way, if projects go off-schedule or resources are being used too quickly, it is easy to make minor corrections immediately.
Estimate the Viablity of it
Estimates are the first step in determining project viability. Both over and under-bidding costs you in the long run, either through project delays or loss of opportunity to pursue other projects. But it is never possible to make an estimate with 100% accuracy -- there are too many opportunities for error. However, this does not mean that estimates cannot be very good guesses. Building up a backlog of past project data will greatly improve future estimates. Note that this means every project attempted, not every project completed. Failed projects can be just as valuable in aiding future estimates as successful projects.
One way to make more precise bids is to use a key performance indicator. This is a tool used to measure progress towards a strategic business goal. For example, the number you want to minimize in this situation is defined by the formula [(E-A)/E], where:
- E = estimated hours to complete the project
- A = actual hours spent to complete the project
Keeping this KPI value as close to zero as possible will show you that you are in fact bidding on projects more accurately.
Just tracking this number is a great first step towards better bidding, and you can get the necessary data to calculate it from any timesheet system, including a paper one without looking over the shoulders of your employees. Automated timesheet systems, however, are generally even more effective in this area because they often have reports to calculate the KPI figure for you.
These are just a few of the ways that businesses can uncover hidden opportunity in their projects. Seizing hidden opportunity is not only important in the current business climate, it’s required.
The interview process is an experience that is hard to duplicate. It allows executives to check the more sensory-oriented aspects of a candidate, such as their ability to communicate and their interpersonal skills. It represents the human side of hiring. An interview can help make predictions about a person’s suitability for a given job and how well they may "fit" the organization’s culture. As selection expert Dr. Charles Handler puts it, “Years of research into the interview process suggest that the accepted validity coefficient (i.e., the accuracy) of the traditional (unstructured) employment interview is between .10 to .20. In non-geek speak this means that, across the board, interviews predict an applicant's actual ability to do the job with only between 1% to 4% accuracy, suggesting that between 96 and 99% of what it takes to effectively perform a job is not being measured by your employment interview.”
To verify what you think you learned about a candidate in an interview, a thorough background check will make sure the candidate isn’t putting up an appealing facade. The reference check is designed to help guarantee that the individual can perform as promised, that he has a positive work ethic, and that he can be relied upon for some time to come. All negative impressions from previous employees should be taken into serious consideration, and it may be necessary to weigh the potential benefits against the potential wasted time during a failed tenure.
Gain a Statistical Advantage
Due to the overall subjectivity with which executives approach the hiring process and the informal processes most often used, the final decision is often made largely through gut instinct. After all of the careful scrutiny, analysis, and questioning that goes into the process, executives say that it almost always comes down to an intuitive decision.
Hiring is a demanding process and is largely subjective. The difficulty is that there are simply too many variables in play to make a decision that will likely result in a highly productive employee. Some say that three good hires can't make up for the problems caused by one bad hire. To reduce unintentional bias and mistakes inherent to the traditional hiring process, executives should incorporate more science-based data to get a more accurate picture of the applicant and likely future performance.
Today, the hiring process can easily be augmented with comprehensive personality tests and cognitive analyses. While most applicants can manage their images for an hour in an interview or spin their resume to appeal to the targeted audience, personality and reasoning tests are much more difficult to manipulate. These simple virtual tests measure cognitive ability, personality, how a candidate might actually perform, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. From these tests, it's actually possible to tell within a high degree of confidence whether they'll be happy with their job and their position within the company culture.
Cognitive reasoning is a simple enough measure to gather for each candidate. Quick questioning within a few separate fields helps rank candidates by their ability to solve problems, conduct verbal reasoning, communicate, and deal with numerical information. While certain qualities may be unimportant in particular scenarios, it's clearly wise to hunt for candidates with a strong learning index and the appropriate level of verbal skills. When candidates’ abilities match those required by the job, they'll be much more successful and confident.
These assessments can also measure behavioral traits such as sociability, assertiveness, attitude, decisiveness, independence, and more. Responses can help the hiring team learn quickly how a potential employee would fit in the existing job culture and if they would fit with management's current practices. If you find a highly dependent employee in a small, relatively self-managed organization, for instance, then you will need someone to direct this individual to make sure he or she stays on track.
Measuring behavioral traits is an effective way for hiring managers to staff leadership positions or even round out teams by providing balance within divisions. Research demonstrates that teams made up of diverse personalities are often more productive than heterogeneous teams, so work to actively fill out your staff (http://bit.ly/njIaHn) with compatible yet differing personalities.
As always, however, executives should measure the candidate's strengths against the position for which they are hiring. When hiring a software designer, the individual will rarely require the same leadership skills that you would look for in a project manager. Understand the position, decide what qualities are needed for this position, and tailor the interview to test these strengths and weaknesses.
A strong leader can grow and inspire current employees, while new personalities in existing teams can round out group dynamics to increase productivity and efficiency. Finding an employee who will work well within the company and provide profitable longevity is therefore crucial to the success.
Personality and aptitude pre-hire assessments are accurate and can help predict future success on the job. They provide a significant statistical improvement over the traditional go-with-the-gut hiring mentality. And, if you have ever made a hiring mistake, assessments give new meaning to “what you see is not always what you get.”
The Holistic Approach to Hiring
In the future, it may be wise for organizations to take these practices into consideration to improve their chances of hiring a successful and viable candidate. A holistic hiring approach requires managers to analyze candidates on both the personal level and from the scope of the greater organization. Before analyzing each candidate, executives should first answer the following questions: Where will the individual be placed within the organization? How will the individual be interacting with colleagues? What will the candidate be doing? What is the company's/team's culture?
Making hiring decisions based upon skill or personality alone can only take a business so far. By blending the two, your organization will gain a competitive advantage great enough to tip the scales in your favor. Invest in the future of your company through an educated hiring process, avoid brash decisions, and strengthen your organization.
Successful hiring is one of the key factors to operational success for large and small businesses alike. Executives should approach the hiring process as a means to both improve their existing workforce and to secure a candidate who will add long-term value to the organization. If approached merely as a step toward replacing a lost asset, the hiring process will squander considerable resources and forfeit significant opportunity value from a potential personnel improvement. The mission is obvious, yet, according to business owners, finding the right employees can be an elusive aspiration in a drawn-out process.
The results of the hiring search can be crucial for the future of small businesses and a poor decision can easily cost any organization well into the six figures. Every new hiring opportunity has the potential to advance a business's interests or set them back significantly, and should be approached using the same level of data, knowledge, and preparation required for any critical business decision.
The “people decision making” process, however, is littered with intangibles. Nation-wide unemployment continues to hover around 9%, but we have yet to experience the expected talent surplus from this prolonged recession. Instead, talent managers continue to struggle to fill leadership roles and key positions with the people who are right for their organizations. Avoiding this quandary is paramount to every business's success. To do that, organizations must adopt hiring methods that increase the chances of securing productive and “profitable” hires.
Sift Through the Facts
Identifying the right new employee should involve more than selecting candidates by resume strength, interview performance, personal references or “gut reaction”. While the traditional big three – resume, interview, and references – can help drive an application, these factors alone cannot generate a comprehensive enough portrait of the candidate to justify the company’s investment of time and money.
The resume frequently serves as the sole initial source for determining candidate strength, and includes information about education, experience, and special skills. This document is, however, an imperfect guide to a candidate's true strengths. Various surveys and research find that between 39% - 50% of resumes contain erroneous information, so they must be taken with a grain of salt until fully verified.
Despite the prevalence of inaccurate data, executives can still get some information from the resume. The reported candidate's career arc can provide information about career path; roughly how loyal to the company he may be; what the candidate reports having accomplished at each previous job; how much time spent in areas that a company requires.
Hiring managers should not give too much weight to years of experience and technical skills alone. A resume does not report how successful the candidate was – just that he held the positions. These indicators are far less likely to predict high performance than factors such as motivational fit, organizational culture match, and interpersonal skills. So, in looking at a candidate’s resume, it is important to conceptualize how an applicant's prior organizations may have functioned, how their qualities impacted performance and demanded work, and how the individual connected with the unique company culture. And, with over a third of senior executives citing retention as a pressing talent concern, it may be important at this stage in the process to check for other such candidate traits as well.
Executives rarely give these important factors enough consideration in hiring new candidates. In a 2009 study, 43% of executives gave priority to relevant experience and technical skills, only 24% gave similar weight to an individual's ability to collaborate in teams and 11% considered the candidate's readiness or ability to learn new things, both of which are more related to success than skills.
This same pool of executives reported that their hiring practices relied heavily on subjective personal preferences, and their views about hiring differed varied widely. They disagreed on whether to hire insiders or outsiders, who should be involved in the hiring process, how to assess candidates, and the keys to successful hiring and retention.
Happy Monday, once again! Today we've put together this list of the latest energy-focused resources, blogs, conferences and more. After all, we are based deep in the heart of Austin, Texas. If you need to be certified in oil, gas & energy resources law by the state bar of Texas or you're just here looking for a really great read, we've got the tips on what's hot off the press.
- Oil, Gas & Energy Resources Law is a specific subset of the State Bar of Texas, for those looking to be a little more-than-certified in the lawyer arts.
- Texas Oil & Gas Magazine might have one state in the title, but with national publication distributions, this magazine is the forerunner for the latest oil and gas news coming out of the United States.
- Oil & Gas Journal is the top journal for all things energy-related, boasting global magazine distributions. Not to mention they've even featured Journyx. Check them out here.
- Power Magazine has been in circulation stretching back over a span of 131 years and is still going strong. They are the information source for all things in the power generation market, and even supplied issues during World Wars 1 and 2.
- Journal of Petroleum Technology is a global publication, releasing new issues monthly. They cover the science and technological advances in the petroleum and energy industries, and are updating their website with the latest of these on a daily basis.
Still itching for more? You can find these blogs, social media groups and upcoming conferences below with the latest community updates in the energy industry.
GoERPCloud is the child company of RoseASP, hosting their own blog with resources for Dynamics ERP, filled to the brim with regular contributors, the latest facts on Dynamics GP and updates on what's happening in the Microsoft Dynamics community. They even let our CEO, Curt Finch write for them.
Below is the third and final installment in a series of articles about how to choose the best business software for your company. Visit their site here for the full scoop.
About half of all small and midsize businesses that adopt enterprise resource planning software do so because their previous software and hardware was on the verge of obsolescence, according to a whitepaper by Focus research. This is not surprising in a post-recession era when many decision makers in the SMB market have been putting off major projects like new system implementations for years. People may be declaring the recession over but we are all still pinching pennies and we want to be sure we are getting the best bang for our buck before we choose business software. So, we created a three-blog series on how to choose business software. In this latest installment we will be covering how to make ERP software trials work for you. So Far in the series we have covered:
Despite the advances made in project management technology, project failure rates continue to be through the roof. The Standish Group’s 2013 CHAOS Study shows that 64% of projects are either “challenged” or downright failures, leaving just 36% of projects to be considered successful. Project management software is only as good as the processes that support it. Too many managers believe that they can install a solution and leave it at that. The only way to enable such a solution to work is to also evaluate and address the root causes of project failure in your organization.
How Much Do Your Projects Really Cost?
Time data is crucial if you want to understand your true cost on a per-project basis. If you do not know how much time your team members are spending on various projects, you do not really know how much the projects cost. But people dislike tracking the time spent on each task of a project. A software solution will only help you to accomplish this if you obtain widespread employee adoption. Usually, you can get people on board by explaining how the data will help the company. Some managers opt to create a rewards system for time reporting. The methodology is up to you but if you achieve widespread time-tracking adoption, the knowledge you obtain from the data will be priceless.
Who is Available to Work on Your Projects?
It is important to track all project-related information through the same system. If you track your time, project, billing and vacation data in the same system, you can understand who is over- and under-allocated, who is behind on their work, and who is available to work on your project next month - all important issues for a project manager to know. Project managers can see the impact of their projects before scheduling them, allowing them to avoid unnecessary risk and take the guesswork out of planning.
Actual Remaining Work
Everyone has the same answer when asked about the status of their tasks: “I'm 90% done.” Updates based on percent complete do not give accurate information on how much longer it will take or whether or not it will be late. Rather, a project management system where employees track time against tasks shows project managers, at a glance, how many actual hours of work remain. The data will then flow back into your project plan, updating it accordingly. This improves project estimation for the future by verifying the accuracy of previous estimates.
Managing multiple people and projects across departments, companies and time zones is one of the hardest aspects of project management. Everyone has their own methodology, technology system, culture and work style, and you, the project manager, have to account for all of it. Jonathon Cummings, professor at Duke's Fuqua School of Business, explains: “Although technology can tremendously improve productivity, [...] live communication [...] is still critical for a distributed team’s success." The bottom line here is that technology can help you keep in touch with your employees but you should never underestimate the power of live communication.
Though project management software provides us with increased functionality, it takes effective processes and management skills to solve the project execution problem. Technology will only be the answer when it has the right people driving it.
You’re aware by now that Microsoft has killed Business Portal for the next release of Dynamics GP. As you search for a time tracking replacement to Business Portal, there are many factors to consider. Last week, we gave you a requirements list and today, we’re talking about demos and hosting options.
Have you wondered if it’s really worth your time to find a quality time and expense add-on to Dynamics GP? Well, look at it this way: is profitability important? Is it important to stay on track with budgets and projects? Yes? Then you should absolutely be tracking time. Read on for information on making sure the demo is rock-solid, and the advantages of software-as-a-service versus installed software.
The Most Common Mistake in Buying Time and Expense Tracking Software: Don’t Fall For a Deceptive Demo
You have the right to demand that any vendor absolutely, completely proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that their solution will solve your company’s specific business problem. You deserve a detailed demonstration that uses your employee list, customer list, project list, your company’s logo, color scheme, and that shows you reports on your data that will prove to you that your business problem is solved. If a vendor can't make you 100 percent certain that the solution will work for your specific business needs, then walk away. Canned demos are designed to deceive.
Questions to Ask Vendors:
- Can you absolutely prove to me that you will solve my business problem, using my employees, departments, projects, etc., and then show me the reports I need to see?
- Can you provide references of clients that have successfully integrated your product with Dynamics GP, as well as my project management system and my payroll service provider?
If the vendor can quickly configure the software during a demo for you and show you that it really meets your needs, then he probably can do it quickly after it’s installed at your company as well.
SaaS Flexibility Allows Early Rollouts, Server Protection and Easier Upgrades
If the software is 100 percent Web-based (and it should be to avoid obsolete technology and installation problems), you can run it from any server on earth. Software companies can deliver technology via two different models: installed at your location or rented by you and running on the vendor’s site. The latter approach is called software-as-a-service (SaaS). There is no reason a provider can’t offer both options.
SaaS allows early rollouts, server protection and easier upgrades. In an early rollout, the vendor lets you temporarily use the SaaS site while your IT shop deploys the machine purchased for your local installation. Server protection is the process of sending a backup to the vendor in case your local installation fails. Thus, the vendor can get your system running on his site instantly. SaaS allows easier upgrades because you’re provided a test site during the upgrade process that requires no hardware purchases on your part.
Questions to Ask Vendors:
- What sort of backup generator do you have in case of a power outage at your SaaS site?
- Where is it hosted?
- How many connections to the Internet does your SaaS site have?
- How much does server protection cost?
- Can I roll-out on your SaaS servers and later transfer the data to my own servers?
- Where are SaaS backup tapes stored?
- What kinds of security and fire suppression capabilities exist at the hosting site?
Get Feedback from Every Department
The time data that your system collects, if collected appropriately, can be used to automate project management, project costing, project tracking, and project estimation improvement. Additionally, the data can be used for internal, external and reverse billing automation.
Think back to that requirements gathering portion of the time tracking software selection process. Bring in R&D managers, marketing folks, and people from all other departments. Have an entire selection team. Yes, it may be harder, but it will unleash profitability that you didn’t know you had available.
Do you feel like you have a better handle on moving forward with finding a time and expense replacement for Business Portal? Hopefully this information has been helpful. While you’re putting together your short list of potential vendors, please consider Journyx, as well. We would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you and see if our solution would be a good fit for your company.
Smallbiztrends.com is the absolute forerunner for converging small business tips and trends with entrepreneurs and economical advice. Founded by Anita Campbell in 2003, Small Business Trends boasts a range of 300+ contributing writers on their publication site. One of those authors just so happens to be our very own CEO, Curt Finch.
Below is a great article on the economics of small businesses in the past few years by writer Joshua Sophy. Visit their site here for the full story.
For the majority of small businesses, increased revenue is outpacing increases in taxes. That’s the consensus from a new survey by online payroll provider SurePayroll. SurePayroll recently unveiled its April 2014 Small Business Scorecard covering the previous tax year.
The survey showed that 60 percent of small business owners saw revenues increase during the previous year. Meanwhile only 57 percent saw increases in their taxes.
The survey also showed that slightly more than 33 percent of those small businesses saw revenue increases of 15 percent or more during the 2013 tax year. Meanwhile, only 20 percent of small business owners participating in the survey saw their taxes increase by that much over the same period.
Journyx has been in business since 1996, and is now an established small company with 30 employees and thousands of clients worldwide. But reaching this level of stability wasn’t easy. CEO and founder Curt Finch started the company as a programmer with limited expertise in managing people and running a business. He had to learn these skills through trial and error, and learn them fast in order to keep the company going. Here are his biggest takeaways from his 18 years as Journyx’s CEO.
Focus on Customers
Don’t create technology just for the sake of creating it. Instead, you need to create market-driven products that your customers actually want (or even need). Here at Journyx, we are passionate about keeping a pulse on the needs of our customers and prospects in order to deliver solutions that will solve their specific business problems in a cost-effective, efficient way.
And once a company has purchased your solution, continue to deliver fantastic customer service. Journyx customer support has received many accolades, including from our client CoWare: "The installation and usage of our existing database worked flawlessly! I wanted to take this opportunity to once again acknowledge your excellent commitment to customer service. The fact that you went beyond what most would do speaks volumes to your commitment to customer support.”
Innovate in Hard Times
When the economy took a turn for the worse in 2008, Journyx saw an opportunity to change and expand its business. We started looking for new markets for our products, and for ways to improve our existing products. In the end, we came out ahead and are still thriving today. On top of that, it's of utmost importance that your company continues evolving your product with the dream that not only will you keep on top of the rapidly evolving market, but be the forefront software innovators and thought-leaders in the nation.
Hire the Right People
Human resources are a company’s most valuable asset, and so, as CEO, you have to understand which people are the right for which jobs. At Journyx, we use hiring assessment software Affintis to determine potential employees’ specific skill sets and weaknesses. And once you’ve hired employees, it is also important to manage them effectively. Be flexible with your employees and build them up so that they are as dedicated to your company and its mission as you are.
Admit When You Are Wrong
No one likes to be wrong, especially when they are the CEO of the company. But you will earn the respect of your employees and clients if you admit early and often that you were wrong about something, whether it was a project, a certain process, an idea, or even a person. It’s best to set expectation and understand that even when set, they might not always be right.