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How Micro-Interns Can Help Your Business

July 18, 2019

If the overflow of office selfies on Instagram doesn’t convince you, just look at the last-minute job postings for summer interns on Indeed. This year, companies are looking at fresh ways to leverage young talent during the summer and beyond while students are looking outside traditional channels to get experience. Enter: micro-internships. 

What Are Micro-Internships?  

Micro-internships are highly specific, often virtual, project-based contracts that consists of anywhere from five to 40 hours of paid work over a few days or weeks. Unlike its traditional counterpart, a micro-internship is a task with a deadline – not a full-time job. Assignments can range from market research to data entry and web testing.  

A product of the gig economy 

The gig economy is here to stay whether we like it or not. So it is no surprise that internships have joined the mix of freelance work available.  

Like many freelance or contract positions, micro-internships are usually remote. This means that students can take on virtual internships while still completing their coursework. For companies, this means having access to ambitious, young talent year-round.  

With more full-time employees having the option to work remotely, a growing number of companies now have the infrastructure and know-how to manage remote projects and workers. A virtual internship program, therefore, shouldn’t be too out of place. 

In addition, many companies are already using freelancers. Instead of simply ignoring or tolerating the trend, why not harness it? Through the increasing acceptance of the gig economy, managers at companies from startups to giants like Microsoft have found micro-internships a useful tool to build their talent pipeline.  

A diverse talent pipeline 

With financial risk minimized, companies can more confidently take a chance on someone that may be from a different major or background than their usual candidate profile. For example, a seasoned …

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How to Empower Your Team To Use Technology From Top to Bottom

July 12, 2019

After mapping out your business specifications, securing executive buy-in, and carefully managing the project, your work is still only half done. 

One of the biggest factors in successfully adopting technology occurs after the implementation itself: training. If you don’t have a training plan in place, your new solution is unlikely to be adopted across your company and you won’t enjoy all the benefits of the digital transformation.  

The key is to take a process-centric approach, which will allow you to cover all your bases and provide your entire team with training that makes them feel confident using your new technology.

Read on to learn how to develop your training plan – from choosing the right methods, materials, and resources, to facilitating your digital transformation into the future.  

Forming the outline of your training plan

You should start developing your training plan long before the technology solution is deployed. Ideally, your training plan will start to take shape as soon as the design for the new technology has been finalized. At this point, you will have a good idea of how the technology will function and how it will be used by your entire team, which is critical information for a comprehensive training plan. 

Now is the time to think about your employees – the end users. There are two important factors any good training outline must address: the technical skill level of the end users, and the array of learning styles of the end users.

Think about your end users’ technical skills

Your teams use technology in different ways and for different purposes. As a result, your employees will vary greatly in terms of their technological knowledge, familiarity, and comfort. Take all competencies, skills and use cases into account as you build an outline for the training plan. This …

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Expand Internationally By Leveraging Local PEO Services

July 10, 2019

• A PEO can assist you with payroll, benefits and human resources support for your business
• PEOs take care of your overseas human resource requirements through a co-employment model
• A PEO can take care of the needs of your staff abroad and make sure your business stays compliant.

Through a co-employment model, these organizations offer comprehensive human resource services abroad for business without a physical presence in the country. This is especially helpful for businesses who want to “dip their toe” in a new market but aren’t yet committed to building an office. Having flexible human capability in a new market can be the difference in your success.

Smaller business should look at what a PEO can bring to their work environment. Overseas employees can access benefits offered by (often larger sized) PEOs and have a localized support network. Understand what assistance you can find in a PEO and how they can support your business success.

What’s a Professional Employer Organization?

Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) take care of your overseas human resource requirements through a co-employment model. They support smaller businesses seeking to employ people in a country they don’t yet have a physical footprint in. This enables businesses to focus on their core operations and staff at home.

Editor’s note: Interested in a PEO service? Fill out the questionnaire below to have our vendor partners provide you with information for free.


A PEO partner can pay your overseas employees’ wages on your behalf. They can also offer staff benefits offered in larger companies, such as health subsidies and training. Your business can relax about foreign tax and employment regulations; a PEO takes care of this too.

Working alongside a PEO

A PEO can take care of the needs of your staff abroad and make sure your business …

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15Five raises $30.7M to expand its employee development toolkit

15Five raises $30.7M to expand its employee development toolkit

July 8, 2019

Technology has been used to improve many of the processes that we use to get work done. But today, a startup has raised funding to build tech to improve us, the workers.

15Five, which builds software and services to help organisations and their employees evaluate their performance, as well as set and meet goals, has closed a Series B round of $30.7 million, money that it plans to use to continue building out the functionality of its core product — self-evaluations that take “15 minutes to write, 5 minutes to read” — as well as expand into new services that will sit alongside that.

David Hassell, 15Five’s CEO and co-founder, would not elaborate on what those new services might be, but he recently started a podcast with the startup’s “chief culture officer” Shane Metcalf around the subject of “best-self” management that taps into research on organizational development and positive psychology.

At the same time that 15Five works on productizing these principles into software form, it seems that the secondary idea will be to bring in more services and coaching into the mix alongside 15Five’s existing SaaS model.

This Series B is being led by Next47​, the strategic investment arm of manufacturing giant Siemens. Others in the round included Matrix Partners, PointNine Capital, ​Jason Calacanis’s LAUNCH Fund​, Newground Ventures, Bling Capital, Chaifetz ​Group, and ​Origin Ventures (which had led 15Five’s Series A). It brings the total raised to $42.6 million, but Hassell said that while the valuation is up, the exact number is not being disclosed.

(Previous investors in the company have included David Sacks, 500 Startups and Ben Ling.)

15Five’s growth comes at a time when we are seeing a significant evolution in how companies are run internally. The digital age has made workforces more decentralised — with …

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The Right Hire: How to Decide Between Multiple Qualified Candidates

July 2, 2019

With a pool of well-qualified candidates, choosing between potential hires may appear to be straightforward. But to anyone who has shouldered the burden of deciding which candidate gets the offer, having a larger pool of candidates doesn’t necessarily make the selection process any easier. When faced with multiple candidates with strong backgrounds, skills, and references, the hiring manager must leverage strategies which can expose traits that signal which candidate is a better fit. Deciding between job candidates relies on the use of a framework in making key hiring choices.

Here are several techniques that help staffing agencies, recruiters, and HR professionals make decisions for selecting a job candidate when there are multiple qualified options.

Map a candidate’s work history to the open position

By reviewing candidate résumés with a strategic lens, hiring managers may benefit from drawing a line from one position to another. Does the work history tell a story? Can you draw a line from past job to past job so that it ends where your company begins? Give the job candidate an opportunity to tell their own work experience narrative so you can hear the story in their own words. Among some of the specifics you should pay close attention to are:

  • Focus on job title and responsibilities.  Does the work history provide a stepping stone at each point during the candidate’s career?
  • Do the candidate’s abilities and successes hint that they see how company vision and execution strategy align with each other?
  • What are the biggest problems the candidate has solved and what tactics did they use to overcome those challenges?

By mapping out their past history and getting answers to these questions, you will provide yourself with the type of data that is needed to help choose between multiple qualified job candidates.

Determine if a

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How to Create a Positive and Productive Company Culture

July 1, 2019

The first thing you need to do is to recognize your culture for what it truly is as opposed to what you would like it to be. You then need to assess what it brings to the organization so you can decide what elements to keep and build on, and what you need to leave behind. After that, you can take the necessary steps towards transformation. Read on to understand exactly how each of these steps work.

Step 1: Embrace your culture for what it is.

If you want to create a positive and productive company culture, do not start out with a deck full of utopian values such as humble, honest, hard-working, driven, ethical, bold, brave, understanding, loving or caring. Yes, many organizations have amazing characteristics, but they have crappy ones as well. Listing these lofty ideals as valued behaviors will lead to an inauthentic organization where people are unable to really live up to the idealized behaviors.

Once you have gotten over the idealized model of what your culture looks like, it’s time to get to know your company for what it is. Chances are, you are not going to like a lot of what you find. You may find tremendous work ethic, but you may also find lots of procrastination. You may find humility, but also a lot of focus on self-marketing. You may find bold people, but you may also find people who play it safe. The bottom line is that the first step towards creating a positive and productive culture is seeing it exactly how it is, for all its beauty and all its ugliness.

Take our company as an example, we have incredible resourcefulness. But this resourcefulness stems out of the fact that we are a fluid organization that can feel very chaotic to …

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How to Make Remote Employees Feel More Connected

June 27, 2019

With so many positives, it’s no wonder why remote work is becoming more and more popular. Research from Owl Labs, 16 percent of global companies are fully remote and 40 percent partially remote. Those numbers are only going to keep rising as more people realize the benefits of remote work.

But, with all the benefits of remote working, there come struggles as well. When your team members are working from their homes in different locations, they’re missing out on connecting with each other and the company as a whole. A Harvard Business Review study of 1,100 employees, found that remote employees are more likely to feel that colleagues mistreat them and leave them out. If your remote workers are experiencing these feelings, it could decrease their productivity and negatively affect company morale.

Building strong connections is a key part of building a strong business. Here’s how to make your remote work team feel more connected.

Use communication tools.

Your remote workers need to be able to easily communicate with each other. Sending off an email and waiting to receive the response just won’t cut it in today’s work environment. In order to make your remote workers really feel connected, you need to make sure you’re using remote working tools for communication. One of the most popular remote working tools is Slack. Slack is a type of instant messaging tool where conversations are organized into channels. These channels allow you to organize communications based on teams, projects, or even office locations. Implementing a communication tool, such as Slack, will allow your remote workers to feel like they can get a hold of someone quickly if they need to.

Aside from creating Slack channels based on teams and projects, you should also create some general or family channels that allow your remote …

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You Can’t Fix Culture By Cleaning House

June 24, 2019

According to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Financial Economics, companies who see improvements in their employee-sourced ratings tend to significantly outperform those whose ratings decline. Employee feelings matters – and as tempting as it might be to clean house and dismiss naysayers during times of change, doing so will harm morale, undercut engagement, and halt your business’ upward trajectory.

I’ve seen the fallout firsthand. Some twenty years ago, I served as the director of manufacturing for a firm that was undergoing a massive organizational overhaul. At the time, the company had just welcomed a new CEO to optimize its structure. The new leader was inarguably brilliant, having previously been fabulously successful as the president of one branch of a well-known conglomerate. He wanted to transplant the systems that had worked so well for him at his old company into the new, cleaning out any cobwebs that remained of the old order in the process.

His strategy? To promptly sweep out or disregard anyone who had been in the organization for over four years. It was a decisive dismissal – and one that came at a significant cost. He might have saved himself a little time and a few arguments by sending potential critics out the door, but they took an incredible amount of invaluable accumulated knowledge and experience with them. By refusing to take the time to engage with longstanding employees, the CEO lost the very assets that would have helped him rebuild the company to be stronger, better, and more successful. Needless to say, the leadership change didn’t go as well as the company hoped.

You can’t change a company’s culture with brute force – no matter how talented you are. Below, I offer a few tips on how employers can use employee goodwill and …

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Going Remote: How a Small Business Can Make the Transition

June 20, 2019

Research shows that the number of remote employees has jumped 115 percent since 2005. While allowing remote work can be a bit more tricky for larger organizations, it can be a smooth transition for many small businesses. With smaller team sizes, it is easier to create, implement, and manage this transformation. The key to making this type of transition is to create a strategic plan of action.

The benefits of going remote

Before making the move to having a remote team, it is important to understand the benefits that come from it. One of the biggest reasons for making the transition is a financial one. With all employees working from home, small business owners can lower operating costs associated with rent, an on-site IT team, and utility expenses. Office-related spending, including office supplies, furnishing, and food and beverage costs, will also be eliminated. In fact, full-time remote workers can help entrepreneurs save an average of $10,000 per employee per year. Consequently, these lowered overhead costs can help boost profitability.

Going remote also has numerous positive effects on employee satisfaction. In 2017, American companies that allowed their employees to work from home experienced a 25 percent decrease in employee turnover. In addition, going remote gives employers access to a broader pool of talent. Businesses won’t be restricted by proximity to the office when searching for qualified and skilled candidates. And, offering this work arrangement may attract more job seekers. Almost 70 percent of millennials agreed that the option to work remotely would greatly increase their interest in a job offer.

Transitioning to a remote team

This transformation won’t happen overnight. A thorough plan of action has to be created to streamline the process. Here are three steps that will help build your game plan.

  • Step 1: Make a company-wide assessment.
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4 Things to Consider When Working with a Business Interpreter

June 14, 2019

They are not supernatural omnipotent beings who can simply shrug off the most daunting of challenges. Even the most experienced interpreters fumble on certain occasions. Clients also have a role to play to achieve the most accurate interpreting for conversations, meetings or conferences.

Here are four vital details you need to consider when working with a business interpreter.

1. Help your interpreter prepare

To make sure that everything will go smoothly, provide everything the interpreter can use to prepare. If possible, share the documents or reference materials that will be used in the meeting or conference with your interpreter. If there are no sensitive details in the documents, provide the interpreter a copy. Anyway, it’s unlikely that you will be calling for an interpreter if the details to be discussed are strictly confidential that no third-parties should be allowed to learn about them.

Providing copies of resource materials or documents is necessary to orient the interpreter about the flow or sequence of the discussions and more importantly, so that the interpreter can get acquainted with unfamiliar terms or concepts. There may be uncommon terminologies or topics that will be brought up during the meeting or conference. The interpreter should be ready for this so they can find come up with the best translations beforehand and not struggle and drag the pace or miss some points of a conversation.

Interpreters are expected to be adept with business concepts, but they may encounter unfamiliar words or expressions that are exclusive to certain cliques. They need to be aware of such details beforehand so they can provide the best possible verbal translations. Consider doing a pre-meeting briefing or a question-and-answer session especially in cases when the topic to the discussed is complex or highly specialized.

It also greatly helps to try how things …

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