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Updated: 39 min 28 sec ago

Keep Millennial employees from leaving with better engagement practices

Tue, 12/23/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - The Millennial generation encompasses the employees who will be tomorrow’s leaders in America’s companies. In just 10 years, they’ll make up 75 percent of the workforce. This generation of college graduates – buried under student-loan debt and entry-level income – is looking for ways to engage in the workplace and climb out of the recession that has plagued its members in recent years.

Businesses bringing Millennials into their offices should look for ways to increase their employee engagement to make them more valuable members of the company. Research conducted by MSW ARS Research and commissioned by Dale Carnegie Training discovered Millennials have different expectations from older generations.

“Millennials are the future of our companies, and are not entering a company like their parents did or anticipating they’ll stay at that company for their entire working career,” says Jean-Louis Van Doorne, senior vice president at Dale Carnegie Training. “They are hard workers who’ve been hit with many economic roadblocks, and they want to become engaged in their careers. Companies may need to adjust some practices to help encourage this engagement.”

The research found Millennials find functional and emotional attributes in the office workplace big drivers of engagement, but many companies aren’t delivering. Here’s what small business owners and human resources departments can do to create a change in the workplace for better Millennial engagement:

* Improve communication – The gossip mill is not necessarily a good thing to encourage, and it will run rampant in your company if you don’t have good communication about what’s happening from the top down. In smaller companies, you can create quarterly meetings to share information, and at larger companies, newsletters and departmental meetings will help. Encourage your employees to ask questions. Promote an open-door policy with all management. And above all, only provide information that is accurate and true. If a question is asked and the answer isn’t known, say so.

* Encourage growth opportunities – Millennials are interested in making their way up the career ladder quickly, and many will jump companies if they find it in their best interest. Since you’ve put a lot of effort into training them to perform perfectly for your company, it might be in your best interest to encourage them to stay around. Encourage your management team to discuss with Millennials on your staff their career goals, and identify direct paths they can take to grow in the company.

* Get to know your workers – For many generations, the attitude has been to not ask personal questions of employees, but instead to let employees tell their stories if they wish. Millennials would like their managers and coworkers to be interested in them, not just as an employee, but as a complete person. These employees want to know that their supervisor cares about their personal life and understands how it affects the work they do for the company. Your company might want to look into ways of getting to know each other, especially outside of the job. Consider hosting an annual family event like a picnic so coworkers can meet spouses and children. Create a monthly newsletter that features some stories about big life changes, like workers buying houses or starting families.

When employees are more engaged in their work and company, they are more productive and satisfied with what they’re doing every day. This leads to better employee retention and trains workers to lead your company into the future. To learn more about the Dale Carnegie research, visit and download the free whitepaper.

Categories: Lifestyle

Research study uncovers small business predictions for 2015

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - Small business owners can easily get caught up in the December rush. But once the holiday sparkle fades, business owners and entrepreneurs will need to refocus and make decisions likely to impact their business in 2015.

Before coming to any conclusions, entrepreneurs should be aware of some business revelations uncovered by the Q3 Spark Business Barometer while they feverishly plan during the last few weeks of the year.

Women and millennials’ optimism will drive sales: Do you know an entrepreneur who is skyrocketing to the top? Surveys show that there is a good chance that person is a millennial or a woman. The Q3 Spark Business Barometer indicates that millennial and women business owners are seeing improved sales, and tend to be more optimistic about financial conditions and business prospects, as well as the economy, compared to other generations and male counterparts. Entrepreneurs should seek out diverse points of view from their millennial and female counterparts; a new perspective may help tackle a long-standing challenge or identify a new opportunity.

Employees will be better compensated: The cost of doing business – and doing it well – will continue to rise in 2015. The good news for workers at local businesses is that employers have a renewed focus on rewarding and growing talented workers. Employees can expect to see higher salaries and better training in 2015. Nearly half (46 percent) of small business owners plan to increase funding for employee salaries, while a third (33 percent) plan to spend more on employee training. Employers that have struggled to win and retain top talent should consider investing more in their training and compensation policies. A relatively small investment can pay dividends in worker productivity.

Retirement plans will help business owners attract and retain employees: Where are business owners not investing? Retirement plans. Growth of retirement planning adoption has remained static, as only 24 percent of business owners offered this benefit in 2013 and 2014. However, businesses should realize that replacing an employee can often cost more than investing in current talent. Those looking to attract the best employees should consider offering retirement plans to compete with other employers – you can even save some extra money during tax time by implementing a plan before the year ends!

Main Street will adapt to Silicon Valley: Entrepreneurs recognize that technology can help them streamline their operations, grow their businesses and even cut costs – and they are investing accordingly. According to the survey, nearly a third (29 percent) of small business owners plan to increase spending on hardware and software next year, while 16 percent will invest more in mobile payment technology. Entrepreneurs should consult a technology expert who can advise on the best hardware, software and solution investments that will help grow their business.

As the business landscape shifts constantly, business owners should seek out advice from peers and industry experts. Resources are available to provide businesses with valuable insight on the opportunities and challenges affecting the business community.

Categories: Lifestyle

Continuing education provides competitive edge for job-hunters

Tue, 12/02/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - More Americans than ever are going back to school, continuing their education to add skills and credentials to their work portfolio. For many, keeping their expertise current with continuing education gives them the edge in a competitive job market.

Continuing education is not the same as going back to school to complete an unfinished degree, notes Dr. Marianne Greenfield, program chair at Argosy University, Atlanta.

“Continuing education generally refers to any type of post-secondary education for the purpose of keeping current with changes in a particular field of study or for preparation to obtain a certification,” she says. “Some professions require that you earn continuing-education credits in order to maintain a license. The goal of continuing education is to offer adults who already possess a college or university degree further opportunity for learning without having to enroll in a degree program.”

“Now more than ever, it’s important for employees and professionals to keep up with all the latest skills and relevant knowledge necessary to compete in today’s workforce,” says Dr. George Spagnola, chair of the College of Education at Argosy University, Sarasota. “While a traditional education is necessary in today’s workforce, it is also a cornerstone upon which one can build a better future through continuing education.”

Greenfield agrees.

“As more people obtain academic degrees, candidates whose skills and knowledge are current and relevant in the workplace will have the greater advantage,” she says. “Continuing education is especially important in areas such as human resources, engineering, technology, finance and health care, where rapid advances occur, leading to constantly evolving practices.”

Many professions require candidates to have certifications and licenses to qualify for employment opportunities, so continuing education is important for job-seekers and professionals in those fields.

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to continue your education.

“Advances in technology have made continuing education more accessible,” says Spagnola. “You can pursue continuing education online, at a physical location or in a combination of both. Technology can help you continue your education and advance your professional knowledge while working and raising a family.”

Given the number of people raising families and working, that flexibility of education can be key to achieving success. Look for an institution or provider that can meet your educational needs while still allowing you to meet your personal and professional obligations.

“Seek out a student-centered institution that meets your needs both academically and non-academically,” says Spagnola.

“Although many course providers cater to those seeking continuing education, it is important to find an accredited institution to ensure your efforts yield results,” says Greenfield. “Look for programs that offer you access to and learning from quality instructors with real-life experience in the specific field of study. Make sure that the program you are considering is compatible with any requirements you will face for licensure.”

And while educational costs are always a concern, many people can find financial assistance in the form of tuition-assistance programs offered through their employers.

“Tuition-assistance programs are of huge benefit to employees and the company,” says Spagnola. “As an employee, you receive financial assistance for your education. Your employer, in turn, gets an employee who is advancing their knowledge and skills and applying them to the organization.”

“The benefits far outweigh the expense and many private sector employers will pay for or reimburse the expense if a compelling case is made for the added competitive advantage for the organization,” agrees Greenfield. “And if your employer isn’t able to assist you with the costs, the Internal Revenue Service allows you to deduct a portion of qualifying continuing-education expenses on your federal tax return. If you pay the expense on behalf of a spouse or a dependent child, you can also claim the deduction.”

For more information about Argosy University, visit

Categories: Lifestyle
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