Young blood – how to help youthful employees thrive

As the millennial generation continues to move into and eventually take over the work force, it is becoming more and more important to adapt business thinking to keep these younger employees engaged, interested, and thriving in the workplace.

After all, if you’re not able to keep young workers engaged, you are likely to suffer as talented potential recruits take their skills elsewhere.

With that in mind, here are some tips on helping these employees thrive:

Training and learning

The young are ambitious – perhaps now more than ever. This means that your younger employees are keen on advancing and improving their knowledge, as a path to upwards movement.

You’ll want to nurture and allow this impulse to thrive – after all, the more skilled they are the greater their contribution to your business – and an ideal way to do so is through mentorships.

A culture of mentorship with respected management figures not only helps young workers feel fulfilled, it encourages their growth to the benefit of the company.

Flexibility

Today’s young employees want a flexible approach to work – companies like Google are famous for their ability to combine work and fun.

This dedication to flexibility needs an outlet, often characterised in a ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality.

For modern businesses, this increasingly means allowing flexible work hours, or even work from home days. The easy availability of technology is facilitating this, as it makes it easy to have meetings and do work wherever you happen to be.

Taking this step does require some trust in your staff – you need to know work will be completed regardless of hours worked. But you’ll likely find that the young workers of today will reward your trust, and excel.

Culture

Workplace culture has become a necessity for the modern youth. No longer can jobs just be jobs: they need to be fun, engaging and collaborative.

This also means giving youthful employees responsibility – it shows a healthy respect and trust for what they have to offer. Alongside this, it’s important to allow young employees to give voice to their opinions.

Most of all, however, you should try to encourage a familial feel in the workplace. This helps employees feel happy and productive, less like they’re at work and more like home.

To create this sort of feel, you can arrange fun events for your employees, or even just install a foosball table.

Feedback

Millenials in the workplace welcome feedback. Reaching targets and being recognised for their effort is expected, showing them that their work is worthwhile.

The trick here is to do so in a way that doesn’t rankle with older employees. However, you will likely find that your older employees embrace the changes millennial culture brings to the workplace wholeheartedly.

All that’s left to you is to reap the rewards.

How to Determine Your Advertising Spend

When running a small business, some expenses are obvious – electricity, rent and wages, for instance. Calculating ad budgets, on the other hand, is a far more nebulous affair.

Regardless of how you feel about advertising, it is important to know how much to spend on this aspect of your business.

Doing so has a number of benefits, including showing you if you’re actually wasting money. It also has a tangible benefit, allowing you to calculate the return your advertising investment affords you.

There are several ways to calculate ad spend, and the one you choose depends on your needs:

Ad spend calculating methods

The traditional method

This method simply calculates your ad spend as a percentage of revenue. The trick is, what percentage, and what revenue?

Using your industry’s average percentage gives a decent guide on that front. In terms of revenue, an average of your last years’ revenue and projected revenue over the next year will serve you well.

Unit-of-sales

Slightly more complex, this method determines how much it costs to sell a certain product, and extrapolates from there.

This requires you to know your industry. Once you have your per-unit figure, multiply it by the amount of units you want to sell, and this will give you your budget.

Rent expenses

This unusual calculation works well for retailers: it’s fairly complex, so we’ll simply link to it in this case.

Task and objective budgeting

Despite the complexity of the rent expenses method, this way of finding out your budget is generally considered the most difficult.

However, the general consensus is that it’s the most accurate, so you may consider it worthwhile.

The reason this method is hard is because it requires a marketing plan. That means determining objectives – which you’ll rank in order of importance, in case you can’t achieve them all.

Essentially, you’ll be determining:

  • Who you want to reach
  • How frequently you want to reach them
  • Where you’ll get the best exposure
  • How much it will cost

Adding these figures together will give you your budget, which can be adjusted by reducing or increasing your objectives.

This may seem like an awful lot of effort, but the fact is that advertising is an important part of your business, and is needed to see it grow and flourish.

Evaluating Agile management

Agile management first started as a system of values for software development.

Since its inception, it has graduated first to project management, and now to management on a broader scale. In all these environments, agile management takes as its cue the original Agile Manifesto created to inform software development.

Given its evolution to this point, it’s worth considering agile management on the broader scale, and evaluating its uses.

What is agile?

In its original incarnation, agile software development was an attempt to move away from onerous structure and documentation that was felt to be holding back the ability of teams to excel.

Rather, agile embraces an approach that emphasises communication – between team members, stakeholders and customers – to build an evolving product that is best able to serve the needed function.

When it made the leap to project management, agile became an iterative, incremental method of project management that emphasised a certain level of flexibility and interaction.

This allows for feedback in the process of the project, in order to refine requirements over time. Alongside this, a framework that promotes communication and reflection on past work is employed, allowing learnings from previous projects to carry forward into new ones.

Agile at large

Moving into more traditional management spheres, agile management has been adopted wholesale as a way to improve performance, particularly in areas of innovation and uncertainty.

Thanks to its nature, agile management is able to provide an end product that best fits current customer needs, while needing minimal cost, waste or time – clearly a big advantage compared to traditional methods.

Under an agile business management model, agile software development techniques are distilled across five areas:

  • Integrated customer communication allows shared accountability for product or service delivery
  • Facilitation-based management involves adopting certain agile management models to facilitate day-to-day operation of teams
  • Agile work practise adopt iterative and incremental work practices common in agile development
  • An enabling organisational structure that focuses on staff engagement, personal autonomy and outcomes based governance
  • Applications of various aspects of agile processes

Not-so-agile

Unfortunately, agile management does have its critics. Problems with the system include its inefficiency in large businesses and certain industries.

It’s also been criticised as a fad – a repackaging of existing principles, or a system that wrongly emphasises method over results.

It may prove that these critics are not wrong. But agile management has had its successes.

Key to the entire process is the idea that communication sits at the centre of good work, alongside a flexible and efficient work structure. And while it may prove that agile is not the wonder pill that will solve all management woes, for small business owners it offers a tangible and useful method for approaching projects and managing staff.

Fair’s fair – how to work out the right wages for staff

Deciding on wages for staff is liable to cause a mild panic in most new business owners – you don’t want them to feel undervalued, but equally you want to minimise the burden on the business.

Here’s the secret: it’s not actually that bad.

Setting your workers’ salary might take a bit of thought, but it’s certainly not the difficult process many business owners seem to think it is.

Don’t believe us? We’ll show you.

Finding the top end

The first step in determining salary is simple – what do you need? The answer is, almost certainly, a capable and talented employee. You’re looking, essentially, for a person who brings value to your company.

And you can use that goal to work out salary, as well: the largest amount you’re willing to pay is equal to the amount of value you feel that person brings to your company.

This is easy to work out with some positions, but harder with others. Salespeople, for instance, can have their salary easily quantified relative to the revenue they bring in. Support staff, on the other hand, provide value by saving you money – consider the IT person who helps configure your network.

The beauty of this method is that it can actually show you where you’re over-paying. If the value you place on a job is lower than a person’s salary, then you might need to re-think whether you need the position at all.

This also helps with hiring, letting you quickly cull candidates who are asking too much. Just be careful that you don’t cull all your options, a sure sign that you’re either undervaluing a job – or you should just do it yourself.

Hitting bottom

Finding the bottom end of your wage scale is arguably easier than finding the top: just look it up.

Yes, it’s now easy to find industry wide and location specific salary data online, making it a snap to find out the basic salary rage for any position you’re interested in filling.

That said, it’s absolutely worth double-checking that figure. The way to go about that process is by talking to other business owners – they have to deal with the same problem as you, after all.

A good way to do this is to join a local business network. Not only will it help you determine your market rate, it’ll provide a wealth of useful connections that can be tapped down the line.

Putting it together

You’ve likely figured this out by now, but by looking at the two figures we’ve worked out, you now have everything you need to evaluate potential employees and their salary requirement.

By taking a little bit of time and working out what is valuable to you, and what is valuable to the people you’re hiring, you’re able to find the middle ground that will satisfy you both.