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Guest Post by Angela Ash Innovation is the name of the game nowadays, no doubt about it. While this is a well-established fact, the mechanisms by which things change for the better are not easily defined and established. That’s why hiring new talent is difficult, and keeping them is even more difficult. Startup founders have their own preferences, which do not necessarily always align, mainly because they operate in different industries and aim for different targets. Still, some traits are more likely to be observed in talented individuals than in regular nine-to-five employees. For one thing, talented individuals always look for business environments characterized by high levels of freedom. In plain words, that means that they want the autonomy to make risky decisions, along with the freedom to overlook short-term goals. Naturally, this practice is directly opposed to the traditional way of doing business, which makes the clash between the large conglomerates and startups even more obvious. If you are not willing to compromise on the rigid rules of traditional business, you will not be able to keep talent in your company for long. Finally, innovation is synonymous with risk. Before you even start looking for innovators, you need to accept that many projects will not pay off. It is important to keep encouraging teams that fail at their first attempt so that they can be inspired to bring forth the necessary business changes in the long run. So, how do you recognize talented people? 1. Look for people with high standards In most cases, innovative mindsets come coupled with high standards (often incredibly high, in fact). Because people with high expectations will give their best to achieve their goals, they are likely to employ all their creativity — a practice that often plays out in unexpected ways. Such people are also positive — a defining feat of the entrepreneurial mindset. It is not a difficult leap to conclude that people with the disposition for entrepreneurial negativity see fewer opportunities and are highly unlikely to be risk takers. 2. Look for people thinking outside the box Innovative people are basically dreamers. They are capable of thinking up projects traditional businessmen usually don't. It is, however, important to remember that even when people have talent, they do not necessarily have the means to make their ideas become reality. Dreamers should be encouraged and given the necessary resources to make big changes happen. The easiest way to spot such people is by observing how they work. In most cases, they will make their incredible results appear easy to achieve. Additionally, they will use technology to their benefit, and even be a little disruptive as they shake things up. Finally, remember that famous quote attributed to Bill Gates: “I always choose a lazy person to do a hard job, because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” People thinking outside the box operate in a much similar fashion. They’ll find shortcuts and unexpected strategies to make their dreams come true. 3. Look for action-takers Innovation is risky business, as already mentioned. It is, therefore, not sufficient only to have creative ideas and high standards. You should also be willing to take action to actually make those things happen. All entrepreneurs are risk-takers because startups are a fast-paced environment. Anyone unable to catch up with the constant changes will be out of the game soon enough. That’s why it is important to be willing to take the necessary risks as they pop up (and they do, all the time). If prospective employees prefer a nine-to-five job and are satisfied with performing their tasks in an orderly fashion, they are not innovators. Innovators always look for ways to improve performance and products, even when given menial tasks. 4. Look for people interested in achievements, rather than great salaries It goes without saying that everyone looks for a good salary, but it is also true that most people don’t go beyond that. If they get enough money, they will happily do their jobs, never looking for any actual change. In fact, they will be well opposed to it, since risks don’t always pay off. Talented people have a vision that salaried people rarely do. They are passionate about company goals and always look for ways to improve them. 5. Look for people willing to include others in their mission There’s no doubt that when employees get along, positive results are inevitable. That is achieved only when the vision and the mission of the company are more important than personal differences. It is no wonder that startups encourage team building activities and workshops where everyone is encouraged to propose their ideas, as this is the fastest way to get people connected by a higher purpose. Unlike business traditionalists, innovators know for a fact that cooperation is essential for success, especially in risky environments where innovation is ultimately linked. Simply put, startups are, in many ways, similar to families, since failing is not an option. Everyone faces challenges, and everyone succeeds or fails. 6. Look for originality Needless to say, copycats never drive innovation. It is original ideas that make businesses stand out in competitive environments. Innovators are resourceful no matter the challenge and capable of turning the situation to their benefit, even when additional funds are not around (which happens most of the time). In a nutshell Innovation is hard work and a joint effort. Risks are a given, and so is failure. However, there are different ways to define failure. Magnus Goransson, Design Director of Lego’s Creative Play Lab, argues that the definition of failure depends on the glasses people are looking through. Commenting on Lego’s Nexo Knights, Goransson says that they were a huge success among Germans, but a complete failure among American kids. “So what glasses are we actually looking through when we talk about failure? Because it seems like depending on the glasses you put on, they change what failure is,” says Goransson. It would only seem fitting to apply this approach to all things innovation. Talented people will always look for ways to turn the situation to their benefit, because they are positive thinkers, willing to take risks, and ready to include everyone in their mission. Just remember to reward them appropriately! Otherwise, they’ll take their talents elsewhere. Employee retention is a big problem all over the globe these days, but it doesn’t have to be your problem! Keep your employees happily engaged, and you’ll keep those team members that you searched so effectively to find in the first place! Angela Ash is a professional content writer and editor, with a myriad of experience in all forms of content management, SEO, proofreading, outreach, and social media. She currently works with Flow SEO, a boutique agency founded by Viola Eva, which offers in-depth SEO analysis, custom SEO strategies, and implementation.
Guest Post by Lauren Wiseman You may realize that your internal team cannot handle the entire workload or you just need a team for occasional hire — in any case, a group of freelancers might just be the perfect answer. These individuals are usually experienced because they have the freedom to work with multiple companies during their careers and that experience and knowledge is something you can leverage. Many entrepreneurs are interested in hiring freelancers but have questions about how to supervise the work and manage the payments for an external team. Here are a few tips on how to successfully work with freelancers: Establish good communication All business relations are maintained through good communication. From interviews to weekly reports and feedback sessions, the freelance team needs to feel like a part of your company in order to perform to the best of their abilities. However, this doesn’t mean that you should have daily video calls if there is no need because you would be wasting your time and theirs. Regular purposeful communication does more than just help freelancers feel like they belong; it also facilitates the exchange of ideas with your internal teams and helps the freelancers know they are on the right track. Without regular communication, freelancers may miss important details and inadvertantly stray from their tasks. By ensuring that everyone’s doing exactly what they are supposed to, you will also make sure that no funds are wasted and that everyone gets paid for the work they've done. Let the software do its trick It is said that trust is the basis of a good relationship; however, in business, trusting people is often characterized as naivety. Wanting to know that your employees are actually working during business hours doesn’t make you an overly strict employer but a prudent entrepreneur. Most remote employees will fill in their time logs honestly, but some might try to bend the truth a bit and put in some extra hours. If that happens each month, you would be giving away funds you can put to better use and grow your business. To keep the business relationship with your external team fair and square, you should find a software solution that will help you monitor their work and track time spent on projects. Available software includes features that help the freelance crew keep track of their to-dos, deadlines, and the hours they’ve planned on setting aside for each project segment. Use the benefits of the payroll card One of the biggest perks of hiring freelancers is that you are not limiting yourself to your local pool of talents. The last thing you want is to hire people who are not cut out for that position simply because you have run out of options. It's not enough just to hope that with enough training and patience, they would be able to perform well. Hiring freelancers gives a shot to individuals with the enthusiasm and efficiency your business desperately needs, even if they're from different cities or even countries. Many business owners are reluctant to hire remote workers because they believe that the process of payment would be too complicated and not worth the hassle. However, if you give each freelance employee a personalized payroll card this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Many entrepreneurs opt for this solution because it allows for the automation of the entire payroll process while the freelancers don’t have to be a member of any particular bank and they can use the card internationally. Prepare a detailed contract Regardless of whether you are hiring a particular external team for a one-time project or if they will be your go-to people for all similar tasks, signing a contract with them is crucial. This contract will protect both parties. If they don’t wish to sign it, then you should rethink your decision about hiring that particular person or team because there might be other reasons they don’t wish to make a legal commitment. The contact should contain basic information on the two parties such as legal names, physical addresses, detailed description of what they are hired to do, deadlines, as well as the payment terms. The contract should include what would happen if either party doesn't live up to their side of the bargain. Having these terms on paper can eliminate misunderstandings or any intentional fraud attempts. Don't let fear stop you from hiring freelancers and advancing your business. Lauren Wiseman is a marketing specialist and contributor to bizzmarkblog.com. She helps clients grow their personal and professional brands in the fast-changing and demanding market, strongly believing in a holistic approach to a business.
Guest Post by Matt Shealy Hiring new employees is a costly and time-consuming job for most companies. Although deciding who is a good fit for each new position can be difficult, here are the top 10 traits hiring managers tend to look for in new hires: 1. Expressing a natural curiosity Some people are naturally curious about almost everything in the world around them. They want to know why ants build bridges with their body, why dew sits on leaves, or why sticky notes don’t stop sticking. This type of interviewee makes a hiring manager smile because it’s an easy decision to hire a curious person. 2. Fitting into company culture Each type of company has its own culture, mood, and requirements. For an individual to fit in, there are certain parameters of both strengths, self-awareness, and individuality that can help grow the company without disrupting the existing culture. That is why you often hear a hiring manager declare the person wasn’t the right fit for the job. It was all about fitting into the existing company culture. 3. Earning advanced degrees A person that loves to learn can enter the workforce with enthusiasm and new ways of thinking. That is why hiring managers offer special consideration for individuals with an advanced degree. As a person works through the educational atmosphere, he or she often learns how to solve problems and think in unique ways. This can be vital for some distinctive positions within a company. 4. Showing integrity Having integrity covers a huge spectrum of values, including honesty, trust, honor, and goodness. Although many hiring managers claim it’s difficult to judge a new hire’s integrity after only a 30-minute conversation, other interviewers assert that some people have an air of goodness around them. No matter which side you believe, integrity is high on the list of most sought after traits in a new corporate hire. 5. Having a creative mindset The creative mindset is a rare thing in a world that likes cookie-cutter solutions. The creative mind tends to look at the difficult scenarios and ask himself or herself, “What am I meant to learn from this experience?” and then creatively change the outcome. This mindset is not something easily understood, so when a potential hire comes in with a creative mindset, they are almost always employed when they leave the interview. 6. Approaching life positively If two possible hires are interviewed and found to have the same experience and skill levels, the one with the most positive approach to life is seen as more qualified for the position. Speaking about previous bosses, team members, or positions within a company can demonstrate a pessimistic or negative attitude — and the attitude speaks volumes. Positivity can get you hired! 7. Working well in a team Finding a person who can work well with others is often difficult in this world of self-importance and personal focus. Interpersonal skills and team building can be critical to a properly functioning workplace environment. A person who knows how to communicate within a group is a valuable asset to any department in the corporate world, and hiring managers know it. 8. Demonstrating persistence When asked to describe themselves, few hiring candidates offer the term persistent, yet that is one of the most sought-after traits that a majority of hiring personnel look for in a potential employee. A persistent person finds a solution to the problem or situation, even if it is a difficult challenge. They are dedicated to a seemingly impossible task, which makes them invaluable. 9. Being loyal Turnover is a huge problem no matter how large or small your business is. Training an individual only to lose him or her to another company can deal a huge blow to the flow of your business. Although job-hopping is frequent, hiring managers are quick to point out that there are some people who show brand loyalty, and just like their parents before them, they want to work with a company for the foreseeable future. These individuals are the backbone of many corporations. 10. Spreading happiness Sometimes you run across a person who exudes happiness, no matter what they are doing. When hiring managers encounter this type of person, they want to hire them on the spot. Enthusiasm spreads, and the eagerness to participate with joy in each new adventure can help bolster a team and improve attitudes when a project gets bogged down. Thus, this type of employee spreads happiness. The above list is only a few of the many traits hiring managers look for in a new hire. How many of them do you possess? Matt Shealy is the President of ChamberofCommerce.com. Shealy specializes in helping small businesses grow their business on the web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.