When it comes to keeping a business running smoothly, it can be hard to decide whether you should hire in-house help or outsource to a consultant. In some cases, hiring an in-house professional to help you as needed makes sense. For some things though, hiring an external consultant will be better for your business overall.
Here are four times your business should hire a consultant rather than bringing someone on staff permanently.
For businesses looking to adhere to standards set out by governing bodies, whether they’re producing a pharmaceutical or looking at shipping their product across borders, they need to be completely sure that they are following the rules. Mistakes in compliance can be extremely costly, and prevent you from doing business in the future.
For the businesses that regularly check in with compliance issues, it does make sense to have someone on staff that’s knowledgeable of the rules and regulations. However, when it’s a new product or a market you haven’t shipped to before, it’s best to hire a consultant. According to EMMAInternational.com, working with a consultant can help you avoid any potential pitfalls by providing guidance while the product is still an idea being vetted by your organization.
Software Development and Training
While your IT department may have a lot of experience in software development, implementing new systems means that everyone needs to be trained, IT department included. Whether you’re changing your accounting system or implementing a new shared drive across the board, bringing outside help to assist with training goes a long way.
Think about it: while the IT professionals in your organization may know the products inside out and backward, teaching isn’t their bread and butter. Software trainers have both the technological components of the software down pat, and also know how to share that knowledge in a way that resonates with people. If the systems are changing drastically, they’ll also be able to teach your IT department how to help everyone in the future.
Mass Layoffs or Terminations
The hope is that no one ever has to worry about this service, but it’s an unfortunate reality when businesses are struggling, or a merger takes place. Rather than putting the burden solely on your HR department, it’s best to bring in an expert who has experience in this specific situation. They’ll be able to create a system to communicate the changes effectively, lessening the chances of word getting out in advance and causing a panic.
While many HR professionals have the training required to handle a few terminations, the organizational culture can turn sour rather quickly when mass layoffs are involved. In these scenarios, it’s important to have a consultant who can talk the executive team through the days ahead.
The word “audit” is dreaded across the board in the business world, even if a company has done nothing unsavory. The auditing process is tedious and drains time and human resources from the daily operations, in addition to creating a mess of paperwork in the office. However, audits aren’t just government mandated occurrences; many companies instigate regular audits themselves.
Whether you’re being audited by a government agency or holding an audit to cover your bases with shareholders and ensure nothing untoward is flying under the radar, working with an audit consulting agency can make the process less arduous.
Bringing in an agency can also help uncover any hidden incidents of fraud within the company that internal accountants would be able to hide. Auditing consultants can also review your processes and systems to ensure they are set up to reduce the likelihood of fraud.
Looking for help outside the confines of your workplace is a smart move for the long-term success of your business. Know when to hire someone to work in-house and when to work with an external consultant to help your organization grow and flourish.
4 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating in the Workplace
A healthier workforce is a more engaged and productive one. A lot of people overlook the impact eating habits can have on cognitive functions, mood, and concentration. But by making a few adjustments to your workplace and company culture, you could help your employees make healthier food choices.
Here are a few simple ways you could encourage healthy eating in the workplace.
Use Snack Services
There are plenty of snack services out there that will allow you to provide snacks to your employees for cheap. They allow you to buy various snacks in bulk so you can save on total costs. They’re also a great way to show that you actually care about your employees’ wellbeing.
However, not all of them are created equal and some might be healthier than others. While an office snack service like Naturebox will be focused mainly on providing healthy office snacks like dried fruits, nuts, and low-calorie options, others won’t have as wide a selection and will offer your usual run-of-the-mill snacks with a few “healthy” options. If you want to know more about snack services and which one would be best for you, Bevi has a great article about them. Bevi also supplies beverages for the office, including water dispensers.
Incentivize your Employees
There are plenty of ways you could make things easier for your employees and incentivize healthy eating. Some companies, for instance, will have free fruit around the office or will allow their employees to have access to mineral water. If you have vending machines, make sure that you stock them up with healthy foods as well as the usual snacks. And make sure that healthy options are much cheaper as well.
Do not Neglect Break Time
You have to institute a culture in your business where your employees feel free to enjoy a full lunch break and sufficient screen break time as well. This will encourage healthy eating habits and reduce stress as well. Make sure that they don’t eat at their desk and consider giving flexible break hours so they can get out and stretch their legs. A lunch hour should be long enough to let them go out and enjoy a healthy meal if they want to. Enjoying fresh air will also leave them invigorated for the second half of the day.
Make Sure that it’s a Clear Part of your Company Culture
If you want your employees to truly dedicate themselves to healthy eating, it has to be part of your company’s mission and put down in writing. Make sure that your commitment to healthy eating and overall health is part of the staff handbook. You should also make it clear to your staff that your mission will translate into actual policy. Let them know that healthy eating options will be subsidized or completely free of charge. Also, make sure that you consider adopting a corporate food plan if you have a cafeteria.
Making sure that your employees adopt healthy eating habits is not only an investment in their well-being but in your business as well. If you want to enjoy a happier and healthier workforce that will run on all cylinders, make sure to make healthy eating a must in your workplace.
How to Make Money from Home as a Freelance Writer
If you have ever considered becoming a freelance writer your first and biggest question is probably “how do I begin making money as a freelance writer”? Knowing where and how to look for jobs is the first step in your freelance writing career.
There are plenty of ways to get paid but in this article, we give you 5 of the best methods for getting work as a beginner freelance writer.
Enter Writing Contests
Writing contests are a great option for freelance writers of any experience level because they do not differentiate between beginner writers and established professionals. Winning of these would be a great achievement for any resume and are sure to spruce up portfolios.
There are many competitions open to the public so do your research and see what opportunities are available to you. Prizes range from small cash payments to publications of your written works. Many of these competitions are free to enter so take the opportunity and submit your works today.
There are many ways for freelancers to make money online, you can find out more here. However, a common beginning point for freelance writers looking to get their first clients is to pitch for jobs on job boards. It is as simple as registering for an account and filling out applications or bidding on jobs. There are a ton of wiring jobs available on these boards and the clients are looking for people with a base level writing ability and a strong work ethic.
Start a Blog
Every writer needs a blog and these days bloggers are monetizing their blog through affiliate marketing. Running a blog can benefit you as a writer in many ways including contributing to your portfolio, creating lead generation, build up your credibility and give you confidence as a writer. Your blog will help you develop your style and target audience. The goal to successfully monetizing your blog is to pick a successful niche and developing a strong social media presence.
As a writer you should be following and supporting other bloggers and their sites. Consider pitching a guest post to your favorite authors. Most blogs accept guest posts and a lot of them are willing to pay for quality content from their guests. Before you send your pitch make sure you take the time to research the blog extensively. What is the style of writing? What is the niche? Develop a pitch that fits in nicely with site you are hoping to guest post for.
Self-Publish your Own Books
Amazon Direct Publishing has made it easy for writers of all experience levels to self-publish paperbacks and ebooks. The best part is that it is free to publish through KDP. Al you have to do is upload your book and wait for people to start purchasing it. Write about your book in your blog and post it all over your social media accounts to help gain some traffic and awareness. With KDP you can earn up to 70% in royalties, keep control of the rights, set your own prices and make changes to the book at any time.
4 Tools That Will Help You Keep Focus in Meetings
Keeping everybody focused on any kind of meeting can be quite a challenge. People are easily distracted and they get bored, especially in long meetings that drone on. However, there are some tools that can help keep focus during a meeting.
Did you know that whiteboards are a critical part of meetings nowadays? It’s one of the focus tools we will look at today.
One big help when it comes to the meeting is anything visual. There is a reason why people use tools like PowerPoint, graphs, images, and other types of visuals in meetings – because they help keep focus much better than words alone.
Have you ever been in a meeting, or maybe listening to a school presentation, where a person drones on? It can get boring if a person relies solely on words to get a point across. It can become boring and hard to focus on.
However, when you add snazzy visuals and colorful graphs into the mix, it helps to catch the eyes of those watching and listening. It also helps provide a minor break from word-only presentations that are hard to focus on.
Visuals always help with presentations, not to mention that they are great for getting across points and hammering them home, points out that words alone have trouble getting across.
One of the tools that can be used to help keep focus in meetings is a recording device of sorts. This could be anything; as long as it allows you to record a meeting, it should work fine. This could be an old-school tape recorder, a phone, tablet, or anything else that can record voice.
The point here is that during meetings, people often try and jot down notes and write down what the speaker is saying.
However, this actually distracts from the task at hand, because when people are writing notes, they are n’t listening or taking in additional information. It is actually pretty hard to take a new point in when you are also writing the last point down.
Therefore, a recording device to record all things said in a meeting can come in handy.
Instead of having people write down notes and lightning speed and not absorb information; people can actually listen to what is being said. Then, instead of referring to notes for reference, they can simply listen to the recording.
This might seem like an odd tool when it comes to helping people keep focus in meetings, but it does work. Some people probably wouldn’t qualify stress balls as being tools, but in reality, they are.
Stress balls are those little softballs which people have in their hands and squeeze to relieve stress. They might be stress relief tools, but this is exactly why they can help people focus.
People don’t listen well when they are stressed out, and a stress ball helps to combat this. Furthermore, many people have to be doing something with their hands, which is why they invented those fidget spinners that were a big deal last year. It’s hard to focus on a meeting when you are constantly looking for something for your hands to do.
A stress ball in your hands can solve both of these problems quite adequately. Make sure you don’t get a noisy one, or else everybody else in the meeting room will not be happy with you.
When it comes down to it, one of the most useful tools to help keep people focused during a meeting is undoubtedly the whiteboard. This has to do with our first point – that visuals help to keep attention.
Whiteboards are pretty big, they have great contrast between the surface and the colored markers, and they allow for great organization.
Whoever is leading the meeting can use various colors of markers to jot down the most important ideas, which are easy for everybody to see.
Whiteboards are also highly portable, so they can be moved from one meeting room to another. If you did not already know, whiteboards are becoming a staple of every meeting room and classroom out there today.
These 4 items or tools that we have discussed here today are fantastic for helping you and others keep their focus during meetings. It can be hard to keep focus, especially in a long meeting and in a room full of people. Hopefully, you can put these items to good use to increase focus and productivity.
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