Why Gender Diversity is Great in the Workplace

Here’s a math problem that doesn’t quite add up: There are over 6 million jobs available in the U.S. today, yet more and more females are leaving the workplace. Another variable to add to the equation is the fact that, according to Gallup, only 35% of female employees are engaged in their jobs, and nearly half of women say they are looking for or considering new jobs.

The answer is actually simple: There is a growing need for business owners to do more when it comes to gender diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. In fact, Hawaii women who work full-time, year-round earn 83 cents on the dollar compared to men. If this trend continues in Hawaii, women will not see equal pay until the year 2051.

While there have been great strides made by women in the workplace in the past few decades, they are still overwhelmingly underrepresented when it comes to holding top leadership positions.

The numbers don’t lie, so let’s look at a few recent findings:

  • Only one-third of men and women say their workplace is balanced in terms of gender (Pew Research)
  • Forty-five percent of working women say they would like to become CEO or have a position in senior management or leadership (Gallup)
  • Yet, women hold only about 10% of the top executive positions at U.S. companies (Pew Research)

Numerous studies show that gender-diverse teams outperform expectations. Gallup lists the following advantages as benefits of gender diversity:

  • Differing viewpoints, ideas, and insights allow for better problem solving, leading to superior business performance
  • Ability to serve an increasingly diverse customer base with varying needs
  • Helps companies attract and retain talented women

So how can leadership develop a gender-diverse workplace and reap the benefits of one?

Take Inventory

Have an open and honest conversation with your workforce. From company culture to promotions to access to leadership, ask your team how they experience your workplace. This feedback can be extremely insightful in planning and developing employee engagement. Identifying challenges can also act as a catalyst to what shifts and policies are necessary in order to attract and retain women.

Family Friendly Culture

Many programs and policies, like maternity and paternity leave, that were once differentiators are now quickly becoming the norm. For employers to truly support men and women in the workplace environment, leadership needs to take a hard look at how they allow for work-life balance. Whether it is flexible scheduling or parental leave policies, employer policies supporting work-life balance are important to women and can go a long way in retaining top employees.

Encourage Support

One of the most crucial factors for career growth is mentorship and connections. And a lack of support from mentors or access to networking opportunities can keep women from advancing in the workplace. It’s important for business leaders to not only develop employee coaching programs, but to encourage and cultivate strong bonds between genders and roles.

The importance of gender diversity in the workplace boils down to one main point: Engaging women in the workforce drives bottom-line growth and high-level innovation for all types of organizations. As a business leader, it’s important to examine your organization's culture and practices compared to the desires of today's professional women in order to be exceptional when competing for – and retaining – the best talent today.

Summer Reading: 6 Books on Becoming a Better Leader

Whether you’ve recently stepped into a leadership position or are looking to master the art of running a successful business, these six books share the skills necessary to become a more effective leader.

1. Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts

by Annie Duke

Annie Duke, professional poker champion turned business consultant, teaches readers how to get comfortable with uncertainty and make better decisions based on assessing what you know. This book provides guidance on mitigating biases related to business decision making while taking behavioral psychology and cognitive science into account.

Thinking in Bets- Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts

2. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't

by Jim Collins

How can you take your company from good to great? Jim Collins, renowned author of Built to Last, thoroughly examines 11 good-to-great companies and 11 comparison companies in this book. The commonalities that attribute to great companies: Disciplined people, thought, and action.

Good to Great- Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't

3. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't

by Simon Sinek

Some teams go above and beyond for each other while some companies fail to do so. That is the phenomenon that Simon Sinek dives into by sharing true stories that range from the military to big business to government to investment banking. For leaders looking to build a team-first work culture, this is a must read.

Leaders Eat Last- Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't

4. Principles: Life and Work

by Ray Dalio

What’s the formula for personal and business success? Ray Dalio, one of the most influential people in the world, describes it as “an idea meritocracy that strives to achieve meaningful work and meaningful relationships through radical transparency.” Learn practical and applicable advice from an exceptional leader in this valuable read.

Principles - Life and Work

5. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business

by Charles Duhigg

Good or bad, everyone has habits that shape how they live and work. In this fascinating read, Charles Duhigg, a reporter for The New York Times, dives into the cognitive world and examines why we create the habits we do, and more importantly, how we can evolve for the better. This book is not just for leaders, the practical advice shared is helpful to anyone looking to create or change habits in both their personal and professional lives.

The Power of Habit- Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business

6. Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

by Kim Scott

To truly be a great leader, you have to really listen to your employees. Kim Scott, former executive at Google and Apple, provides leaders with a proven framework for effective management: Radical Candor. Scott shares actionable advice on the importance of creating a workplace that is open for feedback, how to build a collaborative team, and achieve business results – while still keeping employees happy.

Radical Candor- Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

One of the best things you can do to become a better leader is to learn from other leaders and business professionals who have experience and knowledge to share. If you’re looking for some perspective, inspiration, motivation, or advice on how to be a better leader for your company, your employees, and yourself, picking up one of the books mentioned above would be a great place to start!

4 Common Mistakes That Drive Job Candidates Away from Small Businesses

Finding the right people to hire–those with the right experience, skills, and growth potential–is challenging for businesses of all sizes. Even more for small businesses, the NIFB Small Business Optimism Index recently found that 88% of small businesses hiring or trying to hire reported few or no qualified applicants for open positions.

Small businesses need to be on top of their game in the hiring process if they want to attract the best and brightest employees. Unfortunately, many small businesses unknowingly make critical mistakes that drive prospects away. Disorganization, a lack of transparency, and rushing the process cause great prospects to doubt whether the job is right for them.

So, what’s a small business to do? First, it’s essential to understand the common mistakes that drive prospects away. From there, you can make changes that improve your process, ensuring when a well-qualified prospect is interested in your business, they’ll stick around.

Mistake #1. A Disorganized Interview Process

The interview process is a candidate's first view into your business, and first impressions matter. A study conducted by researchers at Bilkent University found that when people look at others in photographs, this first impression influences their perception of those people even after they interact with them in real life.

If the interview experience is disconnected, inconsistent, or haphazard, the prospect will notice, and it may drive them away from accepting a position. That’s why it’s important to have an organized interview process led by a key hiring manager. It’s also essential to come to the interview on time with questions prepared.

Mistake #2. Lack of Transparency Around Salary and Benefits

When a prospect is interviewing for a job, they’re naturally going to be curious about compensation. Benefits matter too, as nearly 3 in 5 people state that benefits and perks are the top considerations for accepting a new position.

Sometimes prospects are asked for their desired salary in an interview, only to be given an offer that’s much less than the stated range. This type of bait and switch makes prospects feel uneasy and unsure if they can trust the company.

During the interview process, prospects will be assessing how transparent the company is. Glassdoor states that “90% of job seekers say that it's important to work for a company that embraces transparency.” Make sure that you’re telling the truth– even if it’s a bit unattractive– as dishonesty and lack of transparency is what drives prospects away.

Mistake #3. Rushing Candidates to Make a Decision

Just like you don’t want to hire a desperate prospect, your new hire probably doesn’t want to work for a business who seems desperate and rushed to get them on board.

Deciding to take a new job is a big decision, so don’t rush the candidate to make a choice in 24 hours. Instead, make yourself available for questions and give them a week or two to make their choice. If they want to come into the office again, accommodate that. Your patience will make them feel more comfortable and at ease.

Mistake #4. Dropping the Ball After the Offer’s Made

A small business’ job is not over just because an offer has been made. After an offer has been made, it’s essential that the company does a good job of following up. Does the candidate have any questions? If so, you need to be available and respond quickly. Even after the offer is signed, it’s important to have someone on staff who can get the candidate up to speed on what they can expect when they come into work for their first day.

This post is part of a special blog series on ‘Get Fully Staffed: Finding and Keeping Great People' in support of ProService’s Growth Series event which took place on June 27, 2018. Offered exclusively to ProService clients and special guests, the Growth Series are interactive learning experiences that feature industry-leading speakers and networking opportunities that will inspire and provide tools for business leaders to take their organizations to the next level. To register for upcoming events, please visit our event page.

6 Ways to Boost Customer Happiness

Did you know it’s much easier to keep a loyal customer than acquire a new one? Returning customers spend more and buy more often, and refer friends and family. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, strengthening your customer relationships and increasing your customer retention by just 5% can actually grow your company's revenue by 25-95%.

And the numbers don't lie: There are quite a few reasons why customer retention is critical to company growth and success:

  • ROI: 80% of a business’ future revenue will be generated by just 20% of their existing customers. (Forbes)
  • Loyalty: Loyal consumers will spend an average of 66% more than those who aren’t loyal. (Accenture)
  • Involvement: Customers who provide feedback have a 1.4x higher lifetime value. (Thanx)
  • Customer Experience: Commiting to customer experience can result in up to a 25% higher customer retention rate and revenue than focusing on just sales and marketing. (Gartner)
  • Referrals: Customers who are considered “promoters” spend at least 21% more each year are 8% less likely to churn and account for 80-90% of all referrals. (Thanx)

So how can your business increase customer retention? By keeping your customers happy! Here are six ways to boost customer happiness:

1. Develop a Customer Loyalty Program

Show your customers you appreciate their repeat purchases by creating a loyalty program. Whether it is a punch card, a tiered-reward system, or simply a discount, incentivizing consumers to come back for more is a great way to reward loyalty and keep your customers smiling.

2. Create Engaging Content

Who are your best consumers? Where do they live online and offline? How do they consume content? By creating personalized and targeted content for your audiences, your brand has a better chance of reaching and engaging with your customers. This in turn can lead to better relationships, staying top of mind, as well as more referrals. When your customers feel like you are speaking directly to them, in their comfort zone, it is more likely that brand recognition will turn into brand preference when it is time to purchase. Plus, providing helpful and relevant content directly to customers can help improve the way they do business.

3. Provide Exceptional Customer Support

Whether it’s answering a question about your product over the phone, meeting with a customer in person to deliver your product or service, or handling support after the sale, your team’s aim should always be to ‘wow’ your customers. By going above and beyond in every interaction, you have the ability to make every customer feel as though they are your most important asset and they’ll want to do business with your company again and again.

4. Give Them the VIP Treatment

Want to really win your customers over? Treat them as if they’re an integral part of your company. Offer special sales and promotions that are only for your most loyal customers. Ask them for feedback and show them that you value their opinions. Hold events that are personalized to them. The more they feel like an integral part of the team, the more loyal they’ll be to your brand.

5. Implement a Referral Program

One of the greatest benefits of customer loyalty is the word-of-mouth marketing it generates. Yet a shocking study by Texas Tech revealed that even though 83% of satisfied customers are willing to spread the word about their good experience, only 29% actually do. Why does such a large chasm exist? Mostly because many businesses are not asking or not rewarding  for their referrals. For example, a free coffee would be a great reward for referring a new patron to a local bakery, but that same reward would not hold the same value for referring a new client to a law firm. Make the ask for referrals at a time that your customer is the happiest and incentive with a reward they value in order to see an increase in referred business.

6. Create Relationships With Your Customers

People who are loyal to a brand usually are because they have a personal connection with its products, services, and/or culture. Regardless of the size of your organization, you can easily demonstrate to your customers that there are real people behind your brand by showing your personality through email, social media, and personal interactions.

Loyal customers are the lifeblood of any successful business and most executives state the best source of new business is a referral from a happy customer. By implementing these six steps, your business will be on its way to improving customer retention and reaping all the amazing benefits that come along with it.

Top 5 Tips to Get Fully Staffed: Key Insights From Our Summer 2018 Growth Series

At ProService Hawaii, we know that attracting and retaining talent in this tight job market can be challenging. That’s why we are so dedicated to supporting local businesses with all of their HR needs. Here are the top 5 tips from our Summer ’18 Growth Series to help you find and keep the best and brightest employees in Hawaii.

Our summer Growth Series, “Get Fully Staffed: Finding & Keeping Great People”, took place on June 27th with keynote speaker Eric Chester, with our largest audience ever. Eric has written six books about employee engagement, workplace culture, and the emerging generation and spoke to corporations such as AT&T, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Universal, Subway, Allstate, Harley Davidson, and more. His Growth Series presentation gave actionable steps for business owners to walk away and implement immediately, leading them to find and keep the best and the brightest in Hawaii.

If you missed our latest Growth Series, you’re in luck — here are the top 5 actionable tips from the event:

1. There is a Core Values Gap, Not A Skills Gap

Reports of the current marketplace would have us believe there is a skills gap for potential hires, but given the consensus that Eric has seen nationwide and at our Growth Series event, most employers are willing to teach skills but are looking for specific values that are difficult to teach and find.

Eric identified 7 non-negotiable core values that every business owner has and expects of their employees.

  1. Positive – upbeat, cheerful, happy people
  2. Reliable – employees who can be trusted to come to work on time
  3. Professional – employees that can separate their personal from their professional life and come to work dressed appropriately
  4. Initiative -willing to go above and beyond the minimal requirement and always give your best
  5. Respect – understand how things are done and be willing to do them that way
  6. Integrity – employees you can trust with time and money
  7. Gratitude – employees who are thankful to be at work and show it through impeccable service

Eric summed up these 7 non-negotiable core values into one term: work ethic. After some research, he found that work ethic was one of those things that “you know when you see it and you know when you don’t.” In order to clearly define work ethic, since that term is not in the dictionary, Eric looked at the words separately and created a clear definition:

Work ethic is knowing what to do and doing it.

2. Be the Company Qualified Candidates are Looking For

Employees have high expectations of their workplace. Employees no longer want to work for 50+ years in the same position, never ask for a raise, never missed a day of work, and do the same task day in and day out. The only way to hire and retain highly-qualified employees is to be the company they want to work for.

What are they looking for in a company?

  1. Compensation – this doesn’t necessarily mean more money. Eric encouraged us to think about compensation as a balance between time and money. Get creative when thinking about compensation. Here are a few suggestions from Eric:
    • A number of remote work days per week/month
    • 4 day work weeks
    • 10% pay increase on days employees clock in early
    • Student loan incentives
  2. Atmosphere – studies show that when people work with friends and people they enjoy, they have increased productivity, retention, and job satisfaction. Having a welcoming and team-focused atmosphere is very high on employees list of desires from a company. Some creative ways to create a fun work atmosphere:
    • Holiday parties
    • Recreational activities like a- ropes course, softball games, or bowling league
    • Provided lunches
  3. Autonomy – high-quality employees appreciate full autonomy in their jobs. When employees are given autonomy in the workplace, they are more engaged, care more about the outcome of their work, and perform better overall. Micromanaging is the killer of autonomy.
  4. Growth – professional development is crucial to this generation of employees. They are planning for the future, and they want to know that their employers are investing in their growth. Be willing to teach your employees new skills and invest in their future.
  5. Communication – does your company share information on a “need to know basis”? Communication must be a two-way street. Feel free to share your goals and strategy plans with all employees, and encourage every employee to share with their managers and bosses. Effective communication goes from the ‘top to bottom’ and ‘bottom to top’.
  6. Recognition – acknowledgment for a job well-done is powerful and important for this generation. Eric noted that an annual performance review is not a sufficient way to recognize quality work or to correct errors. Provide quick and continuous feedback and recognition in order to engage your employees.

Simply put, employee wants + employer wants = engagement. When both employee and employer’s needs are met, you can have an incredible workplace atmosphere that nurtures employees and fosters genuine work ethic.

3. Fully Staffed: Clever Recruiting Ideas

We spent a few minutes listening to some of the most creative ways other companies have recruited a talented workforce. The answers varied wildly, but were applicable to every business in the room! Some of the ideas we heard were:

  • Use social media to promote job fairs
  • Utilize your network
  • Meet potential candidates where they are
  • Ask questions that allows the interviewee to showcase their core values
  • Sponsor school events and functions — this is a great long term strategy
  • Make your onboarding process easy — this is helpful for front-line jobs that don’t require technical skills

Eric asked us to answer each of these questions:

  1. What is the cleverest thing you’ve done to recruit someone in your company?
  2. What is your best interview question?
  3. What is unique about your company’s onboarding strategy?
  4. What is different about your company’s culture compared to your closest competitor?

4. Stop Fishing, Start Hunting

When you know exactly what it is you’re looking for it’s much easier to find. To find the perfect candidates you must get very specific about who it is you’re looking for. Eric used the analogy of a fisher catching all kinds of things with a wide net, and a hunter working tirelessly to catch the one perfect elk. The hunter was clear in what he wanted, he prepared every morning for the hunt, he studied the animal closely and knew his behaviors. This allowed the hunter to catch his one perfect elk, while the fisherman sifts through a net of trash and rubble. How can you begin to hunt your perfect candidate?

  • Identify character traits for each position needed
  • Know specifically what you’re looking for
  • Use current employees as a baseline for research—where do they live, shop, eat, what are their hobbies, where did they go to school
  • Let everyone know who you are looking for—share with community and customers the skills and core values you’re looking for

Ways to Hunt Your Workforce

  • Offer an employee referral program to only your top performing employees.
  • Reach out to high schools and colleges. Be willing to serve the students, teachers, and community. Building these relationships can be a great source for high-quality candidates.
  • Encourage employees to brag about your company on social media. Offer incentives for videos made or posts publish that exhibit your amazing company culture and atmosphere.
  • Find your competition’s high-quality employees and acknowledge their talent and skill. Ask if they have any friends that are just like themselves that are looking for a new position. Eric advises against poaching candidates, but encourages informing potential candidates of your needs and allowing them to choose your company on their own.
  • Always be looking to hire and upgrade your staff.

5. Acknowledge What is Right

Recognition and acknowledgment at work is a huge factor of employee engagement, in fact a recent GlobeForce study found that acknowledgement “made 86 percent of employees prouder and happier at work, and 85 percent more satisfied with their job,” which leads to higher engagement and employee retention.

5 “P”s of Acknowledgment

  • Personal – company wide congratulations or praise isn’t always the most effective form of acknowledgement. Also think about  making it personal and specific to the person you’re wanting to praise, gift, or reward.
  • Proportional – make the gifts, praises, and rewards proportional to the work done.
  • Public – recognize your people as publicly as you possibly can.
  • Pertiant – recognize the things that are truly important to you and your company.
  • Prompt – recognition and acknowledgment should be done as quickly as possible.