Local Business Leader Transition Research Finds that Businesses Could Lose Millions

The retirement exodus of about 3.3 million Canadian employees over the next decade will have an impact on business continuity, financial stability, and business growth.

Kathleen Ozmun and Marielle Gauthier, both experienced professional leadership coaches, conducted discovery research focusing on retiring and incoming leader transitions in Saskatoon.

“A change in leadership is a time of flux and change for everyone – the leader and the team,” says Marielle Gauthier, founder of Redworks Communications and Coaching. “These transitions create potential risks at every level of the organization and profitability, productivity and positivity can be negatively affected.”

The report found that the financial costs to the businesses if the transition failed were significant – from tens of thousands to more than $3 million dollars.

“When a transitioning leader struggles, the impact goes beyond individual performance,” says Kathleen Ozmun, CEO of Crossing Point Coaching and Consulting. “The leaders’ struggles and the lack of a transition support plan can affect the business services to the point that whole programs are in jeopardy.”

Based on the findings, there are opportunities for greater attention to better manage the transition for the retiring and the incoming leader and from one leader to another.
It is paramount that businesses look at decreasing and preventing some of the challenges as stated in the findings, to ultimately lower the risks, increase productivity and quality of work, and foster better stakeholder relationships, all of which impact the bottom line.

Ruth Kinzel, PhD, CPHR, Kinzel Cadrin & Associates Consulting says that the research provides rare insight into the lived experience of local leaders in transition. Kinzel also states there is a backlog of unaddressed transition issues in every sector, the costs of which continue to accrue and it is in the best interests of organizations and the people within them to move forward proactively.

“The stakes are high and the wave is upon us and these research findings can inform your way forward. Gauthier and Ozmun identify key issues as well as productive ways to address transition challenges,” says Kinzel.

The study findings included challenges and struggles of the leaders; impacts and potential risks to the organizations; levels and types of supports in place and the financial costs if transitions failed.

Business owners can create successful transitions for both their organization and their new leaders by establishing consistent key practices.

Download the full report at https://crossingpointcoaching.com/leader-transition.

Kathleen Ozmun | Contributing Writer

8-Point Startup Checklist

Opening a new business is always an exciting prospect. You spend months, if not years, thinking of all the fun things associated with a business, like calculating profits, being your own boss, and building the best team imaginable.
Before you earn a single dollar from your hard work, however, you need to make sure you have certain aspects squared away. As anyone who has gone through the process can attest to, the true essence of a startup is rolling up your sleeves to ensure the success of your business.
So, what does an entrepreneur need to do before cutting the proverbial ribbon on their new venture?

  1. Understanding Relevant Laws
    Building a foundation of relevant legal knowledge isn’t the most exciting part of being an entrepreneur; in fact, it can be quite daunting. Regardless, you need to spend time creating a better-than-rudimentary understanding of the laws that will regulate your business with respect to employment, taxes and anything specifically related to your industry.
    Consult with both a lawyer and an accountant to learn how to structure your business in a way that is compliant with relevant laws. When it comes to legal matters and protecting your business, details matter. Don’t be shy about asking questions, even if it costs a little more. It’ll be worth it in the long term.
  2. Own Your Business Name
    You need to register your business name with the Canada Revenue Agency and, if possible, secure all pertinent internet domain names. Depending on your type of business, you could look to register it as a trademark. This will give you sole use of your business name for 15 years, at which point you’ll have to renew.
    This is an important early step for every startup. It also reveals whether your business name is already in use, meaning you might have to come up with another clever moniker or pun, or shift to a slight variation on your original idea.
    And don’t for a second think that by using your own name as your business name that you’re in the clear. Your name doesn’t have to be “Tommy Hilfiger” for it to already be in use.
  3. Figure Out Your Personal Finances
    Launching a startup could mean living without a salary for a year or two. That’s the reality and you’ve probably already accepted it, which is great. But acceptance is only a small part of what you need to do.
    While your business is still in the planning phase, make sure your personal finances are in order. Get your savings and investments as high as possible since there’s a good chance you’ll be dipping into them at some point relatively soon. Additionally, make a new household budget that includes what you can spend on non-essential business expenses like lunches or coffee.
    You need to keep your non-work life operational and not fall into personal debt while your business ramps up. This will only compound stress, and there will certainly be enough of that in the early going.
  4. Develop a Marketing & Communications Plan
    Business hours should be devoted to sales and operations, so the best advice is to have your marketing and communications plans in place and ready to be executed on day one. These plans need to be comprehensive and involve tactics that will impact the bottom line for both the short and long term.
    These strategies should cover marketing and communications with respect to digital, print, experiential and community outreach. They should be constantly evolving as more opportunities present themselves. Taking your first year of operations to develop these plans could result in missing out on growing your customer base.
  5. Choose a Payroll System
    Unless you’re the only one working and wearing every hat, you’ll need to pay your employees. The last thing you want is to be so overwhelmed that you miss a payday, which can result in disgruntled employees or even disruptions to your operations.
    With the advent of digital payroll systems, your employees and vendors can be paid promptly and automatically. Before you launch your business – even if you’re the sole employee in those early days – choose a system and familiarize yourself with every aspect and feature.
    Some of the more popular ones are Wave Accounting, Payment Evolution, Quickbooks, and SimplePay. Each is different, so you’d be wise to take advantage of demos or free trials to discover which best suits your needs.
  6. Hire an Advisor
    Having an advisor can be invaluable. Ideally, this is an experienced person who understands your industry and knows how to navigate the challenges of running a startup. If you went through the early stages without a mentor or advisor, try to bring one or more onboard for your official launch.
    This is someone to bounce ideas off, to seek advice from, and to also help you make connections when needed. If you have the capacity, an advisory board can be even more valuable, but make sure you vet every person and use contracts to establish roles, responsibilities, and legal parameters.
  7. Secure Financing
    Opening your business with only one month of financing in your coffers could be problematic, especially when things get bleak around day five after you check your bank account.
    The best advice is to have all your loans secured and all your numbers crunched before launching. You would be well advised to have enough money in the bank to run without interruption for at least a year. If the funds aren’t readily available, you’ll be spending all your time worrying and hustling when you should be selling and managing.
  8. Hire Your Core Team
    It’s unrealistic to think you need to have every role at your company filled in the first week. What you do need is to have key hires ready to start immediately. During the pre-launch period, you should outline the roles that are most important for your daily operations and those that will enable growth. From there, start interviewing and get hiring. This is also a good time to create concrete hiring protocols.
    The Keys to Startup Success
    There’s nothing nobler than being an entrepreneur. Do everything in your power to give yourself the best chance at success so that your business – and you – can thrive. Even when things are tense prior to launch, keep pushing and making sure to take care of the small details. They matter.

Rob Shapiro | Contributing Writer

The End of 9 to 5? How Work Schedules Are Changing

Is the traditional 9-to-5 workday obsolete? Many would say so. There seems to be a consensus among both employers and employees that a shift needs to be made in how the traditional workday is structured. The present-day model doesn’t really promote a healthy work-life balance or stimulate productivity. Too much of a routine can be dangerous. Longer, more rigid hours don’t always equal more work being done. Employees may be coming in for 40-hour weeks, but if they aren’t using that time wisely, then businesses actually lose out in the long run.


The History of the 9-to-5 Workday 

The idea of working from 9 to 5 is a product of socialism during the 19th century. It wasn’t until 1890 that the U.S. government started to track workers’ hours. Up until that point, employees could work up to 100 hours a week and there were no laws protecting children. In 1926, Ford Motors was one of the first companies to adapt the 9-to-5 model and helped to make it more mainstream. In 1938, the U.S. congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which made the workweek 44 hours. In 1940, it was readjusted to the five-day, 40-hour workweek that remains the basic standard today.


The Mindset of Millennials and Entrepreneurs

A 9-to-5 simply isn’t for everyone. If you feel trapped easily, especially sitting in a cubicle, dislike routine and/or mundane tasks, and have a problem with authority, then maybe a job in a more creative setting, or of an entrepreneurial nature, would suit you better. At the top of the list, millennials seem to feel the most dissatisfied with the traditional workday structure, placing greater importance on factors like flexibility, impactful or purposeful labour, and economic security. They’re also more willing to seek employment on their own terms and work freelance.


Structured Benefits

The 9-to-5 model does, however, have some major benefits. While some find the routine repetitive, others may find the predictability comforting. Stability and financial security are two of the main reasons many people in years past stayed at the same job for decades. A 9-to-5 job gives people a set schedule they can plan around, as opposed to shift work, where employees don’t always know what their upcoming schedule will look like from one week to the next.


The Possibility of a 4-Day Workweek

One alternative suggestion that’s been gathering support in recent years is for a “compressed” four-day workweek. Employees would work four 10-hour shifts instead of five eight-hour shifts, with Friday becoming a third day of the weekend. Experts have argued for and against it; some say that it would motivate employees to work harder, doesn’t disturb workflow, cuts down on time-consuming commutes (which in turn reduces workers’ spending on gas or transit), eases burnout risks, and promotes other activities. The counterarguments to the new working pattern are that longer standard workdays would be more draining and stressful, and a revamped workweek would potentially affect working parents, who have to deal with things like daycare services.


Our lives are much more than just our jobs. “Work to live, don’t live to work” is a common mantra. The 9-to-5 model may have worked in decades past, but times are changing. Our world is constantly evolving, and so is society. Thanks to recent advances in technology, many businesses can run from a home or out of a remote location. The traditional ways that most workplaces have run are quickly becoming a thing of the past, as the workweek becomes increasingly fluid.


At the end of the day, however, work schedules hardly matter if you have purpose in your life. Regardless of the time of day or week, the hours will fly by if you’re doing something you enjoy.


Rhea Braganza | Contributing Writer

4 Latest Tech Gadgets to Help Your Business

Entrepreneurs and managers have been, in recent years, enabling their businesses to become more efficient with their scheduling and transactions by using new tech gadgets and other forms of technology. There is no longer the need for a small business owner to hire a big team of employees to keep up-to-date with their clients, maintain schedules, have answers to curious questions and more, when a piece of technology can do it all for them – especially if they have partners and clients who live abroad or on the other side of the country.

 

Therefore, businesses should consider adopting these four gadgets to become more efficient with their daily tasks and projects:

Google Home

Bluetooth speakers have revolutionized the way we listen to music, but the speakers lack intelligence and cannot function as an assistant. Google, unsurprisingly, has taken this idea of the Bluetooth speaker and transformed it into a smart speaker – Google Home. It’s not a smartphone; it’s a smart home control centre, an assistant, as well as a music/entertainment player and a task manager. Also, it can provide an answer to any curious questions.  It’s surprisingly inexpensive for a device that has so much built into it. It can be brought home for just $130.

 

ZutaLabs Pocket Printer

This is a great gadget to have when needing a printer on the go, and it’s a “lifesaver” when one brings the wrong document to a meeting or when adjustments to a business contract need to made. This printer is about the size of a computer mouse and fits nicely inside a pocket. Just lay the paper on a flat surface, place the printer on the top left of the page and press print; you can print up to an impressive 100 pages with just one cartridge. This pocket printer is available for pre-order for $199 but is expected to move up to $250 after its release.

 

Wearable technology

Wearable technology – specifically smartwatches – has been great for those who want to keep track of their fitness, heart rate and provide notification updates on the go without carrying around a smartphone. However, a smartwatch can have other functions that are beneficial for a small business. It helps businesses manage tasks, meet deadlines, schedule meetings/appointments and maintain their schedule. Smartwatches even come with a microphone built-in, so important meetings can be recorded and documented. There are multiple options in the markets. And yes, most of the smartwatches are compatible with both Apple iOS and Android. Just choosing one may take some research in order to understand the benefits of each one.

 

iTwin

At first glance of the iTwin, it looks as if it were a USB flash drive.  But, in fact, it holds no storage space. Rather, it connects two remote computers to each other by using “a pair of iTwin units.” It enables a business to share files in real-time as long as both computers have an internet connection. Indeed, it does the exact same job as a cloud service, but it has more security options. So, your documents are safer than they would be in a cloud. However, it is much more expensive than a free cloud service. You can buy a pair for $199.

 

M. Policicchio | DBPC Blog

How to Conquer Business Plateaus

Do you have a business that was launched with tremendous success and maintained a steady growth but despite a continuous flow of customers, lately seems to have become stagnant? If your revenue chart has flattened and your company is struggling to increase its monthly bottom-line, it has likely reached a business plateau.

 

Almost every business will reach a static period at some point but only businesses that are able to rise above and move forward will thrive.  When business growth levels off, many owners and leaders find themselves perplexed and unnerved as to what can be hindering further development. Often hiring more employees or increasing marketing efforts are the ‘go-to’ solutions for an easy fix. However, simple solutions such as these don’t effectively solve the problem. In order to create a more permanent solution that will push the company forward, it is vital to thoroughly assess the situation and determine the underlying cause for this lack in momentum.

First and foremost, assess current processes to identify inefficiencies. Are your employees overly occupied with manual tasks that are limiting their output or removing them from time that could be spent on sales? As businesses grow, simple tasks that may not have consumed significant time as a start-up may now be dominating periods that could be used more efficiently. If tasks that can be simple are involving too many steps, they may be creating inefficiencies. For example, when information is input in a database, it should be integrated with other databases so that it need not be entered more than once. If this is not occurring in all facets of your business, more automated systems could be beneficial.

Get motivated. When a business is launched, founders are typically very motivated to make the business thrive. This sense of enthusiasm usually trickles down to all levels of the organization, creating a culture of highly driven staff. Once the business becomes more established however, owners tend to decelerate their momentum which can cause a more laissez-faire attitude amongst staff. If this is the problem, then the same determination and drive that existed when the company began needs to be injected back into the culture.

Finally, constantly seek improvements. There is always room for improvement and if you don’t find it, your competitor will. When businesses experience steady growth and revenue is established, leaders may start to decelerate the pace at which they seek improvement – seeing that the processes they have implemented brought them growth in the past. When this happens, a business is more likely to reach a plateau. To avoid this, it is important for leaders to acknowledge that in order to maintain continuous growth, constant improvements must be made. No business will ever be perfect and strategies must incessantly be revaluated to keep up with the times.

 

Safiya | DBPC Blog

Photo credit: Aisyaqilumaranas

Considerations for Workplace Holiday Celebrations

When celebrating any religious holiday within a multicultural workplace, it is important to make participation optional. The decision-making process to celebrate this type of holiday should focus on ensuring that each individual beliefs are respected. Try to celebrate different types of festivities so everyone will feel included. Employees should not feel excluded if they choose not to participate due to their beliefs. Here are a few things to consider when celebrating office holidays:

Greetings – Try to avoid religious sentiments like “Merry Christmas” or “God Bless You” instead use generalized greetings, such as “seasons greetings” and “happy holidays”.

Decorations – These should be kept moderate and tasteful. Stay away from noisy singing figures and excess use of lighting this may be blinding, garish and not to mention distracting. Decorations for individual desks and cubicles should also be kept simple to avoid disturbing co-workers or overwhelming clients.

Music – Music should be tasteful and kept in the background, if used at all. This too should not be disturbing or distracting staff or clients.

Dress code – Multi-coloured sweaters with flashing lights and jingling Santa hats that light up can be overwhelming. Instead, select a theme for your office, such as “red and white” or a “touch of gold.” This way, everyone is co-ordinated and tastefully dressed.

Gifts – A gift exchange event such as secret Santa is fun. However, participation should be optional. It is polite to still offer non-participants gifts as well; this way they don’t feel forgotten. It is a season of giving and receiving.

While these considerations should place any workplace in good ethical standing for celebrating the holidays, there are a few situations where overkill is acceptable.

For example, if you operate a store where holidays (Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, etc.) are the core of business then you have free reign in the décor, music and dress code departments.

Celebrating the holiday within a multicultural workplace can sometimes be tricky. However, as long as we thoughtfully consider all staff members when planning celebrations, the holidays can be an enjoyable time for everyone.

 

Natasha | DBPC Blog

The Benefits of Investing in Continuing Education for Employees

As businesses continue to strategize about growing in size and strength, finding and retaining employees is a crucial factor. Many companies look at hiring staff as investing in their potential. An entry-level position, if the successful candidate should stay with the organization for many years, can yield significant long-term benefits for both parties.

Some staff may start out in one area of the company but find, through collaboration and osmosis, that they’re actually more interested in another. Rather than lose them altogether, allowing these workers to transition to other departments or roles in which they’d be happier can often benefit the business in the long run. Helping them with additional training and education can aid in this process.

Employee Growth

In ideal cases, companies can help their staff become more versatile and effective by supporting or reimbursing them as they take outside courses. A writer may become interested in graphic design by working closely with the design team on projects, or a clerk may want to help out with sales or finding new clients. While the person may have some of the skills required, taking specific courses or training related to this new field can make them much stronger in it.

Encouraging employees to enroll in related continuing education classes and funding them in the process can actually turn the employee’s position into a dual role. The employer may feel it necessary to increase their salary as a result, but the organization will still save money in the long run by having one person who can perform two different tasks, rather than paying two different people.

Funding Staff Training

As one of the biggest companies in the world, Amazon understands the value of helping its employees grow. The online retail giant funds degree and certificate programs for staff even in areas that are unrelated to its industry. Software firm Adobe offers its workers $10,000 annually for eligible education-related programs and materials, while online education software company Pluralsight reimburses staff up to $3,000 for “pre-approved college classes meeting specific grade requirements.”

Financial news provider Bloomberg and health-care company Kaiser Permanente also provide continuing education opportunities to employees, such as workshops and classes. PayPal offers a rotational education program for qualified candidates, and Microsoft reimburses its staff for courses and grants them access to the company’s own development classes, library, festival, and speaker series.

Investing in Employees

Not all companies excel at retaining employees once they hire them. However, making the company as appealing to work for as possible will help entice more people to stay with the organization. One way to help ensure staff don’t rush out the door for better opportunities is to contribute to their ability to improve themselves. While a company will often benefit from employees improving themselves, the individuals will not only feel a sense of personal accomplishment, but also gratitude towards their employer for investing in them. Some employees may feel increased loyalty to the company as a result; some may not. However, a successful company can afford to take the risk.

Offering incentives like continuing education and taking an active interest in employees’ long-term career development will encourage staff dedication and growth. While it may not always pay immediate dividends, this kind of investment in people is almost always worthwhile in the long run.

 

Robyn Naster Karmazyn | Contributing Writer

The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing

Third-party outsourcing is growing in popularity among big and small businesses alike. Outsourcing, or “contracting out,” refers to the practice of hiring a third-party to perform tasks typically done by in-house staff. Jobs affected range from customer support to manufacturing. Outsourcing was recognized as a business strategy in the late 1980s, and later became an integral part of international business economics throughout the ‘90s.

The most common tasks businesses choose to outsource usually fall into three categories: repetitive, specialized, and expert tasks. Repetitive tasks include data entry, specialized tasks comprise of jobs like IT support, and jobs such as financial analyst fall under expert tasks. One trait these jobs have in common is that it’s not necessary for them to be done in-house.

Businesses can lower labour and overhead costs substantially by outsourcing tasks such as bookkeeping, graphic design, and customer/technical support. Virtual receptionists can also be outsourced: a remote first point of contact that usually performs the tasks of trained customer support personnel – sometimes around the clock – without having to maintain a receptionist’s office.

You may have the skills in-house to do it all, but while you handle all the minute details on your own, you might not be able to concentrate on expanding the core areas of your business, which can hurt you in the long run. However, there are downsides to outsourcing as well. It all depends on the needs of your business.

 

PROS

Cost advantages

Perhaps one of the most obvious benefits to outsourcing is the savings. When you have a good outsourcing partner, you can get the job done at a lower cost, usually due to the difference in wages (since most of the work is done overseas where labour costs are much lower).

Increased efficiency

When you outsource certain work, you’re handing it over to someone experienced and with understanding of the job. This leads to an increase in productivity; you’re not just adding these tasks to the bottom of somebody’s to-do list within the office. Access to skilled resources also means faster and better services, depending on your outsourcing partner.

Focus on main goals

Outsourcing certain tasks means everyone in-house is free to focus on building your company and brand, as well as investing in research and development to take the steps necessary to expand.

Save on recruitment/infrastructure costs

Outsourcing cuts the need for investments in infrastructure since the responsibility of business processes falls on the partner. You can also avoid investing in expensive recruiting and training resources for your business.

 

CONS

Communication issues

A lack of communication between your company and the outsourcing partner may cause delay in the completion of projects or other issues. Different time zones could also contribute to communication problems.

Security risks

If you decide to outsource things like human resources, payroll, or recruitment, you risk exposing confidential information to a third party.

Shortcomings in expectations

If you don’t choose the right partner, it could result in delays and sub-standard quality in output. Add to that the difficulty of regulating these factors outside an office and it defeats the whole point of outsourcing.

No customer focus

Outsourcing partners may be doing work for multiple organizations, so they may not be completely focused on the requirements of your specific business.

Before approaching a service provider or outsourcing partner, it’s beneficial to consider all aspects of outsourcing, and whether your company is in a position to benefit from its services. Once you’ve analyzed your requirements and are confident you would benefit from outsourcing, you can move on to researching a suitable partner. Consider these six elements when searching: reliability, quality, experience, range of services, good communication, and value for money. Don’t just select one that provides the lowest cost. Choosing a successful vendor will lead to first-rate results and benefit your organization in the long run.

Helen Jacob | Contributing Writer

Recruiting Metrics Businesses Should Consider

Recruiting metrics are used to gather and analyze information to improve a business’ hiring process. Recruiters and stakeholders must remain aware of evolving trends to successfully manage turnover.

Sourcing Quality Hires

Recruiting managers are deployed to proactively leverage the sourcing channels used to hire quality recruits. Some of the most common sourcing channels include referrals, recruitment agencies, resume search, social media shares, notifications, career sites, and other job boards. To ensure recruiter efficiency, metrics and activities reported in a timely manner can identify potential problems and opportunities for improvement.

 

Pipeline Development

A key business goal is to develop a pipeline of quality candidates, which hiring managers can call upon when positions have to be filled. This facilitates easy tracking and monitoring of leads, while also managing traditional metrics, such as the Interview-to-Offer Ratio (the number of interviews to the number of offers extended) and Offer-to-Acceptance Ratio (the number of actual hires versus the hiring goal).

 

New Growth Attrition Rates

In some cases, more time is spent on replacing employees instead of growing the team. Some businesses experience higher turnover rates in particular industries, which can result in high vacancy rates. Lower turnover is a main indicator of the effectiveness of the recruitment process. It demonstrates that real value is being contributed to the growth and success of the business.

 

Performance Dashboards

To benchmark performance success, dashboards create a snapshot of key performance indicators for further examination and analysis. For instance, the amount of revenue generated is a clear indication of whether a growing organization should hire. They also act as a tool to measure productivity.

 

Candidate Satisfaction

Satisfaction ratings can provide essential feedback from new hires and employees who are seeking opportunities for internal mobility. From the candidate’s perspective, feedback from the interview process through post-recruitment surveys can influence the company’s recruitment strategy. The surveys can identify gaps in the recruitment process and provide critical information for the improvement of recruitment campaigns.

In the information age, many businesses have implemented software tools, such as the Human Resource Information Systems, which aid in facilitating easy review of pertinent human resources functions. Most importantly, this system software encompasses metrics for monitoring and tracking recruiting data. Success factors can be achieved when a business efficiently and effectively understands the benefits derived from making investments in the Human Resource Information System.

 

L. Chadee | Contributing Writer