How to Embrace Digital Transformation in Your Organization

We’re long past the point of having to explain to business owners that the internet is an essential tool. Digitally transforming your business to better serve your customers has been the talking point of many a panel, convention, lecture, or keynote address for the last two decades, and it’s fair to assume most people understand that it’s an imperative now. 

However, how to do it and make it work properly is another matter entirely. You don’t have to look far online to find examples of poorly run or managed business sites. The world has changed too drastically for anyone to be left behind. 

Here are some tips to better understand and embrace going digital.

Know What Technological Advancement Means for Your Market

One of the main reasons digital transformation is so broad is because technology is rapidly evolving by the day. Artificial intelligence and chatbots have already been used to make customer service more user-friendly, and there are surely more innovations on the way. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve only become more prevalent. 

When these innovations come about, industries react differently. It’s key that, for every innovation, your business should adapt accordingly. 

Staying on top of current trends in digitization is also important. As of now, some of the major trends include:

– AI and Machine learning;

– Adapting and utilizing the cloud; and

– Restructuring the IT outsourcing industry. 

Always Remain Cautious About Security  

There have already been enough cyberattacks in 2021 for the internet to start making top ten lists about it. Knowing how to deal with the risks and threats of the internet is vital to any business’s survival. 

Upgrading malware and other software are always important, but businesses often need to hire a data protection company to further defend themselves.

Keep Your Staff Trained 

Technology moves quickly, and your employees won’t be of much use if they don’t know how to utilize it. Even Amazon offers some excellent in-house training courses that both help employees rise through the ranks and keep them informed of the latest innovations. 

Always Seek Advice

Digitization can be a complex process, particularly for those who might be resistant. Doing it effectively means having the right people and infrastructure assembled from the beginning. If you don’t know who to turn to, contacting a third-party is always an option. 

It’s always important to create a risk management program with the company you select. Once you feel secure, a third party can help create a long-term plan and business strategy for innovation. They’ll also offer creative and technical support. 

Any sort of transformation for a business is hard, but it’s never been more necessary. As more and more people realize the benefits of working from home and their shopping habits too have shifted to the computer rather than the mall, there’s simply no other way to meet consumer demands.

Kenny Hedges | Contributing Writer

Entry, Mid, Senior: Identifying Your Title

We all have aspirations in our professional lives, no matter how unrealistically or realistically grounded they may be. The first step in understanding how far you’re capable of progress — as well as the level of experience and education required, before they’ll even see you as a viable candidate — is knowing what those much-coveted positions mean. 

When applying for a new position, how do you know you have what they’re looking for? Having ambition beyond your expertise may be noble but applying for jobs you don’t have the qualifications for can lead to that carefully tailored CV being tossed directly into the trash.

Here’s what you need to know about job position titles, what they entail, and how best to advance.

Senior

In this case, it helps to start furthest from where you’d likely first apply — every office or company structures around a pyramid of power with senior positions being the highest level. Several factors determine seniority levels, including length of time spent with the company, experience, and education.

Those in senior-level positions are those with the highest loyalty, experience, and education. Their responsibility is to offer guidance to those at lower levels. The seniors also make decisions affecting other workers, including financial compensation, layoffs, and benefits.

Often, to advance further, employees are required to take exams. Jobs that fall under the senior title include:

  • Executive Director
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Vice President
  • HR Director
  • Head of Advertising
  • Senior Architect

Mid

After gaining experience and time with the company, employees will have a chance to advance to mid-level positions such as:

  • Team Lead
  • Accounting Officer
  • Accounts Manager
  • Regional Manager
  • Project Superintendent 
  • IT Supervisor

Obtaining a mid-level position means being responsible for managing the entry-level employees, while at the same time reporting to and following the instructions of the seniors. Further advancements will lead to mid-senior level positions.

Entry

When first starting with a company, without some extraordinary circumstances, the assumption is you will be starting in an entry-level position like:

  • Junior Marketing Associate
  • Research Assistant
  • Sales Coordinator
  • Cashier
  • Banking Trainee
  • Human Resources Intern

Entry-level positions are likely the first you’ll get after graduating from post-secondary school or even during it.  


Your main goal at entry level is to gain as much experience and education as possible to advance more quickly to jobs with higher salaries. At the same time, you’ll want to prove yourself a loyal and responsible employee who should clearly advance further within the company. 

If the posting is unclear on which job level is being offered, words such as “associate” and “assistant” will usually apply to the entry level. If standard descriptions for job offers don’t apply, your best option would be to research the company or call the HR department.

However, occasions will arise where you honestly may not know the appropriate job level to apply for. Often, people have the experience or education, but may be missing another key factor. If you find yourself on the cusp between two levels, it’s recommended to be bold and apply for the higher position, though you may want to mention that a lower position would be satisfactory.

Kenny Hedges | Contributing Writer

Ways to Promote Kindness at Work

The best thing about kindness is that it spreads. This is why kindness is foundational in creating a workplace environment that welcomes people and invites joy. For the majority of us, the standard 40-hour work week is a lot to contend with. The last thing anyone needs is the added dread, stress, and anxiety of an unhappy workplace. In fact, The Muse reports that happy employees are 12 per cent more productive than unhappy employees. Clearly, there’s profit in treating your employees and co-workers right—and it starts with a just a little bit of kindness. Here are some ways to promote kindness at work.

Greet Each Other With Intention

It’s easy to dive right into the work and get lost in your to-do list. That’s why you’re there, of course. But taking a moment to greet the people on your team or in your office fosters connection and makes people feel valued. The key, however, is to do it with intention. Look the other person in the eye, smile warmly at them and offer a greeting that is genuine and fully present. 

Have Meaningful Conversations

Having meaningful conversations with someone is a great way to make them feel seen, heard, and valued. After all, every workplace is really a collective of people with individual lives and stories—stories that don’t often get a chance to be told. Meaningful conversations open up emotional and intellectual channels of communication that help us truly see each other. The more people get to know each other, the more people begin to feel like a team.

Celebrate One Another

Everyone deserves to be recognized for their work. Celebrating wins, both big and small, makes people feel good about themselves and the work they’re doing. Not only that, celebrating each other’s achievements and efforts helps combat the jealousy, disdain, and resentment that often pervade super competitive workplace environments. 

Practise Gratitude

The truth is that nobody at the workplace accomplishes anything all on their own. The way that gears and cogs in a machine work in tandem to keep things running is the same way lots of individuals in a company work together toward the same goals. Gratitude, which is apparent in small favours such as offering to take the burden of tasks off of someone else in the team, shows that you are appreciative of the people around you. Kindness has a contagious effect—your kind acts might inspire the receiver of your kindness to be kind to someone else—and it could all circle back to you.

Engage in Small Acts Of Kindness

Kind words may be a basic solution, but words are powerful tools. A compliment, a cute message on a post-it, a kindness board—all examples of breathing kindness into the workplace—are small actions that can go the longest way. Not only are words memorable, they can also inspire people to believe in the work they’re doing. Spreading messages of kindness is a great way to make people feel good about themselves and the workplace they’re in.

Jericho Tadeo | Contributing Writer

Millennials 101: How to Keep Them in the Workplace

According to Pew Research Center, the millennial generation encompasses anyone born between 1981 and 1996. From an analysis of UN population data, ManpowerGroup predicted that millennials would have made up a third of the global workforce in 2020. Employers cannot ignore the demands and requirements for millennials in the workplace.

Falsely portrayed as entitled, lazy, uncommitted, and disloyal, millennials are, in truth, highly committed workers who happen to be picky about the work that gives them true fulfillment and finding ideal workplace culture and environments. 

Stats show that 43 per cent of millennials would leave their present job in a period of two years, and 28 per cent would not consider staying at their present job for more than five years. Here are some recommendations to keep them in the workplace.

Competitive Pay and Comprehensive Benefits Structure

For sure, pay matters to everyone, and living without benefits means making hefty cuts on your take-home salaries when any medical needs or emergencies come up. Millennials are mostly content if their salary is comparable to market averages and if the benefit structure is fairly comprehensive. Pay is not enough to keep them in a job; it must be coupled with the following measures.

Feedback

Feedback in bi-annual performance evaluations is severely lacking for millennials, so management must provide more frequent and timely assessments of the millennial employees’ work. Task-based review and feedback are required to keep millennials engaged and confident that their work contributes to the bigger picture. Recognition of their achievements through compliments, or other rewards, is also a necessity.

Learning and Development-Oriented Culture

87 per cent of millennials attribute their professional development to their employers. Companies need to formalize their learning and development programs to fulfill their learning needs, providing frequent in-person or virtual training programs for on-the-job skills or access to virtual training. Furthermore, millennials also seek mentors at work who can guide them in their professional choices and conduct. Given that millennial employees wish to see chances for career progression, it is essential to offer them higher-level skills that can help them advance into managerial positions.

Approachability to the Management

Once a new hire arrives, make them aware that they can reach out to their manager, or even managers above their direct managers, without following a protocol. An open-door communication policy signals that any suggestions, complaints, or tips for improvement are welcome.

Inclusive Hiring and Social Responsibility Programs

This socially conscious generation wants affirmation that their employer respects inclusivity and diversity in its hiring practices, pays heed to giving back to the community, and stays protective of the environment. To attract and keep millennials, it is important to communicate the company’s community efforts and corporate social responsibility programs and its commitments to things like carbon footprint reduction.

Flexible Work Schedules and Arrangements

With the pandemic, millennials who have become accustomed to work-from-home arrangements now demand greater flexibility from their employers. So, if the kind of work allows for such flexibility, it is advisable to accommodate variable schedules and work arrangements to keep millennial employees motivated.

Arslan Ahmed | Staff Writer

Bridging the Management Age Gap

Millennials are known as the generation of smartphones, over-priced coffee, and a reputation for entitlement and leisureliness. Despite this, the success of millennials is becoming increasingly apparent in the workplace. Look around your office and you’ll probably notice the ages of both employees and managers is decreasing significantly. A recent survey by office-equipment maker Pitney Bowes found that about 20% of mid-level corporate employees now report to a boss who is younger than they are.

However, in this age of entrepreneurial startups and advancing technology, different work styles and perceptions of those differences can create many challenges. For example, there is a stark difference between millennials and baby boomers. While older workers spend more time in the office within regular work hours, the younger generation often prefers getting their work done whenever, whether at home or from their laptop in a café. These kinds of philosophical differences can have negative effects on productivity. However, there are ways for younger people in authority to handle this gap. Below are a few tips on how to instill authority and respect in the workplace.

Be Mindful

Older employees can certainly be put off by having to report to a younger manager. It’s important to be aware of those feelings and acknowledge them. Don’t assume you have the upper hand due to your higher position. Express an interest in your employee and ask them for their opinions on how you can improve as a leader. They may very well have insights that can benefit you, and they will appreciate your respect for their experience and knowledge.

Give and Take

Give lessons, provide feedback, and offer firm and feasible guidelines for your employees. In return, take feedback as well. Older employees are often more knowledgeable about the company and its history. Take advantage of their deeper well of experience, both in the office and generally in life.

Do Your Job

It can be daunting being a young manager. However, instead of shying away from being an authoritative, strong leader, it’s important to keep your goals in mind and get the job done. Not confronting older employees who aren’t working to their full potential, or letting others take the lead merely to make them more comfortable, will only decrease productivity. You’re the manager for a reason; prove why.

Older employees should implement these tips in the workplace as well. Along with being mindful, providing feedback, and doing their own jobs, it’s important for older employees not to get too bogged down in ego and commit to working with a younger manager. The knowledge and experience of the older generation and fresh perspective and energy of the younger age group can be combined to contribute to the workplace in a positive manner. Getting past age discrimination – from both sides – will help everyone work together and be more productive.

 

Tasnia Nasar

How to Handle an Employee Gone Rogue

You know that person at the office who seems to consider themselves above the rules? That’s a rogue employee. But sometimes, rogue behaviour isn’t as obvious. Someone may openly disobey policies or disrespect management, or a seemingly perfect worker may be committing serious offences in secret, such as stealing company data, pilfering money, spying on behalf of a competitor, or sabotaging their colleagues.

There are ways to detect a rogue employee early. It’s can be the person you demoted because they no longer seemed to be the ideal fit for the role they were hired for. Or the member of the management team that consistently ignores company policies or the opinions of others when making changes. If their rogue behaviour has already been identified, they’re likely already on the bubble – one more misstep and they’re out. But before firing them, it’s best to consider the value they bring. Discuss the employee’s overall performance with other managers and HR. If they haven’t caused a high level of offence, determine whether you want to give them a chance to change.

In the meantime, there are ways you can prevent rogue employees from inflicting damage on the organization by limiting and monitoring their access to information. Use identity and access management (IAM) software to increase security. With IAM software, you can regulate the amount of access employees have to pertinent data and files depending on their role. Look for software that records login information and activity for each user, allows them to update their own profiles, and can handle a large volume of users in the system without compromising performance.

If it’s a disrespectful employee you’re dealing with, evaluate how you position yourself as a manager: are you too lenient with the person in question? Do you allow them to break certain rules? Are they doing whatever they want? If you tolerate a workspace in which certain people can behave this way while others can’t, then you’re the problem. But whether you’ve been unwittingly encouraging such behaviour or not, reexamine the way you treat all employees. Reimplement the company values and the most important policies. Present these policies and guidelines clearly, as outlined in the employment agreement, to everyone.

Fellow coworkers can help handle a rogue colleague and spot other potential threats if they’re trained in detecting rogue behaviour. For example, if an employee notices their colleague taking frequent trips to the photocopier or printer when their job doesn’t really require, there’s a possibility the employee is stealing company info or using the machine for personal things. A properly-trained employee could ask their coworker about the issue (their frequent use of a machine); maybe their colleague is stealing proprietary company secrets, delivering that information to a competing business or using it for their own entrepreneurial project. Keeping employees aware of these sorts of issues will increase awareness and create a more stable and secure work environment. If anybody feels disrespected by a fellow colleague or is suspicious of their conduct, they should feel empowered to report them.

Speaking of corporate espionage, you may want to do some digging yourself. Take a look at the rogue employee’s social media channels. Ensure they’re abiding by the organization’s social media policy and aren’t bad-mouthing the company (and/or its affiliates or partners), especially after a significant incident like a demotion or another disciplinary issue. This would be detrimental to brand image and cause distrust among your customers, which is obviously bad for business.

– Joséphine Mwanvua
 

Business photo created by yanalya – www.freepik.com

Taking Time Away From Your Business

For today’s professional, life is a constant race where we are caught running from task to task and place to place. Whether we like it or not, we become used to the same routines day by day in order to complete our daily tasks. We wake up in the morning, take care of duties at home, arrive at work, complete given assignments, go back home, cook, eat, cuddle and quarrel with our loved ones and finally head to bed. This cycle simply repeats itself all year long where we are often consumed by our restlessness and make it a priority to complete other errands.

According to The 2012 National Study on Balancing Work and Caregiving in Canada, the average employee in a 25, 000 sample size spends 50.2 hours a week on activities related to work, with 54% taking assignments home to be worked on, while 57% indicate high stress levels in the organization. Taking time off from work has therefore become a crucial choice for employees and an attractive benefit for employers, where too few of us truly take time to refocus on ourselves and refresh our souls to once again perform brilliantly when back at work.

Consider 3 significant elements when deciding to take time off:

  • Time:
    The importance of time and scheduling cannot be underestimated. Choose a time frame where your commitments are minimized. Attempt to complete your tasks well in advance for your business to continue smoothly in your absence. Advise clients beforehand and offer them a well thought out external contact option in the case of an emergency.
  • People:
    There are many significant people in your life who have secretly been the backbone to your success. They may be your family, your friends or even coworkers who played a part in some of your accomplishments. Carefully choose who you want to spend your hours and days with. These individuals should bring positivity to the table and more importantly help rejuvenate and motivate you enough to continue your business once your time-off is over.
  • Activity:
    What will satisfy you best during this rest period? Whether it is a day or two off in addition to a long weekend or even a well thought out vacation for two months, put some thought into what activities you want to engage in. Being a parent, you may want to consider something enjoyable for your entire family. As a bachelor or even a couple, you may seek adventure and get lost in some new surroundings. Whatever you choose, put some time into planning your vacation in order to enjoy it to the fullest.

To put it simply, spend some time focusing on yourself while it is available! Think of it as a reward for all the committed hard work put into your professional life!

 

Reference: Revisiting Work-life Issues in Canada: The 2012 National Study on Balancing Work and Caregiving in Canada
http://newsroom.carleton.ca/wp-content/files/2012-National-Work-Long-Summary.pdf