Monthly Archives: December 2016

Know More The Benefits of Recycling Old Technology

Technology is essential to running a business in 2016. But not just any technology will do. If your business is using outdated tech devices, you could be missing out on some great new features and improved functionality. However, since the tech tools that businesses can use are constantly evolving, you’re likely to have some old gadgets lying around that you aren’t using anymore.
But you don’t have to just keep that outdated tech lying around. There are ways you can safely and securely recycle old technology in a biologically friendly way while also updating your business’s tech tools for the New Year. One of our favorite ways is the Trade In and Trade Up promotion from Staples. It makes updating and recycling easy with just one step! It’s really great at this time of year because you can close the year with new technology and a clean office. Staples is offering some great deals on new technology for the Holiday season. This week, they have great deals on laptops and printers. Starting later this week, on 11/24, all of their great Black Friday deals start!

How New Technology Can Help Your Business
Technology is evolving at a rapid pace. The best tech tools of 2017 aren’t the same ones that were at the top of people’s lists in 2016.
Having the most updated tech doesn’t just mean that you’re keeping up with the trends. It also allows your business to operate more efficiently and take advantage of all the latest innovative features. And when you’re working with clients or partners that have those same updated tech devices and platforms, they’ll be impressed that you also use the best and most current technology in your small business.

In addition, new tech can make your company appeal more to creative and innovative workers, so your employees are likely to appreciate the updated features. And it might even help you attract more top talent to your business.
And luckily, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner, there are plenty of deals to be had. Retailers like Staples offer laptops, smartphones, printers and a variety of other updated devices that you can use to make sure your business runs as efficiently as possible, without having to spend a ton of extra money.

Why You Should Recycle Old Technology
Just because you want to update your technology for the New Year, that doesn’t mean you have to just throw away all of those old devices. Recycling them is better for the environment, it can help save you money, and if you’re looking to purchase new tech anyway, you don’t even have to go out of your way to recycle.
Recycling tech isn’t the same as recycling other items like glass and cardboard, since tech gadgets often include materials that can be potentially hazardous. But that doesn’t mean that it’s difficult to recycle old or outdated tech. Retailers like Staples offer trade-in programs that let you bring in all of your old devices to stores so that they can dispose of them safely and in a way that won’t harm the environment.

In addition, if you bring in your old tech to Staples, you might even be able to save on all those new tech purchases you’re planning for your business. Prices can vary. But if you have smartphones, tablets, laptops and similar devices that are at least somewhat recent and in relatively good shape, you might be able to get some money off a future purchase in exchange for those items. The exact value will depend on the age and condition of each item. But any money off a new purchase can help you keep your business up to date with new technology so that you can reap all of those potential benefits of having updated tech.

How to Recycle New Technology
If you’re looking to upgrade some of your old tech devices, you can safely get rid of your old devices and save on new tech purchases with Staples Trade-In and Trade-Up promotion as we mentioned earlier. You can take your old devices into Staples stores or get a quote online. Then, depending on the value of your device, you can get a Staples eCash Card to help you save on new electronics or other items from Staples.
Eligible devices include laptops, tablets, cell phones, eReaders and MP3 players. And the amount you get for your trade-in depends on the value of your device. However, even if you have older devices that don’t have any trade-in value, you can still bring it into your local Staples store and they will recycle it responsibly for you free of charge.

Recycling your old technology doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, it’s something small that you can do to improve the world around you while simultaneously helping your business grow and thrive. Keeping up with all the new technology out there might seem like a difficult task. But if you’re able to upgrade to the latest and greatest model without a lot of time or money spent on those new items, you should be well on your way to keeping your business on top of all the latest tech trends.

Tips to Help Employees Adapt to New Technology

Every year, new and improved technologies emerge that have consistently proved to be beneficial for our everyday lives. Owing to the positive impacts that these tools of technology bring to the businesses, more and more organizations are adopting these to improve efficiency and productivity.
Various technologies like cloud computing, smart data storage, video conferencing, wireless networking, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and so on have helped in automating certain tasks and made the businesses processes simpler and smoother.
While staying updated is a cornerstone of every successful business, it is equally important to ensure that your employees can adapt to the integration. Only a fully functional team that is ready to move towards innovation can help in taking your business forward.
Let’s take a look at a few ways in which you can accomplish this.
Introducing New Technology to Employees
Ensure That IT Teams Understand the Company’s Goals
The first step to making a technology work for your business is to ensure that the IT personnel handling the integration is completely aware of the company’s goals and objectives and are providing the right kind of support. Additionally, they should collaborate with the department heads to guarantee that the technology is aligned with the requirements of the company before bringing the team members onboard with it.
Working out the potential flaws and the inefficiencies of the technologies will ensure that employees do not encounter any glitch while using these tools. Any obstacles faced by the employees at the beginning can demotivate them and can turn out to be a hindrance to their enthusiasm for embracing the technology.
Encourage Education
Adequate training is one of the most crucial components in enabling your staff to adapt to new technology integration at the workplace. With every new adoption, employees should be retrained about how to utilize these in their tasks.
Some employees do not have a knack for technology and may feel intimidated with the integration. You would need to provide additional support to them to ensure that they attain a level of comfort with these tools. The idea is to ease the workflow with these tools and not make these turn into a burden for your employees.
Listen to Their Feedback
For your employees to be receptive to new technologies, you should create an environment in the workplace that is conducive to learning. Your employees should not hesitate to talk freely about the problems they are facing, any inputs that they might have about the integration and so on. This will help them feel involved in the integration and would enable them to learn more.
You can consider setting time aside for addressing these concerns. Department heads should be open to new ideas. Interactive sessions, hands-on training activities, weekly meetings, seminars and recurring training sessions should be conducted to ensure that employees’ doubts are heard, discussed and cleared as they move ahead with the integration.
Create a Culture of Progression
User experience is one of the primary aspects that make the integration of technological tools successful. People usually gravitate towards a tool that is fluid and easy to use. Therefore, it is important to make learning about a technology fun and engaging. To accomplish this, you should make your team understand how the implementation will optimize workflow and reduce their burden.
For example, using wireless technology helps in fueling the concept of a mobile workforce. WiFi connectivity reduces the usage of a cluster of cables, which can pose a hindrance to collaboration and workflow. Making your employees aware of these concepts can help in swifter adoption.
Track Results and Make Adjustments
The idea is to ensure that the implementations of the tools do not become stagnant with time. Therefore, it is crucial to measure the results, the return on investment, the impact on the users and so on. These metrics can then be utilized to identify the problem areas and ways to make the technology work more efficiently for your business procedures.
You can consider asking your employees to present new ways to use the technology. Viable solutions should be tested to make the necessary adjustments. This can facilitate regular learning for your employees.
These steps will ensure that your employees become more receptive to the integration. You would also need to plan financially for the upgradation and the adjustments. This will help in avoiding any financial setbacks.

HR Person Should Be Completing

As small businesses and startups grow and add more employees, the need for someone to manage human resource (HR) functions becomes prevalent.
Whether that task becomes the purview of the CEO, an outsourced HR provider or in-house staff member (either part-time or full-time), the person will need to perform a range of duties, recruiting being one of them but not the only one by far.

Sabrina Baker, a human resources consultant and owner of Acacia HR Solutions in Los Angeles, spoke with Small Business Trends by phone and shared these four functions that HR should assume aside from recruiting.

Human Resources Duties

Legal Compliance
According to Baker, the biggest single function an HR person must perform is to ensure the company stays compliant with state and federal regulations.
“There are always updates and new regulations proposed, and HR needs to think about the impact they will have on business,” she said. “Take the new overtime law, for example. A company can get in big trouble if it does not comply.”
Policies and Procedures
Another important HR responsibility, said Baker, is to work with the business owner and executive staff to develop a series of policies and procedures, and then publish those in an employee handbook.

“Every small business needs a handbook from the minute they have even one employee,” she said. “It should include policies that cover topics like vacation and sick time, leave of absence, performance management, behavioral issues and more. The policies and procedures provide consistency, so the employer does not have to make it up as he goes.”
Employee Training
After developing the handbook, the HR person should train employees on what it includes, Baker said. This should also be part of new employee orientation.

Vision and Core Values
“Typically, the CEO or founder establishes the vision for the company,” Baker said, “but HR can help figure out what those should be, and then hold the staff accountable to adhere to them.”
She used the ethic of collaboration as an example.
“HR has a significant role in making sure we encourage a collaborative climate within the company, and then reward such behavior when we see it being lived out,” she said.

Employer Branding
“The CEO or business owner will build the company brand from the consumer standpoint but it’s HR’s job to build the employer’s brand in the minds of the workers,” Baker said. “That includes activities such as checking in with employees, to ensure morale is high, and developing a productive employee culture.”
Another aspect of branding that befalls the HR department is promoting the company as an employer of choice.
“That does go to recruiting, however, regarding why candidates want to work for you over a competitor,” Baker said.

Employee Advocacy
A final area that she indicated was vital to the role of HR regards employee advocacy.
“The HR person should be a neutral party where employees can come, raise concerns, complain and ask questions,” she said. “HR is the go-between that can take employee concerns to management and act on their behalf.”
Even More Human Resources Duties
Here are seven more tasks an HR professional should perform, in addition to those outlined by Baker.

Employee Retention
Encouraging employees to stay with the company is another area where HR plays a role. (That’s one reason to brand the company as an employer of choice.)
Activities would include keeping employees engaged at work, providing advancement opportunities, cross-training to do jobs outside the routine and using employee recognition and reward programs.

Compensation and Benefits
Developing a plan for employee compensation and benefits programs is native to HR’s realm of responsibilities and should be one of the first projects the department tackles when getting set up.

Benefits Administration
Administering the benefits plan once it’s developed is also HR’s job. In smaller companies that often includes open enrollment for health care coverage.

Performance Reviews
G&A Partners, a human resources solutions provider, says on its blog that employee performance has a direct impact on a business’s success. Therefore, implementing a strategic employee performance strategy is vital, and represents another task HR must shoulder along with the employee’s supervisor.

Workplace Conflict
It’s unfortunate that, sometimes, employees come into conflict with each other or with management. In either case, it’s the HR department’s job to try and resolve workplace issues when they occur. That includes coaching employees on conflict resolution methods and developing policies and procedures for conflict management and resolution.

Employee Files
According to a blog post from When I Work, an HR technology provider, human resources must keep three particular files for each employee: I-9, general and medical.
Required by law, the I-9 is a form used by the U.S. Government to identify and verify employee work eligibility. General files include documents such as resumes, reviews, disciplinary actions, W-4 forms and more. And the medical file contains doctors’ notes, disability information and other medical data.

Human Resources Industry Trends
With the rapid changes taking place in the workplace, it’s important for HR professionals to stay current on industry trends.
One way is to join the Society for Human Resources Management, the leading association for human resources professionals. Another is to read blogs, white papers and articles from HR product and service providers, practitioners and consultants. Lastly, participate in social network groups and forums for HR pros.