Five Tips to Prepare for Small Business Saturday

What is Small Business Saturday?

Started as a way to bring attention (and shoppers!) to the thousands of small businesses across America during the holiday shopping season, Small Business Saturday is celebrated each year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. This year, on November 30, 2019 (Small Business Saturday’s 10th anniversary!), small businesses everywhere will open their doors to shoppers looking for those extra special gifts this holiday season!

How Can I Prepare for Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday is a wonderful opportunity to welcome new shoppers, inspire customer loyalty, and increase holiday sales! These are some of our favorite ways to create a winning Small Business Saturday strategy.

Host or Participate in a Small Business Saturday Event

Many local neighborhoods and small business organizations come together to plan creative Small Business Saturday events that add an extra bit of fun to this festive holiday shopping weekend. For example, Visit Jacksonville, the official travel website for this beach side city, offers a #SmallBizSat passport where shoppers earn stamps by visiting local small businesses that can be entered into a drawing for exciting holiday giveaways.

Include holiday treats for everyone! Offer hot chocolate and cookies to weary shoppers, and delight the little ones with surprise visits and photo opportunities – straight from the North Pole – from Santa Claus himself! Keep the festivities bustling by piping holiday music throughout the store or by featuring live performances by local Christmas carolers throughout the day or evening.

Advertise! Advertise! Advertise!

Advertising has never been easier – or more economical – with opportunities like the many social media platforms available to reach potential customers. Create festive posts and tweets to keep your followers informed about exclusive Small Business Saturday deals and events and how they can take part.

Like, love, and share other Small Business Saturday social media posts to spread the word to others. Be sure to include the holiday hash tags #SmallBusinessSaturday, #SmallBizSat, and #ShopSmall to connect with others in the small business community and beyond!

Emphasize Personal Interactions and Build Relationships

Small businesses have the valuable opportunity to offer personalized interaction with their customers, unlike large retail stores where finding employees is often challenging or via chatbot conversations when shopping online. Personal conversation is at the heart (and the start!) of creating meaningful, lasting relationships.

Welcome conversation by wearing an eye-catching name badge and greeting each guest that comes into your store. Rather than the usual ‘May I help you?’ offer a heartfelt ‘Season’s greetings!’ or ‘Welcome in!’ to start a festive conversation. Sincere, professional interaction with customers often leads to increased holiday sales and returning customers throughout the year.

Offer Valuable Sales and Deals

Valuable offers don’t have to mean deep discounts like the big box stores use to lure customers on Black Friday. Small businesses typically don’t have the sales volume to support such substantial markdowns, even for a short time. Small business patrons generally shop to support their local communities rather than dashing in just for that sought-after door buster.

Begin by aligning your holiday promotions with your store’s sales goals. Restaurateurs may consider offering special Small Business Saturday menus, including discounts on holiday-inspired meals. Retail shops could offer small denomination gift cards with purchases of a specific dollar amount that will inspire customers to return throughout the shopping season.

Show Your Appreciation

There are multitudes of ways to show your appreciation while building customer loyalty. Begin by offering a heartfelt thank you to every shopper who visits your store and send handwritten thank you notes to those customers who purchase from you all year.

Make shopping easier by extending your hours during the bustling holiday season, on the weekends or all week long. Set up a festive gift wrapping station and offer free gift wrapping for all in-store purchases. For an added bit of seasonal marketing, use gift wrap or seals printed with your shop’s name and logo, sure to signal to the gift recipient that something special is in store!

Show your support for local charities. In addition to promoting these charities from within your small business, make a donation in your customers’ honor as a special thank you for shopping with you.

Let Your Badge Network for You – Conference Tips

photo badge

When you are registering for a conference, trade show, or networking event, what type of information do you provide for the badge you will wear? Do you give just the basics of your name and company? Do you include your job role?

Pre-Conference Name Tag Checklist:
Badge Basics ✔
Social Profiles ✔
Twitter ✔
Relevant Work Experience ✔
LinkedIn ✔
Getting the Most Mileage from Name Tags ✔

Choosing what to share can be a crucial element in directing your career.  Each event you attend is an opportunity to represent not only the business you work for, but your personal brand. Use the real estate on your conference name tag intentionally, putting your best foot forward by including links to relevant social profiles and job experience.

The information you put on your professional name badge can help you can expand your networking circle and continue the dialogue that begins during conference downtime when everyone is scrolling through their phones.

Badge Basics

When you are inputting your personal data for your name tag, start by making sure that the basic information is free of errors.  A typo or misspelling can immediately change the tone of first impression conversations. You want to be able to introduce yourself with confidence, rather than an explanation about accidentally forgetting to capitalize your last name because you rushed through registration.

Check these personal data basics first:

  • Review spelling and capitalization
  • Make sure that job title and company information are up-to-date
  • Include a professional, recent photo
  • See if fonts are clear and easy to read. You may need to change size or fonts so that all information fits within the space allotted.

Social Profiles

For many jobs, including your social media handle can be a way of demonstrating your ability to develop brands, gain followers and have a voice in your industry. Use your best judgment to choose which platforms are appropriate for your personal brand.

Instagram can be an ideal place for sharing accomplishments related to the beauty or fashion industries. For many comics and influencers, it might be a priority to include your YouTube channel.

However, not every social media profile showcases your abilities well. For example, if you are attending a conference on laser safety technology, your Facebook profile is not likely the place where you display your knowledge of lasers.

The one exception that has relevance in most fields is a Twitter profile.  If you don’t have one currently, you can create one to use during conferences.

Twitter

Twitter is a great place to contact conference speakers and set up events. Start tweeting prior to the event to show your interest in specific conference topics. With a twitter handle, you can be tagged for important discussions, announcements and post-conference events

Make sure to follow the conference hashtags and participate in questions presented to audiences during sessions. Asking the right questions can often get you noticed. Tweetchats that happen during the conference weekend can also be a place to chime in about hot topics in your industry.

A Twitter handle allows conference goers to communicate immediately with direct messages. This allows recruiters to contact you and gives you access to speakers without having to wait in line or clog their inbox. You may also catch the eye of colleagues who were unable to attend the conference but are participating from their desktop.

You never know where the catalyst for your next project will begin. It could be a direct message from the keynote giving you feedback on your website. It could be a potential job opportunity that arises after you answer questions from a tweet chat and display a new perspective and creative solution to a common problem in your field.

Conference badge with profiles

Relevant Work Experience

In some cases it’s important to display your company name, but in other cases you may want to focus on professional accomplishments and areas of expertise.

For example, a website that has case studies on your products might be a good addition for marketers. If you are a teacher, a website with your CV could be helpful. Including a special certification or degree could be the eye-catching detail that takes a brief moment of networking small talk and opens the dialogue for a job interview.

You can also skip the step of emailing your resume by including a link to your LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn

Sharing your LinkedIn profile allows you to introduce your own expertise and past experience. Recruiters can view your company’s LinkedIn page, which is especially helpful when you don’t work for a largely established company. A well-rounded profile will show your professional reputation and authority on a range of subject matters.

The simple link gives others a connection to your experience, references, the company you work for and your current network of professionals. You can even customize your Linkedin URL to make it more readable and easy to remember.

Getting the Most Mileage from Name Tags

Keep your conference badge on after attending sessions when heading to evening events. You may find opportunities to chat with other conference goers when exploring the city you are visiting, getting coffee near your hotel or grabbing dinner at a nearby restaurant.

Bring business cards with the same information and a similar design. Just like branding a business, you want to brand yourself and create familiarity by putting the same message on multiple formats.

The custom fields on name tags allow you to include information that helps you connect with recruiters and future business partners. By taking advantage of creating professional relationships with conference goers, you are investing in your future growth and perhaps even changing the direction of your career toward an exciting and uncharted path.

Work Friendly Last Minute Halloween Costumes

As October 31st draws near, many companies are decorating for fall and Halloween. For some businesses, fall festivities include a Halloween celebration and an in-office costume contestFiguring out just how to participate can be a tricky topic. It will take creativity and class to set the right tone with your costume.

Prep for Halloween with these office guidelines, useful celebration do’s and don’ts, and ideas for throwing together a last minute stunner.

Guidelines for Your Halloween Countdown

Do a little detective work before planning your ghoulish festivities. Find out what last year’s celebrations were like. Was it a subtle dessert with candy corn and rice crispy treats? Was it an all-out party with spider web décor and a cash prize for the best outfit? Ask seasoned employees what percentage of the office staff participated. You want to know if you’re going to stick out like a sore thumb if you do or don’t dress up. It helps to know how your company culture approaches holidays.

Take a look in your inbox and explore the office calendar. Do you see any emails or events set up related to Halloween? See if the company has communicated this year’s plan for employees. You may want to check with your direct supervisor to find out if your department has any specific guidelines set out.

The other item to dig for in your calendar is any upcoming presentations or major meetings that might be occurring on Halloween. You’ll want to consider how your appearance can vastly change how you convey yourself to coworkers, managers and clients. Attending a quarterly review in a poodle skirt and wig could make things a bit awkward. So remember to keep professionalism in mind even when it comes to the fun stuff.

Work Costume Do’s

  • Choose a costume that is comfortable and safe to work in
  • Label sweets and treats you bring in to share with helpful ingredient info about items such as gluten or peanuts
  • Find costumes and props that are easy to take on and off, such as fun ties, silly hats, Halloween name tags, and dramatic capes
  • Practice any face painting ahead of time to avoid allergic reactions
  • Think humor and not shock value when you pick a character to dress up as
  • Provide clear indicators of who you are dressing up as, like the name of your character, a Hogwarts school emblem, the Flo hairstyle, or Rosie the Riveter bandana
  • Enjoy the time to bond with coworkers and brighten up a work day

Work Costume Don’ts

  • Put on an outfit that is overly gory or scary
  • Wear items that are too revealing, suggestive, tight or ill-fitting that the clothes are inappropriate or too distracting
  • Bring in fake weapons or dress as violent characters
  • Wear costumes that are offensive toward race or religion
  • Respond to your coworker’s costumes with disrespectful remarks or harassment
  • Choose footwear, bulky costumes or large masks that may impede your ability to maneuver through the office, answer phones, sit at a desk or complete other work tasks

Simple Last Minute Ideas

If you are struggling to find a costume, remember you are in good company. Most people put off choosing an outfit until the last minute. Don’t have to have a Pinterest panic attack! Instead, consider some of these tried, true and somewhat new last-minute costume ideas.

  • The classic flapper with pearls, a mid-length dress and a headband
  • The secret superhero with a T-shirt peeking out from under your business suit
  • A cape or cut up sheet for vampires and ghosts
  • A cut-out hat with a color coordinated outfit to look like a banana, pineapple or grapes
  • A clever name tag with a character from of your favorite TV shows like “Friends”, “The Walking Dead”, or “Stranger Things”
  • A fedora, sunglasses, and suit to give a nod to those Blues Brothers
  • Easy add-ons like cat ears, antlers or even a unicorn headband
  • A little black dress and pearls for Breakfast at Tiffany’s vibes
  • An ensemble  group with your department as crayons or the Wizard of Oz cast
  • A red dress and playing card crown to be the Queen of Hearts
  • Pink jackets with everyone’s name for Grease’s Pink Ladies crew
  • A flannel shirt and jeans to make a cowboy, cowgirl or scarecrow look
  • A button-down shirt and hat with flowers for the beloved Mary Poppins

Pro tip: characters in professional clothing always make great choices.  Think of your favorite character from “The Office”.

When you choose your outfit, don’t feel pressured to have the most original idea at your workplace. Try to enjoy the playful spirit and bring just a bit of imagination into it. And if you are ever in doubt about whether your costume is appropriate, err on the conservative side of things. Finally, don’t forget to focus on your productivity in the midst of the festivities!

 

 

You may also like these blogs:

Tips for Halloween Safety

10 Halloween Costumes under $15

A Luxury Name Tag Handcrafted with Real Diamonds

Voting 101: Your Election Day Questions Answered

While the 2020 presidential election is still more than a year away, the primaries are in full swing! As voters study the candidates and prepare to cast votes for their favorite nominees, this is the perfect time to review voting do’s and don’ts, including US voting laws and the rules upheld at voting stations across the country.

What are the qualifications to vote in the US?

To legally vote in the United States, you must be:

  • A United States citizen
  • 18 years of age on or before election day
  • Registered to vote by your state’s voter registration deadline

You also must meet your state’s residency requirements. You can be homeless and still qualify to vote.

What can I wear to a polling station?

Proper attire is required at most polling places across the country, but defining what this means has come up for debate.

Recently, the Supreme Court ruled that a Minnesota law effectively banning all political apparel, including campaign buttons and name tags, from voting sites is too vague.  While the court did not specifically define what is or is not considered proper voting apparel, it concluded that Minnesota’s rule was not specific enough and too challenging to enforce.

 

 

 

Most states have laws that ban electioneering within a certain area of a polling station. These laws may include promoting your candidate or expressing your political views on clothing and accessories, like buttons and hats.

Rather than taking a chance that you may be turned away from the voting booths for wearing questionable clothing, it may be best to save your favorite political garb for that election night celebration.

Are cell phones allowed in polling stations?

Don’t snap that #IVoted selfie just yet!

Rules governing the use of smart phones, cameras, and other recording devices at voting stations are informal, at best. Varying from state to state and even precinct to precinct, state officials often are left to subjectively interpret outdated statues or to haphazardly enforce existing rules or adopted practices.

Often interpreted as a form of voter intimidation, it is best to tuck that recording device away while at the voting booth to avoid a frustrating confrontation with voting officials. In addition, many states have laws forbidding the sharing of your completed ballot with anyone, via photograph, through social media, or by any other means.

What is early voting?

Early voting allows registered voters to cast their votes prior to Election Day during a public election season in order to increase voter participation and decrease Election Day congestion at voting sites. Early voting rules differ from state to state, including some that require a reason for requesting an absentee ballot, while some states do not offer early voting at all.

What forms of ID are required to vote?

While voter ID laws vary by state, these laws have become a hotly contested, nationwide debate over the past several years. Advocates of voter ID laws argue that legally issued photo IDs are required to prevent voter fraud. Alternatively, opponents contend that these photo ID requirements disenfranchise minorities and others who are unable to acquire them.

All voting laws, however, require voters to provide at least one from of official identification before being allowed to register to vote, receive an election ballot, or to cast a vote in any US election.

If a voter’s identity cannot be immediately confirmed, he or she will receive a provisional ballot. This ballot will be counted after a voter’s identity is confirmed.

Is campaigning allowed at or near a polling station?

Generally speaking, electioneering, or campaigning for a specific candidate, political party, or political issue, is prohibited within a certain distance of every polling station. Review your state laws on electioneering boundaries for specific information.

What is absentee voting?

Absentee voting allows registered voters to request a mail-in ballot, rather than visiting a polling station, to cast a vote on Election Day. Each state has rules governing who is eligible to receive an absentee ballot.

How do I vote from abroad?

If you are a US citizen living overseas or are a member of the military or his or her family stationed outside your legal voting residence, and are a registered voter, you are eligible to vote by absentee ballot.

Each year, you must submit a completed Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) to election officials in the precinct where you are registered to vote AND request an absentee ballot. Remember to submit a new application every time your address, email, and/or name changes.

Once your local election officials have confirmed that you are eligible to vote, you will receive absentee ballots for each election held that calendar year electronically or by mail.

Voting With a Disability

There are numerous federal laws in place to protect the voting rights of Americans with disabilities, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. Every voter with a disability must have a wheelchair accessible voting booth furnished with voting equipment for those who are blind or visually impaired.

Further, some states allow people with disabilities to vote by mail or offer curbside voting, where an election official will bring everything needed to cast a ballot to that voter’s vehicle. Disabled voters also are allowed to get assistance from an election official familiar with using the handicap accessible voting machine or bring someone with them to help them vote.

 

Tips for Halloween Safety

Quick Halloween safety tips:
Know your city’s laws for trick-or-treat days, times and age limits.
For night time trick-or-treating wear reflective or glow-in-the-dark gear.
Make sure staff and applicable visitors to haunted houses & similar attractions wear name badges or ID cards.
Understand and adhere to costume restrictions at Halloween attractions.

Today’s Halloween activities often reach beyond exploring the neighborhood cul-de-sac two streets over. Many families now spend October 31st visiting other venues, such as local haunted houses, theme park events, carnivals, church festivals, zoos, and corn mazes.

For everyone figuring out how they will spend this year’s holiday, here are some tips to make your evening go as smoothly and safely as possible. Take some of that effort reserved for planning costumes and put it into paying attention to rules designed to keep little ones from harm.

Curfews & Laws

Certain cities and states have curfews, age limits, and other laws related to trick-or-treating. Whenever you take your children out trick-or-treating for the first time or you move to a new city, find out the expectations for that location.

There may be laws regarding the day and time of day you can trick-or-treat. Many neighborhoods, complexes and housing communities recommend time slots for residents. While some cities suggest alternative trick-or-treating days – depending on when the holiday falls—others can be much more stringent in enforcing a city ordinance. A few places, like Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, prohibit trick-or-treating on Sunday in favor of celebrating the day before.

Other city and state laws put an age cap on trick-or-treating. Cities such as Chesapeake, Virginia, Meridian, Mississippi, Bishopville, South Carolina, and Boonsboro, Maryland set the age limit to 12-years-old.

North Carolina and Virginia have laws prohibiting anyone over age 16 from wearing masks or hoods that conceal identity. These laws provide exceptions for traditional holiday costumes. However, for Halloween that exception would only apply to October 31st and not the weekend parties or other events that surround the actual holiday.

With precise laws like this, it helps to pay attention to the specifics.

Neighborhood Traffic Hazards

An estimated 41.1 million trick-or-treaters set out on a candy hunting adventure each year, according to the Census.gov’s 2017 data. This group consists of children ages 5 to 14-years-old. With everyone travelling door-to-door, the number of pedestrians out at night is as at an all-time high.

The National Safety Council reports that children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than any other day of the year.

To help prevent traffic-related injuries and accidents, choose costumes in bright colors that stand out. You can also add reflective tape to costumes and trick or treating bags. Adults may want to wear headlamps and carry flashlights, especially in areas with dim street lighting.

Skipping Door-to-Door Fun for Local Attractions

Attractions can be a great alternative for your Halloween festivities, as businesses must meet safety standards before opening to guests. You avoid pedestrian traffic risks, candy and goodies are regulated, and the rules for activities are posted and enforced.

Fire hazards in neighborhoods are also higher, as backyard décor doesn’t have to undergo the same level of testing as a theme park haunted house. Your local amusement park, zoo, or other organization hosting a Halloween event must obtain permits, and meet fire and building codes before opening doors.

Venues are required to have precautions in place, such as heat detectors, back-up lighting, sprinkler systems, fire-proof set materials, fire extinguishers, clear emergency exits and more. Places with mazes, mirrors and confusing paths should have directional signage to clarify exits in case of emergency.

Girl with name badge Avoiding Scary Situations

Read “scare guidelines” to make sure the intensity is appropriate to the age level that you will accompany. Not every child is prepared for all that goes with Halloween amusements. Children and adults may be sensitive to strobe lights, fog, and loud noises used to create a spooky environment.

Parents should stay close to children when navigating through large crowds. Getting overwhelmed, lost or injured can take a turn from playful fun and to terrifying, when children are not sure who to turn to.

It is helpful if parents can quickly identify employees in case of emergencies. Many attractions require employees to wear themed costumes, STAFF shirts, hanging name badges, or name tags. Event badges may include large print text and recognizable symbols to designate those who are medical or security personnel. Some venues require staff to wear photo IDs to help build trust between guests and employees.

 For younger children, make sure they have a parent and buddy with them at all time. Ensure that adults know which children are under their supervision. With large groups and entertainment all around, it can be easy to get distracted and rely on other childcare helpers without first communicating who is responsible for who.

Following Costume Guidelines When Attending Events

Before packing up the family van to set off for your event, review any costume rules. Major attractions can be strict about only letting in guests that follow these rules. Many theme parks provide the following types of guidelines:

  • No costumes that touch the ground. Avoid costumes that restrain movement. This helps prevent trip and fall incidents and accidents with interactive games.
  • No masks that completely cover the face. Make sure masks do not impair vision. Sometimes masks are not allowed for teens over a certain age.
  • For costumes that include wigs and more elaborate add-ons, make sure all materials are non-flammable.
  • Make sure children can easily contact parents. Have older kids carry a cell phone with them. For younger kids, attach a name tag to costumes with your name and phone number.
  • Make sure props are not harmful. Often objects that appear to be weapons are prohibited, however younger children may be allowed to bring play swords and knives that are short, soft and flexible.
  • Use non-toxic make-up and face paint. Test paint before to make sure allergic reactions do not occur.
  • Make sure costumes are not violent or offensive. Many venues reserve the right to limit entry for costumes that are not considered appropriate.

Once your children’s costumes are finalized and costume guidelines met, all you have to do is pick out which spooky celebration to attend. You may also want to make sure your child’s favorite costume still fits. It’s a sad day when the Spiderman jumpsuit is officially too small.

 

Resources:

https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Publications-and-media/NFPA-Journal/2014/May-June-2014/Features/The-Haunted-Castle-Revisited/Spooky-and-Safe

https://www.dummitfradin.com/halloween-masks-and-the-law/

https://codes.findlaw.com/al/title-13a-criminal-code/al-code-sect-13a-14-4.html

https://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2018/halloween.html

https://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/index.htm

https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/autumn/halloween

 

Do’s and Don’ts of Conducting Job Interviews

When it comes to finding – and hiring – that perfect job candidate, the competition can be fierce. Since a significant part of the hiring decision comes from the face-to-face interview, doing a bit of homework and preparation beforehand is sure to help you, and your company, make your best first impression.

What is the Interviewer’s Role?

As one of the first people an interviewee will come into contact with when applying for a job with your company, you will most likely be representing and making the first impression for your company to your job candidate. This is a wonderful opportunity to create goodwill with your applicant, whether he or she is hired or not.

Make your interviewee as comfortable as possible, depending on your company’s culture. If your organization is formal and wears business attire, then pass that information along. If, on the other hand, your atmosphere is very relaxed and even you, as the interviewer, will be wearing jeans or other casual clothing, let your interviewee know so that he or she will fit in with your company culture and feel comfortable from the start. No matter the attire, always present yourself in a polished manner, including wearing a professional name tag. Your candidate will likely be nervous enough. Being able to glance at your name tag, or even a desk plate, and address you by name will take the pressure off trying to remember it throughout the interview and create a more relaxed, friendly environment.

Create a Relaxed and Welcoming Interview Setting

Conducting the interview at your place of business is a wise choice. When an interviewee comes to (and takes part in a tour of) your office, this provides the best opportunity to see how he or she reacts to your daily work environment. While it may seem like a more relaxing idea to have the interview at the local coffee shop or somewhere over lunch, these places tend to be full of noise and distractions that will hinder both you and your applicant from having the most productive conversation and from learning about one another.

Begin your interview with somewhat casual, yet specific questions. Opening the conversation with an open-ended statement like “Tell me about yourself” probably will not put your interviewee at ease. Rather, ask “Given what you know about our company, what personal qualities of yours would make you a good fit?”

What are Illegal Interview Questions?

As an interviewer, it is unlawful to ask any of the following questions –

  • Have you ever been arrested?
  • What is your religion? Where and/or when do you worship? Do you celebrate religious holidays?
  • Are you a citizen of the US? It seems that you have an accent, where are you from?
  • When were you born? What year did you graduate from high school or college? How old are you?
  • Do you have a disability that has the ability to affect your job performance? (This includes specific questions pertaining to former number of sick days, workers’ compensation claims, mental health diagnoses, or other pre-existing health conditions, including that of family history)
  • Do you use drugs, alcohol, or smoke?
  • Do you belong to a union or do you have an interest in joining one?
  • Are you willing to take a polygraph test? (You cannot be denied employment, disciplined, or fired for refusing to take a polygraph test)
  • Are you pregnant or do you plan to become pregnant, foster, or adopt a child?
  • What does your husband or wife do? Or do you have a spouse or significant other?

Note – When considering an applicant for a position, if your organization’s primary purpose is religious-based, you are legally permitted to favor hiring individuals who practice that same religion.

What are Legal Interview Questions?

  • Have you ever been convicted of a felony or crime other than a traffic violation?
  • Do your religious practices prohibit you from working on weekends (ask only if weekend work is required of the position)
  • Are you legally authorized to work in the US?
  • Do you speak any other languages (ask only if relevant to the position)
  • Are you able to put in the long hours and significant amount of travel this job requires?
  • Are you willing and able to relocate, if the opportunity arises?

What is a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification as Related to a Job or a Career?

A Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ) is a specific qualification that will allow a potential employer to make an employment decision based on protected classes of citizens ONLY if it is determined to be necessary to operate a specific business successfully. For example, commercial airline pilots MUST retire at age 65 since studies have shown that older pilots’ production declines and, therefore, becomes a greater public risk.

Key Points to Keep in Mind During the Interview and Beyond

Keep in mind the position you are interviewing to fill. While skills and education certainly are important, many job specifics can be learned through on the job training, apprenticeships, and job shadowing. Things that are more difficult to teach are fitting in with the culture, departmental employees, and generally with the company as a whole.

Refrain from asking hypothetical questions. Most often for an interviewee who may not have an immediate answer, this is cause for a moment of panic and he or she may make up an answer. Rather, ask specific questions that relate to real situations that he or she has most likely encountered in the workplace, for example, “Tell me about a time when you had to resolve a conflict between two employees and how that worked out.”

For more information about federal laws regarding prohibited or illegal employment policies and practices, please visit the US Equal Employment Opportunities Commission.

Effective Onboarding Techniques and Strategies for Your Workplace

Why Onboarding Matters

Attracting the best and brightest job applicants and turning them into longstanding employees is a lofty goal that virtually every successful organization aims to achieve. From that first initial contact with applicants through the onboarding process and beyond, you are beginning to build professional relationships designed to last for years to come. As the first official steps toward becoming valued members of your company, the onboarding experiences that you provide are likely to be some of new employees’ most memorable company impressions.

Ensuring Onboarding Success

Effective employee onboarding can mean the difference between a successful start and a challenging transition to a new job. From orientation and training to becoming socially acclimated to your company’s culture, your new hire onboarding process matters.

Begin Onboarding Before You Hire

Bringing your new employees successfully on board begins with the first time you contact your applicants. Whether via phone call, email, or social media, exposure to your organization starts with the recruitment process.  Be sure that all avenues of communication accurately represent your company and its culture and values. When recruiting methods don’t line up with your organization’s culture, new hires can experience culture shock, leading to a disappointing first impression and perhaps even an unexpected resignation.

Create a Welcoming Work Area

Once the paperwork is complete and your new hires are ready to get to work, show them you’re happy they’re here by creating a welcoming work space that includes all of the necessities they’ll need to get off to a terrific start. From pens, paperclips and notepads to custom welcome boxes, new hire name tags and desk plates that are personalized and practical, your newest team members will be ready to go!

Build an Onboarding Network

During the onboarding process, human resources is there to guide employees through the new hire process. Once they’re ready to begin work, assigning each new employee a peer mentor who has the experience and enthusiasm to provide support during the first few weeks or months of employment will go a long way in creating strong professional and working relationships. Scheduling some time for meet-and-greets and lunches with other employees and company leaders can also be a terrific way for new hires to get to know a variety of people throughout the company in a more relaxed social setting.

Make Short Term Goals

Setting short term goals for your new employees that are well defined, measurable, achievable, and relevant to their specific responsibilities will help them to develop confidence in their new positions, become familiar with your organization’s workflow processes, and learn the appropriate people to go to when questions or challenges arise.  Consider setting short term goals for 30, 60, and 90 day time frames.

Develop Long Term Goals

As short term goals are met, begin to create longer term goals that will encourage learning and professional growth over time. These goals will give new employees something specific to strive for, keeping them interested, engaged, and productive.

Investing in your newest employees from the start of the onboarding process is one of the best ways to ensure that they are off to a wonderful start and a successful transition to becoming contributing members of your team. Whether your onboarding program is three weeks, three months, or longer, when employees are offered the tools, training, and information tailored to their specific jobs, they’re sure to be off to their best start!

Building Professional Relationships with Name Tags and Badges

Your name is more than the grouping of letters that have adorned your birth certificate since the day you were born. Your name is a part of your identity that becomes an element of who you are like nothing else will. Names are shared everywhere, especially via name tags in the workplace. As commonplace as they seem, are name badges really worth all the fuss? Absolutely!

Think of everyone that represents your company, small business, or any other defined group as ambassadors of your brand. Hired for their knowledge and abilities to help your organization succeed, well-designed name tags will help these employees, volunteers, and others make their best first impression and inspire meaningful conversation between staff and guests.

Name Tags Build Brand Identity

Creating a memorable company identity is at the core of every successful business. Branding and company recognition often begins with that first face-to-face introduction where names become a key component of this introductory conversation. Name tags and badges that include your company’s logo that include your company’s logo will immediately link your employee’s name and face with your business, reinforcing your brand and identity. Be sure your team’s name tags are free of scratches, faded text, or other imperfections so their professional best is proudly on display!

Name Tags Encourage Personal Interaction

Once you’re introduced to someone by name, you’re both more likely to feel an immediate level of comfort and approachability. And whether your business has a few employees, hundreds, or even thousands, personal interaction goes a long way toward making everyone feel that ‘We’re all on the same team!’ and are working together toward a common goal. For volunteers and other guests, visitor name badges are a wonderful way to make them feel welcome and a part of the interaction.

Name Tags Inspire Personal Expression and Confidence

If your business is one that allows a bit of freedom with personal name tags, they can be a terrific way to learn a fun fact or two about the person wearing the badge while increasing a bit of self-confidence along the way. Perhaps a name tag could display a museum guide’s favorite exhibit. An airline employee’s badge may include the location of that once-in-a-lifetime trip. Or a name tag could include a restaurant employee’s favorite food. The creative possibilities are endless!

Name Tags Display Status, Promotions, and Growth

Name tags offer a terrific way for new employees to quickly recognize others and their respective roles within the workplace. In addition to learning who fulfills which job, specialized name badges are wonderful ways to highlight those well-deserved promotions and other avenues of growth within an organization.

Name Tags Provide an Added Level of Security

When everyone is required to wear name badges, including employees, volunteers, and guests, it is easy to identify others at a glance to be sure they have permission to be where they are – and especially easy to spot someone not wearing a badge who should not be in a specified area.

Whether yours is a corner bakery, the neighborhood’s favorite pizza parlor, or a multinational company, name tags are ideal for associating your respected employees with your valued guests and potential customers.

Tag Your Bags this Summer

Packed Suitcase and Hat Overlooking a Lake

Summer Vacation Packing Tips

Memorial Day 2019 is May 27, which means summertime is right around the corner. With summer comes the biggest travel season in the United States. According to a 2017 study, 80% of Americans traveled in 2016,1 so chances are you are one of the multitude of people who will be taking a trip in the coming months. So, here are a few basic packing tips to remember for your trip.

Packing Proper Pieces

Suitcase Packed with Travel Items

What you pack for your upcoming summer vacation is dependent on where you plan on going and what you plan on doing. Is your destination meant to be an escape from the heat to the far north? You may want to remember your jacket and hat. Are you bound for a beach side resort? Don’t forget your swim suit and sunscreen. Are you planning a family reunion back in your hometown? Family Eating LunchMaybe you should bring some reusable name tags to help remember everyone’s names. If you have children, then you’ll need to remember distracting activities during travel so they aren’t bored to tears before arriving at your planned location and possibly a photo ID and lanyard with your information in case they get lost. Planning and understanding both your trip and destination are integral to knowing what to pack and are important first steps to starting your summer vacation right.

Essential Equipment

Book, Luggage Tag, Sunscreen, & Glasses on Towel

Regardless of your summer vacation destination, there are a few packing essentials that most travelers will need. Here is a short list of basic travel items you will want to remember before you set off on your summertime romp.

  • Soaps: Body wash, shampoo, and conditioner are all staple items to pack unless you plan on purchasing more at your destination.
  • Dental Care: A toothbrush and toothpaste should never be forgotten when packing for a trip. Mouthwash is a good supplement, but should never be a replacement for brushing.
  • Personal Hygiene: Hygiene products are easy to forget but immediately become a problem when they are missing, so remember deodorant, shaving products, hand sanitizer, and feminine products if you need them while packing.
  • Appropriate Clothing: Pack enough clothes, and possibly extras, for the duration of your trip. Clothing items should be appropriate for your travel destination such as heavy jackets for colder climates or swim wear for beaches and resorts.
  • Minor Injury Items: A small emergency kit should be kept easily accessible in the case of minor injuries such as small cuts and scrapes. Sanitizing wipes and adhesive bandages work great and are easily portable for your travels.
  • Sunscreen: Always remember sunscreen. The sun’s harmful UV rays can cause long-term damage and deadly skin cancer such as melanoma, so no matter where you travel this summer, remember to bring and use sunscreen.

These general packing tips apply to most travelers, but if you are flying by air, then there are some exceptions to remember.

Road Requirements

Kids Playing Behind a Car

Road trips are a classic American vacation. You, your chosen companions, and the open road. If your summer plans include a cross country or other type of road trip, then you’ll want to remember to pack appropriately, so here are a few integral things to have in your car for your upcoming open road adventure.

  • Navigation: Whether you have someone use a map app, an electronic GPS guide, or go analog with a paper map, you’ll want to make sure you stay on route. While getting lost may make for entertaining stories in the future, it is a good way to derail any plans you may have made for the trip.
  • Food & Water: There may come a long stretch of road without rest areas or gas stations, so ensuring you and your passengers stay adequately hydrated and nourished is important for your trip.
  • Emergency Supplies: Flares, blankets, an emergency medical kit, a spare tire, and the tools to change tires are all extremely important items to keep in your vehicle while you travel. Being prepared for an emergency situation can sometimes mean the difference between life and death, so ensure you and your vehicle are ready for the unexpected.

Flying For Fun

Woman Traveling with a Suitcase in an Airport Terminal

Packing for a flight is typically the same as packing for any other trip. However, traveling by air carries an importance on safety for not only you but everyone on your flight. As such, the Transportation Security Administration, more commonly known as the TSA, has a myriad of flight passenger rules and regulations for the safety of vacationing and traveling Americans. This includes restricting certain items from being taken aboard as carry-on luggage or even as checked bags. The list is extensive and includes items such as firearms, axes, and other weapon or weapon-adjacent items as well as unexpected items such as cooking spray and recreational oxygen.2 There is also the endless confusion surrounding how much liquid you can bring in a carry-on bag, so here are the official rules from the TSA’s website:

  • Individual containers may be no larger than 3.4 ounces for carry-on luggage
  • Carry-on containers must all fit in a resealable, quart-sized bag
  • Containers larger than 3.4 ounces must be stored in a checked bag

If you need to check a bag, then you will want to make sure you can easily find your luggage when you land, and a custom luggage tag is a great way to easily identify your property among the multitude of bags. Aside from the TSA’s regulations and ensuring your luggage is easily located, here are a few air travel tips and packing ideas to help make your flight experience tolerable from beginning to end.

  • Clearing Security: Arrive at the airport a few hours early to ensure you make it through security with enough time to make it to your gate.
  • Child Identification: While children under 18 years of age aren’t required to present identification to board a flight, having your child wear a custom photo ID badge with your photo and contact information could prove invaluable should you and your child get separated.
  • Gum or Candy: Pack some gum or candy in your carry-on to help with the air pressure changes during take-off and landing. Chewing and swallowing during ascent and descent helps relieve pressure and chewing gum or sucking on candy helps produce saliva which in turn makes it easier to swallow.3
  • Entertainment: Bring fun activities for long flights, especially if you are travelling with kids. Books, card games, handheld video games, music players, and other items help pass the time while you fly and will help keep children occupied.

Whether you’re going by land or by air, remember these summer packing tips to ensure your vacation goes smoothly, and keep track of your luggage and family with custom tags and badges from Name Tag Wizard.

References

  1. scps.nyu.edu
  2. tsa.gov
  3. spoonuniversity.com

Remember Name Tags for Your Next Open House

Open House Directional Sign with Arrow

Open House Basic Tips

Summer is upon us, and with the warmer months approaching, many people will be looking to purchase a new home or move apartments. An estimated 80% of moves happen between April and September1 and home buying season usually starts in March and goes through summer.2 As such, hosting an open house during the following months could benefit your real estate agency in securing your next sale.

What is an Open House?

An open house is an event orchestrated by real estate agencies, rental properties, and home owners to open a property to the public to view and show potential interest in purchasing or renting. It allows real estate agents or property staff to meet and interact with prospective clients and potentially secure a sale or rental agreement.

Do Open Houses Work?

Real Estate Agent Displaying House to CoupleThere is some contention on whether open houses help sell houses or seal a new rental. Many agents find that open houses rarely end with buyers purchasing the property while others meet with frequent success. However, the main benefit of an open house is building a repertoire with prospective clients. Nurturing a trusting relationship between agent and buyer is important, and ensuring that your clients remember your name or the name of your agency with a custom real estate name tag will mean a greater chance of buyers coming to you when they become interested in purchasing a new home.

Open House Checklist

To run a successful open house, you will need to prepare ahead of time. A lot can go into these preparations, so here are six basic items to remember.

1. Advertise

Real Estate Agent in Front of Paper ListingsNo one will attend your open house if they don’t know you’re hosting one to begin with. Spreading the word is a vital early step in preparing your event. Share the event on your company’s website and social media pages or distribute outdoor signs to catch the attention of motorists and other by passers to inform them of your property’s location and the date of your open house.

2. Cleanliness

Woman Wiping CountertopEnsure the property is clean. Showing a filthy house or apartment unit will turn people away and leave a poor impression on the capabilities and trustworthiness of you and your company. Sweep and mop any non-carpeted areas, vacuum carpets and rugs, dust and wipe off counter tops, and clean windows and mirrors to show your clients the best version of the property.

3. Staging

Woman Hanging a Framed Print of a SeahorseStaging refers to the process of strategically placing furniture and decor to demonstrate the potential of a living space. It gives clients an idea of how they could arrange their own furniture, what they like or dislike about the current set-up, and how they can emulate or improve upon it. Showing those attending your open house the property’s potential with proper staging helps them imagine themselves living in the space which could mean the difference in a new or lost sale.

4. Refreshments

People Enjoying a Fruit & Cheese PlatterAs previously stated, open houses are primarily for building a relationship with prospective clients, and providing refreshments is a perfect way to do that. Coffee, juice, meat and cheese trays, fresh fruit, and cookies are all wonderful ideas. Bonus points if the cookies are homemade. This provides you an opportunity to connect with and get to know individuals or groups over a snack while they mull over the property and allows them to ask any questions they may have. Getting clients to trust you will mean there is a greater chance of them turning to you should they decide to submit an offer for the property or utilizing you for further house hunting opportunities.

5. Sign-In

Woman Typing on a Laptop KeyboardKeeping track of guests allows you to follow up with them later if they show interest in the property. Setting up a check-in area near the entrance of the house or rental unit is a quick and easy method of logging visitors. Provide a sign-in book, laptop, or tablet and perhaps a stack of reusable chalkboard name tags near the front door for guests to write their names on so you can easily learn their names.

6. Staying Memorable

Business Partners Shaking HandsSince the general purpose of an open house is to stay memorable to potential and future home buyers, wearing an eye-catching name tag from Name Tag Wizard works well in tandem while you host your event. Customized with your name and agency’s logo, a house-shaped name tag is perfect for getting guests to remember you. Be sure to include your name and title as well as your agency’s name and logo so anyone you meet at your open house can easily remember you and your company.

Prepare for your next open house with these tips and a custom real estate name tag from Name Tag Wizard!

References:

  1. help.movinglabor.com
  2. smartasset.com