Yes, the numbers don’t lie, we are gradually moving to an age of more short-term jobs, online gigs and freelance work, but that doesn’t make you shouldn’t be trying your best to turn good employees into long-term partners. In a sea of transient contracts, long-term relationships have become more valuable than ever. Think about it from an economic standpoint, the lower the supply of X, the greater its demand and value tends to become. By good employees, we mean the people you look forward to seeing when you start your workday, the person you’ll contact at an awkward hour when you need to confirm or request something, it’s those people in your team you can trust.

There are two sides of the career and success coin, and it’s important to find the intersection between them.

1. Individualise career-path

Each individual can have different objectives at different points in life. Part of career roadmapping should be understanding what the individual wants. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for career roadmapping. One way you can guarantee an employee’s loyalty is by mapping out their goals and finding out where they intersect with your company’s goals.

Everyone has their own motivators, and if you want to help your employees upskill and bring new knowledge and skill sets into your business, you need to find out what they need to get there.” 

2. Look for ways to provide more resources

Actively look for ways to give more resources and skills to your employees. The more they develop, the more unique skills they bring back into your company.  Even if a particular skill may not be 100% directly relevant to your company’s needs, helping an employee actualise their goals creates happiness and loyalty – two qualities with incredible benefits for your team that money can’t buy.

Recognise that it’s likely that your employees already have a pretty good idea of the resources and skills they need; often, all you need is a wholesome conversation to find the right intersection between your needs and theirs.

A good employer will do their best to facilitate an employee’s ambitions and will be realistic enough to see the shorter-term benefits of investing in their development regardless of their long-term destination.

3. Look within for talent first

Stop valuing experience and precise qualifications before everything else when seeking to resolve a need. Fct is that, when motivated, a person can learn and absorb experience at a pace that will surprise you. Let employees make mistakes; let them get the additional training or mentoring, if necessary; but look internally for your talent.

Empower employees by promoting from within, and approach promotions with a hive mentality. If you have one employee ready to advance, who on that team can take their role?

4. Change the conversation from expectation to opportunity

Often, career paths are approached with an eye toward what each party can do to help the other. Let go of this mind-set and shift your point of view to a more collaborative and opportunities-driven approach by separating out performance and career path development meetings. By doing this, you allow a platform for the two to exist symbiotically.

For instance, an employee may find a special project or client that aligns with their skills and interests and volunteer to work on it. For an employer, maybe they proactively look for those types of projects for people too or find chances to create new roles that align with employee goals while also helping the company.

Create time and space for employees to talk about their career path development so they feel heard. When employees feel heard, their roadmaps will feel individualized to them, bringing us full circle.

Conclusion 

Career roadmapping helps employees find their way, make an impact and deliver meaning to their professional lives. In turn, it helps employers support the growth of their teams and organizations. This process can be tricky, but by approaching each employee as an individual, empowering employees from within and looking for ways to give more resources to your teams, you’ll be on the path to success. Make sure you are retaining talent by working individually with employees to map their paths to the top of the mountain, one opportunity  at a time.

Contrary to popular belief, confidence isn’t just an innate quality you either possess or you don’t. While some people are naturally more confident than others, it’s important to remember that confidence is a skill that you can learn just like everything else.

Appearance matters. It’s not just a question of feeling good about yourself, it’s about the experience you’re giving to those around you. Confidence can make or break your ability to present an important concept to fellow colleagues or potential clients, it can also define your success as the manager of a company, the leader of a team, or a new employee who wants to earn the trust of colleagues and be given greater responsibilities. How you project yourself is almost as essential as the quality of your work when it comes to advancing your career.

Remember, the majority of our communication is nonverbal, the how we say something behind the what we say. Nonverbal communication makes up a minimum of 60 percent of our communication ability. So, if you only focus on your words, you are using only 40 percent of your ability. You have to get into the habit of portraying confidence with both your verbal and nonverbal communication.

1. Stop slouching

Aside from causing lower back pain, standing slumped over or with your shoulders caved in can cause you to look unsure of yourself. Instead of allowing your body to hunch over, stand up straight, hold your head up high and push your shoulders back. Additionally, when you’re speaking with someone, it helps to have your body directly facing theirs. When you’re discovering how to appear more confident, always remember to start with adjusting your posture and everything else will fall into place.

Here’s some tips from us:

  • Stand up as TALL as you can

  • Pull your shoulder blades down and back as far as possible – This will feel really weird at first, but work at it!

  • Pick your chin up and look straight ahead – stop looking down while walking around, there’s a whole world out there for you to see.

  • Do planks every other day (working your way up to two minutes), and you’ll have a rock-solid core and incredibly strong lower back.

  • Back exercises like pull-ups and inverted rows can help a lot with posture.

2. Take your time

The first dead giveaway that someone is nervous? Speaking too quickly and mumbling through your sentences!

Take your time when speaking or expressing an idea, take a deep breath and don’t be afraid of pausing before moving on to the next point.

An easy fix to project your voice better is to simply smile! When you smile, your voice will naturally sound pleasant and more confident. You should also make a point not to raise your pitch at the end of sentences, as this can make it seem like you’re asking a question or looking for approval for what you’ve just said.

3. Recognise the value of your attention

The most valuable thing we can offer to others isn’t money or time, it’s attention!

Direct eye contact lets people know you’re focusing your attention on them, and this is key to establishing a good relationship with someone.

Too much intense eye contact can be off-putting, so aim for a happy medium. A good rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule. Meet your partner’s eyes 80% of the time you’re speaking and allow your eyes to wander or focus on something else the other 20%.

4. Steer your hands

The way you hold your hands is a big part of how to appear confident. Fidgeting, wringing your hands, folding your arms or sticking your hands in your pockets give off nervous or uncomfortable energy to everyone around you.

Not sure what to do with your hands? Try simple gestures. For example, make a steeple shape with your hands by placing the tips of your fingers together so they form a point. When you’re wondering how to show confidence, this is an excellent gesture that can be used in many situations, whether you’re giving a presentation or deeply listening to someone else.

So, what tips did I miss or mess up? Any other words of wisdom to pass along? Us nerds need all the help we can get!

Send us a message or leave a comment if you’d like to discuss any of our points, or add one of your own. If you need guidance with interviewing for a job, don’t hesitate to send us an email or drop us a private message via our social channels – it’s just a conversation!

2020 didn’t just threaten Malta’s collective health, it gave a devastating blow to businesses across every industry. As minimising costs becomes increasingly more important in order to survive, the question follows: How can hiring a recruitment agency help me reduce expenditure?

Working with an agency to hire recruits and manage your team’s development sounds like an extra step in the short run, but it brings about a wealth of advantages in the long run. In this article, we go over what we believe are the most important benefits.

1. Short-term and long-term cost savings

In business, as in life, time is money. Recruitment agencies don’t just take care of the initial step of the hiring process, depending on your contract, an agency will schedule interviews, prepare candidates with the training and information they need, run background checks, communicate with interviewees, and in some cases, deal with a host of administrative and HR issues.

One major mistake companies make is to not follow up on job interviews. Even if you’re rejecting someone, it’s still essential to communicate with them. Marketing can do a lot to project a good image for your company, but nothing can be as devastating as bad opinions about your attitude spreading through word-of-mouth.

2. Additional services

Say you don’t have the resources to have a human resources department at your company, a full-service recruitment agency like our own can handle payroll, employee complaints, training and development, as well as aid your team improve traffic flow and operations. Basically, a recruitment agency can act as your in-house HR management team. By outsourcing this service, your company can remain entirely focused on its core competencies and avoid spreading yourself too thin.

If your business has a job position available with an uncertain salary, a recruitment agency is ideally placed to give you an accurate market rate using salary data and local market knowledge.

3. Finding the right talent

If you use a recruitment agency, you’re statistically more likely to access the best job-seekers on the market; candidates who are actively looking for a new job position are more likely to register with a recruitment agency due to their efficiency.

Most agencies will position job vacancy adverts on a range of job boards, understanding the logistics and marketing value behind using each one – invaluable knowledge that can only be accessed from working in the recruitment sector.

4. Identifying the right direction for your team to grow

One of the biggest problems companies incur when handling recruitment themselves is that they don’t look for the right skills required by their agency to grow in the most profitable direction. Companies often fall into the trap of looking for an employee to solve a short term problem that can more easily be solved by restructuring your present team or investing in new software.

A recruitment agency will use its insights into other companies working in the same industry as you are to provide guidance on which positions you should be recruiting for, identify the right time for you to grow your team, and assess the most cost effective composition for your team.

Start a conversation with us!

To find out more about how partnering with us can help your company, send us a private message via our social channels or email us at [email protected].

Pandemic or not, big or small, most businesses face the same key issues. How do I increase productivity? How do I decrease downtime?

We spend more time per day with work colleagues than we do with our loved ones back at home. It then follows that our offices and workspaces need to offer an environment that promotes health and welfare if we are to achieve long term productivity. Shortcuts will only work in the short run.

For this article, we’re going to be looking at the elements that help workspaces provide a productive environment. We’re imagining a space with a desk and a laptop, be it a living room, bedroom or a designated study area. Despite this, many of our tips can be applied to any area where you perform work, be it in the kitchen or in a garage.

For Malta and elsewhere, Covid-19 changed the way we work dramatically, but remember: Whether at home or at work, we still spend a majority of our day working.

Work can mean many things: It can be preparing a meal, recording content, filing a form, paying bills, reviewing accounts to managing communications and workflow in a big company.

  1. Stimulate your sense of smell

Aromatherapy probably isn’t the first step you imagined, but we argue it should be.

Of our senses, smell is best able to influence brain activity. Our olfactory bulbs, responsible for recognising and processing smells, directly influence our limbic system, responsible for emotion and memory. This is why some smells can bring vivid, old memories back to the surface.

It’s not just about cognition, essential oils also have anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

The key challenge you’ll face in following these four steps is not budget, but balance. Do too much of one thing, and it can become distracting, do too little, and you may notice any difference. Finding when too much is too much is going to be up to you, but keep in mind that one pleasant scent is better than three great scents if they do not mix well together.

You can introduce a pleasant scent through candles or incense sticks, herbs or flowers.

Here are six scents that Hawkins recommends for boosting your productivity, mood and more at work:

  • Lemon
  • Lavender
  • Jasmine
  • Rosemary
  • Cinnamon
  • Peppermint

  1. Add plants and flowers

Scientists have named us ‘Homosapiens’ meaning ‘wise men’ for a reason! Moreso than any other living creature, we can perform complex work and activities.

But, when it comes to understanding what makes our natural clock tick faster, you need to first take a step back to your roots. We’re animals who can do really complex work, but we still share a lot of characteristics with our fellow living beings. Above all? A deep, instinctive attraction to the natural world.

A body of evidence promotes the presence of plants as well as natural views in workspaces.In an analysis of 10 UK studies, every paper found greenery had a positive effect on mood. It also found being around nature gave a marked lift to self-esteem, productivity and consistency.

Meanwhile, up to 10% of employee sick days could be explained by a lack of nature and natural light in the office. You can check the first two steps at one go by choosing flowers and herbs that carry a nice aroma.

Here’s five plants that research from Queensland University has found to be great promoters:

  • The Spider Plant
  • Philodendron
  • The Peace Lily
  • Golden Pothos
  • Lemon Balm

  1. Make an ergonomic chair and footrest cushion your biggest investments

Research has found that over 31% of absenteeism is due to workstation related injury.

Let’s first explain the cushion:

First, footstools can be flipped over to obtain a rocking motion that keeps your blood circulation going. Perfect for restless legs, long trips in the car or an extended session at your desk. Otherwise, you can kick off the shoes and enjoy a therapeutic feet rest massage while you work. The footrest pillow cover is hygienic and washable

Secondly, if you spend all day sitting down working at a computer then you need to invest in ergonomic chairs.

It’s not just about avoiding back problems, it has been proven that sitting in an ergonomic chair improves workplace performance. This is a result of increased blood and oxygen flow which helps keep you more alert and awake, which allows for better concentration.

  1. Include a whiteboard

A whiteboard is a fantastic and classic way to activate great communication in your team. It’s not just about setting tasks and reminders, whiteboards are a great way to brainstorm ideas and illustrate points.

The humble whiteboard remains the favourite tools for CEO’s of all ages.

Not only is it a reusable space, it is also a persistent space.

Even if you are working alone, a whiteboard still is a great idea. For one, it gives you a much bigger space to brainstorm visually than your average notebook or laptop screen, and b) notes on a whiteboard won’t be hidden by an app or a Netflix episode anytime soon.

Want to find out more about making your office space a more productive environment?

Contact us via email on [email protected] or visit our website at www.crossroads.com.mt.

Using the right tools can bring about tremendous growth in business. But the applications and software we have listed below are not only there to accelerate your team’s progress, they can also be the lifesaver you need in times of crisis, mitigating costs and maximising value. Many of the contenders we have listed below offer comprehensive, free trials. Other criterias we considered are online reviews, references and popularity.

  1. Make contact with Acquire

Acquire is a multi-channel platform that allows you to track, chat and manage conversations with customers. Acquire’s inbox integrates with Whatsapp, Facebook, Skype and most apps you can think of.

Customers want you to give them the information they want right now, not in three hours. With a chat system like Acquire, you and your team can keep easy, continuous contact with customers anytime, anywhere.

The extra mile:

Their AI-based sales bot will manage online interactions of customers across multiple channels and then report back to you with their needs. Meanwhile, cobrowse and screen share allows you to assist customers immediately and effectively.

Close contenders:

Freshdesk, Ytel

  1. Follow the numbers with ZipBooks

Aside from issuing invoices in an easy and seamless manner, ZipBooks is dedicated to recording and tracking all your numbers, from recurring expenses, accounts payables, and other financial transactions quickly and easily.

Businesses tend to face steeper and steeper challenges when tracking expenditures, revenue and profit becomes a problem. With ZipBooks automated bookkeeping, handling your accounts is no longer a mathematical nightmare.

The extra mile:

Their online tutorials are informative and easy to follow.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y1rHWI7shE

Close contenders:

GnuCash, YouNeedABudget, Mint.com

  1. Take things one step at a time with Wunderlist

Contrary to popular belief, multitasking actually reduces productivity. If you want to make the most of your time, then it’s smarter to execute one task after the other. Wunderlist is a strong nominee for first place when it comes to organising and keeping track of your to-do list With a little help from Wunderlist reminder, you get to keep your priorities straight and stay on top of every activity.

Close contenders:

Asana, Any.do.

  1. Get going with G-Suite

From cloud storage to document writing to calendar management, G-Suite equips organizations with flexible tools that are essential for almost any day business.

The extra mile:

Google has been leading the technological landscape for a reason: it’s managed to offer most of the utilities we need in our daily lives at no direct monetary cost.

Close contenders:

Dropbox, Zoho Workplace, Monday.com

  1. Collaborate with Zoom

Remote working has a pletora of benefits, but face-to-face contact is equally essential. Zoom is a video collaboration tool for real-time communications.

The extra mile

Zoom’s great audio and video quality prevents noise interference and features a number of interactive technologies to enhance your communication.

Close contenders:

Google Hangouts Meet, Skype

  1. Get an extra pair of eyes with Grammarly

Almost any business requires regular exchange of emails and documents. Grammatical mistakes can result in poor communication and reflect badly on you and your business. Grammarly provides helpful suggestions to correct spelling, replace with simpler words, use precise diction and avoid other common errors related to lexis and syntax.

The extra mile

Grammarly does not correct or help with Maltese, which is a shame. This is the best Maltese spell checker we know of. If you know any other that may be better, please send us a message!

Close contenders to Grammarly:

ProWritingAid, WhiteSmoke

We’ll be writing listing other apps that are making big changes to the way we work. Tip us by dropping a private message, or give us a call at 2333 2222.

Adding someone new to your team can get risky and expensive, especially if you’re growing a new business, or if you’re still recovering from Covid-19’s effects on the economy.We technically spend more hours interacting with the people we work with than we do our family. You’re not just asking for an employee, you’re asking someone to become a constant in your life. That means you should definitely be spending more than just 15 minutes figuring out who to hire.

 

  1. Recruiting new people before pinpointing what your company actually needs

    With many companies having to do more with fewer resources, it may become insanely difficult to spend time evaluating what your next steps should be. Often, impatience drives businesses to hire a salesperson and ask them to sell a product that still has some chinks that need to be fixed. Sometimes, the best step forward is a step back. Once you have established what you need to convince your potential clients, understanding who you need to hire becomes easy.

  2. Recruiting based on personal connection 

    The numbers draw a clear picture: If you want to avoid future problems, do not recruit someone for a new position just because they are family, close friends or have history with you. You’re not just putting yourself in a potentially awkward position should you have cause to fire them in the future, it’s also putting other coworkers in a tough spot. If a situation arises where the person you hired is doing a bad job, it’s unlikely coworkers will say this to you. That kind of blind spot can tank any team.

    It’s equally unwise to recruit people based on interviews and C.V’s alone, and you should definitely endeavor to actually meet a person a second time, in a more casual setting, before hiring them. 15 minutes is not enough to make a decision if you’re looking to hire them to work with you for the foreseeable future. Invite them for a coffee and a conversation!

  3. Mishandling rejections and not supplying feedback 

    Be polite enough to take the time to give feedback to a rejected candidate, it can also benefit your recruitment process and employer brand. Remember that more so than any advert or article, what makes or breaks a brand is what people say about it.

 

Whether you’re looking for employment, or seeking to recruit, you can trust the team at Crossroads to give you the right directions. Drop us a message through our social channels, via email or find us on Facebook or LinkedIn.

 

Crossroads Consulting Ltd is a niche recruitment agency, providing staffing and HR consultancy services in the following specialised sectors: financial services, management, law and compliance, gaming and information technology.

Days starting to blur together? Conversation at home running dry? Has procrastination replaced productivity? You’re not alone.

Staying productive while we’re essentially locked up in our homes, away from our workspace and our people is challenging. But, to guarantee the safety of our friends and relatives who may be vulnerable to the virus, and to prevent overburdening our healthcare infrastructure, COVID-19 has made social distancing essential for everyone to practice.

With this in mind, we consulted experts in welfare, productivity and health over steps we can take to take care of ourselves, our capacity to be productive, and our relationships during this time.

1. Do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, or a combination of both.

This is the minimum amount of exercise recommended by WHO on a general basis, but also with the restrictions COVID-19 has brought about. These recommendations can still be achieved even at home, with no special equipment and with limited space. You can follow an online exercise tutorial on youtube and other media platforms, or you can go for a walk (but keep your distance from others).

If you find yourself sitting at your desk (or on the couch) tapping away on a laptop or tablet for most of the day, seriously consider getting a heigh-adjustable standing desk. Minimising the amount of time you spend ‘sedentary’ (sitting, lying down), makes a drastic difference for your health. With a standing desk, you can quickly raise or lower your desk to alternate between sitting and standing throughout your workday, as our experts recommend.

2. Get back to basics: A good night’s sleep, an early rise

If you need a reason to shut off your screens for a night, consider your waistline, your working life, and ability to empathise. Health correspondent Jane E. Brody reports for the New York Times that more and more research shows how our sleeping habits affect just about every phase of our lives–be it life expectancy, decision making, or ability to learn. In other words, if your attitude is that you’ll sleep when you’re dead, you’ll soon be dead.

3. Write down your goals for the day
Make these goals as visible to you as possible. Write them down on your phone calendar, in a notebook, on sticky notes you can attach wherever you spend most of your time. For the overachievers: Try getting up super early (like 4 a.m. early)–it can do wonders for your productivity.

Remember: The key to success is the freedom to fail.

4. Spend time away from smart gadgets and play a board game with your family
“We don’t have anything to talk about” is a good excuse, but who cares about talking when you can play games and then fight over who should win! Not only is it incredibly fun, it’s very healthy for our minds, our chemistry, and also helps relationships (yes, even when it all ends up in a fight). Read here for a closer look at the dramatic benefits of playing games. 

One final tip before we conclude? Make that call. If a friend or a relative comes to mind, go ahead and check up on them. If you can, opt for a video call to keep those expressions alive and communicate more holistically, so take advantage of it! To conclude, we’d like to insist that you do not underestimate the virus and the effect that it can have on you and on our loved ones. Physical distance now helps us ensure that we can still all enjoy each other once this is over, We all have a part to play to get this over as quick as possible!

Maybe you are just looking for a part-time gig to supplement your income, or  maybe you are one step closer to your dream job. It is true: Without relevant qualifications – be that a diploma or a degree – it’s unlikely that an employer will actually consider you, much less invite you to an interview.

However, to stand out and land a job, what’s written on your CV isn’t going to cut it.

 

Here’s three things you need to start working on today:

 

1. Your appearance

 

Almost everyone knows the idiom: “don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Our response? Tell that to Instagram.

 

It is a truth – not universally acknowledged – that people’s perception of you will be based on what kind of experience you offer to them. That means how you look, sound, act, your choice of clothes, hygiene as well as what you say, and how much you say, is going to build their impression of you. And that’s not evil or shallow, it’s human nature.

This is true everywhere, but especially true for employers. Employers must make important value judgments based on the information they get from a 10-20 minute interview. The wrong choice can mean thousands of euros go down the drain. That raises the stakes, and it reminds us: We don’t get a second chance to make a great first impression.

We’re not suggesting you go ahead and start investing in botox, appearance is a lot more about what you do than how you look. Here’s some tips:

  • Give your body more of your time: that means paying attention to dental hygiene, clearing nails and using a deodorant.
  • Invest in your wardrobe. An easy way to do this is to find one colour you enjoy and then build your wardrobe around it. If you have a green jacket, complement with other green hues, or complement with a yellow-mustard sweater.
  • Add a fitness routine to your schedule. That can mean hitting the gym five times a week, it can also just mean going for power walks every couple of days. Exercise – whatever form it takes – allows us to release built-up aggression and pent-up frustrations, this will make you naturally more predisposed to good body language.

 

2. Your ability to hold up a conversation

Researching the company’s history and taking a look at their social pages is a great first step, but also take a look at news about the industry itself. We’re not saying you should go through 20 pages of google news, but having a general understanding of recent advancements, new technologies and rising challenges equips you with the material you need to ask insightful questions and provide impressive answers.

 

3. Your body language

 First tip? Stand tall. Judy Jernudd, globally-renowned leadership coach, recommends honing certain psychological behaviors, like walking upright and with confidence, which will make you seem taller than someone who is slouched over or walking with her head down.

Likewise, avoid folding arms, pursing lips, and tapping away with your fingers. Poor body language, such as playing with a pen, chewing gum, slouching, and even brushing back hair, can be a distraction. Make a conscious effort to adapt positive body language, this includes nodding, eye contact, smiling, and solid posture.

“As social creatures, we are programmed to notice the body language of others and scan for cues of safety and welcome,” relationship therapist, educator, and author Shadeen Francis told INSIDER. “Smiling is a universal signal for warmth, approachability, and attractiveness.” Need practice? Start by making your smile work for you. Go infront of the mirror and give yourself a smile.

Here’s two more tips from us:

 

The first person you should be giving your attention to is you

Attention is an exercise in intentional focus, take time to actively notice positive qualities about yourself, whether external characteristics or internal skills and qualities. When you spend time acknowledging these traits, you can experience them more fully and make them a stronger part of the experience you give to others.

It may seem silly, but repeating positive affirmations to yourself in the mirror or saying things that you like about yourself will help you validate those traits and value them in yourself. Acknowledging your best traits is as important as acknowledging your worst.

 

Accept, acknowledge and poke fun at your vulnerabilities

We all have stuff that we are sensitive about. For some, it’s a physical or speech impediment, for others, it’s a past event or recent problem they’re still getting over, and for many, it’s a habit they can’t quite stop. Instead of letting these things get under your skin, take some pressure off of yourself and remind yourself: don’t take life too seriously. Let yourself be honest and upfront about them, and explore ways you can make fun out of these vulnerabilities, and that’s where you hit gold.