4 Tips for Hiring Summer Interns (Legally)

Cheap labor can be a huge boon for both startups and established companies. Hiring interns at a discounted salary is definitely a compelling idea – but what is the payoff if your interns are unmotivated and resentful of their low rank on the totem pole? Many businesses do an awful job of hiring and managing interns so the process ends up becoming a waste of time and money rather than a money-saving operation. Here are some tips for hiring summer interns that can help you avoid these pitfalls.

  1. Add a Value Proposition

The best summer interns are out there wondering “What’s in it for me?” As much as you’d love them to be interested in full-time data entry, chances are they would probably like to learn something new and take away some tangible skills from their time with you. Make the job description highlight the cool stuff the intern will be doing, in addition to being honest about the usual tedious tasks of an internship.

  1. Keep the Pipeline Open

If you want to hire the most talented students, you’ll definitely want a wide, consistent pipeline to make sure that you have enough qualified applicants. This can take some time, but it’s worth it. Make sure that your company has a presence in all the right places, including job boards, social media, career fairs and university departments. Having a lasting presence in these pipelines will bring great summer interns to your door. Also consider posting openings on the following sites:

Internships.comExperience.comIndeed Idealist.orgMediabistro.comInternJobsCollegeRecruiter.comInternMatchYouTern, College.monster.com, WayUp.com, and Craigslist.

  1. Offer Fair Compensation

Compensation can come in the form of college credits, company perks, knowledge and skill sets — as well as money. If you know your intern is going to be doing mostly menial tasks, it might be fair to you both to offer them an hourly wage. If they are getting college credit and you know you’re also going to be working to equip them with valuable skills and knowledge, they might not mind working for free. Most students state that compensation is the least important factor when deciding on an internship as long as they’re benefitting in some other way. Just make sure to research your state’s laws about interns before you decide how you’re going to go about compensating them.

  1. Mind Your Workplace and Labor Laws

Speaking of laws — this should go without saying but most of the labor laws that apply to employees, like workplace discrimination laws, also apply to summer interns. The same goes for health and safety laws – and some states require that you carry workers’ comp insurance for your interns as well as your full-time employees.

Hiring summer interns is all about finding the right applicants for the job. Get in touch with Vesper if you need help finding awesome summer interns this year!

 

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Tips for Managing Remote Employees

Maintaining a solid workforce and engaging in effective team building is hard enough when all of your employees work from the same place everyday. Add geographic distance and the lack of face-to-face communication to the mix and it can be even more challenging – especially if you don’t have a solid plan in place. However, new technologies and innovative techniques can help you manage remote employee engagement, no matter how far away they are dialing in from.

 

Tips for Remote Managing Employee Engagement

Want to make sure your remote employees are engaged, happy, and productive? The following tips for remote employee engagement can help.

Become Friends

One of the best ways to collaborate with team members is to strengthen your ability to empathize with each other. This means establishing a bond by becoming friends. A recent MIT study found that one of the main ingredients in a smart team was being able to consider and keep track of what other people feel, know and believe. The more you understand your employees’ perspectives, the more effectively you will collaborate with them. Make time for small talk, ask questions and stay engaged.

Make Use of Video Whenever Possible

Even if you’re not standing in the same room, video can be an effective way of keeping your team members connected. Over half of human communication is non-verbal, after all. It’s great to have visual clues to what others are thinking during your meetings. There are tons of free and inexpensive solutions, too – Skype, Google Hangouts and Sqwiggle (just to name a few).

Never Cancel a Meeting

To the extent that you’re able to, try to avoid cancelling meetings, especially one-on-ones. There’s no faster way to build resentment in your team – they will feel like their time isn’t respected and the meetings themselves will lose value in their minds. Stick to your planned meetings and appointments as best you can, and you’ll get more done while strengthening your relationships with all your remote employees.

Have Annual Meetups

If your employees are scattered all over the country or world, it might not be realistic to get together that frequently. But scheduling at least one meetup annually will help your team build more rapport in a day than in months of working remotely. You can host a meetup in your headquarter city or have everyone meet up at an industry summit or conference.

 

Managing remote employees and keeping everyone happy and on the same page isn’t easy. But with a little added effort, you can maintain a tight, high-functioning team that will collaborate as effectively as possible. Thoughts/questions? Get in touch hello@getvesper.com.

 

 

 

 

Featured Client: Quant Trading Firm

At Vesper, we work with a variety of clients, and sometimes we’re called in to take over specific headaches. At one of the firms, as you’ll see below, snacks, beverage, and food was a recurring thorn in the side–we stepped in, tested a few vendors, and implemented a few guidelines to help keep the team happy.

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1. Name, Job, Company

Chris C., quantitative trader

2. What made you seek Vesper out for additional admin support? 

We were between operations managers and looking for a way to handle a lot of various administrative tasks that arise. Having no one in place was distracting and costly for the rest of the team, and Vesper offered a low-risk, easy-to-try solution.

3. What made you choose Vesper over other services?

We looked around, and while Vesper was fairly new, the profiles of the management team seemed relatable and trustworthy, and we also shared many mutual contacts between them. After chatting with a few people who tangentially knew or knew of the Vesper founders, it seemed like a no-brainer to at least try them out.

4. What does Vesper do to help around the office? Any specific projects that Vesper has owned or managed?

Vesper has helped us with automating more of our meal ordering (hectic, given our various dietary restrictions); saved time in helping us have a single person to go to for ordering snacks, beverages, refreshments, etc. — as well as taking care of reservations, picking restaurants or venues for teammate dinners or vendors, and organizing the logistics around various team events including booking and coordinating schedules.

These all may seem “not that hard” for any one person on the team to manage, but they all undeniably take up significant time in any teammate’s day, as an organization we don’t want to give them up (snacks, meals, events, etc.) and so Vesper is able to help us save that time while simultaneously providing an extremely professional contact who displays no entitlement around doing tasks that “need to get done” but may not be appealing to all.

This is a way in which we’ve been able to leverage Vesper’s help dramatically, to the point we were absolutely ecstatic to sign a 1-year contract with them as soon as our initial trial ended.

5. How has your work life changed since discovering Vesper?

I’ve been able to focus more on the core business, and have noticed some (but not all) teammates spend less time on miscellaneous things like shopping for specific snacks or brands, or being interrupted by deliveries or visitors. I’ve also noticed more bandwidth to address other issues that arise — issues that may not be as urgent, but are nonetheless important.

6. Sum up your experience with Vesper in 3 words. 

Reliable, Efficient, Effective.

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If, like Chris, you have a team that has a variety of specific dietary needs or could benefit from having an experienced professional take care of your team and office, get ahead of the issue and see how much it would cost for your team to hire a Vesper Manager here!

5 Useful Tips for Making Your Company Family-Friendly

One way that small businesses have evolved over the past few years is by instituting more family-friendly policies. Family-friendly policies make businesses more adaptable and better equipped for a wider population, and they allow employees who are parents to more easily achieve a work-life balance – which ultimately helps them perform better on the job. While large companies have lots of resources to offer to employees who are parents, small businesses are often able to make valuable changes more easily and quickly than large, corporate organizations — because they don’t have to go through tons of red tape with an HR department or extensive company policies.

Family-Friendly Policies for Small Companies

If you’re a small business looking to make your work environment more family-friendly here are some easy family-friendly policies that you can introduce.

Flex Time

Parents have busy schedules and have to deal with last-minute changes in their kids’ schedules as well. Sometimes events come up, babysitters cancel, kids get sick, etc. Flex Time is a work schedule that is adjustable and lets employees decide when they want to start and end they workday. Parents who have afternoon commitments could show up at 6 or 7am and head out at 3 or 4pm (instead of the typical 9 to 5 workday). Flex schedules allow employees to pop out to pick up the kids to school or get them to a dentist appointment, etc., which helps reduce both stress and childcare costs.

Paid Maternity/Paternity Leave

According to the US Department of labor, companies with less than 50 employees don’t have to offer paid maternity leave – and this can be really hard on a family. Not all small businesses are in a financial position to offer this, but think about ways you could offer partial income or other benefits to your employees while they are adjusting to parenthood. It is likely to make them much more loyal to you in the long run.

Telecommuting

Many startups and small businesses are opting for telecommuting positions these days. This is an ideal situation for families because parents can multi-task and not worry about having to be in a specific location all day. It’s one of the best perks a company can offer to parents.

On-site childcare

If you need your staff on-site, you could outsource childcare help for the office. On-site childcare helps parents rest assured that their kids are happy and safe during the day, which can help them work more effectively. It’s also nice for parents to be able to check in on kids during lunch breaks, etc.

No caps on promotions

Companies can underscore the fact that having a baby won’t keep you from getting raises or promotions. It’s a good idea to have transparent policies about how new parents, especially women, aren’t at risk of losing their ability to get promoted if they are planning to have a child.

Making your business a family-friendly environment is a good way to help attract young talent that may, someday, want to start a family. If you want help instituting family friendly policies at your workplace, get in touch with Vesper. We can help you do things like find an in-house childcare solution, or provide an extra set of hands on-demand should a parent need to leave the office.

 

How to Write a Standout Office Manager Cover Letter

No matter what kind of office you work in, the job of office manager is one of the most important roles in the business. Office managers are expected to wear a lot of different hats, and they’re tasked with keeping the place running smoothly no matter what else is going on in the office at the time. Despite the challenges that accompany an office manager position, however, it can also be a very dynamic and fulfilling job – one that pays $41.40 per hour on average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — and one that allows you to engage with other people and sharpen a huge range of skillsets.

We’ve seen our fair share of cover letters and applications for the Vesper Manager role, and we put together a set of best practices based on the best and worst ones we’ve read. Hope you find these tips helpful!

4 Crucial Elements of Standout Office Manager Cover Letter

The following four tips can help ensure that your office manager cover letter lands you an interview.

Be personable

Office managers have to interact with pretty much everyone at the office, from secretaries to CEOs. It’s important for you to come across as friendly and personable in your office manager cover letter so that you stand out from the rest of applicants. Introduce yourself and include a few personal details that might help someone better understand you as a person, such as your interests outside of work (travel, playing music, etc.).

Tell them how you got here

What made you decide to become an office manager in the first place? If this is your first time applying for this position, use your office manager cover letter to explain why you’re transitioning to this new career path. If you’ve been a long-time office manager, describe what it is you like about the job that has made you want to continue to do it.

Highlight Applicable Skills

Whether you’ve worked as an office manager before or not, you can call attention to applicable skills that you have that make you a better candidate than others. Are you familiar with office technology, such as software programs, photocopiers, telephone etiquette, etc.? Do you have awesome organizational skills and the ability to multi-task like a pro? Are you able to stay calm and composed even when the pressure is on? Highlighting specific skills that you have honed over the years will help you stand out.

Talk about their company

The more personalized your office manager cover letter is, the better. Companies love to know that you admire their work and have done your research to find out all you can about them. Discuss why you’re interested in what they do and why that company or industry would be a particularly good fit for you.

If you have a strong background in administrative work, good people skills and a desire to manage people and a variety of tasks, a strong office manager cover letter is just what you need to help you land your next job. To learn more about what it takes to become an office manager, reach out to us at Vesper.

4 Valuable Tips for Improving Employee Retention This Year

 

According to a 2015 PayScale Report, employee retention is one of the main concerns for 57% of employers. It makes sense that this would be a top priority – hiring and training new employees takes time and money, and a high turnover rate means your productivity is going to lag behind your competitors. It’s wiser to invest your dollars in employee retention strategies than hiring and training new employees.

 

4 Helpful Employee Retention Tips

Here are some great tips that can help you improve your employee retention rate so you can focus on moving your business forward.

Update Your Screening Process

One of the best employee retention strategies is to make sure you are hiring the right people to begin with. Take a look at your hiring process and make sure that you are properly screening them to weed out prospects that might not be in it for the long haul. There’s nothing wrong with people switching jobs from time to time but if you have a candidate that tends to jump ship after a few months or isn’t invested in a career in your industry they might not be the right hire.

Make Sure Your Salaries are Competitive

You might be tempted to tighten up the purse strings when it comes to bringing new hires on board but it will actually serve you better to offer a higher salary to begin with. It can cost up to 50 percent of an entry-level employee’s salary to replace them! You can avoid that cost by bumping up the initial salary offer by 10 or 15% and making the job more attractive to prospective hires who will then hopefully stay on longer.

Boost Your Benefits

These days, companies are getting really creative with the benefits they offer. Even small companies can find ways of offering little perks when budgets are tight. Pairing up with city bike share programs, offering discounted gym memberships, getting VIP tickets to special events or discounts with local retailers can be great ways to ensure your employees stay happy and loyal.

Offer Flexible Work Hours

More and more people are getting comfortable with working remotely these days, and if you are able to allow your employers to work from home, even one or two days a week, (particularly during the summer season) chances are they will be happier with the job. It doesn’t mean they’ll be working less often or that their productivity will drop – in fact, the opposite is probably true. According to Unify, up to 43% of workers today would switch jobs if it meant great flexibility in their schedule. Be the one to offer it and you’ll have employees that will stick around.

Improving retention rates is important for the success of your business. To keep a handle on your talent, make sure you’re paying fairly and offering your employees some attractive perks that make working for your company worthwhile for everyone.

With help implementing benefits that keep your employees happy, or to ensure a happy office environment, get in touch with Vesper. Our expert office managers can make sure everything at your office runs smoothly and without any hiccups.

4 Surprisingly Simple Ways for Office Managers to Cut Clutter

There’s no way around it – being an office manager is hard work. From keeping the workspace functional, to anticipating the needs of employees, to just being generally present to solve problems as they arise, office managers consistently – and unendingly – have a lot on their metaphorical responsibility plate. One of the biggest challenges of being an office manager at a busy company is maintaining an office that is tidy and clutter-free, despite constant chaos and activity and bustle.

Despite the challenge of maintaining a tidy office, keeping your office clutter-free is key for maximum employee productivity. According to a study on clutter done by Forbes, the typical professional wastes about 150 hours per year looking for info they can’t find due to disorganization and mess. This can end up costing a company about $3,800 dollars — and nobody’s got time for wasted time or money.

4 Tips for Cutting Office Clutter

If you’re looking for ways to tackle office clutter, the following decluttering tips can help. With a few simple steps, you can have an office that both facilitates productivity and feels like a pleasant place for people to work.

  1. Create a space for everything.

There’s some important truth behind the famous mantra “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” Designating a place for every single thing you or your teammates use while in the office will help drastically cut back on clutter and chaos. Even if you’ve already been in your office space for decades, it’s not too late to create official spots for your supplies. Find a specific place for everything (that means everything: the hand sanitizer bottle you pass around, postage stamps, even the shared office umbrella) and add labels to make everything clear. By designating a place for each item, you can avoid having things pile up on random surfaces and cut down on the search time required to find necessary materials.

  1. Delineate a workflow for decluttering paperwork.

One of the biggest office clutter culprits is paper. Paper is essential for most business situations – but it can pile up easily, and it’s difficult to sort through. Instead of letting piles of papers sit on desks, one of the smartest decluttering tips is to create an official paperwork workflow for the office. Give everyone an inbox, an outbox, and a place to file papers when they’re no longer needed. Instituting a workflow is a great method for decluttering paperwork, and it can also help ensure that files stay organized over time.

  1. Store nonessential items.

If your office has storage space that’s out of sight: a filing cabinet, storage closet, basement, storage unit, etc., use it to hold nonessential items that won’t need to be accessed regularly. This means you should store away old papers, equipment you no longer use, or things you need infrequently — like holiday decorations you only use once a year. Getting things you need infrequently out of the workspace is an easy fix for a work environment that feels too cramped.

  1. Designate a monthly decluttering day.

No matter how careful you are about your initial office decluttering session or how many helpful systems you put in place, chances are that there will be some office clutter buildup over time due to daily activity. So, try to designate a day each month to devote to decluttering. File papers that are on surfaces, put away equipment that has been left out, and review your systems to make sure they are working. Regular check-ins help you stay on top of messes so they never get overwhelming.

Need help getting the clutter out of your office space? Vesper’s office managers can help. We’ll help you cut through the chaos and get your workspace neat and tidy, so your team can enjoy optimum productivity.

 

 

 

 

How to Manage a Standout Office Kitchen Your Team Will Love

 The office kitchen, though often overlooked, might just be the most important office room in the office. Not only does an office kitchen (or break room) offer workers a place to keep themselves nourished and healthy, it also serves as a social hub, helping strengthen team bonds and encourage collaboration. Studies have shown that a kitchen isn’t just useful – it’s also important to employees. According to a recent study about workplace amenities done by Staples, 73% of workers feel that a well-stocked work kitchen makes them happier at the office, while 57% feel that having a kitchen at work makes them more productive.

If you want to offer your team a kitchen that facilitates socializing, encourages health, and keeps everyone happy, check out the following office kitchen ideas. These tips will help ensure your office kitchen is a place that is easy to use and fun to spend time in.

 

  1. Offer a selection of tools.

You don’t need to offer a full set of steak knives and a Viking Range at the office. However, you can create a kitchen that employees can actually use by offering a selection of office kitchen supplies that can help them make or reheat and eat a simple office lunch. Not sure what you should include? Consider the following items:

  • Disposable plates and bowls
  • Disposable cutlery
  • Disposable coffee cups
  • Refrigerator
  • Napkins
  • Can opener
  • Microwave
  • Electric kettle
  • Paper towels
  • Sponges
  • Drying rack
  • Cleaning supplies
  • First Aid Kit (accidents happen!)

 

  1. Stock up with free snacks and drinks.

Everyone loves a good snack – so you might not be surprised to hear that a recent survey by Peapod showed that one of the keys to workplace happiness is having access to free food and beverages. Find a food and beverage option that fits your company’s budget, and offer it for free in the company kitchen. Consider offering healthy options like apples, granola bars, and popcorn to encourage workplace wellness – and include a coffee maker, tea options, and seltzer or sodas to ensure people stay properly hydrated and caffeinated.

 

  1. Set rules and post them.

Office kitchens can cause drama (e.g. when one person eats another person’s food, hogs the microwave for too many minutes, etc.). So, one of the most helpful office kitchen ideas is to create a set of office kitchen rules. Consider including policies about how long a microwave can be used, what to do when you finish the last cup of coffee in the pot, or how to label your leftovers in the fridge. For some guidance creating your guidelines, check out this guide to office kitchen etiquette created by the Food Network.

 

  1. Create a cleaning schedule.

Keep the office clean by having everyone take part in the process. Assign each person on your team kitchen duty once every month or so, then post the calendar on the wall. Then, make sure the kitchen is cleaned at least twice weekly. Disseminating the responsibility for cleaning throughout your whole team makes sure no one resents the time they have to spend tidying up – and it ensures the place stays spotless.

 

Want help stocking your office kitchen? Vesper can help. We can get you all of the office kitchen supplies you need to keep your team nourished and happy.

4 Helpful Tips for Smooth Employee Onboarding

 

 

Hiring somebody new for your company is an involved process: there are the applications , the interview(s), the decision-making discussions, and finally the hire. While it would be nice after making that job offer call to sit back and enjoy watching your new team member work – there’s one crucial step to ensuring your hire is successful: employee onboarding.

 

The Benefits of a Successful Onboarding Process

Onboarding – or getting your new hire literally “on board” with your company’s values, mission, culture, inner-workings, and more – is one of the best ways to ensure that a new employee flourishes on your team.

Studies have proven the importance of onboarding:

  • The first 90 days of employment are pivotal for building successful, positive rapports among coworkers. (source)
  • Employees who underwent an onboarding process were 69% more likely to remain at a company for more than 3 years. (source)
  • Companies that have an onboarding plan see 54% greater new hire productivity than those that don’t. (source)

 

Onboarding Process Tips 

If you’re considering bringing in new hires to your company, or you’re looking to tweak your company’s onboarding plan, check out the following tips. This onboarding checklist can help ensure that your new employees are stoked to work for you – and that you’re setting them (and your team) up for success.

  1. Start the process at the moment of hiring.

By the time a new employee gets to the office on day 1, he’ll probably be feeling anxious, excited, and a little overwhelmed. So, start the onboarding process early – at the moment you make the hire. This will ensure he has some time and clarity to absorb important information that can help make his start smooth. Accompany the hiring phone call or meeting with an email containing introductory documents, guides to company policies, and even friendly notes from current employees expressing their welcome and excitement. 

  1. Assign new hires a mentor.

Assign a mentor to all new hires when they arrive at the office. A mentorship-style onboarding process helps reinforce training, and it provides new hires with a resource for questions when they are feeling uncertain. Mentorships also help immediately foster relationships within the office.

  1. Create a company dictionary.

Every company has their own nicknames, buzzwords, and inside jokes. Compile a list of the language used specifically by your company, and give it to hires during the onboarding process. This will help the hire feel like they are part of the team right away — and it will also reduce the number of questions they’ll have to ask when they’re assigned a task that incorporates some of your company’s secret language.

  1. Don’t overlook the day-to-day.

Onboarding often feels like it’s more about introducing a hire to the bigger picture stuff at your company: philosophies, values, etc. However, while the big things are important –the small stuff is, too – like how to use the coffee maker in the break room, how to make double-sided copies, or who to get a stamp from when you need to mail a letter. Spend time explaining rote, day-to-day administrative and office procedures, and you’ll make office life much, much easier for your new hire right off the bat.

 

Looking to bring new hires into your company, or need some temporary help while you look for the right job candidate? The team at Vesper can help. Our experienced office managers can provide administrative help while you search for a new hire and make sure your office continues to function without any hiccups.

Missing office supplies? 4 ways to prevent theft

Everyone loves a beautifully-organized, well-stocked office supply closet. (In fact, sometimes we catch ourselves just scrolling through Pinterest, browsing all the beautiful images of dream office supply solutions.) However, while being well-stocked with necessities at work is convenient – and even fun – it can lead to one frustrating challenge: stolen office supplies.

Most of the time, employees stealing supplies have no true bad intentions; they figure the company is so well-stocked, they won’t miss a pen here or a stapler there. However, employee theft can have a bigger impact than you might imagine: according to a recent survey by Kessler International, more than 95% of employees steal from their employers in some way – and the National Retail Federation reports that worker theft cost retailers more than $32 billion last year.

 

Tips for Avoiding Stolen Office Supplies

If you want to make sure stolen office supplies don’t end up having a financial and psychological impact on your company, the following ideas can help discourage workers from stealing office supplies – and create an atmosphere of honesty and trust.

  1. Create office supply lists and policies.

Sometimes, employee theft is caused by the simple fact that workers don’t know what is official company property. Create a list of all of the supplies that are technically bought and owned by your business: pens, pencils, paper clips, printer paper, etc. (If there is an item that is free for workers to take, you can leave that off the list.) Then, share a clear, concise policy about what office supply theft means; for example, “Office supplies removed from the workplace and used at home are considered stolen office supplies.” If you offer open access to supplies, post the policy on the wall of the supply cabinet or closet as a reminder.

  1. Only allow an office manager to access supplies.

One good way to make sure employees are not stealing office supplies is to limit their access to them. Put your office manager in charge of your office supply stock in a cabinet or closet that is locked. That way, one person can oversee what is coming and going.

  1. Do a periodic supply audit.

Office supplies get used up quickly, and it can be hard to keep track of what you have and what you’re missing. To make sure that supplies aren’t being used TOO quickly, do a periodic audit to make sure you’re not spending too much on supplies – and too often. Try to set a supply budget per employee, then see if you’re sticking to this number. A supply audit you a good sense of whether people are being honest with their usage habits or not. If you feel you’re spending too much, consider shifting your distribution policies.

  1. Punish for theft appropriately.

Nobody wants their employees to get in trouble, but to discourage theft (of any kind) at work, it’s important that appropriate punishments are given for stealing. If someone is caught stealing office supplies, and they’ve violated a workplace policy, try to find a fitting reprimand or punishment; for example, you may ask the employee to pay you back for the materials they took. Showing that there are repercussions for taking supplies is one of the best ways to discourage it.

If you need help stocking your supply closet (just like those Pinterest closets above), Vesper can help. We can get you all of the supplies you need – within your budget – so your employees can do their very best work.