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What It Takes To Become A Successful Commercial Driver

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These days, just about every adult in the UK has a driver’s licence, but driving for a living is very different from driving for personal commuting or pleasure.

Basically, it’ll be work and you will need to approach it as such if you want to be a success at it. With that in mind, here are some tips about what it takes to be a successful commercial driver.

Education/training

All forms of commercial driving require some form of education/training. For example, taxi drivers have to learn the geography of their local area (even with sat nav, it’s not 100% reliable).

While HGV drivers need to know relevant safety procedures (which may include manual handling to help with loading and unloading their vehicle) and at least basic mechanics (to be able to take care of minor repairs themselves and reduce delays to their journey).

Time-management skills

When it comes to commercial driving, time-management isn’t just about turning up to work on time (although this is obviously important), it’s about managing your time effectively, so that you remain on schedule throughout the entire period of your working day, which, in some areas of commercial driving can be very long.

For example, HGV drivers may work 12-14 hours a day while they are making deliveries and then have an extended spell of leave to recuperate.

People skills

Most commercial driving jobs involve some element of working with people. If you’re working as a taxi or bus driver (or as a private chauffeur) then you will have passengers.

If you are driving goods vehicles, such as HGVs, then you will be dealing with your control staff and also with the people who help to load and unload your vehicle (and possibly maintenance staff as well).

That said some commercial drivers also need the ability to be able to cope with long periods alone. This is particularly true of HGV drivers.

The ability to keep calm under pressure

Even on the best days, things can go wrong, and sometimes we all have “those days” when nothing seems to go right. This is particularly true of people who drive for a living since the UK’s roads are very crowded (as are the roads in many other European countries), which means that, quite bluntly, there is a lot of scope for becoming a victim of someone else’s incompetence, albeit usually only in a fairly minor way.

If you are the type of person who suffers from “road rage” then you will need to look for an alternative career, but if, by contrast, you are the type of person who can keep your cool in just about any situation and then you could become a highly-valued commercial driver.

The ability to keep your focus over long periods

Picking up from the above points, while some issues are unavoidable, many potential hazards/difficulties can be avoided (or at least minimized) if you keep your focus on the road at all times so as to give yourself the best chance of anticipating them.

Even if it doesn’t, keeping your situational awareness will vastly reduce the risk of you becoming a hazard to other road users.

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Education

How to Improve Employee Development

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How are you developing your employees? Hiring and retaining the right staff is a top priority for most businesses, and the process needs a failproof plan.

Employee development should also be part of your HR strategy and include online training for your remote workers. Plus professional development should commence from the moment staff are hired and continue throughout their employment.

If you’re wondering if your employee development program is up to scratch, don’t worry, we can help, and there are some straightforward steps you can take that will improve it immediately.

Below, we look at what employee development is and what it takes to make it successful.

Employee Development Explained

Supporting your staff to develop their skills is not solely about their current job. Nor is it just about where they can progress within your organisation. Staff development is about providing a series of training and knowledge programs and workshops that develop the employee.

Hard Skills

The training should include on the job training, and ‘hard skills’ pertinent to their ability to perform their current role and move up the ranks in their profession. For example, a cybersecurity analyst will undertake certifications, and industry recognised training or learn a new skill like pen-testing.

Soft Skills

The training also should cover soft skills which are transferrable to other roles. Every employee needs to develop their social and communication skills. Emotional Quotient (EQ) or emotional intelligence, will play a role in the hiring and promotion opportunities for all staff.

Now we know the basics of professional development let’s look at how you can improve your program.

How To Improve Your Employee Development

Immediacy

Employee development should begin from the moment that your new member of staff steps through the door. This means coming up with a training program that gets them up to speed with the company and how it does business at the earliest possible opportunity.

Not only will this help your company, but it will also show the new employee that you are committed to their development right from the get-go. As a result, they are more likely to stay with your organization as it improves their career prospects in the future.

Run Regular Programs

Running a series of mandatory and voluntary employee development programs that take place throughout the year ensures that your staff members are always learning something and never stagnating. The programs could focus on their soft skills, particularly communication, or focus on something that is altogether more technical and specific such as looking at their Google cloud abilities.

Plus when there are some assessment and certification at the end of each program, the employee keeps it. Plus exams or tests are evidence the knowledge has been properly absorbed and retained.

Create Individual Development Plans

The general training programs that you put into place also help if you make some of these more specialized and personalized for each employee.

Usually, the setting of goals and targets can take place at each employee review. As well as the setting of targets, you also need to go back and check that everything has been followed up effectively.

Make sure that each employee is closely involved in their own development plan and that they agree to the targets that have been set for them.

Give Constructive Feedback

The art of giving feedback is a difficult one to master. Essentially, it should involve ensuring that any advice you give to your employees is constructive. If it’s too critical, it can have the opposite effect on the one you were intending. This is also the case if you make it too vague with no actionable steps that the employee can put into practice.

There is a balance to be struck along the way, and you may not be able to get the hang of it straight away. Over time, you will be able to put your finger on which feedback is constructive and not.

Use Certified Trainers

While you may want to take care of some of your own training in-house, there is a lot to be gained from getting in touch with certified trainers and bringing them in to manage some of the programs.

They are experienced in the sector and have specifically designed their classes to get the best from the people who take them. However, make sure that you read all the reviews and hire a team that knows what they are doing and talking about.

Summary

Hiring is costly and retaining the right employees can be even more expensive if your only option is to pay them more.

Improving employee development should be a reason staff stay, and it can end up bringing all sorts of unexpected advantages to your organization beyond staff retention. So, now is the time to put some of these techniques into practice.

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Education

5 Steps You Can Take To Become A Successful Business Leader

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Do you want to know five steps you can take to further your career as a business leader?

Getting ahead in any career is challenging and in leadership more so as this discipline requires soft skills that are harder to obtain from your usual tertiary qualification.

If leadership is your thing, you’ll need to take roles and opportunities to improve year upon year, so you’re not stagnating but climbing up the management ranks.

In this article, we look at the fundamental steps you can take to hone your leadership acumen, to give yourself a fighting chance to secure roles that are developing you as a leader.

Understand the business from the inside out

If you’re to find solutions to break down resistance to change as a leader and get more productivity from your people, expanding your thinking and attaining a wider skill-set will never go a miss.

For example, you may be managing a customer support team. Your direct knowledge and accountability are within customer support. However, this current leadership role is not the end game for you.

To be an effective business leader, you’ll need a working knowledge of the business as a whole, including operations, sales, technology, finance and so on.

Thorough knowledge of your business as a whole will make it easier for you to plan your rise up the ranks of leadership and management. How do you get it? This is easier than you think.

Form close alliances with other leaders in the company and suggest working together on projects that allow knowledge transfer. As the saying goes: a problem shared is a problem halved.

Your peers will be experiencing some of the same people management issues so you can learn a lot about their departments with closer associations with them.

Further education can deepen your knowledge

It sounds counter-intuitive, but further education is a powerful way to lead by example and thus become a role model in business. You may feel you left education behind years ago, that the only learning you need is outside the classroom, on the job – this is a grave mistake.

After all, you wouldn’t just be learning about your own business and colleagues, but the bigger picture. A deep understanding of how to manage and motivate those around you and organizational techniques is crucial. So, studying a degree like the BSBA degree will act as a springboard for your business leadership career.

Share what you’ve learned

Now that you’ve gained a deeper understanding of business administration and a grasp of relevant skills outside your area of expertise, it is time to solidify your newfound knowledge so you can implement it when you need it.

A great way to understand what you’ve learned is to teach it. Why not offer your advice to colleagues who need guidance or speak at seminars and events?

By teaching others, you can better understand what you’ve learned yourself.

Building the confidence to teach and learn from others will also sharpen your leadership skills further still.

Widen your network of contacts and your visibility

Attend in-person events and speak to as many attendees as you can. Turn up early and leave late, so you get ample time to circulate and introduce yourself to like-minded peers.

Get your profile set up on business networking sites such as LinkedIn and regularly post interesting, relevant information, so your network grows.

All leaders need to be confident communicators so improve your public speaking skills by joining seminar groups and putting yourself forward as a speaker.

Widening your network isn’t reserved for networking events either. Simple, everyday acts can help, too.

Make time to chat with your colleagues daily. You’ll stay engaged with what’s happening in different areas of your business and the wider industry. It will also keep your name at the front of people’s minds and stop you from slipping out of touch.

Have clear achieveable goals

Understand where you’re going in your career and how the role improves your leadership acumen. Having a clear business goal is a proven method for furthering your business career.

Where do you see yourself in a year? Or five years? If you can picture what you want to be doing in the future, it is easier to organize the ‘now’.

With clear, reachable goals, you’ll be inspired and motivated to work harder, smarter, and smash through any ceiling of resistance.

Summary

Strive for more in your leadership career using these five steps to deepen your knowledge and experience. Then use your network of contacts and goals to acquire new leadership roles that challenge you and are rewarding.

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Education

3 Tips for Those Looking to Complete Their Bachelor’s Degree

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These days, starting on the journey to your ideal career almost always begins with higher education. While there are certainly some career paths that don’t require a degree, those who wish to take their career as far as it can go will certainly need to equip themselves with the right level of education. As far as careers like something in tech the road to higher education begins with completing a bachelor’s degree.

Perhaps you started your degree at one point but became caught up with your job and put the task of completing it on the back burner.

Maybe you have several applicable credits that can be counted towards a bachelor’s degree, but you have yet to enroll in an actual program. Whatever your situation may be, if you now find yourself wishing to complete your bachelor’s degree, there are a few things you can do that will make achieving that goal a bit easier.

1. Opt for Online Education

One aspect of completing a degree that tends to deter many people is the fact that it takes time. Enrolling in a traditional degree program at a university will see you in class throughout the week and working on your own time to complete the required course work.

While there is no such thing as a degree that won’t take up any of your time, opting for an online degree can afford you the time you need to maintain your current schedule while finishing your bachelor’s.

There are several benefits of earning your bachelor’s degree online. First of all, you can easily communicate with an admissions advisor who can help you transfer what credits you already have from previous courses.

This will shorten the amount of time you have to spend on your degree and allow you to put any hard work you have done up until now to good use. By visiting https://www.scps.virginia.edu/, you can find out all that you need to know about transferring credits. Then, you can essentially learn at your pace when you have time to do so.

The benefits stretch much further than this, however. Not only are you saving money on accommodation and transport because of the flexible nature allowing you to study from home, but it is also great for career advancement.

You can both work and study at the same time, and so when it comes to finding your dream job, an employer will consider that you have been able to do this. You are increasing your career prospects simply by choosing to study at home.

2. Become a Master of Time Management

Another thing that commonly stands in the way of those looking to complete a bachelor’s degree has to do with an already hectic lifestyle. Even when you enroll in an online degree program, you still have to find the time to do the work.

The good news is that it is possible to manage your time wisely to allow yourself to finish your degree. Common time management practices can make a major difference. Bear in mind, as well, that any alterations to your schedule that you must make to earn your degree are only temporary.

3. Focus on Your Motivator

You are going to complete your bachelor’s degree for a specific reason that is personal to you. You might be looking to take your career to the next level, or perhaps you want a fresh start in a new career. Whatever your motivations may be, keep them at the forefront of your thoughts throughout the process. By focusing on your goals, you can avoid feeling burned out or lacking in motivation.

Summary

Achieving a bachelor degree will put you on par with your peers when job hunting for a role in your chosen profession.   Even if you’re not exactly sure of your career path right now, achieving tertiary level education will work well for you.

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