Are you thinking of hiring independent contractors?
Hiring contractors is a budget-friendly way to help support your small business. They allow you to get your business done and grow your company, without the legal and financial hassle of bringing on full-time, salaried employees.
Freelancing is taking off as more and more people want freedom in their work schedules. So there is plenty of talent out there to help your business succeed.
But hiring an independent contractor can be tricky, so don’t make any offers before you do some research and know what you’re getting into. Keep reading to learn more about what you need to do before hiring an independent contractor.
Five Steps to Hiring an Independent Contractor
Independent contractors and freelancers can help your business thrive, but you shouldn’t hire just anyone. Certain forms need to be filled out, and there are unique rules when tax time comes around.
If you’re new to working with contractors, here are five steps you’ll need to take before bringing on independent contractors:
1. Always Check Credentials
There are a lot of great contractors out there, but make sure you always vet your candidates before you make any official offers. A lousy contractor could cause some legal trouble down the road.
Always ask for a copy of their resume and to see past examples of their work. You likely wouldn’t hire a full-time employee without meeting them, checking their references and making sure they’re legitimate.
2. Fill Out The Proper New Hire Paperwork
Just like full-time employees, contractors have paperwork that needs to be filled out before they can start legally working for your business. Make sure you have a W-9 form filled out for them. This form is the contractor’s equivalent to a W-4.
3. Make Sure You Sign a Contract
Before your contractor does any work for you, you should have some form of contract or work agreement in place. This will keep you safe legally and hopefully prevent any disputes later on.
4. Paying the Contractor
Paying your independent contractor isn’t that complicated. You can either have them charge you hourly or agree on a flat rate per project. The exact price and method of payment should be agreed upon before the project starts and laid out explicitly in your contract that you both sign.
All you have to do is make sure that you accurately record every payment that you send to your contractors, and pay stubs is an easy way to do this. You can generate pay stubs online by going to a website like https://www.thepaystubs.com.
5. Give Them Proper Tax Documents
If you pay your independent contractors more than $600 in a year, you’ll need to give them a 1099-MISC form and include the total amount that they were paid. They will need this form and information to properly file their taxes.
Learn More About Running a Small Business
Hiring an independent contractor might seem complicated, but it’s easy to do if you remember a few simple things. The extra help will mean that you can focus on doing other things and helping your business succeed.
Check out the rest of our website for more helpful business tips. We have articles ranging from finance to marketing and sales!
Energy Up: Developing a Healthy, Competitive Work Culture
Employees are burning out at increasing speeds at work. Work-related stress has increased significantly over the last several years. The stress increase is undoubtedly caused by higher expectations at work, increased work hours, and a toxic competitive culture. How can you, as a business owner, develop a healthy competitive culture that motivates workers and allows them to have a good work-life balance?
Burnout is precisely what employers should always be looking to avoid. A burnt-out employee is one who is stressed, possibly depressed, and of course, exhausted from work. As a business owner, it is essential to identify workers who are suffering from this condition, and the only way to do that is to communicate.
Identifying and Communicate
Sally is generally cheery at the office and brings baked cookies every Friday, yet since the three-weekend project you assigned her, she has not been herself. Sally’s suddenly quiet demeanor would be easy to spot and address, but not all employees manifest their signs the same way.
Burnout manifests itself in many ways, even catching some people by surprise. Before they know it, they are exhausted, cranky, unable to go on. You’ll notice a burnt-out employee will start to miss days at work, the quality of their work will decrease, and they may make mistakes they otherwise would not.
When you approach a burnt-out employee about their behavior, be sure to do it carefully as there can be varying reactions. While most will be happy to discuss their exhaustion and find solutions together, others may become angry by the assumption and flat out deny it. Being understanding is a top priority because it opens the door for answers.
Solutions to Burnout
Finding solutions to avoid potential burnout in your employees comes down to thinking proactively. You want to be sure that you can create an environment that is productive and competitive without asking too much of your employees. Below you will find some tested strategies to increase productivity without causing burnout.
It can be easy to lose track of scheduling when assigning projects. If you yourself are juggling various projects at a time, you may be inclined to attribute as many to your employees. Everyone works at a different pace, and everyone demands a different level of attention. If you create a schedule based on the needs of your current team and consider the capabilities in each person, soon you will have a productive and competitive environment.
Everybody needs incentives; it is just the way that humans work. By pushing performance-based contests, you can have your employees eager to work on the projects you are assigning. A reward system can ease stress because it gives the employee a clear sense of what they are working towards and a goal to be reached. Incentives can help you eliminate burnout at work while harvesting healthy competition.
Once again, we return to communication. By leaving your office door open, you are letting your employees know that they can come to you with any concerns they may have. When employees know they can communicate with their supervisor, they are far more likely to work diligently and voice any concerns along the way so that they can be addressed right away. Open and eager communication is an excellent way of fostering a healthy work environment.
Make work not only fun but also productive by providing your employees with all the tools they need to succeed. Clear outlines, reliable resources, and constant updates can help your team be in the loop of what is happening at the company. When an employee understands the mechanics of the workplace, he or she is less likely to suffer from stress and feel like a more valued part of the process.
A Positive Environment
Last but not least, a positive environment can make a world of difference at work. You and your employees should all have a can-do attitude to succeed. Why is this attitude so important? A can-do attitude is essential because positive thoughts help the brain release endorphins, thus reducing stress and boosting concentration. A group effort can take a team a long way, and it is up to you to make the necessary changes to promote it.
If Burnout Does Happen
Against your best efforts, burnout is still likely to happen. You can’t control how much your employees choose to work outside of the office, so it is inevitable that an overachiever will hit a wall. When this does happen, it is important to approach the situation respectfully and humanely.
Remember that even if you did your best to prevent this, the current situation is what’s important, and they are a human before they are your employee. Try to put yourself in their shoes and think about the internal conflict they must feel like an overachiever having to force themselves to take a break.
It probably feels totally wrong and foreign to them, but it is important that you convey that they will perform better after they give themselves a break, and will be even more productive. Once your employees see you taking the steps to care for their colleague like this, they will be comfortable approaching you in the future if it happens to them.
The burnout might come with terrible timing – right before quarter close, the holidays, the beginning of the year – so it would be important at that point to discuss a scaled-back version of their role. A total break might not be feasible immediately, but emphasizing that a break will come soon can give them a light at the end of the tunnel.
Burnout No More
If you follow some of the tips listed here, you will find that harvesting a healthy competitive environment at work is not as difficult as it seems. Everything comes down to finding a balance and managing correctly. Remember that your employees look up to you and seek your guidance. Creating an environment where everyone can thrive is as simple as promoting an open and collaborative space.
Do’s and Don’ts When Taking Business Headshots
Whether you’re in Phoenix, AZ, or anywhere in the world, corporate headshots, or “business headshots,” are one of the essential elements of a business profile. Whether you’re at a start-up company or a business empire – there is always a need to use business headshots.
Different companies in Phoenix use this business tool to promote or direct a client into giving in to what the business produces. However, there is more to these headshots that matter.
Why are business headshots important? Business headshots in Phoenix are a glance of what the business is. Approachability and trust can be attained with the help of photographers that provide business headshots Phoenix. The professionalism of an individual or company will be the first thing a person will think just by looking at a business headshot.
Do’s and Don’ts
As powerful as it is, using business headshots is tricky. There are the do’s and don’ts in using a simple but technical headshot. Phoenix has a wide variety of corporate studio that provides excellent business headshot services. Most of these are their shared preference for taking the best headshot:
1. Dress appropriately for what the business promotes
First of all, dress accordingly to what the industry is associated with. It’s not about how formal or casual the outfit is. It is in the business’ description of what should be worn appropriately.
Most local photographers in your area may be able to provide props and business clothes. If your company is operating in Phoenix, you can look for expert photographers for business headshots Phoenix. There’s no need to look far, as local photographers will help you save on cost and effort.
2. Do wear a solid color outfit
The color of the outfit is also critical in terms of impression. Taking a solid color or minimal-toned outfit is considered as the best for business headshots.
3. Do focus and look into the lens
It is essential to always look into the lens. Make your best professional face impression, and remember to look into the lens, as if you are looking to someone. This will build trust in anyone who takes a look at the image. Focusing on the eye also gives confidence to both you and the business you are collaborating with.
4. Do pose in different profiles
Try to give a front, left, or right profile. Take the best shot on a profile you are confident with. This will provide multiple options, and you can go with the pattern that you think looks the best.
5. Don’t over-accessorize
Abstain from wearing any accessories as this divides attention. If you want to accessorize, make sure that it will fit in the color tone of the outfit that you will put on. It isn’t the accessories that will signify who you are.
6. Don’t wear an uncomfortable outfit
As mentioned before, wearing any outfit is okay as long as it is based on what the business represents. Whether you are comfortable wearing it matters as well. Comfort translates confidence, and it will positively reflect on the photo.
7. Don’t use old headshots
Refresh headshots. Most of the best studios in Phoenix recommend this critical factor. Updated headshots will reflect on what you are at the moment. This will develop a permanent professional bond for a business or an individual to other people or clients.
Make Your Best Business Headshot Shine
A business headshot is one critical factor when it comes to collaboration. This will not only reflect on yourself but also the business you represent. Therefore, remember to deliver the best business headshots.
Implementing a Solid Feedback Culture in the Workplace
A research survey published in the Harvard Business Review said that more than 7 in 10 employees surveyed believed that their productivity suffers due to the lack of feedback. Surprisingly enough, employees are more than willing to get what may be construed as negative feedback than false praise.
These days, the term feedback has lost its luster because it’s been used to describe a remark, comment, or opinion. However, as a mechanism, feedback is very crucial to determine the strengths and weaknesses of an organization, employee satisfaction, as well as the gaps in the processes.
Institutionalizing Feedback in the Workplace
Successful organizations have long known the importance of employee feedback to make sure that everybody’s still on-board with the vision.
Nobody should be spared from criticism, even the CEO and top managers. This is the only way they can gain a new perspective about themselves as leaders and the type of leadership they deliver.
Quick Tips for implementing a feedback system
Here’s a list of tips that can help you integrate the feedback system at your workplace.
- Harness technology. One useful tool is the 360 Feedback. The tool is designed to get the most out of the answers from a series of controlled questions. The best part is that the results are anonymous, so employees can really speak their minds.
- Framing the right questions. The answers, of course, will depend on how you frame your questions. This is crucial because you might have false results because the questions are vague. Focus group discussions will help give you an idea about the core issues hounding the organization. Going back to 360 Feedback, the company behind it has extensive experience running surveys, so each question is assessed and reassessed on whether it achieves the desired purpose.
- Train employees on giving feedback. One thing that holds an employee back is the fear about how they are going to be perceived for being honest. This tendency to be compliant is ingrained in employees right from the moment they start working at different organizations. It’s hard to break that habit. In this case, the company should guide the workers on how to give feedback within the system employed by the organization.
- Guarantee no reprisals. Some supervisors can be petty, and any negative comments can be taken in a bad light. Everybody should understand that any sort of feedback should be welcomed so people working in the organization can improve themselves as employees, colleagues, and contributors to the company. With that said, anonymous systems like 360 Feedback will really open the floodgates of honest opinions devoid of a filter.
- Set clear parameters. Feedback without action is useless. Once the employees see that their feedback generated a positive change in the company, they would be more willing to give their opinions in the future. Management should guarantee that each feedback will be evaluated and vetted, and suggestions will be adopted as long as they’re good for the company in the long run.
Implementing a feedback mechanism is not easy. There are many ways on how to go about it, and you can expect some hiccups at the outset. Nevertheless, it’s one good way to help the organization assess itself through the eyes of its employees. But the benefits generated depend completely on whether the company would want to bring about changes with the help of the feedback.
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