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Bad hiring choices can cost your small business big money if you factor in the expense of paying the wrong employee for the job and spending time training someone who ultimately leaves. Replacing one employee who make s $8 hourly costs an average of $3,500 , according to the Society for Human Resource Management . The good news is that you can often spot potentially bad employees during the interview process if you know what to look for. To help get you started, we rounded up five of the worst types of employees and some tips on how to identify bad employees before it’s too late. The SOB Manfred Kets deVries, Distinguished Clinical Professor of Leadership Development and Organizational Change at INSEAD Business School in France, coined the term Seductive Operational Bully (SOB) to describe bullies masquerading as leaders. These employees look cool and confident on the outside — they can lay off an entire office without skipping a beat — but they might be masking metal problems. Interview red flags include candidates who are: Glib and charming, bordering on suggestive Able to lie with confidence and contradict facts that you know are true Praise his or her own accomplishments above and beyond his or her team’s abilities Sammy the Saboteur These bad employees stop at nothing to undermine their peers. As the SOB’s more subtle cousin, Sammy the Saboteur often fakes friendships and turns on coworkers. A saboteur “forgets” to email invites to certain coworkers about meetings, and she might even steal other people’s ideas. To sniff out the saboteur, ask questions related to how the candidate works with others. Another tactic is to ask for an example of a specific project that didn’t achieve its goals and why. See whether the candidate acknowledges how their own actions led to the project going off the rails or whether they continue to throw old coworkers under the bus. The Slacker These employees consistently miss deadlines, which causes problems for their own workflow while creating a ripple effect for other people involved in the project. Spot slackers before hiring them by asking situational questions in the interview such as, “Give me an example of instances when you took the lead on solving a problem.” And make sure you thoroughly check references. Prior employers will likely send up red flags to warn you. The Lump Also known as “ dead weight ,” these bad employees show up to work. And that’s about it. He might spend endless hours searching the Internet or browsing social media. Or, she might take extra-long coffee breaks, long lunches, and pointless rounds around the office. These employees have checked out before they even get started. Have them discuss their employment history in detail, and ask forced negative questions—such as “Why might I not want to hire you? ”—to try to provoke authentic answers rather than prefab responses to find candidates with real enthusiasm and drive. The Complainer A constant stream of complaining does more than just dampen office morale. It can also hinder brainstorming and make it harder to achieve success. Provoke interview red flags by asking candidates about how they handle tough situations, where they see themselves in the future, and most importantly ask for five things that the person liked least about his last position. Complainers will rally to task, and asking for five things instead of one can reveal telltale signs of a toxic complainer.
Are you approaching crunch time? You know, that make-or-break, end-of-the-year test of whether you’ve reached your business goals? If, as a business owner or business manager, you’ve smartly created an annual budget with revenue targets, you’re going to want to your New Year goals to be successful in the final quarter of your year. For some small businesses, this is easier said than done — and it all depends on the motivation of your employees to make it happen. Here’s a look at how to get everyone on board. Share the Plan for Accomplishing Business Goals If you haven’t done so already, gather your team together and share your business goals for the remainder of the year, and any New Year goals you’re thinking for 2018. What’s the necessary projected revenue? What’s the definition of success for your company? In order to meet a goal, you have to set one. Experts encourage having at least three specific, measurable business goals, and creating a plan to meet them. You have to be a confident, supportive leader to get your team excited. Friendly Competition Amongst Staff In industry jargon, this is known as “gamifying,” and who doesn’t like a game? Creating friendly competition among your staff starts with a public reward for success. There’s a balancing act here, though. Determine what each person can accomplish so that there are more winners than losers or everyone wins in some way. Setting small, weekly goals and having faith in your employees will go a long way to meeting the real bottom line. Reward Success for Accomplishments Incentives are key to motivation — anyone in Psychology 101 can confirm — but how is the question. The answer is simple: ask your employees. What do they want? An extra paid day off? A gift certificate to a local restaurant? Make sure that your reward for accomplishing business goals is an effective motivator, otherwise it might backfire. Bonuses come in many shapes and sizes. A more flexible work day, on-site yoga classes, and creative paid time off are just some ideas that don’t necessarily cut deeply into your budget. Keep Competition Fun Keep expectations high as you encourage fun competition among your employees so that it never feels like a burden. Instead, present your motivational techniques as a special, seasonal event that will mean more success for all — with your satisfied customers, of course, included. How do you motivate your staff to hit their year end business goals? Have you already started setting New Year goals? Now is a great time!
One of the hardest aspects of owning a small business is hiring and training qualified employees. Small business owners are dependent on their employees to represent the company but often can’t offer the perks and benefits of larger companies. When an employee is becoming difficult, it can be tempting to simply cut him or her loose. But finding and training an employee is an investment of time and money. If possible, sticking with your initial investment—that is the employee—is a better course of action. Here are some steps small business owners can take to handle difficult employees. 1. Consult a lawyer or human relations expert Most small businesses don’t have the luxury of an HR department. Before you hire your first employee, make sure you have a full understanding of the laws about employment in your city and state. If you have a particularly difficult employee problem, you may wish to talk to a lawyer to make sure you handle the situation appropriately. 2. Determine the cause If a previously good employee has suddenly become difficult, try to find out why. Has something changed at your business? Even a minor change such as opening or closing an hour earlier or later may have ramifications for an hourly employee. Or maybe a change was made without consulting her, and she feels under appreciated. The trouble may not have anything to do with work but may be personal. 3. Be clear and kind If you’re unhappy with an employee it’s unfair to the employee for you not to share that information. Make sure though that you don’t pile on with a list of complaints. Start by praising things the employee does well and then express your concerns. 4. Be firm about expectations Before talking to your employee, make sure to decide how you will evaluate improvement. Communicate these expectations to your employee. 5. Set times to check in This problem didn’t happen overnight, so it won’t be solved overnight. Set regular meetings to evaluate the employee’s progress and continue to be clear and kind in expressing what’s going well and what isn’t. Of course, the best way to avoid difficult employees is to be careful in your hiring and training practices. Make sure you give all your employees every chance to succeed!
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