Responding to Negative Customer Feedback | Five Basic Tips

Running a business online comes with all the trimmings our beloved internet has to offer. An exponential reach, streamlined user experiences, but also the veil of anonymity. When you are confined to a mostly digital space, reviews have the power to make or break what took years to get up and running. This makes responding to negative customer feedback almost as important as getting great feedback in the first place! Today we’ll explore some classic public relations ideas and how they work for companies online:

responding to negative customer feedback

Responding to Negative Customer Feedback

No one is perfect, and maybe a customer had a less than savory experience with your company. If they are like the majority of people today, they probably won’t say it to your face. Rather, they’ll take to forums, social media, and perhaps even your own blog to let as many people know their frustration as possible! As easy as it is to feed into someone’s rage, it’s best to take a neutralizing approach. Here’s how:

1. Locate Each Mention

Whether it’s on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, you’ll want to track down where each mention of your brand occurred. Getting a hold on how many people may have seen the post is the starting point for responding to negative customer feedback. You’ll want to see how many times it was shared, as well as gauging the severity of what was said. This is kind of the “damage control” portion of this process, and it’s important to begin mitigating things.

2. Let Empathy Guide You

While it’s easy to shout back at an unruly commenter or group, the safest approach comes through empathy. Whether the incident was your mistake or not, it’s often recommended to keep a cool, level approach to the situation. Try to imagine just how frustrated a customer is and do your best to relate to their post or review. Responding to negative customer feedback is really about taking responsibility when needed. At the same time, this doesn’t mean you need to bite the bullet if something wasn’t your fault. Each situation will be different, but using empathy in your response remains important.

3. Answer to the Public

When it comes to social media, conversations between angered customers and a company often amounts to a spectator sport. Responding to negative customer feedback is as much about defending your reputation as it is finding a solution. If the backlash reaches a point where the public demands answers, issuing a statement may be needed. For smaller scale, individual customer incidents its best to deal with their issue in a channel where others may not see your response.

responding to negative customer feedback

4. Reply Only Twice

While it’s tempting to blow up someone’s social media notifications or inbox, keep your replies to a minimum. Reply once to the initial concern, offering solutions or acknowledging responsibility. Anything beyond this should be an attempt to direct the conversation to a representative or somewhere more “behind the scenes.” When replying, stick to the facts and answer quickly. Don’t provide more information than is necessary.

5. Maneuver with Your Channels

Obviously, social media wasn’t designed to be a customer service portal, so responding to negative customer feedback requires offline solutions. Whether it’s Twitter’s character limit or Facebook’s ever-changing feed, it’s important to consider how your channels can best resolve an issue. Sometimes, that really means connecting disgruntled customers with real people in your company. Again, reply only twice, ensuring that the second reply takes things out of the public eye. Likewise, if you are able to resolve the issue, posting the solution for the public to praise can have uplifting effects on your social presence and brand.

So just to recap — responding to negative customer feedback means first locating where the feedback exists, showing empathy, responding publicly but concisely, and using your channels to display solutions. Following these basic ideas can help quell a crisis and keep your company or brand’s reputation from degrading too far.

Do you have any experience responding to negative customer feedback? Let us know your techniques in the comments below!

What to Do After an Employee Review

We get great benefits to enjoy here at Track5Media, from Hershey Park trips to a stellar healthcare package to free snacks. With all of these fun perks, it’s easy to overlook one of the most important benefits we have. I’m talking about employee reviews. While many cringe at the thought of having a performance review, I find them extremely helpful. Many employers don’t take the time to help you grow in your career. However, here at Track5Media, reviews happen twice a year. While I can’t speak for everyone, during my most recent review last week, I was praised for my accomplishments as well as critiqued and given suggestions on what to work on to become a better employee. I came away from my review not feeling discouraged, but feeling excited to work on improving myself as an employee. A week later, I’m in an interesting spot. I’m deciding what to do after an employee review. Luckily below are just a few things you can do after your employee review to ensure that you’re growing as a person and an employee.

What to Do After an Employee Review

Don’t Forget the Good Stuff!

One of the biggest issues that an employee will have is failing to acknowledge the good stuff that they heard in his or her review. If you haven’t done anything good during your time working for that company, it’s safe to say that you probably wouldn’t have made it to an employee review. Some employees have selective hearing, and will immediately brush aside any positive aspect of the review. Instead, they will focus on only the negative, which is detrimental in the long run. When you’re deciding what to do after an employee review, know that your remembering your strengths is just as important as fixing your weaknesses. These strengths show exactly why you’re a vital part of the company.

Reflect First

It can be easy to have a knee-jerk reaction after having a performance review, especially if it was bad. If you’re unsure about what to do after an employee review, one of the best things you can do is to sit down and reflect. It’s tempting to get angry or defensive, especially if you’re accustomed to positive reviews. However, this won’t do much good. Instead, take some time to think about where your manager or boss is coming from before you react too harshly.

what to do after an employee review

Have a Plan

It’s one thing to vow that you’ll improve your performance before your next review, but it’s another to actually implement a plan to do it. If you want to know what to do after an employee review, start forming a plan of attack. Having a plan is a critical part of achieving any goal. Think of it this way: If you want to lose weight, you don’t just announce it to the world and expect the pounds to start falling off. The purpose of feedback is to help you improve your job, and that requires a detailed plan of action. That may involve learning new skills, reprioritizing your tasks, or reevaluating how you come across to colleagues. Creating a plan of action will not only help you improve as an employee, but it shows your manager that you’re willing to put in the effort.

Follow Up

After you’ve put your plan into action, it’s important that you follow up with your manager. If you’re wondering what to do after an employee review, taking time to sit with your manager and review goals is a great step to take. Check in with he or she a month after your evaluation. Let them know what you’ve been doing to rectify the situation, and ask if they think your performance is improving. Getting periodic feedback is much better than waiting until your next annual or semi-annual review only to find out that your boss still isn’t pleased. A follow-up meeting is a great way to show your manager that you really are dedicated to improving your performance.

Employee reviews should be the first step towards growing within your company. When you’re wondering what to do after an employee review, consider the suggestions provided above. As always, if you have other suggestions on making the most of employee reviews, feel free to comment below!

Retaining Top Talent in 2018 | Five Strategies

It’s 2018 and business as usual — but that depends if top employees are committed for the long term. Things running smoothly quickly fall apart when a top employee decides to leave, even with a two-weeks notice. If your company is growing, it’s important to be fielding for new employees constantly. This is particularly true for professions allowing remote employmen, such as web development. Here we’ll talk about some ways employers are retaining top talent in 2018 and beyond!

Start Your Career with Track5Media Today!

Retaining top talent in 2018

Five Ways Companies are Retaining Top Talent in 2018

1. Set Expectations

When you finally land that “rockstar” candidate, you need to ensure they are fully content with what they’re getting into. Being able to set clear expectations from the very start means there’s no question of how they can hit the ground running. Working in a tech-heavy company like Track5Media sometimes means wearing many hats, so establishing that wardrobe ahead of time is key. At the same time, lay out ways they can grow and advance. If someone has a clear idea of their role and the things they can accomplish, they’ll hopefully stay on board to see it come to fruition!

2. Maintain Supervision

Once the expectations have been set, it comes down to solid managerial skills. Allowing someone to get right to work without a hitch helps new employees settle into their roles. This also plays heavily into someone’s long-term retention. If workers aren’t keeping the right pace or they are moving along briskly, managers need to respond accordingly. Really, it’s about keeping that ebb-and-flow for departments which helps employees settle into their roles over time.

3. Be Open to Suggestions

New employees bring fresh perspectives, seeing things that others miss. Although they may have joined in recently, staying open to employee suggestions creates a culture of participation. Retaining top talent in 2018 means connecting people beyond the daily activities of the job. It also means listening and responding to what employees think and feel in terms of internal decisions. Sure, not every suggestion is realistic, but sometimes it’s the consideration that really matters.

retaining top talent in 2018

We’re hiring today! Search for our open positions now.

4. Emphasize Skills

Retaining top talent in 2018 also means playing to someone’s skill set. If particularly employees thrive in one part of the business, see what ways their interest can be cultivated. There’s no better way to lose employees than by fitting them into a box they never signed up for. This goes along with setting expectations, although it centers heavily on managerial observations and suggestions as well. Try to bring out the best in someone, no matter what their job description requires. Additionally, consider how an employee can grow and advance their skills for years to come. The return on investment will be worth it! Similarly, if someone is not excelling as much as they could be, ask them what ways the company can better utilize their time. It’s all about having those productive conversations!

5. Maintain Fair Treatment

While someone is coming aboard and settling in, it’s important to help them feel like a part of the team. Seniority certainly has its functions, although treating new employees with the same respect helps them stay aboard. Should they decide to remain on the team, they’ll have the prerogative to treat future hires with decency as well. There’s nothing that breeds contempt and disgruntled employees faster than favoritism and preferential treatment — even if it’s deserved! The same goes for employees who have been with the company for a long time. If someone new comes aboard and starts reaping benefits never before offered, that’s a quick way to degrade relationships.

Overall, retaining top talent in 2018 is about hitting the basics mentioned above. What are some other ways your company keeps rockstar professionals in it to win it? Let us know in the comments below!

Surviving an Open Office Plan | Basic Tips

It’s 9:30 am and everyone has finally started waking up for the day. Phones are ringing, loud laughter is punctuated by random coughs and grunts — then comes the Spotify playlist regurgitating generic pop songs for all to hear… Sound like your company’s open office? Well you’re part of the 70 percent of U.S. businesses currently utilizing this corporate feng shui to organize their offices for better or worse! Whatever your take, we’ll explore what surviving an open office plan really takes and how employees can stay working efficiently.

surviving an open office plan

Trickling down from Silicon Valley’s all-knowing corporate wizardry, open office plans have become the norm for many modern businesses. Mostly, this means large open spaces with desks, no walled offices, and very low partitions — or sometimes none at all! For trendy, techy startups, open office plans provide easily reconfigurable setups, and ultimately a way to cut costs. Bosses can keep tabs on employees with ease, and gazing out into a thrumming open office just looks productive… but is it?

Since open office plans have become popular, studies show that many workers actually despise the ebb and flow these plans create. Many cite a lack of privacy, difficulty concentrating, and avoiding illness, as well as an all or nothing approach to environmental factors like lighting, temperature, sound, and smell. Disgruntled employees are also much less productive in an open office, although that’s an issue in and of itself.

Surviving an Open Office Plan | The Basics

Clearly, surviving an open office plan is something more employees are dealing with than ever before. So what can workers, managers, and bosses do to really optimize these types of spaces? Let’s explore:

Crack Open That Suggestions Box!

Sure, nobody really has an old, wooden box with specifically-worded pet peeves on note cards anymore, but that doesn’t mean the practice itself is outdated. If your company is growing and adding new team members into the mix, you may be due for a good ol’ roundtable on office etiquette. Just ask employees how they feel things are going with the open office. Be aware that broaching certain subjects can get a little too particular for some.

If certain employees insist on eating strong smelling foods or others feel the need to scream into their phones, it’s important to address these issues in generalities. Singling out employees has the potential to create more issues than before, so tread lightly.

Consider the Solutions

Surviving an open office plan isn’t always as easy as just saying “hey stop eating stinky food,” or “just tune it out,” although that’s part of it.

Many of the possible solutions come from working with the resources your company already has. Are there pieces of furniture you can rearrange? Can open team discussions take place in a quiet space instead? Where is the best place to eat that weird smelling sandwich? Designating particular zones for certain activities is one way to make surviving an open office easier.

surviving an open office plan

Sometimes, there are no real changes to make — so that’s up to you! If you’re feeling oddly stressed by every small crinkle of a water bottle or squeaky office chair, take a little stroll outside, and breathe deeply. I know, how zen of me to recommend, but honestly don’t knock it until you try it. Just pretend you’re a basketball player making a free-throw with screaming fans from the other team. Tune it out. Or maybe you’re a concert pianist with all ears on you. Focus inward. It takes practice, but it pays off if you can whip up some Buddha-like vibes to fend off annoyances.

Otherwise, invest in some noise-canceling headphones or even a white-noise generator if you’re an employer. Also, consider ways to better partition an open space to cut down on visual distractions. Surviving an open office plan isn’t always easy, but with the right communal efforts, it’s definitely possible!

What are your experiences with surviving an open office plan? Let us know your story and solutions in the comments below!

What is Brand Strategy? | Some Basic Tips

Here at Track5Media, we’re all about keeping our brands healthy and in tip-top shape. At the moment, we’ve got six separate lead generation websites (not including the one you’re on) that we maintain. The sites are devoted to healthcare staffing, commercial trucking, and senior care placement. And while there are many similarities between each site, their audiences and the types of content vary widely! Still, we do our best to maintain a distinct identity as Track5Media, whether that’s through our content’s voice, what we share on social media, and the overall aesthetic decisions we make. But what is brand strategy and how can you utilize it to your advantage? We’ll discuss that here!

What is Brand Strategy | Basic Starting Points

The main idea of any brand strategy is going to center on encompassing some specific, long-term goals that you can steer your product or business toward. It’s going to be figuring out exactly what aspects of your company’s character will stand out from all other competitors. Really, your brand strategy is a process that needs to connect these main things:

  • Consumer Needs
  • Your Product’s Value
  • The Competitive Environment

So while it may be natural to think that your brand strategy is your logo, your name, your website, or your product itself, this isn’t exactly true. Yes, all of these things are necessary aspects of facilitating a business, but really a brand is more closely related to the experience itself! It’s the intangible qualities of your company which are important to highlight and maintain throughout the implementation of your brand strategy.

But how? Here are some all-purpose takeaways:

Find your Purpose

As explained by Allen Adams, chairman of the North America region of brand consulting and design firm, Landor Associates,

“In a marketplace in which consumer confidence is low and budgetary vigilance is high, it’s not just making a promise that separates one brand from another, but having a defining purpose.”

Yes, it does make sense to define your business strategies in terms of the promises you make to your customers, but brand strategy often relies on that purpose you fulfill in the lives and businesses of others. In terms of how a brand exists in the real world or a digital space, Business Strategy Insider defined purpose in two general ways:

• Functional: Focuses on a business’s success in terms of the immediate or commercial reasons. Basically, the ‘how’ of your method of generating income.

• Intentional: Refers to a business’s ability to make money based on public perception and the impact it seeks to have on customers or the world in general.

what is brand strategy

Hone Your Consistency

As with any of the top brands out there, it’s often the case that there is a sense of cross-platform consistency. Essentially, you’re seeking to magnify your purpose and unify the presence of your brand by finding consistent ways to depict and communicate this.

In terms of online marketing today, bringing a consistent consumer experience from one device to the next is absolutely essential. Before most sales even occur, customers will have made several touch points with your product or service. Your brand strategy needs to account for the fact that a consistent voice, content, message, and service can all be found wherever the consumer journey may go.

It may be that someone doesn’t have a need for your product or service now, but when you can be the solution, then having that brand recognition is what it’s all about!

Stay Flexible

As much as marketers like to believe that a brand strategy is exactly as it should be, maintaining a healthy brand means staying flexible to change. Of course, you’re probably wondering how it’s possible to stay consistent while considering new insights and marketing maneuvers — but it all comes down to balance.

So if you’ve been running targeted ad campaigns that maintain your voice and communicate your message but the results aren’t what they should be, your brand strategy needs to accommodate updates made to itself. This often means finding a good mix of recognition and variation so that your content isn’t confusing to customers while building a stronger presence to reach your goals.

So, what is brand strategy? In the end, developing your brand strategy relies on the key components of recognizing your audience, understanding your purpose in their lives, telling your story as a company, and remaining open to the new opportunities to evolve!

What is brand strategy to you? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Conduct an Effective Job Interview

Here at Track5Media, we’re always hiring. We also work with plenty of recruiters and agencies who are always hiring as well. Needless to say, the interview process is a familiar one. While there is no single recipe for a perfect interview process, there are a few things that can help you conduct an effective job interview. Anytime you are hiring a new employee, the costs of making a bad hire can be huge. With this in mind, it is important that you get the decision right the first time around. In order to do this, consider the following tips when preparing to run an interview!

5 Tips on How to Conduct an Effective Job Interview

Conduct an Effective Job Interview

1. Clearly Define the Position

Of course, if you are hiring then you have some specific job responsibilities that need to be filled. However, it is important to fully assess what you need and want in your future employee. Failing to explicitly define job responsibilities, roles, and duties can create problems for both you and your job candidates before or after the hiring decision. Take the time before posting any job listings to talk with everybody relevant to the position within your company in order to gain a complete understanding of the hard and soft skills that will be useful in this role. This can help the applicant to understand the role before applying and can ensure that everyone within your organization is on the same page regarding a new hire.

2. Prepare in Advance

Too often, interviewers fall victim to the belief that only the interviewee needs to prepare. Dedicate time before the meeting to closely review the candidates’ application materials and craft informative questions based on those materials. It may not always be helpful to ask each applicant to describe their work history when that information is available on their resume. Instead, identify key positions they have held that relate to the job you are filling. Asking questions about those prior experiences will help you understand how the candidate will fit into your organization.

3. Make the Applicant Comfortable

Reducing stress in an interview situation is important to conduct an effective job interview. Given that you are in a hiring position, chances are you’ve been through a few interviews yourself. This process is naturally stressful and it can be difficult to accurately represent yourself when stressed. Be sure to communicate the format and expectations for the interview in advance so that you interviewee can feel more comfortable. After all, when the applicant is not stressed out you are more likely to get genuine answers.

4. Interview With a (Small) Team

When interviewing applicants (especially if there are a lot), bringing in two or three interviewers can ensure consistency. In making a big decision, it is important to have insight from multiple people affected by the decision. Having a couple of people involved in the interview means that you will have multiple perspectives. Different interviewers will pick up on different cues and can discuss their observations afterward. This said, avoid involving too many people in the hiring process. Unfortunately, hiring by democracy can often be too time intensive and ultimately ineffective. Choose a small group of people to help make your final decision.

5. Ask the Right Questions

In order to conduct an effective job interview, it is important to ask the right types of questions. Of course, this is closely related to preparing in advance. However, the right questions will likely allow for you to ask the candidate follow-up questions. Behavioral questions are a common type of question in interviews because they allow the candidate to tell their story. Questions like, “Tell me about a time that you initiated a project that increased efficiency…” allow the candidate to detail a personal experience that may provide insight into how they would handle the role available. If there is something about the applicant’s answer that you’d like to know more about, ask them to elaborate.

 

In short, it is not always easy to conduct an effective job interview. However, with an appropriate level of preparation and consideration, it can be. Remember that hiring someone is like making an investment. A good investment can grow over time while a bad investment only causes unnecessary expenses. Putting in a little extra work upfront can pay off in a big way down the road!

After reading our tips for running an interview, if you interested in interviewing with us you’re in luck! As mentioned above, we’re hiring! So, apply today!

How to Know When to Quit Your Job

Change is scary, especially when it comes to changing careers. There are many things you likely worry about in trying to decide when to quit your job – what if the new job is even worse than the old one, or what if there is no better job out there that has equal or improved pay? Yet, at some point, you have to bite the bullet, so to speak, and find a new job. Eventually, if you are unhappy at work, the pain of staying will be greater than the fear of the unknown. Like with any big change, it’s easy to find excuses and put something off until later, but there are some sure signs that it’s time for a new career.

Here are four things to consider in deciding when to quit your job.

Ask Yourself These Questions to Decide When to Quit Your Job

when to quit your job

Are you passionate about the work?

When we ask about passion, we’re not only talking about whether or not you like your job. We aren’t implying that you have to be excited to go to work every day in order to be passionate. We all have good days and bad days. What we’re talking about is, even on the days when you’d rather sleep in, is there something about your job that inspires you or moves you forward? Is the work that you are doing meaningful on at least some level? Are you still doing the job to the best of your ability, or is your lack of passion causing you to slack at work? If you dread going to work every day, it doesn’t have to be this way.

How’s your work-life balance?

Is the stress from your job affecting your life outside of work? If so, that’s a good sign that you need to move on. Although some days are naturally more stressful than others, if that stress is so consistent that you can’t enjoy your free time without worrying about work issues, a line has been crossed. Remember, work hard, play hard. If you can’t balance these two things at your current job, consider looking for a new one that has more flexibility.

Are you still learning new skills?

Consider whether or not you are still learning at your job, or if there is room for advancement. If you feel like you’re not passionate about your current position, is there somewhere else within the company for you to go?  Maybe it’s not the time to quit your job, but to advance your position within the company. If you are no longer learning or growing in your career, and there’s no possibility of advancement, start looking for your next career move.

Do your colleagues bring you down?

You may think that company culture is some bogus thing that people talk about to sound cool, but it’s actually very, very important. Think about it. You spend more time with the people you work with than you do with the people you live with or hang out with outside of work. If your co-workers are negative, not friendly or creating a toxic work environment for you, it could be that you aren’t connecting with the company culture.

 

If you are looking for a career change, check out Track5Media! Not only do we have available positions at our company in Lancaster, Pa, but we also manage several websites that connect professionals, from healthcare workers to truck drivers, to new jobs all across the country.

Customer Feedback: Gaining Valuable Insights

Even though we’re living in the most technologically advanced period of human history, one of our most valuable tools as marketers remains: customer feedback.

We’re at the point where technology allows us to completely conceptualize, prototype, and release products with not much more than a keyboard and the proper computer code. 3D printing, remotely employed team members, crowdfunding, and constant access information allows relatively anything to happen for startups and innovators. Yet, we often get so caught up in racing excitedly to the finish line that we can overlook invaluable customer feedback until after the fact.

Staying competitive means innovating, and proper innovation relies on engaging with your consumer – all while staying true to your mission statement and core values, and omnichannel marketing efforts.

customer feedback

Customer feedback is your way of understanding what can be improved, and how to remain innovative.

Technology moves quickly, customers shift constantly, and this doesn’t leave room for anything short of a precise execution of your product or service the first time around. After months, sometimes years of developing your product or service, it’s easy to lose perspective on how real people will respond. Gaining access to, and then understanding your customer feedback is critical to ensuring your business stays afloat even when waters get choppy. Social media consistently represents one of the most active methods of getting to know what your customers think and what trends they’re bound to be a part of.

To engage your customers and anything they may be communicating, consider these following ideas:

Formulate a ‘problem statement’ – Although your customer research may have led you in the right direction initially, you’ll need to prepare for unforeseen roadblocks and issues as they arise. Asking for customer feedback means you’re looking to respond to their praise, but more importantly their problems. Not only that, but all your customers (and potentially new customers) will see how your handle these situations and make judgments on whether you’re serving their needs.

Hypothesize – When customer feedback leads you to a change you’ll need to make, it’s much better to respond as early as possible to avoid losing their business. Meeting with your team and any possible stakeholders, the next step is generating a hypothesis as to how the problem can be solved and get testing quickly.

Practice Makes Perfect – Your customers are the lifeblood of what it is your company achieves and – working with this metaphor – you’ve got to be your own immune system. Re-design, retest, and rapidly update what you need to in order to exceed expectations whenever possible. Even if a solution is still a way off, signs of progress really make the difference and can keep overly critical opinions from becoming too vicious.

When Customer Feedback Breeds Greatness

Designing your product or service with the holistic experience in mind is the stuff of greatness. Really it’s about creating something that fits into the interconnected market of your customer, becoming a part of their everyday life. Here’s a great interview driving that point home from one of the founders of Airbnb:

Really, becoming a customer-centric product or service comes from nowhere else but from within a company. Allowing those who rely on your product the most to be your most valued critics is a strength and source of innovation not to be overlooked. Sure, it can be difficult to accommodate certain requests and suggestions, but forgoing customer feedback altogether is a huge mistake. Look to celebrate your customers as the MVPs they are – your team, product, and business will thank you!

More than a Paycheck: Salary Negotiation for Women

When it comes to gender equality in the workplace, the gender pay gap is a hot topic. Across most industries, women make less money than men, and most people try to dismiss the issue placing the blame on the women who don’t ask for a higher salary. While there is research that could support that thought, the truth is that salary negotiation for women is an entirely different process than for men.

When it comes to salary negotiation, women do ask for raises and promotions as much as men, but women are less likely to receive a raise. Furthermore, women that attempt to negotiate their salary find themselves penalized when they do so. For my ladies looking to get that raise or a higher salary in 2017, here is what you need to know about salary negotiation for women.

By the Numbers: Women in the Workplace 2016 Study

This past fall, the Women in the Workplace 2016 study was released, and its findings clearly suggest that women are disadvantaged in the workplace. Women will begin to fall behind early in their careers and continue to lose group with every step.

data visual showing salary negotiation for women pushback

Salary negotiation for women differs because of the pushback they face.
Source: Women in Work 2016 Study

One of the main findings of this study was that women are negotiating as much as men, but typically do not get the pay or promotion they are looking for. Compared to men who negotiate, women who do the same are 30 percent more likely to receive feedback that they are being too “bossy”, “too aggressive”, or “intimidating”. Even if they are asking for the same rate, women are 25 percent less likely than men to get a raise when they ask.

The study also showed that women of color face even more barriers in corporate American. When it comes to promotion or salary negotiation for women, black women are the most disadvantaged. Even with 78 percent of companies reporting that gender diversity is a top priority, only 55 percent of firms have racial diversity as one of their top priorities.

Not only do women of color have to worry about gender discrimination, they also face racial prejudices in a country where women of color have proven to be more ambitious about reaching high-level positions. These statistics show that this country has a long way to go when it comes to gender and racial equality as it applies to the corporate workplace.

data visual showing gender representation in the corporate pipeline

Source: Women in the Workplace 2016 Study

Salary Negotiation for Women: Tips and Tricks

Companies need to take strides to ensure that their company is prioritizing gender (and racial) diversity, their hiring and promotion processes are fair, and hold themselves accountable. However, ladies, we know it may be some time before we solve the wage gap issue. So, in the meantime, what can you do to make sure you get the best likelihood of landing that promotion or raise?

Be prepared

Make sure that before you go to discuss a potential raise, promotion, or title change, you are prepared. Throughout the year, make a list of all the things that you have done. Remember all those times when your supervisor gave you positive feedback about a project? Keep those emails because it’s something you can use to support your case.

Part of being prepared is also doing your research. When women are able to show objective information at a during a salary negotiation, they will be more likely to get what they are asking for. Bring research that shows comparable salaries in your field.

Negotiation Style

Your negotiation style is essential to your success in securing the pay raise or promotion you want. When you are in a salary negotiation, you need all the leverage you can get. Don’t communicate in regards to salary negotiation via email or electronic communication. Your words may be used against you to result in a lower pay.

Use ‘we’ when you make your pitch instead of ‘I’. Remember that assertive women are seen as aggressive and bossy. Using the word ‘we’ helps you seem less “intimidating”.

Using your bargaining chips

When it comes to salary negotiation for women, of course, you want as much leverage as you can. But you must be extremely cautious with any aggressive approach to your negotiations. Bringing an outside offer to the bargaining take can severely backfire because your company can view it as a threat.

If you do choose to use this type of bargaining method, don’t bluff. The worst thing that could happen is you pretend you have this offer from another company willing to pay you what you think you’re worth. If your bluff is called, you’re definitely not getting the desired pay or promotion you were looking for.

Even with your objective information you bring to your negotiation meeting, be careful in how you present it.

Practice. Practice. Practice.

It may seem silly to think about at first, but you should role-play with someone else. It takes some time to develop great negotiation skills, so it is important to practice; especially if you have never negotiated your salary or benefits before. Practice allows you to refine your argument and make mistakes before it counts.

More than a Paycheck

Don’t forget that salary is not the only thing you can negotiate! Many women (and men) forget that there are so many different benefits you can haggle for. Millennials should especially negotiate benefits because many businesses will not be willing to pay you what you should make. Here is a short list of benefits and perks you should also consider in your negotiations:

  • Time off: vacation days, sick days, leave;
  • Workplace environment: work from home, visit company branch;
  • Education/Professional development: tuition reimbursement, conference/workshop opportunities, training;
  • Expense accounts: industry travel, industry networking, commuter benefits;
  • Other perks: title adjustments, company share/stock options;

When it comes to promotion and salary negotiation for women, there are some major changes that need to be made industry-wide. While we wait for the gender wage gap to shrink, share this post with your network of women so they can get the pay they deserve too!

Top 5 Hiring Trends for Job Seekers in 2017

Human resource departments and recruiters are constantly tweaking their hiring methods to engage and hire the top talent. It is important to know the future hiring trends for job seekers so they can find the perfect job.

As you look to have a more productive and rewarding career in 2017, take note of some things happening in the recruiting industry. This will give you a slight advantage over other candidates when exploring new career options.

2017 Hiring Trends for Job Seekers

For those looking to find a new position or make a career change, 2017 might be the ideal year to do it. One of the major hiring trends for job seekers to note is that 56 percent of teams intend to increase their hiring volume this year.

This means that employers want to hire people – they want to hire you! With candidates at an advantage in the job market, let’s look at 5 trends that will affect the way you navigate the employment search in 2017.

1. The Role of Referrals

It is no secret that a candidate referred by a company’s current employee is more likely to get the job. In fact, the team at CareerXroads found that referred candidates are 14 times more likely to get the job than someone who applies without a referral. This will continue to be one of the top hiring trends for job seekers in 2017.

Referred candidates make up more than 40 percent of new hires at companies described as one of the best places to work. Referred employees are faster to hire, tend to perform better, and stay at the company longer than others.

For companies, referral hiring is effective and provides cost savings. For those looking to find new positions in 2017, ask your potential employer about company referral activity. It can be one way to spot a poor work environment.

2. Enhanced Candidate Experience

Companies are starting to understand how critical the candidate experience is to attract top talent. Essentially, the candidate experience during the applicant process is a reflection of recruiter and business performance.

Hiring departments looking to keep candidates well informed of their status during the hiring process. They know that regular status updates show that they are an employer of choice. A poor experience will lead to bad reviews on sites like Glassdoor.

This is one of the hiring trends for job seekers to pay attention to because they will be able to drive the frequency and form of conversation in 2017. Whether you are on email, phone, or social media, recruiters will be there too.

3. Diversifying the Workplace

In 2017 one of the hot hiring trends for job seekers will be workplace diversity. In 2016, the topic gained a lot of attention and companies are now placing an increased focus on diversity in the workplace.

According to a Glassdoor survey, 67 percent of active and passive job searchers consider diversity an important factor when comparing companies and job offers. Over half of recruiters said that their talent acquisition methods are designed to attract diverse candidates.

As companies continue to understand the benefit and competitive advantages workplace diversity provide, they will continue to implement strategies to eliminate unconscious bias. Companies are looking for diverse people with different cultures, values, and skill sets.

Diverse companies are great to work for because they typically have a culture welcoming of a wide range of people. For those of you on a job hunt, avoid companies that use cultural fit to disguise hiring bias. Don’t be afraid to ask about the role diversity plays in the organization.

4. The Discovery of Talent Rediscovery

There are typically high numbers of applicants for a single position. However, once resumes enter an applicant tracking system (ATS), most of them will never be looked at again. This is not because recruiters don’t want to review those resumes for talent; it’s just hard to do.

A major pain point in the hiring industry is the lack of technology to effectively and accurately screen resumes of past applicants. New technology is going to help recruiters do just that.

Though it is new technology, you should expect it to rise to prominence quickly because talent rediscovery is such a large issue in the industry.

Now, companies will not need to pay to source candidates that they have already screened. For highly qualified candidates that may have missed one job from a company, you’re more likely to get a call or email when another position opens up.

5. Less Full-Time Jobs, More Blended Workforces

The decline in full-time positions is one of the hiring trends for job seekers that may cause concern. As companies across all industries use more technological and automated services, many positions will cease to exist.

More companies are hiring contractors or freelancers on-demand to solve key problems. You can expect to see many more blended workforces in 2017. For managers, remote management will be a critical skill in order to find success with those employees working away from the office.

For job searchers with focused skills, this could be a great opportunity to be contractually hired by companies for their specialized expertise. Since there will be fewer jobs, consider taking temporary jobs while you wait to land a full-time one. They will keep your skills sharp and even help you acquire new ones.