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Cranmore Park Blog

Every business owner knows that keeping your employees happy with their careers is key to ensuring you have the best people working for you at all times. If you have an unmotivated workforce full of people who are convinced they are stuck in a dead-end job, you will soon end up losing them.

This is rarely a good thing. A high staff turnover looks bad for your company, discouraging the most talented people from applying for a job there. When you employ somebody with the potential to have a huge positive effect on your firm, you want to ensure they stick around rather than jetting off to another business.

Most businesses have a list of company values that define what kind of organisation they are. These tend to vary wildly from company to company, but one that often remains a constant is 'teamwork'.

While many CEOs might like to think they built the business from the bottom up all by themselves, in actual fact most firms would crash and burn without a dedicated team of employees ready and willing to work together. If your business is full of people who don't work well together, your productivity and general employee motivation will drop rapidly.

Employers are to be provided with assistance in recruiting prospective staff with the highest value skills, in an effort to ensure companies are taking on the most suitable candidates from the outset.

The government has revealed that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is set to alter the way that the outcomes of education and skills for adult learners are measured, in a bid to enable employers and training providers alike to focus more closely on giving students the skills they need in order to land new jobs and progress.

Whether you're conducting a training session or giving a presentation at a conference, stepping in front of an audience can be incredibly nerve-wracking. With a sea of faces staring at you, it is all too easy to feel like nobody is listening and your speech is falling flat, even if that is not the case.

We all want to make an impact with our presentations. However, doing so can be difficult. You certainly don't want to end up staring into your notes and stammering your way through an embarrassing performance! You need to impress your audience, which is easier said than done.

The Birmingham area has long been touted as one of the best places for conferences in the UK. Its relatively central location and good travel links make it easy to get to for international meetings, and there are many fantastic conference venues in and around the Birmingham and Solihull area that organisations can take advantage of.

If proof was needed of this, one needs look no further than recent statistics from Birmingham's hotel industry. The sector has seen a major boost in occupancy rates recently, and the number of conferences being held in the city is thought to be why.

On January 1st, people around the world will be setting themselves goals for the new year. You've probably thought of a resolution yourself - maybe you're going to give up chocolate and sweets, or learn a new skill - but have you thought of creating one or two for your business?

Setting year-long goals can be very helpful, especially if they are measurable and attainable. However, with something as large as a business it is usually not a good idea to set big, vague goals. Now is the time to get specific! Look at each aspect of your company and think: "How can I improve it?"

Meetings have a valuable role to play in business, but it's important to ensure they are productive. Too many man hours are wasted in meetings which drag on unnecessarily or should never have been organised in the first place.

If you're going to remove employees from their desk - and their workload - for any period of time, you have to have good reason. Your meetings need to offer a return on investment; otherwise how can you justify disrupting your employees' day?

Whether you are meeting with clients, colleagues or members of your board, you will want to make sure that you have a good discussion that reaches a solid conclusion. However, this is often easier said than done. Without a skilled guiding hand to keep the conversation on the right track, you can end up having an unproductive time.

If you are responsible in any way for chairing or leading a meeting, you are going to need to make sure it remains on-topic for the duration. Otherwise you are going to struggle to talk about any pressing issues you have. However, people have a tendency to get distracted and overcomplicate conversations.

Meetings are a necessary part of every company. However, they can so easily go wrong. One of the main problems many businesspeople have is leaving meetings with the feeling that they haven't really achieved anything. Sometimes, it can seem like you don't know why you met in the first place.

This is generally caused by not having a strong brief or agenda going into the meeting. If you are not 100 per cent sure what your aims are when you get your fellow staff members together then you run the risk of the discussion going around in circles, without ever arriving at a satisfactory conclusion.

Attracting people to your stand at your next trade show is one challenge, but have you thought about what you will do with all of them when they get there? You might have had an awkward experience with attendees when too many of them visit you at once, leaving you trying to deal with ten queries at once.

This can make you look unprofessional and under-prepared for the exhibition. It is always a good idea to take one or two extra members of staff with you to every trade show, but sometimes this still isn't enough! If too many people come over to you at once, you will find yourselves rushed and panicked, which will have a negative effect on attendees.

A healthy worker is a happy worker. That is a fairly common maxim, but it is one with a great deal of truth to it. People who are fit and have a good diet are generally happier, which in turn makes them better at their jobs.

In fact, Thomsons Online Benefits managing director Chris Bruce just told HR Magazine: "Employees who regularly exercise are better at dealing with stressful situations and also feel energised. If you do this well customers can feel that energy in their interactions with your staff."

If you're looking to stage a conference, event or exhibition, one of the first decisions you've got to make is about location - where is the event going to take place? There may be a number of options available to you, but how many are really suitable for your needs? How can you tell a great venue apart from an average one?

There's a whole range of factors to consider, and you need to weigh up the importance of each as you look for the best possible site. Think about the practicalities of staging your event, the comfort and convenience for your attendees, and the size of your budget among other issues.

Technology has grown at an astronomical pace in the last few years, which has surely affected your life in some way. Your business will work largely over the internet, your car will have the latest sat nav system and your phone will be capable of far more than you would have expected just two or three years ago.

However, it is often still difficult to understand how this new technology can specifically help you and your business. One of the clearest signs of this is the fact that every conference is not a sea of people using tablet PCs like the Apple iPad. Tablets are incredibly useful for conference-goers, yet surprisingly underused.

Using Twitter effectively can give you an advantage when it comes to trade shows and making the most of networking opportunities, it has been claimed.

Janette Speyer, a partner at Hot Ice Media, believes the micro-blogging service is an extremely powerful tool - particularly for tracking and communicating.

The key is to pick your sessions carefully. You can't just go to whatever you feel like, choosing sessions at random, unless you want to have a fruitless conference. Instead, you should carefully select the seminars you want to attend based on how much you will get out of them.

Sometimes, this might involve doing a bit of research. For example, look up the people taking each session. They might just be people who know a bit about the topic they're talking about, or they might be published authors and experts in the field. Often this information will be included in the agenda.

If you're exhibiting at a trade show, you need to find ways of maximising your investment - not just on the day of the event but in the weeks and months that follow. You've met new prospects and generated new leads at the trade show, but now you've got to drive home the advantage and turn potential into profits.

According to Timothy Carter, digital marketing manager for Nimlok, there are a number of different ways to achieve this goal. In a recent article for Small Business Trends, he explained some of the ways companies can continue to benefit from trade shows after they have taken place.