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Empowering LGBTQ Employees to Review Their Employers

OutBüro (OutBuro.com) launches filling a void in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer working and professional community by offering a Glassdoor.com-like service in where LGBTQ employees may review their employers on not only general employee-related areas but those specific to the employer’s LGBTQ policies, benefits, culture, work-life balance, job security, CEO performance and more. Reviews include a free-form text review along with prompting for pros and cons as well as a message to the CEO. Registered members’ ratings are displayed anonymously. Reviews must adhere to our Community and Company Reviews Guidelines. Other members may indicate a rating as helpful as well as flag inappropriate content for community self-governance. OutBüro’s founder, Dennis Velco, built and moderates LinkedIn’s largest LGBT professional group with 47k global members now as a service of OutBüro.

OutBüro empowers every LGBTQ person to add their past employers, if not already present. We are open to all company sizes from the small local business to Fortune 100. OutBüro’s Company Reviews directory is world-wide. No matter where an LGBTQ person lives and works they can have a voice in praising their employer or offering constructive feedback to be a catalyst for change.

Companies may claim their listing to gain additional features and ensure their information is correctly represented including the required responses to the presence of the following policies and practices:

  • Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Policy
  • Gender Identity Non-Discrimination
  • Domestic Partner Benefits
  • Supports LGBTQ Equality Globally (if operates in more than one country)
  • LGBT Inclusion Competency
  • Public Commitment to LGBTQ Equality
  • Requires Similar Policies for Contractors and Vendors

Add your employer and review them today.

OutBüro (OutBuro.com) is a start-up company providing the LGBTQ workforce, professional a voice in improving our future. Our platform provides the ability to connect and dialog with others one on one and via topically focused groups at all levels of career phase from entry-level, professionals through entrepreneurs. OutBüro’s Job Portal enables employers to attract quality LGBTQ candidates while demonstrating their commitment to the LGBTQ community. Job seekers may add their resume/CV to the growing search-able repository in an active and passive job search.

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How to Hire the Right Employees for Your LGBT Owned Business

Your business has the best chance of success if you hire the right people to work for you. Skilled, enthusiastic, and flexible staff will help your business run and grow smoothly. But how do you hire the right employees?

Hiring is part of your job

As a business owner or founder, your vision for your company affects everything. It’s part of your job to find and hire employees who will share that vision and take your business forward.

Even if you intend to outsource to contractors and freelancers, this is still important. Whether you’re hiring a permanent staff member or trying to find someone to do short-term contract work for you, it pays to get the right person.

With a little thought and planning, you’ll be able to clearly determine your requirements, find candidates, and narrow down your choices. Eventually, you should find the right employee for the role you’re offering. Here are some useful tips to help you make that decision.

Plan your hiring strategy

This should be part of your business plan. Think about where you expect your business to be at various stages over the next year, and how many employees you’ll need in order to get there. For each new vacancy, consider the following points:

  • Prioritize what you or your team actually need
    Make lists of the tasks you want each new employee to take on.
  • Hire people with complementary skills
    Think about operational versus ideas people and sales skills versus creative ability.
  • Be clear about what you can afford
    Look into market rates and offer a suitably competitive salary within your budget.
  • Decide if you want a part-time or full-time employee
    There are pros and cons to both, so research this before deciding.
  • Is your business at the growth stage?
    Small, growing businesses can benefit from hiring flexible people able to take on multiple roles in the company.
  • Is experience important to you?
    Larger companies tend to require deeper, specific expertise and experience, though flexibility is still useful.

Small businesses have to budget carefully, which is why good quality cloud accounting software is so helpful. Use it to plan your budget and see if you can afford to hire someone new for a particular role. Balance the cost of employing them with the increased revenue they should bring to your business.

Consider your culture

Your company has a culture: a way of approaching business, a way of thinking and operating that’s unique. This affects the way your business operates and the way it’s seen by customers.

You, as a business owner or founder, have a big influence on your company’s culture, but so do the people you hire. So consider these points before you start hiring:

  • What is your company culture now?
    Ask your employees (perhaps anonymously) or customers how they view your business.
  • What do you want your culture to be?
    Think about successful companies and how they do business. Try to copy their good points.
  • Do you want to hire someone who will fit into your company culture?
    If your team is running smoothly you might want someone who will fit in perfectly.
  • Would you consider hiring someone who might challenge your company culture in a positive way?
    Group-think and confirmation bias can hold your business back. Someone who can challenge your business culture might get you out of a rut.
  • How will you define your culture in words when you’re recruiting?
    It can be difficult to explain your culture to someone new, so take the time to prepare.
  • How will you evaluate an individual’s suitability to your company culture?
    Think about the interview questions you might ask.

Good culture is more than just putting pool tables or a ‘relaxation zone’ in your business premises, especially if your employees are too stressed or overworked to use them! It involves helping your staff develop as individuals and also as part of their team.

Find candidates: Six recruitment agency alternatives

You could use a recruitment agency to try to find candidates for you. With their wide reach, they can locate people who might not otherwise hear about the role, but they usually charge quite a lot. For an important management-level position this might be worthwhile, but there are other options:

  1. Use your LinkedIn account
    Search for people in your location and field with the right skills. Update your profile to let people know you’re hiring.
  2. Talk to local business agencies
    Make sure you network socially in the real world. You may find yourself introduced to the ideal candidate.
  3. Add a We’re hiring! link to your website and email signatures
    Ensure it links to a page with up-to-date job vacancies and contact details.
  4. Advertise on job websites.
    These will charge, but usually not as much as recruitment agencies. You may receive some unsuitable applications from job-seekers taking the ‘scatter-gun’ approach, though.
  5. Ask your business partners and clients
    Tell them the type of person you’re looking for and see if they can refer anyone to you.
  6. Use your social media accounts to announce that you’re hiring
    The more places you advertise your requirements, the more likely you are to find candidates.

The amount you spend on advertising the role will depend on your budget. Keep track of costs in your accounting software, to make sure you don’t over-spend.

Make a short-list of applicants

Filtering applicants into a short-list can be time-consuming and requires a lot of thought. Look through each application and think about whether the person fits the criteria you’ve specified.

  • Consider their qualifications
    Are they relevant to the role? Are they up to date?
  • Look at their work experience
    Have they moved around a lot? That’s not necessarily a cause for concern but it might indicate potential problems.
  • What’s their background in your specific field?
    How much time have they spent working in environments that are similar to the role you’re offering? What relevant knowledge do they have?
  • Check their posts and behavior on social networks
    You’ll probably learn more about their background, maturity, and life skills. Don’t be too harsh here, because everyone needs to let off steam occasionally, but any recurring issues might need to be taken into account.

It’s also a good idea to check references before the interview stage, as it might save you time if something negative turns up.

Questions to ask when you interview candidates

Draw up a range of questions about each candidate’s career and skills. Include some open-ended questions so the candidates have the opportunity to talk about themselves and their goals. For example:

  • Ask them about their successes
    Encourage them to talk about their achievements, even those outside work. A well-rounded individual should be a useful addition to your team.
  • What do they think about your company?
    See if they’ve done their research about your business, as it’ll give you an idea of their commitment.
  • Enquire about hobbies and interests
    Employees with good work-life balance tend to be more productive and creative than those who are fixated on their careers. Find out what they read, what they watch, how they learn new skills.
  • Go for a walk with them
    Perhaps give them a tour of your premises or take them out for a coffee – and talk while you walk. You’ll get a better idea of their personality than you will in a formal interview environment.

Make sure you follow all legal requirements regarding privacy, discrimination, and fairness during the interview and recruitment process. Check local legislation to ensure you don’t make any costly mistakes.

What to look for so you can hire the right person

Hiring the wrong person can be expensive in terms of money and emotional stress, especially if you have to fire them soon afterward. So take the time to get it right. Some more things to consider include:

  • Personality
    Is this person going to fit into your existing team or will there be a personality clash? In a small business, this can be a critical issue.
  • Flexibility
    The ability to adapt to new and different tasks is a valuable skill.
  • Problem-solving ability
    Look for someone who uses logic and lateral thinking to overcome challenges.
  • Communication skills
    Knowledge is of little use unless it’s communicated. You need someone who’s approachable and easy to talk to.

As well as these points, try to hire someone who fits in with your strategy and core business values. And make sure it’s someone you can trust.

Above all, use your instincts

As a business owner, you sometimes have to go with what feels right, because that feeling is the reasoning of your unconscious mind.

The right person will almost certainly feel right to you, as well as ticking all the boxes for experience, qualifications, skills, and personality. If you have doubts about someone’s suitability to the role you’re offering, it’s probably best not to hire them.

Once you’ve hired the right people you can start to build them into a working team that will function efficiently and takes your business forward.

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How to Build a Great Team in Your LGBT Owned Business

Hiring the right employees is important but it’s not enough. For your business to succeed you’ll have to shape those employees into a winning team. Team building isn’t easy though, so how do you get everyone to work well together?

Understand the strengths of each individual

It’s likely that your new employees will have come from a variety of backgrounds. They’ll have different personalities and therefore different ideas about how to do their jobs. If you’re a manager, it’s important to recognize this because having a deep understanding of people is worth its weight in gold. If you can enable each employee to channel their strengths and shine in a way that benefits your business, then you’re on the right track.

Here are some tips on turning a group of individuals into a cohesive successful team that will help your business reach its full potential.

Explain your business vision

Start by setting the scene for your employees. Let them know what they’re aiming for and help them to understand the goals of your company.

  • Talk about the culture you want to build
    Plant the seeds of your business culture in your workers’ minds so it grows and flourishes. Get them excited about being part of the team and the environment.
  • Describe your future plans
    Create a vision of where your team should be, six months, a year, and two years from now. Use your accounting software to draw up realistic financial forecasts and share these with your employees.
  • Explain the environment of customers, prospects, and partners
    Use diagrams if necessary to show the interaction between all the people around your company.
  • Use ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ when talking about your business
    It’s a common startup mistake to associate yourself with your business, but if you want your employees to feel like part of a team then you’ll need to include them too.

These points will help your employees feel settled and give them a feeling for the situation in which they’re working. Once that’s done, you can start to bring out the best in them.

Get your employees involved

It’s important to quickly get your employees involved in the day-to-day running of your business. Keep them active and use their strengths to help them integrate and develop.

  • Give them tasks right away
    On the first day, your new employees should already be doing useful work. Get them engaged right from the start.
  • Challenge them
    Help your employees to push themselves. Use timelines or specific goals (with their input) for them to strive for.
  • Acknowledge their successes
    Use the carrot, not just the stick. Always reward success with praise.
  • Mentor your new hires
    Partner with your new employees with someone senior on the team. The more mentoring you do, the faster your team will take shape.

Explain to your employees that the more effort they put in, the quicker the company will grow, and the better their rewards will be. This could be in terms of promotion, salary and benefits.

Define roles clearly

Everyone needs to know their job – what’s expected of them and what’s not. If you don’t make this clear, the morale of your employees will suffer, and progress and efficiency will be affected.

For example, if one person is waiting for another to finish a task, but the other person doesn’t believe that task is part of their job description, progress will grind to a halt.

So be sure to update roles and task lists frequently. Then your employees will know what they’re supposed to be doing.

Consider team-building exercises

Small businesses are often fast-paced environments. That means you need to get your team working together quickly. Team-building exercises can help, but there are some important points to consider:

  • Budget carefully
    Days off work will cost you money in terms of lost productivity, plus the cost of the team-building event itself. Good accounting software will keep your accounts up to date, so you can see at a glance what you can afford.
  • Examine all the options
    Paintballing? Go-karting? Building log bridges over rivers? Ask your employees which options they might prefer, but be prepared for many different answers.
  • Don’t forget the simple things
    Something as low key as providing drinks and snacks for the last hour of a Friday afternoon might work well. Not everyone wants to crawl through the undergrowth in camouflage clothing.

Recognize the value of diversity

Complementary skill sets can mean contrasting personalities. For example (as a general rule only), salespeople tend to be extroverts while programmers and developers tend to be more introverted. That reflects the type of person drawn to each role and also the demands of the role itself.

Trying to ‘fix’ these differences so everyone’s the same will not work. In fact, it’s likely to backfire badly. At best you’ll annoy your employees, at worst you’ll breach diversity and equality legislation.

Accept that people are different from you – may be even very different. Race, gender, sexuality, and personality differences are irrelevant. What really matters is how good people are at their jobs.

Extend your team beyond your business

Think beyond the four walls of your business premises. Your team can be more than the people you hire directly. Make the most of your outside contacts:

  • Ask guest speakers to meet with your team 
    Talks on anything from organizational psychology to technical matters can help inform your team and improve their skills.
  • Share development ideas with customers and key business partners
    If you’re gearing up for major investment, make sure your customers and business partners are ready for it. Get your staff involved with these discussions.
  • Invite customers and key partners to staff meetings
    Give them the chance to provide feedback and take questions from your team. Do this carefully to avoid giving out confidential business information.
  • Have a team coach
    Consider using the services of someone who can provide real-time feedback on how your team is working together.

Getting an outside perspective can also help prevent ‘groupthink’, where employees become subdued and unwilling to challenge the norms of your business. Keep your staff thinking positively and creatively at all times.

Let your team know that you value them

This is important and quite straightforward. You simply have to take an interest in your staff.

  • Show them you care
    Learn about things like their family, personal life, or hobbies.
  • Focus on personal growth
    Think about enhancing your employees’ skill-sets and management skills. Know their career goals and help them get there.
  • Invest in your employees
    Give them the support and tools they need to be successful. This could include things like a healthy working environment, a supportive team, or the right software or technical equipment.
  • Celebrate the little victories!
    Reward every success, no matter how small it might seem. The goodwill generated will pay you back many times over.
  • Be positive and stay positive
    Don’t lose your cool or lose control, as that will set a bad impression and affect morale.

Identify problems early

You may have people who are having (or causing) problems in your organization. The reasons for this might include issues with their home life, financial problems, or other personal hardships.

In this situation, you must tread carefully and follow all local laws, especially those relating to privacy and employment rights. Seek professional advice if necessary.

Sometimes people just won’t fit into your culture, which is again why making the right employee choice is so important. Firing people should be a last resort if you’ve tried every other option including third-party mediation services and verbal and written warnings. Be sure to follow local legislation if you’re forced to take this option.

Understand negative team dynamics

There are other influences that can prevent a team from becoming successful. These include:

  • Unwillingness to change
    A fixed mindset, for example: “But we’ve always done it this way.”
  • Inability to work together
    Usually due to personality clashes. Resolving these is one of the hardest tasks for management.
  • Too many individual projects
    People who like to excel will feel unmotivated if they have to spread their abilities widely.
  • Too much individual recognition
    Favoring some team members above others will cause resentment.
  • Competing agendas
    If there’s a lack of consensus, productivity will drop.
  • Top-down talk and micro-management
    Saying “Do this, do that” is usually less effective than setting a goal and letting the team achieve it on their own.

Be aware of the potential for these problems to arise, and do what you can to prevent them.

Use your people skills to build your team

For your team to thrive you must be approachable, friendly, authoritative and responsible. In other words, a good manager and leader.

You may need training to help you become a better manager and there’s no shame in that. Running a business is a learning process – and just like your employees, you can learn and improve.

After all, the better you are at managing people, the better your team will perform and the faster your business will grow.

 
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LGBT Entrepreneurs Hiring Your First Employee

At a startup business hiring the first employee(s) could be a rather stressful encounter. Proceeding with care a fantastic idea. Congratulations on getting to this degree that extra help is necessary. As the LGBT entrepreneur who has launched and built the business up to now on a great deal of sweat equity together with probably tears and utter dedication, to cover the income of another individual to do everything you’ve been doing could be a frightening thought.

 

Things the LGBT Entrepreneur should ask while hiring first employees

The very first question is, can the business afford to bring extra staff along with considering all the factors? Committing to wages and benefits is pricey any way you slice it.  Rarely can an LGBT startup manage to have even one staff person who is not functioning at full capability.  Firing a worker may mean not just severance pay but there might be litigation. What’s more, the price of the downtime, locating a replacement, and attracting the new individual along with ramping them up would be added expenses and drain any company but particularly a small startup.

The second questions LGBT entrepreneurs typically encounter when hiring your first employees are where and how to when locating excellent candidates. The following is a rundown of some basics.

What jobs/tasks to fill/delegate first will be different for every company, based on business, location, and also the abilities of the LGBT business owners.  LGBT entrepreneurs have to boil their staffing searches down to a handful of quality people who connect with the company’s mission. Frequently the early hires both include people with the ability to do many tasks across the business and be willing to be trained to perform more job junctions they may not have been hired to do. High-level executives are not usually hired before the business has experienced some substantial growth.  You typically do not require a vice president of sales or marketing before there is a customer load to warrant it. In smaller local companies like Pet Grooming, it might be just one or two individuals in the business.  Expanding in this sort of business may be adding part-time team members for customer pet pick-ups and drop-off. Be smart and strategic when hiring.

 

LGBT Entrepreneur Startup Factors

As a business founded by an LGBT person(s) hiring with a sensitivity to the built-in diversity is important.  The founder’s sexuality should not be an issue, yet in a small growing company personality fit is a key component.  Hiring persons and making it very clear up front that diversity is valued including sexual orientation and validating that there is no apparent conflict is important for both you and the new employee.

Consider Freelance Contractors for your LGBT Owned Business

Ask yourself, “Do I really need to hire someone?”  Today so many services can be outsourced or accomplished by freelance contractors. Some work that may be able to be outsourced could include manufacturing, financial/CPA work, technical support, website design, traditional marketing, graphic design, social media marketing, sales, and public relations — even administrative assistants can be hired on a “virtual” basis now online.

Deciding what activities to farm out versus hiring an LGBT friendly employee may come down to deciding if the work activity is centered on your core business strength and how much time is dedicated to the tasks on a regular basis.  There may be other LGBT businesses or community friendly vendors that have more resources, skills, and experience than a single individual you may be able to afford to hire.

LGBT Small Company Benefits

When hiring your first staff, LGBT entrepreneur business owners often do best with flexible job seekers who are familiar working in small companies. Typically, the best candidate can perform their job with a lot of independence and doesn’t need a lot of hand-holding.

You might want to consider hiring someone with a large-business background, but they are all too often not an ideal match. In a large business, the daily work process is very different than in a small company.  Small companies require each person to do a bit of everything.

On the plus side, an LGBT small business is usually less bureaucratic and so staff typically have a larger array of projects and tasks their jobs than large companies where jobs tend to be siloed. Also, LGBT small business owners typically have a closer relationship with each employee creating a family-like atmosphere.  For the prospective employee, landing a job in a small and growing LGBT owned business offers the new employee the possibility for accelerated professional growth as well as being a part of making that growth take place.

Hunting for a Great LGBT Business Employee Match

An LGBT entrepreneur’s best source for hiring your first LGBT friendly employee typically starts with professional networking. Don’t be shy about asking for referrals from your friends and industry colleagues.  Also let your professional contacts know such as your accountant, lawyer, board members, and members of any organizations (professional and non-profession) you belong to. Since these trusted people will only recommend someone they know, they have accomplished some of your new hire screening for you. LGBT start-ups typically find their first several candidates levering their personal and professional network this way.

You also enlarge your networking reach with each new employee hire.  Candidates through current employees receive an insider trusted perspective of you and your business.  Typically current staff will only suggest someone he or she believes will be a great fit for skills and culture.  Providing employee referrals bonus program is a fairly inexpensive way to incentivize current employees to offer up great candidates.

No matter how professionally networked you and your staff are this approach will eventually reach it’s maximum ability to continue to deliver the best candidates.  Therefore, you also need to consider niche online job portals such as the OutBüro LGBT Job Portal. Large job boards like ZipRecruiter.com, have advantages yet they can often drown you in a see of low quality resumes.  In a small LGBT business time is money and sorting through a large volume of candidates is costly and exhausting.  Smaller niche sites like the OutBüro LGBT Job Portal can narrow your interested applicants to LGBT friendly quality candidates.

It’s important to be active in professional groups such as the OutBüro LGBT community groups and the OutBüro LinkedIn LGBT Professional networking group.   Keep watch on popular blogs and industry websites for great talent seeking a change.

Employment agencies and headhunters can help you find employees from entry-level to executive. Recruiters do all your legwork — for a fee, of course — and are particularly useful if you are hiring a top-level executive.

 

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