Archive by Oliver Wheaton

DIGITAL KITCHEN: Why training is the best benefit you can offer your employees

16Apr

Some employers think of staff training as just one of the many employee benefits they can offer, but investing in the careers of your employees is much more than that. It’s about safeguarding the future of your business and equipping your staff with the skills they need to drive you forward.

For many businesses, money is tight, but staff training is one of very few employee benefits that can deliver a targeted return on your investment. Whether it’s increased productivity, improved quality of work, better customer service or reduced staff turnover, there are many potential benefits businesses can realise by putting even a small training budget in place.

Investment in training is on the rise

According to the latest research by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), two-thirds of businesses are worried they will not be able to find candidates to fill high-skilled roles. Rather than trying to hire new candidates with the skills they need externally, businesses are increasingly investing in staff training to overcome shortages in every industry from information technology to construction.

The result is that 85 percent of UK firms plan to maintain or increase their investment in staff training over the next year. That would see the annual training pot grow from the £44.2 billion that is spent currently.

Training is a highly valued employee benefit

A survey conducted by a leading recruitment website found that in today’s competitive employment market, a good employee benefits package was more important than ever before. In fact, 86 percent of the respondents admitted to being influenced by the employee benefits on offer when deciding whether to take a new role.

However, despite the clear importance of employee benefits, there was still a disconnect between what HR leaders thought staff valued and what employees really wanted. In particular, the research found that employees placed a much lower value on benefits such as office-based perks and social events than HR decision-makers had thought. Instead, the research found that professional motivators such as staff training and opportunities for promotion were highly valued, particularly among younger workers who seek personal fulfilment above all else.

The benefits of staff training

Of course, putting together an attractive employee benefits package is not just about considering what works for your team. It should also present a compelling business case. A commitment to staff training is a perk that can provide significant benefits for both parties.

For employers:

  • Increased employee performance – Undoubtedly one of the most compelling benefits for employers is having a highly skilled team who are able to perform their current duties competently and take on new responsibilities as part of their role. With highly skilled candidates few and far between, upskilling from within can fill skills gaps and boost your business’s position in the industry.
  • Improved employee engagement and morale – Survey after survey shows that the UK has an employee engagement deficit, with only around a third of people admitting to being engaged at work. An investment in training can make employees feel valued, appreciated and challenged – three factors that play a key part in levels of satisfaction and engagement at work.
  • Reduced employee turnover – If staff feel valued, invested in and are given opportunities to progress in their current roles, they’re less likely to seek opportunities elsewhere. The cost of recruitment is high, particularly in hard to fill roles. That makes strategies aimed at keeping your existing employees a much wiser investment.
  • Enhanced company reputation and profile – Having a strong and successful training strategy helps to enhance your reputation as an employer that values and wants to develop its staff. That makes it more attractive to new recruits and mid-career changes looking to improve their skills and progress in their careers.

For employees:

  • The opportunity to grow and develop – Career progression is one of the most important considerations for ambitious employees. With an investment in training, employees know they will be able to develop their skills, achieve their goals and progress their careers with their current employer.
  • A nurturing culture – A good manager is one who empowers their team to grow and learn. A commitment to training is a clear sign that the managers and the organisation as a whole really care about the progress of its employees.
  • Improved confidence and performance – There’s nothing worse as an employee than feeling that you’re not up to the job. Ongoing training can give employees the skills they need to thrive in their roles and eliminate any shortcomings they may have.

Digital skills to empower your team

At Digital Kitchen, we offer a comprehensive range of digital marketing courses in London to reward and upskill your team. Find out more about our SEO, PPC, social media, content marketing and CRO courses and get in touch today.

DIGITAL KITCHEN: Five signs that you’re ready for a job (or career) change

01Apr

Should I change jobs? It’s a question that can be very difficult to answer. The truth is that the grass is not always greener on the other side, and in many cases, it’s not until it’s too late that you realise what a good thing you had. However, there are also a number of very legitimate reasons why you might consider a career change.

If you feel like you’re ready for a career change, rest assured that you’re not the only one. Research by the London School of Business and Finance found that of 1,000 male and female UK professionals, 47 percent said they wanted to change careers in the next 12 months.

In this article, we’re going to explore some of the signs that we think are potential indicators that you could be ready for a career change. Whether there’s a distinct lack of development opportunities in your current role or you feel like you’re simply not using your skills, these are some of the signs to look out for.

  1. You’re overworked and underpaid

One of the injustices of the modern workplace is that the more capable an employee you are, the more work ends up on your desk, and in many cases, that extra workload is not accompanied by an increase in pay. This is a prime example of an employee who’s being taken for granted. It’s often the case that your employer will recognise you’re doing more work than colleagues at the same level, but still be reluctant to offer you the pay rise you’re long overdue.

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re being overworked and underpaid, it could be time to consider a career change. If you have transferable skills, there’s nothing stopping you applying for roles in other industries where you may be more valued.

  1. You’re not using your innate skills

Sometimes, people end up in jobs that are not a good fit for their skills. Rather than simply changing jobs, they start to wonder whether they could be the problem and their confidence takes a hit. Before you know it, you’re stuck in a job you hate but don’t feel like you could do anything else.

If you’re not doing as good a job as you know you could, or you’re good at your job but it’s not bringing you any pleasure, it’s time for a career change. The likelihood is that you’re not using the skills you’ve worked so hard to develop.

Improving your skillset might be the final puzzle piece needed when it comes to taking the next step in your digital career. Visit our training platform, Digital Kitchen, to find courses on SEO, PPC, Social Media, Content Marketing and CRO.

  1. You can’t be yourself

Everyone is slightly different versions of themselves at home and in the workplace. It could be that you have to be more cut-throat in the workplace or are constantly trying to impress your boss, or you’re much quieter and less confident at work than you are in your personal life.

If the change from ‘not-work’ you to ‘work-you’ starts to feel uncomfortable and stifling, it could be time to go. The culture of the workplace or the industry as a whole is not a good fit for you and you’ll probably feel happier elsewhere.

  1. You want to make a difference

In many cases, it’s jobs that have a positive impact on the world or people’s lives that employees value the most. A YouGov survey asked the public whether they’d rather have a job they hate that pays well, or a job they love that pays poorly. 64 percent said they’d rather have a poorly paid job they love.

Life is too short to exchange your happiness for a pay packet. If you want to make a difference, think about what impact you want to have and whether your skills are well suited to that particular industry. That will help you maximise your impact and lead to the highest possible levels of job satisfaction.

  1. You’re not developing

Ambition is not something everyone has, and nor is it something everyone needs to have. If you’re very happy to remain in the same role for many years without the prospect of promotion, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, if you are ambitious and want to gain new skills at work but your employer is not willing to invest in your development, or perhaps you’ve reached as far as you can go in your industry, it could be time for a career change.

If you’re constantly bored and have nowhere to go in your role, sometimes the best thing to do is to get onto a steeper learning curve. Even if you have to take a pay cut to do so, it could be worth it in the long run.

Take the next step in your career

At Digital Kitchen, we offer beginner and advanced digital marketing courses so you can take the first or next step in your new career. Find out more about our SEO, PPC, social media, content marketing and CRO courses and get in touch with our team.

DIGITAL KITCHEN: It’s Official – The Digital Skills Gap is Costing You Money

22Mar

A new report from the global consulting firm Accenture has found that unless the growing digital skills gap is closed quickly, it could cost the UK economy £141.5bn of GDP growth over the next ten years. In those terms, it’s easy to dismiss the digital skills gap as something you can do very little about, but there are measures every business can take to reduce the potential impact.

At present, the UK already has a digital skills gap which is impacting on business growth, innovation and the broader development of the working population. Currently, 72 percent of large organisations and 49 percent of SMEs admit to suffering from a tech skills gap. The risk is that with Brexit upon us, the flow of labour between Britain and the EU will be stifled and that gap could widen. A reduced influx of EU workers combined with an ageing population could leave us with 3 million jobs left unfilled by 2030.

You might assume the digital skills gap is only being felt by Fintech firms and other technology specialists, but it already extends to a lack of business, marketing and leadership skills in today’s digital world. That is causing headaches for companies in all sectors that are struggling to hire employees who are equipped to take advantage of the opportunities the digital transformation creates.

Why does the skills gap exist?

The easy option would be to blame the current political climate for the UK’s digital skills gap, but in reality, there are numerous, eminently solvable factors that are contributing to the problem.

  • Businesses are not willing to invest

These days, you don’t need to have a degree in computer science to be ‘digitally enabled’. Short training courses can be all it takes to add new skills to an employee’s repertoire and help them become part of the solution for your business. Unfortunately, not enough businesses are willing to invest in external training to bring the skills of their employees up to scratch. Instead, they rely on outdated and often ineffective on the job training schemes to try and bridge the gap.

  • Graduates don’t have sufficient digital skills

Last year, over 85,000 people applied to be on the 2018 series of Love Island, compared with only 37,000 applications to undergraduate courses at Oxford and Cambridge. Although there’s a certain shock value associated with that statistic, it’s also indicative of a much wider problem. The trouble is that the undersubscribed STEM subjects are just not deemed to be sexy enough for youngsters obsessed by a world of reality TV, YouTube and celebrity. While posting on Instagram is a digital skill of sorts, that alone is not enough to bridge the growing tech skills gap in the UK.

A Deloitte report found that only 12 percent of business leaders felt school leavers and graduates had the right level of digital skills, down from 20 percent in 2017. The result is that over three-quarters of businesses are experiencing challenges in recruiting employees with the relevant digital skills, with data analysts and data scientists the most difficult employees to recruit and retain.

  • Gender barriers still exist

Another contributing factor in the digital skills gap is a lack of awareness of the career opportunities within digital, as well as gender stereotypes that can exist around some of the roles. Unfortunately, women still remain underrepresented in digital roles and that flows all the way down to related training courses and STEM subjects at universities and schools.

  • Traditional training isn’t filling the gap

Organisations that effectively and promptly train their workforce to be digitally proficient are best placed to utilise the abundance of digital products and services on offer. Unfortunately, many businesses are relying on traditional workforce training models that are simply not up to the job. External training providers are able to match the digital training to the specific skills your business needs. That provides your business with a range of new skills that are instantly implementable.

Digitise your team

Like any gap in the market, the digital skills gap presents an opportunity for businesses that are willing and able to adapt. At Digital Kitchen, we have created a range of digital marketing training courses to equip your team with the skills to succeed in the digital age. Find out more about our SEO, PPC, Social, Content Marketing and CRO courses and get in touch with our team.

What we’ve learnt in the world of digital in 2018

06Nov

What we learnt in digital 2018

One of the core principles here at Passion Digital is that we should never stop learning, as an agency or as individuals. It’s part of the reason that we launched Digital Kitchen, our digital marketing training service.

We also make sure every staff member at Passion Digital has the ability to attend seminars, courses and conferences in order to ensure their knowledge and personal development never falters. To put it simply – we love to learn. While there will always be something else we can swot up on, here are just some of the incredible things we didn’t know at the start of 2018, but we are lucky enough to understand and  in our professional lives now.

PPC – AI and automation

In 2018 we’ve learnt that AI and automation within PPC is needed more than ever. With a platform like Google Ads there is access to so much data, meaning more complexities, more considerations and more outcomes.

As an agency we were initially hesitant of using tools such as Search Ads 360 (formerly DoubleClick Search), but we quickly realised the value in these tools. They can reduce the margin of error and allow our team to focus more on the strategic side of PPC marketing and ensure we are delivering our clients good results.

SEO – Log file analysis

This year we learnt the importance of log file analysis, a very technical side of the work we do from an SEO point of view.

Every request made to your hosting web server for content is being recorded in a log file. The analysis of these log files is important because you can see exactly what resources search engines like Google are crawling on your site. Analysing these files will help to understand how much “crawl budget” is being wasted.

What is Crawl Budget and Wasted Crawl Budget?

  • Crawl budget refers to the number of pages a search engine will crawl each time it visits your site.
  • Crawl budget or crawl allocation is determined based on the authority of the domain, the link equity through the site and number of pages. The higher the authority, the more URLs crawled.
  • Letting search engine bots crawl thousands of irrelevant, content-thin URLs leads to Wasted Crawl Budget –as a consequence, the requests from these bots that could had been spent on the pages we want to be noticed, crawled and indexed by search engines, are spent on pages that either have no SEO potential or are not important for the business.

Recently we worked with a client that had thousands of pages on their site, and the insights we found from the log file analysis were quite daunting:

  • Only 7% of all crawled URLs were returning clean 200 status codes ad being properly indexed and bringing SEO value.
  • The rest of the total crawl budget was spent on crawling URLs that were eventually resolving in JavaScript Redirects, were canonicalized, noindexed or plainly wrong.

As a result, we have been recommending changes to improve the way search engines crawl the site, and as soon as these change are implemented we’ll have a lovely case study to show!

Content marketing – Ask journalists what they want

This year we’ve been thinking a lot about how to find out exactly what kind of content journalists and influencers want to cover and share. It may not exactly be a ‘new’ technique, but we’ve recently discovered the power of reaching out to journalists before starting a content project, and giving them a rough pitch of the idea.

This has many benefits. Firstly, the journalist will see this as an opportunity to get some original content before his or her competitors, which they won’t have to do any research for. With this in mind they are also likely to suggest edits or changes that should be made to the plan in order to achieve the best results and make it more likely to win coverage and backlinks.

Secondly, if you start a dialogue with a journalist at a larger publication (something with a wide readership and healthy Domain Authority) and create a bit of content that they assure you they will cover, a huge amount of your outreach is already done for you. Other journalists will see this content and approach you about covering it.

Thirdly, becoming known to journalists or influencers as a source of good content – as well as being known as willing to collaborate on creating decent content – is invaluable. If you are able to establish this relationship with journalists then they will always answer your messages and read your press releases. They might even contact you about the type of content they are looking for in the near future, influencing your content strategy.

This approach may seem daunting, and you are certain to be rebuffed by many journalists and influencers you approach, however you only need one to turn your next content project into a success.

Social – Remarketing for Facebook Lead Generation

A popular objective for paid social, lead generation forms allow a user to register their interest natively within the platform they are using.

However one of the largest issues we notice with Lead Generation campaigns on channels such as Facebook or LinkedIn is that a lot of the time advertisers will use the lead generation forms as the first advert a user will see from the brand. Put it in real-life context, if someone came up to you with a form asking you for your data, you’d most likely pretend to be getting a phone call and run off. It’s just not realistic to expect anyone to give you their details when they’ve only just found out about your brand and service.

One of the most effective methods we’ve seen at getting higher completion rates is by taking a simple funnel approach and taking into account the user’s journey from start to finish. A basic way of breaking this down is in two stages, but could be widened out even further to improve results and make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

1. Website traffic and building audience sizes.

By sending people to your site, you’re allowing the user to do their own research, giving them time to understand what you offer and whether or not they’re interested.

Once you begin to gather traffic to your site and see longer sessions taking place, you’re ready to start remarketing.

2. Custom audiences

Custom audiences within Facebook are essentially remarketing lists, but you get a number of segmentation options open to you to hone and improve the likelihood of compiling the best audiences for your next step of marketing.

There are a number of options available, but for starters we create audiences for the top 25% of website visitors of the past 30 days, all the way down to 1, 3, 7, 14 days so you have all the options available to you.

3. Lead generation

Once you have these audiences created with your Facebook Ads Manager, you’re ready to start remarketing to them.

People would have previously seen your brand and checked the website, viewing a number of pieces of content, therefore they are much more likely to convert and register their interest.

If you want to take your career in digital to the next level, you can learn from experts in the industry on a Digital Kitchen course. Find a course that works for you today.

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