13 Ways To Onboard Happy Employees and Increase Retention

A good onboarding process can help you increase retention and make sure new hires get up and running quickly. Get our favorite tips for better onboarding.

The onboarding experience is a crucial first impression for your new hires. As an employer, it offers the opportunity to set people up for success within your company, and feel that they’ve made the right choice in joining your team.

In this way, onboarding is also helpful for employee retention. A great onboarding process helps new hires become effective employees sooner, which builds their confidence and helps them grow.

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For further inquiries please contact Melissa Putterman: [email protected] || w:929-236-9750

How To Choose A Mobile App Development Company That’s Right For You

Contributed by Curotec.

According to the Pew Research Center in a report from June of 2019, 96% of Americans now own a cellphone, and 81% have a smartphone. For an entrepreneur, that’s a huge potential audience for a mobile app.

If you’ve got an idea for a mobile app – whether it’s to promote your brand, provide mobile access to an e-commerce experience, or offer a charitable solution to a community challenge – you’ll likely find yourself needing help bringing your vision to life. Finding the right mobile app development company is as important as coming up with a great idea.

How do you choose the right development company? Here are a few tips on making your search as productive as possible.

First, get your ducks in a row

One of the most important steps needed in finding the right mobile application development company for your idea is to flesh out the idea first. Knowing what you want to create, and what you need help with to do that will narrow your search.

If all you have is the initial concept and the goals you’re hoping to achieve with the mobile application, that’s ok. Your search should include full-service companies that can help you carve out your requirements and define the features, as well as design and develop the product. You may need to go as far as to find an organization that can help with marketing and testing, but you’ll also need to be prepared to pay for that kind of end-to-end product development.

If you have the product well defined, you may be looking for a development firm that can help with design, usability, and development. If you have a design or have worked with a designer to outline the look and feel and user interface, you may only need a partner that can execute the development work.

Whatever stage you’re at with your application, be honest with yourself on where you need help. Understanding where you’re short in planning and development will guide you in choosing the right partner or partners to build what you envision.

Locating the right company

Once you know what help you need, you can better identify the right firm. There are a few ways to go about that.

Ask your network

If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve likely got a network of like-minded individuals who have explored similar projects. Reach out to your trusted network and ask for recommendations. Your network can steer you to – or away from – companies they have worked with or those that they have networked with.

Referral Sites

A boon to entrepreneurs who don’t know where to start, referral sites like Clutch.co can help uncover highly qualified companies with the capabilities you need. Many of these sites allow you to filter results by ratings and reviews. If you’re looking to work with a local company that you can meet with face to face, you can also filter by zip code or location.

Online Search

Telling you to “Google it” might seem like obvious advice, but it’s less about searching and more about what you search for. Again, if you’re looking for a local firm that you can meet face to face, you’ll want to try searching for something like “mobile application development in Philadelphia”. 

Another thing you can try looking for is something like “web application development in Philadelphia”. Many web development companies have capabilities in mobile development as well. However, as we’ll discuss in the next section, you’ll want to be sure that they have actually created mobile apps and not just mobile-ready websites. The upside is that a web development company with mobile development capabilities should also be able to help you with a marketing site to support your mobile app’s release.

Ask the right questions

Once you’ve found a few mobile development companies to consider, it’s time to talk to them and ask the hard questions. At this point, you’ll want to share specifics with them, so it’s best to have an NDA ready to go that will allow you to share details of your application without the fear of losing your idea.

Before talking to anyone, prepare a list of questions that will uncover their experience in the areas most important to you. Don’t shy away from subjects like cost and cost containment. Here’s just a few potential questions to start with:

Have you built mobile apps from the ground up?

What is your application design process?

Once started, what will the development process look like for me?

How do you set feature priorities?

Talk about your experience with two very different mobile applications you’ve developed.

What is some of the most challenging features you’ve needed to develop?
How do you ensure that you stay close to your estimate?

How do you handle cost overruns?

What other services do you offer that would compliment my project?

How will you scope the project?

 

You should also request customer referrals. If available, follow up and talk to their former customers to find out what their experience was like. While a provided customer referral is likely to give a positive review, it will also give you the opportunity to dig into what it’s like to partner with the company.

The key to finding a great mobile application company in Philadelphia or anywhere else is to keep your eye on the ball. Understand what you’ve got and where you need help, and don’t be afraid to ask hard questions. A skilled mobile development company will be able to show you their work and speak confidently about your challenges and what to look forward to as you watch your vision become a reality.

How to Prevent Costly Financial Reporting Mistakes Align processes, systems and people to ensure compliance and peace of mind

Written by Sridhar Kuppa, CPA, MBA | Director, Transaction & Regulatory Advisory Services @ SolomonEdwards

Flawed financial reporting is an all too common quandary for accounting and finance teams at companies of all sizes. From an incorrect figure on a cash flow statement, to an overlooked deadline, to technical glitches and misunderstood regulations, opportunities for error abound.

Despite the risk of potential negative market reaction, government inquiries, investigations and enforcement actions including civil and criminal penalties, many companies continue to struggle to release consistent, accurate financial statements.

What are the root causes of reporting errors?  Inadequate processes, faulty systems and human error. Shoring up these deficits – and aligning them to function holistically – can prevent missteps and their painful repercussions.

Inaccurate financial reporting is a slippery slope. What starts as a small blunder can cause steep consequences. Mistakes take a toll on everything from a company’s reputation to its ability to raise capital, and could even cause a drop in share price as shareholders lose confidence in the organization’s ability to produce accurate reports. Errors can sour lenders on financing critical projects or cause discord with a potential merger or acquisition.

What causes accidental financial reporting errors? While the markets are tracking the company’s value and performance, regulators are watching for compliance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Accounting and finance departments are under great pressure to keep up with a dynamic regulatory landscape while minimizing costs. This can cause issues when preparing and presenting financial statements, from revenue and expense recognition problems, to faulty valuation, missing or insufficient disclosures, and other failings.

Legislative and regulatory confusion. As regulations evolve, companies need to understand new rules, requirements and deadlines to ensure U.S. GAAP compliance.

Human error and outdated technology. In an era of new and improved technology and modern models of accounting, many mistakes can be systematically avoided. With the widespread implementation of rapid, adaptable, efficient and customizable technology solutions, it is no longer necessary to manually extract data from multiple sources using antiquated technology.

The solution: Align processes, systems and people. Companies can avoid errors by evaluating, upgrading and fine-tuning processes and systems and putting the right people in place. Set a plan in motion now so you can reduce the risk of costly mistakes. Learn more by reading the full article here.

Sridhar Kuppa, CPA, MBA, is a Director in the Transaction Regulatory and Advisory Services Practice at SolomonEdwards. He helps clients identify problems and find strategic solutions in accounting, financial planning, analysis, and reporting.

Technology company value creation through optimized quote-to-cash

Written by Kim Susko, Director, RSM

Successfully scaling your business via integration and automation

In today’s competitive marketplace, speed, efficiency and automation are the keys to driving a successful organization. For growing technology companies, this is especially true whether your goal is to improve revenues and profitability or you’re eyeing an eventual exit. In fact, according to multiple studies across major research institutes and private equity firms, operational improvements that drive efficiencies contribute to nearly half of the value creation in private equity multiples.

For many emerging technology companies, these improvements and value creation can come from the implementation of an integrated and automated end-to-end process known as quote-to-cash. The critical success factor in leveraging this platform, however, boils down to actually designing the right quote-to-cash process that best fits your specific organization’s needs and growth goals. Let’s explore a little more on two types of quote-to-cash processes and their benefits.

Read full article.

PACT Summer 2019 Playlist

Do you have a summer song?
Is there a tune you love blasting in your car, while on a run, or just for fun?

We all need a way to keep things moving and shaking, especially during hot summer days. The PACT Team assembled a playlist of personal favorites to keep you motivated!

Here are 8 PACT Favorites to add to your Summer Playlist:

1. Dean Miller’s Pick

“Talk” by Khalid

Why: “It was cemented as my summer song on a recent trip to Southern CA.  Love the beat, lyrics and Khalid’s range!”

2. Diane Strunk’s Pick

“In The Summertime” by Mungo Jerry

Why: “Carefree and Chh chh-chh, uh, chh chh-chh – ‘nuf said!”

3. Jennifer Cohen’s Pick

“Southbound” by Carrie Underwood

Why: “This song gets me up, moving and smiling. It makes me happy it’s summer!”

4. David Shin’s Pick

“New Light” by John Mayer

Why: “It’s a great song to listen to while driving or while taking the subway because of its retro and upbeat vibe.”

5. Amanda Nardi Di Filippo’s Pick

“Crocodile Rock” by Elton John

Why: “While growing up, driving down the shore was not complete without Sir Elton John! My family and I would rock out to his greatest hits on our way to Cape May.”

6. Danielle Pinto’s Pick

“The Weakest Shade of Blue” by Pernice Brothers

Why: “This has been on a heavy playlist rotation for me since the mid-2000’s. It makes me think of the ocean, the summer sky, and summer love – in a sort of melancholic/nostalgic way. Summer has always felt like a blending of joy and melancholy for me. The happiness you feel is fleeting, as you become increasingly aware of time moving faster the closer you get to the end of August.”

7. Kim Tuski’s Pick

“All Summer Long” by Kid Rock

Why: “When I hear this song it motivates me to get moving regardless of the time of day.”

8. Cheryl Jarvis Johnson’s Pick

“Promenade” by Peter White

Why: “My song for the summer is a jazz tune called:  Promenade by Peter White – when you have no energy to make that deadline, wash those clothes or get out of bed in the morning, this jazz piece has such melody and spirit you can only get up and just dance…any dance!”

How IoT Testing Will Make Telemedicine More Credible?

Contributed by Cigniti Technologies.

Healthcare industry was a late bloomer in terms of digital transformation – but, once it took the plunge, it is going ahead with full swing. As per a Business Insider Intelligence report, this digital transformation is triggered by the changing consumer demands and the need for reducing costs. The key players which initiated this shift are the digital solutions such as Electronic Health Records (EHRs), Telehealth, AI, wearables, and blockchain.

Jason Krantz – CEO, Definitive Healthcare – emphasized on the proliferation of Telehealth with the support of Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in a recent webinar on “Top Healthcare Trends in 2019”. Growing at an exponential rate, global telehealth industry is expected to hit $130 Billion by 2025 while the IoMT market will rise to $409.9 Billion. As of 2018, funding for U.S. digital health sector has touched $6.8 Billion. There is an increase in the adoption of telemedicine, with technology-driven smart insights gaining momentum. As of now, nearly 1800 hospitals use mobile applications to monitor and interact with patients. These devices are generating massive amount of data, which must be dealt with effectively. With AI and deep learning, the collected data can be utilized in real time to deliver efficient care.

The Blessings of Telemedicine

The focus of Telehealth or Telemedicine is on improving access and saving costs. It paves a two-way street, which ensures convenience for both care providers and receivers. The number of deaths occurred annually, due to delayed medical assistance, is staggering. Even if 911 delivers assistance on time, many-a-times the nearest hospitals do not have the required expertise to treat the incoming patient. In such cases, crucial time is wasted in transporting the patient to the expert facility. Telemedicine equips hospitals, big or small, to accept and treat an emergency patient irrespective of the availability of in-house specialists. It essentially facilitates remote connectivity, eliminating the need to physically cover the distance.

It is not that easy, or is it?

The idea of getting healthcare delivered to you at the comfort of your home, when you can barely get out of the bed, seems tempting. But, presence of a screen removes the magic of doctor’s touch. Majority of the population still prefers physical examination over an algorithm’s analysis. This apprehension is a huge obstacle to a wider adoption of telehealth.

While hospitals are involving predictive analysis for a more accurate assessment, there is a dark side to AI that they need to consider. At the end of the day, AI is a machine, which depends on data to learn patterns and make decisions. Even the slightest error in the data may prove to be of dangerous consequences, especially in healthcare. Additionally, there is also a high possibility of data breaches. Healthcare industry traditionally works in silos, where patient privacy is of utmost concern as the stakes are high. The 18 data breaches happened in 2018 compromised over 1 lac healthcare records, driving the attention to the cybersecurity aspect of Telemedicine.

Why AI, ML, and IoMT are in the picture?

Because, they are the picture!

With the rise of consumerism in healthcare, the tech-savvy, price-sensitive patients now prioritize convenience above everything else. The market is proliferating with IoMT devices and wearables. These devices are used to maintain the flow of data between patients and doctors. They also provide easy accessibility to existing health records for reference purposes and offer a platform to maintain an open communication channel. Due to the physical absence, AI and ML are critical in reading reports, analyzing data, and presenting a final diagnosis, based on which the doctors can take a call and make the necessary prescriptions.

How Does IoT Testing Bring It All Together?

IoT Testing of medical devices ensures a seamless execution of this “Virtual healthcare” strategy. As IoMT devices offer a platform to establish a dialogue between the patients and caregivers, it is extremely important that it functions smoothly. Also, the sensitivity of data involved requires that the cyber-walls are fortified with apt reliable solutions. IoT testing becomes imperative in making the whole system immune to threats and preventing data leaks.

Telemedicine, Telehealth, or mHealth has set out to revolutionize the way healthcare is received or provided. With the incorporation of technology, the modern healthcare industry will significantly improve the average quality of life.

7 Product Development Best Practices

Written by Casandra Mann, Precision Systems, Inc.

Complex development projects can feel like taming an unruly beast with a mind of its own — even when backed by solid research and guided by established business and design control processes. Within the engineering process, missing a single step can lead to unforeseen costs, missed opportunities and project delays. This results in excessive development costs outside of the defined budget, a decreased speed to market – sometimes months to years late, and frustrated management and stakeholders hoping to obtain a high return on investment (ROI) when opportunities are continually being missed.

Read full article.

Crowdsourcing for Recruiting: Has Its Time Come?

Written by Ed Epstein, VP Staffing Solutions, Be Group

Companies like Amazon, Cisco, IBM and Starbucks all use crowdsourcing techniques to generate ideas new product and service innovations.

What is crowdsourcing? Coined around 2005, it’s the process of obtaining services, ideas or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people or an online community. Crowdsourcing combines efforts of many self-selected volunteers; each person’s contribution combines with others to achieve a cumulative result.

Crowdsourcing advantages include cost reduction, speed, quality, flexibility, scalability and diversity. Some real-world examples:  

  • New product development: Mattel and Lego used crowdsourcing to identify new product lines. Barbie’s career doll came from this method. Ben & Jerry’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and Vitaminwater used crowdsourcing to launch new flavors. 
  • Building software: Ever heard of “open source”? It basically refers to free software developed collaboratively and shared by developers and programmers worldwide. 
  • Advertising &marketing: Ford’s first television commercial for its 2013 Focus came from 580-recorded videos from 100 spectators. 
  • Research & shared information: Wikipedia. Pinterest.
  • Fundraising: Go Fund Me.

Crowdsourcing for Candidates

Hard-to-find or best talent is not submitting resumes, engaging with career sites or responding to unsolicited recruiters. These are people in high demand. Their next assignment or employer comes from their network.

The race to secure top talent is leading employers to adopt innovative hiring practices. Companies like Google and Zappos have set the benchmark. Zappos hires employees exclusively through social recruiting from its existing employee community.

The stage is set to realize the potential of social recruiting. Crowdsourcing may hold the answer, but it’s not that easy. It’s not a magic wand without a plan, process and incentives.

Some search companies have approached crowdsourcing by offering a portal to the employer. Such platforms provide employers a cost-effective way to source talent by offering a place to post jobs to many professional recruiters. Recruiters receive compensation for successfully starting candidates. In other words, these portals are aggregators of requirements and recruiters, where commission fees are split.

The presumption is these recruiters have an inventory of pre-vetted, qualified candidates left over from similar searches.

However, these presumptions aren’t valid. Recruiters don’t have good candidates waiting around. Good candidates between jobs or looking for their next employer have viable options. Additionally, recruiting agencies are normally compensated between 20-30% placement fees and aren’t interested in presenting their top candidates for a fraction of the fee. Lastly, agencies understand the employer is the client; they need a relationship and chemistry with them. Throwing a resume to a portal process has a low chance of success for all parties. Therefore, this type of crowdsourcing is focused in the wrong place and will result in high speed but low candidate quality.

Is talent acquisition ready for crowdsourcing? Yes, but crowdsourcing through an aggregator or portal isn’t the answer. Crowdsourcing for talent acquisition would be better labeled as empowering the Human Cloud. In other words, enlist the power of 7.5 billion people to help drive hiring initiatives. The model includes creating public incentives where anyone in the world can refer talent. This platform is built on social media and supported by strong marketing.

If you’re an employee or candidate thinking about what’s next for you, then network! The interaction will get you to your next great thing. Your contacts will lead you to a crowdsourcing effort that will set your path to your future employer.

As an employer, if you’re in the market for talent and strong new hires, then candidates through crowdsourcing could be your solution; this is how Be Group recruits, identifies talent, and delivers for our clients.

The Mid-Atlantic region’s researchers and startups now have another great resource for funding.

A new Health and Human Services unit called DRIVe – part of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), has partnered with seven accelerators across the country including the University City Science Center, to fund innovative technologies and products to solve systemic health security challenges facing US population.

DRIVe’s public-private engagement model is designed to accelerate innovation and incentivize investors and innovators to tackle health security threats, such as infectious diseases and sepsis. By partnering with accelerators across the country, the DRIVe Accelerator Network is identifying promising innovations and while providing wraparound technical and business development support services.

DRIVe can also invest in the projects using quick, streamlined funding methods with decisions typically made within 31 days of application submission.

Among the challenging problems DRIVe is looking to solve is the need for earlier detection of infection. Specifically, technology that can alert people when they have been infected with a bacteria or virus even before they begin to show symptoms. DRIVe is also addressing the urgent need to solve sepsis, the body’s life-threatening response to infection or traumatic injury. Sepsis is a top cause of hospitalization in America, leading to 250,000 deaths annually, costing approximately $24 billion a year to treat. The number of sepsis cases could skyrocket after a bioterrorism attack or pandemic.

Since establishing the partnership with accelerators, DRIVe made its second contract to Philadelphia-based and Science Center affiliated company, InnaMed.

InnaMed is developing a point-of-care rapid blood testing device to help diagnose sepsis, determine risk stratification of patients and monitor the response to treatments. DRIVe is providing funding to InnaMed to develop a promising biomarker associated with sepsis to be integrated into this portable device.  

DRIVe is open to technologies at any stage of development. Companies or projects don not have to be affiliated with the Science Center to qualify and apply but the Science Center can make direct introductions and help guide the entire process.

Please contact [email protected] for more information about how the Science Center can assist local technologies in getting on the radar of BARDA.