Business Tips

Why HR Management Distracts You From Growing Your Business

by NPEO Media NPEO Media No Comments

Small to mid-sized business owners find themselves consumed by HR-related tasks, like payroll and workers comp, on a daily basis. Trying to wear all the hats in the business, these owners are unable to sit down and truly grow their brand as they worry about housekeeping chores that keep their attention and focus elsewhere. It’s a common side effect of founding and running a business today.

But, what if you didn’t have to worry about the HR headaches when you woke up each morning?

Here are the top 3 things you’d be able to do without HR nightmares on a daily basis:

  1. Organic Marketing 

A 2015 Nielson report found that consumers are 90 percent more likely to trust a brand that was recommended to them by a friend. You need to focus on building local buzz for your brand, creating a successful grassroots movement that will get exposure and clients.

One great way to do that is to strike up local partnerships with other brands that are popular in your community. Build on their success and expand your name recognition with their patrons. Not everything is about digital marketing today, though organic marketing can nicely complement your digital strategy.

     2. Modernize Tactics

Do you accept electronic payments yet? Have you incorporated some kind of virtual reality service or product that will pander to younger generations? It’s time to step back and modernize your business to the best of your ability so sales don’t slip through your fingertips.

A few great ways to do this is to have a mobile app developed with an electronic payment portal. That way, consumers can buy from you at their convenience, right from their phone. Plus, the app will store their payment information, so they don’t have to whip out their credit cards every time they do it.

     3. Modernize Tactics

We all need a mentor, even if we’ve been in business for over 30-years. Sales tactics and trends are constantly changing, which means you need to be constantly learning, even if you are the expert. There are awesome resources out there today, like BusinessAdvising.org, which will help you make mentor connections and strike up educational conversation.

Also, don’t underestimate the power of subscribing to magazines in your industry and learning about what competitors are doing. Competition is healthy, and the sooner you tune into it, the better off your organization will be.

Business Development

As you can see, there are multiple things you can do to grow and fortify your business today. Instead of waking up and opening up the business books, spending the majority of your day sifting through numbers, you can pay attention to growth tactics that will really get your business moving into 2018.

Consider dropping your HR oversight and handing it over to us here at National PEO

Follow the Construction Industry’s Best Crane Safety Practices

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constructionbestpractices1
Cranes handle crucial construction activities from transporting large, heavyweight beams to raising tall buildings. Technological advancements may have improved productivity and thus profits, but hoist operators and nearby workers still face safety issues. Adverse events like oversights, mistakes, and malfunctioning equipment cause most crane accidents.

Major dangers are power line contact, overturned lifts, employee falls, and mechanical failures, notes the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Results may include property damage, injuries, deaths, crew shortages, higher insurance rates, lengthy accident investigations, OSHA fines, lost construction jobs, and legal fees. Brushing up on your industry’s best crane safety practices can help your team reduce unwelcome mishaps and outcomes.

Prioritizing Precautions

OSHA encourages construction companies to enact documented safety programs. State labor laws and your liability coverage may require hard copies of your safety policies. All hoists demand careful planning and thorough worksite precautions. Site managers, lift planners, riggers, crane operators, signalers, and onsite workers can help avoid destructive incidents by prioritizing caution as a routine job function and responsibility.

Training Personnel

Classroom and ground crane training sessions are essential for all operators. They also must be able to handle load charts, pre-inspections, and setups. Passing written as well as practical tests is necessary to demonstrate their equipment and operation knowledge. Licenses or other certifications, which may need periodic renewals, are mandatory.

All support personnel dealing with or near hoists need adequate lift operation training to enable competent assembly, maintenance, and repairs. Learning how to rig loads properly is key for riggers. Signalers have to use established methods from hand to radio signaling correctly. Through National PEO’s comprehensive safety compliance services, we provide safety programs, training, inspections, audits, and abatements to improve your safety and compliance records.

Choosing Equipment

Rent cranes from companies with wide-ranging options and the expertise to suggest the best types and capacities for your projects. Preferred firms control fleet maintenance to offer technically superior and safer lifts. They have strong commitments to protect their personnel, customers, and the public.

Select machinery with Crane Manufacturers Association of America (CMAA) approvals, indicating they reach or surpass minimum safety standards. Look for built-in safety requirements like boom angle indicators, emergency disconnects, plus hoists and hooks with safety latches. Make sure that lift ratings will support greater weights than typical loads. Cable ratings must be seven times load weights to raise personnel. Load test equipment regularly at 1.25 times cargo loads.

constructionbestpractices2Assessing Worksites for Potential Lift Incidents

Foreseeing various potential adversities can help curtail calamities. Before initiating hoisting operations, ensure adequate preparedness like appropriate soil preparation and sufficient space for crane assembly and disassembly. Identify hazardous sources from underground pipelines to power lines and appraise their dangers. Everyone from employees to pedestrians should remain far away from machinery during use.

Confirming Safety Plan Adherence

Appoint personnel to ensure that crews follow safety plans during all lifts. That involves verifying that thoroughly maintained cranes passed inspections per manufacturers’ specifications and have correct capacities for specific tasks. Every day before operating hoists, test all machinery and conduct safety inspections.

Assigning Competent Crane Overseers

According to OSHA, competent workers gain knowledge of pertinent standards and develop skills to identify workplace hazards regarding specific operations through training, qualifications, and experience. Your firm must grant such designated employees the authority to undertake appropriate actions like stopping all dangerous crane activities.

Loading and Rigging

Qualified operators know their hoists’ load ratings so they do not overload them. Instead of guessing load weights, they weigh them accurately. Rigging loads with properly sized slings and cables — not ropes that can fray and break — is crucial. It is also important to pad loads’ sharp edges to prevent rigging damage, and balance loads well before moving them. Radio contact between operators and ground crews is essential, even when signalers are directing lifts with hand signals.

Parking

Idle equipment can still pose hazards, so parking cranes safely is critical. Other key precautions include pressing emergency stops or kill switches and setting emergency brakes. Store slings and rigging. Raise hooks seven or more feet in the air, well above everyone at ground level.

Performing Maintenance

Appropriate upkeep is imperative to ensure reliability. Operators should inspect cranes plus associated slings and rigging regularly, following state requirements or manufacturers’ instructions. All defects demand repairs before use. No projects or deadlines are important or urgent enough to skip any vital safety measures.

Outsourcing Administrative Tasks

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Why You Should Outsource Administrative Tasks to Enhance Your Business

Outsource Administrative TasksToo often, talented entrepreneurs think that they can handle every back-office duty on their own, but letting busywork sidetrack you can stall business development. Enlightened leaders recognize the value of outsourcing essential organizational aspects that they don’t need to handle personally, says entrepreneur David Walsh. Delegating such responsibilities to external professionals enables small firms to compete with and triumph over their largest competitors.

Building your operation with help from an ASO (administrative services organization) will free up your time to concentrate on generating revenue. It can have powerful impacts on your company’s productivity, procedural efficiency, bottom line, and growth. The following tips will help you discover which everyday tasks to farm out and when along with the advantages of that smart decision.

Choosing Ideal Duties

To determine which responsibilities are the best or safest to outsource, consider these three questions for each:

  1. Is that function a business differentiator or core strategic element?
  2. Must you retain full control of that task to provide your unique added value?
  3. Do you execute that role better or for a lower price than an external service provider?

If all your answers are “Yes” for any discipline, it’s probably not a good choice. Keep major operations in house to regulate your products and services’ quality while maximizing your competitive advantages. But “No” answers indicate that outsourcing could be your best option. Consider common services that many companies delegate:

Payroll: Unless your field is accounting, handling payroll in house is risky. Not only are payroll taxes complicated, processing them incorrectly can lead to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) troubles. Protect yourself by turning this vital function over to an outsourcing firm with accounting experts who specialize in accuracy and adhering to federal and state laws. You’ll have peace of mind, trusting that professionals handled your payroll taxes properly.

National PEO’s payment options give your employees the flexibility of three convenient choices. They range from traditional paper checks to modern alternatives including direct deposit with NPower (eco-friendly online pay stubs), and PayCards (FDIC-insured accounts).

Benefits administration: Using external service providers to manage your employee benefits can be a wise move because their professionals must follow the most current employment laws, regulations, and standards.

Outsource Administrative TasksRecruiting: An outside ASO can administer your talent acquisition functions skillfully. Its specialists are proficient at job postings, applicant screenings, and reference checks.

Other human resources (HR) duties and workers’ compensation round out National PEO’s administrative services. Select any number individually or create your own bundle of just the options you need. Our paperwork specialists fulfill every task with professional expertise, accuracy, and speed.

Timing Your Subcontracting Move

The most suitable time to outsource varies between companies. If your business is very small, entrepreneur Laura Lee Sparks advises that outsourcing from the outset may be a logical decision. But if in-house staffers are in place to conduct daily activities, you might need remote help to shoulder new assignments that don’t justify hiring more full-time employees. Also consider an ASO when your team is no longer able to build your organization while managing your routine operations.

Weighing Benefits vs. Costs

Outsourcing is a proven and affordable way to grow your company without allowing it overtaking your life. Its advantages allow you to:

Focus on central business activities. Farming out duties liberates owners, supervisors, and workers to devote their concentration and efforts to your organization’s core competencies like income-generating functions.

Embrace growth. If the urge to expand your operation coincides with growth opportunities, will you be ready to scale your business? When you outsource, you’ll be free to establish new goals with methods to reach them. And your staff will be available to help your dreams thrive.

Reach visionary and efficiency excellence. An outsourcing firm gives you access to the newest technologies, innovative approaches, and advanced solutions that aren’t available otherwise. Its talented team excels at administrative efficiency.

Reduce expenses. ASO service fees are substantially less than what you’d pay full-time employees to handle the same tasks, increasing your bottom line. You can build a team of accomplished professionals without the added expenses of hiring, training, and managing new staffers. Outsourcing also saves you the overhead burdens of payroll taxes, health and worker’s compensation insurance, and larger, more expensive office space for an in-house team. Your resulting lower fixed budget can be a key to success.

Legal Implications of Fraudulent Resumes

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What Are the Legal Implications of Fraudulent Resumes?

fraudulent resumesDishonest resumes are rampant with up to 80 percent containing lies. Even more feature misleading or embellished information from job titles and responsibilities to licensing credentials and salaries.

High unemployment and tough competition for limited job openings are contributing to this alarming trend. In desperation, applicants without specialized skills or degrees are contriving better qualifications.

Internet Tricks

These days, high-tech scams are replacing minor fibs. Various Internet resources are enabling calculated resume fraud. One website offers a tax-deductible underground guide that trains candidates on various tricks. Some amplify their work experience and lie about their ages. Others receive college transcripts with any desired GPAs from any schools and manipulate their resumes so automated screening systems pick theirs.

Charlatans disguise employment gaps by creating fictitious jobs with closed or fake businesses. Disreputable websites charge job seekers to list bogus 800 numbers for phony work verifications and references. When prospective employers call those numbers, fictitious companies confirm employment and fabricate flattering recommendations.

Listing licenses and degrees from sham diploma mills is another growing trend. These online resources base their mock credentials on candidates’ life and work experiences. One such university awards degrees in only five days starting at $199 without attending classes, studying, and testing. Degree packages for any requested major include counterfeit diplomas and course transcripts with made-up subjects and grades.

Applicants can pay online services’ 800 numbers to provide prospective employers with education and degree verifications. More extreme cases entail job seekers hiring computer hackers to sneak their names into reputable university and college alumni databases so their graduation claims seem legitimate.

Protection Concerns

Today’s commonplace practice of deliberate factual résumé errors can translate into significant problems for employers. Such fraud sets companies back an estimated $600 billion per year. Shady candidates who get away with underhanded schemes to procure jobs may become unprincipled employees who harm your business in additional ways.

For your company’s protection, running federal background checks on all new hires is imperative. National PEO offers thorough background-screening services to determine if applicants are truthful about their work experience, college degrees, earned certificates, state licensure compliance, criminal histories, military service, driving records, and much more. Our experts will help you match a package to your unique verification needs.

fraudulent resumesPossible Unlawful Complications

Being familiar with these deceptive resume consequences can be helpful if this human resource (HR) issue causes problems:

Basics: While including untruths on resumes isn’t illegal, it demonstrates lapses in integrity, ethics, and trustworthiness. Certain distortions can create legal troubles for applicants or staffers. Organizations can sue any ex-employees whose lies misled companies and cost them money. If workers must make sworn statements, their deceits become illegal. Falsifying details to access sensitive government data or business records also can be unlawful.

Professional licenses: For some positions including engineers, carpenters, plumbers, and electricians, licensing by accredited state boards is mandatory to ensure that members meet specific educational or qualification requirements. Job seekers who claim to hold professional licenses dishonestly are committing crimes equivalent to practicing that profession without proper licensing.

Your company could face problems if unlicensed employees you allow to work harm anyone, so verifying all licensed candidates’ credentials is vital. Background checks will uncover fraudulently reported licenses. You also can confirm them on state agency websites and certain private sites linking to all government databases.

Liability: Fabricated resumes can cause serious liability concerns for your organization. When you hire people who are unqualified to perform their jobs, customers who suffer harm could sue your firm for negligence. Even though you might have the right to sue employees who lied on their resumes, you must demonstrate that their falsehoods harmed your business and you couldn’t have known applicants were being deceitful.

Termination: Although you may consider lying to land a job a clear offense, immediate dismissal can be a complicated process. In at-will employment states, that should be fine for an employee without a contract. But if your state demands cause for termination and discredited crooked staffer has a work contract, you might need to prove his fraud or that he’s otherwise unqualified for his job.

Document all incidents involving that worker and point out his resume deceptions before terminating him. If you make a false accusation to a contracted employee that he lied on his resume, he could bring a wrongful termination suit against your company. So first, be certain that a background check established resume fraud.

Key Start-up Business Development Tips

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Key Start-up Business Development Tips

Key Start-up TipsEstablishing a new enterprise is an exciting adventure. But like other firsts, owners learn important lessons when initial attempts require modifications. Three business founders share their real-life examples for you to consider as you undertake your new venture.

Pursue Your Passion — and Revenue Will Follow

Many enthusiastic entrepreneurs’ top priority is bringing in money. But Adam McLane says that passion should fuel any business dream that’s worth achieving. If you hone in on your driving force to provide the finest quality products and/or services instead, financial gains will follow.

Outsource Specialized Services

Launching your own business involves much more than the rush of pursuing your passion finally. If you’re not careful, tedious yet necessary duties like accounting, payroll, ordering supplies, employee management, and legal issues can eat up too much of your time. Besides organizing your schedule and tasks, delegating certain functions to other professionals can be very helpful. Don’t waste valuable hours attempting to understand confusing payroll taxes just to conserve a little money, Nick Andrews advises.

Your time is a precious commodity, so outsourcing functions that aren’t among your core competencies makes financial sense. National PEO can take the payroll administration burden off your plate so you can concentrate on growing your business. We guarantee speedy accuracy as our experts handle taxes, offer multiple convenient payment methods, and produce custom reports that reflect details like sick and vacation days. And our affordable service fees are under what you’d pay your own office staff.

Utilize Online and Cloud-Based Tools

Google everything, McLane suggests. You’ll find expert tips and advice on creating your organization free online. Numerous, often-free tools also are available to assist new business owners. Andrews recommends Bizetto.com for a wide range of tools that facilitate establishing and running your company. The U.S. Small Business Administration website offers advice via articles, online training, videos, and discussion forums. Google’s cloud-based work tools including Google Docs, Drive, and Calendar are helpful wherever you are. Using WordPress templates, you can custom build a website without an expensive web designer.

Set Realistic Expectations

Creating and managing a company is a time-consuming challenge. To fix your mind every morning, Daniel Horgan suggests listing achievable goals with appropriate and distraction-free time allocations. Then complete each task before moving on to the next so you don’t waste time bouncing between them.

You may spend countless hours working and many others contemplating your responsibilities, says Andrews, so set practical expectations for your spare time. Be sure family and friends are okay with your new venture claiming your focus. Or strike a reasonable work/life balance by making time to enjoy people and activities away from work.

Key Start-up TipsAlways Focus on Your Clients

If you don’t align your business plan with creating exceptional customer value, your company won’t endure. You must offer solutions to meet your clients’ needs continuously, Andrews says. To monitor customer feedback, Google your firm’s name to find online reviews and social conversations.

Don’t let single negative comments discourage you. Look for similar response trends instead. If your start-up is too young to have significant opinions available online, use surveys or contact patrons directly. Most people are eager to describe their personal experiences, so use consumer feedback to improve your organization.

Get Free Advice through Networking

The numbers of fellow entrepreneurs who are generous with helpful knowledge will amaze you. Networking provides free guidance that enhances your enterprise, helps you locate potential employees, and opens doors to reach prospective clients.

The start-up collective is surprisingly supportive, so engaging with it is key. Andrews recommends LinkedIn for connecting with other new business owners, joining groups, collaborating with members, and finding new clientele.

Listen More and Talk Less

You may be anxious to promote your products and/or services to others, but listening more than you talk can be enlightening. Horgan recommends noting common questions people ask, your responses, and listeners’ reactions. Discover which answers resonate with others most. Pay special attention to what people aren’t saying, and follow up with questions that will uncover key details that distinguish your brand.

Test Constantly

Your clients deserve ongoing innovations. Andrews advises that every business type should test new ideas, methods, products, and services continuously. But don’t overcomplicate the process. Before testing, determine what you’re assessing and how you’ll measure it. Then conduct small experiments with minimal risks, and opportunities to realize massive wins may follow.

Managing Employees With Second Jobs

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Moonlighting Madness: Does Your Company Need a Policy for Employees With Second Jobs?

Moonlighting MadnessEmployees take second jobs for several reasons. Usually, they need extra income. However, some might do so to build their skills, or simply for the enjoyment of it. Regardless of the reason, though, there could be some ramifications for you.

Most companies realize that they have little to no control over an employee’s off-duty conduct or activities. In most cases, an employer can address only activities that have a direct impact on the ability to fulfill one’s job responsibilities. For example, if an employee who drives a company vehicle loses his or her driver’s license due to DUI, the company can legally take action, including termination.

When it comes to second jobs, though, the rules aren’t as clear, since there is a fine line between protecting your company’s interests and infringing upon employee rights.

Why Companies Develop Moonlighting Policies — And Why They Could be Dangerous

Employee moonlighting policies are usually designed to protect the company’s interests. When a worker also works for someone else, there’s a risk of:

  • Performance issues. Employees who work nights, for example, may be too tired to do their work during the day.
  • Exposure of trade secrets. When an employee works for another company in the same industry, they could reveal trade secrets or expose intellectual property, even inadvertently.
  • Conflicts of interest. Again, working for a competitor, or for a company that awards contracts (or does contract work) for your primary employer often presents a conflict of interest.
  • Using company property to complete work for another company.

Clearly, employers could face some serious issues due to an employee’s second job, and a policy offers a certain degree of protection from loss. However, there have been cases in which moonlighting policies have gone too far in restricting an employee’s right to additional employment.

For example, in one case the employer required that all employees seek approval from their supervisor before taking an additional job — but the employer rarely addressed the requests in a timely manner, effectively preventing employees from accepting other work. In other cases, inequitable enforcement of policies — or a lack of clarity about policies — has led to charges of discrimination.

Moonlighting MadnessMoonlighting Might Be Already Covered

Often, employee moonlighting is already effectively covered by other policies that you have in effect. For example, employees should already know your expectations in terms of performance, and issues related to attendance, tardiness, or lack of productivity can be addressed via performance policies.

In addition, issues related to conflicts of interest and protecting trade secrets can be covered by non-compete and non-disclosure agreements. Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) generally cover an employee’s conduct both during and after employment, preventing them from disclosing company information.

Non-compete agreements are somewhat less effective in terms of moonlighting, since they usually only prevent an employee from working in the same industry for a period after leaving the company. In order for such a contract to govern moonlighting, it must specifically state that working for competitors while employed is prohibited. Even then, a non-compete usually only covers work in the same industry, not all moonlighting.

Developing a Moonlighting Policy

While some believe that moonlighting polices are unnecessary, a clear and specific policy can prevent issues and contentious court battles should an employee feel unfairly treated. If you opt to issue a policy, it should cover a few basic points, including:

An employee’s duty to notify. Many companies require employees to notify their supervisor if they take another job. How much information the employee must provide should be spelled out in the policy. Limit your queries to information that is relevant to a nondisclosure or non-compete clause.

For example, you can ask for the same of the employer or the industry, and for information about duties, but not for the number of hours worked, schedule, salary, or supervisor’s name. In short, you should only ask for enough information to determine whether there is a conflict of interest.

Restrictions on outside employment. While NDA and non-compete agreements do cover certain activities, a moonlighting policy deals strictly with activities undertaken while employed. The policy should specifically detail any restricted types of work, industries, or company types.

Prohibitions using company time or resources for a second job.

Rules regarding moonlighting while out on leave. The law does not specify what employees can and cannot do while in FMLA leave, but an employer can legally prohibit an employee from working while on FMLA as long as the policy is the same for other types of leave.

Restrictions on outside work that could reflect negatively or harm the reputation of the organization. For example, there have been cases in which teachers or church employees have been dismissed because they work as adult entertainers, which is inconsistent with the values of the company.

There are cases in which an employer has the right to prohibit employees from taking on any type of additional work, such as when employees must have a certain amount of rest before undertaking their duties. However, most companies realize that preventing all employees from taking additional work only serves to limit the talent pool, and prospective employees are likely to look for less restrictive work elsewhere. That being said, a fair, clear, and equitable policy will protect your interests.

Avoiding OSHA Citations

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5 Ways to Avoid OSHA Citations by Increasing Employee Safety

Workforce SafetyIn 2012, private-sector workers suffered 2,976,400 recordable on-the-job injuries. Of those, 340,900 involved skin tears, strains, and sprains while 219,630 included slips, trips, and falls. Some 905,700 injuries required recuperating time off for a median duration of eight days.

Your company can save $4-$6 for every $1 you invest in a safety program. Following these tips from the National Law Review will help mitigate workplace hazards and protect your employees while avoiding expensive OSHA citations.

1. Provide Comprehensive Workforce Safety Training Regularly

OSHA cites employers that fail to meet various training requirements. Examples include not instructing workers on pertinent safety matters and neglecting to ensure that crews understand the regulations. Fortunately, these violations are avoidable. After comprehensive safety training, have team members complete quizzes to demonstrate their full comprehension.

Many companies require personnel to get high exam scores between 90 and 100 percent. Provide retraining and retesting for any employees who don’t attain minimum acceptable grades on their first attempts. Keep all records including safety training materials and quizzes on file. Having these documents handy in case an OSHA inspection arises will prove that you’ve complied with the federal agency’s training requirements.

2. Conduct Internal Safety Audits

Choose a reputable safety compliance company to manage audits that identify and remove workplace safety hazards, cementing your ongoing excellent reputation. National PEO offers facility audits that match sweeping OSHA inspections with full written reports and photos showing any safety hazards. We review your latest safety procedure documents and highlight potential safety and compliance problems in your 5-year backlog of OSHA 300 forms. A thorough analysis of all safety-related records includes your printed environmental program measures, hazardous material management plan, and accident reports with supporting documentation.

Our services don’t end when we point out your crew’s main safety risks. We’ll also make sure that you prioritize and eradicate all impending threats correctly and completely. Whenever OSHA inspections discover compliance issues, National PEO is ready to facilitate your abatement. We’ll implement a methodical action plan so your organization will comply with OSHA’s regulations and be a safer workplace for your team.

Safety in the Workplace3. Create a Steadfast Safety Culture

Strong dependable safety values and behaviors are crucial to protect your staff. All management levels need to communicate with employees actively and be present physically where personnel work. These actions demonstrate superiors’ attention to crew safety, which increases workers’ safety commitment and general job satisfaction. Visit work sites to notice potential hazards first hand and discover others by conversing with staffers.

Assure laborers that your company prioritizes safety before production while welcoming and encouraging suggestions to improve workplace safeguards. Promoting open communication inspires safety obligations at all job levels and improves the chances of uncovering potential problems significantly. Often, workers identify possible hazards first. Using specific machines or in certain areas regularly enables them to offer insightful suggestions to resolve issues. Whenever employees identify potential dangers, assess situations promptly and address concerns within reasonable intervals.

4. Maintain and Communicate Current Safety Information

Your organization must provide your staff with vital safety information including emergency evacuation procedures. Depending on your industry, OSHA may mandate that you provide written guidance covering safe work performance essentials. You need to document job-related illnesses and injuries and possibly complete process safety management forms.

Review OSHA’s changing documentation requirements regularly to determine your latest stipulations, and review your documents to be certain they’re current and thorough. Confirm that affected workers comprehend safety materials fully, know when and how to use them, and appreciate the reasons for maintaining them. That helps assure team safety while giving you another chance to offer suggestions and reveal missing information.

5. Protect Temporary Workers and Contractors

Safeguarding all job-site crewmembers including temporary staff and contractors is key. You can avoid many tragic events by verifying that everyone follows standard safe practices. OSHA’s compliance officers have expanded their inspection scope to include temp workers who undergo on-site hazardous exposures. That directive increased inspections involving transitory workforces by 322 percent during 2014.

OSHA issued countless citations to employers but found temporary staffing agencies noncompliant in just 15 percent of inspections. Often, host companies failed to train short-term laborers properly or provide safety gear that their permanent employees use routinely, increasing transitory workers’ injury risks. Temporary staff providers received citations mostly for violations involving not training personnel properly.

Track Employee Productivity and Performance

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Track Employee Productivity and Performance with 14 Technological Tools

Track Employee Productivity Terminating one underachieving worker and training his replacement can deplete up to a fifth of his annual salary, so we advise managing employee performance well to correct minor issues, improve staff retention, and prevent unnecessary and costly separations and new hires. That goal can be challenging though when team players work from remote client construction sites or multiple factory locations. Young Entrepreneur Council members recommend their 14 favorite software and apps to monitor personnel productivity and performance.

1. Google Streak

Numerous apps manage big projects while ignoring side tasks. If sending and receive forgettable emails is creating missed opportunities, TalkLocal’s Manpreet Singh suggests Google Streak to track business email requests. Besides displaying all unresolved messages, you can set reminders to follow through with every concept and prospect.

2. TinyPulse

Chad Halvorson of When I Work uses TinyPulse to sense employees’ feelings quickly. In under five minutes, you get insight into your team’s concerns and needs. Then you can discuss outcomes in meetings, addressing solutions to the whole company.

3. SnapEngage

Robert De Los Santos at Sky High Party Rentals endorses SnapEngage, a live chat app. The dashboard allows managers to review customers’ typical questions and staffers suggested solutions. Supervisors can determine if company websites and employees are offering the latest information, notice workers’ downtimes, and assign other activities between calls.

4. Salesforce

Jayna Cooke runs EVENTup on Salesforce, a computer-based customer service platform. It tracks your staff’s productivity by numbers of phone calls, sent emails, created opportunities, and money made. Measuring key performance indicators is easy. Salesforce generates automatic reports summarizing each day’s work and performance.

5. WorkiQ

Jyot Singh at RTS Labs tracks employees’ computer behavior with the WorkiQ app, which reports productive and unproductive times. Dashboards display clear visuals that distinguish staffers whom work engages actively from continually distracted ones.

6. 15Five

Recruiter.com’s Miles Jennings recommends 15Five web-based software to improve manager/employee communication and performance evaluations. It’s ideal when bosses are too busy to evaluate staffers’ work and Track Employee Productivity determine which tasks require guidance. 15Five encourages cooperation to resolve problems and complete projects in a communicative workplace.

7. Asana/Harvest Integration

Start Ranking Now’s Nicole Munoz prefers the Asana communication application to standard web and smartphone email programs. Integration with Harvest enables all workers to record their hours so supervisors can oversee budgets efficiently. Bosses can assign tasks individually, audit them in real time, and handle any issues promptly.

8. iDoneThis

Brett Farmiloe at Markitors adopted iDoneThis as an easy way for staffers and executives to check performance. It gives contributors opportunities to celebrate their achievements. Employees receive evening email reminders to reply with that day’s accomplishments. The next day, team leaders get summaries of their crews’ work.

9. Trello

Matt Hunckler of Verge appreciates cloud-based Trello for helping him visualize his workflow and organize projects. Get out of your inbox and use this free robust app on numerous devices to manage processes better. Use list boards to structure tasks and synchronize growing crews easily for multiple business functions.

10. Basecamp

Brooke Bergman at Allied Business Network Inc. chose Basecamp to facilitate project management on computers and portable devices. Various employees enter their tasks by day, week, or month to check off upon completion. Superiors can view all workers’ agendas and accomplishments, noting shortfalls that need addressing to reach individual objectives.

11. Assembla

A website and app project workspace tool, Assembla enables strong, continual communication among Dalip Jaggi’s development team and defines Devise Interactive’s current workload. Git integration helps synchronize commit and ticket processes. Project managers enjoy decreased emails, upgraded quality assurance, and not having to badger their crews.

12. Todoist

According to Anthony Johnson, American Injury Attorney Group uses Todoist to inform all personnel about everything from vital daily tasks to minor details. The ultimate to-do-list features customizable projects with deadlines for individual and group assignments. Monitor timely task completion and productivity on 15 common platforms.

13. Pipedrive

Travis Holt of Brush Creek Partners recommends Pipedrive as a valuable app to monitor your sales and proposal teams’ performance. Customization is simple, and its data-reporting feature is extremely robust. This easy-to-operate customer retention system allows data importing, exporting, and management.

14. DeskTime

Cody McLain of WireFuseMedia LLC uses DeskTime as an automatic real-time tracking resource. This powerful, easy-to-use tool allows managers to gauge each staffer’s work as productive, neutral, or unproductive. They can monitor each employee’s billable hours on computers and smartphones.

Help Your Employees Manage Stress

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5 Ways to Help Your Employees Manage Stress

Manage Stress in the WorkplaceToday’s employees are more stressed out than ever. Chances are one or more of your workers are dealing with financial worries, caring for an elderly parent, raising children, going through a divorce, or struggling with a death or illness in the family. Stress can also be the result of conditions at work, including long hours, low pay, lack of benefits, or problems with coworkers.

According to one Canadian survey, employees who consider themselves good at coping with stress also say they’re more productive at work, and put more effort into doing a good job. Stress can also cause health problems that could wind up making an employee miss work and could even affect your group health insurance rates. Helping your employees manage their stress could be one of the best things you’ll ever do for your company. Here’s how.

1. Give Them the Best Benefits Package You Can

Employees who have good benefits are less stressed, because they worry less about what will happen if they get sick or if they have to stay home to take care of a sick child. They get the paid vacation time they need to relax and unwind for a couple of weeks every year. They’re able to stay home and recuperate when they get the flu or another illness. And they’re able to pay their medical bills and save for retirement.

Give your employees the best benefits you can. If you can allow perks like flexible scheduling or telecommuting, do so. Those employees who are singlehandedly raising children, caring for elderly or sick relatives, or simply stressed by a long commute will be grateful for the increased work/life balance, and they’ll be more productive, too.

Offer your employees access to an employee assistance program, so they can seek counseling and advice when they’re struggling with personal issues. These programs are most helpful when employees have multiple ways to contact the EAP; an employee may worry about being overheard talking on the phone about his or her personal problems, so give the option to reach out to a counselor privately via text or email.

2. Encourage Employees to Exercise

Along with plenty of sleep and a healthy diet, regular exercise is one of the best stress-busters there is. You may be surprised to learn that there are plenty of options for getting your employees to exercise more. You can start by offering them a free or discounted membership at a gym close to the office.

Arrange “walking meetings” so that employees can hold their vital discussions while strolling through a nearby park; the fresh air and sunshine can foster creativity. If that’s not an option, encourage a short, 15-minute exercise break to help employees de-stress during or after a long, arduous meeting. Bring in an aerobics or yoga teacher to hold a free class for employees during lunch. Pass out pedometers and give an award to the employee who takes the most steps each month. Establish a company sports team.

3. Empower Managers to Help Struggling Employees

Managers can probably tell when an employee’s personal problems are affecting his or her work performance, but that doesn’t mean they’re equipped with the tools to help. Ask EAP counselors to come in and train your managers with some techniques to help them reach out to employees who are struggling.

An employee who’s dealing with a difficult life issue will appreciate it when a manager can reach out in a compassionate and appropriate way. Managers will appreciate being able to help restore employees’ productivity when they’re in the midst of a difficult time.

4. Encourage Employee Relationships

People who have strong social support also tend to cope better with stress. Regular staff events, retreats, team building exercises, and even happy hours can help staff bond with one another and form real friendships. Encourage mentoring and collaboration. Reach out socially to employees who seem to be having a hard time — invite them to lunch, and encourage your other employees to do the same.

Give employees the opportunity to showcase their expertise through workshops or presentations. The bonds your employees form with one another will help them cope with stress at work and at home.

Stress in the Workplace5. Coach Employees Through Life Transitions

Many of the most stressful times in an employee’s life are transitional periods or milestones — getting married, having a child, experiencing a death in the family, buying a new home, or taking in an elderly parent can all cause stress that affects work performance.

Encourage employees to be open with you about their life changes. Some companies put together packets with information about how to manage stress and specific changes, which they send to employees who are going through a transitional period.

Just checking in with an employee who’s going through life changes can reassure him or her that you care. If you’re using an EAP, make sure to remind stressed employees that these services are available, and how to take advantage of them.

Employees feel stress for a variety of reasons, and whether the stress is work-related or not, it can affect work performance. Protect your company by helping your employees manage their stress, so you can grow and succeed as a team.

 

Gender Equality in the Workplace

by National Peo National Peo No Comments

How to Foster Gender Equality in Your Workplace

Gender Equality in the WorkplaceIf you’re not sure whether your workplace has a gender equality issue, then it probably has one. Men may not intentionally behave in ways that make their female coworkers feel discriminated against, but at the same time, they may not recognize issues of sexism and gender inequality because these issues don’t affect them directly. Your female employees may not feel comfortable coming forward with their concerns about gender inequality, perhaps because they’re used to not feeling heard at work, or perhaps even because they have a hard time putting their feelings into words.

How can you promote equality between your male and female employees? You can start by making sure everyone knows that gender equality in the workplace is a priority for your company. Be proactive about hiring women and offering them opportunities for raises and promotions. Give your employees the flexibility they need to meet their family commitments. You could even encourage your employees to champion gender equality causes outside the workplace.

Make Gender Equality the Company Policy

Your employees will be more likely to keep gender equality issues in mind at work if they’re constantly reminded that it’s company policy to treat female and male employees the same. Put together a set of core values that reflect your company’s commitment to gender equality and display them in a place where everyone can see it, such as in the break room.

Encourage employees to come forward when they see or personally experience issues with sexual harassment, gender-based violence, or gender-based bullying in the workplace. Establish a reporting system that protects victims from reprisal. Let your employees know that they can come to you with less serious gender equality concerns, too.

Some of your employees may not fully understand gender equality issues, but you can help change that. Bring in guest speakers to talk about issues surrounding gender equality in the workplace and at home. Develop regular team-building exercises that help promote gender equality in your workplace by encouraging the men and women on your team to work together. You could even make it a point to hire equal numbers of men and women or to assign equal numbers of men and women to work on team projects together.

Give Female and Male Employees Equal Opportunities

You may want to be proactive about hiring more women for your team. The gender wage gap may be wide open in economies around the world, but you can close it in your company by making sure your female employees get paid just as much as the men doing their same jobs. When asked outright how much money they think they should earn, many female job applicants ask for less than their male counterparts.

When you hire a new female employee, outline a fair salary range and ask the new hire to position herself within it. This will help balance the discrepancy without making the new hire feel put on the spot.

Gender Equality in the WorkplaceOffer Flexible Working Arrangements for All Employees

Although more than 57 percent of women are now in the work force, women still bear most of the responsibility for child care, elder care, and homemaking. That means that many women struggle to uphold both their professional and their personal responsibilities. You can make it easier on them by offering flexible working arrangements to all of your employees.

Instead of forcing employees to ask for telecommuting or flex working privileges that they may not even be sure are available, make sure everyone knows what their flex working options are. Make it easy for employees to choose flex hours or telecommuting one or more days a week. Some employees may be able to work entirely from home, saving you money on office space and increasing those workers’ productivity.

Make sure the men in your office have all the same flex working options as the women. It’s only fair, and with modern families being what they are, your male employees could just as easily be single parents or have elderly relatives depending on them for care.

Encourage Gender Activism

Most of your employees will probably wholeheartedly support gender equality initiatives, especially your younger employees. Promote a deeper understanding of gender inequality issues by encouraging your staff to get involved in gender activism. Campaigns like the UN’s 16 Days of Activism focus on issues surrounding gender inequality around the world, especially gender-based violence. HeforShe is a solidarity movement that encourages men to take a stand against gender discrimination and gender-based violence. Alternatively, you could encourage your staff to raise funds to help women in developing countries access health care, finish their educations, or raise seed money for entrepreneurial endeavors.

While women have made great strides toward social, legal, and political equality with men, many women still feel discriminated against in the workplace. You can make sure your female employees don’t feel that way by making gender equality a priority in your workplace. Both your male and female employees will thank you for it.