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Common HR Traps and Managing Employees Effectively

The modern role of a Human Resources Manager is to recruit, interview, and hire employees, ensure the happiness and wellbeing of the employees in the office environment, ensure compliance with labor laws and employment standards, among other assorted responsibilities. It is a big job trying to advocate for each individual in the office, as well as trying to balance employee satisfaction with meeting the goals, objectives, and overall standards of the company, but someone’s got to do it. Due to the difficulties of this job, there are common HR traps which some businesses may experience. Here are just a few, as well as tips on how to avoid or resolve them:

 

  • Not Being Familiar with Employment Laws – As the HR rep, you should familiarize yourself with the proper procedures of hiring, maintaining, and terminating employees. If not, your company may be sued for improper or unlawful termination. Brainstorm clever interview questions that have to do with the job itself for which you are hiring, as well as a list of do’s and don’ts for your managers to follow during the interview process. These practices will help to ensure that you hire the best candidate for the position, and that you will be protected when it comes time to terminate.
  • A Lack of an Onboarding Process – Onboarding means that a new employee is properly oriented with the office and that managers and employees are ready to welcome the new hire to the team. Nothing sends off a bad signal like an unacquainted, new employee who walks into an empty or quiet office on their first day, particularly when the manager or other essential personnel is absent upon the newbie’s arrival. A good practice is to make sure the manager is in the office before the new hire arrives, in order to greet and familiarize them with the workplace and environment. Current employees should also be informed of the new hire’s arrival and should invite him/her out to lunch to make them feel welcome and like a valued team member.
  • Insufficient Training Periods – One of the most important, yet overlooked aspects of growing and expanding businesses is the need for continuous training. This is particularly common among smaller businesses because of the constant influx of new tasks and jobs. Combine that with the short history of the company, and you may end up with a recipe for disaster. These tasks are new to the company, meaning that people will have little-no knowledge of how to complete them. That’s where training comes into play. It is essential to train employees thoroughly, so they get a better grasp of their respective job duties, and, when the time comes, they can train someone else.

 

 

Don’t let your company be subject to common HR pitfalls and traps. The HR manager is on the front lines of the company, fighting with both the employees’ and the company’s ideals in mind. If you’ve experienced problems with your HR department, it might be time to consider formalizing it. This not only helps you hire and retain better employees, but you also build a positive reputation for your business.

Incorporating U.S. Military Leadership Techniques into your Business’ Success Strategy

It’s no secret that the military produces great leaders, and this has been proven, not only in the field, but in the office as well. Many successful businesses are led by individuals with some form of military background. For example, Verizon’s Chairman and CEO, Lowell McAdam, was in the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps. for six years. Aside from discipline and obedience training as a results of boot camp, the military teaches you various skills and techniques that translate from victories on the battlefield to success in the boardroom. Here are just a few:

 

  • Proper and Clean Attire – The military enforces a strict dress code down to shined shoes. Dressing sharp ‒ that is, well-fitting, professional clothes and coordinated outfits ‒ creates a sense of confidence, which is important in decision making and leading. Confidence is the key to making tough decisions and being sure about them, versus hesitation no matter which way you look at the situation.
  • Becoming a People Person – First and foremost, the military teaches you to care for your team, and a strong team is founded on diversity. A diverse group of people means that each member has unique experiences, which may provide special skills, talent, or thought processes down the road in order to achieve goals or objectives.
  • “Be, Know, Do”– Taken from the U.S. Army Manual of the same name, this is all about knowing how to do a job or perform a task. When giving instructions, orders, or just telling someone what to do job-wise, you yourself should know the ins and outs of the task itself. Lead by example and show them how to do it correctly, and they will follow suit.

 

 

The military mass-produces great leaders who can adapt and confidently lead their team into battle. The ability to adapt is important because once they’re out of the military, they can take what they’ve learned and modify it for an appropriate job setting, and achieve a level of success which might otherwise not be attainable.

Common Mistakes of Start Ups

According to Forbes Magazine, 9 out of 10 start ups fails! Other studies, such as the Harvard Business Study, are more optimistic in stating that only 50 percent fail in the first year. They all agree, however, that making it past five years is a milestones that may mean you are solid enough to survive the horrible stats about start up survival. What are the stumbling blocks that make new businesses so risky? Well, honestly the list could go on forever, but here are a few of the more common mistakes of starting your own business:

 

  • Cash Problems – One of the largest mistakes new owners have in launching a successful small business is the cash issue. Running out of cash can have many causes including not understanding the market, losing investors, pricing problems, or financing issues.
  • Motivation – Starting a new company is possibly one of the most time-consuming and stressful events for any human being. Keeping the motivation going can be difficult, especially if key leadership dwindles or is also not motivated.
  • Product Problems – Many new companies rely on one or two services or products. If one of those fails, so does the company. New businesses need to broaden their offerings and target larger audiences to stay afloat.
  • Lack of Support – New businesses need employees and leadership personnel that are versatile and can handle many roles at once. Young companies many times do not have the cash flow to hire such individuals.
  • Failure to Handle Feedback – In our society and social media-crazed land, feedback on poor job performance is almost instantaneous. With numerous review sites, your company can be ruined with negative reviews or the inability to react swiftly to feedback from clients and employees.

 

There are numerous reasons why good companies go under. Continue to read our blog as we follow these reasons over the next few months.

Time Management Tips

Tick, Tick, Tick. . . 

Does your work day slip between your fingers and make you wonder where the time went by the time you reach closing time? If so, you may need to re-think your time management skills. Learning how to manage your time can be difficult and take some time to learn but here are some expert tips that can get you started.

  • Maintain a Calendar – Carry your schedule with you at all times. This may mean using an online scheduler and project management tool. Be sure to refer to the calendar regularly throughout the day and keep track of how long regular activities take. This may seem tedious but will give you a better idea of how long certain activities will regularly take. You will then be able to plan your time better in the future.
  • Plan Every Morning – Many business leaders emphasize that what keeps them on track all day is a 30 minute review every morning of what the goals are for the day and week, maybe even the month. Having those goals in mind before you start meetings or rushing from activities to activity can keep you focused.
  • Know How to Delegate – Having a trusted employee who can handle some of your daily duties can mean you can attend to more important duties. Someone who can field your email and phone calls as well as prioritizing them can help you stay on task all day long.
  • Eliminate Distractions – Start paying attention to the number of times someone interrupts you when you’re in the midst of an important task. Eliminate those distractions by closing your door or doing work in a separate area. Or set aside a certain time of day when you are free.
  • Start Early – While it might be nice to sleep in or have a lazy coffee, getting an early start is the hallmark of leaders who have time management mastered.

 

Organization Skills for Business Leaders

One characteristic of exceptional leadership (that many times is overlooked) is the organization skills of that leader. Sure, we have all had a great boss whose desk is a mess or can’t seem to keep meetings straight, but for every one of those types of leaders there are leaders who have their business lives organized. Here are a few tips for business leaders to maintain organization.

  • Planning – There never seems to be enough time in the day for business leaders. That is why planning is a critical part of being organized and taking advantage of every moments to get things done. Many leaders believe that using one calendar for the entire office can help keep things organized. Google Calendar and other online options can keep everyone on the same page and reduce overbooking a day.
  • Office Management – Many businesses have a designated person who keeps the office organized. For example, when the copier breaks down or the clients are running late, an employee should be a point person that can keep things running smoothly even in the absence of the owners or management.
  • Goals – While it is a great idea to have a planning calendar, often managers and owners can get bogged down by the day-to-day activities and not keep the ultimate goal in mind. Organized business leaders have regular meetings with key members of the team or office staff to check in on goals and see whet the progress is for each goal. Be sure to set both realistic as well as long and short term goals. Prioritize them according to your company’s needs.
  • Clean Things Up – At the end of each long work day it is tempting to leave for home and relax with your family. Take an extra ten minutes to tidy your desk and prep for the next day’s meetings or activities. You won’t believe how good it feels to come in the next day with a start on the day already.

Communication: Best Business Practices

Communication is the life of any company whether it is communicating with employees or clients. Business leaders are expected to be able to effectively and clearly communicate with stakeholders, customers and employees. While many business leaders have found their own unique skill of communicating through years of practice, there are some common strategies that they all seem to master. Let’s take a look at the best practices of communicating skills. 

  • Be Clear – If an employee leaves a staff meeting not quite sure what you mean then you are not being clear enough in your speech. When speaking and giving directives to employees give clear and precise points. Many successful business leaders find that being repetitive about goals, work habits, and projects can help employees understand what they need to accomplish.
  • Be Approachable – As a business leader, you want clients, employees and business partners to feel that they can come to you for clarification about an issue without feeling like they are in trouble or bothering you. Be open and understand that clarification can only mean that they are trying to give you what you are asking for.
  • Use Many Communication Formats – While it may seem that everyone is on technology these days, communication should come in all different forms from: emails, inter-office communication, newsletters, phone calls and in-person visits. Different personalities respond better to varying forms of communication.
  • Be Present and Timely – When clients, employees or others need to talk with you, be present with them instead of trying to juggle multiple activities at once. In addition to being present, respond in a timely to questions or issues whether it is via email or in person.
  • Listen and Ask – One of the most important parts of communicating is not talking, but rather listening and asking questions to find out the heart of the matter.

Tips for First Time Managers

Are you about to be promoted to a leadership position in your company, or have you just gained employment in your first management position? First of all, congratulations! Being in charge of a team is exciting and requires juggling many things at once. If you have never been in a leadership position you may be a bit intimidated at the thought of being a leader and having team members look to you for answers and directions. There are, however,  a few things that you can do to make the transition to leader/manager a little easier. Here are a few tips from management experts and human resources professionals.

  • Know Your Stuff – In other words, know the business inside and out.  This may take time to study, research and ask tons of questions but the more you actually know the more you will be respected and seen as a source of information. This also goes for knowing what each member of your team does. Spend time with senior leaders as well as team members and ask questions. The more you know, the more you can help your team focus.
  • Delegate – A common problem with new leaders is that they tend to take on too much and get overwhelmed. Realize that you can not be everywhere at once  or do everything alone. Create an environment where you are actively relying on others to help carry projects. You will still be informed, but you need to let others lead so they can grow their abilities and perspective.
  • Create Priorities – As a team leader or manager, there will be lot on your plate.  Start by prioritizing what needs to be done and communicating that to your team.  The more they understand what is important to you the better they can work.
  • Find a Mentor – Whether it is senior leadership or someone in your field, find someone you can trust to be a sounding board in tough times. This person should be someone you are not in direct competition with but has a vested interest in seeing the company and you succeed.
  • Be a Role Model – As a leader, you are probably the inspiration and model for your team members. Your employees are going to look to you to gauge how they should act and how to persevere through workplace challenges. Be a role model and lead by example.  Allow for give and take and learning opportunities. Remember, you are still learning too.

 

BLS Provider CPR (1-day Initial or Renewal Course, multiple sessions available)

(Initial or Renewal Course based on the 2015 AHA Guidelines)
Basic Life Support (BLS) is the foundation for saving lives after cardiac arrest. This course teaches both single-rescuer and team basic life support skills for application in both in-facility and prehospital settings. This course is designed for healthcare professionals and other personnel who need to know how to perform CPR and other basic cardiovascular life support skills.

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Students must pass a written exam and skills test in order to qualify for a BLS Course Completion Card.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will receive a completion cad valid for 2 years.

Conveniently scheduled on Saturday, please choose the session that works best for you.

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Common Business Leadership Mistakes

We all know the “bad boss” types: the “micro-manager, the “know-it-all”, or perhaps the “missing-in-action” boss. These nicknames are great for water cooler talk but in the long run these business leadership mistakes can be disastrous for your company. If you find yourself in a leadership position at your company, it may be time to do some self evaluation to examine if you are making the most common mistakes. Here is a list to help you get your act together.

  • Too Involved? or Not Involved Enough? – Finding a balance between managing every step of a project and stepping back until the completion is a difficult task for even the most seasoned leaders. Many leaders want to avoid micromanagement but in doing so become too hands off. The problem is that if your team misunderstood the specifications of the project it may be too late once it is completed. Leaders and managers must find the right balance between being a Laissez Faire leader and a micro-manager.
  • Communication Nightmares – Team members need prompt and helpful feedback. According to 1,400 executives polled by The Ken Blanchard Companies, failing to provide feedback is the most common mistake that leaders make. When you don’t provide prompt feedback to your people, you’re depriving them of the opportunity to improve their performance.
  • Being a Role Model – Leading by example is the best way to show your team members how to be professional and the work ethic that you desire. When it comes to achieving results, there is no substitute for leadership by example instead of the “Do as I say, not as I do.” Double standards have no place in business leadership.
  • Lack of Delegation – According to Inc. Online the key to leadership success is to learn to effectively delegate both the responsibility for completing assignments and the authority required to get things done. Whenever you prepare to take on a new task or assignment, make a point to ask yourself whether one of your employees can do it instead.
  • Being Boring – Your employees spend anywhere from 8-12 hours of their day in your office or working for the “good of the company”. Not having any fun during those hours is a huge mistake. Fun doesn’t mean that employees are losing efficiency or productivity. The best leaders make their organizations fun places to be. Your people spend about one-third of their lives at work. Make it a pleasant place for them.
  • Not Recognizing Excellence – There are many things that leaders can do to recognize employees that cost little or no money, are easy to implement, and take only a few minutes to accomplish. When you take the time to recognize employees’ achievements, the result is improved morale, performance, and loyalty.

 

Holding Productive Staff Meetings

When employees hear the word staff meeting the first thing that may come to mind is . . .  “time waster.”  According to a recent survey of U.S. professionals by Salary.com, meetings ranked as the number one office productivity killer. For many employees, staff meetings are seen as a time when a manager may drone on and on, or “Bob” from marketing hijacks the meeting or worse yet, when they are continually asking themselves “why am I here?”  There’s no quicker way to sap employee morale and productivity than by convening a meeting that fails to produce results. However, this doesn’t need to be the case.  If done correctly, meetings can be effective, spark creativity, unite the group and prompt meaningful action.  Let’s look at some suggestions to keep your meetings on track and make them fruitful and productive.

  1. Purpose – Every meeting should have a purpose or goal.  It should not just be held because it is Monday and meetings are always on Monday.  That purpose should be laid out in a written agenda that clearly states what will be discussed and materials that employees will need with them.  Tell them your time frame so they know how much time to block off for the meeting.
  2. Involve Everyone – There really is nothing worse than going to a meeting where an employee feels invisible.  Don’t let one person hog the show or overrule others.  Make sure you hold a meeting where everyone’s voice is heard.  Meetings that offer everyone a chance to voice their opinions and insight are much more productive than meetings that only have one or two voices in conversation.
  3. Ban Distractions – With so many people tethered to their smartphones, it is no doubt that they are a distraction.  Ask that phones, tablets, or other devices be put aside while discussions are happening.  Note taking is usually allowable but during brainstorming or back-and-forth discussions assign a note taker so others can concentrate on the task at hand.
  4. Follow Up – One chief complaint about meetings is that items that were discussed and actions that were decided upon somehow don’t get done. Compile the meeting’s notes into action items and distribute them to everyone who attended. Appoint someone to keep track of who’s responsible for doing what and by when. This helps people understand that the end of the meeting signals the start of taking action.
  5. Give Credit Where Credit is Due – Sometimes staff meetings get caught up in the minutia of everyday workplace activities.  It is a good idea to spend some time during each meeting doling out praise for a job well done or a key project completed.  The positive reinforcement will go a long way to keep morale up and employees inspired to do more.