Tips on Successful Team Building

Team building is one of the essences of any company’s culture. If employees are not respectful to one another, and if they do not get along well, this can have a negative impact on successful running of any company.  A negative working environment can hamper the overall productivity of a company. Unity is strength!  If employees cannot work together as a team, a company can soon fall apart. Therefore, to promote and encourage team work, it is important to have team building programs in the company.

Here are a few tips on successful team building.

Never take a side 

As a part of human resources, you cannot be biased. You have to be willing to hear both sides, and it is your job to remain a harmonizing influence. Minor disagreements between employees are common in any working environment, and whenever such a situation arises, you have to play the role of a mediator. Try to find a solution that is acceptable to everyone.  The best way to resolve the conflict is to tell the employees to think about the greater goal, and have them meet at the middle with an idea that works for the both of them.

Act as the leader

Do not waste time, establish yourself as a leader right away. You don’t want to be the type of leader that inspires fear and is too stoic. You just want people to know that you’re in charge to solve the issues, that all they have to do is follow you, and they will be alright.

 Choose the right activities

You need to be able to choose the effective team building activities specific to your company. If you are going to talk values and mission statements, remember that they cannot be general. They have to be exact, and the employees should remember that they are all aiming toward one goal. You have to unite them, and make sure that you are actually team building.

Be trustworthy

People want to know that their leader is someone they can trust. Encourage people to communicate and share information. You want all of the employees to talk to each other, so that they can actually work together.

You have to be the one that guides them through that. Remind them that you’re there as a person they can trust, and that they can discuss things openly.

Keep everyone in check

Though the employees in the company understand what their responsibilities are, it is your responsibility to keep everyone in check. One of the best ways to do this is with a time clock app and cloud based attendance.

This ensures that you have everything stored and organized for easy access.  The way that time clock apps work, depending on the specific app you use, is you set it up so people can check in and out of the app, and all the data syncs to the cloud.

You get to track overtime, all clock-ins, and you may even get alerted if somebody doesn’t show up for work or is late.

Easy Time Clock™ is a cloud-based time and attendance system that provides a comprehensive, accurate, and affordable solution allowing employees to clock in and out with a computer, mobile device, or biometric reader.

Your Guide to a Promotion

Many workers aspire to move up in their company’s ranks as time goes on. This is usually associated with additional perks such as a higher title, higher wages, better benefits, and more. If you are looking for ways to increase the chances of you earning a promotion, see this as your guide to a promotion.

Network

Networking is the best method to familiarize yourself with those above you in management. The more you are able to familiarize yourself with those above you and leave a good impression, the more likely they are to choose you when an availability opens.

To accomplish this, be on the search for networking activities. Go to office parties and other work events that already have social expectations attached to them. However, do not limit yourself to these opportunities alone. Lunch breaks or just passing someone in the hallway can be your opening to familiarize someone with your name and face.

Get to Work Early

Punctuality is important for the workplace. In an economy where time is money, taking some more of your time and dedicating it to your workplace can help increase your chances of earning that promotion when the opportunity arises. By getting to work early, you can put yourself in the best state of mind to work efficiently. You are potentially able to get quick, mundane tasks out of the way earlier and be ready to work. Your increased performance will increase your chances of being noticed by management and get promoted.

Dress Up

Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have. This saying is the clearest way to express this point. What you wear is a reflection of yourself, so dressing for the career you want gives you an air of professionalism and ambition. It may seem like a small touch, but it can make the difference when the time for promotion comes.

Minimize Weaknesses

Show off your strengths and work to improve your weaknesses. Take some time to discover what you do well and what needs improvement. By working to better yourself and your abilities, you make yourself a more well-rounded worker that still has distinguishing strengths that will be noticed by those above you. For example, if your current or desired position requires an amount of public speaking and that is not an area you are comfortable in, putting yourself in situations that allow yourself to improve your weaknesses will help you as a person and employee.

Work to Improve Company Inefficiencies

Think outside the box and look for ways to improve the company. Try to solve problems before and as they arise. By voicing these types of ideas that would benefit the company, you appear as an invested and innovative employee that can continue to improve the company, increasing your odds of being promoted.

Conclusion

Promotions do not come easy; you need to work for it. If you are looking to work to a higher position in your company, utilizing some or all of these strategies is a universal method of increasing your chances of getting promoted. Whether it be coming up with ideas to improve the company, showing up early, or just talking to people, familiarizing yourself with those making these promotional decisions and putting yourself in positions to come across as professional and invested are solid starting points for you to earn that new position.

Easy Time Clock™ is a cloud-based time and attendance system that provides a comprehensive, accurate, and affordable solution allowing employees to clock in and out with a computer, mobile device, or biometric reader.

How to Properly Onboard Your New Employees

Making a strong first impression and properly integrating a new hire into a new position is imperative if you wish to inspire loyalty and high morale in new employees.

Often, businesses may be forced to terminate an employee immediately or an employee may leave a business without giving the business ample time to replace the departing employee. In these cases, it can be tempting to forego the traditional on-boarding process in an effort to fill the vacant spot as quickly as possible.

If you’re interested in promoting peak performance and encouraging loyalty and high morale amongst your staff, then it’s important to make sure that your employees know that you’re invested in them and their success. Here are some best practices on how to properly on-board an employee:

A Proper Introduction  

            The first step of the on-boarding process should involve a formal introduction and meet-and-greet with direct managers, coworkers, peripheral staff and, if possible, having a high level executive take the time to meet each new hire.

Policies, Procedures and Company Values

            At an early stage in the on-boarding process, it is important to set the right expectations for new hires. Take some time to highlight important policies, standard procedures, expectations.

In addition to highlighting key policies and procedures, be sure to give your employees a copy of the employee handbook that they can peruse or reference at their leisure.

Training

            It is essential that your new hires feel confident that they will be able to perform the job that you need them to do. There is, however, only so much that a person will be able to absorb through training.

What’s most important is that you follow up with employees regularly in the weeks and months following training to make sure that they are acclimating to the position.

Successful on-boarding cannot be done in a 2-3 weeks. Proper on-boarding should last a year.

Easy Time Clock ™   is a cloud-based time and attendance system that provides a comprehensive, accurate, and affordable solution allowing employees to clock in and out with a computer, mobile device, or biometric reader.

How to Deal With Employees’ Requests for Raises

As an employer, you control the financial well-being of your employees. When it comes down to the finances of the company, it is often finding the balance between what is best for the company and what is best for its workers. For example, look at benefits that employers offer to their employees such as dental insurance. These are costs to the business that exist for the purpose of better retaining employees. By retaining the workers, the company is able to make more money by reducing turnover.

Keeping this in mind, an employee comes into your office requesting a raise. The final decision is up to you as the employer, so it is important that you weigh the relevant factors and proceed in a logical manner to the employee’s request.

Listen to what the Employee Wants

An important first step in response to the employee is to listen to their entire request and ask questions to gain further information. Why are they requesting this raise? When was the last time this employee received a raise? By gaining related information as to why this request is coming to you in the first place, you are better able to respond with a solution everyone will be satisfied with. Cutting off the employee without actually listening to their request is the quickest way to make them feel they are not valued at the business, and they will likely look for work elsewhere. 

Consider what the Employee Brings to the Table 

This stage is where you evaluate the employee to decide if they should receive the requested raise. This stage asks a lot of questions about the employee and their relationship to the company. Has it been enough time since their last raise that the request feels justified? Have they been outperforming their coworkers? What does the employee contribute to the company financially? What does the employee bring to the business other than finances? These are the types of questions you should ask yourself to evaluate whether or not the employee should get a raise.  By conducting an internal or official performance evaluation of the employee, you are better able to make an informed decision. 

Consider what May Happen if You Say No 

If you are unsure if you should give your employee the raise, ask yourself what could happen if you deny the request. Will the employee still want to stay with the company? If the employee was asking for the raise for personal reasons, will their personal lives affect their quality of work? Will it cost more to replace the employee than to give them the raise? These types of questions can help guarantee you have come to a conclusion you are satisfied with no matter how the employee may respond.

Be Honest 

Being honest with your employee is crucial, especially if the answer is no. Be careful not to say that you will take it under consideration if you have already come to a firm conclusion. If your response to their request is no, you should most likely explain why. If the employee can earn that raise by doing more, try explaining that to them. By maintaining honesty with your employee, you are more likely to get a satisfying conclusion for everyone.

Be Willing to Negotiate 

Sometimes the business can’t afford the full raise that the employee is requesting. Be willing to negotiate with your employee. If they are asking for raise x and you can only afford amount y, then negotiate with the employee so that everyone walks away with a satisfying result.

Conclusion

Employers hold the financial stability of everyone involved with the company. Being fair to your employees is important. If you are a business owner and an employee come into your office asking for a raise, remember to hear them out, consider what they bring to the table, what may happen if you say no, to always be honest, and be willing to negotiate. By keeping these factors in mind, both you and the employee are more likely to achieve a satisfying result.

Easy Time Clock ™   is a cloud-based time and attendance system that provides a comprehensive, accurate, and affordable solution allowing employees to clock in and out with a computer, mobile device, or biometric reader.

Reacting v. Responding in Difficult Employer Situations

Employers often have to make tough decisions based on certain situations that may arise in the company. When interacting with employees, the employer must balance what is best for the company and what is best for the people within that company. An excellent method for achieving the optimal result in these types of situations is to respond rather than react. By highlighting the difference between the two and applying this method to specific situations, an employer can see the benefit of always responding versus reacting. 

The Difference Between the Two

While seeming similar, there is a large difference in the exemplification of reacting and responding. A reaction is instantaneous. Reactions are based on beliefs, biases, and prejudices of the subconscious mind. Think of the phrase ‘knee-jerk reaction’. When you say or do something without thinking, usually tied to emotions such as anger or guilt, that is an example of a reaction. Reactions are made in the moment and do not take into account the long-term effects of what you do or say.

Responding, on the other hand, comes from the result of thoughtfulness, reflection, and consideration of the relevant factors involved in the situation. It weighs the long-term effects and more accurately represents what you believe is best to achieve the balance between the worker and the business. Understanding the difference between responding and reacting and applying that too difficult employer situations can create more favorable outcomes for your company.

Upset Employees 

For the first example, an employee comes into their employer’s office upset about issue x and is threatening to quit. This is never news that an employer wants to hear. An employer could react in various ways: tell them to leave, get defensive, shrug the news off nonchalantly, etc. These are examples of immediate, emotional reactions that an employer may find themselves showing if they do not watch themselves.

Instead, the employer should aim to respond thoughtfully to the upset employee. Asking questions, gaining information, and looking for solutions are examples of positive responses to give. Or, on the flip-side, if the best response is to let the employee leave, then that is acceptable as long as it came from an area of thought and not a knee-jerk reaction.

Low Performance

An employee has been underperforming in their duties and it is hurting the finances of the company. Reactions to this include immediately calling the employee into the office and scolding them, financially threatening them, firing them, etc. Responses take more time to craft, however. Think about if the employee brings more to the company than pure financial gains. Consider if they bring a sense of humor or morale to the rest of the team. After taking notable factors into account, the employer should call the employee into the office and talk to them and figure out what solution is going to be best for the business and the employee.

Conclusion

Employers make important decisions that affect the livelihoods of those around them, most notably the employees. By taking the time to respond rather than react, an employer is better able to control their direct actions in difficult situations and achieve optimal results. If you are a business owner and find yourself in a difficult employer situation, remember to respond rather than react in order to achieve the best results for both the company and your employees.

Easy Time Clock ™   is a cloud-based time and attendance system that provides a comprehensive, accurate, and affordable solution allowing employees to clock in and out with a computer, mobile device, or biometric reader.

What Distinguishes Project Managing from Micromanaging?

A project manager is required to ensure that employees stay focused and on schedule. A project manager is required to motivate employees and to drive a project toward its completion. There comes a tipping point, however, where project management becomes micromanagement and the expected value of having a project overseer becomes negative. Management is a balancing act; finding the perfect equilibrium between micromanaging and not managing at all can lead to success for the entire team. Leaning too far one way or the other is a certain recipe for losing your team all together.

Project Management Versus Micromanagement

A project manager is responsible for assigning individual tasks and corresponding due dates to members of the team. It is also the responsibility of the project manager to ensure that each individual team member is qualified and able to complete their designated tasks.

Micromanaging, however, describes the close involvement of the supervisor with team members. In order for the project to make it through to completion in a timely fashion, micromanagers feel that they need to be involved, in great detail, with each individual aspect of the project.

Pros and Cons

Despite the poor reputation, loose micromanagement could be beneficial for on-boarding new employees. New employees may benefit from having a supervisor nearby who can answer questions or explain processes. If new policies or procedures are put in place, it may benefit even experienced employees to have a supervisor nearby to ensure that a project is completed in a timely fashion and in correspondence with new rules or procedures.

The downside to micromanaging is that it can hinder the speedy completion of a project or, in some cases, it can inhibit the ideal results of the project. For example, if a micromanager has a specific methodology that disallows brainstorming or the possibility of creating a new process, then that micromanager may never achieve the best possible results from a project and customers may ultimately suffer the consequences.

Rule of Thumb

 As a project manager, there will always be multiple tasks that you are going to need to juggle at one time. You should prioritize where your attention should go by where it’s needed most. If you have successfully staffed a group of competent individuals that you trust to complete the project on time without your detailed involvement in each individual process, then there’s no need to micromanage every team member or aspect of a project.

Easy Time Clock ™   is a cloud-based time and attendance system that provides a comprehensive, accurate, and affordable solution allowing employees to clock in and out with a computer, mobile device, or biometric reader.

How to Motivate Your Employees

How employees look at their jobs greatly affects their performance in the workplace. Low job satisfaction leads to high turnover which can cost the company up to 150% of an employee’s yearly salary. High job satisfaction can lead to increased productivity and behaviors that exceed the call of duty. By motivating employees in the proper ways, employees are more satisfied in their jobs which is positive for all parties involved.

Meet Employee Needs

It is important for employee retention that their needs are continually met. An employer should assess what an employee’s needs are and try to accommodate them. In relation to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, an employer should try to help an employee meet their esteem and self-actualization needs. Other needs also include the need for achievement and affiliation. These needs, when met, increase job satisfaction and motivate employees to do better work.

Keep Employees Satisfied

Keeping employees satisfied is based on increasing motivators and decreasing negative factors. By giving employees opportunities for achievement, recognition, stimulating work, responsibility, and advancement, they become satisfied with their work, increasing job satisfaction.

On the flip side, what is potentially even more important is decreasing negative factors that could hinder employee satisfaction. Negative factors such as poor company policies and administration, salary, interpersonal relationships, and working conditions can severely hurt work productivity.

Treat Employees Fairly

Fairness is determined by comparing equity ratios of outcomes to inputs. This can be illustrated in equal pay for equal work and keeping ratios equal. But another factor to keep in mind is it is perceived fairness over what is reality that affects employee performance. Perceptions of unfairness lead to less motivation, anger, and dissatisfaction. Managers should proactively manage employees’ perceptions of equity and fairness. This applies to how resources and rewards are distributed, how procedures make allocation decisions, and the quality of the interpersonal treatment people receive when procedures are implemented.

Manage Employee Expectations

Managing employee expectations comes down to convincing them of the relationship between effort, performance, and outcome. If your employees put in the effort, their performance should increase, therefore, the long-term outcome should be positive. This can take shape in rewarding employees who have been exceeding expectations by putting in the effort and demonstrating strong performance levels.

Help Employees Set SMART Goals

Employees should be encouraged to set goals for themselves that follow the SMART acronym. Goals should be Specific and quantifiable; it should be clear when the goal is met. Goals should be Measurable, meaning progress should be measurable throughout the process. Goals should be Attainable and realistic; make sure they are possible. Goals should have specific Results in mind. Finally, goals should be Time-bound; there needs to be a deadline in order that the employee is always working towards it. These five guidelines help set SMART goals that increase workplace performance.

Conclusion

Employers need to motivate their employees in the proper ways in order to maximize employee potential. By meeting employee needs, keeping employees satisfied, treating employees fairly, managing employee expectations, and helping employees set SMART goals, a manager can encourage exceptional performance and reduce turnover. Everyone benefits when an employer motivates their employees the proper way. By working to follow these motivational guidelines, you can increase your employees’ motivation and create a better working environment for everyone involved.

Easy Time Clock ™   is a cloud-based time and attendance system that provides a comprehensive, accurate, and affordable solution allowing employees to clock in and out with a computer, mobile device, or biometric reader.

The Importance of Life Insurance

What is insurance?  This simple question is a baseline of why it is so important to have it.  Insurance is a financial safety net for when bad things happen.  We insure our vehicles, our homes, and our health so that we do not have to pay as much out of pocket when things go wrong.

But life insurance is different.  We purchase life insurance policies for the benefit of others, not ourselves.  There are no bills after death, only for those left behind.  Life insurance is an important risk management tool that will allow your loved ones to be more financially stable after your passing, especially if the you bring income into the home.

Life insurance can help a family pay for medical expenses.  Often there are medical expenses associated with one’s final days, whether it be medication or hospital stays.  Life insurance can help keep these types of expenses manageable for a family.

Another set of expenses that need to be kept in mind are the costs of the funeral and place of burial.  These have a wide range of prices, but life insurance can help ensure that the family does not have to pay out of pocket for the services associated with paying last respects.

What many parents also like to have covered by their life insurance policy is an inheritance for their children.  Leaving something behind it important to many people, and a life insurance policy can help ensure that something is being left behind for the children.  Depending on the age of the children, this can help save for their higher education or their own life expenses as adults.

There is also just standard living expenses for a family that has lost one of the breadwinners.  Expenses such as mortgages, food, and clothing are all important to keep in mind.  A life insurance policy can be an important safety net to bring peace of mind.

Bills don’t care if we are dead or alive.  Life insurance policies are important because they help those that are left behind take care of final expenses and life expenses moving forward.  We don’t buy life insurance for ourselves, we do it for those that we love to spare them unnecessary financial burden.  If you are an adult without life insurance, greatly consider purchasing some to help those around you.  If you do have life insurance, give it a second look to make sure that it is enough.  The sooner you do, the easier it is for everyone involved.

Easy Time Clock ™   is a cloud-based time and attendance system that provides a comprehensive, accurate, and affordable solution allowing employees to clock in and out with a computer, mobile device, or biometric reader.

Insurance Benefits Companies Can Offer to Their Employees

There are many factors that we consider where we would like to work. Other than directly getting paid, the benefits they offer can be one of the greatest incentives to go work for a particular company. Benefits can help a company look more attractive to potential workers by lowering their expenses rather than offering higher pay. These are some of the insurance benefits you may come across with potential companies.

  • Health Insurance

In regards to insurance benefits, nothing is more common as an incentive than a company offering health insurance. It is tax deductible for the business and lowers costs for their employees. Everyone benefits.

  • Dental Insurance

Dental insurance is less common but highly sought after. Whether you have a high immune system or are constantly getting sick, everyone knows it is recommended to go twice annually for check-ups. Dental issues that go undetected and untreated can turn into major issues which is why this insurance benefit is seen as quite valuable.

  • Vision Insurance

As we get older, our eyesight begins to deteriorate. This can have a significant impact on our work. Even minor vision issues have been shown to slow work productivity by up to 20%, so this is an insurance benefit that can keep efficiency in the workplace high.

  • Life Insurance

The life insurance benefits companies offer is usually equal to a percentage of or equal to a year’s salary. This is the one benefit no one wants to cash in, but it is a considerable benefit to have some of those related costs be covered by the employer.

  • Short Term Disability & Long Term Disability

If you get hurt off the job and will need time off to recover, this is a benefit that will lessen the blow of not being able to work. Short term disability usually is offered for leaves lasting 3 months to a year and still offer around 70-80% of regular pay.

Long term disability can be offered for 1-3 years of leave with 60-75% of what you make. When you aren’t able to work, it can feel like you will lose control of your finances. This benefit from employers can make that seem much more manageable.

Easy Time Clock ™   is a cloud-based time and attendance system that provides a comprehensive, accurate, and affordable solution allowing employees to clock in and out with a computer, mobile device, or biometric reader.

The Skinny on Net Neutrality

Net neutrality has become a hot topic in the news in recent months as Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai repealed a 2015 decision to change how the internet was handled on the federal level. While this issue affects every internet user, many in the public do not fully understand what has happened and what state the internet is currently in.

What is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality is the concept that internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all data equally. Under net neutrality, ISPs cannot slow down, also known as throttling, or charge internet users differently based on how they use their data or what services they use online. The FCC is the official government body that oversees this issue.

For example, in 2004 The Madison River Communications Company was fined by the FCC for restricting access to the website of rival company Vonage. This demonstrates a violation of net neutrality because the company was not allowing their users unregulated access to all websites.

Legal History

As the internet began surging in popularity in the late 1990s and into the 2000s, it was largely an unregulated wild west where ISPs could provide whatever services they saw fit. By default, the internet fell under Title I of the Communications Act of 1934, classifying it under general provisions. This classification is what left most internet regulation to the free market.

This changed in 2010 when the FCC issued the FCC Open Internet Order. This set a standard of four net neutrality principles:

  • Transparency, meaning consumers have the right to know basic performance characteristics of their network
  • No blocking, meaning an ISP cannot block websites discriminately
  • A level playing field, meaning websites cannot pay for higher web speeds from ISPs
  • Network Management, meaning networks are still allowed to offer different tiers of internet speed that still follow the universality of net neutrality

These would be watched by an internet advisory committee to make sure ISPs were compliant.

In 2014, the U.S. court of appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of Verizon Wireless in a lawsuit against the FCC. The court found that the regulations under the Open Internet Order could not be applied to the internet because it was still under Title I. To enforce the provisions, the internet would need to be changed to be regulated under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, placing it under common carrier.

In 2015, the FCC made that change. By changing the internet’s classification to that of a public utility, the FCC could enforce their net neutrality regulations. The recent decision at the end of 2017 reversed that decision, causing the internet to revert back to Title I and leaving the majority of its regulation to ISPs. The internet is currently in the state it was prior to the 2015 decision.

Arguments for and against Net Neutrality

Supporters of net neutrality claim to want to ensure the FCC regulate the control of data ISPs have, maintain digital rights and freedoms for all, prevent blocking or throttling of certain websites (especially that of competitors), and ensure equal treatment on the internet for all.

Those against the regulations claim that they choke technological investments, deter competition by hindering the growth of small ISPs, and add unnecessary costs that are passed to the consumers that come from unnecessary regulation.

Conclusion

The internet is currently the same service we have immensely enjoyed the last couple decades. The internet did not come crashing down when these regulations were rolled away. Aspects of net neutrality still survive; the federal government is just much less able to regulate. It is now the responsibility of us as consumers to be cautious of internet service providers to ensure that the internet remain fair for all and that the level playing field be maintained.

Easy Time Clock ™   is a cloud-based time and attendance system that provides a comprehensive, accurate, and affordable solution allowing employees to clock in and out with a computer, mobile device, or biometric reader.