It’s time to introduce the Passphrase

In our previous blog, Passwords You Should Never Use, we discussed the passwords you should NOT use. In this blog, we will discuss the development of the Pass Phrase for password safety.

According to Easy Time Clocks’ interview on the HR Insider, https://youtu.be/ZXVGuzRBIwk, the “passphrase” is the next way to go in cyber security.

What exactly is a passphrase? A passphrase is a sentence that doesn’t make sense, has more characters than a standard password, and is used as a password. By adding more characters and a sentence that doesn’t make sense, it makes the password harder to guess.  It is suggested that a passphrase is usually easier to remember than a real intense password, but it is harder to hack.

A passphrase should meet the following criteria:

*At least 19 characters in length

*Include punctuation

*Include spaces

Examples of passphrase are:

I read! 12purplemonkeys

Mary Poppins is my3 favoritecolor?

Space camp MashedPotatoes4!

When it comes to password safety, the biggest thing to remember, is to not have the same password for your personal things, such as your Facebook page, and your business credit card. A different passphrase for each account you have is the safer way to handle passwords. Unfortunately that is a lot to remember and keep up with.   

If you really are concerned about passwords, you might also consider getting a password manager.

A password manager is a system that generates your passwords for you and stores those generated passwords so you don’t have to remember all the usernames and passwords for all of your accounts. Google has recently started to offer a similar option. All you do is remember your google password and as long as you are logged in to your Google account, your passwords with be provided for you. If you have limited tech skills and like free, Google is a step in the right direction. If you have more experience and are willing to pay, there are online options that store your passwords on the cloud and there are options where you save your passwords to an external flash drive. Which one would work best really depends on your level of skill, patience and willingness to set up a password manager.

Here are few options to review when looking for a password manager:

www.lastpass.com

www.dashlane.com

www.zoho.com

Good luck on your adventure into password safety!

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.

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.