To Stay Stress-Free after Your Vacation, Copy a Dog’s Mindset



Two questions: Have you ever felt stressed even after a long holiday or vacation? Soon after returning to the office, have you felt the need for a “mental health day?”

If so, you’re not alone.

We go on vacation  for serenity – to lift our moods, change our perspectives and alleviate negative emotions.

However, even after a nice holiday or vacation, it’s pretty common to start feeling stressed when you jump into work.

Have you ever noticed how dogs behave? They stay in the moment and never seem unhappy.

Why not emulate the behavior of a dog?

The trick is to prevent stress from rearing its ugly head to keep it from ruining the benefits you received from your vacation.

Here’s how to minimize stress after a vacation:

1. Prevent phone calls your first day back

Before you leave for vacation, your automatic reply on your phone should indicate your return date, mention your preference that important matters be handled by email, and explain whom you want be contacted in your absence.

2. Shorten your first week

Return midweek. In this way, you’ll be more enthusiastic rather than dreading a heavy workload and week of problems. Prioritize the issues.

3. Work a minimal first day 

Go to the office for only four hours. Consider it to be sort of an orientation to ease back into your pressures, handle any pressing issues and to plan your schedule for the next few days.

Then, take the afternoon off. 

4. Work on an attitude of gratitude

The most serene professionals focus on the positive – the 90 percent of what’s going well rather than the negative 10 percent that isn’t going well. In this way, it’s easier for them to tackle the 10 percent.

So learn to keep a smile on your face by practicing an attitude of gratitude. In fact, if you haven’t already, start a gratitude list.

You’ll find you can think of 10 things are worth appreciating. Review your list. Reflect on it. Make it a regular thing to do.

5. Vary your routine

Avoid falling into a rut. Learn to keep an open mind by using the “Principle of Contrary Action.”

Keep a mental or written record of your routines. Every time you do something try to approach it differently. For instance, take a different route to the office and park in a different parking space.

Ever notice how happy your dog gets when you reach for a leash?

Sometimes people in business need a creative place at out-of-the-ordinary locations. Perhaps you have an employee whom you need to counsel. Or you might have a peer who needs encouragement.

So for discussions on difficult issues, try walking meetings.

6. Budget blue-sky sessions

While you immerse yourself in your daily routines and challenges, budget time for blue-sky sessions to dream about future plans.

Never allow the fires and problems distract you from your long-term goals.

7. Exercise

Whether you’re a runner, walker, golfer, yogi or gym aficionado – whatever your favorite way to exercise — budget time do it regularly.

And don’t forget to exercise your spiritual and mental health.

8. Consider planning periodic mental-health days

Don’t allow depression to consume you. Take periodic days off to relax with your family, play golf, go boating, fishing, or take in a Wednesday afternoon baseball game.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related tips:

Career Tips: 5 Morning Habits of Winning Entrepreneurs — The key is to manage the highs and lows synonymous with a dynamic roller-coaster ride. You must stay on an even keel, despite all the negative surprises. Develop habits that make certain your attitude is contagious – an attitude worth catching — to prepare for daily success.

6 Best Mental Attributes of Successful Entrepreneurs — Becoming an entrepreneur is the hardest task you can imagine. The hours are long and you can expect a physical and emotional roller-coaster ride. A song made famous by Frank Sinatra explains it best.

5 Personality Traits for Personal and Professional Success — Five personality traits are important for overcoming stress and achieving goals academically, professionally and in personal relationships. This article includes a link to take a personality test.

How You Can Improve Your Memory for Career Success — Data is important in business but only if you retain and understand it. Your memory helps you to embed, store, maintain and recover information. Here’s important information to improve your memory.

Tips to Prevent or Eliminate Employee Toxicity — From time to time, nearly every boss has to cope with an employee’s negativity. That’s annoying enough, but you’ve got a nightmare if toxic attitudes spread among the rest of your workers. Here are solutions.

30 Time Management, Stress Reducing Tips — Tips that will enable you to take bold measures to invest in your future and make money by saving time and reducing stress.

“Self-esteem is as important to our well-being as legs are to a table. It is essential for physical and mental health and for happiness.”

-Louise Hart


__________

Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




For Profits, Align Your HR Program with Your Business Strategy



For profits, a successful human-resources management strategy should complement your overall business strategy. This is just as important as a business plan and marketing plan.

By aligning your HR program with your organization’s plan and objectives, you are more likely to be profitable.

Overall, you need to implement some crucial elements.

For instance, analyze your HR strengths and weaknesses; train your employees; forecast what you’ll need in staffing; prepare for employee turnover; hire strategically; and prepare a succession plan.

To align your HR program with your business strategy, here’s a more detailed checklist:

1. Review your business strategy and goals

This is important so you don’t overlook anything to be in the best position to align your employee-development planning with your organization’s goals.

Identify and analyze critical roles in your business.

2. Plan for transparency

Inform your supervisors and key employees about your plan to make sure your company is effectively aligning your human resources program with business strategy.

Educate them on the process. Change make employees nervous. Be sure supervisors are ready to alleviate any concerns of their staffs and to explain how changes may or may not affect them.

3. Evaluate your staff

Check to be sure your employees fit well with their job descriptions. Identify their abilities, knowledge and skills including their certifications and education.

Evaluate your employees. Take steps to avoid making errors in your evaluations. Continue to assess the quality of their completed projects.

If you’re good at engaging your employees, you’ll discover tangible qualities. Look for any other salient talents, especially their soft skills for interacting with each other, customers and vendors.

Inspire them to maximize their performance. Determine if they’re promotable or at least willing to accept additional responsibilities.

Answer their questions. Be sure to give positive feedback at every opportunity.

4. Craft a set of employee-development blueprints

Engage your employees to fully ascertain their career goals and their talent levels. Compare their opinions with your impressions.

Determine what your workers need in the way of skill enhancements. Be positive in your interactions with your employees.

Develop your plan of action for each person.

Provide necessary training and education to fill in the employees’ skill gaps. Always focus on helping your employees to grow professionally.

Once they appear ready for advancement, test your approach. Create a few scenarios or projects to test their new skills and progress and enthusiasm for the additional work as growth opportunities.

5. Develop a succession plan

Turnover is inevitable. Your succession planning must be capable of helping you to evaluate and to have employees ready to overcome unforeseen obstacles.

It’s best to at least involve your supervisors and key employees in the process. If it isn’t feasible, it tells you important information about your culture.

To keep growing a business and long-term sustainability, it’s vital to preserve the trust of customers, employees, partners and investors. Therefore, succession planning is essential.

6. Do a gap analysis

You’ll need to fully understand your current situation – strengths and weaknesses – and what you’ll be needing to do in improving processes as well as designing and implementing best practices to achieve your goals.

Examine your job descriptions to evaluate whether they are compatible with what you want your employees to achieve.

Review your employee handbook to see if it’s current in terms of employment laws and regulations in the locales you plan to operate. Update where appropriate.

Remember companies that don’t convert their employee handbooks into electronic documents are missing noteworthy opportunities in human resources. If you haven’t already use best practices for an online employee handbook.

Have your employees read it and acknowledge their understanding.

Ascertain your training programs and what they’ll be needing.

Assess your health and benefit policies and procedures. Make sure you’re in full compliance at every level and meeting the needs of your workers.

Don’t forget about your technology. What works? What will you need?

7. Develop your new HR approach

Create an effective HR mission statement.

Ascertain your culture and skills inventory – if you have the right people and enough of them and whether they’re prepared for your growth. If necessary, plan to fix any culture shortcomings.

Promote a trust culture that’s appealing to everyone so you will profit from cross-generational teams.

Plan for the best-possible rewards package for your current staff and for any new employees.

Upgrade your technology and make sure your talent will be able to operate it.

8. Continuously monitor your HR approach

Review your plan on an ongoing basis to keep it aligned with your business strategy. Anticipate employee issues to keep a desirable culture.

Situations change. Regularly update your plan and procedures.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are relevant articles:

Management Strategies for Productive Applicant Interviews — You must be assertive – ask the right questions and listen intently to cut through the morass of canned answers to get the answers you need to make good hiring decisions.

11 Categories of Mistakes Face HR Departments – Biz Coach Tips — Beware: Many problems are not caused by HR professionals but by managers who don’t use best practices.

16 Best Practices to Stay out of Legal Trouble with Employees — Generally, in human resources, companies find themselves in legal hot water because they inadvertently make mistakes with their employees. It’s important to triple down on preventative measures and responses to legal hazards when necessary.

Tips to Prevent or, if Necessary, Eliminate Employee Toxicity — From time to time, nearly every boss has to cope with an employee’s negativity. That’s annoying enough, but you’ve got a nightmare if toxic attitudes spread among the rest of your workers. Here are solutions.

Productivity: 5 Management Tips to Motivate Your Employees — A major quandary for managers is to bring out the best in their employees. Every manager wants to do it, but it’s not always easy. What’s the reason? Usually, it’s because employees are disengaged – disconnected from their managers and companies. Here’s how to fix it.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

-Henry Ford


__________

Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Artificial Intelligence: How to Maximize Your ROI


Strategies to maximize your return on investment in AI



It might surprise you to learn artificial intelligence (AI) has its roots dating back to ancient Greek mythology.

Seriously, that’s true according to a site devoted exclusively to artificial intelligence, AITopics.org:

Greek myths of Hephaestus, the blacksmith who manufactured mechanical servants, and the bronze man Talos incorporate the idea of intelligent robots. Many other myths in antiquity involve human-like artifacts. Many mechanical toys and models were actually constructed, e.g., by Archytas of Tarentum, Hero, Daedalus and other real persons.

It accelerated after the developments of modern computers following World War II.

As we’ve realized in the 21st century, AI presents both benefits and risks.

Business and all of society benefit from the superintelligence provided by AI as long as technology is effective and productive.

Competence and goals are important.

AI outperforms many functions by humans but it’s problematic if your computers crash, are hacked or are programmed with bad intentions or develop destructive methods.

So, the question arises: How does a company maximize its return on investment in AI?

Here are five strategies:

1. Real value results from proper planning for growth

While AI has the potential to cut expenses, the focus should be on growth and expansion. That includes innovation in products and services, efficiency for productivity and gaining market share.

AI is optimized when adopted at every level of technology from value chains to pricing and understanding the preferences of customers.

2. Investment is needed in both human resources and technology

You cannot fully benefit from AI in technology if your employees aren’t prepared. Your culture must be transformed.

It’s a complex process. You must start slowly in baby steps.

You must anticipate your future needs.

Management and staff must be educated and trained in cross-functional teams, if you will, in all processes and operations.

Then, another dilemma – finding the right people for the new jobs – recruitment of new employees for the requisite technical job categories.

3. Be flexible, aggressive and fine-tune your objectives and processes

Your best bet is to stay focused on growth – innovating new products and fine-tuning your business model. Cutting expenses are certainly important, but it shouldn’t be the salient focus.

To better capitalize on the technological benefits of AI, stay on offense.

4. Stay committed to automation

AI is maximized if you retain access to strong data and assimilate it into your systems. This means having a simultaneous intensity devoted to your AI and digital systems.

Your systems aren’t effective and true assets unless they’re fully used – from all of your technology in operations and customer service to your financial system to employees.

5. Continue to cultivate and develop AI

Take steps to insure you have an abundant AI environment for success, an increase in knowledgeable workers, U.S. job creation, AI knowledge and related benefits.

Make certain its fully embedded in your organization. Lead by example in your sector.

As in other public-policy issues affecting your business, be proactive in encouraging government policies to further the development of AI ecosystems.

What do I mean? For instance, lobby for tax AI breaks and in immigration for tech visa quotas. Support research grants, public-private sector partnerships and insist on protecting citizens’ privacy in data.

From the Coach’s Corner, related topics:

Future of the Workplace: Robots Making Business ‘Smarter’ — If there was ever a need for people to become expert in technology and learn senior-management skills, the time is now. Non-exempt, lower-level jobs are disappearing. New software “robots” in numerous industries are increasingly taking over and making business “smarter,” according to senior-level managers who responded to a survey.

Forecasting 5 Trends and the Future of Marketing — With all the dynamic changes that businesses have experienced in opportunities and threats, it’s important to anticipate the future. But forecasting can be tricky. So, the one dynamic you can anticipate – constant change – both positive and negative. Be aware of these five marketing trends.

10 Innovation Tips to Boost Your Long-Term Customer Base — Businesspeople are constantly under pressure. Daily events make it challenging to make critical decisions for financial sustainability. Businesses must innovate to survive. Here are 10 key questions to ask about your business.

Increase Your Business Value with 5 Basic BPO Strategies — For your company to achieve higher performance, you often need to enhance your business processes. In essence, this means turning your attention to business process optimization (BPO), which is a holistic approach. The benefits: With BPO, you’ll be able to evaluate and authenticate your existing practices and create new processes via imagined situations.

How to Avoid Failure in Risk Management and Strategic Planning — Incredible as it might seem, companies fail because they underestimate strategic risks – yes, strategic blunders instead of common sense – according to an authoritative study.

“As more and more artificial intelligence is entering into the world, more and more emotional intelligence must enter into leadership.” 

-Amit Ray


__________

Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Scaling Your Business Starts with Effective Management



You can’t be sure when it’s time to scale and expand your business until you’re fully confident.

Confidence starts with knowing the difference between scaling and expanding – and growing with the help of your culture and employees.

If you rush the process, you risk growing too fast. If you wait too long, you’ll lose potential revenue and profit.

Expansion is a reactionary mode and occurs as your company starts to accelerate. Your customers respond well to your marketing and customer service, and you need to hire just to keep up with the demand.

But hiring in a knee-jerk reaction always leads to problems such as settling for the wrong employees.

So, scaling is the best way to go. Scaling is all about planning and developing repeatable best practices – operating efficiently and creating systems to grow effectively and exponentially.

This means having proven systems for operations, sales and marketing.

Culture

But scaling must start with management of your people. They must be supportive of your vision, values and culture. Of course, they must be well-trained.

Therefore, you must have a healthy culture. It starts with you and the need to develop habits for a positive workplace culture.

Then you must use best practices in recruiting, hiring and investing in the best talent for your situation.

Once you’re confident in your staff, you must systemize everything – create turnkey operations – from finance and marketing to operations and sales.

You’ll know if you’re growing too fast if you’re increasing your workforce but you find you’re having to hire the wrong candidates just to fill positions.

Hiring the wrong people will not help you to scale effectively.

Personal and organization brand

Leaders know their personal brand. Because delegation is a fundamental driver of growth, they also know best practices in employee delegation.

They’re not trying to do everything themselves, especially the tasks in which they’re not proficient.

Self-awareness of your strengths and weaknesses is very important. Then, you’ll be in a better position to hire accordingly to fill in the gaps of your weaknesses.

That starts with hiring your employees. Expertise is important. As a leader, the CEO is not necessarily the smartest person in the room.

Your employees – your human capital – should become your No. 1 asset. For maximum profit, partner with your employees.

But develop a social media policy first. You and they should be on the same page regarding your brand image and the types of messages you need to communicate.

Continue to engage your employees and motivate them to offer profitable ideas. In marketing, ask them how they can and want to contribute to promote your brand values.

Empower your employees to become brand ambassadors, especially on social media. Celebrate their efforts and accomplishments.

Regarding your big-picture goals, remember your employees can help you in strategic planning.

Cost-cutting priorities

Cutting costs is vital. But operating efficiently with best-practices in management and marketing should be the top goals.

When it’s necessary to cut expenses, many companies focus on the wrong priorities when they’re too quick to implement layoffs and cut back marketing budgets.

Just as you differentiate your company to your customers, you must differentiate your costs to propel your business growth. Focus on best practices in strategically cutting costs.

Where to start?

For financial performance, the best way to achieve optimum efficiency is a management-performance audit, development of solutions and implementation of best-practices in management.

Key components of a management-performance audit include cost-cutting; focusing innovation in production and processes; and continuous improvement in management.

Time is money. Poor management wastes time.

Final thoughts – consequences

Without best practices in management, here are samples of consequences:

  1. Too much time spent solving preventable problems
  2. Too much time solving small problems that spiral out-of-control
  3. Too much time wasted trying to salvage wasted resources
  4. Your team’s morale suffers
  5. High turnover among top-performing employees
  6. Chaos leads to rising expenses and poor pricing

Again, your key to scaling success — best practices in management.

From the Coach’s Corner, you might consider relevant strategies:

Why Startup Companies Fail – How to Win — It’s vital to conduct a thorough needs-assessment of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – followed by development and implementation of a strategic action plan. Here’s more.

For Profits, Manage Your Growth at the Right Pace — Entrepreneurs frequently try to rush their business growth. Certainly, growth is great but if you scale too fast, you’re looking for trouble. The key is to prepare.

Finance Checklist for Strategic Planning, Growth — Strategic planning in finance for growth means avoiding trendy fads. Instead, it requires an ongoing down-to-earth approach in order to create value. Here are seven steps.

11 Categories of Mistakes Face HR Departments – Biz Coach Tips — Beware: Many problems are not caused by HR professionals but by managers who don’t use best practices.

Management: How to Help Employees to Grow Professionally — Managers owe it to the organization to help their employees grow professionally and will benefit from higher employee performance and low turnover.

“Growth is the only evidence of life.”

-John Henry Newman


__________

Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




16 Best Practices to Stay out of Legal Trouble with Employees



Generally, in human resources, companies find themselves in legal hot water because they inadvertently make mistakes with their employees.

It’s important to triple down on preventative measures and responses to legal hazards when necessary.

Here are important strategies:

  1. Think and act pre-emptively. Stay vigilant. If you see even a hint of a problem, don’t ignore your instincts. Deal with potential problems right away. Be aware of the salient trending issues in HR.
  2. Take seriously any reports of sexual harassment and workplace bullying.
  3. Don’t hesitate – keep detailed records – remember to create a paper trail … paper trail … paper trail. Use best practices with HR records. In the event of problems, if you aren’t able to supply relevant documentation, you’ll pay a heavy price.
  4. Even if an employee asks what appear to be innocuous questions, especially medical questions, document every conversation. Even apparent odd questions can result in legal danger as many employees will be disingenuous or later act disingenuously. (Many seemingly harmless questions need your attention as they sometimes crop up and develop as problems months or years later.)
  5. Be cognizant and comply with all relevant federal and state laws. If you have any doubts, find out what you need to know. Stay current on all laws.
  6. Consider finding a good attorney who specializes in employment law. Trust your counsel and follow recommendations.
  7. In complying with all laws, use best employee-handbook values to avoid legal issues. Neither you, nor your company and nor should your employees be relying on an employee handbook with illegal or antiquated policies. (Also seek input from managers in policy-making.)
  8. Make sure your policies stay current and that your practices are consistent.
  9. Train your managers and supervisors on all relevant laws and policies. Make certain your company is a place for learning.
  10. Train managers how to coach your workers. When managers become coaches, you get a higher-performing workforce. You will replace mediocrity with strong performance. Therefore, optimize your talent management with a coaching culture.
  11. Stay proactive in communication with employees. At least twice a day, find ways to engage your employees in your daily operations. (Your employees most value your visibility and engagement.)
  12. Be fair and treat all employees equally.
  13. Be sure to say the right things in difficult situations with employees. Careful planning is necessary before you give an employee an appraisal or in advance of terminating the person.
  14. Despite taking precautions, understand you’re in a potential minefield. Stay composed, relaxed and respectful. Meantime take the right steps to enjoy your job even when managing difficult employees.
  15. Should a workplace investigation be necessary be honest and polite, and timely comply with all investigative requests. As an employer, one of your biggest nightmares can be issues involving your employees. There can be many reasons to conduct an investigation. So, use best practices in workplace investigations.
  16. Recruit and hire the right people especially for emotional intelligence. Admittedly, there’s a myriad of ways to recruit great employees. But no recruitment option surpasses a well-executed, strategic employee-referral program.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are relevant articles:

Employee Records: Which Ones to Save and for How Long — You don’t want to keep unnecessary employee records. Nor do you want to make a rash decision on whether to destroy records. Here are the laws you need to know.

10 Best Practices for an Online Employee Handbook — Companies that don’t convert their employee handbooks into electronic documents are missing noteworthy opportunities in human resources. Conversely, businesses that switch to a digital format accomplish at least five HR goals.

Employer Tips: How to Deal with a Visit from ICE — A visit from ICE – the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement – is a cause for concern. Your response sets the stage for communication, either effectively defending your company or possible negotiations and a settlement with ICE.

Avoid EEOC Legal Hassles over Unpaid Leave Requirements — You might want to review your current human resource policies. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has continued to push employers on unpaid leave under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

How to Increase Conversion Rates of Online Job Applicants — Your business is not alone when it comes to the high costs incurred in the recruitment of job applicants online. Most job seekers get frustrated and quit in the middle of their online applications.

“Business is a bed of roses but need to remove thorns all the time”

-Talees Rizvi


__________

Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Both Democrats and Republicans Endanger U.S. Economy



March 14, 2018 –


Have we not learned any lessons from the horrors of the Great Recession from a decade ago? Apparently not.

You might recall the collapse of a global investment bank with $400 billion in assets, and 85 years of storied success and deep roots with every big Wall Street bank.

Today is the 10th anniversary of the collapse of the Bear Stearns bubble during the Obama Administration and the launch of the worst fiscal crisis since the 1930s.

Afterward, Congress enacted Dodd-Frank financial reforms and the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to approve $700 million in bonds to bail out the banks and resurrect the economy.

Democrats and Republicans are hurting America’s future.

Should another crisis occur, it’s increasingly clear that the federal government will not be able again to bail out any institutions as a result of the annual $1-trillion budget deficits.

Unnecessary spending increases the annual deficits, which exacerbate the massive federal debt.

At the start of 2017, federal agencies owned trillions of dollars of the debt
(Frightening figures are listed by The Balance).

  • Social Security (Social Security Trust Fund and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund) – $2.801 trillion
  • Office of Personnel Management Retirement – $888 billion
  • Military Retirement Fund – $670 billion
  • Medicare (Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund) – $294 billion
  • All other retirement funds – $304 billion
  • Cash on hand to fund federal government operations – $580 billion

Holders of the public debt

  • Foreign – $6.004 trillion
  • Federal Reserve – $2.465 trillion
  • Mutual funds – $1.671 trillion
  • State and local government, including their pension funds – $905 billion
  • Private pension funds – $553 billion
  • Banks – $663 billion
  • Insurance companies – $347 billion
  • U.S. Savings Bonds – $166 billion
  • Other (individuals, government-sponsored enterprises, brokers and dealers, bank personal trusts and estates, corporate and non-corporate businesses, and other investors) – $1.662 trillion

 Again, other nations own more than $6 trillion in U.S. Treasurys.

Yes, the money actually comes from foreigners, and the U.S. has little likelihood of easily borrowing more money to ease threats from the next fiscal crisis.

These IOUs constitute more than 45 percent of the gross domestic product. In 10 years, the IOUs will comprise more than 60 percent of the GDP.

Foreign central banks do this to support their monetary systems because the dollar is still the world’s primary currency.

But U.S. government bonds are no longer considered a premium because of the weak dollar and high federal debt.

Higher interest rates

To offset the fiscal risk, foreign investors are likely to insist on getting higher interest rates before buying more U.S. Treasuries.

But if America pays higher interest rates, this will kill the U.S. economy as it increases the threat of massive tax increases and draconian budget cuts with a return to corporate debt and mortgage defaults.

Historically, no nation has ever survived such fiscal dysfunction without implementing severe austere measures or borrowing money.

Despite their denials, many Republicans love pork spending just as much as their political opponents, the politicians they like to label as tax-and-spend Democrats.

Politicians aren’t willing to trim the fat and balance the federal budget, which is now about $21 trillion.

Fiscal dysfunction

Democrats favor income redistribution. Meantime, entitlements and interest payments devour two-thirds of tax revenue.

Five percent of working-age Americans draw Social Security disability payments. That’s twice the rate of three decades ago.

At the behest of Democrats, millions of Americans choose to get handouts: Food stamps, Medicaid and other entitlements.

But Republicans in welfare-dependent states favor entitlement spending to dole out benefits, too, in order to get re-elected.

Republicans complained when they learned former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hired fewer employees to save $31 million annually.

Many Republicans also oppose the 2018 Trump budget and tariff policy designed to produce strategic aluminum and steel to secure the national defense, balance the nation’s trade, and to reduce the federal red ink to continue grow GDP.

You might recall last year when both sides of the aisle in Congress ignored the presidential budget proposal that would have balanced the federal budget in 10 years.

Conservative Republicans cite the prospect of a trade war. But they obfuscate the facts – we’re already in trade wars.

Consider China: In 2017, the U.S. had a $375-billion trade deficit with China which has cheated and manipulated its currency. Its theft of intellectual property has totaled $600 billion.

Meantime, another $300 billion was approved by Democrats and Republicans in the 2018 budget crisis.

Democrat and Republican leaders in Congress show little wisdom and courage to implement better policy. Unless they do, the nation’s fiscal situation will deteriorate beyond repair.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more public-policy articles.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

-Will Rogers


__________

Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is also a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




HR — Succession Planning Is Essential for Business Success



To keep growing a business, it’s vital to preserve the trust of customers, employees, partners and investors.

No matter how small or large your company is, a strategically written succession plan is critical for sustainability.

That must include talented employees and start with the chief executive officer.

Otherwise, if a CEO vacancy occurs without a succession plan, it creates an emergency and critical trust issues.

The succession plan must be designed and implemented well and take in consideration the opinions of key stakeholders.

It must also be reviewed every six months to prepare for any possible volatility.

Planning should include anticipated challenges and solutions regarding risks such as trends in competition, supply chains, customer preferences, and other marketplace forces.

With a company’s human capital being so important, it’s noteworthy that “90 percent of young workers say their engagement levels improve if the company they’re working for has a clear succession plan,” according to Davitt Corporate Partners.

The company, based in Dublin, Ireland, naturally points out the importance of intellectual capital.

“If all the best people end up leaving your company without sharing their knowledge; 40 years of experience is just walking out the door and lost forever,” says a company statement.

“A succession program will ensure critical positions are filled more quickly and that there is reduced staff turnover,” the company concludes.

For more insights on the need for succession planning, here’s an informative Davitt infographic:

From the Coach’s Corner, here are relevant strategies:

Home-Grown Succession Planning Helps Financial Performance — Companies that promote their chief executives from inside vis-à-vis recruiting from the outside have a much higher financial-success rate. In other words, successful companies identify and nurture their intellectual capital. It’s not just my experience. It’s been confirmed by a global human resources study.

Management — Big Banks Provide Lessons in Succession Planning — Many businesspeople are so focused on operating their businesses, they forget about human capital – their most important asset. Organizations from small to large should strategically make a succession plan. 

Rules to Successfully Bring Your Kids into the Family Business — Naturally, in bringing your kids into your family business, the key to long-term success is to do it the smart way. Here’s how.

Remove Guesswork for Promoting Talent within Your Business — In baseball to win the World Series, there’s often a correlation among a team’s management, talent and its farm system. That’s true for business.

HR: Overcoming Tech Trends, Boomer Retirements — There are ominous implications for human resources departments — from the same tech trends that have empowered consumers to force businesses into the digital age.

“Succession planning doesn’t start with people. It starts with the requirements of the position.”

-David Ulrich


__________

Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Management – How to Alleviate 10 Trending Issues in HR



Along with the 21st century revolution in technology, there have been dramatic changes in human-resources management in every industry and profession.

This means there are many pitfalls to avoid in our evolving litigious society. Everyday it seems there are changes in law and societal norms.

You have tons of responsibilities in order to stay profitable, maintain employee morale and to avoid legal issues. Whew, it’s seemingly overpowering.

You know, of course, if you make a mistake there could be disastrous ramifications.

In general, bear in mind these emerging issues:

1. Teaching moments

First and foremost, it’s increasingly important to read and stay current on events in business.

When other companies and nonprofits make negative headlines, it’s an opportunity for you to learn and if necessary to implement improvements in policies and procedures.

As a starting point for a safety net, use Google Alerts for any or all the appropriate HR keywords. Plan carefully as it’s a long list of subjects.

This also means using the news events as teaching moments to educate your employees.

2. Handbook updates

Neither you, nor your company, and nor should your employees be relying on an employee handbook with illegal or antiquated policies. To avoid legal issues, make certain you have the best handbook values.

For your handbook, consider mandating arbitration to discourage frivolous complaints and lawsuits.

With all due disrespect for the legal profession, any time lawyers and juries are unnecessarily involved you can expect uncertainty.

Incidentally, companies that don’t have online employee handbooks are missing noteworthy opportunities in human resources.

3. Choosing words carefully

Whether you’re counseling one of your employees, documenting behavior and performance, or writing your handbook, be careful with your choice of words.

For example, a well-written set of performance goals work will help motivate employees and will help them focus better on their responsibilities. You can see 10 sample goal phrases here.

Avoid what an outside observer, such as judge, would consider to be “opinion.” So be specific about events and examples.

Times have changed. Above all, don’t use the word, “attitude.” You’ll be inviting legal trouble.

4. Gender bias

Actually, any form of bias or discrimination should be eliminated from your workplace, but gender bias has seeming been making more headlines.

ASAP, make sure to audit your benefits, policies and salaries to guard against gender bias. Continue to monitor your records. Make sure supervisors know to avoid gender bias.

These steps will help avert litigation or government involvement. But you need to do more to avoid EEOC discrimination suits.

Besides, know that your employees surf the Internet and pay attention to news coverage about inequality.

5. Terminations

Even if immediate termination seems appropriate, in most cases take a deep breath, document events, and pause for strategizing.

Instruct your employee to leave and report to HR the next day. Then, give the employee the opportunity to explain any possible extenuating circumstances.

Keep in mind that if you’re forced to terminate workers, ask yourself the right questions.

6. Pre-emptive legal action

In other words, don’t wait until an event blows up in your face. You’ll be more productive and will save money overall, if you use your outside attorney as an advisor.

Hopefully, you develop an intuitive antenna for HR issues before they become a crisis. When you anticipate a problem, call your attorney and ask questions before a crisis develops.

It’s much less costly to avoid courtroom litigation. By warding off problems, you’ll avoid an expensive legal defense.

You’ll need an HR specialist. Generally speaking, selecting the right business attorney, talent and skill levels are among the crucial traits needed for your success. So, have the right attorney for your business.

7. Anger in discipline

One rule of thumb is that it’s never OK to get angry in disciplining employees.

Not only does it help keep your blood pressure low, you can discipline or fire workers without causing unproductive drama and legal hassles.

Civility is important. So be tough on problems but soft on employees.

Careful planning is necessary before you give an employee an appraisal or before you terminate a person. In difficult situations, it’s vital for you to say the right things.

8. Employment Eligibility Verification forms (Form I-9)

Asking for green cards creates a huge risk factor. Don’t ask a lawful permanent resident for a green card.

Instead, request to see a driver’s license or other documentation. And make sure your I-9 records comply with the federal government. That’s an important step in preparation for an unannounced visit from ICE.

9. Retention of documents

Think about your retention of records. There are, of course, laws for records you need to keep. Laws require certain records anywhere from one to 30 years.

To avoid possible mistakes by destroying employee records too soon, add two or three years to the required duration in your retention of documents.

If you aren’t able to supply relevant documentation, you’ll pay a heavy price.

In some cases, you’ll even be forced to give the job back to a nonperforming or toxic employee so use best practices to guard against legal risks.

10. Rules regarding tattoos

As the adage goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you have a rule regarding tattoos, avoid a mistake.

It’s not enough for your policy to inform employees that they can’t show “offensive tattoos.” Therefore, prohibit “visible tattoos.”

From the Coach’s Corner, related information:

Tips to Prevent or, if Necessary, Eliminate Employee Toxicity — From time to time, nearly every boss has to cope with an employee’s negativity. That’s annoying enough, but you’ve got a nightmare if toxic attitudes spread among the rest of your workers. Here are solutions.

HR: Is it Time to Rethink Your Marijuana-Testing Policy?  — For HR departments, it was once-unthinkable: Deleting Marijuana from the list of drugs in workplace drug-testing programs. But should you? And what should you do about your handbook policies?

Tips for Productive Meetings to Improve Performance — Here’s a checklist to engage your employees in energetic, inspiring staff meetings that will increase profits.

Legal HR Issues? Best Practices in Workplace Investigations — As an employer, one of your biggest nightmares can be issues involving your employees. There can be many reasons to conduct an investigation. “Action expresses priorities,” said Mohandas Gandhi. So you should act quickly.

10 Tips on Responding to EEOC Complaints — Despite all the court cases, warnings and complaints filed at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC complaints are a nightmare for management.

“The value of a business is a function of how well the financial capital and the intellectual capital are managed by the human capital. You’d better get the human capital part right.” 

-Dave Bookbinder


__________

Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




HR: Is it Time to Rethink Your Marijuana-Testing Policy?



For HR departments, it was once-unthinkable: Deleting marijuana from the list of drugs in workplace drug-testing programs.

Not only is it a public-safety issue in vehicle traffic, it’s a quandary for workplace safety.

To circumvent lawmakers in state legislatures, a majority of states have legalized pot use via ballot initiatives from grassroots petitions.

Such states have either legalized the sale and use of recreational marijuana or they have decriminalized the possession and use of pot.

Colorado case study

Starting in 2014, Colorado has been a leader in legalizing the use of pot.

However, a report by the Colorado Department of Transportation indicated traffic fatalities increased 24 percent in the ensuing three years after legalizing pot.

Strangely, the report did not cite marijuana as a cause, but it did indicate that Colorado had an increase in population.

The report also said: “The rise in fatalities is part of a national trend. Fatalities are up nationally by about 8 percent.”

So let’s connect the dots. Since legalizing pot, Colorado’s dramatic increase in traffic fatalities is 300 percent higher than the nation as a whole.

Handbook policies

Hmm. So what should be the handbook policies of companies given the public’s acceptance and the growing legalization of pot use vis-à-vis public safety issues?

While it’s a good idea to revisit workplace policies, you probably don’t have to make changes as you can still tell employees they cannot use pot on the job, can’t bring it to work, and they cannot be impaired while working.

As for testing, marijuana stays in a person’s system for a long time because it’s metabolized differently than alcohol. Even if a worker smokes the drug off-duty over the weekend, the person will test positively days later at work.

Already, many companies have stopped testing for pot use. Why?

They’ve repeatedly had to terminate good-performing workers because they failed drug tests.

However, the employers had great difficulty in replacing the employees because applicants kept failing the tests, as well.

So such companies that stopped testing for marijuana have enjoyed a recruiting advantage. Countless workers now know they can smoke pot without hurting their chances for a job.

It’s reasonable to assume that the number of states legalizing marijuana for medical and/or recreational use is likely to increase.

Conflict with federal law

However, possessing or using marijuana is illegal under federal law.

Under the Controlled Substances Act, pot is deemed a Schedule I drug along other drugs such as ecstasy, heroin and LSD. This means it’s considered to have a probability for abuse.

For jobs that necessitate full safety behavior such as operating equipment or driving, the law requires companies to terminate workers who test positive for marijuana.

For companies that contract with the federal government, drug-free workplaces are required.

Indeed, just like alcohol – even in states where pot use is legal – companies are able to test workers for drug use, prohibit them from using marijuana or being high on the job.

Medical use

The medical use of marijuana complicates the situation and creates more challenges for companies.

Federal law prohibits doctors from prescribing marijuana. Furthermore, marijuana cardholders mistakenly believe they’re immune from employers’ zero-tolerance policies.

So company policies might indicate the necessity to start a dialogue with medical-use employees for an accommodation.

Perhaps an alternative can be prescribed. Or an employer might consider allowing an employee to go on leave.

However, what’s an employer to do with other employees who subsequently ask for medical leave over their marijuana use?

It depends on the company’s willingness to accept risk.

Some companies will want to keep their zero-tolerance policy to stay in compliance with federal law. On this, they’re on solid legal ground.

Other companies will want to adhere to their local and state marijuana laws, especially for certain high-performing employees. But it’d be a fairness issue – they’d have to do it for all other workers, too.

Screening alternatives

There are alternatives to screening for marijuana use, including the training of your managers to spot certain behaviors and factors such as bloodshot eyes.

For a lot of employers, it might come down to the types of duties that are dangerous when workers are impaired. For truck drivers or forklift operators, marijuana use could be a safety issue.

All of this prompts a consideration: Whether you should review your marijuana policy.

Impairment is an issue for safety-sensitive industries. If that’s the case your handbook should explain marijuana use is prohibited in your workplace and for employees who are on the clock.

Personally, after a CPA gave my firm a dysfunctional performance I once had to terminate a him whom I also suspected was a marijuana user.

Furthermore, I would not want a marijuana-using employee handling my finances or IT affairs.

However, on a case-by-case situation, you can consider whether to impose a zero-tolerance and firing policy.

But in this litigious society, clear and effective communication of your policies is paramount.

If you want to keep a zero-tolerance policy, you should be proactive with your policy.

You can acknowledge marijuana use is legal and state you nonetheless have a zero-tolerance policy, but you must explain what it means for your employees.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related HR issues:

10 Best Practices for an Online Employee Handbook — Companies that don’t convert their employee handbooks into electronic documents are missing noteworthy opportunities in human resources. Conversely, businesses that switch to a digital format accomplish at least five HR goals.

Best Employee-Handbook Values to Avoid Legal Issues — Neither you, nor your company and nor should your employees be relying on an employee handbook with illegal or antiquated policies. Here are employee-handbook values to consider.

Best Practices with HR Records to Guard against Legal Risks — If you aren’t able to supply relevant documentation, you’ll pay a heavy price. In some cases, you’ll even be forced to give the job back to a nonperforming or toxic employee.

For Best HR Performance Reviews, 10 Sample Goal Phrases — A well-written set of performance goals work to motivate employees and help them to focus better on their responsibilities. They must be written with the right phrasing so they inspire performance and don’t invite costly lawsuits.

“So many writers make dope glamorous; a form of romantic transgression, or world-weariness, or poetic sensitivity, or hipness. Mainly it’s the stuff of ritualistic communion among inarticulate bores.” 

-Leonard Michaels


__________

Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Best Practices with HR Records to Guard against Legal Risks



Surely, you’ve heard it all — document … document … document, and paper trail … paper trail … paper trail.

Do it now because if you’re sued, you’ll have to be ready to arm your defense lawyers so you can immediately respond to legal issues in human resources.

Regulators and courts look favorably at companies that are proficient in due diligence.

It must begin before you hire. Plus, continued due diligence is vital long after an employee exits your business.

But to guard against adverse litigation, what records should you keep on a continual basis?

Obviously, you should retain all pertinent information in the event you face a lawsuit.

If you aren’t able to supply relevant documentation, you’ll pay a heavy price. In some cases, you’ll even be forced to give the job back to a nonperforming or toxic employee.

You’ll be asked to provide hard copies and stored evidence in the discovery phase of a lawsuit process. You might be surprised what records will be needed for your defense.

It can be far-reaching: business records, employee information, financial data, and plans for projects.

So keep all relevant records.

Here’s a precautionary checklist:

  1. Know and identify your employees who are the most well-informed and proficient with your information technology and record-keeping.
  2. Be fully aware of your data practices, retaining policies, and programs.
  3. Ascertain and evaluate your storage practices.
  4. Define what reports and any documents are in jeopardy of being changed, damaged or shredded. Know how you can safeguard them. Note: Be particularly aware of records that an undesirable or potentially discharged employee can access and alter.
  5. Ascertain any plans to upgrade or replace any software, IT systems, files or documents, and when it will take place.
  6. Be very cognizant of all actions are already taking place or in the works to spring clean or save IT records and hard-copies. This also means knowing what regulators require.
  7. In countless data breaches, companies point fingers at their vendors. Control whether your vendors and all third parties have data that conceivably needs to be safely saved. Don’t let them become your weakest point.
  8. Know any of your records that might necessitate require forensic retrieval or protection.
  9. Ascertain any potentially relevant It system data that can help you reclaim and classify records. You should protect and produce metadata – a set of data that gives information about your other data.
  10. Be very careful with your outdated software and hardware that contain data – they require special care.
  11. Pinpoint all your voice mails, instant messaging and text messages. Save all applications and be able to show how you take precautions to preserve such information.
  12. Assemble all current and past emails, email practices and policies.
  13. Your employees often send and receive personal emails on your computer system. Distinguish and update all policies and practices that relate to your employees’ personal email accounts with which your IT systems may interrelate.
  14. List all software you have used and are using now.
  15. Name your digital structures you use, oversee and on which you keep information.
  16. Distinguish any current and former databases that might be relevant for any possible lawsuits.
  17. Be prepared to explain how you use keyword and any additional search methods and technology to access information.
  18. Decide how you’ll provide information to your attorneys and opposing lawyers. That includes any file formats such as CDs, DVDs, external thumb drives and FTP (file transfer protocol).
  19. Find out if you can provide digital-document images as opposed to hard copies.
  20. Know what you can and need to separate to prevent disclosure of competitive secrets or privileged information. Be sure to segregate such information, such as for any understandable hardships reasons. Be prepared to explain your legal rights in doing so.
  21. Ascertain if you have any information that might be prone to governing embargoes on revelations, export controls or overseas privacy laws.

From the Coach’s Corner, relevant editor’s picks:

HR: Is it Time to Rethink Your Marijuana-Testing Policy? — For HR departments, it was once-unthinkable: Deleting Marijuana from the list of drugs in workplace drug-testing programs. But should you? And what should you do about your handbook policies?

Best Employee-Handbook Values to Avoid Legal Issues — Neither you, nor your company and nor should your employees be relying on an employee handbook with illegal or antiquated policies. Here are employee-handbook values to consider.

10 Best Practices for an Online Employee Handbook — Companies that don’t convert their employee handbooks into electronic documents are missing noteworthy opportunities in human resources. Conversely, businesses that switch to a digital format accomplish at least five HR goals.

For Best HR Performance Reviews, 10 Sample Goal Phrases — A well-written set of performance goals work to motivate employees and help them to focus better on their responsibilities. They must be written with the right phrasing so they inspire performance and don’t invite costly lawsuits.

Employer Tips: How to Deal with a Visit from ICE — A visit from ICE – the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement – is a cause for concern. Your response sets the stage for communication, either effectively defending your company or possible negotiations and a settlement with ICE.

Management – How to Improve Accountability in Your Company — If business and tepid growth have affected your outlook, take a look at your human resources and consider a couple of questions. If you don’t like your answer, here are eight solutions.

“Lawsuit: A machine which you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage.”

-Ambrose Bierce


__________

Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Next Page »

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.