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


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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


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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.




On 9/11, America’s Economic Preparedness Worse than Ever



Sept. 11, 2017-


The three biggest headlines in America today deal with gigantic tragedies.

  1. The destructive Hurricane Irma.
  2. The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
  3. The memory of 9/11 in which 2,996 Americans were killed, more than 6,000 injured, and $10 billion in property damage resulted from the series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda, the Islamic terrorist group.

Unfortunately, today is the 16th anniversary of that tragic day, but one headline has been ignored by the media.

As the federal deficit officially hit $20 trillion today, America’s fiscal ability to deal with such crises is worse than ever.

In Sept.2001, the U.S. national debt was $5.8 trillion. George W. Bush had been in office as president just eight months. He inherited that massive debt from President Bill Clinton.

However, when Mr. Bush left the White House he handed over a $10 trillion national debt to his successor President Barack Obama.

From 2008 to 2016, the national debt exploded by 93 percent to $19.4 trillion as a result of President Obama’s policies.

President Trump has managed to slow the skyrocketing pace of the debt but  the U.S. Debt Clock rapidly ticks away every split second.

But President Trump – in facing dysfunctional Congressional Republicans who failed to pass reforms in taxes and the failing ObamaCare – was forced to cut a deal with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling for the next three months in order to fund relief of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Not to quibble with relief and recovery efforts, but what America needs is economic patriotism. Unfortunately, what’s trending is fiscal dysfunction to tragic proportions.

U.S. bonds are more like pathetic junk bonds. America has a mushrooming welfare state and an imploding health-care system that are pushing America’s economic prospects into oblivion.

Interest payments and entitlements now devour more than 60 percent of the federal budget.

In just 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office forecasts the public debt will be unsustainable.

Trade deficit

On another front, drastic steps are needed to curb America’s trade deficit. The annual trade deficit is $500 billion.

Why? America engulfs more products than it produces and is selling too many private assets. Increasingly, foreigners are buying prime real estate, corporate debt and equities and U.S. government bonds.

While President Trump is correct to solve trade issues, he is attacked by the mainstream media and liberal pundits as being too nationalistic with his populist rhetoric.

While it was encouraging that the gross domestic product (GDP) tripled in Q2 of this year – a vast improvement over President Obama’s paltry 1 percent average in the years of his tenure – the rest of the world increasingly owns America.

IOUs

Publicly and privately, foreigners have $8.3 trillion in IOUs from the U.S.

The Trump Administration understands the significance of this alarming figure. It represents 45 percent of the GDP. Ouch!

Unless President Trump overcomes political opposition by Republicans and Democrats in Congress, the IOUs will be more than 60 percent in 2027.

Just look at Greece and other nations. In trying to solve their economic crises, none of them has survived economically without turmoil and massive political unrest from such problems. Ironically, such fiscal problems are unnecessary.

Temporarily, the foreign investments are rescuing America fiscally-speaking.

But it will not continue if foreign investors come to believe America will be unable to service its massive debt.

If foreigners stop buying U.S. treasuries, too many dollars in circulation will cause prices to spike and inflation will rear its ugly head.

Complacent leaders

Many economists and politicians – Democrats and Republicans, alike – are way too complacent.

Just because the dollar has long been much of the world’s reserve currency, the nation shouldn’t continue to print dollars that increasingly go to pay interest on the climbing debt.

Many Conservatives only want to debate tax cuts. Liberals refuse to consider entitlement reform and spending cuts and want to raise taxes.

If taxes are raised, the nation’s businesses would find taxation even more burdensome and will continue to transfer intellectual property and assets overseas.

This would defeat the Trump’s Administration’s goals to bring business profits home to America, and to increase GDP to 4 percent. As would more federal benefit programs.

The two key solutions: Economic growth and decreasing of entitlements. Short of these achievements, America will have another recession.

Two key measures have failed so far.

The Democrats in resisting President Trump for purely political reasons – and the Republicans lacking in discipline and inability to agree on replacing ObamaCare and tax reform – are most distressing.

A question of pride

So the only answer to economic preparedness is economic patriotism.

Unless politicians in Congress grow up and face economic realities, future Americans will be saddled with unfair, massive debt.

Don’t you think that’s a sad legacy?

From the Coach’s Corner, related information:

Governments – from Cities to Federal – Dangerously in Debt — The U.S. economy has been slowly mending. However, the situation is bleak for governments at all levels. Why? High debt is dangerous and economic growth is dreadfully slow. This is best illustrated by the enclosed U.S. Debt Clock.

Why President Trump’s Growth Budget, Reforms Matter — Deficit-spending and the resulting massive debt severely damages America’s economic prospects and hurts each American. But a disciplined approach will make America great again — by shrinking the national debt and implementing other needed reforms.

Economy: The High Public Price Tag of Manufacturing Jobs — Donald Trump’s election has prompted a surge in optimism for the economy and stock market, according to authoritative polls. But countless manufacturing workers and their families are on public assistance says a UC Berkeley study. The answers aren’t more entitlements or higher minimum wage. Here are the real solutions.

Avoiding Taxes, Apple’s Irish Strategy Apparently Backfires — The most nonsensical irony in corporate America involves Apple CEO Tim Cook’s tax strategy which has drawn fire from the European Commission. Why? It’s apparently backfiring, and is unpatriotic and shortsighted.

Ideas to Accelerate Slowest Economic Recovery in Decades — Most voters are likely to vote their pocketbooks. So for them the positive spin on the economy by Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama doesn’t reflect reality.

“I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.”

-Will Rogers


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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 to Get Positive Customer Reviews on Amazon


If you want maximum sales as an online seller, it’s likely you’ll want to succeed on Amazon.com.

Whether you like it or not, Amazon has become the e-commerce destination where prospective customers can discover and buy anything they want.

So, one salient tactic for you on Amazon is to garner the best-possible reviews for your products and services.

Positive reviews about your customers’ shopping experience will play a huge role for you.

True, when you ship products you can also insert messaging to remind customers of the value they’re buying.

More importantly, you can also be strategizing for the best-possible reviews to cement customer satisfaction for customer loyalty and to influence other shoppers.

Ultimately, customers don’t care what you have to say unless they’re given an opportunity to comment.

For positive reviews on Amazon, here are best-practices:

  1. Strategize on your process

Your process should include a strong email approach. Effective emails following a purchase show your empathetic regard for your customer by showing you care.

2. Timely request feedback on shopping experience

Great timing and message content will help you to avoid the prospect of bad reviews.

As soon as your buyer places an order, consider emailing a request for feedback on the shopping experience.

True, your customers won’t have actually received the product, so they can’t comment on your products. But you can generate positive reviews about the shopping experience.

For example, solicit comments about the superb quickness in processing of their orders. And ask about the efficiency they encounter in completing their purchases.

This also accomplishes two immediate goals.

Firstly, Amazon will be impressed, which will enhance your relationship with the e-commerce giant.

Secondly, it becomes more likely the customers will comment positively after they receive your products.

3. Emails following shipment and delivery

Now make sure you create a new opportunity for a positive review.

After the buyers receive your products, they’re likely to be enthusiastic, so do a couple of things.

Provide the necessary contact information to frequently asked questions on how to get in touch with your company directly; and ask for a review of their buying experience.

This, in turn, creates opportunities for great future reviews and sales.

4. More follow-up showing customer care

After a few weeks or a month has passed, request feedback about the product and service.

Suggest to your customers that their feedback is important for your continued best-possible products and service.

Point out that you want to be sure that they and other shoppers know you will continually do your best for them so they enjoy a happy-buying experience.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related sources for e-commerce sales:

Best Sales Pipeline Tips: Content Marketing, Follow-up and Marketing Automation — Here’s how you can maximize your sales pipeline with effective content marketing, prioritizing follow-up and marketing automation.

Marketing Tips to Run Your Online Business for Higher Profit — E-commerce has made it possible for entrepreneurs to get a fast return on their investments with higher profits. Here’s how they do it.

For More Sales, 8 Vital Mobile Marketing Tips — Put your brand where prospects and customers are likely to see it. That means leveraging mobile marketing.

Marketing Psychology: Choose the Best Colors for Online Sales — Here are color tips to improve visitor experience and to capture customers – including a great infographic on 40 facts about the psychology of colors.

Checklist to Create Cyber Monday Sales Success — In order to celebrate your Cyber Monday sales, you must first create a happy buying environment. That means reviewing your store and Web site to attract prospects and to create happy customers.

Best Strategies to Use Online Key Performance Indicators — For strong growth, here’s how to pick the right key performance indicators: The most-valuable ones for your sector and business, and here’s how to manage them effectively.

Strategic Tips to be Web-Ready for the All-Important Q4 Sales — Data from a Bold Software survey helps businesses develop their holiday online sales strategies, according to Website Magazine.

Sales Trends: Blending Online with In-Store Marketing — For your business competitiveness and long-term sustainability, your company needs to fully implement MarTech solutions. Here’s what you need to know.

“If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.”

-Jeff Bezos


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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.  




So You Finally Got Your First Management Job? Now What?


Ten principles every new manager needs to know and use.



Sure, it wasn’t easy for you to become a manager. But having achieved your goal, rest assured you have a lot more work to do to insure your success.

You must always be willing to learn about your strengths and weaknesses as well as those of your staff.

You must be capable of prioritizing objectives and how to achieve them.

And you must lead from the front, not the rear – all while motivating your employees.

Poor communication results in managerial dysfunction and vice versa because a significant number of workers is mistakenly promoted into management.

New managers must try to win as great communicators.

If you haven’t already, you will have to manage several competing demands to achieve your objectives – all without wasting time and resources.

Compromise is often necessary.

Mistakes must be avoided. You must be careful not to throw your weight around in the early days of your job.

It’s important to take adequate time to get to know your employees and to keep an open mind if you’re fortunate enough to get ideas from them.

You must be authentic to help your relationships to be genuine.

Treat everybody with respect. This avoids unnecessary challenges that start with mistrust and pointing fingers by employees.

It also helps keep team members honest and motivated.

Motivation is a key component. So focus on employee engagement. Otherwise you’ll be shocked by their diminishing performance.

Don’t risk becoming a micromanager. Micromanagement is a ramification of ignoring best practices in management.

People who micromanage lose maximum efficiency, productivity and teamwork – in other words, optimal profitability.

Don’t discriminate. Involve every member of your staff when you set goals and priorities. This will help guarantee feedback immediately.

When you delegate, keep in mind the employee’s capabilities.

Be careful with older workers. It can be tough to manage baby boomers. Not because they’re difficult workers. Your learning has just begun in earning respect to get results.

Remember a lot of baby boomers know they have more experience than you; perhaps even in management.

Hold blue-sky sessions – encourage your team to brainstorm.

Money is not the key motivator of employees. Recognition is a powerful motivator. With a solid recognition program, you’ll profit because your workers will constantly perform without close supervision.

There are 10 principles every new manager needs to know for maximum performance.

Infographic courtesy of: www.acuitytraining.co.uk.

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

Key Differences between Leaders and Managers — There seems to be some confusion in understanding the difference between true leadership and management — particularly, if a manager wants to aspire to leadership in management to enable an organization to become great. The salient distinction between leadership and management: It boils down to how professionals inspire their staffs and other stakeholders.

4 Reasons Why New Managers Fail in Human Resources — Best practices guarantee success for new managers. Not to over-simplify, but here are the four solutions that will help new managers succeed.

25 Strategies to Succeed as a New Manager — Congratulations, new manager. Welcome to a job you’ll find most challenging – and satisfying – if you do it right. You’ll be carefully watched by your staff. You’ll be judged on values demonstrated by your actions. What values will you show your employees?

Profit Drivers – How and Why to Partner with Your Employees — If you want maximum profit, consider partnering with your employees. Here’s expert advice from leading financial consultant Roni Fischer.

HR-Social Media Tips for Best Employee Morale, Culture — Social media affects your company’s culture – probably as much as the employees who engage in water cooler gossip. It’s true. Your company’s reputation is affected internally and externally by social-networking sites.

7 Tactics to Enjoy Your Job Managing Difficult Employees — With a difficult employee, you have two obvious problems – the impacts on your organization and the behavior of the individual. Here’s how to love your job even when managing difficult employees.

Probation Meetings – HR Tactics for New Employee Success — Hiring employees is expensive. So it’s important to use tactics that will help insure success of new workers. That calls for probation meetings. Here are five proven tactics.

“Good management consists in showing average people how to do the work of superior people.”

-John D. Rockefeller


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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.




Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic at www.freedigitalphotos.net

10 Leading Principles for Your Supply Chain Success



Explosives disruptions from weather, commodity shortages, price volatility, and shifts in buying behavior are examples in the challenges of supply chains in the pursuit of profit.

Add to these events, what I’d call is the Amazon effect.

The Amazon effect transcends from business-to- consumer to business-to-business, such as for self-service and instant pricing options that are now expected by customers.

So often dramatically, your supply chain continues to change as the result of innovations in technology in the digital-age economy.

Many changes seem to occur too fast.

All of this has made it challenging to cope with changes in channel structures, customer preferences, and globalization.

But not all challenges are external. For instance, a department computer system might be using technology that’s been recalled.

Only if the department has access to data science will there be enough warning to anticipate and prevent problems.

Speed is another factor. Supply-chain pros have to be able to respond with reliability and correctness across all channels.

Actually, many supply-chain professionals employ tools they believe will work.

But do they effectively deal with their obstacles to protect their operations, stay agile and insulated for performance?

The key is to stay vigilant with alertness to fast-moving trends and to strategize for the best options for your company’s culture and objectives.

If you’re able to do this, you’ll position your supply chain for your company’s long-term sustainability and maximum competitiveness.

But the key is to know how.

Here are 10 leading principles:

1. Leadership

To lead the effort, you must ascertain the best skill sets for the roles, responsibilities and for your culture.

2. Identify core competencies

Establish the best business processes and focus on them. But be ready to outsource the other functions.

3. Coaching

Certainly, education is important. Coach all your supply-chain stakeholders to be on the same page. That includes all departments in your organization and all associations along your supply chain.

4. Scale for competition

Fully monitor your situation – how your company can execute for success and how your competitors work.

5. Evaluate

It’s important to accurately understand all elements in your supply-chain links.

6. Rank according to data

Exploit all the data to classify and select the right targets to enrich your supply-chain capabilities.

7. Solve weak links

To drive performance, you must be alert to the weakest links.

8. Collaborate

To prevent negative surprises, your supply-chain stakeholders must communicate well. Like a stellar media company that reports the news, you must understand the factors involving who, what, when, where and why.

9. Partnerships

You should identify the right partners. Make sure they’re positioned to partner with you for the desired results.

10. Continuous improvement

For supply-chain excellence, you must develop an ongoing process that leads to excellence and performance.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related sources of information:

Supply Chain Management: 6 Tracking and Expediting Tips — With consumers expecting more merchandise at a faster rate, retailers and suppliers are increasingly under pressure. From supplier to manufacturer to retailer and logistics, there are keys to optimal supply-chain management.

Best-Practices in Protecting Your Supply Chain from Natural Disasters — As a manufacturer, you know the importance of protecting your supply chain for your company’s future. So you might be interested in an academic study — lessons from the earthquake that resulted in a tsunamis and nuclear catastrophe in Japan.

How Your Supply Chain Can Make Customers Happy — A company that fails to meet customer expectations on store inventory and delivery has problems in supply chain management. Such a company minimizes its profits. Worse, it’s a red flag about competitiveness and long-term sustainability.

10 Execution Values to Guarantee Your Strategic Plan Works — Many companies devote resources to devise a great strategic plan. But they fail in their objectives because they don’t link their strategy to execution. So here’s how.

10 Strategies for Manufacturers to Increase Profits — When it comes to revenue for capital-equipment manufacturers, the key pivotal factors are innovation and service levels. It might be an obvious conclusion, but it’s confirmed by a white paper.

Winter Security Tips for Your Transport Facility and Drivers — Criminals don’t hibernate like bears in the winter. Winter presents opportunities for criminals’ unscrupulous desires. To protect your products in the warehouse or distribution facilities and drivers on the road in snowy months, there are several important precautions to implement.

“Gentlemen, the officer who doesn’t know his communications and supply as well as his tactics is totally useless.”  

-General George S. Patton


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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.




Solution to Cure Worker Skills Gaps, Underemployment



June 12, 2017-


An innovative solution has been unveiled to solve a big economic conundrum.

The conundrum:

A big schism exists between what employers need in worker skills but millions of people either can’t get a family wage job and or work a full 40-hour work week.

Even though the unemployment rate is a low 4.3 percent, employers complain they have 6 million unfilled jobs because of a huge skills-gap among jobseekers.

In addition, the average American workweek is only 34.4 hours. Underemployment is a chronic problem for Millennials and seasoned workers.

Underemployment exists when a worker has a job, but his or her work hours and/or pay levels are too low.

Forty-six percent of respondents to a 2016 Payscale.com study said they were under-employed. Fifty-one percent of Millennials complained of under-employment in a 2016 Accenture report.

To be sure, lack of education plays an important role. But even college-educated workers are suffering. Many had the wrong majors that won’t lead to good jobs.

A college degree is not a guarantee of career success. Millennials are learning at an early age that they need to be flexible and strategic in their choices.

3 issues for employers

The Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of top U.S. companies, reported many jobs go unfilled because workers lack skills needed for the 21st century.

As it is, the roundtable-member companies employ 15 million workers and have $6 trillion in annual revenue.

“As employers, we know that America’s economic growth is directly linked to the skills of today’s workers. Unfortunately, the skills of many job applicants and existing employees have not kept up with the requirements of current and future jobs,” said Wes Bush, Chairman, chief executive officer and president of Northrop Grumman Corporation and Chair of the Business Roundtable Education and Workforce Committee.

In a press release, the roundtable cited employers’ three challenges:

  1. A lack of individuals with fundamental “employability skills,” such as the ability to use basic math, communicate effectively, read technical manuals, work successfully in teams and participate in complex problem-solving.

Seventy-five percent of responding CEOs indicated that fundamental math, reading and writing skills are important.

Fifty percent of them are having difficulty finding qualified applicants with these skills.

2. A lack of workers who have the specialized skills needed to fill many trade positions.

Forty-four percent of responding CEOs expressed difficulty finding qualified candidates for at least one skilled trade occupation.

3. A lack of applicants with the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills needed for many of today’s jobs.

Cybersecurity, data science, robotics, software and computer science engineers were among the most difficult positions to fill with qualified candidates.

Economic solution

To combat the underemployment issue and to return to 4 percent annual economic growth, the Trump Administration is pushing to create 25 million new jobs.

President Trump is employing a tactic in which he succeeded as a reality TV star and real estate magnate – he’s embarked on a campaign to create apprenticeships.

How?

He is encouraging workforce training partnerships between among companies and schools. That includes programs in which Americans learn skills from seasoned workers while earning a paycheck.

But he’ll do it without spending vast sums of taxpayer dollars. He’s pushing for effective training programs and for the private sector to create apprenticeships.

“The reality is that there are still Americans seeking employment despite low unemployment rates and companies are struggling to fill vacancies that require various levels of skills and training,” said Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and one of his advisors.

She said her father’s administration challenges Congress “to pass reforms expanding apprenticeships and raise awareness about the fact [that] there are important, very viable career paths outside of the traditional four-year college experience.”

Many of the 6 million unfilled jobs are in healthcare, information technology and manufacturing according to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta.

He indicated less than 0.2 percent of workers have been in apprenticeship programs. However, 90 percent of those who worked as an apprentice got a job at that paid an annual average of $60,000.

Hmm. Really?

The Trump Administration apprenticeship-initiative sounds pretty good. It works for me.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related public policy solutions:

Why President Trump’s Growth Budget, Reforms Matter — Deficit-spending and the resulting massive debt severely damages America’s economic prospects and hurts each American. But a disciplined approach will make America great again — by shrinking the national debt and implementing other needed reforms.

How Bad Policy and Journalists Hinder Economic Prosperity — The nation’s economy will strongly improve if we capitalize on lessons in common-sense economic-growth policies from two late presidents.

Lessons in making a career change

If you need to re-engineer your career, my counsel for you is to ask three questions:

What are your abilities? What do you love to do? What’s keeping you from career success and happiness?

On a personal level, I worked my way through college at various jobs with an emphasis in broadcasting. My goal was broadcast journalism but initially I could only get disc jockey jobs.

After college, I broke into journalism but later faced recessions and corporate downsizing. While being in-between on-air journalism jobs, I found myself working in various industries as a salesperson and worked my way up into management.

My career challenges continued in the 1980s. Having to work outside journalism was embarrassing to me as it was still common for most Americans to work in the same job for decades.

So with the help of mentors, I did some reflection on my career strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Embarrassed by my myriad of experiences in several industries, I continued to work and learned to keep an open mind to consider new opportunities.

After becoming an award-winning and top-rated radio journalist, I became bored and realized I wanted bigger career challenges.

Ultimately, I learned that my skills and interests were in entrepreneurship and strategizing to solve problems. I began to look for new opportunities.

So I pitched an idea to a CBS executive in Los Angeles.

The CBS executive, George Nicholaw, reacted to my resume: “My, what a rich background.”

His comment taught me a very important lesson – to be proud of every one of my career experiences. Meantime, with his surprising compliment, I continued with my presentation and got another big surprise from him.

“That was the best presentation I’ve ever received,” Mr. Nicholaw announced.

“Do what you love to do and give it your very best. Whether it’s business or baseball, or the theater, or any field. If you don’t love what you’re doing and you can’t give it your best, get out of it. Life is too short.”

-Al Lopez


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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.




Unhappy Millennial photo by David Castillo Dominici at www.freedigitalphotos.net 

Why President Trump’s Growth Budget, Reforms Matter


Deficit-spending and the resulting massive debt severely damages America’s economic prospects and hurts each American.


The U.S. Debt Clock

May 31, 2017 –


True, without a new budget and reforms, the stock market soared 13 percent over economic optimism in the months following the election of President Trump.

Investors were heartened by the hopeful promise of his proposed reforms such as ObamaCare, taxes and debt reduction.

But after Congress failed to make significant progress on the president’s proposals, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has stalled around 21,000 points. Investors cite a lack of progress in changing public policies.

So the U.S. still faces grave consequences. Why? Both the federal-government spending and its debt are unsafe.

Obviously, policymakers have not learned from the economic stagnation in Greece where poverty is rampant.

This domestic trend is calamitous because it represents a threat to America’s economic growth.

Without solving the fiscal mess, economic stagnation will get even worse.

So economic growth is unlikely unless major policies are implemented.

Without macro policy changes, the appalling spending and debt will continue to crowd out business and private investment.

Congressional inaction tells investors the U.S. is less likely to have tax reform and is unlikely to pay down the federal debt.

This also has cruel implications for the elderly, poor and middle class. More on that later.

Why did America fall to such economic despair?

President Obama’s dismal record on economic growth – the gross domestic product (GDP) and on debt and deficits — is the worst ever.

Along with President Obama’s record spending, the GDP in his term only averaged about 1 percent.

As a comparison during more prosperous times in the 1980s under President Reagan, GDP was usually 4 percent or higher.

Reasons for economic decline

How did America’s fiscal situation spiral out of control? The nation’s culture deteriorated.

President Obama exasperated economic conditions with his redistribution-of-wealth philosophy.

Entitlement spending exploded under the Obama Administration – programs for food stamps, health-insurance subsidies, unemployment insurance and disability assistance.

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples’ money.”

-Margaret Thatcher

One in six males, aged 25-54, remained jobless. They began thinking it was better not to work because they’d lose redistribution-of-wealth government benefits.

As an example, the Obama Administration extensively aired radio commercials to encourage Americans to apply for food stamps.

In 2007, there 14 million people were on food stamps. But 44 million received food stamps in 2016.

In all, there are now 90 anti-poverty programs, 22 housing assistance programs and 17 food programs.

Climbing debt

Largely as a result of such spending, the nation’s debt jumped more than 85 percent. Over eight years, Mr. Obama’s $9-trillion deficit exceeded red-ink spending of his two predecessors combined.

Most of the government debt is in the form of U.S. Treasury bills, bonds and notes. The money is owed to foreign governments, companies and individuals.

The U.S. Treasury also owes money to Government Account securities – Social Security and other trusts. The federal government has taken money from them to finance agencies and entitlement spending.

The government has benefited from the Federal Reserve’s low interest rates because it’s been able to keep operating. Otherwise, the federal government’s budget deficits would be more noticeable to taxpayers.

Meantime, the low interest rates have been cruel to retirees who can’t earn decent interest on their savings and investments.

And with such economic uncertainty, businesses have been reluctant to invest in equipment and pay family wage salaries.

Thanks to the tepid economy and ObamaCare, business has cut payrolls. The average American work week is only 34.4 hours.

Budget proposals

So it was a breath of fresh air when President Trump’s growth budget was proposed by Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.

One salient goal of the budget is to encourage Americans to join the nation’s workforce and get off welfare, food stamps and other government-dependency programs.

During the 1990s, the economy and jobs soared after the collaboration between President Clinton and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

They reformed welfare with tighter eligibility, time limits and requirements to search for work. Countless Americans were happier after getting jobs and leaving government assistance as the economy blossomed.

Democrats and the media claim the Trump budget damages the poor with massive budget cuts.

They continually resort to fear mongering and trumped-up political accusations.

Instead of focusing on economic issues, Democrats oppose every productive measure while trying to promote identity politics.

In reality, however, the proposed budget will enhance America’s economy and while not slashing expenditures.

But the budget certainly slows spending down. Still, federal government spending would annually jump to $5.7 trillion from $4 trillion. Over 10 years that’s a whopping $55 trillion.

During the next 10 years, proposed Medicaid expenditures would increase from $378 billion $524 billion annually.

President Trump has also launched an all-out effort to promote jobs.

Part of which would enhance business expensing in taxes, cut business tax rates and repatriate trillions of dollars that big companies have parked overseas to capitalize on reasonable tax rates.

These are all brilliant proposals.

The misdirected angst of the liberal media, Democrats and genetic-liberal tendencies will continue.

But a disciplined approach will make America great again — by shrinking the national debt and implementing other needed reforms.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related public-policy articles:

Businesses Helped 5 Ways by the American Health Care Act — Passed by the House of Representatives and the bill now goes to the Senate, what will happen to employers by the repeal of ObamaCare? It turns out it will benefit employers in five ways.

How Bad Policy and Journalists Hinder Economic Prosperity — The nation’s economy will strongly improve if we capitalize on lessons in common-sense economic-growth policies from two late presidents.

What Bill Gates Says about Donald Trump Will Surprise You — Mr. Gates astutely observes Mr. Trump was not elected “for specific policies” but for his “kind of leadership.” The tech icon also believes Mr. Trump has a message reminiscent of President John F. Kennedy.

Economy: The High Public Price Tag of Manufacturing Jobs — Donald Trump’s election has prompted a surge in optimism for the economy and stock market, according to authoritative polls. But countless manufacturing workers and their families are on public assistance says a UC Berkeley study. The answers aren’t more entitlements or higher minimum wage. Here are the real solutions.

Analysis: Trump’s Vision to Fix Trade Deficit, Create Jobs — Donald Trump acts positively: Americans are tired of the reign of politically correct terror, the movement for income redistribution, and the massive loss of good-paying jobs.

Avoiding Taxes, Apple’s Irish Strategy Apparently Backfires — The most nonsensical irony in corporate America involves Apple CEO Tim Cook’s tax strategy which has drawn fire from the European Commission. Why? It’s apparently backfiring, and is unpatriotic and shortsighted.

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples’ money.”

-Margaret Thatcher


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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.





Image courtesy Stuart Miles at www.freedigitalphotos.net

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.

How is your company’s overall productivity? How do you feel about the individual performances of your employees?

If you wince at either of these questions, it’s likely you have reasons to be concerned.

Consider some possible indicators:

– Overall work quality is deteriorating.

– Projects or tasks aren’t being completed on time, nor not at all.

– Teamwork and morale are subpar as it is with poor communication.

– There are many excuses as employees fail to take responsibility or to make corrections.

If it’s any consolation, this is typical. Companies in every sector have these issues – from healthcare providers to law firms.

But you have to be realistic. As a manager, you’re part of the problem for allowing such issues to develop and fester.

There are no easy fixes, but it’s absolutely possible to solve.

Here are the right strategies:

1. Hold yourself accountable

Again, no one can fix these issues but you. Sure, you can bring in an outside participant to coach you and your staff but ultimately you’re the common denominator and problem-solver.

So be a role model. Whatever you expect of your staff, set an example. It’s recommended that you learn the right leadership strategies to earn employee respect.

Never ask anyone to do something you aren’t willing to do. Be transparent as possible, be rigorously honest, and keep your commitments.

2. Pay closer attention to your human capital

Walk the floor. Ask employees questions about their weekend. Listen.

Employees appreciate engagement. They like knowing you care. So regularly engage your employees for business success.

Particularly from productive employees, solicit their ideas for organizational improvement.

Know what they expect from you:

  • Honesty
  • Fairness
  • Trust
  • Respect
  • Dependability
  • Collaboration
  • Genuineness
  • Appreciation
  • Responsiveness

3. Set benchmarks

Set clear objectives. Develop and implement objective metrics for you and your employees.

To realize your business vision, use best practices for setting goals.

Get each employee to commit to improvement to upholding your goals.

Then, test and measure … test and measure … and test and measure. Explain tactics to employees – what they must do to implement and tactics and to meet goals.

4. Be diligent

Make sure you are careful to avoid errors in evaluations. Naturally, you want to praise good performance and discourage bad.

What are the best ways? Make certain you avoid errors in evaluations.

Start monitoring – have a good antenna. Get busy when the symptoms that lead to poor performance start raising their ugly heads.

Insist on accountability.

Install quality controls, insist deadlines are met and your employees are responsible. Their behavior must align with their personal and the organization’s goals.

5. Disallow excuses

True, there might be good reasons for issues. However, as in any situation or dysfunction, each party is partly to blame.

One person might be just five percent at-fault. Whether it’s failing to fully anticipate obstacles or failing to communicate about faulty equipment, no one person is perfect.

Assertiveness and proactivity are keys to success. Each person must learn to pursue excellence, execute and correct the five percent.

6. Know your job

Your job is not to be the best friend for each of your employees. Your job is to coach, be a mentor and to be the leader.

This includes delegation. Effective employee delegation is a fundamental driver of organizational growth. Managers who are effective in delegation show leadership.

7. Show courage 

Don’t allow mental retirements.

Not everything you do will be appreciated even if it’s the right thing to do. That’s especially true if you’ve allowed dysfunction and suddenly make improvements.

Much has been written about preferred skills for managers.

We always talk in mundane terms for the need of managers to convey a vision, achieve goals and to foster growth and well-being for a work-life balance.

Seldom do we talk about the C-Word, which is a critical characteristic of effective managers.

Don’t worry, be happy – even when the going gets tough.

If you act and feel positive, eventually every employee will come around or leave.

If employees quit after you launch such a program for improvement, you’ll be better off recruiting positive employees who have emotional intelligence.

8. Give recognition

Praise employees when appropriate. When an employee deserves praise, give it. Don’t forget to let their coworkers know about it.

After all, non-financial incentives motivate most employees.

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

Management — 5 Frequent Causes of Cost Overruns and Failures — Extensive research shows how and why corporate projects result in cost overruns and failures. The academic study is entitled, ‘Yes Men’ Are Killing Corporate Projects. The research reported rampant misreporting of project statuses at all levels of the companies. The errant information is prompted from cultural predispositions to career aspirations.

Optimize Talent Management with 5 Coaching Culture Tips — When managers become coaches, you get a higher-performing workforce. You will have replaced mediocrity with strong performance. Here’s how to develop a coaching culture.

10 Management Attributes for Effective Communication — Communication skills are critical for managers. People with enhanced abilities in communication typically have successful relationships at work and home. Good communicators typically have 10 attributes.

5 Quick 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.

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.

“Accountability breeds response-ability.”

-Stephen Covey


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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.




Tips for Your Site to Capitalize on SEO Trends


How to stay on top of your search-engine optimization game; plus, a helpful infographic: 16 SEO facts we struggle to understand.



You probably know if your Web site isn’t ranked as the best on search engines, you’re missing opportunities.

Indeed, the top five sites in each niche on the Internet garner 75 percent of the traffic.

That underscores the importance of achieving the best results as the No. 1 site. But to get to No. 1 and stay there is an ongoing task.

Hence, this has heightened the importance of search-engine optimization (SEO).

SEO is one of the most requested topics here on The Biz Coach, as the rules of SEO continue to evolve.

For example:

The rules include on-page optimization and off-page optimization.

On-page optimization requires internal strategies within your site. That includes using the right meta descriptions and keywords.

Off-page optimization results from link-building tactics – from social media to links from other sites.

Bing is not different than Google when it comes to link-building.

It’s vital that you backlink with authoritative, credible sites. Some might be obvious to you, others might not. To avoid issues, take the right steps for safe backlinks to your site.

Increasingly, it’s important to know how to accelerate your site’s download speed.

As you might surmise, create fresh content. But be aware of Google’s priority concerning about frequency vs. value.

For links to specific comprehensive SEO tips, scroll down to the Coach’s Corner.

Meanwhile, for “16 SEO facts we struggle to understand” courtesy of skilled.co, here’s a helpful infographic:

From the Coach’s Corner, here are relevant SEO tips:

For Strong Local SEO Performance, Avoid 6 Errors — A key strategy to make your cash register ring is to have a strong Internet presence. That means strategizing for strong local search-engine optimization (SEO). With strong local SEO performance, your business will have online top-of-the-mind awareness in your community. You want to be easily discovered by potential customers.

SEO Tips to Rank No.1 on Bing and Google — Study — There are striking similarities with Bing and Google — Web sites for top brands rank the highest and No. 1 sites are dominant because they have quality content, as well as strong social media signals and backlinks.

SEO and Other Strategic Tips for a No.1 Rated Blog — To own your blogging niche, you must understand the evolving process — important basics in search engine optimization (SEO) and other strategies. If you’ve been blogging for awhile, you know success doesn’t keep come automatically. Blogging is arduous work.

4 Best Practices to Enhance Your Google Rank with Content — There are four best practices if you want strong ranking from Google’s search rank algorithms, higher click-through rates and more social sharing from your content and press releases. That’s according to the Ranking Factors Study from Searchmetrics.

Critical Factors Google Uses to Judge Your Content Quality — As you no doubt know, Google has long judged your Web site on content quality. But Google looks for comprehensive information, content that’s easy-to-understand. This means your site probably entices users to stay on your site longer and has higher click-through rates. And you have effective internal links and quick-loading pages with less advertisements.

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

-Steve Jobs


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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.




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