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


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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.




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


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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.




Leadership: The Best 11 Steps to Become a Leader


Editor’s note: This article is dedicated to my friends — the hardworking faculty and students in the post graduate studies in Education and Business Management at Southern Mindanao Colleges at Pagadian City in the Philippines. 



Whether you aspire to become a leader or want to get better at leading people, it’s certainly a huge job.

A good friend of mine, widely acclaimed consultant Joey Tamer, says there are 10 characteristics of a successful CEO:

  1. Domain expertise (technology or other)
  2. Leadership & personal power
  3. Financial savvy
  4. Ability to pitch and close
  5. Honor
  6. Realism
  7. Perseverance
  8. Patience
  9. Perspective on the larger scheme of things
  10. Courage to move forward, or stop, and to know when to do either one.

Whew, she’s right. Leading an organization in an ethically, effective way is tough.

But you can do this. How?

Firstly, understand you have to be mindful of The Peter Principle. The Peter Principle is a widely accepted management theory advanced by Laurence Peter.

In 1969, the educator theorized many people are appointed to a higher position based solely on their performance — not their potential qualities to succeed in their new role.

Such people don’t understand the big picture and aren’t effective in solving the issues confronting their organization and industry.

Therefore, they rise to their level of incompetence, which means they ultimately fail.

To avoid the stigma of The Peter Principle and to be competent at a higher level, you have to lay a personal foundation of values for professional growth.

Building a foundation enables you to stand tall with confidence before you seek a leadership job. It will give you the necessary underpinning as a leader.

You’ll also be confident in your decisions so you won’t engage in self-doubt after making your decisions.

Here are 11 steps:

1. Learn what you don’t know

— Learn the Principle of Contrary Action. Many people make the mistake of thinking they’re open-minded. But they’re limited by their limited experience and their biases – they unknowingly have biases, which lead to poor decisions.

Learn how to have an open mind, by practicing the Principle of Contrary Action.

The Principle of Contrary Action entails keeping a mental or written record of all your daily activities, and then try to plan and do things differently each time you do them.

Take for example, when you go grocery shopping. As much as possible, each time take a different route, park your car in a different parking spot, enter a different door and walk down a different aisle each time you enter a store. Over time, your creativity will soar.

— Thoroughly study your organization, your marketplace and your industry. Effective bosses have antennas to alert them over looming challenges.

It’s important to develop an antenna – to be alert to challenges before they worsen. When you’re in front of problems, you’ll avoid unnecessary deadlines, which are a huge waste of time and a drain on your energy.

Also, learn how to motivate employees when your organization is facing adversity.

— Learn how to think like an entrepreneur. Leaders think and act like entrepreneurs because they’re independent-minded and fearless.

You must stay on an even keel emotionally, despite all the negative surprises. Develop habits that make certain your attitude is contagious – an attitude worth catching — to prepare for daily success.

Winning entrepreneurs have five morning habits.

— Get a great mentor. With a mentor so you won’t be alone in making career decisions to guide you. Ask questions and get continuous feedback to accelerate your career.

— Read voraciously. Read relevant journals, and autobiographies and biographies of successful people, especially learn why they’re successful and the lessons they learned.

Note: Focus on concepts and principles. Even if you’re reading about someone in a different profession than you, you’ll learn principles that are applicable and transferable to your situation.

— Learn about management of people. Start with strategies to succeed as a new nanager, management theories and the prerequisites needed to succeed in managing people. That ranges from avoiding legal problems and motivating employees to retaining your talented workers.

— Learn about effective delegation of employees. Delegation is a fundamental driver of organizational growth. Managers who are effective in delegation show leadership.

Save yourself time and develop your staff for the welfare of your organization. Use best practices in employee delegation.

— Study how to manage money. Learn finance. To lead an organization, you must understand the numbers and what they mean for you personally and for the organization.

— Make technology a priority. In particular, you’ll need to know how to guard against cyber threats and to prevent and recover from ransomware.

Overall, there are four important strategies every boss should know.

— Study marketing and sales. To lead, you must know about marketing and sales, and negotiating tactics. Even nonprofit leaders have to know these concepts.

Become a great communicator. Leaders write and speak well so they can be informative and persuasive. There are many benefits if you become a great public speaker.

— Do a personal inventory. Now that you have an overview of what’s needed in leadership, perform a comprehensive self-study of your personal and professional strengths and weaknesses.

That includes evaluating your soft skills and listening skills – your ability for relating to others. So, make certain you have emotional intelligence (EI) to evaluate, understand and control your emotions. Learn how grow your EI for leadership success.

If you tend to procrastinate or lack courage when facing adversity, learn what you need to know about being courageous, a critical characteristic of effective managers. It’s a learned behavior.

As Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said: “Courage doesn’t come by doing what everybody else says.”

Note: These are important steps before you even think about marketing and selling yourself to a leadership position. Hopefully, you’re developing a vision of what you must do for yourself.

2. Write a strategic plan for yourself 

A personal strategic plan is an investment in you. Decide what you must do to achieve your objective.

Write it as an action plan – list the steps you plan to take and when you will take them. You can do this on a single page.

3. Stay fit in every way possible

Closely monitor and journal your personal and company’s finances and cut unnecessary expenses.

Focus on fitness – physically, mentally and emotionally. This helps you with the acumen and energy that are needed to succeed.

Take the time to recharge. Stay close to your family.

Read to stay current, continually develop your intellect and spirituality. Make it a habit to learn something new each day. The famous Michelangelo once revealed his personal lifetime motto, “I am still learning.”

4. Prioritize your relationships and engagement with others

It can’t be understated – soft skills and communication with stakeholders are all of paramount importance in leading people.

In your speech and writings, don’t lead with the pronoun I. Avoid using the word, mine. Use our, we and us. Remember to write or say thank you and please whenever possible.

5. Demonstrate maturity

Leaders are poised and mindful of the success of others. They don’t resent it. They congratulate others when they’re successful. They continue to do it after they get into the corner office.

6. Master your craft

Know your responsibilities and technical-skill requirements. Ask questions if you don’t. Perform every task at the highest-possible performance.

By excelling in your duties above expectations, you’ll demonstrate leadership potential after going above and beyond your boss’s expectation of you.

7. Be proactive and become the go-to person

Be alert to opportunities to solve problems. Bring solutions to problems.

Take on extra tasks outside your responsibilities.

Help others. Not only is it the right thing to do, it demonstrates you’re able to do your own work and are management material.

8. Demonstrate resourcefulness

You’ll demonstrate your cleverness if perform your own tasks, but also take the initiative in developing or improving processes that benefit your business.

9. Volunteer for leadership roles

As situations arise, seize the initiative and volunteer. Volunteering helps cement your case that you’re ready for more responsibilities.

10. Take ownership of your work

If you continually perform well and demonstrate pride in your work, you’ll demonstrate you’re on track for a greater role in your organization.

11. Take responsibility

You’ll earn respect, if you take responsibility for the performance of your team, and your decisions and actions.

If you make a mistake, apologize to the appropriate people. Use best practices to make apologies.

Conclusion

OK, so that’s the overview in understanding what’s truly needed for leadership. These strategies will enable you to stand tall on your new foundation.

It will enable you as a leader to be confident in your decisions, and you will not engage in self-doubt after making decisions.

Strive for high performance and demonstrate that you have skills needed for success. 

Continue to hone your skills. Demonstrate that you have those skills.

And when you’re ready, boost your career with self-promotion so that higher-ups become aware that you’re ready for upward mobility. Do these things, and you’ll be successful.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related leadership strategies:

Habits of Leaders Who Have Positive Workplace Cultures — The Digital Age and global economy are demanding. Texting and emails are the norm. Face-to-face communication is minimal. This can hurt workplace cultures. Here’s what leaders do about it.

To Become a Leader, Develop Strategic-Planning Skills in 5 Steps — A salient characteristic of leadership is strategic thinking. If you’re ambitious, the ability to be a strategic planner is critical for your success. Here are five ways to achieve your goal.

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.

Leadership: 4 Strategies Dealing with Incompetent People — Yes, incompetent employees – whether they have difficult personalities or they simply under-perform – can be aggravating. But they don’t have to be.

5 Top Leadership Philosophies in Business Management — Top managers show leadership by coaching their teams to success. They accomplish goals with five habitual philosophies.

Leadership: How Leaders Employ 11 Strengths to Grow Businesses — Ascension to the C-suite doesn’t automatically qualify an executive as a leader. Leaders have 11 strengths that enable them to manage their companies for greater effectiveness and elasticity despite a fast-changing marketplace.

“Live, learn, and always do right.”

-Charles Talley


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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.




Hoping to Sell Your Company? Best Strategies Involve Your Web Site



Why work years building your business only to sell it without fully profiting from your efforts?

For maximum profit – whether you want to sell your company to raise funds for a new venture or to simply retire – plan well to create value. Negotiate with multiple buyers to get competing offers.

Yes, business owners should plan a profitable exit strategy. That includes strategic planning to sell the digital asset, too.

Here are exit strategies:

Understand buyer motives

You should anticipate the motivation of buyers with an attractive business model. That means taking steps for a high valuation of your business and online presentation to prospective buyers.

For starters in piquing the interest of prospects, candidly it’s best if your site has the appearance of a potential for long-term passive income.

Naturally, new owners desire four basics:

  1. Great content.
  2. Excellent traffic.
  3. A turn-key, low-operational involvement with the site.
  4. Reassurance that a new owner would not lose customers and that growth is likely.

Trust

Trust is paramount. A buyer wants to be able to trust you – it’s always an emotional decision. Outsource valuation of your company.

No matter what your business model is, your site must include a trustworthy ‘About Us Page’. Of course, the rest of your site should have attributes conveying trust.

However, trust is a two-way street. Require a breakup fee if the deal falls through.

NOTE: A confidentiality agreement is insufficient. You can discuss generic results — but until you have a qualified buyer and negotiate a written offer with the right terms — do not reveal proprietary information such as your processes, client list and trade secrets.

Search-engine rankings

Your site should have great traffic to inspire confidence in a buyer. That includes your use of search-engine optimization techniques.

A buyer will want top search-engine rankings and to be confident about growth – the potential in attracting new customers and how to sustain it.

So, stay on top of SEO Trends.

Marketing

A smart buyer wants a site with short-term and long-term sustainability. You must get a big bang for your buck in promotion and be aware of trends in digital marketing.

By the way, for successful promotion, your Google search ads should be cost-effective.

But again, you can discuss results but not how you accomplished it until the time is right.

Competition

Marketplace competition will be on the mind of any buyer:

  1. Whether the niche has long-term potential.
  2. The level of market penetration and whether there are obstacles to growth.
  3. The potential threats from competition.

Customers

Your customer base must be strong as possible, and you should launch the initiatives needed to retain customers for life-time value and to attract new customers.

Mobile site

It’s increasingly important to have an easy-to-use mobile site.

With the skyrocketing sales of smartphones and tablets, comes a warning from Google. If you don’t have a mobile site, you should.

Make sure it has what Google calls “mobile friendliness.” Implement Google’s seven precautions for a top Google ranking.

Advertising vis-à-vis affiliate marketing

Unless, you’re selling your own products or services, decide on a passive-income marketing site – such as an advertising or affiliate marketing model.

Certainly, the two models have similarities in promoting a third-party partner.

In the advertising model, the goal is to entice the maximum number of site visitors to click on the advertisements.

Unless you sell ads, your option is to sign up with a pay-for-click service such as Google AdSense. With a service, you’d have control over the types of advertisers.

The problem is that you have to generate a lot of traffic as you’ll only get a very small amount of money from each click. Also, be aware that countless other sites will publish the same ads.

In affiliate marketing, the approach is to garner a percentage of a sale or a fixed amount when a visitor clicks on an ad in a certain way.

For instance, affiliate marketers might want you to refer followers for their newsletters. When visitors subscribe to newsletters of affiliate marketers, you as the publisher would be  paid.

Affiliate marketing requires more due diligence than for advertising, for example:

You will lose potential income if there’s an affiliate hacking, which means you will not earn credit for referring visitors.

Unfortunately, many affiliate marketers have bad reputations in terms of credibility – either in not paying, poor products, customer service or in other business practices.

And there’s a lot of competition for you as countless other sites are likely to be using the same affiliate marketers.

E-Commerce

With e-commerce, you’ll have more control over finances by selling products and services to visitors who pay you online.

E-commerce has made it possible for entrepreneurs to run their online businesses for higher profit.

Saas (Software as a Service)

This is on-demand software, and is increasingly popular as a model because it provides cloud access for customers to software applications on a subscription basis.

Basically, such software applications are accessed through the user’s browser as they’re centrally hosted.

While SaaS helps to cut IT costs and responsibilities, it means giving up control of your site. There are often issues in identity and access-management, and staying in compliance with government regulations on storing customers’ data remotely.

Whether you need a site for lead generation or need to maintain ownership of content, keep in mind self-hosting gives you better control.

Operations

A buyer will want to know about how the site is operated:

  1. The minimum level required in technical expertise.
  2. The quality and documentation of standard operating procedures.
  3. Management of employees and contractors.

Cementing the deal

Whatever your site’s model, you must provide justification for your selling price. Valuation drivers play a role here, such as dominance in your industry and niche.

Ask questions. Get to know the person’s concerns and be prepared to give added value like providing post-sale consultation for a year to cinch the deal.

To get a top selling price and to put savvy buyers at-ease, it’s best have your representations verified by a recognized authority.

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

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.

21 Mistakes to Avoid in SEO (Infographic with Valuable Tips) — For online success it’s vital for your site to place high on the search engines. It’s possible if you use best practices in SEO. Here are 21 mistakes to avoid.

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 Tips via Mobile Devices, Reviews, Coupons — Digital marketing opportunities keep growing and growing. For instance, 70 percent of consumers research product reviews while they shop in stores. Ninety percent are relying on their mobile devices as they make in-store buying decisions.

Selling Your Mid to Large-Size Business? Beware of the Obstacles — With plenty of angst and working long hours, you’ve spent a lifetime building your company. Now, you’re dreaming about an exit strategy – selling out before your retirement for easy living. Perhaps you’ve exhausted so much time and energy growing your company you haven’t given any thought to the business-selling process. Here are recommended strategies.

“The best things in life are often waiting for you at the exit ramp of your comfort zone.”

-Karen Salmansohn


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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.




Earnings Are Important, But Psychology and Tax Cuts Matter

 

Nov. 20, 2017 –

“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old,” Peter Drucker once admonished us.

At the author of 39 books, the late Dr. Drucker, of course, was the world’s premier business philosopher.

But not every Republican and business have heeded his simple advice.

Firstly, let’s consider business. With the long decline of former market stalwarts General Electric, General Motors and Proctor & Gamble, you might think the companies would have been quick to change.

For instance, during the Digital Age we’ve been seeing the emergence of artificial intelligence and robotics.

You might also think GE and GM would have been leaders in both. But no, they haven’t.

Meantime, the companies have fallen further behind the market capitalization of many other companies.

Indeed, stocks have jumped more than 27 percent in the first 12 months after the election of Donald Trump.

Certainly, the psychology of his policies on pro-growth tax reform, eliminating onerous business regulations and rebuilding the infrastructure along with strong earnings have motivated investors.

Much has been written about the growth of the stock market and U.S. economy during the era of Trumponomics. Three percent growth has returned in the gross domestic product.

The economy seems poised to achieve the high levels we haven’t enjoyed since President Reagan’s tenure in the 1980s.

Profits growth has propelled stock market gains. The S&P 500 continues to trade at around 25 times earnings.

Positive forecasts

The U.S. economic forecasts are mostly positive. Ditto for the global economies.

So many analysts believe corporate earnings will continue to grow in double-digit percentages for the near future.

Of course, this means the aggregate price to earnings ratio will be around 18. Concurrently, investors will likely be bullish on stocks. It’ll be a fait accompli on tax reform and a corporate-tax cut.

Inflation is almost unbelievably low. It appears the Federal Reserve will slowly hike interest rates and contract its balance sheet.

So, as technology has greatly impacted business, intellectual property has become increasingly important.

Bricks and mortar are less important in the Digital Age. Amazon has become a dominant factor in B2C and B2B sales. Online banking is prevalent. Car dealer showrooms are affected by the Internet.

All of this means lower operational costs, which is why big businesses are making bigger profits.

Economic red flag

But despite the improvements brought by Trumponomics, there is an economic red flag. The GOP-dominated U.S. Senate and House of Representatives seem unaware of Dr. Drucker’s common-sense warning.

Literally, they’ve accomplished nothing.

Republicans must deliver on their mandate for reforms in taxes, healthcare, business regulations and federal spending.

If not, the nation’s electorate might vote for the return of President Obama’s socialistic policies and culture of entitlements.

Already, entitlements – food stamps, Medicaid, and Section 8 housing subsidies for physically fit adults without small children as well as Social Security disability benefits – consume nearly 60 percent of federal revenue.

Unless there’s a new cultural approach, it will only get worse.

Federal debt

With such recipients eligible to vote, the federal debt is unsustainable. It is nearly $21 trillion.

For the time-being, the nation’s economy must grow to offset such problems. President Trump’s economic leadership will prove to be effective long-term, if Republicans stop blinking on the important issues.

Short of that and sans the psychology of Trumponomics, voters will react predictably. Then, everybody will lose. The nation’s culture must change.

So, Republicans remember: “If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”

From the Coach’s Corner, related articles:

To Become Relevant, What GOP Majority Must Do For SMEs — The U.S. economy is blossoming, despite the inept Congress. Small and medium-sized enterprises haven’t received their deserved nourishing fertilizer. Here’s what the Republican majority must do or face consequences.

On 9/11, America’s Economic Preparedness Worse than Ever — Unfortunately, today is the 16th anniversary of that tragic day, and hurricanes have devastated America. But America’s fiscal ability to deal with such crises is worse than ever. Here’s what Congress must do.

Flag Day Irony: Hateful Political Rhetoric Threatens America — A tragic event obliterated an historic day in America – Flag Day on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. It had to do with hateful politics.

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.

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

-Peter Drucker

 

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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.

 

Employee Records: Which Ones to Save and for How Long



Nov. 15, 2017 –

Yes, our litigious society might be forcing you to be paranoid about employee records. This means your human resources is probably burdened in recordkeeping. The paperwork can be overwhelming.

You don’t want to keep unnecessary employee records. Nor do you want to make a rash decision on whether to destroy records. As in all business decision-making – when in doubt – don’t.

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.

Therefore, use best practices with HR records to guard against legal risks.

Including the duration for each, here are the types of records to keep:

1. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Under FLSA, there are compliance issues:

For a minimum of two years, you must retain all records pertaining to basic employment.

That includes all payment and deduction details and timecards; billing and shipping records for customers, and wage-rate tables.

For at least three years, you must keep all agreements, certificates, collective bargaining agreements, employment contracts, notices, payroll records, and sales and purchase records.

2. Equal Pay Act (EPA) 

Under the EPA, you must retain several documents for two years: Why different wages are paid to different sexes. That includes collective bargaining agreements, job evaluations, wage rates, and seniority and merit systems.

3. Discrimination – Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

For at least one year, to avoid unnecessary problems associated with the various types of discrimination  and the EEOC, you must kept all employee-termination records.

For at least one year, you must retain records pertaining to benefit plans.

For six tips for micro-companies and 13 strategies for larger organizations to avoid EEOC migraines, see How to avoid EEOC Discrimination Suits.

4. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

If you have fewer than 50 employees, your business is not subject to FMLA. However, you might be subject to your state’s family and medical leave laws.

If you’re subject to FMLA, for three years you must keep the following:

  • Payroll records
  • All FMLA-employee data; even for leaves lasting for less than 8 hours or a day’s work
  • Copies of FMLA notices distributed to employees
  • Paperwork regarding benefits, and policies and practices for both paid and unpaid leave
  • Employee benefit payment records
  • Documents from disputes
  • Keep separate from personnel files all medical history documents pertaining to medical certifications and re=certifications

5. I-9 records

Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), you must retain an employee’s I-9 Employee Eligibility Verification form for three years after the person is hired.

Should the employee stay with your company for three years, IRCA dictates you must keep the person’s form for at least one year after the person departs from your business.

6. Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)

For five years under OSHA, you must keep all documents of employment-related illnesses and injuries.

Note: For 30 years, you must keep records for problems such as for toxic exposure.

7. Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)

For six years, you must keep records of benefit plans under ERISA. That, of course, means summary descriptions and annual reports.

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

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

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.

“Care and diligence bring luck.”

-Thomas Fuller

 

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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.

 

12 of the Best Financial-Planning Tips for Entrepreneurs



Typically, there are critical mistakes made by entrepreneurs. In essence, they’re so busy putting out fires, they leave their financial security in doubt.

Yes, they need to put out their fires.

However, they also need to budget time to focus on important functions of business: Marketing/sales, human resources, cash flow and making astute financial plans.

By focusing on these matters, entrepreneurs also are in a better position to prevent catastrophes, if they’ve planned well financially.

Points to consider:

Envision your financial future.

Automate savings and investment strategies. Minimize expenses and spending. Do all necessary due-diligence, and get financial planning expertise — before you do anything.

Given the importance of financial planning for your security, here are 12 tips:

1. Grow your retirement savings

Set up automatic monthly withdrawals to pay off your mortgage.

Pick the best tax-advantage retirement strategy for you such as a 401 (k) or a Roth IRA and add to it every month (see tip No. 10). And very importantly, don’t tap into your retirement fund for any reason.

2. Plan for premature death

It might seem inconceivable, but your comprehensive financial planning must allow for emergencies including premature death.

To be sure, you need to set aside enough money for six months if you lose your revenue streams. But if you have a family, you need to have enough assets to take care of your death expenses and to provide funds for your loved ones.

The funds have to be liquid in personal savings and life insurance. Plus, remember the how and what you do are important for beneficiary designations and proceeds.

3. Invest for the long-term

Prepare for the future like a world-class marathon runner.

As legendary investor Warren Buffett is wont to do – only invest in what you know really well, hold it indefinitely, focus on quality and value, and only follow the advice of successful people you know and trust.

As you age near retirement, remember a conservative approach in investing is best.

4. Focus the right way on capital ownership

Remember it’s important to focus on how you’ll get paid, not how much.

If you’re the owner of capital, you’ll never be taxed on appreciation until you want to be taxed. Such appreciation is subject to preferred long-term capital gains tax rates.

You’ll also benefit in preferential taxation from the returns of long-term capital gains and capital-qualified dividends. You’ll benefit more long-term, if you can afford to be compensated in stock vis-à-vis ordinary income.

5. Stay out of debt

Invest in your business, but manage your money to stay out of debt. This means paying off your most-expensive debt first such as credit cards or loans, student loans and mortgage debt.

Avoid future debt and cut back your spending. That includes unnecessary small expenditures.

For instance, if you’re an expresso coffee aficionado, make your own coffee instead of patronizing Starbucks every day. You’ll save as much as $100 a month or more.

6. Discuss money issues with your partner and family

Whether it’s a business partner or personal partner, discuss financial goals. If you have children, teach them about money management.

7. Evaluate and update insurance policies

As you grow and evolve in your business, make certain your insurance policies provide the right types and amounts of coverage.

That goes for business insurance, car insurance, disability insurance, health insurance, homeowner insurance and life insurance. Don’t ignore your beneficiary designations and coverage amounts should you die.

8. Remember your children

Do something for your offspring. Whatever is applicable: Fund a 529 account for college, if they’re disabled fund 529 ABLE accounts, or establish a small investment account or a trust.

But do your homework about all plans. Not all are advantageous.

9. Re-finance loans

Whether you’ve got business loans, you’re still paying off your own student loans or are concerned about your children’s future, consider consolidating or refinancing your loans.

10. Invest in a Roth IRA

To begin paying a lower rate of taxes and not paying taxes on withdrawals, consider converting your traditional IRA or 401 (k) to a Roth IRA.

Just make certain to keep your marginal tax bracket in check before you make any switches. If you make a change before December 31, you make change back if you get second thoughts for any reason.

11. Consider the right retirement risk-management strategy

Study cost-effective options for your retirement income now. You’ll need to allow for market volatility and your long-term healthcare as a retiree.

12. Find a professional to advise you

You’re best advised to find a great financial-planning professional. Look for credentials such as the CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, CFA® or RICP®.

From the Coach’s Corner, for hundreds of informative thoughts to ponder and relevant articles, visit these pages:

Finance, marketing and sales, human resources, technology and tech security.

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.”

-Alan Lakein


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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 to Prevent or, if Necessary, Eliminate Employee Toxicity


Here are 13 strategies.


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.

It might surprise you to learn you’re likely part of the problem.

For example, managers must do their best to make sure employees don’t get complacent.

Motivation for performance is important. So is making certain to take every precaution to maintain high morale.

Ideally, you’ve got the right antennae for spotting negativity before it spreads.

However, if negativity spreads you shouldn’t panic in the face of unacceptable behavior. Don’t give away your power. Confront such employees.

Here are 13 strategies to prevent or eliminate negativity:

  1. Listen to your negative employees, but keep a positive attitude. Don’t allow them to adversely affect your optimism.
  2. As you engage negative workers, remember it’s never OK to show anger. Stay cool. To use a metaphor, float like a butterfly.

If you start arguing with negative employees, you’ll be giving away your power and fueling their hostility. So don’t get into arguments.

Put a stop to employees ragging on you by asking the question: “Is there anything else?” That’s almost always a good way to stop negative people in their tracks.

Try to keep a good relationship by stressing areas of agreement.

  1. Focus on performance not negative attitudes. You might not be able to persuade toxic employees, but you can do something positive about their performance.

So stay current in evaluating their performance. Discipline them when and where are appropriate. That includes disciplining them if they don’t adhere to company policy.

  1. Consider techniques to evaluate employee attitudes, and to open the eyes of toxic workers by involving them in processes. For instance, you can try a one-on-one role-playing exercise.

One exercise might be to have employees try to consider the role of a manager – to “walk a mile in your moccasins.” Cite specific problems and solicit the best-possible ideas.

This is a good way to get good ideas.

It will also help you to determine whether such employees have a conscience to do the right thing for your workplace culture. This will also provide clues on whether they have potential to be redeemable.

  1. Focus on your listening habits and skills. Listen carefully. That means being an active listener to make certain you fully understand your employees.

You’ll be able to determine if they’re actually right in their criticisms. You’ll also better understand the attitudes so you can analyze them and take the right approaches in dealing with them.

  1. Don’t get defensive. Realize you just might be dealing with an efficiency expert who is right about policies and procedures, and who is actually a top performer but lacking in soft skills.

Explain to such employees how they might do a better job in offering constructive ideas to you. In such cases – what you hopefully have – are employees who are destined for greater things with your company.

  1. Correctly analyze your employees. You can do this through engagement and positive reinforcement. When an employee does well, recognize the performance to maximize chances for continued excellent behavior.

When they don’t perform well, explain what they must do for a better future performance.

  1. Before making major decisions and implementing policy, get employees’ input. If you consistently include your workers where feasible, you’ll lessen the probability of toxicity.
  2. Be realistic in your engagement with workers. Don’t reward bad behavior with unwarranted compliments.
  3. Show fairness by asking positive and negative workers to do tasks that are outside their typical day-to-day tasks.

In this way, you’ll be doing your best to increase the likelihood of positive attitudes and performance.

  1. Show courage. Don’t procrastinate from dealing with negative employees. Don’t be intimidated from correcting them less often than necessary.
  2. Finally, recruit and hire well for emotional intelligence (EI). In two ways, spot EI vis-à-vis negativity in applicants.

Firstly, ask the right open-ended questions:

  • “In terms of fairness or unfairness, when have you been treated fairly or unfairly?”
  • “What were your biggest concerns about management in your past employment?”
  • “What would you have changed in your last situation?”

Secondly, involve your employees who have high EI in the interview process. Get their feedback on applicants.

Start with your “director of first impressions.” Ask your receptionist for feedback on applicants walking in the door.

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

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.

Habits of Leaders Who Have Positive Workplace Cultures — The Digital Age and global economy are demanding. Texting and emails are the norm. Face-to-face communication is minimal. This can hurt workplace cultures. Here’s what leaders do about it.

10 Talent-Recruitment Strategies that Lead to Business Profit — By developing strategic recruiting plans, human resources professionals will make significant contributions to the bottom-line profit goals of their employers. So, it’s imperative to innovate in your recruiting processes and market your strategies to senior management and hiring managers.

Risk Management in Hiring: Pre-Employment Screening Tips — Here are two questions about hiring: 1) what’s the biggest mistake companies make in hiring employees; and 2) what’s the biggest legal obstacle employers face in hiring? Here’s what to do about background screening.

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.

How to Rock Your Human Resources with Employee Referrals — Admittedly, there’s a myriad of ways to recruit great employees. But no recruitment option surpasses a well-executed, strategic employee-referral program.

HR Trends: 12 Ideal Perks for Recruiting Top Millennials — Welcome to the new world of employee recruitment as Millennials are replacing Baby Boomers. Work-life balance is the No. 1 priority for Millennials – ages 18 to 33 – especially those who are parents. Here’s how to recruit around the trend.

“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.”

-Simon Sinek


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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.




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.




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