Injuries in the Workplace and How to Prevent Them

Getting injured on the job is a risk that no one really wants to think about. Not only do workplace injuries cause damage to your body, they can hurt you in your wallet as well, as injuries can prevent you from returning to work for an extended period of time. While construction workers, police officers, and electricians all have jobs that put them into situations that obviously result in injury, there are plenty of professions out there that may seem safe but actually have the potential to result in serious injury.

Workplace Injuries Are Common

Injuries in the workplace happen every day, and while some professions are more liable to incur injuries than others, the fact remains that they happen more often than anyone would like. Common workplace injuries often result from strains and overexertion from repetitive tasks, office supplies falling from shelves and striking employees, or even something as simple as slipping and falling. Slips and falls account for one out of every six workplace injuries, and poor workplace ergonomics contributed to nearly a third of the workplace related injuries in 2013, so while they might seem mundane, these injuries are actually serious business.

When an employee suffer an injury at work, it is important to know how to move forward. Handling workplace injuries can seem daunting, but it is necessary that it be handled in a timely and appropriate manner in order to ensure the employee has the best chance of recovery, and that a workers’ compensation insurance claim can be filed. Injuries should be immediately reported, and treatment should be sought as soon as possible. Only after these steps are taken can employer and employee reach an agreement and begin to ensure that whatever caused the injury doesn’t happen again.

By far the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. tend to be those involving physical labor, heavy machinery, and elevated working areas. The logging and fishing industries see the most fatalities, closely followed by construction jobs like roofing or structural steel working. While it certainly isn’t surprising that many of these labor-intensive jobs involving work with potentially dangerous machines can lead to injury or even death, there are some less obvious but highly dangerous professions where people are still at risk, even though it may not seem like it from the outside.

Accidents Happen to Everyone

There are unexpectedly hazardous jobs in every sector, even if they seemingly would not pose any more harm than a desk job. Being a pet store worker, for instance, is one of the most dangerous jobs in America due to handling potentially dangerous animals on a daily basis, as well as running the risk of overexertion because of the many heavy items available at pet stores. Ski facility workers are at high risk of injury due to the inherently dangerous nature of extreme sports. Leather and hide tanning and finishing professionals work around incredibly volatile chemicals daily.

Those working in the medical field also run a high risk of suffering work-related injuries. While it may seem like the biggest danger to medical professionals is handling heavy equipment or exposing themselves to hazardous waste, many nurses and doctors find themselves battling workplace violence.  Nurses often find themselves face to face with individuals suffering from mental health issues which can lead to violent tendencies and even outright assault of hospital staff.

The majority of workers will only have to worry about the ergonomics of their office chair contributing to their risk of a workplace injury. However, there are hidden risks associated with every profession, whether it is carpal tunnel syndrome, constant risk of dog bites, or a patient potentially becoming physically violent. No matter what industry you’re in, there are steps you can take to reduce your employees’ overall risk of becoming injured on the job.

Tips on Prevention

Avoiding workplace accidents can be as simple as making sure that your work area is well maintained. Keeping your area clean, providing proper signage regarding potential dangers, and providing appropriate training can all contribute to a safer workplace. Also, avoiding any shortcuts, no matter your profession, can make a world of difference. When you skip steps or dodge protocol, accidents are always far more likely to occur.

Floors should always be kept clean and free of obstruction, as slips and falls are among the most common workplace injuries. Further ways to optimize workplace safety include following all regulations regarding the handling and storage of hazardous or flammable materials, appropriately controlling any presence of insects or pests, and getting rid of any general clutter. While it isn’t the most exciting solution, keeping your workplace clean and following rules and protocols are the best ways to avoid injury.

Another way to avoid workplace injury is to be highly aware of your employees’ surroundings and the dangers they might pose. If they work with heavy machinery, they can become overly comfortable using it, forgetting the fact that it can cause serious damage if handled improperly. Encourage workers to be on the lookout for safety violations — if an individual see a coworker putting themselves into a dangerous situation, they must let them know of the danger and report the situation to their supervisor.

Avoiding workplace injuries isn’t glamorous, and it can often be downright boring. However, no matter your profession, getting injured at work is one of the worst things that can happen. Exercising just a bit more caution can keep your workforce happy, healthy, and working longer without worry.

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Workplace Safety Standards: What HR Needs to Know

There are many risks in workplaces that can present a serious danger to the well-being of employees. Even in seemingly low-risk positions, these can seriously impact a business, and a serious incident can potentially shutter operations entirely.

According to the International Organization for Standardization, “more than 2.3 million people die each year as a result of workplace injuries and disease.” This doesn’t count the millions of people who sustain non-fatal injuries at work. That being said, workplace safety is important for all employees. Every employee deserves to work in a safe and protected environment — one that reduces costs to the organization and improves safety in the long run.

While most job industries have safety risks, management and HR should devote more time making their work environment safer for everyone. In order to do so, however, both parties need to prioritize employees and take steps that benefit them. This will not only help improve the work environment, but it will also help improve safety standards as well. With that in mind, here are three things company leaders and HR personnel need to keep in mind while developing safety standards:

Recognizing Potential Dangers

When it comes to recognizing the potential dangers ahead of time, it’s important for HR staff to think outside the box. That’s because every industry has potential dangers. Here are a few examples:

  • In the food industry, there’s always the possibility of foodborne illness reaching the public, and in order to prevent this from happening, HR needs to equip kitchen staff members with the right tools. This includes things like stainless steel appliances, cleaning supplies, and proper hygiene standards. These all help limit the growth of bacteria found in kitchen environments.
  • In office work environments, there are many potential risks. In office areas with many workers, walking paths should be cleared of obstructions in order to prevent slip and fall accidents. Further, being physically near many coworkers can make it easier for the flu to spread, which may necessitate sanitation supplies and health advisories.
  • In healthcare facilities, HR must take steps to protect both patients and employees. In addition to the hygiene concerns mentioned above, they must provide a safe work environment by soliciting employees for feedback and listening to workplace complaints concerning potential ethics violations. Everyone needs to be on board; according to Regis College, “full organizational participation — from executives, managers and all staff members — remains the most important factor in upholding a highly ethical workplace culture.”

Another thing that could cause havoc in the workplace is something most people don’t even pay attention to is plumbing. Having access to high-quality water is important, and the last thing you want your employees to do is to drink contaminated water, which could result in illness, lawsuits, and a bad reputation. That being said, HR should ensure that the pipes holding the water aren’t contaminating drinking fountains. By making sure these things are taken care of, HR personnel can provide a safe work environment for employees and guests.

Keeping the Workplace Free of Allergens

Sneezing, wheezing, and watery eyes can leave any employee unfit for work. That’s because nearly 75 percent of all allergy symptoms affect the victim’s eyes. For some jobs, there are environmental triggers that can cause employees to feel discomfort and make it hard to breathe. Look for triggers like:

  • Chemical fumes
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Fragrances
  • Dust
  • Pets

Allergic reactions can make any work environment unpleasant. For HR representatives, making sure the work environment is well ventilated and has a sufficient amount of humidity is extremely important — especially since doing so can reduce the chances of mold. Dusting the workstation regularly may also help.

Closing open windows to eliminate excess pollen, utilizing humidifier, getting HVAC systems regularly cleaned/replaced, establishing a no-pet policy, and checking for food allergies before potlucks can also make the workplace safer for employees. Although some employees may still experience allergies, workplace accidents should cease to exist as long as you take steps to prevent it.

Common Workplace Accidents & Safety Tips

Generally speaking, when people hear the phrase “workers’ compensation,” they typically envision heavy machinery, employees being exposed to harsh chemicals, or potential hazards around every corner. Truthfully, a work-related injury can happen at any time, even from behind a desk. As noted above, slip and fall accidents are a serious concern. When it comes to office jobs, slip, trips and falls account over 30 percent of all personal injuries.

So, what’s something that can cause employees to slip? Any area that has a wet or oily surface can cause employees to slip and fall. This might include break rooms, door entrances, and restrooms. The weather should also be taken into consideration. In other words, if it’s wet outside from either rain or snow, floor mats should be placed near door areas to prevent employees from falling.

What causes employees to trip? A trip may occur when an employee’s view is obstructed. Poor lighting, blocked or cluttered areas, uncovered cables, wrinkled rugs, and uneven walking surfaces may all contribute to an employee falling over. Luckily, these things can be avoided by making sure that work areas are clean, walking surfaces are even, employees are wearing proper shoes, and staff members are paying attention to where they’re going. Employees should also be encouraged to report dangerous (cluttered, obstructed, or damaged) areas to HR. That way, other employees are aware of the situation.

Conclusion

Regardless of the industry, safety should always come first, and it’s up to HR to get employees to contribute to improving workplace safety efforts. This can be done by encouraging employees to become actively involved. If employees are curious, share workplace injury statistics with them. This will help put things into perspective and demonstrate just how serious these events are, no matter the job type. Lastly, be sure to provide some sort of incentive that rewards them for showing great workplace safety behavior.

How Machine Learning Is Improving Customer Service

Efficient customer service is crucial to the success of client-facing businesses. The $350 billion industry has transformed over the last couple of decades with the mass adoption of the internet and social media, taking the customer service channels for many businesses online. Although the increased connectivity provided by technology has helped facilitate customer service processes, it has also increased customer expectations.

To keep up with these expectations, businesses are finding ways to implement machine learning into their customer service processes in hopes of efficiently handling as many customer inquiries as possible.

Customer Service Needs

Although the internet can often provide answers to almost any question a customer could have, customers more comfortable speaking directly with a person will often reach out to customer service agents. This frequently results in customer service representatives spending large amounts of time answering very basic queries, which can be monotonous and frustrating for agents. To reduce the need for customer service reps to answer these types of questions, businesses have been using AI to offer answers for basic questions before transferring clients to a customer service agent.

This is done both on the phone and online through the use of chatbots that are often employed on a business’ website and Facebook page. Over the phone, automated recordings help navigate customer calls by asking questions that the AI will either be able to answer or transferring their call to the proper department.

Online, chatbots have become a huge resource for businesses to attain customer information, gather feedback, and provide customers with quick responses to standard questions. The use of chatbots and other forms of AI is expected to help businesses manage 85 percent of their relationships with customers by 2020.

Machine learning also facilitates security processes for businesses that handle sensitive customer information. In the past, customers have been required to verify their identity by providing personal information, a process that could take many minutes, especially if a customer forgot their answers to security questions.

However, many businesses are now using two-factor authentication to verify customer identity during customer service calls. This involves verifying two pieces of information: a security question, followed by phone verification. Customer service agents will use machine learning to send a code to the phone number on file with the company, and once a customer verifies they received the code, their identity is confirmed. This approach has improved security measures and can be completed quickly.

Growing Use of Tech in Customer Service

Overall, the use of AI in customer service has increased job satisfaction for customer service agents, as well as help businesses keep up with customer expectations. Businesses need to constantly look for ways to improve customer service. One of the results of implementing AI to help facilitate customer service has been giving customer service agents more time to handle complicated customer inquiries. Increased job satisfaction for customer service representatives and reduced call volume provides them with a greater opportunity to dedicate time and empathy to customers who need a human touch for their inquiries.

As more businesses use machine learning to automate routine tasks and data entry during customer service calls, call time should be reduced, leading to an increase in customer satisfaction. Currently, in a typical six-minute customer service call, 75 percent of that time is devoted to agents doing manual research. Only 25 percent of call time is spent interacting with the customer. AI can streamline this process by memorizing customer information and creating easier routes to accomplish tasks online.

This also provides customer service agents with more time to do important customer service work online, such as responding to customer reviews, which has become a high priority for businesses over the last few years.

As more customers go online to offer feedback or complain about poor experiences with companies, the need to moderate reviews and comments has grown. In the internet age, 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Therefore, if a business receives many reviews, they must dedicate resources to responding to them. This will increase customer trust in a business, as well as its ranking with Google.

As more businesses implement AI, machine learning will become the standard for customer service expectations. Although the impact AI will have on jobs within the customer service industry is unclear, the new and rapidly advancing technology will soon provide efficient customer service to consumers looking for help. AI will also help improve the job environment for customer service representatives and open the door for better customer service and increased customer satisfaction. With the implementation of machine learning, the future of customer service looks to be promising.

How to Create a Modern and Stylish Aesthetic for Your Brand

Branding is all about the impression you give to your customers and clients. The question becomes, what kind of impression do you want to give them? Regardless of the type of business you have, presenting a professional atmosphere that is still welcoming and comforting is essential, yet you want to be on the edge of business innovation as well. You want your brand to be memorable, but you want to be remembered by the right reasons. A modern and stylish aesthetic can help you appeal to a variety of customers, from millennials to baby boomers.

However, this can be a challenge. If you are in an older office building or have limited resources, changing the aesthetic of your brand can seem like a huge task. It is often difficult to determine where to start. Here are some tips on how to create a modern and stylish aesthetic for your brand:

Work From the Outside In

The first impression customers and clients have of your brand at your physical location is the outside appearance. There is often little you can do about this when it comes to the building you are in, but there are some touches you can improve on to make your brand more appealing.

  • Your Sign and Logo: Your sign and logo may be outdated. If you have not changed them in a while, give them a fresh look. You can even get a logo created by artificial intelligence if you really want to be hip.
  • Your Door: Even if you are inside a building, you might not have much choice about certain parts of the decor, but you can install a new door for your business, or add a window decal or other touches to make a better first impression.
  • Window Coverings: If your windows are visible from outside or even the hallway, consider updating your window coverings to ones that give a more modern and stylish look. Don’t forget color and the impression it makes on clients.

The first impression customers or clients get of your business is the outside, and no matter what your limitations are in your commercial building, you can work to make a better first impression and make your brand modern and stylish from the outside in.

Remodel the Interior of Your Business

Once customers enter your business, they get an entirely different perspective. The atmosphere of your business is set right away. This involves everything from color to the way you use your space. Want a more modern and stylish aesthetic? Here are some simple tips:

 

  • Color: You should never overlook the psychology of color when decorating your office or any other space. Color has a certain effect on customers and clients, and knowing how that relates to your aesthetic is truly important. Throw pillows, window coverings, and even the color of your furniture and lampshades make a huge difference.
  • Lighting: Harsh, fluorescent lights are common in buildings and office spaces, yet they are often hard on your employees’ eyes and give your clients and customers a very flat impression. Add modern lamps, light fixtures, and other unique lighting wherever you can.
  • Furniture: Older tables and chairs, especially ones that are outdated or worn give a negative impression. Don’t forget comfort though. Form and function are both important when it comes to furniture.
  • Creature Comforts: Things like a modern fireplace when it is cold or a stylish bladeless fan when it is warm give your office a modern and sleek look, but also ensure that your customers, clients, and employees are comfortable.

There are other things you can do to improve the atmosphere as well. Smart furniture often includes USB plugins for charging phones and other features, and installing devices like Alexa or the Apple Home Pod to allow your smart furniture to be voice controlled is a great idea.

Your employees will love smart desks that can show them calendar alerts, phone messages, and even remind them to stand and walk around. The interior of your business and the comfort of your employees, customers, and clients is one of the best investments you can make to create a modern and stylish aesthetic for your brand.

Improve the Look of Your Employees

There are two ways to control the look of your employees: One is to have uniforms, and the other is to have a dress code. Uniforms, if opted for, should be fun, stylish and updated frequently as fashion changes. Adding fun accessories like colorful ties and hip and stylish suspenders can help you attract and keep new customers.

Even if you don’t have uniforms, a well-defined dress code can keep all of your employees on the same page and create an innovative culture that will also attract the right customers and clients. This can mean including brands in your dress code, specific colors, and the type and style of clothing that is acceptable.

Many companies offer employees a clothing allowance to ensure employees can be in compliance regardless of their financial situation. Improving the look of your employees is another great way to create a modern and stylish aesthetic for your brand.

We all want our company to be as hip as Google or as fun a place to work as Facebook. We want new customers and clients from millennials to baby boomers to be impressed by us. To accomplish this, making your brand aesthetic modern and stylish is essential.

How New Tech Is Revolutionizing HR

Human Resources is often looked upon as a sort of necessary evil in every business. But that couldn’t be further from the truth, as cutting-edge technology is helping HR departments in companies of all sizes evolve into a field that is equally relevant and innovative.

Tech including artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain are helping to streamline HR processes, while cybersecurity is taking the front seat where company data and privacy is concerned. Here’s what you need to know about how an HR department can harness the power of new tech to change its influence and impact within companies, and by extension its reputation as a whole.

The Role of Cybersecurity

A big part of the job in HR is keeping employee personal data secure. In our digital age, it’s easier than ever for cyberthieves to hack into data systems. That’s where cybersecurity comes into play.

As an HR professional, it’s your job to hire individuals who are educated in the latest technologies and equipped to protect the organizations they work for. This can be especially challenging if you have staff members working remotely.

Remote workers are increasingly becoming the norm rather than the exception, with more than 40 percent of workers reporting that they perform some remote duties. As an HR rep, it’s your job to clarify policies and provide resources for remote employees so that they understand how to protect themselves, as well as company data, while working remotely. It’s also your job to anticipate and identify potential security issues before they turn into a major problem.

Your company may even consider putting together a cybersecurity team to address today’s security needs. A cybersecurity team is made up of individuals who are trained in information sciences and cybersecurity. Typically, those professionals are up-to-date on the latest equipment and technologies in order to effectively perform their duties.

Some companies are taking the cybersecurity hiring process even further by designing and building a cybersecurity control room. This move highlights the vital role a cybersecurity team plays in day-to-day operations. HR professionals should work closely with their cybersecurity team in order to answer any question that may arise.

AI and HR Analytics

AI has been changing the way we work for several years, but we’re only starting to see how it can help streamline the field of HR. The technology is meant to work in tandem with human processes, effectively doing three things:

  • Amplifying human function
  • Automating tasks
  • Augmenting human capabilities

AI use in HR starts with the hiring process. Automated software can help narrow down candidates without bias, based on information provided by potential hires. This is where amplifying comes in, as automated screening amps up the capabilities of HR professionals.

With AI, corporate training and payroll are augmented and automated. The use of AI reduces the chance of human error and keeps HR reps accountable for the data collected and processed. AI also allows for better tracking and accountability of remote workers.

Utilizing AI is a smart move for every business since the technology is becoming so ubiquitous. According to Personnel Today, nearly 40 percent of businesses were already using AI in some form as of 2017. A further 62 percent said that they expected to adopt AI into their business model in the near future.

Bitcoin, Blockchain, and Beyond

Payroll is an intrinsic part of the job for many HR professionals. And in today’s landscape of digital payments and other currency forms, payroll may seem more complicated than it has in the past.

If your business has remote workers on your payroll, chances are some of them are part of the emerging bitcoin and blockchain revolution. But what does that mean for you? Put simply, bitcoin is a form of digital currency, and a blockchain is an encrypted digital ledger of those funds.

Data indicates that about 28 million people around the world have a blockchain wallet. On the business end, more than $110 million in bitcoin payments are made every month. These numbers are growing, and HR professionals should have at least a basic understanding of blockchain technology.

Savvy business owners and HR techs should keep payment methods flexible and able to incorporate bitcoin and blockchain as needed. There are now more than 1000 types of digital currency that can end up in a blockchain, worth a grand total of more than $22 billion. That’s a number that’s hard to ignore.

While your company may be years away from adopting blockchain technology, it may be prudent to put together employee training sessions that revolve around digital currency, including bitcoin.

Final Thoughts

Our modern digital age has brought numerous, exciting changes to the realm of HR. Corporate data privacy issues and security training are increasingly part of an HR rep’s job description, alongside recruitment and payroll. Those duties are becoming easier, thanks to the automation, innovation, and augmentation found in new tech such as AI and blockchain.

How Office Design Can Inspire Employees and Keep Them Motivated

Close to one-third of your life will be spent in your chosen profession, in some cases probably more than that. If you’re going into a traditional office environment for work Monday through Friday, then you’ll be spending that third in the same place looking at the same walls for close to 90,000 hours. There’s a good chance that the way your work environment is designed can greatly impact how you feel coming in each day.

Office design is crucial for boosting employee morale and efficiency. People are more likely to accomplish more in a day if they enjoy the space that they’re in, which is why a modern design and comfortable atmosphere is key. You can feel free to embrace your company’s brand personality within the office as well — for example, if you’re a whimsical company, play with space to create that sense.

By creating a desirable atmosphere, you’ll be helping employees feel their best so they can work their best. You’ll also be helping to promote an office culture that takes regular breaks, believes in being comfortable while working, and offers employees the best environment you can. Your team will appreciate being in a space they enjoy and your company will see the results.

Design Impacts Productivity

You may not have initially realized it, but the actual floor plan of your company can communicate goals and objectives to your team. You’ll need to thoroughly understand and analyze your company’s needs and standards for the day-to-day workflow in order to design the best possible floor plan. Think of it like this: if your company needs teams to collaborate together frequently, you’ll want an open floor plan over rows of cubicles.

You’ll also want to be sure you’re incorporating encouragement to take breaks as a healthy work-life balance is important for equally healthy workers. Putting in a comfortable and accessible break room will encourage employees to take their regularly scheduled breaks and lunch hours. It may also be worth it to stock snacks regularly in the break room to further facilitate people spending time in there.

Between allowing coworkers to collaborate and talk with one another easily, and providing a comfortable place to take regular breaks, you’ll be giving your teams the best resources to be energized and encouraged in their day-to-day work. Just like the life of each team member, your office should be balanced and efficient — not burnt out and tired. In this way, the design of your office not only communicates objectives, but values.

Stand Out From the Crowd

Of course, you also don’t want your office to look just like everyone else’s. Having an office that stands out in people’s minds from others they’ve seen can be a competitive draw when hiring new talent. Remember: people are planning on spending 40 hours a week in their offices, they’re going to take design into account when deciding whether or not to work with your company.

One way to stand out is to bring a little greenery into the office and not just the run-of-the-mill office fern we see so much. Succulents are low-maintenance, come in many varieties, and can add a modern touch to any office. Also, it’s been shown that offices with greenery can boost positive physiological impacts in the people who work there.

Finally, consider hiring a local artist or muralist to create art especially for your office. Facebook, for example, has been commissioning artists to paint in its office since 2005 and the project has since expanded into a full-on artist residency program. Art can make your office unique while bringing in a diverse view of the world that can help to inspire your teams throughout the week.

Tips and Tricks

There is no wrong way to design your office, but going in with a plan is always a good idea. You should decide what kind of ambiance you want to create for your employees. For example, if you want the office to feel cozy and comfortable, installing a fireplace in a shared area could be a great place for people to curl up and enjoy their lunch or plug away on a project for the afternoon.

If you’re looking for a space that’s more sleek and modern, then clean lines and a strict color palette can help maintain this. You may also want to consider custom tables that you can design to your specifications to match the tone of each room in the office. It’s really all about what you want to evoke in people as they enter each room and set to work for the day.

Finally, having accessible entryways and ergonomic seating is always a must when it comes to employee access and safety. Working in an office may not seem like it’s dangerous, necessarily, but injuries like back pain and carpal tunnel are common if not given the proper positioning and seating. You also want to make it possible for all types of people to enter the workplace — for both employees and potential clients.

Overall, creating a beautiful and inviting office environment is worth the investment. You’ll have an easier time attracting new talent because they’ll want to be in the space you’ve created. Additionally, your current employees will be happier and more relaxed at work, helping to improve your company overall.

What HR Professionals and Employees Can Learn From Motivational Speakers

What do human resources professionals and motivational speakers have in common? For starters, they both provide inspiration and tips on how to engage employees.

So it makes sense that the best HR pros strive to bring motivational speakers into the office in an effort to encourage employees to do the best work they can do. Whether your teams are feeling uninspired or even jaded, struggling to meet previous goals, or your company is pushing in a new direction, it may be a good time to invite an inspirational speaker for some outside guidance.

Let’s consider at a few things HR professionals can gain from listening to motivational speakers and why it’s important for employees as well:

Employees Want to Know HR Cares

If your company does hire a speaker, look at it as an investment in your employees. By investing in employees, the company is showing that you care about them and their work. There are many ways to show your employees appreciation, and having a good motivational speaker come in is just one tool.

“The best motivational speakers deliver a quick snapshot into the ideal attitudes, behaviors and mindsets for a high-performing organization,” according to The Meerkat Motivator. “Their invigorating one-hour keynote talks inevitably ignite a series of teachable moments.”

In turn, HR can take what they hear and learn from inspirational or humorous stories and apply it in a genuine way to fit your corporate culture. HR professionals may come up with their own ideas to incorporate as a result.

If HR learns new ways of thinking and teaching, and shares it with employees, it shows employees/teams that the company is invested in their career development and care about them as people too. When employees are happy, they are less likely to leave the company they are working for.

A Motivational Speaker Breaks Up the Monotony

Office attitudes can get pretty stagnant sometimes, especially if people see and hear the same things day in and day out. An outside, fresh perspective can help employees look at challenges and problems differently and may not even see them as such. A motivational speaker may have the ability to look beyond the daily grind because they aren’t entrenched in it every day.

“One of the greatest advantages that a motivational speaker has is that they are outside of the daily processes,” says business writer Alfred Stallion. “Instead of being bogged down by the daily grind, they can see the bigger picture and will probably see the way forward much clearer and easier than your staff, or even you, will see it. Their expertise in the field can be used to provide a new perspective and reinvigorate the staff and you to push the business in a new direction.”

At the same time, employees sometimes just need to be reminded that they are doing a good job from an outside source. Staff that are consistently good at their jobs often get overlooked and eventually can feel unappreciated.

Maybe they just need a pep talk that they are doing a good job from an expert who isn’t necessarily associated with your company. However, the motivational speaker may have experience in the industry you’re in and can give you insight into what other companies are doing, provide a new point of view, and motivate staff.

What Kind of Speaker Do You Want?

Perhaps the speaker doesn’t need to be related to your industry. Maybe he or she is there to simply encourage the employees by sharing their life viewpoint or maybe how they’ve pulled themselves up by their bootstraps.

“Motivational speakers don’t necessarily need to be related to your industry,” according to an article on CultureIQ. “Instead, these speakers re-energize your employees through their stories and approach to life. Motivational speakers are particularly appropriate when morale is low or the team is heading into crunch time.”

Even if people generally get along within the office environment, it never hurts to have a pep talk. Meanwhile, some companies need more innovation introduced to them because that’s what they are seeking to stay on top of their game. A motivational speaker can address new ways for employees to tackle their work, share their entrepreneurial story, or talk generally about creativity or innovation.

Conclusion

As we head into a brand new year, your company has probably already set new goals for the year and identified weak points that need addressed. Now may be a good time to bring in a guest to talk about what skills the company needs to be successful and the importance of work/life balance.

Whatever the reasons are for bringing in a motivational speaker, hiring one may be a good opportunity for human resources, managers, staff, business owners, and the company as a whole. Everyone should be inspired to work a bit harder. Sometimes people just a reminder that what they do matters. Purpose in your work life is a good thing, and sometimes all that is needed are some inspirational words to help define that purpose.

How Surveys Can Help Improve Both External & Internal Company PR

Information serves a large variety of purposes in business. Specifically, looking back through annual information can help a business determine where their shortcomings are, as well as their strong points, which can help them decide what areas of their business they should grow or scale back on. There are a few ways to gather this data, but depending on the information you’re looking for, surveys are often the best way to understand both the internal and external perception of your business.

Survey Uses for Management

Company surveys can indicate a lot of things about a company, such as receptiveness to customers and employees, and caring about quality and ambition. When a company holds surveys within their personnel, either for specific departments or general employees, it can sometimes indicate that there is a business practice concern they are trying to work out. Depending on what questions are being asked of their workers, surveys often gives employees the impression that their company cares about them and that if there are concerns they want to bring up, they can be addressed.

If you’re considering using a survey to gain an understanding of employee satisfaction or what employees are looking for in the workplace, make sure you use an effective survey method that follows guidelines for effectiveness to achieve optimal results. This may include a platform that will allow you to ask both open- and close-ended questions, as well as survey channels that are convenient, like SMS. Another important aspect of surveys is to ask the right questions by using careful phrasing in order to receive the type of response you’re looking for.

Employee surveys can help your company come to solutions regarding business structure changes you’re considering making. They are a good way to gauge interest if you’re seeking to begin outsourcing work to freelancers rather than in-house workers. Although these decisions can be controversial, 11 percent of the U.S. workforce get their full income from gig economy, so it’s not uncommon to do so. In fact, there may be a significant number of employees seeking the benefits of gig economy work, such as heightened independence, flexibility, and at times better pay. If you’re gauging employee interest for a change like this, a survey could help your company establish goals surrounding prospective changes.

Improving External Company PR

Surveys can also provide companies with an idea of the areas that your PR team should work to address. A company’s reputation can be instrumental to its success, and if there’s any ongoing speculation about areas of your company, your PR team should be dedicating resources to addressing them. It is then up to the company to make both internal and external changes to get down to the root of the problem.

Although seeking out client reviews is generally a good practice, especially considering that most individuals seek out company reviews before getting involved with a company, surveys allow companies to receive a more thorough understanding of the customer experience. It also gives customers and clients a chance to voice their concerns before any incident that occurred becomes so overlooked that there is no hope in getting their business back.

Although clients are arguably the most important audience for a company, a business cannot succeed without all of the cogs in the wheel that keep the business turning; such as clients, employees and suppliers. It’s important to have a skilled accounting department prepared to handle accounts for your business to ensure suppliers are receiving the attention they need. If your company takes too long to pay clients and vendors, it reflects poorly on your company’s reputation. Therefore, if there are ongoing issues in this field, your company may want to consider adopting accounts payable automation to help facilitate these processes.

If surveys indicate low satisfaction rates due to a lack of innovation or slow growth within the company, consider incorporating some new tech trends that are capable of redefining your business. These can include hiring cybersecurity professionals to limit the number of IT incidents and incorporating AI, chatbots and predictive analytics to help with hiring processes. New technology can help facilitate many steps in business, and by finding small ways to innovate, your company can start to improve its internal and external perception.

Surveys can be helpful in understanding where you company stands to improve and can give you an idea of the ways your clients and employees want to see you innovating. By regularly surveying personnel, as well as clients and other companies you associate with, you can ensure that satisfaction is high and that any ongoing issues are taken care of before they become a PR concern. Internal and external company PR are both almost equally important, and it’s vital to the success of your company to ensure you’re taking care of both.

How to Recruit Millennials and Keep Them Motivated

There’s no doubt that millennials have transformed the way the traditional workplace functions. Millennial employees bring creative thinking skills and radically different attitudes towards work to the table — aspects that are integral when it comes to organizational success. Recruiting millennials and keeping employees satisfied at work requires a significant shift in thinking as opposed to previous generations. HR professionals play an important role in implementing new strategies to ensure that millennials stay motivated at work. Here are some ways to attract and retain the best of millennial talent:

Market to Millennials

To get your organization’s name out there and attract younger talent, it’s important to market in a way that is suited to a millennial’s lifestyle. Traditional methods of marketing won’t stand out to millennials; instead, they will propagate the image that your organization is old-fashioned, even if it truly isn’t.

To recruit millennials, you first need to reach them. An article on Entrepreneur recommends using high-quality video to get the attention of skeptical millennials. For instance, as opposed to simply posting in the job classifieds, consider making a recruitment video that details what you’re looking for in a candidate, and why your organization is one that millennials would want to work for.

Creative advertising will generally have better results with millennials than standard marketing techniques. As stated in the article, “Millennials are largely fed up with traditional methods of advertising, and while they want information, they want to select it instead of having it forced upon them.” Millennials tend to trust people in their social networks, and so, utilizing social media marketing strategies is a prudent way to get your company’s name out there.

Similarly, using Search Engine Optimization (SEO)  is a great way to make your presence known. As defined by RivalMind, SEO is “a process that helps a business become ‘more search engine friendly’ and rank higher on sites like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others.” This is especially appealing to millennials, who want instant information at the click of a button, and will often not look past the first page of search results.

Create a Culture of Care

Workplace culture is an important aspect of any organization. As stated by experts at Rutger’s University, “Corporate culture plays a huge part in the success of an organization and can profoundly affect its performance, both positively and negatively. An organization’s culture affects employee retention rates, as well as its ability to recruit new talent. Research has found that culture affects productivity, creativity, work-life balance, and even things such as safety, accident rates, and the process of recovery after missteps or mistakes are made as part of the organization’s operations.”

Millennials, in particular, value a great workplace culture and a variety of company perks. The employees of today find benefits like free breakfasts, nap rooms, mini-gaming arcades, and pet-friendly policies very appealing. Furthermore, the physical layout of the office plays an important role in keeping millennials motivated. Thus, you might want to consider utilizing an open floor plan to increase collaboration or even adopting an activity based office design. Office Boy states that “The purpose of an activity-based office fit out is to create different work areas that are best suited to different tasks.” Activity-based office designs are well-suited for millennials, who prefer dynamic workplaces rather than being bound by the four walls of a cubicle. This holistic culture creates a rounded sense of well-being in the workplace that attracts millennial employees.

Provide Ample Learning Opportunities

Millennials value the opportunity to learn different skills through the duration of their jobs. They want to be challenged, and want a career that allows them to develop intellectually. Millennials want to become as marketable a possible, and ironically, the more marketable you make them, the more likely they are to stay at your organization. In fact, according to the Gallup School of Management, 80 percent of employees say that job training is key to keeping them as employees.

To ensure that your young employees feel like they’re continuously learning, consider offering training programs to help them hone various skills. Help them create a personalized career path, with regular check-ups to ensure that they are meeting their own personal career goals, as well as company growth objectives. You could also provide a mentor or coach to ensure that millennial employees are constantly learning something new, under superior guidance.

As we’ve mentioned in a previous article on what millennials really want from work, “Millennials want to be coached: they crave and respond to a good, positive coach. Overall, Millennials want feedback 50% more often than other employees. Their number one source of development is their manager, but only 46% thinks that their manager delivered on their expectations for feedback.” Providing supportive leadership and critical feedback is key when it comes to keeping millennials motivated and satisfied at work.

Allow for an Entrepreneurial Lifestyle

Published findings from Millennial Branding show that 61 percent of current high school students (Generation Z) said they “prefer pursuing business ownership as an entrepreneur instead of working as an employee.” This information is crucial when it comes to millennial recruitment and retainment strategies. To foster an appealing entrepreneurial vibe at work, you will have to incorporate strategies that allow employees to be their own bosses.

One way to do this is to make allowances for remote working, or telecommuting. This gives employees the ability to work from anywhere, make their own schedules, and promote a healthy work-life balance. Today, remote working is extremely popular. In fact, a study released by Zug, a Switzerland-based serviced office provider, shows that about 70 percent of professionals work remotely at least one day of the week, while 53 percent work remotely for about half the week. So if your organization hasn’t yet made allowances for telecommuting, then they’re way behind the curve. Other strategies for promoting workplace flexibility and independence include providing volunteer opportunities, encouraging employees to go out during lunch breaks, and even providing on-site health and fitness classes.

Hiring millennial employees is essential to keeping the workplace current. As stated in an article on Forbes, “Millennials have been transforming the workplace for the past decade or so, emerging on the scene with new attitudes and striking characteristics that inspired excitement and resentment from previous generations.” Although the “excitement and resentment” can be challenging to deal with at times, recruiting millennials and keeping them adequately motivated is absolutely necessary to succeed as a business.

Leading Employees Through Interpersonal Conflict

Not everyone gets along all the time. This is especially true during times of high stress, which can turn minor differences of opinion into full-blown arguments and trigger all sorts of stress reactions.

High-stress situations and conflicts can also bring to the surface underlying biases and unpleasant reactions to women in positions of authority. Because of this, managing conflict can be a point of particular difficulty for women in the workplace, no matter how well trained and skilled they are as managers or HR professionals.

Managers need to be savvy and adjust the leadership style they employ, as well as carefully investigate the source of a conflict in order to diffuse issues. These are excellent best practices to employ anyway, but the stakes can be especially high for women, who may find more authoritative styles of leadership backfiring.

 

Digging to the Root of a Conflict

The good news is that the extra work women often need to put in to conflict resolution tends to lead to better management as a result.

Quickly and permanently resolving a conflict requires finding and addressing its cause. Otherwise the issue is likely to boil over again. There are different types of workplace conflicts, each with a different impetus. The solution to two people quarreling over differing social values will vary greatly from employees butting heads because they have too few resources for everyone to do their work effectively. Both of these are very different from conflict caused by policy violation or harassment.

The idea is simple: solve the specific problem that causes the conflict. If employees need more resources, but those resources can’t be allocated quickly, some creative solutions to how people work together might be needed. Someone may need to be assigned different tasks in the meantime, or there may be a broader cultural issue if certain people’s needs are routinely neglected. Finding other ways to keep employees motivated will help with stressful work environments.

When the cause of a conflict can be traced directly to the actions of an employee, things can become complicated quickly. Poor internal policing of harassment is a common problem in many industries, and if a harasser enjoys the protection of someone higher up on the food chain it can be extremely difficult to correct their behaviour or dislodge them.

 

Leadership Strategies for Conflict Resolution

Once you know what’s causing a conflict, you can apply the type of leadership that you feel will work best. There are a number of different leadership styles, each with pros and cons, and differing effects on different demographics and workplace cultures.

If a conflict arose due to differences in values or different interpretations of workplace culture, a more restorative and transformational type of leadership may be required. Sitting down with employees to work through their differences and seeking common ground can help them work together in the future. Issues like these may also indicate that company policy may need to be updated to be clearer about workplace goals, and re-affirm which types of conversations are not work appropriate.

If employees butt heads due to resource allocation, workload, or other stresses related to the work environment directly, then a more authoritative resolution could be disastrous for a manager of any gender. Employees may need to be reminded of appropriate conduct, but the structural issues putting stress on them in the first place need to be addressed.

Cases of harassment present a whole host of frustrations. Harassment can be difficult to prove, and firing someone without a strongly documented case against them can land a manager in legal nightmares, not to mention internal scrutiny. In many cases your hands might be tied to even make those decisions.

The two most important things about cases of harassment are documentation and supporting the victim. Accurate, dispassionate documentation is vital, especially if the behaviour dips into criminal territory and the police need to become involved. It also protects you and the company against legal action when disciplinary measures are taken.

You may need to invoke several different leadership styles to navigate the situation, to make victims feel safe, to convince other employees to tell you truthfully what they witnessed, and to handle the perpetrator of harassment according to the specific statutes, legal definitions, and workplace laws in your state.

 

Preventative Measures to Take Against Conflict

The earliest preventative measure against conflict is the hiring process. Every company has a unique working environment, policy, and culture. Hiring people only for the skills they possess might get work done, but could result in a volatile mix of differing work ethics, team dynamics, and people skills. Creating a workplace with little conflict starts from the very first hire. No workplace can be 100 percent issue free, but a candidate with the best resume but a bad attitude can cause a lot more damage than someone with less experience and an eagerness to cooperate. That’s why many companies choose to look for evidence soft skills, leadership ability and even teamwork on applications.

A robust onboarding and training process, even for experienced hires, is also a big part of helping people adjust to the ins and outs of their new environment. Assigning new hires to mentors — peers who can help them adjust and answer lighter questions — is another great way to ensure that employees come to understand the social dynamics of the workplace quickly.

Having enough employees to complete the work, paying enough, providing workplace resources and having policies that promote work-life balance are all also preventative conflict resolution. People who are happy coming to work are less likely to lash out.

There’s no catch-all answer to conflict, but many of the things you do every day to make your workplace better are also conflict-prevention strategies. Being proactive about employee satisfaction and mental health can go a long way to preventing problems in the first place. When resolution is needed, a little investigation and a firm but fair hand can keep the work environment pleasant for everyone.