Effects of Scale Instruments in Logistics

Warehousing and inventory management centers depend on efficient and reliable scaling instruments to get accurate data for managing large stocks of goods. They use scaling devices to monitor cargo weights, track data, and ensure that the logistic vehicles are loaded to the optimal safe capacity. 

The scaling instruments have several effects in the logistics and transportation of goods from manufacturers to distributors and the retail stores. Let us study the effects that scaling tools have on the logistics businesses. 

Optimal loading and safety

Logistic businesses transport the products from manufacturers to distributors and from distributors to stockists and retailers. However, they are highly concerned about the safety of products and vehicle that depends on the weight loaded on the truck. Scaling instruments helps logistics to load the truck with an optimal level of weight so that it can be transported safely to the destination without the risk of overloading. 

High accuracy

Accuracy is essential in the logistics business as a single error in measurement can lead to inaccurate weight and cost calculations of the large stocks. The modern scaling instruments are self-calibrated and highly accurate to measure the weight of small and large items. The high accuracy minimizes the chances of loss or revenue and ensures the smooth running of the business. 

No need for operators

The modern scaling instruments enable the transport drivers to measure the consignments without leaving their vehicles. The weighbridge controls are integrated with standalone consoles to facilitate the weighing operations even when unattended. 

The modern weighbridge terminals enable the drivers to weight their consignment smoothly without the need of a dedicated operator. This ability to scale instruments reduces the cost of weighing operations significantly.

Waterproof weighing scales

The present scaling instruments also come with waterproofing abilities that are capable of measuring in any condition. The floor and platform scales need to be waterproof as they are used for measuring every type of items. Sometimes, they are used for measuring water filled bottles or packages that can cause corrosion of scaling instruments. However, the waterproof weighing scales eliminate the risk of rusting or corrosion, and they have a long life.

Data Storage and communication

The modern scaling instruments are not limited to merely measurement purposes. The digital scales come with capabilities of storing and communicating data to back office and front ends. The arrival of improved capabilities in digital scaling instruments helps the logistics businesses to enhance accurate management and control of data and information. 

Counting Scales

In addition to measurements scaling instruments also help the logistics services to count large stocks of identical items that are difficult to count manually. The precision counting scales minimize the likelihood of error in the counting of any number of items at high speed with accurate results. 

Final words

The present scaling instruments are entirely different from the ones used decades ago. With improved capabilities, they enable the logistics and transportation businesses to manage inventory and run their operations smoothly. Minimizing errors and handling of multiple operations helps them save time and cut the operating costs.

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Considerations Before You Increase Employee Monitoring

There are all sorts of workplaces out there. Some require clocking in and out so that management can ensure every employee is logging a certain amount of hours each week. On the other end of the spectrum is the type of company that doesn’t invest in any employee tracking at all, other than for security purposes. Their staff can come and go as they please, create their own schedules, and even work from home. 

However, even seemingly lax companies may monitor employee email or software use. When it comes to employee tracking, ethical and legal issues pop up, along with issues surrounding company culture. Understanding how and why companies track employees is the first step toward deciding what’s right for your business.

Types of Employee Tracking

There are numerous ways for a company to keep an eye on what employees are doing. From direct observation in the office to secretly logging every keystroke an employee makes on their computer, some types of monitoring are helpful, while others can feel invasive:

  • Direct monitoring: If a manager wants to directly monitor what’s happening, they may put workspaces in a central, open area. Using hardware that logs keystrokes is another type of direct monitoring.
  • Email monitoring: Email monitoring ensures that everything being sent from a company email address is in-line with the company’s values. It will also clear out spam before it reaches an inbox, which helps the employee do their job more efficiently.
  • GPS monitoring: Depending on the type of job an employee performs, GPS monitoring may or may not be worthwhile. For example, it’s best when used for the employee’s safety and to prevent accidents, like in the fleet industry. GPS tech can monitor how often a driver hard brakes or speeds, and an in-vehicle buzzer can alert the driver to risky driving so they can improve.
  • Network monitoring: In order to keep the company’s network secure and free of viruses, it’s necessary to monitor it. Network monitoring includes tracking the content that’s sent over the network and monitoring who is accessing files.
  • Software monitoring: For companies with dispersed teams or remote workers, software monitoring allows managers to keep an eye on what’s happening even when they’re not in the same physical location as employees. Software monitoring logs information like changes to files, conversations, and screenshots. 

Regardless of which types of monitoring you decide are right for your business, you have to let employees know how they’re being monitored. You should also have employees sign to acknowledge that they understand how and why they’re being monitored. If your monitoring strategies change, you should update employees right away, preferably before the changes are put in place.

Ethics and Legalities of Employee Tracking

If you don’t approach employee monitoring the professional way, a lot can go wrong. If you neglect to let the employee know they’re being monitored, they may feel betrayed and concerned about working for you. They may wonder, “What else don’t I know?” 

Even if they’re aware of the monitoring, employees may feel like their privacy is being invaded. They don’t want a micro-manager who needs to see every single thing they do at every moment of the workday. They’d rather work for someone who trusts them. 

Furthermore, certain states have specific legal guidelines to follow. For example, in Connecticut, employees cannot monitor employees without getting consent first. Ensure that your organization is legally compliant in order to avoid issues down the road.

Alternatives to Employee Tracking

Consider why you want to track your employees. There may be another way to achieve the same results. For example, let’s say you’re worried that employees are wasting time at work. They seem to be meeting deliverables and deadlines, but every time you walk into their workspace, they’re on social media or chatting with one another. Instead of monitoring what they do to catch them in the act, talk to them to find out if they’re bored or not challenged enough at work. The problem could be that they don’t have enough to keep them busy.

Here’s another example: Let’s say you need to cut costs, so you want to see who’s clocking in late or leaving early. Unless you have a good reason to think this is happening, a better first step is to audit the workplace and see where waste can be reduced. You may discover that you’re regularly replenishing inventory that isn’t actually being used or that you can use alternative packaging that’s less costly and wasteful. 

Final Thoughts

There are times when tracking is useful to both the company and its employees. For example, applicant tracking systems make it easier for companies to source potential hires and go through hundreds of job applications to hone in on the best ones. For the applicant, that means they’ll get a response sooner rather than later because managers don’t have to manually sort through tons of applications. 

On the other hand, some employee tracking feels unethical, giving employees the impression that they’re not trusted by the company they work for. Getting to the root of the issue and determining why you want to track employees will help you decide the best way to monitor them or if they have to be monitored at all.

How HR Can Help During Tax Season

While HR is generally seen as being associated more closely with payroll than taxes, there is a huge overlap between the two. This means that at some point any given business will end up relying on its HR team to help in ensuring that its taxes are filed and paid appropriately. HR professionals can provide invaluable help with both employer and employee tax filing if they educate themselves, stay organized, and keep up to date on the ever-changing tax code.

Both Employers And Employees Rely On HR During Tax Season

Though HR professionals are by no means tax experts, their role within a business often leads to tax questions from both employers and employees. A well-trained HR team will be able to address questions from both with ease, whether they are related to personal or business taxes. HR departments are the main conduit of communication between organizations and employees, and it is important that they be able to help either when it comes to tax preparation.

The tax code changes relatively regularly, so it is to be expected that employees may have questions that go beyond how to appropriately fill out a W-4. For example, many employers encourage their employees to open health savings accounts, and employees who do might find themselves wondering what contributions to their HSA are deductible or what the limit for annual contributions might be. HR staff should be prepared to assist with these questions as it will ultimately help both the employee and the organization.

Assisting your employer with proper filing and helping employees with any questions they might have is important as an HR professional, however, there are limits to what can be done. HR teams can give as much advice to employees as they like regarding how to fill tax forms like a W-4, but filling one out for an employee is illegal. Understanding the limitations of how much an HR department can and cannot do helps to maximize efficiency while reducing any legal risk to the organization.

Organization Is Key

When HR teams assist a business with the proper filing of taxes, it is of utmost importance that they maintain a high level of organization. Keeping an accurate record of tax records through digitally scanning them and avoiding using easily lost physical documents is essential. Additionally, keeping a detailed log of business expenditures within the HR department and any documentation that might prove useful when filing taxes should be a priority.

Timekeeping is also incredibly important for HR professionals. Keeping track of nonexempt employees’ hours worked is essential in order to remain compliant with both national and state tax authorities. Doing so will prevent headaches in the long run and make the job of filing appropriately that much easier.

The ability for HR professionals to keep tax-relevant documentation organized is increasing rapidly. This is due largely in part to the rise of advances in cloud storage and big data. These new and powerful technologies allow HR professionals to not only execute their daily operations more efficiently but to keep important information like tax documentation organized and readily available as well. Despite the ease of the cloud for storage, however, it’s imperative that HR professionals understand how to make and keep backups of all important data as well, in case of emergency.

Keeping Up With The IRS

The IRS processes around 240 million tax returns every year generating nearly $3 trillion in tax revenue. While this is impressive, the IRS relies on both private citizens and companies alike to file their taxes promptly and appropriately in order to avoid having to perform an audit if there are any discrepancies detected. Avoiding an audit is obviously preferred for any organization, so ensuring that all levels of an organization, including the HR department, are well versed in recent changes to tax code is a good idea.

The United States tax code recently saw its most substantial reform in over 30 years in the form of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The changes made to the tax code by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act have far-reaching implications for both employees and the organizations that employ them and because of this, it is imperative that HR professionals understand how the changes to the tax code affect their business. 

Payroll systems had to change across the board after this legislation passed as it affected individual income tax rates and brackets. Additionally, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated the ability to deduct the expenses from popular employer-provided fringe benefits such as deductions for parking and transportation expenses for employees. 

In an era where transparency is increasingly appreciated by employees, especially when it comes to salary and payroll, it is important for HR professionals to be able to explain these changes if questions arise. While there is no certainty what future tax code reforms might hold for employees and organizations, HR professionals would be wise to remain up to date on any changes that might affect them.

HR teams are some of the most important and unsung aspects of any business or company, and the ability to assist both employers and employees with tax filing questions adds yet another notch to an already impressive list of skills. If HR professionals stay on top of keeping the appropriate documentation organized and accessible and stay on top of any changes to the U.S. tax code, they will be more than equipped to answer nearly any question asked of them.

How HR Professionals Can Be More Supportive of Parents

In about 46% of two-parent households in the United States, both parents work full time. This is a shift from the past, where more women stayed home to raise the children and take care of the family. 

More parents want to keep working and further their careers after having kids. It’s possible to do so, but companies and large organizations need to take steps to facilitate continued career growth for these individuals. Businesses need to support parents by offering a better work-life balance. This will help them attract new employees and retain current ones. 

There are many benefits to supporting parents within your company. It starts with understanding what parents really value and what they need. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how you can be more supportive of the parents who work for you or will work for you in the future.

What Expecting Parents Really Want 

When companies and HR professionals are considering which benefits to offer their employees, they have to hit the right marks. One survey suggested that 80% of employees would prefer a better benefits package over a raise. Benefits are likely even more important for parents or for those who are expecting. 

Support for new parents or those who are about to have a baby can make a difference in employee retention. For expectant couples, supportive benefits can include things like paid maternity and paternity leave, as well as insurance benefits that will help employees deal with the medical expenses of having a new baby. 

It’s also essential to avoid discriminating against expectant mothers in your workforce. Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is unethical, but it still happens. By making sure your policies reflect a positive and non-discriminatory attitude toward pregnant employees, you can create a more welcoming and comforting family atmosphere within your business. 

The number one priority for any pregnant woman is to keep herself and her baby as healthy as possible. Here are some ways to make your workplace more inclusive of pregnant mothers:

  • Your company can support that by offering things like healthy complimentary snacks or water. 
  • Make sure restrooms are easily accessible for everyone. 
  • Offer exercise or yoga classes for expectant mothers who want to stay active. 
  • Encourage more flexibility in their hours so they can have more time at home to rest and get some sleep

It’s a good idea to include some pre-birth perks for expecting dads too. Paternity leave is important and should be a part of any benefits package. Also consider sponsoring birthing classes and encourage expecting fathers to join support groups to know what to expect. 

As with expectant mothers, flexible hours for fathers-to-be can also be a big draw, as they allow men to go with their partners to doctor’s appointments, classes, and more. This can be especially helpful for same-sex couples who are going through the adoption process or using a surrogate. Some companies actually offer surrogacy compenasation, which can be huge for same-sex couples or couples who can’t have children on their own. 

As you can see, none of these offered benefits or resources have to blow your budget. By making a few small policy changes, you can create a complete shift in how pregnant women and even fathers who are expecting are viewed and treated within your company. 

Better Benefits for Families

For individuals or couples who are already parents, employers can offer more paid time off, daycare services, lactation support services, and more flexibility. 

Offering various family insurance plans, as well as life insurance plans can also attract new parents to stick with your company, since they’ll know they can be protected if anything were to ever happen. Life insurance can be used to protect a family, to pay off debts, or for parents to simply have peace of mind when it comes to leaving something behind for their children. Even if your company chooses not to offer life insurance, it’s a good idea to have a few agencies in mind to work with so you can point your employees in the right direction. 

New parents might want to return to work, but that can be hard to do with a baby or young child at home. To show your employees their real value, offering work flexibility can make a huge difference. This includes offering non-traditional hours or even work-from-home opportunities. Thanks to technology, working from home has become very popular. It’s a great option and can be very successful for single parents, and there are many companies that cater to these families. By offering that kind of flexibility, your employee is more likely to take the job seriously from home, and they won’t experience burnout or resentment from having to leave their family. 

How HR Makes a Difference

When it comes to supporting new parents, your focus should be less about money and more about relationships. While a raise is always nice (and likely always appreciated), you can form a better lasting relationship with your employees by showing them you care about their families, their health, and their overall well-being. 

When your employees are ready to get back to work, keep the benefits rolling, and they’ll be likely to ease back in comfortably. Companies like Amazon offer “on-ramp” programs that help employees to start working again at a comfortable pace. It starts out with a shorter schedule and offers a lot of flexibility and paid time off. 

If you’re not sure what the parents working for you really want, don’t be afraid to ask! Taking an interest in your employee’s wants will show them that you care about their lives, and they aren’t just a number to you. Being a parent and working at the same time isn’t always easy, and it typically requires a lot of juggling. You can make it easier on your employees, boost their sense of self-worth, and give your business a boost when you offer the right kind of support.

How To Start Your Own Recruitment Company

Starting a recruitment company, just like any other, requires a decision, a bit of vision and a lot of dedication. The good news is that this is a process that has been repeated in the creation of successful companies for decades or even centuries. The bad news is that it is never easy. Each new beginning is just that – a beginning. Let us take a look at some of the options that can help you or affect you negatively on your way to creating a business from scratch.

Impact of experience

The best position to be in when starting a recruitment agency is probably if you’re coming directly from a recruitment management, training or HR position in a larger company. This gives you an overview of the market and, hopefully, means you are bringing a lot of important connections with you. Luckily, previous experience, although helpful, is not obligatory. As with any other company, if you put in strategic planning, hard work, a commercial mind and long hours, you are good to go. As the Entrepreneur says, evaluate yourself and see whether your skills and passions lie here and work accordingly.

The power of Internet

It goes without saying that you need to have your own website and logo, so you can start building your brand as soon as you can. As far as the paperwork is concerned, there are many online options for this. For example, if you aim to register a company in Australia, this is perfectly doable without leaving your house, just like in most countries of the world. Add a bank account to the mix, find an accountant and start some insurance going – and all of this can be done online. What a time to be alive!

Size and location

This depends on your initial capital and business plan, of course, but most recruitment companies remain in the boutique phase with less than 10 workers. This also means you can utilize your own space, such as a shed or basement for work purposes. Alternatively, you can share office space with someone, or go co-working which is a popular option nowadays. If you are planning to go back, that will most certainly involve rather large expenses on office space, whether you purchase or rent it. The good news is that your job is mostly done via internet and phone, so the actual location of your office is not that important.

Who do you recruit for others?

Just like in any other profession, you can choose to specialize or to take the general route. The problem with generalization is that you might be spending too much time and resources on keeping track of everyone and everything. The problem with specialization or niche recruitment is that your focused strategy is good for a smaller number of clients, which leaves you at a disadvantage. If you have the skill and connections, you might aim for recruitment of executives, such as CEOs or CFOs. A good option for pretty much all recruitment companies is graduate recruitment, because those who are starting a business are usually aiming at lower salaries, while the companies are always on the lookout for young, inspired workers.

Who do you recruit for yourself?

Some would say that this should be the easiest thing in the world, to do for yourself what your company is doing for others. Ask any marketing agency about the time they did marketing for themselves and you’ll probably hear some interesting stories. Regardless, this needs to be done and you want to pay attention to experience, but more so to personal traits, as they are very important in recruitment as a business. People skills are quite necessary as your employees will be meeting, talking to and judging a huge number of people. Sales and negation skills go hand in hand, because you want your company to make good deals. And finally, top it off with a nice layer of self-confidence – a genuine, engaging confidence that will appeal to both ends of the recruitment rope.

Software makes your life easier

As you are providing other business with potential workers, you are bound to keep on top of databases and software that can help you. Some software packages will have features such as: absence management, expenses, timesheets, asset management and more. HR software can also help you train and manage people who work for you, while also helping you set goals towards which you can work together. The software is necessary but can be expensive for a startup. Remember that sometimes even simple things that you have just not heard about before, like Boolean search, can help you utilize resources you already have, without the added cost. It is up to you to decide what really is vital for the future of your recruitment company and spend the money accordingly.

ServiceNow Research Assesses Impact of Digital Transformation on Employees

New research from ServiceNowa leading enterprise cloud based provider of digital workflows, reveals employees in EMEA companies, embracing workplace automation, report greater job satisfaction (62%), customer satisfaction (71%) boosted productivity (72%) and increased time for creativity (62%). Two thirds say workplace automation improves their organisation’s financial performance and nearly half believe they benefit from job creation.

EMEA employees express that the rise in digitisation enables them to benefit from automating menial tasks, subsequently improving their opportunities for advancement (64%) and more meaningful work. Yet fewer than one in three (27%) of companies studied (27%) have automated the processes with which they work, leaving over two thirds of work processes with substantial manual activity.

9119 Infographic.indd

Employees worry more about change than fear of machines

There has been much rhetoric around ‘fear of machines’, yet employees studied worry more about change than robots taking their jobs:

  • 31% are concerned about learning new skills or processes and 28% worry about changing the way their job is performed
  • Only 17% worry about losing their job
  • Employees in highly digitised companies report they benefit from increased job creation (42%) as opposed to only 23% in less automated companies (23%)
  • 86% view AI technologies as the future of work
  • Under a fifth (16%) fear being told what to do by a machine

 

Employees have a desire to learn and improve digital skills

  • 66% of employees have a desire to learn or improve their digital skills
  • 15% say their job requires advanced digital skills
  • 75% believe they have the digital skills required to perform their job well
  • Only 18% find adapting to digitised work processes difficult

 

Increased financial success

Employees in ‘highly automated’ organisations are more likely than those with less automated processes to report that their firms have high revenue growth, exceed financial goals and are much more profitable than competitors.

  • 55% of those in highly automated companies see higher profitability than their competitors, compared to only 31% in less automated companies
  • In highly automated companies, 21% see ‘much higher’ profitability vs. 5% for others
  • 36% of highly automated companies report that they exceeded their financial goals compared to just 16% for others

 

“Highly automated companies are making use of digital workflows to simplify complex tasks, respond rapidly to users’ needs and take a predictive approach to maintenance,” says Chris Pope, VP Innovation, ServiceNow. “Automation enables employees to reclaim time spent on unfulfilling tasks and refocus it on more meaningful work. The result is significantly greater efficiency, productivity and job satisfaction compared to companies with more manually-led operations.

“Activities such as resolving customer issues are critical to customer and employee satisfaction, so they should receive more focus from an automation standpoint in the future. The question businesses need to be asking now is how they can make the necessary changes to realise these benefits,” adds Pope.

Backlog Management: Making Sure  Your Backlog Is Lean 

A lot goes into running an online business. An online business can be classified as a variety of different things. You can run a website, build software, create an app or a wide range of other ventures. While more and more people are venturing online to start a business, it isn’t an easy task. There is not only a lot of competition but many new startups (whether online or not), will fail.

However, running a business today can also be easier than ever. There are many tools, software, and programs that can help with numerous aspects of your business. For example, with how important coding is to many businesses, there have been several different tools that can assist with your coding and monitoring your app. If you want to learn more about some of them, check out this link: JavaScript Error Logging Service Error Handling.

Unfortunately, trying to do too much or bloating your company with tools or other things can also often be problematic. Clutter or bloating in a company can cause many issues, and this is especially true when it comes to your backlog. A backlog is a collection or list of different new features, bug fixes, changes and more than your team wants to implement. If this backlog is too big or clogged up with stuff, it can hurt your business in many ways. It can slow down innovation, lead to confusion and can greatly reduce your time to market. With that in mind, this article is going to look at a couple of different tips to ensure your backlog is lean. 

Do Your Best to Prevent or Eliminate Waste

When you have a ton of unnecessary items in your backlog, it does nothing but wastes both time and resources. It can also make it quite tough to focus on the actual important items that could be buried in the backlog. As a result, you should get rid of any unnecessary entrants. Reducing the inventory to only things that are essential can go a long way. 

In addition to this, you should be sure to prevent any future waste or overproduction in your backlog. This means you should only look to provide what customers and users actually need, and not try to go above and beyond by overproducing. This will keep everything clean and concise and helps people focus on what is most important. 

Know When to Say No

As you are likely aware, it can be incredibly challenging to say no. This is especially true at the workplace and responding to colleague or coworker requests. However, when dealing with your backlog, it is incredibly important to be able to say no. Any ideas or potential entries that don’t contribute to the overall goal of the team should be declined.

This will ensure your product, software, company or program never becomes bloated. Sure, turning ideas down can be disheartening, it needs to be done. The less amount of items within the backlog, the leaner it will be. Even if something might be important later on, refrain from adding to the backlog to ensure it stays lean. Instead, you could add it to your roadmap or simply keep it on the back burner until it is time to make use of it.

Manage and Prioritize Your Backlog 

Of course, how your team actually manages the backlog can have a huge impact on how lean it is. You need to come up with a management plan and ensure everyone is on the same page regarding it. Everyone should be a part of ensuring the backlog is continuously updated and kept fresh. 

In addition to managing the backlog, it needs to be prioritized as well. You and your team need to work together to decide when and how each item should be implemented. Is it needed right now? Or can it wait for a future update? Addressing this early and often will make sure your team always knows how to move forward. 

In conclusion, hopefully, this blog post is able to help you make sure your backlog is lean. 

What to Consider Before Implementing a Pet-Friendly Office Policy

If you’re looking for a way to reduce stress in your office and improve employee productivity, adopting a pet-friendly office policy might be the solution. Having dogs in the workplace can encourage employees to interact with each other and may even result in reduced employee absenteeism. Another perk is that a pet-friendly office can even help to recruit millennials

But adopting a pet-friendly office policy is something that needs to be done strategically, since it can also have some downsides. The safety and happiness of both employees and their pets needs to be a priority, and bringing pets into the workplace also creates some legal liabilities that you should be prepared for. 

Options for Employees Who Can’t Be Around Dogs

While many of your employees may love the idea of a pet-friendly office, you’ll need to consider the employees who either can’t or don’t want to be around dogs. According to Square Foot, employees with pet allergies can experience mild to severe symptoms with dogs in the office. The Americans with Disabilities Act recognizes allergies as a disability in some cases, and if your office cannot accommodate the needs of employees with pet allergies, you could be discriminating against an employee with a disability (and breaking the law in the process). 

It’s also important to consider the fact that some employees may be fearful of dogs. Square Foot states that fear of dogs is one of the most common phobias, and bringing dogs into the workplace could create a situation where employees feel unsafe or even are unable to function. 

The layout of your office may allow you to create dog-friendly areas, so employees can avoid dogs if they need to. This solution does risk causing some employees to feel isolated or left out, though. 

Liability Insurance with Pets in the Workplace

Bringing pets into the workplace can increase your company’s liability. If employees or customers are injured by a pet or a pet causes damage in the building you’re renting, your business could be held liable. 

To understand how pets could affect your liability and your business insurance, start by having a conversation with your current insurance company. You may need to take out an additional business liability policy that specifically covers pets in the workplace. 

In addition to taking out liability insurance, you should prepare a plan in case an employee is ever bitten by a dog while in the workplace. Your plan should incorporate elements like a method for promptly gathering information about the incident, reporting the bite to the authorities, ensuring the employee gets immediate medical treatment, and removing the dog from the workplace. 

Dog Insurance to Protect Employees

When you bring multiple dogs into the same area for long periods of time, accidents and incidents can happen. Dogs can injure themselves while roughhousing with each other, and dog fights can and do occur. These incidents may result in costly vet bills. 

Pet insurance can help dog owners to cover the costs of unexpected vet bills and medical issues. If a dog gets into a fight, accesses some food that he shouldn’t eat, or has any other type of accident in the workplace, having pet insurance can reduce some of the financial stress that a trip to the animal ER or vet can create. You may want to recommend that your employees look into pet insurance policies before bringing their pets to the workplace. 

Having dogs in the office can carry the risk of diseases spreading, too. Kennel Cough is a highly contagious disease that can quickly spread when dogs are in close quarters. It results in a dry, hacking cough, and symptoms can last between one and three weeks. The disease spreads similarly to the way that colds spread among humans, and if dogs are together in an enclosed environment, like an office, the disease can spread rapidly. Employees may want to invest in a Kennel Cough vaccine for their dogs before bringing them to the office. 

Pets as Workplace Distractions

Pets are great for relieving stress and driving engagement between employees, but a workplace filled with pets can also be distracting. Multiple pets underfoot can disrupt employees’ attention spans, and the sound of dogs barking the background doesn’t make for a professional conference call with clients. 

If you decide to make your office pet-friendly, plan for ways to manage the pets and ensure employee safety. This may mean a restriction on the number of pets in the office each day and a requirement that pet owners bring in crates or baby gates to keep pets contained when they have to go to other rooms for conference calls. You may want to write a pet policy that dictates minimum age and training requirements for pets, office areas that are out-of-bounds, required vaccines for pets, and more. 

Informing an employee that their pet’s behavior is not acceptable and that their pet cannot continue to come into the office can create a difficult situation, but these types of situations can and will arise when you have pets in the office. By making a pet policy as detailed and clear as possible, you can help your employees to understand what’s expected of them and their pets. A detailed pet policy can also help to avoid problems before they happen. 

Plenty of offices are successfully pet-friendly, but it’s a decision that requires careful deliberation and preparation. Think about it thoroughly, and consider every scenario that could arise with the implementation of a pet policy. Get the opinion of all the office employees, and if it’s an overwhelming want, you can successfully make it happen. 

 

Guarantee Employee Job Satisfaction with Digital Workflows

Author: Chris Pope, VP Innovation, ServiceNow

 

The idea that company employees discuss and share their inner musings on corporate secrets when standing around the water cooler is probably more down to the movies than it is related to any form of reality. But if people are talking at work, one of the up-and-coming topics these days is their workflow—or lack of it.

Regardless of whether people talk at the water cooler, the tea station, or while queuing for lunch, we all discuss our working life experiences with each other in an informal way. It’s a sort of supplement―or you might say antidote—to human resources. And it’s where the crux of working lives is really played out.

So, in an increasingly connected and digitized world, may I suggest that the thread of water cooler conversations might be shifting slightly? Armed with new tools to transform the way many company processes are being carried out, people may now actually start discussing the state of their digital workflows and measuring their job satisfaction as a result.

 

A new yardstick for job satisfaction

People are now looking at the way work really gets done inside their organization in a far more granular and analytical way. Regardless of whether or not an individual is fully aware and cognizant of the digital workflow that their role may fall into, they are probably in one, nonetheless.

What everyone will know, instinctively, is that there is a flow of work between customers, partners and other members of an organization. What we can do with digital workflows is more accurately locate areas where work can be carried out more efficiently.

More than ever before we also know that people have more choice about the technology they use every day. We’ve witnessed the rise of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to work and the general consumerization of IT that came with it.

These experiences should tell us that if you don’t give people the right tools, then they will go and look for them. Equally, if you don’t give people the right applications, engagement systems and wider workflow patterns, then they will instinctively go and look for them, or make them.

 

Unrestrained innovation in a digitally native territory

The shift to digital business brings with it new opportunities. Non-techie business people are starting to embrace so called low-code software application development platforms that allow them to build elements of app functionality that work just the way they want them to.

As these new freedoms play out in the workplace, firms need to think about the unknown factors. Unbridled and unrestrained innovation is all very well, but the problem with custom-built point solutions is that they often do one thing well, but fail to provide scope for enterprise-wide scalability or an ability to integrate across the entire organisation.

If we think about platform-level technologies, we can build that innovation factor into software that is digitally native to the cloud era and so ready for a more structured approach. Because these applications have been built in a digitally native territory, they will be able to leverage fully integrated native device capabilities, such as maps, camera, and so on.

 

The virtuous circle of workflows

If we hinge our business models around digital workflows that define what data lives where, then we can more easily react to change and uncover new streams of profitable operation. Digitizing workflows means we can use defined data where it has the right impact, but also channel unstructured data to the data lake.

But even the information in the data lake need not go to waste―we can apply Machine Learning (ML) to these data resources and use algorithms to find patterns in business transactions where we weren’t even looking for them to drive new business outcomes. This can be a virtuous circle because workflows can be tuned and changed based upon the new insights uncovered.

 

The business process you didn’t know about

The best work processes are very often the ones that you follow, but that you didn’t even know about. If we define digital workflows and build our operational models around them, then we can increase productivity and create great experiences for employees who want to work anywhere and at any time.

A lot of employees have to take actions throughout the day that move the organization forward, but often these same actions prevent them from doing high-value work. It’s time to transform old, manual ways of working into modern digital workflows, so employees and customers get what they need, when they need it.

 

Create a joined-up experience

Kicking off digital workflow initiatives and getting your transformation started can be a real challenge and as a result, many companies struggle to even start their efforts. First of all, we all have disjointed internal systems and processes that make it hard to connect the dots. Trying to navigate these can feel like unravelling a ball of yarn, so the more you learn, the more complicated they seem.

Once you make sense of the systems and processes, you have to figure out the myriad tools and solutions that drive these. The end result you should be aiming for is a common, workflow-driven experience layer that is consistent across the systems in your organization.

Your typical company employee might still be more likely to discuss holiday plans, managerial peeves and whether or not the associate in accounts is being a pain about expense reports, but the water cooler conversation around ‘how is your workflow?’, is coming. Are you digitally hydrated yet?

 

Chris Pope - ServiceNow

 About the author

As ServiceNow’s global VP of Innovation, Chris brings more than 15 years of C-level executive experience with leading technology solutions and platforms across Product Management and Strategy. Chris also has the rare, added-value, experience of having been a ServiceNow customer multiple times so he understands the client and the vendor perspectives on business transformation. Chris’ proven track record working at and with the largest organisations globally, has seen him recognised as a thought leader in process and methodology. He holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Electronic Engineering from De Montfort University in the UK, and is a well-published author and contributor to many leading digital publications and blogs.

The Role of HR in Reputation Management

Most people think of recruiting and hiring when it comes to the HR department of any given company. But HR needs to be involved in much more than just interviewing potential employees. In fact, one of the most important aspects of HR work is reputation management. By guarding the company’s image and making sure employees are happy, it’s easier to not only harbor more interest from potential employees but to let the world know your company is a great place to work, grow, and find success. 

A human resource team should be properly trained when it comes to representing how the business looks to the rest of the world. It’s their responsibility to build and sustain a positive image for the business itself as well as its employees. That includes training for proper employee management and creating an environment where strong, respectful communication is expected and encouraged. Strong communication involves skills like being respectful, listening actively, knowing your audience, taking note of body language, and even habits as simple as putting your phone away.

When communication isn’t open between HR personnel and employees (especially unhappy employees), it will make matters worse and could result in an extremely stressful situation for your business. 

So, how can your HR team develop and sustain a positive reputation for your company? Let’s look at a few practices that your HR department should start committing to right away. 

Building a Better Company Culture

One of the best ways an HR team can focus on reputation management is to build a better company culture from the inside out. The way to do this will look a bit different for every type of business. It’s important to understand what’s important to your company and how you want to portray that not only to your employees but to the rest of the world. 

You want to make sure when any potential employee walks into your business for the first time, they get a full feel of what your company represents. They should understand your atmosphere, what’s expected, the culture surrounding other employees, the culture surrounding customers/clients, etc. It’s up to your HR team to make sure an environment of community and purpose always shines through. 

Other tactics that can be put into place to boost your company culture include things like: 

  • Encouraging your employees to share their positive experiences with the company on their own social media pages or on your company website. 
  • Encouraging your team to talk to potential hires before they start the job. 
  • Creating an environment in the workplace that motivates people to do their job well. 
  • Being flexible with people’s personal lives and schedules. 
  • Building a team — not just a group of individual workers. 
  • Having a strong company mission and making sure everyone knows it. 
  • Communicating with one another to keep things as clear as possible between employees and management. 

When your HR team chooses to create a positive company culture an environment that ensures employees are happy, the benefits will speak for themselves. Not only will you have a crew of employees who are excited to do their job and who are likely willing to go above and beyond, but you’re also more likely to recruit better employees to come work for your company. The trickle-down effect of a great workforce is self-evident. When you have the right people in the right positions, your customers — and in turn your business — will reap the benefits. 

It doesn’t end there. There are personnel techniques your HR team can utilize to highlight the net impact of each employee. Once you’ve found those people who love the work and are willing to go above and beyond, a good management structure won’t let them stagnate. For example:

  • If an employee shows a proclivity toward working with customers, you can create a customer success position in which their strengths can shine. 
  • If a member of your team is highly detail-oriented and organized, consider how they can help your organization by becoming a company auditor to ensure legal compliance with regulations and optimal efficiency.
  • If a member of your team is good at networking, they may be a good candidate when it comes to finding someone to manage your brand’s social media account.

Give employees the opportunity to play an active role in their own career development and the growth of the business. Professional empowerment is a force of nature, so keep an eye out for the unique skill sets that each of your hires bring to the table. 

How to Handle Unhappy Employees

Though reputation management is a big deal when it comes to finding new employees, it starts from the inside, and any successful HR team needs to realize that when they’re working on company culture. The old saying goes that you can’t make everyone happy all the time. But, people who work in HR should make it a constant mission to keep employees content. Yes, it starts with creating the right culture, but that culture needs to be continuously fostered to take care of employees who are already working hard. 

Some signs of disgruntled or unhappy employees typically include things like attendance problems, poor work quality, negative attitudes, or complaints about the job. Sometimes, though, employees won’t say anything about how dissatisfied they are, and they may just opt to quit. A high turnover rate within your company is a sign that your HR team isn’t doing what is needed to ensure everyone’s satisfaction. 

That might seem like a small problem to have, but if employees start leaving, they could do damage to your company’s reputation.Word of mouth goes a long way, and what a former employee says to a customer could result in a negative review. This could lead you to have to hire some serious reputation management. If not the negative reviews can be a huge red flag for people who might have otherwise been interested in working at your business. 

Additionally, an HR team has to be prepared for unexpected situations. For example, if an employee gets hurt on the job, reputation management is still an important consideration. Typical job injuries include things like: 

It’s up to the HR team to make sure an injured employee gets the care they need. If they don’t, that employee could take legal action, which could seriously damage any company’s reputation. 

Reputation management is important for any business. But, it’s not just about making sure customers and clients see you in a positive light; it’s making sure you’re attracting the right people to work for you and keeping your current employees satisfied with your company culture. This should fall on the shoulders of a quality, driven HR team. Putting some of these ideas into action immediately can make a big difference for your business by providing a boost to your reputation.