Drugs and the Workplace: Testing, Workers’ Compensation, and Recovery Assistance

As a company’s human resources representative, a lot of responsibility falls on your shoulders when it comes to the general well-being of employees. You’re responsible for creating initiatives to help employees thrive, as well as protecting them from falling victim to any injuries that could occur in the workplace while on the job.

One of the main preventative measures that HR reps take to avoid putting the company and its employees at risk is requiring drug testing for anyone who joins the team. This can help ensure that everyone who becomes a part of the work team doesn’t participate in risky behaviors in their private life and doesn’t have a problem being sober during work hours.

However, there are many aspects and scenarios regarding drugs in the workplace that HR reps must be ready to handle: drug testing, workers’ compensation issues, and addiction recovery assistance.

Drug Screening

Drug screening is an important part of the hiring process because of how interruptive drugs can be in a workplace environment. Through drug testing, employers can mitigate the risks that come with hiring certain candidates that may not be stable enough to perform the job they’re applying for. Similarly, using a background check service can help you make sure that the person you’re hiring is legally compliant and who they say they are.

By drug screening applicants at your company, you can help decrease employee turnover and absenteeism, as people who get involved in drugs may often be unable to attend work. They may also eventually become too ill and distracted to keep their jobs. Whether the position you’re hiring for is an office job or one that requires physical labor, ensuring that whoever you hire is not a habitual drug user will increase safety in the workplace.

It will also improve the safety of those tested, especially if an individual’s duty involves driving or working with heavy machinery, and doubly so if the drug in question is highly addictive and debilitating. Methamphetamine, for example, can be an extremely damaging substance that can form an addiction that is difficult to recover from. If a drug test detects the presence of a substance like this, it may spur the individual to seek recovery (more on this later).

Drug screening helps to reduce an employer’s risk in the workplace by lowering workers’ compensation incidence rates and workplace accidents. However, just because someone’s drug test comes back clean once doesn’t mean they won’t ever use drugs in the workplace. This is why it may be a good idea (and possibly legally mandatory, depending on your state) to test employees regularly, especially if their job involves driving or operating heavy machinery.

Worker’s Compensation

Accidents and injuries should not be occurring in the workplace if employees are abiding by set safety regulations. When an accident or injury occurs, it’s often a sign that something went wrong — or that someone was distracted and not doing their job. Although accidents can occur even when everyone follows all the rules, requiring drug testing after workplace injuries is a common policy simply to cover the company’s bases.

If your company has a zero-tolerance policy in regards to drug use, and you discover that the person was injured as a result of the effects of drugs or alcohol use during work hours, the company may not be responsible for the injury. The company would not be liable for paying workers’ compensation for an injury that was not their fault. Although employers should be willing to compensate employees when something goes wrong, an employee under the influence at work isn’t doing their job, and they’re even putting their other coworkers at risk.

Recovery Assistance

However, it’s important to remember that addiction is a public health issue, sometimes even leading to overdoses in the workplace. If your workplace doesn’t involve physical labor, driving or regular drug testing, there are often still occasions when an employee may be discovered or come forward about struggling with addiction and say that they will be undergoing substance abuse treatment. Under these circumstances, the HR representative will need to ensure they comply with federal laws regarding substance abuse in the workplace.

One of the most common laws used under these circumstances is the Family and Medical Care Leave Act, which protects an employee’s position at work if they are seeking treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction problem. This law applies to all public agencies and private employers with more than 50 employees. It protects employees who have been at a company for over one year and permits them to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to deal with substance use disorders. A good employer should be supportive and offer resources for recovery.

The treatment plan for those struggling with addiction may involve prescription drugs, and it’s important to understand the implications of some of these medications. For instance, those suffering from opioid addiction may be prescribed Suboxone, an oral film that is used to reduce opioid misuse. However, because this drug has some opioid effects, it may show up on certain drug tests. Therefore, a subsequent positive drug test may not indicate that an employee is failing to comply with their addiction treatment program. Considerations like this are important to keep in mind while helping an employee through this troubling time.

Drugs in the workplace can be a stressful situation for HR reps to deal with, but it should be one that you feel ready to handle at all times because it is a prevalent issue. Drug screening as part of the hiring process can help ensure that the workplace environment is safe and conducive to productivity from the very beginning. Drug screening after injuries is a standard procedure to prevent more accidents from occurring.

However, sometimes dedicated employees will find themselves in a difficult situation regarding substance abuse, and it’s important to give them support and help them get back on their feet. Whatever the situation is, it must be handled with delicacy and respect to ensure that the company is being fair to their employees and abiding by federal workplace laws.

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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 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.

Why Must High School Students Enter Scholarship Programs?

Why Must High School Students Enter Scholarship Programs?

A scholarship is not just prize money. It’s not just an opportunity. It’s pride. When you win a scholarship, you stand out as the one. And this is the thing which in future helps you in many other competitions, contests, and situations. Hence when you prepare for a scholarship competition, you actually prepare somewhere to face life. And if this is about scholarships for high school seniors, then this can literally change your outlook towards life right from this time when you are attending the high school and still didn’t join college.

The role of scholarship in the life of a student

In the life of a school student, the role of scholarship-winning is huge. Even preparing for a scholarship means a lot for a school student. Here are some of the things a school student, especially a high school student with more understanding of how the world goes, would experience:

  • Preparing for the scholarship would tell the student how difficult or tough it can be to stand out as one, and compete with others when there are many more same age competitors in the competition.
  • Preparation for the scholarships for high school seniors takes the student through nurturing the mindset to win. This involves an understanding of the project or topic, and creation of strong determination to win, and involving the best presentation skills to win the heart of the examiner who will be reviewing the presentation or essay, etc.
  • The student on winning will gain great confidence in This is a much important achievement at this young age, which will help the student develop great self-confidence about his or her ability to stand out as the winner, win in a competition, and get rewarded.
  • A scholarship is prize This may be a small or big amount, but definitely an amount to suffice the fee for the education of the high school senior. And if the student is already getting a backing and financial support from the family and guardian, then he or she need not spend this scholarship money, and can rather save it fully. The saved scholarship money can be used later in other constructive work, further education, and many such important projects. And in case the student needed financial backing, the award money can be a great support.
  • The student winning the scholarship earns respect in the eyes of teachers, fellow students, classmates and all.

In this way, the students who are competing for some scholarship program, and those who have won some program, all feel great in one way or the other. Altogether fighting or competing for such a scheme brings a nice feel, and with each attempt to get a scholarship, the student gains many experiences of preparing projects, making presentations, writing essays, presenting topics, researching on topics, and so on. This also teaches the student to create a mentality to compete with many others and yet strive to be the number one. If by chance an average student bags a scholarship, then the morale of that student will get a tremendous boost, which is a great thing.

Why try for a scholarship when you are in a high school?

The habit of taking part in competitions should be adopted from the school life only. The high school is an important phase of life, when the child grows up and steps from the 17th year to the 18th year of his or her life. At this stage, this student becomes an adult. And in this transition stage, values of things in life gets quite magnified from they used to be earlier. That is why the importance of competitive exams and contests holds true value to them. One who competes for a scholarship realizes the health in that competition, the pride, and achievement in winning, and also the true experience gained in attempting. This overall helps in grooming and development of the student’s outlook of the world and the competitive educational system too. Also, the student realizes the importance of money, and the utility of that prize money in fee payment assistance, planning further education or n personal financing.

The implication of high school senior scholarships

The high school students need to be funded more than others. That’s because soon they will be stepping out of high school and meeting more financial requirements to apply to various undergraduate courses etc. Also, there may be students who are financially struggling to meet even the high school educational fee, exam fee, and many such expenses. And since, this final year is a much crucial year; the students need to have financial backing and stability to have that mental peace, which will help them study better with concentration and perform well.

Finally

Students can get an idea of the ongoing scholarship schemes from many online resources which gives current news with complete detail of all such schemes.

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.

Studying & Working Abroad: The Pros and Cons of Foreign Exchange

Is studying in your home country exciting and inspiring enough for you? If not, you’re probably considering a foreign exchange program, so that you can work and study in a country of your choosing. As appealing as this concept can be, moving to a country completely different from yours can also have some downsides. So, in case you’re considering changing your scenery in order to work and study abroad, here are some pros and cons you should be aware of.

Language and culture

Moving to another country usually means experiencing a fresh lifestyle and getting familiar with a new culture and a language. A con would be that it’s sometimes very difficult to adapt to things you haven’t had contact with so far. Learning a new language could require a lot of effort and it might also slow down your studies and make it more difficult to find a job.

On the other hand, there are several pros to this as well. Yes, you have to learn a new language, but what better and faster way to do it than by being surrounded by people speaking it all the time? Also, even though a new culture and customs can appear strange and puzzling, there is a lot to gain from learning about them and being a part of them. If reading books and watching documentaries can broaden your horizons, then actually experiencing something as interesting as this can be enriching beyond what you could imagine. Plus, of course, adding another language to your CV could mean a great advantage when you apply even for the most demanding and difficult-to-fill positions.

Accommodation

Finding accommodation in a foreign country could prove to be tricky, which is another con. The reason for this is that you need to find a place to stay even before you actually move there. Most people do it online, but what you see on the internet can differ greatly from what you actually get when you arrive.

The pro here is that a growing number of countries are making an effort to make foreign students feel more welcome. Countries like Australia are aware of how important it is for students to feel comfortable and safe while on foreign exchange. This is why you can find awesome student accommodation in Sydney, where hospitality and student security are among top priorities, along with great location and a positive environment for young people of all cultures and backgrounds. These accommodation options are close to the city center and some of the universities, while you can use public transport to get to other universities easily.

Social connections

When it comes to your social life, your friendships and family relations, there is an obvious con if you move abroad. It’s only natural that you miss your closest friends and your family members greatly. This may make you feel lonely and in need of some emotional support, which is something you didn’t have to think about while you were surrounded by those who love you and know you best. Furthermore, in case you’re pursuing a career, once you move, people might disregard you as an employee option.

However, a huge pro is that you’ll get to meet many new people from all over the world. Think about all the new friendships you’ll have the chance of making. Even if you find it hard to form meaningful connections with new people, you’ll meet so many of them that it will be next to impossible not to find somebody you like and want to become friends with. This can even make it easier to deal with your studies, since most of the people you’ll meet will be students, just like you, giving you an opportunity to form a nice study group. Meeting your academic requirements is always more fun and less stressful when you’re doing it with somebody’s help. Plus, you’ll be in a position to make new business connections and open some new career doors for when you decide where you want to live and what kind of job you want to do.

Expenses

One of the main cons of studying abroad can be the expenses. Not only do you have to pay for the transport there and probably some fees for your student visa, but the university fees are sometimes different for foreign students, too. And then there are the accommodation expenses, the food and everything else.

The pro here is that there are many scholarships and other financial benefits available to international students nowadays in many of the world countries. You can actually study for free as a foreign student in countries like Germany, Belgium, Greece, Italy and Spain. Some countries, like India, Argentina and Taiwan have study programs at great value for international students, while others, including Australia, New Zealand, Russia and Canada offer scholarships to people who want to come from abroad and study there. And when it comes to other everyday expenses, they are something you’ll have to deal with even if you study in your own country, which is why they should definitely not be something to stop you from studying abroad.

There are advantages and disadvantages to every choice you make in life. The best thing you can do sometimes is to just leap forward and see what life brings you. You never know. This might be the best choice you’ve ever made.

Benefits of Partnership Between Employers and Training Providers

The partnership between employers and training providers is important for both small businesses and massive corporations alike. Small business owners find this to be a frugal option, seeing as how they can’t afford to hire experts, which means that they are forced to train their own employees to become experts. As for the big companies, by having a solid collaboration with an RTO, they can customize the training program so that it fits the needs of their company. In other words, they’re not training niche experts, in general; instead, they’re training experts with a specific set of skills necessary for the position that they’re about to assume. Here are several benefits of this partnership that you should know about.

1. The choice of target skills

When it comes to traditional, formal education, its biggest downside is the fact that it gives an uniformed format of education, instead of specializing. This is where RTOs have a much greater advantage. Instead of training your entire staff to do a plethora of tasks around the office, you, as an employer, get to choose courses that benefit your brand the most. Needless to say, this makes your job of delegating tasks much simpler, as well, seeing as how you get to assign functions to your staff according to their skills and abilities. This can also help you avoid a lot about bias in choosing functions for team members.

2. Preparing for the future

The most important thing about the company’s future is the consistency of staff. Now, the problem in this lies in the fact that people leave your employ all the time. They go someplace else, start projects of their own, retire or even go on leave. The latter might not fall under the same category as the first three, yet, it still makes a team member unavailable. So, you need to have someone capable to take their place in order not to allow for an absence of a single team member to cause downtime. Moreover, you need to plan for the growth, which is why you need to start preparing your staff in time. By having assistance from VET professionals, you can easier anticipate these changes and get a better understanding of the process necessary to prepare your staff for this.

3. Setting objectives

Perhaps the biggest advantage, and the most underestimated one out there is your ability to set the objectives for the training. Namely, this training costs effort, time and resources. We’re not just talking about paying for the course but also providing your employees with materials like Compliant Learning Resources. So, you need to know that you’re getting your money’s worth from this deal. You need to know how the performance of the employee will improve after the training. Other than this, you need to know how this will affect your employee retention rate. The last thing you need is for someone to complete the training, under your tutelage and sponsorship only to leave you once a better offer arrives.

4. Including your employees

Keep in mind that while employee training is a positive thing, it’s not necessarily seen as such by an employee who sees it as mandatory and unnecessary. For instance, sending someone on a course that will prepare them to do a task that they don’t really care about might cause the employee to leave or, at very least, underperform. Instead, you need to allow your team members to become an active participant in the decision-making process. This can be much more efficient with the sufficient amount of collaboration with the training provider. In fact, putting in touch the employee in question and the training provider is the kind of networking that works to everyone’s benefit.

5. Internal vs. outsourced training

At the very end, it’s important to mention that there’s another form of employee training, one that’s much more common, yet, also the one that we’ve failed to mention so far. We’re talking about the internal or the in-house training. This either requires you to hire trainers or appoint some of your team members as mentors (start a mentoring program). Such a course of action will tailor your mentoring program to the needs of your company and generate materials to be reused in the future. Nonetheless, by teaming up with the right training provider and learning material supplier, you can achieve all of that with the addition of a much higher quality of training program. After all, we’re talking about specialized RTO.

In conclusion

At the very end, a partnership between employers and training providers is a business world occurrence that takes place virtually every single day. In other words, it’s something that deeply affects your business model and your business plans. Still, until you know all the benefits that you get to reap from this relationship, you won’t be able to tell just how cost-effective it is to invest your time and resources to make it all happen.

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.

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.