How Did COVID 19 Affect People with Disabilities

COVID 19 presents a global threat, and the pandemic is particularly dangerous for many groups, including the elderly, people who already have a health condition, and people with disabilities. Everyone in the world is affected by this crisis in some way or another.

The risks are not just health-related. The global economy has suffered a lot thanks to the virus, and many people are endangered, as they can’t provide for themselves and their families. Some people are given opportunities to work from home and keep their income steady, while others don’t have the same luxury. Read on for a thorough breakdown of how COVID 19 affects people with disabilities.

1. Not All Disabled People Are Affected the Same Way

We shouldn’t bundle all people within a group together, because being disabled can be a lot of different things. What we’re getting at, is that some disabled persons live alone, and cope with it just fine, while others depend on help from others.

A lot of disabled people live in groups, such as nursing homes. People who live in such facilities are impossible to isolate. As everyone already knows, isolation is the best prevention against COVID 19. The people who can’t isolate themselves are at the highest risk of exposure to the virus.

Imagine living in close quarters with many other disabled people, with no chance of isolation. In those conditions, people with disabilities are at high risk of contracting COVID 19, because they aren’t just in contact with other invalids, they are also in contact with the helping staff. It’s not a single doctor or nurse who takes care of them, they’re a dozen.

The medical staff is very exposed to COVID 19, and they take the biggest risks. Furthermore, their patients are at risk too, meaning that medical facilities aren’t exactly the safest right now. Finally, we can conclude that people with disabilities aren’t affected equally, and their disability isn’t the biggest risk. On the contrary, the risk lies in their living arrangements and their possible exposure to COVID 19.

2. Economic Stability Is a Huge Factor Too

The harsh reality in any crisis is that well-situated people are generally safer than those with low or no income at all. The same goes for the disabled. Being rich or having some financial backing goes a long way for treating any medical condition, and preventing exposure to a virus as widespread as COVID 19.

Money is not a bulletproof shield, but it is a shield of sorts. In a state of emergency, it can help immensely because it can provide the necessary protection and coping mechanisms. Generally speaking, people with disabilities usually aren’t as financially stable as those with no medical conditions. People who live in countries with proper social care systems don’t have to worry as much as those in low-income countries.

Money can get you medical, hygiene, and food supplies to last in this difficult situation. If you have money to spare, you can pay for various delivery services, which are extremely popular these days. Most people, not just those with disabilities, don’t have big savings for dark days.

You can say we’re all experiencing those dark times right now. Social service programs that help the disabled financially aren’t exactly giving out enough money to provide savings. Those cheques are usually instantly spent on basic needs. If you’re disabled and manage to get a job, which is incredibly difficult right now, you can say goodbye to the social support cheques.

3. Is Working an Option?

People with disabilities have a much harder time finding a job at any time, let alone during a crisis. Some disabled people are lucky enough to have jobs that can be done from home. They are in the best position right now because they have a steady income and they can self-isolate.

On the other side are people with disabilities whose work involves human contact. They’re at risk, and there’s nothing to be done because they can’t just go and work from home. If they leave their job, they won’t have any income unless they manage to get some social security fast. What’s better, to be poor and “safe”, or to keep your job and stay exposed to COVID 19? There’s no right answer to that question since both options are far from perfect.

If you’d like to help people with disabilities in this time of crisis, it’s best to apply for the NDIS registration process at Provider Plus. It’s a very difficult process, so you shouldn’t do it without professional help. Provider Plus is an all-in-one service, which can help your business become an NDIS registered provider in no time. They have a 100% approval rate for all their clients, which speaks volumes about their success.

Conclusion

Even though maintaining physical health is important, we shouldn’t disregard mental health either. This global state of alert is not beneficial to the mental state of anyone. Isolation is more difficult for those with mental issues. They must be given some leeway, and the right to occasionally go outside and take a breather.

People with disabilities are usually bundled together, under the same banner, but they are not the same. Their disabilities differ, some have physical disabilities, while others have mental health conditions. Each of these conditions should be addressed specifically, and these people should be given appropriate help, especially in these dire circumstances.

Is Drug Testing at Workplace a Good Idea?

Here we have a slightly controversial topic on our hands. Objectively looking drug testing at the workplace has its benefits and of course, it has its drawbacks.

Many companies consider drug testing at the workplace a fair policy and safety precaution – they are not only protecting their business but their employees as well. There are even laws and regulations regarding workplace drug abuse.

Let’s start with all the types of drug testing methods available for workplace testing and work towards whether or not it’s a good idea.

Types of drug testing methods

A drug test determines whether or not an employee is using any illegal substances. Currently, many employers, as well as employees, are starting to realize the importance of this policy. This is also why both employees and employers should be aware of all the possible types of drug testing methods.

The most important thing to know is that you have options as there are at least five types of methods available for workplace drug testing.

The first option is the most common option used for drug testing and that’s a urine drug test. If someone has been using drugs recently, the traces of it will most definitely be detected in the urine.

While urine drug testing is the most common type of drug testing, a saliva drug test is the most popular one. This type of test is pretty self-explanatory and the reason for being so popular is due to its less invasive nature. Besides this method is not as expensive as all others.

The hair testing method is another good way of seeing whether a person has been using drugs. However, many people claim that this method is no good because it doesn’t measure current drug use but it can detect if someone used months before – which is not the point when it comes to workplace drug testing.

Another method includes blood testing. This method is the most invasive one and at the same time the most expensive out of all. And even if this method is often avoided because of its cost and invasiveness, it’s the best way to detect the presence of substances as well as the exact amount of substances used.

The fifth method includes perspiration testing. This method is fairly new and it requires wearing a sweat path on the skin for a couple of days. This patch will detect the presence of drugs through perspiration.

Benefits of drug testing at the workplace

Safety of the employees

The number one reason why drug testing at the workplace is a good idea is safety. Every employer should provide a healthy and safe work environment. One of the ways to do this is to implement the drug testing policy.

Workplace injuries and hazardous situations are often related to substance use. People who use drugs are less aware and they also tend to be less concerned about their own safety and the safety of others. Additionally, drugs tend to slow reaction time which means that those who use drugs are at risk and pose a risk to their coworkers as well.

Drug testing at the workplace will ensure that all employees are safe and healthy and it will prevent a dangerous situation, especially in high-risk jobs.

Avoiding legal problems

The drug-testing program can save you a lot of troubles, especially those of a legal kind. Just imagine how many legal problems can an employee who uses drugs cause. They can endanger not only their own lives but the lives of their coworkers as well as your own company.

Workplace drug testing program ensures that all your employees are safe, that the environment that they work in is also safe and that no one poses any risk.

Avoiding problems and maintaining good company image

Employees who use drugs can’t perform their duties to the best of their abilities. Drug intoxication causes many problems, and one of those includes making mistakes and giving poor results at work. Consequently, this affects the image of your company.

The best way to ensure that your employees are giving the best possible results and thus maintaining a good public image of your company is to implement a drug testing policy into your company.

Drawbacks of drug testing at the workplace

Invasion of privacy

Drug testing at the workplace is often seen as an invasion of privacy. Many employees feel like drug testing is a violation of their privacy, their freedom and also a lack of trust from their employer.

This is especially true in cases of random drug testing when a random employee is chosen to do the test. That individual may feel resentful and insulted.

Expensive drug tests

As mentioned above, there are several different types of drug tests and some of them can be pretty costly. This is the main reason why so many employers tend to stay away from implementing drug testing programs.

Bottom line is that in many cases the benefits of workplace drug testing outweigh the drawbacks. Nothing beats the safety of your employees and the safety of the work environment.

There are different methods of drug testing that don’t have to be all that expensive and yet they do the work. Ultimately, the decision about whether drug testing at the workplace is a good idea or not is on the employer.

New Recruitment & Training Techniques for HR Management

Staffing is one of the biggest employer challenges, especially in the growing healthcare industry, for example. The unemployment rate in the field has dropped to a mere 2.0%, making employee recruitment and retention critical to your organization’s success. Technology can aid your HR department in the process.

Recruitment

It’s important to understand who best fits your company’s culture (and what they’re looking for in return) to recruit the top talent in a competitive market. Ensure your efforts to attract and hire new personnel is well focused and that your organization understands a prospect’s needs.

Consider streamlining the hiring process by requiring prospects to test for the position. Doing so will save you time on meetings and interviews with individuals who may look good on paper but may not be a match. Culture indexing uses technology to assess and qualify top talent for better hiring. These short online tests determine whether or not an organization is the right fit for you and the recruit.

It’s also important to collaborate with other HR staff to understand what ideal hires look for in a new employer. To know what your target talent wants, it’s sometimes best to know what they don’t want. A report by the Work Institute listed the top reasons employees quit their jobs. Retirement and the work environment were among the top 10. While the former is unpreventable, the latter can be altered; use the information provided to find solutions to the main employee complaints and position your organization as one of the top companies in the field.

Career Development

The report found that the No. 1 reason workers leave is to further advance their careers (22%). Does your company offer benefits that allow for staff to train and move up in the organization? If not, start developing a system now. Otherwise, when recruiting, emphasize your company’s commitment to employee advancement and training programs.

Consider including the discussion of career goals as part of the regularly-scheduled employee performance review. Find ways to implement an online training program or on-the-job learning where staff can expand their current skills. The medical field is a busy and fast-paced industry. Asynchronous learning may be the best solution for employees interested in ongoing education because they can study around their busy schedules.

Help employees meet their career goals by assigning a manager or lead who can guide them and document the staff member’s career goals. Your organization may already have a system for HR files. Include a career goal profile in the employee’s personnel file so that HR and other support personnel can stay updated and track their progress. 

Work-Life Balance

Even the best personnel can experience burnout. The Work Institute’s report found that 12 out of 100 people left their job to attain a better work-life balance. Offering staff more flexible work hours using flextime, job sharing, or telecommuting where staff work from home (when possible) are some solutions to address the work-life balance challenge.

Telecommuting or remote work may be the best solution for personnel who may be in danger of burnout. Can your company implement processes and technology so that employees may work remotely from home? Airtasker.com surveyed 1,000 full-time employees and found that remote work made employees more productive and allowed them to have more time for their personal lives. 

Working from home saved employees an average of 8.5 hours per week previously wasted on commuting. And most importantly, remote workers were more focused and productive, with an average non-productive time of 37 minutes while at the office and 27 minutes while at home.

Work Environment

Several of the reasons employees quit their job have to do with the work environment itself. The reasons employees left included:

  • Manager behavior: 11 out of 100
  • Well-being: 8 out of 100
  • Job characteristics: 8 out of 100
  • Literal work environment: 5 out of 100

Reducing conflict and high-pressure in the work environment may be difficult in certain healthcare facilities like an urgent care facility or an ambulatory surgical center. Still, it’s worth the effort if your organization wants to attract and retain employees. The benefits go well beyond team morale — improving the work environment can enhance the quality of care and reduce costly errors. Consider how the following improvements can benefit your company:

Redesign the Office Layout

Improve flow by separating patient traffic from areas where medical staff frequently access. Separate entrances make it easier for staff to enter and exit patient rooms and work with less interruption. Besides separating patients from staff, give management their own area away from staff, so that team members can work freely without feeling overly observed.

Create an Environment With Well-Being in Mind

A calm and inviting environment is ideal for patients, but consider your staff’s needs as well. Repaint walls in a soothing neutral color; there are many options, from soft whites to bolder grays. Simple improvements like natural or improved lighting, live plants, and ergonomic office furniture add comfort and function in the workspace.

Improvements Start at the HR Level

Attracting new hires and retaining existing personnel is essential to your company’s growth. It’s one of the most important tasks of the HR department. Implementing new ideas and technology to create an ideal work environment can better position your company as one of the most sought-after in the job market. 

Ways You Can Develop a Healthy Work Environment for Your Employees

Almost all business leaders realize that the happier and healthier your team is, the better they will perform. And of course, great performance by employees means that your company grows and succeeds more easily.

However, too many leaders don’t put a lot of thought or planning into their work environment. They let it be whatever it is – which is often something not conducive to high productivity and engaged work. 

The good news is that you can create a work environment where your employees are healthy and happy. Here’s what you need to know. 

Provide a Sense of Mission For Everyone

Too many company mission statements are a mish-mash of corporate-speak that doesn’t really mean anything to anyone. It goes on the wall, but it isn’t lived out day-to-day. But your business can be different.

People’s lives at work are greatly enriched if they feel that they are doing something meaningful. It gives them a sense of ownership and encourages them to do their best work. Pay alone doesn’t encourage creativity and engagement. Mission-driven workers are 54% more likely to stay for five years at a company and 30% more likely to become high performers. 

Making your mission the front and center of every day isn’t just good for employees, either – it’s essential to a successful organization. The mission makes your team cohesive.

Patagonia is a great example of this. They have an explicit mission to be a steward of the planet and among other initiatives, don’t make metal pitons that are hammered into rock. Their clothing is made from organic cotton. And it doesn’t stop there. Their headquarters welcomes employees’ children and the company allows surfing breaks, flexible schedules, and volunteering sabbaticals. 

The result? A successful company, 4% turnover, and 9,000 applicants for new openings. 

Pretty impressive!

Offer Health and Wellness Resources

A company that wants a truly healthy and happy environment will offer the resources to make it happen. 

A big part of this is allowing workers time off when they’re ill, and encouraging them to treat their illness rather than being a “hero” and coming to work sick. Using a natural treatment method such as CBD can help employees battle a number of cold and flu symptoms at once, such as aches and pains, fatigue, and even nausea.

You can also offer workplace wellness programs. Wellness programs encourage healthy behaviors, give options for treating problems, and encourage employees to be consistent in their health efforts. 

As a result, your company will save a significant amount of money. The average financial return on these programs is $3.27 in health savings for every dollar spent, along with $5.82 for every dollar spent in lower absenteeism. 

Employees appreciate these programs, both for the impact on health and on the overall culture of the company. In fact, 87% consider these options when choosing an employer.

If you want a happier, healthier workforce, consider offering a variety of health-related programs employees can take advantage of. This may include health educators, counselors, and even massage therapists. Health educators and counselors can provide in-depth education on preventive care employees can engage in to keep themselves in tip-top shape. These educational programs often teach lifestyle changes and choices such as diet or exercise programs or meditation techniques.

Don’t Overlook Mental Health

Americans are among the most stressed populations in the world, and nearly half feel worried on a regular basis. Helping your employees handle these pressures is important. Some of the cause is work stress, but many Americans also feel stressed about finances, their health, and their families. 

Offering access to confidential mental health programs like an Employee Assistance Program can also make a big difference. You can also encourage the use of technology, like mobile apps, to monitor and improve mental health.

Be sure you don’t stigmatize or punish employees — officially or unofficially — who take advantage of these programs. Otherwise, you’re working against the health and happiness you’re spending money to provide.

When you prioritize physical and mental health in the workplace, you’re sending a message that your employees matter and aren’t just a worker to you. You see them as people, and that’s important for a healthy work environment.

Give Consistent Praise and Recognition

Not receiving praise and recognition for good work is a consistent complaint among employees. Too many workplaces focus on correcting mistakes and overlook when people do a good job. It’s simply expected.

Unfortunately, not giving praise and recognition puts your employees on the fast track to leaving the company. Being unappreciated is the number one reason employees look for other jobs. 

Make a plan and include recognition as a regular part of the workday. Whether it’s encouraging employees to brag on each other or getting a thank you from a manager, your staff needs to feel appreciated. Be sure to solicit feedback from your employees on a variety of things — did your team deploy a new product?  How did it go? Have you implemented that new recognition program? What’s working and what isn’t? Great bosses ask for feedback and put it into practice. It’s yet another way to recognize your employees’ contributions.

Healthy and Happy Workers Matter

Why should you bother with employee health and happiness? Because it matters to your business and your bottom line. Companies with happy employees outperform competitors by 20%. Plus, when your employees are happier it impacts how they do their job.

Unhappy employees telegraph their attitude to customers. So do happy ones. So if you want excellent customer service, you want to have a happy, healthy staff.

You’ll also save significant money on health costs, turnover, and absenteeism when your team is healthier and happier. 

Most of all, you’ll be treating employees as what they are – real people who really matter. That, alone, is plenty of reason to invest in a healthy work environment.

Best Free Conference Call Services for Businesses

Having the right conference call service on your side can help improve your business in so many different ways. First of all, it provides you with a chance to contact members of your team who are far away on a moment’s notice. It also allows you to skip the necessity to go across the globe in order to attend a meeting in person. Sure, a lot of people prefer a face-to-face meeting, however, organizing one in order to resolve an issue in several minutes is a waste of everyone’s time and resources. Fortunately, a conference call service can help you avoid this but which platforms are the best for your business? Here are several worth considering.

  1. Skype

It would be simply unfair not to mention skype at the very top of this list. Why? Well, the first reason is the fact that even today, skype boasts with as many as 1 billion downloads and about 300 million monthly active users. One more thing that sets skype apart is the fact that it’s at the very top of the industry for years now. Keep in mind that this tool is completely free and that it provides you with a simple and efficient conference call service that you can use for both international and local meetings alike.

  1. Google Hangouts

If there’s one thing that we can notice about Google nowadays it’s the fact that it tries to be competitive in virtually every field out there. This ranges from becoming competitive with MS Office, with tools like Google Docs and Google Sheets. One incredible Google tool that you can use for conference call services is the so-called Google Hangouts. The best thing about this tool is that it’s completely browser-based and that, all you need to access it is a Google Account. In other words, it’s a tool that you can always default to.

  1. Zoom

Another amazing tool for conference calls, especially if you have a particularly large team, is Zoom. The only downside of this tool lies in the fact that your calls are limited to 40 minutes, however, seeing as how the majority of meetings don’t actually exceed 20 minutes, this is more than enough. Other than this, by having a limited time for the meeting, you’ll have extra motivation to keep it short and to the point. It is estimated that we spend about 31 hours in unnecessary meetings each month, either way, so avoiding this might be especially important. Needless to say, you have both free and premium accounts.

  1. Redback Connect

When it comes to hosting a conference with a particularly large audience, what you might need is a tool that’s closer to a life event streaming service than an IM software. Redback Connect is a perfect example. As is expected, this is something that can completely erase all geographical boundaries, which makes it ideal even for major industry-relevant conventions. The fact that you can also provide your audience with an on-demand content makes for another major selling point of this tool.

  1. Viber

Another tool that you need to take into consideration is the use of Viber for the purpose of conference-calling. The problem with this idea lies in the fact that Viber’s biggest advantage also tends to be its major downside. Namely, a Viber is a tool that virtually everyone nowadays has installed on their phone. On top of this, it also has a desktop version. The fact that it has a wide personal use makes people available 24/7, however, this also means that they might get distracted by other (personal) messages that they receive while working.

  1. FreeConferenceCall.com

The next tool that’s worth your consideration is the FreeConferenceCall.com. This is a reliable and simple tool with a more than self-explanatory name. The tool itself can be registered for free in a matter of minutes but you also have an option to continue with your Facebook account, thus facilitating this already short process even further. The use of this tool is also quite simple, seeing as how you can set up an online conference in a simple three-steps-long move. You get a free account, you invite participants and you start an audio conference. It really is that simple.

  1. WebEx

One more amazing tool that you should consider using is WebEx. The benefits of using this tool are numerous, the biggest one being the fact that you get to the conference call, screen share and file share within the same platform. Due to the fact that the tool also has a simple and effective whiteboard for quick and efficient messaging, it is more than clear that this is an end-to-end conference tool like no other. This is particularly effective when you’re sharing visual ideas. For instance, in a scenario where you’re trying to design a custom sign for your business. A brainstorming session in WebEx can be quite a sight. Now, the tool itself is not free, however, you do get a trial period. This means that you can always use it as a one-time solution.

  1. UberConference

One of the tools that a lot of people probably expected to see earlier on this list is the popular UberConference tool. What you get is a free conference call tool that specializes in voice calls. Sure, conference call services in 2020 usually imply video support, however, the truth is that audio always comes first. This is especially important to allow various parties to participate in conference calls while driving.

  1. FreeConference.com

Finally, we have one more tool with a self-explanatory name that can provide you with a highly-efficient online meeting room for your staff. The platform has support for any device, which gives you an additional layer of versatility that you need. Add to this the fact that you get support for international dial-in numbers and what you’ve got yourself is an ultimate tool for going global with your business. 

In conclusion

At the end of the day, there are several factors that all of these tools share. First, the registering process is always free and simple and the tool itself has a simple and intuitive interface. In fact, one could even get out of the way to claim that it makes little to no difference when it comes to which of the tools you decide to use. Now, while differences may not be exactly astronomical, they’re definitely present. Also, seeing as how no tool is so clearly superior or inferior to others, you can just pick the one that fits your own personal preference without the fear of making the wrong choice.

The Relevance of Talent Management and How to Develop Your TM System

Most businesses treat their hiring efforts separately from their accounting, not to mention their overall organization and goal-setting. Strategizing your entire business should include this one element that can boost your employee retention rates and help you build a more stable reputation in the role of an employer. Talent management is a strategy that encompasses everything from taking care of your employees’ perks and benefits, their compensation, workload, hierarchy, all the way to training, collaboration, and feedback. It aims to help your business find, hire, and retain talented individuals in line with your culture and values, people who will be your brand ambassadors. 

To develop such a system, you need to apply your strategic mindset and reform your HR practices from the ground up. The importance of this single system within your business cannot be underestimated, since you cannot afford losing valuable human assets over missed opportunities or misunderstandings in the workplace. Here are a few solutions to keep in mind for your talent management system, and how you can develop it more effectively for your brand to grow.

Form a feedback cycle 

Hiring and retaining employees is certainly not all about money. More than ever, employees cherish their freedom to express their opinions, to work with leaders that have a cause at heart, and to grow under your roof, not just continue earning their salary one month at a time. To truly empower business-wide transparency, you should build a feedback cycle that enables and encourages all of your staff to share their thoughts, criticism, suggestions, and ideas. 

Add to that, you should feel free to provide guidance, praise, and constructive criticism within that very same loop, and ensure equality in this exchange, so that all of your talented employees can get the chance to improve – yourself included. 

Start building your employer presence

Talent management starts with allowing your business to behave like a multifaceted creature that it is – not just aimed at customers, but at your employees, too. Your capacity as an employer greatly impacts the brand development process. To truly allow your business to attract the right talent and keep them happy, you should focus on employer branding as one key aspect of your talent management strategy and overarching brand development, too. 

Create the image you want to portray among your employees, and make sure that your employer brand genuinely embodies all those key values you want to see in the people that work within your business. To properly manage your talent, you should be prepared to position yourself not just as a customer-centric entity, but one strongly devoted to its employees. Send a consistent message over all social platforms, your website, and all other job platforms where you go talent-hunting. Your employer brand will do the rest.

Define your goals clearly

Unlike managing financial assets, tools, or anything abstract, you need to treat talent management as a process that is firmly focused on people in your business. That is why you need to rethink how you define goals that drive your talent management strategy. For starters, instead of sticking to numbers and statistics only, you should also think in people: who of your employees is best for which business task? How many people would you need to handle a new client? Do you have a risk mitigation strategy based on your employees’ skills and strengths?

Above all, this is not something you decide behind closed doors, or with a handful of managers who barely ever see your employees in action. The TM strategy only works if you create it with your employees present and suggesting ideas that make sense to them. While you’re defining your TM strategy goals, make sure to think about preventing issues among your teams, too. That’s yet another part of your strategy that matters to your employees and your management team, too.

Make smart investments in employees

One segment of every strategy that most business leaders fear the most is the budget. Alas, too many neglect to address that particular segment of their talent management strategy, which is a mistake you shouldn’t make. Why? Because selecting optimal funds for your TM strategy will help you allocate your budget towards employee training, advertising available job posts, employee bonuses, and setting up team-building workshops. 

Your employees should mean more than their salaries. That means that even if they’re happy with the number of zeros on the check, you should always focus on what else you can provide that will ultimately inspire them to stay loyal to your business and bring more clients your way. Plus, when you educate and train your staff, you’ll be able to help them climb the ladder and assume positions that will give them more challenges and help them grow. Today, every single employee craves such an approach over that old-fashioned stagnant career path with no room for improvement. 

 

Nurturing your employees and your candidates, and allowing them to be your brand advocates is one of the best strategies that can transform your business. It’s up to you to define your TM strategy from the beginning and implement it mindfully so that each hire you make and each time you let someone go, you do so in the service of your business and your culture. Keep these handy tips in mind to refine your TM strategy for upcoming years of success. 

How Company Safety Responsibilities Are Evolving

Is your company keeping pace with the evolving dangers in the workplace? If you answered no, and you’re doing the minimum, then you may be putting your employees and customers at risk.

While companies have evolved exponentially in recent decades, so has humankind, technology, and the risks that both can place on a productive workforce. Changes must be made to ensure that your employees and the people who use your products and services have total confidence in your organization. Below are some ways the world is evolving and how your company should respond.

Start with the Basics

While the world is constantly changing, it is essential to remember the basics of safety in the workplace and build up from there. According to statistics from the National Safety Council, a worker is injured on the job every seven seconds. These injuries include everything from being struck by equipment and back injuries due to repetitive lifting. In the wider world, workplace incidents involve children working in dangerous factories.

The first step to mitigate these incidents is to create and promote a culture of safety around the office where everyone is equal and every worker feels comfortable when they walk into work. Add signage about common threats, have an open-door policy for employees with concerns, and hold safety meetings where you encourage everyone to keep an eye out for each other. If someone is injured on the job, make sure to follow proper workers’ compensation procedures so workers can get the care they need and know that the company has their back.

Then there are the standard safety precautions that every business should have in effect, such as testing equipment to ensure it works properly and completing regular safety inspections. Trips, slips, and falls are a common occurrence, so clean spills immediately, close drawers and remove cords from walking paths, and keep hallways free of debris. You can even implement programs that encourage health and wellness with gym memberships and required breaks during all shifts.

Preventing Workplace Violence

Unfortunately, there is a growing trend these days of violence in the workplace. Every year, 2 million assaults and threats of violence occur in our nation’s workplaces, including those sad stories we see on the news that involve gun violence. Employers must take this evolving threat seriously and be proactive so employees can feel secure when they wake up to go to work each day.

The first step should be added security, whether that is with guards or metal detectors that not only alert staff if someone brings a weapon into the office, but are helpful in preventing theft. Still, while a company can spend thousands of dollars on equipment, reducing the threat comes down to creating that positive company culture. Establish a zero-tolerance policy that is communicated directly to all employees verbally and with signage. Such a policy should enforce the fact that anyone who makes a threat of violence will be relieved of their duties.

Security cameras also create a way of catching incidents and holding the guilty parties accountable. It is also recommended that you have a response plan in writing if an incident were to occur that includes how to properly document the events and what victims need to do for medical attention. If an incident does occur, management should have a meeting with all staff members so that everyone can understand what occurred and how it can be avoided in the future.

Effective Cybersecurity

As our workplaces evolve, so does our technology. With advancing computer systems, hackers are finding new ways to steal consumer information. Yes, protecting your employees is paramount, but protecting the confidential information of your customers should have equal importance. Even a stolen email address can provide a hacker with access to a customer’s account and the private contact information and pictures that could be used for blackmail or fraud. You simply do not want your company to be held responsible for a damaging data breach.

Your staff is the front line of security when it comes to protecting customer data, so it is necessary to educate employees on common threats and how to avoid them. For instance, a commonly used tactic includes sending phishing emails that look like authentic correspondence but instead include a link or attachment that, when opened, creates a doorway for hackers to access your systems. Employees should be made aware of the signs of such scams, which include but are not limited to:

  • Email addresses that look real but are off by a letter or two.
  • Emails with many spelling errors.
  • Any attachment or link that they were not expecting.
  • Emails with a sense of urgency.

All employees, from the CEO to the floor workers, should know how to keep their computers secure. Computers need to be locked whenever employees leave the area, and systems should have complex passwords that include letters, numbers, and special characters. Company websites should also be protected with antivirus software and updated firewalls to prevent intrusions.

It is the companies responsibility to help their employees and customers feel safe and secure when they do business. A company that evolves with changing trends will always be highly-regarded and stand the test of time.

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Never Let You Go: Addressing the Challenges of Retaining Employees

Let’s face it: finding the kind of talent you need to give your business the competitive edge is tough, but what’s even tougher is holding on to that talent. Gone are the days when a gifted young upstart fresh out of college takes a job with a company and remains there throughout her professional career. According to estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, today’s younger baby boomer will have held an average of 12 different jobs in their lifetime. If you’re a millennial, the number is even higher, with the churn rate of young workers three times that of preceding generations.

And that’s not good news if you own a business. If your company is hemorrhaging employees, that also means it’s hemorrhaging money. When you lose an employee, not only have you lost the skillset for which they were hired, but you also lose productivity. And lost productivity means lost profit.

What you gain, however, are additional costs in recruiting and retaining new talent. In fact, the costs to replace an employee can be as much as 50% of annual salary for an entry-level worker—and for a senior executive, those costs can soar to as much as 200%! So, what can you do today to hold on to your most talented employees for many tomorrows to come? Read on to find out!

Find the Right People

The first step to holding on to your most talented employees is to make sure they’re the right fit before you even hire them. If your company is understaffed or there’s a particular position that needs to be filled urgently, the temptation to rush the recruiting process can be great. But that’s a mistake.

It’s far better to take the time you need to ensure that the candidate you have your eye on is a good fit for your company’s future as well as its present. Incorporating this long-term strategy into the hiring process is going to help you weed out those candidates who are only interested in or fit for a short tenure, versus those who are willing and able to invest in your company for the long haul.

Make a Good First Impression

It might feel like onboarding and retention don’t have much in common, but that’s actually not at all the case. In fact, your new hire’s onboarding experience is probably going to set the tone for how they feel and think about the company. Unfortunately, though, onboarding is something not many employers pay adequate attention to. Want proof? An estimated 42% of new hires don’t even have their own computers or workstations on the first day!

If the onboarding process is confused or haphazard, if the company seems unprepared for the introduction and integration of the new employee, that’s certainly not going to reflect well on the business, its staff, or its processes. And once you’ve lost your new hire’s trust, it takes a lot of time and effort to get it back. Worse, if your employee doesn’t trust you or feel good about the company in general, you’re probably not going to keep them very long.

If a new employee is being integrated into an existing team with a strong bond, your onboarding is going to have to include more than just making sure the new recruit has a workstation and some tasks for the first day. Team building will be essential to cultivating trust not just between you and your new hire but between them and their new team. At this early stage, encourage team building via more informal activities like daily huddles or team outings. These will allow all parties to get to know each other and foster bonds that will help everyone succeed.

Grow Your Talent

While it’s key that you screen your candidates carefully and that you provide your new hires with a seamless and skilled introduction to your company, your work is far from over. It’s just beginning, in fact. Because once you have your talent in place, you need to cultivate it. People don’t like to be bored. They don’t want to stagnate. And no matter how skilled your employees may be, there’s always room, opportunity, and desire for growth.

This is why professional development needs to be central to your retention strategy. Hiring a chief learning officer (CLO) for your business is a wonderful way to help you cultivate—and keep—your best talent. The goal, ultimately, is to provide your employees with robust opportunities to learn new skills and expand existing ones, to pursue new degrees, certifications, and licensures, and to advance within the company. Essentially, if your employee can see a future with your company, they’re more likely to stick around to make it happen.

Run the Numbers

Thanks to the brave new world of data analytics, employers now have more and better tools than ever to know their business and their employees. In fact, people analytics are a powerful way to monitor the performance, engagement, and satisfaction of your workforce. Best of all, these resources can help you spot emerging trends that might compromise morale or lead to the loss of your best people. And once you’ve identified the threat, you can do what you need to end it before it escalates.

The Takeaway

Now more than ever, business owners need savvy to ensure their businesses thrive in an increasingly competitive global business environment. Developing successful employee retention strategies is one of the most potent weapons employers have for cultivating an efficient, cohesive, and high-performing workforce to cope with the formidable challenges of doing business in the new millennium. What it takes, though, is a strategy of careful recruiting, seamless onboarding, continuous talent development, and the integration of the latest and greatest in people analytics software.

Image Source: Pixabay

 

Project Management Trends in 2020

The field of project management is just as dynamic as the business world because there are many factors influencing it. We have all noticed the great technological, environmental, societal, and economic changes that have been taking place in the last, it is safe to say, decade and they have influenced many segments within companies.

With 2020 slowly unwinding, as a business owner, you already need to be looking into the trends that will dominate this year. Since a proactive approach is always the best, here are the most prominent trends in the field of project management for the year 2020. 

Remote team management

Business owners have recognized the benefits of hiring remote employees some time ago and one of the initial motivators was the opportunity to expand their talent pool. There are numerous talented and hard-working people out there waiting for an opportunity to work, develop their skills, and transfer their knowledge and this is a power most entrepreneurs won’t miss to leverage in 2020.

The only concern regarding remote teams was that the collaboration would not be up to par. This is only natural because any issues in communication can affect the result. To resolve this concern, managing remote employees became the main goal of many efforts and it has provided many businesses with experts at a fraction of the price. The success of a project that involves remote teams depends on the proper management and this year you should invest in quality communication platforms. 

The question of cybersecurity

Considering the fact that many businesses are going paperless, most of the business data is fed into computers and cloud services and this means cybersecurity has an essential role in any project. Technology has provided us with tools to achieve better results quicker but the other side of the coin is that we now need to dedicate some of our efforts to tending to the cybersecurity of the project.

Increasing data security needs to start with educating your employees about phishing and other forms of scams and warning them not to open suspicious emails or click on odd links. Also, discourage employees from plugging in any devices into their computers and this also applies to charging their phones. Without proper education of your employees, any safety measures technology-wise will not make any difference when it comes to the security of your project.

Leveraging the visual 

The elements your project needs to leverage in 2020 are the Kanban boards. ‘Kanban’ is a Japanese word for ‘billboard’ and the Kanban principle is to create ‘to-do’, ‘doing’, and ‘done’ segments which help oversee the progress of the project and help with organizing your team. This principle is the basis of several project management tools but while comparing Trello vs Taskworld, don’t forget to consider which features are additional and need to be paid for and which are innately included. 

Perhaps you have the same task across multiple projects or you wish to enable reminders, so make certain such features exist in your tool of choice. Keep in mind that you may benefit from reading user comments or consulting with those that use such project management tools to be able to assess which features you may need. 

Play on emotions

One of the most interesting factors among the 2020 project management trends is emotional intelligence. It may sound strange to mention emotions when discussing projects, but emotions do play a role there. Just think about it, in the corporate world in which you have different tools for anything that you need, the element that you need to pay attention the most are the people.

With different cultures within one team or among all teams working on a project, it is essential to be mindful of mutual differences and to respect them. Instead of dealing with issues when they arise, you need to prevent them and in case they do happen, you should be prepared to resolve them on the spot. This step is necessary because trust and respect are the pillars of any project’s success. 

Analytics is the key

Numbers are vital for project management because they hold the key to the results. Monitoring the results is what allows project managers to react quickly and stop a problem from emerging which makes analytics an invaluable segment of project management. 

The future of project management analytic tools lies in the cloud because that will allow for real-time data collection. Therefore, managers will be able to react in a timely fashion and make the whole process more transparent and efficient. This also means a smarter distribution of resources such as time, work power, and money, whose saving is always a plus for the company. 

Wrapping up

Regardless of the industry, your business needs to run smoothly this year (and any year for that matter!). Hiring remote employees is one of the factors that influence project management trends and this factor is on the rise. In addition to that, the question of cybersecurity is increasing in importance together with the steady development of technology. 

Other factors such as emotional intelligence that is closely-knit with diversified teams, visual aids refinement, and real-time analytics also have an impact on this year’s trends. Now that you have an idea about what 2020 brings, it is time to assess what your business can benefit most from. 

How to Build a Positive and Healthy Company Culture

If you think back to the different companies you’ve worked at over the years, each likely left a different impression on you. This is because every company has a different company culture consisting of different of unique values, ways of operating, and management style.

Company culture matters because it not only helps create a unified workforce, it can also be a key to success. In fact, Deloitte’s core beliefs and culture survey discovered 94% of executives and 88% of employees agreed that distinct workplace culture is imperative to run a business successfully. The survey also found a correlation between those who described themselves as being happy at work and their company having a distinct culture.

Positive company culture can lead to more engaged employees who are fully-present and passionate about the work they do. After all, ultimately, employees want to have a positive experience when working at an organization — and it’s your job as a leader to provide that. HR plays a significant role in creating an office culture as it begins with hiring candidates whose beliefs and values fit into that culture. As Jessica Herrin, founder Stella & Dot states; “shaping your culture is more than half done when you hire your team.” On that note, here are ways you can build a positive and healthy company culture.

What is Company Culture?

When you think of company culture, what first comes to mind? Perhaps it’s a state of the art gym and having access to unlimited snacks, or maybe it’s the daily flexibility and laid-back atmosphere. While these can be elements of company culture, there is so much more to it.

Edgar Schein, author and former MIT professor defines company culture this way: “Culture is the deeper level of basic assumptions and beliefs that are shared by members of an organization, that operate unconsciously and define in a basic ‘taken for granted’ fashion an organization’s view of its self and its environment.”

In essence, company culture is about deciding what your values and beliefs as a company are and ensuring you have a team of people ready to live by them. Harvard Business Review concludes that there are six components of great corporate culture, which include:

  1. Vision
  2. Values
  3. Practices
  4. People
  5. Narrative
  6. Place

When all of these elements are fused together, you should have a differentiated culture, improved performance, and a lasting organization. But how do you go about creating a company culture that supports the fulfillment of your overall mission and business objectives?

Hire the Right Team

Your staff are the people that will embody and create the company culture, so they’re a good place to start if you want to improve it. It is imperative that you hire new employees based on cultural fit as they will create your company culture.

A job interview is a good way to help you hire for culture fit, but you have to go beyond the information you find on their resume. Ask questions that will give you a sense of their values such as what motivates them to do their best work, or whether or not they’re still friends with old colleagues. Behavioral assessments are another good way to see how they approached work situations in the past and if they’ll fit well with your team.

Once you hire the right people, you also have to familiarize them with the new culture. Shoe and clothing retailer Zappos did this by creating The Culture Book, which consisted of employees’ definitions of company culture. This is a single example of how you can get new recruits to understand your company, what you value, and how to function within the confines of these beliefs daily.

Prioritize Job Satisfaction

Satisfied employees are likely to be happier, better engaged, and more productive. For this reason, if you want a positive company culture, you need to ensure your employees are satisfied. Monster composed a list of top ten companies based on worker satisfaction, and one member of this list includes a holding company run by Warren Buffet. Just a few of the reasons his company made it there are reportedly because of the fun atmosphere, great leadership, diversity, and flexibility.

To achieve employee satisfaction, you need to find out what their needs are and how you can help them create a balance between work and their personal lives. Know that it also doesn’t have to be a guessing game as you can get feedback directly from your staff to enhance their employee experience. For example, if you receive feedback that there isn’t enough opportunity for growth and development, you could put training programs in place. If not, your most valued employees could choose to resign in favor of another company where they see themselves growing. Seeing as turnover causes employers hundreds of thousands every year, it’s a cost worth avoiding.

Next, acknowledging employees for the contributions they make to your organization is important. Research by Gallup found one of the main reasons an employee leaves a job is because they don’t feel appreciated. Recognize yours in a way that’s meaningful to them, such as by verbally praising them or sending out an email. For those that like to be recognized with rewards, you could offer employee stock options or another form of physical of financial incentive. It’s a way of rewarding them for helping the business meet their objectives which can have good returns in terms of productivity.

You can learn more lessons about company culture from successful organizations like Apple, Virgin, and Airbnb. Two key lessons incude the golden rule — essentially, focusing on how essential it is to treat your staff how you want to be treated. Doing so not only ensures your employees are happy, but it’s also a way to preserve the reputation of your company.

Lead by Example

When it comes to company culture, it’s critical that you lead by example. Good leaders should be able and always willing to listen and show empathy, as these are integral components of a healthy business setting. Being empathetic towards employees sends a message that their feelings matter and they are seen as well as heard. This, in turn, can help you develop a staunchly loyal and more connected workforce. Additionally, you’re teaching them how to behave and treat others within your company. When you see others embodying positive company culture, champion and encourage them.

Building a positive and healthy company culture isn’t a single day’s work. It requires the upholding of core values and consistency, and at other times, it requires tearing down values or old traditions that don’t resemble the company culture you’re aiming to build for the sake of integrity. At the end of the day, positive company culture is an impetus behind a thriving business.

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