Workplace Injury: How to Be Prepared

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Your boss asks you to help move a few boxes. Before you even think about it, you bend over at the waist to pick up the load and feel a severe stabbing pain in your back that takes your breath away. You slowly stand up straight, but all you see are stars circling your head like in the cartoons. Unfortunately, this is an all-too-often occurrence in many offices across the country, and it can affect the work performance of any employee. You might not even realize that this is a workplace injury and you have the right to healthcare and possibly compensation if this would ever happen to you. 

 

Many people think that workplace injuries only happen at construction sites or in factories. However, many of the most common workplace injuries, such as sprains, strains, and lacerations can happen just about anywhere. Here are the essentials you need to know to keep yourself and your workplace safe. 

Understanding Workplace Injuries

According to the National Safety Council, one person is injured on the job every seven seconds in the U.S. That means that throughout one year, there are 4.5 million injuries. These injuries range from “treat and street” issues where you might be seen in a clinic or emergency room and then sent home to severe life-altering injuries and illnesses or even death. 

 

Injuries that occur the most frequently don’t cause severe damage; in fact, many of them don’t even cause visible problems. The top three workplace injuries that cause workers to miss days from work are those that include overexertion, such as lifting a box that’s too heavy, contact with an object or equipment, and slips, trips, and falls. Other common occurrences that can take you out of commission include poor body mechanics and environmental hazards such as wet floors or icy sidewalks.

Prevention is Key

While you don’t have to be an occupational health and safety specialist to spot an unsafe situation, working with one to create safety plans is never a bad idea. Since the top injuries are common occurrences, most of them can be prevented by following a few simple safety tips. Check out these three ways to keep yourself and coworkers safe at work:

Be Aware

Seeing and reporting trip hazards like cords across a walkway or a spill in the cafeteria doesn’t take any particular skill. If you notice anything in your office that might be a safety issue, fix it if you can. If it’s a more significant issue, such as clutter blocking a fire exit or an overflowing toilet, be sure to report it to your supervisor or internal safety committee, if you have one. 

Protect Your Back

Back injuries are common, and once you have an injury, your risk of re-injury increases three to five times. The good news about back injuries is that most of them are preventable. Use these lifting and back injury tips if you need to lift a box or other heavy object around the office:

 

  • Stretch before lifting heavy objects.
  • Make sure you’re wearing safe, closed-toe shoes with good traction when lifting.
  • Use a dolly or pushcart if carrying the object a long distance.
  • Lift with your legs, not your back.
  • Divide large loads into smaller ones, if possible.
  • Carry the object as close to your body as you can. 

Reduce Workplace Stress

Let’s face it: work is stressful. When you start feeling burned out at work, you might struggle to concentrate or rush through tasks, both of which can increase your risk of injuries. 

 

If you need to decrease your stress levels at work, try at least one of these four strategies:

  • Choose healthy foods so that you get the nutrition you need. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants, like nicotine.
  • Aim for eight hours of sleep every night.
  • Plan regular breaks throughout the workday and try to get the most important tasks done before lunch.
  • Live a happy life by adopting a few holistic ways to live, such as regular trips to the chiropractor or massage therapist and aromatherapy.

What to Do if You Get Hurt

Even if you do all of the right things to create balance in a world full of movement — sometimes accidents just happen. If you’re injured at work, you should always report the accident immediately. What might feel like a minor ache or pain today could make it difficult to get out of bed tomorrow. Many states only allow injuries to be reported within a specific time frame for you to receive workers’ compensation benefits from your employer. This is why notifying your supervisor promptly is critical.

 

You might live in a state that requires accident reports be in writing. While some states allow reports to be verbal, it’s always best to write out what happened and turn it into your supervisor. Almost all employers are required by law to have workers compensation insurance. If your injury is significant and you have to miss work, be sure to talk to your employer about their worker’s compensation policy and seek legal counsel if they tell you that they don’t have one. 

 

If you’re hurt at work, any medical treatment you need should be covered by your employer’s policy. You might also be entitled to lost wages if you have to miss work for an extended period. However, every state is a bit different, so you’ll need to check with your employer to be certain. To make sure that you’re always covered regardless of the causes of an injury or illness, it’s a good idea to consider long-term or short-term disability insurance, too. 

Keeping Safe

Being hurt is never fun. However, by implementing these simple workplace safety tips and tricks in your office, you and your co-workers will be safe and prepared. And in the unfortunate event that you are injured at work, know that you have options to ensure that the company you work will cover you. 

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How to Fast Forward your Employee’s Career

Your employees’ professional growth doesn’t happen overnight. Developing people’s skills needs investment of thought, time and love in order to create meaningful change. Ideally a manager becomes a mentor. They provide guidance and coaching to evolve employee skill-sets, knowledge and confidence. With managers acting as the catalyst for progression, we’ve pinpointed five ways to effectively advance your employee’s career path.

Align your business goals

When you’re working closely with your employees, don’t forget to feed back the “bigger picture” to them. You can coach people in leadership qualities all day long but it’s pointless if you’re not communicating why. Employees motivation to excel can diminish if they don’t feel valued or believe they can create an impact for the company. Realistically, how empowered would your employees feel if they’re given the freedom to make smart, informed decisions however they still need to run their ideas by you before making moves? Communicate the objectives and company goals before anything else, and provide freedom for them to actually reach these.

Create a career development plan

Having conversations around career progressions is the first step in gauging employee development, but it’s important to follow up with implementing achievable objectives. This encourages employees to formulate their goals so they can actively execute them. Create a space where you can collaborate openly on short-term and long-term career goals and most importantly how these can be achieved. If you’re not sure where role progression can evolve, check out Search Party’s Career Path Tool to see all possible options.

Articulate expectations

Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is a popular technique to setting and communicating goals and results in organisations. The main purpose for OKRs is to connect the company, team and individual’s personal objectives to measurable results, ensuring everyone is moving in the right direction. The structure is fairly straightforward.

  • Define 3-5 key objectives on company, team or personal levels. These must be qualitative, ambitious and time bound.
  • Under each objective, define 3-4 measurable results based on growth performance, revenue or engagement.

When OKRs are a place and remain transparent across all teams, employees have complete clarity of knowing what’s expected of them and have something to work towards. Defining these can take into account career progressions or onboarding new responsibilities or projects and when you’re able to measure you’re also able to mentor. No wonder OKR’s are loved by tech giants like Google, Twitter, and Oracle. It’s a proven process that genuinely works.

Actively identify new opportunities within the organisation

When employees begin to seek new experiences or want to build their portfolio of skill-sets, 9 times out of 10 they’ll leave their current organisation rather than take on a new role in a different area within their current company. And it’s no surprise that losing talent and re-training new starters is timely and costly for managers. However this behaviour can be avoided if there is real encouragement and facilitation of internal transfers. Speak with the individual about what skills they would like to gain or areas they wish to excel in and then identify all possible new opportunities and paths they can explore within the organisation. Mentors are those who can look beyond their own areas or personal needs for growth opportunities, even if it means they’re losing a great asset.

Encourage developmental assignments

Developmental assignments come from the opportunity to initiate something new that an employee takes the majority of the reigns with. Internal projects, new product lines or championing a change such as adopting new technology or a restructure in workflows are all great ways to allow employees to step outside of their comfort zones. These kind of initiatives are the gateway into harbouring new skill-sets and embracing areas not usual to their daily tasks. Enabling employees to lead or manage side projects or totally new initiatives are the stepping stones into project management fields and opens a huge number of doors into other leadership roles.

Although most CEOs understand the importance of employee development, the sad truth is that they don’t devote the necessary time into excelling them into greater things. But the proof really is in the pudding. The more effort you put into developing employees, the higher the employee retention, productivity, engagement, turnover…the list goes on!

If you’re unsure as to where career progression can take you or your employees, Search Party have developed a nifty Career Path Tool. Simply type in your current role, and see how careers of people who’ve been in your shoes developed. Or, type in your dream job and see which paths can take you there. Check it out and let us know what you think!


Originally published by Search Party on 29 August 2016.

How HR Can Help During Tax Season

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

Both Employers And Employees Rely On HR During Tax Season

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

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

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

Organization Is Key

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

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

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

Keeping Up With The IRS

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

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

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

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

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

How HR Professionals Can Be More Supportive of Parents

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

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

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

What Expecting Parents Really Want 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Better Benefits for Families

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

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

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

How HR Makes a Difference

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

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

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

Top 5 HR Conferences to Attend in the Summer of 2019

Discover great HR conferences you should consider attending during hot, long summer months of 2019!  

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Best HR conferences to attend in the summer of 2019

If you’re looking for great HR conferences to attend in the summer of 2019, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a list of the 5 best HR conferences around the world that will take place in the summer of 2019!  

Top 5 summer HR conferences

Here is a list of the best HR conferences taking place in the summer of 2019 around the world:

1. HR 360 European Summit

Date: 4 – 5 June, 2019

Location: Hilton Vienna Danube Waterfront, Wienna, Austria

Short description: HR360 is the meeting place for global and european HR leaders from the world’s biggest companies to share practical insights on how to boost the business bottom line. You can choose from more than 40 interactive sessions and listen to more than 50 speakers from IBM, Amazon, Microsoft, Vodafone, etc.

2. CIPD Festival of Work

Date: 12 – 13 June 2019

Location: Olympia London, London, United Kingdom

Short description: The CIPD Festival of Work brings together two unmissable CIPD events, the Learning and Development and HR Software and Recruitment shows. The result is a pivotal event that will power your working future. This event has more than 160 speakers, 300 exhibitors and 7 000 attendees.

3. HR Leaders Summit Hong Kong

Date: 13 June, 2019

Location: New World Millennium Hotel Hong Kong

Short description: HR Leaders Summit Hong Kong is the country’s premier gathering of HR professionals. This event is perfect for industry leaders at South East Asia’s who are interested to hear the freshest insights, exchange big ideas and expand their professional network.

4. HR Tech Summit

Date: 18 – 19 June, 2019

Location: Toronto, Enercare Centre Toronto

Short description: HR Tech Summit is Canada’s leading independent HR tech event. This event will feature keynote presentations, industry panel discussions, a contemporary trade-expo, tech talk & tech demo stage, main stage, interactive workshops, thought-leadership interviews, engaging activities, entertainment and more.

5. SHRM19 Annual Conference & Exposition

Date: 23 – 26 June, 2019

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Short description: This conference offers more than 200 concurrent sessions on different topics such as Workplace Strategy, Technology, HR Leadership, Talent Management, Compensation & Benefits, etc. SHRM Exposition is the world’s largest HR marketplace which provides access to thousands of solutions-providers in every industry. Lionel Richie concert is also a part of this event!

Bonus HR conference: Visit Bali!

And now a special treat – a great HR conference in the beautiful Bali island!

4th Asia Pacific HR Forum will take place at the end of August in Nusa Dua Beach Hotel in Bali! The 4th Asia Pacific HR Forum in 2019 is one of serial events annually designed to educate, develop, update, share and inspire today’s industry professionals about people, market, business which can help to determine a strategic planning in organization related with people and business.

Choose your perfect summer HR conference

Attending these HR conferences is an incredibly fun way to learn about the latest HR industry trends, best practices and useful HR tools. It is also a unique opportunity to network with other HR professionals from around the world!   

We can’t think of a better way to spend those long summer nights. So what are you waiting for? Pick a few of these HR conferences and plan your perfect summer getaway! 🙂

Why Performance Reviews Are Critical for Small Businesses

There are certain advantages a small business has that a large multi-national corporation simply cannot, by its very nature, posses. Namely, these are a certain warmth, personality, a sense of being natural… However, perhaps the most important aspect is this – flexibility. Namely, a small business can change, shift, turn. Just compare an elegant mini cooper with a semi.

And for this reason, a small business can utilize performance reviews much better. Namely, performance reviews have gotten a bad rap as being just annoying, bureaucratic by-the-numbers sessions. This is because big companies can’t handle doing this properly, either because of their size, or simply not caring. However, having a small, dedicated team, means that you can do a performance review on a regular basis, and it also means that they have a much greater effect. Below are the reasons why these are just so important.

Time for praise (and error correction)

The entire point of performance reviews are to assess the performance and efficacy of a certain employee. How well did they do their work, how had are they working, how are they handling any pressure that may have been added to their plate.

Performance reviews present a time where you can reward good behaviour, and where bad behaviour can be corrected. Let’s face it, a busy business owner has a lot of thing on his or her mind. This means you simply forget things, even stuff as important as letting some employees know just how good of a job they are doing. It’s a great opportunity to provide some kind of reward as well. It also helps you sit down and see what one person is doing wrong.

Think of this as an opportunity bot to praise and correct your staff, as well as serving as a reminder for you to do so.

 

Helps with goals

Without goals, you are practically rudderless. Goals are something one should strive towards, one should move towards. With proper goals, you know where you are going. In turn, you then know if you’re on the right track or not. With this in mind, think of performance reviews as an opportunity to speak to employees about goals, both theirs, and how they integrate with the goals of the company.

In fact, setting goals is something any company (or for that matter, any individual) should do as soon as possible. By figuring out the goals of an employee, or by helping this person figure them out, you get to see how motivated they are, and how well they can mesh with your company. An ambitious, driven person who wants to start a family in the same town your local business is located in is much more dependable than a person who wants to travel as much as he or she can, without thinking too much into the future. On the other hand, this same vagabondish individual is perfect for positions that require travelling and going out of town.

With this in mind, it helps you figure out why certain people just don’t perform as well as they could, and can help you understand how to get good employees even better.

 

Forces you to reassess

Having performance reviews done regularly helps you take a look at your company, and see where you are right now. It forces you to sit down and analyse what is happening within your company, and how you can improve further on along the way. Perhaps your own leadership skills are not up to snuff, or you may have some other issues you need to attend to.

Juggling too many things at once can make life difficult for any business owner. Getting proper smb management solutions, instead of creating them yourself alone, can help you push forward with your company, and lighting a part of the workload you have. This can make reassessments easier, and make it simpler to integrate performance reviews into your reassessment protocols.

The carrot and the stick

Motivation is obviously important, as we’ve mentioned. But, with regular performance reviews, you can keep some less than stellar employees on their toes, while giving good ones something to look forward to. If they know that you actually care about their performance and intend to review it, both problematic employees and star workers will go the extra mile to give you their all.

And remember, always praise in public, scold in private, if you want to keep your people motivated. Scolding people in public will make your staff be afraid of making mistakes in the future, which will paradoxically lead to mistakes, or will stifle creativity. On the other hand, praising in public boosts morale of an employee even more than if you were to just sit down with them.

Conclusion

Performance reviews are important and useful, especially for small businesses. As a small business, you have a greater impact when dealing with your employees, and can influence them more, both positively and negatively.

How to Throw a Great Office Party

Office holiday parties’ are usually memorable events – but not always for the right reasons. Lack of foresight and adequate planning can result in an office party that’s awkward at best and a complete disaster at worst. This list of things that can go wrong at an office party is a long one, but does that mean you should ditch the idea altogether? Of course not!

Office parties are actually one of the best ways to raise employee morale, improve group dynamic, and help your co-workers de-stress. An office party is also a valuable opportunity to get to know your colleagues better and find out more about how they function as a team.

With some clever planning and the help of these next few tips, you’ll be guaranteed to throw a great office party:

The right time

Don’t let all those epic party favors you have in store go to waste by picking the wrong date for your office party. Choosing the most convenient date is the first step to take when organizing a party for your colleagues. Since it’s practically a given that most of your fellow employees will have a schedule full of events they want to attend during the holiday season, you need to plan your party early and set the date at least a few months in advance.

While Saturday might seem like an obvious choice, keep in mind that not everyone will be willing to sacrifice their weekend for an office party. Mid-week is your best bet if you want to maximize the chances of a great turnout. Make sure you check the calendar in order to avoid conflicts with public holidays, and if you want to be extra safe, you can always set up an e-mail poll and let your guests vote on the date that suits them best.

A fun theme

Is there anything worse than a bland and boring office party? Since corporate parties often get a bad rep for forced niceties, awkward conversations, and flavorless food, you want to give your guests an actual reason to attend voluntarily. So put your thinking cap on and try to come up with a fun party theme that everyone will enjoy.

Theme parties are not just for children’s birthdays. In fact, there’s nothing like an awesome theme party to let you unwind after a long day of being a responsible adult. The theme for your office party can be anything from pop culture and sports to game shows and sports. Set aside enough time to make a list of options and then try to pick a theme that matches your guests’ personalities and interests.

 

Pre-event buzz

Creating pre-event excitement is one of the key ingredients for a great office party. This is also a clever way to gauge employee interest and estimate the number of people who are actually going to show up. If you’re running low on creativity, there are tons of fun office party invitation templates online that you can print out or mail to your guests.

Or simply use the power of social media to spread the word about the party and generate some much-needed buzz. You can create a Facebook event and spark the invitees’ interest by giving them a snippet of what they can expect at the office party – it can be anything from pictures of mouth-watering food to a cool music playlist that are bound to get everyone excited weeks before the actual event.

Food to please everyone

Let’s face it – lousy food can either make or break your corporate party, which means you really don’t want to take any chances when it comes to the menu. Don’t risk ruining your office party with sketchy food items and leave the catering to professionals. But what kind of catering should you choose? While options are many, one thing is for sure – few people would object to a tasty Spanish-inspired menu.

Paellas, tapas, and canapés come in many different flavors that will suit all palates and dietary needs. Hiring a reliable paella catering service such as Tapas Market catering is a foolproof way to ensure your office party is remembered for the scrumptious food. Letting experienced caterers take care of the food and drinks will prevent any menu-related mishaps that can leave a bad taste in employees’ mouths even long after the party is over.

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.

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.

Strategies for Greater Retention Rates for HR Managers

For an HR manager, the costs of creating and maintaining a staff can be plagued by employee turnover and disengagement. For most companies, revolving doors are a destructive force for financial growth, considering the cost to replace an employee is roughly 50% of that employee’s annual salary. An effective HR department, therefore, needs to hire appropriately, work to engage employees in the success of the business and constantly monitor observable measurements to ensure that they are on track.

So how does an efficient HR department gauge their progress and ensure best practices for employee retention? How do companies evolve past the everyday, worn-out methods of keeping employees engaged and make the work environment a place where employees can truly thrive?

Hiring Process

The trickiest part of the hiring process is ensuring that HR brings on the right person for the role to not only fill in missing personnel, but foster growth. The person needs to fit the values, short and long term goals of the company. A mismatch of skills, values, and commitment can create loss for a company. For hiring members of HR, there is a host of resources out there for hiring managers who want to maximize their hiring potential and run their small business like a larger corporation.

Primarily, hiring managers need to think about the kind of skills they need to bring into the company as opposed to simply filling a slot or replacing someone who has moved on. Is the company facing challenges? What skills would be the best counter to those challenges? A potential area of growth? It’s easy to fall back into patterns of hiring to replace, but hiring to grow benefits the company far more.

Observable Metrics

A handful of easily observable paper metrics can give HR departments an idea of how engaged and happy their employees are. Turnover is one of the most obvious metrics. If a company is perpetually bleeding employees, there is something seriously wrong. Likewise, the average length of employment can help indicate employee engagement. If most employees leave within a year, or conversely, stay for many years, these are indicators of the company’s ability to engage. The amount of sick or personal days taken can indicate an employee’s level of involvement in their job as well. Finally, the revenue per employee can help companies determine how engaged employees are on the clock.

Observable metrics are just the beginning of the story. An employee can love and be dedicated to their work, but also have a sick family member that leads to absences. When an observable metric indicates disengagement, look past the numbers into the human element. Is there a solution that would allow the employee to contribute in the way they’d like while acknowledging the issue? Would working from home allow them to care for the relative while hitting goals?

Greater Employee Engagement

Once the right employee is hired, the key to maintaining that employee’s performance and commitment is growing their engagement in the company. The best tool for engagement is communication. It’s important for management to keep lines of communication between themselves and their team open. Fostering trust and making employees feel heard helps them feel important, both to the company and as people. That level of emotional engagement is invaluable.

Help employees understand their role in the company — how their efforts aid the company’s success, and how the company’s success affects them. The ability to draw a direct line between cause and effect, both for the company and the employee, creates real stakes that encourages a better work ethic.

Goal Creation and Attainment

Realistic, attainable goals encourage greater engagement and growth of abilities, output and capability. Achieving goals can be rewarding in themselves; they can also be steps for future growth within the company. Goals should be appropriate for the company and for the employee — they should be a marriage of the interests of both parties. Is this something the employee is passionate about and finds rewarding? Is this an area of interest that benefits the company? Do they have the skills to achieve this goal, in a way that benefits the company?

For the employees, goals can include growth of current abilities, or the push to finish a project. Potential rewards for employees can include extra benefits, like a day off, the chance for a promotion (or more eligible to promotion), or a treat of some kind, like free lunch. Whenever a company uses a reward as an incentive for achieving goals, they should be clearly communicated and legitimately achievable. Carrot-and-sticking rewards like promotions is a dishonest method, and will ultimately lead to decreased morale.

Avoid Demotivation Pitfalls

Demotivation can come from many fronts. Lack of communication and transparency between management and employees creates a vacuum of information — one that is bound to be filled with speculation and guesswork. In a workplace without healthy feedback and communication, that guesswork can be powered by anxiety and untruths, which barely benefit anyone. Recognize employees, listen to their feedback.

Make sure the employee who puts her all into her job is recognized and rewarded fairly. Don’t feel the need to treat everyone the same. Follow through on commitments and promises. Show employees why certain team members are celebrated, and help the others find ways to be celebrated as well.

The bottom line is this: HR might be about acquiring and maintaining people as a resource, much like paper or computers, but remember that you and your crew are not robots. Metrics are useful, and numbers don’t lie, but everyone involved is a human. They have human feelings and human motivations, which don’t often conform to spreadsheet analytics. Address the human side of the equation to balance the metrics, and make the most of your skills as a leader to address real, human concerns to foster greater employee retention and engagement.