The Importance of Creating a Safe Environment in the Workplace

You might think that you’re providing your employees with everything they could hope for as a manager, such as comfortable working conditions, good pay, and benefits. But if you’re overlooking safety, you’re sending a dangerous message to your employees. You could be running a warehouse or a law firm and safety would still be vital either way. These are some reasons why workplace safety is so important.

Keep Everything Up to Code

Not being up to code can make your business both hard to manage and also extremely dangerous. You could be 80 or 30 percent up to code and either would be unacceptable. Things that need to be up to code include the structure of your building as well as your electrical wiring. In order to avoid electrical problems, it’s important to make sure the proper wire color codes are in place. Call in a building inspector to check for any issues and focus on remedying any problems that come up. What might look like a fairly minor issue could actually spiral into a major issue if you don’t address it in a timely manner.

Have an Open Door Policy

As much as you might try to catch every issue with safety, some things are going to need to be pointed to you. That’s why you should create an open-door policy so employees can confidently bring up concerns. If you or an employee is busy, have them send an email that specifies what the problem is in a succinct manner. Be sure to thank them and respond with what exactly you’ll do to resolve the issue. It must always be a priority to keep your employees safe and listening to their testimonials regarding workplace conditions.

Saves Money

Money shouldn’t be the only reason for seeing why safety is important, but if you want to keep your finances in good order, you should make sure you stay safe. After all, accidents could mean a decrease in productivity which can lead to a loss in profits. When you follow safety procedures, you can keep your costs in check. This doesn’t mean you should be deliberately cheap, as that can lead to cutting corners that cause more safety hazards. But to keep yourself solvent, you should be drawing attention to safety.

Safety might not cross your mind until an accident happens. By offering a safe environment for your employees, you can help them to avoid worries about such matters. They should also know that safety is as much up to them as it is to you.

Check out our other business-related content here!

How to Give Your Employees the Benefits They Deserve Without Breaking the Bank

Great benefits are part of the reason employees often choose to stay with a company. But, as a business owner, you know that financing top-of-the-line benefits can be a challenge. Here’s how to provide employees with excellent benefits without making your company go bankrupt.

Shop Around

It’s no secret that employee health costs either stay steady or increase each year. With the wealth of options available, it’s a wise choice to take your time to shop around. Don’t just choose one of the first employee-benefits offerings you see. Healthcare benefits are by nature very complex, so taking your time to read the fine print and compare options could save you significant money down the line. Of course, if you run a large company, contracting directly with health providers has the potential to save on costs.

Embrace Cost-Saving Services

Many employee health-benefits packages involve using cost-saving services that provide less expensive forms of healthcare. According to Carenet Health, Healthcare services like nurse advice lines help lower healthcare costs by reducing ER visits. These options are known as telehealth services, and they include things like virtual physician consults, mental and behavioral health services and help with managing chronic conditions. Managing chronic conditions is a major cost-saving benefit—by incentivizing good health and proactively working toward better health outcomes, you reduce the risk of an employee needing an ER visit or a sudden major surgery. When you multiply these benefits over your total number of employees, it’s easy to see that the savings can add up. Plus, your employees are likely to be pleased that your company is taking an active interest in their mental and physical health.

Join a PEO

If you choose to partner with a professional employer organization (PEO), your employees will have improved benefit offerings at a lower cost to you. The PEO solution works especially well for small- or mid-sized businesses. This strategy makes your employees part of a large employee group, which then translates to better benefits savings for you. In conclusion, while it may take some time to figure out how you want to navigate offering employee benefits, it is almost always time well spent. Many available options, like telehealth services, do more than just save you money—they offer busy employees more convenient access to health services.

Take your time, fully investigate the options, and choose a benefits program you can be proud to provide.

Here is another article that you might enjoy: How Your Company Can Focus on Employee Wellness

 

How Your Company Can Focus on Employee Wellness

There was a time when employees could go home at the end of the day and be done with their job until the following morning. However, the employees of today are much more connected than those of past generations. To avoid stress and burnout, it’s critical that employees get the chance to protect their health while they’re at the office.

Create an Employee Wellness Program

One of the big challenges to employee wellness is that bad choices are easy. Candy bars store well, and they’re packaged to be sold as single items. Drive-thru breakfasts are seldom the healthiest option. To create a successful employee wellness program, your task may be as simple as making healthy choices easier. If it’s your job to bring in donuts for a Saturday rush, change things up by reducing the donut count and adding fruit or whole grain bagels to the mix. Contact local gyms and see if you can get a group rate for your employees, and then offer this as a benefit.

Host a Company Health Fair

Bring in guests who excel at marketing health products. These could include dietary supplements, massage sessions, or time with personal trainers. This should be a small investment for your organization. In fact, you should only need to provide the space and a bit of time off. There are a number of free vendors that you can contact to host a health fair at your company. In addition to letting vendors market their products, you could contact a local non-profit health organization such as the YMCA or a church-based hospital to come in and offer blood pressure screenings and BMI checks. Make sure to provide this as paid time to your employees to encourage attendance.

Encourage Disconnection

It’s true that you need your employees to be working when they’re at the office. However, if you have employees who never seem to stop working, you have a potential problem on your hands. High stress levels can lead to a series of health risks that could actually shorten the lives of your personnel. If you work seven days a week and your employees know it, stop. Make sure that you take mental health days and broadcast that information.

Time is the most precious resource we will ever have. You have to make sure to use your time in a way that’s exemplary to your employees. Encourage your employees to use the vacations they’ve accrued to relax and recharge, and try to turn highly stressful work schedules into times of camaraderie and connection with coworkers.

Why People Don’t Get the Jobs They Interview For

When it comes to looking for a job, the interview process is probably the most stressful part of it all. Sometimes you may show up to an interview only to see that several people are also waiting to interview for that same position. And then, once you start the interview process, you are bombarded with questions as you try to look confident regardless of the pressure. The worst part is going through all of that, only to find out that you did not get the job. Well, here are some reasons why you may not get a callback and tips on how to change that.

Not Preparing for the Interview

Not being prepared has got to be the number one reason for not getting the job once you interview. If employers cannot count on you to be prepared for your interview, how can they trust that you will do your job properly if hired? According to Big Interview, preparing for an interview is extremely important. The qualities that you exhibit during your interview let the interviewer get an idea of what your work ethic may be like if hired.

Red Flags

According to Rowdy G. Williams Law Firm, lost employment or exclusion from job opportunities are major consequences of a criminal conviction. Unfortunately, some companies will not overlook certain instances in your past, and therefore will not hire you based on that information. Huge gaps in your employment history or not enough work experience can also be a turn off for potential employers. That is because the more you do something, the better you will be at it which is why experience can often win over qualifications.

Not Fitting With the Culture

No matter how qualified you may be or how much work experience you have, if you don’t look the part, then potential employers may pass you by. Looking the part doesn’t end with just throwing on a suit and tie, you must able to fit into the company’s brand and culture. If you are going to interview for a skateboarding brand, you don’t come dressed in a two-piece suit. According to RICS, this is where researching the organization and its culture is so important. During your interview, potential employers need to be able to envision you as a part of the team rather than an odd-man-out.

If you want to wow potential employers during an interview, make sure that you do a self-check from head to toe. If you smoke cigarettes, do not smoke prior to interviewing because you don’t want to reek of smoke. Make sure your breath smells nice, your clothing is pressed and you are thoroughly prepared and you should do fine.

Here’s another article you might like: How to Hire Better Employees

3 Kinds of Asset Protection Almost No One Has on Hand

Early in your career or as you get your business rolling, you may have a lot of value but be very short on cash. You may also be struggling under a heavy load of debt while you build your business. If something catastrophic happens, there are vehicles you can put in place to protect yourself and your loved ones against disaster.

Term Life Insurance

If you’re young and have a family or a spouse, it’s a very good idea to invest in term insurance. This insurance is playing the odds. If you die young, it will pay out quite a bit of money to those you leave behind. As you age, the benefits get smaller. Best of all, this type of insurance is much less expensive than whole life, so you can afford a large policy to cover your family while your kids are small. As your earnings increase, and you live longer, the payout decreases.

Living Trust

A will is not enough. Even if you have everything specifically stated in your will, your loved ones will probably need to go through probate. Instead, consider putting your assets into a living trust. In the event of your death, your belongings go into the trust to be dispersed to the beneficiaries in the order you determine them. First, they may go to your spouse and then to your children directly or through an executor. As your loved ones put their emotional lives back together, they won’t have to wait on the courts to plan their personal finances. Start your living trust early. Living trusts are key to estate planning and should be considered before retirement.

Disability Insurance

If you’re a small business owner or the only person in your household bringing in an income, then access to short- and long-term disability insurance payouts is critical. This insurance basically replaces at least a percentage of your income while you’re laid up. For small business owners, sole proprietors and artisans, both types of disability insurance are critically important. Whether you need to go through physical therapy after an accident or are facing involved medical treatment, this coverage can protect your family and may even help keep your business going while you mend.

Whatever you choose to do regarding how you protect your loved ones, both early in your career and at the end of your life, each of the methods listed above can limit your risk of leaving your family in the lurch. A living trust means an easy transfer after you’re gone while good insurance protection can protect your family from financial devastation.

Here’s another article you might like: How to Keep Top Employees in Your Company

How Employers Can Be More Supportive of Women in the Workplace

Over the last few decades, women have made exponential strides in the way they are treated and supported in the workplace. However, despite these advances, there are still many improvements to be made. Here are three ways that employers and fellow employees can be more supportive of women in the workplace.

Pay Them Equally

It is no secret that throughout history women have traditionally been paid less than their male counterparts. This unequal pay has persisted despite females doing similar or even better work. One of the best ways that employers can support the career aspirations of women is to simply pay them equally. It is important to have business practices in place that continually guard against this type of pay discrimination. To do this, business leaders need to address their unconscious bias by undertaking a thorough pay gap analysis. Staying on top of the pay grade issue will help to ensure that women are being compensated in line with their male counterparts.

Zero Tolerance for Sexual Harassment

In order for women to be productive, they need to feel safe in the workplace. Promoting a clear zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment will ensure that your place of business is safe for all employees, not just females. There are many types of sexual harassment, so mandatory training will help all employees know what behaviors are prohibited. The mandate for sexual harassment training and awareness needs to come from the upper echelons of the company. Mandating this training and making sure that every employee takes part in the process will send a clear message about the company’s position on this issue.

Support Family-friendly Practices

In addition to providing women with the maternity leave they need, employers should also make their transition back to work easier. Managers can do this by furnishing nursing rooms, offering flexible work schedules, and being supportive of women who are trying to balance the demands of work and motherhood. Savvy business leaders also understand the importance of extending family-friendly practices to the male workforce. Offering new fathers paternity leave and other benefits that promote healthy families will make a big difference in how women perceive the company and its attitude.

All of these efforts should work together in tandem to deliver a safe and encouraging workplace for females. By providing women with the support they need and deserve, everyone in the company will benefit.

4 Unconventional Careers You Didn’t Know Existed

Whether you need a change from one career or you’re just starting out in the job market, you don’t have to stick to the run of the mill office hours with a 9-to-5 job or relegated to driving people around to pay your rent. There are some out of the ordinary jobs that might be just what you’re looking for.

Cartographer

Did you ever think that someone made the maps you use on your phone? A cartographer is a person who does that. Cartography is part science, part art. Training is necessary. Depending on where you live, though, a high school diploma and bachelor’s degree in a specialized geography program could lead you to a job as a cartographer. Your income could eventually be as high as $80K a year.

Sommelier

It sounds classy. You would be, too, if you decide to take the career path to be a sommelier. More than a waiter or waitress, you wouldn’t just pour the wine, you would know all things wine. There is training involved but worth it if you love the grape and want to share your knowledge with your customers in fine dining establishments. The beginning salary starts at about $30K a year. A master sommelier can make $100K or more a year.

Professional Organizer

If you like order and structure, you might love being a professional organizer. There is no formal training, and clients often pay anywhere from $50 to $200 or more per hour for someone to organize their stuff. Closets, kitchens, offices — you name it! If there is a mess somewhere, a potential customer in need is waiting to find out that you can help them.

Railroad Conductor

Railroad conductors are responsible for everything concerning his or her train. if you choose to become a railroad conductor, everything onboard including contents of the cargo area, communicating with your crew, tearing tickets, and the wishes of the passengers would all be your responsibility. You would not drive the train but would communicate with other trains and act in a supervisory position. Working as a railroad conductor is generally safe, however, anyone working on a railroad needs to be cautious about injuries common to the industry. On-the-job training is usually the way to become a railroad conductor. The average pay for a seasoned conductor is about $60K a year. If you love traveling by rail and meeting all kinds of people, being a railroad conductor might be the job for you. 

These are just a few of the career choices you have available to you whether you want to start your first career or are looking for a change with a new one. If you’re looking for a career change, make sure to take these versatile skills with you!

3 Effective Advertising Strategies for the Digital Age

In this increasingly digital age, the market is seeing a downturn in print advertising and a drastic uptick in online marketing. If you’ve traditionally advertised via newspaper, local magazine, or flyers, it’s probably time to start thinking about revamping your marketing strategy. What can you do to drive more traffic to your business and to increase sales? Take a look at these high-performing digital age advertising strategies to spark your marketing creativity.

Word of Mouth

Word of mouth marketing has long been one of the most effective advertising strategies in business. Why? Because when people trust someone else’s opinion, they are likely to follow that person’s recommendations. If your best friend gushes about a restaurant she recently visited that she thinks you would also enjoy, you’re likely to trust her opinion. Therefore, the next time you’re planning an evening out, you’re much more apt to reserve a seat at that restaurant. 

The same goes for physical products, digital products, consulting services—you name it. Plus, word of mouth advertising targets the exact prospects a business hopes to reach. People aren’t likely to recommend a product or service to friends or family if they know those people do not have any interest in it. Rather than putting an ad in the newspaper, which hundreds of uninterested eyes might see, word-of-mouth marketing puts products and services in front of the right people who are likely to take action.

Social Media

With nearly 3.5 billion users across multiple social platforms, social media has grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade; social media marketing has exploded, too. With the average user spending over two hours per day browsing social media platforms, advertisers can benefit tremendously from getting their products and services in front of social audiences. 

Not only can users instantly share products, ideas, and services with their social acquaintances, but influencer marketing has also proven to be very lucrative. Much like word-of-mouth advertising, social media marketing often works on the principle of trust. When an influencer has amassed a large following, he or she has earned the trust of that audience. When that person recommends a product on his or her page, users who follow that influencer are likely to investigate what all the hype is about.

Pay-Per-Click

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a paid marketing strategy that charges website owners each time a user clicks the link to their sites. Often referred to as paid search or search engine advertising, PPC has been around for years because it’s a highly effective advertising strategy. With PPC, you can leverage the tremendous search power of major search engines to drive traffic to your website. With paid search, users make a search query on a major search engine, and if your website offers an applicable service, it will show up among the top search results. 

Each day, web users perform over 6 billion searches, so the chances of you getting traffic from a PPC campaign are very high. If you’re looking to target leads in a specific geographic area for local business advertising, make sure you use geo-targeting in a PPC strategy to get the leads you want. 

In this increasingly digital age, there are innumerable advertising options available to business owners. While you’ll need to conduct testing to find the marketing channels best suited to your business, with a smart strategy and a bit of persistence, you should have no trouble getting your products and services in front of the right people.

How Your Company Can Strive for Ethical Behavior

An ethical company becomes one with long-lasting potential. Don’t believe all the stories about “lying and cheating” business owners who game the system and get away with it. Unethical behavior eventually catches up with a crooked entrepreneur. He or she might thrive as a cheat for the short-term, but the law and, yes, the customers, do put a stop to bad behavior. Not every troubled business owner fails to toe the line out of malice. Some find themselves getting off course and making mistakes due to a lack of knowledge. Others cut corners, thinking they aren’t doing anything all that bad. Don’t fall into such traps, or your business will suffer. Here are five things to consider when trying to run an ethical business.

Treat Your Employees Well

This one practically goes without saying. Treating employees poorly does nothing but set the stage for their departure. Significant employee turnover eventually drains a company of its most valuable resource: people. The costs associated with replacing departing employees also consume budgets. Then there is another crucial matter to take into consideration. The poor treatment of employees can represent more than being called a rude boss. In some cases, the treatment results in criminal or civil actions. Follow the letter of the law when dealing with your staff. Treating your employees well and promoting ethical behavior will help to ensure that you have a successful and ethical business.

Keep Accurate Records

Terrible recordkeeping is more than sloppy. Depending upon your business, a failure to maintain accurate records can be a crime. The Internal Revenue Service certainly has rules regarding keeping files on expenses and deductions. Trouble arises when you make mistakes due to poor recordkeeping. Even when an error is not deliberate, business owners face the fallout of any result in problems. Sometimes, partners or other businesses commit illegal acts. Accurate records might serve as evidence for a defense. If your records are in poor shape, start working today on improving them. Otherwise, the snowball effect of poor record management will catch up to you.

Comply with Laws

Violating the law opens the proverbial Pandora’s box of troubles. Criminal activities arouse suspicions which, in turn, lead to investigations. When you’re guilty of a crime, investigators use their experience to figure things out. Look at all the incidents of people attempting to defraud insurance companies. The percentage of those who get away with it is low. The number of convicted felons ranks high. Eventually, people who violate the law will get caught. If an employee becomes aware of fraudulent activity at your company, they can become a protected whistleblower and expose the activity to the government. Afterward, a legal disaster may ensue. Whether you get caught or not, however, isn’t even the issue here. Violating the law is unethical, illegal, and flat out wrong.

Admit Your Mistakes

Mistakes happen. People don’t always exercise the best judgment. Sometimes, the mistakes reflect severe violations of the law. When appropriate, admitting to one’s mistakes is the best course of action. The public, generally, isn’t fond of people deflecting blame onto others. Quickly admitting to an error and working to fix it could mitigate some of the damage. Moving swiftly to admit mistakes means something. Waiting too long or dragging out the apology process undermines effectiveness. Some may assume the apology is insincere and forced when delayed. As soon as apologizing makes sense and doesn’t add to legal woes, own up to mistakes.

Work on Fixing Your Reputation

Reasons exist why reputation management services exist. They prove exceptionally helpful when the public’s perception of a business falters. Sometimes, reputation management services assist a company in performing “penance” for misdeeds. For example, the company may rely on press releases to reveal the charitable work intended to pay back the community for transgressions.

Acting ethical is vital to any business’s health. Find out where you are going wrong and change course. Otherwise, risk facing harsh consequences.

Here’s another article you might like: Ethical Marketing: What it is and Why it Should Matter to You

4 Fastest Growing Industries in Which You Should Get a Job

Finding the right job and career can be a tricky business. The job market regularly shifts and what may be hot today may fall by the wayside tomorrow. However, the following industries are experiencing rapid growth while also showing the potential to remain viable over the long haul.

Beverage Manufacturing

While craft breweries have become common in the past few years, beer is hardly the only beverage experiencing a craft renaissance. Wineries, distilleries, cider mills, and sparkling beverages have exploded in the craft beverage world. Indeed, as beer alternatives have risen, the craft beer market has leveled off. The industry, however, remains exceptionally strong. Diversified offerings, expansion into new markets and a focus on taprooms and direct distribution are ensuring strong markets for all craft beverages.

Car Sharing

Car sharing has become increasingly popular in the past decade with apps like Lyft and Uber appearing on the tech scene. With this increased popularity comes an increased demand for car sharing drivers. In fact, the worldwide car sharing market is estimated to grow by over 30 percent by 2020, due to more businesses using these services for their employees. And the good news is, all you need to know to succeed at this job is how to drive.  

Specialized Freight Trucking

The trucking industry, in general, is facing a distinct shortage of drivers, which means better wages and more openings. The most lucrative trucking options involve specialized trucking. This includes things like driving livestock haulers, dump trucks and auto carriers. Generally, most cargo that involves irregular shapes, loading, weights, and so forth fall into this category. Many companies will provide training in this specialized hauling and will provide regular work.

Pest Control

Research is predicting that pest control will see over a 5.5 percent expansion through 2020. This industry, in which agents remove insects and animals from homes and businesses, has grown rapidly with residential and commercial building spurts. Additionally, as the science behind things like insect sprays and chemicals has advanced, pest control agents are increasingly becoming more knowledgeable and specialized, with training provided by many companies. Being able to properly assess and treat a pest problem can be a tricky task and is not one likely to dry up anytime soon.

Whether starting a new career or contemplating a change in your life, these options could be what you are looking for. They all have been around for a long time, but are seeing unprecedented growth, profits and wages. Additionally, all look to be viable ways to earn money both now and for years to come.