In This Issue
A special Congressional debt-reduction committee failed to reach an agreement on how to cut the U.S.'s billowing deficit yesterday evening -- a turn that could bode poorly for everyone from defense contractors and entrepreneurial grad students to U.S. businesses Read More
Seniors will get significantly bigger Social Security checks in 2012 and face only modest increases in Medicare premiums.
Workers will also be eligible to defer taxes on more money in their 401(k) plans and get more disclosures about the fees and expenses they are paying. Read More
Ask yourself this:
• What do your words do?
• Do you have useful conversations that inspire people to be better people?
• Does your communication result in your employees succeeding at their jobs?
I believe some of the most important responsibilities of a manger are to: Read More
Are you investing heavily to acquire new customers, while losing customers at an even faster rate? A recent client of ours in the telecom sector was experiencing significant attrition. The sales organization was growing the customer base by 12 percent annually, but existing customers were bailing at an even higher 15 percent attrition rate. Read More
Think your new tablet is strictly for entertainment purposes? Think again. Small businesses are rapidly finding innovative ways to use tablet computers (iPad, Kindle Fire, Playbook, etc.) to connect with clients, market while on the go, and enhance customer experiences. Read More
The parties often went late into the night, with up to 150 friends milling about their pool, gathered around the piano, singing, talking and laughing. Scott Jones and his partner, Kell Hicklin, loved entertaining. So when they decided to tank their respective careers in marketing and human resources, the couple determined it was time for a complete change. Read More
As we enter the last few weeks of 2011, the to-do list seems to grow longer. One thing small business owners should do is consider whether they have done everything they can to reduce their tax burden. Even at this late date, there are things you can do that will reflect favorably when you file your 2011 return. Read More
Allison O’Kelly is the founder and CEO of Mom Corps ™, a full-service staffing services company that helps employers tap into the market of talent (men and women) that has opted out of the traditional workplace and wants flexibility. O’Kelly, a Harvard MBA, founded the company in 2005; Read More
Bre Pettis knows a thing or two about getting things done rather than getting them perfect: He's the founder of Makerbot, a company that turns out cheap rapid prototyping machines. No one would say they've been perfectly realized, but a key to Makerbot's success is that it has evolved in the real world, rather than foundering as just another great idea. Read More
The impending changes to the U.S. Postal Service are about to give new meaning to the term "snail mail."
When the post office makes cuts to mail service come spring to stem billions of dollars in losses, it will not only slow mail delivery, but eliminate the possibility of first-class letters and other mailings being delivered to nearby areas in one day. Read More
A national crisis has flown virtually under the radar.
The fact that more than 40 million American employees have no retirement plan option at their place of work is not even a topic of discussion—and it’s time to change that.
For more information on how you can offer a 401(k) plan to your employees, contact HR today. Read More
Contrary to popular belief, hydration isn’t just for hot, Texas summers. Staying hydrated has many benefits in the winter season for a multitude of reasons. With winter comes low humidity and dry air which can cause severely dry, itchy skin – also, the air being cranked out by heaters at home and the office is lacking in moisture. Read More
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than one-third of Americans aren't getting enough sleep, and one-fifth have major sleep disorders, which can be harmful to our well being. Drinking warm milk and listening to soft music may help, but for many people, technology has become the preferred sleeping aid. Here's a look at five gadgets and/or apps that aim to lull you into a longer peaceful sleep. Read More
Know It to Win It
Congratulations to Erica from San Antonio for winning November's Know It to Win It!
December's contest question is the following:
If your business reports on an accrual basis, until when can you issue year-end bonuses?
Send the correct answer to eESINews@eesipeo.com within 5 business days from the PeopleTalk release date and you will be entered into a drawing for a prize. Following the drawing, we will contact the winner to verify their contact information and reveal the prize for delivery.
Remember, please send your answer to eESINews@eesipeo.com
In addition, if you know someone who would like to start participating in the PeopleTalk / Know It to Win It contest, have them enter their winning answer too.
Good Luck to All!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
On behalf of the entire eESI team, we send you warm thoughts and best wishes for a joyous holiday and a very happy new year!
Please be advised that our offices will be closed Monday, December 26th and Monday, January 2nd for the holidays.
If you missed a previous release or simply want to review an article of interest, all our PeopleTalk newsletters have been archived. Read More
Employees Cheating Time? But What Can You Do About It?
According to a recent survey released by time-clock vendor Kronos, your employees are cheating your timekeeping systems. The survey reveals that employees routinely steal pay from their employers for time they have not worked. Such thievery includes clocking-in earlier or clocking-out later than scheduled, having someone else clock them in or out, neglecting to clock out for lunch or breaks, or adding time to timesheets.
Is anyone surprised that your employees might try to cheat your timekeeping system to steal a few extra bucks? Now that I’ve reported on what should be obvious to anyone who runs a business or works in HR, I present a more practical issue—what can you do about it?
Here’s what the law says about the use of time clocks for payroll purposes:
Time clocks are not required. In those cases where time clocks are used, employees who voluntarily come in before their regular starting time or remain after their closing time do not have to be paid for such periods provided, of course, that they do not engage in any work. Their early or late clock punching may be disregarded. Minor differences between the clock records and actual hours worked cannot ordinarily be avoided, but major discrepancies should be discouraged since they raise a doubt as to the accuracy of the records of the hours actually worked.
In practice, this rule, coupled with these survey results, places employers in a bad position. Because employers have to keep accurate records of the hours their employees work, routinely failing to pay employees for inaccurately recorded time might cause the Department of Labor to distrust the validity of your recordkeeping, which, in turn, could lead to a costly recordkeeping violation of the statute. Refusing to pay employees per your recording system also opens your business to a potential Department of Labor investigation or class action lawsuit for unpaid wages. The Hobson’s Choice employers face in this area—as a result of the web woven by the FLSA’s anachronistic rules and regulations—is either to grind your businesses to a halt through strict compliance, or to roll the compliance dice and hope that the Department of Labor or a plaintiffs’ class action lawyer will not come knocking on your doors.
As a solution, I offer a three-pronged approach:
1. Create a culture of honesty in your business, and train your managers and supervisors on the importance of honesty in timekeeping and the consequences that will result from dishonesty. You cannot hope to change employees’ dishonest behavior without first creating a workplace gestalt of honest behavior.
2. Pay per your timekeeping system, which may result in some employees receiving pay for un-worked time. It is usually not a defense to a wage and hour lawsuit that you did not authorize work that the employee performed. If it’s documented as time worked, pay for it (but see number 3 below).
3. Discipline—routinely, consistently, and with sufficient warning—those employees who are caught falsifying their time records. Just because you have to pay for recorded time does not mean that you lack recourse against employees you reasonably believe are being dishonest. Discipline or termination will reinforce your culture of honesty by creating consequences for those that breach.
Following these three steps cannot prevent dishonest employees from trying to steal pay for time not worked. But, it will create the appropriate workplace environment to encourage greater honesty in time recordation, which should pay exponential dividends by spilling over into other facets of your business.
How to Curb Three Major Stressors in Life
It’s almost 2012 and it’s only natural that we start to reminisce and review what we have (and haven’t) accomplished. It’s also a time where we are bombarded with friends and family, holiday expenses, the looming “threat” of tax time, etc.
If we have stress already in our lives it can be a time where we feel that our issues have gotten to be too much to handle. But how did we get here in the first place? If you lay awake at night, dreading the future, chances are you have some serious stress going on. Also, chances are one of the main reasons of that building stress comes from the one of the causes below.
Money and Debt
It isn’t a surprise that people worry about money and how much or how little that they have. Disagreements about money and debt is one of the leading problems that faces married couples and people in general today, and with the “global economic decline”, the pressures of making enough money are becoming greater for more and more people.
A couple of easy ways to get the stresses of your money situation out of your head are as follows:
1. Write down and know what you are spending things on. If you don’t know where your money is going, you don’t stand a chance in making it right in the future.
2. Start a budget and keep to it. This is the single most powerful thing that I have done to keep me sane when it comes to money. Try using YNAB for this.
3. Keep track of your debt and figure out a way to start a “debt snowball”. It will get you excited about your future and relieve some of the current stress.
4.Cut out things in your life that you spend too much money on and that you don’t need. Don’t go overboard though. You can stress yourself out even more by limiting your “fun spending” on entertainment and the like.
Another fact of life is that you will have to do some sort of work during it. Whether it be for a big or small company, or even for yourself (you savvy, entrepreneur, you) you will have to deal with other humans, projects, deadlines, expectations, etc. Work can take control of your life if you are not careful and can cause all kinds of unneeded stress.
The fact is that we as knowledge workers aren’t worth a damn if we are overworked and under relaxed. Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz point out in their book, The Power of Full Engagement (non-affiliate link), that the highest performers at work aren’t the ones that have their nose to the grindstone day in and day out; they are the ones that know how to balance their work and life and manage their energy.
Here are ways to do that:
1. Know your limits. Most people aren’t productive for 10+ hours a day. Limit your workday and break it up with some exercise, socializing, entertainment, etc.
2. Set up time blocks to get things done. If a project deadline is approaching and freaking you out, plan some time in your calendar where you devote your attention to it.
3. Make sure that you make time in your schedule to plan. Most of the stress in your workday can be caused from trying to do projects and actions that haven’t been defined yet.
4. Create a personal productivity system and stick to it. It will help you see what you have to do in your work life (as well as your personal life).
Obesity levels in the US are at an all time high. Fast food and junk foods are easier and cheaper than ever to get your hands on. People’s idea of “health food” varies, but it’s usually wrong. Being unhealthy can keep you sick, in and out of hospitals, and worried that you aren’t going to see the age of 40.
I have my own opinions about how to eat and exercise, and while they aren’t for everyone, they have worked for me (and many others) and have definitely changed my game in work and life.
Being unhealthy can suck the life out of you. While everyone has their own opinion on what is the best way to eat and exercise, there are a few things that we all can agree on that will help you get and stay healthy and relieve some of that stress associated with it:
1. Walk everyday. People don’t walk enough. Try to walk on the breaks that you should be taking during work. Try to add an hour of walking to your day in 15 minute increments.
2. Eat well. Like I said, everyone has their own ideas of what is healthy and what isn’t. I go for a Paleo approach, but maybe that doesn’t work for you. Do some research and change your eating habits accordingly.
3. Do some “high intensity” exercise. Lift heavy things and sprint every once in a while. It will release all kinds of endorphins essentially making you feel great and de-stressing you.
4. Get a screening from a physician at least once a year. If you don’t have insurance consider saving up a little money every month to afford one at the end of the year. Just how you can’t know how to budget money if you don’t know where you are spending it, it’s hard to know what to change in your diet and/or exercise pattern unless you know how healthy (or unhealthy) you are.
There are stressors all around us in life, but these three are the major ones that cause most of people’s pain. Dealing with them can be difficult, especially if you have let them build up over many months and years. As we get to the end of this year, take a look at what is currently causing you stress and work on a plan to curb it.