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COMPENSATION FOR SALES PEOPLE: WHAT TO CONSIDER FOR RETENTION

At the end of the year, it’s time to review the productivity of your sales staff to evaluate the progress and income each individual brought to your company in 2017. If you don’t have a firm calculation to see what you should be paying your sales people, we have a few tips that can help you get started. When coming up with a compensation plan for those that will bring in new clients to your business consider the following:

 

Experience

Does your sales person have years under their belt? If so, they probably won’t require much guidance from you when it comes to self-starting their call list, following up on their leads, or qualifying their incoming potential closed sales. When you’re evaluating experience, years matter, but also look into specific characteristics like being able to write a contract or previous management experience. With tenure also comes the ability to mentor your younger sales force.

 

Results

Experience is fantastic, but what really matters is being able to get prospects to sign on the dotted line. Review the recent results of your sales person in the past year if they are a current employee. If it’s a new employee, request to see statistics from previous employment.

 

Connectivity and Responsiveness

Review how well you can trust the communication skills of your sales team members at the end of this year to contemplate their compensation. There’s nothing worse than trying to contact your employee and not being able to get a hold of him or her. Does this person respond quickly and professionally to you? If so, you can be confident they are treating your potential clients in the same way. Some of the best responses can just be a simple “Got your message.”

 

Balance of Base Salary and Commission

You’ll want your employee’s base salary to be livable but not so comfortable that the individual doesn’t feel the need to push for sales to make their paychecks bigger every payday. If you’re paying a higher base than most agencies, your commission structure might be a little less and vice versa. See if you can find the appropriate balance to make sure you are competitive with other employers.

 

Reimbursable Expenses

Another important factor to consider is the amount you are reimbursing your employees. If the expense account is large and lends itself to fancy dinners and gas mileage, you may be able to include that as a perk when considering your compensation plan.

 

Potential for Tenure

Lastly, if this is an employee you see going the ‘long run’ with your company, consider a three to five-year contract to secure a higher base salary. Though you can’t control what will happen, a contract can help you feel more secure paying a higher rate and investing in further training with your employee for the future.

 

We hope you’ve found this formula helpful to jump start your brainstorming conversations at year-end reviews. At Coastal Human Resources Group, we provide a wide range of HR services for business owners in Mobile, Alabama and the surrounding Gulf Coast area. If your company needs staff, then contact us today at 251.478.7444 or visit www.coastal-hr.com.

7 CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS FOR THE BOSS

The relationship between boss and employee is an interesting dynamic. This is someone who holds an important position in your life and someone you most likely see on a near-daily basis. But in most circumstances, they aren’t a life-long friend, a relative or even a co-worker who you hang out with after quitting time. This balance is amplified at Christmas. Your boss is someone who deserves a gift, but what do you get him or her? Luckily Coastal Human Resources is here with seven Christmas gift ideas for the boss.

 

  1. Cheese Board & Knife Set

Give them a classy gift with a cheese board and knife set. Have their monogram etched into the wood of the board and/or knife handle for a personal touch. This gift can be used for all the future dinner parties you’ll be invited to after becoming a favorite with this amazing present.

  1. Charitable Donation

For the boss who has everything, help them spread the wealth with a charitable donation in their name. This is especially perfect for the philanthropist leader and company. You’ve given a thoughtful gift and they get their name attached.

  1. Personal Bobble Head

If your boss has a sense of humor, then give them something that will keep them laughing. Order a custom bobble head that will look great on their desk and become a talking piece that will keep you on their mind.

  1. Tickets

Give them a reason to take a night off and let loose with tickets to a local sporting event or concert. Pay attention to conversations or trinkets around the office to figure out their favorite team or musician. This gift is guaranteed to give them a few hours of reprieve and a memory that will last longer than any fruit basket.

  1. Custom Pen

An executive appreciates a good pen and a good pen is worth the penny. Have one custom made with material that reflects their personality and taste (i.e. deer antlers, mahogany, marble, etc.) and etched with their name or initials. If possible, purchase it with a warranty that will allow it to be refilled when necessary.

  1. Artwork

A beautiful piece of artwork is great because it can go in the office or home. Take cues from the other type of decorations and style they exhibit to find art that goes along with their taste. If your boss started his or her own business, then make the artwork custom, like a watercolor or sketch of the office building.

  1. Wine or Scotch

When all else fails, go with a nice bottle of wine or scotch (depending on your boss). It can be enjoyed right away or at a later date. It’s versatile for all circumstances and personalities and let’s face it, they probably need it. Sweeten the pot with a box of luxury chocolates.

 

With these seven Christmas gift ideas for the boss from Coastal Human Resources, you can find something that will help you stand out as an employee this holiday season.

 

At Coastal Human Resources Group we provide a wide range of HR services for business owners in Mobile, Alabama and the surrounding Gulf Coast area. Contact us today at 251.478.7444 or visit us online at www.coastal-hr.com.
 

 

 

GIVING THANKS FOR YOUR BUSINESS; WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

 

When you are in charge of a business, the weight of the world—or at least the company—seems to fall directly on your shoulders. Every problem, every issue, every employee fight must filter through your office. It can easily become overwhelming, to the point you want to just leave it all and escape to a tropical island that can’t be found by modern technology. But every problem is a blessing- an opportunity to learn if you choose to see it that way. So, during this season of thanks, we here at Coastal Human Resources would like to remind you why it’s important to be thankful for your business, regardless of your challenges.

 

  • Employees

Managing employees can feel like managing a lot of toddlers at times. They are forced to work together even if they don’t get along. And even if they love their job, most people can’t help but keep an eye on the clock and will jet when it’s quitting time faster than Fred Flintstone at the whistle. All of this becomes your problem as a boss. But every time one of your employees—or collectively as a group—gets on your nerves, remember that their presence means your business is doing well enough to demand the extra hands. More so, those extra hands are there to assist. Being in charge can feel like being on an island (and not the one you want) but employees are fellow team members above all else. Work with them and you’ll find yourself being thankful for them much more often.

  • Persistent Phones

When that phone rings for the 37th time before lunch, you’d probably like nothing better than to throw it out the window. While being connected is essential, especially in business world, easily accessible technology seems to have also stripped away peace and quiet. Remember, though, that every time that phone rings it’s a chance to grow your company, to impress a potential customer and strengthen an existing connection. That ringing phone represents your tether to an institution that is fostering its place in the world. So, answer it with pride. Then don’t feel bad for silencing it during lunch.

  • Meetings

You probably only go to meetings for the snacks or coffee and we don’t blame you. Half of the time we find ourselves sitting in meetings thinking “Couldn’t this have been handled over email?” But never underestimate the power of face-to-face interaction and the magic that can happen when people are in the same room bouncing ideas. Those meetings signify an opportunity for your company to decide its next step and decide where it can fit into the future of your field. No matter how insignificant a meeting might appear, embrace the open channel of communication to take your mission plan further.

  • Dirty Dishes

While this one is literal in the hospitality industry, it’s metaphorical for others. The sentiment is the same though. Every dirty dish you wash means there was a customer there that needed it. That is to say, every bit of paperwork following a project, there’s trash that needs to be cleaned up. Filing a follow-up report means you (hopefully successfully) provided your service and a client left satisfied. It means your business served its purpose. The documentation process, the long paper trail, the tedious follow-ups all mean that you’re dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s.

 

When that 4 o’clock Tuesday hour seems to drag on forever and you want nothing more than to walk out and leave everything behind, look at those things you are apt to loathe and see them from a different perspective. Doing so will remind you why giving thanks for your business is important.

 

At Coastal Human Resources Group we provide a wide range of HR services for business owners in Mobile, Alabama and the surrounding Gulf Coast area. Contact us today at 251.478.7444 or visit us online at www.coastal-hr.com.
 

 

 

 

4 TIPS TO ENGAGE MILLENNIALS IN THE WORKPLACE

If there’s one word that causes more discussion, debate, and even discourse in our society today, it’s ‘millennials’. Everyone has an opinion on the 18-34 year old age group. But what’s important to remember is that age group takes up a large portion of the population. Many managers and leaders find themselves struggling with millennials and their place in the office. This has led to a misconception that the age group doesn’t have a good work ethic and can’t function in adulthood. The actuality is that these young people just have a different work ethic. The key to creating a positive and productive environment is to understand how to motivate your staff instead of trying to push them into the same boxes that previous generations worked within. With that being said, here are four tips to engage millennials in the workplace from Coastal Human Resources.

 

  1. Push a Career Path
    • Contrary to popular belief, this age group craves longevity and a career. This must be manifested in a fulfilling way, though. Millennials aren’t content with just a 9-5, clock in and out of job, which is why you see so many becoming Instagrammers while trying to figure out what to do next. They want to become part of a company— a community if you will— and help build it through the years. Show that your business is a place to grow with opportunities for advancement and young people will feel inspired to not only work there but to help you grow.
  2. Open Workplace
    • For all the flack the group takes for being consumed by their phones, this age of people actually thrives on being around others. Locking them into an office or even a cubicle will do nothing but make them feel drab. Millennials need stimulation. Instead of scoffing that this just means they’re easily distracted, test out the theory to see the difference in production. When surrounded by co-workers in an open air workplace the work will feel less like, well a job, and more like an attainable task to work towards as a team.
  3. Create Community
    • In that same vein, create a community atmosphere outside of the office. Young people want to connect with those around them and that includes their co-workers. If they feel like others in the office are their friends then coming to work won’t seem like so much of a chore. Organize an after-work happy hour outing or a weekend retreat. Bring back the company picnic but amp it up with a 5K or karaoke. To really appeal to this generation, use these events to make a positive difference in the neighborhood, which leads to…
  4. Emphasize Social Impact
    • Millennials are very cognizant of social issues and are constantly looking for ways to make a difference in the world around them. If your company puts an emphasis on social impact then they will want to work for you. They’ll also feel encouraged to promote and develop a company in which they believe. Most importantly, your business will be doing good for the community and world.

 

 

The unknown can be seen as scary. As of right now, there is still a lot of unknown about millennials among the older generations. It doesn’t have to be intimidating or frustrating though. By learning to work with them instead of against them, you will create a more positive and productive environment for all. Use these four tips to engage millennials in the workplace from Coastal Human Resources to do just that.

 

At Coastal Human Resources Group we provide a wide range of HR services for business owners in Mobile, Alabama and the surrounding Gulf Coast area. Contact us today at 251.478.7444 or visit us online at www.coastal-hr.com.

 

 

 

HEALTH INSURANCE RULES THAT EVERY BUSINESS OWNER SHOULD KNOW

 

Health insurance has changed a lot in the last few years and there are now many rules and laws which regulate the industry. As a business owner, many of these rules can affect you. Some of these are federal, while other mandates are state-originated. Each state has the right to set up the mandates for the insurance offered by their businesses. Let’s take a quick look at some of the laws and mandates which affect Alabama.
HIPAA: Enacted in 1996, The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is a federal law that requires inclusion of dependents and disallows exclusions for pre-existing conditions, age, or medical history. In some cases, there may be a six-month exclusion for some pre-existing conditions, but after that time, they are covered. HIPAA was enacted to streamline processes and help protect the privacy and security of information. The privacy tenet is one of the largest sections of the law. When people hear HIPAA, they usually think of the privacy aspect. With the exception of disease reporting, government oversight, and some legal investigations, information is highly guarded. There are also monetary and criminal penalties ascribed to breaches.
COBRA: Only required for private sector companies with over 20 employees (there are exceptions for federal plans and religious organizations) and state and local governments, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act was enacted to continue insurance coverages to employees or former employees under certain circumstances. While the employer does not have to pay for the coverage continuation, they do have to administer it the same as their group coverage. This insurance safety net can be very expensive for the employee. However, it does meet a need and many find it useful. If an employee loses their job or quits; if divorce interrupts coverage; if death occurs; or if your age disqualifies you, then you may be entitled to COBRA insurance for up to 18 months. Interestingly, many states have mandates which extend this coverage to other sub-sets of employees, such as companies with fewer than 20. This is known as a mini-Cobra. HIPAA also sets out requirements enabling special enrollment in another parent’s plan. There are also options for enrollment in Marketplace plans at a lower cost or with some subsidies.
STATE MANDATES: Once the federal laws have been met, each state has the ability to set their own levels of requirements based on perceived need and the ability to manage costs. The state of Alabama has the second lowest number of state mandates. While the average is 38, Alabama has half that amount, at 19. The more state mandates expressed, the more requirements on insurance, and the higher the cost in general. Some of the coverages for this state include Chiropractors, Dentists, Nurse Anesthetists, Optometrists, Pharmacists, Physician Assistants, Psychologists, and Newborn Coverage. These mandates may change over time.
While insurance is an ever-changing game, and many rules seem to be in constant evolution. It is important that you stay up to date on these changes. At Coastal Human Resources Group we provide a wide range of HR services for business owners in Mobile, Alabama and the surrounding Gulf Coast area. Contact us today at 251.478.7444 or visit us online at www.coastal-hr.com.
© Southern View Media 2017: Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. All Rights Reserved. “Get Online or Get Left Behind”

TIPS FOR SURVIVING THE FOURTH QUARTER

We know it is coming. We deal with it every year and we still let those small tasks pile up and overwhelm us. While some financial administrators have plenty of time throughout the year to get tasks done, others seem to be overloaded from January to December and feel challenged at every turn to accomplish all of their responsibilities. This is especially true of small companies where one or two office workers handle the administration and keeping the books is only a small part of their job. This year, start early and get ahead of the game so that you can enjoy the holidays and head into the new year with a confident frame of mind.

Here are a few things you may be able to knock out now:

  • RECEIPTS may have been laid to the side when other things demanded your time. Now is a great time to pull out the charge card statements or spending reports and start matching them up. If you have a scanner and save electronic copies, the process may be slightly different, but the result is the same. Attach the correct receipts to the statements, so the accountant can see physical evidence of your disbursements. This is especially important if you are under certain guidelines for spending.
  • RECONCILIATIONS should be caught up before the last minute. When you have many accounts, and some are investments, those statements may be laid to the side as well. It is a given that you would generally know what is happening with those accounts, that nothing will change, and all you need to do is some simple data entry. Priorities are what they are and sometimes other things just take precedence. Get those accounts updated and check that off your list.
  • BALANCES can be achieved as you go through the reconciliations. Reports are easy to print off for the accountant, but you want to be sure that the balances you give him or her are the most current. If you get quarterly statements, you can call ahead and get a balance directly from the bank.
  • BUDGET reports can be printed, evaluated, and used to develop the new budget. Remember to keep your spending analysis to the lower side of your projected earnings to avoid budget crises later on. You also can adjust the budget if earnings exceed expectations and you want to invest more in the business.
  • REPORTS may be needed by several people in your organization. Each person may want or need different things in their reports. It’s helpful to get as many done as possible. Estimators may want budgets and projected earnings. Financial officers may want profit and loss statements through various periods of the year. Department heads may want to look at profits compared to their process charts. Those responsible for hiring may want to see payroll reports. While some simply have to wait till the year ends, others may be generated ahead of time.

If you need help getting on top of your game, or you would like assistance in completing end-of-year tasks, give Coastal Human Resources Group a call today. We provide a wide range of HR services for business owners in Mobile, Alabama and the surrounding Gulf Coast area. Contact us today at 251.478.7444 or visit www.coastal-hr.com.

 

WHAT MATTERS TO WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE

 

While it may seem that hiring women and men is the same process, studies have shown that the reasons women and men work are different. Being able to adjust the recruiting process to cover the things we are looking for will bring the best candidates to the table.

  • RESPECT is paramount. Even more important than pay, females want to go to work in an environment where they are given respect due their level of service. The higher we climb on the ladder of success, the more we expect our opinion, knowledge, skills, and experience to be used for the betterment of the organization.
  • PAY based on the resume is important. While everyone wants the most we can get for their time, it is true that as the resume grows and improves,  they expect to be compensated for the years spent learning.
  • BENEFITS for them and their families are necessary, and the more the better. In many cases, the compensation package is the difference between hiring those knowing and those growing. Offering a package which takes care of any family members is huge, and good medical, vision, dental, disability, and retirement are only the beginning. Profit-sharing and bonuses give incentive to build a profitable enterprise. Offering child care, education reimbursement, travel compensation, and a pathway to leadership are also major draws. Many women will pass up other benefits to have child care on site. Maternity leave is a huge attraction for females of child -bearing age and interest, and the better the maternity leave, the more they will look at you as a prospective employer. While six weeks is normal, there are companies which offer a graduated return schedule to allow an easier transition between leaving the baby and coming back to work.
  • CONSIDERATIONS such as flex time and remote work will bring in women who typically are the ones left to call off work when a child is ill or has an appointment. Flex time has been shown to increase productivity dramatically, and being able to stay home while still completing necessary tasks benefits everyone. An employer who has the ability to give this option to the employees and fails to do so is missing out on a great tool to increase performance. Mandatory overtime is another consideration, and will often drive women to look for other options. Many women usually prioritize their families first. If women are being forced to leave them for excessive hours through the week or on weekends, they will probably find another job.
  • FULFILLMENT may mean the difference between hiring great employees and retaining them. A work environment which allows them to enjoy coming to work, and feel appreciated while there, will keep them coming back for years. By supplying them with the tools for personal growth, financial stability, and emotional satisfaction, you can build an organization of cherished employees whose loyalty will bring your company the best in growth and profit.

By structuring your interviews and learning which of these attractions hold the highest place on the list for your best candidates, you can build a package to bring in and retain great women, and we know there are a lot of talented ladies out there!

 

At Coastal Human Resources group we provide a wide range of HR services for business owners in Mobile, Alabama and the surrounding Gulf Coast area. If your company needs staff, then contact us today at 251.478.7444 or visit www.coastal-hr.com

TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS FOR BUSY ENTREPRENEURS

Have you ever met those people who make it look easy; who seem to accomplish everything they need to do, and still have time to go out to dinner every evening? The ones who are never ruffled or perturbed? And who never miss a deadline? Well, if you ask them how they do it, they probably can’t tell you. Many of them are naturally organized. But if you aren’t, don’t give up. Here are some tips which will help you be in the successful cliché, by focusing your efforts.

  • KEEP A LIST of tasks to be accomplished. Carry over everything not accomplished today to the top of tomorrow’s list. Prioritize each morning over your coffee, and decide which items are musts, shoulds, and hopefuls. Outlook has a great task list. You can put in tasks, make them recurring, send reminders and set alarms, and add emails and other items for follow-up.
  • USE A CALENDAR to block time for appointments and projects. Keeping things in front of you means that you won’t be stressing over what you forgot. Leave the stress for the important things, and make sure you always know what is going on. Consult your calendar daily.
  • CONSIDER A TIME MANAGEMENT TOOL such as Asana. This awesome project manager is amazing for tracking, assigning, and following work. Tasks, subtasks, and more can be followed easily. You can use Asana as a team, and each person can have their part of a project available for everyone to stay on top of. This is also a great motivator.
  • STAY FOCUSED on the task at hand within the realm of your day. Try to finish what you are doing before starting another job. Multi-tasking is really simply the ability to stay on one task while dealing with fifty others competing for your time.
  • BE FLEXIBLE and remember that things do happen, and you may have to put your task down and do something else. Just try not to become absorbed in it, and sidetracked. Go back to what you were doing as soon as possible. If you need to send a fax, then run the report, fax it, file or shred it, and get back. Don’t get sidetracked into filing the whole pile of paperwork that you noticed while you were faxing.
  • SCHEDULE DOWN TIME. You can’t work all the time. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Remember that little bit of common sense? Take a few hours to dine out or see a show. Spend time with those you love. Just get away from it for a while. Work will always be waiting.

At the end of the work day, take a few moments to reflect on your progress. Get a plan together for the evening, including family time and adequate rest. Although it is possible to get through the day while burning the candle at both ends, studies do show that those who get seven hours of sleep are more functional during the day, and are more focused.

Coastal Human Resource Group, Inc. is a Human Resource Outsourcer (HRO). We serve as a full-service human resources department for small and medium-sized businesses throughout the Southeast. Visit www.Coastal-HR.com or call us toll-free at 1-888-757-7444. We’re here to help ensure that all your human resources needs are met.

 

7 Email & Phone Scams To Be On The Lookout For

If you belong to any of the myriad of online job sites such as Career Builder, Indeed, or Monster, then you know how flooded your inbox can get with spam. Over the last few years, scam artists passing themselves off as legitimate employers have become smarter at reeling in job seekers who are desperate to secure employment. Their end game is to steal your identity or clean out your bank account. In some cases they will involve you in illegal activity without you even knowing it.

Below is a list of the top seven email and phone scams and what to look for in each:

Offers That are too Good to Pass Up

You’ve seen them before. A job description will pop up in your email that offers extremely good pay, with a top position that is available right away…but you only have to work for 12 hours in the comfort of your own home. In most cases, these hackers have contacted you with unsolicited offers that you didn’t ask for.

Unclear Job Descriptions

If you get a job offer that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, then that should raise a red flag. Scammers use vague job descriptions in an attempt to pique your interest so that you supply your personal information. The descriptions are general in nature so that they appeal to a wider audience.

Poorly Written Emails

You can almost always tell when an email is a scam just by the pathetic sentence structures, misspelled words, and misused punctuation. In the case of a phone scam, the person on the other will speak in broken in English. Companies do not hire HR representative who cannot write in proper English.

No Return Contact Information

Any reputable employer will make it easy for prospective employees to contact them. They will usually provide company (not personal) emails, phone numbers, addresses, and a website. If there none of this information exists in the email, then block the sender or delete the email.

Company Not Listed in Google Search

No matter who is calling or emailing you, you owe it to yourself to do some background research on the company. Look for an official website that can easily be found using a Google search. Call the company number and speak to the hiring manager. Try to find reviews and other information about the company.

You’re Asked to Submit Personal Information

No legitimate company is going to ask you to submit confidential information in an initial email or phone call. This usually happens after an interview and a confirmation of employment. It is only then that info such as social security numbers, bank account drafts, etc. are requested.

You’re Asked to Pay for Something

Only a scammer would ask you to pay for something up front in order to land your ‘dream’ job. Don’t fall for it. While it is true, that some companies may require you to invest money in items such as equipment, uniforms, or background checks, these expenses don’t come up until after you’ve been hired. No legitimate company is going to request money before you’ve even walked through the door.  

Coastal Human Resources, Inc. is a Professional Employer Organization (PEO),
serving as a full-service human resources department for small and medium sized businesses throughout the Southeast. We provide a wide range of services for employers who are looking to expand their workforce. Contact us today at 888-757-7444 to request a free quote or visit www.coastal-hr.com.

FIVE TYPES OF BUSINESS INSURANCE YOU SHOULD CONSIDER

For most of us, our business is a necessity. We don’t start them for fun, but to make a living. As such, we must protect our investments of time and money. When you shop for insurance, here are some of the most important coverages:

  •  LIABILITY: This is probably the most important insurance your business can purchase. There are several types, including general, product, service, and professional. You will want to have general and any of the others which apply to your situation. If someone is injured on your property, or by an employee, product, or service, these policies cover the defense attorneys in the case, and any awarded settlement. Because there really are people out there looking for an excuse to sue, this policy is non-negotiable. If you want to keep your business and operate in today’s sue-happy climate, protect yourself and your investment. Another consideration in the liability department is a cap insurance, which kicks in if your damages exceed the general policy’s limits.
  • PROPERTY INSURANCE: Your building and equipment are necessary to the operation of the company. Theft or damage are covered with property insurance. For even better coverage, pair this one with interruption of business. When something unforeseen happens, and the business is unable to operate for days, or weeks, the lost income is compensated. If you have employees counting on their paychecks, you will want to cover payroll to retain your staff. In the case of fire or smoke damage, repairs and cleaning can take several weeks or longer.  
  • WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: This policy is mandatory if you have employees. Workmans’ Comp covers any employee injured on the job. Their medical bills and compensatory replacement of lost pay helps get them through the time of healing and protects you from lawsuit.
  • FLEET INSURANCE: Most businesses have vehicles. Protect the drivers, contents, and automobiles with this policy, as well as any others injured in a collision. If you also comp employees for driving their own cars, you may want to inquire about a non-owned rider to back up their insurance.
  • INFORMATION PROTECTION: It seems that every other day we are hearing about hacking. Yet, as we continue to shelter personal information, we should also have some sort of protection for our business in case that information is compromised.

Many insurance companies offer a Business Owner’s Policy, which can be thought of as the “bundled” plan. They have taken all of the insurances you may need, and discounted the package.

Home-based businesses may need some modifications to the property insurance.

You may desire additional coverages. As business models change, so do the insurances offered. Today there are policies for cyber-theft or other electronic breaches. The information you save is not the only thing that can be obtained. You may find your bank accounts emptied or your system held hostage and requiring a ransom.

Business insurance is relatively inexpensive, but the peace of mind it brings is immeasurable. Be sure you have everything you need, before you need it.

Coastal Human Resource Group, Inc. is a Human Resource Outsourcer (HRO). We serve as a full-service human resources department for small and medium-sized businesses throughout the Southeast. Visit www.Coastal-HR.com or call us toll-free at 1-888-757-7444. We’re here to help ensure that all your human resources needs are met.

© Southern View Media 2017: Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. All Rights Reserved. “Get Online or Get Left Behind”

6 Effective Conflict Resolution Techniques

 

 

As long as there are humans working in your company, then there will always be tension and conflict on some level. Whether you are working in HR, administration or top-tier management, conflict resolution is a skill you’ll need to refine over time. Below are five proven conflict resolutions techniques that will help you keep the office running smoothly.

Do a lot of Listening

You are more likely to earn trust and loyalty by simply sitting down and listening to what someone else has to say. When someone else is talking, avoid interrupting him or her. Ask lots of question for clarity and always communicate when you don’t understand something.

Minimize the Conflict as Much as Possible

Let’s face it, some people are just drawn to drama. When the pot stirs, they are often the first to jump in. So, when conflict arises, the best course of action is minimize how many people are involved. Sure, there are moments when people may need to be called in to confirm or clarify a claim. Most of the time, however, conflict comes down to two people on two different sides of an issue. If you can get into a room and get the involved parties to work out the dispute without involving everyone else, you’re more likely to get it solved quickly and quietly. Once the conflict is solved, encourage everyone in the room to keep it to themselves. There’s really no point in drawing the entire office into an encounter.

Facts, Not Feelings

The ability to listen is an admirable quality. When there’s a dispute between two employees, they are both dying to be heard. And while a listening ear is important in gaining the trust of your staff, your decisions should never be made on how your employees feel. As someone in charge, your duty is to gather the facts and make a decision (if necessary) that is based on those facts. By focusing on the facts, you rid yourself of needless emotional baggage that can effect how you judge a situation and its outcome. When everyone else in the room is angry or hurt, you need to be the calm, steady, level-headed voice in the room that provides clear direction.

Try to Create a Win-Win Situation

Conflict creates duality. Essentially, both sides have a need or desire. Somewhere in the middle is a compromise in which each side can get what he or she wants if only in part. Effective management seeks to do what is best for everyone in the room. Therefore, you’re more likely to create a long-term solution if your goal is to help everyone resolve the conflict in a way in which both parties can benefit at some level.

Focus on Issues, Not People

It doesn’t take long for a disagreement to get personal. This is especially true for employees who have been working together for a long time and know each other well. When tensions get high and people get emotional the tendency is to focus on personalities instead of issues. As a supervisor, however, your #1 goal is to solve the issue. Thus, you should avoid character attacks and personalized statements. Get to the heart of the matter and stay there.

Develop a Plan for a Solution

Some disagreements can be solved within minutes – others within hours. And then there are some conflicts that take a few days. In some instances you may need to develop a plan of action for finding the right solution. Once you’ve developed the plan, then share it with all involved and resolve the problem as a team if possible.

At Coastal Human Resources group we provide a wide range of HR services for business owners in Mobile, Alabama and the surrounding Gulf Coast area. If your company needs staff, then contact us today at 251.478.7444 or visit www.coastal-hr.com.

There are four approaches to effectively discipline an employee though that will prove successful and beneficial for both your company and your employee.

 

When it comes to disciplining an employee, there’s no easy or fun way to go about the task. When running a company though it’s a necessary evil. There are four approaching to effectively discipline an employee though that will prove successful and beneficial for both your company and your employee.

Be Firm but Fair

You may think that letting employees get away with things will make for a more relaxed atmosphere and you a more-liked boss. In the end though this comes back to bite you. If an employee does something wrong or doesn’t pass the expected muster, it’s understandable to discipline them. Don’t be a tyrant but letting the wrongdoing pass with no firm punishment creates an atmosphere of havoc that benefits no one. Make sure they know the expectations—or rules if you will—and that diverting from them will bring consequences.  

Be Consistent

Having a teacher’s pet that receives more of your positive attention is one thing, but letting certain employees get away with something that others don’t does nothing but cause confusion amongst employees, and probably even a bit of bitterness. If you discipline one employee for something, make sure you do the same across the board. This will also help you pass on a consistent message that will save you constantly backtracking and trying to remember what you allow and don’t allow.

Be Specific

We can borrow this one from pre-school. There’s no use putting someone in time-out if they don’t know why they’re there. If an employee doesn’t understand why they’re being disciplined then they’re doomed to make the mistake again…and at that point it’s your fault because you could have set them on the right path to begin with. So, when disciplining them, make it perfectly clear what they did wrong or where they failed to meet expectations.

Be Encouraging

Make sure your employee doesn’t walk out of the room with their head held low because if that’s the case, all you’ll have managed to do is berate them, not discipline them. After you’ve been specific with what they did wrong, tell them how they can make it better or how they can avoid the mistake in the future. This is part of your role as their superior, helping to shape them for the future of your business. If you successfully do this, then you’ll have taken an opportunity to discipline an employee when needed but also made sure to avoid the problem in the future. Don’t get so swept up in this though that you find yourself giving multiple chances on the same issue (at that point they’re taking advantage of you).

 While this may be one of the more difficult aspects of holding a higher position in a business, it doesn’t have to be miserable. Use these four approaches to effectively discipline an employee and you will see it pay off tenfold in both employees and the company.

If you want to motivate all your employees and increase productivity, call us today for more information on this and other products we have to simplify your business obligations. Coastal Human Resource Group, Inc. is a Human Resource Outsourcer (HRO). We serve as a full-service human resources department for small and medium-sized businesses throughout the Southeast.

Visit www.Coastal-HR.com or call us toll-free at 1-888-757-7444. We’re here to help ensure that all of your human resources needs are met.

 

 

HOW YOUR FIRST TIME AS A MANAGER CAN BE A HUGE SUCCESS

FIRST TIME AS A MANAGER

You have just been given a new position with added responsibility. You may be a bundle of nerves, and that is OK. Read these tips, take them to heart, and go forward with joy and excitement as you discover the potential that you and your team have.

  • NOT ONLY DO YOU NOT KNOW EVERYTHING, BUT YOU AREN’T EXPECTED TO. So just breathe and look around you. Study your team. Figure out what their best qualities are, and how you can utilize those. You aren’t trying to “use” people, but knowing what they can bring to the table can be a huge asset. Be sure you understand that difference. It will make or break you. Let your team help, and culminate an atmosphere where they want to do so. Be willing to admit that you don’t have an answer, but start now to know WHERE to find those answers.
  • IF YOU ARE NOT A BORN MULTI-TASKER, STRIVE TO LEARN THIS SKILL. Many people do it without thinking, but if you aren’t one of them, it doesn’t mean that you can’t juggle six tasks and three deadlines; just that you haven’t practiced it.
  • NOW, BEGIN TO DANCE BETWEEN PROJECTS AND PROCESSES WITH PRIORITY. You may have a lot going on, but some of it is going on as planned, some of it may need guidance, and sometimes you may have to shift your focus to a more immediate need. Understand the system you are working in. Put the processes in order, and then find the time zones where completion is needed. As you get better, you will be able to use tracking to follow these processes from start to finish, but for now, you may be better served by going to the finish line, and seeing what should be there. If it isn’t, go find it, and figure out how to get it there as close to the deadline as possible.
  • REACH OUT TO YOUR MENTOR. Someone had strong feelings of confidence in you, or you wouldn’t be a new manager. Find those people. Don’t be afraid to ask them for guidance. If you are building a relationship, ask them what one piece of advice they would give you based on their experiences. Let them shape you. You can bet that they have made some mistakes along the way, and you will benefit from listening.
  • MANAGE YOUR STRESS. Figure out now how to release the day when you leave. If you don’t learn this now, you are only going to complicate things later when you have even more responsibility. Find something now that helps you relax in a positive way.
  • CELEBRATE THE SMALL VICTORIES, AND BUILD ON THEM. Spread that joy around to those you work with. In the same way, deal with issues in such a way that it gains respect. Forgive yourself, and those above and below you. Extend the same mercy that you bestow on yourself to the others, and they won’t forget it. Nothing screams “leader” like the handling of a minor problem with dignity. Let them know you have confidence in them, and they will be happy to give you a reason for it.

 

 

Tips For Motivating Your Best Employee

Motivating Your Best Employee

In any office there has to be one person that serves as the touchstone. This can be a point of contention for some but it’s necessary to effectively run any business. They are your best employee and they can be the igniting fuel that runs your business. To have them best serve you and the rest of your staff though it’s important to keep them motivated. Here are some tips for doing just that:

  1. Keep Them on a Deadline
    You have to make sure the rest of your office knows that when a task is assigned it is expected to be completed on time. Keep your best employee on a tight deadline and don’t let there be any wiggle room and the rest of the office will follow suit.

  2. Put Them in Charge
    This should not be an all the time thing, but don’t be afraid to put your best employee in charge of certain tasks. It gives them a sense of responsibility and will make them feel personally responsible for the product the team produces.

  3. Designate Them As The Leader
    This is in the same vein as above but a bit broader. It can be applied to certain task or just to general rules you want applied to your staff. Give your staff a leader that is one of their own and it will keep them from running around like a chicken with no head. You’ll be there as the boss to keep it from going full “Lord of the Flies.”

  4. Keep Them Humble
    All of these rules can lend itself to a big head. Ideally if this person is your best employee they have the right attitude and work ethic to keep that from happening but it’s also your job as boss to keep them in line. Praise them for work well done but don’t give praise when it isn’t due. Critique work that needs to be critiqued and let them know when they could have done a better job. If you want your best employee to continue to grow, this is crucial.

  5. Give Them Competition
    A little competition never hurt anyone and it gives them motivation to work harder. Having two of your best employees aware of the other’s work will give them someone to compare to, and therefore try to increase their work to a higher standard. Which leads to increased performance and expectations.

  6. Hold Them to a Higher Standard
    This person is your best employee; they are supposed to serve as a touchstone for everyone else around them and for the quality of product you’re producing. Don’t be afraid to hold them to a higher standard and let them know that is the case.

  7. Keep Them Accountable
    By keeping your best worker accountable you are making it known even the “class pet” so to speak isn’t allowed to slide on anything. Think of it as the business version of tough love. This will trickle down to all other employees and cause them to police themselves and their work.

Your best employee can be an added decision maker for your business, so take care of them and they will take care of you. Use these tips and you will see production beginning to flow right away.

If you want to motivate all your employees and increase productivity, call us today for more information on this and other products we have to simplify your business obligations. Coastal Human Resource Group, Inc. is a Human Resource Outsourcer (HRO). We serve as a full-service human resources department for small and medium-sized businesses throughout the Southeast.

5 Tips for Handling Employee Grievances and Incidents

Handling Employee Grievances and Incidents

Leadership is never an easy task. Most managers and supervisors often feel like they’re steering a ship that has no rudder while waiting for a mutiny on the bounty. This is especially true when conflict ensues. There are essentially three main types of conflict:

  • Employee & Employee
  • Employee & Management
  • Employee & Policy

In all of these conflicts, the one in charge must be the person to find the solution and find it in an efficient manner before the conflict grows and becomes uncontrollable. Below are five strategies to help you navigate through employee grievances and incidents.

Understand Your Place in the Chain of Command

Making executive decisions and solving conflict in a professional manner happens when a supervisor or manager knows his or her place in the chain of command and how much authority they’ve been given. For instance, when it comes to employee vs. employee conflict, supervisors are expected to have the knowledge and ability to handle problems between subordinates.

If an employee is challenging company policies, however, a supervisor may want to go up the chain of command to deal with the situation. Equally, administration wants to give as much of the authority to lower level management as possible so that their subordinates respect them. Understanding your place in the chain of command creates respect and trust from everyone around you.

Address the Issue, Not the Person

Let’s face it, not everyone in your company is easy to get along with. Yet even some of the most difficult people can be the greatest company supporters and the hardest workers. When addressing complaints or incidents, put your personal feelings aside and stay focused on the issue at hand. Your goal should be to find a solution, not replace a person. If you are seen as someone who can solve problems, then your place in the company is even more solidified and coworkers will feel more secure around you.

Document Everything…Without Fail

He Said, she said, rarely works in personal relationships between two people. Trying to remember conversations and incidents can be disastrous when recalling facts and events. Therefore, you should document everything. When documenting a complaint or incident, capture every detail down to the word if possible. Some incidents may take weeks to solve, and you can’t rely on your memory – neither may someone else.

Ask Questions and Stay on Point

Aristotle’s greatest weapon was his ability to ask questions. Asking questions is a powerful tool. Here’s why? People can often work themselves out of their own illogical thinking if they have to answer their own questions. By asking questions you can get to the root of whatever it is your employee is complaining about. Case in point (paraphrase):

You: What is the problem?
Employee: I feel I deserve a raise.
You: Why do you feel this way.
Employee: Because I have been here for ten months and haven’t even been considered for a raise.
You: Do you feel that your getting a raise should solely be dependent upon how long you’ve been here?
Employee: Well, no.
You: What other criteria do you feel justifies you qualifying for a raise?

One facet of your company governs everything: the company’s vision. If you are 100% on board with the company vision, understand it well, and are able to carry it out every day, then leading your team becomes a less difficult task. When facing conflict and complaints always refer to the company’s vision and do not be afraid to lead in that manner. Sometimes you just have to pull the executive card without negotiation or hesitation. Complainers often fail to see company vision and want to create their own. It is your job to put them back on track. If they continue to derail and defy the company, then you have no choice but to let them go. Whatever happens, do not be afraid to use the authority given to you to keep employees working and moving toward the vision. By demonstrating hard leadership, you will earn the trust and respect of your entire company. No one likes conflict. A true leader, however, will navigate the ship through the storm no matter how high the waters. You owe it to yourself and to your company to lead and to lead with confidence.

6 TIPS FOR IMPROVING DELEGATION WITHIN YOUR COMPANY

IMPROVING DELEGATION WITHIN YOUR COMPANY

Being a driven leader is wonderful. Having a group of people with you who are also highly motivated is one way to set yourself up for success. However, if you and your employees are not working together, you really just have a bunch of ambitious people working in groups of one. The key to group success is forming the group, and the best way to do that is to delegate tasks. Here are a few tips to help get that process started:

  1. STRESS THE SKILL AND TALENT DIVERSITY AVAILABLE WITHIN THE GROUP. Although many of us are good at several things, we do have niches of specialty. Build out the talent pool by telling the group what the others excel at. It will be easier for Joe to ask Sarah to edit his article if he knows she edits your text. Jim may put together a great contract, but if Henry has a legal background, he will be more apt to have Henry give it a second look to avoid issues later. It may be interesting to go around a room in a group meeting, and ask two questions: What is your strongest skill, and where are you the weakest?
  2. SET AN EXAMPLE. It may be hard for your team to take you seriously if you are seen working 80 hours a week and turning down offers of help. Yes, it means you are driven, but if you aren’t delegating successfully, you can’t show them how it works.
  3. LET GO OF MICROMANAGEMENT. You want a certain result, and you know that nobody else has that same vision. By opening the parameters a bit and letting someone else try, you may find that they achieved your goal. You may also discover other people who want that same result, and you may find them more than capable.
  4. ENCOURAGE THE EFFORT. Ask your leaders to assign some of their work. If giving an entire task away isn’t in their comfort zone yet, ask them to assign a sub-task, a piece of the puzzle. Sometimes growth comes in small steps, but every step in the right direction should be noted and encouraged. Mentor where you can.
  5. REWARD THE SUCCESS. When a project is broken down, and everyone is working together for a desired end, be sure to sit up and take note, rewarding the group’s success. Highlight areas of great teamwork. Find small ways to show your appreciation. Your crew will thank you for donuts, pizza, or even a gift card. These tokens don’t have to break the bank but they will be remembered.
  6. SHOW THE RESULTS. When a project comes together successfully, find various markers which may be traced to show a great result. Be sure that you, as the leader, follow through. Don’t lose focus once a project is wrapped. Go back and assess its value, and report it to your team.

As you foster these relationships, the goal is to see teams formed that bring people into unofficial groups for the success of the whole, through delegation amongst themselves without your persuasion.

FIVE REASONS YOU NEED AN EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK

YOU NEED AN EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK

As your company grows, it makes sense to put the rules in writing. Starting with a couple of employees, it seems like a waste of time, but when you grow to more than that, it is time to sit down and get it all spelled out. Invariably, someone will use one of these before the books are hot off of the presses, so have these ready ahead of the curve, make them available to everyone, and cover sections regularly in group progress meetings and the monthly newsletter. Eventually, most of the staff will know answers to the most common questions. Keeping this book handy will save your HR team hours of unnecessary visits to their office for clarification.

  1. “We didn’t cover that in training.” Training is on point when it is covered in the handbook. Whether touched on, or elaborated on, the information should be discussed. If training follows the same format each time, then you should never hear this one.
  2. “I have never heard that before.” An employee a few years out from training may not remember everything that was covered. Keeping a handbook in the breakroom will give your staff the ability to quietly go look up the answer to a question without bringing attention to themselves or a situation that they may not want to discuss yet. Many companies email the handbook to each of their employees so they can always have access.
  3. “What are our holidays?” President’s Day may give the kids time off from school, and the bank may be closed, but we are working. This is not a holiday for us. The list is in the handbook, and we take the same holidays every year.
  4. “What is the company policy on harassment?” Although today, most companies have a strict zero-tolerance policy, it should be spelled out explicitly. You need to specify what you consider harassment, and what the process is for those who are victims as well as those who are accused.
  5. “I was fired without warning.” A written disciplinary policy will specify the steps taken as one progressed through the levels of discipline. While attendance may be a minor infraction, and there may be several warnings before time off, something more serious, such as intimidation or coming to work under the influence may put one immediately in the time off pending investigation mode. If they received a handbook upon hire, they have no grounds for any action if the policy was followed as written.

Having a handbook will save you time and money. You won’t be discussing the same issues over and over, or wondering if things were handled the same every time. You can sit down with your management team, think it all through one time, and put it in writing.

A written policy on discipline, properly implemented