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Leadership Techniques, Customer Service Skills & Teamwork articles

 
  • ACA Forms 1094-C and 1095: All You Need to Know
    Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) applicable large employers (ALEs), defined as employers with 50 or more full-time employees and full-time equivalent employees, are required to report the health insurance coverage and enrollment information for their employees, and provide Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Forms 1094 and 1095 to their employees. The inf...

  • General OSHA Workplace Injury Guidelines that Every Organization Must Follow
    We all know about Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the critical role it plays in safeguarding the health and safety of all the workers around the country. As a general rule, the division has made it mandatory for every company to submit form 301 (citing Injury and Illness Incident Report) every year. While this is meant to keep the h...

  • Conducting OSHA-Compliant Incident/Accident Investigations
    Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) strongly encourages all employers to investigate every incident where a worker was hurt, as well as near misses or close where a worker would have been hurt if the circumstances had been slightly different. In the past, the term "accident" was mostly used when referring to an unwanted, unplanned event. To ...

  • Employee Handbook Update for 2017
    With the beginning of the year 2017, it is time to review and update your employee handbook, if you haven’t already done it. This will ensure that it is legally compliant and portrays the latest developments regarding HR. There are numerous important legal changes, especially on the local and state levels which can have a strong impact on workplace polici...

  • How to Stay Safe in an Active Shooter Scenario
    In the world of crime, “active shooter” is a fairly new term. Its popularity rose in the past decade or so as a way of easily describing scenarios where an individual or a group of individuals in an area, armed with the intention of harming other individuals around. Over a period of time, active shooter incidents have occurred in schools, public gatherin...

  • Overview of the Top California Labor Law Updates for 2017
    One of the most popular things about the great state of California is that it employs the country's biggest civilian workforce (about 20 million). This also signifies just how difficult it would be to manage the compensation of such a vastly diverse workforce. The laws for compensation are also updated every year. The most recent worker's compensation law up...

  • Prime Benefits of the Different Stages of 5S Workplace Organization Methods
    Did you know that 5S workplace organization method was developed in Japan and uses a list of 5 Japanese words? These words when translated into Roman script start are read as Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke, all starting with the letter "S". In the same order, their meanings are Sort, Set In Order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain. It is this list ...

  • Thermal Analysis of Plastics
    When a plastic component experiences an unexpected break or is unable to perform optimally, multiple tests are used to determine what caused the failure. Most of the tests are simple and straightforward, such as visual analysis of the part for obvious flaws; however, there are more advanced approaches that help to reveal more about the internal structure of ...

  • Illegal HR Practices: DOJ and FTC Anti-Trust Guidance and Enforcement Updates
    In October 2016, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued Antitrust Guidance for Human Resource Professionals, in an effort to educate HR professionals involved in hiring and compensation decisions about how the antitrust laws apply in the employment context. There are three main takeaways from this guidance. Firstly, the...

  • Getting Professional with Microsoft Word!
    In this digital era, Microsoft Word is an essential tool for all working professionals and students. Microsoft Word is a useful skill for both basic day-to-day purposes as well as complex business requirements. It is a flexible tool that helps you with all your digital document needs, and is one of the most user-friendly applications from the Microsoft ...

  • Form 1099 or W-2? Worker Classification beyond Taxes
    As the tax season approaches, employers need to know whether to provide a Form W-2 or a 1099-MISC to workers. Both employers and workers need to think about the question, “independent contractor or employee”, as the worker classification goes well beyond taxes. What’s the difference between Form 1099 and W-2? The Form 1099-MISC is the tax form you re...

  • How Trump’s Administration will Affect U.S. Energy and Environmental Regulations and Policies
    The U.S. Energy and Environmental Policies and Regulations are likely to face certain changes under Donald Trump’s presidency. Trump has vowed to drastically change the U.S.’s direction on climate and energy. Here are some of the major areas which Trump intends to impact. Cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and U.N. Climate Change Fund Trump has promise...

  • How will you Manage Truckload Pricing in 2017 with All the Severities you’re Already Facing?
    We have been fumbling with transportation capacity issues over the past two decades. Factually, via an in-depth analysis, State of Logistics report from the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, (CSCMP) said, that by 2017, United States would find supply chain organizers to be less concerned with paying higher trucking rates than being able to fi...

  • The New Fair labor Standards Act Overtime Regulations – Are You Covered?
    The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has laid down overtime rules which determine whether an employee is eligible for overtime pay or will be considered as exempt from it. Exempt employees usually have a specific pay rate and work type that does not qualify for additional payment even when they work for more than 40 hours in a week. As per the new overtime re...

  • Blacklisting Rules for Government Contractors - 13673
    The US Department of Labor has issued proposed guidelines (DOL Guidance) and the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) council has issued proposed regulations which requires government contractors and subcontractors to regularly report law violations at workplace found by the courts, arbitrators and the administrative agencies in order to implement President ...

  • Five Tips to Get the Most from Your Performance Review
    The season of performance review is upon us. This provides employees an opportunity to showcase their skills and accomplishments and portray themselves and their value to the organization. In the challenging economy that we are in, it is crucial to make the most of this important tool to the best advantage as it has a huge effect on professional growth, pay ...

  • Employee Travel Time Pay – How to handle it?
    As an employer, under the federal law, you are required to pay your employees for all of their time which you control and that benefits you. This includes the time which the employee is not able to spend according to his/her wishes, even if that time is not spent on working per say. For example, an employee who is required to cover the phones while having lu...

  • HUD’s Policy on Opening Doors and Compliance
    Stable housing plays an important role in providing families with economic success and healthy development of health and personality. Research has shown that the consequences of homelessness can be devastating for a family, especially for young children. Homelessness leads to family separations, exposure to violence, poor health, school moves and absences, s...

  • 4 Drawbacks of Traditional Security Risk Assessments
    There are a number of grave areas in a traditional security risk assessment program, one of them being that it does not consider the big picture. The organizations may not be able to properly understand the whole extent of their potential risk if their focus is narrowly on assessment results. Here are some of the big traditional weakness of our security risk...

  • Understanding the Psychology Behind Mass Shootings
    Considerably little is known in regards to the warning signs of a future mass shooter, and unfortunately, our present knowledge is restricted to past experiences. However, a number of features in the “distinctive mass shooter” have been recognised. What is known is that of the 95% of cases the mass shooter is male, they are typically Caucasian (nearly tw...

  • An Owner’s/ Agent’s Guide to an Effective Tenant Selection Plan
    Looking for the right tenant for your property can be a difficult task. You can get a tenant who looks great on the outside, is friendly to you, and impresses you; however, he might be exactly the opposite in reality. At some point in time, most landlords have experienced being stuck with an irresponsible or an unreliable tenant. Differentiating a good tenan...

  • New EEOC Regulations on Workplace Wellness Programs
    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently issued final rules that provide details about how Title I of ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and Title II of GINA (Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act) apply to the wellness programs as offered by the employers who seek the health-related information from their employees and their spouses...

  • OSHA at Your Door – Take Proactive Steps to Be Prepared
    2016 has brought with it important developments with regards to OSHA safety standards that retailers should be informed about. Changes are taking place that can have a significant impact on retail safety programs and the potential penalties for safety violations in retail stores and other workplace facilities.Recent developments would suggest that the Occupa...

  • ISO 9001:2015 and Risk Based Thinking
    There is no straightforward definition or concept for risk, it varies even in the documents that are published by the International organizations for Standardization (ISO). Risk has been defined as the “effect of uncertainty” in ISO 9000:2015, “Quality management systems – Fundamentals and vocabulary”. The definition is further defined in the note...

  • Conducting Compliant Harassment Investigations in Higher Education—VAWA and Title IX
    All of us have the liberty to join and attend a university or college that is free from sexual harassment. According to Title IX, 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a), “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving ...

  • Bed Bugs – Let Them Bite Dust!
    Bed bug (Cimex Lectularius)—that blood feeding insect with a fancy scientific name has become a national issue with almost 700 percent increase in bed bug infestations all over the country in the past 2-3 years. HUD insured and assisted multifamily properties seem to be invaded by these bloodsuckers. HUD Guidelines HUD guidelines on controlling bed bug i...

  • Impact of the 2017 Construction Draft General Permit (CGP) on Stormwater Management
    It is important for building developers and contractors to be aware of National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) that is newly proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate stormwater discharges from construction activities. The construction 2017 draft general permit (CGP) has been issued to replace the 2012 ve...

  • Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) With At Risk Students
    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of talking cure or psychotherapy that has become increasingly critical in the recent mental health practice.  It is a talking therapy that helps people to view various scenarios that they find themselves and understand their emotions, behaviors and thoughts. The idea is that your emotions, thoughts, behavior and ...

  • What is Wrong With Your Current Campus Violence Assessment Method?
    A variety of campus safety initiatives are being taken up by colleges and universities, and a lot of them are implemented immediately, due to campus shooting and other violence that are emerging frequently today. The increasing levels of mental illness-related incidents on campus have compelled institutions to take decisive actions on campus safety, and vari...

  • Drug and Alcohol Testing: Why is it Important and What Needs to Be Done?
    A couple of years ago, The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a rule to establish drug and alcohol testing for all the national commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders. The motive behind all this was, safety – which is the first priority. This FMCSA regulation helps in improving roadway saf...

  • Final FSMA Rule and its Impact on Your Transportation & Logistics Activities
    In April 2016, The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the introduction of the rules of Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food. This new rule is going to impact more than 4 million individuals from various industries, including food processors, manufacturers, produce cultivators/packagers/shippers, warehouse and distribution companies, ...

  • HUD’s Grant to Support Education, Fair Housing and Enforcement Activities this Year
    With a groundbreaking announcement by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), $37.3 million was made available to Fair Housing Initiative Program (FHIP) Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) on May 2, 2016 to fight housing discrimination. Various important fair housing activities are being supported this year by three funding notices, that ...

  • Command Your Teams Respect
    You’ve worked hard to master your position, now you need to establish your influence over the team.Try these simple methods to increase your authority over team decisions:Be pleasant and get along with everyone. Treat everyone exactly the same way, no matter who she is or her what status she holds with the company.Example: You should be as respectful o...

  • Be The Inspiration On Your Team
    Rude or irritable teammates can be an extremely negative and distracting presence. The best way to inspire your team? Be a role model and exhibit warmth and friendliness. Use these tips to take charge of your emotions and become everyone’s favorite team player.Show grace under pressure. If you remain calm and polite even when you’re stressed or w...

  • Expert Advice To Avoid Collaboration Pitfalls
    Your office hopes to smooth out its operational wrinkles by centralizing IT and sharing services across the company. The newly-designed Web site will schedule IT jobs based on priority, therefore avoiding conflicts among employees.However, managers find it faster to bypass the Web site and talk to IT reps directly. Now, IT assumes anything on the Web site is...

  • Hone Your Teams Followership Skills
    You’ve definitely heard of leadership; it’s often the flagstone of expert business advice. But you may not realize that followers also play a vital role in the workplace, especially as part of a successful team. Instead of trying to get ahead and shine as your team’s leader, you may be more beneficial to your team if you brush up on your &q...

  • What Would You Do?: Recruit A Facilitator To Keep Your Team In Line
    Your team is having difficulties that stem from perceived bias, tension or some other internal problem. How can you work through these problems when everyone on the team is personally and emotionally involved?Your team meetings are often ineffective because there’s some other concern overshadowing the meeting’s content. This is where an unbiased ...

  • What Would You Do Celebrate Productive Team Conflict
    Most team members cringe when you mention the word "conflict." But the truth is that conflict often results in the best solutions for your team and your company -- and that’s a good thing.Problem: If it seems like your team members are always at each other’s throats, you should sit down as a group and evaluate whether your conflicts act...

  • Salvage A Team Thats Sinking Like A Ship
    Not every team will be an immediate success. Most teams require hard work and commitment. If your team isn’t living up to the company’s expectations, don’t give up.Bottom line: To turn around a team that isn’t making the grade, you should revisit the fundamentals of teamwork, suggests Terry Bragg in the article "How To Turn Aroun...

  • Lead A Project Kickoff Meeting That Spells Success
    You’re about to lead your first team project and it’s time to get it under way. We’ll tell you how to establish a strong leadership presence and project direction during the kickoff meeting.Goal: You want your project’s kickoff meeting to set the tone for the entire project. Establish yourself as the kind of leader your team wants to ...

  • Assert More Influence Without Bullying Teammates
    If you worry that your attempts at gaining more influence over your team may come across as Machiavellian, keep reading. There are many ways you can increase your rapport with teammates without getting cutthroat.When you think of increasing your influence over your team, you might think of assertiveness and dominance -- but these qualities can backfire. Inst...

  • Be An Effective Leader For Your Team
    Do you have what it takes to lead your team to success? If you’re not sure, try these pointers from www.effectivemeetings.com:Help them learn. Don’t just show your teammates how to do the tasks they need to complete -- coach them through the process. If they don’t learn how to do things on their own, they’ll never be able to make deci...

  • Your Tough Teammate-Relations Problems -- Solved
    Troublesome teammates can make you afraid to come in to work in the morning, but don’t worry -- we’ve got some strategies that you can use to keep their annoying habits at bay.If you’ve got a teammate who overpowers the office with his loud phone conversations, put him in his place by walking over to his desk and quietly asking him to keep ...

  • Maximize Your Teams Potential
    Are you looking for ways to make your team more cohesive and more productive? Try these three steps to boost your team’s motivation and be the most effective team you can be, from Alan Fairweather’s article, “The 3 Secrets Of Team Motivation.”1) “Spend some quality time.” Cohesiveness is critical in productive work teams, ...

  • Is Your Staff Ready To Lead?
    Many of your employees need you to lead them, but some of them may be ready to lead others.Ask those workers to take this quiz to help you evaluate their leadership potential:If your employee scored:9-20 points: This employee isn’t quite ready to take on leadership duties. Give him more responsibility in the team environment before you try to increase ...

  • What Would You Do?: Slow Down For Elderly Customers
    Q: I receive many calls from elderly customers who are uncomfortable trying to figure out our products on their own. Should I avoid these time-consuming customers so that I can help more people throughout the day?A: The population of the United States is aging -- and that means your customer base is aging too.Don’t let your impatience ruin what could b...

  • Calm Customers In 6 Quick Steps
    You’ll work nine times harder attracting new business than you will retaining your current client list. That means you can’t afford to anger even one customer.Here’s how you can defuse tense situations and dissolve your customers’ frustrations.1. Keep Your CoolCustomer service agents must listen without interruption to customer compla...

  • Wow Your Customers With Your Website
    More people than ever are flocking to the web when they want to make purchases, research companies or simply ask customer service questions. You must ensure that your web presence provides top-notch information and a guaranteed contact method -- or risk losing valuable business.While more than three-quarters of online shoppers rank content quality and the ab...

  • What Would You Do?: Strike A Balance Between Call Time And Volume
    Q: My supervisor has informed our service team that we need to increase our call-volume quota and reduce our call times. With just a five-minute call allotment, I feel like I’m rushing customers off the phone instead of helping them. Can you offer any tips on how to have effective calls in a short time frame?A: Unfortunately, the restrictions you&rsquo...

  • Beef Up Your Product Knowledge to Tailor Custom Solutions
    If you want to satisfy your customers, increase your product knowledge. After all, your company’s goods and services are what customers are coming for in the first place.Sometimes customers don’t really know what they need. When you have a firm understanding of your company’s products and services, you can then listen to your customers&rsqu...

  • Safeguard Your Customers Privacy
    Your customers depend on you to protect their personal information, but the reality is that protecting your customers’ privacy isn’t totally within your control.The U.S. Patriot Act allows the government to collect your customers’ data if they claim the data mining is to prevent terrorism."Private enterprises are being put in the very ...

  • Set Your Service Soaring To New Heights
    There’s nothing wrong with being a good customer service rep. Unless, of course, you’d rather excel at what you do.So what’s the secret to surpassing status-quo customer service? Follow these tips from Drew Stevens’ article, "Customer Service Cures":Plan ahead. "From answering a telephone, to making a call, to understan...

  • 5 Ways To Extinguish Customer Fury
    Nobody likes dealing with angry customers, but the reality of your job as a customer service rep is that you will at some point in your career.But that doesn’t mean you have to take your customer’s anger with your head buried in the sand. Use these five tips from Lynne McClure’s article "Handling Angry Customers" to keep your cust...

  • Follow Up With Customers To Reinforce Satisfaction
    You’ve helped an angry customer and solved his problem. But your service doesn’t end there. Like the icing on a cake, customer follow-up is essential for ultimate satisfaction.When you follow up with your customer, you’re telling him that:You care about his business.You are genuinely concerned about his satisfaction.You’re willing to ...

  • DontHassleYourCustomersWithInaccessibleService
    If you truly want to service your customers’ needs, you need to make your reps accessible to them. Don’t alienate your customers by making them jump through hoops just to talk to someone.Whether it’s a quick question or a major problem, there’s nothing more frustrating to a customer than not being able to speak with a live rep. Meanwh...

  • What Would You Do? Stage Mock Arguments To Prepare For Customer Disagreements
    If you have difficulty thinking quickly on your feet, customer complaints probably catch you off-guard, making you feel uncomfortable and unprepared. Don’t let that happen; stage a dress rehearsal and prepare yourself to handle any customer conflict. Whether you’re a customer service rep or manager, you can get started with real-world communicati...

  • Keep A Waiting Customer Patient
    When you’re the middle person between your customer and your company’s executive decision-maker, you’ve got to play double duty on the communication front lines. You have to coordinate the problem solving and stay in touch with both parties.For example: You told a customer you’d get back to him with information regarding his account, ...

  • What Would You Do? Coach - Don't Boss - Your Staff
    You probably spend hours preparing to review your workers’ performance, but the thirty minutes you spend with them during the evaluation isn’t enough.New approach: Try coaching your employees on a regular basis rather than evaluating them a few times each year. This way, you can establish successful habits and root out problems.However, there are...

  • You Can Bridge Generation Gaps
    Ever feel like you’ve spent hours trying to get Baby Boomers to relate to Gen Xers or vice versa? You’re not alone."The over-40 crowd wonders why the 25 year old wants to be promoted to manager during his first week of employment (and leave at 4:55 pm each day) while the under-30 group believes a more seasoned co-worker’s computer cras...

  • Are You Strategic
    By Rich HorwathI was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam; I looked into the soul of the boy sitting next to me.Woody AllenWriter, Director & ActorUntil now, looking into someone’s soul is about the only way we’ve had to guess at whether or not someone is "strategic." In many organizations, it is assumed that s...

  • What Would You Do?: Stop Harassment Before It Starts
    While there’s no fail-safe way to stop harassment in the workplace, there are things you can do as a supervisor to address the problem and lower the chances of a legal predicament.Bottom line: Preparation is the key to preventing harassment -- or at least to preventing a harassment issue from blowing up into a scandal. If you know how to educate employ...

  • Deal With Employees Who Are Always Late
    There’s one in every office: the employee who strolls in late almost every day. And if you don’t address the issue, employees will start to resent their tardy coworker -- and you for doing nothing.The first step to correcting the tardiness issue is to figure out why an employee is consistently late, according to BusinessKnowledgeSource.com’...

  • 3 Tips For Keeping Criticism Constructive
    There’s no way around it -- as a manager, you must give employees constructive criticism so they can grow and improve.No one likes criticsm, but good leaders know how to deliver it so that employees don’t feel crushed or inadequate. Here are a few tips for criticizing staff the right way from Ben Yoskovitz’s article "5 Steps To Providi...

  • Keep Your Most Talented Employees On Board
    There are some employees you just can’t bear to lose -- but sometimes you don’t miss their talents until they’re gone. Why do your best employees jump ship? Is it money, stress or something else?If you feel like your department is suffering from frequent staff turnover, ask yourself what’s behind the low retention rate. The answer mig...

  • 5 Resources For Managing From Afar
    Your expectations as a manager won’t change just because your employees don’t work in the same building, so you should know how to communicate and manage effectively regardless of location.Make sure you’re prepared for managing employees you don’t see face-to-face with a little help from Kelly Pate Dwyer’s "Ten Tools For Re...

  • Adjust Your Management Style For Highly Creative Employees
    One of the difficult aspects of managing is that all of your employees are different, and many of them respond better to different management styles. If you supervise a group of highly creative people (that is, right-brain thinkers), there are a few things you can do to adjust your methods so they can fulfill their potentials.Here are a few ways to manage ri...

  • Get Ready To Climb The Corporate Ladder
    Do you imagine yourself sitting at your boss’s desk? You aren’t alone! You should think about planning your career, and that often means moving up the ladder.However, thinking about your career isn’t enough. You need to take action. Fortunately, all it takes is vision, ambition -- and a few helpful tips from Sarah E. Needleman’s artic...

  • Offer Your Employees Flexible Work Arrangements
    Many of your employees may want to switch over to a flexible work arrangement (FWA). And if they don’t get it through you, they could be flying the coop to go to another company that’s willing to provide it. Here’s how you can retain your best employees through FWAs, if your company would allow them.Why do you need FWAs? Balancing work and ...

 
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