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Leading Others Toward Increased Productivity

April 10, 2013

Are you looking to move your business in a new direction? As a business owner, success begins and ends with you. Consider how you, the employer, can be a key part of leading your employees towards better productivity and more results – just by improving your leadership skills. But there’s a lot more to it than just patting your employees on the back every day. Leadership is a skill that must be learned and practiced in order to become a regular part of your workplace culture. FrankCrum’s Human Resources Manager David Peasall explains just a few of the techniques you and your managers can start using right away to get your business on the road to higher achievement and fulfillment.

Leading Others toward Productivity

David Peasall, SPHR

When you became a manager, did you think “I want to do as little as possible” – or did you want to be the type of manager known for great leadership…one who influences their team toward excellence and increased productivity?  We’d like to think you’ve chosen the latter. Getting there is possible through the practice of just a few key skills.

Managing can be defined as accomplishing work through others. It has five major components:  Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Leading, and Controlling.  Leading can produce the most significant increase in a group’s level of productivity because it’s the only component that encourages the inherent desire for excellence.

Think of yourself as the captain of a ship. A manager can choose to either maintain the ship’s current course that may not be going in the right direction. Or –a manager can take their ship on a much more productive trip by:

  • Determining better routes of travel and better destinations
  • Anticipating and determining routes around rocky or shallow water
  • Preparing the ship for travel through unavoidable storms
  • Influencing the crew to achieve a higher level of success in their respective tasks

Managers can best lead their employees toward excellence by practicing some key characteristics.  The following traits foster professional development, accountability and respect for everyone in the workplace.

Great Leaders:

  • Seek feedback.  Regularly ask your staff how you’re doing as a leader.  This will communicate your commitment to serving in their success…which, in turn, supports your own success.  Be prepared to accept feedback from your employees and adjust.  
  • Give staff a battle cry. To what victory are you leading your team?  Speak in terms beyond the mission or vision statement and rally them with a battle cry. Most employees, the right employees, want to make a real difference.
  • Explain the mundane.  Employees ask, “What are we doing and why are we doing it?”  Employees want to know how their job fits into the big picture.  Explain to your staff how their work on a project matters.  Encourage them to think on their own. 
  • Smile and treat others well.  Employees watch your body language for non-verbal communication to determine how they should behave.  Be positive.  Have a sense of compassion, respect, and kindness.  Operating from this perspective is fundamental to being a magnificent leader.  
  • Communicate. Take full responsibility for every miscommunication. If a listener did not understand your direction, it is more likely because of our failure to communicate well, not the listener’s inability to understand. 
  • Act as mentor.  Mentoring is a powerful way to foster professional development.  The high mark of your leadership is your ability to be away from your team for a short period and watch it sustain success without your daily involvement.  At this level of leadership, you will become free to handle new opportunities.

Consider some of your favorite leaders.  What stands out about them that made them so great?  Consider this…no employee ever says, “Gee, he was a really great manager because he encouraged me to do nothing but sit down and work”, or, “Wow, she was a powerful leader because she always let me know the miscommunication in the emails between us was all my fault”. Poor leadership is a grind on the team and discourages an individual’s resolve, however great leadership seeks to ignite the high performer’s level of determination. This will result in a high level of effectiveness and efficiency (the right things done right).  As an employer, you seek to hire high performing individuals who have the desire to matter – therefore employers must remember to lead this talent in a way that fulfills their desire to play a significant role in the continuing drive for productivity and excellence.

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Offering an Employee Assistance Program

March 26, 2012

 

 

An Employee Assistance Program, or EAP, gives employees the resources to seek help for personal issues, including:

  • Family Problems
  • Stress
  • Marital Issues
  • Work Difficulties
  • Substance Abuse
  • Medical concerns
  • Financial Planning
  • etc.

Offering this employer-paid feature is a great addition to your employee benefit package, but it can also help you  increase your bottom line according to A Chance to Change.

The History of Daylight Savings Time

March 12, 2012

History of Daylight Savings

History of Daylight SavingsDaylight Savings Time (DST) has a long and complicated past, dating all the way back to 1784 when Benjamin Franklin first proposed the idea. In typical Franklin fashion, he wrote to the Journal of Paris saying that he had “discovered” that the sun begins giving light as soon as it rises. He hoped to find a way to convince the Parisians to rise with the sun and cut back on their “candle burning ways.”

 

In the early 1900’s a British builder named William Willet began fighting to advance clocks 20 minutes each  Sunday in April, and then turn them back 20 minutes each Sunday in September to get the most out of the day. He wrote a pamphlet called “The Waste of Daylight” in 1907 and proposed  this time change to Parliament in 1908, 1909, 1910, and 1911. Every time the idea was shot down.

 

In 1916, only a year after Willet died, Germany began observing daylight savings in order to save energy for the war efforts of World War I. Willet would have been thrilled when Britain followed suit only one month later. In 1918 the United States joined the war and adopted DST as well. There was controversy after the war whether or not the U.S. should continue observing the time change. President Wilson was in favor of continuing the practice, but Congress vetoed his decision and repealed daylight savings when farmers complained that the time difference created conflicts with merchants in town.

 

Come WWII, the U.S. re-adopted Daylight Savings Time, less than a month after the attack on Pearl Harbor. After the war, Congress again repealed the time change, but with the shift from agricultural to industrial businesses, many areas continued to observe the extra hour each summer, creating a great deal of confusion from city to city. At one point a 35-mile bus ride from West Virginia to Ohio took passengers through 7 different time changes.

 

Noting the chaos that these independent time observances caused, Congress adopted the Uniform Time Act in 1966. The time act allowed states to choose whether to observe DST, but ruled that the decision needed to be observed state-wide. As of 2012, only Arizona, Hawaii and Puerto Rico have chosen not to observe Daylight Savings Time.

 

Fun Facts About Daylight Savings Time

 

  • Within the United States Arizona, Hawaii and Puerto Rico do not take part in daylight savings time.
  • Much of South America, Asia and Australia no longer observe DST, and a large part of Africa never recognized it.
  • In some parts of Europe, DST is simply referred to as “Summer Time.” In Britain, it’s known as “British Summer Time,” while in Germany, it’s “sommerzeit.”
  • From 1987 to 2006, daylight saving time in the United States began on the first Sunday of April and ended on the last Sunday of October
  • Since 2007, daylight saving time starts on the second Sunday of March and ends on the first Sunday of November 2

 

Sources:

http://www.livescience.com/18965-history-daylight-saving-time.html

http://www.usno.navy.mil/USNO/astronomical-applications/astronomical-information-center/daylight-time

http://www.webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/c.html

Getting Things Done- Workflow Processing

March 9, 2012

I love reading articles about increasing productivity. Somehow, just reviewing a bulleted list of ways to “get more done” motivates me to put certain principles into practice and plow my way through my daily to-do list. 

 

I find some of the recurring themes of these articles completely impractical. For example, the advice to schedule a certain time to check and reply to email. “Don’t let others set your schedule,” they say. “Set aside three times a day to check and respond to email.” Great idea in theory- and it might work brilliantly for some- but I am not one of them. My job requires quick questions and timely answers, and email is the only practical way to do it. If I had to wait until 2:00 to check my email, I am willing to bet that it would squash my productivity. Like it or not, I am chained to my inbox.

Cover of "Getting Things Done: The Art of...

 

However, I found a great strategy for managing the time I spend responding to email in the book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. This diagram can be used to manage your time with everything that comes across your desk, but I find it especially useful when it comes to managing my inbox.

 

 

This chart is based on the Workflow Diagram on page 32 of “Getting Things Done”:

How to Get the Best Out of Your Employees

February 28, 2012

photo couresy offreedigitalphotos.net

It is widely accepted that a great staff is one of the strongest assets a company can possess, but it can often be a daunting challenge to figure out the best techniques to keep our employees motivated and performing at their peak.

 

I read an article today about this very subject, and thought it was worthy of passing on. Elizabeth Gordon, President of Flourishing Business, LLC  and author of the best-selling book The Chic Entrepreneur: Put Your Business in Higher Heels, outlines several ways to bring out the best in your employees including setting aside a half hour of reading time. Here are a few of my favorite excerpts:

 

If you just need labor, hire a mule. If you have hired a person, then allow that person to do what they do best. If you can create an environment that will allow your employees to tap into their inner genius and use their unique talents, you can leverage these things for your business success. Employers should create a work environment that encourages growth, creativity and efficiency in their employees.

 

 

Photo Courtesy of DavidCastilloDominici

Allow your employees a reading time break (and I don’t mean an email reading break). Setting aside just thirty minutes a day for your employees to read the latest in your industry’s advances or simply read the newspaper can increase the productivity of your workforce.

 

 

Photo Courtesy of <Ambro> freedigitalphotos.net

Tell them why you hired them and show them how they link to the success of the company. Set the expectation with people before hiring them that you expect them to play an important role in helping the company to successfully achieve certain goals through the use of their skill set… A job should bring out the talents in an employee. Otherwise, it’s the wrong job for them.

 

Interested in what you have read so far? Find the full article here.

 

For more information on how FrankCrum assist in human resources, payroll, benefits, workers’ compenstation and risk management, leaving you more time for productivity, visit our website today!

 

 

 

2012 FrankCrum Invitational Golf Tournament

February 23, 2012

FrankCrum Invitational

 

This Monday, February 20, celebrated the 5th Annual FrankCrum Invitational benefiting Trinity Cafe. Fifty-nine teams were divided between the beautiful Copperhead and Island Golf Courses at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club.

 

The event kicked off Sunday night with a reception for silver and above sponsors at Island Way Grill. It was a delightful evening filled with sushi, spirits and cigars.
Registration began at 10 a.m. and the 239 golfers collected their Callaway player gift packages.

 

This year’s player gifts included:

  • Golf Shoes
  • Golf Glove
  • Golf Shirt
  • Golf Balls
  • Golf Cap
  • Set of Callaway Glasses
  • Umbrella 
  • and more….

 

Lunch was sponsored by Align Networks, Express Dental Care, and One Call Medical; and was provided by Island Way Grill. Beverages, food and cigars were available throughout the day on the course.

 

Dinner began at 6:30 in the exquisite Inverness Hall, followed by the presentation of awards and both a silent and live auction. One of the most popular items auctioned off was dinner at Bern’s Steakhouse with the Crum family. The winning bidder, Kris George, with MIS Insurance Services, LLC negotiated to have Katie Crum, Frank’s daughter-in-law, and Brigitte Becker, Vice President of Claims at Frank Winston Crum Insurance, included in the dinner before he considered himself a true winner.

 

A special thank you goes out to:

…and the countless others who helped to make this year’s event spectacular!

 

We are anxiously awaiting the final numbers to see exactly how much we raised for Trinity Cafe this year. Thank you for helping us bring hope to the hungry!

 

For more pictures, please visit our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/FrankCrum/301505909878393

What Creates Employee Loyalty?

February 14, 2012

According to a recent study by  Right Management, a consulting branch of Manpower, 84% of employees have admitted that they hope to leave their current jobs in 2012. This number is staggering! It is up 24% since 2009 when the the same survey was conducted. 

 

We are long past the days when a 2-3% annual raise is enough to keep employees happily trucking along all year. In fact, many studies have shown that financial compensation is not one of the highest contributing factors to employee retention.

 

So what can you do to keep your employees happy and motivated?

 

 

  1. Allow for Flexible Work Schedules. With today’s technological advances, we have the ability to stay in touch no matter where we are. This might mean the 8-5 workday is becoming a thing of the past. According to a study by Business 2.0 employees are 35% more productive when they are not tethered to their chairs. When employees are given the freedom of flexible schedules they are more likely to be results-oriented rather than keeping their eyes on the clock.  “Employees who worked remotely one day a week and workers who had reduced their required weekly office hours tended to report higher job satisfaction, lower stress and higher loyalty to their company than employees who didn’t have flexible hours,” says Josh Clark, a reporter for Discovery News.

  2. Say “Thank You” We have heard it a million times, but they are not called the “magic words” for no reason.  It is easy to take employees work for granted or to see the finished product and forget the path they took to deliver it. It is worth the moment it takes to let employees know that their hard work is recognized. A simple “thank you” has been proven to increase job satisfaction and boost motivation and  productivity.

  3. Provide Opportunities for Growth.   All jobs should offer employees an opportunity to grow. Few people hope to stay in the same position throughout their careers. According to the Wall Street Journal, Millenials are quicker to jump ship than any preceding generation, but these young employees yearn for opportunities, and are significantly more likely to stay with a company that offers educational and professional growth experiences.

    Vacation Time

    Photo Courtesy of Winnund>>FreeDigitalPhoto.net

     

  4. Don’t Just “Allow” Time Off, Encourage It.  70% of employees did not use their earned vacation time in 2011, according to a recent Right Management study. Even more alarming, a study by Regus, a virtual office company, revealed that of the 30% who are taking vacation time, 66% plan to work while they are away. This means that over half of our work force is getting burned out. People need to a break! Managers should be cautious that employees always feel that they are entitled to take earned time off. Some companies, like Chicago-based Red Frog Events, have even adopted an “unlimited vacation policy“. While this might sound extreme, owner Joe Reynolds is a firm believer in the policy. “It is not abused. Ever. By anyone.” Reynolds said. “Simply make sure your work is getting done and make sure you’re covered while you’re away and that’s it—no questions asked.” Reynolds believes that his staff is significantly more productive with this policy in place.

  5. Keep Your Cool.  Bad things happen. That’s not just business, that’s life.  People make mistakes, we lose big deals, and projects fail. Being frustrated is understandable but getting angry is a pitfall that many managers fall into that can be devastating to employee morale. You will not fix the problem by targeting employees, but you will likely leave them distracted or worse, indignant.