Be Nice, you worth it

Yes, it is an art. Being nice, that is. It is easy to react to anyone in line with our present disposition, but that would not be a smart move. In fact, it is very selfish and bad manners.

Most of us make this mistake. Every day we go through different challenges in life and our state of mind would be along those lines. The problem is say someone is having a pleasant day and he throws a funny remark at you in a very nice, jovial way and given your frustrated state of mind at the moment, you give him back a disparaging remark.

You may justify that you did what you did because you were feeling bad, sad or outright dull. But the fact remains that you ruined the pleasant day of another human being.

Go figure!

Now, look at it this way: If you were to just hold off on brooding on your state of affairs and actually made an effort to reciprocate pleasantly to his funny remark with a smile, then one thing would have led to another and the happiness he was carrying would have infected you too and things would have turned for the better.

Then you would have had two happy people.

That is the power of being nice! This is the power of reciprocating true emotion when a genuine emotion is thrown your way.

I am not saying it is an easy thing to do, but I am saying that is the right thing to do. And the results aren’t bad, wouldn’t you agree?

Anyone can make a person unhappy, but how many can make someone happy with a simple remark?
Everyone can.

But the difference one who can and one who can’t is this: It is the one who tries, makes an effort can do it.

It is as simple as that.

 

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2 Types of Slacker Employees

It takes all kinds of people, experience, backgrounds and personalities to make a business successful. If everyone were a cookie cutter of each other it would make for a pretty boring and frankly unimaginative place.

But what happens when slackers infiltrate your efficient culture and how do you light a fire under their a#@ or suffer their far reaching negative effects?

Excuses Ethan

We all know an Excuses Ethan. Yep, he’s that guy that has an excuse for everything. He may have started the habit long ago with the proverbial, “the dog ate my homework” and has now adopted it as standard operating procedure, much to the chagrin of everyone that has to work with him. Ethan knows far too well how to work the system with one excuse after another but the real danger is Ethan rubbing off on your other great team members.

What message does it send to your team when you let an Excuses Ethan continue his charade? Think about the impact this has. Do you send the message that it’s okay? Nip this one in the bud pronto. Give Excuses Ethan specific measurable goals with a heavy dose of accountability. You may just turn him into Eager Ethan by showing an interest in what he does and how he does it. Too often Ethan-types fly under the radar, when what they really need it a bit managing.

Deadline Debbie

Debbie is darn good at what she does and she knows it. But, there are heaps of people who depend on Debbie and when she’s late with projects, they’re late and the landslide starts. It’s not pretty. Debbie may even be bold enough to start pushing her work on those around her. Soon enough large projects don’t get delivered and your customers are impacted. Debbie’s co-workers start to resent her and something needs to change. STAT.

You need to get to the bottom of Debbie’s struggles fast. Is it a resource issue, or does she just suck at managing her time? What help can you, or someone else provide? Get Debbie’s buy-in at the start of a project about how long it will take. Negotiate timelines if her needs are unrealistic. You need to let Debbie know that she’s responsible for making deadlines not only for her own sake, but for her co-workers and your customers and that deadline creep is unacceptable. She can certainly come to you if there is an unforeseen risk that will impact the deadline, but otherwise you need to empower her to make the deadlines that she has agreed too.

Do either of these slackers sound familiar? If they do, get involved and provide coaching and help to turn them into productive contributors. They’ll thank you for it and so will the rest of your team.

Source: inc.com

For start-ups: Best Interview technique

Eventually, almost every interview turns into a question-and-answer session. You ask a question. The candidate answers as you check a mental tick-box (good answer? bad answer?).

You quickly go to the next question and the next question and the next question, because you only have so much time and there’s a lot of ground to cover because you want to evaluate the candidate thoroughly. The more questions you ask, the more you will learn about the candidate.

Or not.

Sometimes, instead of asking questions, the best interviewing technique is to listen slowly.

In Change-Friendly Leadership, management coach Rodger Dean Duncan describes how he learned about listening slowly from PBS NewsHour anchor Jim Lehrer:

Duncan: He urged me to ask a good question, listen attentively to the answer, and then count silently to five before asking another question. At first that suggestion seemed silly. I argued that five seconds would seem like an eternity to wait after someone responds to a question. Then it occurred to me: Of course it would seem like an eternity, because our natural tendency is to fill a void with sound, usually that of our own voice.

Lehrer: If you resist the temptation to respond too quickly to the answer, you’ll discover something almost magical. The other person will either expand on what he’s already said or he’ll go in a different direction. Either way, he’s expanding his response, and you get a clear view into his head and heart.

Duncan: Giving other people sufficient psychological breathing room seemed to work wonders. When I bridled my natural impatience to get on with it, they seemed more willing to disclose, explore, and even be a bit vulnerable. When I treated the interview more as a conversation with a purpose than as a sterile interrogation, the tone of the exchange softened. It was now just two people talking…

Listening slowly can turn a Q&A session into more of a conversation. Try listening slowly in your next interviews. (Not after every question, of course: Pausing for five seconds after a strictly factual answer will leave you both feeling really awkward.)

Just pick a few questions that give candidates room for self-analysis or introspection, and after the initial answer, pause. They’ll fill the space: with an additional example, a more detailed explanation, a completely different perspective on the question.

Once you give candidates a silent hole to fill, they’ll fill it, often in unexpected and surprising ways. A shy candidate may fill the silence by sharing positive information she wouldn’t have otherwise shared. A candidate who came prepared with “perfect” answers to typical interview questions may fill the silence with not-so-positive information he never intended to disclose.

And all candidates will open up and speak more freely when they realize you’re not just asking questions–you’re listening.

 

source: Inc.com

Team work and smart decision making

Every day, your employees are making decisions.

While some are more important than others, it’s in your best interest to help them develop a strong ability to make good ones. How can you do that? Read on for a few helpful tips.

Lead by example.

To help your employees make good choices, you should make good choices yourself. In other words, model the kind of behavior you’d like to see in your workers. You can’t expect people to make good choices when you’re setting a bad example. But when you make good choices, you’ll set the bar high for your organization and people will follow.

Offer choices. 

Never dictate how your employees should do their jobs. Instead, tell them what the goal or desired outcome is, then let them figure out how to get there. You’ll find that people develop their own approach to getting things done and will make many good decisions along the way. They won’t always get it right, but by giving them the opportunity to try, you’ll encourage them to make good decisions.

Give them permission to make mistakes. 

Making mistakes and suffering failure is how we learn. If you don’t allow your employees to make mistakes or if you punish them when they do, they will never learn how to think for themselves. Picture a bike with training wheels: If you don’t take the wheels off, your child will never learn to ride without them.

Praise good decisions. 

Most of the time your employees will make good choices, and when they do, you should let them know you appreciate it. You’ll get more of the behavior you reward, so make it a point to praise the people who are doing things well.

Offer feedback–good and bad

If you don’t offer immediate feedback, it will be hard to tell which choice was a good one or not. Make it a point to offer regular feedback, explaining the impact it had on your organization and customers and why you want to see more or less of it in the future.

 

source: inc.com

How do you know home based employees are actually working ?

With more business owners allowing employees to work from home or satellite offices, the need to make sure those workers stay on task and productive is growing. From the employee’s perspective everything seems rosy. According to a recent Harris Poll, 64 percent of telecommuters say working from home increases productivity and output.

But for employers, allowing workers to telecommute can be akin to working in the dark. If you can’t see Harry, how do you know he’s actually working?

If you’re suffering from remote worker separation anxiety, these three tools can help you monitor actual time on task. Remember, these tools only provide you with raw data. You need to interpret the results on a case-by-case basis. Also, it’s wise to let employees know they are being tracked and how.

Related: 3 Free Apps to Help You Network Like a Pro

1. Hivedesk 
If you’re juggling multiple remote workers on multiple projects, Hivedesk has a simple solution for keeping everyone on task. Workers check in by choosing their project from the central hub. Then Hivedesk tracks their time and adds each day’s information to the weekly time sheet.

During the work session, Hivedesk snaps random screenshots so you know your developer is on task and not, say, on Facebook. The system also sends a graphical productivity gauge for each worker so you can see at a glance who is performing and who isn’t.

Pricing starts at $14.99 a month for up to two workers and goes up to $100 a month for 20. It requires a desktop download and is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux.

2. Worksnaps 
If you need more detail, there’s Worksnaps. This tool takes screenshots every 10 minutes and logs keyboard strokes and mouse movement. In addition, it catalogs the applications that were used so you can tell if an employee spent 10 minutes reading a Word document or plugging numbers into an Excel spreadsheet.

The User Management panel gives project managers access to reports on their team members, creating multiple levels of accountability.

What’s more, Worksnaps has an optional webcam feature that allows you to see not just what’s on a worker’s screen but the worker as well. This can be a useful feature if your employees need to spend a lot of time on their phones, tablets or handling non-computer based desk work.
Plans start at $14 a month for up to four users and go to $60 a month for up to 30 users. Worksnaps requires a desktop download and is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux. Worksnaps also integrates with project management software Basecamp, invoicing software Freshbooks and time tracker Harvest.

Related: Mobile Apps to Make Business Travel Easier

3. MySammy 
For business owners who prefer a less heavy-handed approach, there’s MySammy. This application is all about balance. As long as an employee’s bar graph is mostly green (active) you can forgive the 10 percent that’s red (non-productive.)

In order to categorize activity, the manager must mark every desktop application and website in the system as either productive or not. Excel gets a thumbs up, Facebook gets a thumbs down. The system also allows for overrides so your social media manager isn’t penalized for time spent on Twitter.

MySammy’s reporting system allows you to filter the data in a variety of ways so it’s easy to see who is getting the job done and who needs some motivation.

The starter plan is free for up to four employees but has limits on long-term data storage. A small-business account is $7 per person per month for up to 50 users. For larger companies, the price is $17 per person per month and it includes five years of data storage.

The MySammy client must be installed on all work computers. It’s compatible with Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 2003 and above. It is not compatible with Mac OS.

source: entrepreneur.com

Tools to manage Home based Employees

With more business owners allowing employees to work from home or satellite offices, the need to make sure those workers stay on task and productive is growing. From the employee’s perspective everything seems rosy. According to a recent Harris Poll, 64 percent of telecommuters say working from home increases productivity and output.

But for employers, allowing workers to telecommute can be akin to working in the dark. If you can’t see Harry, how do you know he’s actually working?

If you’re suffering from remote worker separation anxiety, these three tools can help you monitor actual time on task. Remember, these tools only provide you with raw data. You need to interpret the results on a case-by-case basis. Also, it’s wise to let employees know they are being tracked and how.

Related: 3 Free Apps to Help You Network Like a Pro

1. Hivedesk 
If you’re juggling multiple remote workers on multiple projects, Hivedesk has a simple solution for keeping everyone on task. Workers check in by choosing their project from the central hub. Then Hivedesk tracks their time and adds each day’s information to the weekly time sheet.

During the work session, Hivedesk snaps random screenshots so you know your developer is on task and not, say, on Facebook. The system also sends a graphical productivity gauge for each worker so you can see at a glance who is performing and who isn’t.

Pricing starts at $14.99 a month for up to two workers and goes up to $100 a month for 20. It requires a desktop download and is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux.

2. Worksnaps 
If you need more detail, there’s Worksnaps. This tool takes screenshots every 10 minutes and logs keyboard strokes and mouse movement. In addition, it catalogs the applications that were used so you can tell if an employee spent 10 minutes reading a Word document or plugging numbers into an Excel spreadsheet.

The User Management panel gives project managers access to reports on their team members, creating multiple levels of accountability.

What’s more, Worksnaps has an optional webcam feature that allows you to see not just what’s on a worker’s screen but the worker as well. This can be a useful feature if your employees need to spend a lot of time on their phones, tablets or handling non-computer based desk work.
Plans start at $14 a month for up to four users and go to $60 a month for up to 30 users. Worksnaps requires a desktop download and is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux. Worksnaps also integrates with project management software Basecamp, invoicing software Freshbooks and time tracker Harvest.

Related: Mobile Apps to Make Business Travel Easier

3. MySammy 
For business owners who prefer a less heavy-handed approach, there’s MySammy. This application is all about balance. As long as an employee’s bar graph is mostly green (active) you can forgive the 10 percent that’s red (non-productive.)

In order to categorize activity, the manager must mark every desktop application and website in the system as either productive or not. Excel gets a thumbs up, Facebook gets a thumbs down. The system also allows for overrides so your social media manager isn’t penalized for time spent on Twitter.

MySammy’s reporting system allows you to filter the data in a variety of ways so it’s easy to see who is getting the job done and who needs some motivation.

The starter plan is free for up to four employees but has limits on long-term data storage. A small-business account is $7 per person per month for up to 50 users. For larger companies, the price is $17 per person per month and it includes five years of data storage.

The MySammy client must be installed on all work computers. It’s compatible with Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 2003 and above. It is not compatible with Mac OS.

source: entrepreneur.com

Employees are Assets

Every good entrepreneur knows it’s true: besides having a brilliant business idea, employees are any firm’s most valuable asset. But once a business takes off, the romantic idea of founding a successful business in the proverbial garage quickly fades and reality settles in. Fact is, day-to-day issues of HR management can distract you from another key to success: growing your business.

Saving Hours by Outsourcing
The average small business owner spends more than 25 percent of his or her day handling employee-related paperwork. With additional tasks added for recruitment, hiring and training of new employees, this number quickly grows to 35 to 45 percent. In other words, rather than innovating and expanding the business, they spend almost half of any workday on administrative tasks that are a necessary evil.

While 401(k) plans or a premium benefits package keep current employees happy and attract high-caliber candidates, most entrepreneurs prefer to focus on their passion for the business, rather than on HR. They have very limited interest in federal and state regulations regarding everything from workers’ compensation to workplace health and safety, not to mention additional complexities related to employee benefits with the recent passage of the Affordable Care Act. HR outsourcing firms like TriNet, provide small, growing companies a proven way to scale, protect and streamline their business. What’s more — this approach allows entrepreneurs to focus on what matters most to them.

Power and Efficiency Through Integrated Technology Solution
Employees have come to expect anytime access to their HR information. But the cost of implementing and maintaining a state-of-the-art HR information system (HRIS) is simply out of reach for the average small and medium firm. But that’s precisely what TriNet has done — creating an affordable, cloud-based solution and mobile app to enable employees, managers and executives to access the information they need, when they need it.

Risk Mitigation: Share the Liability, Focus on Your Business
In this litigious climate, there is little room for administrative error. Some HR companies stay on top of all employment laws and regulations so they can help their clients remain compliant.

source: entrepreneur.com