5 years ago ·
by Shawna Kreis ·
Comments Off on Employee Advocacy: Strategies to boost employee participation
It is no secret that your employees are you most valuable asset, but do they know that? As the lines between professional and personal life become even blurrier with each passing day — thanks in large part to social media — it is crucial to your business’s success to harness the power and knowledge of your happy employees. Here are some ideas to get them more involved in the process.
1. Encourage your employees to own your company. Employees who feel like they are part of the success of a business are more likely to engage in positive social media interactions about that company. Position your employees as thought leaders within your business as well as the industry.
2. Trust your employees. When you use your employees to engage on social media platforms about your business, you are handing over a certain amount of trust to them. While that can be difficult to do — and, yes, sometimes it does backfire — because they are your employees, encouraging them to be advocates for your brand brings an increase in respectability as well as trust from those who are reading their postings.
3. Allow employees to have free reign. When people post about a company, it has a different feel than when the owners do so. There is a more intimate feeling involved when one of your employees posts to their friend’s timeline, for example, about how her employer — your business — offers the exact services he finds himself in need of. This casual and friendly interaction helps your business name and brand reach a larger audience, a methodology that has proven to increase sales and profits.
5 years ago ·
by Shawna Kreis ·
Comments Off on De-clutter and Better Organize Your Living and Work Space
Spring has sprung and it’s now time to de-clutter your living and work spaces so they can serve you better. Not only will you have less stuff to keep contained, you will be able to find the things you need more quickly and feel less stress about the clutter in your life. The following tips will help you get started.
It can be overwhelming when you look at your desk that is piled high with papers, books and various pens, staplers and other accessories. The same goes for your bedroom with its piles of clothes to sort through for the seasonal change as well as those that need to either be handed down or tossed. Not knowing how — or even where — to get started often puts the brakes on efforts to de-clutter. Begin with one corner of your desk or a room that you want to target.
For best results, de-clutter for short periods of time and often. While even 15 minutes a day can reap noticeable benefits, scheduling a couple of hours a few times a week is an even better idea. Try to avoid massive de-cluttering sessions that always seem to peter out as quickly as they started, leaving half-cleaned rooms in their wake.
A Place for Everything
Once you have de-cluttered an area, designate space for those items that belong there. For your desk, as an example, transfer papers that you need to save but that are not currently being used to a separate filing cabinet. Store pens and related items in caddies designed for that purpose. Take outgrown clothing that is languishing in your bedroom out to your car in the morning when you leave so you can drop them off to a donation site on your way to work.
5 years ago ·
by Shawna Kreis ·
Comments Off on Sprucing up your yard for Spring
With the warm spring weather comes the desire to make your yard more presentable. While some of the tasks listed below might seem tedious, the end result — a beautiful yard that bursts with life — that will make all your efforts seem worth it.
1. Do a clean sweep. This is the time to remove all that debris leftover from the winter storms. Remove dead leaves, twigs and fallen branches from your yard. Tackle any weeds that have popped up to take advantage of the warmer weather.
2. Feed your yard and your garden. After the long winter, take time to feed and seed your yard and garden. This provides a firm foundation for a robust yard of green grass later on in the season.
3. Plant it! Whether you want to try your hand at vegetable gardening this year or you are looking forward to the colorful blossoms of spring, early spring is the time to plant. Purchase flowers that have already been started for a welcome splash of color. Thoroughly fertilize your garden plot to ensure that your young plants have a strong start in life.
4. Add accessories. Just like your accessories make your outfit, so do they in your yard. Large planters highlight favorite plantings while lawn furniture gives you a comfortable and relaxing place to unwind after a long day at work.
5. Tend to older plants. Now that winter is over, it is time to see how your existing foliage weathered the elements. Take the time to prune your bushes, trees and other plants. Mulch them thoroughly to provide them with the nutrients they need to recuperate after the winter. Then enjoy them as they bloom for you once again this year.
You’ve went all year waiting to file your taxes, but now that it’s time, you can’t remember where you stashed all those receipts you need to provide proof for your fuel expenses. If this sounds like you, there’s no need to fret. Simply keep these last minute income tax filing tips in mind and you’ll not only lessen your stress, but you can also save money on your taxes.
Gather the documents you need
If you’re self-employed, you’ll need 1099s from your clients. However, even if you don’t get one, you can still report the income. Simply tell your tax accountant how much your total income was and he can figure your taxes for you. If you’re not self-employed, make sure to bring all of your W2s with you to your tax appointment. Other important documents to bring include:
- Out of pocket medical expenses paid
- Job-related expenses
- Failure to pay documentation (where clients failed to pay you for the services you provided)
- Savings and retirement account information
Don’t forget student loan expenses
Did you pay interest on a student loan? If so, you need to let your tax accountant know how much interest was paid. This amount in itself can bring forth huge tax savings.
Want your tax refund fast? If so, take comfort in knowing that 90 percent of tax filers are going to receive their refunds within 21 days after filing as long as they e-file. This means if you want your tax refund fast, you need to e-file, too. All this requires is that you allow the government to deposit your refund into your checking or savings account automatically. Its as simple as that.
Workers’ compensation requires an end of the policy year audit to assure proper premium is charged. This process protects both the insured and insurers.
Think through this process to make it easier, and cost saving. First, choose a policy year that creates an easy audit. The calendar year works for many companies. You already must report payrolls to the US government, the paperwork is essentially done. Calendar quarters work for the same reason.
If you prefer to use your corporate tax year, go ahead. If you complete quarterly profit and loss, you can use a financial quarter. But choose an annual period which already has an audit trail.
Keep payroll records separate for each workers’ compensation classification. Normally, this record keeping is straightforward. The same people specialize in certain tasks: clerical, sales, labor, or drivers.
Some operations can be more complex. If labor crosses from one specialty to another, perhaps a carpenter helps pour a concrete slab, that payroll should be split on an hourly rate. The higher rate applies otherwise.
Demand any subcontractor, for example a hood cleaning crew for a restaurant, provide a Certificate of Insurance (COI). Technically, insurance companies can charge for the payroll portion of any contracted work in the absence of a COI.
If you use to a non-covered contractor, keep those records to properly assign a discount for premium.
Lastly, keep records to isolate overtime pay. Overtime payroll receives a discount for premium purposes.
Make audits easier. Choose a convenient policy period. Keep records for independent contractors with COIs, and payments to those without. Isolate overtime pay. Segregate individual payroll by classification if that individual works in multiple job descriptions.
Your premium will be more accurate with a minimal additional management effort. And, the default position is always to increase payroll, and therefore, premium.
The weather is getting nicer by the day. Spring time is a great time to get out with your family and be adventurous. Bicycling can be a fun activity your entire family enjoys. Plus, it’s heart-healthy and reduces stress. Before heading out for a ride, be sure everyone in your family owns and wears a correctly sized bicycle helmet.
1. Verify Safety
Helmets manufactured since March 1999 must meet Consumer Product Safety Committee (CPSC) standards. Look for the CPSC label or sticker inside the helmet and know that this safety equipment will reduce the effects of any impacts.
2. Select the Right Size
Helmet size varies between brands, so take head circumference measurements before you buy helmets. To find your circumference, wrap a ribbon around your head. It should sit on your forehead, just above your ears and extend to the bottom of your hairline on your neck. Then, stretch the tape on a ruler.
Small: 52-58 centimeters
Medium: 56-62 centimeters
Large: 60-66 centimeters
Ideally, helmets should fit snugly but comfortably. They also should fit level on your head with the “Y” of the strap falling at your ear lobe’s bottom. Helmets should also rest low on your forehead and sit about one to two finger-widths above your eyebrows. With it on, you should be able to hear and see clearly.
3. Look for Padded Inserts
Sometimes, extra padding helps a helmet fit better, especially for kids. Follow manufacturer’s instructions when inserting the padding properly.
4. Choose a Color
Whether you want a helmet in your favorite color or one that matches your bike, the color isn’t as important as the fit. However, you may need to prioritize the helmet’s color as a way to encourage your reluctant children to wear and enjoy their bicycle helmets.
Your family can bicycle together and stay healthy as you bond. Just be sure to wear bicycle helmets. They prevent head injuries and are a must each time you step onto your bike. Choose the right helmet and stay safe.