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April 2017 Free Idea:

Make a point of sharing your knowledge with young professionals as well as high-level executives. Both will remember you for your time and consideration.

March 2017 Free Idea:

Carry a small notebook with you everywhere. This is your “worry” journal. When you feel stressed, whip it out and scribble down everything on your mind at that minute.

February 2017 Free Idea:

Learn the importance of giving yourself pep talks, and keep the voice in your head positive. Stay focused, and be willing to work as hard as you need to.

January 2017 Free Idea:

Make the decision to do the tricky stuff.

Nearly every person claims to give their work 100%. What they REALLY mean, is that they give their work 100% of the stuff that they are comfortable with.

Decide to get less comfortable with the limitations of your comfort zone.

December 2016 Free Idea:

Force Yourself to Slow Down

When was the last time you sat down and lingered over a cup of coffee and a good book? When did you last write in a journal, or really take the time to enjoy the moment?

So many of us rush through our days, especially around the holidays. This leaves us feeling frazzled, chronically dissatisfied, and spent.

If you find yourself rushing from task to task or errand to errand while your patience is running thin, force yourself to slow down. Ask yourself this: will the world end if I don’t get this done? Will I even remember what this all-important task was a week from now? Much of the time, that answer will be a resounding “no.”

Instead of stressing yourself out, stop. Look around you. Admire something beautiful you can see. Go get a cup of coffee at the coffee shop, and NOT to go! Pick up that book you've been meaning to read. Take some deep breaths.

Remember: your life should not be a To-Do list.

November 2016 Free Idea:

Embrace the number one truth about stress: Only you create it.

Take some deep breaths. Make a list of everything that needs to get done. It will help you to organize your day.

October 2016 Free Idea:

According to a rencent study by the employee recognition firm O.C. Tanner, improved employee well-being can have a major impact, not only on the employee, but on the company's bottom line. It also found that as individual well-being increases, so do teams as they become more collaborative, more productive and innovative.

According to O.C. Tanner, well-being can be categorized into three factors:

  • Physical Heath: To what degree is the employee in good physical health, have a healthy lifestyle and is overall physically able to do what he/she wants and needs to do daily?

  • Social Wellness: To what degree does the employee have satisfying relationships and positive interactions with others inside and outside of work situations?

  • Mental Wellness: To what degree does the employee feel positive and not overwhelmed and stressed? To what degree does he/she like what they do?

September 2016 Free Idea:

Review your credit at least annaully and check for errors. This can not only be helpful in making sure it is accurate, it can also be an indicator of identity theft if you find previously unknown accounts which you didn't open.

August 2016 Free Idea:

Keep a file of your family's birth certificates, immunization records, school transcripts, and copy of social security care in a fireproof safe. These documents can be essential if you need to prove your identity or is you lose your social security card.

July 2016 Free Idea:

Keep abreast of trends in your industry by joining professional associations, attending conferences, and reading newsletters and magazines. Take classes and attend training to learn from others in your field.

Make networking with others in your field a priority. Schedule some time to meet for coffee or lunch or keep in touch via email and social networks.

June 2016 Free Idea:

Keep essentials nearby. Stock up on the following: low-fat granola bars; bottled water; bags of slow-dissolving mints or candy (helps prevent needless snacking); supplements, including a multivitamin, B-complex, C and E vitamins, and echinacea (good for when cold season hits or you forget to take vitamins at home); tissues, and family photos.

May 2016 Free Idea:

You may be paying your employees competitive wages, but if you’re not also offering them competitive benefits packages, you’re missing a crucial opportunity to engage and retain your workers.

  • 47 percent of employees say their company’s health care plan is one of the reasons why they’re staying with their employer
  • 45 percent of employees say that retirement plans are key to retaining them
  • 80 percent of employees say that benefits packages can influence their engagement levels
  • 57 percent of employees say they’re willing to accept lower compensation in return for better benefits packages

April 2016 Free Idea:

Do you own a life insurance policy, an annuity or an IRA? Are you covered by a company retirement plan?

Do you know who the beneficiary is on each of these assets? Are you sure this is the person who should receive this money if something happens to you?

Review your beneficiary designations every couple of years, especially if you experience any major changes in your life, such as marriage, divorce or the birth of a child or grandchild, It can save your loved ones a lot of unnecessary grief.

March 2016 Free Idea:

Feeling stressed? Try setting aside time each day to turn off the TV, turn off the radio, and power down the computer and other devices. We're hit with a constant barrage of hype, bad news, "urgent" messages, and flickering lights.

Studies show that too high a dose of these things contribute to our cluttered and stressed-out state of mind. Unplug and try to enjoy simple silence. Your reduced stress level will thank you.

February 2016 Free Idea:

It's important for everyone in your company to know what you do, but it is equally important that they know why you do it. Understanding the reason you're in business will lead to more productive, engaged, and satisfied employees.

January 2016 Free Idea:

Getting together outside of the office is a great way to build team morale. Occasionally bringing the entire staff together for a local sporting event, happy hour, or other fun experience will help build cohesion and increase morale.

December 2015 Free Idea:

Building employee engagement involves motivating people in a way that ensures the employees have a vested interest in helping the business attain its organizational goals. It means de-emphasizing the traditional "cascade structure" in which strategy is created at the top and expected to trickle down.

Research confirms the success of the engaged employee model. The Gallup analysis found that highly engaged manufacturing employees can boost productivity by an average of 19 percent and safety by 62 percent compared to poorly engaged employees. High engagement was also strongly correlated with employee retention, drastically reducing turnover, and 27 percent less absenteeism.

While most companies engage in some kind of performance evaluation, companies with the most highly engaged employees have some best practices in common:

  1. Make it about career development
  2. Build real goals
  3. Set metrics
  4. Customization
  5. Make it easy to use and intuitive
  6. Evaluate managers on employee engagement
  7. Do it regulary

November 2015 Free Idea:

Hire Based on Character

You’ve probably seen the quote: “Hire character. Train skill.” There is a lot of truth in this statement, and putting this into practice means surrounding yourself with a positive, hardworking team that can tackle anything with the right attitude. Any skills an employee doesn’t already possess can be learned on the job.

October 2015 Free Idea:

Green Up Your Small Business

If your business embraces green practices, you can do more than just save the environment. Going green in many cases helps you create a more efficient workspace while reducing the amount of money you spend on supplies and utilities.

September 2015 Free Idea:

Take Time Out to Learn Something New

Make learning a part of your job responsibilities. Read a small business blog for the latest tips and trends, enroll in an online course to learn a new skill, or attend a conference to brainstorm with other businesses.

August 2015 Free Idea:

Take a few moments to assess the day’s emotional challenges. Almost as important as your to-do list is a “be prepared for” list. Inventory the tough phone calls, boring meetings, difficult interactions, frustrating red tape, infuriating rush-hour drives, droning detail work, and other challenges you may face. Mentally preparing for these challenges will make them easier to handle and less stressful.

July 2015 Free Idea:

Post your company’s mission and core values in the office

The “why” of an organization is almost always more important the the “what”. Create a poster of your company’s mission and core values and post it somewhere with a lot of foot traffic like the breakroom, central conference room, or waiting area right where people walk into the office.

June 2015 Free Idea:

Our servers, computers and related technology have become a part of the office decor, they are simply there. As businesses, we should periodically take a close look at this equipment to be certain it is still meeting our needs.

Consider doing a complete technology audit of your office equipment. Today's technology is much faster and more secure than machines purchased just a few years ago. Updating these systems can lead to improved efficiency and better functionality. And don't forget to check your software, anti-virus protection, and firewall security as well.

May 2015 Free Idea:

Get three things done before noon. Statistics show that the team ahead at halftime is more likely to win the game. Enjoy your lunch knowing that you accomplished at least three tasks in the morning.

April 2015 Free Idea:

As we continue venturing into uncharted economic waters, how can you keep your job on track and deliver your best? Schedule a weekly meeting with yourself. That’s right: no matter how busy you are, this is not a luxury. It’s essential.

Every week, take a quiet hour to reflect on recent critical events—conflicts, failures, opportunities you exploited, observations of others’ behavior, feedback from others. Consider how you responded, what went well, what didn’t, and what might be more effective in the future.Never cancel this meeting—it’s crucial.

March 2015 Free Idea:

Many times our "to do" list can seem overwhelming. So much so that we are almost paralyzed and don't know where to begin. Consider taking 20-30 minutes at the beginning of each day to review your list. Take this time to prioritize and determine a few key items that MUST be checked off the list and develope a plan of attack. Once you have this established, aggressively tackle those items before moving down the list. That extra time spent each morning will pay large dividends in the number of items completed and will help reduce the stress of feeling overwhelmed.

February 2015 Free Idea:

Virtual doctor visits can benefit employers and employees, alike. One quick phone call to a physician can often solve an issue and the employee will not need to miss work for a doctor's visit, and can often find resolution much more quickly than they could even get an appointment scheduled. Contact Preferred Benefits to learn how programs such as Teladoc can help your company and employees.

January 2015 Free Idea:

Research consistently shows that sustainably engaged employees outperform their non-engaged coworkers. Even a small improvement in productivity can have a positive effect on your organization's performance and competitiveness. A productive workplace culture means establishing a viable employee value proposition that all employees understand, and developing a culture that encompasses clear performance management, career development and manager effectiveness.

December 2014 Free Idea:

If you have money left in your flexible spending account that will not roll over, consider an extra teeth cleaning, that pair of prescription sunglasses you've always wanted, contact lens solution, as well as contact lenses, acupuncture services for a chronic pain issue you have been experiencing. Just remember, nothing cosmetic is eligible.

November 2014 Free Idea:

Find a dry cleaner that will pick up and deliver at your office. Create a closet space just for that purpose. This will provide a personal service to your employees so they can eliminate drop off and pick dry cleaning from their errands list. It's just a nice, no cost thing to do for your staff.

October 2014 Free Idea:

One way to simplify your life is to practice mindfulness - to slow down, recognize and appreciate the simple things in life. To be mindful instead of mindless, stay in the moment and be conscious of what you are doing. Don't think ahead or look back. A good way to practice this is to follow your breath, a technique that doesn't require any special training or self consciousness. To breathe mindfully is to take notice of your breaths and try to make them as calm and even as possible. Your breaths should be long and slow and should come from your diaphram, not your upper chest. Pay attention to each breath and let the thoughts fall away.

September 2014 Free Idea:

Multitasking can be an asset, but often the lack of focus it requires means you actually get less done in a day, or less done well. To increase your focus and break free from distractions you can:

  • Begin each day by setting priorities on what you want to accomplish.
  • Check email at a set time rather than letting each new message interrupt you.
  • Set aside a time to retrieve voice mails and return calls.
  • Keep a calendar of your deadlines and obligations.

August 2014 Free Idea:

Engage your staff. Consider having a lunch and learn once a month. The boss brings the lunch and the staff takes on the role of presenting topics for the learning side of the equation. And remember to bring a healthy lunch, send the right message.

July 2014 Free Idea:

Are you part of the solution? When you see an issue that needs to be addressed in your organization, do you just "bring it up", or are you the person who "provides a solution"? Which person do you think your boss wants you to be? Be the problem solver. It is the best position to take when trying to get something done and to stand out among your peers.

June 2014 Free Idea:

The Fact is: Most employee handbooks are boring at best. Employees receive these books and rarely open them or read them through. Bring your employee handbook to life by recreating it, making it interesting and worthwhile to read. Get a small group of employees together to help with this process and come up with new ideas. The more the employees read the benefit handbook the more educated they become, therefore creating minimal questions for HR.

May 2014 Free Idea:

Make sure to praise your employees. When it comes to praising your employees important recognition comes directly from the manager or supervisor. Surprisingly, the most impactful recognition is no cost praise. Many employees will also appreciate additional time off as a reward. Come up with some fun ideas with your management team.

April 2014 Free Idea:

When asked who your competition is, consider answering them with "I have no idea", or when someone asks "Why should I do business with you?" your answer is "because the work we do today is better than the work we did six months ago and the work we will be doing six months from now will be better than the work we do today. We work to inspire others to do what inspires them."

March 2014 Free Idea:

The core beliefs and purpose of your organization will allow you to identify with your customers and in turn they will identify with you. This creates a long lasting, loyal and mutually respectful relationship.

February 2014 Free Idea:

Promote the stories of your top employees. People take jobs (and stay in jobs) to work for great managers and collaborate with other great people. If you have great people with great stories, get them outside the walls of your company. Set aside time and money for top performing employees to blog. By giving these opportunities to the top employees, their information can be passed down to others within the company and outside the company, promoting a strong brand image for your organization.

January 2014 Free Idea:

Every year millions of people make personal resolutions for the coming year. Why should this practice be limited to individuals? This year, resolve as a company (or a department) to achieve something significant. Maybe a sales goal, a new program, begin that new marketing campaign you've been talking about, or just make contact with each client to see how they're doing. This will foster a team environment and your sucess will pave the way for even bigger goals next year.

December 2013 Free Idea:

When asked for your opinion, if you have one, give it. If you need to learn more about the subject or issue at hand, say so, don't be afraid to let someone know that you need to do a little research. Just remember you need to respond timely. This could be to a client, to a co-worker, or a boss. Everyone has an opinion, share it, you were asked for a reason.

November 2013 Free Idea:

Create a mobile website for your business. More than half of U.S. consumers own a smartphone. While most modern smartphones can render full websites, mobile users expect a site that loads quickly, displays cleanly and doesn't require pinch-zoom in order to navigate easily. Without a mobile web presence you could be missing out on half of your web audience.

October 2013 Free Idea:

When travelling away from home for work or pleasure, remember to take your medical ID card with you. This will help expedite the check-in process and make the claim payment process much easier if you need to seek medical treatment while out of town.

September 2013 Free Idea:

In our relationships with friends and family, we make frequent contact to keep the ties strong. If we ONLY called our friends when we needed help moving a sofa, they wouldn't remain good friends for long and would soon stop taking our calls. We should apply the same approach to our clients.

If we only call on them when we want something (renewing a contract, for example) they will come to feel we only appreciate the money they represent. We should show our clients that we value the relationship we have with them and work to strengthen that bond. It's a good idea to check in with them from time to time just to make sure everything is running smoothly. It could be as simple as a survey (easily created on-line and sent out) or a phone call. Better still is a direct contact...a personal visit, take them to lunch or a round of golf.

An investment of time with our clients can pay big dividends in a strong relationship and long term loyalty.

August 2013 Free Idea:

Yoga is a science that has been practiced for thousands of years. It consists of Ancient Theories, observations and principles about the mind and body connection which is now being proven by modern medicine. The information on Yoga Poses & Benefits are grouped into three categories - physiological, psychological, biochemical effects. Just a few of the benefits of Yoga that have been studied are: Sleep improvement, anxiety and depression decrease, improved attention and improved memory.

July 2013 Free Idea:

If you can secure a letter of medical necessity or a prescription from your physician for massage therapy you can use your FSA or HSA money for this treatment that is typically not covered by insurance.

June 2013 Free Idea:

Create a rolling 90-day game plan. You must plan to succeed and without a plan, you plan to fail. Focus on one strategic objective per month and update your 90-day game plan every 30 days. Make sure the leadership team know what you are up to and directly relate it to the company values, goals, and culture.

May 2013 Free Idea:

Keep a folder in a safe place with all of your benefit summaries and policy numbers. This will help you understand what services are covered, what your copays should be and will provide an easy way to check your EOB's. Keeping all of your policy numbers together (especially life insurance and disability insurance) will help others locate necessary information in the event you are unable to provide those details due to death, serious illness or injury.

April 2013 Free Idea:

Consider changing the name "Paid Time Off", often referred to as PTO, to "Earned Time Off (ETO)". This creates a sense of ownership and a greater perceived value.

March 2013 Free Idea:

Start a book club for leadership. This should engage your leadership team and help them to zero in on your corporate culture. It should help start lively discussions about the core beliefs and the purpose of your organization.

February 2013 Free Idea:

Many small employers have been tying their EAP's to their disability insurance, problem is when they move the insurance they either lose the EAP or it changes to a new vendor. Suggest that the EAP remain outside of the insurance policy and you either offer an on-line service or face-to-face or both. Using a local EAP can potentially save employees and employers money by reviewing the percentage of referrals that need to be made to outside and in ongoing mental health services. If a majority of the contact can be resolved within the EAP itself it is less claims dollars spent by both parties.

January 2013 Free Idea:

If you have an HSA account, consider creating a spreadsheet to keep track of the funding. Spreadsheets can be sorted and filtered so you can easily look back and see what expenses have been paid, how much you're spending on specific services or prescriptions, or tell you how much of your deductible has been met. It will also serve as a guideline when deciding how much to contribute next year.

December 2012 Free Idea:

Review your handbook, check to see if you addressed some critical issues like extension of health coverage in the event of lay-off or disability. Do these extensions match up with the current carriers extensions? Did you update your waiting period but forget to either put it in your handbook or advise your carrier? Periodically reviewing your handbook and matching up those provisions with your current carriers helps you stay in compliance with your internal policies and procedures.

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