Training Employees in Between Summer Vacations

Summertime is usually an employee favorite for time off and vacations, either with the family or as part of a retreat all to one’s self. And if your business is the kind to offer flexible leave time, then your employees are bound to appreciate being able to tailor their season with vacations that best suit them and their schedules! But there’s always that lull that occurs when someone returns from a long trip, or even just a week away from the office; it can be a real struggle to return to the grind of a normal work day, let alone any kind of training you already had scheduled over the summer. So how can you help keep them on track if they’ve got multiple vacations planned throughout the season? Offer refreshers It might sound somewhat tedious in the abstract, but sometimes all you need is a quick jolt to your memory and you have what you need to keep learning something new. When your employee comes back from a vacation, and it’s time to dive back into training modules, give a quick refresher before you begin. This could be verbal, or you could even send a quick email for him or her to review alone. Either way, it just needs to jog your employee’s memory enough to add on the next lesson or skill training. Encourage detailed notes While we understand all too well how hard it can be to focus when a vacation is looming on the horizon, we suggest encouraging diligent note-taking during training sessions before an employee takes time off. That way, he or she knows...

How to make your office more parent-friendly

Offer flex time or remote-working polices With technology like video conferencing and cloud storage, employees around the world can share ideas and files as if they were right next to each other. These advances in communication have made it possible for many industries to operate with some or all of their employees working remotely. Consider if your company is in one of these industries; whether there’s a need for employees to actually be in the office to be productive. If not, allow your employees—especially parents—the chance to utilize flex time, work remotely, or work part-time. Offer child-care If you can’t give your employees the option to work remotely, consider offering childcare at your workplace. This will not only allow your employees to continue their regular work hours, but it will give them peace of mind knowing their child is close by. If you have a large enough company, you can invest in an on-site daycare program. If you don’t have enough employees to make this kind of initiative worth the investment, you can partner with nearby companies to create a program. Offer leniency for new parents When new parents do return to the office, remember that they are juggling their workload with their responsibilities as a new parent. There’s a good chance they’re functioning on very little sleep. Respect that by not coming down too hard on them. At the same time, make sure you’re not belittling them or depriving them of difficult tasks because they are a parent. Let them dictate what sort of workload they can take on. A parent-friendly environment can help immensely in employee retention...

Summer workplace hazards

One of our goals at Conductor Orchestrating Training is to mitigate workplace accidents by enabling easy and thorough employee training. But when it comes to workplace safety, one factor many don’t consider is how season changes factor in. Especially if your employees work outdoors, you will face different hazards in the summer than in the winter. Here are some risks to be aware of as we move into the heat of summer. Heat-induced illness If your employees are working outside, they are susceptible to dehydration, overheating, and other issues exacerbated by hot temperatures and direct sunlight. Give your employees regular breaks; at least five minutes every hour. Provide shade and water or cold popsicles to help them lower their body temperature. Remind them to protect themselves by wearing sunscreen and a broad-brimmed hat. Make sure they recognize the signs of dehydration or overheating so they can recognize the symptoms in themselves or their coworkers. For example, they might be dehydrated if they feel dizzy, extremely tired or have a sudden headache. Symptoms they can watch out for in others are sunken eyes, rapid breathing or a rapid heart rate. Stress from overworking Summer is a popular time for employees to request time off to go on vacation. While a short summer vacation works wonders for these employees’ mental wellbeing, it can leave your other employees stressed as they compensate for the reduced manpower. Carefully document time-off requests so you don’t end up understaffed. The fairest method for handling this is to grant requests on a first-come, first-serve basis. Be on the lookout for employees who are working extra hard...

Six New Year’s Resolutions for your Small Business

Just as your resolution to eat more green veggies can lead to a healthier body, resolutions to improve your company’s practices can lead to a more successful business. Keeping these business resolutions through the year, in spite of the major tests to your willpower that you’re bound to experience, will not only inspire success, but it will lessen the blow when you inevitably fall off the kale and broccoli wagon. Develop company culture Company culture is your business’s personality, and is defined by the environment in which your employees work and the ethics and goals that your business represents. Culture is key to recruiting and retaining talented, motivated employees, but it is also a quality that must be actively nurtured and developed by you and other members of management. You can create company culture by encouraging inclusiveness, kindness and enthusiasm. Lead by example in promoting company ethics and attitude. Define a mission that your employees can align themselves with, so that they’re not just punching the clock but working towards a larger goal. Set goals Use that company mission to set some specific short- and long-term goals. Use the acronym SMART to guide your goal-making. SMART goals are specific (clearly defined), measurable (milestones have been identified), attainable (realistic and manageable), relevant (aligned with your business model and mission), and time-based (given a hard deadline). Define best practices First, make sure you’ve outlined the processes and methods that your employees should use to help your company succeed. Then, make sure every person affiliated with your business knows and utilizes these best practices. For specific tasks, outline a clear order of...

Debunking three myths about HR managers

HR are the Office Enforcers Yes, it’s the job of the human resources manager to police many aspects of the office, but that doesn’t mean they spend their workdays lurking in the shadows of your cubicle, waiting to catch you in the act of rule-breaking, or actively searching for disputes to regulate. It’s more accurate to compare their regulating role to that of a sports referee, whose job is to step in only when needed to ensure the game continues to run smoothly. Enforcing office policies is a small part of an HR manager’s role, anyway, and they’re often very busy with the other facets of their position. HR can help you negotiate your pay While your human resources department often plays a part in payroll, promotions, hiring and firing, the individuals working in HR don’t exist to help you negotiate these touchy subjects. Don’t discuss how much of a raise you seek or how generous of a severance package you deserve. Of course, they’re constantly working to ensure these issues are handled fairly, but they can’t share and freely discuss these details with individual employees. Human resources just hires and fires Human Resources does have a role in choosing new hires and letting employees go, but they also fulfill many other duties that keep the company running smoothly. They help interview potential employees, handle payroll, make sure all state and federal employment guidelines are being met, and meet with managers to find out employee needs. It’s also their job to design and manage employee training. This is a crucial part of their job because if an overseeing organization,...

Tips for organizing the corporate Halloween party

Falling leaves, shorter days and chillier mornings signal the onset of autumn and the approach of the season’s sweetest holiday: Halloween. It’s an occasion for assembling a creative costume and indulging in candy—and why should children have all the fun? If you’re in charge of organizing your company’s office parties, you’re probably in the midst of planning some sort of Halloween celebration. And while these festivities can provide a morale-boosting diversion from the typical workday, it’s important, when throwing company-wide events, to ensure that the fun is good-natured and inclusive. Here are a few tips for throwing a Halloween party that’s both lively and workplace-appropriate. Specify costume guidelines Creative getups are an essential part of Halloween, and, therefore, most Halloween parties. Just make sure all employees are on the same page about what sort of costumes, if any, are expected at your company Halloween party. No employee wants to be the killjoy who doesn’t dress up. But it’s equally horrifying to enter the office decked out in full costume while everyone else is in business attire. Avoid confusion by sending out a company memo outlining the nature of this Halloween celebration. Tell employees there will be prizes for the most creative costume, the most colorful costume, or the best homemade costume, to provide parameters for their costume selection. Schedule a start and end time for the party so everyone knows not to schedule client meetings during this time. Use your best judgment to help employees avoid offending their coworkers with their costume choice. Every company culture is different, but it’s better to be overly cautious and specify ground rules...