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Why Every Company Should Treat Employees Like CRAP

Author: Michael Baker, M.B.A.

Let’s face it: competition is getting tough out there. Employers need to find a way to stay competitive. A novel way to do this is to focus on how you treat employees. A simple approach is to just treat your employees like CRAP, it is easy! Below you will find four tips on how to effectively treat your employees like CRAP.

Communicate- Communication seems so simple but it is the most common challenge to overcome in the workplace. Think about “how” your message is being communicated and “who” the recipient of your message is. Ask your employees their preferred communication method. Common communication methods are meeting face to face, e-mail, or phone call. There is no universal communication method. Everyone is different and it is up to you as a leader to identify the best communication method for your employees. The better you understand communication preferences of your employees, the better your message will be interpreted.

Repeat- Repetition is contagious. Repetition creates a work environment that fosters consistency. Leaders in a company must be consistent on enforcing company policies and procedures. Employees need to see that you are not showing favoritism and that all employees are held to the same policies and procedures outlined by the company.

Actuate autonomy- The old school business environment thrives on micromanagement. In this day and age, nobody goes to work looking forward to being micromanaged. It is stressful and causes unnecessary anxiety to employees. Give your employees the freedom to complete work tasks outlined by you without suffocating them. Give clear direction on what needs to be done and solid deadlines.

Positively Reinforce- It is easy for managers to focus on mistakes and play the “blame game” for substandard outcomes. Mistakes happen. Instead of wasting time and energy focusing on why somebody made a mistake, treat it as a learning opportunity by working out a solution to prevent the mistake from happening again. Make time to recognize good work and celebrate good accomplishments. Reward good behavior that fosters positive energy in your company and remember to be consistent with it.

Treating your employees like CRAP is easy, and the benefits of treating your employees this way will make a positive impact on the culture of your company. Feel free to contact us if you need advice on how to treat your employees like CRAP.

All Rights Reserved © 2016: Consulting and Education Specialists, LLC Consulting and Education Specialists, LLC | |

It is Business and You Should Take it Personally

Authors: Michael Baker, M.B.A., Robert Baker, M.B.A.

Donald Trump’s motto, “Don’t take it personal, it’s just business” continues to encourage business leaders to ignore the importance of effective communication and meaningful coworker relationships. Throughout our careers, we have personally witnessed arrogant and abrasive behavior from supervisors and managers in dealing with employee relations. As we continue to grow in our respective fields, this haughty behavior is still observed in dealing with employees and at times even esteemed among others in leadership. It is as if business leaders from all fields have hardwired Mr. Trump’s motto into their minds to reassure themselves that talking down to employees is an acceptable business practice. Don’t business leaders owe their employees dignity when communicating expectations and job performance? What happened to cultivating a respectable rapport with employees and recognizing the personal commitment and sacrifices they dedicate to the business?

The fact of the matter is that the way an employee is treated in the work place will make a significant impact on his or her personal life. Business leaders, your employees take your business personally because they sacrifice their time, energy, and relationships for the success of your business. Consider this: a typical work week for a non-exempt employee is 40 hours during a five day week. Keep in mind that five full days consists of 120 hours and 40 of these hours are spent working for an organization. Therefore, at the bare minimum, one-third of a non-exempt employee’s time during a five day work week is dedicated to work. Harter et al. (2010) commented, “On the basis of time allocation alone…the connections between work and well-being are apparent” (p. 378). Clearly, if an employee’s wellbeing is affected by his or her work environment, it will have an impact on his or her personal life.

However, the aforementioned hours are only those strictly dedicated to work, as opportunity costs associated with work intensify the stress and anxiety created by the workplace. Employees have numerous decisions to make related to work. Should I pack a lunch or buy lunch? Should I carpool or drive to work? Should I work overtime or spend time with my family? What is my disposable income this month; should I save it or treat myself (after all, I do deserve it after everything I go through at work)? These questions constantly plague the minds of employees during time outside of work. Then decisions surrounding commuting, meals, and disposal income are compounded with apprehension concerning layoffs, performance expectations, and organizational results. When sleep time is accounted for, how many hours of personal time does an employee really have?

Because employees devote so much of their time to work, it is especially important to ensure they are treated well during the hours they are at work. If employees are treated poorly or neglected, it will negatively impact employees’ perceptions of work. This in turn directly impacts employees’ attitudes, leading to a decline in employee retention and customer service: key metrics that significantly impact the financial performance of an organization. Harter et al. (2010) reported that “improving employee work perceptions can improve business competitiveness while positively impacting the well-being of the employees” (pg. 388). Isn’t this what business leaders strive for: Distinct competitive advantage in the market place? If all we had to do to improve our organization’s competitive position in the market was to invest in the well being of employees by dedicating a small amount of time daily to give constructive feedback and support, it would be a no brainer to capitalize on this strategy.

Poor treatment of employees at work can yield adverse psychological and emotional effects on employees, which can create a negative perception of the work place—ultimately making work personal. Business leaders, your employees sacrifice time, energy, and relationships for the success of your business. Our message to aspiring business leaders is this, “It is business and you should take it personally.” Healthy working relationships between management and front line employees are vital for success. Kick arrogance and abrasive attitudes to the side and be authentic and humble. The next generation of business leadership understands that the future success of business is determined by business leaders’ ability to capitalize on their human capital.

All Rights Reserved © 2010: Consulting and Education Specialists, LLC

The Power of Quality Service

Originally published on 05/09/2015 in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent Author: Robert Baker, M.B.A.

A question was brought up during a discussion with aspiring nursing students regarding the meaning of quality care and service. The group was familiar with the concept of quality care, but service? We meet patients’ needs and respond to call lights as fast as we can. Isn’t the service piece somebody else’s job?

Quality outcomes, isn’t that the bottom line in our lives? As long as we are making money, winning or providing good care, nothing else really matters, right? The service component usually gets put on the back burner or suffers. We all have been let down at some point in our lives by poor service and still have the memory of the negative impression it left on us.

Ask anybody what quality service feels like and you get similar responses: “they remembered my name,” “the environment was clean,” “it felt calm,” “everything ran smoothly,” “the person who helped me was happy to be there,” “she was smiling,” “they went above and beyond to help me.” Exceptional service experiences leave an invaluable impression on individuals — so why isn’t everybody doing it?

Out of all the places I have been in my life, the most memorable service experience I have ever had was at a local oil and lube shop in Denver. It was a hot day in July after work on a Thursday. I was stressed out, there was an accident on the road resulting in heavy traffic, and I just wanted to get home. I was long overdue for an oil change and this was the last place I wanted to be. Upon entering the shop, a fresh blast of cool air hit me and I was struck by the clean waiting area. A service tech immediately greeted me: “Thank you for coming in today, how can I help you?” I informed him of my need for an oil change and handed him my keys. Thanking me, he offered me refreshments. Delicious coffee and snack in hand, I picked up my favorite magazine and sat in the cool, clean lobby as I waited for my oil to be changed. And something magical happened — memories of my stressful day dissipated.

A quick 15 minutes later, the service tech took me into the garage and pulled the dipstick out of my car to show me the new oil level, informed me about my vehicle’s upcoming maintenance schedule and inquired, “Is there anything else I can help you with?” Excuse me?!?! No hassle about being way overdue for an oil change? No attempts to up-sell me products and services I don’t need? I paid my bill and was on my way home in less than 30 minutes — a very satisfied customer.

Just as you and I expect an automotive technician to competently change the oil, patients, residents and families expect to receive quality care in health-care settings. The point I try to make to aspiring care providers and leadership personnel is this: While quality care should certainly be a focus in our jobs, there is also a quality of service component that matters to individuals under our care and the people who entrust the care of their loved ones to us. Yes, it takes extra effort, but quality care is just the minimum. Quality service shows people we care.

Whether you work in the health-care or oil and lube business, memorable service experiences include the following:

1) Authenticity – Associates who are passionate and care about the product or service they are providing is key. They exude confidence and competence and are able to anticipate consumers’ needs.

2) Attention to detail – An organization that goes the extra mile to create and maintain an inviting and comforting environment for consumers helps remove barriers and preconceived notions.

3) Promptness – Let’s face it, people are busy and are always on the run. (Yes, even in the mountains.) Respect consumers’ time and respond to their needs in a timely manner.

It doesn’t matter who you are or what industry you work in, you have an opportunity every day to positively impact those you interact with. What sets a business apart from its competition is its ability to consistently deliver quality outcomes with exceptional service. How are you going to leverage the power of exceptional service in your life?

All Rights Reserved © 2015: Consulting and Education Specialists, LLC

A Quick Test for Choosing a Skilled Nursing Facility

Originally published on 12/10/2014 in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent Author: Robert Baker, M.B.A.

What is the first thought that comes to mind when you hear the phrase, “nursing home”? I am often taken aback by some of the responses I receive when I ask this question during presentations: Bingo, awful food, urine smell, institution, old people and the place where old people die. Some of these impressions are substantiated. For example, Bingo is and always will be a favorite in nursing homes throughout the United States. But the stereotypical “nursing home” stigma still haunts skilled nursing facilities to this day.

A skilled nursing facility (SNF) provides 24-hour skilled nursing services to individuals who require long-term care or short-term rehabilitation. Long-term care residents require stable 24-hour care for their activities of daily living (ADLs), and short-term rehabilitation patients require post-acute care due to a temporary decreased ability to perform ADLs. SNFs specialize in either long-term care, short-term rehabilitation, or both. As the American population ages, the demand for skilled nursing services are growing substantially. The United States Administration on Aging reports that by 2030, the U.S. population of people 65 and older is projected to be 72.1 million, which is more than double the population in 2000 and is three times the population in 1980.

When demand is knocking, a surplus of providers usually follows, meaning consumers will be faced with many options. Where do you begin in selecting a quality facility? Regulatory agencies, health-care administration consultants and consumer review sites offer a wide array of comprehensive checklists for prospective consumers seeking these services. Although these checklists are well-researched and developed, over the past three years, I have encountered only one consumer who toured a facility with a checklist in hand. When advising prospective skilled nursing consumers on where to receive their skilled nursing services, rather than handing them a four-page checklist, I keep it simple.

I have been in and out of several skilled nursing facilities throughout the United States — as a consumer, employee and employer — some shocking me with their lackadaisical attitude. I have gone from secret shopping a skilled nursing facility for a “family member” of mine where I witnessed residents using oxygen smoking in a nondesignated area with no staff members around, to entering a facility through the main entrance, walking past the receptionist and wandering around talking to residents and answering call lights for over an hour, without a single staff member saying a word to or engaging me. I have also walked into facilities after hours and being thrilled by a team of caregivers greeting me, asking me who I was, who I was there to see and how they could help me. Drawing from my experience in the industry, here are my top five guidelines for selecting the quality skilled nursing facility that is right for you or your loved one.

The 60-second experience: When you pull into the parking lot and enter the facility, how does it look, feel and taste? Are there cigarette butts and trash in the parking lot? Are the lobby and entryway tidy? Does the facility feel warm? Does somebody greet you? What taste is left in your mouth after 60 seconds of being in the building? Do you feel at ease or uneasy?

Staff engagement: Do staff members acknowledge your presence? Is management staff around? Do staff members acknowledge the other residents or patients? Are they communicating with one another and working together? Do staff members walk past call lights or respond to them promptly?

Resident or patient engagement: Do residents or patients make eye contact with staff? Are they withdrawn? Are their clothes dirty? Are residents and patients engaged in activities or are they sitting around staring into space?

Facility cleanliness: Does the facility appear cluttered? Are there beds, chairs, hygiene products, medications or dirty laundry lying out in the open? Are trash bins overflowing? Go to the restroom even if you don’t have to use it — is it clean? Is the dining room cleaned up or are their remnants of the last meal still sitting around?

Facility smell: Is the facility masking smells? Are there pleasant smells mixed with foul odors? Are there cleaning products lying around? Peruse the halls — what do you smell as you pass residents’ rooms?

As you may have noticed, there is a common theme among these areas. They are all experiential. It will take a consumer less than five minutes to review these guidelines and decide whether the prospective skilled nursing facility is acceptable or not — all without meeting the administrator. If a skilled nursing facility can get these five areas right within the first five minutes of your initial visit, it will more than likely be a quality facility that can offer you peace of mind. If a minor setback occurs in you or a loved one’s life and the need for skilled nursing services arises, I hope that this information will aid you choosing the right care setting. The next time you hear the words, “nursing home,” what thoughts will come to your mind?

All Rights Reserved © 2014: Consulting and Education Specialists, LLC

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