Taking a Chance on Individuals with a Past Criminal History

State legislatures are making new laws to make it easier to hire people with criminal histories.   Low unemployment is great for society, but it is a problem for employers looking to fill positions within their companies.  And according to the Dept of Justice there are more than 650,000 prisoners released each year that could help with this problem, but hiring people with criminal records is a concern when considering matters of privacy and workplace safety.  There is also concern over the business’s reputation and not to mention legal and financial concerns.  In some states it is illegal for the employer to disclose an individuals criminal history to other employees and in some states it is even illegal for the employer to ask about criminal history when hiring a candidate.  Employers who choose to hire from this candidate pool need to take some well informed steps to navigate this hiring practice.

The State of South Carolina just passed legislation to allow individuals with certain criminal records to have these records expunged after petitioning the court to do so.  Once expunged they would no longer be required to disclose this history on job applications and it would not be included in background checks.  The new law, Act No. 254, becomes effective Dec. 27.

There are some economic advantages to hiring people with a past criminal history such as WOTC (Work Opportunity Tax Credit) credits which may offset an ex-offender’s wages by up to $2,400.  And similar to the common arguments heard when justifying the hiring of migrants, these candidates may also be more willing to fill jobs that others will not

For businesses who do decide to recruit from this candidate pool, steps should be taken to ensure success in this decision.

  1.  Seek help!  There are support organizations and designated people in law enforcement/corrections who will help guide you through these types of decisions.  These organizations also coach and train people to help them be better prepared for the job opportunities that may come.  They also work with the employer to help better manage people in this situation and to set expectations from both sides of the table.  Employees are encouraged to go beyond what the employer is asking of them and employers are asked to be less quick to terminate due to workplace issues.  The approach seems to work as demonstrated by a report from the University of Las Vegas stating that one such program saw that 64% of the people studied found long term employment while only 6% were re-incarcerated.
  2. Make your case!  Simply saying “It’s the right thing to do.”, will not in most cases make your argument to management or the rest of your workforce.  Explore the financial impact of the WOTC credits and how they may effect the bottom line.  Also, concerning safety or other legal concerns, know that the criminal justice system imposes an extra level of accountability on the employee.  Making conditions like arriving at work sober or even random drug testing a condition of parole.  This helps in establishing good work behaviors.  Between the WOTC credits and the extra behavioral incentives most employers are able to make a case to hire.  And reportedly, these employees have an exceptional attitude, affirming that former prisoners are likely not to be a liability or a disruption.
  3. Stay compliant!  As with anything HR, there are regulations you must follow when hiring an employee.  28 states and more than 150 cities and counties have adopted “ban-the-box” legislation that prohibits employers from asking about applicants’ criminal histories early in the hiring process.  And the EEOC is closely watching for company policies which prohibit or discourage hiring former prisoners.  On the other hand if another employee is later assaulted and it was found the employer knew that they knowingly hired the assailant with a violent criminal history, then the employer may be accused of “negligent hiring” and may find themselves liable for the injuries.  Also, be careful that the requirements of the job do not conflict with the criminal background of the individual.  For example, you should not allow an individual with a DUI in their history to drive a company vehicle, but they may be fine working in other job positions.
  4. Who needs to know?  This is a difficult and sticky question to answer.  Of course HR and the owner should know, but what about supervisors or coworkers?  One approach is to limit this information strictly on a need to know basis.  Vet if each person you would consider telling really needs to know.  Unless there is a safety concern or some other valid concern, does the supervisor really need to know?  Do the coworkers?  Another way to address this is to have it documented in the company policies that the company may hire individuals with criminal histories as a broad statement.  This wont stop employees from googling each other, so be prepared to justify hiring choices if needed.

There are advantages and disadvantages to the decision to hire individuals with a prior criminal history.  We work in an environment of legislation meant to protect the individual’s right to privacy by expunging criminal history and restricting employers from even asking such questions in the hiring process.  This is truly a challenging area of HR to navigate.  Be sure to ask for help when needed, be prepared to justify your decisions to management and to coworkers when asked and always stay compliant with local, state and federal rules and regulations.  Good luck!

How to get engaged in Employee Engagement: Maintaining Employee Engagement

Over time man has created many great works.  The Colosseum of Rome, Solomon’s Temple and The Mayan Pyramids to name a few.  Great achievements that have been celebrated over the years as some of man’s finest work.  But, none of these are functional today.  When man is unable, unwilling or simply negligent, even our greatest works will slowly go back to the chaos of nature through entropy.

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and it’s goals.  It is highly recognized in modern management as important to the success of an organization.   If you have followed this series of articles and have made changes which have shown improvements to your organization’s employee engagement as a whole, then you will need to be sure to put controls in place to ensure your great work is not forgotten or properly maintained in the months and years to come.

Over this series of articles, How to get Engaged in Employee Engagement, we have defined and discussed how to measure , analyze and improve employee engagement, but unless we are able to maintain our new found emotional commitment, we will lose it.

The control phase of any process improvement initiative is when the project team hands off the new procedure to the process owner.  The team recommends audits, procedures and controls to keep the new process in check and well maintained.  It is the responsibility of the process owner to carry this forward and maintain the new status quo.  With many companies, the ownership of employee engagement is firmly held in HR.  But as we have seen throughout these articles, the responsibility really remains with the entire management team.  So all managers need to take measures to ensure employee engagement stays at the forefront of the organization’s strategies.

One of the key metrics or measure-able for employee engagement is the independent survey.  It is recommended that these be performed no less than annually and probably no more frequently than quarterly.   The Q12 survey by Gallup is a good tool and would produce the scores required to maintain and keep checks on the process.  Keeping a routine measurement of any process helps to ensure the personnel involved are continuing to maintain a high standard and also to keep an eye out for factors that may spark future improvements.

The leadership of the company must continue to communicate and set the vision for the organization.  They must hire and empower managers who share the same vision and are themselves emotionally committed to the organization’s goals.  If leadership is less vocal or communicates less, this may lead to entropy and less employee engagement.

Managers in the organization need to hire great people and make sure they have the tools they need to succeed.  They should work each day to eliminate and automate manual processes to allow their employees the time to focus and the freedom to align themselves to the company’s  goals emotionally.

Managers must continue to communicate the vision from leadership, but it is also just as important to make time to regularly listen to the employee’s feedback and not only listen but hear what is being said by the employee.  If employee’s feel they have a voice they will continue to remain engaged.  If they feel they are not being heard they may lose faith in their own emotional engagement or worse become disengaged.

In simplest terms, stay engaged with your employees and they will stay engaged with you (and the company).  Long ago, before talk of employee engagement, one of my favorite mentors said to me, “You are either with me or against me.”  Not in the sense of an ultimatum, but he truly felt that there should be an unwritten understanding that if he was engaged in my interests then likewise I would be engaged in his and the company’s interests.  He knew, even 25 years ago, how important it was to have my emotional engagement and alignment in the goals of the company.   I have kept that philosophy in my mind ever since it was told to me.  And now that I have shared it with you, you have one more tool in building truly great employee engagement in your organization.

 

How to get engaged in Employee Engagement: Improving Employee Engagement

There is no doubt that the members of the French World Cup team were 100% emotionally committed to the goals of their organization; the very definition of employee engagement.  Organizations with engaged employees out perform those without by over 200% according to Gallup .  A recent study by Deloitte’s Bersin group finds that Employee Engagement is believed by 87% of it’s global respondents as an important issue.  With over 50% stating that it is very important.  This finding is repeated in many other studies, where businesses leaders, overwhelmingly, find employee engagement is important to their success.

In our series of articles, How to get engaged in Employee Engagement, we have followed the process improvement approach of Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control (DMAIC) commonly used in Six Sigma.  In our first three articles we Defined Employee Engagement, Quantified it with 3rd party surveys, discussed points to Analyzing this issue and now we will discuss ideas on how to Improve Employee Engagement.

SHRM has identified the first factor to consider when improving employee engagement is to make sure your employees have the tools to do their jobs.  This would be obvious in making sure plumbers have pipe wrenches given you are operating a plumbing company, but just as important in sales organizations is to have an effective Customer Relationship System or for HR professionals to have an effective Human Capital Management system.  It is defeating for employees to struggle through manual spreadsheet reports for much of their day vs. having that same time to engage in projects to move the company forward.  This also goes hand in hand with training and coaching, both factors (tools) that are needed for employees to excel in their jobs and to become more engaged in what is important to employers.

Edward Deming was a great process improvement guru who famously stated that 94% (later increased to 97%) of problems are caused by the system.  He was also quoted as stating, “All anyone asks for is a chance to work with pride.”  These are two great points to consider when looking to improve employee engagement.  First look at the system in which we all work.  Is the system favorable to engaging employees.  Is the performance measurement systems at your company still working with the traditional once or twice a year review or does your company employee a more modern approach of frequent review and reward.  Deming stated in his book, Out of Crisis, “Give the work force a chance to work with pride, and the 3 per cent that apparently don’t care will erode itself by peer pressure.”  Deming may have been on to something when he published these comments 35 years ago.  To learn more about how a modern HCM can help  click here.

My last point for this article:  make time to listen.  Take time to individually listen to your employees and to tailor your management style to each employee.  Individual personality assessments are one approach to learn what tasks employees may become more involved in, but a more simple approach is simply to ask what they want.  Also keep in mind that what may be considered a positive approach to one employee’s engagement strategy may be terrifying to others.  An example would be public speaking and presenting in front of others.  Great for some, not for all.

And there is no greater way to engage an employee than to listen to an idea they have and then ask them to participate in the idea’s implementation and success.   It is a well known fact in our company that if you bring me a good idea and you are willing to make it happen, you may just have a new line on your job description next week.  By allowing the employee to develop a sense of ownership in the success of the idea and making sure to acknowledge the employee’s contribution you will no doubt see employee engagement on the rise.

In our next article, we will discuss how to keep our new employee engagement  strategies moving forward over the long term and to avoid losing what we have just gained.

 

 

 

 

How to get engaged in Employee Engagement: Analyzing Survey Results

Photo by Lukas from Pexels

In the past two articles, we first defined employee engagement and then measured it.  Now that we have received the results of our survey it is important to analyze the results to identify areas for improvement.

Employee engagement is defined as the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.  We measured this using a survey executed by a third party, where our company’s employees answered a series of questions designed by the polling company to measure key areas of employee engagement.  Analyzing the results is the next step in the process improvement process.

Many times the analysis phase is not given proper consideration.  Without analyzing the results, we may jump to solutions without knowing the true root cause.  This premature action may waste time, wrongly consume resources and may even cause more issues, unknowingly.

The ideal way to perform analysis is to review the measurements and then brainstorm as a team to develop hypotheses about the root cause of the issues identified.     Then if possible design tests to prove or disprove each hypothesis.  It is very important to take the time to determine and verify each hypothesis before deciding on any solutions.

An important technique in the analysis phase may include graphically displaying the data.  Tools such as Pareto Charts, Histograms and Line Graphs may lead to new hypothesis, so it is important to organize and display the data in a meaningful way.

With properly displayed data, the team can then look for possible causes.  Most process improvement teams will be familiar with tools such as fish-bone diagrams and techniques such as the 5 Why’s. All useful tools to help in determining the root cause of an issue.

There are also third party organizations who specialize in analyzing these results and can help in offering insight and also help in suggesting possible solutions.

It is important to note that just because you score low in a given area in the survey, this is not always an area that needs your attention.  The survey results should also include bench marking data to help you compare your company’s results with those of  other companies in your geographical area and/or industry.  This is important as it can help in determining which areas you should pay attention to in your analysis.  If you find you have a low score in a specific area of interest, you may find that you also score higher than your competition.  If this is the case this may not be an area you would spend time and resources trying to improve.

Given we have defined, measured and analyzed our company’s results our next step would be to implement solutions targeted to improve employee engagement.  This will be discussed in my article to be published next week.

 

How to get engaged in Employee Engagement: Quantifying Employee Engagement?

Read any selection of articles about employee engagement and you will read statements like…

  • Great employers understand that truly innovative ideas come from an engaged and inspired workforce.
  • Successful companies emphasize employee engagement as a significant factor in their success.
  • The importance of employee engagement can’t be overstated…

From the headlines one can quickly determine that employee engagement is important and companies who want to be successful should take steps to improve it.  And any good process improvement guru will tell you, “Anything worth doing is worth measuring.”

How do you quantify employee engagement?   The Gallup organization has established a survey of 12 questions which they and many others feel will provide a measure of employee engagement.  They refer to these questions as the Q12 and they have been performing surveys since 2000 with thousands of employers and 100’s of thousands of employees.  Every five years they publish a State of the American Workplace with the most recent published in February 2017.  You can receive a copy of this report here.  It is free of charge and is referenced by journalists and bloggers heavily.

Employee engagement affects eleven performance outcomes. Compared with bottom-quartile units, top-quartile units have:

  • – 41% lower absenteeism
  • – 24% lower turnover (in high-turnover organizations)
  • – 59% lower turnover (in low-turnover organizations)
  • – 28% less shrinkage
  • – 70% fewer safety incidents
  • – 58% fewer patient safety incidents
  • – 40% fewer quality incidents (defects)
  • +10% higher customer metrics
  • +17% higher productivity
  • +20% higher sales
  • +21% higher profitability

While the report is done every five years the survey is completed by employers continuously every year.  The 12 questions asked in the survey are broken down into four categories.  The twelve questions and 4 categories are listed below.

These surveys establish baselines which can be used by your company to compare your employee’s overall engagement compared to the hundreds of thousands of employees surveyed each year.  You can purchase this analysis for your company at a cost of $15/employee from Gallup.  Your employees will be given a link and credentials to complete the study and your company will receive back a nice report which will show how you compare to the baselines established each year.   If your company has multiple departments or groups these reports may also be used to compare results between groups

There are other measures and other methods that may be used to perform this analysis, but Gallup is well established in this field and no doubt you will be able to use this information to establish your own baseline for process improvement and a broader baseline to compare your employee’s engagement to other workers in the United States workforce.

Once your baseline is established you would want to repeat it, periodically to see if you are improving or declining, using the report to identify target areas for improvement.

There is little doubt that employee engagement is highly important to a successful company and that adding it as a significant part of your overall strategy for improvement is a very wise decision for any business leader.

In my next article we will look at analyzing the survey results.

 

 

How to get Engaged in Employee Engagement: Defining Employee Engagement

Today’s business world is changing rapidly.  Companies who want to be successful are being challenged by new measures of success.  As new generations of workers become a more significant part of the workforce, employers are challenged to adapt to what factors motivate employees.

Unemployment numbers have dropped to record lows and employee confidence in the workforce is on the rise.  Employees are much more confident in seeking new employment.  As such, employee retention and recruiting are at the top of the list of business leaders’ concerns.  One of the key factors to consider in this changing environment is employee engagement.

What is employee engagement?  Forbes author, Kevin Kruse, defines employee engagement as follows:  Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.  He goes on to state that employee engagement is not specifically employee happiness,  or satisfaction.  The emotional commitment mentioned in his definition refers to the employee’s and the company’s goals being more closely aligned and the employee is engaged in the company’s success rather than simply working for a paycheck.

While millennials are now the largest segment of the workforce, employers must continue to realize it is still made up of 5 or more generations of employees:  The Silent Generation, Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y (Millenials) and Gen Z (Nexters).  In 2016, according to a Pew poll, Millennials composed 35% of the workforce making it the largest generation in the workforce.  33% are Gen X, 25% are Boomers, while Gen Z and the Silent Generation round out at 6% and 2% respectively.

Each generation has their own expectations of how the workplace should operate and if employers are not prepared to adapt, they will find they are at a disadvantage in regards to employee engagement as the workforce shifts to the newer generations.

The Silent Generation has traditionally been about loyalty and duty.  Many of this generation would spend their entire career at one company.  The Boomers are more about career and self-worth.  They may be more materialistic than the other generations and are more driven by titles and personal success.  They prefer person to person communication, and like the Silent Generation are team oriented.  Gen X is more independent and prefer to solve problems on their own.  They were the first generation to actively use the internet, but likely learned it as young adults.  They focus on results and tend to ask for feedback only when they need it.  Gen Y (millennials) are the first generation to use the Internet from a young age.  They may be seen as over-confident due to overly affirming parents.  They are good at multitasking and typically expect much more feedback and rewards in the workplace than the previous generations.  Work/life balance is more about life than work, and they put an emphasis on corporate social responsibility more than previous generations.  The newest generation, Gen Y, is expected to be more focused on life style than money and career success.  Gen Y is also considered to be more team oriented and prefer face to face communication.  Everything old is new again.

Understanding each generation and their work place goals and motivators are extremely important in developing a focus on employee engagement.  The leading motivators such as title and money are being replaced with lifestyle and continuous feedback.  Employees are becoming less materialistic and more concerned with social responsibility.

With this in mind, the annual review with a pay adjustment may be considered less effective than in years past.  The ability for an employee to receive instant feedback and recognition may ultimately lead to more engagement than previous motivator to improve on an annual review.  Recognition for a job well done is changing.  It is also important to note that an approach heavy on command and control may be less effective than team activities and celebrating smaller goals more frequently.

As part of the overall employee engagement strategy employers should also consider investments in technologies better suited to the changing needs.  Today’s workforce is much more technology oriented and they expect better, more mobile communications with the company.  They expect to receive information and feedback more frequently and wish to be more involved and up to date with the social culture of the company.  Modern HCM systems from Cimplx address these challenges and more.

It is my intent to continue this as a series of articles with the next being How to get Engaged in Employee Engagement: Quantifying Employee Engagement (next week).

Baptizing Cats

This past weekend Mrs. Stein and I tried something new to us, Glamping.  Glamping is a mix of glamour and camping and describes a style of camping with amenities not usually a part of traditional camping.  Mrs. Stein had recently made the decision to stop smoking and asked that we find a quiet stress free location to begin this transition.   She needed to change her environment and reduce as many triggers as possible.  We chose glamping for the seclusion it offered.  Just the right amount of separation from  normal society without too much roughing involved.

While reducing her stress was the goal, I quickly learned that offering sound, logical, reasonable cessation advice to a person who has just stopped smoking is much like attempting to baptize a cat and she was not nearly as appreciative as the cat in the metaphor.

While Mrs. Stein was doing this for personal reasons, it still made me think about the cost of smoking in the workplace.  So like any HR blogger would do, I did a little research so I can share it with you here.   I found many articles on the subject which mostly referenced an Ohio State University study (found here)  which claims that companies pay almost $6,000 extra per year for each employee who smokes.

Before going much further, I feel it important to note that this information is being provided for informational purposes and not a condemnation of smokers in the workplace.  Some of our most valuable employees are smokers and I would not trade them for the world.  In no way am I suggesting this be addressed on an employee by employee basis, I am sure the cat metaphor above would still apply if this was attempted in the workplace.  This information is being provided to help employers understand there is a real employer cost involved with smoking and that offering cessation assistance (even at a cost to the company) can be a good investment.

The costs listed in the study are broken down as an average of $517 per year for absenteeism, $462 for what they call presenteeism (present but less productive), $3,077 in smoke breaks and $2,056 in extra medical costs if the company is self insured.  And it costs the smoker as well; the study states that smokers tend to have lower salaries than non-smokers by as much as 15.6% and some employers have actual policies of not hiring smokers.

Quitting smoking is very difficult.  An article from the National Center for Biotechnology states that smokers try to quit only once every two to three years and only about 4-6% are successful.  Successfully quitting usually involves multiple attempts, but eventually about half are able to quit permanently.   About 1/3 of the people attempting to quit will seek treatment, which is actually a higher rate of treatment use than that for alcoholism or obesity.

Many times, employees who want to quit will seek, and in some cases require, treatment to quit.   Employers who provide support will increase the chance of success.  The website, meyouhealth.com , states that within 12 months of quitting the risk of cancer, heart disease and other chronic conditions is significantly reduced, lowering the extra medical costs stated above.  Workers who stop smoking will become as productive as co-workers who never smoked at all.

The site goes on to state that a successful, employer-supported cessation program should include three elements:

  • Easy access to nicotine replacement therapy
  • Active social support
  • Coaching

This is obviously best served from a third party.  Employers who want to help should research programs that offer assistance rather than develop or manage their own.  This should be easily justified given the figures in the OSU study are in line with actual costs the employer may be experiencing.

It would also be wise to offer this help passively.  The employer should let all employees know the program is available, but should allow the employee to make the initial approach.  The sources used above all state that this data is for employees who want to quit.

Mrs. Stein is off to a good start.  At times, she has vocalized some serious second thoughts throughout the weekend.  And we both know this is very difficult.  But overall, I am very proud of the effort she is making.

I also must say that our hosts, Christy and Bryan did a great job making sure we were comfortable and that we had everything we needed.  I would highly recommend the experience if you are considering something like this.  Learn more about them and the glamping experience at www.canopyridge.com .

 

 

Ten Reasons Why Your Office Should Consider Fun in the Workplace as a Great Business Strategy

Companies are discovering the vital benefits to letting employees blow off steam in the workplace. Whether this is a basket ball hoop in the parking lot, a ping pong table in the break room or even a more simple gesture as offering outdoor time to take a walk and get some fresh air, the decision to allow employees to have fun activities away from the desk can show real benefits to the workplace. Regardless of the activity, employers are noticing the benefits to the company as well as the employee. Win-win!

Below are 10 reasons you may want to consider these type of activities in your own workplace.

10. BALANCE – In life, and really in everything we do, we need balance. This also applies to work in the forms of stress and relief. At times, it seems that work is everything and deadlines are coming faster than we can handle. As employers, we can sometimes push employees to the point that they begin thinking more about the end of the day, rather than the day at hand. In some cases, it can help employee’s over all job satisfaction to have relief come more frequently in small doses in the form of a quick and fun activity, rather than simply concentrating on the clock and going home when stress becomes too much.

9. PRODUCTIVITY – Thinking back to your school days, in which classes did you participate and learn the most? Was it the class with the lengthy lecture and the monotone teacher? Bueller…. Bueller… Or was it in the classes where the teacher added a little fun to each day and you actually looked forward to going? Chances are it was the latter. This principle also applies to the workplace. When employees look forward to their work day they are more productive. Whether it is a student taking a break from reading a book or an employee taking a break from staring at a computer screen, we are beginning to learn that productivity doesn’t always stem from staying 100% focused for eight hours. Recent studies show that adding in small, frequent breaks to a task filled day leads to highly increased productivity.

8. ENGAGEMENT – Employee engagement is quite the buzz word in today’s workplace and rightly so. When you realize that employee engagement is a mindset, you will find opportunities for greater employee commitment, including greater effort from the team, higher sales, fewer mistakes… I am sure there are many more. Author, Kevin Kruse, in his book Employee Engagement 2.0 states, “Employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and its goals, resulting in the use of discretionary effort.”

7. RETENTION – Looking above at reasons 10, 9 & 8, you can see that this is a place you may enjoy working. And if so, other employers are going to have to work a little harder to convince this employee to leave and come work for them. Turn over is a very real cost for employers and it is very important to retain good employees rather than worry about recruiting and training costs.

6. MORALE – People who enjoy coming to work are more prone to stay at work and have a positive attitude throughout the day. This is better for relationships with co-workers as well as customers. Positive attitudes are also infectious and can spread throughout the organization, making life easier on everyone.

5. COLLABORATION – Most business leaders see the benefit of conversing on the golf course in a more relaxed and less business like environment rather than in a corporate conference room. (Given the time some spend on the course this must be of real benefit to the company, right?) The same benefits may be found when employees engage in fun activities at the office. Just because fun time may be spent away from the desk, it doesn’t have to exclude work related conversations. I can say, that even with myself, I have found time spent with co-workers in a more relaxed environment, such as shooting darts or playing pool, has produced some very good work-related conversations. Work is the one thing employees definitely have in common, so it will be a natural topic when two or more coworkers get together regardless of the activity. Talking through problems and work related issues in a creative manner will help in finding new solutions to existing problems.

4. HEALTH – People are more healthy when they are happy. Stress is a leading contributor to many health issues, so reducing stress can have a positive effect on ones overall health. Harvard’s School of Public Health agrees and specifically lists heart disease as having a causal relationship with stress. Healthy employees have better general attendance at work and experience less chronic issues requiring leave from work.

3. CREATIVITY – Whether your shop employs software developers, maintenance mechanics or blog editors, play improves the imagination which in turn leads to improved creativity. Creativity helps every process and leads to innovation and problem solving. These are all benefits that will give your company an edge over the competition.

2. CULTURE– When customers, competitors, other business owners or city leaders visit your facility and see the investment you have made in your employees’ well being, it makes an impression. They can see that you value people and that your company genuinely cares about people. This helps in establishing trust and will inspire other companies to do business with you and refer new business. Employees will tell people they know that they enjoy their work. Visitors will share what they have seen. This leads to recommendations and will generate business opportunities down the road.

1. PEOPLE ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING – Doing the right thing in every aspect of business leads to success. In any industry, leaders who have the philosophy of doing the right thing are more successful than those who do not. Authors Rajendra Sisodia, Jagdish Sheth and David Wolf have completed research and have published a book, ” Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose.”Coining the term Firms of Endearment or FoE, they promote the corporate culture where creativity, empathy and responsibility to all stake holders is core to the corporate philosophy. For FoE companies, this includes making their employees jobs more more fun and creative as one of the primary strategies. First and foremost making long term investments in their employees as one of the best investments they can make.