How Can Being a Good Citizen Boost Your Business?
A lot goes into succeeding in business, from providing valuable products or services to a proper approach to management. For small business owners, there’s a critical step to success you may be forgetting that can give you a big advantage: being a good citizen.
Being a good citizen as a business means being an integral, involved part of the community.
Devoting energy to supporting those around you can be valuable to them – and to you as a business owner and to your employees and customers. By investing time and money into building a presence in your local community, and by taking initiatives to help the community at large, you imbue your business with goodwill. And that’s an asset that can be valuable.
Here are three potential benefits of good business citizenship:
Your workforce is the foundation of your business. Every business owner should know that regardless of market demand for your products or the value propositions of your services, neither will be worth much without the full support and effort of your employees. While the onus is on your employees to fulfill their job responsibilities, it’s up to you as an employer to provide a positive work environment in which they can do so.
It’s vital that you make concerted efforts toward promoting employee morale. As online job board Monster points out on its blog, summer is a prominent season for worker turnover especially among seasonal hires (in sectors like retail, hospitality and dining). But in a more general sense, late spring and early summer bring pleasant weather and a sense of new beginnings, and dissatisfied workers could take that as a chance to find a new opportunity and leave your company. Let’s look at some ways you can boost employee morale (and, in the process, combat burnout and turnover):
Celebrate achievements with enthusiasm
Just about everyone wants to be appreciated for their good work. But this requires more than a pat on the back or the periodic office pizza party. Entrepreneur magazine recommended employing more creative and interactive methods, such as creating awards for achievements given out in a workplace ceremony or published in a company newsletter or blog. Awards might include prizes such as gift cards or extra time off.
Promote work-life balance
As the jovial (and fictional) illustrator Stan Rizzo said in the “Mad Men” TV series finale, “There’s more to life than work.” To help ensure employee engagement and mitigate the likelihood of burnout, employees and employers must value the importance of a work-life balance.
Financial industry publication Forbes recommended managers and owners recognize milestones in employees’ personal lives , including birthdays, children’s graduations and so on. Staffers who believe their supervisors care for them as human beings and not merely as “assets’ likely will work harder and maintain a more positive approach to their tasks. Read More
All of us have areas of our lives that are disordered and in need of attention. And for small business owners, that could well extend to the enterprises they’ve founded and work hard to maintain. While the back office of your business might require some dusting and vacuuming, now is also the time for cleaning up your files, inventory, receipts and other business information.
While this task most likely won’t be a cinch, it doesn’t have to be insurmountable either. Here are some essential steps for cleaning up and reorganizing the most vital parts of your company’s finances and operations.
Clean up your files
Whether your digital records are backup files or primary sources of data, take stock of how organized they are. Cleaning up your files can help performance and strengthen your security. Delete old files, backup necessary files and run system checks.
These days there are fewer reasons to have any vast amount of paper records in your business. Across the U.S., about 69 million tons of paper are used each year. That figure accounts for a lot of trees.
Fortunately, going paperless has become popular enough that you can find many ways to do so as a small business owner. An easy way to start is to go paperless with your policies or account statements. Many companies offer online enrollment for service agreements, statements and other documents. Read More
One of your responsibilities as a business owner is to provide a safe environment for employees, customers, vendors and other visitors.
You’re at risk if employees or others suffer an injury on your property. You could be susceptible to civil lawsuits and criminal actions. To help cut this risk, periodic safety audits can help you maintain and constantly improve the safety standards within your location.
A safety audit can give your business an objective assessment of risk levels, help you comply with regulatory standards and create both a healthier and happier workforce. Many businesses audit their safety posture after first creating a health and safety program tailored to the needs and nature of the business.
Some use audits to align with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) federal standards, while 22 states operate their own OSHA-approved safety and health standards.
Beyond regulatory needs, OSHA points out that a safety program can bring many other benefits to a business such as:
Before beginning a safety audit, your team should take time to review pertinent documentation such as:
Are Your Employees Driving Distracted?
Multi-tasking is a myth. The human brain cannot actually perform two functions at the same time.
Instead, it switches from one task to other very quickly. Even though the change may only take milliseconds, it takes the brain time to come up to speed on the new task.
What does this have to do with driving? It’s simple. Trying to do more than one thing while behind the wheel of an automobile means you will perform neither very well. Even worse, it means that your reaction time in an emergency situation will be increased dramatically.
Talking on a cell phone (hands-free or not) increases your risk of being in an accident by a factor of four.
Distracted driving is now the number-one cause of deaths on the job.
Every employer that has employees on the road should have a distracted-driving policy in place — and it should be understood and enforced.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management: “Organizations that fail to create and enforce policies prohibiting employees from using their phones while driving put workers in jeopardy and increase employer liability.”
Here are two key questions to help you create – and enforce – a policy within your company… Read More
Umbrella insurance provides extra liability coverage that can help protect assets, such as your home, car and boat. It also helps cover defense costs, attorney fees and other charges associated with lawsuits.
Whether it’s a serious car accident involving pricey medical bills or an incident on your property, you can quickly find yourself responsible for damages that exceed the limits on your auto, homeowners or boat policies.
Travelers Umbrella Insurance Can Provide:
By Chris Hayes, Travelers
Second Vice President, Transportation Risk Control
From lane departure warnings to automatic emergency braking, drivers today have more technology than ever to help avoid car accidents. But with more cars on the road, the number of traffic fatalities continues to rise, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Taking a scientific approach to what causes car accidents can help us better understand – and potentially avoid – them in the future.
Americans are covering more miles, and are more distracted, than they were a decade ago. Safety technology can only do so much to offset risky driving behavior. Reducing distractions, from smartphone use to eating while driving, can help drivers remain alert and able to react quickly, giving them a better chance to avoid an accident.
Despite all of the new safety technology, in 94 percent of car accidents, the crash was related to the driver, according to NHTSA.1 Often, an unexpected event and period of inattention go hand in hand. Maintaining focus on the roadway is important because unexpected events are a part of everyday driving. Even at their most efficient, the interactions between a driver’s perception and a vehicle’s brakes aren’t instantaneous. Responding to an unexpected event happens in three distinct phases: perception, reaction and avoidance. There’s the moment that the driver perceives the potential hazard, the driver’s reaction time and the steps the driver takes to avoid an accident. This sequence of events takes time. Maintaining focus and attention on the road can help provide a driver with the time needed to react and ideally, avoid an accident.
To a driver, getting into an accident may feel like a stroke of bad luck – a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, perhaps. There’s some truth to the idea of timing. It’s generally safer to drive during daylight hours instead of nighttime, when visibility is lower and other drivers are likely to be fatigued, or perhaps driving under the influence, for example.
While there’s an element of chance in an accident, often it’s due to a series of connected events that can be deciphered to discover the root cause of the crash. It can mean that a small mistake, when compounded with another factor, can lead to a serious car accident. But safe drivers who are prepared to react to that root cause can help prevent a more serious accident than drivers who are not prepared. Safe driving is more than simply driving the speed limit; it’s about anticipating other driver’s actions and recognizing when a curve in the road ahead or inclement weather requires drivers to slow down.
Commercial Property Insurance can help protect the business property you own, lease or rent, including assets like your buildings, equipment, furniture, fixtures and inventory. It can also help cover the costs to repair or replace stolen, damaged or destroyed property, including property and equipment that isn’t yours but is in your care and custody.
You are busy, as usual, and are heading out for the day. A quick scan of the weather shows rain in the forecast. You double back for an umbrella, scoop up your rain jacket, and turn around to nudge the door shut behind you, forgetting to lock it. Glancing back at the house, you notice the window over the sink is still open, but figure it will help cool off the house. You bypass the flyer for landscaping services tucked into the screen door handle and continue on your way down the driveway.
Does that sound like your current three-minute routine before leaving home? It can be hectic getting ready to leave the house, and a last-minute distraction might mean forgetting to properly secure your home. But these steps can be critical in deterring thieves from choosing your home as a target. Coming up with a three-minute home security checklist can help you make a habit out of some important safety practices.
Following are some SAFE steps to consider:
Secure your home: Close and lock all windows and doors, all year long. An open window might offer fresh air, but it is also an invitation. Thieves going door-to-door with flyers sometimes knock and try the door to see if it opens, giving them easy access to your home. Read More