By Blanche Sheppard
It might seem overwhelming to add another social media or news site to your lineup, but understanding the current political, economic, and social climate should come from a variety of sources. One source to consider, if you haven’t already, is Reddit, the “front page of the internet.” There are subreddits for everything from cute puppies to home improvement, but I also especially like the /r/smallbusiness/ subreddits. Users hop on to discuss using Quickbooks, POS systems, consulting, taxes, and everything else you might want to know about running a business. Real business owners talk with their peers all around the world about practical logistics and philosophical approaches to management. Therefore, I would highly recommend creating a Reddit account and subscribing to /r/smallbusiness/, because I can guarantee you’ll learn a lot.
By Blanche Sheppard
Many of our blog posts heavily feature technology. We talk about how it changed how we work, how we live, and how we interact with one another. This blog is about sharing the things that teach us to be better: better people, better employees, and better resources for our clients. Spotlighting the technology that helps us do that is just a natural part of that process.
This week I’d like to discuss a technology that we offer to our clients because it leads to a wider discussion of how businesses share content in 2018. At RISQ Consulting, we offer our clients a variety of resources through MyWave, a platform with monthly articles on wellness, Human Resources, Commercial risks, family health, and a variety of other topics. These topics all deal with benefits, such as the benefit of being healthy, having a work-life balance, understanding how to keep yourself and your business safe from Cyber Risks, and how to use your HSA plan. I learned a lot from these articles, and find that many of our clients look forward to receiving their monthly newsletters because they find them equally helpful.
Sharing is caring is a trite phrase, but the sentiment is valuable. Sharing articles or resources that you find helpful might seem a bit awkward at first, but if you’re interested in something, there is a large chance that someone else will be equally intrigued. Your general audience might want to know about the best way to harvest crab apples, or how to repair their credit. We share content through MyWave because our clients might be interested in OSHA regulations or disaster planning.
A lot of people consider technology to be a hotbed of political animosity or social intolerance, but it also allows us to share the resources and knowledge we encounter. We are all walking encyclopedia’s, we just don’t have indexes. Offering the knowledge at your fingertips gives those around you a starting point for their own research.
If you’re a business subscribing to a newsletter, blog, or some other platform, think about how that resource reached you. Did it come from other industry professionals? Was it recommended by a friend? What makes it educational to you?
By Alison Riggan
“I have a small business, do I really need to use social media?”
That’s the question I’ve heard asked on multiple occasions from owners of small businesses who don’t want to go through the hassle of learning about various social media platforms.
The short answer? Yes! Utilizing social media in your small business can be extremely beneficial. In fact, small businesses can benefit more from utilizing social media than larger companies. You see, small businesses can focus more on customer engagement within social media. They are more likely to respond to comments from consumers, which improves your business’s relationship with your customers as well as enhances the perception of your business within the community.
Consumer interaction is a key ingredient to a successful media campaign. So what are some other ways that your small business can engage with consumers? Giveaways are another great option. For example, I’ve seen many small clothing businesses post a picture of multiple shirts and say “Which shirt is your favorite? Comment with your answer and then share this post for a chance to win your favorite!” This is a fantastic way to spark engagement with consumers while getting some additional brand recognition.
Small businesses are also in the unique position to ask for feedback and then actually change things accordingly. For example, you can post something along the lines of “What would you like to see more of in our store?” You can then review the comments and adapt to the suggestions without having to run everything up the corporate ladder.
Finally, another reason to use social media for your small business- it’s FREE! Posting on various social media outlets a few times a week is a great way to help develop your brand and reach more consumers without having to pay for other expensive marketing campaigns. If you don’t currently utilize social media regularly, I recommend signing up and getting started today!
By Alison Riggan
It’s no secret amongst those who know me- I’m a crazy dog lady.
I have two dogs (Spock and Watson) who I absolutely adore and probably talk about more than I should, but again- crazy dog lady. I would LOVE to bring them to work with me during the day, and it turns out there could be some benefits to bringing your dog to the office!
Bringing your dog to work can boost your productivity. How is that? Well, giving your dog a quick pet can help you to reduce stress and refocus on the task at hand. It can also improve creativity by encouraging little breaks throughout the day that allow you to gain a fresh perspective. Additionally, bringing your dog to work can improve both employee experience and retention!
If you need more convincing before you change your company’s pet policy, take a look at the links below!
Background Check Compliance Concerns for 2019
November 15, 2018 | 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM AKDT
Presenter: Rachel Johnson, Senior Associate General Counsel at Acrisure, LLC
Description: Background checks on prospective employees have never been more important or more complicated. This webinar is intended to analyze the key compliance concerns facing employers that conduct background checks during the hiring process as well as best practice approaches to maintaining compliance.
Here is the registration link- Background Check Compliance Concerns for 2019
Group Health Plans Year-End Update
December 23, 2018 | 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM AKDT
Presenter: Sara Tountas, Deputy General Counsel and Director of Benefits Consulting at Acrisure, LLC
Deborah Hyde, Associate General Counsel, Benefits Consulting at Acrisure, LLC
Description: In this webinar, you’ll get the latest developments affecting employer group health plans and cafeteria plans. We’ll give you practical insights on the most recent legislative changes, regulatory agency guidance and court decisions impacting the Affordable Care Act, ERISA, COBRA, HIPAA and other federal group health plan mandates. We’ll also provide a look ahead to 2019.
Here is the registration link- Group Health Plans Year-End Update
Trash, Servant Leadership, and Safety – What do they have in Common? Alaska Waste (Series – Part 2 of 2)
By Tonya Mott
Why am I hanging with Alaska Waste? A couple of reasons:
1. Servant Leadership – I’m on a mission to learn how to be the best leader I can be and help others do the same. As you read, you’ll find out why I would be learning this from employees at Alaska Waste.
2. Safety, from a risk management perspective – According to the 2016 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, the garbage collection industry is the 5th most dangerous in America. Of course, that means I must go for a ride on a garbage truck, living on the edge!
In Part 1 of this series, I talked about Alaska Waste’s management style, Servant Leadership. For part 2, I want to explain how that ties into occupational safety for their employees and the public. If you didn’t catch the first article, you can check it out here: Part 1 – Servant Leadership
Now to the fun part; I was invited to go for a ride along in a garbage truck!
I wish I could say I actually got to drive the truck, but I left the driving to the professionals!
Dee started as a Swamper in the 80’s and, after having fun with that for seven years, she started driving her own truck. Today, 30 years later, she is one of Alaska Waste’s most respected and trusted drivers. She is the sweetest, toughest woman you will ever meet.
Our day started with a team safety tailgate meeting. They begin with stretching and then go over the plans for the day, discuss any necessary business, and lastly reiterate the importance of being engaged, aware of your surroundings, and keeping the general public and themselves safe.
I rode around with Dee for about four hours picking up garbage cans. When I type it out it sounds simple. It’s not. This job required a heightened sense of awareness for what’s happening around you at all times. You check your mirrors once, and then you check them again before making any moves. You are constantly watching for pedestrians, school kids, bicyclist, animals, and anyone that may be approaching the truck. In addition, because you are driving the equivalent of a monster truck, traffic safety is a must. Our winters are dark; 9 to 10 months out the year our road conditions are not ideal. It’s imperative to watch out for the drivers around you and the moves they are making. Distracted driving is not tolerated. There is no eating, drinking, talking/texting on cell phones, completing paperwork, reading, etc. while operating the trucks. To make this a habit, Dee follows these rules even when driving her personal vehicle.
As we moved from can to can, Dee would occasionally get out of the truck to move a can in a safe spot so that she could pick it up. It may have been too close to a vehicle or a building and she didn’t want to take any chances. There were also a couple instances where the client clearly had trash that needed to be picked up but they didn’t pull the can to the end of the driveway. She recognized that with school starting that parents may be overwhelmed and she didn’t mind pulling the cans out and making sure they got dumped. On to the next, she noticed when setting down a can after dumping it, that it had a large split down the middle. She immediately notified dispatch and requested that they send out a new one. She clearly takes pride in her work and cares about the clients.
Why would Dee care so much about her job and doing what’s right by the client? Based on my conversation with Dee, my opinion is this is all due to Alaska Waste’s management style. Dee said if a driver has an incident out on the road, whether it’s a car accident, an injury, etc. they call their management team and they rush out to be by their side and help them through the issue. They do not leave them alone to fend for themselves during a time when they need support the most. Managers are humble and welcome being called out if they make a mistake, sharing their own mistakes with the entire team so that everyone can learn from them. The culture organically creates a place for colleagues to point out to each other, with no qualms on either side, when a mistake is being made that could potentially be unsafe. They know it is for all the right reasons and they are ultimately looking out for their fellow co-workers safety and wellbeing. They clearly define Work Family.
Speaking of family, in part 1, I wrote about Josh James, the Operations Manager. When we were discussing servant leadership and what that entails, he told me that every year he writes a letter to his employee’s families, sharing appreciation for the employees’ hard work and vowing to make sure that they come home safely to their families every day.
In closing, shout out to Josh, Dee, and Alaska Waste for allowing me the privilege to come in and learn the operations first hand. I’m envious of what you have created and will do my best to replicate this in my professional and personal life.
On another note:
Congrats, to Alaska Waste driver’s for winning the Denali – Rainier Truck Rodeo District Champion amongst many other awards this year! To top it off, the Waste Connections annual Truck Rodeo Challenge will be in Alaska next year!
By Tiffany Stock
We’ve all been there before – listening to an in-person presentation or webinar, and the presenter keeps saying “um.” You even start counting “um’s” after the first four or five occurrences. It can be so distracting! Have you ever thought, “Oh my gosh, I hope I don’t sound like that!?” Well, fear no more! Check out this article I came across from the Harvard Business Review, giving you some useful tips and guidance for using fewer crutch words and becoming a better public speaker!