By Tim Maudsley
As Alaskans, we have witnessed one of the more difficult economies this state has endured since the 1980’s oil crisis. While it is well documented that Alaska’s economy is much more diverse today than it was thirty years ago, when the demand for oil stutters our whole economy feels the effects. That’s why it’s important to strategize managing your insurance program during difficult economies, so that you’re prepared for worst while offering the best benefits possible.
Manage Your Exposures:
Perform bi-annual updates with your insurance professional to go over anticipated sales revenue and payroll amounts. These exposures have direct premium impact on multiple lines of coverage. Many insurance companies will allow for midterm adjustments in exposure, thereby more accurately calculating your premium.
If you are comfortable in managing your exposure with a higher deductible, many lines of insurance including general liability, automobile, and workers compensation can be amended to include a deductible. In many instances, business owners only consider deductibles to be an underwriting tool or a punitive function due to past losses. However, adding a deductible could significantly impact premiums on multiple lines of insurance.
Manage Self-Funded Exposures:
Have you considered adding cyber liability to protect you from losses associated with electronic hacking, loss of use, or computer-related fraud? Are you covered by an Employment-Related Practices Liability policy to cover issues such as sexual harassment in the workplace, failure to promote, or discrimination? Are you protected in the event a pollutant is found in the ground at your business location? These type of exposures are prevalent in nearly every work environment, and, if you do not transfer your risk, you are likely self-insuring and not realizing a claims potential impact to your bottom line
By Tonya Mott
We have all taken the Meyers-Briggs personality test at one time or another. It goes something like this:
- Take the test
- Get the results, okay, so I’m an INFJ
- What does this mean and what do I do with this info?
- Confusion sets in and you move on
5 Voices, How to Communicate Effectively with Everyone you Lead helps simplify and understand the 16 different personality types by narrowing them down to 5 categories. Listed below from softest to loudest voice:
- Pioneer (I’m a Pioneer)
Click here for a link to a cool chart with more detail.
The assessment is free and easy: https://5voices.com/assessment/
If you are not much of a reader, the founders have a podcast, “The Liberators,” available via their website: https://giantworldwide.com/liberator-podcast/ or on Apple.
What have I learned from this?
- Self-awareness – A better understanding of my conscious and unconscious positive and negative tendencies. Understanding how my actions and reactions affect colleagues, family, friends and myself.
- Understanding people around you – Mindful and meaningful interactions with others
- Conflict Resolution – Less fearful of addressing conflict. When you understand who you are and those around you, it is easier to talk through issues verses sweeping them under the rug.
By Ashley Snodgrass
When you Google search “How to say no at work” you’ll find 2.5 billion results.
These are articles packed with “How To’s”, “Don’t Do’s”, and all the “best kept secrets of getting ahead in the workplace”. Logic tells us that the more results you get for a search, the more popular a topic would be. To put 2.5 billion results in perspective, when you google Ariana Grande, she only has 330 million Google Search results. Kim Kardashian has 292 million Google Search results. Elvis has a mere 144 million Google results.
Trying to figure out how to say “No” at work is more popular than Kim, Ariana, and Elvis combined. In a competitive workplace, it may feel impossible to say “no” when asked to tackle a project because you want to stand out or be seen as a team player by your colleagues. Always saying “yes” is one trait that may help you get promoted… or burnt out.
However, saying “No” to a project or additional work in certain situations can be more beneficial overall to the team than if you had said “yes” and failed to complete the project, or didn’t complete the work well.
Here are a few suggestions on when you should be saying “no” to additional work (taken from this Forbes article)
- It hinders your ability to accomplish your responsibilities
- It doesn’t align with your long-term and short-term priorities
- You disagree with the decision
- It doesn’t accomplish a key goal
- It conflicts with your values or you can’t deliver results
Now for the “How”… I recommend this article, which includes the below tips on how to diplomatically say “no” when it is the best option for you and your team’s goals:
1. Have a list of responses ready
2. Prepare a simple explanation if it’s needed
3. If you can’t say “no” flat out, negotiate
4. End the conversation on a confident note
As Suzy Welch says, “save your ‘yes’ replies for “tasks that really count”!
By Tim Maudsley
One of our clients reached out to us about a troubling incident with the IRS. The IRS notified the group directly that two new EINs were created for their business, a red flag, because the group had not initiated these themselves. Someone had taken the time to fraudulently complete forms SS-4, which prompted the IRS to send mailed notices of the two new tax ID numbers. Our client did their due diligence, and notified the IRS of the fraudulent IDs so that the agency could investigate.
In this case, the group took the correct steps to rectify the situation quickly. But what if this had gone further? Is there such a thing as business ID theft insurance?
Most cyber liability policies contain business ID theft insurance coverage. It’s important to know if you’re covered, and to know what types of threats are out there. The article below describes many scams you need to be familiar with in order to protect yourself or your clients from cybercrime.
By Natasha Kwachka
Recently, I was listening to the EntreLeadership podcast, and came across an episode that inspired me: #97: Jack Welch-Winning the Game. The wisdom in this episode provoked a change in perspective that I would like to share.
All teams go through steps to develop trust and understanding on the way to becoming a strong team. In the workplace, it is common to experience disruptions such as conflict, disagreements, process changes, workflow changes, employee changes, etc. These workplace difficulties and constant changes can make it impossible to foster a culture of trust, both between employees on a team, and between all teams that make up your company. How important is a culture built on trust, you ask? Building trust within a company is the only way an organization can reach its highest potential.
Back to the podcast! There was a statement that particularly struck me:
“You receive truth when there is trust.”
I considered some of the difficult conversations that have occurred in my workplace over the years, and reflected on my perception of these exchanges. I came to a real understanding that if any member of your team felt comfortable enough to approach you with a difficult conversation, that must speak volumes of the level of trust you share. It is amazing to consider how my thought process has changed.
I want to work at a place that fosters trust. A team with trust is a team that can reach its highest success. With trust, we are all free to have positive and negative thoughts, as well as useful and maybe-not-so-realistic ideas. Trust allows a company and its team members to communicate effectively and openly through any roadblocks. With trust, we can direct our focus and energies on forward thinking, positive solutions and keeping the passion for our success alive.
By Joshua Weinstein
I recently turned 40, my eldest daughter moved out, and I stared at the next chapter of my life like a deer blinded by oncoming headlights. I was caught off guard. Instead of remaining paralyzed with fear about how to prepare for the future, I darted to the internet for answers. I found ChooseFI, an amazing website, podcast, and blossoming community focusing on financial independence (FI) and the life-altering effects of making a few incremental changes in your daily routine. Financial independence, defined simply by ChooseFI, is having 25 times my annual expenses saved, such that I’d have enough to cover my ongoing expenses in the event I no longer had an income – whether or not by choice.
How to save that much, though, became puzzling. ChooseFI is where I learned more about savings and safe withdrawal rates, lowering and managing living expenses, tax strategies, easy investment approaches, travel hacks, debt repayment, and more. What began as a complete mystery in my early 40s has since evolved into a passion project and hobby. In the Why of FI, I learned my journey to FI isn’t about deprivation and “missing out” on the way to save. For me, FI became much more. I realized I spent so much time and money on material things, paid services, and events that weren’t adding value and joy to my life. Rather, they were keeping me from increasing joy. There have been many twisted ironies on my journey, such as realizing just how captive I’ve been to mass marketing, rampant consumerism, and the appeal of “buy now” and “pay later” offers that came my way.
In the initial year since my discovery of the FI movement, the payoff has been surprising. Sure, my savings rate is higher and my investments are focused on low-cost, broad-based index funds, but the side effects have been invaluable and somewhat unexpected. To name a few, I have more time for family and friends, I eat at home more often, and I feel more optimistic about the years to come.
I invite you to see what anyone can do, regardless of background, income, or location to achieve Financial Independence. My biggest takeaway – FI isn’t about how much I earn, but how I spend and save.
By Tiffany Stock
Based on a typical full-time work week, the average person spends 47 hours per week with their co-workers. With 168 hours in a full week, that is 28% of your time, compared to an estimated 39% with your family. That is a big chunk of your waking hours, so why not make sure that time is spent with the best “work family” as possible?
Last year, I was introduced to a book called The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni, written as a leadership fable. It teaches you to recognize and cultivate the three essential virtues individuals need to achieve high-functioning, productive teams. This book was an eye opener for me and shed a lot of light on things that I observed over the years in my work-life. While no individual fits the bill 100%, most people find they are stronger in two areas with the other virtue needing a little more work, and certain elements will make some individuals better team players than others.
The premise of the book is that to be an ideal team player, you must possess the following three traits:
Humble – Lacking excessive ego or concern about status. Humble people are quick to point out the contributions of others and slow to seek attention on their own. They share credit, emphasize the team over self, and define success.
Hungry – Always looking for more: more things to do, more things to learn, more responsibility to take on. Hungry people almost never have to be pushed by a manager to work harder because they are self-motivated and diligent. They are constantly thinking about the next step and the next opportunity.
Smart – They have common sense about people. Smart people tend to know what is happening in a group situation and how to deal with others in the most effective way. They have good judgement and intuition around the subtleties of group dynamics and the impacts of their words and actions. Think of this along the same lines of emotional intelligence.
The book comes with tools for working with people who have strengths and weaknesses in these areas, as well as ways to improve yourself in those virtues. You get access to a self-assessment tool to help score yourself in these areas – what better way to start making sure you’re on a great team than to take a moment to self-reflect? Be honest with yourself, don’t you want to be the best team player you can be? Who doesn’t want their co-workers to speak highly of them and say, *Your Name* is great to work with!?
Needless to say, this book has changed the way I look at myself and the people I work with. It’s come in to play when I am looking for new members to join our team and it’s even filtered over in to my home life and raising my children. I hope this information intrigues you to learn more and become the best team player you can be!
By Teena Applegate
Have a high deductible health plan (HSA qualified) but employees don’t see any value in the plan? Employees aren’t taking advantage of the valuable bank account feature available to them? I thought I would share my personal go-to guides and references that I’m liking and using today!
MyWave Connect® – as our client, you have access to MyWave Connect®. This resource portal is your one-stop source for not just insurance, but all your compliance, HR, wellness and other business needs. Email or call us if you need assistance accessing.
The Complete HSA Guidebook – A shareable guide from HealhEquity, Inc that answers many of your employees’ common questions. Download your free copy here – https://hsaguidebook.com.
With so many resources available to all of us, it’s great to share where we go time and time again. What are your favorite go-to resources you gravitate to daily?
By Nicholas Wiandt
Did you leave the lights on when you left the house this morning? What about the bathroom sink, is the water still running? In our lives, we can inadvertently create or forget issues that can cause a financial drain of some sort. Some drains can be relatively minor in nature, and therefore not worth the time to hunt out and address. Other drains though can have life-crippling effects.
The same is true of business. We can spend a great deal of time chasing down nickels and dimes, squeezing suppliers, examining P&L, watching overtime, and keeping a keen eye on tangible expenses. The tangible expenses are the obvious ones though. They are easy to focus on because it is easy to quantify the actual cost and put it on a spreadsheet. As a result, it is also very easy to be completely oblivious to the hidden costs, let alone to quantify them.
The cost of employee turnover can be just one of those costs. Why? When an employee leaves a company, good or bad, a void is created. As Albert Einstein has taught us, E=mc2, or more directly, it takes energy to create matter. In the case of our business, we will need to fill the resulting void with something (i.e. matter, or another employee). To do so will take energy, and with energy comes a cost. What kind of cost are we talking about?
The consensus amongst studies on this question is that multiple realities come to fruition as we deal with the aftermath of our void. With the loss of an employee, we need to funnel the remaining workload to other workers. This will likely result in a loss of productivity, increased payroll expenses, or both. That is, of course, if we are fortunate enough to not lose business as a result. Then there is the cost of seeking out a suitable replacement, training that replacement, and the time it takes them to get fully up to speed. Not all voids are created equal. With employee turnover, the effect of the issues only increases with the skills or profession of the departing employee the
So, in real terms, what does all of this mean for cost? The rule of thumb is that this hidden cost can be quantified as a percentage of annual salary. The percentage for a lower skilled employee hovers around 30%, a moderately skilled one would be around 60%, while a very high skilled professional would 150% or more! This expense, or unrealized profit, can quickly add up into the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars.
Not all businesses are plagued with this issue though. Some have examined where they stand in relation to best practices, and have decided to purposely move the needle in a more profitable and growth friendly direction. If, upon examination, you feel that there is a crippling issue preventing you from reaching your goals in a timely manner, then perhaps it is time to think about a change. Eliminating all employee turnover is never a realistic or business-healthy goal; however, huge profits are possible just by getting in line with industry standards. I encourage you: buy out the time and see exactly where your business stands.