Six Tips for Overcoming Workplace Negativity [Video Blog]

Posted on Jun 19, 2019 5:00:00 AM

Employees can lose motivation during periods of layoffs, high turnover, economic downturns, and other challenging situations. A negative atmosphere can set in and damage productivity. But all is not lost. You can engage and encourage even the most cynical employees with a few simple strategies.

1. Begin at the top. All senior- and junior-level managers must be on the same page. Employees should be encouraged to think positively, focus on organizational goals, and move past negativity. A consistent message is essential to promoting an environment of togetherness.

2. Make a management change if necessary. Even a top executive should be replaced if not performing to the best of his or her ability. Demonstrating a strong work ethic is key during challenging times at your company. The commitment to exceed potential must begin with company leadership.

3. Find leaders from within. There are always motivated people in an organization. These are employees who continue to perform, despite organizational setbacks or a pessimistic work culture. They should be recognized as role models who can encourage and teach others.

4. Don’t let fear overtake your culture. Remind employees about the positives in the organization’s outlook, even if your company is going through a rough time. Do your best to communicate regularly and honestly with employees.

5. Embrace change. Encourage employees to experiment with their methods. Take a look at different ways of doing things. New processes may seem foreign at first, but they can be more effective and efficient in the long run.

6. Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to solicit help. Seek out those who are good at conflict resolution, motivating others, and curbing negative attitudes. Ask them for advice on how to turn a corner with employees who are resistant to change.

Overcoming negativity in the workplace isn’t easy. But it is possible. Managing with these tips in mind can help move your organization in a positive direction, even in challenging times.How to Keep Your Employees  Motivated and Productive [Video Blog]
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Apprenticeship Programs [Video Blog]

Posted on Jun 5, 2019 5:00:00 AM

Finding qualified job candidates can be frustrating and time-consuming, especially when you’re searching for skilled workers. If this sounds like your situation, it may be time to consider an apprenticeship program.

Apprenticeships are growing in popularity across the United States, and with good reason: these programs benefit workers and business owners alike. Employees learn necessary skills while earning a paycheck, and employers develop a staff of qualified workers trained to their specifications.

This steady flow of talent can help companies maintain productivity and workflow. For example, when a senior employee retires or leaves, a trained apprentice might be ready to fill that opening right away. Apprenticeships are also useful in building loyalty among the employees you train, and in bolstering your reputation in the community. This is especially true if your program partners with a local school.

Apprenticeship programs are popular in many fields. Some are industries with a long history of apprenticeships, including skilled trades like electricians, plumbers, machinists, and builders. A few of the other top areas for apprenticeships are nursing, pharmacy, and information technology. All told, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that more than a thousand occupations currently use apprenticeships.

Every apprenticeship program is unique, but they are generally governed by similar guidelines and regulations. They typically last one to six years, during which time your apprentices will be working and learning. This means on-the-job training combined with formal education such as high school or post-high school classes; online courses; or in-person courses at an on-site classroom or training center.
Apprenticeships can be run by employers; sponsored by professional associations; or administered by employer/labor partnerships.


Apprenticeship programs must comply with state and federal laws. Some industries also have management or labor organizations that set standards and supervise apprenticeship training. Make sure you understand and comply with any laws, regulations, or standards that apply to your program before you put it in place. These include:

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): This law requires that apprentices are at least 16 years old and sign an agreement to learn a skilled trade.

• Wage regulations: Apprentices can be paid less than minimum wage. Usually, they begin at a third to half of the rate for skilled professionals, and their wages increase as they learn. Laws may require raises at given intervals, such after the first six months.

• State laws: Individual states may have laws about the number of working hours allowed and the minimum wage required. If an apprentice ever performs the work of a professional—say, during a worker shortage—the pay must usually be a professional rate.

A written agreement is useful for clarifying the terms of the apprenticeship for both the employer and the apprentice. This document should specify how the apprenticeship works; how long it will last; pay rates; and what work qualifies for pay.

The Department of Labor is a great resource for employers interested in apprenticeships. You can even formally register your apprenticeship program with the agency. The Department’s Office of Apprenticeship will then work with you to design a training program and curriculum that fits your business. They will also help connect you with job seekers in your industry. You may even qualify for state tax benefits. You can learn more about apprenticeship by visiting the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.

You may not have considered apprenticeship as a staffing solution in the past. But it’s an option worth thinking about, especially if you’re having a tough time finding skilled professionals. Apprenticeship programs are a valuable investment in your employees, your industry, and the future of your company.

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Managing Employees Through Winter Weather [Video Blog]

Posted on Apr 10, 2019 7:00:00 AM

The science of predicting snowstorms has grown increasingly accurate. Still, meteorologists sometimes get it wrong, warning of "snowmageddons" that never materialize, but whose threatened arrival cause businesses—and even entire cities—to shutter needlessly. So what’s an employer to do when snow is in the forecast?

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Managing Your Team Through A Crisis [Video Blog]

Posted on Dec 21, 2018 8:26:24 AM

Managing employees through a corporate crisis is one of the biggest career challenges you can face. Sudden change, uncertainty, and anxiety about the future can take a toll on productivity and morale. It’s your job as a manager to do the best you can to prevent this from happening.

Keeping your team motivated during tough times isn’t easy. However, strong leadership, good communication, and empathy can make all the difference. Let’s look at a few strategies for helping your team navigate a crisis.

1. Lead by example. Your team will follow your cues, so remain calm and upbeat. Encourage employees to continue to do their best work. Stick to your usual routine and schedule. If your department normally meets for a status review on Tuesday mornings, keep that date and time on the calendar.

2. Communicate. Your managerial communication skills are of utmost importance during difficult times. Explain the circumstances to the best of your knowledge. Be honest and forthright and share what you know. This will show employees you are sensitive to their need for information and have their best interests at heart. Address issues as they arise, and update your staff regularly as new developments occur. This is a situation where keeping employees well informed is of utmost importance.

3. Listen. There’s an old adage that states, “talking is silver and listening is gold.” Keep in mind that being a good listener is every bit as important as sharing information. Employees need to feel that they are being “heard,” especially in times of crisis, so sharpen your active listening skills. Give your undivided attention to any employee coming to speak with you. Try to understand his or her perspective. Maintain an open-door policy that lets your team know you’re approachable. Consider holding town hall-style meetings that allow management to address and hear from all employees at once. This way, no one feels left in the dark. Acting on questions raised in these meetings will let employees know they’re still valued, and that their concerns matter.


4. Ask employees for help. Encourage teams to brainstorm solutions to different problems. The collaboration will engage employees at a time when their bonds to the organization may be strained. Plus, your employees might save the day with innovative ideas that management hasn’t considered.

5. Acknowledge hard work and jobs well done. Employees who go above and beyond during times of adversity should be publicly recognized and rewarded (monetarily, if possible). Even token gifts have proven to be a powerful motivator and morale booster.

Setbacks and corporate crises are an unfortunate part of the business landscape. They are unpredictable and certainly not pleasant. You may not be able to control the ultimate outcome of the situation. But these strategies can help your organization move forward during difficult times.

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Managing the Excuse-Makers [Video Blog]

Posted on Dec 15, 2016 6:00:00 AM

Ben Franklin may have been right when he said, "He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else."  But Franklin's adage is cold comfort to managers whose employees always seem to have an excuse for failing to meet expectations.  Luckily, there are strategies to help managers turn repeat excuse-makers into productive team members, before giving up on them completely.

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