What’s trending in human resources approaches, policies and good management practices.

Navigating the rapidly changing landscape of marijuana laws

What if you could jump into your time machine and take a trip anywhere in the United States in the 1970s? Imagine telling an employer that marijuana use would be legalized in the next 40-50 years. Can you picture the disbelief that you would encounter?

Well, that day is here. Starting with California legalizing marijuana for medical use in 1996, today 11 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana usage and many others allow for its medicinal use with a prescription.

This shift in the legal landscape of marijuana usage has left employers scratching their heads wondering what they should do. Where zero tolerance marijuana policies were common 10 years ago, now employers have to rethink their drug policy when it comes to marijuana use.

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Age diversity: An underemphasized and underappreciated competitive advantage

It seems that our culture focuses diversity attention on the areas of gender, race, and ethnicity. Why don’t we focus on age diversity, too? Workers of all ages have something of value to bring to the workplace.

Having a broad range of employees will give your company the advantage of perspectives that help make your products or services relevant to a broader market.

Consider that in 2016, almost 20 percent of Americans 65 years old and older were working, according to Bloomberg. That’s a higher percentage than ever before in the United States. Some societal factors impact why workers who may have retired at a traditional age continue to work, including increases to the full retirement age for Social Security benefits, loss of traditional pensions and stock market fluctuations that can impact retirement savings for many.

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The world of hiring is time-consuming; here are some tips

If you have hired anyone recently, you know how difficult and time consuming it can be to find the right talent. A lot of time, energy and expense goes into a recruiting strategy: Crafting a job description, posting and socializing the opportunity, then filtering, screening and interviewing candidates before presenting a job offer and onboarding the new employee.

Much of this is done before an employee has even started with your organization. Once you find someone great for your team, you absolutely want to keep them and find more of them. Here are some ideas on how to attract and retain these great employees.

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Safety critical as numbers of younger, millennial workers increase

Millennials will overtake baby boomers in 2019 as the largest U.S. population group, according to government data analyzed by the Pew Research Center. The Pew Center also notes that about 56 million millennials (those born from 1981 to about 2000) now work compared to 53 million baby boomers remaining on the job. Millennials make up about 33 percent of the U.S. population, according to Pew.

This is changing the workplace in many ways and will impact worker safety. These younger workers are more likely to be injured and they take safety issues in the workplace seriously. So should you.

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Workers value employer-provided financial guidance

Last month we learned that although general retirement confidence by several measures has improved a lot in recent years, many Americans are still worried about old-age financial security.

A lack of savings is one of the biggest factors underlying such concerns, and for a large number of people debt is the main obstacle preventing them from regularly setting more money aside.

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Should you embrace or ban devices in business meetings?

In the mid 1990’s, cell phones were in a 5-pound bag and could only be used for making phone calls. Laptops had gotten smaller but their capacities were still limited. The World Wide Web was just coming into play and a dial-up internet connection was one of the greatest things since sliced bread. No one had even considered bringing a laptop or cell phone into a meeting.

Flash forward 20 years and not only are adults connected, but most 13-year-olds have an internet-capable device, if not a smart phone. Consider these results from app developer DScout: On average, “people tapped, swiped and clicked a whopping 2,617 times each day.”

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A 5-month checkup on your 2019 business goals

Back in December of last year I wrote a blog about setting goals for 2019. It starts out with “Yes, it is December already. It’s that time of year when you reflect on the challenges your business has achieved, crushed, fallen short of or come close to over the past 12 months…”

Let’s update this to: YES, it is May already. Now is the time to reflect, adjust and take action on where you are with your 2019 goals.

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Sorting out the differences: Service animal versus emotional support animal

Business owners and managers take measures to ensure that employees and customers are safe. They want everyone to have the best experience possible in their work environment.

So what should an employer do when customers, or employees, bring animals into the workplace? Which animals must you allow on your premises, by law?

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Is the paperless office right for your company?

The paper-free office is becoming more and more popular. The idea of going paperless or having a work environment which eliminates or greatly reduces paper can be overwhelming to think about. Probably the most difficult part of transitioning to a paperless environment is setting up the needed infrastructure and getting employees on board with making the switch. Once those two items are addressed, the benefits far outweigh the initial burden.

We live in a digital world and most business is conducted via the internet, email and digital document sharing already. Making your documents readily available in the format you need to increase your productivity and ability to operate efficiently in a digital world is key.

According to the CompTIA CDIA+ Certification Handbook 2016:

  • The average office worker makes 50 trips per week to the fax machine, copier or printer.
  • On average, 6 minutes are wasted every time a document is retrieved and then refiled.

There are multiple business benefits from going paperless but the number one reason is cost reduction. You can reduce the costs associated with paper, printers, copiers, fax machines, ink and toner. You can also reduce or eliminate the need for filing cabinets and additional office space to hold them, off-site storage and the cost related to organizing paper files. Other examples include hanging file folders, folders, labels, shelving, storage boxes, not to mention the manpower related to moving and archiving files.

Obviously, there are cost related to a paperless office, but they are controllable and significantly less. Cloud storage space is very inexpensive looking at overall costs. Services such as Dropbox, OneDrive, Amazon Drive and Google Drive are just a few products that offer free, instant online storage which is often a good starting point until you determine how much space you need. Take care that any digital storage solution you choose is secure for storing sensitive documents.

Once you decide to go paperless, don’t get bogged down with archiving existing paper files. At some point you might choose to scan and digitally archive key documents such as employee files, customer contracts or tax returns, but often you will not find the need to archive all paper files and eventually many can be purged after a certain period.

Start by breaking down your operations and consider which processes rely heavily on paper. Pick one or two key functions in these processes that you can start digitizing. Choose a specific date to start (i.e. the beginning of quarter) so you have a reference date of how to look for data in the future. Then, create a digital storage policy and structure, train your employees and set about saving important information digitally. After you have mastered digitizing one process, move to the next until your entire operation, or much of it, is paperless.

Ready to make the switch? Contact BCN Services and we will can help you with the basics and how to get started.

David Pilon, Controller

Retiring Boomers Continue To Lift Small Business Sales

Sales of small businesses in America remain elevated, according to an updated report from BizBuySell. Specifically, there were 10,312 closed small business transactions in 2018, a 4 percent increase from 2017 and the highest full-year total since BizBuySell started tracking this data in 2007. The report’s authors attributed 2018’s continued acceleration in transactions to a variety of factors, such as strengthening revenue and profit numbers, as well as more people looking to buy and sell.

The uptick in sellers is in part being driven by the aging U.S. population, i.e. Baby Boomers, and 80 percent of surveyed business brokers said that they expect even more Baby Boomers will look to sell their companies in 2019 than in 2018. The main reason for this is that a rapidly growing number of these older Americans who own a business have reached the age at which they will want to stop managing the day-to-day operations of their company. Further, around a third of business brokers and small business owners in a separate BizBuySell survey said that they feel higher minimum wages, rising healthcare costs, and concerns over upcoming regulations are likely motivating many owners to sell sooner rather than later.

Such owners have probably also been motivated by a favorable market that has seen the time it takes for a business to sell fall considerably, along with a 9 percent jump in the median selling price in just the past twelve months. Adding to older owners’ increased willingness to sell is likely a desire to avoid the challenges of managing a company during another recession. Indeed, while there are not any major warning signs of an imminent recession, some sort of economic downturn occurring within the next few years would not be surprising since the current expansion in America has already been going on for more than 114 months, making it the 2nd-longest on record and more than twice the historic average (48-months).

For some owners, passing on the management responsibilities, along with ownership, to one’s children is another option, but many may instead wind up simply selling their company to an outsider. Why so? There are several potential answers to that question but one reason could be to help fund retirement because roughly one in five Baby Boomer small business owners in a recent SunTrust poll admitted that they are still not financially prepared for retirement. In fact, an earlier FPA/CNBC study on succession planning found that more than three-quarters of surveyed small business owners plan on selling their company in order to satisfy 60 percent to 100 percent of their old-age income needs.

Such a large dependence on a single asset could put the financial security of these soon-to-be retirees in a precarious situation should their company not sell for the price they had anticipated (and developed an old-age budget around). Just as stock market investors should diversify the equities they hold in their portfolio, small business owners should aim to diversify their retirement savings vehicles (401(k)s, IRAs, real estate, etc.), and in turn lessen their overall sensitivity to the eventual selling price of their company.

 

Copyright @ 2019 Slavic Investments (http://blog.slavic401k.com/retiring-boomers-continue-to-lift-small-business-sales-1). Republished with permission.