Category Archive: Management & Leadership

When it Comes to Customer Service, IS the Customer ALWAYS Right?

~by Bryan Peterson~

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So, is the customer always right? Or do we have it wrong?

For years, we’ve heard the old adage parroted: “The customer is always right.” But the truth is, submitting to the demands of unreasonable customers is hurting our employees and our business. By catering to the unruly and the impossible to please, we are marginalizing our loyal customers and undermining our employees who are trying to adhere to company policy. It’s time we showed the cliche — and the bad customers — the door.

customer always right


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customer always rightMeet the Author:
Bryan Peterson

Bryan Peterson is a Community Outreach Specialist at ROI Call Center Solutions. Bryan’s focus includes writing about technology, business management and anything that interests him. Bryan is committed to helping individuals discover new ideas and expand their horizons.

 


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/is-the-customer-always-right/

How to Simplify Your Business Administration and Improve Efficiency

~by Sophia Beirne~

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One of the most important aspects of any business is the ability to work efficiently. However, with so much going on throughout the day, it is easy for work to pile up, in turn, slowing the process at which your business functions.

business administration

Here are some tips on how to simplify your business administration.

Stick to a Set of Goals

Perhaps the best way to expedite business processes is to create a set of goals each morning and stick to them. When there is not a rigid plan in place it can be difficult to get anything accomplished in the fast-paced business environment in which we often work. By setting a list of goals prior to starting in on the workday, you will be able to get a better handle on the steps necessary to complete all of the tasks for the day. In addition to creating a list of daily goals, you may want to consider putting in place weekly goals as well.

Limit the Number of Suppliers You Have

If you are a business owner, then you are aware of the necessity of working with suppliers to receive the goods that the company requires for operation. These supplies can include everything from equipment and machinery to janitorial items. And while it may not be possible to eliminate working with suppliers altogether, there may be ways to decrease the overall number of transactions that are needed by consolidating services to a limited number of contractors.

Take it Online

In today’s technology-driven world, much of what we do at the office can be accomplished more quickly by moving it online. For instance, if your business requires the use of multiple forms, either for working with other companies or customers, then there is the probability that paperwork piles up around the office and becomes a nuisance. To eliminate this, consider moving your forms to a digital format and make use of cloud-based storage servers such as Dropbox or Google Docs.

Get Help from Professionals

business administrationThere are certain tasks around the office that can be eliminated by letting professionals handle them instead of keeping all of the work within the company. It can be tempting to take on certain jobs, such as building the company website or assessing its insurance needs in order to reduce costs, but by doing this you also decrease the amount of time you have for the primary concerns of the business.

If you find that business is being slowed because you are dedicating too much time to external issues, then you may want to hire professionals to handle those areas. Instead of contracting out all the work, learning the fundamentals of business administration is another option worth considering, as this can teach you the steps needed to improve your company’s workflow.

Consider Upgrading

There are certain facets of a business that can be slowed by using outdated equipment, and this is often overlooked. If you have a company that relies heavily on computers and the internet, then this can be especially true. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that the software platforms and the hardware being implemented are of the industry standard. You may be surprised at the difference something as simple as upgrading your internet service can make on the office workflow.

Eliminating complications and increasing workflow can go a long way towards making your business more successful. If you are looking for ways to increase efficiency at the office, consider laying out a set of goals each day so that you can focus on the tasks that need to be completed. In addition, it can be beneficial to limit the number of suppliers and get the help of professionals when it makes sense. Furthermore, always be sure that the equipment that is relied upon is properly updated. Keep these tips in mind when simplifying your business administration.


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Meet the Author: Sophia Beirne

Sophia Beirne is passionate about providing helpful content and sharing her tips. She’s been featured in a number of online publications. With a background in business administration, she’s most interested in entrepreneurship and effective project management.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/simplify-business-administration-improve-efficiency/

Business Management: How to Get Your Work Teams to Be More Productive

~by Hannah Whittenly~

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be more productiveIf you’re leading a team, you may have found that getting them to do their best work from day to day is one of your biggest challenges. Trying to force them to work harder and faster may be counterproductive as it fosters resistance and bad feelings. You certainly don’t want to face a contest of wills every day. Instead, you have to find ways to organize and support them.

Here are some ideas for getting your teams to be more productive.

Stop Repetitive Meetings

A significant chunk of your team’s day may be spent in progress or production meetings. Even 15 or 20 minutes a day can amount to lost production of well over an hour for each team member every week. Don’t make these meetings mandatory for employees with important work to do. You could even scale back to having a rotating or designated spokesperson for each team. Put out feelers beforehand, and if there are no important developments to discuss, skip the meeting.

Eliminate Barriers

As the team leader, it’s your job to anticipate issues that may become roadblocks. You have to organize your operations around key employees who are sick or on vacation, unavailable resources or equipment, potential bottlenecks, and technical questions. Use ERP, project management, or other tools, but if you come to a juncture where work stops, then it’s poor planning on your part.

Step Back and Observe

be more productiveIf you’ve done a good job of training, equipping and motivating your teams, you shouldn’t be in a position of having to micromanage any processes in place. It’s your place to get teams functioning well as modular units, and then stay out of the way until intervention is called for. In the meantime, you can monitor and evaluate performance. Your time is better spent inspiring and strategizing, as it should be.

Design Better Work Environments

The right workspace is just as important as the right tools and the right people. Creating a sea of cubicles or a room packed with workstations and equipment may not be the best way to promote workflow. Workspaces should be comfortable as well as functional, with space and comfortable seating for impromptu visitors and meetings. However, what is comfortable is always subjective. So you might have each employee pick out their own chair from a vendor that supplies a variety of different types.

Constantly challenging teams to do more will only create the feeling that what they accomplish is never good enough. Team members must want to do more. You should find ways to engage and inspire them, and freely express your gratitude and appreciation when they exceed expectations.


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Hannah WhittenlyMeet the Author: Hannah Whittenly

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She graduated from the University of California-Sacramento with a degree in Journalism.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/get-work-teams-be-more-productive/

How Your Business Can Make a Difference in Your Community

~by Lizzie Weakley~

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Every business man or woman works to serve the greater community. You want people to travel from many miles away to visit your business. You want to change lives and inspire others to follow in your footsteps. Eventually, you know that doing business is not all about making money and earning a living.

Learn how the power and success of your business can make a difference in your community in a very positive way.

make a difference

Provide Jobs

Everyone knows how important it is to provide jobs in the community. Every city is known for the job growth and unemployment rates. Local people do not want to drive hundreds of miles to commute. When you start a local business, you provide jobs for the local community so they have more opportunities to succeed. Also, everyone feels proud to live in a place that is improving the economy and increasing tourism.

Inspire Others

You and many other business people have at least one role model to look up to. This person could be the founder or CEO of a major company that started out as another unknown business with less than 50 employees.

Inspire young people who are uncertain about their future career paths. At the least, inspire them to enroll in a good business program where they learn the basics of business management and entrepreneurship.

In recent decades, the number of online colleges that provide advanced business programs has grown exponentially. Find hundreds of Master’s degree programs offered in different fields of business. Future government officials may want to consider getting an online masters of public administration.

make a differenceIncrease Community Pride

The simple presence of your successful business makes people feel proud to live in that community. Fewer people want to leave, and more people want to move there. Pride is a quality that is underrated in countless towns and cities around the world. Build a business that gets people moving in the right direction for the current and future generations.

Working in business is known for being risky first and rewarding eventually. Soon, you realize that your money-making potential is not the most important goal to have in mind. You take on the additional roles of being a community leader and an inspiration for young people. Whether you are a new or veteran business owner, know the potential that your company has to change your community.


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Lizzie WeakleyMeet the Author: Lizzie Weakley

Lizzie is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky, Snowball.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/business-make-a-difference-in-your-community/

How to Get the Management Skills You Need to Rise in Your Industry

~by Hannah Whittenly~

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As a new entrepreneur or business owner, you are probably well aware of any flaws that you may have and might even lack the complete confidence that you need. Such feelings are completely normal for those first stepping foot in the business world. However, you can overcome that by compensating with strengths — especially when it comes to the way that you run your business. In this game, efficiency is key, and those who do it better come out as the winners. A huge part of that efficiency is your ability to manage.

management skills

To help you gain the management skills that you absolutely need to come out on top, here are a few tips:

Determine Which Skills You Need

As “Management Skills List and Examples” indicates, there are hundreds of management skills that you should try to learn. Yet, to optimize your ability to move forward in your career sector, you need to know which of these management skills are the most applicable within your field. As noted in the aforementioned article, most management skills pertain to five basic functions:

  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Coordinating
  • Directing
  • Oversight

Within each of the five major categories is a subset of skills that can include things like:

  • Persuasion
  • Research
  • Presentation
  • Responsibility
  • Productivity
  • Qualitative Skills
  • Problem Solving
  • Sales
  • Project Management
  • Public Speaking

You’d be better off determining which major and minor skill sets will help you rise in your specific industry rather than simply trying to attain general management skills. Entrepreneurs, for example, often have great ideas and come up with very useful products. Getting it out to the public, however, can be difficult—especially if you’re not a well-known person or have some significant competitors. In this case, it might be best to step up your game when it comes to sales, presentation and persuasion. If you’ve ever watched “Shark Tank” on TV, then you know that those three things are very important. Study up on different techniques and strategies that will make you stronger in those areas, but don’t forget to practice them! Grab a few of your friends or family members and practice pitching your products and business services to them. Little by little, you’ll get stronger at those skills and see your business profit for it.

Develop a “Team” Mentality

management skillsOne of the best ways to gain management skills is by working effectively with others. You can either do this through networking or working with whatever size team that you have available to you, small or big. You can collaborate with them on new products, event planning and business strategy. Doing so can help you develop management skills such as the following:

  • Conflict Resolution
  • Adaptability
  • Collaboration
  • Division of Work
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Engagement
  • Flexibility

With this idea in mind, make sure that you operate according to a “team” mentality. There are several ways that you can learn to work effectively in a team. As noted in Inc., effective teamwork necessitates that each group member understands what the team is trying to accomplish. Therefore, one way for you to operate effectively as a team member is by remaining up to date regarding the group’s professional objectives.

Pursue an Additional Degree or Certification

When you’re an entrepreneur or new business owner, you’re pretty much on your own, and learning the skills that you need is pretty much all up to you. Therefore, if you’re serious about gaining the management skills necessary to rise in your industry, consider the value of pursuing an additional degree or certification. Engaging in an ongoing education process will always provide you with some or several management skills that you can use and list on resumes when you apply for jobs. If you’re an entrepreneur providing a service to the healthcare industry, for example, it would be beneficial for you to get your healthcare administration degree online. Whatever industry you’re in, you can find some way to become more educated in it. Not only that, but pursuing an education is one of the best ways to become up to date within the industry you’re trying to work in. It could also help to establish your legitimacy.

Hopefully, the above tips have helped you understand how you can go about becoming an effective business person with managerial skills that can only take you upward to success. Just remember to practice every newly obtained skill at every available opportunity.


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Hannah WhittenlyMeet the Author: Hannah Whittenly

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She graduated from the University of California-Sacramento with a degree in Journalism.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/management-skills-you-need-rise-industry/

Natural Leader? 4 Ways to Use Your Talent in Your Career and Life

~by Emma Sturgis~

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Natural leaders have a special talent for getting people to listen. You can put your innate talents to use both in your career and in your personal life. Consider these four ways that you can make the most of your talents and help others in the process.

natural leader

Starting Your Own Business

As a natural leader, you may find success in starting your own business. Your leadership talents are essential to the success of any type of business. Find your market niche, join your local small business administration or chamber of commerce, and discover what it takes to open your doors in a type of work that drives your passion and suits your talents.

Mentoring New Staff Members

If starting your own business is not your thing, consider taking on a leadership role in your place of work. You could initiate a mentoring program if there is not already one in place. When a new person joins the team, you could act as his or her mentor. A mentoring program allows you to introduce a new staff member to how your organization operates and helps the new person to get a good feel for what is expected and what the culture is like.

Getting a Masters in Health Administration

natural leaderStudying from top MHA programs is a natural step for your career. Health administrators take on leadership roles in health care facilities such as nursing homes and hospitals. You may find yourself in charge of a highly educated and passionate group of nurses, physicians and other health care professionals who are driven to deliver excellent care.

Volunteering With Children

You could inspire children in your community to live up to their dreams with your leadership skills. Consider volunteering at a school, helping kids learn how to read or tutoring them in math or science. Community organizations such as Big Brothers, Big Sisters offer volunteer opportunities that allow you to work with one child for the long-term. Community recreation centers are also a great way to show your leadership. You could coach a team or teach a class for kids.

Leadership is a highly prized skill. Your ability to use this skill in the workplace will allow you to advance into visible roles. Leading other professionals can bring a tremendous sense of satisfaction into your life. You can also put your talents to use in the community, helping others to achieve their own personal goals for education and careers.


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Emma SturgisMeet the Author: Emma Sturgis

Emma is a freelance writer based in Boston, MA. When not writing, she enjoys reading and rock climbing. Say “hi” on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/natural-leader-use-talent-career-life/

Warehousing Business: How to Create a Safe Work Environment

~by Lizzie Weakley~

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A warehouse holds inventory — and more dangers than you can count. There are visible problems like floor spills, and hidden ones like faulty equipment. If you own or manage a warehouse, you’ll want to create a safe work environment that protects your employees, clients and products.

Maintain a Clean Floor

Not surprisingly, warehouses host many accidents when the floors are unclean. Teach employees to be cautious when they transport liquids, which could end up on the floor and cause serious falls. Tell them to clean spills and warn others immediately. Consider using companies that specialize in warehouse cleaning and allow you to schedule regular cleanups.

Debris is known to crowd the warehouse floor. Keep the floor clear of empty cartons, boxes and packages that cause falls. Some employees think that only sanitation workers are responsible for keeping the area clean. In reality, every employee should contribute to the cleanliness of the warehouse floor.

warehousing businessPromote Equipment Training

Avoid accidents by training workers to use equipment properly. Everyone working regularly in a warehouse should be able to operate forklifts, conveyor systems and dock equipment. Have on-the-job training for new hires and routine tests to refresh the skills of longtime employees.

Find Up-to-Date Models

The main machine that every warehouse needs is the forklift. The designs have become more streamlined and advanced over the past few decades. There are stackers, reach trucks and pallet trucks available for long-term use. Managers work with companies that provide new, popular models instead of outdated ones sold at affordable prices.

Organize the Area

warehousing businessForklifts can crash into boxes and cartons that are stacked too close together. Order your workers to follow strict organization in your warehouse. Create aisles that are wide enough for forklifts to pass through. Arrange items in an easily accessible way to reduce labor and prevent machines from crashing into each other. Make stacks of inventory that are not likely to fall down and cause further damages.

Manage the Workers

Many warehouse employees work nighttime shifts with little to no guarantee of their safety. To create a safe warehouse, ensure that your workers are safe from thieves and intruders with security cameras and passcodes. Also, protect the inventory from your own employees by trusting them enough not to give unauthorized access to non-workers. Install cameras inside and outside of the building and report any suspicious behaviors.

Warehouse workers who get injured are likely to underestimate safety on the job. The manager must remind them to act responsibly and create a safe environment for everyone.


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Lizzie WeakleyMeet the Author: Lizzie Weakley

Lizzie is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky, Snowball.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/warehousing-business-safe-work-environment/

How to Attract Top Talent to Your Small Business

~by Amber Brunning~

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Small businesses are often limited on resources, and they need to do the best with what they can get if they want to succeed. This doesn’t mean small businesses need to settle for less –- it just means they have to be a little craftier and slightly more resourceful than their competitors. Small business have just as much power in terms of attracting top talent. It’s all a matter of how those small businesses approach the process.

Write a Strong Job Description

The right job description makes all the difference in the world. You may have to spend a lot of time creating the perfect description, but the good thing about writing it is that you’ll only need to do it once. If you ever need to fill the same position again or a similar position in the future, you’ll be able to count on your strong job description. Be honest and be detailed. Highlight even the most mundane parts of the jobs and the kinds of skills required to complete tasks. This is what will ultimately help you attract candidates worthy of the challenge.

top talent

Show Them What You Have to Offer

It never hurts to check out your competitors’ posts on Gumtree to see what kind of promises they’re making. You may not be able to afford a massive salary or some of the other lofty things that many employers have up for grabs, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a bargaining position. Can you offer your employees flexible scheduling or the ability to work from home? Is your workplace more laid back? Focus on the things that make you unique.

Sell Yourself

Many businesses make the mistake of expecting candidates to sell themselves to the business. When you want top talent and your business is at a slightly lower tier, you’re going to have to sell yourself to your potential employees. You may not have all of the benefits and resources of a large business, but you need to be able to answer the question, “Why should you work for us?”

It’s a mistake to believe that top talent always goes for the money. There are some things, such as strong company culture and work that genuinely make a difference, which mean more to top candidates than their paychecks.

Go Direct

top talentWhen you spot someone who you believe would be a perfect fit for your small business, it never hurts to directly offer them that position. This also cuts the duration of a hiring cycle down drastically, as you won’t have to weed out as many potential candidates when you know the ones you’re contacting already look promising. When you see someone great on LinkedIn, spend some time getting to know them professionally before you go for the gold. Make sure you send a thoughtful message that shows you’ve researched the candidate thoroughly, and avoid tired clichés.

Increase Your Web Presence

Start a blog! Regularly updated blogs that provide valuable content to their readers often jump to the top of Google’s rankings, making them easier to find. Some of the people who enjoy your blog have the potential to be the greatest candidates ever. They already know how your business views different aspects of the industry, and they’re already well versed in who you are. That familiarity can go a long way in helping you find a candidate who is a perfect cultural fit.

Keep in mind that retaining top talent is just as important as locating that talent in the first place. Once you add a total rock star to your team, make sure you’re keeping conversation flowing smoothly and providing these employees with the support they need to help you become successful.


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Amber BrunningMeet the Author: Amber Brunning

Amber Brunning is part of the team at Uphours.com. She enjoys writing about small business and successful women. When not working, you can find her online chatting with her friends or reading industry blogs.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/attract-top-talent-small-business/

Unprofitable Business? 4 Tips to Keep Your Business from Failing

~by Kara Masterson~

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unprofitable businessIt is common for a business to experience periods of uncertainty where its ability to remain operational is put to the test. Often a company will hit a bump in the road, and this is all it takes for a company to reach a point from which it is unable to recover. Fortunately, even though the struggle to keep a rapidly failing company alive and kicking seems daunting, there are many things a business owner can do to ensure that their company will remain operational for years to come.

The following are a few tips to help in this area of concern.

1. Exceptional Leadership

According to Bplans.com, a business that has less than stellar leadership at the helm will likely fall apart sooner than later. Good leadership will provide a company with a proven path to success and the motivation necessary to stay the course until success is achieved. Consequently, whoever is chosen to lead a company must be able to make the hard decisions and put the company’s best interests first.

2. A Good Marketing Strategy

Without marketing your brand, no one will ever know that your company, its products or services actually exist. However, every day businesses attempt to operate without a winning marketing strategy in mind. Unwilling to pay for adequate brand exposure or utilize the tools available to them online, these companies find themselves destined to experience extremely low consumer interest in their brand and even lower sales volume.

3. Maintenance and Upkeep

unprofitable businessOwning a business has its fair share of maintenance and general upkeep issues. Because first impressions mean everything in the business world, it never hurts to operate out of a building that comes across as safe and inviting to potential customers and clients alike. Hence, if, for example, you are having water leakage problems that could lead to mold damage in your company’s building, it would be wise to schedule leak investigation service and address any emerging hazards, thus preventing any damage to your business’s reputation.

4. Choosing an Unprofitable Business Model

The primary goal of being in business is to generate a lot of capital from the marketing and sale of a company’s products and services. According to moyak.com, certain business models fail to be able to generate adequate profits to justify remaining in business. When this occurs, it can be a hard lesson in how to not do business. For this reason, it is important to engage in thorough research and market analysis to determine which business models have the best chance of returning healthy profits again and again.

Business can be a risky endeavor. There are many factors that can cause a business to fail. Identifying and addressing problems early on, before they get out of hand, is really the best way to maintain the healthy operation of any developing company.


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Kara MastersonMeet the Author: Kara Masterson

Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She enjoys playing tennis and spending time with her family.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/unprofitable-business-tips-keep-business/

More Than Work: 4 Ways to Help Employees Through Hardships

~by Brooke Chaplan~

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Everyone experiences life hardships from time to time. These circumstances are just a natural part of life. Unfortunately, many employees feel they must choose between keeping their job and handling their business during times of hardship. As a business owner, it’s important that you show concern for the health and well-being of your employees, rather than contributing to their stress.

employee hardships

With employee hardships, there are a few ways you can show your support in a professional way:

1. Offer Counseling Services

One way to show your support is by offering an employee assistance program. These programs are designed to help employees through personal and emotional issues in a confidential and cost-effective way. Most programs offer a wealth of online resources as well as a call center for immediate and 24 hour support. Many programs will even offer a certain amount of counseling sessions at no cost to the employee. Consider incorporating this benefit into your overall benefits package and communicating this option to all of your employees. It’s a feature that can make all the difference to a struggling staff member.

2. Create Time-Off Policies

Another successful strategy is to create a policy permitting time off for mental rest, grief or other life trauma. This policy should outline a consistent, fair and manageable process for requesting time off for dealing with personal matters. Your policy should outline the amount of time off, the process for requesting it, and a clause about the employee’s job security during this time off. These parameters will help ensure the policy is not abused. Your staff will appreciate this considerate and understanding gesture.

3. Create a Culture of Confidentiality

employee hardshipsConfidentiality is crucial to an employee’s trust and relief. You’ll want to design an overall culture of confidentiality within your group. Provide training to your human resources staff and take measures to ensure this confidentiality is being honored. Your employees will feel much better about bringing pertinent issues to your attention if they know the information will be held in confidence.

4. Develop a Wellness Program

While you may not always be able to offer advice or time off, there are other ways you can help combat stressful life situations. Exercise has been proven to improve mood, reduce blood pressure and alleviate stress. Offering employee discounts at a local gym or encouraging healthy habits through a corporate wellness program may help your employees naturally manage some of these challenging circumstances.

These are just a few of the many ways you can help your employees through hardships without crossing any boundaries. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, divorce matters or illness, your workers’ well-being in times of hardship is important to their success. Employ one of these strategies today, and your employees will be pleased with your consideration and care.


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Brooke ChaplanMeet the Author: Brooke Chaplan

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. Contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/4-ways-help-employees-through-hardships/

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