Like many others, I am in pursuit of the paperless office. There are many solutions out there, but finding the right solution is difficult. For my purposes, mac compatibility and an online solution were a must. In addition, I needed a solution that would accept emailed receipts, since75% of my receipts are in email format. I explored three solutions: Dropbox, Shoeboxed, and OfficeDrop. Keep reading to find out the pros and cons to each….
I think employee bonus programs are fantastic and every business should have one. I also think poorly designed bonus programs are bad for business. What I see, more often than not, are discretionary bonuses that are paid annually, usually around Christmas.
Here’s the main thing I cannot stand about the traditional Christmas bonus program: Employees who EXPECT a bonus. To me, a bonus is, well, a bonus. Bonuses are given to those who deserve them. But, the problem is not with the employees. Most of the time, they’ve just been conditioned (like Pavlov’s dog) to receive a bonus once a year whether they deserve it or not.
How do you set up a program that works for your business? It depends on your business, of course, but here are some things to consider: (more…)
I once worked with a small, growing business that had a couple of magnetic poetry kits on the refrigerator. Employees would make funny sentences on the refrigerator for all to enjoy. All was well and good until the company grew to a point that it needed a human resources manager.
Within a week of the new h.r. manager arriving, one word disappeared from the poetry set. It was the S-E-X word. This word never caused a problem with any of the employees. This particular group of employees was not known to be crude and I don’t believe that word was ever even used in a sentence. Apparently, the new human resources manager was afraid that it might cause a problem or tension and thought it best to just discreetly toss the word.
In my career, I have often held the accounting/human resources/everything else no one wants to deal with position. So, I’ve been faced with quite a few fun scenarios. Here are a few…
2) Naked Lady Cake – Once upon a time I worked in a manufacturing environment. The shop was 99% male (only myself and one other female employee). One day, I came to work and found a naked lady cake on the breakroom table. CLASSY! I don’t know about anyone else, but I think that’s a pretty clear cut sexual harassment issue waiting to happen. Mind you, I understood those guys and it was all meant to be in good fun (and was actually brought in by the other female). However, we did have customers and vendors who would happen by the shop. So, I did it. I was the mean HR lady who made them cut up the cake, so the shape was no longer recognizable. At least I didn’t just toss the cake!
3) Adult videos for Christmas – At the same classy establishment, we had annual holiday parties. I was in charge of setting it up and getting our vendors to give us items to raffle off at the party. My dear boss liked to have his porn delivered to the office (did I say classy?)…well, it was always packaged so you could only see the return address, but I’m not a moron. I would put it in his mail and never ever mentioned it. Well, one day, just before the party, said boss opened his mail at the desk next to me. One happened to be an "adult" video. He promptly tossed it on my desk and declared "give that away at the Christmas party". I don’t remember my exact response, but it was a HR lecture of sorts and the video was promptly returned. (the lesson – DO NOT have that mail delivered to your office and certainly DO NOT present it to an employee!)
I’m conducting a survey of small business owners to get a better idea of what back office support services are valuable to them. If you’re a small business owner, I would really appreciate it if would take a minute to complete the survey. Thanks!
When I worked at XPLANE, we worked very hard at building our corporate culture and this did make negotiations less money-centric.
I think it’s important for managers to remember the best resume isn’t always the best culture fit. It’s important to build your culture and define the type of employees you want to have. If you’re hiring the person who appreciates what you have built, negotiations will be less about money.
I recently read the book “Fire Someone Today” and I found it to be a great resource for tactical managment advice. The title will prohibit the book from being displayed in your work library ( unless that’s your style of management…), but it provides good insight nonetheless.
A couple of my favorites from the book:
Don’t Fly Blind – Build a Dashboard: A Profit & Loss statement is not a dashboard. A monthly report is not a dashboard. These financial statements tell you what happened in the past; a dashboard tells you what is happening now. A dashboard can even tell you what is going to happen next.
I’d like to take a moment to explain what the IRS business mileage rate means to small business owners. It’s quite simple really…it’s the maximum amount per mile you can deduct from taxes if you’re reimbursing using the mileage method. If you reimburse employees more than this rate, the overage is taxable to them (known as a taxable fringe benefit). On the flip side, you don’t HAVE to reimburse this amount. It’s the MAXIMUM deductible amount, not the required amount (unless you’re in California, everything is different there!).
So, if you’re like many of the small businesses I work with and the thought of reimbursing 50.5 cents/mile for a trip to the post office is something you can’t handle, it’s okay. It’s nice to reimburse at the IRS rate, it’s a good thing to do, but you don’t have to. Sure, your employees will complain because all of their ill-informed friends have told them they are mistreated. You can simply tell them that the IRS sets the maximum tax deductible amount and they can consult with their tax preparer about the possibility of deducting the rest. The IRS certainly doesn’t know how to manage your business!