Category Archives: Employees

Problems associated with increased cell phone usage


Thanks to modern technology and advances with cell phone capabilities, you no longer need a camera, an alarm clock, a Rolodex (remember those!?), a journal, a notebook, a diary, a shopping list, a watch, or a music player! These are all great woman on phonetechnology improvements and benefits that have occurred over the past decade. While the emergence of the smartphone has had tremendously positive impacts in so many areas, and has helped make the world more connected than ever before, there are unfortunately many negative consequences that have accompanied the evolution of the modern day mobile telephone.

  1. Addiction – dopamine and serotonin is released when we hear a ping, receive a message, or have a post liked by one of our peers.  Do you think you may be addicted to your phone?  Check out these signs and symptoms.
  2. Reduced productivity in the workplace – due to problems associated with number woman holding phone at computerone, addiction, it is very possible that you could spend more time on your phone than you do in face to face interactions.  And I’m not just talking about work-related items; answering texts, personal calls, checking Facebook and other social media, as well as news updates coming through almost by the hour can eat up a huge chunk of time each day.
  3. Dangerous driving and an increased number of accidents – this is something that constantly amazes me.  There have been so many senseless deaths and injuries due to cell phone use while driving – so why do people still do it?  NOTHING is that important, but if you feel like it is, PULL OVER!
  4. Poorer social skills – it is so aggravating and rude when you are speaking to someone and their phone rings and all of a sudden it’s like you are no longer there!  Why do phones get priority over people?
  5. Cyberbullying – this is obviously a huge problem, with adults and children alike.  cyberbullying-victimization-20152Having all social media and communication available to us 24/7 makes this so much easier.  If people took the time to think about what they were going to say before they started typing, perhaps the problem wouldn’t be so big, but cell phones do not require that we take that time allowing for immediate, and often rash, responses.
  6. Increased crime – people always know where you are because you constantly check in or post a picture of your dinner.  And how often do you see your friends posting pictures of their children in front of their school?  Anyone who wants to find you can do so, at any time.
  7. Health issues – from minor issues such as back and neck pain due to being hunched over a phone all day to major issues such as cancer, there are a number of health issues associated with cell phone usage that should not be ignored.
  8. Disruption of sleep – exposure to blue light can cause us to not sleep as well as possible, while constant updates coming through buzzing at us through the night will disrupt our sleep patterns.
  9. We are always connected – this leads to increased stress as it is nearly impossible to disconnect from work, and the world in general.
  10. More distracted and less interactive with those around us – it’s amazing to me the family-on-phonesnumber of parents glued to their phones while their kids are playing at the park.  Don’t get me wrong, I understand the urge.  Your kids are occupied, you have a second to breathe, what a perfect time to check your email!  But as we know, it only takes one second for a child to be hurt, or even worse, taken by a stranger!  Not to mention, they know when you are focused on your phone instead of them, and we certainly don’t want to give them the impression that a phone is more important than they are.

This is a great video that takes a look at millenials and cell phone usage.  I recommend the whole thing, but the cell phone segment begins at 3:20 – take a look!

What problems have you encountered due to increased cell phone usage?  Put your thoughts in the comment section below!



Conference calls: Are they worth it?

If you ever find yourself on conference calls, I am sure you will be able to totally relate to the video below. This is a classic example of something that is seen as being important and necessary for a company to function, but something that has the chance to negatively impact all parties involved. When I watch this video I immediately get flashbacks to previous companies where conference calls were a frequent occurrence.

Anyone who has taken part in a conference call knows that this video is not just trying to be funny.  These things do actually occur, and at the end of the meeting you end up feeling like you have just wasted an hour of your work day that could have been spent in a much more useful manner.  Instead of spending your valuable time on conference calls such as this, here are some alternative ideas that could be very beneficial to your company!

  1. Video conferencing – Skype or other teleconferencing tools are a great solution as everyone can see each other, which will remove some of the difficulties shown in the video.
  2. In person meetings – when possible, meet in person.  If you have an hour or so drive, having one in-person meeting a month will accomplish much more than meeting four times a month over the phone in many situations.
  3. Smaller, more personalized calls – try having fewer people on the call.  Make sure you only have absolutely essential people involved, and avoid bringing those on the line that don’t have much to contribute.  If you only include two or three people, those people can in turn send out a summary of the meeting to those who weren’t involved.
  4. Collaborative work documents – Google Docs, Office 365, Microsoft Teams, etc. are all great options for collaborating through online documents rather than over the phone or even in person.  They give people a chance to really think about their responses as opposed to shouting out the first thing that comes in their mind.

The main thing that I would suggest is to be as efficient as possible and don’t just have meetings for the sake of having meetings. Have an agenda and objectives, and stick to the tasks at hand.  Also, stress to the members of the group the importance of timeliness.  Start the meeting on time, and if people are late do not go back and recap what you have already discussed.  This is especially frustrating for those of us who show up on time and have to listen to something two, or even three times!

Do you have any suggestions for alternatives to conference calls, or tips for making conference calls more effective?  If so, put them in the comments below!  And as always, Expect the Exceptional every day!

Dedication & diligence in the workplace

Dedicated employees are the driving force behind any successful company.  Dedication can be described as an “exceedingly strong feeling of support and loyalty for something or someone.”  When your employees are loyal to your business, it usually means that they love what they are doing and have a vested interest in the company doing well.

You can recognize a dedicated employee by noticing the first people to show up and woman on computer in bedthe last to leave at the end of the day.  These employees will typically continue working once they get home, as they experience great pleasure with the success of the company’s success, as well as their own.  These added hours are not put in due to a fear of losing their job, it is just that they truly enjoy what they are doing and have trouble putting their work away.


Here are 12 characteristics displayed by loyal employees who are described as being “dedicated”:

  • An infectious passion for work and belief in the company’s mission and vision
  • Steers clear of negativity and drama, instead focusing on positive ideas
  • A positive attitude in personal interactions with teammates and clients
  • Punctuality at all times for work, meetings and functions
  • High attendance and low absenteeism at work
  • Knows the history, mission, values and vision of the business
  • Frequently shares new ideas and ways in which the company can grow
  • Flexibility and excitement when it comes to change
  • Incredible work ethic
  • Always manages to get things done, regardless of obstacles they may face
  • Leaves work when the job is complete, not when the clock strikes 5pm
  • Continually looks for ways to improve individually so that they can contribute more


On the flip side, burnout is a common trait among employees who have been in their position for an extended period of time.  If you notice a high rate of turnover, it’s probably time to examine where the problem lies and make changes accordingly.  It could be a simple matter of employees being in the wrong position at your company and a few lateral changes may just do the trick.

It is possible to love the actual work that you are doing, but have major problems in your current work environment.  I was in a position previously that made me miserable.  I shed many tears and suffered major stress over finding a new job, if only for my sanity.  When my husband asked me what I would like to do, I realized that I really enjoyed the actual work I was doing; the problem was WHERE I worked and those that I worked with.  That was very eye-opening and led me to hasten my retreat so I could find something that made me happier.  As an employer, it’s important to ask yourself if you are creating a positive workplace environment that nurtures those who love what they are doing, and in turn leads to positive growth in your business.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this matter, so please share your comments below. What are some ways in which you research a company prior to joining to make sure that you have a strong chance of loving your job and sticking around for multiple years? As an employer, what do you do to create a positive environment that encourages people to stick around because they love their job? Where have you previously worked where you experienced burnout? Until next time, have a brilliant week and in everything that you do, Expect the Exceptional.




Is your brain getting mushy?

The skills gap has been a hot topic among business leaders, educators, and politicians over the last several years. According to a recent study by Career Builder, a company on average loses more than $14,000 for every job that says vacant longer than three months. Rather than waiting for the perfect employee to come along, we suggest you consider utilizing professional development to build the skill sets you need in your organization.  Below are just five of the many benefits professional development can provide for your business.

1. Increase Retention

In an era where more and more employers are cutting costs by taking away giving a presentationopportunities like training, your organization can stand out from the rest by offering and promoting some professional development options. Offering professional development shows your workers that you care about their career progression and are interested in keeping them at your organization long-term.

2. Make succession planning easier

Professional development programs are great tools for training future leaders at your organization. Rather than hiring outside the business, promoting from within is a great way to show your staff that they can have a long career with your organization. It can also reduce the knowledge gaps that are inevitable with turnover and outside hires. By choosing professional development programs that help your employees master skills they need to progress, you can shape the development of your future leaders.

3.  Re-energize your staff

Get-Moving-at-Work-to-Prevent-Varicose-VeinsProfessional development can help break up the monotony of everyday work and re-energize your staff’s creativity. Providing periodic professional development can also help your staff gain new skills and perspectives, which can translate into how they approach their jobs.  It also allows for discussion among peers, giving employees a chance to bounce ideas off of and learn from one another.

4.  Give your employees an edge


Professional development can give your employees the confidence to step into a role they may not normally have the courage to take.  This can lead directly back to number two, allowing you to hire from within rather than find someone brand new.

5. Keep minds active

There are many studies that discuss the importance of keeping your mind active, cube-2582067_960_720essentially “exercising” your brain the way you exercise your body.  Personally, I feel my brain getting “mushy” if I am not learning something new.  After I graduated with my bachelor’s, I looked forward to returning to school to complete my master’s degree, as school kept me sharp in all aspects of my life.  But now that I am finished with schooling, and have no plans to return, I need to look for new ways to keep my brain active.  The Brain Yoga app on my phone helps a little, but I need something more, and I imagine your employees do as well. Professional development is a great way to keep your employees sharp and teach them new skills at the same time.


Hopefully these ideas will give you some inspiration for some additional education for your team.  And if you are a member of a team that could use some extra knowledge, this is a great thing to recommend to your boss, and will show initiative on your part!


What to look for in potential hires and how to find it

Each business and HR professional has their own unique way of evaluating candidates. Resumes, references, experience, qualifications, probation periods, training periods, and on the job interviews are all ways that someone’s hire-ability can be evaluated.

In my previous position I was responsible for hiring individuals who would be responsible for teaching physical fitness programs to preschoolers. The perfect fitnesscandidates required a certain skill set including an outgoing personality, patience, energy, confidence, a professional appearance, and an ability to engage a room full of 3 and 4 year-olds! My assessment process included them coaching other candidates using our curriculum, as well as going out into the field to experience a class and watching how they interact with the students.

The weighting of criteria will vary drastically depending on factors such as the industry, clientele, location, company culture and philosophy. However, the following list is a selection of 11 factors that are frequently assessed during interviews or other parts of the job application process.

(1) Punctual – did the candidate arrive on time?

(2) Appearance – professional, takes pride in their appearance, dressed to impress, appropriate for the job that they are applying for.

(3) Communication – well spoken, clear, confident, able to articulate their ideas through interviewa variety of mediums

(4) Genuine – are their answers a true representation of their beliefs or are they feeding you what they think you want to hear?

(5) Works well under pressure – try to incorporate aspects into the interview so that you can assess their capabilities when the heat is on.

(6) Flexible – Is open to new opportunities and experiences

(7) Diligent – Prepared to do whatever is needed to get the job done

(8) Passionate about the job at hand/ industry/ company’s mission – as the old saying goes, “do what you love and love what you do”. If your employee believes in what you do and is passionate about your mission, you are going to get a lot more buy in from them.

(9) Self-motivated – Look for areas in which the candidate has demonstrated independence, an ability to lead, and a desire to make a difference.

(10) Team-oriented – Will they fit in with your current culture, or are they going to upset the applecart?

(11) Socially responsible – This is a factor that varies greatly by industry, culture, Image result for teachers and social medialocation, and position, but for many people, a quick glance through someone’s social media profiles can eliminate candidates from the application process if inappropriate content is discovered.

There are many factors that are desired in new hires and here are some tips for things to include in your interview to assess competency in these areas:

(1) Ask the candidate about their thoughts on your website. This will show how interested they truly are in your company, whether they took the time to research things before the interview, as well as their understanding of your offerings

(2) Perform group interviews. How well do your candidates stack up against each other. This gives you a good idea of their interpersonal skills, as well as how they might fit in with your company culture.

(3) Give them a job related task to complete to see how they perform under pressure, on the spot, with no preparation time. I remember one of my brother’s sales position interviews where the interviewer passed his car keys to my brother and asked him to sell them back to him!

(4) Have your existing employees be involved in the interview process to see how theinterview candidates interact within your existing structure, and how smoothly they would slot into your culture. This also empowers your existing employees as they play a part in the recruitment process, and feel valued as you are interested in their thoughts.

(5) Throw some curveballs in there to see how quickly your candidate responds under pressure, as well as the decisions that they make. You could have them answer a staged telephone call, or could ask them a question that has nothing to do with their job, but allows you to assess their ability to think on the spot.

(6) Don’t pay too much attention to qualifications unless it is something a where specialized skill is required, as in jobs such as doctors or lawyers, where some expertise is typically required! Just because someone was a great soccer player doesn’t mean that they will be an incredible coach. Just because someone has a PhD in Education doesn’t mean that they will be an incredible fitness coach in a room full of preschoolers. Believe me, I am talking from experience here…

What attributes do you look for in your candidates? Which factors immediately eliminate potential hires from your recruitment process? What are some interview tricks that you have up your sleeve to truly test your applicant’s’ capabilities? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below, and until next time, Expect the Exceptional in everything that you do.

Investing in yourself, a guaranteed win

Most people think that investing in the stock market is the best thing that they can do for their financial future. However, investing in yourself is significantly more important for a variety of reasons. Today we look at 11 ways in which you can do just that. 

(1) Get a mentor – Find someone who you respect, has a track record of success, and is beard-2286440_960_720willing to help you grow. You are essentially searching for a personal coach who can help guide you through the many minefields you will encounter throughout your career. Find someone who has been there and done that so that they can save you time, effort and money. This doesn’t necessarily have to be someone who is closely tied to the position that you occupy and the industry that you work in. Working with an “outsider” can be extremely beneficial as they have no bias and are naturally more inquisitive to understand your business more. Another benefit of finding someone outside of your company is they don’t have a personal stake in your success, meaning they give you unbiased feedback, share their experiences, and offer the support system that you need to take your career to the next level.

Tip: Your mentor doesn’t have to be older than you! They also don’t have to be in the same line of work. They just need to be successful and be willing to share their secret sauce with you! 

(2) Join a group or organization – This can have multiple benefits as there are many different opportunities that typically arise from surrounding yourself with similar minded people who have common goals in place. You could join a professional organization such as the NSCAA, your local IFMA chapter, or the nearby Chamber of Commerce. All of these will provide you with opportunities to share problems with professionals in similar positions as well as giving you multiple opportunities to network and participate in industry specific workshops and trainings. Associated benefits include newsletters, discounts, the chance to be recognized for your work, and access to thousands of people in the same boat as you.

Tip 1: If there isn’t a group that fits your needs, create one!

Tip 2: Attend your first event as a guest to see if it is something that you see value in before committing financially. 

(3) Volunteer –  Besides the good you will be doing for others, another major benefit of donating your time and efforts is the associated feel-good factor which can significantly improve your health and reduce the risk of depression and anxiety.

Tip: Volunteer for something that means something to you, and as above, if it doesn’t currently exist, create it!

(4) Work sponsored professional development opportunities

Speak to your HR department to see how they are prepared to support their employees in their pursuit of professional development. If you can demonstrate how the training will benefit the company, the impact it will have on your work performance, and the total cost of your venture, you should be able to secure financial support.

Tip: Try to find online classes as well as training sessions that are held outside of work hours to minimize disruption to your work schedule and responsibilities. 

(5) Listen to a podcast

woman-977019_960_720If you can’t find anything that fits your needs, create your own podcast! This could even be a collective effort where you collaborate with a couple of other individuals to discuss current issues in your industry.

Tip: Save time and look after your health by listening to a podcast while walking, running or biking. 

(6) Participate in webinars

There are many free webinars that are available online these days, and many of these are available at multiple times throughout the day. The typical structure is that they have the webinar live during work-hours, but upon it’s conclusion a recording is sent to all registrants so that they can watch it in their own time.

(7) Watch a YouTube video

I think that there is a “how to” YouTube video out there for any need that you can think of. My husband and I repaired our washing machine a couple of months ago by following step by step instructions by an appliance repair store who had posted the video on their Facebook page.

Tip: Search for industry leading companies and individuals and see what they are creating or watching.

(8) Read 

You can read fiction books to feed your imagination, or you can read non-fiction and books-1701522_960_720professional development books that will provide you with ideas that you can integrate into your daily activities. You could also look into starting a book-club with colleagues or friends where you get together monthly to discuss how you can take the ideas presented in the book and add them into your workplace.

Tip: If you aren’t able to get together to discuss in person, you can use applications such as Skype and Microsoft Teams for face to face interactions. 

(9) Take a class or seminar

These are available all over the place! A good starting point is to visit an industry specific membership group such as IFMA is you are a facilities manager. You can then view and register for training events that meet the criteria that you have in place. You can Google nearby events, and you can also communicate with fellow professionals for recommendations.

Tip: There are many great classes out there that are available for free from platforms such as Alison and Coursera.

(10) Have a monthly expert present at your place of work

This is something that has had tremendous success for many reasons. The best aspect is giving a presentationthat it can be held at your place of work so that everyone can attend. It’s also great as the content can be tweaked to hit the key ideas that you are looking for support with. Any questions that are asked are relevant to your business, and you will be able to have great follow up conversations with your teammates who were in attendance. Find someone who is an expert in the area that you are focusing on, reach out to them, and see what it would take for them to present to your team.

Tip: Many professionals will be honored to be considered for this opportunity, and they are typically very motivated by the new clients that can emerge from the interaction. 

(11) Attend industry specific trade-shows

This is a great way to keep up to date with industry trends, rub shoulders with potential clients, meet strategic partners, and to get a better understanding of what your prospective customers are looking for.

Tip: Many trade-shows provide free access to the exhibit hall where you will have the opportunity to connect with vendors, see demonstrations, sign up for newsletters, and enter drawings for some cool gear!

When you’re searching for a new job…

Pay attention to these warning signwarnings!

Finding a new job is a daunting task, and sometimes desperation kicks in causing people to accept positions that may not be a great fit.  When you are interviewing for a new job, pay attention to your surroundings and ask questions to make sure it is the right place for you.  The following are some ideas for things to look for and ask about:

  1. Employee handbook: Make sure there is an employee handbook available for after you are hired to help answer questions you may not think to ask.  This is a great indicator of the company’s organizational tendencies as well.
  2. Employee benefits: Always a plus, and in many cases, the law.  At least for the time being, companies with a certain number of employees must offer insurance so do your research and make sure the company is doing the right thing.
  3. No organizational chart in place: It’s important to know who you are reporting chart  If a company tells you that “everyone is the captain of their own ship,” that may sound great in theory.  No boss!  Hooray!  But ultimately, if you don’t have one person guiding the ship, you will be pulled in many different directions and not much will get accomplished.
  4. No infrastructure in place: If a company feels it’s OK to purchase a used, $50 computer for their employees and expects great things to come from it, it’s probably not the company for you.  Because chances are, they will end up having to replace that computer with many, many more computers every time it breaks down.  Make sure that the company you are looking to work for has everything you need to successfully get your job done.
  5. Are focused purely on making money: You don’t want to work for a company without a social conscience.  Money is great, it’s why you work, but at the end of the day it’s also important to feel good about yourself and how you are spending your days.
  6. Accountability: This is related to the org chart mentioned above.  It is so important for companies to hold their employees accountable for their actions.  If you have a coworker that constantly rolls in at 10:30, while you’ve been there since 8:00, chances are you won’t be able to accomplish much together.  It is not your job as an employee to call your coworkers and wake them up; that is up to management, and if they are not doing their job that is a big red flag.
  7. Cleanliness of the building: Most office settings these days hire someone to clean for them, so this is usually something that you would not even notice.  But if you do see that the bathrooms look a little gnarly and the carpet is loaded with bits of paper and dust, chances are this company does not have someone cleaning on the weekends.  Which means A) you will be working in an unsanitary environment or B) you will be asked to assist with the cleaning.  Either way, ask about this at the interview before you find yourself cleaning toilets instead of getting your work done.
  8. Attitude of the owners/ executive team: What time does the boss get into the office?  What time do they leave?  If the owner of the company is putting in as many if not more hours than their employees, that’s a great sign.  It shows they are invested in the company and their employees.  If the owner has decided that they want to hand the reigns over to an under-qualified employee in order to spend more time at the lake, you probably want to look elsewhere.
  9. Longevity of staff:  What is the turnaround?  Look for a company with employees who have been around for many years and only leave to retire.
  10. Longevity of clients: If the company does indeed have clients, how long have they worked together?  If the clients hang around for many years, then it’s probably a great company to work with and therefore a great company to work for.
  11. Look for reviews: Facebook, Yelp, Google +, Glassdoor, and any industry specific forums all have a section for reviews. You may encounter upset former employees who want to go down with all guns blazing, but you should be able to get a good idea of the company given the comments that you read.

Hopefully this helps as you are searching for the perfect job.  Remember, just because they offer does not mean you have to accept!  Find something you will enjoy getting out of bed for in the morning, as this will have a direct effect on your happiness and well-being.  out of bed