Tag: human resources definition

How to Handle Awkward Employee Issues

Last Updated: Feb 18, 2014
Employees can present you with some awkward situations, but as the boss, you have to be prepared to deal with them. Here’s how to handle three of the most common difficult conversations you’ll face.

As your company grows and expands, bringing on more employees will be a given. Company culture is a big part of the success of a business. With the right people, anything can happen and powerful minds can come together to do big things.

As with all people, everyone operates differently and has a different perspective on life. A person’s lifestyle, mannerisms and respect meter can influence their performance and the performance and culture of the other staff members as well. Learn how to expertly manage uncomfortable situations and nip them before they become a larger, more serious problem in the workplace.

Hygiene Issues

Everyone has had a day where they rush out of the house and forget to put deodorant on, but if you find that a certain employee is consistently smelly or disheveled, a talk might be in order. In addition to just an off odor or disheveled look, some employees dress for the club rather than the office.

To handle a hygiene or dress concern, pull the employee aside and set a tone of a judgment free, open environment. Mention that yourself and others are concerned about a personal issue and ask if they are okay with you continuing. From there, state the facts objectively and try to offer a constructive, easy to implement a solution. Having this type of talk may awaken an employee to a situation they were not aware of. They will appreciate the honesty and respect you’ve given them by approaching it objectively with solid solutions.

Interoffice Interactions

Gathering around the water cooler and laughing over a funny story is what brings you and your staff closer together. Unfortunately, an interaction can be taken a little too far when someone begins to feel comfortable and lets their guard down. Whether it is a vocabulary concern, vulgar language, or strange mannerisms that include a “casual toucher” or sweet talker, it needs to be addressed immediately to keep the workplace neutral and productive.

Once again, pull this particular employee aside and be honest about your concerns. Use lines like: “Some of your vocabulary terms aren’t appropriate for the office and I’d appreciate you keeping the conversation PG as to not offend anyone,” or “While I know you mean well, some people are uncomfortable with being patted on the shoulder or grabbed by the arm.” Reinforce your concerns and let them know these actions cannot continue any longer and will need to be stopped immediately.

Related: How to Prevent Sexual Harassment in Your Workplace

Respecting Authority

As a company grows and expands, roles often shift or become created to best suit the end needs of the customer and flow internally. This can at times mean that someone who trained an individual is now expected to take orders from them, or that a junior employee with less tenor has now become senior to someone who has been employed longer. Role shifts and promotions can ruffle feathers, create gossip, and cause unwarranted feelings towards one-another.

With this type of awkward HR moment, don’t wake a sleeping dog. Employers want to be proactive about nipping a concern before it becomes a problem, but it’s best to give your staff an honest chance to adapt accordingly. Should the transition not go well, address the staff as a group and explain that you’ve made these shifts based off of pure qualifications and fit for the position. Reiterate that nothing was done with mal-intent and that you really feel it’s the best move for the company’s growth and expansion.

Related: How to Manage Employee Conflicts in a Small Business

The more open and honest of an environment you create, the less of a chance of having these concerns there is. With volume and expansion, they will come up from time to time. Having the skills and knowledge you need to target the concern and handle it like an expert will gain you more respect from your employees all around. 

Jordyn RickardJordyn Rickard is a young marketing professional with over 5 years of experience in marketing and strategy for small and medium sized businesses. With an education in finance and an extensive freelancing background, she’s had the privilege of developing solutions that work for small businesses. Currently, Rickard works as a Success Coordinator for Synduit, a marketing and consulting firm for small businesses. Reach out to Rickard on twitter @jordynatsynduit.


Six Principles to Dramatically Improve The Odds of Startup Success

Last Updated: May 15, 2018
Thinking of starting a business? Your passion can work as a driving force or it can work against you. Here’s how you can channel your enthusiasm towards making your new business a success.

What differentiates successful business ventures from the large percentage of startups—more than half—that fail? After conducting extensive research on the subject, I have concluded that the answer depends on a double-edged quality: passion. The following principles will help enthusiastic entrepreneurs squeeze the most out of their passion, while not being trapped by it:

Too often, passionate entrepreneurs leap head first into a venture before thinking it through. To improve your readiness to succeed as a startup founder, take an honest look at yourself as a founder before leaping. The first step is: Clarify your reasons and your goals. Why are you doing this? What do you hope to achieve? The second critical step is: Understand your entrepreneurial personality. What makes you tick? From there, focus on ways to leverage your skills, assets, resources, and relationships.

Passion is an inner phenomenon, but all healthy businesses are rooted outside the founder, in the marketplace. To turn your passion into profits, emphasize the market—always think about your business relative to the customers you serve; know your markets—strive to understand the needs and preferences of your core customers; and execute on your market opportunity by placing a priority on your customer’s experience and perception of value.

Figure out who your customers are and where you can find them with this free, fillable Market Research Worksheet.

Passionate entrepreneurs tend to develop rose-colored plans, over-estimating early sales and underestimating costs. To convert your passion into tangible business value, emphasize the importance of planning plus math. Write a business plan that makes financial sense for the current needs and future goals of your startup. Construct a compelling math story, covering how the elements of your business will come together in a way that is profitable over time. Address the crucial issue of funding: how much is required and from what sources.

No amount of startup planning can accurately predict the unexpected twists and turns imposed by reality. To succeed, a new venture needs both iteration and agility. Establish an ongoing process for translating ideas into actions and results, followed by evaluation. Test and adapt your concept as early as possible. Work on continually improving the fit between your big idea and the marketplace.

Related: 13 Tips for Starting a Successful Business

Passionate commitment to an idea can breed reality distortion. That is, aspiring entrepreneurs often see only what they want to see and rely on “feeling good” about their venture as their only measure of success. To avoid these dangers, commit to truth-telling and welcome healthy debate, even tough conversation, from the start of your startup. Commit to building the skills essential for high-integrity communication: curiosity, humility, candor, and scrutiny.

Contributing factors aside, most startups fail because they run out of money or time. To lengthen and strengthen your venture’s runway, aim to launch close to the customer (ideally with paying customers already in hand) and raise more money than you’ll think you need. Focus on building personal staying power. Healthy entrepreneurial stamina is not just about the refusal to quit, but is grounded in ongoing learning and improvement.

Related: What Causes Startups To Fail 

In summary, the most successful entrepreneurs have learned how to bring the very best of their passion without being blinded or limited by it. If you are launching the next big idea, or thinking about it, you can dramatically improve your odds of success by (1) preparing yourself, (2) grounding your business idea in market reality, (2) paying close attention to the financial health of your venture,  (4) staying flexible to new data and learning, (5) celebrating all news, both “good” and “bad,” and (6) continually looking for ways to stay in the game until you win it.  

.auto-style1 {
border-width: 0px;
.auto-style2 {
text-align: center;

Starting a business can be overwhelming! Use this free
Business Startup
to make sure you don’t miss any important steps. This
downloadable Word document lists the steps you need to take to get your business
up and running, and includes space for you to note your own comments and
deadlines. You can get the checklist free when you subscribe to the free
Business Know-How Newsletter.

Request your free Business Startup Checklist

John Bradberry has improved the performance of hundreds of teams and more than a thousand leaders over two decades as an entrepreneur, consultant, and investor. He is the author of 6 Secrets to Startup Success: How to Turn Your Entrepreneurial Passion into a Thriving Business, and is CEO of ReadyFounder Services (www.ReadyFounder.com).

Business Know-How/Attard Communications, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.


How to Reduce Attorney Fees for Your Business

Last Updated: Aug 29, 2016
At some point in the life of your business you will probably need an attorney’s expertise. Here are ways to manage your legal expenses and keep attorney’s fees under control. 

Whether you are just starting a business and need to form an entity, have an existing business and are negotiating contracts with third parties or are in the process of selling your business, an attorney will undoubtedly play a critical role. It’s important to keep in mind, however, as vital as an attorney’s advice is in these situations, it doesn’t mean you have to pay an arm and a leg for it. Set forth below are three strategies to minimize attorney fees and stay within your budget:

1. Know What You Need

The first step to ensuring you receive quality legal services for an affordable fee is to know exactly what you need from your lawyer. Prior to seeking out a lawyer, write down any questions you would like to ask and take notes of your situation. Will you need help with specific documentation or just need more general legal advice? The more organized you are before you speak with a lawyer, the better off you’ll be.

2. Negotiate Fixed Fees

Small business owners are particularly sensitive to costs associated with hiring counsel when they have a legal need. For this reason, business owners should negotiate fixed fees for their transactional needs rather than paying an attorney on an hourly basis. This is because with fixed fees both the client and attorney are very clear on what the intended objectives of the engagement are. An experienced attorney will know what needs to be done and how much time they will likely spend on the matter and will be able to (more or less) accurately price it upfront.

Sometimes attorneys are resistant to provide fixed fees on the theory that a matter is too complicated to price it up front, say for instance, when purchasing a business. If you do receive pushback, break down the matter into discrete tasks. You could agree to pay (i) a fixed-fee for initial legal due diligence, (ii) a second fixed-fee for the initial drafting of the purchase and sale agreement, and (iii) another fixed-fee for revisions, negotiations and finalization of the agreement. Structuring attorney fees this way ensures that you have control over your costs and clearly defines the scope and involvement of the attorney throughout the process. 

With hourly rates, on the other hand, even the most well intentioned attorneys could be inaccurate with their time-keeping, which may ultimately result in unexpected costs for the client. Take for example an attorney that charges $300 per hour and bills for 10 hours of work, for a total of $3,000 at the end of the engagement. If the attorney billed in increments of 6 minutes (which is customary) and is off by 6 minutes in tracking for each hour spent, that would mean an additional hour’s worth of work (or $300.00 in this example) is charged without any actual value in return. Simply put, inaccurate timekeeping can add up if you are on a budget. That said, if you are unable to negotiate a fixed-fee arrangement, you should request that the fee based on the hourly rate is capped at a set amount so that you at least have a sense of the outside cost.

3. Using Legal Forms

One method small businesses often utilize to save on costs is downloading a legal form and filling in the blanks. This certainly will reduce your legal costs since the business owner is deciding to forgo counsel. While it is true that most forms contain “standard” or “boilerplate” provisions, it is the non-standard provisions that really require an attorney’s attention. Instead of just using a stock document form without any modification, a better approach would be to use the legal form as a starting point and have an attorney tailor the form to your particular needs. This should save you significant fees as the attorney can concentrate on the customization and reworking of deficient provisions in the “standard” form rather than starting from scratch. 

Tej PrakashTej Prakash is the co-founder of ShouldiSign.com, an online legal marketplace that helps individuals and businesses find and engage pre-vetted attorneys in a transparent environment. Prior to co-founding Should I Sign, Tej was a corporate attorney at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and then Kleinberg, Kaplan Wolff & Cohen, P.C., specializing in public and private mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital transactions and general corporate and securities law matters. He also has experience serving as an advisor to start-up companies.