Remote Employees: 5 Ways to Engage and Manage Them

This guest post was contributed by JT Ripton who is a business consultant and freelance writer out of Tampa. You can follow him on Twitter @JTRipton

As the modern business world becomes more dependent on independent contractors and remote workers, the models of leadership have to change. Today’s manager has to use every tool at his or her disposal to make sure every member of the team is on the same page, whether in person or telecommuting. Here are some strategies to keep remote employees engaged and on-task.

1. Pop-In Communication

Continue reading

The Last Paycheck – When Do Terminated Employees Need to Be Paid?

Businessman Handing Last PaycheckThe exact date at which employees need to receive their final paycheck upon termination is a mystery to many small business owners. The fact that there are laws surrounding the issue at all vexes many who are responsible for paying employees. And it’s not surprising. State laws are complicated and the Fed has no laws about it at all. In the words of the Department of Labor,

“Employers are not required by federal law to give former employees their final paycheck immediately. Some states, however, may require immediate payment.”

What exactly is meant by immediate payment, you ask? It depends on the state. Some states require payment be made immediately, some within 2 days, 1 day, or just on the next normal payday. Beyond that, the rules depend on whether the employee was fired or quit. Here is a list of each state’s last paycheck requirements for reference.

Continue reading

Self-awareness for Maximum Productivity

This guest post was contributed by Sharon Freeman who is a professional freelancer, writing about corporate training and coaching trends.

Even in the last days of his life, legendary management consultant Peter Drucker maintained that making knowledge workers productive is “the biggest of the 21st century management challenges.” He even warned that the “first survival requirement” of developed nations is to improve the productivity of knowledge workers.

Not many may comprehend or appreciate it, but self-awareness is the first step on that road. It improves productivity, performance and satisfaction not only at work but in all aspects of life.

What is Self-Awareness?

Continue reading

Payroll Schedules – How Do You Choose?

Pay schedulesCompanies have a few choices as to which payroll schedule to use. Knowing which is right for your company, though, takes a little thought. I’m going to go over the pros and cons of each.

The four most commonly used payroll schedules in the U.S. are weekly, biweekly (which means every two weeks), semi-monthly (which means twice a month), and monthly.

  • Weekly (52 periods per year)
  • Every Two Weeks (26 periods per year)
  • Twice Monthly (24 periods per year)
  • Monthly (12 periods per year)

Most states have set payday frequency requirements. It’s always fine to pay employees more often than required by the state but not less often.

So which one should you use? Here are the details of each. Continue reading

Most Common Excuses Employees Give For Being Late

Girl in bedThe level of importance we attach to time is different for all of us. For many people, time is an unnatural constraint society has imposed upon us. To others, time is the very fabric into which our world is sewn. But unless you’re a vagabond, you don’t really have a choice but to live by it to some degree.

The store opens at 8am sharp, with a trickle of customers ambling in the minute the lock unlatches. The presenter begins the meeting at 10 whether all the seats are filled or not. You kid’s piano lesson starts at 5 and if you’re late it’s cut short. Stores close at 6 as clerks run off to their families. Your favorite show is on at 7 and it’s not going to wait for you to go to the bathroom. The alarm rings at 6am. Time is truly woven into ever aspect of our lives. If time is not your forte, you lose.

Business owners can be very picky about schedules since the success of their business depends on the work that gets completed in a day. In a study conducted by, “35 percent of employers have fired an employee for tardiness.” Clearly, tardiness is no joke to the millions of small business owners in the US.

How Often Are Employees Late?

Continue reading

How to Get Forgetful Employees to Remember to Clock In

Reminder finger tieWe recently started using a chat system on our website. Chat is great for our business because it gives us another avenue to connect with customers. Chat doesn’t get as busy as the phones do here and so we don’t have dedicated staff to answer them. Instead, several of us keep a chat window open on our browsers while we’re working and share the task of responding to the messages.

What does this have to do with clocking in and out online? It’s not much different actually. It’s a task that must be completed online before and after every shift and break. And it’s a new habit that employees have had to get into.

Our experience with the new system has lent some valuable insight into the difficulty of adopting a new procedure and we’ve come up with some solutions to resolve it.

Reminder Ideas

Continue reading

How to Deal With Employee Lateness

Running lateIn some businesses employee lateness doesn’t really matter. Some jobs simply require completion, like stuffing envelopes for example, and it doesn’t really matter if it gets done at 10am or 10pm. But for most workers, being on time does matter, and for some, it matters a whole lot.

Sales people, for example, have a window of time when their prospects are available; store clerks are needed on the floor to help customers as soon as the store opens; managers need to be available for their workforce; and teammates need to collaborate. In most businesses work is conducted during specific hours and employees need to be there during those times. If they’re not, productivity slides.
Continue reading