How CEOs Can Help Power an Inclusive Recovery

Watch the latest webinar in the "But What Does It Mean?" series - GCP's Equity & Inclusion's webinar series devoted to translating research studies and data into meaningful action.

In a recent GCP webinar, presenters from the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings - Alan Berube, senior fellow and deputy director, and Reniya Dinkins, senior research assistant - shared findings from recent reports that include key economic performance data for the Cleveland metro area.

Watch the recording below: 

 

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  • Next up: How to Recognize and Handle Cyberbullying in the Workplace
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  • How to Recognize and Handle Cyberbullying in the Workplace

    Cyberbullying should never be tolerated, but it may be hard to recognize—especially in the workplace. Learn how to identify the signs and understand how to handle it once it is detected.

     

    It’s important to recognize the signs that an employee may be experiencing cyberbullying, which should never be tolerated in the workplace. Signs of cyberbullying are often subtle. Managers and company owners need to know how to recognize these signs, how to handle the situation and how to utilize methods of prevention.

    Let’s start with the definition of cyberbullying. Essentially, cyberbullying is a method of bullying or trying to inflict psychological harm to someone, through the internet or other means of cybercommunication. While we tend to think of it as something that usually happens to children or teenagers, it actually can happen to anyone of any age. It is a means of threatening someone using social media or on-line technology. It is also used as a way to demean someone. Cyberbullying can be motivated by many things including revenge, boredom, or a lack of empathy. Additionally, because it’s usually anonymous, it’s often motivated by a person who is feeling invincible. In a work situation, it is often used to deal with jealousy, for sabotage or revenge. 

    RELATED: Understanding and Building a Positive Work Culture

    Cyberbullying generally involves threats or mean comments that are clearly meant to hurt someone. Making fun of someone on-line in a cruel and hurtful way is a classic form of cyberbullying. People who cyberbully feel powerful and confident because they are doing it anonymously. 

    The main forms of cyberbullying are:
    Harassing someone 
    Impersonating someone
    Photo harassment
    Creating websites, blogs or other means of hurting someone thru social media channels

    Cyberbullying is most likely a situation that occurs when a person is being threatened, humiliated, embarrassed, tormented and hurt by another person using text messaging, e-mails, or any other type of digital technologies. Cyberbullies often post humiliating information.

    Some signs that an employee is being cyberbullied include:
    Exhibiting frustration, anger, or anxiety
    Having insomnia
    Exhibiting performance or productivity issues
    Being emotionally upset during or after using the Internet or the phone
    Being very secretive or protective of one's digital life
    Withdrawal from other employees
    Avoiding workplace gatherings
    Eating lunch or taking breaks alone

    The biggest difference between cyberbullying and face-to-face bullying is that the internet is available 24/7 and it can be invasive and inescapable. In a business situation, employees are protected by federal law if subjected to a hostile working environment, so it is incumbent upon you to make sure that they feel safe at work and this includes feeling safe on-line as well.

    You need to be aware of the frequency and severity of the unwelcome conduct, whether the conduct was physically threatening or humiliating, if it is interfering with work performance, if it is having a negative effect on the employee's psychological well-being, and whether the alleged harasser is their manager or superior within your company.

    RELATED: Read more by Tim Dimoff

    What you can do to help prevent cyberbullying is to offer employees and management intensive training about all forms of bullying, including cyberbullying. They need to know it is unacceptable in your company and will not be tolerated. Make sure that you clearly state the penalties for this behavior. It is no different than training employees about sexual harassment or any other unacceptable behavior. You also need to create a culture that allows a victim to feel comfortable coming forward to report cyberbullying, just as you would for any other form of bullying. And make it known that cyberbullying will not be tolerated in your workplace. It is an important and very positive message for you to send. 

    President, SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Speaker, Trainer, Corporate Security ExpertTimothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues. He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University. Contact him at info@sacsconsulting.com.

     
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  • Next up: Implementing Automation and Lean into Your Business—No Matter the Size
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  • Implementing Automation and Lean into Your Business—No Matter the Size

     

    Time is money, especially when it comes to business. If you could maximize employee time, reduce business costs and save your customers time, would you jump at the opportunity?

    Most likely, the answer is going to be yes. 

    If that’s the case, then automation and lean processes should be something to consider for your business. But what exactly is automation and lean?

    “Automation reduces human error and lean eliminates waste. They both eliminate hours of labor and go hand in hand,” said Kathy Dockery, SVP, Chief Information Officer at First Mutual Holding Co., First Federal Lakewood’s holding company. “It’s not if you should lean the process, it’s a matter of when.”

    At First Federal Lakewood and all our affiliate banks, implementing automation and lean are a top priority across many departments. Introducing efficient IT solutions, consolidating employee processes and cutting out excess steps are just a few ways that the banks are working towards productivity within the business.

    From startups to large corporations, Dockery believes every size business can benefit from the efficiencies gained from these initiatives—including employees and customers.

    However, Dockery warns that it’s not a one and done initiative. An internal cultural mindset needs to happen in order for automation and lean to be successful. 

    “Employees have to be behind both ideas, and it has to be cultivated within the organization first,” she said. “Awareness must be raised so the company can let go of repetitive processes and improve efficiency.”

    Where to begin?

    There are a few things to consider if you plan on implementing automation and lean into your business.

    You want to start by creating a committee with the leaders from each Line of Business. This internal group must exist so they can create rules, provide guidance, and ensure everything is being maintained as the environment changes.

    “You must have strong leaders backing and supporting this initiative,” Dockery said. “Once that’s in place, there needs to be training, communication via company-wide townhall meetings and meetings with employees to walk them through the ideas. This way, everyone understands the culture you’re trying to cultivate.”

    Once a committee is in place and has created ideas for their department, a decision can be made on where automation and lean should occur within the organization.

    “Look at the company as a whole,” Dockery said. “The departments with the most processes and most employees will be the first to benefit from automation and lean. Look at the financials in those areas and start digging into it from there.”

    Beyond the initial step of creating a team, Dockery recommends tracking KPI’s around each process that you’re going to automate and lean.

    “I recommend having quick wins,” she said. “Take those wins and use them as examples when you’re in the beginning stages of implementing the processes. This may help you boost the overall confidence amongst the groups.”  

    Emerging trend in the world of automation and lean 

    As for the future, Dockery sees one emerging trend on the horizon for automation and lean. 

    In the automation sphere, hyperautomation is the latest buzzword. Hyperautomation is an approach that an organization uses to rapidly identify, vet and automate processes and covers everything from IT to business processes. 

    “Hyperautomation utilizes multiple technologies and platforms ranging from RPA, AI to machine learning,” Dockery said. “However, it isn’t about the technologies, it is about a new approach to business and IT processes.”

    No matter how big or small your business is, everyone can benefit from implementing automation and lean. While it may seem overwhelming to begin, the end result can leave you with large rewards.

     
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  • Next up: Is it Time to Bring Back Your Workforce?
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  • Is it Time to Bring Back Your Workforce?

    Are you considering bringing your team back into the office? What will a post-COVID workplace look like? Take these guidelines into considerations as you plan your return.

     

    It’s been over a year since the pandemic began and many businesses have experienced shutdowns or have had employees work remotely. As things begin to ease up and more people are being vaccinated, what does that mean for small business? How will your business look and operate going forward? Will you bring employees back or will you continue to have them work remotely? Will your business model look different in the future? What is your new normal?

    While workplaces may look different as we move forward, there are some basics plans and strategies that may help you decide when and how to work in the future, and if you want to attempt to bring back in-person employees, and to determine your timeline.

    Employers and employees may have mixed feelings on coming back to full capacity but it most likely will be a slow process. Many may want to continue the remote work arrangements. According to a Gallup poll, nearly two-thirds of employees who have been working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic wish to remain remote, while only 35% say they wish to return to the office.

    RELATED: COVID-19 Design Play Book

    The health and safety of the workforce should be your top priority and it must include a moral, ethical and legal concern for all employees and customers. New protocols may include deep cleaning and sanitization, rethinking the layout of the workspace, establishing guidelines for the use of personal protective equipment, and establishing rules governing when employees can return to work after recovering from infection should all be considered and evaluated.

    There are important considerations that you should be thinking about when making a decision to move forward. The most important aspect, and one that is going to be very helpful to you, is to develop a plan that takes the following into consideration:

    • Put people first and include considerations for risk and what controls you need to keep people safe and healthy while also keeping your business continuity and productivity.
    • Determine who actually needs to return to in-person work and who can continue to work remotely.
    • Focus on customers, workforce, and other factors in order to keep everyone safe.
    • Communicate changes and policies to everyone. Make sure all employees and customers know the rules and procedures going forward.
    • Have a plan to mitigate workplace illness. This may include contract tracing, following state and local guidelines, setting expectations, considering legal and operational risks for employees, vendors and customers.
    • Learn to operate under new conditions that may include rethinking how people work, your real estate footprint, new training, new tools, and more.
    • Plan work schedules with people in mind and make an effort to understand your employees’ needs.
    • Reevaluate your performance measures.

    RELATED: Read more by Tim Dimoff.

    Think strategically but be smart when determining what works best for your employees, your customers, and your business.

     

    President, SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Speaker, Trainer, Corporate Security ExpertTimothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues. He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University. Contact him at info@sacsconsulting.com.

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  • Next up: Keeping PACE with the Market
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  • Keeping PACE with the Market

    In a recent webinar, we explored how Ohio-based commercial and industrial real estate project developers, energy service companies and contractors are financing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects using innovative Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing (C-PACE).

    PACE financing provides fixed-rate, long-term financing to cover up to 100% of project costs. Typical projects require no out-of-pocket expense and generate immediate cash flow for building owners - enabling deeper, more capital-intensive retrofit investments. We showcased the standards, tools and underwriting best practices proven to meet stakeholder underwriting demands and win projects.

    Now more than ever, you may be seeking solutions to mitigate airborne pathogens such as COVID-19. If you are upgrading HVAC equipment and include specific measures like UV-C with documented energy savings, PACE financing may be a great tool.

    PACE refinancing or “Retroactive PACE” allows eligible improvements that have already been installed to be refinanced with PACE. 

    Watch the webinar below:

     

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  • Next up: What Every Small Business Needs to Know About Onboarding New Employees
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  • What Every Small Business Needs to Know About Onboarding New Employees

    Effective onboarding has never been more important. Learn how to ensure your new hires feel right at home and stick around for the long haul.

    The pandemic has made finding new employees much more challenging. This makes the successful onboarding of new employees more important than ever. In simple terms, onboarding means the integration of a new employee into the organization. You accomplish this by giving them the information, the knowledge and the skills to become successfully integrated into the culture and operations of your business. 

    RELATED: Importance of and tips for training employees.

    It is a common misconception that onboarding begins on the first day of a new hire’s employment. In actuality, it begins before you actually hire them. It starts with a thorough background check and continues during the initial phase of their employment. This is important because a positive and effective onboarding process goes a long way toward employee retention. Studies have shown that as many as 69% of employees are more likely to stay in a position for three or more years if they received a positive onboarding experience. It is also a means of achieving a positive employee engagement which translates into increased productivity for you. If a new employee feels welcome, they are more likely to do good work and enjoy their job.

    Successful onboarding decreases the likelihood of new hire turnover and fosters a strong positive work attitude. 

    • Here are some suggestions for successful onboarding:
    • Let other employees know you have hired a new employee and to make them feel welcome.
    • Provide new employees with a mentor or someone to help guide them in their new position.
    • Modify the onboarding experience to make it special for each new hire. Take their personality and skills into account.
    • Give every new hire a handbook or employee manual and make sure they sign that they have received it.
    • Let new hires know as much as you can about your business culture and values, especially during the interviewing process. 
    • Provide any training that is needed.

    RELATED: Read more by Tim Dimoff.

    • Let new hires know as much as you can about any company policies and enforcements.
    • Give new employees time to get to know the company and their new co-workers.
    • Have workstations, computers, keys or passwords set up and ready when they start working. 
    • Have an open-door policy so they can ask questions and let them know who they can go to for advice, questions, help, etc.
    • Make sure new hires understand the responsibilities of their new job and any performance goals or deadlines. 
    • Make sure you are compliant with any local, state or federal laws relating to their employment. 
    • Successful onboarding provides a strong, secure work environment and can help you to retain new employees which saves you time and money in the long run. 

    President, SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Speaker, Trainer, Corporate Security ExpertTimothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues. He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University. Contact him at info@sacsconsulting.com.

     
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