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: 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: Do I Need a Strategic Plan? Who Cares?
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  • Do I Need a Strategic Plan? Who Cares?

    A strategic plan doesn't need to be overwhelming or scary. Read on as we review basic terminology and components of a plan and how it can help your business—and you.

     

    The answer to these questions depends on how you define a strategic plan and how you will use it.

    As owners and leaders of smaller enterprises, time and money are at a premium—there is never enough to do everything we believe we should be doing. Too many priorities create too much stress. We want more time for ourselves and our families. 

    Is creating and documenting a strategic plan just another task, or a way to help reduce stress, free up time, focus on what we do best, align employees and stakeholders, and help our businesses run more smoothly?

    You deserve all of this. A well-documented, communicated, and managed strategic plan can help you get there.

    Before we explore the question of “Do you need a strategic plan,” full disclaimer: I love strategic planning. I find it exciting. The only thing more fun than creating and documenting a strategic plan is gaining alignment around expectations, executing it, and communicating progress.

    I am a fan because I have seen strategic plans in action—helping leaders align teams, communicate to boards of directors, and feel the satisfaction of laying out and meeting measurable goals. I have seen chaotic change turn into manageable change.

    Strategic plans provide business leaders with the structure to execute in a well-thought-out and disciplined way. But they don't do that by sitting on the shelf.

    Strategic Plan Definition: Our Common Language

    Strategic planning can mean something different to everyone. Let’s set a common definition of what we are talking about.

    There are many popular frameworks and definitions that accompany strategic plans, including EOS Vision/Traction Organizer, The One-Page Business Plan, The One-Page Plan, etc. The frameworks are similar but differ in terminology. I will do my best to describe the components in a way to cover the various terminologies, so we are speaking the same language.

    Strategic Plan Components:

    Core Values: How we should/shouldn’t behave; our beliefs
    Purpose: Why we are in business, our work each day, our picture of the future, our core focus
    Targets/3-Year Picture: Where we want to be in 3-5 years, a picture of our business, target market, planned financials and other accomplishments, our customers’ view of our uniqueness, the promises and guarantees we will fulfill  
    Goals/1-Year Plan: What we plan to do this year, annual priorities, critical numbers we will track 
    Actions/Rocks: How we do it, planned and tracked in chunks (typically quarterly) to meet annual goals
    Schedules: Who will do what by when—setting the stage for accountability management

    RELATED: 3 Simple Brain Hacks for Goal Setting and Achieving

    So, Who Really Cares About All of This?

    First, let’s consider typical stakeholders and how the strategic plan can best help them help your business. Let’s explore stakeholder groups and ideas on how the strategic plan can influence their impact. You might think of others.

    Current Employees: Our core values set expectations for how we treat each other and our customers. The 3-Year Plan and 1-Year Plan create excitement about the company’s future and help employees see why their work is so critical. Schedules directly communicate the significance of each person and the criticality of achieving commitments. The strategic plan is a critical component in new employee orientation, indicating what we expect from employees and what they can expect from others. It provides the foundation for holding people accountable and is most effective when linked directly to performance and compensation management.

    Recruits: Our core values and purpose describe our culture and the work we do. Sharing this helps potential employees better understand the organization and decide if it is a good fit for them. It helps us make the same assessment, especially when linked directly to behavioral interviewing.   

    RELATED: Employee Retention Challenges and Solutions

    Customers: When we share our core values, purpose, long-term vision of who we are, and customer promise, we set the bar for what our customers can expect from us—and what we expect from them. This helps them decide if they want to do business with us. It helps our customer service team know how to interact with customers. To better understand this impact, think of some companies you love to work with and look for strategic planning components on their websites. (You might start with Southwest Airlines and Nordstrom, then check out COSE members’ websites.)

    Advisors/Board of Directors: How do you get the most from expert advisors positioned to help with your business? You must provide the information they need to help you. Starting with your strategic plan. Get their expert input. Gain their alignment and, if needed, their approval. This will provide the foundation for what you communicate to them regarding the accomplishments and status of the business. It answers the question board members often have of, “So what?” when they hear your reports on accomplishments. It helps them evaluate business performance and provide valuable feedback.

    Those with a Financial Interest: The strategic plan helps build trust with stakeholders, including those providing financial investment and support. It is the foundation for the details we provide, from what our business does and why, to target customers, financial projections, and employee plans. It’s the glue that ties the whole business story together.

    Third Parties (Vendors, Consultants, etc.): As with our customers, our core values, purpose, long-term vision help us articulate the softer side of what we need from the third parties. It helps them understand what we expect and it also helps us decide who to work with. Not only do we want to encourage and support other businesses sharing our values, but it makes working together easier and more enjoyable.

    You – the Business Owner/Leader: You have a burning vision for what you want your company to be. You know what it looks like and you believe you and your team can make it happen. The strategic plan is how you share what’s in your heart and mind. It’s the necessary tool for everyone to see what you see and feel what you feel. It paints the picture of your future and guides the initial steps to take you on your journey.

    What’s the Answer? Do I Need It?

    Consider the answers to these questions:

    Do I need to better align my team around common culture and goals vs. individuals working on their own priorities?
    Do I need a structure to communicate with my board, gain their input, and communicate progress on agreed upon goals vs. reacting to questions and changes in direction?
    Do I need common messages to consistently communicate with customers, vendors, financial supporters vs. scrambling to effectively describe who I am and who I do business with?
    Do I want to know when I have achieved measurable goals vs. chasing moving targets?
    Do I want to manage change vs. letting chaos manage me?

    If you answered yes to any of the above, you would benefit from a documented and managed strategic plan. Other side effects typically include improved business outcomes, reduced stress, freed up time, better focus on what we do best, employee alignment, and—yes—more fun running your business!

    Watch for related upcoming articles on:

    Strategic Planning: How Do I Get Started?
    Putting the Strategic Plan to Work
    Communication Planning
    Accountability Management
    Fractional Leadership: Can a Part-Time Leader Help Your Business?

    Janet Gosche helps business leaders struggling with too many priorities by providing systems and tools to clearly define their business strategies and lead their teams to execute. Previously, Janet was a senior executive at Accenture, global practice lead at Avasant, and COO/CSO at cybersecurity firm JurInnov, where she focused on strategy, complex program management, vendor relationships, and organizational change.  janet@janetgosche.com 216-496-6658.

     
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  • Next up: The Civic Sector Role in an Inclusive Economy
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  • The Civic Sector Role in an Inclusive Economy

    Watch a recent GCP webinar about the importance of fostering equitable and inclusive economic growth throughout Greater Cleveland

    Fostering equitable and inclusive economic growth throughout Greater Cleveland is a foundational component of the work of numerous public and civic sector organizations. 

    In a recent webinar, we explored the efforts of three such agencies – the City of Cleveland, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA), and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD). Our panel discussed how each agency is actively integrating equity and inclusion into their missions, recent successes and challenges, and what opportunities lie ahead as our region prepares to emerge from the global pandemic. 

    Watch the recorded webinar below:

     

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