How to Show Your Appreciation for Veterans
– Every Day

This week, we celebrate and salute our Veterans and show appreciation for their selfless service to our country. These heroic men and women are our neighbors, our friends, our family, and our co-workers. We thank them for serving our country and protecting our freedom.

Can we do more than verbally show appreciation, though? Can we do more than type out the annual social media appreciation post on Veterans Day?

In the words of John F. Kennedy, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them.”

So, how do we take our appreciation a step further and live by our words, as JFK encouraged? We have a few ideas below to help show your gratitude to our brave Veterans who have sacrificed so much for us all.
Find Veteran Volunteer Opportunities

The US Department of Veterans Affairs offers a volunteer service locator on their website to help you find volunteer opportunities in your area. Visit www.volunteer.va.gov to see how you can help a veteran near you!

Donate to the Wounded Warrior Project

The Wounded Warrior Project is a nonprofit organization that helps Veterans and their families through a variety of programs, services, and events. You can make a one-time or a monthly donation to help wounded veterans recover and transition back into civilian life. Visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org to learn more!

Visit Veterans at a VA Facility

Find your nearest VA facility, and give them a phone call to inquire about visiting wounded Veterans. Many of the Veterans there may not often have visitors to brighten their day. A visit and a warm conversation can do wonders!

This Veterans Day, we encourage you to take action to help make a difference in the lives of Veterans. We may not know them all, but we owe them all.

Be the Place Everyone Wants to Work

What does it take to be one of the best places to work and get the attention of top talent? This is a common question that many employers ask when they want to be the workplace that attracts, retains, motivates, and engages top performers.

To follow are some standard practices spanning the full cycle of employment, from recruiting for a position to planning for your company’s future talent needs.
Staffing & Workforce Planning
  • Align your workplace with the needs, interests, and preferences of top performers.
  • Recruit talent by selecting an effective staffing solutions partner who uses strategies aligned with definitive policies for hiring only top performers and defining what characteristics, competencies, and behaviors those top performers exhibit.
  • Select top performers using a variety of effective selection processes and tactics, including trained hiring personnel and a combination of valid selection tools, measuring the success of selection decisions, and amending procedures as needed.
  • Develop an effective onboarding program and engage new-hires.
  • Plan for the future workforce by engaging in succession and workforce planning practices.
Compensation & Rewards
  • Compensate top performers competitively according to market rates and review compensation structures to maintain competitive compensation.
  • Pay for performance by offering opportunities to earn more income based on their track record.

Recognize and reward employees in a meaningful way and show appreciation using formal and informal programs to recognize top performers.

  • Provide a competitive array of health, welfare, work-life, and retirement benefits that support employee well being, work/life balance, and wellness.
Development & Training
  • Provide training opportunities and ensure that these solutions meet employees’ needs and contribute to improved job performance.
  • Develop and advance careers by providing developmental services and programs that help employees attain their career objectives.
  • Build challenging, meaningful, autonomous, and empowering job experiences for employees by using their skills and abilities to their fullest potential.
Organizational Culture
  • Be socially responsible by providing ways for employees to engage in community efforts and initiating environmentally-friendly workplace practices.
  • Effectively supervise and manage by providing supervisors with the right tools to manage their employees and their performance. Incorporate and hold to general philosophies/policies surrounding managing others in the organization.

Foster coworker relations and teamwork by building a positive and collaborative work atmosphere, providing team building and peer recognition opportunities while embracing a diverse workforce.

  • Lead with talent integrity by engaging employees through communication, support for programs, positive interaction, and accountability.
  • Celebrate success as an organization and recognize employees’ life events.
Organizational Innovation, Success, & Performance
  • Facilitate creativity and innovation by providing opportunities for ideas, suggestions, and feedback; developing informal and formal ways to promote creativity and innovation; and initiating processes/initiatives for employees to enhance products or customer experiences.

Measure and communicating organizational performance as well as customer, client, or product achievements.

In summary, create an environment where you, yourself, want to work. Hold regular one-on-one meetings with your top performers to ensure they are on track and that they have what is needed to be successful in their role.

Negotiating Tips for Your Job Offer

So—you finished the interview process and have been offered the job. Congratulations!

Now is the time to focus on your compensation package to ensure that you will be set up for professional and financial success. Are you feeling a little apprehensive at the thought of salary negotiation? That’s normal!

Studies show that many people—for various reasons—feel hesitant to negotiate their salaries.

According to salary.com, “Many experts agree most companies expect a job candidate to negotiate, so it can’t hurt to respectfully and wisely try to get a higher number.
After all, if you don’t argue your worth, who will?” So, now that you know a salary negotiation is likely expected of you, how do you proceed? We’ve got you covered with a few tips to ensure a successful negotiation process.
Determine and Prioritize Your Values

What matters to you, and what matters most? Remember to consider all the elements of your compensation package—not just the salary. Healthcare, vacation time, a retirement savings plan, signing bonuses, flexible hours, and more are on the table. Beyond that, perhaps you hope to work with a selected team, in a specific location, or with a particular technology. Whatever your desires, now is the time to decide what is most important to you.

Research Compensation Trends in Your Field
Time to do your homework! Before negotiating your salary, you absolutely have to familiarize yourself with salary trends in your industry or line of work.

What is the “going rate” for someone at your level with your amount of experience?

Is your position in high demand? Make sure to factor in your geographic location, education level, leadership experience, specific skills, and any licenses/certifications you hold.

Do a Run-Through

Prepare your talking points, then find a friend or colleague to help you with a mock negotiation. If you practice beforehand, you’ll feel more confident when the time comes to have the negotiation conversation with your potential future employer.

Make Your Case and Ask for What You Want
The big moment is here—time to put your preparation into play!

Take a deep breath; you’ve got this!

You know what you value, and you know what you deserve. You have rehearsed with a friend and now feel more confident.

When you receive your salary offer, make sure you do not immediately counter with a higher salary.

NOW is the time to explain to your potential boss why you deserve more.

Speak about your value, your qualifications, and industry compensation trends. Discuss why you feel that you would help improve the company’s bottom line. THEN, make your move and respectfully ask for a higher number. Ask for more than what you want so that you have some wiggle room when negotiating.

Remember to be flexible and know when to walk away.

Most importantly—no matter what happens—make sure to show gratitude and appreciation for the offer, the conversation, and (hopefully) the higher salary.

Good luck! We believe in you!



Keep Your Virtual Team Engaged

The remote model has been around for a while, by choice, for some business owners. But, if you’re like many, the option to have your team work remotely was not a decision you ever expected to make, and you may be seeing signs of a disconnect with your team.

While many are slowly going back to their offices on a limited basis, many company owners are making it work and may not ever choose to go back to the old “normal.” With this model, it opens up your hiring pool to recruit from anywhere, which means a distant location won’t hinder you from hiring top talent.

Your team may be productive, but how do you continue to nurture your company culture via a computer screen?

Especially when so many personalities are working together. Working under the same roof and maintaining a healthy interactive work environment can be challenging in itself. It’s now even more critical to engage with your team to ensure your business’s success while embracing your team’s diversity.

To follow are some ideas to consider to help extend your culture beyond your own four walls.

Balance the Level of Communication

Suppose you have a mix of in-person attendance, with some participants calling in remotely. Set up the protocol in advance for when it is OK for others to speak as it’s good etiquette and helps keep the meeting in order.

For instance, come up with something that allows the people on the phone to provide their input during a discussion.

If the meeting is virtual and you can see everyone, set up a system for physically raising your hand or using one of the “hand-raising” tools that come with many virtual platforms. Using this system will allow you, or a moderator, to place everyone on mute and then unmute once you call on them to communicate.

Avoid Side Bar Conversations

Sidebar conversations are one of the biggest distractions that can happen in a meeting. It is even more annoying if someone is listening on the conference line as it can drown out the voice of the person speaking. This best practice applies to virtual meetings as well. Unless it’s a meeting or event where networking is encouraged, it may be wise to disengage the ability to type in the “side chat” to ensure everyone is paying attention.

Train Your Team

Do you have a manager or other leader who effectively runs a productive and smooth meeting on your team?

Work with him/her to document and set up organized training to train everyone, and then whenever you onboard someone new or as a refresher for those that need it.

Encourage your managers to help engage with those not physically in the office. You may have several who are great at it, so take advantage of those examples and include them in the training document. These actions will help ensure a better sense of inclusion for your entire team.

Team Building Activities

Do you currently have outside activities, such as exercise or wellness programs for your employees? Even if you decide to do it virtually, many interactive programs allow you to build teams to participate as a group. If you have employees worldwide, this activity is a great way to engage in a non-threatening community.

Virtual Water Cooler

Some of the best conversations happen around the water cooler.

Help keep your culture thriving by bringing it online and setting up an internal intranet where everyone can share the personal side of themselves, such as their pets, shows they’re binge-watching, and what they did over the weekend. Some platforms can help you do this for free or for a nominal subscription.

Happy Birthday to You

Seeing everyone in person is so much more fun when the big day rolls around, but if you’re creative, you can still give your employee that lift by sending a gift card or singing happy birthday virtually as a group.

Face-to-Face is Invaluable

When possible, if you cannot hold in-person meetings, have even informal conversations via video to nurture the relationships and allow others to see body language.

This option will enable you to know that the other person(s) is genuinely engaged. By doing this, you empower your employees to interact and feel more like a part of your team.

There are many ways you can keep your employees happy with a sense of commitment to your company by making an effort to show you care. It may not always run smoothly, but they’ll appreciate the attention you place on creating a culture that builds balance and trust.


Volunteering with a Purpose

If you have ever been involved in volunteer work, you know how intrinsically rewarding it can be to make a difference in the lives of others.

Employee-sponsored volunteer events are becoming more common and with good reason.

According to a study done by United Healthcare, employees who volunteer report a multitude of benefits, including stronger bonds with coworkers, improved people/teamwork skills, and an overall increase in both happiness and self-esteem.

For these very reasons, you may have considered furthering your volunteerism and making it a more regular part of your life. Not sure where to start? We have some pointers for you to help you get involved with your community in a lasting capacity.
Research Your Options

Researching is the first step to finding volunteer opportunities. Try using a volunteer database, such as volunteermatch.org, to find opportunities near you. If you’re local, check out volunteermckinney.org! Sites like these will help you learn and understand your community’s needs as you search for a cause that speaks to your heart.

Consider Your Skills
Can your professional skill set assist others in need? You’d be surprised! Many organizations need skilled and experienced help with a variety of projects.

According to Catchafire, a skill-based volunteer matching service, “Nonprofits provide critical support for their communities, but limited budgets can block them from hiring the expert talent they need to operate most effectively. Skills-based volunteering can bridge that gap.”

Could you be the person to bridge that gap for a nonprofit? Use your talents for good while broadening your experience—and furthering your resume as an added bonus.

Reach Out to a Local Organization

Select an organization from your research to contact. You can also consider connecting with a local church or school district to learn about ways you can either help them directly or participate in their efforts to help others.

Now, pick up the phone! Send that email! You will be glad you did.

In the words of the inspirational Mahatma Gandhi, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”


Cybersecurity in the Workplace

Managing cybersecurity has always been essential and sometimes confusing. Still, when you introduce the fact that much of the workplace is now functioning remotely, it becomes a little more mysterious and can be very frustrating. You may have the infrastructure in place at the office, but what about your employees working from home who face WiFi challenges, which reduces the effectiveness of any antivirus software they may be using?

Show a Little Kindness

Mohammed – “thank you. I hope that others show a fraction of the human kindness and understanding that you have shown me today.”