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The 360 Review Process – An Inside Look at an HR Company’s Implementation

The 360 Review Process - An Inside Look at an HR Company's Implementation

Deciding which performance review process to implement at your organization can often be a daunting task. There are so many elements to consider, and one assessment process will be perfect for one company and a complete disaster for another. At 4 Point Consulting, after careful consideration, we decided to implement the 360-degree review process for our team this year.

Which performance review process is best for your team?

As an HR consulting organization, we approached the process with what some might call extremely tedious rigor, or as we call it “due diligence.” With all the potential pitfalls of 360s in mind, our team knew that in order to successfully implement the process, careful steps must be taken to ensure our whole team was on board, educated in the process, and fully participating. First, each member of the team was assigned reading “homework” to learn about the 360 process from all angles — the good, the bad, and the complicated. We then split into groups and assigned each role’s core competencies on which they’d be measured by their peers (competencies are employee behaviors, skills or attributes that contribute to the success of an organization). With all this due diligence and team involvement, we still weren’t ready to jump into the actual review process quite yet. To truly ensure that the whole team was near expert-level on the process (which, to be clear, is a step that isn’t necessary for any other type of organization), our groups wrote presentations on different aspects of the 360 review process and delivered them to the rest of the team to ensure a truly well-rounded and fully-involved and knowledgeable process once we began. We also had a separate team that was tasked solely with researching the myriad of options for implementing the process (we ultimately decided on a simple document designed in Google Forms).

360 reviews can “change lives,” according to the Harvard Business Review

Was our process a success? Overwhelmingly, it seems most of us agree that indeed, it was. We were each reviewed by several of our peers and project managers — truly receiving the “sideways and upwards” feedback intended with this process, and each of us walked away from our reviews with a thoroughly holistic idea of our performance.

I sat down with a few 4 Point Consulting team members, CEO and Principal Consultant Christy Hopkins, Associate Principal and Project Manager Kathryn Gongaware, and Associate Consultant Steve Discont, to get a holistic view of our process.

“I thought that utilizing different groups to cross reference everyone’s work and build off the competency creation was great. It was a very hands on approach and I think from the start helped cultivate that feeling that every person’s contributions and feedback is valuable.”  – Heather Paterson, Talent Project Coordinator

In retrospect, is there something that was learned through the process that you think we should do differently next time?

CEO: I learned that I should’ve prepared the leadership/management team, who were all SUPER in support of implementing 360s, that they would be hardest hit by some of the feedback. I also learned that my entire team is BRILLIANT (I already knew this, but the presentations were AMAZING). I love the review process now and I’m genuinely excited for the next time we do this.

Project Manager: I think one missed opportunity was that we could’ve used the process as a chance to get feedback from the whole team on the company as a whole. In the future, we’ll have to make sure to include engagement or general company feedback questions to give employees the opportunity to share their thoughts on the company as a whole and embrace that opportunity for us as leaders to really learn what the whole team truly feels about the organization and how we can improve.

Associate Consultant: For us, I think extending the length of the time intended between inception, launch, and completion would have helped us, in hindsight. I think that the 360 feedback process is a very valuable tool for development and understanding an individual’s performance. Establishing a 360 process method, developing processes, training team members on the process, collecting feedback, and processing and disseminating results takes time, and I feel that although we did this about 1.5-2.0 months, I think we were extremely ambitious. I think this is especially true as I know that a number of us had challenges thinking about the areas of strength and the areas of development that our fellow peers might have, as we had not been proactively looking for them or keeping track of them over the previous 6 months. I think now as a team will be more prepared for the next set of performance evaluations now that we know the process and what is recommended for giving effective feedback.

What were some memorable moments from the 360 review process — either from creation, implementing, or writing your own reviews?

CEO: One thing that was really interesting to me was how challenging it was for me to stay hands off and just TRUST my team to get to where they needed to be. But as I mentioned, I learned that my team is brilliant and I can trust them to accomplish anything.

Project Manager: As someone who helped on the software research side of things, I will say — if an organization has the time and resources to conduct similar research, it’s worth it to figure out which software would work the best for your organization, based on company size and your budget. Another thing to note is that no one was shocked when they left their review. This is how it should be. Just because you’re implementing 360s, that doesn’t mean you should do away with giving your team regular, constructive feedback.  

Associate Consultant: A particularly memorable moment was the experience of sitting there and actively working to write constructive feedback for the development for my colleagues and of management. I think that it can be easy to point out the chinks in other people’s armor, and point at how they trip and fall. It’s much more challenging to actively consider how to phrase things so a person can see the areas they need to improve in a non-judgmental way, and provide suggestions on how they can continue to grow. I found myself having to take my time and restructure and re-frame my thoughts for the betterment of my fellow 4Pointers. Heck, I think this applies for me too, since I was put in a position where I had to critically evaluate my own performance on the competencies established for my role, and think about how I could improve in each of the respective competencies.

Any final thoughts or words of wisdom?

CEO: As a company leader, it’s so important to create an open dialogue with your employees and really build trust both ways. We decided to have a feedback forum before we started the 360 process, and it was really helpful to hear everyone’s thoughts, concerns, and suggestions before we began. I recommend doing this early and often when a new system or process is implemented in the workplace. This way you can really take in the feedback and respond to it, make any minor changes necessary, and truly show your team that their input is valued and appreciated.

Associate Consultant: I think the 360 Feedback process is an extremely valuable one, but can be a potentially expensive one. For companies the size of ours, and with roles with such complexities as ours, the 360 process is worthwhile. There are some roles in companies where it may not be nearly as beneficial to the employee (e.g., maintenance staff, tier 1 customer service staff). It can also be a time-consuming process, depending on the number of reviews a person is asked to perform. This, added up across all the people performing ratings, can account for a notable number of work hours. It’s important for a company and its leadership to actively consider the benefits that they are looking to gain from implementing a 360 feedback system versus the potential drawbacks of doing so.

Project Manager: Whatever review process you choose for your organization, make sure you’re still giving consistent recognition and feedback. We like to use our internal “Shoutouts” Slack channel for peer recognition of a teammate’s performance or a job well done. The more positive you can make that, the better. Encourage your team to shine light on their peers that are performing well or that have done something worth mentioning to the rest of the company.


Need some assistance with your organization’s performance review process? Send us a message for help choosing a method, process design or implementation, or for an hourly-rate consultation with one of our friendly and trusted HR gurus.

4 Point Consulting is a boutique HR Consulting and Talent Acquisition firm, specializing in small business and high-growth startups, as well as VC and PE firms. Our services range from full-time talent acquisition and complete benefits systems creation to employer brand enhancement and HRIS implementation — and everything in between.

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10 Effective Ways to Train a New Employee

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Training a new employee the right way matters in many more ways than just having them start to be productive. The costs of not training your employees can add up quickly; from poor morale to lack of production to employee turnover, not setting up your new employee (or newly promoted employee) for success has consequences.

You also will want to consider the costs and the time required to train your new employee. You will want your new employee to track their training time (and what tasks they spent what amount of time learning), as well as you will want to know how many hours it took away from a manager or team to train the new person. This kind of training data will be invaluable to you in order to grow your business, increase your employees’ production, and improve employee retention from continually improving your training programs.

We will discuss the following 10 ways to train a new employee:

  • Way #1: On the Job Training (aka OJT)
  • Way #2: Mentoring Program
  • Way #3: Employee Coaching
  • Way #4: Culture Training
  • Way #5: Job Shadowing
  • Way #6: Webinars & Online Resources
  • Way #7: Mobile Training Apps
  • Way #8: Third Party Training
  • Way #9: Gamification
  • Way #10: Use Social Media

Before we start, let’s also talk about the various ways and the commitment and amount of time they take in an easy table:

Let’s start with the most important way to train the vast majority of employees, from a waiter to a real estate agent to a lawyer:

Way #1: On The Job Training (OJT)

What It Is: OJT is a hands-on method of learning that uses existing equipment, tools, and resources to teach job specific duties and competencies. Training takes place within the job environment so that the employee can learn by seeing how the work is performed. This is especially important for roles that clock in and clock out; one of the first OJT training duties should be teaching your new employee how to clock in and clock out effectively and in alignment with company policy using your OnTheClock system. After all, this small function is where businesses lose thousands… to millions… of dollars!

Why It Works: OJT is considered to be one of the most effective training options because it is normally performed internally by those who already understand the job and the company’s values. It’s like having a real life training manual, where the current employee can also teach the new employee the idiosyncrasies of policies and systems, as well as caution them about company policies. On the other side, it is also time consuming and requires an actual person to be training the trainee.

How You Can Try It: Let’s take a quick look at how OJT works. A retail store cashier is an excellent example of a role where OJT is very relevant. Let’s take a step by step approach at Sam’s Hardware Shop and how OJT might be used for “New Hire Nelly” with long time “Employee Eric”.

Step 1: Nelly comes in for work on her first day. Eric is assigned to be her trainer (or sometimes, companies call this a “buddy” to promote camaraderie). Eric greets Nelly when she arrives and, once she fills out her paperwork (i.e. tax forms, etc… which Eric might do, or someone from HR might do), Eric brings Nelly onto the floor.

Step 2: Eric walks Nelly through a typical start of the day, where he shows her how to clock in, and shows her how to do it (as well as she should do it so she can be paid for today!).

Step 3: Eric then shows Nelly where his register is and starts the day. He counts down the drawer and ensures that it matches the night prior’s totals, and then asks her to try it.

Step 4: Eric then opens his register and lets Nelly watch him take care of actual transactions and customers while she takes notes. This should go on for an hour or two. Then, Eric could let Nelly try to do some transactions while he watches and provides feedback.

Step 5: Eric should then debrief with Nelly at the end of her day, help answer any questions, and help her to clock out.

The steps should then repeat until Nelly starts to be able to do all of the actions on her own. As Nelly becomes more functional, Eric’s time with her will decrease, likely each day, and eventually will likely be only for unique questions like a price check or a rebate.

Next, let’s look at mentoring, which can be a large component of On The Job Training.

Way #2: Mentoring Program

What It Is: Mentoring is a form of training that involves pairing a senior, experienced employee with a new, less experienced employee in order for the new hire to adapt quickly to their role. It is very similar to OJT, but usually takes the relationship to the next level (i.e. think of a senior level attorney being paired with a junior associate).

Tip: You might want to consider using a specific amount of mentoring each week, or even each month, for team members to get the most out of this time. 

Why It Works: Establishing a mentor relationship has been shown to enhance the speed that a new employee learns their new role and adapts to company culture because of the one on one interaction. It also has numerous other positive benefits such as increased positivity at the workplace and higher retention rates because it builds both social and professional bonds.

How You Can Try It: No need to reinvent the wheel: some of the top Fortune 500 companies and successful small businesses implement great mentoring programs. Here are a few of their stories:

General Electric

  • Newly hired graduates go into their Experienced Commercial Leadership Program where they will complete 8 months rotating within areas of their particular business.

Google

  • For the past 9 years, Google has offered a global program featuring stipends for student developers. Summer of Code pairs students with mentors to gain real-world software development experience and has boasted over 8,500 successful participants.

4 Point Consulting

  • 4 Point Consulting offers its associates and staff consultants the opportunity to trade ideas, request trainings and learn from senior management with monthly “Coffee n Convo” hours, dedicated entirely to the development of its employees. Group mentorship allows for camaraderie and the building of essential communication skills.

Caterpillar

  • Caterpillar devotes the first 2-3 years of a college graduate’s employment to professional development by implementing a rotation program wherein the new hire can gain exposure to all aspects of the business, from building basic technical skills to engaging with senior management.

Mentoring in a less formal sense, and when usually done by the direct manager of a new employee, is usually called:

Way #3: Employee Coaching

What It Is: Coaching is used to provide guidance to employees so they can work through challenges and strengthen their skills. Coaching is also usually somewhat less formal than mentoring, and can take less time (and thus cost less money, inhibit employee production less) than mentoring. However, both can have value when some structure is in place around them, and employee coaching can be formally structured (for example, in a weekly 1 on 1 with an employee’s manager).

Why It Works: Coaching is effective because it empowers employees to take their training into their own hands and encourages high performance in a setting and pace that helps personal and professional development. It also can serve as the basis for performance management and documentation of performance, which can be important in promotional and termination decisions, as well as in performance reviews.

How You Can Try It: This method can be effective when you have an employee who could benefit from performance improvement because it helps guide them towards solving problems and improving skills. It can also be great for management or senior employees to consult a business coach who can help provide guidance, focus, goal-setting, accountability, personal development, and business profitability.

Way #4: Culture Training

What It Is: Company Culture is the personality of an organization and it describes what values and goals a company has. Training new employees on company culture is equally important as training for skills because it puts emphasis on being part of the team.

Why It Works: Studies show that employees who are in alignment with their company’s culture and mission are more dedicated to the success of the organization. Teaching your company’s culture and values can also drastically reduce the chances employees will inadvertently engage in discrimination or harassment. It also promotes increased communication and promotes positivity. Howard Stevenson, of Harvard Business School faculty, notes: “Maintaining an effective culture is so important that it, in fact, trumps even strategy.”

How You Can Try It: You can start by creating a list of core values for your company, decide what characteristics new hires will have to be successful in your culture, and continue ongoing training with existing employees. Perhaps employees can contribute to or vote on your list of values, if they are not already stated. If your mission, culture and values exist, make sure you’re living by them. Post your values where team members can regularly see them. Hold your management team and yourself accountable to fulfilling those values daily. If your organization has grown, pivoted, or has experienced a change in its strategy or goals, consider whether the values you put in place at the outset still ring true today. In order for culture and values to work, they have to be felt, so they have to be unique and applicable to your company and employees, specifically.

Next, similar to On The Job Training, there is job shadowing.

Way #5: Job Shadowing

What It Is: Job shadowing involves a new hire working directly with an employee to become immersed in the day by day requirements of the job. In fact, some people even use job shadowing as a part of the recruitment

Why It Works: This method works well because it allows new hires to see the nitty gritty details in real time, without having to figure it out along the way. Simply telling a new employee what to do is not as successful as showing them one on one.

How You Can Try It: Job shadowing works best for jobs that require a lot of detail or those that are heavily task-based. Even if the role would not benefit from solely job shadowing, most roles have some aspects that are well suited to this type of training. In some cases, it can be essential, such as for internships or promotions.

A great example in general is the food and beverage industry. It is fairly unique in its job shadowing (“stage”) concept. But allowing potential (or new) employees to immediately receive the opportunity to work hands-on, side-by-side with more tenured teammates for a whole day can give them a real glimpse into on-the-job realities and skills necessary. One of 4 Point Consulting’s clients, Hu Kitchen in NYC, actually does job shadowing (a “trail” they call it) in their recruitment process for all restaurant roles to make sure that their top candidates understand exactly what their new job would be.

Way #6: Webinars and Online Resources

What It Is: Webinars and Online Resources are both virtual training sessions, with the former being a live presentation, and the latter being pre-made virtual training materials that can be accessed at any time.

Why It Works: This method is extremely cost-effective and convenient, especially if you have employees in different locations. You can take away cost for commuting, venues, and food by utilizing online training. It can also increase employee engagement because people are less likely to be shy about asking questions online. It can also be useful to have resources available for later times because it allows employees to access online information around their busy schedules.

How You Can Try It: For effective execution, start by breaking down material into intuitive sections, incorporate lots of visuals and interactive media, take time to answer questions and encourage collaboration, and set aside time at the end for participant quizzes and feedback.

4 Point Consulting finds success in such trainings from new-hire on-boarding material to systems implementation by leading with agendas, keeping material strictly to the point, and leaving apt time for Q&A at the end of the webinar (so that participants can avoid disruptions and stay on mute throughout the training!). One 4 Point client, SAFEbuilt, was rolling out a new HRIS system in 2018. 4 Point Consulting hosted live webinars (which were also recorded) for employees to attend to learn functionality of the system in real time. We also held webinar Q&A sessions on a daily basis to make sure people felt heard and understood in a smaller group setting. It worked wonders and, better yet, people retained what they learned!

In a similar way, mobile training apps take the webinar concept to the mobile level.

Way #7: Mobile Training Apps

What It Is: Mobile apps designed specifically to provide training sessions and materials straight to an employee’s phone.

Why It Works: Millennials are a lot different from previous generations because they were raised on technology and the workforce in general has become more on the go and remote than ever before. Mobile learning allows employees to learn wherever or whenever and it can be delivered in smaller, more manageable-sized chunks.

How You Can Try It: Find an app service that works for your business, often apps will work with other HR software. Have your new hires gain access even before they begin their first day so that all necessary paperwork is completed in advance and energy levels are kept high from the very beginning. For some app recommendations, visit this article from SHRM.

Way #8: Third Party Training

What It Is: Using outside sources, such as vendors, to provide training to your internal employees.

Why It Works: This method is great when a company may not have the resources to efficiently train new hires or when specialized training is required such as OSHA (Occupational Health & Safety) and you do not have qualified team members available to teach. Other options are using vendor training for any software or apps you use. This can also be useful for training that happens to prevent liability to an employer, such as Diversity & Inclusion training, Sexual Harassment training, HIPPA training, or the like.

How You Can Try It: Determine the needs of your business and decide if it will be more efficient and cost-effective to outsource training.

Need help figuring out your training strategy or don’t have enough time to write your new policies out? Training & development is one of our core practice areas! Get in touch to find more about our hourly HR consulting services.

Way #9: Gamification

What It Is: This new buzzword involved turning training into something fun like a game where people are motivated to succeed through incentivizing the process with rewards.

Why It Works: It promotes friendly competition, gives a sense of achievement to participants, and engages and motivates learners to make behavioural changes.

How You Can Try It: Modify your existing training materials to include a gaming element such as changing format to be levels with winning one level being mandatory before reaching the next step. You can also include an awards system to motivate employees to succeed. More suggestions for implementing gamification techniques can be found here.

Doug Kirkpatrick, of Beyond Empowerment: The The Age of the Self-Managed Organization found that with his project, Morningstar, in which he was instructed to create a state of the art manufacturing plant for tomatoes, he was able to organize the team with a simple scorecard. The gaming element created collaboration, harmony and prosperity for the project: Morningstar produced 90 million pounds of tomato paste for the world market, changing the course of the industry.

Way #10: Use Social Media

What It Is: Using Social Media for training can be a great, easy way to share training materials with your employees because it is easily accessible.

Why It Works: It engages employees on platforms they are already familiar with and active on.

How You Can Try It: Try creating YouTube training videos to share with your new hires. You can also create a private Facebook group where employees can exchange information and materials directly with one another. Another great resource is an instant-messaging service, like Slack, that can be used amongst employees for easy collaboration and sharing.

In conclusion…

Investing in training for new employees helps attract AND retain great talent. Taking the time to coach a team member into the role demonstrates your organization’s commitment to their personal development, endearing them to the company in return.

Spending time with employees in training programs can help managers identify strengths and areas of development right off the bat, ensuring that each new hire can add their specific value to your company. Effective training programs improve overall employee engagement and translate into savings: employees with diversified skills can transition to projects, clients and varied workloads throughout the organization.

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Unlimited PTO: The Ultimate Guide

unlimited-paid-time-off

Paid time off, or PTO, can be the biggest headache for a small business owner. Tracking it, coordinating work schedules, and forget it about holiday time. Many business owners are now balking the traditional accrual or bucket PTO systems in favor of an unlimited PTO system that, ideally, will relieve them of these headaches of counting. But is unlimited PTO, also known as open PTO or flexible time off (FTO), more trouble?

In this article, we will explore:

  • What is Unlimited PTO
  • Sample Unlimited PTO Policy
  • How to Roll Out Unlimited PTO
  • What are the Pros & Cons of Unlimited PTO
  • What are the Federal Laws around Unlimited PTO
  • What are the State Laws about Unlimited PTO
  • Case Studies

So, your first question might be, “Does unlimited PTO really mean unlimited? Like as much as they want?”

Please note that unlimited PTO policies are usually only used in salaried situations where payroll and staffing needs are more stable and predictable (versus an hourly situation like a clothing store or daycare where a certain number of employees are required to make sure work goes on).

What is Unlimited PTO

Yes, “unlimited” technically means unlimited PTO, or an open vacation policy, where employees can take as many days off as they choose to or need to. Unlimited PTO is becoming increasingly popular as companies grow weary of tracking days, tracking accruals, answering requests from employees to go over (or be paid out for extra)… many business owners look at the research and case studies and decide to see what will happen. Unlimited PTO is also a very trendy recruiting tool in today’s ever competitive talent market, and it is a way for companies to differentiate themselves to millennials and Gen Z, who are increasingly picky about their benefit expectations.

However, companies usually put parameters around the “unlimitedness” of the policy in order to protect themselves (as they should), especially if they are in a state where PTO is paid out upon term or layoff. An unlimited PTO policy should also still come with guidelines on how to request time off (i.e. anything more than 16 hours or 2 days of PTO consecutively should be requested off at least 4 weeks ahead of time), and each policy should also still come with a caveat that an employer can reject a PTO request due to workload or other employees’ already having requested off.

Let’s look at a sample unlimited paid time off policy.

Sample Unlimited PTO Policy

Need help writing a time off policy or making sure yours is compliant? Get in touch

Unlimited Paid Time Off Policy

Unlike many employers with formal paid vacation, personal and paid sick-time policies, the Company has no formal policy regarding the amount of time that its salaried employees can take during a year for their absences from work. As a result, employees do not accrue vacation pay or other paid time off and this is considered an unlimited paid time off policy.

Included within the Company’s unlimited paid time off policy are paid sick days. Requests to use sick days should follow the procedure stated below. Since these days are included within this policy, they do not roll over or accrue. Please note that, even with the Chicago and California sick leave laws, if a company has an unlimited PTO policy they do not have to enact a separate paid sick leave policy. Thus, the Company does not have a separate sick leave policy.

However, attendance may be required at certain times and time off grants are still at the discretion of the Company. To request time off from work, written notice to your direct supervisor is required (email suffices as written notice). For planned PTO, such as a vacation or other known event like a wedding, advance notice of 4 weeks is recommended to ensure that PTO is likely to be approved. For unplanned instances, such as an illness or bereavement leave, notification on the day of by 8 am CST is best practice, or as soon as possible.

No single absence will be paid for more than 15 consecutive days without approval from the CEO. Paid time off for all eligible employees must be recorded in the appropriate time/attendance system.

Should your PTO request exceed 15 consecutive business days, please contact the CEO & your manager to ensure proper procedures and documentation are followed. Examples of this may include:

  • the birth and care of the newborn child of an employee;
  • placement with a child for adoption or foster care;
  • to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or
  • to take medical leave when unable to work because of a serious health condition.

Please see the individual policies on these topics for more information.

Paid Leave for salaried employees may not be used as a means to extend other types of

leave, such as FMLA, Parental, Short- or Long Term Disability, leaves required by state law, and other extended leave situations.

The Company expects all employees to maintain the high caliber of performance expected of all employees. Therefore, if performance declines because of use or abuse of the PTO policy, the Company reserves the right to review an employee’s use of PTO and take disciplinary action if necessary, up to and including termination of employment.

While employees may take time off subject to work demands and management’s discretion, they do not accrue any vacation time for purposes of payout at termination and/or payment during leaves of absence.

How to Roll Out Unlimited PTO

For this section, we will focus on HOW to actually enact an unlimited PTO policy at a high level. We will focus on the before/ composition of the policy, tips for how to roll it out, and what to do after it takes effect. Please note this isn’t a comprehensive step-by-step guide to rolling out a policy, but a rough guideline.

Let’s start from the beginning — the “before” phase.

Before You Roll Out Unlimited PTO

First and foremost, unlimited PTO requires planning. Whether you are an organization of 100 people and have an HR manager, or a small business owner doing it on your own, you need to carefully evaluate and be able to answer and consider the below questions:

  • Question 1: What would you do with the current PTO employees have accrued? How do you want to handle the people who have been “saving” up time?
      • This is a huge question- especially depending on which state your business resides in (see below table). The main questions your management and employee base will have are going to revolve around what happens to the time they have saved up. You will want to make sure you have a clear answer to this question, as well as a clear answer to how much it might cost you, before creating your unlimited PTO policy.

Our top 3 suggestions:

                • Cut checks to employees for remaining time off.
                • Give employees a reasonable period to use the accrued vacation time before the new policy takes effect.
                • Track the accrued time separately from the newly implemented vacation policy and pay the accrued balance to the employee upon termination of employment.
  • Question 2: What is the current procedure for requesting time off and how much notice in advance is required?
        • You’ll then want to consider if this still works with an unlimited policy. If you have a loosey-goosey “just text me” policy right now, you will likely want to implement more of a standard request. This could also lead to the next point:
  • Question 3: How will you track the unlimited PTO to prevent abuse and to instill trust?
        • If you were going by emails and a sloppy Excel before, you will want to consider implementing an HRIS like BambooHR or Zenefits to help you to track paid time off and keep people honest.
        • You will also want 1 or 2 “point people” to be in charge of tracking this. People will have a lot of questions and 1 person who can administer this function will be useful to make sure the policy is working.

Other questions to consider:

  • Why does unlimited PTO make sense? Can you link this new policy to your mission, vision, and values? This will be important to get your top people on board, and also when you are explaining it to the entire employee base.
  • Have you done the math? What will it cost the company to execute this policy in comparison to prior years of paid time off?
  • What are your concerns with this new policy? Listing these out for discussion with your senior people can help to show that you are carefully considering this new policy, and the team might have solutions for your concerns, which will build even more trust.

Now that you’ve answered these questions, you’ll need to create the actual policy. Use the above policy as a free template, or get in touch with our expert HR team if you’d like some customized help.

Tips for a Successful Unlimited PTO Rollout

Now that you have an actual policy, you need to roll it out. How have you rolled out policies in the past? You will want to make sure that this is organized and has clear dates for when it starts and the requirements around it. You may even consider making a 1 sheeter for each employee that states their current PTO balance, how it will be taken care of (i.e. date it needs to be used by or payout date), and a copy of the new policy.

Furthermore, in order for an unlimited PTO policy to work for your business, MammothHR suggests some tips for success:

  1. Try using a different term other than “Unlimited PTO” such as, “Personalized PTO”, “Flexible PTO”, “Self-Managed PTO”, or “Responsible PTO” to better reflect the policy.
  2. Incorporate the policy into your company’s mission, vision and company values.
  3. Emphasize the policy is a two-way street by letting employees know their personal time is valued, but they are also expected to live up to expectations and performance should not suffer.
  4. Provide clear PTO guidelines to minimize probability of a request denial (i.e. how to and the timeline for requesting PTO, as well as the right to reject it if works requires)

We would also add here that the training and communications to staff and management is KEY to the rollout of an unlimited PTO policy. Consider having several training sessions with open Q&A, as well as creating documents people can hang onto such as the policy itself, FAQs, and best practices for both employees and managers.

After the Policy is in Effect

Schedule feedback sessions for leadership for 90 days after the policy is in effect. You will want to compare days off in the prior years to this first 90 day period. It is highly likely that it will be similar or even less; however, this kind of data will be invaluable to assuage fears in leaders (and to nip abuse of the policy in the bud).

Let’s look at unlimited PTO’s potential pros and cons next.

What are the Pros & Cons of Unlimited PTO?

As with any policy, you’ll want to look at your company culture, your employee base, and assess the pros and cons of how it would impact your business operations, team, management, and bottom line prior to rolling it out. Remember, unlimited PTO is traditionally used in salaried, full time employee environments like law firms or consulting firms, versus hourly businesses where a certain volume of workers is required (i.e. a restaurant or daycare).

Let’s discuss the pros of unlimited PTO first.

Pros of Unlimited Paid Time Off

While the pros of this policy might make many business owners and HR managers nervous, the reality is that the pros and cons easily overlap with unlimited PTO. A lot of it depends on company culture and the implementation of the policy itself. For example, the pro that employees are more likely to feel valued could easily turn if the managers hold it against employees who actually take time off (“You’re asking for PTO again, Megan? Didn’t you just have a week off last month?”.

As you read through the following list of pros, notice how they parallel the cons list below it:

  • Employee happiness increases with unlimited PTO
  • Easier to attract and maintain top talent, aka makes hiring easier!
  • Company appears to be more modern, pro-employee and with changing times
  • Financial benefits to the employer include less administrative costs and sometimes even less paid time off paid out/ taken as a whole
  • Employees are more likely to feel valued by their employer
  • Sick employees are more likely to stay home and take sick days, which leads to less “everyone in marketing has the flu” issues
  • Unlimited PTO has proven to enhance morale, productivity, and employee health
  • Allows employees to balance personal/work life, which is a highly valued benefits for many Gen Z and millennial employees

Let’s now explore the downside of an unlimited PTO policy.

Cons of Unlimited Paid Time Off

Most of the cons list revolve around company culture and the implementation of the unlimited PTO policy. For example, if the policy is rolled out with little thought, managers or company leaders may be afraid of the downside (think of your VP of Sales being terrified that s/he won’t meet their quota because of Account Executives taking time off). Making sure to use data, and connecting WHY the policy is occuring, is absolutely crucial to the below cons being avoided.

Unlimited PTO can have the negative side effects of:

  • Requiring a lot of trust between employer and employee (hint: think about when you should roll this out!)
  • Risk of abuse from employees (even though data shows this is unlikely)
  • Risk of employee burnout (if they are fearful to use it or use less time off than before)
  • Transition to an unlimited PTO policy can be problematic, especially if employees have unused PTO time from the previous policy
  • Can place strain on a business is everyone wants the same time off (hint: you can mitigate this with the wording in your policy and with some simple planning!)

Aside from pros and cons, each employer should carefully review the laws around paid time off, and unlimited paid time off, prior to implementation.

What are the Federal Laws around Unlimited PTO

In the United States, paid time off has very little regulation. By FEDERAL law, as an employer, you have no obligation to give any vacation, holiday, or sick paid leave, regardless of size. The only regulation is around FMLA, the Family Medical Leave Act, for employers of 50+ full time employees (or the equivalent thereof). This law states that someone with an FMLA-approved cause can have a certain amount of unpaid time off depending on their situation and their job is protected.

State laws, on the other hand, have a lot to say about paid time off, both vacation and sick time.

What are the State Laws about Unlimited PTO

Below we have a comprehensive state table on if you were to enact an unlimited PTO policy and what you should be aware of.

However, you should also note that there are several states and cities with paid sick time policies (if you are in one of these, you should already be aware!). However, unlimited PTO can easily cover the sick time law in your city or state as long as you include wording of such in your policy (see example above).

Need help making sure your policy is compliant? Send us a message to ask about our hourly, contract-free HR consulting services.

Unlimited PTO Policy by State

State PTO Payout Policy Unlimited PTO Policy
Alabama Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Alaska Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Arizona Not required Employers can create their own policy if they choose to
Arkansas Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
California Required to pay all accrued vacation PTO Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Colorado Required to pay all accrued vacation PTO Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Connecticut Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Delaware Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Florida Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Georgia Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Hawaii Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Idaho Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Illinois Required to pay all accrued vacation PTO Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Indiana Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Iowa Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Kansas Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Kentucky Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Louisiana Required to pay all accrued vacation PTO Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Maine Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Maryland Required only if outlined in policy or if policy is silent on the issue Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Massachusetts Required to pay all accrued vacation PTO Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Michigan Required only if outlined in policy or if policy is silent on the issue Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Minnesota Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Mississippi Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Missouri Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Montana Required to pay all accrued vacation PTO Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure, any previous vacation accrual must be paid out
Nebraska Required to pay all accrued vacation PTO Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure, any previous vacation accrual must be paid out
Nevada Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
New Hampshire Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
New Jersey Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
New Mexico Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
New York Required only if outlined in policy or if policy is silent on the issue Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
North Carolina Required only if outlined in policy or if policy is silent on the issue Any vacation policy MUST be outlined in detail, unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
North Dakota Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure; all paid leave is considered vacation unless otherwise stated
Ohio Required only if outlined in policy or if policy is silent on the issue Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Oklahoma Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Oregon Required only if outlined in policy or if policy is silent on the issue Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Pennsylvania Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Rhode Island Required as long as employee has completed at least one year of service Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
South Carolina Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
South Dakota Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Tennessee Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Texas Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Utah Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Vermont Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Virginia Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Washington Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
West Virginia Required only if outlined in policy or if policy is silent on the issue Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Wisconsin Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Wyoming Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure

 

Unlimited PTO Case Studies

So what does unlimited PTO look like? While there is a lot of anecdotal evidence out there, we thought we would include 2 case studies here (if that’s your thing!).

CASE STUDY #1

Kronos Case Study

Kronos began implementing an Unlimited Vacation Policy in 2016 using a system called myTime. The roll-out of this new system was not easy and involved educating all employees on the process.The CEO of Kronos believes the old way of giving time off is outdated, especially with today’s technology many employees do not stop working when they leave the office. Employers need to focus on results over office time in order for this kind of system to work effectively.

The implementation of unlimited PTO gave Kronos a huge financial savings that they used to provide additional benefits such as increased maternity and parental leave, increased 401k matching, and tuition reimbursements. One of the big complaints from employees about unlimited PTO is that it is only implemented to help the company’s bottom line by avoiding PTO payout to employees. This was Kronos’ way of showing employees that their goal is to better the workplace, not for their own financial benefit.

Another concern about unlimited PTO is that employees will take advantage of time off or be fearful of taking too much time off with repercussions. Kronos found that employees on average took fewer days than their entitlement allowed under the old policy, and with the new unlimited PTO policy employees took only 2.65 extra days on average.

While this new policy wasn’t greeted with 100% positivity by employees, Kronos saw an increase in employee engagement and a decrease in voluntary turnover as a result of unlimited PTO. Ultimately, it may not work for every company, but it has a good chance of working as long as there is a trusting employee/employer relationship.

CASE STUDY #2

MammothHR – Small Business Case Study

MammothHR implemented a successful unlimited PTO policy. It started with a one year trial, brought on by the fact MammothHR is a small business that wants to have a vacation policy that encourages trust and allows for less red tape when taking time off.

By the end of the year trial period, unlimited PTO became the #3 most valued company benefit among employees behind health benefits and 401k. The overwhelming positive feedback over this new policy oddly had no effect on the actual number of days employees took off. It stayed roughly the same, an average of three weeks per year.

MammothHR discovered it wasn’t the time off that created the difference, but the flexibility that employees truly valued. It gave employees the ability to freely live their lives outside of work, knowing they didn’t have to stick to a rigid PTO policy. It also put trust in employees, giving them the autonomy to get their work done in the way that best suits their lifestyle.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that unlimited PTO can be an edgy, awesome and exciting benefit to offer for a business, but the caveat is that it requires more planning and rollout time than a normal “you get 15 days” policy.

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How To Support Your Employees’ Resolutions

Employees talking about their resolutions around a table

New Year’s resolutions aren’t always easy to follow, but the healthier your team is, the more productive, engaged, and positive they’ll be. Full-time employees spend nearly a quarter of their lives at work, so why not do something to help? Here are some easy ways to get started towards developing a happier, healthier, and more productive workplace in 2019:

Offer Incentives

Incentivizing wellness is a great way to get your employees to participate. When there’s a reward for healthy behaviors, those behaviors will become habits and those habits in turn will ensure that your team is happy, healthy and ready to take on the day.

Smaller businesses/smaller budget: Offer your employees a small amount, say $20 per month, to use only for wellness purposes. Consider it their “me” fund. Ask them to use it towards products or services they wouldn’t normally splurge on — a relaxing massage, an exercise class — or cater a healthy lunch for the team once or twice per month.

Larger businesses/budget: Gift your team a FitBit or AppleWatch to help them track their fitness goals, or provide your employees with a gym membership.

Take Advantage of Existing Resources

Office space alone can be an easy way to encourage wellness. From taking the stairs instead of the elevator to converting the breakroom to hold fitness classes after hours, supporting your employees’ healthy habits can start right within the office.

Smaller businesses/smaller budget: Instead of having your team meeting in the conference room, suggest having a meeting at a nearby destination that everyone has the option to walk to, or survey your team to see if anyone has a background in fitness or wellness and would like to offer classes before/after work or at lunchtime.

Larger businesses/budget: Find someone in the community who does on-site yoga or fitness classes, and offer your team a free class once a week.  

Make Your Wellness Initiatives Convenient

The more convenient your wellness initiatives are, the more likely you are to have employee participation. Making changes around the office or offering free resources can support your employee wellness engagement.

Smaller businesses/smaller budget: Providing bowls of fruit for your employees to snack on, rather than the typical suspects like chips and donuts, makes making a healthy choice easy for your team.

Larger businesses/budget: Consider bringing in a wellness expert or providing free in-office flu shots for your team to take advantage of.

Bonus: If you’re offering health insurance to your team, look into the free health initiatives offered as part of the plan and relay that to your employees so they can take full advantage of their healthcare policy.

Get Everyone Involved

Wellness works best when it’s a team effort and your employees have others to hold them accountable and take the journey with them. Getting everyone on the team involved not only offers up the opportunity to build strong working relationships, but also encourages socialization and the chance to get to know coworkers better.

Smaller businesses/smaller budget: Consider sponsoring an intramural sports team for your employees that you also participate in. This will encourage getting up and active, friendly competition and bonding between you and your staff.

Larger businesses/budget: For larger companies, the CEO isn’t always as accessible to employees. When upper management joins in on the fun this not only inspires your team to get healthy, but also allows you to get to know better the various people who help your business thrive.

There are a multitude of ways you can encourage wellness in your workplace, but it all comes down to the initiatives that work best for you, your business and your team. The first step to creating any great wellness plan is to simply ask your employees what they would be interested in participating in, and start building from there.

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How Businesses can Bounce Back from the Least Productive Month of the Year

It’s no surprise that January is the least productive month of the year. It’s cold, dark and people are more prone to experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and it’s right after the holidays. Employees are coming back from long vacations with loved ones, holiday parties and days spent lounging and relaxing. Jumping back into working full-time takes some adjusting and with this adjustment period, productivity just isn’t what it was.

How to Increase Your Business’ Productivity After the Post-holiday Slump:

 

Assess the State of Your Business

The starting point to begin moving past a decline in productivity is understanding what specifically needs to be improved, completed or implemented. Assessing where your company is lacking or lagging will give your employees a clear vision of their role in restoring balance to your business.

Set Priorities

It can be easy for your employees to get overwhelmed with meetings, emails and phone calls, and trying to manage everything all at once can cause assignments and deadlines to fall through the cracks. By setting priorities, your team can allow themselves the mental focus to efficiently work on important goals so they can then focus on smaller assignments.

Implement Self-care and Wellness Policies

When your employees are feeling their best, this will be reflected in their work. If your employees are running on empty, not taking care of themselves or ignoring their mental and physical needs, the work they produce will also parallel that. Implementing wellness initiatives like gym memberships, a monthly wellness allowance or team fitness goals can spark a change in the work your team completes. Encouraging employees to focus on self-care habits like getting exercise and eating healthy makes a world of difference in increasing overall productivity.

Re-establish Your Mission

After all of the time spent away from the office, it’s important to get employees back on the same page about what the company’s mission and goals are. Preparing a presentation and holding a team meeting to boost morale and reaffirm the importance of what the company and employees are working toward can put productivity back into the perspective of the larger goal.

The January productivity decrease is normal and something that happens to almost every business. This doesn’t mean it’s time to panic. By following the steps above, you can manage goals and deadlines with a comprehensive plan and refreshed outlook on how to get your business back on track.

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4 Point Consulting invited to join Forbes Chicago Business Council

4 Point Consulting invited to join Forbes Chicago Business Council

We’re thrilled to announce that 4 Point Consulting’s CEO and Principal Consultant, Christy Hopkins, has been asked to join Forbes Chicago Business Council! 


Chicago (January 9, 2019) — Christy Hopkins, CEO and Principal Consultant of 4 Point Consulting, a quality-driven professional services, human resources, and talent acquisition firm that works with startups, SMBs, mid-market companies, VC firms & their portfolios, has been accepted into Forbes Chicago Business Council, an invitation-only community for successful business owners and leaders in Greater Chicago.

Hopkins was vetted and selected by a review committee based on the depth and diversity of her experience. Criteria for acceptance include a track record of successfully impacting business growth metrics, as well as personal and professional achievements and honors.

“We are honored to welcome Christy and 4 Point into the community,” said Scott Gerber, founder of Forbes Councils, the collective that includes Forbes Chicago Business Council. “Our mission with Forbes Councils is to bring together proven leaders from every industry, creating a curated, social capital-driven network that helps every member grow professionally and make an even greater impact on the business world.”

As an accepted member of the Council, Christy will connect and collaborate with other respected local leaders in a private forum and at member events. Hopkins will also be invited to work with a professional editorial team to share her expert insights in original business articles on Forbes.com, and to contribute to published Q&A panels alongside other experts.

“It’s an honor to have been selected to join this community of business professionals,” said Christy. “The professional services climate is rapidly changing, and we’re thrilled to be on the forefront as the industry evolves. I look forward to contributing with the best practices from 4 Point Consulting as well as learning from others on the council.”

ABOUT FORBES COUNCILS
Forbes Councils is a collective of invitation-only communities created in partnership with Forbes and the expert community builders who founded Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC). In Forbes Councils, exceptional business owners and leaders come together with the people and resources that can help them thrive.

For more information about Forbes Chicago Business Council, visit forbeschicagocouncil.com. To learn more about Forbes Councils, visit forbescouncils.com.

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Christy Hopkins Featured in an Article on Ladders!

Man holding his hands up in a bully-free workplace

Ladders interviewed 4 Point Consulting’s CEO and founder, Christy Hopkins, about bullying in the workplace. Read the full article to find out how Christy recommends people address a bully in the workplace.

Click here to read the full article.

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Finding Talent in a Competitive Market

Two men shaking hands after recruiting top talent in a competitive market

The competition for high-quality jobs has always existed, but today’s historically low unemployment rate is causing a new set of problems for companies searching for skilled workers. These top-tier candidates are in high demand but are difficult to acquire amidst the legion of competing companies. With the trends tipping in a new direction, how can companies stand out amongst the competitive crowd to attract their desired top candidates?

They’ll need to be creative and make improvements to their internal processes and external messaging to stand out. A few practices businesses can implement are:

  1. Develop and promote an employer brand
  2. Define company culture and values
  3. Refine the onboarding process
  4. Perfect hiring procedures

Without an employer brand, prospective employees will be unable to find your job openings. Additionally, if they are unfamiliar with your company, they will be less likely to apply. Taking a strong stance on company values will act as a beacon to attract candidates that match the company’s culture in a crowded job market.

While courting potential employees, maintaining consistent communication to create a seamless onboarding process will keep the new employee engaged and excited to join the team. When these core practices are polished and implemented, top-tier candidates will be a lot easier to attract, hire and maintain.

If you’re interested in learning more about 4 Point Consulting’s services, click here to get in touch!

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How to Create a Bully-Free Workplace

Two men shaking hands in a bully-free workplace in a conference room

Though we tend to think of bullying as a problem that ends with high school, workplace bullying is an unfortunate day-to-day reality for millions of adults. According to a 2017 study by the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), 19 percent of Americans are victims of bullying in the workplace. Bullies create a work environment that not only damages the health and well-being of its victims but also negatively affects a company’s bottom line.

Investopedia found that workplace bullying can negatively impact a company’s performance and reputation through reduced productivity, high employee turnover and increased legal costs. Fortunately, awareness of this issue has greatly increased in recent years, thanks to efforts such as National Bullying Prevention Month. Yet small- and medium-sized businesses still need to take steps to ensure they’re providing a safe and productive work environment for all employees.

Recognize Bullying in the Workplace

The signs of workplace bullying are often subtle and can easily be mistaken for normal work stress, allowing them to go unnoticed by many HR professionals. The WBI defines workplace bullying as “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons by one or more perpetrators.” Bullies will often habitually take credit for another employees work or, conversely, shift blame to their target when things go wrong. More obvious signs of bullying include aggression, intrusion into a target’s personal space or belongings, or subjecting a target to public humiliation. Supervisors can bully subordinates by setting unrealistic expectations or purposefully pitting employees against one another. Excluding certain employees from important meetings and blocking them from opportunities for advancement are also telltale signs of office bullying.

Properly Handle Incidents of Bullying

Employees should always know they can safely report incidents of bullying to their supervisors or HR representatives. Since the federal government and many states do not have anti-bullying laws, it’s up to individual organizations to devise a strict no-bullying policy (include this information in the employee handbook). If you haven’t already, create an employee complaint form and implement a standardized practice for investigating claims. This practice should include interviewing the victim, bully and any bystanders. Ensure that the investigation process remains confidential. Once it comes time to confront the bully, you should outline the specific behaviors that the bully must change and refer back to the employee handbook to demonstrate the seriousness of the situation.

Create a Bully-Free Workplace

Rather than wait for an incident to occur, it’s best to take immediate steps to proactively foster a positive, bully-free work environment. Creating a company culture that prioritizes inclusion and celebrates diversity reduces the likelihood that a bully will be tolerated in your workplace. Implement a management training program that identifies the early signs of bullying, and include all staff on workplace civility workshops to forge respect and companionship among coworkers. For smaller organizations, dedicating time for team building exercises and social outings help to strengthen bonds and build trust. A recent study by Warwick University found that happiness makes people 12 percent more productive, proving that a happy work environment is not only better for employees, but for the organization as well.

All of this underscores the importance of creating and maintaining a bully-free workplace where all employees feel comfortable and accepted. Getting management on board with new procedures for identifying and handling workplace bullying may present its own challenges, but the long-term benefits always outweigh the potential costs.

4 Point Consulting can help you navigate these new procedures and policies. Contact us to learn more.

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50 Motivational Quotes For Work

Motivational quote including a boy holding a soccer ball in a field.

Let’s be honest. We’ve all found ourselves in the grips of a little midweek or mid-day slump. A good inspirational and uplifting quote can inspire you to get out of that slump and turn you back into the goal crushing machine that you are! Take a few moments, grab a cup of tea or coffee, and read on to re-energize yourself with these inspiring and motivational quotes from some of the world’s greatest thinkers.

1. Becoming is better than being. —Carol Dweck, Mindset

2. If I had nine hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first six sharpening my axe. —Abraham Lincoln

3. Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. —Stephen Hawking

4. Leaders can let you fail and yet not let you be a failure. —Stanley McChrystal

5. Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships. —Michael Jordan

6. Do or do not. There is no try. —Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

7. Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. —Judy Garland

8. The only way to achieve the impossible is to believe it is possible. —Charles Kingsleigh, Alice in Wonderland (2010)

9. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too. —Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

10. Hey there, Mr. Grumpy Gills. When life gets you down do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do? Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim. —Dory, Finding Nemo

11. Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings. —Salvador Dali

12. If something is wrong, fix it now. But train yourself not to worry, worry fixes nothing. — Ernest Hemingway

13. Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. —Robert Louis Stevenson

14. For artists, scientists, inventors, schoolchildren, and the rest of us, intrinsic motivation—the drive to do something because it is interesting, challenging, and absorbing—is essential for high levels of creativity. —Daniel H. Pink, Drive

15. Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and again and bring their friend. — Walt Disney

16. Innovation distinguishes from a leader and a follower. —Steve Jobs

17. Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear. —George Addai

18. The best way out is always through. —Robert Frost

19. It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe. — Muhammad Ali

20. There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas. —Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

21. Unless someone like you care a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not. —Dr. Seuss, the Lorax

22. Someone, at some point, came up with this very bad idea that an ordinary individual couldn’t make a difference in the world. I think that’s just a horrible thing. —John Skoll

23. If you light a lamp for someone else, it will also brighten your path. —Buddha

24. If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears. —Simon Sinek

25. Very often, a change of self is needed more than a change of scene. —A.C. Benson

26. Learning never exhausts the mind. —Leonardo Da Vinci

27. Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity. —Seneca

28. Don’t persuade, defend or interrupt. Be curious, be conversational, be real. And listen. — Elizabeth Lesser

29. The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. —Buddha

30. As long as they are well-intentioned, mistakes are not a matter for shame, but for learning. —Margaret Heffernan

31. In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and – SNAP – the job’s a game! —Mary Poppins

32. You can’t change how people treat you or what they say about you. All you can do is change how you react to it. —Mahatma Gandhi

33. Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you. ― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

34. Fulfillment isn’t found over the rainbow—it’s found in the here and now. Today I define success by the fluidity with which I transcend emotional landmines and choose joy and gratitude instead. — RuPaul

35. Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. — Carl Sagan

36. If I create from the heart, nearly everything works: if from the head, almost nothing. — Marc Chagall

37. The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. — Confuciusm, Confucius: The Analect

38. Failure it appears is not the regret that haunts most people; it is the choice not to risk failure at all. ― Dr. John Izzo

39. Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. ― Will Rogers

40. Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions. ― Albert Einstein

41. Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor ― Truman Capote

42. Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. ― Maya Angelou

43. The difference between try and triumph is just a little umph! – Marvin Phillips

44. Someday is not a day of the week. – Janet Daily

45. What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us – Ralph Waldo Emerson

46. The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach – Thomas Edison

47. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. – Unknown

48. Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful – Albert Schweitzer

49. It is better to be prepared and not have an opportunity, than to have an opportunity and not be prepared. – Unknown

50. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose. – Dr. Seuss