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Passwords-Are You Set Up For Security or a Security Breach?

Posted By Amy Geils, The Streamlined Office LLC, Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Did you know that $16 billion was stolen from 12.7 million US consumers in 2015?  There are a few simple things you can do to protect yourself and your digital information.

  • Use different passwords for your most important accounts
  • Passwords should have at least 12-16 characters including a combination of at least 1 number, one uppercase letter, one lower case letter and one special symbol
  • Avoid using words that are familiar to you such as the names of your family members
  • Do not use any combinations of numbers which can otherwise identify you such as your birthday, zip code, phone number and certainly NEVER your social security number
  • NEVER click the button that says “Remember Password”. This stores the password in your web browser
  • Do not log in to financial or other important accounts unless you are on your own computer or connected to a private internet connection. Do not use public Wi-Fi hotspots or the like to access these types of accounts.
  • Change your password every 90 days
  • Protect your computer and other devices.  See my blog “How to Protect Your Digital Information”

For the full article which includes information and reviews of Password Management software, click here.  For a free consultation of all your office organizing needs call 480-221-0588.  

Tags:  business services  entrepreneurs  office organization  productivity  technology 

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Helping Our Pets Live Healthier, Happier and Longer Lives.

Posted By Kristen Cherry, Pet Planet, Thursday, June 16, 2016

So what makes Pet Planet different?

Family – It’s where our story begins…

Pet Planet began with a mother and daughter team who suffered the heartbreaking loss of a young dog to cancer.  As they looked for support and answers they discovered that the pet industry, at that time, did not advocate for the pets they served. It was difficult to find accurate information relating to the impacts of proper nutrition, holistic and complementary therapies and ultimately how to support longer and healthier lives.  A need for a true advocate became clear, and Pet Planet was born.  

A journey towards change…

Our first store opened in Calgary, Alberta, in 1996, and twenty years later we are 48 stores strong reaching from coast to coast in Canada and 9 stores in the Phoenix valley.  As we grew, and became more deeply dedicated to changing the lives of the pets we love, the Guardianship movement was born. The concept of Guardianship revolves around the idea that how we think, predicts how we will act.  Using the word “Guardian” in place of “owner” when referring to our animal companions is more than just an exercise in semantics, the shift in dialogue promotes a more compassionate relationship between person and animal.  It elicits a sense of respect and love, and illustrates the undeniable perspective of our responsibilities to provide them a long and healthy life full of love and engagement.

We take your trust seriously…

Pet Planet is proud of the relationships we build. All of our partners are chosen with care – because we believe in the products and services that they offer. Our team of franchisees and employees is among the best in the industry and are always here to support you through each step of your Guardianship journey.  We take your trust seriously and we will work hard each and every day to both earn and keep that trust.

We can help you find the right solution…

After twenty years in the pet specialty industry we have built a wealth of knowledge and experience relating to what our pets need to help them live longer, healthier lives. More importantly, we’ve been through almost every bump there is in the Guardianship journey – from puppyhood to losing your loving senior – we’ve lived each moment with you.  Each Guardianship journey has taught us the same thing – we have the ability to help and to make a difference.  Whether your “bump” is related to a specific health-related issue like allergies, joint health or weight management; if you are looking for ways to entertain your power chewer; or if you have concerns about your aging senior, we can direct you to products that will help you to manage, treat or solve the problems you are facing. Whatever the problem, our goal is to help you to find a solution.

So what makes Pet Planet different?

Relationships based on respect, dedication, trust and our uncompromising commitment to helping our pets live healthier, happier and longer lives!

That’s what makes Pet Planet different!

Tags:  career change  entrepreneurs  Franchising  small business 

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5 Traits of a Disengaged Employee and How You Can Turn Them Around

Posted By Margaret Jacoby SPHR, MJ Management Solutions, Inc., Thursday, February 11, 2016

employee engagementImproving employee engagement is often at the forefront of every manager’s HR solutions list. Disengaged employees often harm a small business’s growth, so taking care of the problem as soon as possible is vital to your company’s bottom line.

5 Obvious Disengagement Traits

How do you know if employees are engaged, and what can you do about it? Though the list of characteristic traits of disengaged employees could go on and on, here are five major signs to watch for, as well as some ideas to turn these employees’ attitudes around.

1. Lack of Enthusiasm
Does it seem like one of your employees simply doesn’t care? When she talks about the work she’s doing, does she seem enthusiastic or apathetic? If the latter applies, then there’s your first sign. Sure, everybody has down days, but if the lack of enthusiasm becomes a regular thing, it’s time to make a change.

2. A Complaining Attitude
Employees who are disengaged tend to complain a lot, even about the smallest things. If someone in your office seems to constantly make a big deal out of something as minor as the kind of coffee available, he may be experiencing decreased employee engagement.

3. Independence
Someone always wants to work alone, rather than as part of a team? This could be a sign of disengagement. When an employee stops caring about the success of a company, he or she likely won’t feel the need to work with others in that company.

4. Failure to Take Responsibility
Excuse-making is another sign of struggling employee engagement. Those team members who truly want to do well in their jobs and advance their careers will readily admit their faults in order to better themselves.

5. Lack of Initiative
Just doing the basics to get by each day is a major red flag. It shows an employee has no desire to move up or stay with your company—or she doesn’t think it’s possible—which often leads to disengagement. If you notice someone barely meeting deadlines or only giving input when asked, consider the possibility that she may be in need of encouragement.

How to Improve Employee Engagementengage your employees

So how can you combat this phenomenon? It’s all about communication and appreciation. Be invested in your employees, and they’ll be invested in you. Here are a few ideas:

  • Give people inside information. There’s no better way to make an employee feel valued than to clue them in on management’s goals, challenges, etc.
  • Celebrate personal wins. People want to be acknowledged when they’ve accomplished something, no matter how small. After all, every tiny victory contributes to your success as a business.
  • Have fun on purpose. Go to lunch with your team members or close early on a Friday afternoon to go on a company-wide outing.

If your company seems to be in a rut as a result of disengaged employees, reach out to MJ Management Solutions today. We can assist you with engagement and offer various other HR solutions.

Margaret Jacoby, SPHR, is the founder and president of MJ Management Solutions, a human resources consulting firm that provides small businesses with a wide range of virtual and onsite HR solutions to meet their immediate and long-term needs. From ensuring legal compliance to writing customized employee handbooks to conducting sexual harassment training, businesses depend on our expertise and cost-effective human resources services to help them thrive.

Let’s connect: LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Google+


Tags:  employee engagement  entrepreneurs  human resources  small business 

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Holiday Office Parties – Naughty or Nice?

Posted By Margaret Jacoby SPHR, MJ Management Solutions, Inc., Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The holidays are upon us—‘tis the season for cheer.

Holiday office parties are a great way to get your employees together, have a little fun, and celebrate the season. But they can also be detrimental to your small business HR efforts. All that hard work you put in throughout the year to come up with efficient HR solutions could be down the drain with just one drink too many.

What’s an employer to do?

The Naughty List

Unfortunately, a good time can quickly turn sour an employer when things go wrong due to intoxication. The actions of your employees reflect on your company, even if you had no part in said actions. Liability can fall on you in numerous ways.

Here are some of the legal repercussions of your team playing naughty at your holiday party.

  1. Respondeat Superior. This theory says that an employer may have liability for its employees’ harmful actions against a third party if those actions were committed within the course or scope of employment. So if Joe Schmoe leaves the holiday office party intoxicated and injures someone while driving, you could be held responsible.
  2. Workers’ Compensation. Unlike the respondeat superior theory, worker’s compensation laws protect employees who’ve been injured while at work or a work-related function. These laws sometimes exclude injuries that occur at recreational events, but the guidelines vary by state.
  3. Wrongful Death and Survivorship. Under these acts, a law suit can be filed by a representative of the deceased against an employer when alcohol-related incidents are involved.
  4. Harassment. Alcohol lowers inhibitions. Mix that with office parties, and you’ve got the recipe for harassment law suits. These parties are the perfect environment for unwanted sexual advances.

The Nice List

Office parties can be a positive experience for employer and employees alike. In fact, it can provide an opportunity to plug holes in your human resources policies by getting people to talk about the work environment. You can limit the exposures by limiting the adult beverages you serve or permit. One celebratory champagne toast can be enough.

Here are a few reasons to hold holiday parties for employees:

  1. Building Relationships. Casual parties can provide an opportunity for managers and staff to get to know each other on a different level. The atmosphere can allow for better communication and break down silos. The employees with career ambitions will appreciate the opportunity to "connect” with those in positions they aspire to attain.
  2. Expressing Gratitude. What better way to say "thank you” to the people who make your business a success all year than by hosting a holiday party?
  3. Recognizing Achievement. Distributing awards or just acknowledging the accomplishments of your hard-working staff goes a long way to building loyalty and commitment.
  4. Celebrating a Successful Year. You’ve had a busy, productive year. Giving your team the chance to celebrate that is a great way to build morale. Take time to give a "State of the Company” address and remind employees of their role in that success.

Santa’s Elves to the Rescue

When it comes to alcohol and the holidays, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Just like Santa’s little helpers, we’ve built something for your enjoyment.

Instead of a toy, it’s a list of ways you can have alcohol at your party without putting your company at risk. With these five tips, you can have the best of both worlds: a little bit of naughty and a little bit of nice.

  1. Write and enforce a clear policy regarding alcohol. It should include the obvious rules about drinking on the job, as well as the behavior that’s expected of employees during recreational functions. It’s a good idea to include a detailed explanation of consequences that will result from poor choices due to intoxication.
  2. Put in writing that all recreational activities are purely voluntary and that attendance is not required. Making it known that these are social gatherings will help protect you in the event that something happens.
  3. Limit alcohol consumption at parties. You can do this by setting a numerical drink limit or by only allowing alcohol to be served during a short period of time. Side note: Be sure to prohibit supervisors from buying or providing drinks for their employees.
  4. Assign a monitor to make ensure everyone has a safe ride home or provide a company-paid taxi service for employees. This small step can make a huge difference.

With these policies in place, you’ll enjoy everything this season has to offer—without worrying about destroying your well-planned activities.

Need some help in developing a good policy addressing workplace parties and alcohol? Contact us and rest easy this holiday season.

Margaret Jacoby, SPHR, is the founder and president of MJ Management Solutions, a human resources consulting firm that provides small businesses with a wide range of virtual and onsite HR solutions to meet their immediate and long-term needs. From ensuring legal compliance to writing customized employee handbooks to conducting sexual harassment training, businesses depend on our expertise and cost-effective human resources services to help them thrive.

Let’s connect: LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Google+

Tags:  arizona small business  entrepreneurs  Human Resources  small business 

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You'll Never Guess Where Female Entrepreneurship Is On the Rise (Infographic)

Posted By Arizona Small Business Association, Monday, September 15, 2014

Georgia is known for its peaches, sweet tea and hot weather. However, it has some lesser-known advantages. You might not have guessed it, but the state is quickly becoming a haven for female entrepreneurs.

From 1997 to 2014, Georgia has experienced more growth in women-owned business than any other state, with the percentage of businesses owned by women skyrocketing 118 percent, according to new information from Expert Market. The company recently put together an infographic that breaks down the ratio of female-to-male entrepreneurship state by state.

Georgia also ranks No. 5 overall in states most populated by female entrepreneurs. Why, you ask? Expert Market has a few theories.

First, the state is flush with programs and organizations geared toward female entrepreneurs, such as the Women's Employment Opportunity Project in Atlanta and the Great Women's Business Council. Plus, the cost of living and starting a business is substantially lower in Georgia than it would be in more common entrepreneurial hubs like San Francisco or New York City.

Other than Georgia, standout states for female entrepreneurship include Washington, D.C., where more than 34 percent of businesses are owned by women, and Texas, which has increased the percentage of female-owned businesses by 98 percent in the last seven years.

Female entrepreneurship is on the rise across the South, as North and South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama also make the list of top 10 states for growth of female-owned businesses.

Check out the infographic below to see how your state stacks up.

Click here to Enlarge

Tags:  entrepreneurs  infographic  small business  women 

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