Advances in technological communication stymie an individual’s ability to connect on a personal level with co-workers and present barriers because they remove much of the necessary information, such as body language, speaking cadence and tone. Effective workplace communication is based on interpersonal, professional relationships that are developed through a keen awareness of courtesy, attentive listening, active participation and situation appropriate body language.
Identifying Workplace Communication Obstacles
The most common workplace communication barriers are non-attentive listening, interrupting others, inappropriate reaction, jumping to conclusions, failure to recognize body language synchronicity and gender differences. The first four barriers are self explanatory, not listening, acting disproportionately to a situation or information, and making a judgment before having all the information. Most persons are aware these are negative actions in the workplace. However, the last two are more subtle.
To be more effective in your workplace communication, you must be conscious of how you are presenting yourself. For instance, body language synchronicity means having your actions match your words and tone. In addition, recognizing and accepting that women and men communicate differently; women gesticulate more to demonstrate what they are saying and use more words then men when communicating.
Networking And Personal Contact
Networking in your workplace is essential to effective communication. You should attempt to speak with co-workers not in your department as often as possible to learn more about the company. This will in turn, make you more interesting and reflect to your manager or supervisor that you are professionally invested in the company. Moreover, it will allow you to expand you’re ability to communicate outside your department’s jargon.
Attitude And Demeanor
Your attitude and demeanor should be courteous, clear and consistent. Being courteous gives others the impression that you care and have an investment in the professional relationship. When asking a co-worker for advice or assistance, use the phrase “would you please” rather than just “please” and always show gratitude to promote rapport and convey parity.
Asking follow up questions such as “Have I explained this clearly?” instead of “Do you understand” builds trust and reflects consistency in parity and rapport. This also helps to foster clarity, lessening miscommunication.
Conversations should be a fluid volley between participants—each allowing the other to make a statement, observation, or ask a question without interruption or negative reaction. Have something interesting to say besides work related topics. You can read your local newspaper in the morning to help gain an understanding of what is occurring outside the workplace. For conversations that are work related, read trade or industry publications to stay informed and up-to-date. Effective communication is not only about listening; it is about being able to bring an interesting or informed opinion to the conversation.
Etiquette And Technology
According to a study conducted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, more than 70 percent of mobile phone users use text messaging and 95 percent of text messages are opened, while only 25 percent of email messages are opened. Moreover, co-workers will actually email one another rather than engaging in direct conversation when situated right next to or adjacent to one another. This causes a significant obstacle in workplace communication and using less of these mediums to communicate will foster more effective communication.
Body language is perhaps the biggest part of effective workplace communication because of its “tells”—gestures and facial expressions tell the listener what you are thinking or what your attitude is regardless of what you are verbalizing. If you find a new policy unfair, when your superior asks your opinion, irregardless of what words you choose to use, your body language will reveal your true feelings. Such as shaking your head “no” when you say that you completely agree with the new policy or crossing your arms while giving your approval; both gestures will say “I don’t like the new policy” while your lips are saying, “Fine by me”.
In charge: Susan Molosh, president of Compensation Solutions
* A Wayne company president talks about modern management
As the president of Compensation Solutions Inc., a human resources outsourcing firm in Wayne, Susan Molosh, 54, has spent more than a decade helping companies tackle the complexities of people management. Molosh, who leads some 50 employees, recently shared wisdom about her rise to the top, the challenges facing HR professionals in general, and what happens when new government regulations meet business realities.
Q. Before you became president of Compensation Solutions, you were a division head at the company and, prior to that, you worked in payroll there. What advice do you have for someone seeking to advance to the top leadership position within his company?
I would say be a good team player, always. The best way to advance in the company is to be willing and able to roll up your sleeves and jump in any capacity even if it’s outside of your department, to be willing to step in and help out and be a good team player.
Q. What would you say was your biggest mistake when you started running the business? What did you learn from it?
Probably the biggest mistake was thinking that everybody could be a client. I think there are some businesses that just really don’t fit, and you’ve got to learn that the hard way.
Q. What do you mean by “the hard way”?
Just by taking on a challenge of a client that really wasn’t buying into all that we provided and the challenges that caused and the pressure that put on the group here to try to accommodate the needs of a client that were very unrealistic. The expectations were unrealistic.
It’s an important thing to learn early on so you don’t kill yourself bending over backwards for ultimately no gain. The ability to identify those that are really not right early on is a good thing to be able to do.
Q. How do you attract clients? Is it mainly through word-of-mouth or do you market your services?
We do a little bit of marketing but it is almost entirely word-of-mouth. Most of our referrals are organic. They come from our clients, and my favorite source of referrals is we actually get referrals from employees, just work site employees that were in our program when they worked for a particular employer. Then they move on to another opportunity and, when they get to that new opportunity, they realize what it’s like not to have CSI supporting them. Then they’ll suggest to the business owner that they took a look at hiring us. You don’t get anything better than that.
Q. What’s the size of the businesses that you serve? Is there a sweet spot with respect to employee head count?
We look at from about 10 to 12 employees is the smallest, up to about 500 is the largest — not to say that we never take on clients larger than that, because we certainly do, but that’s where we target. I would say the sweet spot is 35 to 60 worksite employees, that’s the area where it’s starting to be a lot of work for the employer — the people management part of it.
No business owner goes into business to be an employer. That happens because they’re in business, they wind up having to be an employer because they need employees … but that’s not the reason they open their business.
[For companies with more than 500 employees] the employer normally has the wherewithal and it makes sense to hire a high-level director of HR and maybe a couple of people under that person to just handle it inside. It’s cost-effective to have an HR director and maybe one or two people under that.
Q. How do changing government regulations affect your clients?
Certainly the ACA [Affordable Care Act] has caused a lot of employers to have an enormous amount of complexity in their operations, so trying to stay on top of that, it certainly makes a lot more sense now for businesses to be joining a PEO [Professional Employer Organization] to help them through the minefield of ACA. … When the government puts on restrictions on paid time off, that’s another one. There’s a couple of towns or cities in New Jersey that have passed required sick-time pay, so you have employers who weren’t offering any sick time — now they have to offer sick-time pay to employees with no systems in place to track it. … The government does a lot to employers. There’s really a lot of rules, regulations that are imposed on employers without any real care or thought into what the effect is going to be on the business owner to try and manage all of that.
Q. What’s been the most surprising human resources challenge you’ve come across?
We help employers not to become victims of the moral hazard that exists, so I guess you could say that I’m surprised by the degree of need there is for that. That is a big part of what we’re doing every day here to make sure employers are documenting everything correctly so they don’t find themselves at the end of a frivolous lawsuit.
Q. What do you anticipate to be the biggest challenges human resources professionals will face in the future?
I think that the ever-changing and really difficult compliance pieces that the government is imposing on businesses and, of course, the ACA. The ACA falls into HR because there are so many moving pieces to it, even though it has directly to do with health insurance, it really touches all aspects of business. It affects who’s part time, who’s full time, what the definition of part time and full time is, temporary; how do you count people who are out on leave, so it really all is wrapped around HR. Nothing is going to even come close to that as challenges of business owners. I guess there was an assumption that ACA would be something that brokers, benefit agencies, insurance agencies would be dealing with, but really it is something going to fall on HR professionals.
Q. What would surprise most people to learn about the business owners you serve?
You hear a lot on the news about employers being the bad guy, basically, especially the big companies. Employers make a lot of sacrifices. We’ll be running payroll here and our employers always make sure their employees are paid, always, without exception. They make sure their employees are paid even if it means they don’t take a paycheck that week or maybe for a month. It’s been my experience at least with our clients, they do the right thing. Of course, that could be partially because we partner with the best. We really do partner with good employers. … They do want to run their businesses, they certainly want to run them for profit, but they also want to make sure that their employees are taken care of.
Four tips for employers to help staff manage stress
As more workers seek help coping with problems at work and home, an employee assistance provider offers some timely advice
There has been a “staggering” increase in the number of calls made to its employee assistance programs over the past four years, says an executive with a company that provides such programs to employers.
A global provider of EAP programs, says there has been a 50-per-cent increase in usage of its programs since 2010. Employees are calling for help to deal with a variety of stressful situations, everything from coping with increasing workloads to help finding daycare spots to financial planning assistance.
People are simply under more pressure today than ever before
“Stress levels in this world are just going to get more complex.”
More people are juggling caring for their aging parents and young children, they’re always on call with work because of mobile technology, and the financial crisis has left many with their finances in disarray, so many have turned to whatever resources are at their disposal to help them cope
A distracted and stressed employee is not going to be the most productive employee. The Globe’s Your Life at Work Survey1, to which more than 4,000 have responded so far, found that workers with strong coping skills – those who felt able to deal well with the stress of their life and work – also consider themselves productive employees, putting in 80 percent or more effort into their work every day.
However, those who reported that they were less productive – putting in 70 percent or less effort into their work every day – were far less likely to say they had strong coping skills.
The survey found that 3 percent of respondents said their stress has hit the “losing it” level, 39 percent said they are “frustrated,” 49 percent consider themselves “OK,” and 9 percent say they are “happy.”
So what can an employer do to help their employees cope with the stress of work and life? offered the following suggestions:
1. Make people aware of their benefits
People need to know that “they can pick up the phone and get help” through their employee assistance plan, he said. They also need to know that most plans are available to the worker’s spouse and children if they are also facing issues for which they need professional help.
Many assistance plans offer a variety of ways to contact them. Aside from a 1-800 phone line, most can be reached by text message, online chat or e-mail. That helps workers in open-concept offices who have little privacy for conversations while at work. They can go online and have a quick chat session with a counsellor to explain their problem and arrange a time for an appointment later. Or they can get an answer to a quick question without having to draw attention to themselves
2. Teach managers to help
Managers are in a tough bind. They may see clearly that an employee is struggling, but need them to be productive and may not want to address a potentially personal issue with staff at work.
Many EAP programs have counsellors who can give advice to managers when they see that a staff member is struggling, helping them to approach a worker in an appropriate way, and can recommend resources to help out the colleague.
3. Create a resilient organization
If you give your staff the coping skills they need to manage work and stress, then you can prevent some staff from feeling overwhelmed.
Resilency training teaches employees strategies to help them deal with change, manage the integration of their work and life, and manage their time better. The courses also promote healthful eating and exercise.
“Putting that together makes them more resilient”.
Some practical strategies include teaching staff to check e-mail infrequently so they’re not sidetracked, and limiting multitasking so workers focus on one thing at a time instead of splitting their attention, which can make them less efficient, more anxious and stressed.
Employers can also encourage staff to get more exercise. Many employers are integrating exercise into the day, some by giving out pedometers and then running contests to see which department took the most steps each week.
4. Reach out at key times
Stress often results from key milestones in a worker’s life: moving up at work, getting married, having kids, finding day care, dealing with teenagers, handling finances, buying a house, dealing with a divorce, managing elder care, or dealing with a death or illness in the family.
Some companies have created information packages based on key events in people’s lives that can be mailed to the home of an employee in advance of, for example, a child being born.
“You can sort of head off someone needing to call an EAP,” by providing them with information to help them manage the change in their lives.
The key is to help workers manage so that their stress levels don’t cause them health issues, which hurts both them and their employer, There is a cost to these programs but if the program prevents a worker from being off work, “that pays for it,” he said.
The holiday season can be a time of joy, but it can also be hectic and stressful. Use these nine tips to calm the pressure.
Most children wait eagerly for the holidays to arrive. Adults often have more mixed feelings. For them, the holidays mean increased stress: dashing to decorate the house, elbowing through crowds at the mall, and fretting about the right gift or how to pay for it.
Relax. Don’t let stress suck the joy out of your holiday season. These tips can help you keep stress under control so your holidays can be merry and bright.
Create a game plan. Spend a little time up front getting organized. Make a list of what you need to buy. Try to shop ahead of time, before things are picked over and you’re under pressure. If you’ll be cooking, plan your menu. Think whether some items could be prepared ahead and frozen or refrigerated.
Make a budget and stick to it. Money is one of the major stressors during the holidays. Don’t dig yourself into a hole by overspending. A thoughtful gift doesn’t have to be expensive. If money is tight, suggest a family gift exchange with a spending limit.
Accept reality. Guests may arrive late. Your mother may get on your nerves. The turkey may be dry. Real life isn’t a holiday special. Don’t expect perfect decorations, a perfect meal, or perfect people. Try to go with the flow and enjoy what you have.
Beware of unhealthy stress relievers. Holiday stress causes some people to fall into bad habits such as smoking, drinking, or eating too much. Think about any unhealthy habits you’re prone to and better ways to handle stress.
Create new traditions. Stressed out by the usual festivities? Try something different. Instead of cooking a huge meal on your own, make it a potluck. Ask adults to bring gag gifts or have a “white elephant” or used book gift exchange. Attend a local holiday concert, walk the neighborhood to look at holiday lights, or go sledding.
Make time for your health. In the holiday rush, don’t let your well-being fall by the wayside. Try to stay on your normal sleep schedule and get regular exercise. If you can’t find a 30-minute chunk of time for exercise, break it up into three 10-minute sessions spread through the day.
Watch out for caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine can raise your stress and interfere with sleep. Alcoholic drinks contain lots of calories, and drinking too much may make you feel depressed. Instead, drink plenty of water or try herb tea or seltzer.
Give yourself a break. In the midst of doing things for others, it’s easy to forget to take care of ourselves. If you feel stress building up, get away for a few minutes. Find a quiet corner and do some deep breathing, listen to calming music, or just sit. Or throw on a coat and slip outside for a walk.
Enjoy! The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and togetherness. In the flurry of the holidays, we sometimes forget what we’re celebrating. Remember to savor the time with people you love.
When stress is getting to you, get by with a little help from your friends. Connecting, even briefly, with a close pal or loved one may help you weather a trying moment. However, if you feel you often have trouble coping emotionally, talk with your doctor. He or she may refer you to a mental health professional for help.* *Check your benefits plan to see what services may be covered.
The federal marketplace is now officially open.From now until February 15th 2015 , Healthcare.Gov is having their open enrollment for the 2015 plan year. If you are considering applying for individual or family coverage, please visit the offical website to look over your plan options. Remember the deadline is fast approaching so dont miss out on this once a year opportunity (outside of a qualifying event) to enroll. If you need assistance, please follow the drop down selections on the Healthcare.gov home page.
You can see plans and prices, before you enroll. It is extremely user friendly.
Select see plans and prices
Enter your zip code
Enter you annual income
Enter your age and the ages of any other member in your family you are seeking coverage for.
After you enter all information multiple plan options will come up for you to compare. You can compare the multiple options to see which will be the best choice for you or your family.
If you have any questions or need further asssitance, Healthcare.gov home page has links to find resources near you for assistance .
From now until December 7th 2014, Medicare.Gov is having their open enrollment for the 2015 plan year. If you are considering applying for medicare or changing your coverage, please visit the offical website to look over your plan options. Remember the deadline is fast approaching so dont miss out on this once a year opportunity (outside of your eligibility period) to enroll. If you need assistance, please follow the drop down selections on the Medicare.gov home page.
Winter storms and cold temperatures can be hazardous, but if you plan ahead, you can stay safe and healthy. Prepare your home and cars. Prepare for power outages and outdoor activity. Check on older adults.
Although winter comes as no surprise, many of us are not ready for its arrival. If you are prepared for the hazards of winter, you will be more likely to stay safe and healthy when temperatures start to fall.
Many people prefer to remain indoors in the winter, but staying inside is no guarantee of safety. Take these steps to keep your home safe and warm during the winter months.
Winterize your home.
Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows.
Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.
Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.
Check your heating systems.
Have your heating system serviced professionally to make sure that it is clean, working properly and ventilated to the outside.
Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
Install a smoke detector. Test batteries monthly.
Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available.
Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies.
Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas. Check batteries regularly.
Learn symptoms of CO poisoning: headaches, nausea, and disorientation.
Get your car ready for cold weather use before winter arrives.
Service the radiator and maintain antifreeze level; check tire tread or, if necessary, replace tires with all-weather or snow tires
Keep gas tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
Use a wintertime formula in your windshield washer.
Prepare a winter emergency kit to keep in your car in case you become stranded. Include
food and water;
booster cables, flares, tire pump, and a bag of sand or cat litter (for traction);
compass and maps;
flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries;
first-aid kit; and
plastic bags (for sanitation).
Be prepared for weather-related emergencies, including power outages.
Stock food that needs no cooking or refrigeration and water stored in clean containers.
Ensure that your cell phone is fully charged.
When planning travel, be aware of current and forecast weather conditions.
Keep an up-to-date emergency kit, including:
Battery-operated devices, such as a flashlight, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, and lamps;
first-aid kit and extra medicine;
baby items; and
cat litter or sand for icy walkways.
Many people spend time outdoors in the winter working, traveling, or enjoying winter sports. Outdoor activities can expose you to several safety hazards, but you can take these steps to prepare for them:
Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots.
Sprinkle cat litter or sand on icy patches.
Learn safety precautions to follow when outdoors.
Be aware of the wind chill factor.
Work slowly when doing outside chores.
Take a buddy and an emergency kit when you are participating in outdoor recreation.
Carry a cell phone.
Protect your family from carbon monoxide.
Keep grills, camp stoves, and generators out of the house, basement and garage.
Locate generators at least 20 feet from the house.
Leave your home immediately if the CO detector sounds, and call 911.
When planning travel, be aware of current and forecast weather conditions.
Avoid traveling when the weather service has issued advisories.
If you must travel, inform a friend or relative of your proposed route and expected time of arrival.
Follow these safety rules if you become stranded in your car.
Stay with your car unless safety is no more than 100 yards away, but continue to move arms and legs.
Stay visible by putting bright cloth on the antenna, turning on the inside overhead light (when engine is running), and raising the hood when snow stops falling.
Run the engine and heater only 10 minutes every hour.
Keep a downwind window open.
Make sure the tailpipe is not blocked.
Above all, be prepared to check on family and neighbors who are especially at risk from cold weather hazards: young children, older adults, and the chronically ill. If you have pets, bring them inside. If you cannot bring them inside, provide adequate, warm shelter and unfrozen water to drink.
No one can stop the onset of winter. However, if you follow these suggestions, you will be ready for it when it comes.
• Before, during, and after preparing food • Before eating food • Before and after caring for someone who is sick • Before and after treating a cut or wound • After using the toilet • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste • After handling pet food or pet treats • After touching garbage •
How to wash your hands properly:
Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
• Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
• Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
• Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
• Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
On Friday October 3rd, 2014, Compensation Solutions team members participated in a team building event. CSI team members joined forces with Habitat for Humanity Paterson working on a home in the first ward section of Paterson New Jersey. Our team with the guidance of the Habitat for Humanity crew leaders worked on the three floor single family home. During our time there our team worked together to prime and paint the walls, help with preparation for new floors and even use power tools!
Together we spent the day as a team not only growing stronger and closer, but as a team helping to improve and give back to our local community. #CSI#CompensationSolutions#CompSolutions#CompSolutionsAgency#Team#Teambuilding#CSIHRO#Community#HR
CSI does not provide legal, tax or financial advice of any kind. No portion of this or any other information contained herein is intended to provide legal, tax or financial advice. You are advised to consult with competent counsel on all legal, tax or financial issues.