Specialized Business Insurance & Risk Management Blog

4 Ways to Kill Worker Productivity (and Ways to Avoid Them)

work productivity

As a leader and business owner, you understand that your most important asset is your employees. When their productivity suffers, the bottom line of your business suffers too. To maintain high performance and efficiency within a contracting business, avoid these four productivity killers.

1. Inadequate Communication

Lack of communication can leave employees confused and unmotivated. When directions and goals are not clear, mistakes and rework occur more frequently. This means more time taken to complete a task or project.

Communication plays a large role in engagement too. Employees who don’t have an understanding of how their efforts contribute to the company’s mission or are not empowered to express ideas can become disengaged from work quickly. This leads to higher employee turnover, absenteeism, and other issues that hurt your overall productivity.

Ways to avoid: Open communication is key. Encourage employees to provide input and ideas. Communicate job expectations clearly and provide feedback. Make sure they understand how their work adds value to the company.

2. Micromanaging

Controlling every detail of employee work slows projects down and hurts organizational progress. Micromanagers often spend unnecessary time overseeing even simple tasks, stifling the progress of other workers. Employees may hold back from taking the initiative to improve services and processes as a result. With little to no autonomy or empowerment to make decisions, employee motivation declines and efficiency is lost.

Ways to avoid: Employees are hired because of their skill set. Delegation of tasks, training, and trust in their ability are important. Give ownership of increasingly more challenging tasks, only stepping in to supervise larger issues or when needed. Focus more on results produced and less on every detail of execution.

3. Lack of Acknowledgement and Appreciation

Failure to acknowledge and show appreciation for accomplishments and ideas leads to high employee turnover and low individual productivity. This lack of recognition can make any employee feel like they’re not valued, destroying the motivation to keep performing at their best.

Ways to avoid: Acknowledged and appreciated employees are more likely to go above and beyond their job expectations. A sincere and timely “thank you” or “great job” can go a long way in boosting morale, leading to increased productivity. Be specific when expressing this appreciation (e.g., how did the employee/team do a great job or what great idea did they come up with?). Tie recognition to performance goals. Celebrate team successes.

4. Insufficient Training

Not enough training in the job and company processes can result in costly errors and time-consuming rework later on – a death sentence for productivity. Tasks may be performed inaccurately and opportunities for improvement may go unnoticed, hurting the effectiveness of a business. Where safety is an issue, workers that are unaware of safety procedures are more vulnerable to injury and time away from the job to recover.

Ways to avoid: Adequately trained employees are not only better prepared to meet performance goals, they’re often more invested in the company’s success too (a win-win). Provide continuous training for each specific job function. Make safety a priority by providing comprehensive training and materials.


While the right technology and processes are also key components to an effective work environment, employee knowledge and engagement drives enhanced productivity. When their productivity improves, the bottom line of your business is more likely to improve too.

Interested in learning more helpful tips and best practices relating to your business? Visit our blog at http://www.nipgroup.com/blogs/programs/.

NIP Group, a business insurance and risk management intermediary, helps businesses with specialized risks avoid financial loss and keep operations moving forward.

Do I Need Umbrella Insurance for My Business?

umbrella insurance

If a client sues your business or an employee causes a devastating car accident, will your current insurance policy cover the settlement and defense costs? If not, your business could be in serious financial trouble.

With lawsuits and claims occurring more frequently, an umbrella insurance policy can be the safety net to keep your business out of financial harm. This coverage pays the remaining costs of a claim when your primary insurance limits are exhausted. For example, you’re hit with lawsuit settlement and defense costs of $1.5 million after your employee driving the company van strikes another vehicle. If your auto liability policy only covers $1 million of this cost, the umbrella insurance will pay the outstanding $500,000.

Advantages of Commercial Umbrella Insurance

An umbrella insurance policy offers benefits that your primary liability insurance policies can’t provide.

Affordable, high coverage limit. For only a few hundred dollars a year, you can have $1 million in umbrella insurance. This coverage is available in increments of $1 million and comes with low premium payments.

More protection. Umbrella insurance is there to back you up financially when your primary liability insurance isn’t enough to cover the costs of lost assets, bodily injuries, legal fees, and more. This extra coverage better protects your business from financial loss, particularly when hit with a costly lawsuit.

Cost savings. A single umbrella insurance policy extends the coverage limits on multiple liability policies – and for a lower premium, too! Instead of paying to increase the coverage limits on each of your general liability and auto liability policies, for example, one umbrella insurance policy gets you extra coverage on both of these liability policies. And, if hit with a costly lawsuit that your primary insurance policy can’t fully cover, umbrella insurance saves you money by paying the outstanding costs.

To decide how much umbrella insurance coverage is needed for your business, identify the risks your business faces and any assets that would be covered under this policy. Then, review your current insurance coverages to determine if these terms cover all of the areas where your business is vulnerable to a claim.

Knowing this information helps you better determine the umbrella insurance coverage limits required to keep your business out of financial harm. Your insurance broker can answer questions regarding insurance options and get you coverage specific to your business needs.

Looking for an umbrella insurance policy that will save you money and provide more protection for your business? Check out NIP Group’s business insurance programs that include umbrella insurance and other coverages specific to your needs by visiting http://www.nipgroup.com/programs.

4 Basic Insurance Policies for Greenhouses and Nursery Garden Centers

young plants in greenhouse

Having the right insurance for your business plants the seed for a stronger financial future.  When a costly claim or lawsuit is made against your business, even basic coverage can help dig you out of a financial hole.  This liability and workers’ comp insurance covers the costs when certain unexpected situations happen.

Below we provide an overview of four basic insurance policies – general liability, property, commercial vehicle, and workers’ comp – that can help safeguard your horticulture or plant grower business.

General Liability Insurance

If a third party claims your employee or work environment caused them injury or physical damage to their property, you might be held liable for paying the bill(s).  Even if not at fault, these claims are common and can be costly.  For example, a customer breaks their arm from slipping and falling on wet leaves in the aisle of your nursery garden center.

To protect your business against the high costs of property damage, bodily injury, and personal or advertising injury claims, general liability insurance is necessary.  This popular policy covers the costs of related legal fees, third party medical expenses, and much more.

Property Insurance

Structures, stock, equipment, and other business property can be expensive to repair or replace.  This property loss often results from fire, extreme weather, and theft.  During winter, for example, a greenhouse roof collapsing from the weight of snow and ice damages your stock, supplies, and everything else it crashes on top of, in addition to interrupting your business operations.

In case of an unfortunate incident,  property insurance is designed to help you get back to business after a loss of your stock, structures, equipment, or commercial and  business personal property.

Commercial Vehicle Insurance

If an employee causes an accident when delivering plants, going on a sales call, or driving a company vehicle for any business related purpose, you could be responsible for paying the damages.  These costs significantly increase when a third party is injured as a result of the accident,.

For greenhouse and nursery garden centers with traveling employees, a commercial vehicle insurance policy is essential.  This policy covers the expense of physical damage repairs to a covered auto, as well as the potential defense and payment of bodily injury claims to a third party.

Workers’ Compensation

Using sharp gardening tools, lifting heavy equipment, spraying chemicals on plants, and other daily tasks could result in injury or illness for an employee.  Even with safety procedures in place, accidents can still happen.  For example, an employee is hurt after tripping on a hose being used by another employee to water plants. When  employees are  hurt on the job, this policy covers the resulting medical costs and lost income during recovery, as well as potential litigation expenses.  Workers’ compensation is a legal requirement in most states, and a necessary policy when running a business with paid employees.

These four fundamental insurance policies better protect horticulture and plant grower businesses.  To fill any gaps where you would not be financially protected, additional coverage can be added to each policy.

Find insurance coverage for your business.  NIP Group’s GrowPro insurance program includes general liability, property, commercial vehicle, workers’ comp, and other important coverages that can be custom-tailored to your operational and financial needs. For information on insurance coverage specific to your needs, visit nipgroup.com/programs/growpro or contact your broker.

What Should I Put in My Cleaning Service Contract to Avoid Client Disputes?

cleaning service contractHaving your client sign a written contract before starting a job could save your cleaning or janitorial business a lot of money and headache later on. If a dispute with a client or unexpected lawsuit happens, this document will help you better defend your business. Otherwise, you could be left cleaning up a financial mess from disagreements over service expectations, payment, and more.

Contracts are helpful in building and strengthening relationships with clients, too. Clearly defined rates, terms, and conditions help eliminate confusion between parties and set expectations for the quality of work to be performed. A lawyer can help you draft an initial contract which can then be tailored to each job after.

Below are some details often included in a cleaning or janitorial service contract that can help avoid future conflicts with clients.

Service Schedule Details

• Start and end dates of service
• How many times a month work will be performed
• Days and times work will be performed
• Procedures for entering and exiting the premises each workday

Services to Be Performed and Supplies

• Areas and facilities to be cleaned
• Detailed list of tasks to be completed in each area
• Responsible party for purchasing and maintaining cleaning supplies and equipment

Rates and Payment

• Costs for services (per hour or per job)
• How often the client will be billed (e.g., monthly)
• Payment due date
• Payment methods (e.g., check, credit card, cash)

Refund and Cancellation Terms

• Refund policy for incomplete work or complaints
• Notice period for canceling services
• Cancellation fee, if any

If no further clarification is needed, ask your client to sign the contract. Both of your signatures make it legally binding and enforceable.

Looking to better protect your cleaning or janitorial service business from costly claims? Check out NIP Group’s MaintenancePro insurance program and contact your broker for more information.

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3 Tips for Controlling Costs in Your Cleaning Service Operations

iStock_000013933799_MediumReducing and controlling costs in your cleaning service includes increasing productivity and saving money where possible.  For this, it’s important to look at your business operations and identify areas for improvement.  This will help improve your bottom line and strengthen the financial future of your business.

Below are three tips that can help you control costs within your cleaning service operations.

Train Your Employees

Proper training of employees is vital to controlling costs better.  Make sure each employee is trained in safety procedures, cleaning methods, and proper use of equipment and chemicals.  This helps prevent future rework, product waste, and costly claims that can add to your expenses.

Create an Efficient Process

Increased efficiency can decrease labor costs.  To better manage your budget, it’s important to understand the time and resources needed to complete a job.  After evaluating the facility you’re contracted to service and work requirements, clearly define a cleaning method (e.g., zone or team cleaning) and prioritize tasks that will get the job done through an efficient process.  Establishing an effective process helps employees increase productivity without compromising quality of work.

In addition, consider using equipment and products that make the cleaning process more effective and less time-consuming.  Although sometimes pricey, the higher performance, durability, and longer lifespan of certain equipment and products can help you control costs better over the long term.

Keep Your Business Insurance Premium Low

There are simple ways to keep your business insurance premium low without giving up coverage.  This includes maintaining a clean claims history, enforcing safety procedures, bundling multiple policies with one carrier, and increasing your deductible.  Learn more about saving money on your business insurance here.

For better coverage that protects you from financial loss, NIP Group’s MaintenancePro insurance program can be custom-tailored to meet the financial and operational needs of your janitorial or cleaning service business.  Visit http://www.nipgroup.com/programs/maintenancepro/ for more information or contact your broker.

How did you reduce costs in your janitorial or cleaning service operations?

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