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

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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.

Dog Bite Prevention Week

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Dog Bite Prevention Week

Dog bites are a dangerous risk faced by veterinarians, their staff, and owners every day. Veterinarians play an important role in their own safety, the safety of their staff and clients, and the welfare of the dogs presented for care. However, while the risk of dog bites is high in veterinary practice, it is often dismissed as an expected aspect of the job. When implementing safety measures, these measures not only include the veterinarian and veterinary staff, but also the owner and other clients and patients in the clinic and its surrounding facilities, such as the parking lot.

Did you know there are 4.5 million dog bites reported every year in the United States? Even the nicest dogs can bite, making it particularly important for dog handlers to be aware of dog biting prevention techniques. Before learning these techniques, it’s important to first understand the motive behind their biting triggers.

Preventing injuries can only happen if the causes and contexts of biting are considered. By nature of clinical practice, we restrain, palpate, poke, and perform procedures that trigger fear and sometimes pain in our patients. Escape is impossible, so biting becomes a practical defense for some animals.

Biting triggers may include:

  • Feels Frightened. Dogs that have been in a veterinary setting previously may have developed fear from the experience. Classical conditioning (think of Pavlov and his bell) often occurs; white coats, the smell of disinfectant, stethoscopes, and other innocuous stimuli become aversive or predict the possibility of an aversive event.
  • Feeling Trapped. In many veterinary hospitals, the examination room is often a small space with only 1 access door. In addition, typically the dog and owner are the first to enter and wait. Defensiveness and anxiety can occur when the pet feels that there is no escape.
  • Injured or Sick. Hip dysplasia, severe otitis, or any chronic injury can cause even the friendliest dog to bite.
  • Bites by Accident. The dog may not have learned bite inhibition.
  • Overly Excited. This likely stems from boredom or lack of stimulation. Redirect the dog’s high energy to keep it occupied and away from biting.
  •  Views You as Prey. This may occur when a person runs or screams while moving past the dog.

All dog bites can be prevented. With a better understanding of their behavior, you can employ techniques to reduce the likelihood of a dog biting you or someone else. Here are some prevention tips:

  1. Read Body Language. Pay attention to the dog’s body language for signs that it may be fearful, anxious, or ready to bite.
  2. Adjust Entry/Exit and Schedules. For dogs that may be potentially fearful or reactive, provide separate waiting and/or entry areas or schedule them for the first or last appointments of the day.
  3. Let the Dog Be Last. Allow the dog and owner to be the last individuals to enter the examination room.
  4. Postpone Greeting the Patient. Do not rush to greet the patient; instead, give the dog some time to decide about interacting and respect the dog’s space until the physical examination.
  5. Approach Sideways. Have the owner bring the dog to the center of the room and approach the dog from the side instead of the front.
  6. Feed Tidbits. Use food liberally throughout the visit to create a positive experience for the dog.
  7. Make Use of Muzzles. Use a basket-style muzzle on any dog with a history of biting.
  8. Write it All Down. Keep a medical record for each patient that includes a behavior score as well as specific information about the dog’s behavior.
  9. Protect the Client. Educate the client about safely medicating the dog at home or have the client board bring the dog to the clinic for medication administration.
  10. Keep Patients Happy. Make every effort to ensure that the dog’s visit to the clinic is as positive as possible; allow the pet to learn that visits include delicious food, consistent routine, and gentle handling.

Before a dog bite occurs in the workplace, make sure your business has insurance coverage specific to your unique risks. NIP Group provides a comprehensive PetPro insurance program and claims handling support that protects professionals who make a positive impact on the lives of animals every day.

To learn how PetPro insurance program can protect your animal care business from significant financial loss, visit us online at http://www.nipgroup.com/programs/petpro/.

Info from: http://www.doggonesafe.com/why_dogs_bite and http://www.floridapeninsula.com/blog/post/May-17-23-is-Dog-Bite-Prevention-Week.aspx

Will Your Insurance Carrier Be Able to Pay Your Claim? Here’s One Way to Tell

Will Your Insurance Carrier Be Able to Pay Your Claim?

When a large claim is made against your business, are you confident your insurance company will be able to pay it?  Your balance sheet and financial future are on the line.

An insurance carrier is not just a provider, but a long-term financial partner you rely on to keep your business out of a financial hole.  If financial obligations from your chosen partner can’t be met right away or at all (i.e., not paying your claim or slow payment), your business could be left digging for cash.  To help prevent this from happening, the financial strength of an insurance company needs to be considered before you purchase coverage.

Rating the Financial Strength of Carriers

The system used by A.M. Best, a respected rating agency, grades the financial strength of an insurance company from financially secure “A++ (Superior)” to vulnerable “S (Suspended).”  Each grade indicates how likely the carrier is able to meet its financial obligations to policyholders.

What does this mean to you?  Similar to a school system, carriers receiving a grade of “A-” and above are top performers.  They’ve shown financial stability and appear to have a positive long-term financial future, meaning they’re trusted to back you up when needed.  Carriers receiving a “B++” and below have some work to do.  They’re often dismissed by brokers and business owners because their long-term financial futures are uncertain.

A.M. Best – Insurance Financial Strength Rating Scale

 Secure  Vulnerable
 A++, A+ (Superior)  B, B- (Fair)
 A, A- (Excellent)  C++, C+ (Marginal)
 B++, B+ (Good)  C, C- (Weak)
 D (Poor)
 E (Under Regulatory Supervision)
 F (In Liquidation)
 S (Suspended)

 

To give policyholders security and peace of mind, NIP Group is only backed by “A” rated carriers. Our comprehensive insurance programs can be custom-tailored to address the unique risks of each client, helping to avoid damaging claims. In the case that a claim does occur, we’ve got you covered immediately. In other words, NIP Group is a top performer.

Need a boost of confidence for your financial future? Check out these insurance programs backed by “A” rated carriers to find one that best fits your needs.

Top 5 Work-Related Injuries

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No matter where you may work, there are certain injuries that seem to be ubiquitous in the workplace. These seemingly small injuries can affect many things- families, businesses, and of course, the workers themselves. Below are the five most common injuries and a few tips to prevent them from happening to you or a loved one.

Musculoskeletal Injuries: Injuries from overexertion, fatigue, prolonged static structure, frequent/repetitive stretching, or heavy lifting are very common, no matter what your profession. The best ways to avoid this are to stretch and change positions frequently, as well as sitting properly at work. Most of all, it is very important to learn the correct way to do physical work. On top of that, be sure to maintain fitness and flexibility.

Slips, Trips, & Falls: When lighting is inadequate, or the floor is cluttered with objects, it is very easy to stumble over something and potentially get hurt. Even something inconspicuous, such as a wet floor or loose carpeting, can pose as a threat. Stay alert while walking, and be sure to observe any signs to indicate slippery conditions. Watch for uneven sidewalks. Additionally, be sure to keep all workplaces clean and uncluttered.

Repetitive Motion Injuries: Mostly, this type of injury is caused by fixed-position activities, such as keyboard use. The best ways to prevent this are by taking occasional breaks, and provide employees with proper ergonomic equipment. Ergonomic workstations have the potential to cut back $20 million per year on worker’s compensation.

Machinery & Equipment: Dangerous equipment and machinery can be especially risky to use if not handled properly. Loose clothing, shoes, jewelry, or hair all pose as hazards to safety. To avoid an accident, be sure to follow all safety precautions, and wear any protective equipment that is necessary.

Motor Vehicle Accidents: Motor vehicle accidents affect workers of all industries and can involve those who transport people or freight, employees who drive company vehicles, and even pedestrian workers who are hit by motorists. By providing employees with extensive safety training and enforcing safe driving policies, you can help prevent these types of accidents.

Click the link to check out the awesome infographic: http://www.oahuspineandrehab.com/5-common-work-related-injuries/

Workplace Injuries Costs and Causes

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Workplace injuries are an unfortunate part of running a business. Obviously, no one wants an injury to happen, but that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t be prepared in case a worker becomes injured on the job. Direct workers’ compensation costs about $1 billion per week to US businesses. In 2009, there were 124,856,000 covered workers with $5.68 billion in covered wages. The number one disabling workplace injury was overexertion, which cost over $12 billion in 2009. Overexertion accounts for 1 out of every 4 workplace injuries, and for 25.4% of disabling injuries.

The direct costs to businesses are workers’ compensation payments, medical expenses, and costs for legal services. But what you may not think of is the many indirect costs, such as training replacement workers, accident investigation, damaged equipment repairs, and low employee morale. Indirect costs of injuries can cost up to 20 times more than the direct costs. Workers’ compensation insurance is required by most US states, however laws may vary by state. Only workers’ compensation will pay medical costs and lost wages, making it a solid investment.

Click here to take a look at the infographic: https://www.boltinsurance.com/news/miscellaneous/workplace-injuries-costs-causes-infographic/

Slips, Trips and Falls: The Painful Truth

Slips, trips and falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries, according to the National Safety Council. Common areas for falls to occur are in doorways, ramps, cluttered hallways, unstable work surfaces, ladders and stairs. But how does this impact insurance? From National Underwriter P&C’s January issue, take a stats-eye view of these slippery expenditures:
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