7 Tips for More Efficient Policy and Procedure Management

#1 Define your objectives and goals

* What are your problems and risks?

* How are your P&P’s managed today — getting better, getting worse, or staying the same?

* If you don’t know the problem, can you fix it?

* Are you measuring the correct output?

#2 Start simple, and keep it simple

* Start with the simplest documents and objectives and expand as familiarity grows

* Demand little or no impact on IT and minimize interference with existing operations

* Understand your options and alternatives

* Provide one solution to deliver

– P&P management

– Employee communication

– Measurement & monitoring

– Enforcement capabilities

#3 Focus on your employees and each employee

* Make it easy and intuitive so employees start using it and see results immediately

* Building confidence and easing concerns results in fast adoption and fast tract to compliance

* Provide the right information to the right people at the right time, every time

#4 Establish Metrics and Measure

* Determine what is important to the organization

* Produce a global view of compliance for a complete picture of your employee knowledge base and levels of compliance

* Require and extensive audit capability with thorough documentation and enforcement to reduce threat of litigation and other consequences

* Continuously review and refine your process

#5 Automate when you can

* Workflow for consistent and repeatable and measurable process

* Email & text message alerts and reminders for consistent enforcement

* Testing for better knowledge development, retention, and quality

* Integration to minimize errors, streamline process, and strengthen adoption

#6 Make it Flexible and Scalable

* Your organization grows, reorganizes, changes processes and has exceptions

* New policies and procedures, and revisions of existing P&P’s, are never ending

* The faster and more efficiently these issues are addressed the better it is for the employee and the organization

* Leads to adoption, use, and continuing relevance

#7 Get started today

* If not, why not? What are the costs vs. the benefits?

* Challenges and Risk will only increase

* You learn more as you progress

* “A good plan executed today is better than the perfect plan tomorrow” — General George S. Patton

Understanding Your Central Air Conditioners SEER Rating

Every central air conditioner has a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating that is regulated by the U.S. Department of Energy. According to U.S. regulations, no central air conditioner unit currently being manufactured can have a SEER rating lower then 13. Most central air conditioner units usually have SEER ratings ranging from 13 to about 20 SEER.

Unfortunately, most consumers don’t really understand what a SEER rating really means. The easiest way to explain it is to compare an A/C units SEER ratings to an automobiles estimated MPG. Some cars get 15 miles per gallon and others get 30 mpg. All other things being equal, most people would probably prefer buying the car that gets 30 mpg over the one that gets 15mpg. Why, well the car that gets more mpg is going to end up saving the consumer more money in the long run even though it may cost a little more money in the beginning.

Purchasing a newer air conditioning system with a higher SEER rating can also create a substantial savings on your monthly energy bill as the newer systems are much more efficient at cooling. By upgrading your A/C unit from a SEER 9 to a SEER 13 system your power consumption will be reduced by approximately 30%. This can result in an energy savings of up to $300 or more per year depending on your usage rate and the cost of electricity in your area.

Remember depending on the climate and location of where a consumer lives, your air conditioner can be one of the most essential things for a home. For instance, a person that lives in Florida needs to take an air conditioners SEER rating very seriously when thinking about purchasing a new system. Nine out of the 12 months in a year it is hot and humid in Florida. The air conditioner is going be used almost non-stop most of the year. This is why it is crucial to understand the SEER rating and buy the air conditioner that best suits you and the climate you live in.

So the next time you’re in the market for a new A/C unit, remember to factor in the cost savings of a unit with a higher SEER rating. While you may spend a little more money up front for the unit, you will more than likely make up and exceed that extra cost in just a few short years.

The Economy and The Garbage Truck

On the way to work this morning I was listening to two people on the radio go on and on about the economy and unemployment. Their contention was as soon as the economy starts to grow again companies will begin to rehire employees and unemployment will drop. I was just starting to agree with what they were saying when I noticed the garbage truck in front of me.

It was at that point I begin to realize that the garbage truck epitomizes the economy and the state of modern business. I am not talking about our economy being in the trash nor am I saying that business is going to the landfill. That is an argument that has more political overtones to it than I care to debate. For this discussion let’s focus on the garbage truck.

Do you remember your typical garbage truck picking up trash in your residential neighborhood several years ago? In our community it involved a large garbage truck, one driver and two people riding on the back. The two on the back would jump off and empty the trashcans into the back of the truck. One or ten trashcans it did not matter, they got the job done.

Then the economy went through a small downturn and the garbage companies had to make changes to economize and stay profitable. To do this they restructured their organization and downsized which resulted in one of the two trash handlers on the back of the truck going through an economic layoff. To make this new corporate structure succeed they sent notices to all their customers limiting the number of trashcans that could be placed curbside on trash day to two cans.

As the economy continued to stumble and the garbage companies struggled to make a profit for their investors they had to look at other cost cutting measures. The next major change came with the customers receiving notice that the garbage pickup days were being reduced from 2 days per week down to one day per week but the limit of 2 trashcans per pickup remained.

Then the economy collapsed and the garbage company had to take drastic cost cutting steps to continue operation. They supplied each of their customers with a special standardized garbage can which could be picked up by a special automated garbage truck. Now the only person needed on the truck was the driver. The result was the last of the trash handlers being unemployed.

Now as the economy starts its slow change from a failing economy to one that is beginning to show signs of growth do you think the garbage company is going to rehire the trash handlers they laid off? When the garbage company begins showing strong profits will they increase the days of pickup? They have learned to operate more efficiently, doing the same amount of work using less resources and cost.

This same scenario has played itself out throughout the economy and business. Companies and businesses have had to restructure and redesign their organization and operations in order to survive in the harsh economic times of the past several years. Many, by making hard choices, have not only survived but grown during this time period. They have learned to accomplish the same amount of work and an acceptable level of service utilizing less cost, less resources and less waste (no pun intended).

As the economy begins to grow the vast majority of these companies will not replace the people who were downsized. Their job functions have been automated, absorbed by others in the company or eliminated as non-essential.

Yes there will be new jobs created and some laid-off employees being reinstated as the economy grows and demand exceeds supply. This will happened based on the new improved operating plans and staffing structures.

Efficiency, automation and cost savings are great and some of us will reap the benefits of them. But, as we go forward don’t forget about that trash handler who use to work on the back of the garbage truck.

Loyal Employees Rewarded With Higher Pay

Businesses have increased the value of their employee benefits compared to last year’s figures.

Research by XpertHR revealed more employees are enjoying higher wages because pay rises awarded in the first month of 2011 are worth more than those given in January 2010.

The data discovered that the average employee pay rise effective in January 2011 increased in value by 2.2 per cent to 2.5 per cent when compared with the median increase over the same period last year.

Many workers experienced a pay freeze during 2009 and 2010 as the recession impacted on company finances and the research suggests that the pay rise increases are a way of rewarding their loyalty in difficult times.

Sheila Attwood, XpertHR pay and benefits editor, said that the report shows that pay rises will be increasing after a couple of years of testing times for employees and businesses.

She said: “We are finally seeing signs that the level of pay awards is picking up. 2010 was characterised by the sheer number of pay freezes made, with almost three in 10 organisations refusing employees a pay rise.

Increasing employee benefits like pay rises is one way to improve morale within a business, which can result in a boost in productivity and lower staff turnover rates.

Businesses with poor productivity, low staff morale and high employee turnover rates may benefit from the services of performance improvement consulting experts.

Performance improvement consulting experts look at how to improve performance whilst increasing morale and service as well as helping managers balance business priorities in the process.

Meanwhile, a related study found that over half of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) thought that freelancers are important to their stability and growth in the current economic climate.

The investigation by OfficeCavalry.com also discovered that 93 per cent of employers believed that freelance workers were a real alternative to hiring permanent staff because they enable an organisation to grow in a more cost-effective way.

Andy Turner, founder of OfficeCavalry.com, said that SME’s were adapting to tough economic times by utilising more flexible ways to grow.

He said: “Together with improved access to finance initiatives to do business with the public sector. We are seeing SMEs opt in favour of a more flexible way to do business; one that is cost-effective, scalable and flexible.”

Furthermore, 52 per cent of businesses thought that freelance employees would make a significant contribution to their workforce in the following five years.