Each of these thoroughly-researched articles includes quotes from people in my database of over 400 of the nation’s foremost management consultants, workplace psychologists, and employment law attorneys.
To contact Phillip M. Perry send email or call the author at (212) 274-8694.
FORECAST 2022. Businesses should benefit from a favorable operating environment in 2022 as the economy continues to grow at a healthy clip. Although sales of goods and services are expected to decelerate from the previous year’s torrid pace, bottom line earnings should remain high. Aggressive housing activity, robust capital investment and high employment levels should more than make up for the costs of crippled supply chains and pandemic-related labor shortages.
FAMILY BUSINESS SURVIVAL: How Buy-Sell Agreements Can Resolve Common Crises. Family businesses can find their future imperiled when an unanticipated crisis such as death, disability or divorce affects the ownership of corporate shares. A “buy-sell agreement” can ensure the survival of the organization by mandating the terms under which shares are bought and sold, often preventing a controlling interest from passing into third party hands. Periodic business valuations will not only facilitate the required transfers of corporate stock but also encourage family members to look upon their enterprise as a long-term financial investment.
AVOIDING OVERTIME PENALTIES: Employers Grapple with Changing Wage and Hour Regulations. Employers can incur costly penalties for violating the overtime regulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Biden administration is expected to reduce the number of employees exempt from overtime by raising the required salary threshold and tightening the workplace duties tests. To protect their interests businesses should proactively institute procedures that ensure payroll integrity.
DEALING WITH OSHA: Federal and state safety regulations have always challenged employers. Recent events, though, are escalating the risk that workplace inspections will result in costly citations. The Biden administration is beefing up its OSHA profile with more inspectors and new employer standards. This story tells your readers how to negotiate this risky legal terrain.
CYBER SECURITY: How to Counter Fraud in a Digital World. Businesses face the growing risk of financial loss from fraudulent Internet transactions. The recent upsurge in ransomware attacks highlights the need to block social engineering initiatives that target company funds and data. When breaches do occur, dedicated insurance policies can mitigate damages.
WORKPLACE VIOLENCE: How to Reduce the Risk of Tragedy. A troubled employee’s violent act can devastate any business. Too often the result is human injury or death, a traumatized workforce, and long-lasting damage to the organization’s reputation. Costly lawsuits by injured parties can result in bankruptcy. In this article, workplace violence experts tell how your readers can obviate tragedy by taking immediate action when employees begin to exhibit high risk behavior.
RETOOLING FOR MILLENNIALS. The under-40 crowd makes up the largest component of today’s workforce. To motivate millennials businesses must re-engineer their operating environments to prioritize connections between assigned tasks and community welfare. There must also be a felt connection between employee tasks and business profits. A well-calibrated workplace will boost the bottom line by inspiring employees to peak performance.
EMPLOYEE POACHING: Avoid Litigation and Loss of Trade Secrets When Workers Jump Ship. When employees leave for positions elsewhere, valuable trade secrets can go out the door with them. Employers can protect their customer lists, marketing plans and pricing data from ending up in the hands of competitors by having key individuals sign restrictive covenants. At the same time, they need to avoid lawsuits for violating restrictive covenants when poaching top performers from competitors.
INSURANCE UPSET: Avoid Litigation and Loss of Trade Secrets When Workers Jump Ship. When employees leave for positions elsewhere, valuable trade secrets can go out the door with them. Employers can protect their customer lists, marketing plans and pricing data from ending up in the hands of competitors by having key individuals sign restrictive covenants. Employers also need to avoid lawsuits for violating restrictive covenants when poaching top performers from competitors.
WORRIED WORKERS: How to Motivate Post-Covid Employees. The Covid-19 outbreak has affected the psychology of everyone. Managers face the challenge of lighting fires under employees who may feel too burned-out to perform at their usual peak levels. What to do when an employee, newly returned to the traditional workplace, performs in a listless manner? And what about that employee who continues to work from home but no longer generates creative ideas? Five workplace psychologists offer advice on re-motivating these and others.
RACE IN THE WORKPLACE. Employees and customers are increasingly troubled by society’s racial disparities. How can managers increase racial harmony in the workplace? What are the most common mistakes leading to unintentional discrimination? And what new policies might reduce the risk of costly lawsuits? How can racially-charged jokes be nipped in the bud? How can management break the ice when talking about this whole subject? Six attorneys and consultants discuss the most effective ways to transform the new American workplace.
NEW INSURANCE RISKS. The covid-19 pandemic put a spotlight on the hidden exclusions buried in most commercial insurance policies. Thousands of business owners across the country are filing “business interruption” claims, only to see their insurance provider deny coverage. And that’s not all. The pandemic has affected coverage for such insurance segments as general liability, workers compensation, and Employment Practices Liability insurance (EPLI). Six insurance consultants inform your readers on steps they can take to protect themselves.
BRINGING PEOPLE BACK: Set the Stage for Success with a Great Return-to-Work Program. : With the easing of restrictions surrounding the Covid-19 outbreak, businesses are starting to bring employees back into the workplace. A successful re-entry program will ensure the safety of company personnel and the public, obviate charges of discrimination and invasion of privacy, and avoid actions that inadvertently violate federal, state and local employment laws.
SURVIVING COVID-19: Healthy Workplaces, Reduced Staffs, Informed Customers. Your readers face daunting operational challenges as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread throughout the nation. How will they deal effectively with the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”)? Will they obtain significant assistance from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES”)? Will state workshare programs play a significant role? These and other questions are answered by attorneys and crisis management consultants.
LOCAL POLITICS: How to Pull the Strings Your Way. With all the attention paid to this year’s Federal elections, your readers might overlook an important fact: Small businesses are more often affected by decisions made at the local rather than the national level. Experts tell how to create a more business-friendly environment through smart negotiations with the town hall and state capitol.
TRADE SHOW FOLLOW-THROUGH: Increase Your Profits by Taking the Right Steps When the Show is Over. Your readers can get more from their investment in the time and money required to attend a trade show by capitalizing on what they have learned after they return to their workplaces. Experts tell how to follow through with vendors, cultivate personal networks, and capitalize on industry trends revealed at the show. This article is written from the point of view of attendees/buyers—not from that of exhibitors.
TRADE SHOW TAX DEDUCTIONS: How to Cut the Cost of Travel and Lodging. Everyone knows trade shows are great places to find new products and network with peers. With business revenues under siege, though, your readers are likely taking second looks at the travel expenses required to attend shows. One way to minimize the bottom-line impact of such costs is to make sure all allowable expenses are deducted at tax time. But which ones to deduct? And what costly errors to avoid? Experts answer these questions.
WORKPLACE DATING: Pitfalls and Policies. Dating between supervisors and subordinates is a fact of life in many workplaces. What seem like harmless relationships on the surface, though, can lead to costly workplace disruptions and harassment lawsuits. Indeed, high profile executives at McDonald’s, Intel and BlackRock were recently dismissed for conducting consensual relationships with subordinates. What makes an effective workplace fraternization policy? Employment attorneys answer that question in this article.
WEED IN THE WORKPLACE. As more states legalize marijuana, your readers face a difficult challenge: How can they design workplace drug policies to reflect new legal requirements while continuing to protect customers and employees from harm caused by impaired workers? Experts tells how to navigate the treacherous cannabis terrain.
HOW TO RECESSION-PROOF YOUR BUSINESS. Businesses can survive and thrive in an economic downturn if they retool their operations well in advance of a decline in business activity. Critical steps include eliminating operational inefficiencies, leveraging technology for increased productivity, paying off credit lines, securing sufficient working capital and diversifying funding sources. Above all, managers should plan for continued growth rather than resort to undisciplined cost cutting.
MENTORING: How Your Best Employees Can Supercharge Your Staff. With the growing mobility of the nation’s workforce, employers risk losing valuable expertise when skilled workers walk out the door. Mentoring can help stem the loss as more experienced personnel communicate their knowledge to other staff members. A well-run initiative fosters greater employee loyalty, more effective problem resolutions, and a fatter bottom line.
HEALTH INSURANCE: Funding the Right Policies for Your Employees. With health insurance premiums rising faster than inflation, employers are finding it tougher than ever to find affordable group coverage. Some relief may be in the offing in the form of the Trump administration’s promotion of less costly plans and loosening of restrictive regulations. While employers always welcome new ways to save money, they must also beware of questionable policies that might stick their workers with huge bills for costly medical procedures.
FILLING THE LENDING GAP: How to Land a Business Loan from Nonbank Sources. Alternative lenders may extend critical financing when commercial banks reject a loan application. Before accepting money from nonbank platforms, though, borrowers should perform due diligence, assessing each organization’s reputation for fair dealing. The benefits of easy and quick money must be balanced against the negatives of higher interest rates, costly service fees, and late payment penalties.
SOCIAL RECRUITING: How to Use Social Networks to Attract Top Talent. In a tight labor market employers must use every tool at their disposal to land the best talent. Social media, in particular, provide effective platforms for reaching the “passive candidate” who is not looking for a new position but might be lured by an attractive offer. Employers need to lay the groundwork for their social recruiting efforts by creating a brand presence that will attract the best performing people.
FAMILY BUSINESS TRUSTS: Protecting Valuable Assets from Outside Threats. Family businesses can use trusts to protect valuable assets against a variety of threats. Carefully designed trusts can avoid costly probate, buffer the enterprise from lawsuits and creditor claims, and resolve disputes about the distribution of assets to the next generation. Starting the planning process early will help protect the business from sudden loss due to an unexpected lawsuit or death.
HOW TO KEEP YOUR ‘A’ PLAYERS. In a labor market growing tighter every month, employers must take steps to obviate the loss of their top performing workers to aggressive competitors. Key actions include implementing “pay for performance” systems and assuring lateral or vertical advancement pathways. Employers should also provide frequent performance feedback and allow star performers sufficient autonomy.
PREVENTING SEXUAL HARASSMENT: How to Create a Respectful Workplace. Sexually oriented comments and behaviors can destroy workplace morale and spark costly lawsuits. As victims of sexual harassment become more willing to speak out, organizations of all sizes are taking steps to address the problem. Employers can protect their personnel by instituting policies and procedures that promote a respectful business environment. Three attorneys and a management consultant tell how.
EMPLOYEE HANDBOOKS: Profitable Tools for Small Business. Employee handbooks can help boost profits by lending efficiency to workplace operations. When benefits and responsibilities are clearly defined, supervisors are freed from the time-consuming task of responding to numerous procedural questions. Even so, handbook provisions must comply with federal, state and local laws while avoiding the creation of inadvertent contracts of employment.
WORKERS COMPENSATION INSURANCE: How to Cap Costly Premiums. Workers compensation insurance plays a critical role in returning injured employees to health while protecting employers from costly civil lawsuits. When a workplace experiences too many accidents, though, escalating premiums can take a big chunk out of the bottom line. Employers need to train workers in safe work habits and shop for carriers who will partner in identifying fraudulent claims.