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The Results Are In: Business Performance Predictions for 2015

In December, we asked about your business performance predictions for the new year, and according to the results of our poll, there’s a lot of optimism surrounding 2015.

Of those who participated in the poll, 46% expect to see exponential business growth this year, while 31% expect their business performance to remain steady, but unchanged from 2014. And, 17% of respondents said they believe they would see a decrease in business volume, which is up from last year.

Another 6% of respondents selected the “Other” option and submitted their own predictions, including:

  • Uncertain, but hopeful
  • Will experience additional growth, but only in some areas of business
  • Soft economy ups and downs throughout the year, but no substantial growth

Year-over-year results
This is the third year we’ve asked this same question, and the overall trend has been more or less positive, with a most notable decrease in the number of respondents who expect to see a slowdown in business performance from year to year.

Business Performance Predictions for 2014:

  • Expect to see exponential growth – 50%
  • Expect to remain steady, but unchanged – 43%
  • Expect to see a decrease in business activity – 7%

Business Performance Predictions for 2013:

  • Expect to see exponential growth – 43%
  • Expect to remain steady, but unchanged – 31%
  • Expect to see a decrease in business activity – 26%

Significant obstacles to success are looming
While the overall trend for the past few years has been positive, there are many challenges that businesses are being forced to address that have the potential to derail the forward momentum.

Bersin by Deloitte, a business services and research company, recently released their “Predictions for 2015” report that hits on many of the key trends that have been making a significant impact on business, and will likely become even more significant in the year ahead.

A few key insights from the report include:

1. Employee engagement and retention issues will continue to be a major challenge

“Low engagement today is a significant business risk. In today’s transparent job market, employment brand and employee engagement have become synonymous. If people are unhappy at work, then they are likely telling others—making it harder to hire good people. So, a focus on engagement is a high priority everywhere.”

2. Workers are overwhelmed, and it’s time to take more significant steps to address it

“Deloitte’s global human capital trends research shows that more than two-thirds of all organizations believe that their employees are “overwhelmed” with too much information, too many projects, too many meetings and phone calls, and an always-on 24×7 work environment.”

3. Skilled workers are at a premium, and will continue to be a major driver of competition

“Almost every research study we perform (and most of the ones we read) talks about the scarcity of critical skills in the workforce—this problem never seems to go away. As technology and business trends evolve, professionals at all levels have to continuously reskill themselves to stay current and relevant.”

You can download Bersin by Deloitte’s full “Predictions for 2015” report here.

What are your predictions for the new year? What are the biggest obstacles standing in your way? Let us know in the comments section below.

Refresh Leadership is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.
by  on January 15, 2015 in Executive InsightsSurveys, Polls, and Infographics 



Message from the Chief Prevention Officer:

Every year, workers are killed or injured as a result of workplace Motor Vehicle Incidents

Motor Vehicle Incidents (MVIs) are one of the top three causes of fatalities at Ontario workplaces and winter driving in particular can be hazardous for those who are unprepared.

Workers lose their lives due to MVIs while on the job in such sectors as electrical/utilities, construction, mining and transportation.

These incidents are preventable — all workers and employers should exercise every pre-cautionary measure to ensure safety while on the roads and to prevent future incidents. Employers should also ensure that workers are adequately trained for driving in inclement weather.

Safety tips for driving safely in the winter:

  • Know the law and the rules of the road.
  • Know your equipment — how to control your vehicle and where blind spots are.
  • Minimize hazards by inspecting your vehicle and setting controls before travelling.
  • Have an emergency kit on hand in case your car stalls out in the cold.
  • Practice driving in the winter:
    • During daylight, rehearse maneuvers slowly on ice or snow in an empty lot.
    • Steer into a skid.
    • Consider longer stopping distances on ice.
  • Avoid fatigue — stop every few hours if possible.
  • Ensure your expected time of arrival and route are known if traveling in remote areas.

Information to help protect you is available from the Ministry of Labour and its workplace partners.

To report unsafe work practices, please contact the Ministry of Labour Health & Safety Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-202-0008.


How To Keep Employees Motivated

Today, we’ll be discussing employee motivation. Whether you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or the owner of a five-person firm, you know that a motivated team is essential to your success. More than that, a demotivated staff can do serious damage to your business.

So, what are the warning signs of demotivated employees? According to a blog on the professional networking site, LinkedIn, there are three key areas to watch out for: workplace atmosphere, job standards, and employee productivity. If any or all of these are trending downwards, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with demotivated employees.

As a business owner or manager, you need to not only motivate employees, but also help them to motivate themselves. Ultimately, your goal is to create an environment that allows your employees to meet or exceed expectations, do their best, and feel valued.

Understanding what motivates employees comes down to knowing your staff as individuals. Remember, we all have different needs, aspirations, and values…therefore, what motivates one employee may not work for another. That’s why your best strategy is to offer a range of motivators to improve performance, enthusiasm, and retention.

Of course, most employees can be motivated by tangible rewards such as salary and promotion. However, there are many intangible motivators such as mentoring, personal and professional growth opportunities, and the ability to work independently that can also get the job done. Indeed, offering your employees the chance to work without excessive supervision will show your faith and trust in them, as will allowing a flexible work schedule that enables them to attend to their personal needs.

It’s also important to recognize employees for jobs well done. This may be via a financial reward such as a bonus, but it can also take the form of a new job title that reflects higher status within the company, or company-wide public recognition and thanks. No matter what you do publicly, it is also a good idea to offer an employee your personal thanks for a job well done.

Also, be sure to keep your employees challenged and engaged. Perhaps it’s time for a lateral move if a promotion isn’t possible; this is a great way to help an employee build his or her skill set. Also consider offering more opportunities for employees to engage with your clients and customers, which can be highly rewarding.

One final thought: as we noted earlier, motivating employees comes down to knowing them as individuals. To do this, you must have open lines of communication and a mutual understanding of both professional and personal goals.

Source: Brittany Capozziello ( December 18, 2014 


Planning for Workplace Emergencies

A workplace emergency is an unforeseen situation that threatens your employees, customers, or the public; disrupts or shuts down your operations; or causes physical or environmental damage. Having an emergency action plan is key to preventing a disorganized evacuation or emergency response that could result in confusion, injury, and property damage.

Federal regulations require that almost every business develop an emergency action plan. An emergency action plan covers designated actions employers and employees must take to ensure employee safety.

Emergency Action Plan Key Elements: 

  • Means of reporting emergencies
  • Evacuation procedures
  • Procedures for employees who remain to operate critical operations before evacuating
  • Procedures to account for all employees
  • Rescue and medical duties
  • Names and job titles of persons who can be contacted for more information

Your emergency action plan should be tailored to your worksite and include information about all potential sources of emergencies. Keep a copy of your emergency action plan in a convenient location where employees can get to it, or provide all employees a copy. (If you have 10 or fewer employees, you may communicate your plan orally.)

You can use the online Emergency Action Plan Expert System, available from the federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), to help you create a simple emergency action plan for your company. According to OSHA, this basic plan will be adequate for the needs of many small and medium-sized entities, but may not be adequate for large establishments or those with more significant hazards.

Note that the OSHA Expert System only provides information based on federal OSHA Emergency Action Plan requirements. If you are covered by a state OSHA plan, you may need to contact your local state OSHA office. Our section on Planning for Workplace Emergencies includes additional information and tips for protecting your employees and business during a disaster.

Source: Tom Ceconi, ( June 19, 2014


Setting Employee Goals 

Today, we’re going to talk about something every supervisor and employee should do: set goals. Whether timed to the start of the calendar year, or done in conjunction with quarterly or annual reviews, goal setting has far-reaching benefits.

Employees who set goals increase both their commitment and motivation, and they become more invested in their jobs and long-term career plans. Employers also benefit—the goal-setting process allows them to direct employees’ efforts toward maximizing accomplishments and…perhaps most importantly…toward supporting the company’s own long-term goals.

Sounds like a win-win…but how do you, as a manager, go about setting goals?

To start, know that goal setting will be most successful when you provide each employee with clear expectations regarding performance that are tied to an understanding of how his or her individual work contributes to the company’s overall goals.

1. Be specific. Clearly communicate the tasks or behaviors employees must accomplish or demonstrate to achieve successful results. Performance goals should function to align employee growth and development with that of your business.

2. Be realistic. You need to set goals that are challenging, but attainable based on your employee’s knowledge, skills and resources. Ask the employee for input, and make sure you monitor and update goals as circumstances change. Your definition of “realistic” may change as the year proceeds.

3. Choose goals that can be measured, and make sure your employees understand exactly how they will be assessed. For example, a salesperson may be measured quantitatively via number of sales, whereas a support employee may be rated qualitatively based on customer satisfaction.

4. Use your calendar—and set deadlines. Setting firm but realistic timeframes for achieving goals will increase productivity. For ongoing or long-term goals, you should regularly monitor progress and offer feedback to keep your employees motivated and focused on your desired outcomes.

5. As you set goals, remember to prioritize. When goals are numerous or complex, it can be easy for employees to lose a sense of priority and simply jump from task to task. As the manager, it’s up to you to rank and prioritize goals so your employees understand the relative importance of each one.

6. Evaluating goals is also important. Since goals are designed to support both the company AND the employee’s personal development, you should evaluate and update goals based on changing business needs and the employee’s progress.

7. Finally, coordinate your employees’ goals so that they complement one another. Break apart more complicated goals into manageable pieces, and delegate them to each employee working as part of a team.

Source: Tom Ceconi ( October 9, 2014