What is Your Biggest Weakness?

Strengths Or Weaknesses Directions On A Metal Signpost

“Every weakness contains within itself a strength.” 
~ Shusaku Endo, Author

Whether you’re interviewing a potential employee or have been interviewed for a position, we have all come across the question “what is your greatest weakness.” Most responses are actually adjusted to show a weakness as a strength for example; “I’m too much of a perfectionist.” Much has been written about how as a job candidate to answer this question including answering with an honest shortcoming that is not essential to success in the position you are applying for. However, we may all gain some insight into our own strengths by examining our weaknesses and learn how to examine our answers to this question.

Identify an actual weakness that you are currently aware of and work on improving the skill.  Allow yourself to identify real weaknesses honestly and the ways and steps you can take to responsibly overcome this shortcoming.  

The real purpose of asking this question of a job candidate is to figure out if a certain weakness will make it hard for a candidate to fit into the culture of your workplace. We all want to add comfort and value while accomplishing the job for your business or organization. Interviews are meant to help filter through the impressions people leave with us and to narrow down the best of the best for consideration.

As an interviewer, it’s crucial to recognize a candidate that’s not insightful enough to clearly identify weaknesses as well as strengths. Working toward a positive outlook and culture in ourselves and hiring for that goal is important both as a leader and to an employee.  

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results

Employee Think Tank

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If you do things well, do them better. Be daring, be first, be different, be just.”
~ Anita Roddick, Businesswoman

In the ever-changing face of the workplace, the power of diverse thinking that can be expressed in employee think thanks may positively impact many types of businesses. Implementing an employee think tank creates a system where all ideas are welcome and considered as part of an organized system of meetings and may help foster a better more cohesive work place. Providing ideas can be part of every employees’ job and receiving ideas should be every manager’s job.

Starting with the implementation of small ideas instead of with big, aggressive and dramatic ideas will get more positive attention since these ideas may be carried out immediately. Small ideas are the steppingstones to bigger ideas and, taken together, small ideas can grow into a large competitive advantage for your brand. Create a structure of rounding up ideas through meetings and regular discussion groups, growing those ideas are the next step. No matter how small, ask every employee to share ideas and discuss which ideas should be refined and delegate responsibilities for them.

To make employees feel part of the team and valuable to the daily operation, recognize the results of ideas and solutions that work. Giving public recognition in a newsletter or on the office bulletin board provides a level of satisfaction that can be combined with small rewards of recognition such as gift cards or other tokens of merit.

With an open mind and a good system of exchanging ideas and recognizing results, your business will grow, your employees will be happier and a better bottom line may result.

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results

The Changing Face of Insurance

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Our first Question from Vistage Chair, Jaynie Smith:

What are companies doing today about health insurance as rates climb?  Are you covering employee only?  Family?  How much are you passing along to the employee?

There appears to be no question that at the beginning of the New Year, health insurance rates will increase. In 2016 premiums increased an average of 7 percent and the predictions for 2017 are that premiums could increase as much as 50 percent. Like many decisions made by companies, both large and small, the pros and cons of every decision should be researched and the repercussions should be considered before a final procedure is implemented.

Here are many advantages of offering high level health benefits to employees even though the majority of the financial burden usually falls on the employer. The following are a few key items to consider.

  • To retain the most qualified and effective employees companies must stay at least competitive if not superior to other employers who offer similar benefit packages.
  • The company may be allowed significant tax deductions through a tax credit making the out of pocket costs far less for both the employee and corporation. This should be researched and shared with those affected.
  • Group purchasing power may significantly reduce costs overall for premiums.
  • A healthy workforce is more productive and has less absenteeism due to illness. Insurance coverage offers preventative care that without insurance many people avoid.

The downside to offering high level health benefits are more than just the effect on the bottom line.

  • Particularly with smaller companies with less resources other programs or benefits will need to be cut in order to afford more insurance expenses.
  • The employer and employee relationship may suffer as a result of passing on some costs to the employees who may be seen as unsympathetic to the plight of the worker while the reality is the employer and employee have to be realistic about future increases.
  • Ongoing insurance changes have become an ongoing expense and burden to employers as the administrative costs are high in order to stay current and provide the best coverage for the employees.
  • There is a risk of liability as the employer becomes in charge of selecting the insurance company type and coverage’s offered. Most employers hire consultants and employ staff to seek out the best advice however this information can be challenged by disgruntled employees and others who feel they may have not had the best coverage offered in a changing world.

The Affordable Care Act is an option that can be taken. The employee can decline the company health coverage if the ACA is better. The choice is up to the employee. If a company does not have specific qualified healthcare, the employees can purchase the ACA. The company must provide coverage if they have over 50 employees. If the company has healthcare they must offer it to the employees who can decline it if the ACA is less expensive. If you make under a certain income, the ACA coverage is subsidized by the government. If not, you pay whatever the cost is. If an individual does not have coverage they can be fined.

Uncertainty is uncomfortable for all involved and financial planning is near to impossible without accurate predictions. Companies should be looking at ways to offer different levels of family and individual coverage’s and to provide information to employees from outside experts on what best to choose to save money and be cost effective for all involved. It’s incumbent on all of us to take personal responsibility to know what plans are available for ourselves personally and for our employees and what the right fit is. Communication as always is key with your employees, understanding the costs of insurance will need to be shared in some way so that options are on the table.

 The big question we are all facing is, “How can we afford all these new expenses.” One benefit of the ACA has been that many people who were not able to have any health insurance prior now have coverage however; the cost may soon become prohibitive for many more. If new plans come to offer the benefits of the ACA along with lower premiums of course there may be good news on the horizon.

We have no verified data on costs at this point however it appears that now is the time to actively seek input from industry experts to help balance the costs to all parties involved and to balance the financial burdens. Utilizing your employees as a source of input, is one way to get a positive conversation going about their needs and the company’s best interests.

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results

Volunteering as a Corporate Team

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“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
~ Winston Churchhill

 

With the holiday season just around the corner, encouraging your employees to take part in a corporate volunteer program can be very beneficial to the office environment, the positive atmosphere among colleagues and to your brand. While donating items or funds to a local charity might be the easier route, helping your company standout in the community while engaging employee interactions has benefits that can add value to the lives of all involved.

Any business or organization can benefit from highlighting a positive reputation in the community’s eye. A well promoted and successful volunteer program allows a company to demonstrate commitment to helping the people in the local community while spreading brand awareness and gaining trust and recognition.

 Larger events like sponsored marathons supporting a well-known cause can even give your company added recognition by being featured on the local news. Always remember to also utilize social media to market your brand through pictures and twitter hashtags.

Working together in the community increases employee interaction by implementing team building exercises outside of the office which can be positive, fun and a fulfilling way to help others. For larger businesses and organizations with employees in different departments, corporate volunteering programs help to foster new relationship while learning each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

Find out more about our Vistage Florida team as we volunteer at Feeding Northeast Florida during the month of November!

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results