October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and all across the country, the color pink is cropping up, like spring in fall. Warriors in Pink are rolling out their campaigns, along with Susan G Komen and many other breast cancer charities. Proceeds from breast cancer awareness products are going toward the fight to eliminate this heinous disease and bring hope to millions of women who have been diagnosed.
From medical gloves to wall clips, pens to calendars, endorsed products are everywhere, and to buy them gives you at least a little bit of warm fuzzy feelings, knowing that you’re contributing to the fight, and getting a really cool product as well. Who doesn’t want a really awesome tape dispenser that not only looks great on your desk, but also goes to a good cause?
The pink ribbon symbol has become the most recognized ribbon in the country; when you see it, you’ve no doubt what it stands for. Ironically, it’s more recognizable than the original red ribbon that inspired it-which was for AIDS. I know that if I see a woman wearing a pink ribbon, she’s either survived breast cancer or knows someone who has, which unfortunately is way too often.
Breast cancer is a very serious matter to me, not that it isn’t to a lot of women. My family has a long history of it, from my great-grandmother, grandmother, three aunts, and my sister. I can only assume that I am predisposed to it. I am secure in the knowledge, however, that since my grandmother and aunts time, breast cancer research and treatment developments have come a very long way, and survival rates have increased exponentially, as evidenced by my sister successfully surviving the disease.
Breast cancer affects all of us, at one point or another in our lives. My hope is that future generations won’t have to go through the pain and uncertainty of a diagnosis, worrying about survival rates and chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. I support all of the charities that work tirelessly to raise money for the fight, knowing that one day, I might need that support network and the work they do. How do you contribute to the fight? Do you donate or purchased endorsed products?
We’re going to try a new thing here at the ReStockIt blog, and that’s hosting a guest to impart their smarts to us! Today we’re going to showcase an article by Verne Harnish and Sebastian Ross, so I hope you enjoy! Drop a line and let us know what you think.
A Better Way to Measure Employee Happiness
by Verne Harnish “Growth Guy” and Sebastian Ross
August 1, 2013 09:50 AM ET
Successful leaders know they need to balance the needs of employees, customers, and shareholders to build a thriving company. Many firms excel at tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) like profits, as well as customer feedback on a weekly or daily basis, but they fall flat when it comes to monitoring employees’ morale – and it shows. New research by Gallup found that 52% of American workers are not engaged in their work, while another 18% are “actively disengaged.”
THE “ULTIMATE” HAPPINESS QUESTION
Tracking employees’ happiness doesn’t have to be arduous. There are some cutting edge tools to simplify your efforts. Apple and Rackspace use the employee Net Promoter System (eNPS), a metric that is picking up traction, as Fred Reichheld, the intellectual father of NPS, mentions in his book The Ultimate Question 2.0.
Be prepared: The scores you get from your team are likely to be lower than you get from your customers on the traditional NPS. Employees tend to be tough critics – but if you’re willing to listen, they will tell you what you need to hear. At the same time, don’t obsess about your scores. The qualitative data is important, too and will help guide you and your senior leadership team on how to react to the data. If the majority of your team is very happy, and only 5% of your employees are grousing about random complaints, you may decide that it isn’t urgent to act on the negative feedback. However, if the comments you get suggest that the unhappy 5% are all concentrated in a particular job title or department, getting to the bottom of the situation may be an emergency.
TAKING A WEEKLY PULSE
Choosing a tool that will allow you to measure your team´s morale daily, weekly or at other frequent intervals will help you keep levels of engagement high. TINYPulse for example, a cloud-based service that sends out weekly survey emails, captures anonymous feedback from employees and offers tools to help management to visualize and analyze the data. When answering the “question of the week,” employees have space to add comments and suggestions. “Rotating different questions allows us to capture input around the various drivers of employee happiness and gives management more specific information to work with,” explains David Niu, founder and CEO of TINYPulse.
MAKE IT A CONVERSATION
Buuteeq is transparent about the results, even projecting them onto a wall during its weekly all-hands meeting. “Sometimes the meeting is almost exclusively about things that came up in the week’s Pulse,” says co-founder and CEO Forest Key. “It is not always easy but we talk things through and often take very specific action – ranging from switching the lunch caterer to strategic changes in our customer service processes.”No doubt, the company’s discipline in closing the loop with employees every week has encouraged employees to submit the large number of useful suggestions Buuteeq receives through the tool.
TINYPulse also allows you to comment directly on suggestions and initiate a private, forum-like dialogue with the employee, a feature that Buuteeq finds very useful. “It is definitely a great opportunity to learn and show that you care,” says Key. “These dialogues would never happen without the tool.”
A DAILY MOOD CHECK
Atlassian, an Australian software company that employs almost 600 people worldwide, created an internal app called MoodApp (great name!) for iPads and scattered them throughout their headquarters, including one to the side of the elevator. On their way out, employees answer questions like “How are you feeling today?” and “Do you think Atlassian is a fun place to work?” A question about how much feedback employees get from their managers uncovered deficits and led the company to use leadership development training to improve the situation.
NO SUBSTITUTE FOR MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS
If your company isn’t ready to invest in software or iPads for your team, consider a lower-tech approach. Careesma, a Barcelona-based company that runs job boards across Europe and India, put up a simple bulletin board where employees can leave post-it notes with suggestions. Every week, Tania de la Paz, head of People & Values, takes the notes to the weekly staff meeting and makes sure that the management team acts on at least one issue.
Add to this feedback by looking at some KPIs such as absenteeism, attrition or tenure with the company, knowledge-sharing activities, training hours, or the number of kudos people give each other.
RESPOND TO FEEDBACK QUICKLY
Make sure that you have the management bandwidth to quickly respond to feedback you get. Gathering data is useless if you don’t act on it. Nothing is more frustrating than being asked your opinion and then seeing it ignored.
Canned air has become an office staple for cleaning your keyboard, dusting your CPU tower, and blowing all the dust bunnies off your desk. You’d be hard-pressed to find an IT department that doesn’t have a case or two lying around, and if they tell you they don’t have any then they’re lying to you. They just don’t want to give up the goods.
I was spraying down my keyboard the other day (bagel Friday-don’t judge) and I thought about what other jobs canned air is used for. I use it at home to clean blinds, fans, and spray off the top of my kitchen cabinets and a co-worker uses them to dust her silk plants, but what else are they good for? A quick internet search came up with a plethora of ideas, from the brilliant to the hilarious.
- Blow dust off of delicate models such as cars, boats, and doll houses. Have you ever tried to Pledge a miniature china hutch?
- Blowing out the dust bunnies behind the two ton entertainment center that you will never move
- Spraying the crumbs your child left behind in the backseat of your car/van/SUV
- Freezing gum on a carpet for easy removal. I wonder if that works with hair…
- If you cut hair for a living, it works to blow hair off your clients neck better than a hairdryer. Just don’t give them freezer burn.
- Giving a boost to your straw-blow gun during a game of Office Domination. That is so not cheating…
- Blowing spiders out of the side-view mirrors on your car. The little suckers always seem to hide in there.
- Airing out your cubicle during a…methane…leak. Yeah.
- You know how your cat tends to sit on the keyboard when you’re trying to work? One quick burst is painless. Scary, but painless.
- Saving the Eiffel Tower from an evil sock monkey
In 2010 Panic erupted across the greater United States. Millions of households began pulling out supposedly “clean” dishes from their dishwasher still covered in spots and food particles.
Many tried to pinpoint their enemy, fiddling with dishwasher parts, trying different cycle settings, and even buying an entirely brand new piece of machinery.
What so many failed to realize was that the true nemesis to clean dishes lay within their detergent itself.
Since then, it was uncovered that a single component of commercial dishwasher detergent was making all the difference between a spotted, muddled glass and a sparkling crystal clear glass. Believe it or not but phosphates are the dishwashing game changer.
That is why Cascade with phosphates is the tried-and-true king of all dishwashing detergents.
Hundreds of reviewers have come to this very same realization and are raving over the quality results they have seen in Cascade with phosphates dishwasher detergent.
One ReStockIt.com customer from Ontario, Oregon says:
“I have been so frustrated with the dishwashing detergents available in the stores. Cascade was always #1, however, after they removed the phosphate it cleaned as poorly as the other detergents. I was having to add Lemi shine to every wash cycle just to keep the calcium from building up in the dishwasher. My first load using this “real” Cascade proved that phosphates are an essential ingredient for clean dishes and dishwasher — the dishes were sparkling and the stainless steel interior of the dishwasher was stainless!”
Another customer from Pennsylvania says:
“Ever since the phosphorus was removed from dishwasher detergent our dishes just didn’t get clean. Everything had a white film on it, especially plastics. We even tried some of the homemade “ecologically friendly” formulas with poor results. Now with this product we have seen a return to sparking, squeaky clean in the first dishwasher load. Coffee and tea stains are gone from cups, silverware sparkles and stainless steel pots no longer look hazy. Hooray!”
The phosphates latch on and directly remove stains and all those stubborn and pesky food bits. Phosphates are proven to be more effective than any other ingredient in dishwasher detergent, thus giving Cascade with phosphates the edge.
Tests have proven that Cascade with phosphates not only cleans better but gives glass and dishware more shine than any other leading competitor.
The Fourth of July, a day commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 237 years ago, is a time for patriotism, spending time with family, and enjoying a nice day off at the office.
Right in time for the big day, we’re providing you with some fun facts about how fellow Americans celebrate the Day of Independence
We Love to Party
The very first “official” 4th of July party was held in 1801 in a very fitting place: You guessed it, the White House.
Yet almost half a century before then, citizens of Bristol, Rhode Island were creating their own big celebration. For well over two centuries, since 1785, this small city has been holding the longest continuous Fourth of July celebration.
Parties bring people together. Fourth of July Patriotism brings America together. Therefore 4th of July puts the “parti” in patriotism. Approximately 41 million of us come together with our fellow Americans and will be celebrating the national holiday at other people’s homes, and 42.3 million Americans will be traveling 50 miles or more from home.
Despite all the legendary parties Americans have been throwing for so long, the Fourth of July wasn’t even a national holiday until 1941!
We Love our Barbecues
If numbers are any indication, Americans will be embracing the tradition of Independence Day barbecues for years and years to come:
Over 74 million Americans plan on barbecuing during the Fourth of July celebrations. About 87% of American homes have an outdoor grill.
Lookout Chicken Little, Americans buy about 700 million pounds of chicken the week preceding the holiday.
We become huge spenders around this time. Americans buy about $193 million worth of hamburger patties in addition to $203 million on mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard.
And, Fourth of July wouldn’t be nearly as successful as the national holiday of barbequing without its title as the most popular holiday for beer purchases. Over 68.3 million total cases of beer are sold during the Independence Day weekend.
Fireworks, Flags, and Fun…oh my!
Fourth of July wouldn’t be complete with the big three F’s: Fireworks, flags, and fun (of course).
Did you know that around Fourth of July, 25 million pounds of fireworks were sold in US cities for public celebration? There was about $649 million of total revenue in the consumer fireworks industry, and additional $318 million revenue from the display fireworks industry.
Americans import about $233 million of fireworks from China each year, the country where fireworks were originally invented.
In 2011, about 60.2% of US families owned an American flag. $3.6 million of US flags are imported, and $663,071 of flags is exported, with Mexico as the leading buyer.
For all the supplies you will need to make your Fourth of July the best one yet, check out our super sale online!
It’s no secret, Southeasterners are procrastinators. I have no doubt there are people that live in my area of the country who are Johnny-on-the-spot prepared for hurricane season in March, but for the vast majority of us, that is just not so. I’ve weathered 7 hurricanes, three of them Category Four or Five, and STILL don’t get my stuff together until a storm is bearing down on me. I was without power for almost two months after the season of 2004, which saw four landfalling hurricanes in Florida (I was in all four), and yet…I still wait. Most of those of us who have been through it, grown up with them, know how to improvise when we haven’t braved the long lines at the stores when warnings go up.
For those of you that DO like to be prepared, here is a handy list of things you should have available in your house if you are in a storm path. This works for all manner of storms, even northern storms (you just have to add alternate heating sources and blankets to yours), and some of the things are handy to have around in the middle of the year as well.
- Flashlights (fun for scary stories as well)
- Spare batteries for all battery operated items in your home
- A car power converter/inverter – they make your car lighter or power outlet into a regular household outlet
- Non-perishable food for three to four days (canned meats, fruit, dry cereal, non-perishable milk, etc)
- Bottles and bottles of water (for drinking only. Fill up tubs and sinks for cleaning purposes). A rule of thumb is a gallon per person per day. Figure three to four days.
- A first aid kit, with prescription medications for illnesses.
- Extra gas for your car
- A generator. I really can’t stress this enough. Yes, they can be fairly expensive, and you may not even use it in a season, but I learned to appreciate mine when I was standing in a line at Grainger for 12 hours in 100 degree weather, waiting to purchase one after Hurricane Charlie.
- A portable fan. No, people in the south don’t always have portable fans. We always have ceiling fans.
See what I did there? For anyone that reads this blog, it’s apparent that I don’t do things normally. Well, normal for the average home owner. I pick up tips and ideas from businesses and incorporate them into our home. My Rubbermaid kitchen storage is straight out of the restaurant kitchen. My husband is a chef, and he uses the workhorses in the kitchen at work and swears by them!
We use three different types at our house; round, square, and rectangular. All are heavy duty, and all keep our food so fresh! The square containers are my favorites, and I use them for flours (of which we have five different types), baking powder, corn meal, coffee, etc. Not only does it eliminate messy, bulky bags, but keeps the critters away. Unfortunately in Florida, weevils are a big issue. Also, they have convenient measurements on the sides, so I can pull out how much I need accordingly, with minimal fuss.
The round containers I use for pastas. Like flours, we have a lot of pasta in the house. I’m Italian, so it’s what I do best and because of these fantastic containers, I buy a lot of pasta! Plus, I’ve used them for cereals, granola, flax seed and things like that, and they keep everything from going stale. I’m also keeping all of the Halloween candy that was left over in a spare. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone.
The last one that I use is rectangular ones, and these are really my all-purpose containers. I store marshmallows (in the bag, air removed), granola bars, energy bars, Pop-Tarts…any kind of boxed item that is packaged separately. I just empty the packages into the containers and voila! instant organization. I’m all about organization, if you haven’t read some of my other blogs. I highly recommend, especially for you organizational brothers and sisters of mine, to purchase some of these gems for your house as well!
If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again – I love art work that uses unusual mediums. Not just art work either, but repurposed items too. Give me a tin coffee can and the best I can do is nail it to some driftwood and call it a planter, so people who can turn flatware into a work of art have my vote. Check out the images below for some truly interesting artwork!
When you have a business, you have a place for your employees to gather on breaks, even if it’s the size of a half bath. Somewhere where a coffee pot sits, maybe a microwave is crowded onto a shelf, and possibly a mini-fridge where your employees can put their meals. No matter where I’ve worked, there has been some kind of set-up, whether it was grand or…not-so-grand.
We have a pretty nice break room here at ReStockIt, and tons of coffee. That’s the important thing. We also have the basics like a full-size fridge, two microwaves, two toasters, a toaster oven, and this hot water thingy that the tea lovers use. Frankly, it scares me, but I don’t drink tea. We also have comfy chairs, a TV, an air hockey table…you get the picture.
Most employers usually provide disposables, and personally I like knowing I don’t have to bring in my own plate, utensils, and coffee mug to get broken or, let’s face it, stolen. Not that we have cup thieves here, but it happens. Opening a cupboard in the break room and having a full complement of plates, bowls, utensils and napkins is a blessing!
Some employers also provide food, which I think is fabulous but not in every businesses budget. I worked for a company that had a full cafeteria and that was amazing! There, the food was provided for us, but a friend of mine works for a company where they pay for their food at a deep discount and use their time badge to pay for it (it gets taken out of their paychecks), which I find very convenient. Cereal, chips, cookies, soups…even sandwiches and salads were provided! No matter what type of break room you have for your employees, take it from me, they appreciate the space! Check out http://www.restockit.com today for breakroom deals and discounts!
Ah, pens. Nothing in the office supply world quite engenders a heated debate like pens. People are serious about them, okay? And don’t get me wrong, I’m not condemning. I have been in more debates about the merits of Papermate versus Pilot than you can shake a stick at! I love my pens. I have favorites. I get angry when they go missing. I don’t even like it when my husband takes a pen off my desk at home. I’m sure my expression resembles something like a wolf’s does when another animal approaches its kill. That’s my theory anyway, because he usually backs away slowly, his hands stretched out in front of him in submission.
People take pens so seriously that I have witnessed a meltdown when one they’ve ordered online came in incorrectly. Whether it’s the wrong color, the wrong thickness, the wrong barrel color…it’s not a pretty sight. Oddly enough, I find myself almost rooting for the outlandish response. I would be so miffed if I ordered a pen and it was incorrect! I have ordered clothes that were sent incorrectly and not been so mad. Pen addicts, or connoisseurs if you prefer (I do. The other way makes me feel dirty), take their writing instruments very seriously. Whether its ball point ink or gel, fine or broad tip, comfort soft grip or straight barrel, there is a method to the madness.
Strangely enough, and I don’t know how many people are out there like me, I buy pens just to buy them. I have my favorite, the brand that I have bought for years in the ink color and tip size that makes me happy every time I write with it, but I still buy “other” pens. Most I don’t even use more than once, but try and borrow the thing from me. I’ll need a copy of your photo I.D. please. My desk drawers have pens rolling around, all capped, all waiting for me, in more colors than a rainbow. When I see a new pen I haven’t seen before, I buy it. I don’t need it, but…it’s a pen! I have to have it!
What puts us on this path to find ink perfection? Are we all closet perfectionists or have massive cases of OCD? Who knows? I’m not spending money in therapy to find out. One of my favorite movies even highlights the love a lot of people have for pens. It illustrates that if we have something worthwhile to write about, we want to have our favorite pen (and the best writing paper-but that’s another blog) to do so. In Roxanne, Rick Rossovich is coercing Steve Martin into writing a letter to Daryl Hannah, and he tells him “Get your favorite pen”, because even a moose like Rick Rossovich (his character, not him per se) knows that to do the work properly, you have to have your favorite pen.