Why Lego Could Be the Key to Productive Business Meetings

It’s 60 years since Lego patented their little plastic blocks and since then over 600 billion bricks have been produced. These bricks have been used to build cars, death stars and a multitude of creations born in the imagination of “legoists” all over the world. While some people think Lego is just for children – or that being grown up means leaving playfulness behind – my job often entails convincing fully grown adults, in sensible jobs, to play with Lego and build whatever comes to mind. As an accredited Lego serious play facilitator, I ask people to build their thoughts, ideas and feelings. I was introduced to the concept through an EU-funded project, where I came to see the power of Lego in creating an environment for open dialogue within diverse groups. The “serious play” aspect encourages participants to get creative through play. This allows people to put aside their …

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Women Entrepreneurs: A Growing Trend

The business landscape is continually changing—technological advances, corporate downsizing, restructuring, and telecommuting have reshaped the marketplace.­ Although these improvements and modifications have a great impact on our working environment, perhaps the most notable trend has been the rapid growth in the number of women-owned businesses. According to the Center for Women’s Business Research (2012), three quarters of women-owned businesses are those wherein women own a majority share, and each year, women-owned businesses generate almost $1.9 trillion in sales. Statistics from the Center for Women’s Business Research reveal impressive gains for women in the marketplace: An estimated 10.4 million companies are owned by women. Women-owned businesses account for 41% of all firms in the U.S., and employ 12.8 million workers. In the past 20 years, women-owned companies grew by 42%. This figure is two times the growth rate of all privately-held firms for that time period. The “Push” Behind the Numbers …

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Family-Friendly Work Options All Employees Can Use

Some companies like to tout themselves as being family-friendly, but are they really if their family-friendly policies only benefit married couples or employees raising children? “Family-friendly work options are not only for employees with immediate family,” says Eileen Timmins, Ph.D., founder of Aingilin. “Having diversity of options for the diverse workforce family is the key.” “Family” doesn’t necessarily refer to only spouses and minor children — it can encompass domestic partners, stepfamilies, aging parents and close aunts or uncles. Truly family-friendly policies also apply to singles and employees without children. Paid time off is one option all employees can use. “PTO is an option, but many more companies are using ‘take what you need’ time,” Timmins says. “An employee takes the time they need for vacation or sick time. It’s similar to an honor policy — if it becomes excessive, then the employer will approach the person and see if …

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Train to Retain: How to Develop High-Potential Employees to Keep Them

Employee retention is essential for companies looking to build their businesses and boost their bottom lines. But retention alone isn’t the secret of success. High-potential employees who are in line to move up through the ranks of management need to be nurtured, trained and developed. As high-potential employees advance, they will be the ones to mentor and groom yet another generation of your company’s leaders. High-potential employees are highly motivated to grow, develop and advance, and if you don’t take steps to meet these needs, they’re likely to seek work with companies that will. These employees are the ones who will create the innovations and systems that will propel your business through the coming decades, so it’s essential to your company’s future to help them advance their skills and their careers — and to give them reasons to stay with you as they do. Your investment in your employees’ futures …

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Does Your Company Offer Competitive Paid Leave?

Most U.S. employers aren’t required to offer their employees paid leave, but many do and this year they’re offering more. According to a recent Employee Benefits research report by the Society for Human Resource Management, more U.S. employers are offering paid leave benefits. For example, compared to previous years, more employers are offering: Paid sick leave plans Paid parental leave Paid vacation time Paid personal days As these numbers change, it’s important to review your own leave policies to ensure your offerings are competitive. Offering less paid leave than other companies in your industry or geographic area will make it harder for you to attract and maintain top talent. Top Paid Benefits According to the SHRM survey, the top paid leave benefit is paid holidays, which are offered by 98 percent of respondents. Other popular paid leave benefits include: Paid bereavement leave, offered by 86 percent of respondents. Paid jury duty …

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