Thursday, April 28, 2016

I miss the answering machine era

Answering machines, the precursor to voicemail, were useful tools because you controlled them completely. They were not subject to automatic erasure after 30 days, you could screen calls, keep the voices of loved ones alive, and most importantly, people would actually leave you a message. I miss this era of technology!

How many people leave voicemails nowadays? How many people check their voicemails regularly? Not enough it seems, because the amount of times I have heard “oh I do not ever check my voicemail” or “well I did not leave a message because you did not pick up” is killing me!

How do you run your business without checking messages and how do you expect people to know you called if you do not leave a message? I personally am not looking for missed calls; I am looking for voicemail messages.

Text messages will never replace voice communication, and nor should they. Text messages are impersonal, easy to misconstrue, and you have no clue who is really sending the message.

Modern voicemail could be a useful technology, because you can access it anywhere, I just wish more people would actually do that.

Rant over.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

If you want my business

I have had a couple of interesting experiences recently which has prompted me to throw a couple of pointers when dealing with potential new clients:
  1. PICK UP THE PHONE. More often than not, if you do not pick up, I am going to go to the next name on the list, and if I must leave a message, do not make me wait too long before I hear back from you.
  2. SARCASM IS NEVER APPRECIATED. I am calling because I am researching information about whether your business can help me or not, so do not assume I researched you at this point or even know where you are located.
  3. PLEASE KNOW WHAT YOUR COMPETITORS ARE CHARGING SO YOU CAN COMPETE. Also, do not try and leave me with open ended prices after I have given you specifics because that will immediately rule you out.
  4. BE POLITE! You are trying to earn my business, so at least talk to me like you are interested in hearing what I have to say, try to pronounce my name correctly (ask if you cannot); just act like you care.
Seems funny that someone should have to say this correct? However, sometimes the basics needed to be reminded.
Signed, the customer you lost
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

This is not America! Ignorance at its worst…

This is not America! Ignorance at its worst…

I try not to let stuff like this affect me, and generally it does not; however, social media has created a keyboard warrior class whose only goal it seems is to spread hate and dissension.

There is a race problem in America, that problem is that the human race is not making a good faith effort to get along and embrace our differences. There is a problem with folks wanting to point out what divides us and not what unites us.

You might not like our current president, that is your right, but he is still our president, and people need to stop blaming him for everything. There is little subtlety in the bigotry and ignorance being published across the airwaves; all because some people have dark skin.

Here is the latest ignorance floating around, and believe me when  I say, I do not go looking for this, it comes to me:

Here are just a small sample of some of the comments in this group, the rest are too vile to post:

Pamela Boyer Her picture should be on the pancake syrup label not our money.
Dina Creazzo
Dina Creazzo 😂😂😂 That had me cracking up!
John Springer
John Springer she lookslike obamas moma
George King
Edward Wylie
Edward Wylie Put her on the Susan B Anthony dollar....the flipside....
Don Comstock
Don Comstock Sick of all this crap. Founding fathers who contributed to this country are honored on our bills. Maybe put her face on welfare checks ?
Toni Honeywell
Toni Honeywell My thoughts exactly. Put her on welfare checks & Obama on food stamps.
Victoria Melum
Victoria Melum yes they should put ANDREW JACKSON back on the bills
Marian Sharp Brandmaier

It is OK to be polite and critical when you disagree, it is OK have change, it is OK to think for yourself, it is OK not to believe everything you read on the internet, and it is OK to really admit that America has unresolved problems stretching back 400 years.

Some of you however, just need to be banned from social media because you are simply vile human beings!


Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, April 25, 2016

When did we stop appreciating education and intellect?

Like most of my writings, this topic is from personal experience, observation, and discussions with other professionals. For the longest time I was under the impression it was just me, I am glad I figured out the truth.

We all look for work at some point in our lives, and a few years ago during one of those periods in my life I found myself very confused. I was confused not because I did not know what to do or what to say, I was confused because I was getting zero call backs from any jobs I had applied for, even where I was a perfect fit on paper. I was also conducting my search the right way, networking, making personal connections, etc. So what was going wrong? The answer stunned me.

I had too much education and experience on my resume; someone pointed it out to me, and it was proved right when I removed a number of degrees and started getting call backs and interviews. Who ever heard of having too much education and experience? And in this economy, companies are getting great employees at discounted prices. It was not just that they would have to pay me more either, because in some cases the salary range was listed and very narrow anyway. So what was it?

During this time, I can also remember posting my resume up in what I thought was a professional job board, with my goals, wants, expectations, and including the fact that I was not fond of sales job offers. I got one really nasty email back from an anonymous keyboard warrior (dark symptom of social media) stating “you are an over educated dinosaur, good luck with that”.

My story is not unique because over the years I have collected many similar stories from many different professionals, and funnily enough a lot of them were also in the field of education just like me. . Is this how we treat people who are educated in the job market now?

We are in a political cycle right now, and it seems part of the political circus includes being ‘likable” or “an average Joe”, folks seem to be looking for the candidate they would most “like to have a beer with”, not who is most qualified or educated. There was a political candidate during the last election cycle who called an opponent a snob because they advocated college for everyone; and it turns out this candidate was more educated than the person he called a snob. He was trying to dumb himself down; he was doing it because it seemed that was what was expected.

Is this what we are teaching our children now? Is this what we want for the next generation? Do we want to tell them not to reach for the stars because they sound like a snob? Are we telling excellent job candidates that you are no good because you are too smart and experienced? Are hiring managers that insecure because the person they might higher is better educated than them? Do we not celebrate educational achievements anymore?

Candidates do understand they are not going get accepted for every job, and get an interview every time:  but since when did education and intellect become a stigma, and how long are we going to let this go on for?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Sunday, April 24, 2016

We waste a lot of food in America

We live in a country where it is literally possible to eat yourself to death; I can think of worse ways to go, but that is truly an amazing fact. “Food waste in America” Look at the message not the politics.

We grow more than we can eat; we order more at restaurants than we can finish (often not realizing). Case in point, recently at Universal Studios’ Harry Potter World, my family ordered what we thought was the best money conscious meal that could be shared between five people. Not only could we not finish half of it, but also they do not provide to go bags to take the leftovers home; the food was thrown away and there was not a lot we could do about it.

Let us forget about starvation around the world for just a second, and look at food issues closer to home:

·          “Millions of working Americans don’t know where their next meal is coming from”

·         “Hunger in America: 2015 United States Hunger and Poverty Facts”

You mean to tell me that we waste all this food in America and we have people going hungry because it costs businesses more to donate expiring food than to just throw it away? You mean to say we really have people going hungry in the good ole U.S of A? A harsh reality
So what can we do? I honestly do not have a clue because I am guilty of waste as well, no matter how conscientious I try to be. Do self-inventories of your food waste the next few times you eat out; take a look at the dumpster at the back of the restaurant or at your local supermarket, and look in your own trash before the trash gets picked up.
The first step I guess is to really recognize the issue as an issue, the next step is perhaps to make it profitable (or least cost effective) to donate perfectly good food before it gets wasted.

This is not just about the huge portions that are served at restaurants, or the ability to supersize meals for just pennies; this about the over abundance of food and not knowing what to do with the extra.
What are your thoughts?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The political season 2016 continued

Politicians, as you have your rallies, produce your sound bits, campaign, and try to convince us that you know what is best for the American people, let me give you a hint.

The average person wants three simple things:

1.      Jobs- whether I own the business or am working for someone. People want steady work that pays the bills. We are not talking about a handout, we are talking about opportunities

2.      Justice- people want to feel safe. I am not talking about crime, I am talking about the ability to not get targeted by the people sworn to protect us because they are low on their arrest quota for the month. Nobody really likes crime except criminals, but everyone hates injustice; and we are seeing more and more of it everyday

3.      If you have these two simple things, it is possible to achieve the third, and that would be Joy. Joy is a possibility, joy is a dream we are allowed to have, and joy is state of being we should be allowed to achieve without unnecessary obstacles thrown up. Joy means people are spending money, raising kids right; joy could mean prosperity.

All the other stuff you are talking about is just hot air; give credit for having a brain.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Sharing an article about HR issues

I thought this was poignant:

HR Mistake #10: Not Having Accurate Job Descriptions

This is something that happens all the time in organizations. People get busy, the organization or business is growing, and those job descriptions end up taking a back seat. What happens then?

Employees aren’t really sure what they should be doing. Expectations aren’t properly managed. It’s really hard to measure somebody’s performance when his or her job is not appropriately documented. Then, when it comes to letting that person go what will you do when they say they didn’t know what they were supposed to be doing?

Okay employer, this is your opportunity. You really need to be focused on making sure you have absolutely accurate job descriptions. They will help you hire, manage and fire employees because you will have all the right documentation.

HR Mistake #9: Asking Whatever You Want In an Interview
We live in America and we are fortunate that we can ask a lot of the things that we want to. But you must be aware of the questions that are a lot riskier than others and the ones that are just flat out illegal. If you want to avoid legal problems and costly litigation, get a list of appropriate questions and make sure to keep them focused to the job description. This will help you figure out if the candidate will be good fit for the job.

Make sure you don’t ask anything about age, race, religion, sex, national origin, and a couple other things that could get you in trouble.

HR Mistake #8: Failing to Properly Address & Document Performance Problems
This is always a favorite of mine because when you’re a business owner, a manager or a leader, having to deal with that problem employee is sometimes just too frustrating. You think you’re too busy. You think the problem will just go away all on its own. Or maybe you think they will just get better with time.

Let’s think about your last problem employee. Did they just magically get better overnight? Probably not.  Hopefully, you put together a performance plan or some corrective action. If you didn’t, then this is my charge to you: Do it! If you need to let that person go and you have no documentation, you have no defense. Make sure you stay on top of it! Deal with performance problems properly, document them professionally, and address the behavior you need to have addressed. Lastly, write out an action plan and give it to the employee in writing.

HR Mistake #7: Hiring Too Fast & Firing Too Slow
You have to hire a little slower in order to find the right people who fit in your organization and culture. A lot of employers going through the process of hiring are exhausted because they’ve interviewed so many candidates. Suddenly, someone comes in and the manager falls in love with that person. The employer makes an offer on the spot because manager thinks the candidate is perfect. But then what happens?

More often than not, it doesn’t work out if you don’t take your time and make sure that person is a good fit in your organization. Even if you’re hiring someone at minimum wage, that’s an $18,000 job or more! So you need to think about hiring as an investment in your organization at all times. If you’re investing 18, 40, 60, or 100 thousand dollars and above a year on someone, you need to treat that person as an asset. You need to have a consistent process to help you higher better people that fit your culture and expectations.

Now, let’s talk about firing too slow. This is why I talked about having good performance documentation. If someone is not a fit for your organization or can’t or won’t perform the job, there are options. But the worst thing you can do is have someone that is a complete mismatch for your organization and the job and have that person stay in the job and fail. Nobody wants to fail.
Also, failing to let the person go properly with appropriate documentation can be costly and have legal implications.

HR Mistake #6: Thinking That Some or All Employment Laws Don’t Apply To Your Organization
When I talk to small business owners, I find that it is a huge misnomer that some organizations think they are completely exempt from employment laws. While that might be true for companies outside of California, most organizations have to comply with all of the laws of the United States. If you’ve got employees here, you have to comply with the laws here.

Do you know all of the employment laws? Do you know all of the laws that depend on your company’s size? The big ones you need to think about are: EEOC requirements, Department of Labor requirements and OSHA requirements. You need to stay on top of these and all employment law requirements because ignorance as an employer is a costly mistake.

HR Mistake #5: Making All Staff “Salaried”
I see this as a big problem in California right now. Some employers don’t want to have to deal with paying overtime so they just make everyone salaried. While that might sound like a great idea, it’s not. There is something called the Department of Labor and the Fair Labor Standards Act which direct how we’re supposed to pay people regarding overtime regulations.

Now, the Fair Labor Standards Act provides guidance on the five types of exemptions. There are some jobs that should be paid salaried but they must meet the salary test. If they don’t meet the salary test, you must pay them overtime based on the federal requirements and those in your state.
Don’t assume that taking the easy way out by making everyone salaried is going to be the right move for you. I’ve seen it be costly for employers to the tune of $50,000 – $180,000 in back pay due to the nonpayment of overtime. Don’t put yourself in that position!

HR Mistake #4:  Keeping Poor Employment Records
I know those files are pretty boring. They are not going to help us expand our business or meet our strategic goals. But one of the leading issues I see in organizations is keeping poor employment records especially when it comes to I-9 forms. Can you believe those pesky little immigration forms can cause such headaches?

One particular violation on an I-9 form can cost an employer as much as $1000 per infraction. But there is never just one mistake. So just think about the cost of those infractions when you’re filling out those I-9 forms. Make sure you fill them out correctly or it will cost you.

Leave of absence documentation is another one you need to pay attention to. If you have to offer Family Medical Leave, you need to be on top of that documentation because that’s a direct cost in respect to benefits and people taking time off from your organization.

There are so many other areas where appropriate documentation is crucial because it could potentially save you money and protect you from legal pitfalls.

HR Mistake #3: Withholding Praise & Constructive Feedback
When is the last time you thanked an employee for a job well done? When is the last time you sat down and had constructive coaching with someone?

You really need to do this because people leave organizations not because of big issues, but they leave because of small ones. It’s always about small issues like not being fair when it comes to vacation time or not feeling like an important part of the team. You have to take time to meet with your employees and tell them how they are doing whether you as a manager want to do it or not. If you don’t meet and talk to your people and praise those good folks who you want to have stick around, they may not stay very long.

Likewise, if you don’t take the time to sit down and give constructive feedback to those who are not meeting your expectations, you are not building an appropriate record keeping processes in the event that person needs to exit your organization.

Giving praise and constructive feedback saves you money, keeps your great performers with you, and helps you plan an exit strategy should you need to do that.

HR Mistake #2: Having “Favorites” In the Workplace & Treating Employees As Such
Hey, I understand that you may like to hang out with some employees more than others. However, I’m going to tell you that having “favorites” in the workplace is not a very good defense when you are trying to prevent issues and save legal costs for your company.

When you take a look at someone who leaves a company who feels like they were mistreated, more than likely it will come up as a protected class issue. That’s how people get coached when they are leaving and disgruntled if you don’t have proper documentation.

So make sure you go back and see how you are treating your employees. Are you treating them equitably? Or do you have some areas where you need to train your managers and staff or even shift your thought process? Now is the time to do it to save yourself pain down the road.

HR Mistake #1: Not Updating Your Employee Handbook or Not Having One At All
From time to time, I am always surprised when I talk to employers and they say they don’t need an Employee Handbook because it will restrict them and cause problems.!Top-Ten-HR-Mistakes-That-Could-Cost-You/c1l4y/8230A0A1-0AB3-4607-B234-626ED2D6D7CA.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Microaggressions: what are they?

“In the preface to his 2010 book, Sue describes microaggressions as “brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to certain individuals because of their group membership.” He writes that “the power of microaggressions lies in their invisibility to the perpetrator, who is unaware that he or she has engaged in a behavior that threatens and demeans the recipient of such communication.””

This happens more often than we realize, and the perpetrators often seem not to understand what they are doing.

While not all of it is about race and gender,, that seems to be the most common type. We also see it with “cliques” within organizations; those not in the inner circle, various little jabs, swipes, and constant sarcasm.

At this point I know some people are immediately dismissing this as nothing, and that speaks volumes because it tell us they are not willing to listen.

There are so many things we have to be aware of at work it seems nowadays, but the good news is this is a personal thing not a work thing, you can choose not to be a jerk.

Try and be cognizant, try and be aware, and try not to offend. This does not mean you are being politically correct, it just means you are trying to be part of human society.
PS we are all guilty of this sometimes

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The imbalance of the credit system: an education issue

Like many people in this country, I have had credit issues in the past and have to “repair” my credit. As educated myself on how to repair, I realized that a lot of the tools used to repair credit are faulty tools. A lot of these tools can land you back in that credit trap that you just escaped from. 

If you were repairing your car, would you knowingly use faulty tools to the job?

Have you ever looked at the fine print on some of the myriad of credit card offers that come in the mail? $25 one-time processing fee, $79 annual feel, and $8 a month processing fee, all for a credit limit of $700! What is worse is if you are not educated on what is best for you and sales techniques, you can get bamboozled into signing up for one these cards. The sales people are very slick and they are fast talkers.

Credit involves risk; that I understand completely, but there are so many factors that can affect a credit score, and many of these factors are out of our control or require strict regular maintenance (not everyone has time for that).

However, why would you deliberately jack up the interest rate, add hidden fees including cancellation fees, maintenance fees, and usage fees for someone barely scraping by? The answer is simple, because they can, and there does not seem a whole lot that can be done to change the system.

I would love to say pay cash for everything, and in and ideal world that is great, but we live in a world where people struggle, we live in a paycheck to paycheck world. It is a system that sometimes traps, and once you are in that trap, it is hard to escape.
Educate yourself on your credit choices, you do not have to take the first offer that comes your way; and if it looks too good to be true, it probably is because nothing comes for free.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam