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Rethink the Shark: Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back

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Despite their bad rap, sharks aren’t quite the bloodthirsty animals Hollywood has made them out to be. While Jaws may have been the box-office champ of its time, reality paints a different picture of these toothy sea creatures. Thanks to that 1975 film, its sequels, its rip-offs and other pieces of pop culture across several media – including Discovery’s ever-popular, annual Shark Week – we fear sharks.

But why? Our chances of being the victim of a shark attack are far less than being involved in a car accident or even being struck by lightning. While shark attacks do occur, they are extremely rare. In fact, according to conservation organization Oceana, an average of just 4.2 fatal attacks occurs each year. Between 2006 and 2010, a total of 179 shark attacks occurred in the U.S., resulting in three fatalities. During the same time period, there were 176,937 fatal car crashes, all while you sat on the beach, afraid to get in the water because of … y’know, sharks.

You may be wondering how sharks relate to your business. All too often, we rely on fear to determine our survival, working world included.

The cavemen ages are far behind us. We no longer have to worry about the slightest rustle in the bushes for fear a lion might be our demise; yet, like our ancestors, our brains are wired to think this way: overanalyze every situation and cause ourselves anxiety over unlikely situations.

Don’t fear the ‘shark’

How do we overcome this fear? The answer to this is twofold.

First, stop worrying about the sharks. Taking precaution is smart, but spending your time sitting on the sand is no way to become the world’s best surfer. Don’t waste your energy; rather, jump in the water and start paddling, because when it comes down to it, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

Becoming completely free of fear is neither easy nor something that everyone should do. It is a work in progress. However, if you can get to a point of freedom, the possibilities are endless. For a few tools to help you along the way, consider these three tips:

1. Think positively.Take a moment and think about your greatest fear right now, whether in life or in business. Now, if this catastrophe did occur, can you list ways in which it could be seen as an opportunity? This is the first step to overcoming your fear. Countering these fears with positive thinking and purpose will start to shrink those “sharks,” making them seem a little less intimidating.

2. Break the cycle. Worrying isn’t necessarily a bad thing; some things merit it. Traffic making you late for an interview; your teenager taking the car out for a spin; or not being able to find an important document you need for tomorrow’s meeting: All are situations in which a negative outcome is possible, so they demand a bit of worry. However, when your worrying becomes chronic, that’s when it becomes a bad thing.

Chronic worriers feel that by worrying, they can prevent the bad things from happening or catch them early. Thinking about your fears does not give you more control; instead, it seriously hinders your ability to move on and let go.

If you are this type of person, keep a journal of worry topics. Write them down as you experience them and you may start to piece together similarities when they appear. Another great way to overcome your worry is to retrain your brain to see what you call “threats” as challenge, and then follow through with action steps to meet said challenges.

3. Accept that you can’t control everything. Life happens as it is supposed to happen, and while you may want to manipulate every aspect as it unfolds, you can’t. Some things in life cannot be controlled, so why drive yourself crazy?Manage what is reasonable to manage; take precautions; and trust that your ability to cope and overcome is far stronger than your fear.

Face reality

The second half of this two-folded answer begins after you’ve rechanneled your fear away from the “sharks.” Now it’s time to face the killer reality: that the problems you thought were worth worrying about were actually distracting you from the true problems right under your nose.

For instance, if there any situation you currently are ignoring, it might be because you don’t know how to handle it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it go away. Rather, consider taking a proactive approach and creating a to-do list to help shift it.

Or maybe there is a situation you think is beneficial, but really is not. If you’re nodding in agreement, take a step back to reassess the situation. Perhaps you’re too into your own head, in which case a third-party opinion would be beneficial.

The point is that “sharks” don’t have to be so scary; it’s all a matter of perception. By simply repositioning the way you think, those fears that once held you back are slowly diminished. Now you and your business can reach full potential.



Author Bio: Lauren is an enthusiastic writer who is passionate about numerous topics surrounding the HCM industry including talent management and acquisition, technology, document management and leadership, just to name a few. Lauren has been with Paycom for over a year and has taken on roles as a blogger, social strategist and community relations coordinator. In her spare time she enjoys DIY“ing,” exploring the city and keeping up with her two dogs, Deacon and Cookie.

Veterans

8 Ways Veterans Improve Your Workforce

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Is your recruiting team actively seeking veterans to fill your open positions? If not, you could be missing out on an unbeatable combination of skills and experience. Not only are military personnel often cross-trained in a variety of useful skills, but they also have invaluable experience that can benefit your organization. The available Work Opportunity Tax Credit even provides a federal tax incentive for companies that hire eligible veterans.

I know firsthand the value that veterans can bring to a business. We are grateful for the servicewomen and servicemen who work for Paycom, for both their service to our country and the talents they bring to our corporation.

Recently, I sat with a roomful of Paycom employees who are also veterans. I spoke with linguists, a combat medic and a radar technician representing the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps and the Army National Guard.

I asked these veterans to share which elements of their service they are most proud to carry into their civilian work. Here’s some of what they shared with me.

  1. Punctuality

The military is no-nonsense when it comes to respecting others’ time. If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. And if you’re late, you’re in trouble.

  1. Getting the most out of limited resources

Maximizing the use of available resources is a key skill. Veterans know how to get more done with less, because there’s no guarantee that you’ll have everything you could possibly need in a crisis situation.

  1. Adaptability

Important lessons are learned in the field – and not just during training. It’s crucial for an individual to be flexible enough to take new information and apply it to future situations.

  1. Great listening skills

A linguist in our group noted that active listening was an especially important skill in the field. Active listening can improve communication and ensure that projects are completed as expected the first time.

  1. Attention to detail

Being able to reliably pay attention to small but critical details is essential for success in the military. This ability translates into any number of civilian jobs.

  1. Being organized

Our veterans noted that you really don’t have the option of being disorganized in the military – which means that veterans know how to get and stay organized.

  1. Problem-solving

As one veteran shared, “In Afghanistan, our mission was something like 90% boredom and 10% sheer terror. So in that 10% time of sheer terror, you have to be able to fix a problem in a very short period of time.”

In times of chaos, quick decision-making carries the day. This problem-solving ability serves veterans well once they’re back in civilian life, too.

  1. Teamwork

Military personnel work with people from all walks of life and all skill levels. Being easy to work with in diverse groups helps everyone do their jobs better. Veterans know that success depends on an entire team working together to achieve results.

These capable men and women can bring a wide variety of skills that can improve any work environment, and they’ve certainly contributed a lot to ours.

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Posted in Blog, Featured, Leadership, Talent Acquisition, Talent Management

Jim Quillen

by Jim Quillen


Author Bio: As director of tax at Paycom, Jim Quillen is responsible for ensuring payments and returns are filed timely and accurately. Quillen, a CPA by training, has worked in many fields during his career, including finance, auditing, recruiting, sales, business development and software implementation. Prior to his current role, Quillen has served Paycom as the director of business intelligence, director of new client implementation and director of recruiting.

applicants’ criminal history

California ‘Ban the Box’ Law to Take Effect Jan. 1

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Last month, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1008 (AB 1008), placing new restrictions on employers’ ability to make hiring decisions based on applicants’ criminal history. Effective Jan. 1, 2018, AB 1008 also limits when employers may ask applicant about that history.

Prior to this legislation, “ban the box” protections only prohibited state and local agencies from asking about conviction information before the applicant was determined qualified for the position. The new law extends the protections to all applicants applying to an employer in California with five or more employees.

Under AB 1008, consideration of an applicant’s criminal history is permissible only after the employer has made a conditional offer of employment. At that point, employers may not rescind the employment offer based on the criminal history until they have performed an individualized assessment.

Individualized assessments of an applicants’ criminal history

An individualized assessment is a process to justify denying an applicant a position by linking their criminal history to specific job duties. For example, if an employer is considering an individual for a cashier position, which would involve handling large sums of cash, the employer may determine a shoplifting conviction to be reason for disqualifying, because the conviction relates to specific job duties.

An individual assessment must consider:

  • the nature and gravity of the offense and conduct
  • the time passed since the offense or conduct and completion of the sentence
  • the nature of the job held or sought

Also, the employer must notify the applicant in writing once a preliminary decision is made. This notice is not required to contain a justification for the preliminary decision, but the employer must:

  • provide written notice of the disqualifying conviction or convictions that are the basis for the preliminary decision to rescind the offer
  • include a copy of the conviction history report, if any
  • let the applicant know they have the right to respond to the notice within at least five business days
  • explain the candidate may submit evidence challenging the accuracy of the conviction record or present mitigating circumstances

During that five-day period, the employer cannot make any final hiring determinations based on conviction records. If the applicant responds, the employer must consider the information in the response before making a final decision.

California employers

AB 1008 contains a detailed process for California employers to follow when making employment decisions based on criminal history. Employers should review these changes and adjust policies and procedures accordingly to ensure compliance by Jan. 1, 2018.

Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

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Posted in Blog, California, Compliance, Featured

Jason Hines

by Jason Hines


Author Bio: Jason Hines is a Paycom compliance attorney. With more than five years’ experience in the legal field, he monitors developments in human resource laws, rules and regulations to ensure any changes are promptly updated in Paycom’s system for our clients. Previously, he was an attorney at the Oklahoma City law firm Elias, Books, Brown & Nelson. Hines earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and his juris doctor degree from the Oklahoma City University School of Law, where he graduated cum laude. A fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Hines also enjoys exploring the great outdoors with his wife and daughter.

How The Fred Factor Can Transform Your Customer Service

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In 1982, leadership expert and motivational speaker Mark Sanborn moved into a neighborhood where his view of customer service was transformed. In his first internationally best-selling book, The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary, he tells the story of a postman who revolutionized the way he looked at customer service and the idea of “going above and beyond.”

Sanborn had just moved into a new home in the Washington Park area of Denver when Fred, a seemingly ordinary United States Postal Service carrier with a small, thin mustache, introduced himself one day during his route. However, Fred was no ordinary mailman.

As Sanborn came to discover, Fred was the kind of worker who exemplified everything “right” with customer service. He was “a gold-plated example of what personalized service looks like and a role model for anyone who wants to make a difference in his or her work.”

Join us as Mark Sanborn, provides the answer through four powerful tools that business leaders and HR professionals can use to help others pursue their potential, which in turn, helps improve engagement and a company’s bottom line during our free Nov. 16 webinar.

In The Fred Factor, Sanborn describes how each of us can become a “Fred.”

What makes someone a ’Fred’?

A “Fred” is someone who goes above and beyond the normal call of duty, regardless of recognition or reward. And that’s the key part: regardless of recognition or reward. These employees demonstrate a spirit of service, innovation and commitment. This “Fred Factor” will help you at work and in your personal life.

Here are four principles from the book that can help you become a Fred.

  1. Everyone makes a difference

No matter your position, ultimately it’s up to you to do your job in an extraordinary way. There are no unimportant jobs, just people who feel unimportant doing them. More satisfaction exists in being a first-rate truck driver than a tenth-rate executive.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep the streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep the streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’”

Think about the ways this applies to you and your job, and remember: What you do every day matters and has an effect on others.

  1. Success is built on relationships

Indifferent people provide indifferent service. Building strong relationships with your colleagues will help you work better together and provide an even higher level of customer service.

You can improve the service you provide by getting to know your customers better, too. Service becomes personalized when a relationship exists between the provider and the customer. For example, think about your hairdresser or barber: Would the hair-care experience be a good one if the two of you weren’t on friendly terms? Would you be willing to spend hours with this person every other month or so if he or she wasn’t personable? Probably not.

What can you do to build relationships with the people you work with, including the customers you frequently serve?

  1. Continually create value

Creating value doesn’t have to cost a thing. Ever feel like you don’t have enough money, training or other resources to perform at a high level? Fred had only a uniform and a bag of mail, and still he managed to provide exceptional customer service. His own creativity and drive helped him succeed, and it didn’t cost him or the company a single penny.

Your imagination and creativity can help you go above and beyond too! If all Fred needed was a bag of mail and a uniform, think of everything you can accomplish with the resources you have at your fingertips.

You can be an employee who gives your company a competitive advantage by creating value for your clients and colleagues. Want to bet that will help you in your professional life?

  1. Reinvent yourself regularly

Most of us fall short of what we are capable of accomplishing. If you want to reach your full potential, mediocrity is your silent opponent. Doing just enough to get by means you’ll never know how much you could accomplish.

Think of the effort and originality Fred brought to delivering the mail. If he could bring such value to putting letters in a box, how much more can you bring to your position? Just getting by won’t help you reach your goals; pursuing innovation and creativity can help you gain real value and meaning from your work.

No matter your position or circumstances, you get to start with a clean slate every day. You can orient your professional (and personal) life any direction you choose!

The way to move through life joyfully is by focusing on what you give rather than what you get. You do the right thing not because you have to, but because it’s right. All work is honorable; always do your best, because someone is watching. This is the “Fred Factor”!

After putting these ideas to practice, you may wonder, “What’s next?” If you want to make sure you’re reaching your full potential (even after achieving your goals), join us for our live webinar Nov. 16, when Sanborn provides the answer through four powerful tools that business leaders and HR professionals can use. Register for free here.

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Posted in Blog, Employee Experience, Featured, Leadership

Chelsea Justice

by Chelsea Justice


Author Bio: Chelsea is co-host Paycom’s HR Break Room podcast, editor-in-chief of its corporate culture magazine, Paycom Pulse and is Paycom’s communications supervisor. During her more than eight years in marketing, corporate training and communications, she has created hundreds of magazines, training guides, videos and webinars for multiple industries. In her free time, Chelsea is planning her next travel adventure, perfecting her most recent baking recipe, devouring a good book and, above all, spending time with family.

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