5 tips for eliminating politics from the workplace

Invest in online education courses to discourage office politics.

How well do your employees work together? Online education courses can improve their team work.

Perhaps nothing hurts productivity, efficiency and morale quite like office politics. However, as a manager, it can be difficult to know just how to begin changing a workplace’s tone for the better. Here are some tips for encouraging a positive professional environment:

  • Create a group goal: One easy way to encourage camaraderie is to set an attainable group goal for the office to work toward, with an attractive reward such as an extra day off. Don’t make the challenge so difficult that success is unlikely, or so easy that it is a certainty. Ideally, your staff will bond over their shared effort to reach their collective goal.
  • Encourage accountability: Oftentimes, politics come into play when unclear expectations leave employees unsure of their individual responsibilities. Encourage a culture of accountability, in which duties are clearly assigned and workers are rewarded for showing incentive and going above and beyond.
  • Invest in training: Teamwork, like all other professional skills, must be learned. If you want your staff members to work well together, then invest in online employee development courses like those available through Mastery Technologies. We teach workers how to better communicate and interact with others, for the good of the business.
  • Show leadership: Remember that you set the tone for your entire workplace. Try to be genuine but positive, behaving as you would like each member of your team to act.
  • Support them: A good manager, like a good coach, lets their team members know that they have their backs. Employees will be less likely to play “the blame game” if they know that you are not going to try to throw them under the bus.

Mastery Technologies offers a wide array of courses to help improve office culture. Browse our course catalog today!

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Construction workers need ongoing training on “Fatal Four”

Nearly 300 American construction workers fell to their deaths last year.

One in five workplace fatalities in 2013 occurred in the construction industry.

The construction industry has some of the highest on-the-job fatality rates in the United States, with 796 reported deaths in 2013. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one in five private industry worker fatalities were in construction. Most of these deaths can be attributed to the “Fatal Four” — falling, being struck by an object, being electrocuted or getting trapped between two surfaces.

It is vital construction workers receive sufficient safety training before beginning their work, and that they receive ongoing education opportunities throughout their careers. Providing your staff with access to online training courses, like those from Mastery Technologies, could quite literally mean the difference between life and death. In fact, according to OSHA, training employees to properly follow safety procedures to prevent accidents involving the Fatal Four would save 468 lives every year.

  • Being struck: Eighty-two construction workers died last year after being struck by an object — one in 10 of all on-the-job deaths in the industry.
  • Electrocution: Seventy-one employees at construction sites were fatally electrocuted in 2013.
  • Falling: OSHA reports falling is the leading cause of worker deaths in the construction field, with 294 deaths last year alone. The group is currently cracking down on violations that could lead to fatal falls. “We’re working with employers, workers, industry groups, state OSH plans, and civic and faith-based organizations to host safety stand-downs that focus on recognizing hazards and preventing falls,” Assistant Secretary of Labor Dr. David Michaels says in a press release. “We are getting the message out to America’s employers that safety pays and falls cost.”
  • Getting trapped: In 2013, 21 victims died after becoming caught in between two objects, such as a steel plate and a pipe casing.

Each of these hazards is unique and requires concerted training efforts to prevent related accidents. Browse Mastery Technologies’ course offerings featuring the construction industry, as well as those that focus specifically on OSHA Construction regulations.

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How to increase productivity by improving teamwork

Train your managers to better encourage teamwork among employees.

How well does your team work together?

Employees often cite poor management as one of the biggest contributors to dissatisfaction at work. In fact, some go so far as to say that employees don’t quit bad jobs, but rather bad bosses. That’s because a supervisor sets the tone for an entire department, determining how effectively, efficiently and harmoniously a group will function. Fortunately, any manager can learn to promote teamwork, thus driving up productivity and reducing worker turnover.

Encourage engagement:

Remember the expression, “There is no ‘I’ in team.” As a leader, trying to do everything yourself will cause you to burn out and your employees to disengage, as it signals to them that their contributions aren’t needed. Encourage transparency and feedback, and take everyone’s ideas into consideration. This will help to create a culture of teamwork in which workers are eager to bring what they have to offer to the table.

Invest in training:

For the vast majority of people, leadership is a learned skill rather than an innate talent. Don’t expect newly promoted supervisors to intuitively know how to lead their subordinates. Instead, invest in cost-effective, easy-to-use online management training programs like those available through Mastery Technologies. Our courses teach participants how to promote teamwork while fostering a healthy environment of trust and mutual support.

Set expectations:

Workers often point to unclear job expectations as one of the top workplace stressors. Be sure that you and other company managers establish specific daily, weekly and monthly goals and communicate them to employees. For example, at the beginning of a meeting, state the items that need to be addressed and the time frame allotted for the discussion. This will help everyone stay focused and on track.

Improve your managers’ ability to encourage teamwork, and you’ll get the most out of your available talent while also increasing productivity and employee retention. Browse Mastery’s course offerings today!

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3 tips for increasing employee engagement

Want to improve employee engagement? Offer opportunities for advancement and continuing education.

Companies that improve employee engagement tend to become more profitable and productive.

Companies with higher levels of employee engagement are also more profitable and productive, according to Gallup research. These businesses tend to have more satisfied customers and better worker retention rates. Unfortunately, some sources indicate that as many as seven in 10 American employees are disengaged, amounting to $450 to $550 billion in lost productivity annually. Here are some ways that, as a manager, you can engage your team and dramatically improve your company’s overall performance:

Continuing education and training:

Research shows that offering employees opportunities to learn in a job-related capacity dramatically increases their professional satisfaction. The New England College of Business reports that continuing education can cut rates of job turnover by as much as 50 percent. The good news is that you don’t have to decimate your budget by bringing in expensive instructors or sending your team off-site. Instead, turn to Mastery Technologies’ cost-effective, efficient online learning courses, on topics ranging from safety to conflict resolution. Your employees can engage in continuing education without ever leaving the office!

Manager training:

Perhaps nothing can devastate employee engagement as thoroughly as an unskilled manager. The good news is that effective supervisors aren’t born, they’re trained! Explore Mastery Technologies’ management training resources to help your team leaders make the most of your company’s most valuable asset —  its workers. We offer courses designed to teach an array of skills, including: leadership, delegation, mentoring, and decision-making.

Solicit feedback:

Engagement can’t exist on a one-way street, so be sure to ask your employees for their feedback and then take their thoughts and ideas into consideration when making decisions. Create an environment that encourages creativity and problem-solving at every level, and your company will reap the benefits.

Explore how e-learning can help improve your employee engagement, learn more at www.mastery.com!

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3 easy ways to improve employee retention

Losing a lot of employees is bad for business, but making some simple changes can turn things around.

High rates of employee turnover hurts the bottom line, so invest resources to reverse the trend.

No doubt about it — high rates of employee turnover are bad for both the bottom line and workplace morale. As a manager or company owner, you may very well find yourself stumped by how to improve something as nebulous as worker satisfaction. However, taking some simple, concrete steps can dramatically improve retention:

Encourage feedback:

While nothing is as frustrating as feeling ignored or unheard, sometimes just having the opportunity to express concern or frustration diffuses any tension. Try formally encouraging your team to share positive and negative feedback with supervisors in a controlled setting — either in one-on-one debriefs or in a “suggestion box” format. Don’t feel like you need to act on every criticism or suggestion, but you should take the time to acknowledge concerns so that employees know that you have really heard them.

Learn more about receiving and giving feedback with Mastery’s online training.

Offer continuing education:

Research has shown that offering opportunities for continuing education dramatically increases workplace happiness and reduces turnover rates. Many employers fear that this means spending a fortune to send employees to conferences or off-site campuses, but that is not the case! Instead, invest in cost-effective, easy-to-use online employee development courses from Mastery Technologies.

Talk about stress:

Chronic stress does irreparable harm to both our bodies and our workplaces. Start by facilitating a conversation with your team about their stress levels to determine if this is an issue for your company. If it is, then consider providing your staff with an online learning course to educate them on specific stress management techniques. Mastery offers a variety of courses addressing stress that can boost satisfaction in addition to creating a healthier workforce, leading to increased productivity and fewer sick days overall.

Check out Mastery’s full course catalog here.

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Workplace Ethics: Doing Your Part

In today’s society, human resource departments are committed to helping build ethical environments within the workplace. When companies are not operating ethically, they can soon find themselves in dangerous positions.

Operating unethically can cause companies to experience a tarnished reputation, as well as lossrightandwrongdecisions of productivity within the workplace. Studies have shown that companies with the ability to build and maintain ethical workplace cultures are more financially successful and have more motivated and productive employees.

It’s imperative that organizations build and maintain a respectful ethical workplace. Not just for the benefit of their employees, but for the overall betterment of the company. Ethical decision-making is a critical issue faced by companies today. In Mastery’s Compliance is Just the Beginning: Ethical Situations to Consider training course, employees and administrators alike, learn three steps to legal and ethical thinking. Companies have choices when it comes to operating ethically.

1. Take the compliance testKnow the rules and the facts first!

    • Are the choice you face legal?
    • Do they comply with regulatory expectations?
    • Do they meet your organization’s standards and valuesEthics1

2. Consider The Ripple Effect - This step is a process of evaluation.

    • How will your decision affect others or how will be preserved?
    • Does it reflect the organization and what it stands for?

3. Take the Gut Check: This is a process of reflection. Take a close look at your personal values and intentions.

    • Does it feel like the right thing to do?
    • Is your decision consistent to your values and benefits?

As an employee, you can do your part to assist your human resources team in keeping your workplace ethical. As individuals, we base ethical decision on whether something is right or something is wrong. The same approach should be taken within the workplace. As an employee, if you feel that a situation is on the breach of being unethical, it is your responsibility to report it to your supervisor or human resource representative.

Consider also using Mastery’s “Compliance is Just the Beginning: 3 steps to Ethical Decision,” or any of our other titles on ethics.



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Compliance: Are You On The Right Track?

Compliance is a critical subject for any company. As important as compliance is to human resources personnel, it’s just as important for employees.Compliance-Puzzle-cropped

Providing your employees with regulatory compliance training is vital to your organization’s growth. Compliance training is a process that educates a company’s employees on the laws, regulations and policies associated with the organization’s Code of Conduct and one’s day-to-day job responsibilities. Upon an employee’s orientation, compliance training is upon the first of many training courses an individual should take before starting their newly appointed position.

Companies rely upon compliance courses dealing with laws such as, The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to educate employees on the importance of protecting and accommodating employees with disabilities. ADA training also discusses how the law affects the overall hiring of, and maintaining employment of employees with disabilities.

Workplace harassment is a course on the list of compliance training titles offered to employees.  Courses such as these educate employees on the importance of identifying all forms of harassment (race, age, sexual, religion, etc.),  as well as the legal challenges that present itself when harassment takes place.

Without a yearly review of these regulations, human Word cloud for Compliance costresource departments can find themselves dealing with government reviews and possible lawsuits. According to an article published by Training Magazine “Compliance Training: Critical To The Business”, less than half of an organization considers itself highly prepared for a compliance audit.  The article also mentioned how vital it is for companies to pay close attention to what is being presented during a compliance training and how the information is being delivered.

According to statistics, The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspects approximately 100,000 workplaces yearly. In 2012, OSHA conducted 93,438 inspections, found 200,662 violations and levied nearly $200 million in fines. Compliance is one of the most important and top learning topics utilized by companies.

Mastery Technologies is dedicated to helping companies meet their compliance regulations. From accessing medical records to understanding the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, Mastery helps companies meet compliance expectations and refrain from experiencing compliance horror stories.

For a complete list of compliance courses, log on to www.mastery.com

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E-Learning Helps Organizations and Employees Profit

E-learning has revolutionized the way we view learning and training. Just like an individual saves money by switching their car insurance, businesses too, are looking for ways to cut expenses. Statistics show Save-Moneyorganizations can cut their budgets in half by switching from a traditional instructor-based learning system to an e-learning program. With companies “going green”, offering e-learning training, employees are helping their companies become more eco-friendly and save money at the same time. The eco-friendliness of e-learning allows employees to step into a paperless form of learning.

Offering e-learning opportunities to your employees is known to increase their morale, as well as empower them to be efficient in their current positions. E-learning opportunities can be one of the most rewarding experiences for them and for your company. By creating opportunities such as these, organizations gain an advantage on their competition by investing in employee development. E-learning also equips employees with the tools necessary to grow within the company, as well as invest in their overall career goals.

426_eLearning1.jpg-960x320According to a Forbes article How Corporate Learning Drives Competitive Advantage, companies are now focusing on their corporate learning strategies. Some companies have taken a talent-driven learning approach. With talent-driven learning strategies, companies have the benefit of aligning training with the organization’s multi-tier leadership development program. Staying aligned assists in catering to the development and collaboration needs of the company. Companies have found the importance of driving innovation and continuous reinforcement of one’s expertise helps drive the organization’s overall success. Through talent-driven learning strategies, employees are able to benefit from performance, goal management and succession planning.

Statistics published by E-LearningIndustry.com state, 72% of companies said offering e-learning to their employees helps them stay up-to-date with changes within their industry and remain competitive within their respective niche.

Mastery is committed to equipping companies with the tools necessary to build amazing organizations. Learn more about how you can implement an e-learning program at your organization at www.mastery.com.

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Want to be a better manager? Think like a coach

If you want your company's managers to step up their game, train them to think like coaches.

Great managers, like great coaches, motivate their teams to succeed.

If you want to be a better manager, try looking for role models on the court rather than in the corner office. No matter what industry you work in, you can pick up some helpful management tips from top athletic coaches. Rather than giving directives without incentive, try to connect with employees in meaningful ways, urging them on toward greater productivity and success.

“Coaching is based on the premise that, with help, people can ignite their own potential and achieve or even accelerate their results by discovering solutions for themselves,” Fast Company magazine writes. “Coaches help people identify their individual aspirations for change, desired results, and solutions and then match those goals with the needs of the business.”

Here are a few tips for any manager who wants to think more like a coach:

Expect the best: 

Great coaches never expect less than the best, and neither should you. Try to motivate your “players” to reach for excellence every day.

Have a game plan: 

When a basketball team takes the court, they have a clear focus — to win the game. Their coach has a clear plan for doing just that. Make sure you and your workers have articulated specific goals and that you have crafted strategies to achieve them.

Training isn’t just for athletes: 

If you truly want your company to succeed, then it’s crucial to invest in management training courses like those from Mastery Technologies. Athletes don’t start competing until they’ve put in some time exercising and practicing. Similarly, it’s a mistake to assume that a newly appointed supervisor will intuitively know how to get the best out of their workers. Training helps position them and the team for success!

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Employee Picks: Kirk’s Favorites

Training is vital to everyone’s overall professional growth, even executives. From courses dealing with becoming an effective leader to safety decision-making, Mastery’s Vice President of Sales, Kirk Berry, offers us his top four favorite courses available on Mastery’s Video On Demand format.download (2)

  1. Leadership: What’s Trust Got To Do With It?

Kirk likes this course, “Because it is easy to apply what you learn. It uses realistic scenarios to pose common leadership dilemmas and shows you how to respond.”

Mastery provides a host of leadership courses dedicated to helping employees strengthen their leadership skills, such as “Leadership: 5 Steps to Engage Your Team.”

2. Electrical Safety: What Everyone Should Know

Kirk states, “This electrical safety course features awesome HD video production values and describes electrical safety in very easy-to-understand terms.”

Take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of your employees by training them with one of our safety courses.

3. Safety Decision Making: Overcoming Human Nature

Kirk shared, “I like this course because it helps change behaviors. The course focuses on why people act unsafely and how to go about changing their attitudes and download (1)behaviors.”

4. Making Safety Work: An Overview Of Workplace Safety and Employee Responsibilities

Kirk says, “This is a great course because it provides a quick overview of many topics: Lockout Tagout, PPE, Bloodborne Pathogens, Confined Spaces, Hazcom and more.  Not every employee needs comprehensive training on every topic.  This is a great safety course for the more casual office or light duty type worker.”

For a complete listing of courses available through Mastery, visit www.mastery.com.

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