Celebrate Your Employees This Labor Day!

In 1881, Labor Day was designed to recognize workers and their contribution for the year. This yearly tradition consisting of appreciation picnics followed by speeches, was declared a national holiday in 1984. As we approach the 120th year as a federal holiday, the American Psychological Association statistics state only half of the U.S. workforce (51%) feels valued by their employer, more than a third (36%) have not received any form of recognition in the last year, and just 47% say recognition is provided fairly.highlight-laborday-history

For some, September 1st, is a yearly reminder that summer will soon be ending and fall is on its way. However, no matter the season change, it is a celebration of our teams that make our business success possible year after year. We depend on the gifts, talents and hard work of our dedicated employees to get the job done. Companies thrive off of the ideas and daily collaborations of these individuals to see the overall vision come to fruition. Without the labor of employees, the American dream would not be fulfilled.

Our businesses thrive due to the tireless effort and hard work of our dedicated employees. Don’t let one day be the only day that we recognize our employees. This year, Mastery wants to encourage you to celebrate your employees all year-long with these 3 tips:

  1. Recognize Your Employees Publicly – Through a mass company e-mail or even a meeting, take the time out to recognize your key players. Implement an “Employee of the Month; Employee of the Year” program. This can be done by a weekly, monthly or annual basis. At Mastery, we recognize our employees through our Mastery Brick wall. At any time, an employee can submit a “brick of recognition” to one of their team members for a job well done.
  2. Send a thank you card or token of appreciation – A thank you card or a company sponsored meal can go along way and is remembered by all involved.
  3. Train Them – Equip your employees with the training they need to be the best at their job. Empower them to be leaders with your company or industry. Training goes a long way and benefits not just the employee, but also the company.Wishing

From the Mastery Team, we wish you a very happy Labor Day! Enjoy your weekend! You deserve it!


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Listening 101 With Mastery Tech

Did you know statistics show 85% of what we know we have learned through listening? Or, on a typical business day, we spend 45% of our time listening, 30% of our time talking, 16% reading and 9% writing?


Today, we are going to take a crash course in listening. Listening is a key element to building rapport with your employees, as well as establishing relationships and trust with them. According to the International Listening Association, listening is really hard and requires a great deal of consideration. Listening is a skill developed over time. It is said our listening pace is usually faster than the rate at which people speak, giving us leftover mental time we can use or abuse.

In a recent post,  Degrees of Transition empowers readers in becoming better listeners by being present and focused while in a conversation. The post also emphasizes the importance of suspending judgement, avoiding facial expressions, watching non-verbal cues and not interrupting the individual you are having a conversation with.

GBC-ThanksforListening-May-8-2014Being a good listener is a key element to helping you become a better communicator. Our blog “Are You An Effective Communicator?” provides keys to become a better communicator.

Along with the keys displayed within this blog and Mastery’s training course entitled “Active Listening Skills” will be on your way to being the best within your workplace.

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How to Be the Best at What You Do

Every professional strives to be the best in their field, but in order to see this come into fruition one must put forth the time, effort, and even training to be at the top of their game. According to a Forbes article entitled, “Is It Really Possible to Be Best at What You Do?,” businesses should expect their employees to become people who are outstanding leaders, indispensable, and come bearing gifts.

Employers are encouraging their employees to strive and perform at their highest potential. Creating an environment to help foster productivity, while providing professional growth within the workplace, will not only benefit your employees, but also your company in the long run.

Motivate your employees to be the best with the following three tips from Forbes:be-the-best

  1. Help people understand why what they’re doing is important. People are more likely to get on board with something when they understand the value of what they are doing. Most people want to contribute to something bigger than themselves. Creating an environment where employees see the bigger picture encourages them to step up and contribute at a higher level.
  2. Give people some autonomy over how they do their job and who they do their job with. When people understand what their objectives are and why they are important, they can actually make positive decisions about the best way to approach challenges.
  3. Recognize accomplishments. Far too often the only time anyone hears anything from the boss is when there’s a new assignment or when something is wrong. Take a minute and acknowledge your employees’ work; this will help release tension, frustration, and produce engagement within the workplace.

Mastery provides a vast range of VOD3 training programs geared toward mentoring, and  leadership development, such as:

For a detailed list of Mastery courses, click here.

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Employee Picks: Mike’s Favorite Courses

Training helps us become aware of distractions or behaviors at work that hinder our ability to be productive. One of Mastery’s account executives, Mike, shared his favorite e-learning courses geared toward equipping employees with the tools necessary to excel:

  1. Harassment:  Workplace Harassment Industrial Facility

Mike says this is a, “good course… Many people accused of harassment in the workplace are unaware they are doing so.  This course helps people see what is and is not appropriate. Ultimately, you as the employer are responsible for the actions of your employees, and how those actions affect your other employees. ”

Mastery offers a selection of training courses covering the issues surrounding harassment and employee rights. 

  1. Leadership:  Would I follow me?

To Mike this course is, “a must see for Managers. We often don’t realize when we speak to employees that the goal is to motivate them, not make them feel like subordinates.  This course will have you taking a closer look at how others perceive your role as manager.”

There are a variety of approaches to being a great leader, explore some of these views with Mastery’s library of leadership training.

  1. Cell Phones In the Workplace: A Dangerous Distraction

eriscpiw_vod_02Mike shares, ” I think we’re all guilty of taking a look at our phones from time to time when we probably shouldn’t.  This course provides a good reminder that sending a text, updating our status, or even answering our phones in the workplace does not only decrease our production, but increases the probability of an accident.”

This course provides excellent examples of how cell phones can be an issue within an industrial workplace. We have many other courses featuring manufacturing operations. If you don’t have an industrial workplace, check out our other featured workplaces to see if we have courses showing your work environment.

Ensure your employees are trained in order to be the best, courses like these and more can be found by visiting, www.mastery.com or by calling 800-258-3837.

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New and Updated Courses From August

This month we released several new Video On Demand courses and updated the remaining VODs to the VOD3 platform, which plays on all devices and browsers.

New titles include:

Access to Medical Records
Diversity: On the Threshold of Change
Diversity: Gender and Sexual Orientation Workplace Issues
Diversity: Race, Ethnicity, Language and Religion Workplace Issues
Diversity: Age and Physical Ability Workplace Issues

Updated courses:

Forklift Safety: Step Back for Safety
Suspended Scaffolding Safety in Construction Refresher 
Suspended Scaffolding Safety in Construction Environments
Scaffolds: Suspended Scaffolding Safety
Harassment: Workplace Harassment in Industrial Facilities
Workplace Harassment in the Office
Lead: Working with Lead Exposure in Construction Environments
Lead: Working with Lead Exposure in General Industry
Maritime: Crew Endurance Management
Lockout / Tagout: Step Back for Safety
Slip and Fall: Preventing Slips and Falls in Restaurants
Oilfield: Hand Safety & Injury Prevention for the Oilfield
First Aid: Step Back for Safety
Falls: Working at Heights: Step Back for Safety
Injury Prevention for Drywall Hangers and Finishers
Stretch and Flex for Construction
Fire Safety: Step Back for Safety
Housekeeping: Step Back for Safety
Back Safety: Step Back for Safety
Job Safety Analysis: Step Back for Safety

We also released the following Partner course:

Drug & Alcohol Awareness: Oilfield Employee and Supervisors

For a full list of available training courses check out Mastery.com

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Are You An Effective Communicator?

On an interview, one of the most highly anticipated questions an employer can ask a potential employee is, “what are your strengths?” Most interviewees quickly respond, “I have great communications skills.”

Do you know that 85% of our success is dependent upon our communication skills? That is right, how one interacts with their employer, co-workers, family and friends can help in contributing to one’s success. communication

Everyone benefits from good communication. As a communicator myself, it is very important to me to also be an effective listener. Below are 5 of my personal tips that I implement when cultivating my own communications skills.

  1. Be authentic! Be enthusiastic about what you are speaking about. Showing you are enthusiastic about the topic you are discussing shows that you are open—and places the other individual in a position to potentially share more with you.
  2. Communication is a two–way conversation. No person wants to hear themselves talk. Be sure to ask open-ended questions in order to create  dialogue with your co-worker on a particular subject.
  3. Be an active listener, not a passive one. The person that you are communicating with requires your undivided attention. Do not be afraid to reference what the person said in your conversation to show that you are listening.
  4. Body language is a form for communication. Pay close attention to the person’s body language. Tailor your responses to their body language, tone, etc. to mimic what you have observed.
  5. Be aware of distractions that can present themselves during your conversation with your boss, co-workers or even family and friends. The smallest thing as a pen dropping, or a door closing or opening can draw your attention away from the subject at hand. Do your best to adjust accordingly and avoid giving into the distractions.

effective-communicationAt Mastery, we are committed to developing strong organizations. Train your employees in the tools needed to be effective communicators and leaders within your organization.

Do you consider yourself an effective communicator? What tips do you recommend when cultivating your communication skills?

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OSHA cites food manufacturer for safety violations, levies $121,660 fine

A Louisiana food manufacturer was recently fined more than $120,000 for several serious safety violations.

Make sure your employees always follow proper lockout/tagout procedures.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited a Louisiana food manufacturer for 16 serious and repeat safety violations, saying that Acadian Fine Foods LLC failed to protect workers from unsafe levels of carbon dioxide and dangerous machines.

“Acadian Fine Foods exposed employees to levels of carbon dioxide that were at least four times above the permissible exposure limit. This glaring neglect of worker health and safety will not be tolerated,” Dorinda Folse, OSHA’s area director in Baton Rouge, said in a press release. “OSHA’s safety and health standards must be followed to prevent worker injuries and fatalities. It is the employer’s responsibility to find and fix these hazards.”

Acadian Fine Foods LLC processes meat and poultry at its Louisiana plant. The company received a notice of $121,660 in fines for numerous violations, including failing to guard moving machine parts, conduct yearly inspections of lockout/tagout procedures and provide personal protective equipment. OSHA deemed 14 of the violations to be “serious,” which means that they created a considerable likelihood that an employee could become seriously injured or killed.

If you work in food manufacturing, remember that such violations are incredibly dangerous to you and your workers and can also carry stiff financial penalties. Avoid serious accidents and hefty fines by always making sure that your employees have undergone the proper safety training so that they know how to stay protected on the job. Mastery Technologies offers a number of invaluable training courses for food manufacturers, covering topics that range from lockout/tagout requirements to personal protective equipment and a general safety awareness orientation. Good Manufacturing Practices for Food Production offers industry-specific compliance training. To see these options and more, browse the Mastery website today.

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Mastery Tech Takes The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Celebrities are doing it! Radio and TV personalities are doing it! Even your next door neighbor may be doing it as well. Doing what, might you ask? Taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

According to the ALS Association, ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, which is often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, which makes it increasingly difficult for ones muscles to move. Those affected by ALS in the early stages experience muscle weakness within their arms and legs, speech, swallowing and breathing. If you took anatomy and physiology in school, we were taught that when your muscles aren’t moving, they eventually stop working.  Those who have been diagnosed with ALS, their limbs begin to get smaller and in later stages some become totally paralyzed.

To date, there is no cure for the disease and is often hereditary. To bring awareness to the disease and to raise funds toward research for treatment and ultimately a cure, the ALS Association has launched a nationwide campaign called the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.”

Those participating in the challenge have committed themselves to being doused with buckets of ice-cold water on video, posting via social media and in return “paying it forward” by nominating others to do the same in an effort to increase ALS awareness. Those refusing to take the challenge are asked to make a donation to the ALS charity of their choice.

The movement has brought celebrities, radio and tv personalities and individuals from all walks of life together to bring awareness to the disease. The Mastery Team has gotten in on the movement, too!

Our President, Bill Marker and Communications Coordinator, Rachel Custer, were nominated to take the challenge. Upon taking the challenge, they in return nominated the entire team to take challenge.

In addition to taking the challenge, Mastery will match its employees contributions toward ALS research.

Relive Bill and Rachel’s challenge experience by viewing the video below:

Want to see who out of the Mastery team was up for the challenge? View the team challenge video below.

Are you up for the challenge?

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4 ways to improve your company culture

A positive company culture often leads to high employee retention rates.

How could your company culture improve?

Company culture may be hard to define, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. While a negative culture drives high employee turnover and hurts team morale, a positive one can increase overall productivity and bolster worker retention. It’s also important to remember that even the best professional environments have room for improvement, and the worst ones always have the potential to change. Here are some tips for improving your company culture:

  • Ask questions: You can’t find a solution if you don’t know the problem exists. Similarly, it’s difficult to improve company culture for the benefit of your employees if you don’t know what they perceive as weak areas. Start making it a point to ask how workers are doing, both as individuals and as a team. “Make the energy in your shop a topic for conversation, just like budgets and schedules and other standard business topics,” suggests Liz Ryan, a human resources columnist for The Denver Post. “At the start of each staff meeting, open with, ‘How are we doing? Anything we need to talk about before we get started?’ The more comfort managers show with sticky human topics like conflict and burnout, the more people are likely to open up.”
  • Communicate your intentions: Communicate to your employees that you have the resources and inclination to help them solve even abstract problems. For example, say a department is struggling to manage their stress levels. Workers may feel that this is an inappropriate complaint to bring to their boss. After all, everyone has stress! However, as a manager you have access to an array of rich training resources for handling stress in the workplace. Such courses can dramatically improve team morale.
  • Consider the individual: While some cultural issues can be addressed at work, others depend more on the behavior of individuals. While you can’t control how much exercise your employees get or what they eat, you can encourage healthy attitudes through Mastery Technologies’ Employee Health and Wellness training.
  • Get suggestions: Oftentimes staff members on the ground have the best suggestions for improving the overall company culture. Ask your workers what changes they think could positively impact their professional environment. Some employees might need extra training in managing workplace conflict, while others may be interested in exploring mentorship opportunities. Perhaps you’ll identify a few people who would like to someday be promoted to managerial roles as the perfect candidates to take a career development course.

The good news: Whatever your team’s needs, Mastery Technologies can provide you with the training solutions to help you meet them, and improve your company culture for the better.

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Get Your Team Physically Fit at Work

Losing weight or starting the latest diet has gone from being a New Year’s resolution to becoming a lifestyle. With the increase of healthcare expenses and obesity at an all time high, various companies have taken control of this epidemic and implemented change within their workplace culture by providing corporate wellness programs.

According to Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED), the average full-time American employee spends around 1,700 hours per year at work. Creating a work/life balance for your employees is key to providing a well-balanced workplace. Through corporate wellness programs, companies have not only improved the overall health of their employees, but decreased insurance premiums, increase employee morale and increased the longevity and productivity of its employees. corp-wellness

Mastery employees are taking steps to implement a healthy lifestyle into their work life. Daily, the team takes two short walks around our campus, once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

Statistics show sick leave in companies went down 28% and compensation claims were reduced by 30% when companies incorporate these kind of activities into their company culture.

Not sure if implementing a corporate wellness program is for your company? Assess your employees to see if providing this program would benefit them. After surveying your employees, take the following steps recommended by Forbes in their recent article, “Is A Corporate Wellness or Preventive Care Program Right For Your Company” and the Young Entrepreneur Council:

  1. Assess the needs of both employer and employee. Find out what challenges or goals employees have when it comes to their health. Would a corporate wellness program meet those needs in a way that is also good for the employer?
  2. Create a plan based on those goals. The article suggests combining education and some form of physical activity to keep employees engaged in the program.
  3. Effectively communicate the plan. It won’t work without encouragement and reinforcement at all levels of the company.
  4. Keep employees interested. Programs often have staying power when there is some kind of incentive or reward to encourage employees to stick with the program.

Thecorporate-wellness Wellness Council of America recommends companies plan to budget about $150 per employee for the program.

Remember, a healthy employee is a healthy employee. It’s an investment worth making! Equip your employees with the tools necessary to producing a healthier lifestyle with one of Mastery’s Wellness Training Programs:

Wellness: Fitness and Wellness

Wellness: Workplace Nutrition: A Recipe for Optimum Health

Wellness: Transportation Professionals Nutrition & Health

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