Happy Employees=Productive Employees

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In lieu of it being Thanksgiving week I decided it was important to touch on the importance of family, especially when it comes to the workplace.  The majority of people in the U.S spend over 40 hours per week at work, this is at the expense of their family, friends, and other loved ones.  Even if you love what you do it can be difficult to spend this much time away from the people that mean the most to you.  Something that is consistently taken for granted in America is the amount of time and effort that people put into their jobs; not only do you show up everyday, but you give it your all.  As an employee you want your employer to respect and understand how important it is to have time away from the job to spend with family and friends, especially around the holidays.

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As an entrepreneur/small business owner you may or may not have employees.  Just for fun, pretend you have at least a few employees even if you don’t.  It’s incredibly important for a business owner to be aware and respectful of the fact that your employees do have a life outside of the regular 9-5 (or whatever crazy hours you might work).  It seems almost everyone has had that job where your employer only cares about what you can do for them and how much work you can get done for them.  Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the year and give thanks for everything that you have like friends, family, and yes, even our jobs.  It is also a time when employers need to thank their employees and show their gratitude for everything that they do, because let’s face it, without employees most businesses wouldn’t survive.

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Maybe you own Best Buy and as much as you want to you just can’t give your employees Black Friday off.  That’s okay!  There are tons of other ways to show appreciation to your employees.  I worked at American Girl for a couple of holiday seasons (for those of you who don’t know, American Girl is an expensive doll store for girls) and never once had Black Friday off.  But, I still felt that my work was appreciated and that they were sincerely grateful for the hard work that I put in day in and day out.  Every employee, whether simply seasonal or full time, got an amazing gift basket filled with doll goodies.  We aren’t talking one or two items, we are talking a huge box filled with furniture, games, clothes, books, and more.  Not only did they give this to every single employee, but all day Black Friday they would have a Thanksgiving meal for everyone who was working that day so you didn’t have to worry about bringing or buying food.

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Even though most people did not want to be working on Black Friday, the majority of us felt really lucky because of the appreciation from staff and management, all the way from the CEO down.  They also were really good about scheduling people for only 6 hour shifts so you weren’t spending your entire day being drained by crazy customers the day after inundating yourself with turkey.  So, why am I rambling about a doll store and my last experience working retail?  The reason this is important is because a.) I wanted to work harder for this company that appreciated me and b.) I was more likely to show up, do my best, and not run off all the customers.

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Amidst all the warm feelings of Thanksgiving and the holidays many people still get caught up in the consumerism of corporate America and fail to remember that everyone needs time off to have fun, relax, and live life.  As an employer instead of thinking, “That’s a whole week of profits and sales lost due to closing the store/office!”, you should be thinking, “By giving my employees this week off, I am strengthening our relationship and giving them a reason to come back to work and do the very best they can.”  Research has even shown that employees who have more freedom and flexibility are more productive and loyal, why do you think Richard Branson just gave all his U.S Virgin employees unlimited vacation?

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I guess my point here is, it can be easy to forget that your business isn’t the center of your employees world and you shouldn’t expect it to be either.  Remember that your employees are human and by treating them as such can get you a long way in maintaining happy, productive employees.

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Client Of The Month: Gaye Jones, CEO of TeenWatch Alert

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Gaye Jones is not only passionate about teen driver safety, but she is a mother who cares deeply about her children.  She wanted some sort of support system to help monitor her teen’s driving as soon as they left the driveway, someone who could potentially help prevent an accident. Not only did she want this for her own children, but she wants this for everyone’s children. According to her website, motor vehicle accidents are currently the leading cause of death for teenagers in the U.S. This is an incredibly powerful statistic. What if there was a way to help decrease the number of teen accidents? Gaye’s solution may not solve the entire problem, but has the potential to make an impact in your teenagers driving habits.

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Her idea is simple and has been practiced across the United States for some time now. I’m sure you would recognize the phone numbers on the back of commercial vehicles asking, “How’s my driving?” You can call this number and report any issues (or good habits) that you notice. The same concept can be used for TeenWatch Alert. Simply sign up on their website, TeenWatch Alert, and receive a decal to put on the back of your teenager’s car. If there are any issues, someone can call that 1-800 number to report your teenager. TeenWatch Alert will then inform you via phone, text, or email about any problems with your teens driving. This means if your teenager is driving recklessly, someone can call the number and report them, you will then be notified and can talk to them about the issue and hopefully resolve any bad habits before they turn into a real accident.

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Gaye Jones has spent a significant of time researching teen driver safety and knows that something needs to be done to protect the youth of America. If we can help provide some accountability for our teenagers, then maybe we can help to develop better habits while on road, thus reducing accidents. As a mother, Gaye understands the importance of your teenagers safety and decided to do something. This is why BiGAUSTIN is proud to announce Gaye Jones our Client of the Month.

The Not-So-Secret To Success: Guest Blog Post by Shannon Malone, Business Development Coordinator

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There are many lists that discuss the keys to success as if it is on the other side of some Victorian door twiddling its thumbs and waiting patiently for you to find the right key, unlock the door, and set it free.   While these lists enumerate many well intended tools to help us reach our goals, they have the paradoxical effect of making success seem locked away and easily attainable.  Courage to take risks, persistence to stay the course, and determination to see it through are undeniably the qualities we need to reach our goals, but do not reveal the whole truth about success.  By now, of course we know that we must possess these attributes or “keys” to reach our goals.  The real truth is success is right in front of you, constantly evolving with you, and only attainable to those who consistently reach for it.  The biggest mistake people make is letting outside forces, like their family or society, dictate what success looks like for them.  For some women it will be running their own Fortune 500 Company, for others it will be staying at home and raising healthy, happy children, for many others it may be both.  It is completely within our power to define success, shape it into the best fit for ourselves and the lives we imagine.

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We must reclaim that power.

Once we have taken ownership of defining our benchmarks for success, we should accept and appreciate that it will change.  How I defined success in my late teens looks completely different in my late twenties and my criteria for success in my thirties.  As we experience more, gain more wisdom, and try new things, our goals will change and how we define success will change with it.  A beautiful part of life is being open to growing, seeing things differently, and changing our minds.  Success is no different.  It was and will always be a reflection of our values, of our dreams.

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Success changes as we change.

As I work with the Women of Worth 1000 (WOW1000) at BiGAUSTIN to empower and equip women with the tools they need to start and run a successful business, it is important to keep in mind that it will look different for each and every woman.   Every woman who walks through our doors will have her own dream or idea.  As she embarks on that journey, whether her goal is to be financially independent, to be her own boss, to have more flexibility for herself or her family, or to increase resources for her community, at BiGAUSTIN we help these women reclaim the power to define and reach their dreams.  As the market changes, as women grow, WOW1000 is there to prepare her for and support her during those changes.  Being a part of this journey is how I have defined success for myself as a BiGAUSTIN team member.

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My success is symbolized by each woman who embodies WOW1000’s vision, a prosperous Central Texas where all women are empowered to shape their own destinies.

Written by: Shannon Malone, Business Development Coordinator at BiGAUSTIN