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Homeowners aren’t the only ones who are affected by weather catastrophes. As we approach hurricane season, businesses should ensure they have an emergency preparedness plan in place in order to mitigate losses should a storm occur.

 

1. Develop an emergency response plan.
The last thing you want to deal with is what to do when you have a high expectation for a flood or all the windows are blown out of your buildings and your roof is peeled back like a sardine can. Prepare a plan ahead of time so you can react and activate your catastrophic response team as soon as the storm leaves town.

2. Assess risks to your mission-critical infrastructure.
Think through and evaluate what your potential loss of functions would be in the case of direct or indirect damage. If you are in a single-story ranch office in a flood zone, your potential loss of business capabilities will be very different than if you are on an upper floor of a high rise. Because hurricanes are so vast and the damage ripples out so far from the eye of the storm, hurricane preparation is necessary not just for coastal businesses. Determine what functions you could lose so that you can create a priority list for your disaster planning.

3. Backup your data and test the recovery process.
Don’t assume that your backup technology is working automatically. Take the time to recover information from the backup system to be sure you know both that it works and how to access critical information.

4. Do your research ahead of time.
Even if your business is not damaged by a hurricane, your production capabilities can be interrupted if a company that provides a product or service you depend on is sidelined or wiped out by a storm. Connect with each vendor you work with to be sure it has a backup plan for continuing production in the case of a storm, and if not, find an alternative that you can turn to in a pinch. You should also know which contractors or restoration company you’re going to call before a hurricane strikes. The demand for emergency services surges after a severe windstorm, and the best options may be unavailable if you want too long to call.

5. Talk to your employees.
Have a conversation with your workers to be sure they understand company procedures and that they are personally equipped to manage in the case of a destructive storm impairing normal working routines. In addition, in the event of a hurricane, you can’t always depend on cell phones or landlines working, but you will need to be able to communicate with employees. Create an alternate means of connecting (such as a text message service or social media page) with your staff and be sure to test it out in a non-critical situation. Employee contact information is one of the most important components of any business operation, and it is even more critical in an emergency. Knowing how to reach your employees and vendors is a vital part of helping your business to quickly recover from a disaster.

ACA LegislationOn March 6, 2017, House Republicans released legislation – The American Health Care Act – as part of the effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Debate on the legislation, which consists of two separate bills, is scheduled to begin this week. Before the bills become law, they must be passed in Congress and signed by President Trump.   The new law would make significant changes to key provisions of the ACA, such as effectively repealing the employer and individual mandates retroactively to 2016. However, key consumer protections would remain intact, including limits on cost-sharing, the prohibition on pre-existing condition exclusions and dependent coverage to age 26.

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Our team will continue to research and closely monitor legislative changes to provide you with thoughtful direction on how any changes may impact your organization. Our commitment has always been, and will continue to be, client-focused. Look for additional updates in the future.

After hard-fought campaigns by both candidates, Republican candidate Donald Trump hasaca-compliance been elected the 45th president of the United States. Trump’s victory in the election, along with Republican majorities retained in both the Senate and House of Representatives, will likely have a significant impact on a number of compliance issues over the next four years. You can rely on the team at Gulfshore Insurance to be a trusted source for information, education, insight and support as we navigate this new landscape together.

Click here to download the bulletin

Our team will continue to research and closely monitor legislative changes to provide you with thoughtful direction on how any changes may impact your organization. Our commitment has always been, and will continue to be, client-focused. Look for additional updates in the future.

It is imperative to offer safety training to help workers practice good work site habits and prepare for hazards and potential emergencies. Safety training is also necessary to meet federal, state, and industry guidelines. But lack of interest and boredom in regards to training can oftentimes cause workers to have difficulty retaining the information they really need to know. Making safety training fun can help increase worker engagement and improve overall workplace safety.

Ideas for More Effective and Engaging Safety Training

Here are a few ideas to help make safety training fun for everyone. Your employees will not mind learning if they are stimulated and a little entertained. This is the best way to make sure everyone is paying attention and retaining the information.

  • Use a guest speaker. If you are generally the only person speaking during meetings, then bringing in a guest may renew interest.
  • Try lightening the mood by telling safety related jokes during any training courses. Jokes are a great way to get people to listen.
  • Instead of just standing in front of everyone and talking, try using different media. Incorporate training videos that are related to the course. You can also use pictures or comics as a great way to show what you are explaining. By mixing it up and not constantly talking, people will be less likely to tune out the information.
  • Consider offering snacks and drinks to the trainees. If employees are hungry they will be less likely to pay attention.
  • Play games. Use fun workplace safety training games to help keep things light yet informative at the same time. For example, make a list of top safety concerns then play a Family Feud style game where employees have to guess the top safety answers. The team that gets the most right will win the game and a prize.
  • What if’s. Before training write down a series of injuries on pieces of paper. Put all of the injuries in a bowl and have each person pick one out. Then, go around the room and ask what injury the employee has, how it may have occurred, and what they could have done to prevent it.
  • Use music. Songs about safety are a great way to teach people. A catchy tune is sure to be remembered long after the training is over.
  • Take the training outside. By going outdoors, fresh air and sunshine may invigorate your employees while boosting mood and energy at the same time. Happier and more energetic employees will listen and learn better.
  • Set up a fake accident scene. Then, have the employees tell you what went wrong and how it could have been prevented. Tell them to use details when describing the safety precautions that should have been followed.

Training is an important component of running an effective business. In order for employees to know how to operate technology, adhere to processes, and expand their knowledge on products or services – training is the primary driver in building these functional competencies for colleagues to succeed in his or her role. By providing formal learning opportunities you invest in the success of your business and show you are committed to developing your staff. Many employers think that offering training or development opportunities will be too expensive. They often turn a blind eye to the organizational and workplace deficiencies that can often be fixed through training solutions. But the reality is they end up spending more money through turnover costs, decreased productivity, and low efficiency rates simply because they refuse to see training’s return on investment potential. Despite the common excuses business leaders like to use as potential drawbacks (time away from work, budgetary restrictions, etc.), training and development provides both the company as a whole and the individual employee with benefits that make the cost and time a worthwhile investment. Here are just a few ways that implementing training and development for your organization can impact your bottom line:

Closing the Gaps

Most employees have opportunities for improvement when it comes to their skillset or competency level. Implementing a specific training program or targeted learning solution allows the employee the chance to strengthen those skills and help close the knowledge gap. Training can bring each employee to a higher level of productivity, pushing their skills and knowledge to equal ground with one another. This helps reduce any weak links and deficiencies within the company, especially when you have to heavily rely on others to complete basic work tasks. Providing necessary training creates an overall knowledgeable staff with employees who can take over for one another as needed, fill in the gap, work on teams or work independently without constant help and supervision.

Continuous Business Improvement

When an employee, who receives the necessary training, is better able to perform her job it builds the employee’s confidence because he or she has a stronger understanding of the industry they are working in and the responsibilities needed to be successful. This confidence ends up driving discretionary performance, which is the willingness to do more because they want to, not because they have to. When we are given the tools to excel, performing harder and faster, we also try and think of ways to do things smarter or better. Continuous training can keep your employees on the cutting edge of industry, technology, and operational developments. Employees who are competent and empowered to help change the status quo, help your company hold a position as a leader and strong competitor within the industry.

Consistency

Structured training and development programs ensure employees have a consistent experience when it comes to learning about company expectations, services, products, processes, policies, and procedures. This ultimately impacts the consistent experience you most likely are trying to provide your customers. Putting all employees through regular training ensures that all staff members at least have exposure to the information that is critical for your organization’s success. Establishing consistent business and operating norms only strengthens your business’s chances for long term success.

Employee Engagement

Employees who regularly have onsite access to training and development opportunities have an increased advantage over employees who are left to seek training opportunities outside of their business. The investment in training that a company makes shows the employees they are valued and that they believe in his or her success within the organization. Offered training can create a supportive and highly engaged workplace for employees. Research shows that employees who feel appreciated and challenged through training opportunities feel more satisfaction in their jobs. By creating an environment where employees feel appreciated and nurtured, employers reduce the risk of high turnover and typically see higher levels of individual and team productivity.