Contents

Discussion of the need for international companies to translate internal documents into the languages of their team.

Translation of Internal Reports & Communications

Translation of Internal Reports & CommunicationsIn today's global economy, it is not only trade that is international. Its the companies and their employees too. Therefore its increasingly common to have companies with a variety of languages spoken in the divisions. So perhaps we should expect that translation of internal reports and communications is a regular occurrence?I have worked at some pretty large international companies and from my own experience most businesses have not adapted to the language needs of the company. In fact most have not localized and translated their mission statement.What seems to happen is either: 1) the company informally states that there is a single core language of the company and therefore the translation of internal reports and communications is not required. 2) An internal effort is made to translate information on an as requested basis.Let us consider these in turn:Single Language Company Trying to pretend that you have a single language company when you dont, is a head in the sand approach. This can lead to some of the following issues:1)Alienation of staff and divisions.2)Staff turnover In addition to (1) the career track of an employee will be linked to their ability to speak the core language rather then whether they are the best person for the job.3)Poorly communicated objectives. If the objective is not fully understandable by all involved, then how can you expect a 100% fulfillment of the objective?4)Lack of a common business culture.Internal Translation Internal translation is certainly better than no translation at all. But this has its own potential issues:1)Is the translator capable?2)Are all the documents translated? And are they translated in time? If the translation of internal reports and communications is a secondary task, does the translation always get carried out on time? / at all?!3)Confidentiality Jungle drums (informal communications) always beat strongly inside a company. I have seen that some tasks are more confidential when carried out externally.4)Is the internal translation carried out at the expense of time spent on another core activity or objective?When you consider the cost of quality you should consider the costs of not having quality. I believe that the cost of translating internal documentation should be considered similarly. For some organizations the issue of translating internal reports will be less important then for others.But when such translation is necessary, perhaps the cost is lower then first thought? Routine report translations is a task regular enough to warrant more detailed discussion with the translation agency and should allow pricing agreements that are below what is attainable for ad hoc translation projects.For more information about the translation of internal reports visit http://www.axistranslations.com

Cash Flow - How To Collect 98% Of Business Debts In 28 Days

Cash Flow - How To Collect 98% Of Business Debts In 28 Days

The most common cause of businesses failing is a lack of cash flow. Cash flow is the money coming in, compared to money going out.Your business plan will identify where, and when, your major business expenditures occur. These are unlikely times when your income is at a maximum.Businesses often run into cash flow problems because their customers delay paying their bills, or when their customers cannot pay their bills at all.Many individuals delay paying bills until they have to. All companies do this, because it improves their own cash flow position and because the companies that owe them money are doing the same thing.When someone starts a business it usually comes as a surprise when debtors do not pay their bills on time. The company owing you money knows that you want to keep their business, so you are unlikely to chase them for debt collection immediately or aggressively.The attitude your customers, your debtors, take is that your cash flow is your problem. If your company fails then there are plenty more suppliers they can turn to, and meanwhile the money they owe you is in their own bank account, earning interest. If your company fails, then they will have the use of your money for six months or more, while accountants pursue them for the debts.There are 2 ways out:1. You can delay paying your suppliers until you absolutely have to, i.e. pass the problem along the supply chain.2. You can sell your debts to a finance company. This is called factoring.The factoring company will buy your 100 dollars debt for between 75 and 98 dollars. The range varies with the likelihood that the factoring company will be able to get the debt paid. If you factor all of your debts after 21 or 28 days the factoring company will give you a better price than if you only sell them debts that have been outstanding for 6 months or more.Factoring can mean the difference between your business thriving or folding because of the difference in cash flow it makes. Your income is predictable. Your cash flow is secure. You can pay your debts and sleep at night.Factoring means that you collect less than the full amount of each invoice, but at least you get 98 cents on each dollar on time. Your profit margin may appear to be lower, but when you take loan charges necessary to cover your outstanding invoices into account, there may be little or no difference.

Top Tips For Keeping Your Employees Safe

Top Tips For Keeping Your Employees Safe

It doesnt matter whether you have 5 employees or 500, an employers responsibility is to ensure that employees have a safe environment in which to work. This includes both the day-to-day processes carried out at your premises, and the general safety and welfare of the people who work for you.Theres a fine line between using security measures to keep your staff safe, and invading their privacy. Thats why, before you implement safety measures, you should always check that youre complying with the relevant local and national legislation.Shift workersMany manufacturing companies and some service companies, such as call centres, are operating 24 hours per day. This means that staff members are often either starting or finishing their shift late at night or early in the morning. These are times when employees entering or leaving the building are particularly at risk, and could benefit from: Good exterior lighting Keypad-controlled entry Security staff presence Monitored CCTV systems Panic buttonsMeasures like these are all designed to help shift workers feel more comfortable both inside and outside the building.9-5 workersIts just as important that those employees who work normal office hours feel safe inside the building. During the day, most offices have a reception area, which visitors have to go through before they can enter the business. To control access, many companies use visitor passes. This not only helps employees to recognise a visitor to the company, but it also means that in the event of fire, or evacuation for some other reason, the visitor can be accounted for.Equally, CCTV cameras can have a role to play throughout the day. Watching communal areas and exterior areas as well as monitoring the entrances and exits can help the business to prevent a crime or trespass in plenty of time.Safe workers are usually more productive workers, so by spending a little time and money making sure that your building and its people are protected, you could be doing a favour for your business.

Team Building Training - Improving Your Team Work

Team Building Training - Improving Your Team Work

Team building training should include all levels of an organization, from the senior management to the front line workers. The approach to training for team building would vary from organization to organization, depending upon its needs, but with one aim to improve the teams performance. There is a need to remove organizational barriers that come in the way of teamwork. Team building training will make a tremendous difference to your workplace by training your staff in the professional approach towards team performance. Team building training of your team members will help in the following: Rooting out the causes of poor team performanceIncrease in productivity of the individual and the teamImprove interaction between the team members Improve their problems solving ability Improve overall managerial and leadership skillsImprove support and trust levels among team membersYou may have tried various methods in the past and they may have worked. You may wish to stick with those tried and tested methods . . .and why not? With the times changing and the need to be successful, - the first time . . . every time, - "team building" training methods too, need to be scientifically conducted. Team Building Training Customized MethodsEffective teams just do not happen; they need to be built, brick by brick, to generate the best results for your business. A high performance team needs to learn the skills to work within the group, or with multi groups, effectively. There cannot be one single training method for team building across the board. The team building training methods is customized to suit the organizations specific needs in the given situation. In any organization, the most important resource is its people. The better trained its team members; the more effective they are in a business environment. In a team, it is vital that each member knows how to communicate effectively with each other, and how to motivate each member to be effective and be up to his or her potential. The team building training helps the team members to reach their peak performance within the team. The customized team building training methods ensure the teams success, as well as that of its individual members. The training for team building starts by first testing each member of the team, and a composite team report is then prepared. The report lists out the steps an individual needs to take to fit in, and work better with, the team. The strengths, as well as the weaknesses, are discussed. Suggestions are made to improve personal effectiveness in the team. The team is assessed to see if serious conflicts exist. If they do, training sessions are conducted with this in view, and are focused on the causes of group tensions, and the ways to reduce them. Most team building training sessions are live training sessions, with a focus on specific circumstances. Discussing team problems with a rank outsider, such as the team-building trainer, may be easier. Also, as team members, you may be too near trees to be aware of the wood.

Learn from the Olympics How to Organize your Events: Part 1 of 3 - Planning Event Logistics

With the Winter Olympic Games in Torino underway, on time and over budget, it feels like a good time to take a minute and look at the lessons the Olympics have to teach us about managing events. To be fair, the Olympics are a massive set of groups with multiple venues hosting simultaneous events with visitors from all over the world. To make matters worse, you only get to do it once, you prepare for years leading up to it, when it arrives you try the best that you can to control the chaos for just over 2 nonstop weeks and then, in a blink of an eye, it is over. While there is a chance that your children or grandchildren will be involved in hosting the Games again, for most people involved there is no next time.It is still too soon to look closely at what has and has not worked for the Winter Games in Torino. It is not until all the smoke has cleared that they will know how the event really went. I did however, have the good fortune of being involved with hosting the Salt Lake Winter Games (2002) while I was a college student in Provo, UT. Those Olympics are now four years old and time has given us a great perspective to glean some valuable lessons from them and the way that they were managed. For the sake of learning, lets skip past the Olympic bid scandal and look at the things that were done right for those games. Lets start with logistics in this part of our series I-15 was under construction for years before the Olympic Games were held, but more importantly, some one had clearly thought out the most popular routes to the venues and where people would be going within the venues. The roads were modified to accommodate the increased traffic and the venues were laid out with the fans in mind. I spent most of my time during the 2002 Olympics at Soldier Hollow, the Cross Country Ski and Biathlon Venue. You could tell that time was spent to design the venue in such a way as to give the fans the most access to the course while making it a great course for the athletes competing. Often times this is a detail that is overlooked for smaller events. The venue will be decorated in a manner that looks great, often times at the expense of functionality. It is also important to take the time to think through how people are going to arrive and leave your event. Look for things that might make it harder for people to attend and try to handle those issues in advance. I was involved in an event once where there was construction on the primary route. Since the location was vaguely familiar to most of the people attending we sent out flyers warning people about the construction and advising them of alternate routes that were available. Printing little maps on the back of your tickets is also a great way to help people get to your event.The goal is to make it as easy as possible for people to 1) get to your event and 2) do what you want them to do when they arrive.Next: Planning a Profitable Event

PRESENTEEISM: Another Dimension

In the past few years the terms “employee engagement” and “employee disengagement” have emerged to more fully describe the employee’s level of motivation and commitment to their job. An engaged employee is considered to be passionate about their work and emotional connected to their work and to their company. Disengaged employees are those employees that are at work but their minds are not necessarily on their jobs. The term presenteeism has also been used to describe disengaged employees. There minds are somewhere else. They could be thinking about their children, their upcoming date, a party, last’s night basketball game or be engrossed thinking about their own personal problems. From a productivity perspective this may not be that serious for a person working manually on repetitive tasks. However, in the advanced economies of the world such as those found in North America, Europe, Japan and elsewhere, where the contribution of knowledge workers to the GDP is greater than that associated with production workers in the manufacturing sector. Mental performance is the key determinant of productivity and profitability. In this setting if an employee’s mind is not on their jobs they become a significant liability to their organization. The mind today is the ultimate productivity weapon.This new paradigm has brought awareness to the serious increase in the rise of mental disabilities. For example, it is estimated that the cost of depression to the US economy is approximately $150 billion a year. Forty to 50% of the cost of absenteeism is on account of mental disabilities in medium to large North American organizations. Prescriptions such as Prozac, Welbutrin, Zoloft, Paxil and others used to treat mood disorders and other types of mental disabilities are among the fastest rising category of drugs. To respond to this situation, managers are increasingly challenged to create workplaces that will support a mentally healthy environment. We also know that there are anywhere from 10%-15% of employees who suffer from depression and who are not absent but who are in fact are at work. This group of employees is incapable of working at peak performance. They are at work and they fall squarely into the disengaged or presenteeism category of employees. To add to this new research in the October 2004 issue of the Harvard Business Review showed that there was an additional dimension to presenteeism. There is another threat to productivity that can be added to the presenteeism group: physically sick workers who show up at work but are not fully functioning. In a research study commissioned by Lockheed Martin in 2002, the single largest group of employees who were at work and were suffering from allergies and sinus problems had a prevalence rate of 60% and were costing the company close to $2 million in lost productivity, followed by chronic lower back pain at 21% and $859,000 in lost productivity, arthritis at 20% and $860,000, depression at 14% and $787,000, dermatitis or other skin conditions at 16% and $610,000, and flu at 18% and $607,000 in lost productivity. This research estimates that presenteeism costs the American economy about $150 million in lost productivity. What Can We Do?1.Human Resource Departments need to begin to collect and use the absenteeism and other health statistics in a strategic way. This means being proactive in their organizations to begin to educate their own managers.2.Train managers to manage for performance as well as managing for health. If they see a performance change in an employee who is considered a good performer, managers need to be given the language to enter into the appropriate conversation with their employee to discern the problem. The manger is not being asked to be a doctor or psychiatrist. She is being asked to point the employee in the right direction, i.e. going to EAP or whatever is the most appropriate course of action to restore the employee to fully productivity. 3.Educate your employees. This can be done using lunch and learns. Use your own internal health statistics to determine the priority for the programs. 4.Ensure that your absenteeism policies are not encouraging sick employees to come to work. 5.View employee productivity from a systems perspective. Employee health is inexorably linked to productivity. Therefore all managers should be held accountable for both their own business performance measures as well as for their unit’s absenteeism. In other words the health of their employees is now their responsibility and not the responsibility of their health department. We worked with a client where this was instituted. The health of the employees in their department was discussed along with business issues at the weekly departmental meetings. Absenteeism decreased and productivity increased. 6.Assess your company drug plan. Does it support a healthy workplace or is it acting as a disincentive. You may be surprised what you find. Make sure that in your assessment you consider the whole system. Look at the cost side and also look at what is gained by supporting for example, employees who may be suffering from allergies and with the correct medication are able to be fully productive.7.Introduce health promotion programs. There is a litany of programs and you have to choose the most appropriate for your organization. For example, EAP, flu shots, blood pressure testing, exercising, smoke cessation, weight loss and stress management programs.8.But before you lunge into any of these programs make sure you understand root causes of the disabilities in your organization. For example, how much are organizational practices and leadership behaviors contributing to stress, chronic back pain and depression. Although health promotion programs can be effective, their effectiveness is dramatically reduced if organizational causes are not addressed first. The use of a leading edge diagnostics such as the Entec’s Employee Engagement Survey that measures both organizational factors and employee health factors can be an invaluable first step to identify causes of employee ill-health and to create a framework for improving health and productivity.Better management of employee health can lead to improved productivity and this in turn can create a competitive advantage. With scare resources you may discover that reallocating funds towards health from training dollars will achieve greater productivity gains.

Summary

Discussion of the need for international companies to translate internal documents into the languages of their team.