Today was my birthday, and I couldn't think of anything more fun than to invite some very special people and have one of them cater the lunch. Anne Caldwell, who is a human resources guru, is also a terrific caterer, and she came into my home this morning and took over while I went back to the office and worked. She produced lunch, and I produced Web pages and did bookwork. Then it was time for my guests to arrive, including my brother and his camera, and we sat down to a delightful lunch. Anne is fairly new to our group, as is Julie Moran, but the rest of us, including Jen Muench and Elsbeth Oggert (who couldn't join us today), have been part of the group for over a year. In the picture above, from left, are Anne Caldwell, Lois Epps, Julie Moran, Janet Crook, Ruthann Clemens, Roseann Ritterby, and me. What do we do? Brainstorm. Help each other out with business ideas. Help with organizational ideas for small businesses and nonprofits. (One of our members is starting up a nonprofit, and another is a social worker.) Analyze projects brought in by one or another of us. Analyze and critique as needed. Learn how to use new technology. Learn how to navigate in the world of social networking. We're a group of authentic people who have a great deal of life experience, enthusiasm, and energy. While we certainly look back at what we've learned, we tend to look forward as we discover way to make our businesses work in this new age. Marketing and communication are two of our main focus points. A diverse group, which makes things very refreshing, we try to think outside the taco. Back to Anne Caldwell. Her catering business is called "In Good Taste," and she specializes in healthy, wholesome cuisine. The main dish and salad were delicious and colorful, and the Zero Sugar Dessert was to die for. She knows what she's doing, and I recommend her highly. Give her a call at (602) 228-9191 to discuss how she can enhance your holiday experience. Her rates are very competitive, and she's totally reliable.
By Guest Columnist Anne Caldwell President, Outsourcing Solutions How to Avoid Employee Burnout Helping employees keep their work fresh is another way to avoid burnout. Meeting with staff on a quarterly basis and giving them the opportunity to trade some functions not only keeps them from being bored, it creates a cross- trained pool that can be useful in a crunch. Take a half-day off once a quarter, splitting the crew in half if you need to maintain coverage. Take them to lunch and let them decide what to do with the afternoon - miniature golf, shooting pool, maybe even playing board games together. Take Them Out to Lunch Everyone appreciates being taken out to lunch and having the company spring for some entertainment, and it renews relationships within the group as well, releasing some of those resentments and differences that build up between co-workers. Find Creative Methods For Building Team Spirit Finally, find ways to let them acknowledge each other in some creative ways. Go to the local pawnshop and pick out the gaudiest bowling trophy you can find. Present it to a member of your staff, but make sure they’re chosen for a specific act of going beyond the call of duty. It then becomes their responsibility to pass it on after it sits in glory on their desk for a week. They need to select someone carefully, based on a specific act. All in all, people will tell you that a good salary is great, and a comprehensive benefits package is attractive. But the one thing you cannot undervalue is a positive, productive, and appreciative environment. Everybody wants to work there. Click here to go to Part 1 of this article Find H/R expert Anne Caldwell at Outsourcing Solutions. http://www.azoutsource.com