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You Might Be Getting It All Wrong with Your Millennial Employees

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Motivating young workers is easier than you think.

“I can’t come in to cover someone’s shift today because I want to maintain my work/life balance,” said the 20-something employee to his boss. The owner didn’t like this at all.

“What do I do to motivate these millennials?” he fumed after hanging up the phone.

Well, here’s what this millennial has to say.

First, and this may sound silly, but stop calling your younger employees millennials. Whether you like it or not, most 20- to 30-somethings hate being clumped in this term. As owners, the worst thing we can do to customers is profile them before we know them. The same is true of employees.

Second is simply listen. The line the employee used in the example above may come across poorly. “Work/life balance!?” we owners say. “What kind of mumbo jumbo is that? I pay your mortgage and childcare for goodness’ sake! Be grateful you have a job!”

But as owners and managers, if we take a beat and consider what the employee said we might discover the Holy Grail of motivation.

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While we may think giving employees more money, better commissions and a prestigious GIA education is generous of us, our employees may surprisingly not care about any of that. Maybe what they would rather have instead is flex scheduling, longer vacations and leadership summit training.

When employees receive a benefit they don’t care about in the first place, the only benefit it provides is to make owners feel better about themselves.

Psychology Today revealed the top motivating factors for employees. Guess what – money didn’t even make the top five. Education, benefits packages and bonuses didn’t even come close to the list. Being recognized and encouraged in the workplace, however, made the top three and perhaps with good reason.

So maybe work/life balance is exactly what you should give them. How can you know? Just ask, “What motivates you?” Find out what they care about and turn it into a benefit.

Maybe a nice maternity/paternity leave package means more than a 20 percent raise (and could save you a bundle in the long run). Or giving 10 hours paid leave for volunteer work instead of greater commissions would be motivating. Ask your team members, individually, what they care about and respond accordingly.

A few months ago, I felt myself getting burnt out at work. Then it hit me: What I wanted most was to spend more time with my wife, whose work schedule doesn’t always jive with mine. So I started coming in two hours early twice a week, and I left early those days. Sure it caused a few waves at first, but after some time, everyone was happier. I was turning out better work, and the time I got with my wife was better than any raise I could have given myself.

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Remember, if you care for the culture of your store, you’ll create a culture that cares.


Kyle Bullock is a fourth-generation jeweler at Bullock’s Jewelry in Roswell, NM. He is also a published bestselling author, playwright and speaker.

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David Brown

Here’s How to Succeed at Succession Planning

Be sure to consider these four areas to prevent unnecessary conflict.

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MONEY CAN BE A sensitive topic to talk about. Generally, people don’t like to discuss it even in the privacy of their own home. Yet, not talking about your financial situation can make a significant difference in how much of your wealth is passed on to other family members. Whether it’s a business being passed on or the wealth that it has created, careful planning is required.
Government legislation is constantly evolving in this area. It’s important to set up for the passing of wealth and to ensure this is compliant with the current laws.

Here are some things to consider:

1. Inform family members of what may be coming their way. Give them the opportunity to prepare for the financial impact an inheritance may have. More than one family has been undermined by a sudden arrival of wealth they didn’t expect and couldn’t handle. Such preparation can help them to plan their ownership and tax structures to handle it effectively.

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2. Be sure to involve key stakeholders. Be selective about who is involved in the decision-making process, the administration and the final beneficiaries. The process can be daunting and potentially alienate family members and cause unnecessary conflict.

3. Ensure a single unified vision. Particularly where parents are concerned, it’s important to ensure a consistent message is communicated about the ongoing management of the family business. If there is to be a successor, there needs to be an agreed upon approach as to who it will be and how it will be handled.

4. Don’t wait too long to pass on ownership and responsibility. If the business is to go to the next generation, a grooming process is recommended to ensure the transition is smooth and the successor has done their “time.” You should always be prepared for an unexpected event that may speed this process up faster than you intended — it’s better to be over-prepared in this area than under-prepared.

Whether a business is being passed on or the wealth that the business has created, it’s important that the vision is clearly communicated regarding how the legacy will be passed onto future generations. Sharing this vision can be an effective means of making sure the succession plan goes as smoothly as possible.

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Dave Richardson

Here’s Why Having a Mirror on Your Counter Is So Critical

It’s not just vanity.

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WHY IT IS TRUE: This gives her an opportunity to immediately see how the beautiful piece of jewelry looks on her.

PLAN OF ACTION: Take this opportunity to observe her reaction, ask open-ended questions to reveal her feelings, and move for the close accordingly.

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David Brown

Why You Need to Talk to Your CPA ASAP

A conversation and some planning today can minimize your tax burden tomorrow.

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A CONVERSATION WITH YOUR CPA now can help minimize your tax burden later.

With the end of the financial year fast approaching, now is a good time to start thinking about your end-of-year financial results. No one wants to pay tax, and certainly no one wants to pay any more than they must. Tax evasion is a criminal act that will see you finish up in court. Tax minimization, however, is a perfectly legitimate way of keeping your tax to the most you’re required to pay.

Too often businesses wait until the financial year has ended, determine their financial result, then wonder how they can reduce their tax bill. This can be a little like closing the gate after the horse has bolted. Many tax minimization strategies can be implemented before the end of the financial year, and now is a good time to talk to your CPA about some possible approaches.

Much of this strategy can revolve around the expenses you might be planning to claim. Larger investments in assets can often have their cost apportioned over several years, and there can be an advantage, if you are planning to make this investment, in undertaking it before the end of the financial year.

Another aspect to discuss with your CPA is how income is allocated. It’s important to take advantage of different tax rates for owners and partners in a business. Again, this decision sometimes needs to be made before the financial year has ended to avoid making retrospective decisions that may be frowned upon by the IRS.

Before you talk to your CPA, try to have a handle on how your financial year is going, as this will make a difference to what they may recommend. Your accountant will want to know how the year is tracking and what performance you are budgeting on for the last month of the year. Obviously, some constructive estimating, especially around the busy December period, will be needed. Your CPA will then be able to best advise you of what actions will help your financial year-end before the 31st of December.

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