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Cheesy Chili Mac

Serves 4

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 Onion, diced

1 Tsp chili powder

1 Tbsp ground cumin

3 Garlic cloves, minced

1 Tsp brown sugar

1 Lb ground turkey

2 Cups water

15 Ozs tomato sauce

16 Ozs elbow macaroni

3 Cups shredded cheese

In a large non-stick pan add the oil and set heat to medium. Warm until oil is shimmering and add the onion, chili powder, cumin, and ½ tsp salt to the pan.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and brown sugar and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the ground turkey and cook until it is no longer pink.

Stir the water and tomato sauce into the ground turkey mixture in the pan. Add the pasta and stir to combine. Cover the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook until the pasta is cooked thoroughly, stirring frequently to prevent the pasta from sticking.  Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a vigorous simmer, about 12-15 minutes. The sauce will thicken as your pasta finishes cooking.

Turn off the heat under the pan and add 1 cup of the cheese.  Stir to incorporate/melt then season the dish to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top and cover the pan again.  Let stand until the cheese melts.

technology

Upgrading the technology used in the business environment will help increase productivity, increase privacy, and will keep the company on the leading edge. With the privacy laws becoming more stringent, new technology will help the company maintain compliance with these laws.

Why invest in new technology?

Quite simply, to allow the business to progress and grow, to create a sense of security for employees, and creating automation, thus increasing productivity (and revenue). When a company has multiple business locations employees will benefit from using the same type of technology across locations.

Before choosing a solution for your company, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Your company will grow (this is the intent anyway) – ensure the new software meets the needs of your company now and in the future.
  2. Multiple locations – ensure the technology can easily be accessed and used from all of the locations and by all employees.
  3. Cost effectiveness vs. value – check with multiple companies before deciding on a new product.
  4. Use what everyone is using – this is especially true with social networking. Be where your employees are. They already know the technology, so implementation will be that much easier.
  5. Research thoroughly – this is especially true when it comes to a CRM or HRIS system. Ask all the questions – how customizable is the system, how much will customization cost, what comes standard and what is an added cost, who will maintain the backend of the system, how strong is the security, etc.?

Some Systems to Think About:

Google – Google is growing, and looks like it will continue to grow. They offer many options for small businesses and/or teams, such as document management (Google documents and Google drive), calendar sharing, and email. I have worked with many companies that have used Google documents to create and maintain shared files. And just recently I was a customer for a small company that uses Google calendar for their scheduling needs.

DropBox – this is another document management program that many companies use. I use it now for both personal and professional use. This gives everyone the ability to access documents from any device where internet is available. The creator of the DropBox account is also able to control who has the ability to edit the documents, giving him or her the ability to keep control of the items shared.

Skype – this is a cost effective resource for businesses to use for video conferencing from just about any device. I have interviewed with companies via Skype from my cell phone. It is easy, convenient, and just about anyone can have access from just about anywhere. This is great when a company can’t have face-to-face meeting with its employees.

CRMs – there are many inexpensive CRMs out there (probably too many to count). The system you should choose would depend on the specific business needs. I have used Microsoft AX, TCETRA, ACT!, and Salesforce.com…not to mention systems built internally by IT teams. Some cost more than others, but your specific needs will determine the needs for a system. For example, Microsoft AX integrates with their CRM and HRIS systems, creating a larger array of functionality for the business.

GPS Services – while this service may not be super inexpensive, it will help companies track employees who work in the field to ensure they are actually working and to track the company assets (i.e. cars, phones, computers, etc.).

Other Technology for Employees:

Cell Phones – many companies are equipping their employees with company-paid cell phone services. Some companies provide the phones and some ask the employee to bring their own phones and the company pays for the service (BYOD programs – Bring Your Own Device).

Tablets/Laptops – computers, laptops or desktops, are usually provided to employees who work in the office; however, many companies are equipping employees with tablets and laptops the employee can take home or use when working in the field.

Providing employees with these types of technology allows the employee to be mobile and flexible while still being connected to the business.

Crockpot Beef Stew

Serves 6

 

2 Lbs stewing beef, cubed

3 Carrots, sliced

1 Onion, chopped

3 Large potatoes, cubed

3 Pieces of celery, sliced

10 ¾ Oz can tomato soup

1 Soup can water

1 Tsp salt

Dash of pepper

2 Tbsp vinegar

Combine all ingredients and cook on high 4-5 hours.

Managing multiple business locations from an HR standpoint can be challenging if you do not know how to setup the right
infrastructure for your company. Depending on the business needs and the size of the locations, there may be a need for an HR structure at each site. If the locations are minimal with employees, there may only be a need for a single corporate HR Structure. This is especially true when the business is in retail and the retail locations have 10 or less employees. However, if the business crosses into multiple states and each location has 20+ employees, there may be a need for a small HR unit at each, or most, locations.

Structure – not every business culture calls for a formal structure. Whether you create a formal or informal struct
ure, make sure a structure is created. Ensure the reporting relationships are clearly outlined will reduce confusion and will increase efficiency.

Standardized Systems – ensure that standardized systems (i.e. email, network access, internal programs, employee phones, etc.) are in place and that all employees have access to and are trained on all systems. This will allow employees to seek assistance, when needed, from teammates. These systems will also allow the company to expand faster, reduce training times, and increase productivity.

Employee Handbook – all employees at all locations must have a copy of the employee handbook. If locations cross state lines, a need for a handbook specific to each state may be needed (depending on the laws in each of those states). The handbook should outline the company’s policies on hours of operation, options for flexible hours, and procedures to ask for flexible hours, if applicable. Outlining as many policies as possible in the handbook will create consistent procedures used across the entire company.

Goals, Milestones, Deadlines – clearly identify and communicate company, location, and departmental goals, milestones, and deadlines. Ensure all employees are aware of these items and are on board with the set dates and the work to be completed.

Meetings/Site Visits – regardless of whether a small on-site HR department has been put into each location, schemultiple locationsdule regular meetings with the managers and supervisors for each site. Recommendations include conference calls, video conferences, and on-site visits. Many meetings/calls and site visits can and should be scheduled in advance; however, some should be ‘surprise’ visits. This keeps on-site employees from becoming too comfortable and slacking on their work ethic and/or dress code. Keeping employees on their toes increases productivity and helps ensure company standards are maintained.

Communication – communication is key in any business, and especially when a company has multiple locations or employees who work in the field vs. in an office. Constant open communication should be kept with all employees on a regular basis, and encouraging employees to share ideas, challenges, and wins will help draw the employees together to create a great team environment.

The type of business will largely determine the way HR and specific locations are structured. Keeping these six items in mind while developing your specific structure can assist you in creating a business that will work fluidly, will be easy to recreate and grow, and will thrive in each environment.

A few other items to consider include: different cultures, adopting and integrating new technology, global workforces, employee documentation, and individual and team rewards.

Serves 8

2 Lbs ground turkey meat

¼ Cup chopped green bell pepper

¼ Cup chopped onion

1 Packet chili seasoning mix

¼ Tsp pepper

1 – 15 Oz can tomato sauce

3 Cups cooked rotini pasta, rinsed and drained

1 – 16 Oz can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 300༠. In a large skillet brown meat, green pepper and onion. Add chili seasoning mix and pepper. Mix well. Stir in tomato sauce, pasta, kidney beans, and ½ of the cheese; mix well. Pour into a casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and bake for 20 minutes or until cheese melts.

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