Tag Archives: productivity

Culture Trumps Everything

(Posted by Rick Dacri, June 2, 2014)108

Walk into a Whole Foods, order shoes through Zappos, or spend a night at the Ritz and you’ll quickly see the value of a positive workplace culture. Whether its Zappos emphasis on delivering “WOW” through service (ask my wife), or Whole Foods’ friendly, smiling clerks (I love shopping there), and I can’t even describe the joy in staying at the Ritz–the emphasis on taking care of the customer is ingrained into the fabric of each company and embodied in its workforce.

Culture is not a squishy concepts best left to human resources. No, its the essence of a company, its personality. Culture is made up of a company’s core values, beliefs, goals, and traditions. It’s who they are and how leaders form and shape it determines whether the company will flourish or wither on the vine.

L.L. Bean hires employees who are Continue reading


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Filed under Leadership, Management

Making Managing Easy Webinar Series

Making Managing Easy Webinar Series

September 10 and 17 at noon EDT

I am launching a series of free webinars designed to help you make your job easier, improve the performance and productivity of your workforce, and increase the profitability of your organization.  

Managing people effectively is a major challenge for every manager. In these manager level webinars, you will learn how to address 10 critical performance and compliance issues faced by nearly all managers—giving you the confidence and knowledge to immediately apply these new skills.

Among the topics covered in these two webinars

September 10 at noon EDT

  1. How to improve individual performance
  2. How to discipline & terminate, if necessary
  3. How to win an unemployment compensation claim
  4. How to avoid pay and classification mistakes (exempt/nonexempt, independent contractors)

September 17 at noon EDT

  1. How to hire right
  2. How to control and reduce workers’ compensation costs
  3. How to deal with alcohol & drugs in the workplace
  4. How to prevent FMLA abuse

Both webinars will be fast paced, filled with specific examples and participants will have the opportunity to forward specific questions, which will be answered in the sessions.


Both of these initial webinars are complimentary. However, you must preregister, as seating will be limited. At the same time, I encourage you to notify your professional colleagues and encourage them to enroll.

I will also record the program so you can refer to it easily after the fact.

To enroll or get further information, click Dacri Webinars

Webinars are a great way to learn and provide these benefits:

  1. No travel expense
  2. Bo time away from the office
  3. Economical training (these two are free)
  4. Access to a workforce expert
  5. Multiple managers can listen in

These are live events, intended to feel as close to a group workshop as possible, the only difference being attendees are located in their offices, instead of in the same room. All you need to participate is a computer and telephone.

Added bonus:

If you’re wondering if there are bonus materials available that can make attending worthwhile, you’re in luck. For starters, the program is free. Secondly, if you’re one of the first 5 to sign up will, I’ll send you a copy of my book Uncomplicating Management. Want more? OK, I’ll also give you a copy of the slides for future reference.

I hope you’ll register now.


Rick Dacri, Dacri & Associates, LLC

P.S. Still have questions? Just send me an email at rick@dacri.com or give me a call (my direct line: 207-967-0837), and I’ll be happy to address and questions or concerns you may have.



Filed under Compliance, Management

Simple Formula For Increasing Sales and Profits

images(Posted by Rick Dacri and originally published in the York County Coast Star)

Watching people connect in the workplace will tell you a lot about a company. In over 25 yeas in business, I have found that by observing how people interact, one quickly understands how a company operates, its effectiveness and its level of employee engagement.

One of the perks of being a management consultant is the opportunity to visit literally hundreds of different organizations. I always try to arrive at scheduled appointments early. The condition of the facility, the initial greeting by the receptionist, and the interplay of employees provide me a wealth of information about the organization’s culture. Am I greeted with a smile or am I another intrusion? Are employees talking with one another, engaged and animated or disinterested and frustrated? Is the “feel” of the organization warm or cold?

You can get that same read in a restaurant. My wife and I frequent the many fine area establishments. We both watch for how we are treated by the host and our server. The chef can make a fabulous meal, but it is the host and server that make the experience—and they will determine whether or not we return. We expect a smile; a cheerful and helpful attitude; quick and knowledgeable responses to questions and requests; and a willingness to do whatever it takes to make our experience positive. When that happens we return – frequently. And we also tell our friends.  Engaged workers engage their customers and engaged customers buy.

Gallop recently released their annual poll on employee engagement (2013 State of the American Workplace Report) and the results are not good. Only 30% of the approximately 100 million people in America who hold full time jobs are inspired and engaged at work; 20% are actively disengaged; and half are not engaged at all. In other words, 7 in 10 workers are either simply showing up or are actively sabotaging their companies. It gets worse. Only 41% of employees feel they know what their company stands for and what makes it different from the competition. And of these workers, “Millennials”, those born between 1980 and 1994, are likely to quit their jobs in the next 12 months if the economy continues to improve. Finally, service workers, those employees with the most direct contact with the customer, are the least engaged of all workers. Imagine – customer service reps, bank tellers, sales clerks, wait staff, call center reps – those individuals who have the greatest daily customer contact, those employees upon whom employers depend to take care of the customer; the very face of the organization, are the least engaged. Remember, disengaged workers directly impact the company’s bottom line. The CEO may set the goals and direction of the business, but it is these workers who determine whether it reaches them or not.

The news is not all bad. While the national statistics are damning, organizations are not condemned to follow. Great organizations have engaged workers, but they must first have engaged managers and supervisors. Studies show that without them, a committed workforce is nearly impossible.

Great managers create engaged workers and when that occurs, organizations enjoy significantly higher productivity, profitability, customer satisfaction, less turnover and absenteeism, and even fewer on-the-job accidents. Gallop even found that organizations with an average of 9.3 engaged employees to every actively disengaged employee experienced 147% higher earnings per share compared to their competition. You can take that to the bank, literally.

The best organizations are lead by and with strong managers who demand excellence from their staff. These managers set high standards and mirror it in their own behavior. Successful organizations hold their managers accountable for their department and staff’s performance. Every employee, manager and non-manager must buy into the company’s philosophy or they must go. The evidence is clear. When all employees are willing to do whatever is takes to make the company successful; embrace the direction of the firm; and value their customers, then success follows. And it all hinges on good management. It is that simple.

The formula for success is not complicated. It may take hard work to achieve and investment in their people, but the benefits are huge.

Customers know. Whether they’re shopping at the local store, purchasing a car, ordering dinner or calling customer service, they quickly realize the level of engagement by the employee with whom they interact. That singular exchange will often determine whether they buy or not and whether they’ll ever return to buy again. Organizations will likely have engaged customers when they have strong management and engaged workers, and engaged workers means higher sales and greater profits.

Other posts you may want to read (click to read):

  1. Where Has Company Loyalty Gone?
  2. Costly Turnover Can be Controlled
  3. Employees Providing Great Customer Service?

If you want to know more about how I can help you, click here: Dacri & Associates, LLC




Filed under Compliance, Productivity

Bullying: It Has To Stop



It keeps happening. Bullying. In the schools, playgrounds, social media, and work. We read about suicides of young people who were bullied. Now Rutger’s basketball coach Mike Rice is fired after striking and berating his players. But his termination only happened after a video of his behavior went viral.  The problem is not just in schools and with young people. Bullying is occurring on a daily basis in the workplace and employers are at a loss as to what to do about it.

Survey after survey point to widespread workplace problems. The findings of the Workplace Bullying survey conducted in 2011 found that half of the companies surveyed reported incidents of bullying. Victims report experiencing mental and emotional harm along with stress related physical damage including hypertension, gastrointestinal disorders and migraine headaches. A Canadian study even suggested that co-workers who witness bullying are also traumatized by it. And it is costing employers a lot in decreased morale, increased turnover and absenteeism, and drops in productivity—all impacting the bottom line.

So what does workplace bullying look like? Victims report a number of behaviors including verbal abuse, shouting, swearing, name calling and malicious sarcasm; hurtful gossip, rumors and lies; threats and intimidation; cruel comments and teasing; and even physical assaults.

While most bullying occurs between peers, much of it happens at the hands of supervisors directing their fury at staff. Continue reading


Filed under Employee Relations

How Managers Can Raise Their Performance: 3 Uncomplicated Questions

11949849751056341160traffic_light_dan_gerhar_01.svg.medHaving a healthy, open dialogue between employees and their manager is the cornerstone to employee engagement and productivity. While the focus is often on the employee’s performance and steps needed to raise the bar on their performance, attention must also be directed on the impact the manager’s action have on it.

Managers can quickly get a sense of their impact by asking their employees, individually, 3 simple, uncomplicated questions:


  1. What am I doing that you would like me to STOP doing?
  2. What am I not doing that you would like me to START doing?
  3. What am I doing that you would like me to CONTINUE doing?


 Watch the reaction as you first pose these probing questions. Most employees will be initially reluctant to respond. Being honest can have negative consequences. But with time and trust, they will respond and their responses will allow the manager to reflect upon his style, allowing him to manage better.

To remember the questions, think of a traffic light. Red for STOP, yellow for CONTINUE, and green for START.

Give it a try, and then let me know how it works out for you by responding in the comment section below.

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Filed under Employee Relations, Management

Make Managing Easy (Short Video)

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Filed under Management

Strong Economy Brings Workforce Challenges

(This article was written by Rick Dacri and was originally published in York County Coast Star, April 19, 2012 edition)

 The evidence continues to pour in that the economy is rebounding. The unemployment rate continues to decline, job growth is up, factory production and retail sales are increasing, and corporate profits are reaching pre-recession levels.

While employers may be breathing a collective sigh of relief having survived a devastating recession, a number of workforce challenges are emerging including the need to hire, retain star performers, increase wages and maintain productivity.

Recruitment: Over the last few years, employers have avoided making new hires. Many were forced to cut their workforce while others used technology and productivity gains to avert the need to hire. Now with increased demand, there is a need to expand their workforce. Before taking the plunge, employers should first evaluate their recruitment initiatives. The old ways of hiring no longer work. Employers must put in place systems that ensure they attract and hire the best candidates that can make an immediate contribution to their business.

Understanding your true needs, having in place a positive recruitment brand that will attract quality performers, trained interviewers that can identify the gems while passing on those that aren’t what they appear to be, and a compelling argument and compensation package that will get prospects to say “yes” when offered, are just some of the key ingredients needed. In this new economy, employers will need to embrace new recruitment technology and social media. Recruitment has changed and employers must adapt.

Retention: When unemployment was high and the economy teetered upon disaster, employees kept their heads down and were thankful that they had a job — any job. That’s changed. Job growth is up and employees are beginning to get restless. More and more employees will begin to look for greener pastures and employers must take steps to protect their star performers and avoid the loss of key staff.

It is time for employers to begin to assess the level of employee engagement and morale. Individual employee meetings and employee surveys are great tools to immediately put in place. Strong front line supervisors must have their ears to the ground and have the pulse of the organization. No business can survive or thrive when key employees are quitting.

Wages: Wages staggered or remained level over the last three years. We are now seeing an uptick across the board. Before reacting to this, employers should be surveying the market to assess their competitiveness. Where wages are low, adjustments must be made. At the same time, simply raising wages will not automatically put you at a competitive advantage. Employers must receive a return on every payroll dollar. Performance based pay systems and focused incentive pay, properly administered, will ensure that productivity increases at a faster rate than payroll dollars. A balance must be struck: employees must be paid competitively, with star performers receiving the larger share, and employers must realize higher performance while still enjoying increased profits and growth.

Productivity: Productivity is the key. But one element essential to this is strong front-line supervision. Employers can hire the best, retain their stars, and pay top dollars, yet without great supervisors, everything crumbles. Supervisors can either be the leaders that drive your organization forward or an obstacle that cripples your company. Invest in the development of your supervision. Supervisors are essential to employee engagement and that translates into higher productivity and customer service, increased retention, lower levels of absenteeism and injuries and increased quality.

We have emerged from the dark side of the recession. Now is the time to invest in your workforce to ensure your continued viability, growth and profits.

Rick Dacri is a workforce expert, management consultant, and author of the book “Uncomplicating Management: Focus On Your Stars & Your Company Will Soar.” Since 1995 his firm, Dacri & Associates has helped organizations improve individual and organizational performance. He can be reached at rick@dacri.com and www.dacri.com. Readers are encouraged to send comments, questions and ideas for future articles to Rick Dacri at rick@dacri.com.

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Filed under Economy, Management