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The Daily Grind features blogs that concentrate on issues affecting offices across the country. The goal is to enlighten, amuse, and interact with our followers.
Please feel free to submit comments, questions, and ideas at any time.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Employee Engagement: Why does it matter?

According to Wikipedia, employee engagement is the relationship between an organization and its employees. An "engaged employee" is one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and so takes positive action to further the organization's reputation and interests. It can be reasoned then that highly engaged employees will perform at optimal levels conducive to peak performance.

Unfortunately, employee engagement is sometimes one of those ideas that can fall by the wayside when management is busy dealing with everyday operations and issues. However, this is one sentiment that shouldn’t be overlooked because the numbers speak for themselves. Check out this engaged employee infographic from Dale Carnegie Training:  
An infographic by the team at Dale Carnegie Training Employee Engagement Infographic.

So, why does employee engagement matter? Simply put, “Employee engagement is the one competitive advantage that turns good companies into great ones and mediocre service into a memorable experience” says Jeff Boss, Forbes Contributor. Below are some easy-to-incorporate ideas to get employees more engaged, more connected and to boost happiness, morale, and productivity in an effort to create a more satisfying work environment.

Recognize Employees – Recognizing employees for a job well done can be as simple as the proverbial “pat on the back” or as fancy as a company awards ceremony. Employees need to understand how their role helps the company achieve its business objectives. At Remi, the company hosts two award luncheons throughout the year and rewards two employees with the Customer Service Hero Award quarterly.
Make the Workday Fun – People love food, so this one is easy. Offer free coffee in the morning or soda in the afternoon. Rent a hot dog or nacho machine for the day. Play a game of Bingo at lunch. The ideas here are endless. Recently, Remi purchased a popcorn machine and makes popcorn for employees twice a week.
Celebrate the Holidays – You don’t have to limit celebrations to the usual holidays. Venture out and celebrate bring your kid to work day, national pie day, national dog day, or a holiday specific to your industry. Remi just celebrated National Dental Hygiene and National Chiropractic Health month with employees.
Offer Career Advancement Options – There are various options here. Companies can offer job-sharing, post job openings internally first, reimburse for education, or encourage employees to attend job-related seminars. Remi’s benefits administrator offers a wide selection of free online classes available at the employees’ fingertips 24/7.
Open the Doors of Communication – Employees need to feel like their ideas are heard and taken seriously. Make the “open door policy” a part of the employee hand guide and hold regular employee and manager meetings. The last thing a company needs is a rumor mill; sharing information will help eliminate the water cooler chatter. Remi recently introduced the company intranet as a reliable source of company information.


There are hundreds of different ways to engage employees. What works for one company may not work for another, so it’s important to survey the employees to get an idea of what they want and need. From there, it might be a good idea to form a committee made up of various employees from different departments across all levels of the company hierarchy. What employee engagement initiatives have been introduced at your workplace? How do you feel it’s working; would you prefer to try something different? Share your thoughts with us!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dining Etiquette 'Pretty Woman' Style

It’s hard to forget Julia Roberts’ character, Vivian, from the 1990 hit movie Pretty Woman. She quickly became in over her head when it came to traveling, fashion, and etiquette after she met the successful and wealthy businessman, Edward, played by Richard Gere.

The holidays are right around the corner and that means dinner parties, brunches, lunches and anything in between. Just like Vivian, it’s important to remember proper dining etiquette rules no matter the social setting. No one wants to be remembered for an embarrassing snafu that was completely avoidable, e.g. when Vivian flings her snail across the restaurant.

As the lovable leading lady quickly learns in the movie, dining etiquette is a cumbersome topic and the rules seem endless. 

Below are some basic dining etiquette tips that everyone should know and follow:

  • Dress appropriately for the event. A suit and tie or cocktail dress is appropriate for dinner at the country club, but not a catered lunch at the office.
  • Give a nice, firm handshake to the host and greet others you know. Introduce yourself to people you don’t know using your first and last name. Feel free to shake their hands as well. No matter how popular the first bump or high five become, they will never replace a good handshake.
  • Follow the lead of the host – sit when they sit, put your napkin in your lap when they do. If they order a drink, it’s safe to say that you can order one as well. If they order an appetizer, feel free to do the same.
  • Sit up straight, don’t lean back on your chair legs, and keep your elbows off the table – it shows good posture and some self-control.
  • When there are multiple utensils, work your way in from the outside. If you recall a scene from the movie where Vivian was getting a lesson on silverware – 4 tines is a dinner fork and sometimes there are 3 tines, a salad fork.
  • If you are going to a restaurant that you’ve never been to, review the menu ahead of time. You don’t want to show up and have no idea what to order or end up like Vivian and not know what escargot is until it arrives at the table.
  • Don’t talk with your mouth full and don’t chew with your mouth open. Whoever started the rumor that chewing with your mouth open is a sign of power is a liar. Trust us, it’s not true!

There are so many dining etiquette rules, it can be difficult to keep track of them all. The list above includes several of the most important ones. What else would you add to the must-know dining etiquette list? Leave us a comment!



 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I am Remi! Featuring Aimee Goodman

Get to know a different employee every quarter.

Fall 2014

Aimee Goodman, Account Services

Since joining the company in 2007, a lot has changed. Where do you see Remi headed in the next 5 years? 
I look forward to the next 5 years of anticipated growth. Remi has grown quickly and it has brought new challenges, which I welcome. I enjoy problem solving with our team by coming up with new solutions for our customers and their equipment maintenance needs.

What do you like best about working in Operations as an Account Services Coordinator? 

The customers! I have always enjoyed working with our clients and establishing long-lasting relationships by providing excellent customer service. I see it as my job to make sure the customer is happy at all times and nothing makes me happier than helping someone.

To quote Bob Burg, a published author and public speaker, “All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.” What should people know about you and Remi? 
Remi and I are committed to providing cost-saving solutions to our clients. It is important to us that our customers receive excellent service.

You are a recipient of the company’s Competency, Contribution and Attitude (CCA) Award. If you could give a brief acceptance speech, what would you say? 
I am truly honored to have received this award! I take pride in what I do each day at Remi and I am committed to excellence in the workplace. Attitude goes a long way with peers and customers. I think it’s very important to keep a good attitude at all times and encourage others to do the same. 

Over the past seven years at Remi, who has been your role model or mentor?
Brian Landon was my boss when I first started at Remi. He taught me a lot my first year on how to establish myself professionally in the workplace and I still use things today he taught me 7 years ago. 

As a working mother, how do you manage the perfect work-life balance? 
Remi is very understanding and always works with me through any schedule changes I may need throughout the year, which is a huge help for a full-time working mother. I have a long drive to work, so I like to use that as my “me” time in the morning and afternoon. Whether I’m at work or home, I give 100% at all times. I also believe keeping work and my personal life separate is important to being successful at both. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to new employees at Remi on the Operations side of the business? 
Respond to customers quickly. Our customers are used to our excellent customer service standards and it goes a long way. By letting the customer know you are working on their request, it gives them peace of mind and shows that they are important to us.



Thursday, August 28, 2014

How to be the “Zig Ziglar” of Sales

Like other small businesses, Remi relies on the various levels of sales professionals at the company to fill the sales pipeline. Remi is a niche business and as a result, the learning curve when training new sales reps can be longer than usual. On a similar note, the sales process can be just a few short weeks, to months, to even years depending on the client and their particular situation. As a result, it’s important to hire the right sales people to fit our unique working environment. So, I thought I’d share some tips on how to be the “Zig Ziglar” of sales.

Below are the top 10 traits of successful sales reps:

1. Be a good listener!
Being a good listener means you are fully present at that moment and are comfortable with silence. In general, periods of silence makes people uncomfortable so they keep talking to fill the void. As a good listener, you are gathering valuable information about the client’s needs and are then able to ask great follow-up questions.
2. Like the Boy Scouts, always be prepared!
If meeting a client for the first time, do your due diligence on the company and people attending the meeting. Using LinkedIn is a great way to gather the information you need to make a great impression. It’s also wise to practice answering complicated questions so the answers come naturally when in the hot seat, especially working in a niche business like Remi. According to Zig, being prepared also includes showing up on time and being properly dressed.
3. Patience is a virtue!
Don’t rush the sale process; people need to be assured they are making the right decision and/or get through red tape. To save yourself some time, be sure you are meeting with the correct decision makers. Sales experts contend that clients won’t purchase your service/product until they've been engaged 7 times. <Tweet This
4. Create a dynamic routine!
Are you a morning, mid-day, or evening person? Create your routine around when you work best. If you’re a morning person, start the day off with a workout, healthy breakfast, answer some emails and then head to the office. If you’re a mid-day person, switch the workout to your lunch hour or if you’re an evening person, schedule working dinners.
5. Build a thick skin!
No matter how successful you are, rejection, failure and disappointment are a part of life. Your resiliency and ability to learn from them is what determines how successful you will be in sales. It’s important to remember that most of the time IT’S NOT PERSONAL!
6. Shoot for the stars!
Set your own goals, aside from the goals set for you at the office. Work hard to meet or exceed those goals, then repeat, repeat, repeat. Zig encourages all sales people to visualize your success and to never stop learning or training.
7. Exude self-confidence!
Believe in yourself and the service/product you’re selling. Your passion for the company will show clients that you care. Remi sales reps are trained in every department (pricing, account services, service center, and reimbursement dept.) to ensure they have the knowledge and confidence to answer any question during the sales process. Don’t be afraid to talk about money or ask for the sale either.
8. Be persistent, but not annoying!
Merriam-Webster defines persistence as the quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people. Enough said!
9. Master of Communication 101!
Face-to-face conversations are the best so you can read body language and phone calls are a close second. Remember to avoid jargon, be clear and concise, and Zig says it’s essential to be honest and fair. Once the sale is final, communication with the clients doesn't end there. Good customer service includes follow-up and staying in touch
10. Have a genuine personality!
Leave the car salesman act at home. People want to feel like you have their best interest in mind and that they aren't being duped into purchasing a service/product that will waste their time or money.

There are thousands of other qualities that successful sales professionals possess. However, this top 10 list is a great place to start. If you display these qualities, you have a sturdy foundation to be a great sales person. "You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great" Zig Ziglar.

Please share this blog or feel free to leave a comment with some other traits you feel are also important to being successful! You can also check out photos from Remi's Sales Meeting in Myrtle Beach at http://www.theremigroup.com/Events.
  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Buying Healthcare Equipment? Read These 5 Tips First

If you are familiar with Remi’s white papers and blogs, you know that choosing the right service vendor to maintain your electronic equipment is just as important as choosing the actual equipment. In a blog from April 2012, I list 7 tips to consider before buying new office equipment. Today, I am going to talk about the top 5 tips you need to know before buying new or used healthcare equipment no matter what sector of the healthcare industry you might work. Whether it is diagnostic imaging equipment in a hospital, an X-ray machine in a dental office, a laser in an eye care practice or virtually everything in between, the premise is the same – do your due diligence up front to avoid expensive and time consuming hassles down the road.

Below are 5 tips for choosing reliable, cost-effective healthcare equipment:

Online Equipment Rating

Today, you can find a rating for just about anything online and there’s no shortage of equipment ratings. One popular site for healthcare/medical equipment is MedWrench, The Medical Product Support Network. On the site’s homepage, you can search for a piece of equipment and in return, you are provided the item’s description, features, photos, available documents, questions and answers, and reviews.

Remember, it’s important to keep product reviews in perspective. One bad review shouldn’t take the piece of equipment out of the running. Any good review will include details, not just general statements like great price or sales rep was rude. It’s also a good idea to consult similar healthcare professionals to see what medical equipment makes and models they are using.

Cost of Maintenance 

Before purchasing new or used healthcare equipment, it’s important to consider the cost of maintenance during the equipment’s lifecycle. An inexpensive purchase price doesn’t always mean little to no maintenance costs and vice versa. If buying new, ask the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) about scheduled maintenance and the availability of new and used parts.

Vendor Options

Just like the online equipment ratings, there are sites to review service providers as well. Start with the Better Business Bureau, then consult your healthcare industry colleagues again. When choosing a particular piece of healthcare equipment, you should have your choice of vendors and not just be limited to the OEM, which can often be a slippery slope. Once you've found some possible vendors,create a checklist and interview them as if they were applying for a job. This last step ensures everyone is on the same page and will help avoid any fall-outs down the road.

Price 

Decide if you want to buy or lease your medical equipment. There are pros and cons to both and each need to be considered for your particular working environment. If you choose to buy, you will be responsible for the repair and maintenance of the equipment but it’s now an asset. If you choose to lease, the equipment maintenance is likely covered in the lease agreement but the equipment will never be yours.

New vs. Used 

Last but not least, you need to decide if you are going to buy new or used. Again, there are pros and cons to each here as well. If you purchase new healthcare equipment, it typically comes with a manufacturer warranty for the first year or two. If you buy used, there’s no warranty, but the purchase price is much lower.

In the words of the famous award-winning NBC public service announcement, The More You Know – the more you know, the better. Do research online, talk to your colleagues, and interview vendors before making any decisions regarding the purchase of healthcare equipment.


Did you recently purchase new or used healthcare/medical equipment? Share you tips with us!