Professional Liability Insurance Group Volume #26 2018

The PLIG Professional’s PULSE

Volume #26

Gratitude in the Workplace

Odds are that your company hosts some type ofThanksgiving festivity. Office potlucks are delicious and great for camaraderie, but there’s one element of the holiday that should be part of your company culture year-round: gratitude.“If we think about gratitude only once a year,” notes author David Horsager,“we overlook the immense power of practicing it daily, especially in a business context.” A study from the University ofWarwick found that happier employees are 12 percent more productive. One of the easiest ways to put a smile on the faces of your team is to express your gratitude for them. It sounds simple, but it’s something far too many entrepreneurs, executives, and managers overlook.The holiday season is the perfect time of year to reflect on whether or not you’re saying thanks enough. The Benefits of Gratitude Over the course of his career as CEO of Campbell Soup Company, Douglas Conant wrote more than 30,000 notes to employees expressing gratitude and appreciation to them.“On the face of it, writing handwritten notes may seem like a waste of time,” Conant told Harvard Business Review.“But in my experience, they build goodwill and lead to higher productivity.” The number of studies that confirm Conant’s assumption are too numerous to list here, but there are a few that should raise the eyebrows of any business owner.A study from the University of Pennsylvania, for example, found that grateful leaders motivate their employees to be up to 50 percent more productive. Gratitude and acknowledgment have also been linked to increased self-esteem, happiness, empathy, and a better response to stress and negative feedback.And the benefits affect both the person expressing their gratitude and the person receiving it. Everyday Appreciation During the holidays, it’s easy to take a moment to say thank you to the people who’ve made a difference in our lives over the past year. Sharing your appreciation,

however, is just as important in March or August as it is in November. Gratitude begets more gratitude, creating what researchers Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough call an “upward spiral.” Once you set the spiral in motion at your workplace, you’ll see an attitude of gratitude multiply and spread. The easiest way to start is to create a public forum where employees can acknowledge one another.“We have an all-hands meeting once a week, and we finish the meeting by ‘giving props,’ which is recognizing people on the team for their accomplishments that week,” says Badger Maps CEO Steven Benson. “Anyone on the team can give props to anyone else on the team, which fosters an atmosphere of appreciation and teamwork.” Other companies have a thank-you wall or shoutout email chain where employees can share their kudos.The most important thing isn’t the method you use, but that you make it an important part of company culture. It starts with leadership. If you aren’t taking the time to recognize and appreciate people, how can you expect that anyone else will? Instilling a culture of gratitude within your company doesn’t require intensive training or extensive investment.All you need to do is encourage a certain perspective and approach. Outside the Office Businesses don’t operate in a vacuum.They’re all part of the communities they inhabit, and your company’s sense of gratitude should reach beyond your staff and clients. Community outreach is the best way to show your neighbors that you care about them. During the holidays, there’s so much you can do for those in need in your area. Simply raising money for a local food bank or donating turkeys will go a long way for a family duringThanksgiving. Holding a companywide fundraiser brings your team together and gives them a sense of purpose that’s much more powerful than a paycheck alone. Certainly, the power of donating to a worthy cause is reason enough to participate in some philanthropy this holiday season.As a bonus, companies that engage in outreach projects consistently demonstrate higher levels of employee engagement and retention, which goes to show what happens when you get the upward spiral of gratitude in motion.

Go Forth Gratefully Creating a culture of gratitude and appreciation will benefit your company long after the last piece of pumpkin pie has been eaten. So take a moment this year to say thanks and show love to your team.And don’t stop doing it, even after the holidays have passed.



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Getting the Most out of Internal Communication LET’S TALK

conducted by IBM suggests that remote workers are, on average, more engaged and effective than those who come to the office from 9 to 5.With group messaging apps and cloud-based software, you can keep your team on the same page no matter where they are in the world.The best tools to make this possible will depend on your business, but keeping everyone under the same umbrella of programs, such as Google’s G Suite, is a great strategy to start with. Memes and GIFs Galore A company’s culture exists within the ways its team communicates. Having avenues available for employees to blow off steam, share funny stories, and stay abreast of each other’s lives is an important part of improving retention and company morale. Even spicing up a companywide

Maintaining the flow of ideas and information between team members is as necessary to a business as the nervous system is to the human body. Internal communication (IC) is what determines how flexible and responsive your company is to day-to-day challenges. In today’s fast-paced, decentralized marketplace, leveraging the right tools and strategies to make IC engaging, effective, and fun has never been more important. Here are a few tips to help you get there.

the best way to deliver information. Saving in- person meetings for big collaborative projects and important announcements will add more weight to those moments while allowing communications of lesser magnitude to be handled quickly and efficiently over email and instant messaging. Internal,Yet Global Remote work is becoming more and more common — and it’s a good thing. Research

email with a well-placed GIF or pop culture reference can do wonders to give your IC a voice unique to the culture and values of your company. Finding the styles and methods of communication that best fit your company takes time, but it’s worth it. Not only will creating your own communication style ensure that time and resources are used effectively, but it will also ensure that your team has a voice. Nailing this key aspect of your business will allow everything else to run far more smoothly.

More Chats, Fewer Meetings Making IC engaging from a leadership standpoint means taking the time to use the right medium for your message.The last thing you want is to have team members sitting through a meeting thinking,“Couldn’t this have just been an email?” Recognizing what you want to communicate and why are important steps in deciding

What Some of Our Clients Are Saying

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“They make you feel that any and all of your concerns are valued and important.” –Teresa B. “Responsiveness, efficiency, services. Shayne Bevilacqua does an outstanding job in responding to our needs.” –Joan G.

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We provide informative articles and topics that focus on information for businesses of all types. Recent blog posts to check out: • Online Reviews Can Help You, But Beware How You Handle Negative Reviews • Do You Have A Data Breach Response Plan In Place? • 5 Things No One Tells You About Changing Locations

Experience vs. Potential

What Matters More in New Hires?

Scaling a business is one of the most complicated challenges for entrepreneurs. Developing a model that allows for consistent growth while maintaining profit margins and effective systems is a substantial task for business owners. But once the proper blueprint is in place, a new test presents itself, and how well you perform will undoubtedly define the future success of your company. Hiring plays a significant role along a company’s path to success. It’s not a landmark or a checkpoint on the map; it’s the vehicle that takes you to your destination.Your business is only as good as the people who propel it forward.You need individuals who fit into your culture, possess the necessary skills to be effective, and have a desire to continue learning best practices if you’re ever going to achieve your goals. Some qualities are universally known to be linked to good hiring practices, but there’s still one important question that divides the masses: Do I hire for experience or potential? Experience A degree- or trade-specific education can certainly lay a foundation for an employee to be successful, but experience provides specialized training that cannot be found anywhere else. An

employee who has a working knowledge of their craft can provide a sense of security when hiring.With new employees playing such a pivotal role in growth, many employers want to limit uncertainty and ensure they aren’t gambling with their company’s future. But experience doesn’t equate to competency, which is why some employers elect to hire for potential. Potential The argument for hiring based on potential centers around two concepts. One is that by hiring someone with a bright future and helping them achieve their goals, you could gain the loyalty of that person and thus retain that employee for a longer time.This comes with the caveat that those who have potential also look for potential, so as an employer, it’s important to provide opportunities for advancement.The other argument is that potential combined with training can equate to a more effective employee in the long run. In truth, the disagreement that transpires is a moot point.You can hire someone with experience or an individual with potential and strike out just the same. All successful employees will have one important trait: passion.You can’t teach passion, but you can hire for it.


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What Makes an 82-Year-Old Business Book Relevant? Dale Carnegie’s Classic Offers Timeless Advice

It’s a tall claim to say that a book will change your life, but this one has certainly had a profound impact on many people. Despite having been originally published 82 years ago, Dale Carnegie’s effervescent classic “How toWin Friends and Influence People” is still recommended by everyone who comes across it, and it’s one of the best-selling books of all time. In 2011, the book was No. 19 onTime’s most influential books list. How has it remained relevant in a massively different, technologically advanced world? Fundamentally, Carnegie’s book focuses on people, who may evolve, but whose basic needs don’t change much. We all need to feel valued, appreciated, and respected. By fulfilling these needs for your business associates, you will indeed win friends and influence them.When it comes to business, showing a genuine interest in the other person goes a long way toward building a lasting relationship, something we all know is key to converting leads into sales.With a message based on relationships, Carnegie’s book hasn’t grown According to a Nielsen study that surveyed thousands of consumers across 60 countries, 73 percent of millennials were willing to pay more for goods made ethically and sustainably.That’s no small figure, and it helps to explain why Everlane, a clothing company founded in 2010, is making a huge splash in the fashion industry.The company follows a policy of “radical transparency” and strives to provide its customers with information that most of its competitors would rather keep hidden. “We felt that the retail industry, and brands in particular, weren’t educating consumers in the way that we felt consumers want to be educated,” says Everlane CEO Michael Preysman.“Consumers want to know where their product comes from. Consumers want to know where their clothes are made.They want to know the factory.”To that end, Everlane carefully chooses the factories they work with and highlights them on their website. Every item they sell doesn’t just say where it was made;

stale with time. Here are three of his suggestions that you can implement today.

In the chapter entitled “Six Ways to Make People Like You,” Carnegie’s second suggestion is similarly straightforward:“Smile.” We’ve all read science on the psychological effects of smiling, but it’s still too easy to forget this simple gesture.

BeAuthentic Carnegie’s methods for winning people over are, at their core, about authenticity.“Show a genuine interest in others,” he instructs.“Give honest and sincere appreciation” and “Be a good listener.” Adopt this advice by paying extra attention when a client introduces themselves. A person’s name is important, because, according to Carnegie, it may be “the sweetest and most important sound in any language” to that individual. Be Nice Carnegie’s ideas are revolutionary in their simplicity.This is what makes almost anyone who reads the book able to implement them immediately and see results. As Robert Kelsey, author of several business and self-help books himself, points out, Carnegie’s first principle was simply “Be nice.”“That will always be an important thing to remember in whatever business you’re in,” Kelsey says.“His advice will always be relevant.”

Be Honest Be transparent with partners and clients, and as Carnegie suggests, be quick to admit when you’re wrong.When it comes to conflict, being right won’t win you anything — it’s better to avoid that lose-lose scenario and instead listen to your associate’s point of view. Respect their opinions. Even better, begin with something you know they’ll say an enthusiastic “yes” to.

Set your relationships up for success by implementing Carnegie’s timeless, genuine advice, and see the results for yourself. Everlane’s Ethical Products and Marketing Are Disrupting the Fashion Industry

it also lists the factory name, which you can then read about on their website.

willing to spend extra when they know where their money is going. Of course, none of that would matter if the clothes weren’t worth buying in the first place. Fast Company named Everlane one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies this year as recognition for building “the next-gen clothing brand.” In less than a decade since their 2010 founding, the company is now the envy of venture capital firms everywhere, boasting a valuation in excess of $250 million.Their success is a testament to the idea that consumers don’t have to be tricked or cajoled to buy a product.With a focus on ethics and transparency at every stage from manufacturing to marketing, Everlane has set a new model for how an apparel brand can grow and sustain success. Whether you sell clothes, dental cleanings, or legal services, you can stand to benefit from pushing your ethics to the forefront of your business.

And the company isn’t only transparent when it comes to sourcing and production; they also willingly divulge — and this may shock business owners — the cost, price, and markup on every garment.That may sound insane, but when your markup is about half that of standard apparel retailers (2–3 times versus 5–6), it’s actually a big selling point. Consumers, Everlane has found, are


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How it works All you have to do is tell a friend, colleague, or any professional you know about us and make sure they tell us you sent them — that’s it! Remember, protecting professionals is our specialty! You can refer any commercial business of any size, big or small, such as an accounting or law firm, a physician’s practice or health care facility, an architecture or engineering firm, or even your local restaurant or dry cleaner. What you win 1. For each referral, we will automatically send you a $10Wawa gift card! 2. Each referral automatically enters you into the quarterly drawing for a $50Visa gift card! 3. Each referral also enters you into the annual drawing for your choice of an iPad Mini or an Amazon Kindle Fire HD. 4. For each referral we receive, we will also donate $20 to a charity * of your choosing. *Charity must be a registered 501(c)(3) Remember, without your referrals and much-appreciated testimonials, we would not be where we are today.Your words encourage us to do our best and help other professionals decide to do business with us.You can call 856-692-7702, fax 856-691-0059, or email your referrals and kind words to And, as always, we want to say “Thank you!” for the professional relationships we have with each of you!

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• Our contest is not in direct relation to any insurance sales.You’ll be rewarded simply for the lead. • You do not have to be present at the drawings to win. • Your referrals do not have to become our client for you to claim your prize. • We are not responsible if the law says you can’t win due to age or any other restriction.

I am heavy and hard to pick up, but backwards I am not.What am I? BRAIN TEASER

The PLIG P u z z l e Challenge

At the Professional Liability Insurance Group, we know just how bright and intelligent our newsletter readers are, which is why we are happy to challenge you with this puzzle! All you have to do is answer the puzzle challenge correctly and send your answer to us. Email your answer to, fax it to 856-691-0059, or call 856-692-7702 to read off your answers.The winner will be selected from a random drawing of all correct responses submitted prior to printing our next newsletter and will win a $20Wawa gift card! Good luck!

LAST EDITION’S PUZZLE & ANSWER: Q: Guess the next two pairs of letters given below? SO, ND, JF, MA, ??, ?? A: MJ, JA.They are the first letters of the months. CONGRATULATIONS to Dr. Joseph Lacavera, III. for getting the last puzzle and winning a $20Wawa gift card!


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The Importance of Gratitude at Work The Key to Effective Internal Communications Hear From Our Clients Check Out New Content on Our Blog! Debunking Experience vs. Potential in New Hires



This Book May ChangeYour Life Everlane’s Ethics-Based Success Referral Contest The PLIG Puzzle Challenge What Are Companies Thankful For?



An Act of Gratitude or a Hollow Gesture? Say ThankYou LikeYou Mean It

Thanksgiving is a time to express your gratitude to the people in your life. During this time of year, plenty of companies talk about how thankful they are for their clients. But more often than not, to those clients, words of thanks feel like just another sales gimmick. If you want to show your clients how much they mean to you, here are a few ways you can express that thanks authentically. Send a Thank-You Note Getting a letter in the mail is a nice feeling.Taking the time to send a client a handwritten letter is the kind of pleasant surprise that really makes someone feel good. Obviously, a handwritten note will take more time to craft than an email, so it’s okay to send fewer notes in order to really make an impact. Find some tips for writing awesome thank-you notes at write-a-killer-thank-you-note. Give the Gift of Food We all need to eat, so what better way to say thank you than with a sweet treat?You may not be aware of any unique dietary restrictions your client may have, so it’s best to play it safe. A tin of cookies or some peppermint bark will delight almost anyone, but if your client is a fitness company, they may prefer a healthier treat, like a fruit basket.

Donate to a Client’s Favorite Charity A great way to show that you care is by helping a client give to their favorite charity or cause. If you happen to know a charity near and dear to their heart, you can make a surprise donation in their name, or you can reach out and ask them directly. It’s the season of giving, after all! The best way to make your thank-you feel authentic is to genuinely be authentic.Yes, an unexpected gesture can reflect well on your company and encourage clients to talk you up to their friends and family, but potential referrals should be a perk of giving back, not the main goal. Practice genuine gratitude this Thanksgiving, and it will be well-received.

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