Getting in Your Fruits and Vegetables

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Americans are still not consuming the daily recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables needed for a healthy diet. In fact, according to a 2013 study by the Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Americans consume only 1.1 servings of fruits per day and 1.6 servings of vegetables per day.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends all Americans strive to eat more fruits and vegetables. Increasing your fruits and vegetables intake may be possible with some planning and effort. Try some of the following suggestions:
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The 15 Attributes of a Great Workplace

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The 15 Attributes of a Great Workplace

ERC's NorthCoast 99 program recognizes great workplaces that excel at the attraction, retention, and motivation of top performers. ERC is proud to have recognized great workplaces in Northeast Ohio, and has accumulated a great deal of insight into what makes a workplace truly great through the research we conduct as part of the program.

What makes a great workplace that draws extraordinary employees to love coming to work every day? What makes a great workplace that attracts, retains, and motivates the very best talent?

Here are 15 attributes that we believe are characteristic of great workplaces for top talent, based on our research over the last 15 years.

1. Offer Challenging and Meaningful Work

Great workplaces understand the importance of keeping employees' work interesting, exciting, challenging and meaningful, because consistently, top performers say that challenging and meaningful work is the number one attribute they seek in a job.

2. Hire and Retain Great People

Great workplaces are made up of great people. Within great workplaces, top performers work alongside other top performers who are positive, hardworking, committed and loyal, believe in what the organization does, and participate in making the workplace great.

3. Provide Competitive Compensation

Great workplaces offer competitive and fair compensation, above-average pay increases, and opportunities to earn more pay based on performance, such as bonuses, profit sharing, and other incentives to keep and reward top performing talent as well as attract new talent.

4. Value and Reward Employee Contributions

Great workplaces show they appreciate and value employees and their contributions. They celebrate success often, and praise, recognize, and reward employees in a variety of formal and informal ways. They never miss an opportunity to say 'thanks' for employees' hard work.

5. Invest in Training and Development

Great workplaces invest in training and development for their workforce to grow their talents and capabilities. They make time for learning and support it by paying for employees to participate in various opportunities and offering/delivering a variety of training and career development programs.

6. Guide, Support, and Develop Top Performers

Through performance management practices that help guide, support, and develop exceptional performance, great workplaces provide clarity on how to be a top performer, help other employees become top performers, and assist existing top performers in sustaining top performance. Reaching for excellence each and every day is what makes great workplaces successful.

7. Encourage Work/Life Balance

Great workplaces are flexible to employees' work/life needs and encourage work/life balance by offering flexible schedules, providing generous paid time off, accommodating individual requests and needs, and creating a supportive work environment that is understanding of personal and family obligations.

8. Invest in Employees' Health and Wellness

Great workplaces genuinely care about their employees' well-being. They offer wellness options that help employees develop healthy lifestyle behaviors as well as provide an array of benefits which support their employees' health and personal welfare.

9. Involve and Empower Employees

Great workplaces involve and empower employees by listening to their input, involving them in moving the organization forward, and giving them opportunities to lead initiatives, collaborate with one another, participate in decision-making, and make a meaningful difference at work. At great workplaces, employees believe that their opinions matter and that they can positively impact their organizations.

10. Share Information About the Organization's Performance

Leaders frequently share information about the organization's performance, its financials, the vision and direction of the organization, and other critical information and updates at great workplaces. In addition, leaders regularly interact with and communicate with employees one-on-one, in small groups, and as an entire staff. Additionally, great workplaces help everyone understand the mission and purpose of the organization, and how their work connects to the big picture.

11. Are Led by Exceptional Leaders

Great workplaces are led by exceptional and inspiring leaders. Leaders set the example from the top and lead the organization well. They genuinely care about and value employees. Relationships between leaders and employees are characterized by mutual respect, trust,  honesty, and support.

12. Encourage Innovation and Growth

Great workplaces are successful, growing, and innovative. They hold themselves to high standards, are focused on delivering exceptional customer service and quality, and strive to innovate and continuously improve their organizations. They are always raising the bar in their businesses and in their workplaces.

13. Hire the Best of the Best

Great workplaces hire the best—and only the best. They recognize that a great workplace and culture results from great people. They define the talent they need, strategically recruit it, and put into place selection practices that identify top performers, as well as on-boarding practices that engage top performers and set them up for success from the start.

14. Create and Sustain a Unique Culture

Great workplaces have a unique culture that is their own, often described as fun, congenial, collaborative, positive, passionate, and creative. Their work environments, people, and workplace practices all help create a vibrant, positive, magnetic, and infectious culture.

15. Serve the Community

And last but not least, great workplaces make an impact on and give back to their local community. Not only do they generously donate their company resources to the community, but they also serve their communities by helping others in need and offering their staff's time and talents.

There is no magic formula for achieving a great workplace, and these are just some common attributes of many that great workplaces seem to have. While no workplace is perfect, many organizations strive to become a truly great workplace and come close. The NorthCoast 99 winners are among these organizations, and they, as well as all other organizations that strive everyday to be great workplaces, should be applauded for their efforts to become employers of choice in Northeast Ohio. They are truly making a difference.

Want to stay up-to-date on the latest HR trends?

Subscribe to ERC's HR Trends emagazine, delivered directly to your inbox every other month, filled with the latest updates in the HR and learning & development industry.

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8 Ways to Create a Culture of Wellness

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The workplace has a significant impact on employees' health, and likewise, employees' health has a great impact on the workplace. As employers increasingly realize that their actions in the workplace can positively affect the health and well-being of their employees, they are finding that improving well-being makes good business sense.

Many employers implement wellness programs, but fail to create a true culture of well-being in their workplace. As a result, they face many challenges in improving well-being in their workforce. Participation in initiatives may not be strong, employees may resist changes in their lifestyle behavior, and leaders may not be engaged in healthy lifestyles.
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5 Causes & Cures of Workplace Stress

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Do your employees seem stressed in the workplace? Are you challenged in understanding what is causing them stress and how to "cure" the situation? Here are five (5) leading causes and cures of stress in the workplace.

 

1. Job

The cause: The job itself is a leading source of stress for employees. While workload and overwork is a major cause, other sources of job related stress are working on unfulfilling and unchallenging work, lack of future career or advancement opportunities within the organization, low pay for the work they perform, unrealistic or unmanageable job expectations or goals, being unable to cope with the demands of their job, and having little control or autonomy over how they work.
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Affordable Care Act Employer Mandate Delayed Until 2015

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The Treasury Department announced this Tuesday that it will be delaying the employer "pay or play" mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which requires that employers with 50 or more employees offer health insurance to full-time employees working 30 or more hours per week or pay a penalty. The mandate was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2014, but will be delayed until 2015.

In a publicly released statement, the Treasury Department and the White House said that the decision to delay the mandate was based on feedback from employers that the system for reporting coverage was too complicated.
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Ten Tips to Starting (and Sticking with) an Exercise Routine

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1. Start slowly and add a little more over time

Many people start out by trying to do too much too quickly. If you’re not currently exercising, try to do 10-20 minutes three times per week. Add a few minutes each week to build up to 30 minutes. Next try to add another day.

2. Get someone to join you

You are much less likely to skip a workout if you arrange to do it with someone else.

3. Vary your routine

Decrease your risk of injury and boredom by doing different activities.

4. Make exercise fun

Plan your walking route to see things that interest you. Listen to music, audio books, or watch TV while you exercise.

5. Keep an activity journal

This is a great way to track your progress and hold yourself accountable.

6. Try something new

Not everyone likes the same kind of exercise. Try and find an activity that you enjoy doing.

7. Make exercise a habit

Try to choose a regular time for exercise. Make an appointment with yourself and block it out on your schedule. Research shows that it takes at least three months of doing something to form a habit.

8. Make exercise a priority

Think about your reasons for wanting to become more active. You have to believe something is important in order to make it happen.

9. Knock down your barriers to exercise.

Think about what obstacles have kept you from being active in the past and strategize solutions to solve those problems.

10. Every little bit helps

Try to incorporate more activity into your everyday life. Take a walk at lunch or do errands by bicycle. Take the stairs. Walk to your co-workers desk to communicate.  Play outside with your kids or dog. Work in the yard.

Information provided by Julie W. Allen, M.A., Exercise Physiologist, University Hospitals

The Growing Problem of Work Stress & How to Address It

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It's not uncommon to encounter employees who are concerned about work stress these days. Work stress is compounding across the workforce. What's to blame? Research shows that most of the time it's the workplace itself. How can employers solve it? Changing the workplace.

Work Stress: A Growing Problem

Three 2013 national surveys show that work stress is a growing problem. A survey by Harris Interactive shows that 10% more workers are stressed in 2013 when compared to 2012, and that about 8 in 10 workers (of 1,019 surveyed) report being stressed by something at work. Only 17% of workers say that nothing stresses them out about their jobs.
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Women & Leadership: How to Develop More Female Leaders

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Women & Leadership: How to Develop More Female Leaders

Not only have gender-related leadership conversations emerged lately in the media, the attraction, retention, and development of talented women has become an important issue for many employers in recent years. Organizations are increasingly recognizing the need to develop and support more female leaders in their workplace.

"We seem to be getting more and more requests lately for training and coaching programs that address the specific needs of women in the workplace," says Chris Kutsko, Director of Learning & Development at ERC. She explains, "Subjects like Assertiveness, Personal Branding, Empowerment, and Leadership for Women are topics that are getting more attention. In addition, C-Level executives are making a more conscious effort to equip their female leaders with the tools, training, and support to help them achieve higher levels within the organization."

Developing more female leaders sometimes raises challenges and questions for organizations, in terms of how they can support, train, and develop them, as their needs are often different from male leaders. Here are some suggestions.
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Evolving Gender Roles in the Family and the Workplace

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In the media

So far, in 2013, the media has placed a great deal of attention on the evolving roles of women in the workplace largely thanks to Marissa Mayer - first for her noteworthy rise to CEO of Yahoo and then for her controversial decision to eliminate telecommuting and work-from-home arrangements at the struggling tech giant.

These high profile cases act as a catalyst to push a healthy, or sometimes less healthy, or even sensationalized dialogue regarding 21st century gender roles both in the home and in the workplace. While Mayer’s high profile case study in a “C-level” position at a global corporation is unquestionably a key piece towards achieving a better understanding of these issues, she is only part of the larger story about gender roles that will continue to unfold for years to come.
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