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In a recent poll, we asked our readers if they have ever considered starting their own business. According to the results, more than half of respondents said they would like to start their own business, but didn’t where to start. Check out this recent article from Entrepreneur.com for some insight into questions you can ask yourself to determine if you’re ready to take the business ownership leap.

5 Questions to Determine If You’re Ready to Be an Entrepreneur

If you are ready to start your own business, but still need a little guidance, consider looking into franchise options. Express Employment Professionals is a fully franchised staffing company. You can learn more about our franchise opportunity at ExpressFranchising.com.

Refresh Leadership is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Do you feel safe in your organization? Do you strive to create an environment where your employees feel safe? Check out this recent TED Talks featuring author Simon Sinek for some insight into why great leaders build a secure “circle of trust” among the people they lead.

Our lives move at blinding speeds. From office deadlines and commitments to personal engagements and obligations, there is a constant struggle for our time and energy. Regardless of what you wish for, you will never have more hours in a day to do what needs to get done – you have to make the time you have work. Unfortunately, with all there is to do, there remains little room to relax and enjoy life. And, in the struggle between work and leisure, work typically wins. It’s not even a fair fight. Though a Bureau of Labor Statistics report showed that 96% of people age 15 and older engage in some sort of leisure activity daily, the number one activity by far was watching television – which can hardly be considered rejuvenating for the mind and body. According to the Expedia Vacation Deprivation study conducted by Harris Poll, the U.S. and Canada both boast two of the most vacation-deprived workforces in the world.

According to the study, U.S. workers received 14 vacation days a year, although only 10 are taken on average. That’s four vacation days a year that are used for work instead of relaxation. In 2013, Americans failed to take an estimated 577,212,000 vacation days, and compared to previous Vacation Deprivation studies, that number is only growing. Workers simply don’t understand the importance of leisure and vacation. Read More→

Productivity is paramount in maintaining a competitive edge over your competitors. But when procrastination seeps in, it’s hard to keep your employees productive. CareerBuilder commissioned a study to find out what keeps employees from doing their work – and the results may astound you. According to the study conducted by Harris Poll, one in four employees admitted they spend on average one hour a day on personal calls, emails, or texts, and 21% use the Internet for non-work-related purposes. Certain behaviors of co-workers also kill productivity, including gossip, meetings, and snack breaks. Check out the article to find out what are some of the biggest obstacles to maximizing productivity in the workplace. Read More→

In business, one of the biggest constants… is change. That may sound like a bit of a misnomer, but in our fast-paced, continually evolving world, companies that are not prepared to change and develop with the world around them risk falling behind the competition. Check out this infographic from New England College for some insight into a few key leadership skills that are the Top Contributors to Organizational Development and Change. Read More→

BLS says average unemployment duration is 8 months, however a new survey finds average is almost two years. Official data doesn’t count Americans who have given up looking for work.

Express Employment Professionals, the nation’s largest franchised staffing firm, recently released results of the “State of the Unemployed” survey that show the average duration of unemployment in America when those who have quit looking for work are taken into consideration.

Unlike the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which says the average duration of unemployment is 34.5 weeks, or roughly eight months, this survey includes those who have stopped looking for work altogether. The result: the real average duration of unemployment is closer to two years. Read More→

In May, we asked our readers if their companies have a comprehensive crisis management plan in place, and the results show that many businesses may not be as prepared as they should be in the event of a crisis.

According to the results, only 33% of respondents said they were as prepared as possible to respond to a crisis. This is a concerning statistic because it means another 67% of respondents may be putting themselves at risk.  And given the impact a major crisis can have on a company’s stability and success, it’s a risk that may be too big to take.

One of the most publicized examples within the past year is discount retailer Target’s massive data breach. It has been more than seven months since the breach was initially detected, and the company is still fighting to clean up and restore its image. According to some sources, the cost associated with the crisis has reached $200 million. Read More→

Unemployed Canadians Get More Interviews, Turn Down More Jobs. Americans More Likely Than Canadians to Give Up Looking For Work According to a Harris Poll of the Unemployed

Express Employment Professionals, the nation’s largest franchised staffing firm, recently released a comparison of the results of the “State of the Unemployed” surveys taken in the U.S. and Canada.

The exhaustive surveys were fielded online by Harris Poll on behalf of Express Employment Professionals from April 9 through April 21, 2014 among 1,500 unemployed adult Americans and 1,502 unemployed adult Canadians age 18 or older.

America’s unemployed are more likely to give up, less likely to be on employment compensation and less likely to go back to school.

  • In the U.S., 47% of the unemployed agree that they have given up looking for work; 39% in Canada report the same.
  • In the U.S., 46% report no job interviews in the previous month; 36% say the same in Canada.
  • In the U.S., 19% have turned down a job offer; in Canada 24% have done so.
  • In the U.S., 13% are currently enrolled or have taken classes, compared to 23% in Canada.
  • In the U.S., 20% are receiving unemployment compensation, compared to 29% in Canada. Read More→

Push Past Procrastination

Everyone has an Achilles’ heel – that one thing that keeps us from achieving greatness in life and business. And the most harmful aspect of the shortcoming is that some of us actually let it dictate how we lead others, establish goals, or even view our own achievements. From lack of punctuality to apathetic goal-setting to struggles with working with others, each person’s Achilles’ heel can be a negative shadow following them as a constant reminder of what keeps them from becoming a great leader. One of the most prolific Achilles’ heels is the problem of procrastination.

Simply put, procrastination is the act or habit of putting off, delaying, or postponing something, which may or may not need immediate attention. In Latin, procrastinare means postpone until tomorrow. This delaying has become a true problem in today’s society. According to Pies Steel, a human resources professor at the University of Calgary, 95% of the population procrastinates at times, with 20% being chronic procrastinators. Moreover, procrastination affects one out of five people to the point that it jeopardizes their jobs, credit, relationships, and health. In fact, in a survey by The Procrastination Research Group of Carleton University, 46% said procrastination has quite a negative impact on their happiness and 18% cited an extreme negative effect. Read More→

Talking and Listening

I remember as a young child being told by my parents and grandparents that I had two ears and one mouth, so I should listen twice as much as I talked. The fact that they had to repeatedly tell me this probably indicated that someday I would become a professional speaker.

We all need to listen—not only to what’s being said but to how it’s being said and to what’s behind the words. There’s a big difference between hearing, listening, and truly understanding.

I think it’s interesting that the words “listen” and “silent” contain all of the same letters. My late, great friend and colleague Dr. Stephen Covey often said, “Seek first to understand and then to be understood.” Dr. Covey recognized that in any conversation, debate, argument, or discussion, having both parties talking at the same time is counterproductive. He taught that you must first understand the other person’s position and be able to articulate it to their satisfaction before you should begin to make your own point. Read More→