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6 Vital Things Everyone Should Know about Workers’ Compensation

6 Vital Things Everyone Should Know about Workers’ Compensation

Hard working people around the world are busy doing jobs to feed their families and make their dreams come true. However, there are only a handful of people who really pay attention to other things than spending their 8 hours in the office working. These are the people who like to keep information of their rights and privileges. They want to make sure they are not working like animals and that they can raise their voice when their rights are violated. This is how every worker in the world should act but many don’t know their basic rights at work.

Well-informed workers can always act appropriately in different situations at work. If you are working hard to make money for yourself and your family, you should know your rights and not sign documents without reading them like many people do. When you are working your employer has some responsibilities and liabilities towards you. Employers are required by law to make you aware of your rights and give you your rights when the time comes. One of the most important things to know when you are a worker is workers’ compensation. Here is some information to help you with this:

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1. What Is Workers’ compensation?

Workers’ compensation is the name given to a type of insurance that protects the workers. The protection to workers is given in the form of finances in an event where the worker is injured while performing their duties. The employer is responsible for providing safe environment to the workers but if something goes wrong and the worker gets hurt, he/she has to be paid for the expenses of covering that injury. These injuries can be temporary, permanent or at times the incident might even result in the death of the workers. In this particular case the dependents of the worker are given the compensation.

An important thing to keep in mind here is that when you have signed the documents to receive workers’ compensation, you have relinquished your right to go to court for work injury claims. If your employer has not had you sign such a document and given you such insurance, you could file a case under work injury claims.

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2. Knowing Workers’ compensation Properly

There are federal laws that govern workers’ compensation for employees of the federal government. However, all the states have their own laws too to govern workers’ compensation. Since laws can vary from state to state, it is extremely important for you to know about the workers’ compensation laws and acts in your state. You can visit state’s offices to get information or find the information online too. Make sure you have updated information so you are fighting for something you deserve or not fighting for something you don’t deserve.

3. Incidents Covered by Workers’ compensation

It is also of utmost importance that you know what incidents are covered under workers’ compensation law. You don’t want to be fighting with your employer for an incident that is not covered. First, you will not be given any workers’ compensation if you are found under the influence of a drug or alcohol at the time of working. Make sure you stay clean of these substances or else you will lose your right. Secondly, you can’t take advantage of the law by inflicting some damage on yourself. Self-inflicted claims are also void and are not given any workers’ compensation. Furthermore, you are not given workers’ compensation if you were injured when it was not your duty time. The injuries have to be conceded when you are on duty.

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4. What Benefits Will You Receive Under Workers’ compensation?

First of all, the amount of compensation you receive after an incident depends a lot on how much you were making at your job. At the same time, your compensation also depends on the number of dependents that are affected by your injury or disability to work. In normal circumstances, your compensation is less than the actual pay you get for your work. However, other expenses are covered in the compensation that arise from the incident. For example, all your medical expenses to cover the injury are paid through workers’ compensation.

You are given a replacement income too. If you require retraining for a particular job or the same job after the incident, this retraining is also included in the workers’ compensation. Permanent injuries are dealt with differently in this particular law. If you have any permanent injuries, you will receive compensation for them too. In addition to that, if a person is killed on the job then the compensation is provided to the survivors. The family is compensated based on the number of people dependent on the person who has died on the job.

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5. Is Everyone Eligible for Workers’ compensation?

No, that is not the case. If you are working in a private home or as an independent contractor, you will not be given workers’ compensation. Similarly, business owners, maritime employees, volunteers, farmers, casual workers, railroad employees etc. are not covered by workers’ compensation. It also has to be kept in mind that if you are a federal employee then you are covered by federal workers’ compensation, and you will not be covered under the workers’ compensation laws of the state. In addition to that, there are a few states that will not enact workers’ compensation law on employers who are only operating with 5 employees or less.

6. Can You Never Sue Your Employer?

There are circumstances where you can still sue your employer if the workers’ compensation is already in place. In a situation where your employer did something on purpose to inflict harm on you, a work injury claim can be filed in the court. When you are faced with such a situation you will have to keep in mind that your workers’ compensation rights will be waived off since you have made a claim. Make sure to go for an experienced lawyer if you want to follow this path because winning such a case can award you with lots of benefits including loss of wages, punitive damages to employer, compensation for mental anguish etc.

Featured photo credit: compensation is low via lifehack.org

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

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Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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