The Importance of Fostering a Feedback-Friendly Culture

Organizational improvement has long depended on constructive feedback from those existing within the organization itself. But with anxiety and fear-based cultures on the rise, how can you be sure that the feedback you receive is honest and effective? Success lies in encouraging a feedback-friendly culture.

What is a feedback-friendly culture?

 

Feedback-friendly culture is the term used to describe a workplace environment that welcomes employee feedback at all levels of operation. More specifically, it is a workplace that lays the groundwork, provides tools, and takes action to acknowledge and, when necessary, utilize the solicited feedback for the betterment of the company.

 

Why is a feedback-friendly culture necessary?

 

At its most basic level, feedback establishes a framework from which a company can then build off of in order to advance in a positive direction. In many companies, employees view their feedback as irrelevant. They feel that it will be ignored, or that they might be reprimanded for giving their honest opinions. This creates a weak framework constructed from half-truths and sugar-coated statements. In a feedback-friendly culture,  employees are not afraid to provide honest feedback, thus creating a sturdier framework.

 

Promoting a feedback-friendly environment has been known to elevate creativity levels, foster trust, and drive motivation. Employees benefit from the assurance that their ideas have not only been heard but will be considered as the company works to establish their future headings. When an employee has a solid understanding of their importance among their peers and leaders, they are more likely to improve their performance.

 

How do I create a feedback-friendly culture?

 

According to a recent study conducted by Canadian Psychology, you can implement a feedback-friendly culture by implementing the following three processes:

 

  • Promote and encourage education among employees. If employees are urged to understand the ins and outs of the company, they are more likely to see the long-term value of their own feedback.

  • Ensure that your workplace can be considered a safe place. Employees feel safe, psychologically-speaking when they trust the people and environment around them.

  • Focus on creating open dialogues across all organizational levels, thereby eliminating the intimidating factors often associated with speaking to company authority figures.

 

As a leader, it is imperative that you nurture your employees and the environment in which they work in order to establish a feedback-friendly culture. Develop an atmosphere that promotes conversation, comfortability, and a collective sense of company goals, and you will likely notice an improvement in the quality of the feedback you receive.

 

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Getting to Financial Freedom: Why Extreme Finance isn’t a Good fit for Everyone

Getting to Financial Freedom - Jason Aaron Bragg

Most people have seem the headlines, no doubt. A couple pays off $200,000 in student loans in two years. A Millennial woman packs up her van and travels on the money she earns from online gigs. An extreme coupon fanatic gets $1,000 worth of groceries for 10 cents.

All of these lifestyles hold some appeal. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be TV shows and books dedicated to them. However, there are many downsides to trying to live this kind of lifestyle, many of which don’t get mentioned by the people who live them.

There is a downside to all these seemingly perfect lifestyles that the people who live them don’t mention. Ignoring them puts new practitioners at risk, often leaving worse off financially than they were before.

 

It’s Not Sustainable

According to the U.S. News and World Report, extreme budgeting rarely works in the long-term. This is due in part to how extreme these lifestyles tend to be.

However, it’s also due to the fact that many promises that these extreme finance lifestyles promise aren’t sustainable. For example, most people would not be able to live in an RV and work at odd jobs they’ve found on a mobile app. This is a piecemeal existence that most people just aren’t ready for.

Additionally, people who live these lifestyles often put themselves in a precarious position. Take those who do extreme budgeting to pay off a large amount of debt. If their finances take a big hit like them suddenly getting sick and being unable to work, they won’t have any money saved. They’ll have put it all toward debt, without giving a thought to how they’d handle such an emergency.

 

Budget Burnout is Real

Additionally, TIME points out that extreme budgeting and financial lifestyles lead to burnout. People who are burned out will fail eventually.

It’s better to introduce a planned splurge to the family budget and to change up a family’s budgeting system from time to time to keep long-term financial plans sustainable.

Taking steps like these allow most people to work toward a more balanced and realistic financial plan. It’s one that would allow them to to save for emergencies like a job loss and plan for retirement.

 

Change the Root Problem

Finally, the people who adopt these kinds of extreme financial lifestyles don’t get to the root of the problem.

For example, the couple that has decided to pay off $40,000 worth of student loans and credit card bills in a year and a half on a $20,000 income will not be able to do it without a significant adjustment to their income. This means they’ll either have to get a second job or get help from relatives to make this plan happen.

 

Worst yet, the people who embark on such a plan usually don’t get to the root of the problem. Until they figure out why they have so much debt and until they change the behaviors that caused them to be in their current financial predicament, it’s only a matter of time before they’ll be back in debt again. All of the scrimping and saving they did in order to pay off their large debts will have been for naught.

 

What is Synthetic Identity Theft and How to Protect Yourself From It

What is Synthetic Identity Theft - Jason Aaron Bragg

Synthetic identity theft is the use of a false identity based on information from a real or made-up person. Identity thieves use this synthetic information to apply for credit cards, open bank accounts or request identity cards. Both individuals and companies need to identify the signs of theft and work toward protecting their assets.

 

Signs of Abuse

Preventing identity theft starts with identifying the warning signs when they appear. These signs include a credit card bill or monthly bank statement that seems bigger than usual. The first step is to review all monthly statements and look for unusual activities. If a problem is found, it must be reported to the bank immediately.

Most banks give options for their account holders to receive alerts whenever certain activities happen. So, every account holder should sign up for automatic email or text message alerts. Without alerts, any thief can pretend to be someone else, open up new credit cards and ruin the person’s credit in a short period of time.

 

Credit Reports

A credit report shows a complete history of a person’s financial status. It starts when the person opens up a first bank account, and it continues through the borrowing of student loans, the long-term payments of mortgages, etc. Every major financial event shows up on this report, whether it’s a bankruptcy or a delinquent loan. The report can be mostly positive or negative, depending on his or her actions.

 

Trust

Some websites, such as online payday lenders, cannot be trusted with sensitive personal information. Even if the company is trustworthy, there could be a hacking incident that causes large amounts of important data to be stolen. It’s necessary to be cautious when working with any website that requests and stores personal information.

Hackers can steal identities online, but many thefts occur in person. People should not allow others to use their personal belongings. They should carry as few credit cards and identification numbers in their wallet as possible. To protect customers and employees, companies should shred discarded documents and require passwords on their accounts.

 

Synthetic identity theft is the use of real and fictional information to create a new, fraudulent identity. It’s a common crime, but many people are learning how to protect their assets. They are using strong passwords on their bank accounts or checking personal credit reports. Getting insurance for identity theft is one option, but the best option is to prevent it from happening.

Leasing Vs. Buying a Car

Leasing Vs. Buying - Jason Aaron Bragg

Getting a new vehicle is always a very exciting time. When you are in the market for a new vehicle, one big decision that you will have to make is whether you should buy or lease the vehicle. Prior to deciding whether you should buy or lease your next vehicle, it is important to consider the pros and cons of both options.

 

Leasing Pros

One of the main advantages of leasing a car is that it will come with a much lower monthly payment than if you were to buy the car. Lease payments are often around half of what a car payment would be for the same vehicle. Another advantage of leasing a vehicle is that you will have far more flexibility and ease when it comes to upgrading the vehicle when your lease comes to an end.

 

Leasing Cons

The main disadvantage of leasing a car is that you will never own it outright. For those that would like to one day live without a car payment, leasing is not a good option as you will always have a monthly payment. Furthermore, you can also get stuck paying disposition fees when the lease comes to an end.

 

Buying Pros

One of the primary advantages of buying a car is that you will ultimately own it outright. Whether you pay for the car in cash or take out a loan, at some point you will own the car without having to make a monthly payment. Furthermore, many of the perks of leasing a new car are also received when buying a new car. This includes receiving a full service and maintenance plan, car washes, and other perks.

 

Buying Cons

While there are clear pros that come with buying a car, there are cons as well that need to be considered. One of the biggest cons of buying a car is that your monthly payments will be much higher. Car loan payments for new cars can be very expensive and are typically much higher than lease payments. Another disadvantage of leasing a car is that you will not have as much flexibility. You typically will have to drive it for at least a few years before your loan balance is less than the value of the car due to a car’s depreciation schedule.

How to Create an Emergency Fund

How to Create an Emergency Fund - Jason Aaron Bragg

Life can be very unpredictable. Unexpected expenses can come from anywhere and at any time. An emergency fund is a money that is placed aside to cover unforeseen costs. Having an emergency fund may not seem like an essential for some. However, sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry. Creating an emergency fund won’t require a lot of time and it can be beneficial to anyone.

 

Why it’s Important for Everyone

No one can ever predict when an emergency will occur. Medical bills, loss of employment, or even major auto repairs can happen unexpectedly and can be expensive. Whenever unexpected expenses arise, people tend to gravitate toward using a credit card or a loan from their bank to cover the costs. However, credit cards and bank loans may come with high-interest rates and they could end of costing more money in the long run. This is why having an emergency fund is crucial for all people. There’s no borrowing or repayment to worry about in the future and the funds are easily accessible.

 

How to Create an Emergency Fund

When someone is starting an emergency fund, there are a few things that they should consider. They would need to decide how much to save, where to store the funds, and how to build up the fund. Typically, people set aside six to eight months’ worth of living expenses for their emergency fund. This would cover their basic living expenses in the event that there is a loss of income or to cover unforeseen costs. When choosing where to place the funds, they would need to put them in a bank account or somewhere with easy access in case of an emergency. Some banks offer high-end savings accounts that will actually begin to gain interest over time. Choosing where the money will come from will vary based on the person’s personal preference. They can begin to set aside money little by little, cut down on their monthly expenses, and even hold on to their tax refund. Basically, any extra month accumulated can be used to build an emergency fund.

 

Having an emergency fund can definitely come in handy when you need the extra money. Shopping, birthday parties, or fancy trips should never be covered by the emergency fund. The money in this account is strictly for emergencies only. It doesn’t take much effort to build up an emergency fund and having one set up can provide you with peace of mind whenever the unexpected occurs.

What Are the Consequences of Filing for Bankruptcy?

What are the Consequences of Bankruptcy - Jason Aaron Bragg

Some might think that filing for bankruptcy is taking the easy way out when in fact it is a very lengthy, complicated process. Filing for bankruptcy is usually a last resort for a person or company that is in a dire financial situation.

 

Types of Bankruptcy

There are several types of bankruptcies, but Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13 are the most common. Chapter 7 involves selling off certain assets in order to pay off a portion of the debt. While companies may file for Chapter 7, this is typically favored by individuals. There are also strict income requirements with Chapter 7.

 

Chapter 11 is usually reserved for companies since it involves restructuring of the business. The company must come up with a plan to pay off their debts within a certain amount of time. They get to keep their assets, but there are strict requirements pertaining to the amount of debt the company has. Chapter 13 is similar to Chapter 11, except that individuals are also able to file for it.

 

The Bankruptcy Process

The filing process can take as little as a few months or up to five years. Chapter 7 is usually the quickest since most debts are paid off by liquidating assets. Chapter 13 takes the longest because it involves paying off debts over a period of time.

 

While a lawyer isn’t required, it is recommended since the process can be quite detailed. There is a filing fee which ranges from a few hundred dollars up to a few thousand. Once bankruptcy has been filed, an individual or company gets an automatic stay which prevents creditors from trying to collect a debt.

 

Individuals are required to take credit counseling classes prior to filing. They will also need to attend a court meeting with the creditors involved in the bankruptcy case.

 

What Happens After Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy will result in a lower credit score. The bankruptcy will remain on a credit report for up to ten years. Many debts are discharged following a bankruptcy, except for student loans, tax debts, child support and other specific debts. While filing for bankruptcy will initially have a negative impact on an individual or company’s credit, it typically results in positive changes overall.

Signs Your New Job Offer is a Scam

Signs your New Job Offer is a Scam - Jason Aaron Bragg

Good jobs revolved around networking, cold calling, newspapers, and in-person visits. While those elements remain valuable today, the internet has made job hunting easy and convenient. Consequently, convenience has allowed scam job postings to blend in with legitimate job postings. Separate the legitimate from the scams by searching for these clues in the listing.

 

Typos

Grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors in sentences are the signs of a computer generated word spinner. Furthermore, most sentences read aloud don’t make sense, hurting the legitimacy. Therefore, posting word-spinning results straight from the program to a job-posting website is the sign of an amateur or scammer. Real, intelligent bosses hire writers who write, edit, and rewrite written job advertisements several times before posting to job sites.

 

Money Requests

Job postings requesting money during the application process or interview process are a huge red flag. Legitimate jobs hire candidates based on resume, connections, and the interview. The winning candidate works for the company and receives payment for their contribution. Never pay money to receive a job. It doesn’t increase chances of hire, but it does decrease the bank account.

 

No Experience Claims

It’s a dream come true to read a job posting hiring a candidate without experience. Sadly, job seekers must pass it up. Regardless of the experience asked – three months, six months, one year, two years, or five years – authentic job offers ask for experience. Experience separates qualified from unqualified candidates and reminds them one size doesn’t fit all.

 

Unprofessional Email Address

As candidates view contact information, an email address catches the eye. It doesn’t appear like name@company.com, but shelly12345@gmail.com. This is a red flag. All legitimate companies have a company email address with the company name behind the “at” symbol. Companies will communicate using company email addresses only. Gmail, AOL, Yahoo, and Hotmail are personal email addresses, not professional-sounding email addresses.

 

Wrong Interview Setting

In-person interviews and phone interviews are commonplace. Instant Messaging (IM), texting, and Skype are not. No boss will conduct interviews over the internet or through texting. Employers want a personal connection, and neither one can channel that.

 

Times are tough, and desperation impedes common sense. Channel common sense and research the job posting. Google the company, visit the website, read social media accounts, and read employee reviews. When everything feels comfortable on all questionable aspects, apply.