Check City Partners with The Souper Bowl of Caring

Every year, The Souper Bowl of Caring organization donates food and money to the less fortunate.

The idea came to Brad Smith, a member of the Spring Valley Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina, on Super Bowl Sunday. Upon seeing all the food at various Super Bowl parties, Brad thought to run a fundraiser to feed the poor and raise spirits. Many years later, the Souper Bowl has become a national organization, feeding the hungry and giving a helping hand.

Here in Utah, many organizations have partnered with both the Souper Bowl of Caring and the Utah Food bank to give back to the community and make a positive impact. Check City is one of these companies collecting donations for the Utah Food Bank. Customers of Check City and residents of Utah are able to go into Check City and either donate food or make a cash donation. Check City will also match all donations up to $10,000.

As of February 1st, 2017, Check City has collected $8,255.44 and has presented the check to the Utah Food Bank. For every $1 donation, the Utah Food Bank is able to turn that into $7.81 worth of goods and services. This means all of Check City’s donations amount to $64,474.98 worth of food and amenities.  This is quite an accomplishment and will help ease the burden of hungry Utahns. Here in Utah, 417,000 people are at risk for missing a meal a day, and one in five Utah kids don’t know where their next meal is coming from. These statistics are unfortunate, but with the help of organizations like Check City, we can help close the gap and provide Utahns with the food they need.

 

Why It’s Important for Businesses to Give Back

There are lots of ways for a business to expand the awareness of their brand and establish themselves as a notable presence in their community. Though marketing efforts executed properly are always great, why not consider the many benefits to charitable giving, both to your growing business and the community as a whole.

This article will explore the benefits of giving back and what you can expect when you embrace this approach.

Your Company’s Reputation

Customers tend to base a lot of their buying decisions on how they feel about a company almost as much as they do about the products or services that company provides. Companies that are regularly engaged in charitable giving are not only noticed more often by customers for their good deeds and appreciated for such, they’re also more likely to be forgiven by the public for mistakes that might otherwise smear their reputation.

The media does take note of businesses that make charitable contributions and that media coverage can also spread awareness of your company. Positive media attention is always going to be beneficial for a business and those that are involved in philanthropic giving stand a better chance of being recognized in a positive way.

Employee Buy-In

In addition to businesses seeing an upswing in the public’s’ perception of their brand, they will likely notice benefits from their employees as well. Any company with a wise management team understands the importance of keeping good employees happy and satisfied with their jobs. Charitable giving that involves employees can do a lot to boost productivity, encourage company pride, instill gratitude and appreciation in employees and promote ethical behavior overall. Employee morale tends to be higher as a whole among companies that “give back” to those who work for them and those in need in their community.

Encourage Teamwork

Leave the typical team building activities behind and get employees to come together for charity. When employees from all departments and positions unite to reach a common goal, they become a more cohesive unit that works together more effectively. Many employees often struggle with the feeling that what they’re contributing doesn’t have much of an effect on a company one way or another. By encouraging all employees to participate in regular philanthropic endeavors together, individuals can better see how they can make a difference in their jobs and beyond.

Improve Your Community

Of course, all these benefits to charitable giving are well worth the effort for businesses looking to improve morale and boost their public image but don’t forget one of the best reasons to be involved in giving: helping out those in need. So many worthy charities really depend upon the kindness of neighboring companies to assist them in their efforts to improve the lives of those who need some extra help. By giving regularly as a business you’re helping those around you to thrive and grow as well as yourself and that’s a great reason to reach out to others.

The Importance of Ethics in Business

It’s unlikely that anyone really sets out in hopes of doing business with a company that’s unethical.

The age-old phrase, “you get what you pay for” couldn’t be more spot on, especially when something sounds too good to be true. While we all trust that the companies we purchase goods and services from are inherently ethical, do you ever take the time to do some research and find out for sure?

Ethics are essential if you want to build a reputable business with staying power; unfortunately, it seems like many business owners are more focused on instant gratification, using any means possible to make money. While you may find success in business faster participating in unethical and unsavory behavior, you must be prepared to weather the consequences you will inevitably encounter.

What are Business Ethics?

Just to refresh, business ethics are essentially the morals and standards that you use to run your company.

Basic ethics in business include being truthful and trustworthy—they’re the standards by which your customers will judge your company, and the measurements they’ll use to determine whether or not to give you repeat business or even do business with you in the first place. While there is a standard laid across the board, it is ultimately up to you to determine what business practices you consider ethical and implement them in your company culture.

The Importance of Business Ethics

There are many reasons to abide by ethical practices in all areas of your business. Some of them include:

Maintaining Customers

As mentioned above, most customers will take the ethics by which you run your company into consideration when deciding to do business with you.

A company that establishes themselves as unethical will notice a decrease in their customer base, as people stop doing business with them, and turn to a company offering the same or similar service, but in an ethical way. Customers expect a return on their investment when they pay you for goods or services, and if you set a standard of unethical behavior, it’s likely they’ll lose confidence in your ability to deliver.

Employee Loyalty 

Just like customers, most employees don’t want to be associated with unethical business practices. 

Whether they have a say in the policies of the company or not, most employees want to work at a place where they can feel morally sound and sleep at night knowing they’re being honest and truthful with their fellow man. When implementing unethical practices in your business, you can expect to have a high employee turnover rate, which in turn will cost you more money as you have to continually pay to hire and train new staff.

Dignity and Self-Respect 

Can you look yourself in the mirror each day and feel good about what you see when you know you’re being dishonest with your customers or employees? Do you want to gain the reputation of being someone to watch out for in the business world? Or would you rather be slightly less successful, but respected and trusted?  

How to Establish Your Company as Ethical

So now you know what not to do, what are some things you can do to make sure you’re running your business in an ethical way?

  • Implement policies and procedures that encourage employees to only participate in ethical behavior.
  • Make sure ethics is covered in new hire training to ensure every new employee understands what’s expected of them and what won’t be tolerated.
  • Stay transparent in every way possible for the benefit of your customers and your employees.
  • Set the standards high and don’t be afraid to pass on potential hires that don’t meet them.

Some of these practices may seem difficult to implement or adhere to, but it is much easier to maintain a positive reputation than try to repair a tarnished one.

Ethical Businesses to Exemplify

Every year, Arizona-based company Ethisphere gathers information on companies from around the globe and rates them, ultimately naming the most ethical businesses for that year. While hundreds of businesses have been included on this list, only a handful have made the list consistently over the past 10 years. They include:

  • Aflac
  • GE
  • Starbucks
  • UPS
  • Kao Corporation
  • Fluor Corporation
  • Milliken & Company

These repeat honorees exemplify exceptional ethical business practices, including offering a transparency unmatched by their competitors and always following through on their promises to customers and employees alike. In addition, companies like Aflac are going above and beyond, taking on social responsibility has lead them to become heavily involved within their communities.

Set Your Standards High

Business ethics are essential if you want to build a company that is around for the long haul, with loyal repeat customers. Because, really, without ethics and moral standards, what are you left with?

Using Company Culture to Promote Employee Engagement

Company culture and employee engagement have an intricate relationship.

A strong culture brings people together, energizes and educates, and can often have a lifelong impact on the people involved. And employee engagement is often the biggest indicator of the type of culture present in a business.

So what is culture, exactly?It is defined as the beliefs and behaviors that make up a company’s social and psychological environment, including shared attitudes, expectations, values, customs, and assumptions. There are rules that have been agreed upon over time, oftentimes unofficially, but are still considered law. We see culture in the way a company conducts business, how it treats its employees, customers, and the surrounding community, and – you guessed it – the level of engagement present in its employees.

It is defined as the beliefs and behaviors that make up a company’s social and psychological environment, including shared attitudes, expectations, values, customs, and assumptions. There are rules that have been agreed upon over time, oftentimes unofficially, but are still considered law. We see culture in the way a company conducts business, how it treats its employees, customers, and the surrounding community, and – you guessed it – the level of engagement present in its employees.

In fact, studies have shown that culture influences many employee metrics, including job satisfaction, trust, commitment, and overall relationship quality with the business. So what kind of culture encourages employee engagement, and how do leaders create it?

Establish a Cause and a Mission

Determine an area of society in which your company can have a significant impact, one where you can truly make a difference while also showcasing your greatest strength.

For instance, Google’s mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”; Amazon’s vision is “to be the earth’s most customer-centric company”. These industry leaders have mission statements that align perfectly with what they are known for, as well as with what they are actually accomplishing.

Lead by Example

Be the kind of person you want your employees to be, and treat them as you would want them to treat your best customers. Engendering moral values like honesty and integrity is key so that employees, managers, and leaders feel that they can trust each other and voice their ideas and concerns freely, without fear of punishment.

Be Supportive

Remember that your employees have lives outside of work, and respect and support that by addressing issues such as child care, family benefits, and sick days. Treat them as individuals who are truly cared for and valued, and create an atmosphere where they feel free to express affection and compassion for each other.

Encourage Participation and Innovation

Give employees opportunities to participate in decision-making.

The knowledge that their voice is heard and that it has influence is empowering. Encourage them to take risks, to think outside the box, and to be open to change and differing opinions. And because teaching others is the surest way to remember and really grasp a concept, emphasize collaboration and sharing knowledge.

Cultivate Social Responsibility

A good business should balance profit-making with pursuits that benefit society, and recognize its duty to the environment by launching “green” initiatives such as recycling, instituting a rewards system for greener commuting such as public transit, biking, carpooling, or committing to only do business with companies with similar environmentally conscious initiatives.

Create a Fun, Positive Work Atmosphere

Employees work better in an uplifting, positive workplace, so celebrate achievements and milestones, reward goals met, and appreciate contributions. Strive to treat all employees fairly by not showing favoritism, and by providing opportunities for professional upward mobility,

Embrace Diversity

Appreciate the different views everyone brings to the table. Exposing yourself to the diversity of others is character-building, so welcome people of different race, nationalities, genders, religions, and appreciate their unique perspectives.

Be Open and Transparent

Share information freely, and be accurate, complete, and timely. Emphasize that cheating and lying will not be tolerated, and strive to avoid biases of any kind. Employees should feel safe to voice their opinions, ideas, and even criticisms in a nonjudgmental atmosphere.

Are Your Employees Burnt Out? Here’s How to Find Out

Have you ever worked for a company or on a job where you gradually began to feel disengaged, disconnected, and unmotivated to complete your day-to-day tasks? You probably started to get discouraged, and maybe even started to experience frustration that affected other areas of your life.

These feelings — experiencing “burn out” — aren’t uncommon in the workplace. In fact, a study from The Families and Work Institute found that more than half of U.S. employees feel overworked and overwhelmed at least some of the time, and a whopping 70 percent of employees say they often dream of having a different job.

While feeling burnt out as an employee is one thing, noticing the signs of an unmotivated employee from the point of business manager or owner, is a completely different challenge. However, by understanding the signs and signals of this condition creates the opportunity to make the adjustments needed to ensure you support optimal employee health and wellness.

Sign 1: Uncharacteristic Disengagement

It’s easy to identify a team that’s excited about the work at hand: they eagerly make suggestions, are quick to offer feedback, and enthusiastically work through challenges.

By taking some time to observe your employees, it’s often much easier that you might think to recognize when an employee is feeling burnt out or disconnected from this critical team mentality. If you notice an employee is hesitant to leave his desk, rejecting help from co-workers, neglecting to communicate in meetings, etc., chances are they are suffering from this condition.

Solution: Instead of disciplining your employee for their actions, consider having a sit-down meeting in which you discuss the matter at hand. Ask them open-ended questions and work to create open communication so that you can better understand their perspective. Oftentimes simply reassigning them to a project or task that they feel passionate about will reignite their excitement for work.

Sign 2: Severe Decrease in Productivity

Have you started to notice a drop in performance or a decrease in project completion? Maybe you’re receiving an abnormal amount of client complaints or frequently missed deadlines. While it’s easy to assume that these are just side effects of an employee getting lazy, more often than not, they are a symptom of other issues.

Solution: If employee burnout is a theme you’re starting to notice around the office, it’s time to think about tactics you can implement to boost company morale and spike motivation. Consider starting a new office tradition like a bowling party the first Friday of the month, or a mid-week company social hour. By giving your employees a chance to cut-loose and bond outside of the stressful work environment, chances are they’ll feel more inclined to give you their best.

Sign 3: Increased Negative Thinking

The occasional complaint or negative comment is expected in the workplace, especially if it’s a high-stress environment. However, if you start noticing a profound increase in cynicism, this can be a distinct indicator that your employee is feeling burnt out. Mumblings from employees who are typically optimistic, like “I can’t wait to get yelled at by my client again today,” or “There’s no chance I’ll ever get anywhere in this job,” signal that there is some serious negativity at play and that he or she is suffering from the effects of burnout.

Solution: The best business practice to correct this type of negative thinking is to work with your employee on re-establishing a healthy, balanced workload. If they have too much on their plate and are constantly feeling swamped by work, negative emotions are inevitably going to take hold. When you notice your employee feeling and acting this way, work together to readjust or set different goals, discuss ways to balance the stress, and develop solutions that will help prevent this burnout in the future.

 

Why It’s Important to Invest in Your Employees

What happens if your employees are indifferent or disengaged and how will it affect your company? What are the signs of a satisfied employee and how can their happiness determine the success of your business?

Here are the answers to those questions along with ideas of how you can make a positive impact by dedicating resources to employee engagement and satisfaction.

Symptoms of Indifference

If we aren’t feeling engaged and appreciated, it is easy for indifference to quickly settle in. This will inevitably (and negatively) affect our attitude and output.

It doesn’t take a lengthy survey or an in-depth investigation to figure out if an employee is checked out of his or her work. Often, even a brief interaction with an indifferent employee will show some obvious signs, such as:

  • They are condescending to their customers, fellow employees, and managers.
  • They only give negative replies when asked for feedback (and even when not asked).
  • They purposefully withhold helpful information.
  • They blame coworkers and never hold themselves accountable for mistakes.
  • They gossip about others and speak rudely about customers.
  • They often arrive to work late or leave early.
  • They isolate themselves and refuse to socialize.
  • They act bored while doing their work and when communicating to others.

Indifference is not just a lack of enthusiasm but a lack of interest, concern, and positive responsiveness. When employees possess these qualities, it can be detrimental to your business.

The Dangers of Disengagement

How your customers perceive your company is a very important factor in its success. If a customer asks a question or voices a concern to a representative who is disengaged and detached, your customer may desire to take their business elsewhere to get the positive experience they expect to receive.

High turnover is another danger of disengaged employees. If you regularly find yourself looking for employee replacements it can become quite costly and lower general employee morale.

The Signs of Satisfaction

On the other end of the employee-attitude spectrum is high satisfaction. This is where engagement, cheerfulness, and productivity reside and it’s exactly where you want your employees to be.

These are some positive signs of your employees’ satisfaction:

  • They make and work toward goals.
  • They meet or beat deadlines.
  • They smile at and socialize with others.
  • They contribute to the team.
  • They are eager to learn new skills.
  • They communicate openly with their coworkers and managers.

The Power of Positivity

There are many benefits to employing people who are content in their job and engaged in their work. Eight years of meta-analysis research by Gallup, used science to link employee engagement to nine key performance outcomes.

They are:

  1. Customer Ratings
  2. Profitability
  3. Productivity
  4. Turnover
  5. Safety Incidents
  6. Shrinkage (Theft)
  7. Absenteeism
  8. Patient Safety Incidents
  9. Quality (Defects)

“The results are pretty clear,” says Jim Harter, Ph.D., Gallup’s chief scientist of employee engagements and wellbeing. “Engaged workers have bought into what the organization is about and are trying to make a difference. This is why they’re usually the most productive workers.”

The study also found that “companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in earning per share.”

Ways to Make an Impactful Investment

Now that you know how important it is to have highly satisfied employees, here are some ideas of what you, as an employer, can do to contribute to their happiness at work.

Increase Flexibility

The more flexibility a person has over his or her environment and situation, the better they will feel and perform. Allow the personalization of workspaces. When possible, offer flexible schedules. Encourage goal setting and reward accomplishments.

Respect Their Time

Everyone is busy both inside and outside the workplace so be aware of that when you schedule training and meetings. Keep the office tidy and organized so supplies can be found easily and work can be done efficiently.

Demonstrate Appreciation

Above all, be aware of each employee’s specific contributions to the success of the company. Individuals need to feel recognized for their efforts in order to have the desire to continue trying their best. Celebrate achievements and milestones. Write a thank you note. Show them gratitude and reward for all their hard work.
When you embrace a people-first attitude you are guaranteed to see a positive difference in your employees, your customers, and your organization as a whole.

How to Keep Your Employees Motivated During the Holiday Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and it’s also the busiest.

Throughout this season, it is important to keep your employees engaged and motivated while they are at work.  Distractions are everywhere during the last few months of the year, so we have come up with 5 tips to help keep your employees motivated.

1) Make sure your employees know your company’s vision.

Communicating your company’s vision is so important to keep employees motivated.  Someone who is looped into the company’s overarching goals will accomplish a lot more than someone who is just doing tasks without a specific objective in mind. Communicate your vision clearly and frequently.  Don’t leave it up to your employees to guess what your goals and aspirations for the company are.

2) Encourage teamwork.

No matter the circumstance, whether personal or work related, it is beneficial to feel as though you belong to a team.  Employees are less likely to underachieve when they have team members relying on their work and when they know they need help from team members.

3) Give appropriate workloads.  Be sure to do all you can to eliminate boredom. When a worker is under stimulated, it hampers motivation and causes productivity to decrease. It is also important to make sure employees are not drowning in tons of work.  Distribute workloads amongst teams and individuals. Be sure that one person isn’t doing all the work. While employees are at the office, think of new ways to do the same tasks, schedule break times where they can check phones and get personal things done for 10 min, and allow employees to be inventive and contribute to company ideas.

4) Create a positive work culture. One way to do this is by inviting individuals to speak their minds and making them feel like they are heard. Take actions to implement concerns of your employees, and see what can be done to prevent negative feelings about the company.

As a leader, it is important to listen to all the employees and do your best to make the work environment a positive one. Something else you can do is have an element of fun at work.  Think of a way you can have a friendly work competition.  Another idea is having a holiday party that employees will look forward to.  Simple things make a big difference, so find those things that will create a positive office space for your employees.

5) Empower individuals.  Each person in your company does something to contribute to the company’s success. Let them know that they are important and that what they do is meaningful to you. This creates ownership in the individual and it is more likely that they will meet or exceed expectations.

We hope these tips will help.  Take note that it can be hard to implement every one of these strategies at the same time.  Try introducing one every few weeks, and see what a difference it makes in your employee’s motivation.

10th Annual Warm Hearts Coat Drive

Have you ever been in Utah for the whole winter?

Some days the sun is bright, other days there’s a blizzard that dumps several feet of snow across the state, and most days the temperature is below freezing. During the winter we are grateful for our homes and fireplaces to protect us from the elements.

However, this is not the case for everyone living in Utah.  Like all states, Utah has homeless inhabitants. The Comprehensive Report on Homelessness reports that 13,621 people in Utah experience homelessness.  For the past 10 years, Check City, Catholic Community Services, and Fox 13 have teamed up to make a difference in the lives of people who do not have a home.

Charity Event

During the month of November, Check City had donation boxes in all 30 of their stores throughout the state of Utah.  They hold an annual coat drive collecting gently used coats, hats, sweaters, blankets and more to donate. With this being their tenth year of doing this charity, the community has become aware, and many people participate in it every year.  Employees also love participating in the drive.  An important part of the holiday season is giving, and the Check City employees do what they can to give back.

On November 28, 2016, Check City and some of its employees were able to deliver three large truckloads of winter items to Catholic Community Services. Upon delivering and meeting up with Fox 13’s Big Buddha, a dozen employees stayed to serve lunch at the CCS St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall.

Utah Warm Hearts Charity Event

For the past 10 years, the people involved in this charity have had heartwarming experiences.  This year, the delivery was just in time, because the first big winter storm was just around the corner. Not only do the people who donated warm clothing feel grateful for the opportunity to give, but the people who received the donations feel blessed to have something to help get them through the brutal winter months.

 

Thanksgiving Season: The Benefits of Gratitude

What are your plans for Turkey Day?

Thanksgiving is known to many as a day for gratitude when we take the time to count all of life’s blessings. And while this can be a cherished day with family, it can also provide other benefits.

Gratitude has been scientifically proven to have a positive impact on our health, relationships, and self-confidence just to a name a few. This post will examine the influence of gratitude on a few key areas in our lives.

1) Better Health

A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology revealed that appreciation and positive emotions had the potential to be beneficial for the treatment of hypertension and other heart conditions.

Being grateful is also linked to increased optimism, which is reported to enhance immune health. Those who are more focused on gratitude tend to be physically healthier and report fewer aches and pains on a general basis.

2) Stronger Relationships

Did you know that being thankful for the little things can make you a better friend and partner?

According to a study in the Psychological Science journal, those who expressed more gratitude were also more likely to engage in “pro-social behaviors” like helping others out. In addition to greater empathy, these individuals also had lowered aggression and expressed more sensitivity toward others. These types of traits are important for fostering and maintaining healthy relationships.

3) Improved Quality of Life

There are many factors that contribute to the quality of our lives and gratitude has been shown to help boost several of them.

For example, writing down what you’re thankful for before heading to bed resulted in participants falling asleep faster and staying asleep for longer.

Being mindful of life’s gifts tends to create a more positive outlook on life, which increases feeling of happiness and satisfaction. It’s been associated with better grades in school, improved team morale, higher levels of self-esteem, stronger feelings of belonging and increased resilience to life’s challenges. When it comes to gratitude, the list of positives seems to go on for quite a while.

With Thanksgiving Day drawing closer, what do you find yourself feeling grateful for? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

FAQ About Being an Entrepreneur

entrepreneur like Tracy Rawle

Becoming an entrepreneur is no easy task. It’s risky and scary, but it can be rewarding. In the beginning it may seem like a daunting task. You might have hundreds of questions and feel like you don’t know anything. So here are some frequently asked questions about being an entrepreneur that we’ve answered to help make your entrepreneurship a little easier.

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