Summer Stress Buster

Every weekend and most evenings, I play “Farmer Fix” in my orchard (two cherry and one plum tree), herb bed (four lavender and three rosemary plants) and garden (kale, onions and grape vine). Tara it isn’t. However, I have plans. Lots of them. I’m always thinking about expansion, rotating crops and becoming self-sustaining. Few efforts beat horticulture for clearing away life’s thorns and snags.

Nevada Friendly Rosemary Plants


Now that I have found one of the best nurseries in northern Nevada, there is no stress of worrying about what will grow here in our high desert region. Lorrie and C.J. Sanders are third and fourth generation local business owners of The Garden Spot Nursery (no website available). Selling only plants that they know from years of experience will grow locally; the Sanders are friendly and generous about sharing helpful hints and tips. Their vegetables, flowers, bushes, shrubs and trees are healthy, vibrant and reasonably priced. The gorgeous rosemary plants in the photo are over two feet tall and cost $14.99 each. Two green thumbs up for The Garden Spot Nursery located at 900 S. Rock Blvd, Sparks, Nevada, (775) 972-0841.

Speaking of hints and tips, at a recent Vistage meeting where Jason Lavin, CEO of Golden Communications, Inc. gave us outstanding advice on website marketing, member Gregg Jones of EP Minerals amazed us with an insect control tidbit. Diatomaceous earth sprinkled on soil is effective in killing ants and crawling bugs. Apparently, the product destroys the critters exoskeleton and dehydrates their innards. After researching the topic I discovered organic food grade diatomaceous earth (with no additives) is safe for people, mammals and birds. Stay far far away from the “pool grade.”

Oh, and that kale I mentioned earlier? Disappeared almost overnight. Eaten by creepy-crawlies. Not that I’m stressed, but perhaps The Garden Spot Nursery and EP Minerals can get together to make a small consumer-size bag of diatomaceous earth available locally. They would be my heroes.

Written by Susan Fix, The Applied Companies Community Liaison Partner. Fix has worked 16 years in staffing services performing outside sales, recruiting, permanent and temporary placement coordination, career counseling, customer service and social media/business.

Controller/ Director of Accounting

The Applied Companies is seeking a Controller/ Director of Accounting that wants to be part of our “Great Place to Work” team.

Position directs day-to-day activities of The Applied Companies Accounting Department. Minimum 5 years top level financial experience – financial reporting, modeling/planning, forecasting and staff supervision. 4 year degree in Accounting with a particular expertise in QuickBooks, payroll and intercompany accounting is required.

We appreciate you spreading the word and helping put people to work!

For job posting details click on link: 

Should I Fire Them?

This is a two-part series on “how to fire” in the workplace.

Fire is a powerful word. It conjures up fear, excitement, sensations, and visuals. In the forest, the absence of fire can actually be bad for its overall wellbeing. Some species of trees are actually fire dependent. The Jack Pine’s cones only open to release seeds when waxes on the cone melt in the heat of a fire. Fire causes new Jack Pines to grow and flourish. Amazing things can happen when “fire” hits the workplace, too.

Fire Danger Today: High

According to experts that we trust, we all need to get ready for the down year – a slight recession – in 2014. Fueling those expectations are the Affordable Care Act, the State of Nevada owing $700 million to the Feds for unemployment liabilities, and the “double” hardening of the cyclical worker’s comp market. What can employers do to be proactive versus reactive?

Lose the deadwood

Employers settle for bad performers rather than firing them. After our experience in 2009, we simply can’t endure C performers. The market is experiencing a steady supply of “A” and “B” employees. These highly qualified performers were promised by their employers that, “when the economy turns around we’ll give back this benefit and pay, etc.” The As and Bs are keeping score on broken promises. They’re looking for employers who’ll deliver.

Don’t scare off the producers

When people are fired, the company communication plan should focus on positivity of change. Because you know the water cooler talk will be, “How far is the layoff going to go? Am I safe or will the toilet bowl keep turning?” Clearly define a stopping point. Reassure top performers; give them information on financials, gain trust or leadership through transparency. You’ll keep them as loyal employees by your past performance and current vision.

Define your replacement strategy

Before firing, leadership should study the employee’s job responsibilities, then go out and get a PhD. in technologies applicable to that function. Solutions that manage processes better, create efficiencies and perhaps eliminate the need for replacement are desirable. Interviewing peers and subordinates about what functions they would like to take on, or what needs to be changed for the better – is key. Once the responsibilities are redefined, you know what to recruit for.

In every single “fire” situation, the pain leaves and your company can turn to the resulting good, digest the lesson you were supposed to learn, grow and move forward.

Written by Jim Annis, president/CEO of The Applied Companies, which provide HR solutions for today’s workplace. Celeste Peterson, Tom Miller, and Nissa Jimenez, Applied’s division directors, contributed to this article.