3 ways to kick-off fall season right

By Anastasia Warren


It’s officially fall. We’re seeing pumpkin spice lattes, a few yellow leaves and experiencing an overall feeling of the new season.

As we enter into the season of football, deadlines and colder weather, it’s important to remain motivated and inspired in our work.

How do we do this? Here are three easy ways:

  1. Write down your goals

Writing down your goals, your desires and your potential accomplishments makes them real. Decide what you want to achieve and set attainable goals and steps to reach it. Write it down. Put it somewhere you see often. Remind yourself of your goals each morning by reading through them and re-committing.

This enables you to be successful.

  1. Set up a new morning routine

Meditate, eat a healthy breakfast, write down 3 things you’re grateful for – whatever you want to do in your morning routine, whatever will help you to start your day right, do it.

Commit to a healthy and productive morning routine, whether that involves exercising or practicing gratitude (or both), morning routines will help you to feel more accomplished and refreshed for the day.

  1. Stay hydrated

According to a recent article in Inc Magazine, your body is made up of 55 to 75 percent water. It is extremely important to stay hydrated and give your body the necessary liquid it needs to survive and thrive.

Water energizes you, fills you up and makes you feel better all-around, incorporate it into your daily routine now by keeping a water bottle at your desk at all times.

There are many ways to make the fall season your best one yet, but these simple changes will make all the difference as you head into the holidays and a colder time of the year.

Conducting workplace in-house investigations

By Jim Annis


The words, “in-house investigations,” might lead to CLUE board game flashbacks like: Case File Confidential; suspects that begin with names like Colonel and Professor; Rooms and Weapons; and “Who dunnit?”

Failing to perform in-house investigations will not result in fun and games — that’s how employees win lawsuits. Why do an investigation? The onus is always on the employer. Ignorance equals risk. Begin an investigation when the gossip starts, before you receive a complaint and before you are sued. The three most common issues involved in an investigation are harassment, whistleblower, and discrimination. Whatever the issue, following the suggestions below can help manage the risk.

What should be investigated? All gossip, what you hear through management by walking around, subtle “please do not tell anyone” conversations (then do not promise confidentiality — you must address a problem) and comments in anonymous suggestion boxes. Small bumps can become a cancer. Assume each issue is legitimate and drive that type of cultural commitment daily.

When should it be investigated? Immediately. No exceptions. Look forward and reason backward. Go big-picture and follow the trail, with an eagle-eye view. Imagine the timeline spread out from when it happened to two or three years down the line if you wind up in court. If an employee put you on notice Monday, October 1 and then you did not do anything for three weeks, you’re toast. If you took action Monday afternoon upon notice, then you should be evaluated more positively.

Why would you investigate it? You have a responsibility to employees. You’ll lose them is they perceive a lack of commitment to a healthy work culture. Response to an investigation is generally positive: “Management is handling the issue.” If you get rid of the issue, good job — shareholders will be happy.

Who should do the investigation? Investigations are hard. Period. Who you assign to do them is crucial. Options include in-house HR, a PEO, outside HR consultants, an objective person in leadership with no direct reporting, or a person who is not highly emotional.

What’s the end game? Document the following in order:  failure, conclusion, report and follow-up. The most important point is to reach a conclusion. Write it all down on a factual basis, no opinions, based on tangible information. It’s harder to do than you think. Follow up with the complaining party by calendaring three months down the road, and develop a feedback loop. If you do wind up in court, this is what you want the suing employee to relay to the judge: “My employer followed up with me so I felt good.” You win. Investigation is not a dirty word. It’s clean and can help make your environment “sparkle.” You will almost always discover something in the process that will help improve the workplace.

Jim Annis is president/CEO of The Applied Companies, which provide HR solutions for today’s workplace. Celeste Johnson, Applied’s COO, contributed to this article.

Change in the Workplace

By Anastasia Warren


The Applied Companies has been around for more than ten years. They have an established reputation in the Reno, Nevada community, a well-received message and a popular company culture among employees with proof to show it – they have been honored as one of the Best Places to Work in Nevada more than a few times over the years.

When I joined the team just out of college, I assumed it was safe to say the company was pretty set in its ways – that there wouldn’t be much room for culture change or workplace progression... or so I thought. Seeing as my personal values matched up with the present company values and practices, I was basically okay with that.

However, my assumption was incorrect – and that is why this company is successful.

In the short six months that I have worked at The Applied Companies, the company has changed their paid time off policy to better suit employee needs, implemented a “Go Green” initiative to decrease their carbon footprint, started a “Bring Your Pet to Work Day” every few months, changed their policy on business attire (yes, jeans are now allowed) and much more.

The leadership within the company recognizes the changing world of business and seeks to remain current and moving in the fast-paced culture. Established companies must continue to look for new ways to improve their organization both internally and externally, and stay up with and even sometimes ahead of industry trends.  

In an employee market, where good candidates can sometimes seem scarce, creating an innovative and collaborative company culture is essential to success and employee retention.  

As CEO Jim Annis often states, “the only constant is change,” and I am proud to be a part of a company that honors that progressive, innovative and forward way of thinking.