Happy Holidays... or Bah Humbug?!

By: MarkWeaver Monday December 1, 2014 comments

Welcome to December!  About this time of year, many employers wonder what they can and cannot do related to their holiday of choice.  Advice varies; sometimes based on the personal preferences of the advisor rather than on the law or common sense.  Read more...

The Second Absolute of Quality

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."  Sounds like something your Grandma used to say.  She wasn't the only one.  Philip Crosby, Best-Selling Author and Quality Guru said something similar in defining the Second Absolute of Quality:  the system for causing quality is prevention.

Prevention isn't the only way.  Some try appraisal or inspection.  That works, if all you want to do is separate the good from the bad.  But that doesn't cause improvement.  If you want to cause quality to happen, you have to use prevention.

Prevention means causing something not to happen.  It means doing things in a way that prevents misunderstanding, nonconformance, and opportunity for error.  That means you have to define the output (what you want), define the process (how it's to be done), proof the process (before full scale operation or rollout), and operate & manage the process (which involves control much like cruise control works on a car).

Today's product, system, or process that conforms to requirements, may be tomorrow's defect.  Requirements change.  Technology changes.  People change.  If you want to improve quality, you have to measure, revisit, and communicate.  You have to continually improve work processes so that they not only conform to requirements, but that they also prevent problems before they occur.

Phil coined the phrase, "Do It Right the First Time."  In order for people to be effective at doing so, they also need to understand why.  And the "why" should include prevention - or not doing what you don't want.  Pretty simple!

If you'd like to talk quality, give me a call.  I'm probably the only person in the region who worked with Phil and was certified in his methods.  I may be the only person who has taken those concepts and applied them to the world of HR, people strategies, board governance, and strategic planning.

Flexible Spending Accounts and Year End

If you offer Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) to your employees, you are probably well aware that December 31 is coming up, and those that haven't spent their account could suffer the use it or lose it rule.  There are exceptions.  If your plan has been amended to provide a carryover or rollover option, a grace period, or a run-out period.  If your plan doesn't have those features though, employees sometimes have to get creative in spending down their dollars to avoid forfeiture.  So here's a list of items for which employees can use FSA dollars, without the need for a prescription:

  • Athletic braces
  • Bandages
  • Breast pumps
  • Blood glucose monitors and test strips
  • Blood pressure monitors
  • Condoms
  • Contact lens solution
  • Denture cream
  • Eye glass and lens accessories
  • First aid treatments and supplies
  • Glucosamine supplements
  • Hearing aid batteries
  • Heating pads, wraps, and cold packs
  • Lip balm
  • Motion sickness aids
  • Nasal spray
  • Orthopedic & surgical supports
  • Pregnancy and fertility tests
  • Prenatal vitamins
  • Reading glasses
  • Sole inserts
  • Sunscreen
  • Thermometers
  • Vaporizers and inhalers
  • Walking aids, wheelchairs and accessories

Kill two birds with one stone... some of these could make great stocking stuffers.  Use your imagination....

About the Author: MarkWeaver


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