Governor Malloy’s Budget Proposal

ccsustatecapitolbuilding-610x405

Governor Malloy presented his FY 2018-19 Budget proposal before a joint session of the Connecticut General Assembly.  The $20 Billion budget includes $700 million in labor givebacks, steep cuts for many towns, a dramatic change in how teachers’ pensions are funded and the ability to tax hospital real estate.

Governor Malloy is currently negotiating with state employee unions in an effort to achieve the $700 million in labor savings.  If these talks are not successful, it may be necessary to reduce staffing by as many as 4,200 full-time employees.

A change in the way municipal aid is distributed would result in 31 “winners” and 136 towns seeing a reduction in payments.  Hartford was the biggest winner with an additional $47.3 million.

The Governor’s budget would also require municipalities to contribute one-third of the employer share of teachers’ pensions.  Currently the state is responsible for 100% of contributions.  Municipalities will be required to contribute $407.9 million in FY2018 and $420.9 in FY2019.

Hospitals would see their real property tax exemption eliminated, resulting in $212.2 million in property tax revenue.

Apparently heeding the outcry from the business community over past budgets, the Governor did not propose increasing corporate profit taxes.  He is recommending that the Insurance Premiums Tax be reduced from 1.75 percent to 1.5 percent.

The budget also makes changes to the Estate Tax which has been noncompetitive and partly responsible for driving wealthy individuals from Connecticut.  This proposal would phase in an increase in the Estate Tax exemption from $2 million to the federal level of more than $5 million over three years.  The maximum lifetime cap on the amount that would be paid under the estate and gift tax will be lowered from $20 million to $15 million.

The Appropriations and Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committees will now get to the hard work of crafting a budget that both sides of the aisle in the legislature and the Governor can agree on.  This will be a herculean task given the size of the state budget deficit and the resistance to tax increases among many in the legislature.

 

Leaders Must Encourage Employees to Grow or They’ll Go

by Guest blogger Liz Scavnicky-Yaekle
Dale Carnegie Western Connecticut

When Gallup asked employees who were considering a career change or had recently switched employers to rate particular factors that influenced their decisions, the results were a bit surprising.  Most employers assume that the primary motivator for a career change is increased income, however as the results show, other factors are more important.  According to the study:

For workers who had switched jobs in the past three months, increased income ranked as the third influencer.

handshake-1513228_960_720

The number one reason for seeking a new job was because workers want to do what they do best.

Employees who have worked at a company for less than three years, compared to those employed with a company for ten or more years, strongly agreed that they were given opportunities to learn and grow.  They also shared that someone had discussed their progress with them and encouraged their development, compared to workers employed for ten or more years.

The impacts of low retention are systemic and costly. In fact, a study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that employers spend the equivalent of six to nine months of an employee’s salary to procure their replacement.  This means that an employee with an annual salary of $60,000 will cost the organization between $30,000 and $45,000 to hire and train a qualified replacement.  Other research conducted by the Center for America Progress revealed that losing an employee can cost anywhere from 16% of their salary for hourly, unsalaried employees, to a whopping 213% of the salary for a highly trained position.

Stellar leadership is the key to retaining employees. 

When employees feel comfortable discussing their progress and are encouraged to grow by their managers, they will thrive versus simply survive until the next job opportunity comes along. 

Unfortunately, many managers are so busy micromanaging employees, they often forget to praise them for a job well done.

Dale Carnegie’s 27th leadership principle is, ‘Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement.  He also said, Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”  Praising employees demonstrates appreciation and respect, and helps foster feelings of ambition and competence.  According to another Gallup study, employees who have supervisors that care about them, e.g. discuss their career progress, encourage development, and provide opportunities to learn and grow—have, “lower turnover, higher sales growth, better productivity, and better customer loyalty than work groups in which employees report that these developmental elements are scarce.”

’Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person,’ is Dale Carnegie’s 24th leadership principle. Reinforcing trust and respect before offering negative feedback will soften the blow while still instilling the correction(s) that must be made.  Providing constructive criticism is never easy no matter how long a leader has managed employees—unless the leader has acquired strong leadership skills. 

If you recognize the need for improved leadership skills personally or within your organization, check out the Dale Carnegie Leadership Training for Managers course.

New Haven Science Fair Program Aims to Close the Achievement Gap

By guest blogger Jack Crane, Director of the New Haven Science Fair and The Director, Growth & Innovation Services for CONNSTEP

science-fair-1

The New Haven Science Fair Program emerged in 1995 from a component of a major National Science Foundation funded activity, which was discontinued after 2 years. The initial science fair component was run by the CT Pre-Engineering Program (CPEP). Through the support of Yale, Olin Corporation, and later Bayer, an extensive business and university partnership with the New Haven public schools evolved to work for a common goal—elevating the educational capability of the New Haven students by working with children and teachers from Pre-K through grade 12 to help students carry out investigative hands-on science projects in order to promote skills in critical thinking, scientific process, and communication.

Some 20 years later, this partnership exists today– but with much broader community participation and some changes in the original cast of partners.  Starting with seven schools, the Program grew to essentially involve all schools in the New Haven Public School (NHPS) system (about 43) plus some participation by charter schools. Nearly half of the system’s 20,000 plus students are involved. The Program, which is administered by The Greater New Haven Chamber, aims to meet four major objectives:

  1. Provide a sense of excitement related to learning,
  2. Help students develop skills in critical thinking and communications,
  3. Help promote scientific literacy, and
  4. Help increase the number of youth taking science and math subjects in high school, and entering the fields of mathematics and science in post-secondary education

Continue reading

U.S.Chamber Awards Greater New Haven Chamber with 4-Star Accreditation

distinction_300 Good news! We are pleased to share that after a comprehensive self-review, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has awarded the Greater New Haven Chamber with 4-Star Accreditation. This prestigious honor puts us among the top 3% of chambers nationwide.

We are the first and only Chamber in Connecticut with an accreditation from the U.S. Chamber.

This past year, the staff, board, and volunteers of The Greater New Haven Chamber spent countless hours completing the Accreditation process. Our task: demonstrate competency in nine core areas ranging from finance to facilities. The result of our hard-work is evidenced by this impressive rating. But in truth, we should all be extraordinarily proud of this milestone achievement. It was a true team effort.

The only national program recognizing chambers for their effective organizational procedures and community involvement, Accreditation allows us to renew, improve, and promote sound business practices, policies, and procedures.

Local chambers are rated Accredited, 3-Stars, 4-Stars, or 5-Stars. State chambers are recognized as either Accredited State Chamber or Accredited State Chamber with Distinction. The final determination is made by the Accrediting Board, a committee of U.S. Chamber board members and chamber executives from across the country.

We are extremely honored to achieve this elite status of being the first and only Chamber in Connecticut with Accreditation!

 

 

Founder of Daily Table and former president of Trader Joe’s to Keynote at The Big Connect on Nov. 17

daily-table

We are excited to have Doug Rauch, founder and president of Daily Table and former longtime president of Trader Joe’s as our morning keynote at The Big Connect expo, one of Connecticut’s top business gatherings taking place November 17 at 9:30 a.m. the Toyota Oakdale Theatre, Wallingford, CT.

Rauch will be part of a  Conscious Capitalism keynote panel discussion, which supports businesses that create profit and create social impact.

Rauch, who is also  co-CEO of Conscious Capitalism Inc. will give a high level overview of what Conscious Capitalism is, its purpose and vision, and what’s happening on a global scale.  In addition, our panel will discuss and take questions on how Conscious Capitalism has been holistically integrated into their workplace and company cultures.

“Practicing Conscious Capitalism enriches your life and the lives of people you do business with. And it’s without a doubt, the most fun, enduring and profitable way to build a sustainable business,” said Kip Tindell, Chairman & CEO, The Container Store, trustee, Conscious Capitalism, Inc.

The panelists include Larry Bingaman, President & CEO of the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority (RWA); Kate Emory, founder and CEO of The Walker Group, a technology services firm she started over 25 years ago; and Robert Bird, Professor of Business Law and Eversource Energy Chair in Business Ethics Marketing at UCONN.

Doug Rauch is the Founder/President of Daily Table, an innovative retail concept designed to bring affordable nutrition to the food insecure in our cities through utilizing the excess, wholesome food that would otherwise be wasted at growers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers, and through special buying opportunities. Doug spent 31 years with Trader Joe’s Company, the last 14 years as a President, helping grow the business from a small, nine-store chain in Southern California, to a nationally acclaimed retail success story.  He is also the co-CEO of Conscious Capitalism Inc.

 This event is free and open to the public. To register or learn more, visit www.gnhccexpo.com.

Three Reasons to Make Mentoring a Priority

by Guest blogger Liz Scavnicky-Yaekle
Dale Carnegie Western Connecticut

blog_mentoring_2016

Who is your all-time favorite teacher?  Most likely, it was someone who took a sincere interest in you and cared deeply about you.  This mentor understood your goals and dreams, and did everything possible to help you attain them.  You probably still remember his or her wise adages which you apply in your current professional role.

It’s unfortunate that for most working Americans, mentorship stops after high school or college graduation.  As Gallup reported, “Schools alone can’t be the sole source of mentorship…We desperately need workplaces all over the U.S. to step up and offer mentors and internships on a scale like never before.” Here are three reasons to make mentoring a priority in your organization.

Mentors help mentees see ‘the forest through the trees.’  It’s inevitable to encounter challenges at every rank of any organization.  Sometimes, those struggles hold employees back—they become hung up on what went wrong or are so intently focused on trying to solve one micro problem, that they cannot see the big picture and subsequent realm of solutions.  Dale Carnegie said, “Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement.”  Mentors help put setbacks into perspective and offer new ways of approaching challenges. Equally important, mentors positively reinforce what mentees are doing correctly by praising a job well done.  Both actions are necessary to excel in all roles.

Mentoring programs drive employee engagement.  Employee engagement is defined as the level at which employees are emotionally invested in, and focused on, creating value for their organizations every day. Employees with mentors are more likely to be emotionally invested in their organizations and focused on creating value.  First, they know that their mentors genuinely care about their performance and want to see them reach their full potential.  Secondly, the mentor-mentee relationship is a personally rewarding one that dives into the human heart which ultimately drives more engagement.

Also, mentees are more likely to share their weaknesses and challenges with mentors in an effort to improve. Don Clifton, the father of strengths psychology, discovered that while people’s weaknesses rarely develop, their strengths develop infinitely.  Mentors, therefore, are a key ingredient to helping employees improve their strengths and become more engaged.

Mentored businesses survive more than those without mentorship.  In a study conducted by the UPS Store, 88% of business owners said having a mentor to lean on is “invaluable.”  Moreover, 70% of mentored businesses survive more than five years which is double the rate for non-mentored small businesses over the same period. Personally, I was ready to resign from a very challenging role early on in my career but did not, because of my sage mentor with whom I maintain a friendship today.  My retention helped that organization grow sales by 18% year over year.

At Dale Carnegie Training and the Greater New Haven Chamber , we know how critical coaching and mentorship are to performance improvement.  Check out Dale Carnegie’s upcoming courses to determine where you would excel most.

The Greater New Haven Chamber’s 2016-2017 Forward Leadership program starts on October 26. Learn more here.