A Business Traveler’s Guide Can Be Your Best Friend

Do you do a lot of traveling? Whether you travel for pleasure or for business this article may be able to benefit you greatly. There are some things you should keep up on if you are an avid traveler. One of the things, which can help you keep up to date on a lot of information, is a business traveler’s guide. In this article we will tell you what the business travelers guide is and why you should never leave home without it.

A business travelers guide will keep you informed on airlines and what is going on with them. This way you are always aware of what is going on in your local airports and destination airports you are traveling to. It will tell you which airline is lowering or raising their prices.

It will also give you traveler’s tips. It may give you some things you should do and those that you should not. It may offer you helpful advice on what to do or not to do when traveling to certain cities. These offer great information and let you know what is going on at your next destination.

There may be a travel blog. It can be on different topics like travel safety for example. It may give you some tips on keeping safe during your travel experience. You can never receive enough tips on safety. There may be something there, which you never thought of.

With the travelers guide you will also be able to easily find topics you want to browse. It can be airlines, airports and/or car rentals. It can tell you about flights out of different airports. It may give you information about car rentals. So you can find the best place to rent a car. There are always helpful and instructive topics to choose from.

There may be different articles to read on different topics concerning traveling. These can be on a wide array of topics. For example there could be one on ‘How to save room when packing’. Or ‘Green Travel Tips’.

There can be videos for you to watch also. One video example might be, ‘How to avoid Jet Lag’. Another one they could have would be, ‘Tips for traveling with a laptop’.

There are many sites, which you can go too and read a traveler’s business guide. If you type it in several options will come up. Places like biz-Journals and WHY Go business travels can easily be found. There is also a business traveler’s guide in places like the newspaper. The New York Times has one and a lot of other papers do as well.

If you are an avid business traveler or even one who travels for pleasure, the business traveler’s guide will be an advantage for you. It will keep you informed about a lot of your traveling needs. It will also help you find some great traveling deals. It can tell you how to earn points while flying. Tell you about the best hotels in the city you are traveling too. The possibilities seem to be endless.

If you have never checked out these business guides, I would advise you to do so before you take your next trip.

Business Travel Insurance – How to Get Monetary Protection to Your Business Traveling Needs

Those who run a business often have to travel a lot. If you are one of them, make sure you obtain a suitable business travel insurance policy to provide protection to your money that you pay for traveling expenses. However, besides covering travel expenses, you may also get certain other types of coverage, such as problems with hotel accommodation in a small city and other such things. Therefore, it is important for you to research your needs thoroughly and look into each and every aspect while you are shopping for the best plan.

Amount Of Coverage
The amount of coverage must be sufficient enough to protect your money. It should neither be too high or too low. For example, if you are running a small business, a business travel insurance policy with excessive coverage may not make sense for you. Besides that, you also need keep in mind that the more coverage you opt for, the higher premiums you will have to pay.

Things To Consider While Talking To An Agent
While you are talking to an insurance agent, you must provide complete details about your business plan and financial statements. This will make it easy for the agent to suggest the most suitable plan for you. As compared to individual plans, business plans carry much larger amounts of risk. Therefore, you do an accurate assessment of your financial situation.

Comprehensive Coverage
There are several benefits of buying comprehensive coverage in a business travel insurance policy. For example, your insurance company may offer discounted individual auto and health insurance plans for your employees.

Travel Route
If you have a regular travel route, you can easily find a good bargain on your policy. The insurance company may offer you a very low rate if you have representatives or offices at the places you frequently visit.

Liability Coverage
You should pay special attention to the liability coverage also. Make sure that the plan you have chosen provides optimum protection to your business as well as individual assets while you are away on a business trip. It is always wise to protect your long-term finances by opting for high financial thresholds for life insurance, medical coverage, and rental car collision.

Travel Interruption Coverage
What if you travel gets interrupted because of some reasons? Your business travel insurance policy must protect your money in such circumstances. For that, you will need travel interruption coverage. With this coverage, you will be able to travel in alternative means of transport without needing to pay additionally for the same. Some companies however require you to pay the expenses out of your pocket first and then submit a claim – the amount will be reimbursed to your account. But, most companies have contracts with several airlines and other forms of transports – so, you wont actually have to pay anything from your pocket.

Do your managers and other employees also have to travel for your business? If so, you had better consider a business travel insurance policy that provides sufficient amount of coverage to all those travelers.

Business Travel – Discover the Biggest Secret CEOs Are Using to Earn Huge Profit Off Corp Travel

Up until the break of the new millennium, business travel has always seemed to be more of a burden of business expenses and earnings. The only upside is the huge tax deductions for small businesses. Even at present times, it doesn’t seem to matter who your company’s personal travel agent, travel vendor, or online travel website is that you use for travel, it’s still expensive.

Next to customer fulfillment and office supply expenses, travel expenses are major. However, every since the recent recession that the entire U.S. has collapse into, new and great innovations of the 21century has finally change the way corporate America travels.

Now CEOs and savvy business owners that travel frequently discovered a rich business travel success. A travel success that only the few and profound has been using since 2001.

 

That’s right. The chosen few that have found this hidden secret are calling it the “Small business and corporate travel bail out plan through travel.” Plus. It’s quite simple…

Book a flight, get paid for it, book a hotel, get paid for it, car rentals, condos, and anything affiliated with business travel, your company gets a large percentage of the travel commission earned back into the business. I’m talking “cold hard Cash.” Not some travel points or rewards cards either. Your membership puts your business in profit instantly!

Your business now generates income from every employee, executive and anyone who books travel from the company. Plus, your company travel is still a write-off, how cool is that.

With this newly innovative business travel revenue and revolutionary breakthrough, Expedia, Hotwire, and even your personal travel agent become useless. You’d actually lose money by using these old 20th century tactics in the 21st century.

These are one of those business travel news secrets they don’t want you to know about until they “milk the cow dry.” Well now you know.

So while companies are easily losing thousands from travel expenses, you can be massively earning thousands from your own travel expenses, off every trip.

It’s been around since 2001, but because of it’s none mainstream media influence, only the savvy and smart business travelers have adopted this business travel model into their income streams. And boy is it revenue generator. I’m talking profits, earnings, positive cash flow, you name it.

One of the biggest names thus far that quickly adapted this new corporate travel innovation is NFL’s Kansas City Chief football team. They’re faithful members because the business model makes common since, “if you use travel for business why not make a profit from it.”

So if your company struggles to earn profit in this troubled economy while still taking flight after flight to increase revenue, easily step up your game and increase earnings to be among the elite business owners that use this new income stream everyday. You may just meet your quarterly goals with this revenue generator alone.

How the Killing of Osama Bin Laden Will Affect Business Travel

Introduction

The death of Osama Bin Laden does not conclude the global threat of terrorism but in many instances it will trigger a new wave or business travel threats. If you want to know more on how the killing of Osama Bin Laden will affect business travel then you need to read this article. This article will identify the major delays, disruptions, risks and threats to business travel as a result of this high profile leader’s death. By the end of the article you will know the key issues affecting business travel as a result and be able to identify the primary areas for travel planning and risk management focus.

Bin Laden’s Death

The death of Osama will no more signal the collapse and conclusion of global terrorist events than if the CEO or chairman of a major multi-national were to die also. Global and local terrorism threats are made up of networks, many redundant and independent of any one single point of leadership. Standing Armies, Air Forces and Navies are also constructed along such lines. Would the death of a General bring an Army to a halt? Not likely. Therefore, while being a major news and emotional event for many it will have little to no effect on the command and control of sympathetic terrorist groups. It will embolden some to act, rally to the cause and even further elevate Bin Laden as an icon for their actions, much the same as Che Guevara has evolved as the face of freedom fighters the world over.

Terrorism

Terrorism remains a minor threat to business travel based on the volume of travel and those affected. The responsibility and duty to combat such a threat still remains within the government realm and not that of corporate entities although they do need to be aware of developments and capabilities for local governments to combat or prevent attacks to ensure their travellers do not become targets or affected. Business travellers will still be more likely to be affected by delays, disruptions and threats from more routine and frequent issues such as motor vehicle accidents, illness, airline disputes and bad weather.

The Real Threat to Business Travel

The real threat to business travellers in the wake of the death of Bin Laden will be the subsequent response by the global aviation security and government intelligence agencies. Most will view this result as a success but also be immediately focused on the potential for reprisal. Many individuals and groups are already in the advanced stages of planned attacks but others may rush to action and attack in support of Al Qaeda or Islamic extremists. Their single-minded attention on these issues will result in greater inconsistencies, delays and threats to business travellers.

Airport Security

Airports will become even more unpredictable as to what and how security measures are implemented and changes are all but guaranteed. These changes will further disrupt the efficiency and flow of check-in, boarding, screening, arrivals and departures. However, the effects and approach will not be universal nor predictable to the average traveller and delays, disruptions and missed flights will results and further impact the effectiveness and efficiency of business travel. Company risk and security managers may also be on a hair-trigger and cease, suspend or defer business travel until they get “more information” on the situation, further compounding the issue. If history is any indication, any minor or major incident in the coming weeks and months will result in knee-jerk security treatment solutions that impact more travellers than it prevents terrorists.

Affected Demographics

Profiling and heightened security measures will be applied to specific ethnic groups, nationalities and those traveling through identified travel corridors. Once again this will be inaccurate, inconsistent and opaque to the majority of travellers who will suffer the wider effects and possibly even personal effects of such changes. Those traveling from the Middle East, of Pakistani ethnicity, Muslims, single males, those with beards, women in burkas, travellers with no check-in luggage, those paying by cash or even those that “act funny” at the airport will all draw the attention of someone who is looking at reasons why someone poses a threat or could jeopardize air safety and security, therefore requires interception.

Conclusion

The world is no safer or riskier than it was the day before Osama Bin Laden was killed. The subsequent actions and reactions following his death however will impact the landscape in which business travellers journey through. Hopefully it will be short-term but should we see the slightest hint of threat or reports from the government agencies then we are all likely to be subjected to greater delay, disruption and risk due to this relatively low level threat. Osama’s death will not signify the end of terrorism, business travellers need to remember there is continued and greater threat from the more routine, airport security will have it’s ups and down in the coming weeks/months and the color of your skin, accent, religion and point of origin will all play a role on how you are viewed by the various security agencies.

While this event should not have had any major impact upon business travel, in reality it will. Now you know what the real threats are, you should prepare yourself and your travellers for the road ahead to ensure they continue to remain productive, efficient and safe during the course of their various business travel demands.

Travel Agencies – For a Comfortable Business Travel

There are a lot of things that one has to take care of while going on for a business trip to a foreign destination, more so when it is one’s first business travel. To make it convenient and comfortable, it is better that one hires the services of a travel agency. They will take care of all your requirements. There are a large number of travelling agencies in Australia who can fulfil all your travelling needs.

Some of the benefits of hiring travel agencies for the business trips are discussed below.

Since business trips are very different from the leisurely trips these need more meticulous planning and execution. These are more serious in nature and any loophole in the planning may lead to huge losses. Taking care of both the business deal and the business travelling details is not easy for a person. Therefore it is better to hire a travelling agency which understands these things and therefore give utmost attention to each detail.

These travelling agencies will look into all the details of your business trip and plan accordingly, right from the start of your journey to the last moment of your stay as well as getting back to your home destination.

For people who travel frequently for business purposes must go for travelling agencies specializing in the business tours. These agencies have a lot of experience in this field. They can provide you the best of services at very low rates.

From business air travel booking, hotel booking to meeting arrangements, everything is done by the travelling agency.

These agencies have a lot of experience in handling these business trips and therefore know each and every requirement of a business trip. This is the reason why you can rely on their services.

These agencies understand that businessmen travel frequently on business trips. Therefore to attract more travellers they give discounts on frequent basis. They have a lot of alluring business tour packages to suit the needs of all types of business travellers. These packages help you save a lot of your money but this does not mean that they compromise on services. These discounted packages provide you affordable business tickets, comfortable stay, fine dining options and the best arrangements for meetings and conferences.

You can also take your family along with you on the business trips. These travelling agencies can include all the facilities for the family members also. So your business trip can easily be turned into a family vacation.

They can in fact provide you with packages which have the business trip combined with sight seeing. After your work for the day is over you can indulge in a lot of pleasure activities also. The sight seeing will include visits to all the popular attractions of that place. There are many travelling agencies which provide these two in one services. There is always a lot of ample time between business meetings and work. This time can easily be utilized for sight seeing and pleasure activities.

Hiring the services of these travelling agencies will help you save a lot of your time, money and energy and you will have a comfortable trip without a doubt.

5 Reasons Your Business Should Have an Information Protection Policy

Information is the lifeblood of all businesses, but many business owners and high level managers often overlook the security of their business information to focus on what they consider more important; “the generation of revenue.” Many even know the risk well in advance but take on the mentality, “It will never happen to us.” Then the inevitable happens.

Experience has proven that the disregard for the protection of business information is disastrous. The smallest vulnerability in a business’s Information Security System (ISS) can and does cause businesses thousands, even millions of dollars in financial loss everyday. Experts have found that in the majority of the cases involving “loss” from the theft of information that the business owner(s) or managers were aware that potential breaches existed and did nothing to correct the issue. Experts also point out that in 99% of the cases that the cost to fix the breach would have been thousands to millions of dollars cheaper then the loss the business sustained from the breach itself.

According to “Trends in Proprietary Loss” (ASIS International, 2007) these are the top 5 reasons businesses of all sizes should have an active and progressive Information Security System (ISS) and Information Security Management System (ISMS) in place.

  • Loss of reputation/image/goodwill – Taking a hit in the pocket could be bad but not as half as bad as taking a hit to your reputation. Many business can rebound from loss of revenue but repairing your business reputation can cost astronomical time, effort and money. The implications are overwhelming in most cases.
  • Loss of competitive advantage in one product/service – When you have been working feverishly to stay ahead of the game but your competitor beats you to the finish line every time, “There’s a hole in your boat.” The leaking of trade secrets, product delivery timelines and other business processes can completely derail a business and destroy its competitive advantage.” In 2006 there was a well known case of information theft concerning an employee from a major beverage. That employee stole trade information and conspired to sell it to another beverage company for 1.5 million dollars.The employee was arrested after the competitor turned her in.
  • Reduced of projected/anticipated returns or profitability – This can occur when your competitor knows your pricing strategy. If they’re selling the same type of product or service as your business they can, and will easily outprice you.
  • Loss of core business technology or process – A quick Google search will give you some insight on how businesses lose billions in the process when technology is leaked or stolen. The case of the drawn out and costly battle of the “Cell Phone Giants” comes to mind. Do a Google search about it. There are some really insightful facts that you may not have known about the case.
  • Loss of competitive advantage in multiple products/services

All of the above are sound reasons while your business should have an active information security policy. I am of the opinion that any business that regularly loses money and fails to implement processes to stop it,will soon be out of business. Therefore, I encourage all business managers, executives and owners to take the protection of their information seriously. Make time to review your current information security processes and policy with your security manager. Listen to his/her concerns and recommendations. After all that is what you hired him/her for. Concentrate on making your security a “Necessary good” instead of a “Necessary evil” and dedicate a reasonable but flexible budget to immediately address new or unexpected security threats. It could truly save you a life of headaches, court battles and money in the end.

Below are a few recommendations that I believe will help any business to begin improving their information security process. It will also help to improve overall security in general.

Recommendations

  • Ensure that sensitive information is only accessible to a small group of people based on a need to know basis. This information is to be kept in a secure area with progressive and redundant security measures.
  • The first level of security can be posted signage that designates the level of authorization required to be in specific areas. These signs should also advise the consequences for ignoring them.
  • The second level of security may include CCTV cameras which are manned or unmanned (but have the ability to be reviewed later). Cameras serve as a good method to detect, deter and in some cases respond to nefarious behavior.
  • The third level of security mandates designated key cards or key fobs to enter restricted areas. This authorization can also be indicated by color coded ID badges. A security checkpoint guarded by trained security officers is also an option.
  • The fourth level of security concerns areas where the most sensitive information is held. This area should include CCTV cameras, locked file cabinets and safes. This should be supported by a well written Information Protection Policy created in partnership with an experienced security professional and it should be strictly adhered to.
  • Lastly, a schedule for audit and compliance should be instituted and a designated person appointed the responsibility for its oversight. This recommendation has more to do with Information Security Management, which I will discuss in a later topic.

General Information Security Practices

The preceding concerned security strategies for highly sensitive information however, we must not overlook the need for the security of general business information. Information comes in many forms and businesses must protect them all. Here are a few more tips that I recommend to improve your current Information Security Policy:

  • Ensure that all documents that contain personal, personnel and company information are always kept secure. This information should never be left lying around on someone’s desk or in their inbox. Always keep this type of information under lock and key and designate a person to ensure strict accountability.
  • Ensure that you have a information security policy in place and share it with your entire staff. This policy should include how to file or discard company information.
  • Ensure that your company has a shredder and include shredding regulations (what should be shredded, when and by whom) into your policy.
  • Always ensure that someone in your organization stays abreast of current cyber threats. This person is normally the head of the IT department or your security manager. He/she should also ensure that your anti-virus and firewall systems are regularly updated and tested. If your company does not have a dedicated IT department of manager it wouldn’t hurt to consult with an IT Security firm to get a check-up.
  • Ensure that your Information Protection policy includes regulations pertaining to thumb drives and portable hard drives. The policy should clearly state what information can be saved or uploaded from and to the devices. Also consult with your IT department to disable the USB ports on your computers and networks if necessary.
  • Finally, every business should have a Non-Disclosure Agreement. NDAs set the expectations for your employees as it pertains to the privacy of your business affairs, processes and materials. It also provides the recourse for violating the policy. can be found on the web, but I recommend consulting with your attorney to ensure that your NDA provides you and your business optimum protection.

That about sums it up. I believe that by implementing these strategies that every business can improve the protection of their information and reduce the chances of suffering financial loss. In many cases you may even increase your profitability, which is why we are all in business anyway. I hope that you found this information valuable. Never underestimate what a solid Information Security Program can do for you.

Thanks for reading and I hope that these quick security tips help to kick start or rekindle your Information Security Program.

Making Your Employees Understand the Value of Information

When deploying a bespoke information security awareness campaign, the ultimate aim is to build a mindset in which employees come to respect and protect the information they work with. To achieve this, it’s imperative that employees fully understand the value of that information.

Failing to understand the value of information is a major cause of information security breaches. For example, it’s the reason why sensitive information ends up in wastepaper baskets or recycling boxes, which subsequently exposes it to ‘dumpster diving’ – the practice of scouring company bins for useful competitor intelligence.

Failing to understand the value of information has led to some of the high profile ‘laptop left on a train’ incidents, where employees are walking around with sensitive information on their hard drives that hasn’t been encrypted for transport.

Failing to understand the value of information can even cause employees to talk themselves into doing things they’ve already been told is bad practice, such as connecting to an unsecure hotel wi-fi to check email. We’ve all been tempted to do it because of the convenience. What stops us is knowing how valuable the emails coming in and out are – all of which can be intercepted on an unsecure wireless connection.

Communicating value

The value of information is best communicated through a clear information classification scheme. For example, let’s use the traditional labels of ‘public’, ‘internal’ and ‘confidential’ information. One of the most effective methods of communicating value is to consider all of the information types within your organisation and categorise them under these headings. Turn that into a clear communication that allows employees to see exactly which information types should be considered under which classification. There are also some engaging and fun ways to embed this in your employees’ minds.

Make classification mandatory

Making classification of all documents mandatory also helps to embed this consideration of value. A classification must be assigned to every new piece of information that employees generate. Similarly, every piece of information they receive must be immediately checked for its classification. If a piece of information is passed on without a classification, then the practice of sending it back to the originator for classification will eventually cause this handling procedure to become second nature.

Protecting confidential information: Carrot or stick?

For most organisations, accidentally or intentionally disclosing confidential information is a disciplinary offence. As long as you state this as part of a campaign that simultaneously instils the value of information, then it can be quite effective.

However, bear in mind that the most effective internal communications campaigns succeed by aligning the objectives of the employee with the objectives of the organisation. Therefore, a more effective method is to make the employee see the personal value of protecting information at work. There are many messages that can be used, such as building the employee’s perception of their contribution to organisation success, and the need to protect the integrity of this achievement. You can also communicate how devastating an information breach can be – for example, through lost revenue or a fine from the Information Commissioner’s Office. An information breach could even cause enough lost competitive advantage that an organisation is no longer able to operate at the same size it was. This associates the concept of information security with job security.

Acformation – The New Information Paradigm

The First Paradigm – Age of Information (circa 1980 – 2000)

Information, coming in, captured the then market realities. It represented the collective market notions such as ideas, beliefs, etc. for a given time period. The Information Gradient (IG), the rate at the which a given information changed – proven, disprove etc. was fairly linear. In other words, the market behaviour was within the predictable limits of Organizational Think-tanks (OT).

The Second Paradigm – The Rise and Fall of Real Time Information (circa 2000 – 2012)

The changing market dynamics brought new problems to these OT. The IG lost its linearity. It became a victim to unforeseen market forces, and thus became more skewed. The Information captured did not convincingly represent the market notions.

It was then time for the next paradigm shift – the Real Time Information (RIT). But, RIT never represented information at all. It was a screenshot of the market notions at any point of time. It allowed the OT to ‘trust’ the market forces before taking any strategic decision.

It worked well for a while. Until RIT started losing the ‘realness’ of the information. As the real-time capturing of information peaked, companies started becoming more aspirational. They wanted information created a moment ago. While the technological advancements made it possible to capture and deliver information real-time, these companies found it difficult to put this information into perspective. For a vital component of the information made no sense – how useful is this piece of information for the immediate decisions to be made and its integrity for long-term strategic decisions.

The era of RIT came to end.

The Third Paradigm – The Age of Acformation (Present)

RIT is dead. How could a piece of information captured a minute ago make sense? More so, when information captured a minute ago will not be the same as the information that is to be captured the next minute. Especially in an industry such as Apparel or Footwear where the fashion trends are changing.

RIT lacks a continuity, in terms of aiding the business in taking market decisions.

Acformation was born. It stands for Actionable Information.

Acformation is radically different. It does not capture or represent information at all.

Acformation, in essence, represents the rate of change of information. In other words, it represents IG. IG is a meta-information, i.e. information about Information. It provides the much need context for the information, and is thus, Actionable.

Understand your company’s Information Structure

As a retailer, you need to understand the Information Structure of your business.

Primary Information (PI)

Stock Levels

What do you have? How much of it do you have?

Sales

What has been sold?

How much of it has been sold?

Secondary (or Meta) Information (SI)

What did this customer buy?

How much did the customer buy?

What is the Customer Profile?

What is the customer buying history?

Miscellaneous Information (MI)

Company Performance

Accounts and Balance.

Actionable Information (AI)

Given the PI, SI & MI levels, how disposed is the customer (or a group of them) to buy in the future?

How likely will the purchase be made?

How frequent will this happen?

Will there any change in their preferences as result?

How resources is your shop in making this happen?

What Information Does An Employee Expect? – An Employee Communication Primer

OPENING BELL:

With the corporate laws becoming stricter in India and the ‘Right-To-Information’ Act being enforced in the ‘right’ spirit, coupled with the hyperactive media & proliferation of social networking websites, the word ‘Transparency’ has acquired a new meaning in the world of business. Till early 1990s, the word ‘transparency’ was just not in the business lexicon and today it is a stringent legal, a professional, business and a societal necessity.

Like a coin, the word ‘transparency’ has two sides. One side pertains to the information that the organization shares with the outer world (like government agencies, investors, business magazines, news channels, and voluntary organizations) for compelling reasons and the other side is about the stuff that the organization feeds or notifies to the employees for the intended reasons.

In the contemporary world, the employees are far more conscious and vocal about their rights. In fact, feeding them information is equal to “what the doctor ordered”; give them a little information and they ask for more. Why? Because they believe that the information (like knowledge) is power and more information is decidedly better than no or half information.

Employees born after 1992 (known as Gen x or Gen Alpha) are the blessed ones as they have escaped the era of ‘information starvation’. When they were growing up, India was getting progressively liberalized and information was becoming available more easily. Consequently, they became adult with the ‘mindset’ that they have a (legitimate) right to expect, get and receive information that affects them.

As of now, it seems that the HR profession in India has taken the partial cognizance of this ‘info savvy’ or ‘info hungry’ employees and their expectations for the ‘transparency’ in information sharing (within and from the organization). What information the ‘info hungry’ employees expect from the management or the company?

Let us explore in a telescopic way, i.e. from the personal level and to the organization level, and look at the instructive list of the information needs.

As an employee – Individual & direct information needs:

 

  • How is my compensation calculated and what is my take-home pay?
  • How do I plan for my income tax?
  • What are the HR policies applicable to me and what each policy means? Whom should I give feedback?
  • What are my entitlements and how & when do I receive or claim them?
  • What are the performance measurement criteria applicable to me?
  • How will I grow or get promoted and approximately within what time-frame?
  • Whom should I speak to in case of any difficulty, personal or professional?
  • What are the unwritten but important Dos and Don’ts, behavioral and otherwise, of the organization?
  • Who are the key members of my immediate senior management and what are their profiles?

 

As a team (cross-functional) member – Individual, collective & direct information needs:

 

  • Why I am chosen as a member? Why others are chosen as team members?
  • What are the goals of this team?
  • Why a particular employee has been appointed as the chief?
  • Whom the team will report to?
  • What is the timeline for presenting the outcomes?
  • What resources the team has at its disposal?
  • Will my job be at stake if the team does not deliver as expected?
  • What are the extra privileges available to a team member?
  • How the conflicts within the team will be resolved?
  • How will my performance as a team member be linked to my annual performance appraisal?
  • Who will help if I or the team requires training or other support?
  • What if my Functional Supervisor hinders my participation in the team’s work?

 

As a member of the Function/Department/Unit – Individual, collective & direct information needs:

 

  • How my function/department/unit has fared this year?
  • Why my boss has assessed my performance as inadequate when the function/department/unit has done so well? Does that imply that the ‘sword is likely to be on my neck’?
  • Why our function/department/unit is treated like an orphan by the management?
  • Why I am not being given challenging assignments?
  • What are the key developments in other functions/departments/units of the company?
  • Why employees of other functions/departments/units get better or more benefits?

 

As a member of the organization – Individual & indirect information needs:

 

  • What are the core values of my company?
  • How my company has performed during the specific period and what are the central reasons for the performance?
  • What are the significant developments (political issues, competition related, mergers, acquisitions, takeovers, government policies, etc.) that affect my company (and therefore, me)?
  • Whom should I talk to if I receive unsubstantiated information about my company from the external or internal sources?
  • How my company is planning to grow in coming 2-3 years?

 

CLOSING BELL:

Though the information needs become more specific, differentiated, and time sensitive as one moves up in the pecking order, it cannot be denied that the same information can be shared, of course, on a case-to-case basis, in different ways with different levels of the employees, at the same time or at different points of time. Reaching out to the employees at the right time is always a healthier option irrespective of whether the employees have voiced about their information needs. Information shared at a date later than the required, serves no purpose. All employees do not require all information, but some employees require some information. Correct?

Transparency in sharing of information implies ‘openness’, which is a key constituent of a healthy organizational culture. However, the degree of openness is a subjective criterion and it depends on the workforce’s collective perception, which is primarily influenced by the difference between the management’s advocated philosophy or business policy and the real practice of sharing the information. Transparency in sharing information is a key ingredient for trust-building between the employees & the management.

The real torch-bearer of the ‘transparency’ is the HR Head. She is not only accountable to make sure that every employee receives the ‘required’ information, but also should persuade or even insist when required, that the members of the senior management demonstrate openness and behavioral transparency, consistently.

‘Behavior speaks louder than words’ and here it means that no member of the senior management should be seen as ‘hiding’ or ‘suppressing’ or ‘tweaking’ the information. Practicing ‘transparency’ is an art as well as a science for HR the professionals. It is more an art when they have to be transparent themselves and it is more of a science when they have to make sure that the employees perceive the organization as transparent.

The Union’s Right to Information or How to File a Successful Request For Information

In this article we will answer the following questions and a whole lot more:

• What is a request for information?
• Under what conditions can I request information?
• What can I do if the company refuses to give me the information I requested?

The request for information comes from the obligation and duty to bargain and applies to contract negotiations as well as the grievance procedures that follow.

Congress enacted the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) in 1935 to protect the rights of employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining, and to curtail certain private sector labor and management practices, which can harm the general welfare of workers, businesses and the U.S. economy.

An employer who refuses to provide information or unreasonably delays the provision of information violates Section 8(a)(5) of the Act.

Information can be requested by a Union who is certified to represent company’s employees for the following reasons:

• To prepare for collective bargaining negotiations
• To monitor the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)
• To investigate a grievance

In order for a request to be valid it must somehow relate to one of the above issues.

For example, a Union is preparing for negotiations and requests a copy of all workplace rules and regulations, a list of all positions to include their duties, responsibilities and where their position is located at.

Another example would be if a Union was investigating the discharge of a member. The Union could request a copy of all information used by the employer to decide to terminate the member, including but not limited to, all evidence, statements, emails, photographs, video recordings, audio recordings, photographs and any notes.

Even though a grievance is not necessary to request information it is recommended that the Union has some form of probable cause to justify a request. It does not hurt the Union’s case to be able to articulate the reasons behind their request.

What types of information can the Union request?

It would actually be easier to list all of the information the Union cannot require from the employer. Here are a few examples of information that is not allowed:

• Information covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA)
• Trade secrets covered as propriety information
• Information which the employer has consistently enforced a policy barring disclosure so long as the employer provides an alternative or substitute form of disclosure

In order for your request to be effective it must contain the following items:

• It must clearly identify the information being requested.
• If the request is in connection to another matter such as a grievance it must be clearly referenced.

The following items are highly recommended:

• Clearly state where the information is to be delivered
• Clearly state how the information is to be delivered
• Clearly state when the information is expected to be delivered
• Clearly state that if any part of the request is denied the employer must state this fact in its response

Now let’s talk about delivery. In order for a request to be effective you must have proof of delivery. This can be accomplished in several ways. They are:

• Via certified mail, return receipt requested.
• By hand delivery, with a statement from the person performing the delivery.
• By fax or by email along with a confirmation copy, a reply or a phone call verifying that it was actually delivered.

What can you do if the company refuses or fails to provide the information requested?

The agency that enforces the National Labor Relations Act is the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The NLRB is an independent agency of the United States government charged with investigating and remedying unfair labor practices. As previously mentioned, an employer who refuses to provide information or unreasonably delays the provision of information violates Section 8(a)(5) of the Act.

This next part will depend how your Union is set up. Many organizations require Locals to go through their parent organization in order to file NLRB charges. You should check with your National or International before moving forward.

For those Locals or Independent Unions who are left to fend for themselves you can file the charges in two ways. You can fill out the forms yourself and either walk them into the NLRB or fax them in, or you can call the NLRB and the Information Officer (who normally answers the phone) will take the necessary information from you.

After a few days an Agent will contact you and tell you what you will need to do. Be prepared to provide an affidavit under oath as well as provide all relevant information or witnesses to support your case.

Generally speaking, NLRB charges filed over refusals to provide information are not subject to the NLRB’s policy of deferral.

This means that the NLRB will fully investigate the issue and if the violation is found to be valid, the NLRB can order the employer to provide the information requested.