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What Gen Z Wants

Out with the old and in with the new! Generation Z is entering the workforce, and it is time for organizations to be prepared for their many needs compared to millennials. The next group of young adults is a tech-savvy and inquisitive group of talent, born in a time when political and socioeconomic polarities impacted society (think: economic crash, Sandy Hook, etc.).

If you’re looking to redefine your employee appreciation language for the next generation of workers, consider this.

Who Are Gen Z

Generation Z are born after 1995 and have major respect for personal engagement at work and technology to balance work productivity. These employees will travel the world in order to pursue the career of their dreams. Most are highly intelligent and curious, asking questions on the job to develop ideas for operational improvement initiatives. Unlike millennials, they have realistic expectations for their employers and are vocal in presenting their ideas, despite their lack of work experience.

What Gen Z Wants

As you review a student resume, it is important to search for the skills of your ideal employee that can add value to the team. Try searching for action words such as “invented”, “developed”, “organized”, and “achieved” when creating a shortlist of candidates. Generation Z’s experience will primarily be in committee work on campus, volunteering, internships, and classroom projects, which offer transferable skills that can be used in the workplace. Their lack of experience is an advantage because their perspective of the outside world and discussions with their parents can result in unconventional ideas that can potentially help a company grow.

Salary Expectations

Generation Z grew up when the economy started to recover in North America. If the economic downfall didn’t impact their parents, someone in their circle of friends has a story. This age group, unlike millennials, does not expect to be guaranteed a high salary after graduation. Most realize that the starting salary can start at less than $36,000. According to Fast Company, “Among young college graduates, average wages are $19.18 per hour—only 1.4% higher than in 2000.” Nonetheless, there is an expectation that with experience and time also comes an increase in income before retirement.

Open Discussions with Management

Technology is second nature to Generation Z, but a face-to-face connection with their manager is still vital for career development. It is important to foster open communication. When employee’s feel heard, this adds value to their work experience. These professionals aim to work at organizations that will guide their career with regular performance evaluations.

Workplace Cultures

Flexible workplaces are here to stay for Gen Z with an emphasis on an area for employees to relieve stress and focus on work-life balance. The CEO should project this type of culture down to management.  This helps the group flourish in a company that genuinely practices these initiatives.

Here is a list of flexible work options to consider:

  • A gym in the building
  • Room for employees to destress (i.e., game room, TV room, sleep room)
  • Options to work from home (i.e., once a month)

In addition, well-being programs and personalized healthcare benefits for employees are additional examples worth implementing at your company.

Acknowledged and Taken Seriously

There are many common misconceptions about Generation Z. They do not respect authority, are glued to their phones, lack social skills, and do not want to work hard.  The truth is, Gen Z has an entrepreneurial spirit. However, this also comes with its own advantages. Gen Z isn’t afraid to work longer hours and benefits from how their work positively impacts a company. This group values the opinions of their superiors and working alongside seasoned professionals in their department. They have the confidence to socialize with executives in meetings and share their ideas about customer experience improvements.

As you begin hiring Generation Z at your business, consider what these employees want, the strengths of this generation, and the desired benefits in your decision-making process.

Hygge at the Office

If you’re into wellness you may have heard about a new trend called Hygge. According to the Oxford Dictionaries, Hygge (pronounced hue-guh not hoo-gah) is “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture)”. What is a seemingly simple word has become a lifestyle for many as they seek to incorporate this sense of balance in their everyday life.

As we start 2018, it’s fitting to start off on a note of positivity and balance. What better way to do that than by adding Hygge into our mantra for the new year.
Here are a few ways we’re cultivating Hygge at work:
Make your space your own.
Whether you’re always on the go or sit stationary in a cubicle, make your workspace your own by adding pictures of loved ones to your dashboard or adding plants to your desk. PerkSpotter Frank added a cactus to his desk, which is proven to reduce stress, increase productivity, improve air quality and more.

hygge at the office perkspot

Make your lunch break count.

It can be easy to get caught up in your endless list of to-dos, but don’t forget that moments of space and rest can provide meaningful restoration for what’s ahead. Take time to break. Savor your food and enjoy the moments of stillness. Our fellow PerkSpotter, Karla (@eatingwithkarly) takes pride in every meal she creates and even posts her food prep on instagram to share. We love seeing the detail she takes in making her lunch every day. Just one of many ways Karla inspires us here at PerkSpot.

A post shared by Karly (@eatingwithkarly) on

Make meditation part of your day.

You’ve heard it before and we’ll say it again: practice mindfulness. Take two minutes to stop and breathe. Maybe you start a routine every hour on the hour. Maybe it’s just once in the morning and once in the afternoon. But by taking time to stop and clear your head, you’re on your way to a more positive frame of mind. Nick and Dan, pictured below, are taking time this morning to stop and breathe. They said they already felt more Zen.
hygge at the office perkspot

Make moves.

Try sitting in different areas of your office or walking around the neighborhood. Moving around, especially in the colder months, is vital to keeping your blood flowing and your mind working. Take a moment to try out different spaces whenever you can. PerkSpotter Zach B. loves stealing time in the lounge to focus on the latest tech project up his sleeve.

hygge at the office perkspot

These are a few simple ways we’re incorporating Hygge at PerkSpot. How will you find balance in 2018?

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Why You Should Factor in Discounts

Coupons, deals, discounts! These three words might not be ones you normally think of when it comes to employee happiness… but science says, you might want to look closer.
discount science Discount science is an understudied topic, but we think it’s an important one! From keeping employees’ happy to saving them valuable time and money, the evidence is clear.

The History of Coupons

But let’s start from the beginning. Have you ever wondered where coupons started? According to TIME, Coca-cola introduced the first coupon in 1887 with a hand-written ticket offering customers a free taste of their new drink. The success of this campaign is evident in how vast Coca-cola’s reach has been over the last century. Fast-forward to today and more than 700 corporations offer discounts on some type of product or service. It’s no secret that coupons work. But what makes them so successful? And why is it relevant? Only discount science can say!

Discount Science

The Happiness Factor

According to a study in 2012 by Coupons.com, coupon recipients were 11% happier than those who did not receive a coupon. Scientists measured oxytocin levels in participants, the same hormone we experience when we kiss or hug someone. They found that consumers who received a coupon had higher levels by 38%. Scientifically, you could say they were in love with the savings!

The Time Factor

Unfortunately, according to media company Valassis, time is (literally) money for many of today’s employees. In their recent survey, 53 percent of respondents said they spend over two hours a week searching for deals and savings, while 25% of millennials and moms invest over four hours into their search.

The Employer Factor

We believe this is where, as an employer, we can make lives a lot easier for our employees. Employee engagement has gone from a hot topic to a make or break for attracting and retaining top talent. In fact, 4 out of 5 employees would rather receive benefits or perks over a pay raise. By providing discounts, you’re not only putting money back in your employees pockets, but you’re saving them valuable time and energy as well.

It’s easy to offer perks, but are you offering the right ones? Providing discounts can improve happiness among your employees while saving them valuable time and money. The best part is that our discounts are easy to access and easy to use! We’ll save your employees hours each week and put smiles back on their faces.

Contact our team to learn more!

HR’s Response to #MeToo

In light of the recent Harvey Weinstein allegations, you may have noticed your social feeds filling up with #metoo. This hashtag movement is raising awareness of sexual harassment, and as usual, we’re left asking the question… what does this mean for HR? What is HR’s response to #MeToo?

HR's response to #metoo

It may not shock us to hear experiences of sexual harassment or abuse in Hollywood. However, if you saw #metoo appearing on your social network, it may have come as a surprise how prevalent sexual harassment is among our social circles and our workplaces.

Sexual harassment is not new to the workforce, nor is HR ignorant to its existence. However, just like any other workplace issue, the fight is continuous and constantly changing.

If you’re a human resources professional, here are a few questions you should be asking yourself about sexual harassment, and some hard truths we found based on a 2016 report from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

How can we create an environment of trust, versus fear, in our workforces so our employees feel free, and safe, to come forward when facing harassment?

Hard Truth: A 2003 study reported 75% of employees who spoke out against workplace mistreatment faced some form of retaliation.

 

How can we redefine what sexual harassment means in 2017 and ensure our employees know their rights?

Hard Truth: One in four women (25%) reported experiencing “sexual harassment” in the workplace when the term was not defined. Whereas, when “sexual harassment” included example scenarios, the rate rose to 50%, and when defined as “unwanted sexual attention or sexual coercion” along with examples, the rate rose to 75%.

 

How can we educate employees on company policies and procedures in response to sexual harassment?

Hard Truth: 90% of workers who have experienced harassment never formally reported it.

 

How can we not just perform preventative measures, but instead foster a culture of respect and civility among employees?

Hard Truth: Both male and female employees who observed hostility directed toward their female coworkers, not even dealing with the harassment directly, were more likely to experience lower psychological well-being.

 
The workplace is ever-evolving and our policies and preventions for Sexual Harassment need to keep up. It’s vital to the life of our businesses, to the bottom line, and to our employees’ well-being.

How to Be Assertive (for Introverts)

There are occasional advantages to being more outgoing at work. And while this post doesn’t assume that all extroverts are assertive and all introverts are not, it’s safe to say assertiveness does not often come natural to those of us who tend to keep to ourselves. In fact, research shows that 4 out of 5 introverts believe that having more extroverted traits would help them advance in the workplace.

assertiveness for introverts

Introverts, there is hope for you yet. It’s very possible to stay true to yourself and still assert yourself in the workplace. Here are a few pointers.

1. Listen and prepare.

One super strength of introverts is that they are more likely to listen first, then speak. Take advantage of this strength and prepare for your next meeting or project. Nothing will help your confidence levels like a well-researched plan, so take time (alone! yay!) to think through possible questions that might come up and rehearse your responses.

2. Be mindful.

Have to give a presentation but feel like puking? Take a moment to center yourself and release any doubts that are passing through your mind. Or, do a power pose in front of the mirror before you step into the conference room. Yes, we’re being completely serious. This can boost your confidence levels and give you a rush of adrenaline that you might need to conquer your next task or difficult conversation.

3. Explain your needs.

Whether you’re communicating with a coworker or your boss, learning to explain your needs can seriously impact the efficiency of your communication. Don’t expect them to read your mind. Clearly communicate which needs are not being met and how they can fulfill them. If you’re struggling to get to this step, make a list and think through possible scenarios before you meet with the person. Again, preparation is the key to confidence.

4. Use a communication method that works for you.

Some of us need to look the person in the eye when we’re dealing with a conflict. Others of us would prefer the written word. Whatever your style, just make sure you’re communicating clearly and appropriately. If you’re upset, write it out and wait before you hit SEND. Come back an hour later and revisit your draft. If you decide to meet in person, give the other party a heads up that you need to talk to them about something important. That will give them time to prepare and they’ll appreciate not being bombarded with a conflict.

5. Ask for advice when you need it.

Enjoying alone time doesn’t mean we should work like we’re on an island. This isn’t good for you or your team. Remember that you have resources all around you to tap into. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

For more advice on assertiveness, here’s an awesome read.

National Work and Family Month

In 2003, Congress declared October National Work and Family Month. According to Former President Barack Obama’s official White House statement in 2010, “National Work and Family Month serves as a reminder to all of us, especially working caregivers, their families, and their employers, that while we have made great strides as a nation to adopt more flexible policies in the workplace, there’s more we can do.”

national work and family month

Great Strides

Yes, as a nation, we’ve come a long way and that’s worth celebrating. Less than 100 years ago, during World War II, women began to flood into the workforce, increasing from 27 percent of the working population to 37 percent in just five years, meaning one in four women were working outside the home for the first time. Today, 54 percent of the U.S. workforce are women, showing the great strides we’ve made in a relatively short amount of time.

There’s More We Can Do

But, October is off to a rough start. From natural disasters in Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico, to the mass shootings in Las Vegas, now more than ever is the time for employers to remember the humanity their companies were built to serve. This means providing a flexible work environment that understands the needs of parents and their growing families.

1. Provide Better Policies

This is the bare minimum of what companies can do to provide a flexible work environment for employees. While the Family and Medical Leave Act was implemented in 1993, the U.S. still falls way behind when it comes to providing mandatory paternity leave. The first thing an employer should do is provide policies that protect their employees against discrimination and encourage them to take necessary time away when starting their families.

2. Walk the Talk

Plenty of companies boast of their workplace flexibility, but few are actually practicing what they preach. We hear of countless employers providing “unlimited paid time-off” but the reality is without clear expectations or good management, employees are left with guilt and misunderstanding, and often take less days off than before. When thinking about expectations, this seems to incite negative connotations for many of us. But expectations can also mean encouraging an employee to stay home when they’re not feeling well or take a few days off when a big project wraps up. At PerkSpot, we are lucky to have implemented this policy with great success, but not without constant work and re-evaluation. It works because the managers provide clear expectations of when to take time off and when we should be in the office. Plus, they model the benefits by taking off for week-long family vacations or much-needed downtime.

3. Lead by Example

This brings us to our next point. No company policy in and of itself is going to solve problems. That’s where it’s important to hire and train effective managers who not only implement policies, but who can model this behavior to their team. No one feels safe to take time off when the boss is sneezing all day long in their office. Managers, take care of yourselves and take care of your team.

4. Bend the Rules

Even your most flexible policies might stand in the way, so don’t be afraid to bend a little. We’re all human and we all face circumstances out of our control. Think outside the HR box and get creative. There’s a time and a place for every rule so make sure you discuss when a situation might arise that requires a reassessment of company policies. Being flexible means being flexible… even when it comes to your policies.

What are some ways you’re celebrating National Work and Family Month? How has your company made strides to protect families inside the workplace?

Why Your Coffee Addiction is Your Healthiest Habit (Or, How to Drink Caffeine Like a Scientist)

coffee addiction Colorful Rocks

We love coffee, so we decided to offer you a little wisdom about this surprisingly healthful beverage. Coffee actually boasts a longer and more diverse list of health benefits than most superfoods, which is great news for the 54% of Americans adults who consume at least one cup a day. Below you will find a rundown of the not-so-obvious ways that coffee is good — one might even say great — for your health.

Below that are some additional tips for the best way to imbibe your caffeine, no matter your preferred source beverage (we didn’t forget you, tea and soda drinkers of the world!). It turns out that a bunch of the ways we normally consume caffeine (e.g. first thing in the morning) are actually the scientifically worst ways to do so, minimizing its effectiveness and increasing the likelihood that you’ll become a bona fide caffeine addict.

We’re the discount specialists here, so it’s important to us that you are getting the biggest bang for your caffeine buck.

coffee addiction Desk Plant

I. Coffee is the Workplace Super-Beverage

All the Antioxidants.

Nothing else comes close” to providing as many antioxidants in the American diet. In terms of antioxidants per serving, coffee “easily outranks” other popular sources like tea, chocolate, and cranberries. Coffee beans are particularly rich in disease-combatting quinines, which actually become more potent after roasting — dark roast fans rejoice!

Technically: Dates trump coffee for antioxidants per serving, but we thought it’d be easier to write a piece about why that drink you love is really awesome, rather than try to convince you to start eating dates on the daily.

Stress-Free Scent.

The simple aroma of coffee is shown to reduce stress stemming from sleep deprivation. An international group of scientists linked exposure to the scent off coffee with the boosted expression of genes and brain proteins that protect nerve cells from stress-related damage. This is a big one considering that 84% of Americans report under sleeping at least once a week.

Best for Your Brain.

People who consume 3-5 cups of coffee a day in adulthood are observed with a 65% decreased risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Coffee may decrease risk of Parkinson’s disease, and now this recent study finds that 2-4 cups of coffee a day can reduce movement-related symptoms in Parkinson’s patients.

Tea drinkers: There is some scientific evidence to suggest that tea has similarly favorable effects against cognitive decline, but the results are less consistent and less pronounced.

Your Liver Loves It.

A 22-year longitudinal study found that the risk of developing alcoholic liver cirrhosis decreased by 22% with each cup of coffee subjects drank per day. 1-4 daily cups of coffee are also demonstrated — although with less pronounced results — to help prevent other types of cirrhosis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

10% Happier.

Coffee fanatics (think 4 cups a day) are 10% less likely to be depressed than those who don’t drink coffee. This finding holds true for both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee. Other studies suggest similar mood boosting effects for a more moderate 2-3 cups.

Take note: Sugary beverages — particularly soft drinks — have a higher risk of depression. For the best coffee-induced mood boost, we recommend drinking it unsweetened. (Your cavity-free teeth will be happier too!)

coffee addiction Colored Pencils

II. Don’t Drink Your Caffeine Like A Rookie

Cortisol Control.

If you’re like most of us, you probably have your first (or second or third) caffeinated beverage within an hour of waking up. This is basically the worst possible time to drink your caffeine. Our bodies run on a 24-hour hormonal cycle called the circadian clock. In the morning, our bodies to naturally release cortisol, a hormone that makes us feel alert and awake. If you typically wake up between 6am and 8am, peak cortisol production lasts until about 9am.

Don’t drink caffeine during peak cortisol production.

Cortisol not only reduces the effects of caffeine, but also spurs your body to build up a caffeine tolerance. The more often you consume caffeine during peak cortisol production, the more likely you are to become dependent on caffeine just to feel awake. So when should you drink it? Science says between 9:30am – 11am and 1:30pm – 5pm.

Slow and Steady.

Research suggests that small, frequent doses are the most effective way to consume caffeine. Caffeine peaks in the body between 30 and 60 minutes after consumption. Harvard Medical School researchers found that an hourly dose of 25-100mg with a daily maximum intake of 400mg is the optimal method for maximizing caffeine’s stimulant effects without experiencing the dreaded 3pm crash. (For reference: one cup of coffee typically contains about 100mg of caffeine.)

Learn more and test your knowledge with this Caffeine Quiz.

Motivating the Unmotivated

An article was posted a few days ago that posed the question: “Can You Teach Work Ethic?”. Whether you are a Talent Management Director, a Human Resources Manager, a CEO, or just starting out in your career, you’ve probably come across employees who lack that special something.

Call it work ethic, gumption, motivation, or engagement. There are plenty of words to describe that characteristic that makes good employees, well… good.

motivating unmotivated employees

So is it possible to instill work ethic in the unmotivated? Is it a question of engagement or is it intrinsic?

Here are a few ways you can motivate even the most unmotivated of employees:

Talk it Out

First things first, you might need to get to the root of the problem. There could be many reasons why an employee is not putting their best foot forward: personal reasons, boredom, unclear expectations, etc. Schedule time to chat with the employee and keep an open mind about what they may be experiencing. Maybe they need more work on their plate or maybe they need a vacation. Figure out what they need from you and see how you can make that happen.

Empower Them Through Goal-Setting

After your conversation, make a plan for you and your employee. Set goals that help your employee feel empowered, not micro-managed. You can do this by making the goals a discussion, not a demand. By empowering them to take ownership of these expectations, they are more likely to stay motivated to follow-through.

Give Them Freedom to Make Mistakes

A lot of employees don’t take initiative because they’re afraid of failure. When setting goals, make sure they’re aware that the expectation is not perfection, but completion. As they work to complete a project or achieve a goal, ask questions along the way that let them know you’re in it together. Mistakes are inevitable and while you don’t want to encourage sloppy work, it’s important to create a forgiving environment for employees to take chances and risk failure.

Rinse and Repeat

Keep in mind that engaging employees should be an ongoing process, not a once a year thing. Schedule a monthly touch-base. Walk around the block for five minutes to get out of the office and help your employee feel comfortable opening up about where they’re struggling. Take this opportunity to point out where they succeeded and where they could improve. For particularly troublesome employees, let them know your expectations for the future if they continue to fall short.

Keeping unmotivated employees engaged is not easy, but it’s essential to cultivating the work culture we all desire. Follow these steps and if you don’t see improvement, it may be an issue of poor culture fit or the wrong position. Again, ask questions to get to the root of the issue. In the end, you’re after what’s best for the company and for the employee and sticking around when they’re unhappy isn’t good for either.

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

I was chatting with a couple of friends the other day and each were sharing their unique experiences at work. There was one thing they each shared, however, which was their struggle with comparison. Each of the girls have just started new positions in the last year and as they strive to prove themselves at work, the natural tendency to compare themselves and their work to those around them has slowly creeped in.

But they are not alone in their experiences. Social comparison is so common that there is even a theory based around its effects.

stop comparing yourself

Whether you’re starting a new career or you’re a veteran in your role, here are a few ways comparison can rob us of joy and how you can counteract these feelings:

Comparisons do not show the full picture.

You might have heard the expression “You have the same number of hours in the day as Beyonce”. While true and motivating, Beyonce was also blessed with opportunities that many of us will never have. Comparing yourself to others is unfair because we each have unique backgrounds, skills, and passions.

Gratitude reveals the whole story.

Instead of comparison, consider ways you can be grateful instead. Make a list every day of five things you are thankful for. Whenever you start comparing yourself to others, reach for the list and remember that what you have experienced serves to make you the person that you are and put you on a career path that’s uniquely yours.

Comparisons put the focus on the wrong person.

“He’s so smart.” “She’s so successful.” “His life is perfect.” Notice the subject of these sentences is not YOU. Comparisons have the power to put your focus on other people instead of on your own accomplishments.

Pride redefines the meaning of success.

Instead of focusing on what other people achieved, consider your own successes. It can be as small as finishing a report to larger achievements like a promotion or a raise. No matter how insignificant, tracking our achievements can be a great way to put the focus back on ourselves and our goals.

Comparisons build resentment.

One of the most harmful effects of social comparison is the resentment that can build over time. We can not only become bitter about our own shortcomings, but also resent others’ success, harming our relationships and creating walls between us.

Humility brings happiness.

This is probably the most difficult to achieve, but when we turn comparison into admiration, the results can be extremely beneficial. Instead of harboring feelings of jealousy, ask questions of the people you respect. Determine how they got to the place that you admire. You may find that things are not quite as simple as they appear, or find ways to reach your own goals that you might not have thought of before. It might not be easy to put away those jealous feelings, but in the end, you’ll build stronger relationships and learn a lot along the way.

“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms.” Don’t think about what the other flowers are doing… just bloom.

Making a Difference for Diversity and Inclusion

The news of Charlottesville has shaken most of us to our core. As a result, it can be easy to lose sight of the efforts we’ve made for diversity and inclusion.

diversity and inclusion

The following stories do not take away from the effects of Charlottesville and the battle we must continue to fight. However, we think it’s important to also recognize the good. There are companies in the U.S. who are taking a stand and making a difference. They are creating a safe, fulfilling, and supportive environment for employees of underrepresented communities.

Here are companies making a difference for diversity in 2017. Oh, and best of all, they all happen to be PerkSpot clients.

Humana:

Leading the charge, Humana focuses on the well-being of their associates through the Executive Inclusion & Diversity Council, led by their President and CEO, Bruce Broussard, and various Network Resource Groups that provide business outreach and professional development. In turn, their goal is to make Humana associates passionate about I&D in order to better serve their communities and help them to achieve their best health.

“Humana serves millions of members, and each of them is unique … By reflecting that diversity in our associate population, we can meet our members where they are on their health journeys and better understand their needs. Our associates’ vast variety of backgrounds, perspectives and beliefs makes us a stronger, more nimble and more empathetic company.” – Bruce Broussard, CEO

Abbott:

Voted number 10 on DiversityInc’s Top 50 most diverse companies list, Abbott is leading the charge for diversity. Women and people of color make up almost 50% of their corporate board of directors. In fact, as a whole women make up an impressive 47% of management. With cross-cultural mentors and corporate diversity goals, diversity is a top priority for Abbott.

“Diversity is a strength, period. It takes diversity of gender, ethnicity, and background to drive the diversity of ideas that we need to succeed. We do business in more than 150 countries; to understand and serve a rich and varied world, a broad range of perspectives isn’t an option — it’s essential.” – Miles D. White, Chairman and CEO

AbbVie:

In 2017, AbbVie launched a new Diversity & Inclusion Committee, aimed at offering their employees “the tools, training and experiences they need to reach their potential.” AbbVie also created Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), that bring employees together who share a common interest while focusing on mentoring, networking, and professional development.

“Developing and bringing innovative, life-saving medicines to patients requires diverse thought and approaches. Bringing together experts from diverse backgrounds and thought is crucial to our ability to deliver today and into the future.” – Richard A. Gonzalez, Chairman and CEO

We are inundated with  story after story on the news of tragedy and hate. However, we hope these stories will inspire you and your company to flip the script.