The Case Against Christmas Bonuses

first_imgMy company is well known for its “generous” profit-sharing plan. In fact, we even won a Custom Home Pacesetter Award for it a few years ago. The dirty little secret is that we don’t actually have a profit sharing plan. (My accountant loves to drive this home to me at every opportunity.)There are unintended consequences of well-intentioned actions in every part of business, as in life, but nowhere are they more obvious and frustrating than in employee compensation plans. Several times, I’ve handed out what seemed like a huge amount of money only to be met with resentment because “it sure seemed to me that the company was doing better than this!”I remember the prima-donna framing crew (now alumni) that had mandatory paid sit-down breaks and long lunches because our open-book management report showed that the company wasn’t making much profit on trim labor compared to framing labor. But probably the most painful one was the young builder who recently told me that he had adopted a written profit sharing plan but had never shown enough of a profit to actually have any left to share, and now people felt betrayed and were leaving his company.So I don’t have a profit-sharing plan.I have a disbursement-sharing plan. in which I distribute $40 for every $60 that Beth and I take home beyond our hourly wage. And it is “undefined” to the extent that I choose how much each employee receives based on my own assessment of their contributions to the company culture. And in years past, when profits were elusive but the team was pulling together well, I borrowed money from the bank to fund my “profit-sharing plan.” (This makes my accountant turn red in the face and twitch uncontrollably.)The goal of a good employee compensation plan is to optimize the profitability of the group by encouraging efficiency, diligence, skill improvement, and teamwork. When it’s done right, the workers in the field will push themselves to weed out mediocrity and improve customer service. When done wrong, it can create a culture of entitlement, competitiveness, and resentment. The unintended consequences are always a single misstep away, but all the more so when your company is perceived as “holding itself to a higher standard.”I say no to End-of-Year Profit Sharing for several reasons. For one, the profitability of the company is subject to interpretation and manipulation, it is not a simple and provable number. The way I post expenses using accrual, percent completion, cash or GAAP (Generically Accepted Accounting Principles – yuck) accounting will yield different assessments of my profitability. I may delay or accelerate collections or expenses at the end of December to change my profit and tax picture. I may prefer to hold on to retained earnings to strengthen the company as we head into a slow period rather than distribute taxable profits to myself or my crew. At New Years I may be just too busy to take the time to do end-of-year accounting right away but the crew still need to be rewarded for their efforts.So my decision about the total disbursement amount is based not on the profitability of the company but on the amount I feel is safe to distribute based on my assessment of the financial health of the company looking forward as far as I can see based on the information at hand It’s tempered by my assessment of the performance of the team as a whole but the 60/40 ratio is fixed, if there’s enough for me there’s enough to share. Regardless of how I figure it, the best time to disburse an end-of-year bonus is well before the end of the year.I give Thanksgiving bonuses. The kind of people I want to have in my company are bighearted people who want nothing more than to provide for their loved ones as best they are able. To these folks, the holiday season is a time when they are tempted to overextend themselves to give to their families. I give them their bonuses before the holiday season so that they will know what they have to spend and be less likely to have regrets come January. This also makes them more likely to praise the company at family and social gatherings, and just telling all their friends and relations how much they are appreciated at work makes them more likely to carry a positive attitude in their daily work ethic when January comes around. That positive attitude is what I’m hoping to cultivate and it, along with smart estimates and business systems, are what will result in a profitable year and healthy profit sharing checks.I don’t give Christmas bonuses because, in the big picture, Thanksgiving bonuses yield a higher return on investment for my company. And it feels right to me; I get to show thanks to them for pulling together and helping achieve another profitable year, and they get to feel thankful for having a team that appreciates them. A win-win proposition all around.last_img read more

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How will self-driving cars handle the snow?

first_imgCameras on self-driving cars act as extra support to detect obstacles on the road. Manufacturers may place these cameras behind the windshield wipers or develop defrost mechanisms so that visibility remains clear even in the winter. Multiple sensors will help mitigate the danger as if one sensor becomes covered by snow or ice, the other sensors can compensate for it. The cameras will work alongside the mapping algorithms, lidar and radar to provide safety. Some manufacturers are taking the need for extra sensors a step further; Mercedes-Benz offers a car with 23 sensors that detect guardrails, oncoming traffic and trees so that the vehicle can travel without lane lines. Tags:#driverless cars#Internet of Things#IoT#Self-Driving IT Trends of the Future That Are Worth Paying A… Over 70 percent of the nation’s roads are located in snowy regions that receive more than five inches of average snowfall each year. According to the Federal Highway Administration, over 70% of the United States population also live in those areas.Suffice to say, driverless vehicles won’t matter one bit to Americans unless the cars can drive well in snowy weather. No one is likely to use a “fair weather” driverless car that must be taken off the road during the winter months.See also: Uber told to pull over self-driving fleet by California DMVIn recent years, we’ve heard about how storms and even snowflakes can challenge self-driving cars. However, technology is advancing and engineers are finding solutions that will allow driverless cars to operate safely in inclement weather.What we know about the tech nowIn the winter, snow and ice reduce pavement friction and decrease visibility on the roads. On average, over 1300 people are killed and more than 116,000 people are injured in vehicle crashes on snowy or icy pavement annually.Self-driving cars have the opportunity to save a lot of these lives, but only if they are capable of driving in snow better than we can. Driverless vehicles will face many of the same challenges that human drivers face in the winter: Slowing, turning and stopping the vehicle on icy streets will still be treacherous as snow tires and all-wheel drive can only prevent so much. Skids and spinouts will likely still occur.Furthermore, the snow and ice that gathers on driverless car sensors could create additional threats, as those sensors help the car see. While motorists also have to worry about visibility during storms, we don’t have to worry about snow or ice gathering in our eyes—we only need good windshield wipers. With automated vehicles, snow can cover up radar, camera and lidar sensors all at once, rendering them useless and leaving the car’s computerized eyes blind. Fortunately, there are solutions available that will help automated vehicles handle winter weather and deal with these challenges.How driverless car tech will combat snowHow will automated vehicles learn to drive in snow as well as humans can? Driving safely in wintry conditions often comes with experience. A new driver typically can’t drive as confidently in the snow compared to a driver who has years of experience with skids and spinouts in inclement weather. Technology will help solve this problem. While none of these self-driving car sensors are safe enough to use alone in the snow, they provide accuracy when operated together. Here are the four types of tech that will allow driverless cars to move safely on snowy streets.3D Maps are used in self-driving cars so that the vehicles are aware of where the roads are located and how to operate safely on them. Many driverless car manufacturers use precise mapping techniques, that include details such as the positioning of trees, signs, lane lines and curbs. The more a vehicle knows about the area, the more it can focus its sensors on detecting real-time obstacles like other cars or pedestrians. These 3D maps are helpful in fair weather, but they also have a unique advantage in the snow when used in conjunction with LiDAR technology. For Self-Driving Systems, Infrastructure and In… LIDAR technology works by using light beam detection to detect obstacles. The technology is very accurate and can see raindrops, snowflakes, trees and street signs. In snowy weather, LiDAR works with 3D mapping and compares the map from a clear day with that of the current road conditions. For example, if the street is covered in snow, the LiDAR scanner can still determine where the road’s lane lines are located. By using light beam detection, the car determines its distance from a visible set object—a stop sign or building—and then calculates where the covered lane lines are based on that measurement. Ford implemented this technology into their self-driving cars and other manufacturers will likely use it as well. Additionally, 3D mapping and LiDAR technology are able to determine whether snowflakes or raindrops are obstacles or not. When a laser goes through rain or snow, it may originally believe the drops of precipitation are road obstacles. However, with an algorithm, the car can check for the obstacle’s persistency. The laser will not hit the same raindrop or snowflake twice, and the vehicle is able to rule them out as road obstructions. Break the Mold with Real-World Logistics AI and…center_img Radar technology senses objects by emitting electromagnetic waves. It is not affected by snow or rain as much as LiDAR is because it does not involve light reflection. Radar can still detect moving vehicles, buildings and pedestrians in inclement weather which will help automated cars drive safely. However, many manufacturers are placing the radar sensors behind the windshield so that the wipers can protect them from snow or rain. If the sensors are outside the vehicle, they may become iced over and will no longer work. Seth Birnbaum A lot of the tech is still up in the airThere are many challenges that driverless cars still need to face before they’ll be able to operate in all types of weather. While technology is advancing, some factors about how driverless cars will operate in winter still remain unknown. Black ice and slippery side streets will remain a problem for automated cars, and snow tires will likely still be a necessity.While human operators often make decisions about whether it is safe to drive inclement weather, it is unclear how driverless cars will make that rather cognitive choice. If a passenger gets into the car to leave the house, will the vehicle say, “I can’t drive you there because the conditions are unsafe?” If there is a snow squall during travel, what will the car decide to do?Auto insurance will be especially important for self-driving vehicles during the winter months. As advanced as technology gets, ice will still be ice—skids, spinouts and rear-end collisions will likely still occur on the roads. Sensors that do get blocked by ice or snow will need extra protection and the vehicles will need to plan ahead for dangerous weather.Furthermore, will the vehicles be equipped with the technology that currently helps out human drivers? Anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control have served humans well, but some of that software may not yet be available for driverless cars as the tech is sometimes made by third-party suppliers. So, while self-driving car technology is getting better at handling snow, it’s clear that we are still a long way off. In other words, don’t expect a driverless car to drive you through a blizzard anytime soon. Related Posts 5 Ways IoT can Help to Reduce Automatic Vehicle…last_img read more

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Google Duplex and the (Wholly Exaggerated) Death of the Sales Rep

first_imgIn many ways, Google Duplex is very impressive. The ability to replicate natural language is startlingly good compared to both Siri and Alexa. But that pales in comparison to its ability to understand what is being said well enough to conduct a simple business transaction. And that is what it did, it conducted a simple business transaction, as it was designed to do.Naturally, the Henny Penny class on LinkedIn immediately decided that this technology spells the end of the salesperson, their role now being easily outsourced to the much more dependable technological solution. I suspect that the technology will get exponentially better—and will develop fast from this point. But there are some applications for which it will not do nearly as well as human beings. So, if you are afraid the sky is falling, rest easy.There is a difference between efficiency and effectiveness. Efficiency is about the preservation of energy. Effectiveness is about producing a certain result. Regarding human relationships, effectiveness is better than efficiency. To schedule an appointment, technology is terrific.The scheduling of an appointment is a transaction. The development of trust is not. If you want to schedule an appointment, a digital assistant is just the thing. If you want to convince someone that you are the right person to help them achieve an outcome they have heretofore never considered, technology is not the right choice, the first being a question of efficiency, the second being one of effectiveness.The ability to choose the proper response to a question or prompt is a transaction. Meaning what you say and saying what you mean is not. There are people who can say the right thing to a prompt or a question. They may or may not mean what they say. The doubt that exists is human, and our ability to recognize incongruity in one’s words has been finely tuned over thousands of years.The ability to successfully complete an exchange of value, i.e. a sale, is a transaction. The ability for you to help another person recognize that you care about them and their outcome is not. A computer programmed voice is efficient. A person who spends time with you to make sure you get what you really want and need is more concerned with their effectiveness in helping you.The ability to choose from a range of options that an algorithm selects as being appropriate is a transaction. The ability to generate new ideas and options, novelty, if you will, is not. Resourcefulness belongs to human beings. As does imagination (including the imagination necessary to build these new technologies).The ability to mimic a human being is not the same as being human. It’s a transaction.Are you more likely to trust a computer that has been designed to make you believe it is a person concerned with your wants and needs than a human being? Will you prefer to buy something from an algorithm that has been designed to exploit its knowledge of you to convince you to make a purchase?Digital machines are not likely to replace humans at the things that make us uniquely human.A machine doesn’t know what it means to fear. It doesn’t know what it means to feel a sense of loss. It has no perception of what trust is or why it is important. It isn’t thoughtful, and it will not care about you, because it is not capable of caring. It doesn’t know joy or pain or hope or dread. You are not going to have a machine come to the hospital to hold your hand when you are ill.I will be the first to adopt all technologies that allow me to increase my efficiency in the things that are transactional in nature. But where human relationships are at stake, I will choose effectiveness, believing that high value, high trust, and high caring win out against transactions—even when the technology is a novelty. Nothing will ever be more human than human.last_img read more

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Tory Leader Dennis King to be sworn in as 33rd premier of

first_imgThe Canadian Press GEORGETOWN, P.E.I. — Prince Edward Island premier-designate Dennis King is to be sworn in today along with his new cabinet.The ceremony with Lt.-Gov. Antoinette Perry will be held at the Kings Playhouse in Georgetown, P.E.I.The Progressive Conservative leader will become the Island’s 33rd premier.The Tories won 12 seats in the April 23 election, while the Green party won eight and the Liberals six, creating the first minority outcome in a P.E.I. election since 1890.King, a former political staffer and communications consultant, was chosen to lead the Tories only three months ago.A byelection will soon be held in the district of Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park following the death of Green party candidate Josh Underhay, who died in a  boating mishap days before the election.Elections P.E.I., which officially confirmed the election results on Thursday, says the byelection must be held no later than July 19.Meanwhile, the Liberals confirmed late Wednesday that Robert Mitchell, who represents the riding of Charlottetown-Winsloe, has been named the party’s interim leader.First elected to the legislature in 2007, Mitchell held cabinet portfolios, including health and wellness, under former premier Wade MacLauchlan, who lost his seat to Tory candidate Bloyce Thompson in the election.“I am aware of the work that must be done to rebuild and retool our party, and I am excited by the opportunity this presents for our caucus and our party”, Mitchell said in a news release.“Moving forward, our priorities will be to prepare for the upcoming legislative session and to connect with grassroots members across this province.”last_img read more

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Air FranceKLM chief puts job on the line in standoff with unions

Air France unions announce four days of strikes in May This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Jean-Marc Janaillac, 65, has called a company-wide vote at its Air France unit on the proposed seven percent raise over the next four years, with the results expected at 6:00 pm (1600 GMT).But unions say that’s not enough after wage freezes imposed since 2012 as part of Air France’s efforts to return to solid profits, and want a 5.1 percent raise this year.They began a 13th day of intermittent strikes Friday, prompting the cancellation of one-quarter of flights on average.The move coincided with Air France-KLM’s release of first-quarter earnings, which showed a net loss of 269 million euros ($322 million), weighed down by three days of strikes during the period which cost about 25 million euros per day.The group warned the strike would shave at least 300 million euros off its operating profit for the full year, pulling the earnings “notably below” last year’s 1.9 billion euros.But Janaillac appears to be betting that union resolve is wavering, with just 21.5 percent of pilots participating in Friday’s strike, compared with 33 percent when it began in February.The French government, which owns a minority stake in the group, is watching the situation closely given the general atmosphere of discontent roiling the country, with rail workers, public servants and students also protesting a wide-ranging reform drive.French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has hailed Janaillac’s “courageous” decision while calling on both sides “to assume their responsibilities”.If employees reject the latest offer, “I would urge everyone to fasten their seat belts because in my opinion, the turbulence won’t be light,” Philippe told Europe 1 radio last week.Clouded outlookUnions themselves are divided in the standoff, so even if employees do accept management’s offer, it might not be ratified anytime soon.”If the deal is rejected… we’ll have a major crisis”, said Beatrice Lestic of the moderate CFDT union, which is not taking part in the strike.She said the strike might be called off, however, “because we wouldn’t have a boss to negotiate with.”She said her union along with the CFE-CGC would probably sign the deal, “but that’s not enough, we would need a third union” in order to secure a majority.Other unions representing pilots as well as cabin and ground crews say they deserve “their share of the pie” after years of belt-tightening, which saw Air France post solid results for 2017.Management counters that its finances remain fragile as it faces stiff competition from carriers in the Gulf as well as from aggressive low-cost operators in Europe.It says Air France’s operating margin of 555 million euros still lags behind that of the 910 million euros at KLM, and “still far behind those of many other rivals”.Janaillac was named chief executive in 2016 with a mandate to ease tensions after years of strikes and labour disputes—including a notorious 2015 incident when two executives had their shirts torn off while escaping workers protesting plans to cut nearly 3,000 jobs.The company launched its own low-cost airline, Joon, in 2017, shortly after Janaillac unveiled his own restructuring plan, ambitiously titled “Trust Together”. Explore further The chief executive of Air France-KLM raised the stakes Friday after weeks of strikes by pilots and other workers, warning he will quit if employees reject the company’s latest offer on wages. Citation: Air France-KLM chief puts job on the line in standoff with unions (2018, May 4) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-air-france-klm-chief-job-line.html Air France-KLM chief Jean-Marc Janaillac has said he will quit if workers at Air France reject the company’s latest wage offer © 2018 AFP read more

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