Archive for April 2014

CONNIE’S CAREER CORNER “Having a Drug-Free Workplace”

April 24, 2014

Tip for the Day: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

Q: Dear Connie: Can you give me information about the Drug-Free Workplace Program? I have heard that my company may save money by implementing it.

A: Dear Drug-Free Workplace Employee: The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDOL&WD) provides some startling statistics regarding drug use in the workplace. For instance, nearly 70% of current users of illegal drugs are employed. One-third of employees know of the sale of illegal drugs in the workplace. Between 38% and 50% of Worker’s Compensation claims are related to drug abuse in the workplace. The use of illegal drugs in the workplace impacts productivity causes higher rates of absenteeism, and results in higher rates of turnover.

To counteract this growing problem, the Tennessee legislature created the Drug-Free Workplace Program. This voluntary program provides many benefits to participating employers. According to the TDOL&WD, employers who participate are given a 5% credit on their workers’ insurance policy. Also, if an employee is discharged because they are found to be in violation of the policy, it will be considered “for cause” which means that the employee will probably be unable to collect unemployment benefits. Finally, if an employee is injured on the job the burden of proof is shifted from the employer to the employee if that employee either fails a post accident drug test or refuses to take a post accident drug test.

If you are a small business owner, implementing this program may be beneficial to you and your business. A very small percentage of small and medium size businesses participate in this program even though most Americans work in small or medium size businesses. Having a program in place can protect your business interests and the people that you employee. 

The TDOL&WD has free materials, including posters, sample letters to employees, and a directory of resources, available to any company who is interested in implementing this program. You can receive more information by calling 1-800-332-2667 or by visiting .

Connie’s Career Corner Crime does not pay or does it?

April 17, 2014

Tip for the day: Do what you love and you will love what you do.

Q:  Dear Connie: Recently I notice the letters CFE written after someone’s name. What does that stand for?

A: Dear Get Paid for Crime Investigation:  When you see “CFE” after someone’s name that means they have earned the designation of Certified Fraud Examiner. Certified Fraud Examiners are widely recognized as experts in the anti-fraud field. There are many career opportunities for CFEs and the area is growing at a fast pace.

Certified Fraud Examiners have the proven expertise to detect, prevent, and investigate a wide range of fraudulent conduct. Most major U.S. corporations, businesses, and government agencies employ CFEs, as do many international organizations.

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ Report to the Nation provides the following statistics about fraud and white-collar crimes:

  • Fraud and abuse costs U.S. organizations more than $400 billion annually.
  • The average organization loses about 6 percent of its total annual revenue to fraud and abuse committed by its own employees.
  • The median loss caused by males is about $185,000; by females about $48,000.
  • The typical perpetrator is a college-educated white male.
  • Men commit nearly 75 percent of the offenses.
  • Median losses caused by men are nearly four times those caused by women.
  • Losses caused by managers are four times those caused by employees.
  • The most costly abuses occur in organizations with less than 100 employees.
  • The education industry experiences the lowest median losses.
  • The highest median losses occur in the real estate financing sector.
  • Occupational fraud and abuses fall into three main categories:  asset misappropriation, fraudulent statements, and bribery and corruption.

According to SmartPros, Certified Fraud Examiners have the expertise to resolve allegations of fraud from inception to disposition, gather evidence, take statements, write reports, testify to findings, and assist in the prevention and detection of fraud.

Connie’s Career Corner “Is a degree enough to be successful?”

April 10, 2014

Tip for the day: If you want positive career growth, improve your skills.

Q: Dear Connie: I am struggling on my job. I have a degree but that does not seem to be enough to be successful. Do you have any suggestion on improving my situation?

A: Dear Needs More: Education is a valuable tool needed to enter many desirable positions in the workplace. It is not uncommon for a job to require a specific level of education before you can be interviewed for that position.

Many people who lose their jobs find themselves undereducated. A person may have been able to obtain employment many years ago without having a high school diploma. Now, we are finding that entry level jobs are requiring a minimum of a G.E.D. or high school diploma.

Though you have accomplished a bachelor’s level degree, there are other skills that employers value and deem necessary for you to be success in a job. It may be time to develop your skill set in areas outside of your formal education in order to continue growth within your career.

A survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reported that employers see three general areas that employees need to improve. The biggest group of failings reported by employers is in communication skills, specifically lack of writing skills. Other employers report that face-to-face communication is a problem because of the preference for e-mail communication. Interviewing, presentation skills, phone skills, and overall interpersonal skills are lacking, also.

The next group cited a lack of good ethics, analytical and problem-solving skills, initiative, specific computer skills, flexibility, and professionalism. Also, mentioned were independence, patience, and the willingness to work long hours to get the job done.

The third area was the lack of work experience in new college graduates. Some companies see the need for internships and any type of hands-on experience.

Compare the above attributes to your work skills and begin now to improve the ones that you find deficient. Also, give yourself time to improve on any of the mentioned skills you may be lacking. It will help you grow if you are able to find someone who has work experience, good interpersonal skills and work ethics to mentor you through this beginning phase of your career. Learning how to work is as important as learning the specific task that is needed for a job.