The Value of a Strong Workplace Culture

By: Laura McAndrews Sammel

Workplace culture is said to be the shared attitudes, values, belief systems, and set of assumptions that people in a workplace share.  This is largely influenced by the leaders of a company, whether it’s the owner, manager, or supervisor.  A positive workplace culture can impact employee engagement, teamwork, and productivity.  Companies with a healthy culture have a low turnover, which greatly reduces the cost of doing business. 

One way for company owners and leaders to foster a positive culture is to provide training to their team members.  The government is even stepping in to require that employers provide specific training to its workforce.  The newest mandate is Senate Bill 1343, which requires all employers with five or more employees to provide harassment prevention training and education to all employees by January 1, 2020.  There has been a similar requirement on the books prior to this for larger employers with 50 or more employees.  This new law, however, impacts the small businesses.


Now, the instinct here may be to sigh, with a roll of the eyes and tremendous annoyance at yet another mandate.  But let’s think about this for a minute.  Is this, perhaps, an opportunity to have an open dialogue with our teams about a relevant and significant topic?  Could this be a chance to communicate with them about leadership’s beliefs of how harassment incidents will be addressed?  An even better opportunity to develop a written policy to let employees know that they are protected and safe from harassment?

The answers to all the above, of course, are a resounding yes.  Would you like to know more about classroom training that can be provided to help your company comply with SB 1343?  Combs Consulting Group can help!                                                           


Boost Your Productivity By Appreciating Your Employees

By: Lori Armstrong

Employee Appreciation Day is in March, which is a great reminder to ALWAYS appreciate your team. Your employees should be appreciated every day, not just one day out of the year.

All of us at Combs Consulting Group (CCG) support the importance of boosting your company’s productivity by boosting the morale in and out of the office. There are common signs to look for, such as employees dragging themselves into work, lack of enthusiasm or cooperation. This negative mood in the workplace can have a negative effect on productivity but there is a way to change the downward spiral to upward growth.

Consider the following:                                                                                         


If any of your team members are doing an exceptional job, making your job easier while doing so, it is important to provide positive feedback to those employees. Why is this important? If you do not take the time to acknowledge your team players that are performing to their best ability, their morale will go down.

If high performers feel unappreciated, they will question why they work so hard if their hard work is not acknowledged. This will usually lead to a path of negativity and will not benefit anyone, including the business. When a manager, supervisor or business owner ignores positive behavior and hard work, this can result in a high turnover rate, increasing the cost of doing business.

Some of the most successful businesses have drafted a strategic recognition program. This means public recognition of good behavior, reaching project goals or insight to produce direction. We at CCG recommend scheduling a quarterly employee meeting, which is designed to provide your “highlighted employee of the quarter” with a gift card and recognition of their hard work and loyalty in front of their peers and executives.

This will leave a lasting impression and hopefully spread positivity throughout the rest of team.


If you have ever watched the show Shark Tank, you understand how an innovative idea can inspire others to believe they can also take an idea to the next level.

Provide your employees with the opportunity to create their own ideas that may benefit the entire team – allow them to think out of the box and away from their ordinary tasks. The process of sharing ideas with one another will motivate employees to create positive change within the organization. #Everyteamembermatters.


While a gift card or bonus is always a nice touch to appreciate and motivate an employee, explore non-cash incentives as well. Some examples of this are a paid day off, tickets to the theater, or a local event at the museum or planetarium.


Always remember that old saying, “Treat others the same way you want to be treated.”   It may seem obvious but unfortunately many managers and owners forget the obvious rules of life of how to treat people. This is a good life reminder for us all.

We all have our own unique set of circumstances, personal issues and personality conflicts. Should the expected outcome of a project not go as expected, turn that into a learning opportunity. Grow from the mistake and communicate openly and respectfully with your team members.


P.T.O. (paid time off) is golden and can go a long way with an employee. Even if you love your job, it is wise to recharge your batteries and return to work even more efficient than before. Both the employee and the company will benefit from the new you.


Hold everyone accountable for their actions and progress. Meaning, the next time you give a motivational speech to your team, be certain management is also following the rules and guidelines. Team players know who is allowed to get away with not being on time or poisoning the crew with their bad attitude, and get frustrated because nothing ever gets done about it. Be fair and transparent. Always set a good example and do what you say you are going to do.


At CCG we understand the frustrations and problems that can arise within a business and we want to help. Reach out to us, share and you will be happy you did.                                                                           


What Every Small Business Should Know

By: Lori Armstrong

Whether you have already initiated your small business journey or have prepared yourself for the keys to success, business is constantly changing and you can be ahead of the game with the following business tips. Who knows? You may not be aware of valuable business tools available to you.

At Combs Consulting Group (CCG),, we want you to succeed and offer the following business tips:

Business Plan

A stunning statistic was revealed by Harvard University, which states businesses that dedicated six months or less in planning for their business faced an 80% failure rate. Meanwhile, the business planners who spent one year or more dedicated to the preparation of their business had an 80% success rate.

It is never too late and there are daily operations needed in order for every business to succeed. A strong business plan may focus your attention to new ideas or issues you may have missed and if you feel you are not confident with your writing skills, there is hope. Reach out to S.C.O.R.E. (Service Corps of Retired Executives) as they will help you design the business plan that is right for you.

Expectations Defined

Business owners are of a different breed – a breed of self-assurance, self-awareness and self-discipline. Many entrepreneurs know their product inside and out but the day to day operations are new and unexpected to many. Those who know what they are up against will survive and develop a thriving business.

As a business owner you will be making the decision – you will be in charge. You will no longer have someone else making all of your decisions. Can you handle the responsibility of being in charge, handling workplace issues, workplace safety matters, financial budget and more? Reach out to us at Combs Consulting Group –

CCG’s outstanding services range from HR management and safety to career and business services. We can even assist with marketing your business.

Financially Sound

Did you know that only 50% of businesses survive the first year? The first year of business can be a struggle due to financial demands. This is why the preparation of start-up financing is vital in order to sustain your business.

Adequate cash flow takes three to six months to develop and it could take as long as three years for a business owner to receive any kind of salary from their business. Knowing this – reach out to The Small Business Association (SBA) as they may be able to offer you a small business loan, lead you to available grants and assist you with your financial matters.

Be Aware of Common Business Pitfalls

At CCG we understand the common downfalls most businesses will experience and we offer you the following tips to help you avoid those business failures. These are business basics that every business should know.

Inadequate training – Take the time to learn the duties of your staff and be present. Once you understand the duties, schedule the time to properly train your staff.

Hire the Right Team Many businesses will hire a friend or a person without experience out of good will, but if you want a successful business – hire the most qualified applicants for the position. Conduct a background research on your applicants. You will be happy you did.

Delegate Some Duties – Instead of feeling overwhelmed with your growing duties, delegate the small tasks so you can focus on the more pressing deadlines. As you grow your business, you will increase your staff – educate your staff and delegate some of those duties.

We offer many more tips and advice to help your small business survive and thrive. We want you to succeed – reach out to us at CCG and be on your way to a successful future.    


Tips to Manage Time Management

By: Lori Armstrong

We all know how valuable our time can be – especially when it comes to balancing a small business, personal duties and family obligations. While we often hope for more hours in the day, the reality is that more hours in our days are obviously not going to happen.

As entrepreneurs, we share the same goal of maintaining and growing a successful business, but our personalities and reaction to daily stresses can be quit different. While some business owners face multiple daily tasks head-on with focus and purpose – others fall apart.

The wise consultants at Combs Consulting Group – – offer tips to help you strive to be the best you can be with the following time management tips.


No one enjoys indecisive behavior as it lacks clear direction of what needs to be done within a particular day. You can obtain a productive and smooth day by planning ahead.

Depending on your personality, there are options available to you. If you are more of a night owl, you can plan out your next day the night before. Take no more than 15 or 20 twenty minutes to write down your most timely tasks – you will instantly feel the stress melt as you decompress, knowing ahead of time the tasks that need to be conquered.


If you live by the motto, “the early bird gets the worm,” rise early and maybe even catch the sunrise, as this is probably your most productive time of the day. Once your “to-do” list is organized and visually entered into your calendar app, your motivational levels will rise.


If you are struggling with how to prioritize your daily tasks, the best place to start is by deciding what is important and what is urgent. You will discover that not all of your tasks have urgent deadlines.

The timely duties with urgent deadlines must be completed as soon as possible – write them down, seize the task and avoid procrastination. Get it done!

The other projects that are important but not urgent should be decided as to when you can accomplish. All the other unimportant duties can be delegated to responsible co-workers.


Be aware of your daily interruptions and remove the temptations which take you away from your project at hand. With the popularity of social media and smartphones, the interruptions are more common than ever. Make the conscious decision to avoid frequently checking your smartphone and social media platforms – you may be quite surprised with the amount of work you can accomplish without the constant distractions.

Choose specific times throughout your day to read your emails, return phone calls or resolve any questions with co-workers.    


While we understand that perfection is not realistic – it’s important to grasp that idea and just get the project started. The reason many of us procrastinate is due to a desire to create perfection. When you remove the pressure of being perfect, you will feel motivated to begin that project.

Think of how many times you have failed and the volume you learned through that failure – learning is an experiment and a path to success. Combs Consulting Group (CCG) offers leadership and lifestyle coaching, helping people meet their personal goals related to health, nutrition and the overall balance of work/life.


The most important person to take care of is you. These time management skills will never be achieved unless you take care of the most important person – you! #Time Management

Be sure to get plenty of rest, eat well and avoid stress when possible – you can do this!

Should you need more spectacular tips on taking better care of yourself:




The Importance of Safety in the Workplace



Most of us know the value of safety within any situation but what many people need to understand is that health and safety are one of the most important factors for any successful business.

All employees want to work in a safe and protected atmosphere. A positive and safe environment promotes a sense of wellness for the entire team. No one expects a loved one to be injured on the job or even worse, lose their life. Yet this happens more often than we would assume. An injury or loss of life not only greatly affects the individual but also the members of their family.

Another key reason safety is vital in the workplace is due to the need of improved staff morale, products and services. It is the responsibility of management to create safety plans and strategies by taking steps to improve the work surroundings for all staff members.

Combs Consulting Group (CCG) is an experienced and professional  strategic partner, helping businesses attract and retain employees and so much more. CCG wants your business to succeed and they offer the following tips to help your business attain a safe and healthy workplace.

Reduce Workplace Stress

How many of us can say we are in the best shape possible with quality health at our fingertips, well-rested without a smidgen of stress? Probably not many – in fact the majority of American workers are overworked, pressured with work deadlines and conflicts between     co-workers, supervisors and such. Studies have proven that these negative factors lead to chronic illness, depression and many other hidden struggles within our personal lives.

Even if you feel that you are in good health – do not haste and allow the inevitable to set in. Take your breaks, walk when time allows, practice a good posture and a healthy diet.  Your mind, body and soul will thank you as you will discover your hectic schedule will flow at a much smoother pace and your stress will be more manageable.

Be Aware of Workplace Exits  

None of us ever expect an earthquake, fire or natural disaster for that matter, but emergencies occur every day and it is important to be prepared.  Know where your office exits are and be sure to keep them clear as all staff will need quick access to exits in the event of an emergency.

Communicate Unsafe Conditions   

It is important to update your supervisor in regards to any risks or hazards in your workplace. Employers are legally obligated to maintain a safe working environment and one of the key ways to avoid an accident is to communicate risks before they occur.

The wise and experienced team at CCG offer direction and a plan for your business safety with a recommendation that all businesses understand the Cal OSHA compliance.

Utilize the Proper Safety Equipment

There are a variety of safety tools on the market today but some safety equipment can be outdated or of poor quality. Whether it is hardhats, safety gloves, safety belts, earplugs, earmuffs or any other safety apparel which is needed to prevent incidents – always utilize the best up-to-date equipment.

Equipment Assistance 

Some jobs may require an employee to lift or move heavy objects and there are significant risks involved when employees do not use a forklift, conveyor belt or any other useful equipment tool. Injuries can occur, such as pulled or strained muscles, muscle displacement and so much more. Use the equipment assistance – your body and your employer will thank you.

From compliance to a quality performance workplace environment, workplace culture, benefits and compensation, recruitment and safety, Comb Consulting Group has the solutions for your business.

                                                                 2019 Update Compliance: REQUIREMENT FOR FEBRUARY of 2019 :

Many employers with more than 10 employees are required to keep a record of serious work-related injuries and illnesses using the Cal/OSHA Log 300. This information helps employers, workers and OSHA evaluate the safety of a workplace, understand industry standards and implement worker protection to reduce and eliminate hazards – preventing future workplace injuries and illnesses.

The records must be maintained at the work place for at least five years. Each February through April, employers must post a summary of the injuries and illnesses recorded the previous year.

California law is specific in requiring that the Log 300 summary be posted at each work site – rather than in an employer’s central administration office.

Contact CCG today @


If you use personal cell phones and internet for work, you are entitled to some level of reimbursement.”

2018 Employment Law Highlights:

Denise Combs, SPHR, CTA, Managing Founder and Executive Consultant and Coach

Employment Law Seminar Update (as of January 1 2018) shared some powerful stuff that will really empower employees in California here are some highlights:

1. It is illegal for employers to ask about previous pay in a job interview.

2. Ban the Box: if you were convicted as a felon and have paid your dues, there is no box for you to check in an application, (huge benefits to first impressions). The only way criminal history will come up is in a background check, which would effect conditional terms of a job offering. Many positions don’t require this.

3. Employers cannot voluntarily let ICE in to their place of business without a warrant.

4. If you are required to bring your own hand tools to work, then you should be paid at least double the minimum wage ($21 or $22 an hour depending on whether your employer has more than 25 employees or not).

5. If you use personal cell phones and internet for work, you are entitled to some level of reimbursement, depending on the percentage of time such items are utilized for work. #employmentlaw  #empowerthepeople