Joe Emerson

Joe Emerson

Joe Emerson spent 30 years as a magazine and newspaper reporter, editor and copyeditor who turned to freelancing after 20 years with The Tampa Tribune, which closed in 2016 after 125 years of serving the Tampa Bay area. Writing and delivering valuable information remain his passion.

More from Joe Emerson

Pros and Cons of Employees Working from Home

Data show that 36 percent to 56 percent of Americans can work from home and that about 80 percent want to work from home all or some of the time. A majority of managers and executives, conversely, have been leery of transitioning to remote work. Now, with the coronavirus pandemic having pushed about two-thirds of the U.S. workforce into the virtual workspace, it seems like a good time to weigh the pros and cons of employees working from home.

What Is Process Improvement in Business, and How Can It Help?

“If I had one hour to save the world, I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution.” That’s attributed to Albert Einstein, arguably the world’s greatest physicist to date and inarguably a genius who clearly had the mindset of a process improvement manager. Fortunately, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what process improvement managers do for businesses, which brings us to the questions du jour: What is process improvement in business, and how can it help?

Why Now Is the Time for Upskilling and Reskilling

Want to know why now is the time for upskilling and reskilling? It’s because businesses are facing a syzygy of megatrends, a global pandemic, and the capacity for exponential change in, arguably, the post-digital age. (It’s arguable because the “experts” disagree on whether it has begun.) More simply put: The digital and historical stars have aligned.


How to Negotiate a Higher Salary

PayScale is a software and data company that “helps employers manage employee compensation and employees understand their worth in the job market,” and it has this to say about negotiating for a higher salary: For people with a master’s degree or better, not making the push for better pay means leaving up to $1.5 million in earnings on the table over the course of a lifetime. Not a bad payoff for having the difficult conversations. Fairness, self-worth, and overall economic benefits such as juicing the gross domestic product are other reasons why you should have the tough talks, but for now we’ll stick with the how, as in how to negotiate a higher salary.

How to Build and Improve Your Resilience

MacArthur Fellowship (“Genius Grant”) recipient Angela Lee Duckworth was a management consultant with McKinsey & Co. who quit at age 27 to teach seventh-grade math, earned a doctorate in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and began teaching there, focusing on grit and self-control, “which predict success both academically and professionally.” In math teacher terms, Duckworth + business/teaching acumen + Ph.D. = grit theory. In short, grit (aka perseverance) trumps IQ. You can’t dramatically elevate IQ, but you can boost your grit quotient. It all adds up to this: You can learn how to build and improve your resilience and succeed in your career.

Can You Take the SAT and ACT Online at Home?

The coronavirus pandemic changed the way we get an education. COVID-19 shifted virtually all students online. Brick-and-mortar school schedules became guesswork, and standardized testing got iffy. High school students trying to finish the college application process without the benefit of SAT and/or ACT scores began grappling with what-ifs. What if, for instance, the pandemic closes your test site? Could you take the SAT and ACT online at home? There are two short answers: No on the SAT. Maybe on the ACT.

Top 4 Reasons Test Prep Courses Are Worth the Investment

Are your top college picks standardized test-optional? Did you take the necessary standardized test(s) and score within your picks’ target range? Are you disciplined, self-motivated, and test savvy enough to go it alone? If you answered yes to one or more of those scenarios, forget the formal test prep. If not, give it some serious thought, and consider our top four reasons test prep courses are worth the investment.

Cybersecurity Tips Essential for Remote Workers During the Pandemic

Jack Nilles’ Twitter account identifies him as “a former ‘rocket scientist’ spacecraft designer turned applied futurist, father of telecommuting and author….” The book that helped earn him the “father of telecommuting” title is “Telecommunications-Transportation Tradeoff: Options for Tomorrow,” published in 1976. Nilles long has held that one of the primary hurdles to working remotely is security. With COVID-19 exponentially increasing telecommuting, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know this is a good time to explore cybersecurity tips essential for remote workers during the pandemic.

5 Meditation Techniques to Stay Mindful on Exam Day

Exam day success will depend on what you bring to the moment and your ability to be fully in that moment, or mindful, when the proctor says begin. “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us,” says So, here’s the plan, arrive on test day with the knowledge and tools you need to ace the exam. Need more? Here’s something for that toolkit, something that will help now and during the test: 5 meditation techniques to stay mindful on exam day.

5 Reasons Why You Should Offer Health Insurance for Employees

If this article had a moral, it would be that giving your employees health insurance coverage is the right thing to do and, ultimately, beneficial for all concerned parties. It’s kind of like A Christmas Carol in that Ebenezer Scrooge opening his heart was a good thing for him that ultimately saved Tiny Tim. There’s no moral here, though, just 5 reasons you should offer health insurance for employees.

You Lost Your Job. Now What?

The sudden loss of a job is a body blow, but life and financial obligations don’t stop because you’re unemployed. How do you respond while still reeling from the impact? Simple. Be indomitable. The Online Etymology Dictionary says “indomitable” means “unyielding, persistent, resolute.” Per this blog and per your finances and employment, the “what” – “You lost your job. Now what?” – is to be unyielding, persistent, and resolute in bringing clarity to your circumstances and maximizing the return on your job-hunting skills, strategy, and tactics.

Is Agile Project Management the Business Solution You Need?

What’s in a word? “Agile,” for instance?, an online dictionary/language tool, says “agile” means the ability “to move quickly and easily” and/or “to think and understand quickly.” In business, “Agile” is a proper noun that’s an approach to project management; or, per, “relating to or denoting a method of project management … characterized by the division of tasks into short phases of work and frequent reassessment and adaptation of plans.” Suffice it to say that Agile is a process or philosophy defined by agility. If you’re thinking about going Agile, the foundational question is whether Agile project management is the business solution you need.

Test Prep Tips That Won’t Fail You

A Google search for the subject “dream about not being prepared for a test” auto-filled the search field with the whole term once this was typed: “Dream about no….” So yes, the I’m-not-prepared dream is a thing. It’s enough of a thing, in fact, to generate lots of newspaper and magazine articles every year. To avoid the nightmare of not being prepared for that important exam, be it a calculus test or the SAT, check out these test prep tips that won’t fail you.

10 Tips for More Productive Meetings

How many corporate meetings does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Cue Dilbert, and realize it’s not funny that there are countless potential endings for that joke, most of them riffing on wasted time. We meet to focus skills, talents, and minds on things that bring success. In short, meetings are the heart of corporate communication, so a business that can’t hold productive meetings is akin to a standup comic who can’t write jokes. OK. No more punchlines today, just 10 tips for more productive meetings.

How to Fight Employee Turnover by Showing Appreciation

It’s great when the bottom line and golden rule line up. For example, keeping good employees happy is cost-effective, and churn is costly. In fact, the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) estimates that on average, losing a salaried employee costs a company the equivalent of up to nine months of that worker’s salary. One do-unto-others tactic that is golden for your bottom line is fighting employee turnover by showing appreciation.

Can You Become a Paralegal with No Job Experience?

ZipRecruiter, an online employment forum/marketplace for potential hirees and hirers, says one road to a job as a paralegal features these mileposts: Do an American Bar Association-sanctioned paralegal certification program. Get guidance from someone in the legal field. Join a networking group(s) to build contacts. Find an entry-level position at a law firm, be it legal secretary or file clerk. And apply for an opening there or elsewhere once you’ve proved yourself. So, can you become a paralegal with no job experience as a paralegal? The short answer is yes and no. Keep reading for the long answer.

Top 5 Tips for PMP® Exam Prep

When you’re in Rome and need directions, ask a Roman. If you’re taking the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam and want directions on how to prepare to earn the prestigious and lucrative designation, look to the Project Management Institute (PMI) for a simple and productive road map. That’s why PMI, the not-for-profit organization that developed the certification exam, is the source for our top 5 tips for PMP exam prep.

Housekeeping Secrets for a Cleaner Hotel and Repeat Guests

Something guaranteed to give hoteliers a heebie and several jeebies is seeing their brand featured in a horror story under a headline such as “Confessions of a Hotel Housekeeper.” First there’s the pride factor. No one wants to be tied to a brand name that cues bedbug stories, tales of stomach-churning filth, or customer service failures; then there’s the bottom line. Study after study finds cleanliness concerns at the top of the list of guest-identified issues that can sour them on a hotel brand. With that in mind, we’ve turned to insiders in our search for housekeeping secrets for a cleaner hotel and repeat guests.

How to Motivate Employees with Positive Reinforcement

So, your product is in high demand, your business model is an impressive production and delivery system for said product, your business processes and the workforce they guide are the envy of your competitors, and it’s all managed by people whose leadership record and potential are stellar. How do you build on that? Simple. With an eye toward keeping the arc of success curving up, you oversee smart investments of time and resources in your most valuable intangible asset, people. One proven approach to getting tangible results from investing in your people: Learn how to motivate employees with positive reinforcement.

2 Ways to Tell It's Time for a Career Change

There are myriad reasons for career adjustments, and we’ll go deeper on that in a bit. Job satisfaction is so important that we’re going to cut to the chase. Actually, we’re starting with the capture, so to speak. At your workday’s end, there are 2 ways to tell it’s time for a career change: You are unhappy at work, and it has nothing to do with where you work or those you work for or with.

A Game-Changing Tip for Dealing with Difficult Customers

Somewhere between “buyer beware” and “the customer is never wrong” is the sweet spot of customer service where you concede that the people you serve are never wrong but gently allow that they are not always right. Whether you are serving a hotel guest or working with a team to serve a particularly particular business client, mutual satisfaction is the goal, with one caveat: Your customer’s happiness is the source of your satisfaction, and your satisfaction is defined by your company’s success, which depends on your customer’s happiness. Yes, it’s quite circular. You protect your company’s interests by making your clients’ legitimate demands paramount, which is much, much easier said than done. To that end, we share a game-changing tip for dealing with difficult customers.

5 Proven Employee Motivation Strategies

A motivated employee is more engaged, and an engaged employee is more productive. Gallup calculations on the U.S. workplace indicate 34 percent of workers are engaged (a survey high), 13 percent are “actively disengaged” (a new low – in a good way), and that engagement is a key driver of positive business outcomes. Ready to engage? Explore our 5 proven employee motivation strategies.

How to Deliver 5-Star Customer Service: Tips for Hospitality Leaders

Consultant, public speaker, and author Micah Solomon has a lot of tips for hospitality leaders on how to deliver 5-star customer service, more than enough to fill a book titled The Heart of Hospitality. The most important tips in that book focus on people (your team and your customers) and process (how you inspire your team and impress your customers). At day’s end, though, it’s all about the wow.

10 Social Media Marketing Tips for Hospitality Professionals

People in the hospitality profession trying to boost business through social media but without an understanding of how to use those tools might as well be carpenters trying to drive nails with the handles of their hammers. There’s a lot to learn about digital platforms and how to use them, so let’s begin with 10 social media marketing tips for hospitality professionals.

Core Principles of Business Process Improvement

The core principles of business process improvement (BPI) are not numbered, etched in stone, and universally accepted as the top 20 or 10 or five BPI commandments. There are, though, countless lists of rules or guidelines deemed most important. Using a sampling of those lists and a Venn diagram concept, we found six core principles of business process improvement.

10 Key Hospitality Management Leadership Qualities

For leaders in businesses whose lifeblood is immediate consumer satisfaction, success hinges on accurately assessing customer needs and motivations. Nowhere is that more evident than in the hospitality industry, where the essence of success is understanding and satisfying a diverse array of people whose ideas of satisfaction range from stereotypical to peculiar. It follows that interpersonal skills dominate our list of 10 key hospitality management leadership qualities.

How to Communicate Better: A Guide for HR Professionals

Speaking at a conference, SHRM-Senior Certified Professional Jennifer Currence defined what she called the three components of communication: self-awareness, listening, and speaking. Her thoughts and a synopsis of a SHRM toolkit/treatise titled “Managing Organizational Communication” are the essence of our guide for HR professionals on how to communicate better.

How Your SAT and ACT Scores Affect College Admissions

Unless you are applying for admission to a community college, a flexible or test-optional school, an art school, or a trade or technical school, SAT and ACT scores probably will affect your chances of being admitted to college. Calculating how your SAT and ACT scores affect college admissions depends on the college in the equation.