Happy August! In this month’s newsletter, you will find some tips on how to review your network, what to keep in employee personnel files, information on the Back to School Tax Holiday, and some ideas for healthy snacks.

Review Your Network

At any age, we are shaped by the habits of our circle of peers. Consider this the next time you find yourself spending time with people who are unhappy, pessimistic and, simply put, unsuccessful. You will likely become the same way. But there’s good news—just as you can absorb the bad habits and attitude of the wrong crowd, you can absorb the good traits of the right crowd, who are happy, self-confident and optimistic. The strength of social influence demands you to review your network. Here are five ways to do so:

Take inventory— Identify people with negative energy—people around you who are most likely to express an overall bad attitude. Consider who drains you of energy, who is constantly complaining, and who doesn’t celebrate your success. Be especially vigilant for emotional states of anger and frustration. Researchers have discovered an “emotional contagion” phenomenon in which your emotions will actually converge with those of your peers. Negative emotions exert a powerful effect in social situations, so take inventory carefully.

Put some space between you and these people—Pull back from spending time with people who are in constant pessimism or drama. Avoid low-energy people who don’t encourage you to be your best. There is no need to be abrupt or impolite, but make choices to avoid exposure to negativity.

Prioritize and be intentional—Increase proximity with people who have a successful, energetic spirit. Gravitate to those who encourage your success. Consciously work to cultivate a close, exceptional group of peers and teammates who will help you grow and adopt effective habits.

Ask for feedback—In and outside of work, elicit the advice of people you want to emulate. Collaborate with people who are engaged. Ask for their advice, guidance, and mentorship. Those wishing to take quantum leaps have no need for people to tell them what they want to hear. Friends and family members who will shoot straight and communicate with candor are priceless.

Develop your own positivity as a leader—Successful leaders who express positivity in the workplace are known for having a touch of charisma. Insist on an environment in which people thrive. It means you develop and reinforce your habits with the help of peers who express positivity. In turn, your teammates will experience a positive emotional contagion and support a culture of productivity.

What to Keep in Personnel Files

Personnel files allow you to have all important employee documents in one place, easily available when its time to make decisions on promotions or layoffs, file tax returns, or to comply with government audits. Most, but not all, job-related documents should go in the file, including:

• Job description for the position • Job application and/or résumé • Offer of employment • Employment contract • IRS form W-4 • Signed acknowledgment of employee handbook receipt • Performance evaluations • Forms relating to employee benefits • Emergency contacts • Complaints from customers/coworkers • Awards or citations for excellent performance • Records of attendance or completion of training programs • Warnings and/or other disciplinary actions • Notes on attendance or tardiness • Non-compete agreement • Documents relating to the worker’s departure from the company •

Back to School Tax Holiday Details

The back to school sales tax holiday begins Friday, August 2, 2019, and runs through Tuesday, August 6, 2019. During this period, qualifying items will be exempt from tax including: certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item; and clothing, footwear, and certain accessories selling for $60 or less per item; and computers and certain accessories selling for $1,000 or less per item, when purchased for noncommercial or personal use.