eNews August 12, 2021

 

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Is your company supporting business travel again? (check all that apply)

Customer visits (on-boarding, sales, disputes, collections, goodwill).

  Conferences or education.

  Industry groups.

  Yes, but I am not.

  No, due to budget constraints.

  Limited due to budget constraints.

  No, due to Covid restrictions.

  Our credit team can’t travel, but our sales associates can.

In the News

 

 

US Senate Passes Historic $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill  

Annacaroline Caruso, editorial associate

A bipartisan infrastructure bill, approved by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, includes $550 billion in new infrastructure spending. This the largest new federal investment in our nation’s roads, bridges and highways in decades, according to the White House.

The White House also stated that 45,000 bridges and 173,000 total miles of U.S. highways and major roads are in poor condition. The nearly $40 billion earmarked for bridges is the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system, according to President Joe Biden’s administration.

“There’s going to be a lot of new money injected into the construction industry across the spectrum: roads and highways, transportation, water and sewer,” said NACM lobbyist, Ross Arnett, senior associate at Pace LLP (Washington, DC).

However, the funding will be stretched out over the course of five years. So, most contractors will not see this money immediately, Arnett said. “Credit will be essential as contractors start to buy materials for new projects. Some of these projects are shovel ready and will be poised to go to contractors for bids, but a large portion will be spent over the next two to five years to help with more long-term goals.”

As it currently stands, the infrastructure bill allocates $110 billion for roads and bridges. According to news reports, the legislation also includes the following funds:

  • $73 billion for electric grid and power infrastructure
  • $66 billion for passenger and freight rail
  • $65 billion for broadband investments
  • $55 billion for water systems and infrastructure
  • $50 billion for Western water storage
  • $39 billion for public transit
  • $25 billion for airports
  • $21 billion for environmental remediation projects
  • $17 billion for ports and waterways
  • $15 billion for electric vehicles
  • $11 billion for road safety

"The investments in this bill will better position the United States to compete globally, strengthen our supply chains and create millions of good-paying jobs—all while making our economy more resilient and just," said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo in a statement.

“This infrastructure bill most likely won’t be considered fully until September,” Arnett said. “I do think this will cross the finish line without question, but there will be drama along the way.”

Nineteen Senate Republicans joined the democratic caucus to help push the bill past one of its first major hurdles. The bill now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she will not take up the bipartisan deal until the $3.5 trillion budget resolution also has passed the Senate. The House of Representatives is in recess until mid-September.

How to Build Team Chemistry

Mike Figliuolo, managing director, thoughtLEADERS, LLC

It’s great to have a clear vision, a mission, a nice set of prioritized initiatives and all the right people. But what starts differentiating a team from a high-performing team is chemistry and trust. These intangibles are some of the most critical elements of building a high-performing team, but they’re also some of the most elusive ones to build and capture.

Personalities and Shared Beliefs

Building chemistry between the members of your team is all about personalities and shared beliefs. Make sure everyone on your team is involved in the interview process because candidates will show different sides of themselves to different people. And sometimes, those sides can be unattractive detractors from what you’re trying to build.

When I was a consultant, we were bringing in another consultant to the team, and that person interviewed very well with the other members of the consulting staff. At the end of the interview process, we all got together in the team room and talked about this candidate. We were all very excited about hiring him. Then we stopped and we asked our front desk receptionist what she thought of him. She said, “He was incredibly rude. He spoke down to me. He acted like I didn’t matter.” That individual did not get an offer of employment from us. And he’s probably still wondering why.

To assess what people are like, you also can use some standard tools out there. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Personalysis and other standard evaluation tools can help people understand each other’s personalities, styles and preferences. And don’t just do it for candidates; sit down and do it with the entire team. It’s not critical for people to have the same personalities; actually, it’s quite detrimental. What matters here is you have to help the members of your team understand and respect other people’s personalities and how they like to work with others. Some people may have shared experiences, or they may have a shared ethnicity or geography that they’re from. Help them find some point of commonality that they can build from.

Building Trust

Once you’ve figured out the chemistry of the team and you have people with the right fit, you need to start building trust. Trust is about shared experiences and predictability.

Shared experiences show people how others perform and react during stressful situations. Consider putting your team on a big project together where they can share in experiences, build stories and feel like they’ve accomplished something. The impact is that people will start feeling like they can rely upon one another to achieve a goal. They will start looking out for each other and feel responsible for each other’s wellbeing.

The second element of trust is predictability. I want to know how my colleague is going to react in a certain situation. Because then, when they tell me they’re going to do something and I’ve seen them behave in a manner that’s consistent with that in the past, I am much more likely to trust them when they tell me what they’re going to do. And if I understand that person’s values on top of having that predictability, well, that’s a really strong bond between me and that other member of the team. I start believing what they tell me they’re going to do because it’s consistent with their beliefs and their past performance. 

So, building team chemistry involves hiring good people and putting them in situations where they can build trust. If you do this successfully, your people will gel quickly and start functioning as a team instead of as a group of individuals.

Reprinted with permission from thoughtLEADERS, LLC.

New Florida Law Increases Penalties for Certain Construction Late Payments

Bryan Mason, editorial associate

On July 1, Florida legislation that imposes stronger consequences on late payments throughout the construction chain for certain services took effect. The consequences outlined in Florida Senate Bill 378 include higher interest rates on past due payments and criminal charges for those suspected of misappropriating funds.

“The statute change was based around trying to change payment habits,” said Chris Ring, of NACM Secured Transaction Services (STS). “The statute change offers penalties to be inflicted. So, habits will change when and if material suppliers and subs choose to inflict penalties.”

Credit professionals doing business within the state may expect to collect payments quicker with the aid of these key provisions:

  • An increase in the minimum interest rate for late payments from 1% to 2% per month on qualifying public construction projects.
  • Public projects where any person, firm or contractor knowingly and intentionally fails to make required payments due to a misappropriation of construction funds will be considered a felony.
  • Parties convicted of misappropriating funds shall have their licenses suspended for a minimum of one year. The convicted parties also are subject to additional penalties under the licensing board if it sees fit.
  • Under the Construction Contract Prompt Payment Law, interest on private construction projects will be charged on all late payments for construction services at the rate provided in the Florida statute (4.25%, as of Aug. 12), plus an additional 12% annually, beginning on the 14th day after payment is due.

The prospect of being charged with these violations could help payments promptly flow down to suppliers. “I don’t see any downsides for material suppliers and contractors,” Ring said. “I believe the change happened recently to provide more payment pressure. I wouldn’t say specifically that it was a pandemic issue. However, Florida was hit hard by the pandemic, and it caused some project delays and in turn caused payment delays.”

Suppliers also can benefit from the increased protection under the revised prompt payment laws by notifying potential individuals that can be held liable for holding funds. Read more about prompt payment statutes.

 SHRM Research Reveals Negative Perceptions of Remote Work

Diana Mota, editor in chief

New research reveals negative perceptions of remote work, with supervisors expressing a preference for onsite staffing and remote workers expressing reservations about losing opportunities for networking and logging more hours, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

More than two thirds of supervisors of remote workers surveyed by SHRM, or 67%, consider remote workers more easily replaceable than onsite workers at their organization; 62% believe full-time remote work is detrimental to employees’ career objectives; and 72% say they would prefer all of their subordinates to work in the office.

While most employees agree remote work is beneficial and increases performance, more than half say working remotely on a permanent basis would diminish networking opportunities (59%), cause work relationships to suffer (55%) and require them to work more hours (54%).

“Remote work can offer benefits, but employers need to take a closer look at whether remote and onsite workers have the same opportunities and whether managers have the tools they need to be effective leaders,” said Johnny Taylor, Jr., SHRM's president and chief executive officer. 

Other key findings from SHRM’s surveys of supervisors and workers include:

  • 51% of remote workers say they spent between $100 and $499 on equipment or furniture needed to work remotely; with 61% saying they paid for it out of pocket.
  • 67% of supervisors say they spend more time supervising remote workers than onsite workers.
  • 42% of supervisors say they sometimes forget about remote workers when assigning tasks.
  • 34% of remote workers say working remotely on a permanent basis would reduce the number of career opportunities available.
  • 29% of remote workers say they will have fewer developmental opportunities while working remotely.

Although women and men have similar responses on most of the ways their career will be impacted by remote work, there are some areas that differed. For example, women (23%) were more likely to indicate that they will not have the opportunity to form strong work relationships compared to men working remotely (18%).

So, who’s really winning with remote work? “Business leaders need to answer this question to ensure they are able to attract and retain top talent, and build an equitable workplace where everyone has the ability to succeed.”

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