Archive for the ‘Workforce’ category

Younger Women Move to Social Media

November 11, 2009
Beautiful woman smiling as she is wine tasting on a summer day.November 11, 2009
Social Influence on Gen Y Trendsetter

Generation Y females have refined the idea of “peer group” to encompass online friends, bloggers and anonymous reviewers, according to the “Why Y Women?” report from PopSugar and Radar Research.

Looking to this expansive group of peers, rather than experts or celebrities, Gen Y women are particularly influenced by social media.

Beautiful woman smiling as she is wine tasting on a summer day.

Women Move to Social Media

Younger women are nearly twice as likely as their Gen X counterparts to say they had discovered a new brand or product when a friend mentioned it in an online status update. They are also significantly more influenced by blogs, by both professionals and especially by “someone like me.”

Telling friends in person or on the phone is still by far the most common way for Gen Y women to spread the word about products or brands they love. But they post about products and brands on social networking sites or online forums nearly twice as much as older women. Gen X women, on the other hand, are more likely than younger females to share information via e-mail.

Further, with even two-thirds of Gen X women considering their younger counterparts trendsetters, according to the survey, the potential pop culture influence of social marketing is multiplied.

Mr Youth, which has studied “millennial moms”—mothers around the same age as PopSugar’s Gen Y women—has also found the peer group an important influencer.

“With moms it is even a stronger source, as moms have always found it important to ask other moms before making important decisions that affect their families and kids,” Brandon Evans, managing partner and chief strategy officer at Mr Youth, told Media Life magazine. “With social media, it became much easier for them to seek out advice on a variety of topics from a wider net of people, so it quickly gained in influence.”

Printed from emarketer newsletter with permission of


Why You Need the Internet to Promote Brand You

October 27, 2009

In 1999, business management guru Tom Peters in his book ‘The Brand You 50’, said that the job security of individuals was beginning to revert back to the way it was hundreds of years ago. In this period, shortly after America was founded, job security was based on three core elements:

Networking Skills

Craft meant that you had a skill that was marketable. To have distinction meant that what you did was memorable. To have networking skills relied on ‘word of mouth collegial support’.

What Tom Peters argued was that we live in an age now where personal branding and networking is everything, even for those working for someone else’s payroll. It is these core elements that are now important once more for job security, where so called white collar jobs (knowledge workers) are expected to almost entirely fizzle out (at least in the recognized ‘western world’) as Peters claimed in the late 90s ‘in around 10 years from now’.

The age of ‘Brand You’ was already in motion when Peters spoke about it back then, and has never been more evident than it is today.

This reconfiguration of the way people are doing work coupled with the economic downturn, means that more and more people are becoming independent and freelance workers. Inevitably, many of these freelancers are using the Internet to get work (as are more prospects looking for workers and creatives). The influx of cheaper freelance labour from places like India, means that more choice, at lower costs are available to clients on the web.

Because of all this, freelancers, and particularly creative freelancers, need to create and promote a personal brand more than they ever have in the past if they are to succeed in the long-term. It is possible to succeed as a freelancer and overcome these obstacles. It doesn’t need to be frightening or complicated. It simply requires a strategy.

It requires that you can demonstrate you have a niche skill that is marketable, that you stand out as best as you can and that you build up a solid and relevant network of friends, fans, clients, colleagues and people that share your interests.

The single most effective way of building and marketing your personal brand in this way is through the Internet. The Internet is not only hugely powerful in terms of gaining exposure for your work, and I will be writing much more on this as the blog progresses, and will demonstrate that you are ‘with it’ and up to date (what clients are looking for), but it is now almost a necessity to get online as a freelancer, with so many others doing the same.

If your competition is online, you’ve got to join them to succeed!

Alex Mathers
Writer, Marketing enthusiast, Illustrator, Designer
Red Lemon Club Marketing

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Authenticity and the Leadership Mold

October 20, 2009

Stressed Over MoneyBy Kelly Hannum


It’s and old question; how much of “you” can you reveal at work? I don’t mean dress code, but acting and saying things the way you would outside of work. Where’s the line between inappropriate and inauthentic?

With social networking, flexible schedules, and hip-mounted technologies that keep us connected to people and places all over the world—separation between work and non-work is no longer the default way of doing things. Most workers have to figure out and manage their boundries—-by reinforcing them, blurring them, or whatever makes sense in the moment. Switching from one’s “work-self” to one’s “non-work self” is something we have to do more frequently. 

To blend or not to blend?

Many folks blend work and non-work “friends” on social networking sites.  That could be a good thing, but is it? The idea of an integrated self is appealing—it’d make life easier, but is it a equal option for everyone?

Being authenic is bound to be easier for folks who are part of the leadership “in” crowd (aka folks who fit the leadership mold—who look, walk, or talk in a manner consistent with dominant images of leadership). As we collectively embrace more inclusive images of leadership, I imagine the option for everyone to bring their full self to work will increase.

Are we beging challenged?

In the meantime, we may have to ask ourselves is this inappropriate or is it something that challenges our image of leadership — and thereby places an expectation that someone else has to be inauthenic in order to fit our leadership mold?

Printed with permission from the Center for Creative  Leadership blog, Leading Effectively.

Economy No Deterrent; You Need a Retention Plan

October 1, 2009



 By John Riley

 After months of a wrenching economy, the generally accepted philosophy is that employees have hunkered down and  put any notions of changing jobs on the back burner, at least until economic conditions improve. A study by Salary.Com, a payroll and compensation consulting firm, earlier this year reveals exactly the opposite is true.

 The study reports 80% of employers believe it will be a few months before employees start a job search, however 65% of the employees have already started searching passively or actively and say they will be intensifying their efforts.  Over 7,000 employees and 363 human relations professionals were covered by the survey.

 According to Nicholas Camelio, senior vice president,, “Employers were out of touch with their employee’s satisfaction levels and were over estimating the tough economic environment as a deterrent to job seeking. Consequently, many employers have not placed enough emphasis on important retention strategies. This could lead to their best employees defecting during the next year, just when this talent will be most needed to help turn  businesses around.”

 When employees were asked about various industries, financial services, construction and retail were at the top of the list of extremely dissatisfied employees.  The Internet, education/government, non-profit and software and networking came out on top with extremely satisfied employees.

 In another study, this one by Career Systems International  in 2005, over 7,400 employees from diverse industries were asked about things available in organizations that engendered commitment and a willingness to stay.  The most influential factors:

1)      exciting work/challenge(48.4%)                                       

2)      career growth/learning (42.6%)

3)       relationships/working with great people (41.8%)

4)       fair pay (31.8).


With the economic and employment uncertainty, it is no longer easy to plan a career path. As a result, employees, especially the top performers, may rely on mobility as the solution to increased compensation and a better title. Recognizing the situation, many employers are starting to focus on professional growth and skill development as retention tools.

 However, that may not be enough and policies may be incorrectly implemented.  For example, an employer may interpret the employees’ desire for exciting work/challenge as an opportunity for management to reassign a laid off worker’s responsibilities to the employee. For management, it is a logical step in several to help the business survive.

 Then the employee learns that the work isn’t sufficiently different from what he is already doing and neither his compensation nor his title will be changed. So rather than motivate the employee, the transfer of responsibilities becomes a millstone.

 Employee retention is the most critical element in the future success of the business and a strategy to survive should not conflict with a strategy to retain the company’s most important asset. It’s not too soon to revisit your strategies for the future and make sure employee retention is not only on your list, but at the top.

Incentive Programs: Productivity Up, Admin Costs Down

September 19, 2009

By John Riley

With a depressed economy and lagging sales, companies have significantly reduced their purchases.  As a result, sales personnel are dealing with tight fisted buyers intent on preserving their company’s money. However, with a little extra effort and creative thinking, a salesperson can find a way to pry some of that money loose.  That extra effort can be influenced by an incentive program.

 Incentive programs are most commonly associated with sales campaigns, however , they can also be used to increase employee loyalty.  Both programs have been effective. Over the years, these programs have become more pervasive, as  management felt pressures to increase revenues and profits.

 The Incentive Federation conducted a study in 2003 and found North American companies spent approximately $27 billion a year on travel and merchandise programs.  They also found that 78% of respondents remembered travel and merchandise longer  than cash payments.

 Companies have found, as they move to online administration, they can cut costs and improve their ability to exercise good control. The Incentive Federation pegs the cost savings at 60% . When you consider the printing costs of all the literature, direct mail and catalogs or brochures used to implement earlier incentive programs, savings were substantial by switching to the Internet. Other cost factors are award selection and award fulfillment.

Ironically, cost is also the reason many companies have not used incentive programs.

The Federation’s Harold D. Stolovitch, Richard Clark and Steven J. Condly conducted an additional study that revealed more metrics:

When incentive programs are directed toward individuals, performance increases by 27%.

When the program is directed at teams, performance increases by 45%.

Some 92% of respondents who reached their goals credited the incentive plan.

A properly structured incentive plan rewards only those who meet their performance goals. That means you don’t pay for substandard performance. In general, any function that generates metrics can be measured and therefore is a candidate for an incentive plan.  A basic tenet of designing a plan is to have ‘stretch’ goals, i.e. goals that can only be achieved with extra effort. 

 In my own experience, most of the metrics mentioned above were validated while with my former employer. For example, one year, we took 350 of the top building product distributors on a week-long trip to Monaco and London with accommodations at quality resorts . Each year it was a different international locale.  There was not a single distributor on that trip or any other trip who didn’t extend that extra effort to make sure he or she was included.

Travel tends to be more popular than merchandise.

Another incentive program was used in the agricultural market. Again, distributors were the target, but this time the awards were merchandise.  The awards were individual  and pegged to the distributors specific merchandise interests which were determined in advance of the program. In this case, the length of the program was six months and tied to the farm building construction season. The program achieved its objectives  and was continued for four years.

 As a testimonial to the success of incentive programs, the Online Incentive Council , a strategic industry group of the Incentive Marketing Association,  recently reported the online incentive industry is doubling every year. 

Online incentive programs properly structured and administered by the right provider can make a difference in your business.  Revenues can increase.  Costs can go down.

 If the sale department is worried about meeting their quota this year, an incentive program could be the answer.

Pew Research: Labor Force Trends: Older Workers Increase, Younger Workers Decrease

September 12, 2009

By  John Rileysun with chart

As the U.S. labor force grows between 2006 and 2016, 93% of that growth (11.9 million) will be from workers ages 55 and older says one government estimate.  This is attributed to many gray and aging Americans who are healthy and active. They want to be productive and feel useful well into their later years.

 Younger Americans,  between the ages of 16 and 24, are a declining share of the labor force with 57%  today versus 66% in 2000.  However, a rising share of this age group are in school.

 There are  two factors that help explain these changes.  First, is a belief in the need for a college education  to be successful.  Nearly 75% of the public feels this way now versus 49% in 1978.

 Second, is the impact of the recession on young people. Many are believed to have dropped out of the job market.

 This, and other findings about America’s changing  work force, come from a new national survey, Pew Research Center’s Social and Demographic Trends project.

 Other results:

—  the number of women who have a job or are seeking one is no longer growing, but holding at 59%.

 That’s a change after five decades of growth.   Men rank about 13% higher.

—  most working mothers and only 19% of men prefer part time jobs.

 Pew based its findings on data obtained from the Census Bureau  and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some Things Don’t Change

September 8, 2009

Today’s businesses, communities and leaders are all about change. The business media, the popular press and even many recent issues of Leading Effectively have focused on the fast pace of change, the need to adapt and the challenges of leading in times of great uncertainty. All the talk about change might have you believe that leadership itself has completely transformed, too. David Campbell begs to differ.

Campbell, whose groundbreaking work on career development made him renowned in the field of industrial and organizational psychology, is a CCL Honorary Senior Fellow.

Reflecting on a long career working with leaders from around the world, Campbell shared 21 observations of leadership with readers of his publication. His comments include:

  1. Leadership can be taught, or at least learned. I am also fairly certain that it can be stomped on fatally.
  2. A definition of leadership that makes sense to me is, “Actions that focus resources to create desirable opportunities.” I have been using this definition for years, but no one else seems to be impressed by it.
  3. The world will inevitably focus on the frailty of the leader. If a leader scores a 9 on a 10-point scale, the 10 percent gap between reality and perfection will be what draws public attention — but, as the English say, better a diamond with a single flaw than a perfect pebble.
  4. Creative leadership is distasteful to most organizations; it almost always creates unwelcome turbulence. The status quo will usually reign or, perhaps, suffocate. Leaders who attempt to be creative either have to be brilliant or be completely in control. It helps if they are both.
  5. People in charge will hang on too long.
  6. Two basic dimensions of leadership — task orientation and relationship orientation — have constantly appeared and reappeared in the leadership research literature. Both people and productivity are important.
  7. Sooner or later, and it is often sooner, almost all organizations will demonstrate dysfunctionality. Even the simplest organizational tasks escalate in complexity over time, creating either bad feelings or poor performance. Simply assigning parking places or getting the coffee pot cleaned daily will eventually lead to friction.
  8. Poor leadership is far more visible from below than from above, which means that in most organizations, those responsible for evaluating leaders — usually their superiors — are poorly positioned to do so.

Printed with permission of Center for Creative Leadership. Adapted with permission from Leadership in Action, Volume 28, Issue 4, 2008; Copyright (c) 2008 Jossey-Bass Publishers/A Wiley Imprint