How Much is Too Much?

Last week on The Business News Hour I had a conversation with Brad Dwyer the founder of Bad BossHatchlings a game application that now has millions of users. The theme of our interview was employee productivity and creativity...when the boss is bossing remotely. If you would like to listen to the interview you may do so here.

Brad was out of the country on an extended business trip to Asia...like for six weeks. During that time he was connected, remotely, to his thriving business. He told me it was both a necessity and an experiment: "I was really interested to learn if my team could continue to be productive and creative without me being there to direct every move."

What did he learn?  His staff not only rose to the occasion they were even more productive and creative without him being there.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece that centered on employee engagement and a Gallup Poll that says only 31% of employees are "engaged in their work". While that is bad enough those 69% of disengaged workers costs American business about $11 billion a year.

What causes such high levels of disengagement?  Let me offer one thought.  Recently, while doing an interview for a future broadcast I became aware of a growing company that workers there say management has replaced casual rules with "micro-management". New rules and regulations that, in the words of several employees, has "stifled creativity and productivity" among many of the long term workers.

While none of the rules were egregious they did, in the minds of many employees, chip away at trust and replaced leadership with regulations that one employee said felt "downright Orwellian". To make matters worse the changes came about rapidly over just a few weeks and bosses became less approachable relying more on process.

Two very different experiments in leadership.  Who would you rather work for? 

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The Business News Hour - The Friday Wrap

We are the fuel that powers Insight on Business the News Hour. It's the only daily, hour-long IOB_podcastv2 TuneInbusiness news broadcast in the Midwest. (No, really...we checked.) It airs Monday - Friday starting at 5:05PM on AM-940, FM-104.5 and (if you are really cool) in HD at 103.3 HD2. While we don't record and save the news and markets (that could get old....) we do save the long-form business interviews. 

So, in case you missed it...here's who we talked to this past week. If you would like to hear the interview click on the highlighted name or the media player.  Thanks for listening!

Just saying you want to start a business isn't enough.  Today we learn the Who, What and When of a business startup through the help of Thomas Kutz and Sam Kreamer of the Kreamer Law Firm. Lots of great information here that you need to know before you startup that startup. 

There is a program designed to assist children in the nation and here in Central Iowa. It's called Court Appointed Special Advocate or CASA of Iowa and here to explain what it is and how you might help is Jean M. Baker an author and advocate for children. Learn more...now.

Our guests are from Iowa Works of Central Iowa, Edgar Ortiz and Vonni Stewart are in to share with us what Iowa Works does for businesses and for individuals seeking employment or employment skills. We also talk about the event coming up on the 13th in conjunction with the Iowa Wild. Listen in...

It's coming to the Des Moines Metro on April 22 & 23 and to learn more about the Young Entrepreneur Convention we make welcome founder Brandon Adams. What to expect and the "young" does not have an age attached to it...Listen up...Brandon is "stoked".

Just over a year ago Michelle Hanson joined the ReMax Real Estate Concepts Team and said it was the best decision she's made in a very long time. We talk about selling real estate, the drive and ambition it takes to be successful and working alongside her Father-In-Law Lance Hanson. We also squeeze in some conversation about the current housing market in Des Moines. 

In addition to our special guests each Monday we feature our Networking/Social Media Contributor Laura Kinnard with networking picks and social media tips for business and each Friday we end with our Friday Fun Contributor Sheryl Tessier from Eat, Play, Love Des Moines and her top picks of "Stuff to DO in the Metro".

Thanks for reading and catch you tonight at 5:05 for the Business News Hour...


The Restaurant Industry - Needs a New Brand

There's some major trouble brewing in the restaurant industry and it's Servergoing to take some time to get it fixed. Let me set this up for you...here in the Des Moines Metro there isn't a week that goes by where we don't learn of yet another restaurant opening its doors.  While that may seem like progress there is something else going on: No workers.

I know of two owners who have put restaurant openings on hold because they cannot find help.  There is a lack of servers, cooks, chefs, dishwashers...and those two owners know the market.

Meanwhile corporations are draining the market dry.  After all...Hy-Vee might pay a lower salary for cooks...but they offer benefits.

If it is true that consumers control the brand then the restaurant industry needs to up their game and share with consumers what a great career food service can be. But it is going to take time and money.

In Europe a server is more highly treasured than a banker or attorney. Why? Because the industry there has built a brand on high quality, low turnover and knowledge.  Servers in Europe are...professional. Here they are often looked down on.

I've been told that the Iowa Restaurant Association has a plan to move this forward...they can't start soon enough...we're hungry.

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Marketing With LinkedIn

Let's talk LinkedIn!  I get it, you have a LinkedIn account because you are Linked In Image Twoin business and, no doubt, you want to sell more of your product or service. So, connecting with market leaders, buyers and others in business just might help you do just that.  Except it ain't happening.  

Let me see if I can help with some tips to enhance your LinkedIn success:

  • Your Photo - Perhaps it's just me but I don't accept LinkedIn connection requests unless there is a photo attached.  We figure that if you don't want folks to see you...you really are not serious about doing business.
  • Post Something Original - Look, I get it...it's easier for you to post stuff other people write that you find interesting.  However, what we want to know is what YOU THINK. Take some time and start posting your thoughts about your business silo. I know you've got an opinion.
  • Your Profile - Make sure it is complete. You are on LinkedIn to make connections but if I click on your profile and there is no way to connect with you...why are you here?  Take the time and give me contact info.
  • Share Posts - Once you start to master your own posting share others and make a comment. Tell us what you think vs. just posting a link. Thinking is a good thing.
  • Visit Often - Make it a habit to check into LinkedIn a couple of times a day. Scroll through your feed and engage.
  • Like Stuff - Your connections post photos, updates, blog posts, job news...make it your "job" to like and comment on them.  Folks like to know that other folks notice.
  • Recommendations - I have to be honest.  I've been prompted often to offer recommendations for various talents but rarely do. Why? Sometimes I don't honestly KNOW if the person is an expert on XYZ. At the same time, don't be afraid to ask your clients and friends for a recommendation. They know you...and your work. Go for it.

I was just like many of you...I didn't "work" LinkedIn.  Over the past two months I have and I have seen engagements increase by 50%.  Like everything else in the social space it takes work.

Honest, just want to help!  Now, head to your LinkedIn account and get busy with it. 

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You Had Me At "Welcome!"

I've just returned from a four day business trip to Memphis.  I stayed at the Memphis Downtown Sheraton (which at one time was a Marriott property). Sheraton Memphis

One word about the service:  Exceptional

From check in to check out everybody from the front desk the the valet to the bellmen to the folks that cleaned the rooms and served the food. It was the very best I've experienced.

Sure, most folks in the hospitality industry get it when it comes to customer service and they say, "Good morning!" and they say, "Yes sir!" but rarely have I run into so many people who simply opened up and...talked.  They talked about their jobs, their family their work, their church. They took time to have a conversation with a complete stranger.

One of the employees and I talked about the Memphis economy and how it feels like it's passing many by. "I'm not complaining but it's rough Michael. Really tough to make ends meet and I work two jobs."

I listened.  At the end of our brief conversation he said. "Mr. Libbie, thank you for listening and for caring. I really feel better."

People...really good people doing really good work, hard work.

It was great to meet every one of them.  It was great to move them out of "hospitalilty workers" and into...people.  Plain folks who are doing the best they can.

How about you?  Your thoughts?  Have you had the opportunity to experience amazing customer service and...at the same time...get a chance to look beyond the name tag?   Let me know?  I'm interested.

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Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications is a full service advertising agency based in Des Moines and the fuel that powers Insight on Business the Daily Business News Broadcast.


How to Recruit, Retain and Polish Your Brand

Here, in the Des Moines Metro, the unemployment rate is about 3.5 Woman Help Wantedpercent. Statistics say that about a third of those unemployed are not seeking a job. If that is correct the unemployment rate may be closer to 2 percent and THAT is a pretty tight labor market when you're seeking to hire...anybody.

What to do?  Back in April I authored a piece on using radio and today I'm even more convinced that this will work and work well; especially for specific job postings that are nearly impossible to fill.  

Why?

Because with radio you can be strategic in your search for high quality employees who...given the unemployment rate...are not in the job market.

Until today I had no idea there were 10,000 job boards in the United States and that only 39% of American's read a newspaper (hard copy or online) and that the average newspaper (hard copy) reader is over the age of 60. Stunning, right?

With radio you can target and passively recruit and drive interested people to YOUR job posting not everybody else seeking an employee. In addition friends and family of the job seeker hears the radio campaign and shares the news with the seeker.

And retaining?  That "Employee of the Month" plaque; who sees it?  But by using radio to congratulate individuals on their anniversary month...everybody hears it.  Retain or you must re-train.

And, finally, all the time you are in the campaign you are polishing your business brand...in public.

Make sense?

It does to us!

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You...Polished?

I'm talking shoes and personal branding. Polished Shoes

I get it.  If you work in a cube or in tech or you're a professor or you are independently wealthy you can get away with looking unpolished...maybe. However when you're working on your personal brand and you're wanting to rise to the top of your game; spending a little time making sure you've got a polished footing helps.

And, this extends beyond the job interview.  Because once you have the job you want to continue to move up...right?

Amy Glass is a trainer and coach at Brody Communications Ltd. of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, and an expert on presentation skillsbusiness etiquette, professional presence and interpersonal communication. She said in a recent interview with Peter Vogt of Monster, "Your image matters because it shows your attentiveness to detail and gives recruiters an idea of how you'll represent their company to clients, both internally and externally," Glass concludes. "The visual message you send makes a big difference in how you're perceived..."

That last line is all about personal branding and, in our mind, personal branding starts with polished shoes.  

It's the little things...

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Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications is a full service advertising agency based in the Des Moines Metro and the fuel that powers Insight on Business, The News Hour. Our Twitter Handle is @InsightADV and our Facebook Page is right here.

Thanks for reading!


Recruiting & Retaining

There isn't a day that goes by where we don't hear some business person bemoaning the fact that they can't find highly qualified employees or Radio Dial grumble about losing a great worker.  And, if you're in business you know this to be true.

But, there is an answer that is so simple and works so well...that, well, we're surprised that you'll be surprised when we share. Ready?

Radio.

Why?  Because it...works.  Think about it for a moment. Most really good employees are already working.  How might you lure somebody to even think about working for your company?  How about broadcasting the news that you've got a great company and you are seeking great people for a specific job.

What's really cool about this method is that you don't compete against thousands of job postings on a "job board" and...you are polishing your business brand at the same time.  Who wouldn't want to work for a company that tells others, "We're a great company to work for".

And, on the retention side...why not celebrate employee longevity and dedication...publicly with a well crafted radio message?

Look, people purchase radio ads to encourage consumers to buy products and services.  Why not use the same medium to recruit and retain outstanding employees and build your brand at the same time?

Simple...huh?

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Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications is a full service advertising agency based in Des Moines and the fuel that powers the business news broadcast, Insight on Business the News Hour.  On Twitter we're @InsightADV and here too is our Facebook Page.  Thanks for reading!