Where Are the Workers? Asked and...Answered.

Let's visit about the Labor Shortage.  A couple of weeks ago I was at an event organized by the Greater Des Moines Partnership. It is one Now Hiring of the largest business groups in the nation. The breakfast was designed to outline their legislative wish list for 2022.

During the Q & A session one business person asked this: “Everywhere you look there are businesses looking for workers but they are not there.  Where have these workers…gone?”

Well, the answer is complex but let’s take a shot but I can tell you it all starts with...money.

An MIT and CNBC analysis earlier this year found that even a $15 minimum wage wouldn't be a living wage for many families. Anecdotally, businesses paying higher wages haven't struggled as much with labor shortages and understaffing.

Show me the money…is what we’re hearing.

Man BoredThe love, hate your job issue is real. According to an Indeed survey of about 1,000 people who "voluntarily resigned from at least two jobs since March 2020," most of them (92%) said "the pandemic made them feel life is too short to stay in a job they weren't passionate about."

Flexibility is important:  One of the industries feeling the most pain is leisure and hospitality. Even if employers in that sector increase wages, they may have trouble finding workers because those jobs have to be done in person…and there isn’t much flexibility in scheduling.

According to one survey of 10,000 knowledge workers from Future Forum, workers want flexibility in both location and schedule.

Child care is an issue. First will the children be safe and secondly child care is so expensive that many parents have done the math and it makes more sense to stay home than  pay child care costs that may be more than their mortgage payment.

Fear of illness: As the pandemic stretches on…many workers just don’t want to chance getting sick. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that, in November, 1.2 million people didn't look for work because of the pandemic. In addition, some workers may be quitting or staying out of work because they're hesitant to get the vaccine, as more businesses put requirements in place.

Early Retirement: More workers have…also…retired early…we covered that moments ago…and now some may want to come back into the workforce…time will tell.

Immigration is also a root cause of the shortage: There are about 1.2 million adult foreign workers or work-eligible immigrants who are just not here because of the restrictions that have been imposed during the pandemic.

Job Disconnect: There is also a job disconnect between available workers and the jobs that are open. 48% of jobseekers surveyed by FlexJob said that they're frustrated with the job search, because they weren't finding the right positions — and the ones that are open pay too low.  Back to pay again.

Job burnout is another factor: Some workers are resigning because of burnout, putting added stress on employers and the remaining employees. Workers are taking on extra duties as companies struggle to fill positions, leading these workers to also feel burned out.

Technology is also to blame:  Qualified workers might be applying for roles that fit them, but hiring managers don't even know. Some Employment Application are getting filtered out by hiring software. As the Wall Street Journal first reported, a Harvard Business School study found that over 10 million workers are filtered out by hiring software.

Employers also filter out workers because of preexisting biases and inequities.

Roughly 70 million workers don't have a college degree, but are known as "STARS" — Skilled Through Alternative Routes. They account for two-thirds of American workers, but many may be filtered through educational requirements…that often really don’t match the real world job requirements.

Often felons are filtered out:  And there continues to be a big divide when it comes to white workers vs. black workers…with black unemployment still high.

Entrepreneurship:  Finally…people are done working for others and want to become their own boss.   According to Bloomberg's reporting on business applications from the Census Bureau, there have been a record number of applicants in the first nine months of 2021 compared to the first nine months in previous years.

The US reached its highest number of unincorporated self-employed workers during the pandemic so far in July 2021 — also the highest number since the last big crisis to hit our country in 2008.

So, where have all the workers gone…?  Lots of possibilities.

IOB LOGO BWAbout Insight on Business the News Hour:

The award winning Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie is the only weekday business news podcast in the Midwest. The national, regional and some local business news along with long-form business interviews can be heard Monday - Friday. You can subscribe on PlayerFMPodbeaniTunesSpotifyStitcher or TuneIn Radio. And you can catch The Business News Hour Week in Review each Sunday Noon on News/Talk 1540 KXEL. The Business News Hour is a production of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications. You can follow us on Twitter @IoB_NewsHour.


The Podcasting Fad...

Back in 2010 we added podcasting to our business. We thought it was the next iteration of blogging so we hooked up with Podbean and Studio May 22 2009 started podcasting the business news interviews from Insight on Business the News Hour. For some reason we figured people wouldn't want to listen to the business newscast. Wrong, and it took us several years to figure that out. Just like the 24/7 cable news shows consumers, it turns out, want the news on their time...not ours. (Photo is from May of 2009)

Our numbers in those early days were rough. We would post up the podcast and share with our guests and they, often, just ignored the opportunity to share those links...even though we sent out a "one-page" on how to get even more traction from their interview. Some even suggested they thought the whole podcasting thing was just another "social media fad".

But, we kept it up and it's turned out to be very successful. So when I saw this article from Inside Radio it didn't really surprise me.  But it might you.  The top line is this:

    "The just-released third quarter Share of Ear report from Edison Research shows that podcasting has captured a 14% share of ad      supported audio listening among Adults 25-54, the age group that advertisers focus on more than any other. That is more than twice    podcasting’s 6% share among ad-supported audio four years go."

MPL and IOBAnd when it comes to the financial side of podcasting check this line: "In terms of revenue, the Interactive Advertising Bureau/PwC outlook for next year forecasts a 31% growth rate."

We'll take that.  If you would like to read the entire piece from Inside Radio here you go!

Today we're on six different podcast platforms all fed by our friends at Podbean. If you would like to follow along just Google Insight on Business the News Hour and pick your favorite platform. Or this might make it easier:

The award winning Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie is the only weekday business news podcast in the Midwest. The national, regional and some local business news along with long-form business interviews can be heard Monday - Friday. You can subscribe on PlayerFMPodbeaniTunesSpotifyStitcher or TuneIn Radio. And you can catch The Business News Hour Week in Review each Sunday Noon on News/Talk 1540 KXEL. The Business News Hour is a production of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications. You can follow us on Twitter @IoB_NewsHour.

 


Join Me at EntreFEST!

It will be really special! People from all over the country will be converging on Cedar Rapids, Iowa for EntreFEST June 10 - 11. Why? Great MPL ENTREFest image 2021 question.  People will be coming to learn and earn for their startup dream or their current entrepreneurial business. On hand will be a host of speakers on topics from finance to marketing to wellness, diversity, sales...you name it. If it has to do with business you'll find something here that clicks.

This will be my first time at EntreFEST and I'll be speaking on Podcasting for Business. I'll cover topics from why podcasting rocks to equipment, sales, promotion and more. Plus, for those who want some "one-on-one" time I'll be available for questions and offer some coaching tips.  So why me on podcasting? We've been doing the daily Insight on Business in podcast form and on the radio for a dozen years.

In addition, because we do this every day.  I'll be there to record some "evergreen" business interviews that we'll use over the next several weeks.  Hey, you get to be part of our "studio audience" as well. 

Here is your link to purchase tickets for EntreFEST 2021 and BONUS...if you use the promo-code LIBBIE you'll get 20% off the price.  Also, if you're not keen on making the trip you can join the event virtually as well.  So, no excuse for anybody anywhere on the planet to miss this great event.

See you in June!


Baby, I'm Amazed...

The ability to connect with customers, clients and co-workers has never been greater. Go ahead, pick a platform from traditional media use Connecting Puzzle Image to podcasting to a host of social media platforms. Never before has there been so much opportunity yet utilization, real utilization, and the understanding of how to make it all happen tends to rest with just a few of us. I'm amazed.

Last week I joined Clubhouse (thank you Ben McDougal) and was involved in a deep dive into journalism. From how people are consuming the news to the many platforms that are available to a deep concern about an aging population that still relies on print and what happens when that goes away. We talked about news silos where people only get their information from a source that aligns with their personal/political view. We chatted about independent writers and journalists that are freelancing and publishing on Substack or on their blog or in an electronic newsletter. Baby, I'm amazed...

If everything that I wrote in that second paragraph reads like some sort of techy gibberish you would not be alone. Think of that entire ecosystem as a layer of knowledge and activity that is going on in what would seem like an alternative universe. And, to a point it is. News Typewriter

While the vast majority of people and businesses survive on some traditional and "old school" models of marketing, advertising and information gathering you need to know those old models are quickly going away or being replaced with other means of connecting. And, that...can be a blessing our a curse.

It all depends on your target market...the people that really matter to your business.

I was watching "Better Call Saul" the other night (If you've not seen it...go...you will not be disappointed.) when the main character Jimmy McGill, a down on your luck attorney and the person who later becomes Saul Goodman, recognizes an opportunity to do something called "elder law". Jimmy_McGill Saul You know, doing wills and trusts for older citizens.  In one scene we see what appears to be a long-term care facility day room with dozens of elderly people talking, playing cards, doing puzzles and the staff is handing out Jell-O Cups.  As the people eat the Jell-O there is a message printed on the bottom of each cup that says, "Need a Will? Call Jimmy McGill" and an image of McGill's face.  And, of course, McGill is in the room glad-handing each person and giving some really over the top complements.

Brilliant...  You see Jimmy knows his customer base and it would be a waste of time and money to try to reach these folks with traditional media and so he does some inventive "direct marketing" on a personal scale. Now, the show doesn't tell us how successful this method is but if he gets just eight people, out of the sixty there, he's made a good return on his investment.  But, the key was he KNEW who and how to connect.

So, where is your key customer? They may be consumers of local radio or television. They may be die-hard print subscribers or they may be digital consumers or early adopters of various communication tools from Clubhouse to Twitter. The question to you is, "Where are my customers/clients/co-workers spending their time gathering information?"

Figure that out and you...win.

 

 

 


Feeling Time Starved?

It's a valid question and the answer is a resounding, "Yes"! We have so many demands on us that to give more than a few minutes to MPL Twelve Thirty consider a decision is tough. Time starvation is one of the reasons convenience rules. Consumers are more than happy to buy products at a corner convenience store and pay 20% more than wade across a parking lot and roam the aisles of a grocery store even if there is a "friendly smile" everywhere.

Consider online shopping and business.

I know of a professional business that just purchased all of their officer equipment and furniture from Amazon.com. You read that correctly...all of it. And when they need paper or ink or whatever, they push a button and it is delivered to their door. Do they get to "touch" the products. Maybe but what they did do was research, online, and then made their purchase.

I've just given you two real world examples of how convenience seeks to play a role in time starvation.

Here is another one: Podcasting

Broadcast outlets are learning that people want news and information on the go and on their time. Rather than sit and wait for the specific time a broadcast is on consumers are consuming content when THEY are ready. That reality has led to a massive number of podcasts being created. Once again, playing into the reality of time starvation.

The podcast industry is still in it's early years. Our company has been in the space for at least ten years with Insight on Business the News Hour and we've watched the podcast effort continue to grow. Once again, people want good content delivered to them on their terms.

It makes sense and we believe it will only continue to grow. How about you?  Thoughts?


Podcasting Equipment

Over the past year I've had dozens of people ask me about helping them start a podcast. It's all the rage you know and I'm here to help. Mobile Studio in Mobile 2019 I've been doing Insight on Business the News Hour in one podcast form or another for about ten years. First as a video podcast and then when I transfered over to radio it became audio only. Today I do the newscast as a podcast, each day Monday - Friday. There is at least 10 minutes of business news and an interview that can go 15 to 22 minutes...sometimes two interviews.

The photo is my "mobile studio". I use two Audio-Technica AT8004L mics from B&H out of NYC.  Decided on these longer microphones because when interviewing people who are not used to doing broadcast interviews I've got to adjust them, often, closer to get good sound. There are two mic stands, two 6' mic cables and the recorder I use is a Zoom H4n Pro. I also use a Sony Pro headset to monitor the interviews. If something goes wrong it's easier to stop and re-do while on site rather than in post production. 

That's it and it all goes in a roller suitcase.

In my office I use a USB microphone that plugs directly into my computer. It is a Blue Microphone Yeti. I love it so much that I have three of them! It's a great company based in California...and love, love the sound.

In addition, if I'm caught without my recorder and mics I do have Voice Record on my iPhone. You can download from the iStore. The quality is really pretty good. I also carry with me a bluetooth lav mic that hooks up with my iPhone (Thank you Phil K. James!) to do promotional videos with my guests. That system is from Kimafun and runs about $50. Works great.  Here is a sample with Georgia VanGundy from the Iowa Business Council.

 

Great sound...yes?

Of course you need to take your WAV file, create an MP3, edit the work, put in music, commercials and more. I have used, for my post production Audacity. I've used this open source system for years and years and it works great. Best news is it is free. So...go get it.

Finally, you need a host. Someplace to actually PUT your podcast. I have used Podbean.com for years. It works slick, you can share to other podcast platforms like Stitcher, iTunes, PlayerFM, TuneIn Radio, Google Play by giving them the RSS Feed.

I'll share with you that all of this takes work...and some experience. Before launching our advertising, marketing and communications company I spent years in radio and television so I've got a bit of history and experience in those areas. It truly has helped and coming back to newscasting after being gone for several years is sort of like riding a bike.

Finally every newscast and interview is placed on our Radio Blog.  I've used Typepad for years. It's a habit I guess. Finally, each week I author an e-newsletter through My Emma to boost my advertisers and the content. 

So, that's about it.  I'd be happy to help you figure out some other things like original music for your podcast...HELLO James GOODLETT from Jam Good Productions!!! Or anything else you might need.  Check his work below.

Final word: Work.  I spend, roughly six hours a day doing interviews, travel, production, post-production and posting. And, that is every day. I get it. We do a daily newscast and you might be looking at doing a weekly podcast. Then, the time commitment goes way down. But till you've got to write, edit and create content that is worth listening to.

Now...you know everything! 

Good luck and THANK YOU Patrick Rynard for the boost to get me to write this!


Should I Start My Business Podcast?

I get this question from clients and non-clients every week. Businesses from start-ups to established corporations are often, just now, Insight-on-business-news-hour finding out about podcasting and thinking that it may be the perfect answer to an ever increasing number of media opportunities in which to connect with consumers.

The answer to the question is, as with most answers, it depends.

The number of podcasts that are now being done is stunning. Research from June of 2018 puts the number at 550,000 in more than 100 languages. That is a ton of competition but it also isn't a complete story. However, if you want to deep dive into the numbers like who listens, how often do they listen and more here is a link to PodcastInsights.com that we found to be enlightening. 

Bottom line is the people are there and they are consuming hours and hours of podcasts.  But, the question remains..."Should I start my business podcast?"

Linda  Harmon MPL Feb 2 2011I've been in this podcast/webcast world for nearly ten years. We started out in a closet at a local bar (no, really!). We put in a "studio" of sorts and I was one of 60 people doing a podcast/webcast from that location. We moved from there into a real studio and launched something called Webcast One Live. It was all years ahead of its time. 

Six years ago we launched Insight on Business the News Hour a daily business news broadcast/podcast that covers national, regional and some local business news plus long form business interviews that run between 15 and 20 minutes. So, yep, been there. Here are some considerations you've got to think about moving forward:

  • Do you really, really have something to say? - This is an important question because it's really about the long term. To simply launch a podcast and then, within two months you run out of material. Not such a great place to be.  So, be honest;
  • Do you have the talent to carry it off? - This is so critical. To just sit in front of a microphone and talk is a world away from having the talent to make it work. Talent goes to the ability to carry on the conversation, a voice that is listenable and the technical issues that go into creating a successful podcast;
  • Do you have the technology? - True you can get into podcasting pretty cheap and that's why it's attractive to some. But when you start adding up the costs and the knowledge it can get expensive. So, if you are willing to to make a commitment to and you don't mind learning and working...it can be done;
  • Do you have the time? - I do a daily business news podcast. It takes me roughly two hours to write the news another hour to record and edit and another hour to polish the finished product and start to share across multiple channels. But in our case we also do business interviews so there is another hour per interview. But if you're not doing that you can figure at least four hours a day. True you can do a weekly podcast and your time will be much, much shorter;
  • Do you know social media? - Yes, you can put your podcast up on one of many podcast platforms but how do you let people know that you exist. If there are over 550,000 podcasts out there how do you let folks know about yours?  Social media is key and you've got to not only understand it but be pretty darn good at the art of engagement;
  • Do you know how to measure and how to monetize? Measurement is sort of like the "wild west". We do track the number of downloads but some of the platforms we're on don't track them. Also, is this going to be a marketing expense or is there a plan in which you can make a little money and how do you do that?  Sponsorship? Pay to Play? If you are investing hours of your time how do you pay for it?
  • Do you have staff? - Yes, you can DIY your podcast but if you don't know how or lack the equipment and the ability to share the show you are going to have to count on hiring others. That, friends, can be really expensive and cost hundreds of dollars an episode. Who will line up guests, will you do remotes, what new items will you bring to the effort?  Us?  We find we are always evolving. 

Final thought. Podcasting is a bunch like blogging. I've known businesses and individuals that are all HOT on creating their blog for...maybe a year but then they don't see the value or the return on investment so they quit. It's taken us years to be financially secure with our format. 

Your thoughts?

 

 

 


You MUST Automate!

Long ago I stopped going to Walmart for maybe ten years. It wasn't a political thing. It wasn't about low pay, no benefits and a crummy, dirty store. Nope, it was all about the service. It was the worst. Employees that could care less, a return policy that drove me nuts...and away. I was absent a Walmart until last year when my local re-opened after spending about $2 million. So, I tried it. And, I've been back a numbeMcDonalds Kiosk April 2018r of times. It's been a positive experience.

Enter McDonald's and this crazy tale of automation.

I stopped in to pick up an egg and cheese biscuit. I don't eat bacon and sausage is out so...egg and cheese it is. I walk in, with little time to spare as I headed to my next meeting. The person who was to be working the counter was working at something else so I waited, patiently, until she spied me.

"I'm sorry I was doing something else. How may I help you?"

I'd like an egg and cheese biscuit please.

"Let's go over to the kiosk and place your order."

Uhm...no let's just order here.

As she comes out from behind the counter and marches toward the kiosk she said, "Oh, don't worry I'll help you."

I'm not worried. I'd just like an egg and cheese biscuit.

"Well, come over here and let's use the kiosk. I'll show you how. Is this to go or for here?"

It's to go.

"So, how has your morning been?"

It's been fine until I walked in here. I just want to order an egg and cheese biscuit and I'll be out of your way.

"Here is our kiosk.(She said it in almost a reverent tone.) Now, would you like me to help you?"

No. I think I can do this.

So it went. I ordered my egg and cheese biscuit under the watchful eye of the young lady "helping me". I'd call her by name but she was working under cover...no name badge.

Egg and Cheese Biscuit. No, I don't want to customize the order. Yes, I would like a drink. What kind? A Diet Coke. What size? A small. All the time pushing the buttons. Finally I had ordered by Egg and Cheese Biscuit with a small diet coke.

McDonalds Bisciut April 2018We went back to the counter, she gave me my ticket and within 90 seconds I was handed a bag by a smiling young lady who said, "Egg and Cheese Biscuit to go, sir."

Thank you.

I gathered my drink, headed out to the car. Got down the highway, opened the bag and...

Yes, there was a biscuit. Yes, there was egg. Yes, there was bacon... BACON? Did I ORDER WRONG from the blasted kiosk?

Uhm...nope as you can see by the receipt. 

I wonder if, when I take this back...and I will...If I'll be forced to visit with the kiosk or (heaven forbid!) a human?

What should have happened? Yep, she should have just taken the order. Weary.


Hobby Lobby - A Missed Opportunity - The Horses Mouth

There is a new, sort of, social media trend out there. It's where teens are flocking to Hobby Lobby stores across the country for the Hobby Lobby Challenge. What's going on?  Young people descend on the local craft centric store and then use everything from fake flowers to ferns Hobby Lobby Imageto other items as props to create Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat images. They then challenge friends and family to take up the challenge and do the same.  Cool?

Nope, Hobby Lobby staff and workers don't like it. In fact many store employees have used social media to rail against the trend.

They complain that they have to clean up and fix the shelves that some might disturb.

But..what it... What if Hobby Lobby embraced the trend, no matter how short lived. Think of the free publicity!  Hobby Lobby could:

  • Welcome teens to their store and encourage them to use their products as prop for social media posts;
  • The company could then actually re-tweet or share those images to connect with a youthful demographic;
  • Hobby Lobby could, in just a few weeks, ditch the "old school" label and become (sort of) cool...even for a short time.

What a missed opportunity. Any idea what some companies might pay to have their name shared across thousands, if not millions, of images sent to a demographic that may not mean anything today...but how about tomorrow.

It's a gift.

But then there is that horses mouth... 


QR Codes - Hello Again...

It may surprise you to know that the QR Code (you know that funny looking image you may have seen on products and print ads) has been around for a very long time. In fact it was developed in Japan back in 1994 to track automobile production. IOB QR Code

Over the years we’ve used QR Codes (QR is short for “Quick Response”) for a number of our clients. Pet food clients put QR Codes on their pet food bags that points to short videos about the product, lawn and garden clients do the same. We’ve put QR Codes on shelf tags so shoppers can access short informative videos about what they are looking at.

Sadly, the QR Code fell out of use mostly because businesses that used them didn’t tell consumers what would happen when they scanned the code and, perhaps more importantly, you had to download a QR Code Reader for your smart phone. Many consumers didn’t know that or didn’t want to be bothered.

Welcome Back!

The QR Code is back and this time it’s due to the help of Apple. If you have an iPhone and you’ve downloaded the recent IOS update you can now go to your camera, point your phone at the QR Code and the camera will recognize it as such and ask you if you want to open the website in your browser. Android phones still have not made this as part of their update but that could be coming in the near future.

Now that QR Codes can be scanned without having a special app watch for more business and marketing applications. Like go ahead and check our our daily business news radio broadcast page. 

Go ahead, give it a try!