Amanda Setili provides business intelligence from a small business owner who found a solution to the issue of finding workers during the pandemic.
“Like many businesses, Dan & Whit’s General Store in Norwich, Vermont has been having a problem finding enough workers. Out of desperation, they came up with an out-of-the-box solution.
One longtime customer recalls the email she received from the store’s owner. It said, “You want to do yoga? Come into Dan and Whit’s. Breath. Grab a can of peas, put it on the shelf. Reach, stretch, bend down, breathe. Do it again.”
Yes, the store asked its best customers to work a shift or two.
Betsy Maislen is one of over a dozen customers hired in the past month, working part time. Many are retired. Some have other full-time jobs and young kids. None resemble traditional employees.
“We are able to pick our own hours,” explains Dianne Miller. “We’re able to decide how many hours we want to work, when we want to work, what we want to do. So it’s not really a job.”
Dan Fraser is the grandson of the original Dan; he now runs the store. He came up with the idea to ask customers if anyone would be willing to work six hours over the course of a week, broken down in any manner that fit their schedule.
“If everyone does that little piece,” he figured, “Then together those pieces add up to a full person or a couple people that will help us get us through this.”
At the end of her first shift, Maislen found a typed note from Fraser wrapped around her timecard: ‘Betsy – Thanks for coming in for training today. It’s wonderful to have you here joining the team. You’re a quick learner and easily mastered all the tasks. Great job with customers, too. Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks, Dan.’”
Key points include:
- Employee appreciation
- Customer communication
- Customer innovation
Read the full article, A General Store Asks Its Customers to Work, on LinkedIn.
Often the best-laid strategies of consultants come to a grinding halt at the people level. Amanda Setili shares a post that offers a few practical steps you can take to encourage others to take action.
The biggest obstacle to your progress is often something you can’t see, hear or even name. It is not something tangible and obvious. The biggest obstacle is… a quiet unwillingness—perhaps even reluctance—to do the things that you need someone to do.
You ask Engineering to create a better system for collecting payments from customers, and nine months in a row they have told you to wait “just one more month.”
The Sales team tells you (a Product Manager) that they will start selling your product at meetings with prospective clients, but week after week they come back from sales calls and say they ran out of time before bringing it up.
The reasons why this happens vary widely, but the essence of getting someone to do what you want basically comes down to three things:
1.) Do they have the ability to do what you want?
You can’t expect a media buyer to audit financial results, and you can’t merely ask someone to double their performance. Pure and simple, the other person may lack the capability to do as you wish, and there are times when this could be too embarrassing to admit.
The first step is always to do a reality check to determine if someone has the skill, experience and knowledge to do what you wish.
If you determine they lack the skill, you have several options. You might, for example, help the person learn a new skill or you could turn to a different person or group.
Key points include:
- Belief in assessment
- Cost value
- Reasonable risk
Read the full article, When Others Won’t Do… What You Need Them To Do, on LinkedIn.
Bernie Heine explains why your employees are key to the public perception of your brand, and what you should do to ensure a positive message is shared.
A recent study found that about 64% of global consumers have avoided a brand because of a bad experience they had within the past year. Almost half say they have avoided a company because of its reputation or negative social reviews. We’ve seen this happen many times, even with big corporations. For example, after the Volkswagen chaos of 2015, when the company chose to “cheat” emission testings, the public willingness to buy the brand fell by 28%.
Reviews and public perception are the bread-and-butter of consumer behavior. One study suggests that 97% of participants consider the customer reviews a factor in their buying decisions, and 92% of consumers hesitate to buy products or services when there are no customer reviews.
Benefits of Employee Happiness
Now, customer reviews and employee happiness might not be a clear connection at first. But, when employees are unhappy and not fully engaged, they’re much more likely to leave, which leads to higher turnover rates. In addition, training new employees to treat customers to the standards you have takes time and money. Not to mention, unhappy employees are much more likely to pass down their frustration to your customers. Thus, potentially damaging the company’s public perception.
On the contrary, when employees are happy and engaged at work, they’re more likely to stay, stay committed to bettering the customer experience and work towards the brand’s benefits.
Key points include:
- Greater Productivity
- Better Work Environment
- Increased Creativity
Read the full article, 4 Ways Happy Employees Impact Public Perception of Your Brand, on TheProfessionalBusinessCoaches.com.
Jared Simmons explains why simplifying assumptions could be the key to unlocking value faster and freeing up your knowledge workers to innovate.
I learned the power of simplifying assumptions early in my career. As an engineering student, I watched my professors fill boards with Greek letters and symbols, exponents and integrals, constants and variables. Then, in the last 10 minutes of class we worked a real problem together. The first step of solving the real problem was always to use the context of the problem to apply simplifying assumptions to the theoretical equation. Things like material composition, physical location, and scale let us whittle that complex equation down to a more manageable size. Essentially, they allowed us to build real, specific things based on universal theories. Because we understood the theory behind it, we could quickly identify the right simplifying assumptions for each new practical application. An hour in understanding, 10 minutes in practical application.
The two main points discussed in this article are:
- Barriers to applying simplifying assumptions at work
- Why simplification matters
Read the full article, The power of simplifying assumptions, on the Outlast website.
Amanda Setili shines a light on an initiative that sparked employee engagement, inspired innovation, and motivated collaboration.
What does a 110-year-old company do to increase the rate of innovation from less than one new business per year to 50?
The answer, says David Lee, Vice President of Innovation and New Ventures at UPS, is to launch a program that taps into the brilliant growth ideas lurking in the heads of many of its 480,000 employees.
The program is called Upstarts, and it invited employees to “in five pages or less, tell us your idea for growth.”
To spur interest, Lee’s team held mixers in cities around the world, from Shanghai, to Neuss, Germany, to Toronto and Miami. Employees heard what UPS was hoping to achieve through the program, and how they could contribute.
“It’s not just about ideas,” Lee explains. “It’s about finding teams of passionate, talented people.
Read the full article, Upstarts Kick-Start the Pace of Innovation at UPS, on Amanda’s website.
Susan Drumm provides four steps to ensure you will get honest feedback from your team.
Do you think you can get your team to give you honest feedback? Like no-holds-barred honest?
Many of my clients tell me they struggle to get real feedback from their direct reports and I’m not surprised.
Does this story sound familiar? One of my senior clients recently received the results of his 360 report and was surprised to learn that his team felt they weren’t being mentored effectively by him.
None too pleased with this, he walked out into the office and proceeded to go desk to desk. “Was this comment from you? Do YOU think I’m a good mentor? Do you have a problem with the way I mentor?”
Points covered in the four steps include:
-Create a culture of feedback and honesty from the outset.
-Dig in when asking for feedback.
-Be honest and genuine when asking for feedback
-Once you get the feedback, do something with it.
Read the full article, How to Get Honest Feedback from Your Team, on the Meritage Leadership website.
Jesse Jacoby identifies a few of the core issues that can arise when bringing a new manager into the workplace.
Good things are possible when new managerial blood is brought into an organization. For one thing, there are often fresh ideas. You know yourself how easy it is to get so close to something that you can’t see the forest for the trees. You can’t see a solution that’s obvious to someone from the outside. And, of course, if you don’t grow, then the status quo will feel normal. It will be the thing that you sub-consciously pursue. If you were asked point blank if this was your goal, then you’d deny it outright; nevertheless, it wouldn’t change the fact that you were in a rut and loving it.
This article covers:
-Changes to an organization’s culture, or that of a department or unit
-The dangers of bringing in new blood
-Recognising and dealing with repercussions
Read the full article, A Managerial Transfusion: The Danger of New Blood, on the Emergent Consultant’s website.