Monday Mornings with Madison

Monthly Archives:
February 2015

Avoiding Email Blunders

Email is a key tool that allows business professionals to communicate very quickly in writing in great detail. It has replaced traditional phone calls and long-winded memos. Emails have also greatly reduced the need for group meetings just to share information. Emails also serve as written proof or validation of past requests, instructions and discussions. Practically no business today operates without email.

However, like any tool — when not used properly — email can be detrimental. Even old emails and ones that are thought to have been deleted can still be resurrected from computer memory and used in legal proceedings. Email mistakes can (and have) cost companies both business and money. That is why it is imperative that business emails be thoughtfully composed and vetted before sent. While that may seem obvious, companies continue to deal with email blunders by staff at every level. Given the increased demand for privacy and security of information in many industries and the major financial consequences that can be on the line when emails go awry – think of the embarrassing emails that surfaced when Sony Pictures’ computers were hacked — email best practices are vital for every organization’s survival and success. Here are eleven of the most common blunders and how best to avoid them. Continue reading

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Benefits Employees Want Most – Part 2

Although the most headline-grabbing economic issue in the U.S. during the last decade was the ballooning unemployment rate, this particular woe has been decidedly declining in direct proportion to the rise in jobs. With the Department of Labor Statistic reporting unemployment holding at about 5.6% – 5.7% since October 2014, job gains are still being reported in retail trade, construction, health care, financial activities, and manufacturing in January 2015. Ironically, though, a decline in unemployment is now accentuating a different concern for U.S. businesses; namely, the need for more highly-skilled employees. U.S. companies report wanting to only hire people who are “job ready.” But such skilled workers are increasingly harder to find.

Indeed, recent surveys of business executives indicate that finding appropriately skilled workers is their biggest worry, and they foresee it getting worse. In 2015, businesses are facing the reality that, with little slack in the U.S. labor market plus a global skills-job disconnect, efforts to attract enough employees to fill high-skill jobs is becoming increasingly difficult. If skills shortages do increase in 2015, as expected, businesses will need to get more creative in how they attract and keep top talent long-term. In addition to increasing wages, which have been stagnant, employers will need to offer benefits that are most valued by employees. According to the late Steve Jobs, “I noticed that the dynamic range between what an average person could accomplish and what the best person could accomplish was 50 or 100 to 1. Given that, you’re well advised to go after the cream of the cream. A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.” Indeed, in the long run, companies with the best benefits will be the most successful simply by attracting and retaining the most innovative and productive staff.
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Benefits Employees Want Most – Part 1

Salary is not the only variable that employees factor when considering a company to work for or job to keep or leave. While pay is obviously a primary concern – after all, the reason people work is to earn a living – there are a number of other variables employees consider when deciding where to work. An employee’s benefits package is often just as important. However, which benefits are valued most by employees depends on the employees and their particular circumstances. A woman with small children might value flexible work hours and a Flexible Spending Account for child care while a man nearing retirement might value a company’s 401K plan and more vacation time. One might say that the benefit of a benefit is in the eye of the beholder.

That hasn’t stopped government from weighing in on the matter. In the recent State of the Union address, for example, one employee benefit that was given the spotlight was paid sick leave. Touting it as ‘middle-class economics’, President Obama challenged Congress to pass a federal mandate that provides paid sick leave for all employees, saying “Send me a bill that gives every worker in America the opportunity to earn seven days of paid sick leave.” In fact, three states and 15 cities have already passed measures requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to all full-time employees. Under current U.S. labor law, employers are not required to provide short-term paid sick days or longer-term paid sick leave. As companies and government weigh the pros and cons of what types of employee benefits to support, it might be useful to consider what benefits are needed and wanted most by employees. Companies that want to be top in their industry and want to attract the best talent must go beyond salary to offer benefits that employees want most. Continue reading

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To Be A Top Salesperson in 2015, Embrace Rejection!

Being a salesperson can be a challenging – and at times even downright daunting — occupation (which is perhaps why they are usually very well-compensated). Selling involves a number of skills that many people are either weak at or don’t possess at all. The best salespeople are outgoing, friendly and sociable. They are never intimidated and are comfortable talking to anyone. They genuinely like people and people like them. They are skilled communicators, knowing what to say and what not to say to gain a potential customer’s interest. They are able, savvy negotiators, adept at overcoming objections and finding a solution that meets the needs of those involved. But most of all, the best salespeople are tenacious, with tremendous perseverance and a deep capacity to accept rejection and keep going. In fact, being able to handle rejection well is perhaps the most important skill of any professional, full-time salesperson. After all, most salespeople will hear “no” many, many times before getting a “yes.”

According to Bo Bennett, a tech entrepreneur who sold his tech company for $20 Million at the age of 29 and author of the best-selling book Year to Success, “A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success.” Indeed, it’s been said that selling doesn’t begin until a customer says “no.” In other words, if after pitching a product or service, the customer immediately says “yes,” then the person didn’t really sell… they educated and took an order. Selling is actually what happens after the first “no.” So if sales and rejection go hand in hand, how does someone who wants to be a top salesperson overcome the fear of rejection? Continue reading

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