Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Value of Gratitude

A client and I were recently chatting about how the words "please" and "thank you" aren't used as often these days. In the workplace in particular, but perhaps even in our personal lives, we are so hurried, and we've become so matter-of-fact in communication (texting, chatting, tweeting) that extra words get edited away.

In the workplace, it is important to recognize that even if an employee is supposed to be doing something, it will FEEL better to do it if we say please first and thank you after. In customer relations, it is imperative to demonstrate that we appreciate everything about the relationship, by expressing our gratitude. Thank customers for their time, for responding to you, for providing needed information, for paying bills.

Retaining customers is far easier than finding new ones! Having your employees do their jobs cheerfully instead of grudgingly is so much better!

Remember the pleasantries – they're called that because they make everything more pleasant!

Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Productivity “Paradigm Shift” Paradox?

Dozens of news articles today about a speech given in San Diego by Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve President in SF, where she claims that this may be a jobless recovery because employers will squeeze every bit of productivity they can out of their workers, in lieu of hiring. Yellen commented on interest rates and many other topics in her talk, and financial markets reacted to her speech. With regard to employment, Yellen added that it may be 3 full years until employment catches up with growth in the economy. A new post by Shahien Nasiripour on the Huffington Post posits that this point of view on productivity could be a permanent paradigm shift by employers.

I've written before on how I (and several other hiring experts) feel that the productivity increases are unsustainable. The projected 3% GDP growth over the next few years, combined with federal budget cuts, changes to the balance of trade, and severely low worker morale and loyalty, means to me that there will be job creation, and over the next 3 years we will regain the losses of the past 2 years. My research and personal anecdotal experience indicates that especially at the managerial and above levels, people will simply not put up (and "put out") to the extent they have, during a time of recovery.

In the 140 or so comments rapidly accumulating on Huffington Post, most of the writers are really angry, about how the government and business have failed to address "Main Street". I think this attitude will start to seep into the workplace and even if employers expect to get blood from stones, further increases in productivity or even sustaining the current high rate, will not happen.

Disagree with me? Start a comment chain, and let's discuss it!

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Apologies For Last Post....

In my last post, I sounded a bit flippant about the man who crashed his plane into the IRS building. I apologize for that insensitivity.

Suicide is always a tragedy. Mental health treatment is stigmatized and under-addressed in our society, and under-funded by insurance coverage. When people are so desperate that they have nowhere to turn, and no one to talk to , it is very, very sad.

It is too easy to make light of people being angry at the IRS, and it was wrong of me to take that angle.

I have worked in the mental health field, and I wish there were ways for every individual and for our entire society to be able to prevent the needless, painful loss of suicide.

For the wonderful gentleman who pointed out the personal impact of my story, I have apologized personally, and to anyone else who was offended, I am truly sorry.

If there was any point to my last blog it was that I wish compassionate communication was available to all who need it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Imagine being THAT mad at the IRS!

I've heard of tax protests, but this beats all. A guy in Texas plows his plane into an IRS building with 200 employees, killing himself of course, and injuring many others.

Just another symptom of a society where people are forgetting how to communicate with the spoken word.

See the article here.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Productivity Jumps Again

Productivity jumped again in Q4, which means that employers are still getting more out of their people. This is 3 straight quarters of productivity gains. I've said before that this means new hiring is coming soon. There is a limit to how far overworked people can be pushed, especially if growth is starting to happen.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dueling Jobs Bills?

I wrote to President Obama 4 days before the State of the Union address, urging him to focus on job creation as the number one theme. Thank goodness he listened! <JK> There are two different jobs ideas now on the table, one promoted by the House, and one by the White House. Because it seems nothing the government does these days can be without controversy, these proposals have been referred to in the media as "dueling" or competing. The essence of the controversy is whether it is better to create jobs by stimulating private industry, or by directly funding projects that cause hiring. The answer in a down economy is that BOTH are needed right now.

Both proposals include tax credits for hiring. The President emphasized credits to small businesses, because they hire quickly, more broadly across skill areas, and have an immediate impact. This is great, and it will work. Both proposals call for infrastructure investment: Start road projects and hire construction workers. Improve education and hire more teachers (or bring them back from layoffs). Support homeland security at the local level by hiring more police and firefighters. All of this will work, will stimulate spending, result in more income tax and sales tax revenues, etc. Ultimately, government gets paid back on all this investment, as was evidenced during the prosperous 90's, when we had budget surpluses.

Personally, I hope the factionalizing and partisanship stops, and government can move swiftly to take decisive action that will actually speed the recovering. No more dueling!

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