January 29th, 2013
Have you ever been a victim of “Premature Solicitation?”
It happens when someone you don’t even know solicits you for a referral or business, and – unfortunately – this phenomenon is far too common in today’s business world.
It’s never been so easy to “connect” with people. You can easily become contacts on LinkedIn – even circumventing the weak safeguards the program has in place to make sure you actually know every one of your contacts. So many people in business have a Facebook personal profile and often a Facebook business page – and on this platform, the more “friends” or “fans,” the better. What this means, however, is that you may have only the most vague of relationships with your social media contacts – and sometimes that relationship consists of nothing more than being connected to one another’s profiles!
There are also more opportunities to meet business people in person. Between organized networking functions, Chambers of Commerce, industry meetings, and civic organizations such as Kiwanis, Lions, etc., you can literally attend a different function every day, meeting so many people that they remain barely more than a name on a quickly passed business card.
Because of this, most people are ripe to receive a “premature solicitation” from these contacts. I’ve been a victim of this very thing many times. I was recently speaking at a business networking event, and, before my presentation, a man came up to me and said:
“Hi, it is a real pleasure to meet you. I understand you know Richard Branson. I offer specialized marketing services and I am sure his Virgin enterprises could benefit from what I provide. Could you please introduce me to him so that I can show him how this would assist his companies?”
Here’s what was going on inside my head:
“Are you completely insane? I’m going to introduce you, someone I don’t know and don’t have any relationship with, to Sir Richard, whom I’ve only met a few times, so that you can proceed to attempt to sell him a product or service that I don’t know anything about and haven’t used myself? Yeah, right. That’s NEVER going to happen.”
I am pleased to report that with much effort I was able to keep that little monologue inside my own head, opting instead for a much more subtle response.
I replied, “Hi, I’m Ivan, I’m sorry – I don’t think we’ve met before. What was your name again?”
That surprised the man enough to make him realize that his “solicitation” might have been a bit “premature.” I explained that I regularly refer people to my contacts, but I do so only after I’ve established a long-term, strong relationship with the service provider first. He said thanks and moved on to his next victim.
What was even more amazing to me was that a few months later I blogged about my experience on one of my favorite online social networks. A great dialogue ensued with most people sharing their horror stories and frustrations about people who pounce on them at networking meetings asking for business even though they’ve never met the person before.
However, every time I start to think this is an almost universal feeling of distaste for that approach to networking, I am brought back to reality by the minority of people who still think that this is actually a good networking technique. To my astonishment, a man on the forum actually wrote:
“I don’t happen to believe that you need a relationship with the person you are asking first. What you must have is a compelling story or product/service that would genuinely benefit the referral. The fact that you had not cultivated a relationship with the person has become irrelevant, because, more importantly, you had been in a position to help [your contact] benefit from the introduction. If it’s of genuine benefit to the person being referred, I don’t see the problem. It’s about the benefit of what’s being referred rather than the relationship with the person asking for the referral.”
And he finished this astonishing point of view with:
“Who am I to deny my contacts something good?”
Wow. What can I say? The “relationship” is irrelevant! All you have to have is a good story, product, or service and I owe it to you or any stranger (who says he or she has a good product) to introduce him or her to a good contact of mine! Really? People really think this way!?
According to this writer, it doesn’t matter if I actually know or trust the person wanting the business. As long as the person has a good product (or so he says), I should refer that person because I would otherwise “deny” my contacts “something good!”
I absolutely disagree with this. You need to build the relationship to a certain level before you can expect to simply ask for them to make their valuable, carefully developed close contact lists available to you – as a new or very casual acquaintance.
I would ask anyone interested in business networking to keep the following in mind:
1. Networking is not about hunting. It is not about one-shot meetings.
2. Networking is about farming. It’s about cultivating relationships.
3. Don’t be a “premature solicitor.”
You’ll be a better networker – and a more successful business person – if you remember these points.
January 8th, 2013
Having always worked for myself, I’ve never had to play by anyone else’s rules, and I wouldn’t want to. This attitude has shaped my approach to management since Virgin’s early days, when I decided to grant our employees many of the same freedoms that I enjoy.
Today the Virgin Group is made up of dozens of companies headed by CEOs and managers who have the freedom to run their businesses as they see fit. This philosophy goes against the usual rules of business and may seem unmanageable, but it has turned out to be one of the keys to our success.
In the past year we launched new Virgin mobile businesses in Chile and Poland, countries where our brand previously had no presence. This would ordinarily be a very difficult and somewhat risky project for any company, but we have a process that works very well. In Chile and Poland, teams assessed the needs and requirements of the markets, then structured the companies accordingly—there was no top-down pressure dictating how the companies should manufacture or sell their products and services, or otherwise conduct their daily business. Once employees had been hired to run the new companies, launch teams made sure that everyone had a good understanding of what Virgin is all about and why our businesses are different from the competition.
Safe in the knowledge that these new companies were ready to do business the Virgin way, we were able to grant their employees the freedom to run them in whatever way best suited their respective markets—it was all up to them. Both companies went on to have very successful starts.
Valuing More Than Metrics
Another of the areas where we ask many employees to make their own decisions—and many other brands can’t—is short-term profit: We focus less on this metric than most companies do. We all understand the importance of profit—if we didn’t, the Virgin Group would not be around long. However this shouldn’t be, and never has been, our driving force. Our employees are free to take positive risks knowing that they will not solely judged on a company’s profit margin, but also on factors that all of us at Virgin value, like raising awareness of the brand, creating happy and loyal customers, or making a positive impact on the larger community.
By giving employees the same freedoms that the senior managers and I give ourselves, our team can successfully take on projects that other brands can’t, such as Virgin Galactic and Virgin Oceanic—tourism companies set to expand travel to space and the ocean depths.
This policy also helps our employees to succeed because they can pursue their passions. Our newest business, the global touring company Virgin Live, had a great launch for this reason. Although the Virgin brand is well respected within the music industry given our roots — in the past Virgin Records and Virgin Music did very well at music production and distribution – we had no history of promoting global tours.
However, our small, enthusiastic team at Virgin Live beat competition from giants within the industry and won the right to promote The Rolling Stones’ 50 & Counting series of shows. This was a very proud moment for us: If you are going to enter this business, there really isn’t a bigger or better way to show your intentions.
Before their show at London’s O2 Arena, I caught up with Mick Jagger to have a word and take a few photos with him and my family. After we were chatting he jokingly asked me if I was going to disappear, because ”That’s what all the other promoters do.”
I had no intention of doing so. ”I’ll be seeing you down the front,” I told him.
My family and I watched the show standing in front of our seats near the stage. It was a fantastic night — they put on a marvelous show. Why anyone would have passed up the opportunity to see it is beyond me. I thought later that Mick’s question showed why we had won the contract: Our employees love what they do and throw themselves into the work, so they achieve much more than anyone would expect.
My advice to let your employees loose might not be for everyone —Virgin has a strong culture of ignoring the traditional rules of business and looking for purpose beyond just profit. Our responsibilities may alter over the years—acquiring a bank or providing healthcare services—but our formula for success remains constant: ”Don’t just play the game—change it for good.”
January 2nd, 2013
One of the most crucial skills to improving your career in the new year may be the ability to persuade people to see things your way.
Social norms can play an important role in getting customers, colleagues and businesses to do the things you’d like them to do—such as making a particular purchase or agreeing to your position over a deal, says behavior expert Steve Martin, author of a book on the science of persuasion, “Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive.”
“The advertising industry was crafting appeals on the basis of consumers’ desire to fit in long before the ‘Mad Men’ era,” Mr. Martin says. “But many businesses are only now beginning to experiment with social norms as a tool to drive profits.”
Mr. Martin, who heads the U.K. office of the consultancy Influence at Work, has used a handful of simple persuasion strategies with large corporations and government agencies in the U.K. to influence the behavior of customers and citizens. The strategies make use of simple messages that can generate significant returns with changes that are virtually costless.
Among the strategies, tapping into a social norm to create consensus is a powerful tool that gets people to follow the behavior of others. Managers should try to identify what the consensus view is in a workplace and think about what messages will convince others to join the consensus.
An example of the power of consensus messaging is the use of information cards in hotel rooms. The number of customers who reused their towels increased by 26% when information cards in hotel rooms read “75% of customers who stay in this hotel reuse their towels,” according to research conducted by Robert Cialdini, Mr. Martin’s co-author and founder of Influence at Work in Tempe, Ariz. The reusage rate increased by 33% when the cards’ message read: “75% of people who stayed in this room reused their towels.”
Location and personalization are important because they draw an even closer association between the customer and those you want them to imitate. Mr. Martin adds that managers can use a “test and learn” approach to determine social norms. Start with small groups or locations, test messages and then assess whether there is a social norm to tap into.
Another strategy, which Mr. Martin calls “reciprocity,” takes advantage of people’s desire to respond when they feel they owe someone something. Research published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that a diner is more likely to tip a waiter if the bill comes with a piece of candy, for example.
Framing a choice as leading to a potential loss rather than a gain—thereby creating a sense of stress—can also be a tool for managers. Mr. Martin describes a study in which a group of executives were presented with a proposal for an information-technology project. Twice as many in the group approved the proposal if the company was predicted to lose $500,000 if the proposal wasn’t accepted, compared with a scenario that predicted the project would lead to a profit of $500,000. Managers should look at the message they are sending. Could a stronger argument be made by describing the opportunity costs rather than just the benefits?
Mr. Martin finds that favorable outcomes almost double when we identify common ground with the other party in a negotiation. Find similarities between you and your customer—such as the car you drive or the age of your kids—and express them before you start negotiating with them over a contract or a price, he advises.
“Influence isn’t an art,” says Mr. Martin, “there’s over 60 years of research and evidence that shows how we can effectively move people. My advice would be to learn the science.”
December 19th, 2012
No. 1: Keep the Excitement Up
From Robert Sofia of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC
Sales meetings are all about creating excitement. Never let them become gripe sessions or chances to drone on about boring procedures. Play pump-up music before you start. Give away prizes. Talk about big plans. Get everyone revved up, then break! Keep the meeting short, sweet, and 100% positive!
No. 2: Get an Outside Perspective
From Jordan Guernsey of Molding Box
We utilize sales coaching and business therapists to bring outside opinions or approaches to our sales. The team can get exhausted with the same old “song and dance” from the sales manager; an outside presence tends to spur new life. They can vent frustration, bounce ideas, and ask for help, getting a different response than they’re used to.
No. 3: Keep It Short and Sweet
From John Hall of Digital Talent Agents
Keep it short and sweet. Come with an agenda and stick to it. If you open the door for additional ideas, you end up not being effective at what you meant to accomplish.
No. 4: Flip the Format
From Aron Schoenfeld of Do It In Person LLC
Let the sales team run the meeting and present to you. Give them the data that they need such as past performance and let them create the charts and presentations. They will then see where they are and be forced to come up with their own plans and give you all the reasons for the decline or increase. Use that as an opportunity to thank them, show them you trust them and then fire them up.
No. 5: Analyze Up-to-Date Reports
From DC Fawcett of Paramount Digital Publishing
My best tip for running a productive sales meeting is to ensure the reports are accurate and up-to-date before the meeting is scheduled. These reports should be available to analyze during the meeting, which will lead the meeting in the correct fashion.
No. 6: Have Weekly One-on-Ones
From Aaron Schwartz of Modify Watches
Group meetings are important so that everyone can share lessons learned, and strategize to offer better value to customers. But weekly — or even daily –one-on-one meetings are critical to making sure that you catch any issues. Not only will your sales team feel encouraged because the manager is interested in their work, but you will be able to make quick changes to optimize for Q4 opportunities.
No. 7: Come Prepared
From Abby Ross of Blueye Creative
There is a major difference between running a “meeting” and a “status check-in.” In meetings, we set an agenda, have people prepared ahead of time, and discuss more strategic planning, leaving with action items. “Check-ins” are limited in time and more tactical; we discuss current deals, roadblocks, and reconnect on projections.
No. 8: Stand Up — Literally
From Lisa Nicole Bell of Inspired Life Media Group
Instead of sitting around a conference room table and trudging through an agenda, have everyone stand. Not only does standing retain attention, it also encourages everyone to get to the point and end the meeting quickly.
No. 9: Establish Preset Goals & Metrics
From Robert J. Moore of RJMetrics
I believe in shorter meetings that focus on pre-established metrics and goals that are clearly tied to the compensation of the sales team. That way, each member of the team has a vested interest in the outcome, and can know what to expect and how to best prepare.
No. 10: Interact!
From Andrew Schrage of Money Crashers Personal Finance
The best way to run an effective sales meeting is to make it interactive. Employees attending a meeting where top-down information is disbursed with no dialogue will lose interest fast. Plus, your team members may have creative and innovative suggestions to improve sales. Make sure you give them a meeting agenda beforehand so they know what kinds of feedback you’re looking for.
December 6th, 2012
Dealing with annoying co-workers and office politics are just some of things keeping employees from being as productive as possible, new data show.
Nearly 70 percent of employees waste as much as two hours each week on non-work tasks, with 11 percent spending more than five hours a week on tasks that detract from their productivity, research from BOLT Insurance Agency revealed.
The biggest time wasters for employees are meetings, office politics and fixing co-worker’s mistakes, the study found. Other things keeping employees from getting work done include annoying co-workers, overbearing bosses, the Internet, email and busy work.
Wasting time has a huge effect on a company’s bottom line. The data shows U.S. companies lose more than $134 billion annually from employees spending time on tasks that aren’t work-related.
Football season is one of the worst times of the year for employers. The research found that employees wasting time by tending to their fantasy football teams costs employers in the U.S. a combined $1.1 billion each week.
When it comes to Internet use, more than 60 percent of the employees admit to spending time surfing websites that aren’t work-related. Facebook, Linked In, Yahoo, Google, Amazon, Twitter and Pinterest are the sites they spend the most time on.
Not all website surfing is just for pleasure. Nearly half of the employees surveyed have spent time online at work looking for another job.
The research found a number of reasons employees aren’t staying on task each day: they don’t feel challenged, their hours are too long and they have no incentive to work harder. Being bored and feeling underpaid are other reasons employees waste time at work.
While many employers might think limiting access to the Internet will keep employees more on task, that’s not necessarily the answer, the study found. Sixty percent of the workers use a smartphone or tablet to access websites that their employer has blocked.
Despite the wasted time, U.S. employees are still among the most productive in the world. The data shows that in terms of GDP per hour worked, the U.S. ranks second worldwide, trailing only Norway.
December 3rd, 2012
Job seekers who believe the reference section of their resume isn’t as important as the rest of it should think again, new research shows.
A study by CareerBuilder revealed the vast majority of employers — 80 percent — contact references when evaluating potential employees, with 16 percent of employers calling references even before they ask the candidate for a job interview.
Not all references give glowing reviews, however. More than 60 percent of the hiring managers surveyed have contacted a reference listed on an application only to learn that the reference didn’t have good things to say about the candidate. In addition, nearly 30 percent of employers have caught a fake reference on a candidate’s application or resume.
Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, said job seekers want to make sure they are including their biggest cheerleaders as job references. Before selecting someone as a reference, she advised, job candidates should consider whether that reference understands the full scope of their previous responsibilities and if they can vouch for their skills, accomplishments and work ethic.
“You also want to make sure that you ask your former colleagues if you can list them as a reference,” Haefner said. “If someone is unwilling, it helps you to avoid a potentially awkward or damaging interaction with an employer of interest.”
All in all, most employers agree that good or bad references can impact the chance of landing a job. Nearly 70 percent of employers have changed their minds about a candidate after speaking with a reference, with 47 percent reporting they had a less favorable opinion and 23 percent having had a more favorable opinion.
The study was based on surveys of 2,494 hiring managers and human resource professionals and 3,976 workers across various industries and company sizes.
November 29th, 2012
The ability to network successfully can be one of the greatest assets in business. It allows some people to find incredible opportunities, while others just watch from the sidelines.
Effective networking isn’t a result of luck — it requires hard work and persistence. What does it take to be a super networker? Here are seven of the most important habits to develop:
1. Ask insightful questions.
Before attending networking events, get the names of the people who are expected to attend and search social media sites like LinkedIn to figure out which topics they’re probably most interested in. For people who are already in your network, don’t assume you know everything they’re up to. Find out what they’re currently working on — or perhaps struggling with. This attention to detail can go a long way at your next one-on-one lunch or dinner meeting.
2. Add value.
One of the most powerful networking practices is to provide immediate value to a new connection. This means the moment you identify a way to help someone, take action. If, for instance, you know someone in your network who can help a new connection with a problem, drop what you’re doing and introduce the two individuals.
3. Learn their “story.”
Ask successful entrepreneurs to tell you how they got where they are. Most people think of this as an exercise in rapport building, but hearing these stories can tell you a lot about a person’s approach to business. The more you understand your networking partner’s mentality, the better you can add and extract value from your relationship.
For example, some entrepreneurs pride themselves on working 16-hour days and doing whatever it takes, while others focus on being strategic and waiting for the right opportunities to open up. These are clues that can not only allow you to see what people value, but also what working with them might be like.
4. Share a memorable fact.
When someone asks, “What do you do?” don’t give a canned elevator speech about your company and career. Mention something personal that defines who you really are. Maybe you have a passion for playing an instrument or an obsession with collecting antiques. These are also “things you do,” so make it a point to share them. Such personal details can help lighten the mood and get people talking.
5. Keep a list.
What’s your routine after attending a networking event or meal? If your answer is, “I go home,” you’re probably going to miss out on opportunities. Write down important topics that came up at the event. This habit can help prevent opportunities from falling through the cracks and give you something to reference in conversation the next time you meet. You can also develop a reputation as someone who’s on top of things.
6. Make small promises and keep them.
No matter how small a promise you make — such as sending an email or returning a phone call — delivering on that promise reflects on your character. By following through on your word, you start building a reputation for trustworthiness, which is exactly how every great networker wants to be perceived.
7. Reward your “power” contacts.
Keep a list of your top five to 10 networking partners and do something each week to add value to one person’s life or business. You might send them a book or set up a lunch to introduce them to one of your other contacts. This habit can help you be proactive about staying in touch with your most powerful contacts. Just as with fitness or investing, the most successful people are the ones who choose to be consistent in their actions.
November 24th, 2012
Even as employers remain cautious next year about every dollar spent on employees, they’ll also want workers to show greater skills and results.
For employees who want to get ahead, basic competency won’t be enough.
To win a promotion or land a job next year, experts say there are four must-have job skills:
1. Clear communications
Whatever their level, communication is key for workers to advance.
“This is really the ability to clearly articulate your point of view and the ability to create a connection through communication,” says Holly Paul, U.S. recruiting leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting and consulting firm based in New York.
For job seekers in particular, clear communication can provide a snapshot of their work style to employers. “I can walk away from a five-minute conversation and feel their enthusiasm and have a good understanding of what’s important to them,” Ms. Paul says.
As office conversations increasingly move online, some workers are losing or never developing the ability to give a presentation, for example. Others may be unable to write coherently for longer than, say, 140 characters.
“Technology in some ways has taken away our ability to write well. People are in such a hurry that they are multitasking,” and they skip basics such as spelling and proofing, says Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half International, Menlo Park, Calif., staffing firm.
2. Personal branding
Human-resources executives scour blogs, Twitter and professional networking sites such as LinkedIn when researching candidates, and it’s important that they like what they find.
“That’s your brand, that’s how you represent yourself,” says Peter Handal, CEO of Dale Carnegie Training, a Hauppauge, N.Y., provider of workplace-training services. “If you post something that comes back to haunt you, people will see that.”
Workers also should make sure their personal brand is attractive and reflects well on employers. “More and more employers are looking for employees to tweet on their behalf, to blog on their behalf, to build an audience and write compelling, snappy posts,” says Meredith Haberfeld, an executive and career coach in New York.
Ms. Haberfeld has a client whose employee recently posted on her personal Facebook page about eating Chinese food and smoking “reefer.”
“I saw it on Facebook. Her supervisors saw it,” Ms. Haberfeld says.
The ability to quickly respond to an employer’s changing needs will be important next year as organizations try to respond nimbly to customers.
“A lot of companies want us to work with their employees about how to get out of their comfort zone, how to adapt,” says Mr. Handal. “Somebody’s job today may not be the same as next year.”
The ability to learn new skills is of top importance, says George Boué, human-resources vice president for Stiles, a real-estate services company in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “We want to know that if we roll out a new program or new tools that the folks we have on board are going to be open to learning,” he says.
4. Productivity improvement
In 2013, workers should find new ways to increase productivity, experts say. Executives are looking for a 20% improvement in employee performance next year from current levels, according to a recent survey by the Corporate Executive Board, an Arlington, Va., business research and advisory firm.
“When you are at your job, do you volunteer for projects? Are you looking for creative ways to help your organization,” Mr. McDonald says. “The way to really differentiate yourself is to be proactive.”
Companies that are considering adding workers in coming years want current employees to operate in growth mode now. “My clients are looking for employees that have a great ability to understand what is wanted and needed, rather than needing to be told,” Ms. Haberfeld says.
Even hiring managers need to work on certain skills as organizations consider expanding next year. “The ability to spot talent and hire people has fallen out of use over the last several years,” says Ben Dattner, an organizational psychologist in New York. “As the economy turns around, companies will have to work harder to retain talented employees. Companies have trimmed the fat, and now they have to build the muscle.”
November 14th, 2012
Wondering how to build up your client base? These resources offer an affordable way to build networks — and tap into existing ones — to help your business get off the ground.
When I was in law school, I took a class on how to run your own law office, and the topic on everyone’s mind was, “Where in the heck will we get clients?” Even though I was interviewing for and wanted to get a job at a big firm (which I did), looking back, I can see now that I was plotting my escape from corporate America even then.
A few years later, it was time to put my plan into action. But the question was the same: Where would I get clients? I began to interview every successful solopreneur I knew, and essentially their answers boiled down to the following:
- advertising, and
- networking some more
And while that might seem like some pretty thin advice, the thing was, back then those really were the options. And somehow I made it.
The good news is that these days there’s no shortage of places to get viable leads, and most are both highly effective and quite affordable. You know the drill: Google ads, e-newsletters, Facebook ads and campaigns, tweets and blog specials, yada, yada, yada.
Is there anything new under the sun? I think there is. If I was to give a new entrepreneur advice today on where to get leads and find clients, I would point to three very viable — but a tad under-the-radar — options:
1. Craigslist. Sure, we all know, love and use Craigslist for getting rid of old stuff in the garage (or buying new old stuff for the garage), but you make a mistake if you discount what a great resource the site is for business opportunities.
First of all, the job listings are a virtual cornucopia of business leads. Yes, of course, jobs are listed, but so too are part-time gigs, contract positions, requests for proposals and the like. Beyond that, there’s also a listing called “Gigs,” and beyond that even, an area called “Services.” And what if you’re selling a product? Well, listing your products for sale in the right area will prompt even more leads and potential customers.
Best of all: It’s free.
2. Project-bidding sites. I would’ve really loved these sorts of sites if they were around when I was still practicing law — sites like Elance, oDesk, Guru, Freelancer.com, etc. These sites are amazing, listing tens of thousands of contract opportunities a day for the self-employed and other small-business people to bid on.
Let’s take Elance, for example (the company I happen to know best because I do some work with it). Elance is a fantastic all-in-one solution for both corporations and contractors. Corporate clients list projects through the Elance platform, and the contractors can then bid on those contracts and use the Elance virtual workplace and guaranteed pay system to complete the work. Pretty cool.
Bottom line: There are thousands of companies that not only need your help, but are actively seeking it out on these sorts of sites. It’s your job to get on these platforms, let them know you’re out there and get some of this available work.
(By the way, if you’re a solopreneur, let me also suggest that you check out my site, TheSelfEmployed, which is chock-full of useful information for the self-employed.)
3. LinkedIn. Sure, you have a LinkedIn account, and maybe you even have a couple hundred contacts. But do you use them? Have you ever really considered what an incredible resource and opportunity LinkedIn is?
Consider the San Francisco entrepreneur who gets most of his business through LinkedIn: He scours the site looking for potential partners and other people with whom he would like to do business, or else folks he would like to sell his services to. He then figures out if any of his contacts on LinkedIn know these people, and uses them to get personal introductions. He then meets those leads and closes the deal — or not. Either way, he sure does save time and money.
And that is the beauty of LinkedIn. What is the point of having all of these contacts if, like most people, you don’t use them? So use them.
How? Well, LinkedIn has a very powerful search feature that lets you search for people by name, industry, title, keyword, region, company and more. Do that, and not only will you get a list of viable leads, but you’ll also get a list of people you know who know those people. And since nothing beats a word-of-mouth introduction, a LinkedIn lead is often a very hot lead. And away you go.
So, happily, gone are the days when you had to either network (the old-fashioned way) or advertise your way to success. These days, there are a lot more options available (and better ones at that).
November 5th, 2012
Companies may be coming around to a business case for diversity and inclusion.
Sixty-three percent of firms cited “access to top talent” as a main driver behind their diversity and inclusion initiatives, ahead of more traditional motivations like “fair treatment” (60%) and “public pressure” (21%), according to a new study.
The findings, released Wednesday by executive search firm Egon Zehnder International, indicate that companies are taking a more “progressive” view on workplace dynamics, says Lisa Blais, co-leader of the firm’s U.S. Diversity Council.
Instead of focusing on metrics and compliance, which she calls “old-school” approaches, firms are recognizing the bottom-line value of fostering an open work culture. While companies have struggled to quantify the benefits of diversity, Ms. Blais says many are finding that promoting “diversity of thought” – that is, forming teams of workers from different backgrounds – leads to better decisions, innovations and end results.
The survey, completed in July, polled 511 senior executives representing a mix of large and small companies around the world.
Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal wrote about the rise of Chief Diversity Officers, who are tasked in part with finding a way to measure progress at their firms.
Still, some firms acknowledge there are business costs to promoting diversity. Drawbacks include slower decision-making (22%) and less workplace coherence (10%).
In addition, companies aren’t giving equal treatment to all types of diversity. Gender diversity is the top priority, with 73% of respondents saying they’re actively pursuing measures in this area, followed by nationality (44%), ethnicity (29%) and age (28%).
Companies in the United States and Australia lead the way in promoting gender diversity, ahead of those in Asia, Europe and South America.