Tag Archives: economy

Nine ways you can help job hunters and boost your own marketing

This morning's news — that the recovery from the recession is weak and people still cannot find jobs — prompts this post. 

Here's how to help if you are in a position of financial and/or professional strength.  And how to consider your help an actual tactical step for positioning your company — and your own reputation — now and in the future.

Tahoe pine

  1. Recognize that if you have a friend or former colleague who's looking for work, she is vulnerable.  Be positive yet candid.  Do not shine her on about opportunities that are not there or how quickly you're hiring, but do remind her that you will do whatever you can to help.  Then actually put some time to the task.
  2. Keep an eye out for what's available in your company.  If you're on LinkedIn, post it to your contacts there.  Spread the word.
  3. If someone approaches you to help him pursue an open job listing in your company, connect him and stay on top of your HR people.  Keep following up with HR and stay in close touch with the applicant.
  4. If you're in HR, for heaven's sake, reply to phone calls and emails.  Even if all you have is bad news.  Even if all you can manage is a robo-email.  There is nothing more disrespectful — and unkind/inhuman/rude — than ignoring people.  For HR, it is nothing short of unconscionable.  You are, after all, being paid to deal with a key corporate resource. And in this age of email, it is inexcusable to leave people hanging.
  5. If you're a marketing executive, make it company policy to be communicative, professional and kind to people who approach your company for a job.  Recognize that not returning calls or following up is bad marketing.  Encourage your HR people — indeed, all your people — to exhibit only the finest of manners to all who cross their paths.  Some day, someone your company has rejected or ignored may be in a position to buy your products and services or influence the decision to do so.  You must look at any sort of job negotiation or communication as another avenue of marketing your enterprise.  I predict that once this nasty era of business is over, people your company treated well will remember it and become at least an ambassador, if not a customer.
  6. If you're a CEO, start hiring now.  Follow the example of Howard Schultz of Starbucks.  Stop looking to Washington.  Make some sacrifices, because millions of your fellow citizens are living on sacrifice.  Oh.  And cut a few hundred thousand from your own paycheck and hire a couple of people.
  7. If you're a hiring executive and you know you're going to transfer someone internal into a new or open position, suspend the practice of posting the job outside the company unless you are seriously looking.  You are wasting everyone's time by making people think they have a chance of employment — the candidates', HR's, yours.  And tell external candidates that they have internal competition and where they rank in the queue.
  8. If you know someone needs cash and you have more than enough, give someone a gift.  At least pick up the lunch tab.  If no one in your circle is hurting, find someone who is.  Ask your coworkers, your religious leader, your friends.  Keep it private and put cash directly in the hands of someone who needs it. 
  9. Be kind.  It's easy, it's free, it's helpful.  My mother used to be the taskmaster in one area of our school report cards:  what was called "deportment," at least in Big Stone Gap, Virginia.  She used to tell us that the easiest thing to do was to behave.  Same principle here:  the easiest thing to get right is to remember that if someone is asking you for help, he deserves your respect and attention.

The economy is in recovery.  Innovation is happening, and this crash is going to help in the long run.  Position your company for that long run.  Even if you don't believe in karma, or you don't think it's your responsibility to help others, the very best kind of marketing for your enterprise is based in relationships.  Show the world that you know relationships are key to commerce.  And that you know the key to good, sustainable relationships is the personal touch.

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Perspective: Economic priorities

Last evening, I was the guest of UBS for a presentation by Michael P Ryan, the investment bank's head of wealth management research for the Americas.  Mr Ryan provided an in-depth analysis of the markers of this recession/depression and his take on what we can expect going forward.

The biggest surprise of the evening was the Q&A period.  There were probably 150 people there, and every question, save one, was not about what we had just seen but about what to do with one's investments.  The one different question was about how investors could muster up the courage to invest the way they know they should — how not to give in to the emotions at play right now.  Still an investment question, but at least the questioner alluded to what caused UBS to fly Mr Ryan in from New York to do the local event.

I know.  Grow up, Mary.

I got to ask the last question.  I had been posting Mr Ryan's key points on Twitter throughout his talk, and one of my Twitter pals, a former UBS employee, gently reminded me that UBS had one of the bigger failures in Europe around the sub-prime mortgage and credit default swaps issues.  So my question was, given what had happened within banking, what did Mr Ryan see the banking industry doing to give investors the incentive and confidence to manage today's stress and move forward?

The answer was candid, in three points.  Two of them did not pertain to banking action:  government policy and the passage of time.  The third point did.  I'm paraphrasing:  the industry needs to return to the long-term view of measuring growth and seeking gain.

I remember the first time I was exposed to the pressure a public company must manage when reporting quarterly results.  I thought it was nuts.  How in the world do you grow at 20 percent every quarter? And why was that the chief measurement of a company's value, quarter after quarter?

Here's the thing.  It's not just the bankers driving these ridiculous metrics.  It's us.  When the seven to ten questions put in front of a leading research analyst are all about "my money" in the face of a global financial crisis, I think it's safe to say that we still have a long way to go in getting a grip on this situation.  Like whether we're becoming a socialist nation or what we are teaching our kids about saving. 

We have become addicted to that 20-percent-a-quarter-dividend-increase.  It's time we wrapped our heads around the fact that the only safe harbor from the devastating yet predictable end of our obsession with 20 percent growth is being happy with reasonable growth and credit with strings attached.

Barack Obama: Another magnificent speech

Mr Obama has delivered another landmark message.  This time, it's about the economy.  And it is as important as the speech he made about race issues.

Whether or not one agrees with his proposed solutions, he articulates the problems with American business and their root causes — a first among today's political leaders.

It's another great speech not just because he addresses the spectrum of causes and effects. 

  • Mr Obama neither speaks above nor below any person's level. 
  • He speaks clearly. 
  • He is in command of his text. 
  • He has a theme. 
  • He is interesting both to watch and to hear.
  • He inspires action by going beyond pointing to the problems to offer solutions.
  • He makes you think.