Are Companies Squeezing Dry Lemons?

As a result of the worst financial recession in history, companies have spent the last couple of years downsizing and reducing spend in every way imaginable as a means to sustain liquidity, cash flow, profitability and for some mere existence. This was the dictated course of action for survival. And frankly, this worked for many. Revenues for S&P 500 companies declined 10% year-over-year while profits increased 6% and liquidity on the sidelines is now at an all time high.

But opportunities to sustain shareholder value by downsizing and making expense reductions have been all but exhausted. Those lemons, as we like to say, are dry with no more juice left to squeeze out. Achieving shareholder value in the future will largely be determined by how well companies are able to win the hearts and minds of their people and leverage their intellectual capital specific to driving their key financial strategies. The big winners will be those leaders who finally recognize that it is all about their people being ready, willing and able to execute.

The ultimate objective for any business is to get its leaders and employees to truly take ownership and to be accountable for the financial success of the organization. That said, we don’t just want passive ownership & accountability; we want engaged and energized ownership and accountability. We want players at all talent levels to be able to elevate their game. So what will it take to enable greatest contribution at all levels of the organization? It is really quite simple. It will require us to finally show our employees the “why?” behind our business.

History continues to show us that companies will: 1) go to great lengths to define their strategies; 2) invest lots of dollars in communicating what the strategies are to their employees; and 3) institute lots of measurements to manage the execution of the strategies. So what is missing? How about the “why?” in all of these components? Why do we believe that people don’t want to or need to understand the “why?” behind what they are being requested to do? As leaders, do we really believe that people will give their absolute best possible effort because “it’s their job”? Any of us who have teenage kids know that the simple answer is no, they won’t. Yes, they may do what is demanded or requested to avoid consequences, but the odds that they will deliver the best effort is low at best. This holds true for employees, too.

It is amazing to think that this one, three-letter-word could be so critical to our success. In fact, this simple word is the greatest single opportunity we have to exploit as leaders, since it is the only way we will optimize the execution of our beloved strategies through our employees. To achieve this, we need to help our employees see the “why?” so they can understand, align, internalize and personally own the business outcomes.

To optimize individual and functional contributions, we need to shift how we think about our employees. We need to move to a management model that continues to communicate what the strategies are and how they will be measured, but also begins to include “why?” these are our strategies. This is the only way we can shift the culture and mindset to an ownership mentality, which is what will create the greatest groundswell of success.

Here is what we know: Humans want to contribute. Humans want to be valuable and relevant. Humans want to be a part of something successful. These are all basic human drivers. To further illustrate this, we will share the insightful words of one of our senior clients. He said, “As leaders, we must keep in mind that no one shows up to work everyday looking to suck at it. They all want to perform.”

Knowing that people genuinely want to–and need to–contribute, it is our job as leaders to start subtly shifting their awareness and capabilities. We need our people to Think, Speak and Act like owners in a multi-dimensional fashion. This means thinking multi-functionally, which leads to better collaboration and the elimination of functional silos. And, they must think financially. Connecting cross-functional thinking with financial implications is the essence of truly Thinking, Speaking and Acting like owners of the business:

  • Understanding our financial ecosystem
  • Understanding our investment decision/resource allocation decisions
  • Articulating our ideas using the language of finance
  • Creating the right infrastructure within the organization to drive adoption of this ownership culture

It’s time to align, enable and motivate people in a new way that will lead companies to the fruitful results they are seeking.

Ed Winkelmann,
Sales, Marketing and Management
consultant at JNR Incorporated.

A Return on Experience?

I’ve been reading a lot of great information about ROI and ROE in the incentive and meeting publications. Obviously, these are two very real and very important measuring criteria for making informed business decisions. In the simplest terms, Return on Investment refers to how well your investment of resources–such as money, time, personnel–performed against your desired results. To measure ROI, you might ask yourself, “What did this incentive competition/meeting/special event make people do?” Return on Experience strives to measure more intangible results, such as increasing loyalty, likelihood for improved performance in the future, capturing mind share, and creating enduring memories that sustain, solidify and build relationships. To evaluate ROE, you might ask yourself, “How did this event/meeting/special offering make people feel and how will that impact future business success?”

Personally, I like to employ one additional gauge of success when it comes to establishing working relationships, selecting supplier support, and building strategic partnerships. I call it “ROA”– Return on Anxiety. I believe it to be an essential measurement tool when deciding who to work with… and who to avoid. When choosing suppliers, I need to know that I am working with competent, creative experts who are passionate about what they do—people who share my high standards and can meet my high expectations. Accuracy, time lines, budgets and details matter to me as a Marketing executive, so I expect these to matter to my vendor partners as well. If I find myself having to worry that my supplier partner is not attending to these “big four” essentials, my stress level begins to rise and my ROA meter starts to radiate heat. If I have a suddenly sinking feeling, or a lack of confidence in my supplier partner is sneaking up on me, or if I’m taking heat from higher ups for the underperformance of my support team, then the ratio of anxiety to success is out of balance. What’s more, ROA has a trickle-down effect: When ROA is good, it can invigorate a working team; when it’s bad, it can be demotivating. My ROA results from each completed project will definitely impact whether or not I choose to work with that organization, agency, company or individual again.

You probably have an ROA expectation without even knowing it. ROA may be invisible, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. ROA is relatively easy to measure. A good ROA yields gifts of additional time in a day, peace-of-mind, less frustration, improved health, more smiles, better sleep at night, and a glorious sense of achievement. If you’re finding that your Return on Anxiety ratio is out of balance—that you have greater stress and less results—it’s likely that you have not found the right supplier partner to share your vision. Maybe it’s time for a change.

A 14-year veteran of JNR Incorporated, Maria Dales is
Vice President of Corporate Communications.

Balance of Generation Integration

Anyone, at any age, can have innovative ideas and offer creative solutions, and it is important to remember that no one generation is needed more or is better than any other.  Sharing and exchanging knowledge, experiences and perspectives leads to the initiation of new ideas, unites the workforce and develops a positive culture.

Every generation has created commotion as it has entered into the adult workplace. And, every generation says the same things about other generations — “They don’t get it” or “They have it so much easier than we did.” Each generation has been influenced by the historical events, social trends and cultural phenomena of their time, which leads to different expectations, perceptions, and actions. Discussing these differences can lead to a respect for generational diversity and create communication channels allowing people to express themselves and accept each other for who they are and what they bring to the table.

It is essential to have a balanced workforce. As new technology and new customer preferences emerge, it is important to include younger generations in the innovation process, but not exclude the more seasoned professionals.

Good business is based on understanding others. The younger generations bring vitality, technical abilities and innovation while the more mature generations bring knowledge of management practices and efficiencies, life experience and an understanding of customer service.

Intergenerational integration leads to company-wide involvement, equal engagement, improvement of internal relationships, and a better culture. By combining the wisdom of the past, and creative innovation of the present, we will nurture the spirit of engagement and enterprise that is necessary to achieve success in the future.

Human. Performance.™ In the workplace, most all individuals and groups strive to do their best and aspire to achieve success. Through maximizing intergenerational integration, creativity and innovation will flourish, respect will grow, productivity will increase, satisfaction and feelings of accomplishment will improve morale, which leads to better retention, and the end result will be profit, recognition and rewards for everyone involved.

LuAnn Jalet,
COO at JNR Incorporated.

Ten Ways to Motivate Employees without Breaking the Bank

Using Recognition and Reward Techniques Motivates Employees Even In Challenging Economic Times

Understanding your employees and what motivates them to show up to work on time day after day will directly affect your bottom line. Smart managers have always understood the importance of a dedicated staff Continue reading “Ten Ways to Motivate Employees without Breaking the Bank”

How do you Reward your Employees?

Every company can benefit from a tactical incentive system for employees. How do you promote employee motivation, engagement, inspiration, performance, and appreciation? What are you compensating your employees for? What are the behaviors you want to reward?

The most effective incentive or reward programs use data to engage employees directly relating to your companies objectives. The first step is to identify your objectives, do you want to increase sales, motivate continued education, or inspire green living through a ride share program? Each organization has unique goals. Each type of goal requires a
different form or reward or recognition.

Many businesses have found longer-term rewards for key individuals to be extremely beneficial to their organization. What are longer-term rewards? An Annual Partners Retreat in Kauai, an Award Ceremony for top sellers, or an exclusive Jacket for individuals recognized with innovative ideas.

Our experience has proven using incentive programs to motivate employee performance is a cost effective means for boosting sales,
and driving your company’s success. We challenge you to review your current rewards system. Does it address the goals of your organization, recognition of your employees, and appreciation for specific actions?

JNR Incorporated specializes in creating innovative incentive programs—our services range from creating unique and memorable incentive travel programs, planning Musical Productions, to building one-of-a-kind websites and issuing Prepaid MasterCard® Reward Cards.

Give us a call at (949) 476-2788 to discuss the needs of your organization!