Friday, March 28, 2008

The ‘personal connection’ in the workplace. Good for employees, great for customers.

Creating a positive working environment can take many forms. In many ways, it is rejuvenating the personal contact that has been lost.

I was impressed to read in a recent Toronto Star article from March 25, 2008 that the Canadian Western Bank CEO, Larry Pollock, has instituted an interesting phone policy. Larry does not have voicemail, nor does any of the bank branches and he answers his own telephone. I found this No Voicemail article on a different site which elaborated on this customer-friendly practice-- "With us, the calls come through to the person you're looking for," said Pollock."Any customer can call me any time they want and complain or whatever. I surprise all kinds of people because they get through to me." It seems to be encouraging better customer service and a greater personal connection to their clients and co-workers.

Similarly, this idea of personal connection in the workplace is translated in an article on, CEO Bobby Yazdani of Saba Software explains that he does not have a corner office – but rather has his desk in the main employee area. He believes that he can better motivate his employees by creating enthusiasm through his availability and transparency on his everyday tasks. He highlights four key points that help to create this transparency at work.

There have been other trends that have been introduced by companies to encourage better communication between its employees.‘Email Free Days’ have been one way employees connect with each other in the real world. On, in an article from 2004, Veritas Software president, Jeremy Burton instituted Email Free Fridays at his company of 240 employees. At first they thought it was a joke, but it wasn’t. Burton’s goal was to increase the face-to-face time between co-workers, strengthening the relationships within the office which would translate outside the workplace to the clients as well.

Three great “walking the talk” practices. Employers take note!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Expand your profile with Facebook applications

Facebook has made it easy to connect and communicate with almost anyone online, including old friends, local artists, and co-workers. Most of us who have signed up to the site are familiar with the more popular second-party applications available, and have been inundated with requests by friends to join – everything from buying virtual drinks for friends or creating profiles for your pets. After a while, the influx of requests can get a bit overwhelming, if not annoying.

Some applications, however, prove to be quite useful in building your professional profile, showcasing original work and tying together personal profiles from other sites. Do you have a blog, make purchases online, or bookmark your favourite business or news articles? There are specific Facebook applications available to showcase and integrate these elements into your own profile.

Digg, for example, offers an application that automatically updates your bookmark list every time you submit an article to the site. Similar applications, such as the Blog RSS Feed Reader developed by William Web Design, updates feeds from secondary sources, displaying recent posts from a subscribed blog directly on your Facebook profile.

Get Facebook working for you.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Power of "We"

I chatted with Barry Libert, co-author of We Are Smarter Than Me and CEO of Mzinga, about the power of harnessing community and the collective creative thought in the workplace. As we have send, employers are still struggling with how to mobilize community in the workplace as they are uncomfortable letting go of the reins. Barry says that one of the key imperatives for Employers is to let go of control. "The more you give up, the more you get in return." More on this podcast interview.

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