Corra Daily Planet » 2008 » November

How Do You Treat Employees During Hard Times?

Fri, November 28th, 2008 - 5:06 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Everybody is creeped out over the economy.  Everyone is worried about their job.   We have just gone to riding high on the hog to hoping we make it over the tree tops.   This is a tough economy, and we are not used to much of anything that’s tough.

Yes, we heard stories of the Depression.  But that was so long ago.  And it is difficult to relate to those grainy black and white films or the bitter tales that grandpa told us.   It is a tragedy when the liquor store runs out of single malt Scotch, or the softer brand toilet paper is out of stock.   A lot of us are used to extending ourselves and buying $2 Hundred jeans and $400.00 shirts.   This by no means is most of us, but it is enough of us.   Just look at the cars we drive, that we lease, and you know many of us have overextended.

So now it is crunch time and every day is a new adventure with working.   You show up at the office unsure if you will get that offer of a buyout, the layoff slip, the goodbye, see you later, scenario.   You read the paper and every company is firing people by the thousand.   The number start to roll up where the loss is unestimable on people’s ability to earn a living.  On people’s psyches.

I had a story the other day from a woman who tried to call her so called friends who through networking could help her find a job.  Most wouldn’t take her calls.   Were they that calloused or simply too embarrassed they couldn’t help her find work?   Tough to say.

If you are an employer, treat your people well.  Reassure them but be realistic.  And do not uses this bad economy as leverage to hold over their heads so that they are in constant fear of losing their jobs.    It isn’t right, and it isn’t fair.

And if you are working and your friend was laid off, don’t ignore them.   Take their call.   Tell them there isn’t much you can do, but you will let them know if you hear of anything.   Most people realize how tough it is and that there are no miracle workers.   But times will change, and you would rather be known in the future era as a better person than the person who ignored his friends.  Besides, when you get up in the morning and stare in the mirror, you will like the person you see.

Check them out before you hire.

Corra Group Wishes All a Happy Thanksgiving

Thu, November 27th, 2008 - 5:16 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Okay, the economy is lousy and instead of buying that new car you are out there shopping for tires and brakes.   Reading the news every day offers a new adventure.   You see that the global economy is global ignominy.

But we still have Thanksgiving.  Football, Turkey and Family Gatherings.   Four days off.   Very cool.

Enjoy the time with your families.   Eat, drink, and go shopping on Black Friday.   Your retailers will love you for it.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Corra Group.

Grab the Pail, It’s Time To Bail. Again.

Wed, November 26th, 2008 - 5:36 am - By Gordon Basichis

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The United States Government is bailing out CitiGroup, the latest in a group to be rescued from disaster.   It seems if it wasn’t for stimulus packages the economy would have no stimulation at all.   And of course President-elect Obamas has issued dire predictions for the coming year.   Happy New Year, everyone.

But this will turn around and we will move forward again.   This country was in desperate need for transition, and the beginning of that transition was long overdue.   We have to go back to making things and not just shuffling papers around and calling it an economy.   What we will be making are the new technologies that will serve to develop nations well into the twenty first century  and beyond.  We will be developing alternative energy solutions and the technology for enviromental cleanup.

Some of the older businesses, the Big Three, to name a few, are no longer icons but dinosaurs.  The product they develop and the means of development is as out dated as their thinking process.  Private Jets to a meeting where you are begging for money.   Hard to believe.

So new companies will enter the market.  As it was more than half a century ago, when there weren’t just the big three manufacturing American vehicles but the other companies that have long gone to the automotive graveyard.   But companies will emerge.  My brother-in-law just sent me an interesting piece on the new developments in automotive technology, from the composite frames to delivering more fuel energy to the wheels.   It’s is just the start.

So times for the economy are bad.   Times will be better.   And then times will be good.   Companies will restructure or new companies will emerge as regional and global leaders.  People will hire again, only in the future preemployment screening will be a little more complex and geared to assess the candidate’s skill sets and how they apply to future requirements.

Meanwhile, the government will grab the pail and start to bail.   While the best means of resolving this crisis are still in debate, we can take heart that this is the first time in awhile that most people are on the same page.   Get moving again.   Into the future.

When Your Business Has a Tough Product to Market

Tue, November 25th, 2008 - 5:10 am - By Gordon Basichis

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It is not joke when your business creates a product or service that proves difficulty to market.   You sift thorugh dozens of different marketing strategies until you find the right one.   You find that there doesn’t seem to be a right one.   There are no easy catch phrases, slogans, or pieces of information that will attract your targeted consumer.

There are times when the subject of the product or service is such that it is difficult to create a viral element.   It is tough to create a desire or to market in such a way your targeted consumers perceive the need.   If you delay your marketing campaign you may let your window of opportunity slip out of sight.  If you market incorrectly, you may create the kind of disaster that costs ten times the initial campaign amount to recover, if you can recover at all.

The entertainment industry has for years been faced with this problem.   There is a standard saying within show business that “they just didn’t know how to market it.”   People may agree the film or show was a good one, top quality, even, but they couldn’t figure the marketing line that would generate public appeal.

According to an article in Ad Age, United Artists has that problem with Tom Cruise’s new movie, “Valkyrie.”  The film depicts the failed attempt of German officers to assassinate Adolph Hitler, before he could bring Germany to its knees.  The film is generally problematic because many viewers suffer from “Nazi Ennui.”   For many, the younger audience that actually goes to films, it is a tired subject.   Then there is Cruise’s controversial behavior that didn’t exactly enthrall a fair number of older viewers.  And then there is the subject, intrepid but disillusioned Nazis, or German Officers, fail to kill Hitler.  Hardly romantic.

The movie’s release has been postponed.   The film has become known as the “Eye-Patch” Movie, for the eye-patch Tom Cruise wears in portraying one German officer.    So, as with all movies that seem to be problematic, there are whispers in Hollywood that don’t help any.  The film now awaits test screening.

The executives have decided to position the film as more of an ensemble piece.   Less Tom, more other actors.   They focus on the true story elements, the conspiracy elements, which they believe people like.  We shall see.

Meanwhile, the entertainment industry is not the only industry that finds obstacles in marketing certain products and services.  Every industry has its marketing challenges.   In these tough economic times the challenges are ven greater.  People do not want to spend their money.   You have to get them to spend your money.  Not easy.

Before your marketing campagin becomes a partial Waterloo, evaluate not only your campaign but the team creating the marketing campaign.  Do you have the right mix of people?   If you are marketing in a cross platform platform do you have the people who know what they are doing?  It is improtant to have the experienced adults but just as important to have the creative types and the younger, usually younger, techie wizards who can bring you online.   They have to be able to work together, create together.  For the benefit of future projects, they have to be able to grow together.

So look over your marketing staff, carefully.   You may need to make changes.  You may need to bring new people aboard.   There are plenty out there, what with all the layoffs.  But not all are as sharp as you may desire.   Some are hacks, quite frankly, or so compartmentalized in their skill sets they lack the versatility you need on a modern day team.

Run preemployment screening on your candidates.  Run background checks that include the type of professional reference checks that can evaluate skill sets.   Be sure they are merely victims of the downturn and not the deadwood that your competitors had at last had the opportunity to get rid of.   Take nobody’s word for nothing.   Colleagues like to do their friends a favor and praise them in hopes that these same people will do the same for them when they, too, are job hunting.   So be thorough.

Check them out before you hire.

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