Companies Rewarding Employees for Entrepreneurial Ideas

Companies Rewarding Employees for Entrepreneurial Ideas

 

Gone are the old days of having a suggestion box at work.  Today’s modern company has set up some much more sophisticated ways of obtaining knowledge and creative ideas from their employees.  The following list contains some useful tools that employers have utilized that have even replaced their need to go to outside consulting firms:

  • Innovative Management Programs – Sites like Brainbank, InnoCentive and Spigit are just a few of the popular sites that companies use to allow employees to submit and vote on ideas.
  • Idea-Management Websites –  PriceWaterhouseCoopers created a company site to gather employees’ input about cost cutting, improving customer service and other ways to improve revenue.  These sites can be very successful.  IdeasAmerica, an association for suggestion administration, surveyed customers and found that ideas submitted by employees saved over $110 million or an average of $1256 per idea.
  • Set up KiosksBruce Power is one of many companies who have set up idea kiosks.  Resembling ATMs, these kiosks are easily accessible and allow employees to vote on ideas.
  • Create Financial IncentivesCompanies may give rewards for employees’ ideas that result in cost savings.  They may receive financial incentives or points to use toward rewards.
  • Set Up Idea ChallengesAllstate created an online challenge for its employees to come up with some good ideas about how to create their company app.

Related Articles

Women Becoming More Successful Than Men

 

Women are passing men in their abilities to get a degree, handle families and garner success at work.  As men are falling behind, women are making huge strides.  CNN reported that, “For the first time in history, women are better educated, more ambitious and arguably more successful than men.”

Over half of college degrees are now being awarded to women. “In 1970, men earned 60% of all college degrees. In 1980, the figure fell to 50%, by 2006 it was 43%. Women now surpass men in college degrees by almost three to two. Women’s earnings grew 44% in real dollars from 1970 to 2007, compared with 6% growth for men.”

Women are becoming stronger entrepreneurs as well.  Forbes recently reported:  “As of 2011, it is estimated that there are over 8.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States. Overall, women-owned firms have done better than their male counterparts over the past 14 years. The number of men-owned firms (which represent 51% of all U.S. firms) grew by only 25% between 1997 and 2011—half the rate of women-owned firms.”

A study by Barclays Wealth and Ledbury Research may have some of the answers to why women are surpassing men.  One of the reasons they found is that women are less likely to take unnecessary risks or make rash decisions.  The Huffington Post backed up this point stating, “A 2005 study by Merrill Lynch found that 35% of women held an investment too long, compared with 47% of men. More recently, in 2009, a study by the mutual fund company Vanguard involving 2.7 million personal investors concluded that during the recent financial crisis, men were more likely than women to sell shares of stocks at all-time lows, leading to bigger losses among male traders.”

Boomerang Generation: College Graduates Giving up on Employment and Moving Back Home

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There has been an unusual trend with recent college graduates.  After working so hard to become educated for their new careers, recent grads are not jumping into the workplace right away.  This has caused an increase in the numbers for unemployment in this population.  However, this unemployment has been influenced by some of these grads actively making the choice not go to work.

It’s not only that employers don’t want the recent graduates. In fact, Wall Street Journal reported, “Employers plan to hire 19% more new graduates this year than in 2010.” Part of the choice has been due to the graduates opting to do other things. In that same article, it was reported, “Career counselors at colleges say that in the past two years they have seen increasing numbers of graduates opting to travel, volunteer, or get unpaid work experience rather than head straight into a tenuous job market.”

Recent statistics show that up to 54% of those under the age of 25 are without a job. Many of them feel that the economy is so bad at this time that they would be wasting their time even trying to get into the workplace.  This has caused a trend of young adults moving back in with their parents.  The New York Post reported, “This year, some three million young people are expected to graduate from college. Facing a double-digit unemployment rate for young people, 85 percent of them will initially move back home with their parents, and that’s up from 67 percent in 2006, according to a poll by researcher Twentysomething Inc.”

Some have referred to this new generation as the Boomerang Generation.  Just as parents think their children have left the nest, they turn around and come right back.  Some students are holding out for the job they want rather than taking “just any job”. Having gone through the time and effort to get a higher education, they are not willing to take employment beneath what they feel qualified to do.

Using QR Codes to Get a Job or Promote Your Business

You probably have seen QR codes and don’t even realize it.  Perhaps they were on a marketing ad or a flyer someone handed you.  You might have seen them on a promotional piece or on a poster at a local store.  It may have looked so under-stated that you probably passed right by it and didn’t give it a second thought.

Start looking for them.  You’ll be surprised at how many places are using them.  What are they?  Think of them like a bar code that lists a lot more information and can direct you to specific websites.  Companies are creating these codes to be used with smartphone apps.  This is an example code that I created for my book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality:

It’s really simple to make one.  You can go to a site like Qurify.com and type in the information you want to be encoded.  It may be something as simple as a website address.  You can go to the Qurify site and type in your website URL address. If you don’t have a website, consider putting in your Linkedin profile page.   Click on the Qurify button and then download the image it creates as a jpeg file.  Now you can take this file and put it on your business cards, on your resume, or on any other information you create. 

Anyone who has a QR Reader app on their phone can simply start the app on their phone and point it at your code.  When they do that, they will be directed on their phone to the URL address you entered on Qurify.  It couldn’t be easier. 

This can really make you stand out from the rest in the job search.  Just having that code on your resume will make those that don’t know what it is, look into it why it is on your resume.  For those that do know what it is, they will appreciate how technologically you savvy are.

If you have your own business and want to promote different parts of your website, these can be useful as well.  To show examples, I created several of these QR codes for Dr. Robert Spies’ plastic surgery site.  To see how they work, first download a free QR Reader app onto your smartphone.  Then open that app and point it at the codes listed below.

This code directs you to information about facelifts:

This code directs you to information about tummy tucks:

 This code directs you to information about breast augmentation:

 By having different QR codes like this, you can customize your marketing material to direct people to the appropriate websites.  For companies like a plastic surgery practice, this can be a very effective tool to target people that have a strong enough financial background to own a smartphone as well as those that are interested enough to point their phone at the code for more information.  It is a great tool to specifically target the appropriate population. 

To find out more about how these codes work, check out information from the guys at how stuff works technology podcast. 

You Are Only as Good as Your Last Deal: Top 5 Ways to Avoid Being Expendable at Work

There is an expression that is often used in sales:  “You are only as good as your last deal.” What is meant by that is that management has a short-term memory and no matter how good you were in the past, they are focusing on what you can do for them right now.  It may seem unfair to those who have worked very hard throughout the years to find out that their jobs may be on the line due to one poor month of performance.  However, this is a reality in this market.

The new movie, Larry Crowne, with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, is about Hanks’ character, a top performing employee who has won the employee of the month something like 8 times.  He is self-confident that management has requested his presence in their office to tell him that he has just won for the 9th time.  Instead, he finds out that they are letting him go due to his lack of a college education.

This is a pretty common situation that happens in today’s workplace.  Employees are becoming concerned about keeping their positions.  There are a lot of people with strong work histories out there that are in the market for a job…your job.   There are some important tips to keep in mind when trying to avoid being expendable at work.  These include:

  1. Work harder than your coworkers.  That may seem to be common sense, but it is surprising how many people overlook the fact that they may not be number one in the office.  There is an old expression:  I don’t have to outrun the bear.  I just have to outrun you.  Think of being laid off as the bear and you have to be better than your coworkers to survive.
  2. Multitask.  One way to be more efficient at your job is to multitask.  Some may argue that there is no such thing as true multitasking but there is such a thing as combining small jobs together so that you get more done in less time.  I often share an example with my students of how I would type my call notes while “dialing for dollars” so that I could make twice as many phone calls as my coworkers who waited until the call was completed to type up their notes.  Find ways to combine things like this to be more efficient.
  3. Add value through education.  The Tom Hanks example is a good reason why you should consider furthering your education to compete. You might find that a certification is enough.  You might find that an MBA would add value.  Find the thing that makes you stand out from your fellow coworkers.
  4. Put in the time.  If you are the last one to get to work and the first one to leave, you may find that management has noticed.  Look around your office and pay attention to who gets there late, who lollygags around and doesn’t work hard.  Put in the hours but also be sure that management sees how hard you are working.  There is no shame in copying them on things that show you have done well.
  5. Work smarter vs. harder.  Some people think that just putting in more work hours means they are working hard.  If you are the guy/gal who plans the plan to plan the plan, then you are not efficient.  A plan is important to keep you on track. Just be sure you don’t spend all of your time planning and none of your time doing.

If you do these 5 things, you’ll be well on your way to outrunning your coworkers and avoiding the bear (loss of employment).