Yahoo was in the news again for ALL the wrong reasons. Marissa Mayer, the new CEO called back employees from their "virtual" offices to once again occupy their "physical" cubicles, ending the flexible work programme.
MOMS ON THE WARPATH
As a direct result of this policy change at the struggling internet company, many moms and die hard critics took to their blogs and airwaves to voice their distaste for this "Executive" decision.
These same moms felt slighted that Ms. Mayer also built a nursery so her baby could be with her in the office. This anger was not abated albeit Ms. Mayer used her own money to do this. They believed she should have built ONE nursery for everyone.
YAHOO'S REAL ISSUES
The issue with Yahoo is NOT their flexible work programme, it is their identity. They were once the power house of internet search engines but lost considerable shares to Google and Facebook. They have to get back to what they did best; importantly, what they were known for, and do it better than anyone else. Hopefully, with Ms. Mayer's technical background, they will do just that.
Internet based entities derive their revenue from advertisers. Once content driven, these companies must now be the vehicle where consumers can build their own content. They achieve this by creating viable social networking and mobile services that drive users and importantly, more advertisers.
If a company is looking to reduce overhead, look first at your real estate. Yahoo has a massive, five-story, 820,000 square ft campus with a three-story parking garage. The cost to build it was just under $300 million. The cost to run it? We can only imagine. More than 200 employees telecommute. That is a lot of empty cubicles!
As a proponent of the "virtual" company, we favour telecommuting as a viable option for workers. But then, we do not have the overhead Yahoo has in physical space planning.
BALANCE IS KEY
With any HR related programme that effects workers, there has to be balance. This implies workers being able to negotiate the terms. Instead of committing all workers to a 40 hour work week, the company might offer a part time stay at home option instead. This might lessen the degree of "culture shock" that comes from impulse decision.
As Confucius says, "It is better to turn up the heat with the frog already in the water, than to plop the poor frog in when the water is already boiling. OK, not Confucius, but you get the point.
There is no bad intention here. Therefore, the firestorm that followed Ms. Mayer's decision, was a bit misguided. We live in such a reactionary society. Everything it up for negotiation. Then there is always the exit strategy.
BEST BUY FOLLOWS SUIT
Following suit is retail giant Best Buy who had lost considerable revenue shares and was on a free fall in 2012 with almost 50% stock drop.
They are on board with a new CEO, Hubert Joly who took over from Brain Dunn. Hopefully Mr. Joly could do something about the lacklustre customer service experiences at local Best Buy. Remember Circuit City?
BEST BUY REAL ISSUES
Best Buy might follow suit, but getting rid of their Results-Only work environment (ROWE) programme is not the answer. Best Buys was an early proponent of the flexible work schedule giving their corporate employees an opportunity to control when they worked and where they worked. This programme did not apply to store employees.
BEST BUY @BEST
The company was an early innovator. It started out as a "mom and pop" style small business. Through a series of mergers and acquisitions and venture partnerships, and a name change, it grew into a multinational consumer electronics retailer.
As Best Buy grew and diversified., it recognized the need to service customers and build revenue. It found a viable entity in The Geek Squad, an independent company, that merged to become a subsidiary.
The Geek Squad services expanded beyond computers to include all electronics such as TVs, printers and cameras. Their Black Tie Protection and other warranty and technical programmes provided in-store services. The days of sending laptops out to the manufacturer was over.
In addition, the Geek Squad offered 24 hours of service including remote support for computer issues. If you had their warranty and your hardware could not be fixed, it was replaced...free of charge.
Even IF the retail giant offered a price match for products found on Amazon. the latter still offered free shipping and no taxes in most instances.
BEST BUY @WORST
The problem with Best Buy is their local store's "non-existent" customer service base. The following is a list of deficiencies we have experienced OR noted to us:
1. No one in the department.
2. No acknowledgement of presence by any employee.
3. Service desk wait time 27 minutes without notice
4. 45 degree angle stance of employees when talking.
5. Lack of knowledge of products and services.
6. Gaggle of employees when customers are waiting.
7. ATTITUDE, ATTITUDE, ATTITUDE Less than ideal.
8. No sense of urgency.
These were some of the deficiencies noted. It is true that the store employees do not work on commission. Maybe they should,. so they could "work for it."
HOW TO CREATE A STRONGER CUSTOMER BASE:
Whether you have an online store, a listing on Craigslist or Ebay, be prepared to be visited by a Scammer, especially if you have a high priced item.
You might receive an email that is unassuming and honest. This person wants to pay you by check or money order and could arrange for their own shipping. Wow! This could save you money and time. All you have to do is supply this person with your contact information including name and address for the pickup. RED FLAG! This is a classic scam in the making.
By now, most of us are in the know about the internet scams from Nigeria (Nigerian 419 scam), or the wire transfer scams on Ebay, but do you know there is a mail order check fraud scam from Ohio?
HOW THE SCAM WORKS
The check fraud scam starts by you accepting this buyer's offer to receive a check or money order for the product. Their email address looks legitimate.. They may be in the guise of a woman who lives in Ohio. They also make an offer to pickup the product at their own expense. Your contact information is required for this to be completed.
Checks and money orders go through the regular banking system BUT, they do not always clear right away. However, you are still entitled to a portion of the funds before it actually clears. Everything may "appear" legitimate when you make the deposit. You contact the buyer once the check or money order is deposited and no red flags are issued by the bank.
Your product is picked up. You think you got paid...BUT INSTEAD, you GOT SCAMMED! Your bank bounces back the check or money order. Any money you withdrew on the portion of the deposit is now OWED BACK to the bank. The Scammer has your product, your contact information and you have NOTHING!
HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?
Banks do not clear out of state checks right away. A portion of whatever you deposited is available for immediate use or withdrawal. The Scammer is betting on the fact that you do not suspect anything foul. Even if the bank checks the routing and account number, it could be a legitimate check.
TIME is on the Scammer's side. They take the opportunity from the "lag time" for the check to clear to perpetrate the fraud. Sometimes, it is NOT about the product but about obtaining your personal information. Either way, you are screwed!
HOW TO OUT-SMART A SCAMMER
Legitimate sellers have become a growing target. For this reason, it is better never to go outside a selling system such as Ebay, PayPal or Amazon. On Craigslist, the scams are more prevalent with very little protection provided for the seller. Most transactions are completed in person but do you really want a stranger to know where you live?
If you have an ECommerce store, create a safer purchase transaction environment by adding a Google or PayPal shopping cart to your site. Both Google and PayPal provide safety measures for BOTH the seller and buyer, thus limiting the scams that could be potentially damaging.
Be safe in 2013 through awareness:
Verification and validation are major flaws that prevent perfectly intelligent entrepreneurs from taking flight.
Capitalizing on this need to be validated, the "Self Help" industry has seen an influx of mediocre "experts" flood the marketplace with equally substandard products.
Validation is a key component in human connectivity. Verification and validation is the process of products and services meeting the needs of its users. This is also known as recognition in the context of Human Resources. Award shows such as the Golden Globes, The Oscars and the Grammy's cater to this process of recognizing a job well done.
For most of the workforce, verification and validation of a job well done comes in the form of promotions and bonuses. Service awards are presented for milestones, achievements and accomplishments.
For the entrepreneur, it is all about the numbers game. This could be defined by monetary gain, Tweeter followers, likes on Facebook and the number of comments posted on social media sites. The numbers game is critical for the psyche of the entrepreneur. It is verification, validation and recognition that they have arrived. Unfortunately, the vicious cycle continues to keep up with the "lie" since Social Media is a "False/Positive."
Social Media is a forum for self expression. It is not a physical realm, yet most well-intended entrepreneurs are trapped there instead of working their business. Unless you are Mari Smith whose business IS social media, majority of time should be spent doing "real work" in the "real world."
The backlash to this is the argument that social media is great marketing and reaches a broader audience. Point well taken. However, "Where attention goes, energy flows, results show." Greatness requires enormous time. Genius takes work. In Malcolm Gladwell's book, "The OUtliers," he offers up the 10,000 hours rule for highly successful people. He cites Bill Gates, the Beatles and Robert Oppenheimer.
Entrepreneurs spend a great deal of time looking for answers when, in fact, they already have the answers. The "Self Help" industry and the so-called "Experts" who hunt for prey do more harm than good. They offer "false hope" landing pages, give away freebies borrowed from other sites, and create "Halo-effect" testimonials. Do not fall into their traps!
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