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JONES: Things have evolved. I have been online for 19 years, and it’s changed. It went from CD to DVD to web to social to mobile apps and things like that. The encouraging thing about social media is it is inexpensive, for the most part.
Some of the things that are so key, you have them lying around. Calendaring is very important with social. And content, of course, is king. We are finding a lot of customers have the content at their disposal. It’s just a matter of engaging consumers. A lot of our customers are B-to-B, so they are not consumer facing.
But we do have some consumer-facing customers. If you are looking for serious engagement with consumers, social is a much better platform than it is for B-to-B. LinkedIn is the key for B-to-B.
Vérité uses social blogs. Our site is mobile friendly and we have a mobile app. Because we do this for people, we have to get there quickly and understand it. We have created some award-winning social campaigns. We did USANA’s and it was for very low budget. Probably the most encouraging thing is there’s a lot of low-hanging fruit with social.
McCULLOUGH: What we recommend in terms of the marketing space is to really focus. There are so many different social media outlets, and if you are trying to be everything everywhere, unless you have full-time staff to do that, it’s hard to focus. We have focused on Twitter, and as a result of that, we have had press opportunities come, we have reached out to national organizations, we have been able to attract women for speakers. We have 188,000 followers on Twitter because that’s been our focus. But if you are trying to be big in 500 places, you will have a medium influence.
Things have been changing quite a bit in the world of work. Do any of you have workers who work virtually?
AKERS: I have a programmer who works for Oklahoma City that is absolutely fabulous. We have a small office in Logan and generally half my staff has worked virtually. I’m a big fan of it.
JONES: I have people that work remotely, and it’s funny because we serve our clients remotely quite a bit, as well. The need for face-to-face seems to diminish with every year that goes by because their budgets are getting slashed. So you feel like your budget should be being slashed, too.
I constantly struggle for balance. The problem is—and I have about 28 employees—not everyone is suited for it and not every job is suited for it. Sometimes you run into a situation where the person is suited for it but the role isn’t meant for it. And you get others who feel like they are waiting in line for seniority. It is very tricky. I offer it and I feel like I pay a price for it. It can be worth it, but it is a constant challenge. And there’s other dynamics that people don’t even think about, as least in a smaller organization.
Does anyone else have any other good ideas regarding flexible scheduling or work/life balance?
KADDAS: We are Monday through Thursday, four 10s. If I even remotely bring up coming in on Friday or changing that, everyone says, “What are you doing, lady?” So we are four 10s. I obviously work five days a week, six days a week, seven days a week. But the production staff is four 10s, and they love it.
GRAMMER-WILLIAMS: I do summer hours. So during the summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the office shuts down at 4:00 and then they have an extra hour with families. That’s really a very positive thing.
RICE: We are doing the same thing. Fridays we leave at noon. And then usually the day before a holiday, I’ll let them go at noon.
JOHNSON: We have done the Sloan award and the governor’s work/life award for 11 years. We run 24/7 and shut down three days a year. Our employees, for the most part, work in a factory environment, working either 6:00 in the morning to 6:00 at night, or 6:00 at night to 6:00 in the morning, three and a half days a week. And it’s not easy work. It’s hard work. It’s a high-expectation environment because the best marketing tool you have is to deliver perfect product to your customers on time.
And yet we have created an environment where people feel valued, they feel like they are important to the mission, we know them by name. It always blows my mind when I give tours of the plant and people say, “You know every employee. You know their dogs and ask about their vacation.” It shocks me that they find that surprising. There’s no human being on earth that doesn’t want to be visible. If you make people feel visible, it’s amazing what value that creates in people’s lives.