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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Employee marketing

The team at the most recent planning meeting, in October. I expect the gathering will be larger at the semi-annual review next May.

A few weeks ago, I asked Chase to assist in the job posting/advertising process for new associate publishers. Our business model is free of many geographical constraints; we can produce viable publications in virtually every part of the U.S. and Canada, but the key is to find local publishers with the right set of skills and initiative to handle the self-reliant responsibilities.

(Some competitors try to handle this selling responsibility through central phone rooms; others contract with people on pure commission; we believe the much better approach is to pay a fair starting salary to local people who really like to work independently, but still wish to connect to the growing business.)

His most recent initiative has resulted in two finalists ready to move to the key stage in our recruiting system -- the paid, working assignment. But (and this is the great thing), he has modified the assignment's design to make it more meaningful and valid in measuring the potential of our possible new employees.

This kind of initiative, interaction, and communication, to me, is the essence of good working relationships -- and is a vital part of your business marketing and brand development. After all, for most business owners reading this blog, upwards of 75 per cent of your business originates from repeat clients and referrals -- and these occur because of the way you and your employees relate and serve your current clients. Do you want 'drones' who talk corporate-speak, or are you more likely to succeed with employees with initiative, spirit, and the ability to speak their mind and contribute their own thoughts to the business?

Of course, no business can survive long if it allows everyone to simply design their dream job and do it, without supervision or control. Employees need some rules of the game; some consistent practices and guidelines, and they must communicate frequently and routinely. This is where regular meetings are not only important -- they are essential.

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