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Let Motivated Employees Be Your Beacon Holiday has been in business for more than 80 years and has seen many, many changes, especially in regards to demographics and customer preferences. “Every individual—each customer, and each Holiday staff member—comes to our store with their own personal story,” says Brent Blackey. “Yet a common thread has always been our commitment to delivering a great customer experience on every visit, and equipping our people to deliver on that commitment.” As demographics shift, both in terms of cultural identity and generational identification, companies need to be cognizant of these fluctuations in their customer bases, as well as within their own staffs. “We are attentive to the different styles of communication and learning that resonate with different generations, and I’m proud that our leaders do a great job of selecting, training, and managing a very diverse team of people in order to deliver great service to customers,” Blackey says. He considers this to be an opportunity—one to gain new customers and to strengthen the bonds with established ones. The key to this is having an enthused and energetic staff. “When customers have many choices of where to stop, having the best people—people who can help you in a brisk, comfortable, and friendly manner—that’ll be the difference-maker for customers consistently choosing you.” Attract Top Talent with Aligned Values As the economy recovers and people move forward to do business in 2014 and beyond, personnel matters in relation to business staffing will become increasingly challenging. Companies will have to become even smarter than they needed to be during the recession about their approach to attracting and retaining the best talent. “Society’s diversity, as well as Brent Blackey, ’80 BSB President and COO Holiday Companies Luella Goldberg Director Communications Systems, Inc. the global reach of most businesses, requires an increasingly diverse workforce able to compete effectively in the worldwide marketplace,” says Luella Goldberg. “Diversity should not only encompass the usual categories of gender, race, religious, and sexual orientation, but thought must also be given to a workforce with different backgrounds and varied personal and professional experiences.” Workforce members of the future will be increasingly eager to be involved in work that is truly meaningful and satisfying to them. “They will want their talents to be well used and appreciated, and they will want to feel that a company’s values reflect their own values. They will want to feel that their work makes a real difference for good in our global society,” she says. SPRING 14 CAR2L0SON SCHOOL OGFE MENMTA NA 21 Alan Diamond, ’72 BA Retired President and COO Aon Risk Services Social Media is Key, but Don’t Forget that Personal Touch To Alan Diamond, the two most significant issues businesses will face in these changing times are the world of social media and the client relationship. “Social media is clearly vital for all businesses to survive and thrive, but it is the control and understanding of it that is important,” he says. “The ability to instantaneously spread a message, positive or negative, informed or ill-informed, has never been greater. The extent to which we utilize and understand this medium will be crucial for all businesses.” In direct relation to this, as technology and its platforms make transactions as efficient as possible, there is a risk of undervaluing the personal relationship aspect of business. “Understanding our clients’ needs and responding to them, communicating with our employees, engendering trust and confidence, and reaching our constituents and stakeholders has never been more important,” he says. “As a mentor of mine once told me, ‘You cannot email a handshake.’”


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