Government Jobs – Valuable, Skilled and Educated Work Force

Strategy Plan One

August 7, 2012

government jobsGovernment Jobs

Whether you are an employee in the private or public sector, or self-employed, we all take in the angst from the client groups we serve.



However, with extremely high expectations of government services, taxpayers and clients of government programs vent a bit more, show more frustration and sometimes treat government workers differently.

Government employees work on all levels, assisting entrepreneurs to assisting citizens in every government program under the sun.  They are there, employed to serve the public.  However, the perception and behavior towards public servants is quite shocking, and sometimes to the point of being disrespectful.  This occurs despite the fact that on the other end of that kiosk or government counter is a very valuable, highly educated individual who can really help you if you tap into these resources and programs.

When you hear public servants, much negativity exudes from the critics. Common comments include, “they are lazy”, “overpaid”, “cushy jobs”, “useless”, and “uneducated”, “biased”, “never helpful”, and on and on.  Yes, very harsh terms for dedicated employees who serve the public on a daily basis.

Government Employees

Obviously these comments are furthest from the truth.  The deepest job cuts in this recent economic climate, have occurred with public servants in the US and Canadian governments.  This comes after much human resources investment and years of corrective public employment processes, in some cases hiring the best and brightest work force.  Government institutions have implemented “employment appointments based on merit“… meaning the candidate must pass the highest scrutiny of meeting the job criteria.  It’s not easy getting into the public service.

The modern public service is a very educated and experienced work force, due to job criteria and the abundance of applicants for government jobs.  This highly competitive employment process results in the highest qualified, ranked candidates out of the bunch of applicants.  It is sometimes common, especially in these economic circumstances, to find that government employees are heavily over qualified.

government jobsGovernment Jobs – Pay and Benefits

Depending on jurisdiction, pay isn’t always the greatest in the public service, especially when the majority of positions are classified as administrative or in program delivery.  Specialized areas may pay better.  Some government sectors provide ample benefits which improve the compensation package, but not to the extent of what compensation a similar position may receive in the private sector.   While some senior executive level public service jobs may include a small annual bonus, the majority of the public service does not receive bonuses or incremental pay based on performance.

The human resource strategy in recent years in the public service has been to find cuts, implement efficiencies through automation and offer the public online features.  Gone are the days where getting a government position was a guaranteed long-term career move.  Job security in the public service seems to have gone the way of the dinosaurs.  Public servants are constantly on edge, not knowing if in the next fiscal year their jobs will be cut.  It’s also a scary scenario when certain States or other jurisdictions announce that they are not sure they can pay for the next payroll.

Government Jobs – Highest Scrutiny

The work of the public service and their employees are held to the highest scrutiny, evolved around implementing the highest ethical standards and upholding good values.  With government programming and staffing costs funded by the taxpayer, the public service is carefully watched, carefully analyzed.  This sometimes leads to stressful environments, however, once acquainted with the roles and responsibilities of a government job, one comes to realize this as the norm.

In the modern public service, government jobs are attractive to candidates.  The public service often calls for qualified candidates to take on challenging, interesting work in this global environment.  The jobs can be rewarding, and can lay the groundwork for building better personal and professional capacities … applicable across the board in the private sector and in self-employment.  If considering advancement in the public service, many government sectors see the value in the development and retention of valued internal employees.  It is definitely worthwhile to tap into these public service employment development programs.

Remember that when you apply for government grants and programs, these public servants work hard to provide the services and products that you are requesting.  Give them the time they need to complete their work in a stressed work environment.  Give them the respect that all should expect.  Be receptive to their ideas, feedback and recommendations to strengthen your applications and your dealings with government.  Remember that these public servants have families, strive for a stress free environment and need to survive like the rest of us.

For more information on government jobs check out:

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Social Media Impacts on Small Business [infographic]

Strategy Plan One

August 4, 2012

Social Media and Small Business

Small businesses face a significant uphill battle in these economic times to engage and communicate with consumers.  Marketing and communications have vastly changed over the past few years, and with the add-on of social media as a tool, measurable benefits and trends are occurring with the small business sector.

This informative graphic from Bolt Insurance highlights the following small business and social media statistics and trends:

  • 81% of small business use social media to get their message out and engage with customers
  • 95% use email marketing
  • 98% of small business engage in website marketing
  • 62% of businesses not using social media will plan to in the next year
  • 81% that currently use social media will step up efforts in the next year

Top challenges small businesses face according to this survey:

  • 80% claim attracting new customers are the biggest challenge
  • 52% state obtaining referrals as the greatest issue
  • 41% of small business would like to squeeze and maximize results with marketing dollars 

Social media effectiveness:

  • 82% state Facebook as the most effective social media platform
  • 73% of respondents say YouTube most effective
  • 47%  LinkedIn 
  • 47% claim Twitter is the most effective social media site

View some more interesting statistics in the infographic below.

small business marketing


Courtesy: Bolt Insurance

As an entrepreneur / small business, it is advantageous to stay on track with developing trends and to design products and services that not only meets current customer demand, but also future consumer needs.  Review and analyze marketing conditions and trends, and plan accordingly.

Here are some additional Social Media articles, blogs and infographics:

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Business Tips – Maximize Performance and Business Development Results

Strategy Plan One

August 1, 2012

business tips Business Tips for the Entrepreneur

As you are midstream through harsh economic times, take the time to reflect on your current business operations.  Think about the small things that could be tweaked that can have the maximum positive impact on your business.  Here are some helpful business tips to maximum the output in your organization and in your business development.

Business Tips – Maximize the Use of Your Time

Time is definitely considered an asset when you are a busy, mult-taking entrepreneur.  Delegate operational tasks to staff and area specialists as much as you possible can.  Free up your time for business management functions, business development, planning and implementation.  Institute shorter, more concise meetings and communications as much needed time savers for all.  Cut the slack time and concentrate efforts in a condensed shorter period.  Incorporate that into individual and team goals.

Establish Priorities

Clutter can occur in many ways from physical bunched up clutter to the mental clutter of massive workloads of relevant and non-relevant tasks.  Take the time to sort this out.  Getting organized on a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis should be a standard part of your business and of the action plans across all employees.  Encourage organizing and priority setting as part of the valued added side of your corporate culture.

Business Tips – Create a Constructive Environment

Feedback is necessary on all aspects of your business.  Ensure that you develop a culture of encouraging and valuing input from all levels in the organization.  Constructiveness is essential … when everyone puts on their constructive gear and behavior, everyone is “building” towards a common goal.  Feedback can be critical nature, but as team members put on the constructive hats, criticism turns to positive alternative idea and solution generation.  Problems and issues are better solved when the collective can feed into the solution.

business tips - social Be Social

This business tip is not necessarily focused on spending massive amounts of time on social media.  Being social in business means networking, partnering, collaboration, team work.   Every business, every entrepreneur venture is vastly stronger when you and your team get out there and communicate and network with everyone.  Not all deals, partnerships and customers will automatically fall into your lap … you need to get aggressive and make the moves to communicate and network with others.  Remember that social media is only one form of communication and engagement with other businesses and customers.   Communications, marketing and business development occur in many ways outside of normal office functions and social media.

Business Tips – Be Helpful

As a leader, entrepreneur and community member be helpful to all and it will eventually return to you in spades.  Being a business leader is not a one-way street…. you need to not only receive but to give.  Your valued staff give their efforts and their time to helping you achieve your success.  You need to help your staff become successful through employee development, encouragement, recognition and in your acceptance of their needs professionally and in their personal lives.

When developing products and services for customers, remember this two-way street.  It’s not about just gaining revenue from clients.  You should be developing your business around how your products and services can first help the intended market, and meeting the needs of the consumer.   Revenue then potentially follows after successfully meeting the needs of the customer.

Plan well for maximum benefits and results!

Relevant personal and business development blogs and articles

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Olympic Games – Impacts of Hosting the Games [infographic]

Strategy Plan One

July 29, 2012

Olympic Games

Ever wonder what impacts the Olympic Games will have on business, the host country,  infrastructure and citizens?  Here is a graphic by ClickSoftware highlighting:

  • Final Bill : 9.3 Billion pounds; 6.5 Billion on Transportation infrastructure
  • Military: Over 18,000 troops & 20,000 private guards
  • Transportation: Up to 800,000 passengers / day; 100 trains added daily
  • Heathrow: Up to 217,000 passengers / day ; additional 650K during the games

See additional statistics below.

Olympic Games - impacts

Source: Click Software


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Customer Retention – Observing Movie Theater Industry Strategies and Tactics

Strategy Plan One

July 28, 2012

customer retentionCustomer Retention

Similar to other business industries, the movie theater industry has experienced ups and downs over the past few decades, with trying to build the customer base and in customer retention.


It is often stated in Customer Relationship Management strategies that it is 3 times harder to attract new customers than to keep customers through customer retention.  What do you think the logical, strategic approach is?

ice ageOn a Friday night, a group of us decided to take in a movie at the theater.  Deciding to be entertained in 3-D, we slid in and bought tickets for Ice Age: Continental Drift.  After paying  the usual ticket prices, the design of the theater brings you to the unavoidable drink – snack – popcorn counter, where of course, we snack – geared everyone for the movie.

To not miss anything, like anyone else, we wanted to ensure we were there prior to the 7:15pm start time.   As you are probably aware, the first few minutes prior to the start time, movie goers are slightly entertained, with all bodies pointing forward to the screen with clips and shots of “did you remember to get…”, and all the rest of value-added, movie theater promotional stuff.  After 10 minutes of alternating between occasionally glancing at the screen and frequently engaging in conversation with our party, the lights dimmed and volume was cranked up.

In your mind 7:15pm start time is firm and you are ready to watch.  Nope, not the case.  For the next 16 minutes (yes I was the annoying one looking at my mobile device lighting up the adjacent areas) we all sat through movie trailers, ads and clips, one after another.  Then another promotion for another 3-D movie coming up.  Oh, and then one fairly entertaining movie theater industry ad attempting to generate more interest in coming to the movie theater again.  16 minutes of this!  Didn’t we all just pay to watch a movie at 7:15pm?  I can expect to click-through pop up ads on a website if I am getting something for free there, but experiencing this in a movie theater?  Why?

Don’t get me wrong that I am severely complaining here, but highlighting more of a business and marketing observation.  Quite frequently some of us put on our business hats and observe how businesses promote themselves, engage and communicate with the customer, and try to build up the loyal base of repeat customers.  Here are some of the messaging and customer retention relevant observations at the theater before the movie, during that time frame prior to the movie, and post-movie time frame:

  • Customer convenience – theaters make it easy for customers to buy tickets in advance at kiosks or online
  • Captivated audience – Paying customers are in front of the screen, focused on the screen and the instructions on proper movie theater etiquette tells movie goers not to be doing anything else (ie: don’t talk, don’t use mobile devices)
  • Free Trial – Customers are getting a “free” glimpse at additional products, in the appropriate format (ie: movie theater ads have a bigger impact being played in the actual movie theater and not on a 21 inch, non-surround sound system at home)
  • Colors, design and words used in the clips, trailers and ads can create positive responses from the consumer
  • Investment – the movie industry sinks millions into advertising and test marketing these ads prior to developing the final 2 minute clip or trailer (ever notice movies had looked super appealing in those trailers?)
  • Feedback – the theaters capture customer feedback in two ways – in person or by kiosk; this feedback is an important part of improving the experience and of the Customer Relationship Management process

Whatever the tactics and strategies used by the movie theater industry, they are able to hit and make an impact on the paying customer to enable a response to return.  In your business, what are your strategies to gain the continued interest from your customer?  Keep them informed? Provide them will add-on packages while you have their attention?  Offer the free trial to keep the customer coming back?  Ensure you observe certain industry and business tactics towards gaining and retaining the customer base.  Incorporate strong customer retention strategies in your business plan and marketing strategies.

More on the Customer:

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Ty Col    Consultant, Mentor, Entrepreneur

Strategy Plan One

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

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Efficiency – Working More with Less in Current Business Environments

Strategy Plan One

July 24, 2012

Efficiency to Survive in the Current Economic Environment

Tough economic times require tough business decisions.  In cases of self-employment, when times are difficult, the onus rests on the business owner to implement contingencies.  When reductions occur in smaller businesses, everyone, including the owner, get busier.  In extreme cases to survive, businesses may reduce operations down to the owner handling all tasks, from management to operations to administration… just to survive.

In order to find efficient methods in operations, businesses insert in tech tools.  However, being connected by mobile devices adds a new dynamic to vacationing business owners, as it has now become part of the norm on vacation.  Business owners are glancing at their emails while sitting on a beach, partaking in a tourism outing, or trying to spend leisure time with family.

In this infographic from Manta, some key trends are emerging in small business and mobile device use, from an external Manta Wellness survey that was conducted in June 2012.

  • 58% of business owners say they are working more than the previous year
  • 70% of those surveyed do not plan to hire any additional staff this summer
  • 71% of business owners express working and responding to emails while on vacation
  • 60% of entrepreneurs state they enjoy vacations more due to their mobile devices (huh?)
  • 68% of respondents say they use mobile devices while using their computers
  • 54% state that they use mobile devices at work to check email (business or personal) and,
  • 24% of business owners use their mobile devices every day


efficiency - working more with less

Source: Manta

Business issues – A few points were clear from this survey:

  • Businesses are still facing challenges in this economy – Ensure you plan well in advance.  Business planning should be conducted frequently to help in mitigating around the surprises this economic environment may bring.
  • Business are making adjustments and finding efficiencies – develop operational and human resource plans focused on finding effective, efficient methods with reduced labor and resources.
  • Work-life balance issues at the business owner level doesn’t appear well – we all know these are tough economic times, but strong work-life balance at all levels will keep employers and employees happy and healthy.  Ensure work-life balance exists for healthy minds, bodies and relationships.
  • Effective tools are needed to handle complex volumes of work – Ensure you invest in capabilities to make work easily for you as the business owner and employees.  If mobile devices work well in operations, make it readily available to staff.  Devices like these could be the productivity improvement to handle more work more efficiently.

More business blogs of interest:


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Hiring – Strategies and Tips for Strong Staffing Processes

Strategy Plan One

July 22, 2012

hiring - staffing processesHiring Processes

As an entrepreneur, business owner, or manager in the public or private sector, the way you conduct hiring or staffing processes can have measurable effects on your staff and organization.  Opportunities presented to internal staff in fair and transparent processes can be uplifting to staff, generate interest in the organization, and result in the recruitment of needed professionals.  Poor staffing processes can be demoralizing for employees, and can have negative, long-term impacts on the development of human resources in your business.

Hiring – Human Resources Plan

Similar to business and marketing plan development, human resource management in your business would include the development of an annual human resources, staffing plan.  Management, supported by information from operational units in the organization, should be able to identify human resources needs for the upcoming annual business cycle.  Salary and wage budgets are an important component to the plan, along with the costs for employee development.  The costs for hiring and staffing processes should be taken into consideration, especially if travel or external human resources consultants are needed for the staffing processes.  Once plans and budgets have been developed, the business will be better prepared to proceed on staffing processes.

Here are some tips to improving your staffing process, staff morale, and results in your organization:

  • Be fair, open and transparent to all staff on any potential opportunity or position
  • Look internally first at your valued staff before seeking external sources
  • Consider employee development to fulfill positions rather than external acquisitions
  • Gauge employee interest in development, retention and promotion through your annual employee appraisal procedures
  • Ensure employees have an opportunity to develop a learning and development plan, and that you as the employer can support employee developmental initiatives

Hiring Through Job Postings,  Job Advertisements

A clear and concise employment posting must be developed, to make sure all applicants understand who can apply, how to apply and what must be completed in the process.  Here are some details that could be included in a job posting:

  • Job title, classification, details
  • Job roles, responsibilities and duties
  • Application requirement details (resume, cover letter, test, interview, reference checks)
  • Application deadline
  • Who the job will be open to (ie: internal, external, certain levels, professions)
  • Where the job will be located
  • Duration of position
  • Essential job criteria (applicant must meet these criteria)
  • Asset job criteria (applicant scores bonus points for these “great to have” additional skills, traits)
  • Other competencies (ie: leadership competencies)
  • Conditions of employment (ie: travel, OT where necessary)
  • Language requirements 
  • Employment equity considerations, and
  • Contact for questions, concerns, and who to send the application to

hiring - interviewStaffing Process – Time Frames

Be cognizant that adequate time frame will be required for staffing processes.  Management of time will be essential to develop the time frames around the process, the assessment tools and development of the job criteria.  You must allow time frames for the applicants to apply, be tested, be interviewed and for the reference checks.   If through your human resource planning you have determined potential start dates for employees, then you will have an idea on the time frame to initiate the hiring process.  Don’t procrastinate on staffing processes or you may find yourself hiring and starting the successful candidate later than was actually needed.

Hiring – Short Term Solutions or Alternatives

If staffing processes can’t meet your immediate needs, you may have to consider acquiring the help or expertise externally through short-term contracting.  Contracting gives you the ability to acquire human resources in a potential shorter time frame, with more controls with terms and conditions within a contract.  Ensure that your explore contracting a short-term solution.

Partnering companies in your field may be able to complete a human resources exchange with you. Partnerships are beneficial as the parties can come to an agreement over the sharing of resources, so short-term staffing may be accomplished through your partnership arrangements.

Developing and maintaining high standards in your hiring practices will result in the best retention, development and recruitment of human resources.  Make the “Best Employers to Work For” list, internally and from an external perspective.

More on Hiring, Human Resources, and Employee Development

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