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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Customer service in the millennial age

Several recent experiences with different companies chat service have proven to be helpful and satisfying interactions. It seems that the customer service experience through chats and emails has been getting better. Either training has improved or companies are finally responding to customer needs. Another possible solution for this phenomenon is that the work force is getting younger.

According to a U.S Census Bureau report from June 2015, millennials represent more than one quarter of the nation’s population at 83.1 million. In comparison, the next largest population are Baby Boomers at 75.4 million. With their defined birth years between 1982 and 2000, they are well into the workforce and setting policy and trends. The economic landscape is adjusting. Millennials have grown up always digitally connected through cell phones, computers, games, and tablets. They tend to have less money to spend and will use their digital resources to scour for deals. The biggest generation in U.S. history is changing our economic landscape and how companies do business.

Companies have had email and chat alternatives for customer service contact for some time. It is reasonable to say that as millennials enter the work force they will bring their values and habits with them. One of those is reluctance to speaking on the telephone. They’d much rather stay within the digital world. They, themselves, use resources such as chat and email to communicate with business. In turn they provide the same service they would like to receive, putting more effort into something in which they believe a valuable resource.

Just a theory.

See our blog archive for other posts relating to millennials:
#IQUIT February 2014

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Should social media rants get you fired?

Should an employee be fired because of social media rants? Some business experts feel that employees that sound off should be fired because they don’t uphold the character and face of company. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has heard these types of cases since 2010 and began issuing decisions in 2012. The NLRB usually sides with the employee, reasoning that the employee’s social media postings are protected activities under the National Labor Relations Act, specifically-Employee rights to organize and speak out against unfair labor conditions.

If the rants take place on company time, using company resources, the employee could be disciplined for infractions other than the actual posting. But when the postings occur outside of work, the line has been drawn between employee rights and violating policy.

Beyond firing someone for something you don’t like on social media is the policy prohibiting the rant. If the company doesn’t have a policy then little action can be taken. Many businesses, especially small business, have no policy regarding social media. Employee handbooks and company policy need to be  living documents. It seems like there is always a new topic to be covered. Social media policy is an extension of that organism. Although social media and employees going off on their employers are not new, the policies governing how businesses handle it are still evolving. And the NLRB helps draft those policies each time it offers a decision. Businesses have to stay abreast of the issues and the decisions being made.

Defending the honor of the company or getting rid of a bad employee, firing someone for his or her rants on social media can be a dicey situation. Opening up the company as well as the person responsible for the firing to court action.

See our blog archive for other posts relating to social media policy issues:

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

How well do you know someone?

Watching the vetting process for the new presidential cabinet you heard politicians and others vouching for the nominees.  They would qualify their knowledge of the person’s background by stating how long they’ve known the person, “I’ve known this person for five years.” Really? Five whole years?

There is the possibility that you can really get to know someone in a short span of time. But it is highly unlikely, especially if you’re not with the person 24/7. There have been incidents of husbands and wives, who have been married for more than a decade, not knowing of the others “secret” life. So how can you vouch for a person, you have known for five years, and periodically interact with? If your “friend” is forty and you’ve known them for five, or even ten years, that seems like an eternity. However, they’ve had twenty-two years of adulthood before you ever met them.

Then you have the now cliché neighbor of a crime suspect, “[He’s] always been a good neighbor. Quiet. Never bothered anyone.” Chances are the neighbor is basing their assessment on fact. They never really knew the suspect so, of course, they were quiet and never bothered anyone.
If a background investigator has ever contacted you regarding an investigation for a security clearance how well you know someone can become shockingly evident. People obtaining security clearances fill out a questionnaire, part of which includes references. These references have to be non-work, friends and neighbors. Sometimes you have no idea why your name was used. You hardly know the person. But sometimes the investigation is for someone you’ve “known” for ten or more years (Most backgrounds require the reference to be a person you’ve known for five or more). But you don’t hang out with them, you don’t interact socially, you lose touch. But here is your name as a reference. The investigator starts asking the standard questions and you realize that although you’ve known this person since college, you cannot provide one piece of information that can verify anything about the person’s proclivity for cheese or espionage.

So to stand before a congressional committee and state that, “I’ve known this person for five years and they have absolutely the best character”, is little bit of a stretch.

See our blog archive for other posts relating to character association: