The Encore – AVIS: Commit to Planning Ahead for Road Safety

Big business trip planned? A special level of attention to detail is needed when preparing to drive. No matter how much planning goes into ensuring a safe trip, no one ever plans to be in a crash. Take the time to be prepared and be safe.

Big trip:

  • Do your homework – know your route and set your navigation before leaving.
  • Check the oil, tires, air pressure, windshield wipers and fluid.
  • Check the weather forecast.
  • Make sure every person in every seat wears a seatbelt.
  • Remember to take breaks.
  • When riding in a taxi or using a car service, never let safety take a back seat. Crashes happen in all types of vehicles, with all levels of drivers at any time in any place. Always buckle up – no matter who is doing the driving.

Will your teenage driver be using the car while you are away on business? Teens look to their parents for driving advice. Always lead by example and make sure to give them the right tips.

NHTSA reminds parents to set the rules before they hit the road with “5 to Drive”:

  • No cell phones while driving.
  • No extra passengers.
  • No speeding.
  • No alcohol.
  • No driving or riding without a seatbelt.

If you are planning to bring small children with you on your business trip:

  • Know your state’s requirements.
  • Car seats and booster seats – know the difference.
  • The National Safety Council recommends that all children 12 and under should ride properly restrained in the back seat.
  • Always read your child restraint manual on properly using the restraint.
  • If you have questions check with your local community’s Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.

 

Visit avis.com/wpo to save up to 25% off your rental on your next business trip.

Forbes: 5 More Assists That Will Help Women Entrepreneurs Score in 2017

By: Geri Stengel

The economy would grow 10-12% by 2025 if women had parity, according to The Power of Parity: How Advancing Women’s Equality Can Add $12 Trillion to Global Growth by McKinsey Global Institute.

Financing is key to that, as I wrote in 14 Assists That Will Help Women Entrepreneurs Score in 2017. But other things, such as affordable healthcare and childcare, paid family leave, access to markets and getting paid on time are also important. Everyone has a role to play. From government to investors, from corporations to women entrepreneurs, concrete actions will ultimately create more jobs for everyone.

  1. Providing affordable high quality healthcare is an imperative

“In order to compete with other businesses, large and small, you need to give American workers what they want — and need — which is a decent benefits package, including healthcare,” said Rieva Lesonsky, small business and entrepreneurship thought leader, advocate, journalist and founder of GrowBiz Media.. “Unfortunately, too many small businesses can’t afford to (or simply don’t want  to) provide for their staff. Those businesses will continue to lose the trained, smart, qualified employees they seek because those workers will go to work for businesses that provide those benefits.”

“We were pleased to see Congress reinstate Health Reimbursement Arrangements [HRA] that offer business owners an easy and tax-friendly way to subsidize employee medical costs, including insurance premiums,” said Jane Campbell, president of Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), a national nonpartisan public policy organization that advocates for and on behalf of women business owners. HRA allows companies with fewer than 50 full-time employees to reimburse employees’ for purchasing individual health insurance as if it were directly paying the premiums on a group health policy. The employee won’t have to pay taxes on the company’s premium contribution nor will the company owe payroll taxes on it.

In the last few years, concern has grown about the rate of new business start-ups. They are the primary source of job creation in U.S. “I fear the startup rate will decrease even more if there’s no affordable healthcare options for new entrepreneurs,” said Lesonsky “How many who want to start their own businesses will instead have to find jobs (with health insurance)?”

“Prior to the ACA [Affordable Care Act], the small business market’s biggest challenge was access. Plans were cancelled the minute an employee got sick. Small businesses need stability in this marketplace which, to some extent, the exchanges provided,” said Campbell. “We hope the new Congress and Administration make choices that give small businesses affordable access to health insurance. We need simple and flexible healthcare options for women entrepreneurs in the coming year and beyond.”

  1. Affordable childcare is a critical

Childcare is the biggest expense after housing. This disportionately impacts poor women and single-mother families. Poverty rates are dramatically higher among single-mother families.

“Affordable, high-quality childcare has remarkably positive effects,” said Joya Misra, professor of sociology and public policy at the University of Massachusetts in Forget the Glass Ceiling: Build Your Business Without One. Countries with higher levels of publicly subsidized childcare have significantly higher levels of maternal employment and wages.

“Affordable childcare is the great equalizer,” said Misra. “Affordable, quality childcare allows more women (as the caregivers-in-chief for their families) to stay in the workforce,” said Jennifer Owens, in Forget the Glass Ceiling. She is the director of Working Mother Research Institute, which publishes the Working Mother 100 Best Companies and Working Mother magazine. “The loss of women in the workplace means a loss of diversity of thought, which leads to lower innovation and less knowledge of the primary consumer’s mindset.”

Click here to read more.

Fortune: It’s Time for Men to Call Out Manterrupters

By Jeffrey Tobias Halter

Gender equality only women’s responsibility.

The Leadership Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question, “How can you play a role in advancing workplace equality?” is written by Jeffery Tobias Halter, president of YWomen, author of Why Women: The Leadership Imperative to Advancing Women and Engaging Men, and speaker at the WIN Summit.

Women’s leadership advancement is slowly reaching a tipping point. In industries from ranging from pharma and finance to defense and technology, women’s voices are rising. But so are those of supportive men—especially ones in senior leadership positions. Smart progressive companies are finding ways to incorporate both men and women into the process of attracting, retaining, and advancing women in the workplace. These companies have embraced four key approaches:

Listening to women’s concerns

Are you genuinely listening to the issues, concerns, and workplace issues of your female employees? I encourage senior male leaders to take a female coworker to coffee and ask her about the experience she’s having at work. Chances are, she’s not going to tell you initially because most women don’t want to be the flag bearer for all issues related to the status of women in the workplace. You’ll need to form close relationships with your female colleagues if you want to get to a point where they can talk to you openly about their difficulties in the workplace.

Through these discussions, you’ll find out that men and women are having significantly different professional experiences. One in two women (versus roughly one in four men) believe gender bias is alive in organizations today. While the workplace has evolved from Mad Men’s 1960s depiction, gender bias exists today in much more subtle terms and actions. Have you noticed that women are more likely to be interrupted in a meeting (even by other women) than men? Or that there’s an assumption that women will take notes, plan, and follow up—even when among colleagues at the same professional level? By understanding your female colleagues’ experiences better, it will be much easier to recognize and correct gender bias as it occurs.

Recognizing gender differences

It’s also important to understand that men and women behave differently at work. Research on brain functions demonstrate that most men have a more focused and linear thinking approach that favors decisiveness in words and actions. Women tend to focus more on intuition and collaboration. This research highlights the way men and women solve problems, network, and negotiate.

This has huge implications for organizations. For example, a Deloitte study on gender in sales teams demonstrated that women are much more attuned to reading non-verbal buyer behaviors, and therefore better at developing deeper relations with customers.

Developing diverse talent

Leaders need to ask tough questions and hold others accountable for creating a diverse workforce. Over half of DiversityInc’s top 50 companies for diversity tie executive compensation to the development and retention of diverse talent. Senior leaders need to regularly review their staff to ensure that talented women are being identified early in their careers.

If you don’t have enough women applying for positions, ask your managers and human resources team why not. Perhaps your managers aren’t developing and retaining people with different backgrounds. If that’s the case, find new managers. Or perhaps you can pursue alternate avenues to find women with strong potential. No matter what you do, make sure that your message of promoting a diverse team is clear.

Taking action

If gender issues are present in your company, you must address them. The first step to fixing a problem is to find out of it exists. If you don’t make the effort to look at your company honestly, nothing will really change.

Once you’ve done so, you can start to take specific actions. For example, does your company review pay equity by gender and job grade? If not, request periodic reports on this, and if you detect and issue, assign someone to fix it.

You can also work to demonstrate visual advocacy on women’s behalf. If you see a woman being talked over in a meeting, call it out and make sure her voice is heard. Finally, encourage women to apply for assignments beyond their current job title, in order to develop them further.

Companies that embrace these approaches are going to win the war for women in the workplace.

 

Walmart: Looking Ahead in 2017

Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer with nearly 1.5 million associates in the U.S., discussed company plans to create American jobs and invest in local communities across the country. The investments in the coming year will support an estimated 34,000 jobs through continued expansion and improvement in the company’s store network, as well as e-commerce services, while providing specialty training for more than 225,000 of the company’s frontline associates. The company and the Walmart Foundation, in conjunction with The U.S. Conference of Mayors, are also announcing grants through the U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund to advance sustainability and innovation in textile manufacturing.

 “Walmart is investing to better serve customers,” said Dan Bartlett, Walmart executive vice president for corporate affairs. “With a presence in thousands of communities and a vast supplier network, we know we play an important role in supporting and creating American jobs. Our 2017 plans to grow our business – and our support for innovation in the textile industry – will have a meaningful impact across the county.”

Walmart is planning $6.8 billion of capital investments in the U.S. in the coming fiscal year, which includes construction and remodeling of stores, clubs and distribution centers, as well as the expansion of new services such as Online Grocery Pickup. Walmart’s fiscal year begins Feb. 1; the company’s capital plans were first shared in October. Bartlett discussed the company’s investments in job creation and associates — and announced Innovation Fund grants to support the U.S. textile sector — at the 85th Winter Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C.

To learn more about Walmart’s commitment and 2017 goals, click here.  

The Women Presidents’ Organization would like to thank Walmart for providing this week’s sponsor blog content. 

 

Business 2 Community: 5 Game-Changing Recruiting Trends In 2017

It’s time to assess our recruiting wins and losses and to look towards the recruiting trends of the new year.

There are three major themes I believe will shape the recruiting trends of 2017.

The improving economy: Recent economic gains have translated to increased job openings going hand in hand with decreased unemployment. These gains have created a candidate-driven market that will make competing for talent even tougher this year.

Innovations in recruitment technology: Hiring volume is predicted to increase in 2017, which means time-constrained recruiters need better tech tools to enable their success. This year, look for advances in recruitment tech that will automate or streamline parts of the recruiting workflow that were previously difficult or impossible to do.

A focus on workplace diversity: As companies are starting to recognize the social and financial benefits of having a diverse workforce, the ability to attract qualified diverse candidates will become a sought after competitive advantage in 2017.

Here are 5 game-changing recruiting trends in 2017 summarized in an infographic below.

Click here to read full article.

The New York Times: A Rare Corner of Finance Where Women Dominate

Once a year, a small group of executives who control trillions of dollars in American companies meet for lunch in Manhattan. Among the things they discuss: pushing for greater say in how companies are run.

It is an elite gathering, but you will not see a single man in a suit in the room. The event, called the Women in Governance lunch, underscores a rare corner in finance where women dominate.

Women hold the top positions in corporate governance at many of the biggest mutual funds and pension funds — deciding which way to vote on the directors of a company board. They make decisions on behalf of teachers, government workers, doctors and most people in the United States who have a 401(k). The corporate governance heads at seven of the 10 largest institutional investors in stocks are now women, according to data compiled by The New York Times. Those investors oversee $14 trillion in assets.

Corporate governance is playing a growing role within the broader ecosystem of corporate America. Each spring, publicly traded companies hold shareholder meetings and outline business strategy for the coming year. Shareholders like BlackRock, T. Rowe Price and State Street vote on corporate strategy and issues including company board appointments and compensation.

Their votes can go a long way, given the huge stakes these institutions control in United States companies. BlackRock holds a stake greater than 5 percent in 75 of the 100 largest companies, according to data compiled by Jerry Davis, a professor at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. State Street has more than than 5 percent of 23 of the largest companies, while Capital Group owns more than 5 percent of 20 of the biggest companies.

That power, however, is rarely wielded to confront companies. Most of the time, these huge institutional investors choose to vote with management.

And their approach contrasts sharply with that of brash activist billionaires like William A. Ackman and Daniel S. Loeb, who have made a name for themselves as corporate agitators. These investors bring about change by theatrically pounding on the front doors of companies and using the public court of opinion to bully companies into changing their strategies.

Still, the heads of corporate governance at institutional giants say they are working quietly behind the scenes to advocate for greater shareholder rights.

Click here to read more.

The Encore -Lexus: Enhancing the Customer Experience

By: Peggy Turner, Vice President Lexus Customer Services and Lexus

All businesses need to be attentive to new opportunities and new markets as they expand. When Lexus examined the luxury market in 2014 three major factors with direct impact on the bottom line were identified: the increase in women buyers of luxury products, multi-cultural segments achieving high levels of affluence, and the growing size of the millennial market. Several key statistics made it imperative that Lexus address these target audiences:

  • Women represent 41% of luxury car buyers in the US (2016)
  • Women influence 85% of car purchases
  • Women are growing in affluence and are the main or sole breadwinner in 40% of households
  • Multi-cultural segments are increasing in size and affluence; in the US, African Americans spend roughly $1.2 trillion per year and Asian Americans $825 billion per year (2016)
  • Millennials represent 65 million buyers and influence their parents’ car purchases
  • Millennials are choosing to lease over buy, and Lexus is one of their top 3 choices in luxury cars

A statistic that could not be ignored: more than 90% of people bringing their cars in for Lexus servicing are women. Those women need to feel welcomed and appreciated.

Addressing these markets and acknowledging the need to better provide individualized customer experiences, Lexus developed an initiative called the Lexus Difference, in partnership with Fraser Communications.

Starting at the corporate level and executed locally by dedicated employees, the Lexus Difference helps evolve the overall guest experience. Relationship building is the primary focus, both inside and outside the dealership. While the initiative is largely designed with the aforementioned demographics in mind, Lexus Difference programs enhance the customer experience for all guests and build strong ties to the community. It ensures customers are given individualized treatment and made to feel like guests welcomed into a home. In addition to providing customized education and training for its associates, Lexus created a digital resource center with success stories for peer to peer collaboration and learning, engaged experts for a Speaker Series addressing these audiences and communication topics like Body Language. Corporate relationships with luxury brand Kiehl’s allows dealerships to supply spa like soaps and lotions in guest lounges and @aroma provides Lexus Signature scents for sensory immersion akin to what we experience at the W Hotel or the Four Seasons. All of these elements strive to turn a potentially daunting experience for many into an appealing destination, particularly for women and millennials.

Click here to read more.