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Entries in Executive Insights (8)


The Results Are In: Does Your Company Have an Employee Development Program?

In our January Question of the Month, we asked if your company has a comprehensive employee development program. The encouraging results show that approximately 63% of respondents have a program in place to help or at least encourage their employees to reach their development goals.

The full breakdown:

  • For 24% of respondents, employee development is an integral part of their culture
  • 20% offer employee development opportunities, but only on an as needed basis
  • 19% of companies encourage employee development, but don’t officially support it
  • And, 38% have no employee development initiatives in place

During the past few years since the recession, an alarming situation has emerged in the workforce. Currently, there are more than 12 million unemployed workers in the U.S. at the same time many businesses across all industries are having a difficult time filling open positions. So, where’s the disconnect? Studies have shown that the problem may lie with fewer numbers of available skilled workers.

The workplace is constantly evolving, so in order to ensure your business stays productive, it’s necessary for your workers to evolve at the same pace. Companies that place an emphasis on training and development programs for their employees are essentially helping to creating their own private talent pool. Focusing on developing younger or less-skilled workers will help ensure you have easier access to talent to fill high-skilled job vacancies. And by creating comprehensive leadership development paths, you take important steps toward securing the future of the company.

Employee training and development is a vital part of building a stable, productive, and successful business. And as the workforce continues to become more technologically advanced, the need for highly skilled workers is only going to increase. Staying ahead of the curve and making moves to fight the brewing talent war will be key to survival in the long run.

How do you develop new employees and prepare them to take on larger roles within your company? Let us know in the comment section below.

by Jared Brox on February 19, 2013 in Executive InsightsLeadership and ManagementSurveys, Polls, and Infographics



8 Important Hiring Trends for 2014 [Infographic]

In the battle for top talent, what do hiring managers have to contend with in 2014? Check out this infographic from human resource news site for some insight into a few important hiring trends.

8 Most Important Hiring Trends for 2014 

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually. 


The Results Are In: Your Business Performance Predictions for 2014

For our December 2013 question of the month, we asked about your business performance predictions for 2014, and the results show a definite sign of optimism for the new year.

According to the results, 50% of respondents say they expect to see exponential growth and 43% believe their business volume will be steady, but unchanged from 2013. However, the most telling sign of what many businesses expect in 2014 is the fact that only 7% of respondents say they will see a decrease in business activity.

To add further optimism about the state of the economy in 2014, at the end of 2012 we asked our readers about their business performance predications for 2013, and only 31% of respondents said they expected to see exponential growth in 2013, while slightly more than 25% said they would experience a decrease in business volume.  So year over year, businesses in general seem to be anticipating a fairly productive and successful 2014, which is supported by many key economic indicators, like historic highs in the U.S. stock market, increasing – albeit slowly – housing starts in both the U.S. and Canada, and a rebounding consumer confidence index.

However, the general optimism about 2014 still comes with its fair share of challenges that could derail forward momentum. For example, weak GDP components like exports and investment in Canada and of course, the impact of the new health care reforms in the U.S.

What do you think will be the key challenges to the economy in 2014? Is your business prepared to respond to them? Let us know in the comments section below.


Near Record Number of People Quit Looking for Work in 2013

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics most recent report, the percentage of people looking for work in 2013 declined at a rate not seen since 1961, with the exception of the decline that took place in 2009 as a result of the Great Recession.

The labor force participation rate declined from 63.6 in January 2013 to 62.8 percent last month. The 0.8 percent annual drop was surpassed only by a 1.2 percent drop in 2009 and a drop of 0.9 percent in 1961. The report shows the number of people who quit looking for work has dropped at its sharpest rate in 52 years, with the exception of the drop that took place in 2009.

“The sad, tragic and almost untold story of employment is how many people have quit looking for work,” said Bob Funk, the CEO of Express Employment Professionals and a former Chairman of the Kansas City Federal Reserve. “It’s misleading to call the economy healthy when so many Americans have given up hope and stopped looking for a job.

“Equally troubling, at a time when the economy is thought to be recovering, the rate of decline is accelerating.”

In 2010, the rate declined by 0.3 percent; in 2011 by 0.3 percent; in 2012 by 0.4 percent and in 2013 by 0.8 percent.

“The number of people who have given up on looking for work is growing – just the opposite of what you want to see,” Funk said. “This issue deserves a lot more attention than it is receiving.”

The Department of Labor announced that the unemployment rate dropped from 7.0 percent in November 2013 to 6.7 percent last month, while the labor force participation rate declined from 63.0 percent to 62.8 percent for the month.



About Robert A. “Bob” Funk
Robert A. “Bob” Funk is chairman, chief executive officer and president of Express Employment Professionals. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the international staffing company has 675 franchises in the U.S., Canada and South Africa. Under his leadership, Express has put more than five million people to work worldwide. Funk served as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and was also the Chairman of the Conference of Chairmen of the Federal Reserve.

About Express Employment Professionals
Express Employment Professionals puts people to work. It generated more than $2.5 billion in temporary sales in 2013 and ranks as the largest privately held staffing agency in the United States. Its goal is to put a million people to work.


5 Characteristics of Successful People and a Few Key Questions You Should Ask Yourself

Who are the most successful people in business today? You could probably build quite an extensive list of innovators and visionaries who have built impressive careers and truly made a mark on the world. Even on a smaller scale in your local business and personal networks, there are probably people who just seem to have superior insight and always catch all the breaks.

Can you chalk it up to just pure, dumb luck? Or being in the right place at the right time? Sometimes, maybe, but if you look deeper, you‘ll likely notice a few key characteristics highly successful people seem to share. And the best part – those characteristics aren’t unattainable. You may just need to ask yourself a few key questions.

Successful people have an insatiable thirst for knowledge.
Albert Einstein said, “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” Highly successful people have a predisposition for curiosity – and they’re willing to go to great lengths to satisfy it. From reading the latest business books, attending seminars and workshops, or seeking out a subject matter expert, successful people are forever on a quest to build their knowledge base.

Quench your thirst by asking yourself:

  • Who are the knowledge leaders in my industry and how can I connect with them?
  • Who are the people in my own business or personal networks I may be able to build a mentoring relationship with?
  • To what length am I willing or able to go to build my knowledge base (i.e. advanced education, getting more involved in professional organizations, etc.)?

Successful people have an unshakable system of moral and ethical codes.
Just as many companies have a set of core values that serve as guidelines for the way they do business, highly successful people have a set of core values that govern their own personal conduct. And they refuse to stray from them – even when an alternative course of action seems easier in the short run.

Stay true blue by asking yourself:

  • What is my personal mission statement?
  • What are some moral/ethical issues I have confronted in the past and how did I respond? How would I do it differently if given the chance?
  • How will other key stakeholders be affected by my actions or decisions in the short-term? In the long-term?

Successful people are unapologetically passionate.
Driven by passion, successful people don’t view their work as something they have to do; rather it’s something they get to do. And it’s that drive that often makes them a formidable competitor. Success, at its core, is driven by passion. Passionate people are focused, steadfast, and often very stubborn.

Feed your passion by asking yourself:

  • Is my job something I would do even if I weren’t being paid to do it?
  • What are the biggest influences that have defined my career path (i.e. family, salary, work-life balance, etc.)?
  • What are some of my perceived constraints, both personal and professional, and am I willing or able to take steps to overcome them?

Successful people prefer the road less traveled.
Big risks often come with big rewards. Successful people know this fact and rarely shy away from an opportunity to blaze a new trail. Some of history’s greatest achievements and innovations are due to people who weren’t afraid to take a chance on a big idea. And if you were to look at the path they took to success, you’d likely see a pattern of consistently pushing the limits along the way.

Step out on a limb by asking yourself:

  • What are some of the biggest risks I’ve taken and what factors – both positive and negative – could have affected the outcome?
  • What can I truly gain from taking a leap of faith? Am I taking a risk for the right reasons?
  • Are there significant consequences to not taking a particular risk?

Successful people have failed, and will fail again.
Renowned author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said, “If you learn from defeat, you haven’t really lost.” It’s sage advice that may as well be declared the official mantra of highly successful people. Not only do they acknowledge that they have failed, but they also know it could – and probably will – happen again. The difference – highly successful people take the lessons they’ve learned from past failures to heart, learn from it, and are thus better prepared to deal with it in the future.

Get back up on the horse by asking yourself:

  • Now that I’ve learned what not to do, what are my immediate next steps? Then, how do I adjust my tactics for long-term success?
  • What scares me most about failure? Is it a truly rational or legitimate fear, or is it all in my head?
  • Looking back on some times in the past when I’ve failed, at any point did the world end?

This is by no means a definitive list.
Everyone’s journey toward success is different and there are many more questions that should be asked along the way. This piece is only meant to plant the seed and start a conversation. What are some other important characteristics you have found to be vital to success? What are some other questions you should ask yourself to ensure you’re heading down the right path? Let us know in the comments section below.