globalEDGE Blog - By Tag: business-(general)

The second richest man in the world, Carlos Slim, made a proposal this week that might excite employees around the globe. Slim, the Mexican telecom magnate, told those at a business conference that he thinks employers should move to shorter work weeks that promote increased leisure time for employees without losing productivity. His proposal had employees reporting to work only three days a week, giving workers four day weekends year-round. He believes that the shorter weeks would help to boost employee morale and increase leisure activities, which in turn would have a positive effect on the economy.

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For more than three months now, the online retailing giant Amazon has been locked in a feud with the publishing company Hachette, which is part of the French media group Lagardère. At first, the feud seemed to start as a pricing dispute over e-books distributed by Hachette. Soon, the disagreements began to multiply and cover even more issues, leading to drastic courses of action by both companies. Booksellers everywhere are nervously anticipating this battle, for whatever decision the two rivals come to will set an important precedent for the relationship between Amazon and publishers. However, it is unclear when this war will end.

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Yesterday, our latest blog post examined the business effects of the new tuition reimbursement plan of Starbucks at a macro-level. Today, we will cover the plan in more detail to learn how it could affect workers on an individual level. In attempts to decrease employee turnover, many large companies are seeking new retention strategies. Starbucks is using an education incentive to achieve this goal. Its new “Starbucks College Achievement Plan” will help qualified workers pay their full tuition for online courses taken through Arizona State University. And although the program has impressive benefits, some critics believe that it will not help workers as much as it promises.

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This past week marked an announcement that was truly groundbreaking. Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, informed the nation that all employees of his company would be eligible to attend college on the dime of Starbucks itself. Companies in the past have paid for schooling of certain members of their organizations but this is the first time that a company is willing to send any employee of the company to college.

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As the world continues to embrace technology and its many advantages, business also has begun to rely more and more on technology, storing large amounts of sensitive data electronically. The ease at which computers can store and access information is a major reason for the shift toward electronic storage. With the efficiencies computers bring to the market, a new area of risk has been inadvertently created. The storage of sensitive information on computers opens business up to cyber attacks, with hackers looking to acquire company or customer information such as passwords or credit card numbers. The hackers can then use or sell this information, harming businesses, consumers, and company reputations.

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A disgruntled employee can have catastrophic effects upon the work environment of a company. Although it may begin with one person being unmotivated to complete their daily work tasks, his or her negative energy can impact other coworkers. One employee's unproductive mannerisms can also cause management resources to be diverted away from employees who consistently work hard and accomplish all tasks. In the long-run, this behavior is helpful to neither the employee nor company, as the company accomplishes less and the employee feels unsatisfied with his or her work. However, new human resources programs are being created to combat this issue in an innovative way.

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The most important way to ensure achievement of mergers and acquisitions is to make sure the integration process with the other company is successful. While this may not be the most exciting aspect involved in merging companies together, it is by far one of the most important phases. Companies need to focus tasks on the integration process and make sure not to over-look it in practice.

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In First, Break All the Rules, authors Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman explore what the world’s greatest managers do differently.  Their conclusions are based on over 80,000 in-depth interviews of managers conducted by the Gallup organization.  The book reveals that the world’s greatest managers differ in age, gender, and race, but seem to have one thing in common – they do not hesitate to deviate from the rules of conventional wisdom. 

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As companies become more global, it is important for management teams and boards to realize the effect that a company’s national culture can have on its performance. In their book, Fish Can’t See Water, Kai Hammerich and Richard D. Lewis argue that often management and boards are blind to their own culture, and may not realize the negative effects that culture can have on their company’s success. The book describes two different models of identifying how culture affects corporations, describes national cultures in seven different countries and how they affect corporations, and then walks through a series of case studies.

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What makes a company great? Journalists, universities, think tanks, and CEO’s themselves have been trying to find the formula for decades. The rise of the multinational corporation has only increased the desire to find what makes a company great. With companies that are so large and have such diversified products, the variables that enter into the equation seem infinite. In the book Good to Great, Jim Collins attempts to identify what allows companies to make the leap from being a good company to being a great company.

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One thing companies are always concerned with is productivity. How can managers increase their productivity? How can they increase their employees productivity? Companies along with scientists have spent huge sums of money trying to figure out the key to not only productivity but success—both on an individual and company wide level.

It is no secret that happy employees are more productive and overall better employees. Employees that identify as low well-being are seven times more likely to be absent from work and seven times more likely to be looking for a new job. This leads to an overall lack of productivity from what is known as presenteeism. Presenteeism is when employees physically show up to work but lack productivity because they may be having any multitude of personal problems.

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A topic becoming more and more popular in the business realm today is the differences of Generation Y, otherwise referred to as Millennials, and the rest of the workforce. The needs, wants, and leadership styles of Generation Y are drastically different from earlier generations; this is causing a great shift in the way businesses operate around the world. Generation Y is the generation born between the 1980’s and early 2000’s. Millenials are currently working in the business world and will continue entering for years to come. It is vital for companies everywhere to learn and adapt in order to retain Generation Y employees.

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Pensions have become an increasingly talked about topic of late. With bankruptcies of cities, and most notably of Detroit, it is unsure whether people who worked their entire lives with the promise of a retirement will actually receive such. The trick with pensions is how does a company or city adequately plan for retirement costs decades into the future?

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Imagine a company that cares profoundly about the well-being of its customers, treats its suppliers as part of the family, with the same care and love as it shows to its own employees and customers. Imagine a business where those who are lucky enough to be employed, rarely, if ever, leave and every employee is committed and passionate about their work.

If you’re saying to yourself, “not possible, unreal,” you're part of the majority. But, the management paradigm shift is catching on and it could turn the classic management style upside down.

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On November 9th at the Business College Complex at Michigan State University, Eli Broad spoke to students of The Eli Broad College of Business about his views on business, philanthropy, and the future of education. Eli Broad funded the The School of Business at Michigan State University, and has continued to support his alma mater throughout his life. Through his many different careers he gained a vast amount of knowledge in many aspects of business, helping to facilitate his long and successful run in the business world.

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As we just celebrated the 4th of July, instead of honoring the mark of this nation’s freedom, there is more talk about the holiday falling on a Wednesday. This is the time families travel miles to spend the weekend together and enjoy fireworks and cookouts. Employees see this as an opportunity for a potential long weekend. Tuesday becomes the new Friday and they become less productive and more unfocused. Employers on the other hand cannot afford to lose such a critical day in the week.

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Work-life balance has always been a priority for employees, but not all workplaces have given it the same respect. The amount of vacation time and the number of hours employees are required to work in a week vary greatly across the world. Much of this is a result of cultural differences and tradition, but it also can greatly affect the productivity and happiness of workers. Overworked and unhappy employees can be extremely unproductive. There are many theories and methods for improving morale, but one of the simplest ones is limiting the amount of time employees are working. Sounds simple right? For many employers, it hasn’t been so easy.

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The perfect leader is outspoken, bold, voices opinions, and is a people person right? Not necessarily.  Whether we realize it or not, we often associate many extroverted traits with strong business leaders and assume that those who are introverted will not be as successful. This is not always true. There are several characteristics that introverts possess that businesses could benefit from that are probably being overlooked.

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Hop on that plane, business travel is back! After the global recession hit, many companies scaled back on corporate travel. More sophisticated technologies along with cost cutting initiatives around the global recession also led to a decline in business travel. To companies less travel meant lower costs, and more virtual meetings. While this may have helped some companies’ bottom lines, some saw business relationships and sales numbers suffer.

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File under: Business (General), Canada

Forbes has just released its list of "Best Countries for Business" and this year Canada has reached the top. Canada jumped up from last year’s number 4 spot to claim the top spot on the list. Countries were ranked based on 11 key factors including “property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape, investor protection and stock market performance.” Through a variety of reliable sources, Forbes was able to evaluate countries based on these characteristics and rank the countries in order of business attractiveness.

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File under: Global, Business (General)

Forbes recently came out with an article outlining a list of the top Global High Performers. This list targets companies around the globe that are doing well in regards to profit growth, the return to stockholders, return on capital, and sales growth. These main categories help show an interesting shift to companies not many instantly think of and others that are continuing to blow us away.

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File under: Business (General)

While the global economy has been slowly improving, it is still not back to where most would like it to be – especially for those out of work looking for jobs. The good news is fewer positions are being cut, and more people are choosing to leave jobs on their own. Still, for every open position, there are several candidates out of work. This puts the power in the hands of the hiring managers. In this intensely competitive environment, it is important to set yourself apart.

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Some time ago, a female finance manager in the USA said to me "It doesn't matter who you are or how smart and hard-working you are, the business world you will get to know as a woman is different than the actual business world." These are definitely not the most encouraging words, but it is no secret that to this day it is still much more difficult for women to advance in the business world. For females, the competition takes a different shape. No matter the difficulties however, women in the Middle East have found a solution in enterprenureal finanace.

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In part one we talked about the huge environmental costs for companies and the economic impacts these may have. Now we want to see what can be done, if reporting these costs should become standard, and the benefits this may have. Already many companies have made huge investments in reforestation, reducing water consumption, and an overall protection of natural resources. With the rising costs of valuable resources which are in danger, it only makes sense that these become a regular part of a company’s investment. With a strong sustainability agenda, corporations can help business be perceived as the place to best change what is going on in the world. As more companies realize how much sustainability helps their financial accounts, they’ll want to know how best to report these costs, and what can be done about them. The best step is to no longer ignore what’s going on, no matter what way you look at it.

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In order to see if a company is viable as a going concern, environmental costs are vital to know for the long-run. The benefits to preserving the environment in terms of dollars may be surprising, but it’s not to many business leaders these days. A private sector solution may be the best solution on a global scale. Just last week, Puma became the world’s first major corporation to report the details of the cost of the company’s impact on the environment. They said the costs of the carbon emission and the water it used in 2010 totaled $134.3 million. The costs not only included the company, but all of its suppliers as well. The next step for the company is to measure their cost of waste and land-use change. Ecosystems are vital to the performance of most companies, and integrating the true costs of extracting these services could significantly impact bottom lines in the future.

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In a recent Forbes article, they highlighted the top 10 green companies in the world. These companies have all in some way contributed a global environmental management system by reducing emissions, adjusting their manufacturing process, becoming environmentally certified and doing the best to adjust their performance records into a more positive light.

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The world is changing rapidly.  People are becoming more interconnected than ever.  Information is increasingly easier and cheaper to come by.  Whether it's texting, social media, emailing, faster logistics, or finding information on the internet, it all leads to one thing, making a faster paced and more competitive business environment.  Here are some top trends in business that are already happening but will play a significant role in the future.

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It’s no secret that in these hard economic times companies worldwide have had to streamline processes and cut back on costs. These cut backs are starting to directly affect the value consumers are getting for their money. Now, due to rising global food prices, food and beverage companies are struggling more than most and having to cut back even more. Chips are mysteriously missing from bags, canned vegetables contain fewer ounces than before, and packaged goods of all types are seeing box size reductions. Even things like diapers are seeing shrinking package sizes. This is certainly not good news for consumers.

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To increase productivity and save large amounts of money on labor costs, many companies are either setting up outposts overseas or contracting third parties in other countries to do some of their work for them. This trend is known to most as offshoring, and while it continues to grow, many predict that we haven't seen the worst of it.

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Bridging the gap between your business aspirations and your company’s ability to meet those expectations can be a daunting task for any business leader. This is often referred to as the execution gap. A recent survey found that nearly 49% of business leaders perceive this gap in their company, and 64% lacked confidence in their ability to narrow it. Following these 6 simple rules from Mashable.com is essential to closing this execution gap and reaching your goals.

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Wondering where to go next? The answer is easy, Korea. Approaching the top ten largest economies in the world, it is often overlooked because of its physical distance and the close proximity of its big brothers China and Japan. In fact, Korea has recently doubled its GDP and its imports from the United States. So while recent news may be bringing adverse attention to Korea, it is starting to bring to the spotlight an economy that is growing and is expected to soon become a major economic partner of the United States.

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