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Free BMWs and Porsches, massage therapists who come to your desk, gourmet lunches prepared by an in-house chef, ski trips to Lake Tahoe. Join a dot-com or technology company and at least one of these perks is likely to come your way. These companies are grabbing headlines left and right with the flashy, seemingly expensive perks they use to recruit and retain employees.

While the dot-coms and technology firms are getting the press, mainstream companies are not standing on the sidelines. As competition for IT staff has reached record levels, retention strategies have become critical to the success of an IT department. In 1999 alone, 722,158 requisitions for IT workers were created, 60% of which were in non IT-industry companies, according to International Data Corp., a research analyst firm in Framingham, Mass. In 2002, there will be 846,000 requisitions overall. As retention has increased in importance, so have the number of ways to keep employees happy.

If you work in the IT department at an insurance company’s corporate headquarters, you probably will not be able to wear your well-worn college T-shirts to work or have your dog hang out in your cubicle. However, you probably will get to dress casually, and you might even earn extra days off, get fancy dinners out with a date, receive $6,000 employee referral bonusesand possibly even win trips to Hawaii and Disneyland.

Good compensation packages are always key, but fun and nonmonetary items are becoming increasingly important to valuable IT staff.

Which is most important? It depends on your workforce. A younger workforce will want more social events and compensation packages with higher risk and reward factors. A 30- to 40-year-old workforce is more likely to be concerned with job security and perks such as childcare and a training institute.

Good leadership. The biggest key to retention is the quality of your management and leadership, says Paul LeFort, CIO and senior vice president of United HealthGroup in Minneapolis. Of his 3,000-person IT staff, about 10% are in leadership roles. Employees want good mentors and leaders they can learn from, he notes.

Lifestyle issues. Offer casual dress. Consider childcare. Provide alternate work schedules and locations. For example, offer three- and four-day work weeks and telecommuting.

Education and training. Technologies change quickly and so do the skillsets required to keep up with these changes. “Companies need to spend a lot of time making sure that their employees are getting a lot of training and are being used in a way that their current skillsets will not become outmoded,” says Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America in Arlington, Va.

Corporate mission. Offer stock options in the company to encourage corporate buy-in.

Executive support. Make sure corporate leaders–CEOs, CFOs, and other nontechnical managers–are committed to and support IT.

Recognition. Provide recognition for being creative and doing a good job. “If a boss or organization is really acknowledging creativity, employees won’t leave that place–even if the place down the street pays $40,000 more,” says Dick Dooley of the Dooley Group Inc. in Riverwoods, Ill.

Keeping IT employees happy does not have to break the department budget. While trips across the country might cost a bundle, IT managers are also using a number of inexpensive benefits to retain employees. Among these are casual dress (the further your office is from the company’s CEO, the more casual you will likely be allowed to dress), alternative work schedules, book clubs, and recognition rewards.

“Retention always was important, but now it cannot be ignored,” says Al Borenstine, president of Synergistics Associates in Chicago. Borenstine, who recruits CIOs, says retention is now among the top five functions of an IT executive’s job.

It’s time to get imaginative

Retention used to be a twofold task, notes Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America in Arlington, Va. In the past, IT managers had to make sure their compensation packages (salary, bonuses, and stock options) were competitive and try to create some sense of corporate spirit within the department. Now, says Miller, HR and IT executives also must focus on employee lifestyle issues and education and training–and be creative at it all.

As an IT manager in a corporate environment, look at what you’re competing with. One IT manager, who asked that she and her company remain anonymous, says her department occasionally awards Atlanta Braves tickets to recognize hardworking individuals. A bonus during busy times is a goody basket consisting of Surge cola, candy, and stress balls, along with a certificate for a “mental day off.”

The manager, whose company is based in the South, recently sent her employees “applause” cards–digital pictures of the team with adjectives each employee’s team members had used to describe the individual. Free key chains and pizza lunches are routine. IT folks also enjoy the corporate workout facilities, cafi, store, ATM, and soon-to-arrive dry cleaner and video store. While most of these are provided for employee convenience, the workout facilities are subsidized by the company and employees pay a nominal monthly fee.

Appreciation is big at her company, says the manager. Her boss even bought the book 1001 Ways to Reward Employees, by Bob Nelson and Kenneth H. Blanchard, for each of his managers.

Google Inc., a search engine company located in Mountain View, Calif. (right in the heart of Silicon Valley), has an in-house chef. He provides free gourmet lunches and dinners, and was once a personal chef and caterer to the likes of the Grateful Dead. Google also has two massage therapists (part-time contract employees) who will come to your desk and work out the kinks you get in your shoulders when you’ve been working at your computer for too long. Employees can bring their dogs to work. The entire company took a ski trip to Lake Tahoe in February 2000.

The perks appear to be working. Cindy McCaffrey, director of corporate communications at Google, says the company has had zero turnover since its inception in September 1998. That’s far below the national average of between 15% and 16%, as calculated by IDC.

Carlson Companies Inc.

The company: Carlson Companies Inc. has about 1,000 IT employees in the Minneapolis area. The $31 billion company specializes in corporate and consumer travel, hospitality, and marketing. Its brands include Radisson, TGIFridays, Thomas Cook, and Wagonlit Travel.

The problem: The company suffered from an extremely competitive IT marketplace–what some view as negative unemployment in the Minneapolis metropolitan area.

The solution: Carlson adopted new strategies to attract and retain its staff: focus on retention; institute alternative work schedules; build a technology center with separate cafeteria and workout facilities catering to the long hours of an IT employee; offer a more casual dress policy than that allowed in other buildings on the corporate campus; provide employee-referral bonuses with retention incentives; give workgroups or teams budgets for fun–at least twice a year cover the cost of a golf outing, fancy dinner, boat ride, or other activity. The company is also considering flexible benefits that allow employees to choose their benefits based on a predetermined budget for each individual. If the employee’s spouse already has benefits, then the employee could use these budgeted dollars for additional vacation time, optional insurance, or other benefits.

On the mainstream corporate side, IT workers might not get free gourmet lunches every day, but food often plays a role in keeping IT employees happy. Having food on-site offers the basic benefit of convenience, especially for companies like Google that are off the beaten path, but it also fosters employee morale and camaraderie.

If you’re an IT worker at Carlson Companies Inc., for example, you can grab a quick breakfast or lunch at the Mega-Byte Cafeteria in the company’s tech center. Separate dining and workout facilities (open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in order to accommodate longer IT schedules) are only a few of the benefits available to the 700 IT employees in the two-year-old building that houses Carlson’s central infrastructure group. Dress is more casual in this building than in others on the Minneapolis-based corporate campus.

Pricey and priceless strategies

Dave Zitur, CIO and vice president of finance for Carlson Leisure Group and interim CIO for Carlson Companies, says the company has concentrated on retention for the last five years. The approach is multipronged, he says. A variety of career paths and leadership training are important parts of the equation, as are alternative work schedules–from four-day weeks (either 32 hours per or four ten-hour days) to working from home.

The company has IT forums–basically semi-annual meetings where IT employees from Carlson’s five operating divisions get together to hear about new initiatives, activities in different groups, and current business. At one recent forum, the division CIOs and CTOs cooked and served barbecue for meeting attendees. Carlson’s recognition awards, called the WOW program in the tech center, offer monthly winners everything from movie tickets to airline passes. Winners also receive pins, which they can display in their offices. The pins are about the size of a tie tack and are either bronze, silver, gold, or diamond stars.

Deep in the trenches, workgroups have budgets for fun. “We try to make sure employees have the time and money to do something fun at least once or twice a year at the group level,” Zitur says. These activities include group bowling, boat trips on Lake Minnetonka, golf outings, and, of course, meals out.

While he has not heard of any employees asking to bring their dogs to work and take time out to walk them, Zitur says that is not out of the question at Carlson. “If it works out between the employee and his manager, then it’s OK,” he says.

CIO Dave Zitur added “fun” to Carlson Leisure Group’s workgroup budgets.

Like Google’s strategies, Carlson’s also appear to be working. Turnover among the 1,000 IT employees in the Minneapolis area has hovered around 12% for the last few years, several percentage points below the national average calculated by IDC.

And who better to recruit new IT employees than happy Carlson IT folks. The travel, leisure, and marketing company’s bonus referral program pays $2,000 up-front if a recommended candidate is hired. For the next four years, workers receive $1,000 each year on the referred employee’s anniversary date. It’s better than paying a headhunter, notes Zitur.

For Karen Bruns, director, IT, in the office of the CIO, the retention strategies have been a success. Bruns joined Carlson five and a half years ago as an IT project leader in the marketing division. Bruns is the recipient of several WOW awards and sports her pins on an 8″x10″ bulletin board in her office. For Bruns, the number one retention program is alternative work hours. “I usually don’t come in until 9 a.m. unless there’s a meeting,” she says. Bruns is also a fan of the corporate eating facilities, noting she eats lunch at one of them every day.

Training, recognition, and rewards

Like Carlson, United HealthGroup, the parent organization of managed care company United Healthcare, relies heavily on training and recognition rewards to keep its 3,000-person IT department happy, according to CIO and senior vice president Paul LeFort.

The Minneapolis-based company has a learning institute that delivers between 60,000 and 70,000 hours of professional and leadership training. That’s about 20 hours of education each IT employee per year. United HealthGroup also offers IT workers management and technology training through distance-based learning. Through a video network, select individuals can earn their masters degrees from the likes of Stanford University. There are technical courses, such as Java, C++, and other programming languages; professional development courses, such as project management, giving presentations, and managing people; and leadership training through the Center for Creative Leadership.

Industry estimates put turnover costs at between $5,000 and $100,000 per employee. Framingham, Mass.-based analyst firm International Data Corp. (IDC) estimates the cost of IT worker attrition in 2002 will reach $7.6 billion.

Recruiting is expensive. Headhunter’s fees average 30% of an employee’s annual salary.

Ensure your compensation package is competitive. Look at salary, incentive bonuses, and stock awards.

Retention should be a top priority. Don’t just give it lip service. Get corporate buy-in. Bend the rules a little–i.e., extend corporate policies and perks down the IT ladder to lower-level managers. Set aside more money for incentive bonuses in the IT department. Set aside a budget for fun activities and training programs.

Provide top-notch training. Technology changes quickly and IT workers want to keep abreast of these changes.

Recognize a job well done. Set up an awards program. Pick monthly winners and have an annual raffle or party to celebrate all the hard work. Award prizes. Put winners’ pictures in a prominent spot in your office or on your Web site.

Have some fun! Take the staff to a ball game. Cater dinner from a gourmet restaurant. Take a boat ride. Go bowling. Give each team member a stress kit (a basket filled with cola, sweets, and stress balls).

The company’s Star Award program offers recognition and, ultimately, the chance to win trips to Disneyland and Hawaii. Awards have been given for successful system conversions, new Web site designs, helping another group achieve its goals, or for working above and beyond the call of duty in order to make a delivery date, notes LeFort. The big prizes are awarded annually at a drawing held during a department wide social event, but IT individuals and workgroups are recognized monthly through the program. In addition to having their pictures on the Web site, monthly winners in this peer-recognition program are eligible for prizes such as dinners out or an American Express gift certificate.

Monthly winners from United HealthGroup’s 10 IT sites, from as far away as Ireland, link up via video to participate in the annual Star Award celebration. Hi-jinks have included a step-dance demonstration from the folks on the Emerald Isle. The company gives away between $25,000 and $30,000 worth of prizes at the annual party. Along with big trips, IT employees can win checks for $500 or $1,000.

LeFort says these programs and others have kept his turnover to about 14%. His department spends several million dollars annually on the learning institute, masters programs, Star Award, and other retention programs.

More employees are benefiting

While perks for IT departments are on the rise, not all companies single out these hard workers for benefits. At Textron Inc.’s corporate headquarters in Providence, R.I., the 16 IT employees enjoy the same perks as other HQ workers, says John Lincoln, director of information management contracts and services. These include free use of a fitness center (which also provides freshly laundered workout shorts, shirts, and socks free of charge), corporate parties and picnics, and recognition through the manager spot award program, a recognition program for all corporate employees. A group of IT employees received the reward earlier this year for their hard work (including over the New Year’s holiday) on Year 2000 issues. Textron has aircraft, automotive, industrial, and finance businesses.

Whether or not IT employees enjoy special perks depends on how critical IT is to the company’s overall mission. Data-rich industries such as insurance and retail are more likely to offer perks beyond the norm, says H. Michael Boyd, Ph.D., a program manager in the human resourcing strategies program at IDC.

Boyd says large companies have been providing many “fun” perks for awhile, but only recently have begun extending them deeper within the IT ranks. For instance, while a top IT executive may have been driving a company car and getting reimbursed for her children’s private-school tuition all along, these benefits are now being provided to IT managers further down the corporate ladder. Today, IT leaders can often send more staff to conferences, distribute more discretionary income than managers in other departments, and reimburse for more tuition than generally is allowed in other areas of the company.

“IT people are prima donnas in the market,” Boyd says. “That’s life. Companies have to do these special things.”

Retaining IT employees does not have to be an expensive proposition. While trips to Hawaii are nice, you likely will only be able to award such a perk to a handful (or fewer) of employees each year. Some of the most popular retention programs are also the least expensive. Here’s a sampling of some low-cost programs being instituted in IT departments across the country:

Casual dress. At Carlson Companies Inc., 700 IT employees in the central infrastructure group enjoy a more casual dress policy than groups working in other buildings on the Minneapolis corporate campus. Khakis and collared shirts are standard Tuesday through Thursday, jeans allowed on Friday. In the summer, these IT folks can even sport denim shorts on Fridays.

Alternative work schedules. Carlson has implemented alternative work arrangements for IT employees–everything from 32-hour weeks to telecommuting. “The retention program that is most popular with me is flex hours,” says Karen Bruns, director, IT, in the office of the CIO. Bruns started as a project leader in another Carlson operating group over five years ago.

Recognition rewards. While not quite as cheap as allowing your workforce to stagger its hours, these rewards more than pay for themselves in employee loyalty and morale. Winners usually receive a certificate or some trophy-type trifle. At United HealthGroup in Minneapolis, they often get a dinner out or an American Express gift check, and their picture appears on the company’s Web site. The company takes the program a step further by giving monthly winners the chance to win big prizes at an annual drawing–this is where the trips and large cash prizes come in.

Dinners, tickets to sports events, and free lunch. Don’t think you have to take the whole department. One IT manager in the Southeast, who asked to remain anonymous, buys a pair of Atlanta Braves season tickets and gives them to hardworking employees as a sporadic bonus.

Personal pats on the back. These can range from saying “good job,” and really meaning it, to cards with all the reasons you value an employee noted.

Book clubs. At Fujitsu Network Communications in Pearl River, N.Y., one employee took it upon himself to institute a weekly book club meeting during lunch. The fiber optics communications systems company pays for pizza or sandwiches while employees discuss not the latest bestseller but technical books and journal articles.

Mentoring programs. These pair new employees with experienced IT folks who have been through similar circumstances. At Fujitsu, the emphasis is on employees coming from other countries. Carlson has the IT Foundation program for college hires and the Smarts program for anyone in the company’s IT department who is interested.

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It Managers: Managing Engineers Vs. Managing Support Staff

As IT managers we face the need to deal with two very different types of technical professionals, roughly categorized as “engineers” and “support professionals.”

Understanding the unique needs of these two job types is critical in effectively managing them — but few IT departments truly take the time to understand and appreciate the nuances inherent between them.

The first type, and by the far the best understood, is the “engineer.” This engineering role encompasses a massive array of job functions ranging from software developers and designers, architects, system engineers, network engineers. It includes anyone whose primary function is to creatively design or implement new systems of any sort.

The second type of technology worker role can be generically referred to as the “support” role. Support professions includes helpdesk, systems administration, desktop support, network monitoring, command center, etc. What separates support professionals from engineering professionals is that they are not tasked with creative processes involving new designs or implementations. Instead they work with existing systems ensuring that they run properly and get fixed quickly when something is wrong.

It goes without saying that no one real-world human is likely to ever be completely in only one category or the other, but almost all job functional in IT focus very heavily upon one or the other. It’s pretty safe to assume that almost any role will be exceptionally weighted to one role or the other.

Managing Engineers vs. Managing Support Staff

Measuring and managing engineers, from a very high level, is quite well understood. The concept of productivity is very simple and meaningful for engineering chúng tôi goal of managing an engineering person or team is to allow and encourage that role to output as much creative design or implementation as possible.

The concept of quality exists as well, of course, but we still can think generally about engineering roles in relatively concrete terms such as number of functions written, number of deployment packages produced, size of network designed, etc.

Metrics are a fuzzy thing, but we at least have a good idea of what efficiency means to an engineer even if we cannot necessarily measure it accurately.

Support roles do not have this same concept. Sure you could use an artificial metric such as “tickets closed” to measure productivity in a support role, but that would be very misleading. One ticket could be trivial and the next a large research challenge. In many cases there may be no tickets available for a long time and then many arrive at once that cannot be serviced simultaneously.

Productivity is likely to be sporadic and non-sustainable and, ultimately, not at all meaningful to measure.

Engineering positions earn their keep by producing output effectively over a rather long period of time often even spanning into months and years for large projects. The goal, therefore, with engineering positions is to provide an environment that encourages sustainable productivity. It is well known that engineers will often gain productivity by working shortened or alternative hours, taking regular vacations, etc. Not only does this often increase productivity but often greatly increases the quality of the output as well.

Support positions earn their bread and butter by “being there” when needed. If a support person is attempting to work at maximum efficiency there is a natural implication that there is a continuous backlog of support issues awaiting the support team’s attention and that there are many people requiring support who have to wait for it in order to form a queue.

By having a queue always in place this also means that support personnel are continuously taking work off the stack instead of resolving live items – either ignoring high priority items or being regularly interrupted – causing continuous context switching which significantly reduces the ability to efficiently handle the queue – whose entire purpose for existing was to create the appearance of artificial productivity in the first place.

Event Driven

Support roles are “event driven.” I like this terminology because I think it most accurately describes the mode in which nearly all support professionals work.

Whether an event is generated by a phone call, an instant message, an email or a ticket, it is an “event” that kicks off the transition of the support person from idle to action or, in some cases, from a low priority item to a high priority item.

How To Manually Deprecate Members In Ios Swift?

In iOS Swift, you can manually deprecate members (properties, methods, and other members) by using the @available attribute with the deprecated argument.


The @available attribute in Swift is used to specify the availability of a particular piece of code. It can be used to mark a class, function, method, property, or enumeration as available or unavailable for a particular platform, version, or architecture.

Here’s an example syntax of the @available attribute

@available(platform version, *) @available(iOS 14.0, *) class MyClass { }

In our previous example, we used the @available attribute with the deprecated argument to mark a method as deprecated. The deprecated argument specifies the version at which the code was deprecated, and can include a message explaining why it was deprecated.

Deprecating a Method

To deprecate a method, you can add the @available attribute with the deprecated argument to the method’s declaration. You can also provide a message to explain why the method was discontinued and what the developer should use instead.

Deprecating a Class

To deprecate a class, you can add the @available attribute with the deprecated argument to the class’s declaration. You can also provide a message to explain why the class was deprecated and what the developer should use instead.

Deprecating a Property

To deprecate a property, you can add the @available attribute with the deprecated argument to the property’s declaration. You can also provide a message to explain why the property was no longer valid and what the developer should use instead.

Using Deprecation Attributes

When you use the @available attribute to deprecate a member, you can provide several arguments −

deprecated − this argument marks the member as deprecated.

message − this argument provides a message to explain why the member was deprecated and what the developer should use instead.

renamed − this argument indicates that the member has been renamed. You can provide the new name as an argument value.

unavailable − this argument indicates that the member is no longer available and should not be used.

Example import Foundation class Person { @available(*, deprecated, message: "Use fullName instead.") var name = "" var age = 0 var address = "" var fullName = "" @available(*, deprecated, message: "Use displayFullInfo() instead.") func displayInfo() { print("Person name: (name)") } func displayFullInfo() { print("Person name: (fullName)") } } let alex = Person() = "Alex" alex.fullName = "Alex Murphy" alex.displayInfo() alex.displayFullInfo()

We then create an instance of Person called alex, and call displayInfo(). Since displayInfo() is marked as deprecated, Xcode will show a warning in the console with the deprecation message −

Output 'displayInfo()' was deprecated: Use displayFullInfo() instead. Person name: Alex Person name: Alex Murphy Key points to keep in mind when manually deprecating members in iOS Swift

To designate a member as obsolete, use the @available property along with the deprecated argument.

Explain why the member was retired and what the coder should use in its place in the message argument.

Additionally, you can specify that a member has been renamed using the renamed argument and supply the updated name as an argument value.

A class, function, or object can be designated as deprecated using the @available attribute.

When the deprecated component is used in the code, Xcode displays deprecation alerts.

Use deprecation to let other programmers know about changes to your code and nudge them towards using the upgraded and improved version.


In conclusion, Swift’s @available attribute is a powerful utility that lets writers define which systems, versions, and architectures their code is compatible with. Developers can designate a class, function, method, or variable as obsolete and add a message explaining why it was discontinued. They can also explain what the developer should use in its place by using the @available trait with the deprecated argument.

This method of using deprecation is crucial for keeping the code up-to-date over time. It allows developers to keep their code current and compliant with best practices. Developers can help other developers understand the changes in their code and in making the required updates to their own code. This is done by providing them with concise and helpful deprecation messages.

The Sej Staff Picks Their Favorite #Marketingnerds Episodes

To celebrate the 100th episode of Marketing Nerds podcast, we rounded up the favorite podcast episodes from the SEJ Team. Join us as we take a look back at our past episodes, and what we have learned from them.

Jenise Henrikson, CEO

Episode 54: Identifying and Repurposing Evergreen Content for Success 

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Every time I hear Wil Reynolds speak I learn something. In this episode, I got some great ideas regarding re-purposing amazing existing content. I also love observing Brent’s skillful approach in eliciting fresh and topical perspectives from his guests.

Brent Csutoras, Chief Social Media Strategist

Episode 65: Robert ‘RSnake’ Hansen Talks Website Security on #MarketingNerds Podcast

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I have always been intrigued by hacker and internet security, so being able to talk with one of the top hackers in the world, Robert ‘Rsnake’ Hansen, is always a pleasure. I learned quite a bit about WordPress security, which I have incorporated into my sites, as well as some interesting stories about Hillary Clinton’s email servers and China’s new social engineering rating system.

Kelsey Jones, Executive Editor

Episode 72: #MarketingNerds Podcast with Danny Goodwin: How Journalism Helps You Write and Edit for the Web

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It let me get to know Danny better, which eventually lead to him writing news for SEJ. Also, we talk a lot about why the editorial process is so important, which is something both brands and publishers can find useful.

Anna Crowe, Features Writer

Episode 89: How to Create a Social Media Strategy for Multiple Locations with Cynthia Johnson

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Caitlin Rulien, Social Producer

Episode 91: How to Find Clients: Freelancers Forum #8

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Aki Libo-on, Assistant Editor

Episode 38: #MarketingNerds Freelancer Forum: How to Raise Your Rates & Confront Imposter Syndrome

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This episode aims to debunk a couple of freelancing taboos, such as raising your rates. It just didn’t answer what’s the best way to do it but why (because, apparently, you deserve a raise even if you think you don’t.)

Meg Cabrera, Research Assistant

Episode 78: How to Make the Leap to Full-Time Freelancing

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It was hard to give up my full-time corporate job, but this episode gave me the assurance that I made the right choice to venture into freelancing.

Danny Goodwin, News Writer

Episode 8: #SEO for User Interface Design with Kristine Schachinger

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Kristine Schachinger is one of my favorites in the industry and she has lots of great insights in this episode. She goes through important SEO and user experience considerations and common pitfalls for companies that are creating or redesigning a website.

Jessica Cromwell, Director of Sales & Events

Episode: 86: How to Make Your Brand Fascinating with NYT Best-Selling Author Sally Hogshead

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A simple, yet powerful approach to building a brand. And her free personality test is a neat tool that helps individuals discover their north star. I love stuff like this.

Danielle Antosz, Features Editor

Episode 22: Freelancers Forum II: How to Find, Negotiate With, & Fire Clients

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Is it okay to use one of my own? I really love the vibe Kelsey and I have, it feels super relaxed. I also love sharing information I would have loved to have when I was getting started as a freelancer.

Image Credits

The 2013 Google Encryption And What It Means For You

We survived Panda, Penguin, and a host of other near-crippling online marketing changes and sat on the edge or our seats awaiting this year’s massively new roll-out. Many of us hoped the delay meant nothing major was happening in the industry, but our hopes were swiftly dashed as Google announced its newest massive master business plan to revolutionize how we, as website owners, do business with them.

We’re not just talking about Hummingbird here, the search giant’s new algorithmic update that would provide users with richer and more conversational search results. It’s a huge modification and will affect 90% of all global searches. To keep up with the update, webmasters must maintain top-notch, rich content that can satisfy intent.

But that’s not only big news that SEOs should worry about. Earlier this month, Google announced that it would be encrypting all search activity within its walls, thus cutting off SEOs and marketers from accessing valuable keyword and search data.

The 2013 Google Encryption News Brief

While Google is being accused of doing this under the guise of hiding customer activity from the NSA (National Security Agency) due to the accusation of giving the NSA access to search data in June of 2013, we cannot help but wonder if the real reason is simply a smart business move. That is, to force more people to purchase their services and specifically, Google AdWords. Which is more realistic, seeing that Google switched their keyword Tool to a paid service and combined it with Google AdWords back in July and August of 2013.

What the 2013 Google Encryption Means for Everybody Else

The 2013 Google Encryption (for lack of a better nickname like Panda or Penguin), means that anybody who relies on search data to fund their content and website data will no longer be able to identify which keywords lead traffic to their site. It means that we, as business owners and content creators, will have an even more difficult time finding out which keywords to use to target our market audience. Thus, limiting and even crippling visibility in user search for thousands, if not millions, of inexperienced and untrained website owners.

Google reported that the encryption would impact less than 10 percent of web-searches. Though, businesses and blog owners alike have reported a steady rise each month with near 100 percent encryption eminent by the end of this year from all Google specific searches.

Introducing Unknown-Keywords and Not Provided Count by Google 2013 Encryption

This new encryption update doesn’t just mean that web marketers, SEO techs, and content providers will lose some of their marketing data, it will mean they will lose all of it via Google services. Google tools and non-Google companies, which used Google tools to provide their customers with important data about traffic to their site, now see the two most dreaded words in the marketing industry: Unknown-Keywords and Not Provided Count. This means that they are not provided with what keywords lead customers to their websites as well as being left in the dark about how many were lead there. Although the current search data encryption is hovering at about 80 percent, it is only months until we reach 100 percent. The question from concerned site owners and marketing strategists are met with a cold shoulder and dead silence by Google.

The Six Google 2013 Data Encryption Workarounds

The situation seems hopeless to a lot of people. For many, there is nothing you can do to change the situation Google has crammed us into. However, we are not without hope. This new roll-out gives us new opportunities and drastically changes how we need to approach the target market.

First, SEO needs to be approached in totality, not just meta-data and keyword placement within content. As marketing specialists, we need to focus less on keyword conversion rates and more on serving the customers with relevant and authoritative websites. This means, we as online business and website owners, now have to rely less on SEO strategies and more on traditional lead generation strategies to achieve business objectives.

Second, while Google keyword and search data is nearing 100 percent anonymity, other search engines are still offering their data to site owners for free. Since roughly 30 to 35 percent of search traffic comes from other major search engine companies like AOL, chúng tôi Bing and Yahoo, we website owners still have access to a limited amount of search data about organic traffic.

Fourth, page level tracking still works. This means that if we are smart, and good website owners should be this smart, we can still track entire pages of content. While we cannot tell which keywords lead to the organic traffic of that content, we can see how well the subject matter performed with our target audience. Thus, promoting the ability to see which subjects appeal to which customers or sell which products.

How to Transcend the Google 2013 Encryption

As our peers suddenly find their SEO strategies flat-lining and their website marketing efforts grinding to a halt, is there a way to transcend the old methods of marketing? Indeed there is, and it will take a melding of old, new, offline, network marketing, and even MLM strategies to make our efforts shine.

Eight Top Golden Rules for Survival:

1. We must let go of the idea that the top two slots on search results are the best from a marketing standpoint. Although most people rarely go as deep as five pages into search results, being on top of page one is not as important as we thought. Instead, optimize for the title and snippet within search results, aiming to capture reader attention  above competitors.

2. Traffic count and social following count are not as relevant as actual sales and lead generation. Those with the most traffic or social following are not necessarily the most successful businesses. Instead of getting lost in the numbers, get lost in making your efforts count towards the bottom line, your bottom line financially. If you are not making increased sales along with increased traffic, then relearn how to reach your target market through content and value of that content.

3. SEO mastery is not something better left to the IT tech or web designer. If you want a website that really sells, let the specialists do their own job. This means the designer catches the audience through visual design, the IT tech manages functionality of the website, the marketer manages the ad campaigns, the PR rep manages public reach outside the internet, and you hire a content creator who knows how to reach the heart of your target market in ways which lead to sales.

4. Linking URLS is not the end all of traffic. Truthfully, if some URLs lead to or from bad neighborhoods, it will still hurt business. So be careful of your online bedfellows. On the other hand, all the links in the world will not help generate sales anymore than page rank or social media. You can lead people to your site but you can’t make them buy. Focus, instead, on the value your site provides your potential and returning customers. Aim to reach them through content, site usability, and a product which sells itself because it is useful. Follow that up with links that add value, to your site or complementary companies.

5. Content still is no more useful than SEO strategies. While good content sells, good SEO helps tremendously with getting it there in the first place. Even though Google is making us fly blind, a good SEO strategy is still a winning emblem of good site management. The old rules still apply, do what works for your site and your product and yours alone, with a view to avoiding anything which smacks of spam to search engines programs. Optimize to readers, not search engines, but still spend time on back-end search engine optimization.

7. SEO strategies DO NOT mean defining exact keywords and repeating them or creating fancy header tags. These outdated optimization techniques are now part of the spam flag triggers implemented in passing years by the Google company during penguin, panda, and their entire zoo and parking lot of massive-scale updates. So, the new strategy is to change up SEO. Optimized instead for a solid theme of content per page, and only use header and sub-header tags and other HTML codes to maintain visual appeal of the site.

How to Survive the 2013 Google Changes

Remember that Google is a business and like all other businesses, they are going to do what makes the best financial sense for them. In the aftermath of this year’s roll-out, remember not to get to caught up in the tragedies it will cause. Instead, begin by implementing a well-rounded approach and common sense when it comes to marketing. Broaden your approach in marketing to include online, offline, networking, and MLM strategies. Traffic count does not equal prosperity unless the content and the product reaches the hearts and serves the needs of  the prospect.

Therefore, to survive this update, we must make firm our resolve to broaden our education and open our mind to new marketing strategies and efforts. While many of us cannot afford to take the time to revamp our entire website, its content, or our social media campaign. We can, and should, work towards a better internet and website experience for our prospective clientele. In so doing, we will come out on top of the marketing game.

photo credits:

FutUndBeidl via photopin cc

Gavin Llewellyn via photopin cc

What Is Organizational Leadership And Why Should Aim For It

blog / Leadership What is Organizational Leadership and Why Should One Aim for it

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American author and pioneer in leadership studies, Warren Bennis, perfectly defines what it means with this quote: ‘Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality’. A leader, then, has the ability to make their organization’s mission, vision, and goal a reality. But what is organizational leadership? We take a look at this question and more with this article. 

What is Organizational Leadership?

This is a strategic approach that helps streamline the overall operational insight of a company to ensure that it aligns with the corporate vision. Organizational leaders are required to manage their teams and lead them in the direction of the company’s roadmap. The main goal is to identify how empowering and training staff members can increase motivation levels and bring employees closer to achieving the company’s objectives. The key here is to combine effective management practices with a good understanding of human psychology. 

What is the Importance of Organizational Leadership?

Organizational leaders provide employees with much-needed direction and general counsel to help them grow in their careers while also contributing to organizational success. Emphasis on organizational leadership is essential, especially if companies wish to continuously improve, innovate, and evolve.

Types of Organizational Leadership

Every organizational leader has their own leadership style. However, these leadership styles can be broadly categorized as follows:  

Democratic leadership 

Autocratic leadership

Laissez-faire leadership 

Strategic leadership

Transformational leadership 

ALSO READ: Top Leadership Styles and Skills You Need to Become a Future-Proof Leader

What do Organizational Leaders do?

The responsibilities of an organizational leader may vary based on the type of company they head. A good organizational leader is typically responsible for important decisions that contribute to a company’s success. This includes business strategy, employee management, and resource allocation among other things. They ensure participation from their team, coordinate with human resource teams to develop effective employee training programs, evaluate business innovation to improve resource utilization, and guide employees to effectively deliver goal-oriented results. . 

What Qualities do Organizational Leaders Possess?

These skills are developed and honed over time with work experience and through exposure to different leadership and management roles. If you are looking to transition to an organizational leadership role, you need to have the right business management degree.

Organizational leaders need to possess the following skills and qualities: 

Strong leadership skills 

Effective communication 

Ideation capabilities

Business acumen

Emotional intelligence

What is the Difference Between Leadership and Organizational Leadership?

Good leaders lead their employees well while good organizational leaders steer their teams in the direction that the organization wishes to move in. A good leader will focus on their team members and help them grow and improve. An organizational leader also does the same; however, with the added nuance of growth that is in line with the company’s roadmap. Organizational leadership is focused heavily on the company’s vision and strategic plan.

The Best Way to Develop Organizational Leadership Skills

Now that the what is organizational leadership question has been answered, let’s look at three ways to develop skills in this role: 

Enroll for a course, seminar, workshop, or formal degree to refine your leadership skills. 

The Career Outlook of Organizational Leadership

A career in this field is not reserved only for top-tier management. In fact, irrespective of your job title, you can seek a leadership role once you have built the skills and aptitude for it. Depending on your experience, training, and qualifications, here are some job roles you can expect: 

Training and development manager

Human resource manager

Sales manager

Social and community service manager 

The good news is that positions in this field are growing. A report by the U.S. Labor Department states that overall employment for top executives is projected to grow by 6% from 2023 to 2031.

Examples of Organizational Leadership in the Real World

There are many examples of this kind of leadership across industries like education, healthcare, human resources, etc. Let’s take a look at some skills needed for this field with real-world examples.

Interpersonal skills:

An organizational leader may use empathy to understand the needs of employees during a leadership meeting  

Strategic thinking:

They may set targets or establish key performance indicators to monitor a company’s progress 

What is an Organizational Leadership Degree?

Most modules focus on strategic leadership, organizational ethics, human resource management, project leadership, and research design. The course modules are likely to vary based on the institution and type of degree program you choose to enroll for. 

Earn Your Organizational Leadership Skills Through Emeritus

If delving into the ‘what is organizational leadership’ question has inspired you to learn more about it, 

If you are a manager who aspires to learn more about organizational leadership, consider upskilling with Emeritus! Choose from a range of online leadership courses that are offered in collaboration with leading universities from around the world. Get ready to take your career to the next level and become an effective organizational leader! 

By Priya Iyer Vyas

Write to us at [email protected] 

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