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Bits ‘N Pieces

1

Engaging your employees is a win/win

Seventy percent of America’s workforce is either disengaged or actively disengaged, according to Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace” survey.

According to the report, these employees “are disconnected from their workplaces and less likely to be productive.” The surveying firm estimates that these actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. between $450 billion and $550 billion each year in lost productivity. In addition, these employees are more likely to steal from their employers, negatively impact their co-workers, miss workdays and drive customers away.

So how can companies better engage their employees?

  • Be genuinely interested in your employees’ career paths. Mentoring, coaching and training not only bring additional skills to your company, they are also valued by employees.
  • Offer incentive compensation packages. When the company succeeds, let employees share monetarily in that success. Having such a program in place boosts motivation, and when employees have a financial incentive to perform better, everybody wins.
  • Allow flexibility in work schedules. Employees have lives outside of work, and allowing them time to attend kids’ soccer games or take an elderly parent to a doctor’s appointment goes a long way.
  • Listen. People want to be heard, so whether employees are offering a suggestion, voicing a concern or talking about their personal lives, actively listen.
  • Treat employees the way you would want to be treated. No matter their position at your company, people appreciate being treated with respect.

Engaging your audience

Mobile commerce is on the rise, and if you’re not already engaged in it in your business, it’s time to consider starting.

With each passing month, the number of people purchasing items via mobile devices continues to trend upward. This past holiday season, the top 20 retailers reported an increase of more than 55 percent in the number of online sales conducted via mobile devices over the previous year. Sales statistics show that 69 percent of tablet users and 45 percent of smartphone users used their mobile devices to make holiday purchases in 2013.

Companies that aren’t involved in mobile commerce are lagging behind and missing a huge opportunity to tap into a new audience and grow their business.

Protecting your IP

Is your company vulnerable to intellectual property issues? If you have failed to take steps to adequately protect your IP and to avoid infringing on the IP of others, the answer may be yes.

To keep your IP safe and avoid the possibility of a lawsuit, take the following steps.

  • Use nondisclosure agreements when working with outside parties.
  • Do patent investigations to determine whether you need a patent to protect your IP.
  • Do patent investigations to determine whether your IP steps on an existing patent.
  • Ensure that employees and third parties maintain the secrecy of your company’s critical technology.
  • File a provisional patent when appropriate.
  • Federally register trademarks.
  • Consult with a patent attorney.