Monthly Archives: October 2013

Employees are the best ambassadors… but be careful

officespace

Okay – maybe not this guy

Who you gonna trust? The folks in charge or the folks who actually run a company, as in the employees?

That’s a question the Edelman Trust Barometer answered when they issued a trust and credibility survey collecting data from more than 30,000 people.

The results showed that the basic everyday employee carried more credibility when talking about their company than executives have – and it wasn’t even really close. It’s something most companies either don’t know, ignore, or don’t believe – because embracing the idea that employees should be helping tell a company’s story is a fantastic opportunity, and one perfectly suited to our times, and one most ignore.

Everyone Has a Voice – Everyone is a Publisher

Encouraging employees to become brand ambassadors is an obvious thing for a company to do, because their strongest asset and their most vocal internal advocates not only have direct contact with the customer base, but an entire external audience as well. For example, the average Facebook user has 120 friends, meaning anything any one person posts on their Facebook timeline has the potential to be seen by 120 of their close (or at least fringe) associates. Our company has more than 200 employees. The math is amazing.

That said, for many work places, the last thing they would want would be for their employees to speak for them. Poor culture, embittered employees and bad management makes externalizing a potential nightmare.

Then there is the enthusiasm gap. According to Gallup’s 2011-2012 study of employees in 142 countries worldwide on average, only 13% of employees are engaged in their jobs, meaning 87% are going through the motions to get that paycheck – and that’s it. That means employers have to be strategic in who they allow to speak for them “out there.”

 It’s All About Culture

Or, they can change the culture and get those some of those 87% into the game. John Stix, CMO of Fibernetics works day in and day out to develop and improve the company culture so all Fibernetics, Worldline and NEWT employees not only know their brand, but are advocates for them as well.

“There is absolutely no downside for me in encouraging my co-workers to become involved in the company in as many ways as possible outside of their regular job function. We assist them with an employee wellness program, we encourage and support community involvement and believe deeply in philanthropy. We rely on them to help to drive innovation in our products. It makes for a better work environment, they are more productive, and almost as a fringe benefit, they are happy to advocate to our customers.”

It’s easy to spot a company with employees who love the brand they work for. They are the ones with the social committees, the fundraisers, the community involvement. Having enthusiastic employee base isn’t just great for social marketing, but that same Gallup poll showed that companies with high employee engagement levels have 3.9 times the earnings compared to their industry peers or competitors. 

Five Easy Steps

Once you have your culture in place, and you’re ready to unleash the hounds and let your employees spread the word, Forbes came up with five simple ways to start:

  1. Encourage social media interaction and advocacy. Don’t restrict social media use and enable employees to distribute coupons to customers as they see fit. If your employees are online talking about how much they enjoy their work, this is a good thing.
  2. Allow employees to help strengthen customer relationships. Create a sense of shared ownership in the goals of the company, and focus on using employee experience and feedback to improve products/services and customer service.
  3. Enable channels of communication. Who knows best what would improve the products/services a company has to offer? Two groups –  the customer service reps and customers. Getting them involved in the improvement process will not only increase their buy-in, but also help spread word of mouth around your brand. Develop a facility allowing both external advocates (your customers) and internal advocates (your employees) to offer suggestions, and ensure that their suggestions are both being acknowledged and considered.
  4. Invest in employee wellbeing. A little goes a long way when it comes to showing your employees that they’re appreciated. Culture development should be someone’s full time job.
  5. Make Sharing Easy. Brands should make it as easy as possible for employees to share their brand experience, by encouraging social media use, adding “share” buttons to websites, supplying employees with graphics for marketing campaigns, and allowing them to be actively involved as the “faces” of the company.

Employees are the most trusted sources for customers, so it is essential that they are given the mantle of “ambassador.”

However only when they, and your company are ready. 

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Cambridge is a Great Place to Live & the United Way is Making it Better

unitedway-logoCambridge is a fantastic place to live. Divided neatly in two by the mighty Grand River, it has beautiful neighborhoods and lots of great places to work, (like Fibernetics for example). Tons of recreation both inside and out, there are also great restaurants, fabulous shopping and due to its central location, easy access to all the great things the rest of Southern Ontario has to offer.

It’s why it’s one of the fastest growing communities in all of Canada.

Yet Cambridge, despite all those positives, also has a shocking number of its population living in poverty.

One in eight children fall into that category.

That’s why organizations like The United Way of Cambridge and North Dumfries are so important to the community. They set a very aggressive $2.3-million fundraising goal for 2013 and local residents and businesses are getting behind their all-important mission. There are 24 separate local agencies who rely on money raised during the annual campaign, collectively helping one-in-three members of the Cambridge community.

United Way Volunteers with Worldline President Roy Graydon

United Way Volunteers with Fibernetics President Roy Graydon

Fibernetics is working with the United Way and its partner agencies, like the Food Bank, with a number of fundraising campaigns. This morning we had a company breakfast featuring two United Way workers who were explaining the importance of their organization to Cambridge as a whole.

Alex Lourenco is on a three-month “loan” to the United Way from her regular job working on the floor at Walker Exhaust (which is a very cool thing for them to do by the way). She explained how all money raised is directed to the United Way’s three priorities:

All That Kids Can Be
Poverty To Possibility &
Healthy People, Strong Communities

Alex was followed by Divya Handa, who emigrated from Kenya thirteen years ago, and after very tough childhood, is a recent Honours BA graduate and is currently working on a Masters degree – all with the help of various United Way programs and agancies.

Each of our communities has disadvantaged or underprivileged people living in them. They are all our neighbors and each one of them can benefit from the United Way. Please log onto Unitedway.ca and see how you can help in your community.

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The habits of the world’s smartest people ….

Follow us on Twitter and this is the kind of stuff you’ll receive every day.

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Run for the Cure raised how much?

Made it

On October 6, over 130,000 participants took part in 66 2013 Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure sites across Canada to help create a future without breast cancer.

This year 248,473 donors contributed over $ 27 million, which goes toward continued funding of groundbreaking research, education, awareness and advocacy initiatives.

That’s not a typo – $27-million!

Way to go to all the runners, including our own Dawn Gamble, and to the donors as well. Amazing job!

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What is a PBX?

Phone System

PBX is an abbreviation of the term Private Branch Exchange. A private branch exchange or PBX is a network or private phone system which can be used by members of an organization to communicate in-house. PBX users also share a number of outside lines which allow them to make calls outside the company. Companies use it because it saves a significant amount of money on phone calls within the company. It also saves time. When calling in-house you only dial 3 or 4 digits. PBXs are sometimes referred to as electronic private branch exchange (EPBAX), computerized branch exchange (CBX) or private automatic branch exchange (PABX.)

Aside from telephones, PBXs can be used in conjunction with fax machines, modems and many other business machines. One of the features of PBXs which is of great value to businesses is the ability to automatically select an outgoing line with no human intervention. They are packet switched networks so they can handle a great deal of data. Some smaller companies opt for a hosted PBX because there is no need to purchase expensive hardware. This saves money and manpower. The calls are managed offsite and delivered via the internet.

Initially the term PBX had meant switchboard operators running switchboards by hand. Today the acronym is used to designate any type of complex, in-house phone switching systems. A standard in-house PBX usually requires an internal switching network, a Microcontroller, specialized cards, telephones sets, outside Telco trunks, a console, interconnecting wiring, and an uninterrupted power supply.

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Are you into numbers? Have we got a job for you!

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See that building? That’s our head office. See that rainbow? That means there’s a pot of gold in there for you, if you are a financial analyst that is. (Okay, not a real pot of gold. But you get the idea.)

What we are looking for is someone who is great with numbers, who can analyse the heck out of them and present them so they make sense.

Sound like you?

Here’s what the job is:

Reporting to the VP Finance, the successful candidate will be responsible for the preparation of financial analyses and providing support to the financial reporting process.

  • Account reconciliations
  • Variance analysis
  • General ledger transactions
  • Review monthly and year-end results for accuracy, completeness and consistency
  • Assist with various aspects of financial reporting
  • Preparation and/or review of business case analyses as required
  • Assist with the month-end close process
  • Assist with budgeting, forecasting and financial reporting

Here’s the experience and skills we’re looking for:

  • 5+ years of related experience
  • Excellent organizational, analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Attention to detail is a must
  • Microsoft Dynamics GP and Management Reporter experience is a definite asset
  • Experience in a fast paced office environment, as well as a high level of accuracy is essential
  • A team player with solid interpersonal and analytical skills
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Advanced MS Excel skills

We are one of Canada’s fastest growing telecommunications companies and one of Waterloo Region’s emerging start-up success stories! Our rapid success has been leveraged by a marriage of established legacy systems with emerging internet protocol based technologies. This success has translated into growth and many new career opportunities and therefore we are looking for talented people to join our team!

We offer a high energy, professional yet casual work environment with the opportunity to make a difference every day. It’s an environment where everyone’s contribution is valued and rewarded. We take pride in our ability to have fun and celebrate our successes together. In return, we are looking for people who are creative and passionate about their work. Successful employees have an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for technology. If we are describing you, then consider becoming a part of the Fibernetics team!

Apply HERE

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Fibernetics Network Service Update

As you may know, Fibernetics has suffered a significant outage for many of the services we provide.

At approximately 12:30 pm (EDT) on Friday, October 18, we saw a disruption to a number of our services.  We traced the root cause to a very significant fibre cut at Bell Canada’s data centre, at Adelaide Street in Toronto.  As a result of this cut, Fibernetics, together with several hundred other customers of Bell Canada have been without service, or suffering severely degraded service, since.

Certain services have been gradually returned to normal overnight, and given the pace at which the repairs are being done, we expect that all services should be fully restored by Saturday, October 19th 4pm.  Currently (as of Oct 19th 10am), the only region remaining to be restored is our Quebec region.

We apologize for the inconvenience. This was an unprecedented interruption and many service providers and their customers have been affected.

I encourage you to continue to follow us on our social channels – Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn – for the latest information on the Fibernetics network status.

Sincerely,

Roy Graydon
President – Fibernetics

Twitter: @fibernetics
Fibernetics Facebook: facebook.com/FiberneticsCanada
Fibernetics LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/fibernetics

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Business Jargon 101 – Stick with English

We are in the business of business communications, so take it from the pros…

Never talk like this:

 

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Communication Is At The Heart Of A Successful Business

attendant console toronto

Communication is the heart of every success business.  That statement has gone from being just a “general rule of thumb” to a really powerful business model.  Why?  Because technology has evolved our communication process and tools.  Your business isn’t just about your phone system anymore.  In today’s business world, you have to be accessible and informed.

That means you simply have to have the most advanced technology out there.   But if you don’t communicate effectively, all the hi-tech gagetry in the world isn’t going to give you an edge over your competitor.

Here are a couple of reasons why.

1.  The purest definition of communication is “imparting information or news”.  What kind of communication are you imparting when you speak with your clients?  Do they see your number come up and groan inwardly while simultaneously hitting that decline call button?  Your client is, well, your client.  They don’t want to hear about your dog, your wife, your hangover or your trip to Atlantic City.  And they certainly don’t want to hear how stressed out or busy YOU are.  You don’t want to be the caller they avoid.  Use your time wisely and communicate the information they need in a friendly but informative way.  Stick to the point.  It will go a long way in your business relationships.

2.  You know how busy you are?  Well, so is your client.  Their time is valuable – treat it that way.  Sure, you might have a ton of information for them.  But is a phone call the best way to impart that?  Sometimes, but not always.  Consider how critical your news is.  Is a quick call sufficient?  Can you leave a voice message?  Would an email be more efficient?   If there is a lot to cover, ask your client if they have the time to talk now.  If not, schedule a block of time in the future.  Don’t assume that just because YOU are calling and THEY answered, that they are available for a lengthy conversation.  Be aware and be considerate of your clients’ time.

Regardless of where you are, from Victoria to Toronto or anywhere in between, communication is truly the heart, or lifeblood, of your business.  Take a minute and consider how well you communicate.  Do you have the best tools?  Is your phone system outdated?  Do you have an attendant console, conference bridge, DID and voicemail to email capabilities?  If not, you might be losing customers because they can’t communicate with you.  And beyond your devices, how are your communication skills?  Do they need some updating, too?  Always remember that relationships are about people.  Learning to communicate efficiently, effectively and considerately will help you forge better and stronger relationships with your clients.

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51,570 sausages and 25,000 pretzels means it’s Octoberfest

Octoberfest

Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is the biggest Bavarian culture festival outside of Germany and its celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, but just how big is K-W Oktoberfest?

The CBC put together a breakdown by the numbers – and we added in one of our own:

1. Length of festival: 9 days

2. Visitors: over 700,000

3. Estimated economic activity generated by Oktoberfest: $21 million

4. Money collected by non-profit organizations during Oktoberfest: $1.5 million

5. Number of non-profit organizations that benefit from Oktoberfest: 50

6. Number of volunteers: 1,780

7. Estimated number of spectators on the Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day Parade route: 150,000

8. TV viewers nationwide who tune to watch the Oktoberfest parade: 1.8 million

9. Places to sit (in the beer halls): 18,870

10. Number of pretzels consumed: 25,000

11. Number of sausages consumed: 51,750

6241110482_91217a3b28_z12. Number of official keg tappings: 40 (40% are tapped in first few days)

13. Price of a 12 oz. beer: $4.75 – $5.75

14. Number of free rides given away by Grand River Transit: 14,000 – 18,000

15. Estimated cost of free rides: $40,000

16. Number of police RIDE programs during Oktoberfest: 16

17. Number of police officers conducting RIDE spot checks: 150

18. Number of impaired drivers arrested (in 2012): 5

19. Number of drivers who received a roadside suspension (in 2012): 6

20. Provincial funding for RIDE programs during Oktoberfest: $23,000

21. Number of officers in the Oktoberfest police unit: 70

22. Number of arrests for public intoxication (in 2012): 17

23. Number of cases of alcohol poisoning: Waterloo Region EMS does not track alcohol poisoning cases

24. Number of Waterloo Region EMS staff on-hand: 2 paramedics working 12 hour shifts

25. Number of Parade Entries: 168 parade entries — 12 bands, 35 floats, and 121 special entries

bodybreak26. This year’s Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day Parade grand marshals: Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod of BodyBreak fame.

27. Number of Fibernetics, NEWT and Worldline folks who will be in attendance? All of us.

From all of us here to all our fabulous customers, Ein Prosit and Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

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