Voices

Employers sink or swim as the ‘Silver Tsunami’ rises

By TERRY LYNAM // For years, business owners and anyone who follows the business world have been preparing for Millennials – and soon after, Gen Z – to enter and transform the workforce. But in all the excitement over young people changing the way we work, we’re losing sight of another fundamental shift in workforce demographics. The American workforce is, in fact, getting older. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 25 percent of…


No. 460: On diversity, robotics and Hoosiers – plus, how to warm your whiskey

  Moving right along: It’s Wednesday already, dear readers, as we speed through this latest busy workweek and plow straight toward the big year-end holidays. The hills are alive: It’s Dec. 11 out there, a.k.a. International Mountain Day, when the U.N. would like you to consider the overexploitation of mountainous regions, home to 15 percent of the human population and one-quarter of Earth’s non-marine lifeforms. Level headed: There aren’t many mountains in Indiana, where Hoosier…


On whiskey in winter: Some like it hot

By AMBROSE CLANCY // It was raining horizontally, with sleet, driven by a December gale. We could hear the sea pounding the concrete strand one street away as we ducked down an alley with the sharp smell of turf fires on the wind. No one was around, except the two village dogs crouched in a doorway, just their noses sticking out to the wind. Soaked, shivering, we made it into the safe harbor of the…


As channels evolve, brands need a grip on social media

By DAVID CHAUVIN // Thanks to the proliferation of social media, the relationships brands share with their target audiences have changed drastically. Researchers suggest that consumer/brand relationships psychologically mimic personal relationships; professionals measure how consumers feel about a brand based on categories including Passion, Commitment, Intimacy and Trust. This relationship is measured by the Brand Relationship Quality Index. Without giving away the secret sauce, I can say marketing teams use this measurement to develop messaging…


When workforce development met entrepreneurism

By ROSALIE DRAGO // This has certainly been a busy year for workforce development – especially if you know what workforce development truly is. In 2019, in this space, we’ve discussed key tools for robust and impactful workforce development, including equitable and inclusive growth strategies; leveraging relationships between economic developers, employers and high-school educators; and evaluating the work-first and college-first paths. But we haven’t focused specifically on one of the most critical components of workforce…


Keeping it real, in a world of med-tech marvels

By TERRY LYNAM // Healthcare embraces constantly evolving tools and processes to help those who are sick and vulnerable – and to continue fulfilling this purpose, we need technology companies and venture capital firms to understand and appreciate our mission and business models. Healthcare-related technologies and product concepts would often benefit if their developers had a better handle on real-world applications. Hospitals are ecosystems of humanity’s highs, lows and in-betweens – all day, every day….


As teacher shortage grows, a virtually ideal substitute

By HARRY AURORA // It’s no secret the teacher shortage facing school districts across the county is a legitimate crisis. A widely distributed 2019 study by the Economic Policy Institute called the teacher shortage “large and growing,” and analysts point to two key issues: Public schools are hiring fewer teachers and fewer people are pursuing teaching careers, a perfect storm for a public-education epidemic. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 60,000…


How to refresh a brand, without blowing things up

By DAVID A. CHAUVIN // Just like your wardrobe, your company needs a makeover every now and then. Industry changes, trends come and go, technology evolves. There’s a good chance that what appeared cutting-edge 10 years ago seems hopelessly outdated now. And if your branding, marketing materials or even company name gives an out-of-touch impression, that’s how your customers will think of you – no matter how state-of-the-art your work or products. The trick is…


Pods? Grande pumpkin things? Not cool, beans

By AMBROSE CLANCY // I have become what I feared I would become. A coffee snob. Not that person at Starbucks ordering a grande macchiato pumpkin spice with dark chocolate shavings – please – but the one who can’t drink bad coffee. My friend, bon vivant Jim Murray of Dublin and Brussels, lives by the code of refusing things on the basis of LITS (Life Is Too Short). For him, it applies mostly to mediocre…


A preemptive approach to postsecondary success

By HARRY AURORA // For some, preparation for postsecondary education starts at a young age. Many children who aspire to be doctors, lawyers and scientists understand the required commitment to academic achievement, and that it continues well beyond high school. These particular students typically have not only the support of their family members, but also a role model – a teacher or guidance counselor, perhaps, instilling in them a drive to achieve at their highest…


College or work? Maybe the path isn’t so cut-and-dry

By ROSALIE DRAGO // As costs rise and debt mounts, debate rages about the “necessity” of college. Throw in a worker shortage in technical occupations that don’t require degrees, and the lines are clearly drawn for most high school graduates: work vs. college. Usually absent from the conversation is another pathway to a degree: work, then college. It’s easy to understand why. Most people, parents in particular, believe anything short of college limits future opportunities….


The long and short of it: Yes, Millennials pay attention

By DAVID CHAUVIN // Of all the misconceptions about Millennials – a group that will comprise 50 percent of the workforce by 2020 – the one that annoys me most is that the generation possesses a gnat-like attention span. This stereotype is nonsense, to put it bluntly. As much as I loathe the misconception, however, I see why people believe it. Millennials are, after all, the generation of Twitter, Vine (RIP) and bite-sized viral Facebook…


As suspensions mount, schools have homework to do

By HARRY AURORA // One of the most extreme ways to discipline a student is the out-of-school suspension – but this punishment only bandages a problem, without actually fixing it. With little to no academic guidance at home, suspended students often suffer long-term negative consequences. Suspensions should only be used as a last resort – and if it’s absolutely necessary, schools should take steps to ensure that students are learning from their mistakes, and learning…


Brand authentication: Keeping it real in the Digital Age

By DAVID CHAUVIN // In theory, being authentic should be easy. How hard can it be to be yourself – the one person you know better than anyone? Unfortunately, marketing history is full of stories of otherwise-sound brands misunderstanding themselves or the customer relationships – time and time and time again. In search of advertising buzz, a brand refresh or the ever-elusive viral marketing campaign, marketers will often lose sight of what draws people to…


From T’s to tats, dress codes are key for entrepreneurs

By EUGENE BARNOSKY // An entrepreneur’s mission statement – core values, branding, image – is important, particularly regarding employees’ personal appearances. And a manual that communicates to employees what is expected of them from the outset is often critical to efforts to assemble an efficient and effective staff, and to provide them with the tools they need to help create good will with clients and customers – and maintain it. Although it may not be…