No. 82: Broken engagements, cars for kids and what’s eating David Calone

Yes, it’s Monday: A good start to the week everyone, and a special welcome to new readers, including Kirk, Erin, Barry, Ethan, Bob, Russell, Neela, Ron, the Georges, Sal, Carol, Arnold, Carolyn, Keith, Vikram and more. Glad to have you aboard.

Also, we’re fist-pumpin’ proud to have LISTnet as a new sponsor.

The beatings will continue until engagement improves: Employee “engagement” is the hot new human resource challenge out there. It’s making sure workers not only show up but are “involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to” their work and workplace.

And America, we have a problem. According to the most recent Gallup data, less than a third of U.S. workers are honestly engaged with their jobs and 18 percent are what’s called “actively disengaged.”

(And we’ve all worked with a few of those.)

The rest, more than half, are just plain, run-of-the-mill not engaged, including the bulk of managers.

A point, please? Money. An engaged worker is a more productive worker, and American companies are losing hundreds of billions of dollars a year due to staff disconnectedness, much of it by millennials, who surveys show are the least-engaged workers in the history of employment.

Or at least since 2000, when Gallup started polling on workforce issues.

Luckily, there are ways to boost worker engagement, and not all of them require adding people to the HR team, which you might suspect is where all this engagement business got its start.

Among them: a clear mission, a top-down winning attitude and lavishing praise on employees for a job well-engaged.

And, as always, better communication. That’s what North Shore-LIJ is focusing on in its latest engagement effort, a new employee app that will digitally connect the health system’s 55,000+ employees, many of whom are caregivers without ready access to a desktop.

The impetus is the system’s coming name change to Northwell Health, but it’s also a ready-made opportunity to address the challenges that come with trying to manage thousands of people across three counties and several boroughs.

Also: 80 percent of new North Shore hires are millennials, who begin to actively disengage the second they’re separated from their smartphones.

On top of company news and access to assorted NS-LIJ portals, the MyNorthwell app will offer “exclusive perks and employee discounts that drive the employee experience.”

There will, we hope, be time left for actual work.

Coincidentally: A LISTnet event sponsored by Lloyd and TriNet, “How to keep employees engaged,” Thursday, 8:30 a.m. at TriNet’s place on Walt Whitman Road.Registration would be nice.

Hungering for office: The Federal Election Commission has launched the beta version of a new site that will make it significantly easier to find campaign info about our elected officials and those who would unseat them. The site’s an admitted work in progress, but what’s there is intuitively packaged and simple to use.

It took scant seconds, for example, to discover that David Calone, in the race for the 1st congressional district seat, spent $212 on food from Alfalfa’s, a gourmet market in Boulder, while his Democratic challenger, Anna Throne-Holst, shelled out $570 for goodies from Corner Bakery Cafe.

The incumbent, Republican Lee Zeldin, prefers Mannino’s, where he spent $744, plus another $236 at a Pepperoni Grill.

(Full disclosure: I had soup dumplings with Calone once. He was just a lowly venture capitalist then.)

Vist us: Between newsletters, check out breaking news at And don’t forget to like us on Facebook.

Keeping an eye on our billion: Buffalo’s 43North business competition, the self-billed richest biz contest in the world, gave out $5 million to 11 companies, including startups from Canada, Israel, Virginia and Boston, plus a couple of New York firms, all of whom must now move there. Well, except the two winners who already are.

The $5 million, from various state coffers, is technically not part of the Buffalo Billion, meaning our investment is actually $1,005,000,000. Just sayin’.

Gulp: Adelphi University’s filtered-water stations around campus have saved 1 million plastic bottles from ending up in the landfill, where they could languish for up to 1,000 years, or about the same time needed to pay off today’s college loans.

(Researchers have discovered meal worms that will eat Styrofoam, though.)

New Listing: South Nassau Communities Hospital has been named to Becker’s Hospital Review list of “100 Hospitals and Health Systems With Great Oncology Programs,” the only Long Island hospital with a great oncology program so honored.

They saw the light: Intelligent Product Solutions and Holbrook’s LED Specialists have teamed up on a tri-colored low-glow cabin light for boaters that took top honors in the Newport International Boat Show.

About our sponsor: Farrell Fritz, a full-service law firm with 15 practice groups, advises startups on entity formation, founder and shareholder agreements, funding, executive compensation and benefits, licensing and technology transfer, mergers and acquisitions and other strategic transactions. The firm’s blog, New York Venture Hub, discusses legal and business issues facing entrepreneurs and investors.

Attention cord cutters: Time Warner Cable will soon begin testing streaming TV that doesn’t require a cable box.

Bonus fact: Cable boxes are the second-most power-hungry appliance in the average home, after air conditioning. And there are 224 million of them on right now.

Winners and losers in last week’s budget deal: Let’s face it, eliminating the threat of a government shutdown is pretty much a win for everyone. The agreement also cans an Obamacare provision requiring big businesses to automatically enroll new hires in health plans. And if you’re a defense contractor, pop the cork – half of the $80 billion increase in spending goes to Pentagon programs.

Losers? Generic drug makers, who will see cuts to $1.3 billion in subsidies, and hedge funds, which get spanked for $11 billion over a decade.

Big, big winner: John Boehner, retiree.

Clicked in: A record number of click-throughs from last week’s blasts included a preview of LI Tech Day, our look inside Design Edge, Stony Brook’s Wolfie Tank pitch program tonight and the Debrief with AVZ’s Tom Murray.

Stuff we’re going to: The Butterfly Awards, inspiring girls to be strong, smart and bold, Nov. 5.

The aforementioned LI Tech Day, Nov. 10, free for spectators.

The LI STEAM Conference, Nov. 17, LaunchPad Huntington, free for all. There’s live music.


This deserves a like: Facebook is developing a tool that will describe photos for blind people.

Pre-owned, but safe: The best 15 used cars for new drivers. And three are actually American.

Correction: Hillary Clinton did not turn 67 last week, as we reported. She turned 68. Jackie “Uncle Fester” Coogan, however, would still be 101. And we still can’t believe he was married to Betty Grable.

A reminder: There’s really no such thing as “free” news. Please support our sponsors.

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Compiled by John Kominicki. Thanks for reading.