THROWBACK THURSDAY: “Good to the Last Drop”


On May 11, 1926, Maxwell House Coffee registered its “Good to the last drop” Maxwell House adtrademark, which still appears on cans of Maxwell House Coffee to this day. The product and its name go back to 1886 in the Maxwell House hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. The hotel served its own blend of coffee that was perfected by Joel Cheek, and he was persuaded by guests to market his brew.

WEDNESDAY WORKFACT: 13 Rules for Email Etiquette Around the World

Generally, email culture varies widely around the world, from the response times you can expect to the phrasing and tone mail-around-the-worldused. So, if you plan to communicate with colleagues, new clients, or sources from other countries, we’ve rounded up some examples of email etiquette and other quirks to remember to help ensure smooth communication.


You won’t find many direct declines peppering emails from Indians. People will throw out a “maybe” or “yes, but” to imply “no” without actually saying it. This allows both parties to “save face,” an important cultural concept where both parties avoid an embarrassment that could come from a refusal. For example, if you ask an India-based colleague to Skype at what would be 7 p.m. their time, they may reply with “yes” but then mention that they will push back their dinner plans as a way to signal that the time isn’t actually convenient—that’s your cue to suggest an earlier time.


When you send over a suggestion or a business plan and an Indian colleague responds that they have some “doubts” on the issue, they could very well just mean that they have questions. There are Hindi and Tamil words that effectively mean both, so someone may inadvertently write the former, which comes across as much more negative, when they really mean the latter.


In China, people state their names with their surname first, followed by their given name. It would be rude to call someone only by his or her last name, so a Westerner would have to make sure to switch the order before adding a title (Mr., Ms, etc). However, Chinese people will sometimes preemptively use the Western format when emailing Western companies, which would lead to confusion if the recipient tries to swap the names. When in doubt about someone’s name, ask.


While many Americans see emoticons as unprofessional, the Chinese generally don’t. Porter Erisman, who worked at the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba for many years and wrote the book Alibaba’s World about his experience, says that even senior managers would include “all sorts of cute smiley faces and animations” in their emails. “At first it seemed a little strange to me, but by the time I left the company, even I was peppering my internal emails with little emoticons everywhere,” he tells mental_floss. “It got to the point that when new Western colleagues would enter the company, I would encourage them to ‘cutify’ their emails a little bit to come across more human and friendly.”


An email from a Korean associate might begin with what seems like a completely unrelated message. For example, a Korean-style email might go something like, “Dear Ms. Smith. This is Joe Schmo. The rainy season in Korea is now upon us. I hope you have a good umbrella. I’m contacting you because … ” as one Reddit user explains it.


It is routine for a Korean to conclude an email with the equivalent of “the end” without it meaning that communication should stop, according to Steven Bammel, a consultant on Korean business practices. Koreans may also close an email with “work hard” or “suffer a lot,” which are as much a standard, conversational closer as “take it easy” might be for an American (but it shows the Korean emphasis on the importance of hard work and competitiveness).


In Germany, it’s customary to begin emails with a greeting that is equivalent to “Dear Sir / Madam” even within the same office. Other little quirks: Germans start the sentence after their greeting with a lowercase letter and frequently don’t use a comma between their sign-offs and signature.

Read the rest here.

TIP TUESDAY: 7 Inexpensive Ways to Retain Employees at Your Small Business

{excerpted from Business Know-How online}

Keeping employees happy and satisfied with their jobs is important for small businesses, but you might not have the budget to pay the same salary big companies can pay. Here are seven things you can do to help keep them from jumping ship if another job offer comes along.

Flex Time

Millennials don’t want to make their life about work. They want the opportunity to live a more balanced life. In one study, 70% said that giving back was very important to them, but unlike baby boomers who worked the 9-5 to grind every day, millennials, who are masters of technology, want the option to work at home at a time convenient to them.

Top talent is going to work hard—that’s why they’re top talent. So why not offer them a flexible schedule and the opportunity to telecommute? Some jobs lend themselves to such a schedule better than others, and what’s the worst that can happen? You try it, it doesn’t work out, and you tell them they have to come back to the office? As a small business, you can implement strategies like this much faster than the bigger corporations.

Pick Up Their Dry Cleaning

At Silicon Valley companies like Google, addressing basic issues is a big part of their retention program for employees at every level. Having an area stocked with food, sending a Wi-Fi equipped bus to pick them up for work, and offering daycare for new parents are just a few of the perks of working at Google.

What basic problems can you solve for your people? Most of these perks don’t cost a lot of money but they’re huge to your employees.

The 80/20 Rule

One unique “perk” at Google is allowing employees to devote 80% of their time to the job they were hired to do – but can spend 20% working on passion projects they believe will benefit the company or the world.

Millennials have a passion for creativity. They don’t want to be told to simply do their job and let higher-ups cast the vision and work on the high-brain-power tasks. People who feel like stakeholders are likely to stay longer.

Provide Constant Feedback

Your employees don’t like that annual review any more than you like doing it. They want instant feedback. They want you to celebrate them when they really nail something. When they don’t measure up, they want to know why and how to do better without being yelled at or diminished.

If your business is small, take groups of employees out to lunch regularly. Ask them how they feel about their job and if there’s anything you can do better to support them.

Promote from Within

Sometimes that’s not possible but when you have an outstanding employee who is clearly fit for a higher level job, promote him or her. People are always looking for more and they know that as they gain knowledge and experience, they’re worth more to companies. Show your employees a clear path to advancement and promote from within whenever possible.

Train Them

Not by bringing in the high-priced corporate cheerleaders; train them in a way they enjoy. Is there a new piece of software they would like to learn? Is there a new technique that’s all the craze that they’re interested in? Ask them. What are they interested in that could bring value to them and also your business? It could be part of that 20% mentioned above.

The Traditional Perks

Let’s not forget about the traditional perks that every employee is looking for. People don’t work for you primarily because they love your company; they’re working to support their families, so salary, insurance, and retirement are not only important, they’re critical to their well-being.

Could you offer a profit sharing plan? A better insurance package? How about highly objective goals tied to their salary? If they generate X amount of sales they’re guaranteed a 4% raise?

If you align your goals with theirs, these basic benefits that every employee is looking for could entice them to work harder. Work alongside them to help them reach those goals and let them know you want to give out the largest rewards as possible at the end of the year.

WEDNESDAY WORKFACT: Interesting Hiring Statistics from Inc. Magazine

1. The 5 things job seekers take into account before accepting a job offer,

from most to least important, are: 1) salary and compensation, 2) career growth opportunities, 3) work-life balance, 4) location/commute, and 5) company culture and values.

2. 79 percent of job seekers use social media in their job search

The figure increases to 86 percent of  job seekers who are in the first 10 years of their careers.

3. Nearly 2 in 3 employees say their employer does not–or does not know how to–use social media to promote job openings

And 3 in 4 say their employer does not–or does not know how to–promote their employment brand on social media.

4. The 3 things that most matter to Millennials in the companies they work for:

1) growth opportunities, 2) retirement benefits, and 3) work culture.

5. Most Millennials (64%) would rather make $40K a year at a job they love than $100K a year at a job they think is boring

And nearly 80 percent of Millennials look at people and culture fit with prospective employers, followed by career potential.

6. 69 percent of job seekers would not take a job with a company that has a bad reputation–even if unemployed

And 84 percent would consider leaving their current job if offered a job by a company with an excellent reputation.

7. Increasing employee engagement investments by 10 percent can increase company profits by $2,400 per employee per year

And 70 percent of employees who lack confidence in the abilities of senior leadership are not fully engaged.

{from Inc. magazine online}

TIP TUESDAY: Offering Unique Employee Experiences

At Patagonia, an outdoor apparel company based in Ventura, Calif., preserving and protecting the environment is a core value.

So Patagonia, which brands itself as an “activist company,” offers a unique employee benefit—paid time off for workers when they participate in peaceful environmental protests, according to Dean Carter, Patagonia’s vice president of HR and shared services.

It is among several companies offering employees experiences that underscore the company’s values.

Employees, for example, have spent three weeks at Chilean Patagonia, at company expense, to help restore a former sheep ranch. They have climbed dams and paddled out to oil rigs to protest the environmental impact of those structures. In addition, the company will pay the bail for any employee who’s arrested for peacefully protesting.

Employers that create a compelling employee experience exemplify the future of work, said Jeanne Meister, founding partner of Future Workplace, an HR advisory and research firm in the greater New York City area, who moderated the panel.

“It’s how you build your tribe and how you go out and identify who’s in this tribe and how you create a shared vision,” Meister said.

Airbnb, an online short-term lodging service that lets people rent out their homes to travelers around the world, offers employees a $2,000 credit annually to try the Airbnb experience.

Panelist Deborah Butters advised HR professionals to think of “moments of impact” that the organization can create for its employees. She is senior vice president and CHRO at PerkinElmer in Waltham, Mass.

“They don’t have to be huge ones,” she said of those moments, “but three or four things you’re going to do this year across the entire company” or segments of the company.

Experience-building has not been HR’s expertise, said panelist Wendy Smith, global head of employee experiences at NCR, so she suggested that HR managers reach out to their company’s marketers to “teach us how to do that with our employer brand. Marketers are the experts at experience-building.”

Meister cited a quote from Paul Papas, global leader of IBM Interactive Experiences, that she uses in her book:

“The last best experience that anyone has anywhere becomes the minimum expectation for the experiences they want everywhere.”

{from an article on SHRM online}