Corrections or additions?
These articles by Barbara Fox and Melinda Sherwood were published
in U.S. 1 Newspaper on November 3, 1999. All
Clockwatchers are rare at the Prudential and the reason
is simple: more employees now enjoy the privilege of setting their
own schedules, working from home, or taking advantage of some of the
company’s other pro-family arrangements. Better work has been one
outcome, but Prudential has another ace in the hole: since the company
earned Working Mother magazine’s recognition as one of the "Top
10 Best Companies to Work For" in 1999, it also has greater
in a tough job market. "There’s a war for talent," says
Gingher, vice president for policy and strategy and the woman who
helped the company realize its flexible work policies. "There
are more jobs then there are talented employees, so in order to
talent, you have to offer choice and different ways of doing
Gingher shares her expertise with the Rutgers Center for Women and
Work on Thursday, November 4, at 5 p.m. at the Ruth Dill Johnson
Building at 162 Ryders Lane in New Brunswick. Dana Friedman,
senior vice president of Bright Horizons Family Solutions (the
firm that is working with Prudential to open two "back-up"
daycare centers for employees), and a columnist for Working Mother
magazine, joins her. The program is free. Call 732-932-1463.
Gingher, who holds a BS in mathematics and education from SUNY
Class of 1976, started in Prudential’s accounting office and has moved
in and out of human resource positions for 20 years. When CEO Art
Ryan left Chase to join Prudential in 1997, the company beefed up
hiring in operations and call centers, and senior management set out
to create a new human resource strategy to fit. "Part of my charge
was to figure out what makes sense in the new world of corporate
A microcosm of that new America, Prudential is seeing an increasing
number of Generation X-ers, working mothers, and single mothers in
the workplace. An office-wide E-mail survey revealed to Gingher that
48 percent of Prudential’s employees are female, 60 percent are under
the age of 35, and many are raising children.
With that information, Gingher went to senior management to make a
case for flexible schedules, arguing that it would improve retention
rates and cut turnover. There was some initial skepticism. "Where
the biggest resistance comes is from traditional managers using the
command and control approach," she says. "Traditional mangers
want to feel and see their employees so telecommuting didn’t sit well
with them." But when management added up the numbers, flex-time
made sense. When retention rates and morale rise, says Gingher,
translates into dollars. Every time you lose a high skilled employee,
take their compensation and multiply it by 1.5, and that’s what you
spend replacing them. That’s a pretty big business case."
The official company policy on flex-time is don’t ask, don’t tell
— the "reason-blind" approach. A Prudential employee
need to divulge personal information to justify modifying his or her
schedule. "We don’t really care what your personal reasons are
for wanting to work different, our concern is how you can accomplish
your business objectives with excellence in a different way,"
says Gingher. That policy, she explains, takes the pressure off
who are often in an awkward position deciding who should have
and who shouldn’t. Now the issue isn’t how many kids a person has,
but how you perform. Employees submit a request form stating the
work arrangement and how they will be effective in that arrangement,
and then managers decide whether it works for the department.
"Fairness is not sameness," says Gingher. "Not every
is going to get the same work-flex. If you’re a customer service
for example, it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to be able to
work at home because customers are going to want to speak to you
they want. But if you’re a technologist, maybe you can. You have to
work through how it affects other customers."
Don’t expect to break down the 9 to 5 institution overnight, says
Gingher, who offers these suggestions:
out who your employees are and what they want. Gingher discovered,
to her surprise, that some Prudential employees preferred services
like back-up daycare, take-home dinners, or dry-cleaning over flexible
was an all or nothing approach," recalls Gingher. But when
insisted on a trial run instead, the company was able to learn more
about how to train managers and identify problems.
is not sameness" principle. Not every job can be done from home.
employees to set their own schedules is to keep morale high and keep
the best workers in the company. If turnover rate is low, retention
rate high, that’s a good indication that you don’t need to implement
a new policy.
to do," says Gingher. "We had an unbelievable number of
from telecommuters saying `I’m more productive now because I’m not
sitting in traffic everyday.’"
— Melinda Sherwood
Trade shows have been around since forever, and they
have proliferated beyond belief. Brian Simons of EXM says there
are 15,000 registered trade conferences, fairs and expos, covering
everything from technology to pharmaceuticals to fashion to home
to fertilizer. "For every conceivable product that is sold, not
necessarily to the consumer, there is a trade fair of some sort that
is developed around it," says Simons.
Simons speaks on "How to Exhibit Successfully: Making Trade Show
Participation Painless and Profitable," on Tuesday, November 9,
at 6 p.m. at the Newark Airport Marriott, for the Business Marketing
Association. He will cover strategy for participation, upfront
and tracking return on investment. Cost: $30. Call 609-409-5601.
A marketing communications major at Ohio University, Class of 1983,
Simons partnered with Bob Lasser, former director of sales for
Prodigy, to form EXM, a two-year-old trade show management and event
marketing agency. He focuses on young companies that do not have
trade show resource — or larger companies that need assistance
executing trade show programs. Clients tend to be in broadcasting,
pharmaceuticals, or other high tech fields.
"Many clients are small companies with a need to deliver their
message," says Simons. "The good news is, that there is a
show every week. The bad news is, that for some clients we would love
to have a year’s notice, but in many cases we get three weeks."
The tasks: to develop the strategy and objectives (select the show,
environment or education fair), design and make the exhibit properties
(multi-media presentations), procure the fixtures, and be on site
to manage the environment. In the best case scenario, the client has
an ad agency or PR firm to come up with the objectives and do the
design and/or PR, and EXM acts as an executive producer for the actual
Trade shows are expensive, says Simons, but attendance is growing
and the number of shows is growing, so this is suddenly becoming a
marketing medium competitive with radio and television. Attendance
has grown from 7 to 15 percent over last year, he says, based on
released by companies producing the shows. At the Internet World Show
in New York last month, produced by Penton Media, the numbers of
attendees went up 20 percent.
Who were these visitors? Corporate representatives looking for
investors looking for the next Amazon.com, and traditional business
people who know that, in order to be competitive they have to use
the Internet. But they were visitors, not necessarily buyers.
So define your objectives before you decide on your budget. To
brand awareness, for instance, is a waste of money, Simons believes.
A more valid objective is to engage the media, a real possibility
for a small company, because on the trade show floor the playing field
is fairly even. Another valid objective is to try to get that one
important client. Particularly at a medical show, a client might latch
onto one account that could trade into millions of dollars of revenue.
every product, but "more is not necessarily the merrier. The
on a floor. "Most business people are not used to having just
three to five seconds to engage a person on a show floor. They like
the competitiveness of being in the same room as their competition,
but it’s a very concentrated and high intensity sales
common formula for exhibiting is $150 per square foot, so for a 400
square feet exhibit, a corporation is spending $60,000. "Tie it
back to your product."
Prodigy, for instance, packed up a tractor trailer and visited
that were planning to distribute their products. It works in the
industry as well. Prevention Magazine customized a tractor trailer,
and in support of the message that the magazine was to provide, it
toured the United States. "This just reinforced the message that
was on the floor. You do see this type of marketing in the food
— it’s based on the sampling model — they take it not only
to the consumers but to the level of distribution," says Simons.
"Our mission is to realize new tricks — what was done last
year that we can build on for this year, so that you can always be
different," says Simons. "You not only have the competition
to deal with, you have the booth next door — they could be selling
a completely different product, but if you both have magicians it’s
What about those magicians? "In our minds, the arena of
on the trade show floor can be the most effective or absolutely a
waste of money. It all comes back to how is your message or product
incorporated into the delivery. All too often, it’s a last minute
engagement, it’s not well thought out, positioned, and your message
is not woven into the piece."
"Cable and Wireless used a variation of Cirque du Soleil to
their credibility and capabilities in the marketplaces and they did
an outstanding job because the presentation incorporated the name
What about hand outs? "We’re not a big fan of handing out piles
of toys. As exhibitors, you are paying to have them created and
and unless you qualify who the recipient is, why not give out $5 to
every person. Unless the premium is carefully sewn in, we’d rather
emphasize fulfillment on the back end."
For years now, private package delivery services have
been lording it over the United States Postal Service by advertising
their "track your package on the web" services. Now the USPS
offers delivery confirmation of priority and standard mail via the
Internet or an 800 number. Mike Donlon of the USPS (E-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org) explains how at a regional training
seminar on Tuesday, November 16, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the
distribution center at 680 Route 130 and Klockner Road in Hamilton.
Cost: $25 including breakfast and lunch. Register by Friday, November
5. Call Jake Truex, acting manager of the business center in
Edison at 732-819-4321 or E-mail: email@example.com
The keynote will be given by Scott DeMayo, who speaks on "A
Fresh Look at Mailing, Internet Technology, and Helpful Tools for
Mailers." DeMayo, based in Randolph, is a certified
consultant, webmaster, and president of DeMayo Mail Management and
DMM Web Design & Hosting. He is vice president of operations for New
Jersey Mail Systems Management Association; he created the official
web site of National Postal Forum and others including
Participants can choose among several workshops:
taught by Frank Cooper and Ralph Moccio
analyst, will show how to qualify for discounts and low rates.
Coogan of USPS. Use the website at http://www.usps.gov
generate automated postage statements, get online/real time
and perform rate comparisons.
Spadaro of EquiServe and Bob Wszolek
electronic funds transfer system that eliminates paper checks.
is an industry-oriented database that helps track volume, weight,
container usage, and distribution patterns.
of the box" solution offered by John Pampani and Pete
Furka both of USPS.
free for priority mail, and 25 cents for a parcel that weighs at least
Delivery confirmation is for standard parcels and priority parcels
or envelopes. You can get it at the post office or electronically.
Businesses that file reports electronically can track priority mail
at no charge, and standard parcels cost 25 cents under this system.
With your Dun & Bradstreet number, available free on the Internet,
you register with the postal service and set up a procedure so you
can build a file and electronically send it.
You send a file on the day’s mail electronically. You also include
a copy of a similar document, complete with your bar code, when your
carrier picks up the mail. When the post office receives your mail
it scans the barcode on the document you provide. Both files meet.
Now the postal service knows that these files are in the system.
When your parcel is delivered, the postal worker scans its number
into the system; more than 300,000 hand-held scanners are in
This shows where the parcel was delivered and at what time. You can
check by tollfree telephone to see if your parcel has been delivered
or track it on the website. No insurance is included in this fee,
and if you send your parcel insured you do not need the delivery
At the post office window, you get the same service at slightly higher
cost, 35 cents for priority packages and 60 cents for standard parcel
post (packages more than 16 ounces sent at parcel rates). You receive
a numbered receipt.
"I didn’t get your bill . . . your letter . . . your notice. The
post office must be slow." How many times have you heard that
and not been able to refute it? Now you can.
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.