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Verizon Business Markets Blog

LIVE Webinar and LIVE Twitter Chat this Week Featuring Author Jennifer Prosek

Employee Emeritus Employee Emeritus ‎07-25-2011 09:45 AM

ArmyOfEntrepreneurs-book art.jpgThe Verizon Author Series was designed to bring experts to offer insights and advice to small businesses.  All this month we gave away featured author, Jennifer Prosek’s book Army of Entrepreneurs™: Create an Engaged and Empowered Workforce for Exceptional Business Growth. We will give away more of Jen’s book the rest of this week. 


Jennifer Prosek, is the CEO of CJP Communications and has developed a system to empower and motivate employees to help business owners grow their business.


This Wednesday, July 27th, at 2 p.m. ET Jen will host a live (free) webinar presented by the Verizon Small Business Center and then be available for a whole hour on Twitter on Thursday, July 28th at 10 a.m. ET to answer questions and offer more advice.

I urge all businesses to seize these two opportunities to get insights directly from Jen Prosek. Consider these as free consultations with a business expert; so, why not participate? 


During this Wednesday’s webinar Jen will not only share her system to build the right culture to instill an “owner’s mindset” in your employees; she will also share tips on maintaining a talent pipeline.  Just because you are not hiring today doesn’t mean you won’t hire tomorrow so it’s important to maintain a relationship with talents you can tap when you need to hire.


To register for this live free webinar click here (or go to  Towards the end of the webinar feel free to ask Jen your question(s) or save your question(s) and ask her on Twitter.  For more information about the Twitter chat and how to participate click here (or go to  To follow along the conversation search ( for #bizbooks or follow @VzSmallBiz (

Of course, feel free to post your questions in the comments section below and we’ll make sure Jen answers it during the webinar or on Twitter.


The first 10 to ask Jen a question or post a comment below will get a copy of Jen’s book.

If You Want the Best On Your Team: Build a Talent Pipeline

Employee Emeritus Employee Emeritus ‎07-20-2011 07:19 AM

jen-prosek - small.jpgGuest post from Jennifer Prosek, CEO of CJP Communications and the author of Army of Entrepreneurs™: Create an Engaged and Empowered Workforce for Exceptional Business Growth. July’s featured author in the Verizon Author Series.  You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.




It is never easy to find the right people at the right time. For a small business owner, the challenge to keep the talent pipeline filled and flowing is constant. I’ve found to maintain a steady supply of people at all levels of my firm, I’ve had to go beyond the traditional recruiting methods of headhunters and Internet job sites to create my own talent ecosystem.




Photo by Arnold Adler Photography


My tips:


Engage the staff. Make sure your staff understands that talent spotting is their job, too. Too often, staffers think recruiting is some mysterious process that happens behind closed doors in HR. Emphasize that you expect everyone to keep their eyes and ears open for great people who should be brought on board.

Be creative in job creation
. One way to build a pipeline is to create interesting jobs and internships for young people. Look for ways to use them that are interesting and give them a taste of what it’s like to work for your company. A summer spent slaving away over the copy machine is not very inspirational. If you hope that some of these young people will one day want to work for you, come up with ways to involve them in the real work of the firm. Also, don’t be constrained by old-fashioned job parameters – look for new ways you can make room in your company. For example, we don’t just offer a summer job; we also have 90-day internships during the school year.

Talent spot constantly.
Don’t just make this a process for “flush” times. Even when you are not expanding your staff, you should be on the lookout for great candidates. Get to know people. Understand their goals and what they might offer you. Then, when you have talent needs and your budget allows, you will be able to move quickly. One of the biggest mistakes business leaders make is to hire in a panic. Often, it may seem to the business leader that the situation can’t be helped – the new person is needed and speed is of the essence.


But my point is this: if you are constantly talent spotting, then when your business requires a “right now” hire, you can proceed without taking a big risk and bringing in someone in a hurry. Time invested when you don’t need the help will pay off later.

Measure your results
. It’s like the only saying goes: You get what you measure. If you do not measure your abilities to build a talent pipeline, you will probably never know for sure if you’re doing your best work and how your efforts could be improved. Keep track of the time and resources you spend on spotting and engaging potential talent and measure how well you’re doing in this process over time. You may be amazed to see places in the pipeline process where you can refine and improve your efforts. But without measurement, those opportunities may go unnoticed.


When you can make the talent pipeline a process rather than a pipe dream, that’s when the value really flows. How do you find talent for your business?  To read my other guest post on keeping employees click here.  


If you are interested in more insights, join my live webinar next Wednesday at 2 p.m. E.T.  It’s free and if you can join me live, you’ll have the chance to ask me your question(s) and get a copy of my book.  Click here to register for the webinar presented by the Verizon Small Business Center.


Motivate (and Pay) Your People To Stay

Employee Emeritus Employee Emeritus ‎07-20-2011 07:07 AM

jen-prosek - small.jpgGuest post from Jennifer Prosek, CEO of CJP Communications and the author of Army of Entrepreneurs™: Create an Engaged and Empowered Workforce for Exceptional Business Growth. July’s featured author in the Verizon Author Series.  You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.



One of the biggest challenges to a small business isn’t found on a balance sheet. Instead, it’s an issue of human capital. The process of keeping good people is an ongoing test for the small business owner.


As the founder and CEO of my own firm, a public relations and financial communications agency, I face this situation over and over again. Even as my company grows, I find my best people are often tempted by the bigger players in my field. What can I do to keep my best talent at home? I’ve found the most effective way to do this is to align my bottom line with their bottom line.


To do this, I initiated a Commission for Life™ compensation plan. Any of my employees who set up a successful new business meeting – that’s it, just simply sets up the first meeting with a potential client – gets 5% of the revenue from that account for the life of the business as long as they remain with the firm.


I created this system initially as a strategy to encourage the kind of behaviors I needed. I wanted my staff to constantly be on the hunt for new business, and so I created a compensation system that rewarded that work. But Commission for Life does more than just drum up new business. It’s also become a very successful retention strategy for my firm.

Why it works:


It’s democratic. Anyone in the company can participate. In fact, I want everybody in the company to participate. This sets Commission for Life apart from other reward plans such as those that only reward executives or only benefit outside sales reps.


It’s easy to understand. Transparency is an important part of my corporate architecture and Commission for Life underscores this commitment. There are no hidden ‘gotchas’, no hoops to jump through, no exceptions to the pay out. Set up the new business meeting and you’re up for the 5% - if we win the client (and in most cases we do).


It’s inspirational. One year a summer intern who is now an Account Supervisor with the firm, scored the biggest new business account of the quarter and had a commission check to prove it, and boy, did word get around. Everyone started to flip through their Rolodexes and scroll through LinkedIn and Facebook pages trying to think of who they could target for a new business meeting. And that’s just the kind of response I like to see: employees, motivated, out beating the bushes for new business. Not because I ordered them to do it, but because I motivated them to do it – for all of us.


While a pay strategy is important, I also make sure I focus on offering “psychic” compensation -- compensation that doesn’t come in monetary (or really any tangible) form. I offer my employees autonomy. I offer them complex and challenging work to keep them engaged and learning. I am generous with my praise and my appreciation. If you don’t have those elements that make people feel good about working for you, no pay strategy will hold them indefinitely.


How do you motivate your employees?


Photo by Arnold Adler Photography




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About the Authors

Tumara Jordan

Senior Manager: Verizon Business Markets

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Tumara is a contributor to the Business Markets Marketing team and she currently manages Social Media marketing campaigns.

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