Monday, October 08, 2001

Daily Grind


Trainers aid laid-off from Delta

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        Newly laid-off commercial airline employees have a virtually free career-finding opportunity, thanks to ExecuTrain, an information technology training company with three franchises in the region.

        Any Delta employee who is laid off between Sept. 11 and the end of the year can enroll in an ExecuTrain class and pay only for the course manual.

        Training in Microsoft Word, Excel or Access usually costs $225 for each one-day class, with advanced classes such as project management and Web design that last up to five days costing $2,000. To be eligible, people must document that they have been laid off by Delta in Greater Cincinnati or the Dayton, Ohio, area.

        “Offering free training seemed like one small way for us to make a difference,” said John Camino, owner of ExecuTrain.

Stimulus bonuses

        Any local bosses wondering how to do their patriotic duty to help stimulate the local economy should consider a strategy embraced by Virginia radio executive Eric Mastel.

        The general manager of four FM radio stations owned by Entercom Communications, based in Bala Cynwyd, Pa., gave each of his 80 employees a surprise last week when he offered up a $100 bonus.

        “What we did brought an immediate morale boost,” Mr. Mastel said last week. “But I think it is going to work better than we expected.

        “If you spend $100, the retailer has to restock. His supplier makes a sale. That $100 purchase can lead to $500 or $600 or even thousands in spending.”

        When Mr. Mastel went on the air to announce the effort, the regional office telephone began to ring. One of the early callers was a representative from parent company Entercom, one of the nation's five largest radio broadcasters and owner of 95 stations in 18 markets.

        Oh, corporate, Mr. Mastel thought. That's what I forgot to do. I forgot to tell corporate.

        The company gave him clearance to proceed, and the money arrived in paychecks that Friday.

        After the company announced the plan, about 40 to 50 firms in the Norfolk, Va., region called to say that they, too, would be giving employees $100 to spend.

A hate-hate relationship

        Here's some good news for companies worried about keeping their most valued employees:

        Workers may hate their existing job, but four out of five of those workers are too scared to leave it unless they have a new job lined up.

        The bad news from the September study from Walker Information is that half the employees surveyed on the topic of job satisfaction think their employers are unfair and that their company is a lousy place to work.

        A snapshot look at jobs by the Walker group, a conservative think tank based in Indianapolis, shows a divided American work force that breaks down along management and worker lines.

        About seven of 10 managers can't wait to get to work each morning because they think the company is wonderful and their firm treats employees fairly.

        Only one of four workers plans to stay on his job longer than two years.

        Walker even has an appropriate name for the two of three employees who won't leave unless they have a silver parachute out the door, unlikely during recessionary times.

        They call those workers trapped.

        E-mail jeckberg@enquirer.com. Past columns at Enquirer.com/columns/eckberg.



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