Lee Iacocca Creates an International Internship Program to Encourage Students to Work Abroad

Recognizing that global experience is essential to success

“… The new program will enable students to work full-time in companies across the globe, regardless of financial circumstances.”

“… will combine global education with practical real-world internships…”
Recognizing that global experience is essential to success in the job market, Lee Iacocca is ensuring Lehigh University (http://www.lehigh.edu) students have expanded opportunities to work abroad through the formation of the Lee Iacocca International Internships program. The new program will enable students to work full-time in companies across the globe, regardless of financial circumstances.

Iacocca noted that “the idea for the Iacocca International Internships emerged from the questions:

How do you go about building global leadership?

How do you demonstrate to people from different worlds that their commonalities are greater than their differences?

By putting together cross-cultural teams, students are under pressure to perform by working through their cultural differences. They say yes to globalization, yes to cooperation. The student’s enthusiasm is infectious and I would like to think it will infect the world.”

Noting that global leadership is a hallmark of a Lehigh education, President Alice P. Gast said that the new Iacocca internships will combine global education with practical real-world internships. “Through Lee’s vision and generosity, this gift will provide opportunities for our students to gain a deeper understanding of the unique challenges that exist in an interdependent and highly connected global society,” she said.

Iacocca, a legendary business leader known for engineering a revival at Chrysler, has long recognized the need for students and organizations to have global experience to remain competitive in the marketplace. In the 1980s, he founded the Iacocca Institute at Lehigh University, which spawned the Lehigh Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry and the Pennsylvania School for Global Entrepreneurship.

Since its inception in 1997, more than 1,300 youth leaders representing 121 countries and territories in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, North and South America, and Europe have attended Global Village.

With this new initiative, Iacocca will provide up to $5 million to support a group of international interns each academic year. Structured as a challenge gift, Iacocca is seeding this initiative with an initial contribution of $1 million. For each additional $1 million raised from alumni and other donors, Iacocca will contribute another $1 million for a total funding of $10 million.

“More effective than a traditional study abroad experience, the immersion experienced in a work or service internship truly teaches students the way the world works,” said Mohamed El-Aasser, vice president for international affairs. “These experiences can provide the student interns with a significant competitive advantage.”

Richard Brandt, director of the Iacocca Institute, said the Iacocca interns will be selected through a campus-wide competitive process to participate in organized international internships over the summer or through one semester with a foreign company, university, non-governmental organization, or government agency.

Iacocca earned a degree in industrial engineering from Lehigh in 1945, and later studied politics and plastics at Princeton University. He is an honorary member of Lehigh’s Board of Trustees and, in 2010, was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award by Lehigh’s Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

In 1982, Ronald Reagan appointed Iacocca to head the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. He continues to serve on the board of the foundation. Iacocca has co-authored (with William Novak) his best-selling autobiography titled Iacocca: An Autobiography, and has written… Where Have All the Leaders Gone?, which also earned best-seller status.

Following the death of his wife from diabetes, Iacocca has been an active supporter of research to find a cure for the disease, and has been a main patron of the innovative diabetes research of Denise Faustman at Massachusetts General Hospital. In 2004, Iacocca launched Join Lee Now, a national grassroots campaign that brought Faustman’s research to human clinical trials. In 2000, Iacocca founded Olivio Premium Products, which donates all profits from the company to diabetes research.

Iacocca is currently chairman of Nourish the Children, which provides nutrition-dense meal packets called VitaMeal to malnourished children throughout the world. To date, more than 70 million meals have been distributed to help end child hunger.

For 146 years, Lehigh University (www.lehigh.edu) has combined outstanding academic and learning opportunities with leadership in fostering innovative research. The institution is among the nation’s most selective, highly ranked private research universities. Lehigh’s four colleges – College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business and Economics, College of Education and the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science – provide opportunities to 7,000 students to discover and grow in a learning community that promotes interdisciplinary programs with real-world experience.

Eastern Europe's Emerging Marketplace; Over China? Proximity to European customers!

Case study: Arrow Electronics

“…an up and coming center of high–tech, low cost manufacturing with a well–educated workforce.”

EASTERN EUROPE …”It’s also where more and more of the world’s most prestigious companies are sending an increasing portion of their manufacturing business. No, it’s not China – or anywhere in Asia Pacific. It is, in fact, Eastern Europe – where Arrow sees tremendous growth opportunities and is taking advantage of those opportunities with a solid business presence and strategy.”

“In 2011, Arrow ranked as number 140 on the Fortune 500 list (based on 2010 sales of $18.7 billion). Arrow Electronics was founded in 1935. Arrow serves Eastern Europe with more than 10 local offices and represents more than 130 franchised product lines.”

“Though much of Eastern Europe may be considered “emerging,” Arrow’s participation there is not new. Arrow opened offices in Tallinn, Estonia in 1993, Prague in 1994, and Budapest and Warsaw in 1996. In 2004, Arrow established a sales staff in Moscow, and in 2005, Arrow established its first offices in Latvia and Lithuania. Later that same year, Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions (ECS) acquired Munich-based DNSint.com AG, providing the computer business with a strong foothold in Central and Eastern Europe in the server and storage business and in solutions for security, networking and infrastructure management. In 2006, Arrow founded a legal entity in Kiev to serve the Ukraine and Belarus.”

“Wolfgang Maas, sales director, Emerging Countries for Arrow Spoerle, in Dreieich, Germany, discusses the many factors that make Eastern Europe attractive to customers and a big opportunity for Arrow. “Eastern Europe is attractive to Arrow because it is attractive to customers. Increasingly, business is being transferred from the west – from North America and Western Europe – to the east. How far east, depends on what customers are looking for. Arrow Spoerle’s Wolfgang Maas, sales director, Emerging Countries, in Dreieich, Germany, says, “China and Eastern Europe are both low cost areas, but cost is not the only factor.”

“For low cost/high volume manufacturing, China is usually the first choice. But, where more technical capability is needed and medium size quantities are involved, it is better for these customers to send business to Eastern Europe, which is what they’re doing.” This is particularly evident in the Baltic countries where there is a growing need for technical support and design–in resources. To respond to this need, Arrow has deployed additional field application engineers (FAEs) throughout the Baltic region.”

“Another factor favoring Eastern Europe over China is proximity to customers, especially in the automotive industry. Maas says, “If you want quick, easy access to support for automotive products and lower transportation costs, it makes little sense to go far away for electronic production. Plus, with China and Asia Pacific, you have significant time differences, and cultural as well as language differences. All these factors make Eastern Europe attractive to our customers and a big opportunity for us.” Hermann Reiter, sales director, Emerging Countries for Arrow Sasco Holz, in Munich, Germany, discusses the competitive advantage of Arrow’s prominent local presence.

“The Eastern European market is growing substantially, although pinpointing the actual size of the market is somewhat difficult. Hermann Reiter, sales director, Emerging Countries, for Arrow Sasco Holz, in Munich, Germany, says, “Depending on the analysts you talk to, total market numbers range from several hundred million euros to over a billion. What we do know is that the DTAM (distribution total available market) represented by Eastern Europe countries is expected to double during the next three to four years. And that’s one of the main reasons we’re so active in that market.” Another growth factor for the Baltic region is the entry of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia into the European Union (EU) in 2004, resulting in increased foreign investment in companies there now as well as substantial local organic growth.”

“Doing business in Eastern Europe is not without challenges. There are complex export license laws as well as differences in economic development. The challenges vary depending on the country. For example, in total, 11 Eastern European countries joined the EU. As a result, there are fewer customs or clearance issues, so it’s faster, easier and less costly to ship goods to and from EU member countries. Not so with Eastern European countries that are not part of the EU. In addition, some of these new EU member countries from Eastern Europe may eventually lose their low cost edge. Maas says, “They will become more mature markets in the next five years or so, which means they won’t remain emerging low cost manufacturing areas. This is similar to what happened with Japan, which was once a low cost country and now is a mature market with higher costs. The effect on Arrow and our Western European customers will be to look to the non–EU members in Eastern Europe, such as Romania and Ukraine, for low cost production capabilities and opportunities.”

“Whatever the challenges, Arrow is seizing the significant opportunities that exist in this region. One competitive advantage is Arrow’s prominent local presence in each country. Reiter says, “We don’t service customers from afar. We’re right there. Our employees are local people. They speak the local language. And, we deal in local currencies. These are things our competitors do not typically do.”

“Arrow also goes to market with a great deal of engineering expertise to support original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) or contract manufacturers in need of technical assistance. Maas says, “We stage numerous seminars and workshops to train our customers’ engineers and build a relationship to some of these international suppliers, where we have a franchise, that binds them to us and helps us keep the business.”

source: Arrow Electronics and other sources


Branding Gurus Share Insight on Establishing a Holistic Executive Brand to Enhance Your Company, Inside and Out

“…Establishing an executive brand is essential in today’s marketplace – by taking steps…, executives will make themselves more accessible to target consumers, colleagues and employees”

” Executives who are aware of their own strengths and make the best use of them will lead companies to success and show true worth in the business world”

…”strong corporate brands attract strong individual brands and the culture becomes self-perpetuating…think of Google”…

…”When individuals have a solid brand in place, it will help reinforce company culture and the perception the company wants to have…”

Newport Beach, California; September 12, 2011- –
In an increasingly complex market and growing global economy, executives are forced to re-examine their strategies, skills and strengths and apply them to the new age of business. The Executive Next Practices Forum – a unique mastermind-like group for C-level business executives to review new leadership and business strategy – recognizes that building a comprehensive executive brand is essential for its members, and executives must draw attention to their strengths to remain successful in the current economy.

Scott Hamilton, President of the Executive Next Practices Institute (ENP) and Co-founder of Allign, says transparency is vital in today’s marketplace. “In a time where information is available at our fingertips, both customers and employees will feel more confident if they have a clear vision of who the leader is and where they are headed,” says Hamilton. “Executives who develop holistic individual brands will show their customers they are forward-thinking and accessible, and internally it will prove these leaders are maximizing their strengths to contribute to the company’s bottom line – gaining a synergy that wouldn’t be achieved otherwise.”

Perception is Reality
What has made executive branding so important today is the public’s growing awareness that perception is reality. Author of What’s Your BQ?, and ENP Advisory Board member , Sandra Sellani (www.EBQ100.com ), uses Tiger Woods as an example: He built a career based on how he was perceived – and almost lost his career for the same reason. The public will never know the real Tiger Woods, as there are only perceptions by which to judge him. “Executives are the subject of perception – from peers, supervisors, subordinates. People will make decisions about that executive based on those perceptions whether the perceptions are right or wrong. Personal branding bridges the gap between perception and reality,” says Sellani. “By taking charge of your executive brand you create the perception.”

Three Steps to Build Your Executive Brand
• Assess Where You Are Now. Google yourself – how are you being perceived now? Ask co-workers, friends and mentors what they believe your strengths to be – you might hear something you otherwise may not have believed to be a key quality that will help you re-focus your personal brand and perception.

• Ask Yourself This: “What do I want to be famous for?” It may not sound like a business-related question, but the answer will reveal an individual’s values and skill set. When people ask questions like, “What are my career goals?” or “What can I do to be successful?” the answers tend to focus on earnings, benefits or promotions. If executives lead with asking what they want to be known for, they’ll establish a brand that attracts organizations and people that value the same thing.

• Make a Plan. Establish an action plan that integrates your executive brand – how you want to be perceived – to strategic actions both inside and outside your organization. Find out what resources and new technologies you can utilize to enhance your executive brand and establish a plan of action moving forward that will maintain your new branding and provide consistency in your work.

Strong Individuals Equate to Strong Teams
Executives with an established brand will not only see personal benefits, but will also begin to notice their teams and company functioning more efficiently. “When everyone brings their own skills to the table, there’s a sense of self-awareness and transparency – the team becomes more cohesive and resourceful, because they know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” says Hamilton. “Employees are a crucial manifestation of the corporate brand,” says Sellani.

The New Age of Executive Branding
When individuals have a solid brand in place, it will help in reinforcing company culture and the perception the company wants to have. Take Google for example – the company has reinforced its role as a leader by taking-in innovators and driven “braniancs” – people who keep the company fresh and dynamic. The employees who join Google continue to attract similar people, perpetuating the culture and the brand. Since the company is now well-established with a solid image, they can pick and choose amongst top candidates because what they have is sought-after: the best people, creating the best products; strong corporate brands attract strong individual brands and the culture becomes self-perpetuating.

Establishing an executive brand is essential in today’s marketplace – by taking the steps above, executives will make themselves more accessible to target consumers, colleagues and employees. Executives who are aware of their own strengths and make the best of use of them will lead companies to success and show true worth in the business world.

About the Executive Next Practices Forum: The Executive Next Practices Forum (ENP) is an established group of Southern California Fortune 1000 C-level and top functional leaders ( CEO,CFO, CMO, HR, CIO) who meet to discuss innovative business and leadership strategies. Roundtable sessions are held with a strict “no-selling” policy to encourage leaders to interact, engage and think collaboratively, and to ensure maximum relationship-building. The group follows a “next practices” development method which discards the status quo in favor of a more effective and relevant approach to today’s business problems and tomorrow’s solutions. For more information on the ENP, contact Executive Next Practices Institute President, Scott Hamilton info@enpinstitute.com or call 888.857.9722.

California's Industrial Biotechnology Workforce: Creating Jobs and Leading Innovation

A recent survey of California’s pioneering industrial biotechnology sector shows that this sector has great potential for job growth in the state.

California’s industrial biotechnology industry increased employment by 632 percent in the past five years, according to a survey conducted by BayBio and BIOCOM, the leading biotechnology industry associations in the state, and Radford, a compensation consulting firm. California’s industrial biotechnology industry is creating new jobs for skilled workers and promises to benefit the world through new and sustainable fuel sources, feedstock, enzymes and green industrial chemicals.

With the proper investment in the workforce, and cooperation from the state government, the sector, like the life sciences industry before it, is poised to be a major employer and growing source of innovation in California for years to come.

It is the mission of both BayBio and BIOCOM to guide and inform relevant workforce training and to work with legislators to help create a regulatory and business environment that is conducive to the continued growth and success of the sector. The associations conducted the second annual statewide Industrial Biotechnology Workforce Survey to get a snapshot of the sector’s growth over the past few years and to identify areas where industry might better work with academia and industry to ensure that California remains a global leader in the space.

Among the 15 companies that reported having at least one employee in 2006, there was an aggregate increase of 75 percent in the total number of employees. Eighteen companies reported having no employees in 2006 and now account for 3,254 jobs.

“California has already emerged as the world’s innovative hub for industrial biotechnology, just as it is the global leader in the life sciences,” said Joe Panetta, President and CEO of BIOCOM, the largest regional life science trade association in the world. “Innovative technology from the state’s universities, a talented life science workforce and the supportive providers that fueled the growth of the life sciences here are also the foundation for new and emerging sectors. In the coming years, human capital will be a key factor in successfully growing the industrial biotechnology sector, and Radford’s demand-driven employment analysis is just what we need to proactively build our workforce and catalyze innovation in this field.”

Seventy eight percent of companies responding to the California Industrial Biotech Workforce Survey have their headquarters in California and 81 percent have their research and development facilities in the state. Only 45 percent of the respondents have located their pilot scale facilities in California, and an even smaller percent have built their commercial scale plants in the state, citing the cost of doing business and the regulatory environment.

As for jobs, the survey showed that it is no coincidence that the state that is home to the largest life science clusters has now given rise to the industrial biotechnology sector. Hiring for industrial biotechnology has focused on chemists, molecular and cell biologists, fermentation specialists and chemical engineers, according to the survey. Nearly 90 percent of the industrial biotechnology workforce worked in biotechnology prior to their current position. And in the future, the industry will be in need of workers with hands-on, commercial-scale experience in chemical processing, the survey showed.

“It’s evident that the California industrial biotechnology sector is a real job engine and we need competitive policies that will allow our state to grow and retain these companies,” said Gail Maderis, President and CEO of BayBio, the Northern California biotechnology industry trade association. “It is important for California’s policy makers and educational institutions to be aware of the challenges and opportunities facing these emerging companies in order to bolster the strength of California’s biotechnology industry and help bring innovative, environmentally advantageous products to market.”

Are you Building Global Mindset in your company and in your life? What is 'normal' anyway?

Cultural DNA

Michael Gates
Richard D Lewis • michael.gates@rlcglobal.com

When Wal-Mart announced a few years ago that it was pulling out of Germany, losing $1 billion along the way, critics said it failed to understand the culture. Its attempt to introduce ‘greeters’ to every store, with orders to smile at every customer, is said to have been particularly unpopular.

As we become more global the skill of seeing things from other cultures’ points of view is becoming vital. Not just for the success of corporations but also for individuals to pursue careers and, for those moving abroad, to lead happy lives as expatriates.

People are moving to live and work abroad at record rates according to UN figures. And even those who do not actually move, are coming into contact more and more with other cultures. But while this may make logical career and business sense, human beings defy logic.

By the age of seven or so we have silently absorbed different values – or prioritised them differently – from other cultures. So while a toothy grin may create a positive climate for business in the USA, in Germany it may be seen as a suspect intrusion of privacy.

The challenge is that we acquire our own culture so early we don’t realise we have it. And our behaviour reflects this: all we do and say sends out unintended messages to our new colleagues, acquaintances and neighbours.

A personal defining moment was on moving to Finland nearly 25 years ago when a “How are you today?” was met with the stony “You asked me that last week”.

We typically assume the worst and accuse the host culture of unfriendliness or irrationality. But we have to tease out the values beneath to know what is really going on.

In this Finnish case privacy, (“why should I tell you how I am if I hardly know you?”), and honesty (“if I say ‘fine, thanks’ and I am not, then I am lying…”).

We should also know our own values and where they may cause misunderstanding and loss of trust. Most of all we must realise that we are not normal. What is ‘normal’ anyway? We must also appreciate why we are as we are.

This requires us to consider our attitudes to time, space, truth, individuality, authority etc. and where they came from. Comparing how parents interact with children in the host and our own culture is not a bad place to start.

In the USA children are generally taught to speak up for themselves and assert their individuality. Small wonder they develop into confident adults who believe ‘a fight is communication’.

And what are the origins of culture? What in our climate, history, religion and language made our ancestors start thinking and behaving differently?

It’s a fascinating voyage of discovery: like working out where your children’s physical and mental traits have come from. The difference being that this is not genetic but cultural DNA – something we have learned and share with other members of our cultural group.

Interest in cross-cultural issues has been growing, as increasingly we come into contact with people different from us. There are now some great books to help us see ourselves as others see us.

But how can we cope with the inevitable cultural differences we will come across?

First, it’s useful to get to grips with a general theory before trawling through lots of disparate trivia about different cultures. There are over 200 national cultures in the world, and we can’t hope to know everything.

One useful theory is the Lewis Model of culture, behind the CultureActive programme. Richard D Lewis classifies cultures into three main types – linear-active, multi-active and reactive – described in detail in the book When Cultures Collide. Other well-known models are by the authors Geert Hofstede and Fons Trompenaars. But the ultimate key has to be the ability to adapt how we communicate.

I was once on a Lufthansa flight where we suddenly experienced turbulence. The captain spoke first in German with an explanation of the cause; of the action he would take, and what he would do if this failed. He then gave relevant technical specifications. The Germans visibly relaxed.

There were also Brits and Americans on board. The captain changed into English and simply announced: “We’re on a bit of a roller-coaster, so just belt yourselves tight, sit back, and enjoy the ride!” We smiled and breathed a collective sigh of relief.

That’s what I call culturally-competent communication.

Michael Gates was a Scholar of St. Catherine’s College Oxford, where he gained an M.A. in English Language and Literature. He worked for five years in radio before he helped establish the Finnish office of Richard Lewis Communications, who give cross-cultural, communication skills and business language training world-wide

This article first appeared in the Daily Telegraph

RISKS – Companies now need to incorporate risks from workforce and people-management issues more fully into their overall risk-management

…the most extensive study to date

NEW YORK, July 11, 2011
“>According to a new report released by The Conference Board, companies need to incorporate risks from workforce and people-management issues more fully into their overall risk-management structures.

Based on a global survey of executives at 161 leading companies, Managing Human Capital Risk: A Call for a Partnership between Enterprise Risk Management and Human Resources, is the most extensive study to date on the role of human resources in the calculus and containment of enterprise risk.

The report was co-authored by Mary B. Young, principal researcher in human capital at The Conference Board, and Ellen S. Hexter, principal of Hexter & Company, a risk consulting firm, and the senior advisor for enterprise risk management at The Conference Board.

The report examines the current state of human capital risk management in companies in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

At most companies, human capital accounts for at least half of operating costs and can have a significant impact on business results. However, the study finds that human capital risk (HCR) — which can range from unionization/labor relations to offshoring and outsourcing to staffing in a pandemic — tends to be siloed in human resources departments, away from the companywide assessment and mitigation processes of enterprise risk management (ERM). This arrangement prevents information about HCR from having a role in the comprehensive, aggregate view of risks, root causes, interactions, and impacts through which leaders set priorities and determine overall strategy.

Out of eleven risk categories, executives ranked HCR as having the fourth highest impact on business results, ahead of financial, reputational, supply chain, and IT risks.

This high ranking is evidence that HCR should be taken seriously as an enterprise risk. However, less than one-third (31 percent) of companies believe they effectively assess human capital risk, and 24 percent believe they do an ineffective job.

“Executives clearly recognize that human capital can have a make-or-break impact on business performance,” said Young. “Yet few companies have a systematic process or structure in place to ensure that the full spectrum of human capital risks — not just a few, top-of-the-house issues like succession planning or the leadership pipeline — is considered as part of enterprise-level risk assessment and management.”

The report also found the best-prepared companies were those with a formal process for assessing HCR, a board and CFO with deep understanding of human capital issues, and well developed capabilities in strategic workforce planning.

In addition, Asia-Pacific companies appear to be significantly better equipped to incorporate HCR at the core of their risk planning than firms headquartered in other regions.

Although any conclusions drawn are preliminary due to a small sample size, these regional differences are consistent with The Conference Board CEO Challenge 2011 , which found Asia-Pacific executives to be the most keenly focused on talent.

Managing Human Capital Risk concludes with a series of practical implications for companies looking to improve their risk-management processes.

As first steps, HR and ERM must begin a conversation, which in turn, means having a common language to describe human capital risk. “We hope this report will foster the conversation between HR and risk professionals,” Hexter said. “Most companies have a gap in their understanding of how critical human capital risks are to their ongoing success. It’s time to think about these workforce issues holistically.”

Source: Managing Human Capital Risk
A Call for Partnership Between Enterprise Risk Management and Human Resources
Research Report No. 1477-11-RR
The Conference Board

About The Conference Board
The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world’s leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States.

US Employers Expect to Add Voluntary Benefits to Their Plans

Colonial Life survey shows nearly half plan to include voluntary benefits in their 2012

COLUMBIA, S.C., Aug. 3, 2011 —-
Regulatory and economic issues are forcing many employers to make changes in their benefits plans. And one of the changes employers expect to make in the near future is to add voluntary benefits.

Almost half of employers (49 percent) surveyed last month by Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company say they expect to add voluntary, employee-paid insurance benefits to their plans within the next year.

Colonial Life surveyed more than 750 human resource managers and benefits administrators at the annual conference of the Society for Human Resource Management in Las Vegas in July. Employers were asked about their employee benefits packages and benefits communications efforts.

Other changes employers say they plan to make to their benefits plans within the next year include:

* Increasing employees’ health insurance premiums (51 percent)

* Increasing employees’ health insurance deductibles and/or co-pays (49 percent)

“Not surprisingly, employee benefits have taken a hit as companies wrestle with the rising cost of providing health coverage to their workforce,” says Randy Horn, president and CEO of Colonial Life. “Offering voluntary products that complement core benefits can help companies better manage their costs. Voluntary plans can also give employees a convenient and affordable way to protect their families and lifestyles.”

Employers say benefits education is important … but are they doing a good job at it?

Virtually all employers (99.6 percent) surveyed agree their employees need guidance to make sound benefits decisions and education to help their workers understand changes in their benefits program. Yet only a quarter of employers (23 percent) believe their company’s current benefits education efforts are very effective.

“Employers see a need for more and better benefits education and communication,” says Horn. “Providing personal, one-to-one benefits counseling can close the communications gaps that often hinder employees from fully understanding and appreciating their benefits.”

About Colonial Life
Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company is a market leader in providing insurance benefits for employees and their families through their workplace, along with individual benefits education, advanced yet simple-to-use enrollment technology and quality personal service.

Colonial Life offers disability, life and supplemental accident and health insurance policies in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Similar policies, if approved, are underwritten in New York by a Colonial Life affiliate, The Paul Revere Life Insurance Company, Worcester, Mass. Colonial Life is based in Columbia, S.C., and is a subsidiary of Unum Group, one of the world’s leading providers of employee benefits.

For more information about voluntary benefits, call Colonial Life at (803) 798-7000 or visit www.ColonialLife.com.

Talent management top reason employers pursue Global Leveling

Challenges for implementing global grade structures significantly changing

New York, 14 September 2011 —
As organizations strive to maintain a competitive advantage in a changing global environment, many are turning their attention to some foundational tools. Global leveling – the process of systematically establishing the relative value of different jobs within an organization – provides a framework to effectively implement talent and compensation management across borders.

According to Mercer’s 2011 Global Leveling Survey, the primary objectives for evaluating jobs and implementing a global grade structure are to support the development and career paths of employees (68%) and to facilitate the implementation of a global pay or rewards programs (65%).

“Beyond simply helping with pay decisions, companies are seeking much more from their global leveling strategies, such as defining employee career paths, linking jobs to specific behavioral competencies and assessing pay equity,” said Darrell Cira, Partner with Mercer’s Human Capital consulting business.

Conducted this summer, the Survey examines trends in strategies around grading and job evaluation. It includes responses from more than 380 organizations across all industries throughout the US and Canada.

While global leveling has long been used for companies’ executive roles, an increasing number of organizations are implementing grade structures for their other employee groups. Mercer’s survey shows that 85% of organizations report grade structures for executives and just as many for managers and non-sales professionals.

“Years ago, only about half of multinational companies had global grade structures for employees that weren’t executives,” said Mr. Cira. “This increase in the use of global grading for populations other than executives is likely directly related to organizations’ focus on facilitating talent mobility and implementing meaningful career paths for their employees.”

Challenges of global leveling According to Mercer’s survey, more than one-third (36%) of organizations expect to modify their current approach to global leveling or implement a new compensation management structure in the next two years. Yet finding resources and time to do so may be challenging.

The biggest obstacle organizations face with employing a global grade structure is resources and time, reported by almost two-thirds (63%) of organizations. This challenge is followed by the absence of a global HRIS (40%) and resistance of leadership (38%).

“The barriers to implementing global grades have changed considerably,” said Mr. Cira. “While the absence of a strong business case and lack of support from corporate leadership were frequently identified as major challenges in the past, the value of having a global grading structure has clearly become more evident to business leaders today.”

About Mercer
Mercer is a global leader in human resource consulting, outsourcing and investment services. Mercer works with clients to solve their most complex benefit and human capital issues by designing, implementing and administering health, retirement and other benefit programs. Mercer’s investment services include investment consulting, implemented consulting and multi-manager investment management. Mercer’s 20,000 employees are based in more than 40 countries. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., which lists its stock (ticker symbol: MMC) on the New York and Chicago stock exchanges. For more information, visit www.mercer.com.

77 Percent of Workers Would Leave Their Current Position to Become an Independent Entrepreneur; says Aflac survey

Aflac Responds With Announcement of Sales Positions in 580 Markets Nationwide

COLUMBUS, GEORGIA, 2 September 2011 – – –
As summer comes to an end and the Labor Day holiday approaches, there is no question that our nation’s focus on the American workforce will continue to take center stage.

Even with the current national unemployment rate hovering at just over nine percent, more than one-third (35 percent) of U.S. adults reported that the spirit of the U.S. workforce is broken, according to a new survey released today by Aflac, the No. 1 provider of supplemental and guaranteed-renewable insurance in the United States.

More than three quarters (69 percent) of employed adults reported that their paycheck is the majority of the reason they work.

Also, 77 percent of adults employed full/part time, and not currently self-employed, stated they would leave their current position to become an independent entrepreneur.

Ability to set one’s own hours, spend more time with friends and family, not have to deal with office politics, and/or not have to endure a daily commute, are just some of the many reasons they would be motivated to make a career change to become an independent entrepreneur.

Driven by increasing market demand for voluntary insurance today and in the future, Aflac is bolstering its nationwide independent sales agent network* in 580 markets, offering U.S. workers the opportunity to be their own boss, make their own schedule, and live what many would call the “American Dream.”

“This survey reaffirms that many Americans lack fulfillment and passion for their jobs, and struggle with work/life balance,” said Tom Giddens, senior vice president, director of U.S. Sales at Aflac. “With more than 72,000 entrepreneurs comprising our sales force, our organization believes strongly in workers’ pursuit of a career that not only supports their livelihood but that also brings joy and satisfaction.”

The online survey was conducted on Aflac’s behalf by Harris Interactive in August 2011, among 2,220 U.S. adults ages 18+, of whom 1,272 were employed, and is part of the 2011 Aflac WorkForces Report.

To learn more about the survey, visit AflacWorkForcesReport.com, or to apply for an opportunity at Aflac, visit joinaflac.com .

About the Aflac WorkForces Report
The Aflac WorkForces Report is an annual study analyzing the forces impacting the trends, attitudes and use of employee benefits. Surveying both American workers and business decision-makers, the Aflac WorkForces Report reconciles the perceptions and realities of benefits in the workplace. The insights aim to help businesses make informed decisions about benefits to better protect employees and their bottom line.

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Aflac from August 11–15, 2011, among 2,220 adults ages 18 and older, of whom 1,272 were employed. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and, therefore, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Aflac Media Relations at mediarelations@aflac.com or call 706-243-5543.

About Aflac
When a policyholder gets sick or hurt, Aflac pays cash benefits fast. For more than 55 years, Aflac insurance policies have helped provide a safety net and have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress. In the United States, Aflac is the number one provider of guaranteed-renewable insurance. In Japan, Aflac is the number one insurance company in terms of individual insurance policies in force. Aflac insurance products provide protection to more than 50 million people worldwide. For five consecutive years, Aflac has been recognized by Ethisphere Magazine as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies and by Forbes magazine as one of America’s Best-Managed Companies in the Insurance category. In 2011, Fortune magazine recognized Aflac as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America for the 13th consecutive year. Also, Fortune magazine has included Aflac on its list of Most Admired Companies 10 times. Aflac Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFL. To find out more about Aflac, visit aflac.com or aflacenespanol.com.

*Aflac agents are independent agents and are not employees of Aflac.

United Nations leader speaks-out…

Periods of global transition present huge challenges but also tremendous opportunities.


NEW YORK, Aug 19 2011 11:10AM – –
With the world facing a pivotal juncture in its history, the global need for the United Nations has never been greater in tackling multiple issues, from sustainable development to ensuring peace to mitigating mega-disasters, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in a new report.

“Periods of global transition present huge challenges but also tremendous opportunities for advancing humanity’s progress. Together, no challenge is too large. Together, nothing is impossible,” he tells the 66th General Assembly in his annual report on the work of the Organization.

“Future generations are likely to describe this period as a pivotal juncture in world history when the status quo was irrevocably weakened and the contours of a new world began to emerge,” he writes, citing the widening and deepening impact of global food, fuel and economic shocks on populations around the world and revolution and the rebirth of grass-roots-led democratic movements in North Africa and the Middle East.

He also highlights the shifts in economic power as parts of Africa and Asia have emerged as new engines of global growth, and the rising incidence of “mega-disasters,” such as the devastating 2010 earthquakes in Haiti, this year’s quake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan, and the massive flooding last year in Pakistan, with their huge costs in terms of lives, livelihoods and development.

“And we have seen the increasing salience of a set of global challenges that threaten the lives of people around the world and the sustainability of the planet,” he says.

He calls achieving sustainable development imperative, not only by redoubling efforts to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to slash a host of social ills, such as poverty and hunger, infant and maternal mortality, disease, and lack of access to health care and education, all by the target date of 2015, but also to forge a vision and framework for post-2015 development.

In the area of peace and security, he notes that the past five years have begun to witness the positive impact of strengthened UN prevention capacity when it is harnessed by Member States to help them defuse internal and cross-border tensions.

“We must continue to deepen and expand the preventive services that we are able to provide Member States,” he writes, citing the increasing complexity of peacekeeping operations that have stretched scarce resources to meet broad mandates.

“We are thinking creatively about how we can increase our agility and better leverage potential partnerships to ensure that we have the capacities necessary to meet needs on the ground,” he adds. “Our next challenge is to implement additional necessary changes to ensure that we are able to continue to provide peace and security to the people we serve.”

While noting steps already taken to tackle mega-disasters, he stresses the need to reshape response strategies and place a much higher premium on disaster risk reduction. To bolster its capacities, the UN has already started forging new types of partnerships with the business community and civil society and is trying out new technologies to coordinate responders and link them to victims.

“These efforts will need to be accelerated over the next five years if we are to meet the humanitarian challenges that are likely to be coming our way,” he warns.

Noting that the UN has supported calls for democracy in the Middle East and North Africa and urged the international community to protect civilians from “egregious violations” of their rights in Côte d’Ivoire and Libya, he stresses the “important positive impact that this advocacy work can have in supporting the people on the front lines fighting for human rights, the rule of law and democracy, as well as the responsibility to protect…

“As the next five years will be crucial in determining the path that many transitions will take, it is essential that we rapidly upgrade our abilities to support countries engaged in building democratic structures and processes,” he adds.

“The global challenges of the past decades – climate change, weapons proliferation, disease and terrorism – will not disappear,” he concludes.

“We will need to continue to strengthen and deepen the international collaboration that we have already forged. We must also, however, be ready for new challenges that we will have to face together, not least those posed by demographic patterns.”