How to Become a Successful Distributor in the FMCG Sector

The Fast Moving Consumer Goods or the FMCG sector is a place where goods are sold at a relatively low price and includes products which sell out much quicker than other products. They mostly keep perishable items as opposed to durable items. For example, packaged foods, beverages, toiletries, over-the-counter drugs etc.; whereas durable items include kitchen appliances, textiles, items which can be used for many years. FMCG goods mainly compose of items which have low shelf life. Because it includes items which are required by masses in their daily lifestyle and because this sector has a huge demand, it is essential that this sector divides it work amongst various other short segments. The major segments in the FMCG sector are Manufacturer – Packaging – Sales and Distributorship – Retailer/Wholesaler.A distributor is someone who will ensure that all your products reach the right people. Whether it is business to business or business to personal. In any emerging market, as demand for a product increases, so does the need for distributors. From everyday use items like cooking oil, packaged foods like biscuits, snacks and everything else with an expiry date, every new trend which comes up as a team of dedicated distributors hard at work to find quality manufacturers and help them bring their product to retail.Steps to follow to become a Distributor:

Decide what type of distribution business you will run: Distributors can be split into two categories based on who they serve. The first category is, retail distributors buy from wholesalers or manufacturers and sell products directly to consumers. The second Category is, wholesale merchant distributors buy from manufacturers and resell the products to retailers or other distributors. You need to decide which type suits you best and work upon that.

Decide what you would like to distribute: You could focus on a specific product or offer a variety of items. You could base your decisions on a product about which you may feel passionately or any product which you think is not available much in the market. While many large companies are served by equally large distributors, these distributors are unwilling or unable to serve smaller, more specialized business.

Estimate your start-up costs: In addition to a business plan, you will also need some idea of how much money it will take to get your business up and running. As a distributor, your major area of expense will be your inventory. This means that your start-up costs will go parallel as to what product or products you choose to sell. If you are selling a single product then the pricing will depend on how many retailers you are targeting.

Figure out how to sell your products: This will depend largely on who your customers are and what type of products you’re selling. In any case, you have to chalk down specific goals on what methods you can adapt to sell your goods. One of the best ways to do so is to connect more and more with the manufacturers as well as the Retailer/Wholesalers. The more connections you build, the better opportunities you get. This can mean anything from advertising to personal meetings with store owners to search-engine optimization (SEO).

Form your company legally: You’ll have to legally create the company before you can do business. Check with your state regulations and see if you need to create an operating agreement or another type of founding document. Gather any business partners you have for this venture and have them sign any legal documents you fill out

Make your business licensed and registered: You will have to register your business with the correct places or business association as and when required. Your company should be listed in the legal list of companies. Other legal steps may be required to get your business started.

Contact manufacturers or wholesalers of your products: You will need to find sources from which you will buy your product. To locate manufacturers and wholesalers, you will need to build Relationships and connections which will help you to define your work. Networking is the foundation of the distribution industry. You must gain a deep understanding of your target market and clients to develop stronger partnerships. Keep communication open and available.

Purchase inventory: Once you’ve found a source for product, it’s time to place your first order. You’ll need to purchase however much inventory you need. Keeping in mind the budgetary and space constraints you will also need to buy products pertaining to the limit of your users. This is especially true of products with a short shelf-life or FMCG goods. Also, consider the logistics you will require to distribute your goods.

Find a location for your business: The size of the space you need to hold your inventory will be determined by the size of your product and your delivery method. You should consider starting off small as your business builds a reputation. As your business grows, you can move into larger facilities that can accommodate your inventory needs.

Create a website for your business: Creating a customer friendly website is essential in today’s business model. The website should describe prices and product offerings. This is especially important if you sell directly to consumers. You can also invest in search engine optimization (SEO) that directs potential customers directly to your website by placing it higher in search engine results.

Market your product to potential customers. Send out your catalogue to potential customers in your area. The tools of marketing that you can find in today’s digitally marketed world are immense and of huge influence.

The distributorship business is very lucrative. To become a distributor in the FMCG sector, you must have an eye for spotting trends in their industry, as well as with building relationships with manufacturers and retailers. If you’re interested in becoming a distributor for the FMCG sector, you need to follow the FMCG model.

Teaching English for Communicative Performance and Business Communication

It is a challenge to us English teachers to manage with our own widely differing linguistic competence the large classes of mixed ability students. Non-availability or high cost of books and instructional material are the challenges just as tests and exams seem to have become the only goal in themselves. In addition, lack of students’(and even teachers’) motivation, administrative apathy, inaccessibility to electronic media, journals and books, balance between the use of mother tongue and English to ensure acquisition of communication skills, or perhaps, a better teaching-learning situation in the mother tongue and other languages, and dissemination of best English Language Teaching (ELT) practices internationally, with an e-culture interface are the new problems teachers have to cope with.

As teachers we need to work on our own affirmative action programmes, despite constraints of our situation. In order to do something new, we may have to give up the old. As John Swales says, “We may need to recycle not only our projects and our programmes but also ourselves.” In fact a practical teacher should be able to operate within, what may be called, “here and now” state of affairs. It is with some sort of inbuilt flexibility and utilitarian purpose that one can practice ELT in the days ahead.

NEGOTIATING DIFFERENCES

With sensitivity for the language (to me, language use is more a matter of pleasure and beauty than of rules and structure), I would like to assert that the yardsticks of the British or American native speakers, or their standards as reflected in GRE, TOEFL or IELTS etc, or their kind of tongue twisting, are simply damaging to the interests of non-native speakers. We have to develop our own standards, instead of teaching to sound like Londoners or North Americans. Pronunciation must be intelligible and not detract from the understanding of a message. But for this nobody needs to speak the so called standardized English (that makes inter- and intra-national communication difficult). David Crystal too appreciates this reality and favours ‘local taste’ of English in India and elsewhere. The problems of teaching, say spoken English, relate to lack of intercultural communicative competence.

Many of the misunderstandings that occur in multicultural or multinational workplace are traceable to inter-group differences in how language is used in interpersonal communication rather than to lack of fluency in English. In fact native speakers need as much help as non-natives when using English to interact internationally and inter-culturally. It is understanding the how of negotiation, mediation, or interaction. We need to teach with positive attitude to intercultural communication, negotiating linguistic and cultural differences. The focus has to be on developing cultural and intercultural competence, tolerance (the spread and development of various Englishes is an instance of grammatical and lexical tolerance), and mutual understanding. Rules of language use are culturally determined. I doubt all those who talk about spoken English, or communication skills, care to teach or develop intercultural communicative abilities. This presupposes a good grasp of one’s own culture or way of communication, or the language etiquette, gestures and postures, space, silence, cultural influences, verbal style etc.

Understanding and awareness of non-verbal behavior, cues and information is an integral part of interpersonal communication in many real-life situations, including business and commerce. Though research is needed to understand the role of visual support in our situations, it does seem relevant in making students aware of the context, discourse, paralinguistic features and culture. This can be advantageous in teaching soft skills which are basically life skills, or abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour, so necessary for successful living.

If one has to work abroad and use English with others there, one has to be sensitive to the culturally governed ways of speaking or talking to each other. The speech community’s (the language culture of the group of people) ways of communication cannot be taken for granted, when one seeks to learn or teach spoken English. People fail or suffer discomfort or embarrassment in negotiations in business or political affairs, or achievement of personal goals due to incompetence in persuasion, negotiation, mediation, or interaction. It is their performance, their intercultural interactional competence which matters; it lies in managing social interaction, and not just communication, in the narrow sense of the word, or use of right grammatical form, syntax, vocabulary, or even certain polite phrases. The goal is to enable one to express what one wishes to convey and make the impression that one wishes to make, using language with a sense of interaction and mutuality.

BUSINESS COMMUNICATION

In the context of Business Communication, it is not without a sense of social business for creating value and better business outcome. One needs to demonstrate social insights, too, in the use of, say, (social) networking sites, smart phones, mobile, tablet PCs, voice mail, electronic mail, and other e-business instruments such as computer network, teleconferencing and video conferencing that are being integrated to enterprise design. This means one needs to be able to share information, discover expertise, capitalize on relationship, and be collaborative in creatively solving business challenges. One needs to demonstrate leadership and management traits, innovation, and decision-making; one needs to be able to identify oneself with the shared values and beliefs of the organization one is associated with; and more importantly, one needs to demonstrate intercultural and interactive abilities with sensitivity for change and adaptation, if one is working in a foreign country or in a multinational company.

In short, one’s personal communication, both oral or written, needs to be in tune with the communication philosophy — goals and values, aspirations and pledges, beliefs and policies– of the organization one is working for, just as one should be able to blend with the host culture.

When I mention intercultural interaction, I point to the need for adapting to differences in life style, language, business philosophy as well as problems with finances, government, cultural shock, housing, food, gender, family etc. Although many of the people sent on foreign assignment know their (foreign) market, they are often unable to accept another culture on that culture’s terms even for short periods. Sensitivity for intercultural business environment, or being aware of each culture’s symbols, how they are the same, and how they are different, is important.

COMMUNICATIVE PERFORMANCE

The staff development programme of this kind provides us with an opportunity to revisit the issues related to ‘communicative’ teaching, in general, and business communication, in particular. If communication is the aim of English (or any other language) teaching and ‘communicative’ syllabuses fail to develop what Dell Hymes called ‘communicative competence’ and Noam Chomsky mentioned as communicative performance, we need to reflect on our classroom practices, research and materials production from time to time. Chomsky’s focus was on the sentence-level grammatical competence of an ideal speaker-listener of a language, and Hymes, as a sociolinguist, was concerned with real speaker-listeners who interpret, express, and negotiate meaning in many different social settings; he brought into focus the view of language as a social phenomenon and reflected on its use as units of discourse. Socializing competence and performance, Dell Hymes also mentioned ‘appropriateness’, that is, “when to speak, when not, and as to what to talk about and with whom, when, where, in what manner.” This concept of “appropriate use” as ‘communicative competence’ was accepted by Chomsky and called “pragmatic competence” (i.e. rules of use). Thus, Dell Hymes ‘communicative’ is Chomsky’s ‘pragmatic’ and includes knowledge of sociolinguistic rules, or the appropriateness of an utterance, in addition to knowledge of grammar rules. The term has come to negotiate meaning, to successfully combine a knowledge of linguistic and sociolinguistic rules in communicative interaction, both oral and written.

Michael Canale and Merril Swain in various papers on communicative competence have referred to “appropriacy” in terms of ‘sociolinguistic competence’. In fact, they offer another term “strategic competence”, that is, the ability to use communication strategies like approximation (or paraphrase strategy, using, for example, ‘pipe’ for waterpipe or ‘flower’ for leaf to come close to the intended meanings), word-coinage, circumlocution (i.e. describing objects or ideas using “It looks like…”, “It’s made of…” etc when one temporarily forgets an exact word), borrowing including literal translation and language mix, appeal for assistance, ie. asking for information appropriately using “Excuse me,” “Could you…?” “What’s the word for…?” “I didn’t know how to say it,” etc). mime and all that. Their strategic competence(Canale and Swain) refers to the ability to enhance or repair conversations and means the same as Chomsky’s ‘pragmatic competence’ or Fluency. Brumfit and others too have used the term ‘pragmatic’ in the sense of fluency.

Thus, communicative competence consists of LINGUISTIC competence (ACCURACY), PRAGMATIC competence (FLUENCY), and SOCIOLINGUISTIC

competence (APPROPRIACY).

The Linguistic competence or Accuracy in communication is much broader than mere grammatical competence; it includes the linguistic domains of grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation as well as the linguistic skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing, spelling, discourse (particularly interconnections and interdependence of the sentences and paragraphs), and the ability to contrast with the mother tongue.

The pragmatic competence or Fluency in communication relates to ease and speed of expression, i.e. how to keep talking, how not to remain silent because one doesn’t know the word (the skill of paraphrasing), and other strategies of learning, including how to listen to oneself and so be able to self-correct and self-edit at once; that is, the ability to monitor immediately.

The sociolinguistic competence or Appropriacy includes varieties of text types (stories, dialogues, non-fiction passages etc) and functions of the language, different levels/degrees of formality or informality, or appropriacy and use of language in authentic situations.

I doubt if we follow such a communicative curriculum with understanding of communicative competence in terms of linguistic ability, pragmatic ability and sociolinguistic ability. But its adoption should help students become independent learners; it should equip them with linguistic forms, means, and strategies that would help them overcome communication difficulties both inside and outside the classroom. From this perspective, communicative competence should be thought of as communicative performance just as a communicative syllabus should be essentially performance-based, that is, increasing the learner’s proficiency.

To quote Brendan Carroll: “The use of a language is the objective, and the mastery of the formal patterns, or usage, of the language is a means to achieve this objective. The ultimate criterion of language mastery is therefore the learner’s effectiveness in communication for the settings he finds himself in.”

POOR COMMUNICATIVE PERFORMANCE

Work-related skills such as team work, cultural awareness, leadership, communication and I.T. skills are as vital as academic achievement for Business/Management students. It would be poor communicative performance if, for example, someone makes a multimedia presentation without knowing how to use the equipment and experiences technical difficulties, or “tries to liven up a dull topic merely by adding flashy graphics rather than by improving the content of the presentation. People who attend meetings unprepared waste others’ time. People with poor listening skills frustrate those who have to repeat information for them. Those who make inappropriate grammatical or vocabulary choices embarrass themselves and those around them. Incompetent communicators hurt the organization they represent. This has especially been the case with hastily sent emails composed in a moment of anger.”

POSITIVE ATTITUDE NEEDED

Academic or professional communication skills, both written and oral, have to be imparted in such a way that students in their contexts are able to identify their own language learning needs and to set their own language learning goals. At college and university level, teachers may act as facilitators, just as they would need to teach with positive attitude for inter- and intra-cultural communication, the skills of negotiating linguistic and cultural differences.

It is with this sensibility for English language and its teaching in various contexts that I speak to you. Yet, as I say all this, I keep in mind the ground reality: that is, poor literacy skills, fluency, and even comprehension; poor communicative ability, with limited experiences in writing, speaking and listening unless, of course, teaching of English as a Second, or additional language improves from school level and need for a supportive classroom climate and positive student attitudes towards learning at post secondary level is recognized. Also, both teachers and students need to be aware of what to do, how to do it, and when and why to do it, as part of practicing self-regulation strategies.

The English Language Teaching community as also the other stake holders in the country should, therefore, revise and reformulate appropriate strategies and policies, with tolerance and multilingualism at the core, to remain relevant in the coming decades. The objective of looking back is to move forward with a reasoned perspective for taking measures to develop communication abilities and higher discourse competence, with a broadened inter- and cross-disciplinary bases, for learning to understand (rather than memorize) and apply in one’s own contexts.

COMMUNICATION IN BUSINESS

The digression apart, let me now come back to teaching communication in business. In terms of ESP, we should be aware of the ‘specific purposes’ of what we do in the classroom, just as we should do it in terms of students’ specific needs. For example, if we teach written communication, we teach it in the specific context of Business, maybe, where applicable, in terms of ‘rhetorical functions’, with a sense of logical organization of knowledge or information, as noticed in actual use. Students need to be exposed to range of authentic report material from business, commerce, finance, administration, marketing, production, personnel etc. They need to understand the logical steps in writing a report, from ‘collecting the information’ through to ‘summarizing’ and ‘appendix’. In short, they need to be presented with task-oriented activities that are both challenging and authentic in the field of business: they need to be forced to read and think about the content of the report; they need to be made to think about the structure and organization of the report; they need to think about the language used to express the content; and they have to be made to apply this knowledge to the skill of writing a report. The variety of writing exercises may include paragraph writing, expansion of notes, completion of paragraphs, sequencing of sentences into paragraph, and using the right punctuation marks, connectives, sub-headings, presentation of non-verbal information or transfer of information from text to diagram (graph, chart, table, outline etc); linking findings, conclusions and recommendations, extracting main points for making descriptive and evaluative summaries etc. We teach all this in terms of what the students already know and what they need to know. They unlearn, learn, and re-learn, both formal and informal expressions, within the conventions of the discipline they belong to.

As I already said, their career success depends on good writing and speaking skills, along with proper etiquette and listening skills and understanding skills. Skills that need particular attention are informational and analytical report writing, proposal writing, memo writing, letter writing, oral presentation, and a sense of grammar, punctuation, word, sentence and paragraph.

The methodology should encourage students to learn from each other via activities both of a productive kind and of a receptive nature. We may exploit developments in the case study approach, use role plays and simulations that place the students in realistic and stimulating situations to create spontaneous personal interaction and creative use of the language in a business context.

A mix of the task based approach, group work, and simulations should help the future business people develop the skills for meeting and negotiating as also for the necessary mastery of English for functioning autonomously in the field. The challenge is not to teach a descriptive course on discourse, but to provide for a pragmatic and custom-tailored input, ready for processing by the learners in an authentic learning environment.

In other words, in stead of mere ‘business communication’, the emphasis has to be on, what I already mentioned, ‘interaction in business context’. It is not merely the language of business, but also the cultural conventions of meetings and negotiations in an intercultural setting that one has to be aware of, and learn. As far as teaching is concerned, it is rather helping students with learning how to learn, how to create the learning opportunities for themselves, and understanding the ways in which language and business strategies interact. If we follow a learner-centred approach, a three-step procedure could be: first, to illustrate (=a good model), then, to induce (=induction for effective learning by the learner), and finally, to interact (=the outcome).

I would like to quote Christopher Brumfit from his opening speech to SPEAQ Convention in Quebec City (in June 1982): “…Being communicative is as much or more a matter of methodology as of syllabus or materials, and methodology is something that teachers are uniquely qualified to contribute to. We should therefore be willing to use our expertise, to innovate, to improve, to inform each other, and to criticize.” What we are doing here, friends, is just to make a beginning, the beginning of a process of communicating, of understanding, that we can start but cannot finish.

ECLECTIC APPROACH

I am aware that there is no universal teaching method or ideal teaching material suited to many contexts of language teaching. Whatever didactic techniques one knows without excluding the behaviouristic drills, and practice and use of mother tongue, where appropriate, are all valid at different points in the teaching process. I stand for an eclectic approach as different methods for different students have always worked and there has not been one best method any time. With our freedom to choose and adopt any notion that serves our teaching ends, with a reasonable degree of historical sense, flexibility and adaptability that allows us to select among a variety of approaches, methods and techniques, we can meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. I see teaching communicatively essentially consisting of an eclectic methodology which incorporates what is valuable in any system or method of teaching and refuses to recognize bad teaching or defective learning. In any educational setting, sensitive and sensible application and continuing evaluation of the chosen practices should be inbuilt.

English has been practised in a social, economic, political, educational and philosophical “hot-house”, to use Peter Strevens’ expression, and the hot-house in India differs in quality from state to state. It is necessary to create an enabling environment – managerial, administrative, institutional, academic, and curricular-to promote not only quality education and effective learning with exposure to lots of natural, meaningful and understandable language, but also genuine communication. This means learners should read and listen to live language; they should speak and write it in ways that can be understood by educated speakers everywhere. Moreover, they should eventually be able to produce and comprehend culturally appropriate natural discourse.

SUMMING UP

To sum up, we as teachers need to recognize the changes that have shaken all human conditions with new technology, new social structures, new values, new human relations, new functions. As Young Yun Kim notes: “The complexity, diversity, and rapid pace of change makes us ‘strangers’ in our own society.” The challenge is, to understand the “sameness in differences” for international/intercultural exchanges, or learning business negotiations and written communication. Language teaching alone may not develop communicative abilities in business English unless we realize that learning the language implies learning the culture also-one’s own culture and other’s culture. It is language and culture teaching together and sharing the “us” and “them” differences to reflect on one’s own culture from the viewpoint of an outsider, and thus, become less ethnocentric and more tolerant of the values of the foreign people and their ways.

The ESP of business communication seems highly culturally biased and value based, even as Western ethno-centricism, including the North American, may not be the answer to our communicative difficulties. But we have to be OPEN to all local peculiarities to communication and interaction. If we view English as the lingua franca for business negotiations, we should also not forget that it is NOT the mother tongue of any or most of the negotiators. To that extent, the English used is commonly a variety in which the mother tongue interferes not only phonetically and phonologically, but also in the cultural norms and attitudes expressed by the speakers. To quote Susanne Neimeir, “Their non-verbal behavior, for example, does not automatically switch to an ‘Englishized’ non-verbal behavior but normally stays rooted in their home culture. Thus, even when they think the negotiation partner should have understood (verbal and non-verbal) signs they are using, misunderstandings still occur because signs may be differently encoded-and decoded-on the other’s cultures or may not be noticed to be signs at all.”

Therefore, we need to sensitize students to cultural richness and cultural diversity for developing mutual understanding and using individual and group knowledge constructively, and not stereotypically, in learning skills of business communication, both oral and written. It also seems imperative to integrate discourse analysis, decision-making and generic patterns of meetings and effective conversation and the role of cultural influences for success in actual business situations. In fact, it is significant to provide professional students with opportunities to experience what it means to communicate and to do business with different people who obviously are alike in several basic ways.

In today’s globalized business context, while teachers of business English have to be aware of various analytical and practical approaches to business communication, especially as intercultural understanding and strategies of flexibility, adaptability and tolerance are some of the keys to make the best of economic opportunities, students of Business communication have to learn to find their own strategies, or use of structural and stylistic devices for successful business interaction. Their verbal communication in the ‘ESL’ context, to my mind, would be largely ‘EIL’ to be able to work together, using English as the common language.

I hope at the end of the programme, having shared with each other what some of you have done and how, we will emerge more enlightened and aware about what more we need to do to succeed in the days ahead. Mutual interaction should help us envision a possible policy framework required to support teaching for economically valuable language skills at tertiary and/or professional level.

(Text of the author’s Special lecture delivered at the AICTE SPONSORED STAFF DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME ON ‘EMERGING TRENDS IN BUSINESS ENGLISH AND THE METHODS OF TEACHING’ at National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), Berhampur, Odisha on 23 March 2012.)

Copyright:

–PROFESSOR (DR) R.K.SINGH

Dept of Humanities & Social Sciences

Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad 826004 India

How a Social Impact Calculator on Aging Can Help Your Community

Many of our communities have been involved with Community Needs Assessments, Community Health Needs Assessments, Community Economic Development Plans, and ongoing planning for the built environment. All of these planning lenses are helpful ways to look at communities, and build for the future. One of the most important lenses to use for community planning for the next 10 to 20 years is the projected impact of aging on our communities, counties and states. What will is mean for a state to move from being 39th in proportion of older adults in 2010, to being 4th by 2030? What does it mean for a county to have a population shift that includes an increase of older adults by over 100% in the next 10 years, along with a projected reduction of people under 40 years old?

Understanding the Demographic Trend

The demographic trend has been called by many names, such as the “Age Wave,” or “Silver Tsunami,” with arguments in meetings and on blogs about whether those terms are helpful or pejorative, descriptive or ageist. In addition, some people find the terms “elderly” difficult, while others find “seniors” to be patronizing. Once people have dealt with parsing the grammatical minefield, then the most important issues are to understand both the demographic trend and other substantive factors.

Although a few in the field indicate that the aging of the population is rather slow and easily absorbed, the vast majority of experts agree that this is a significant, fast-moving trend that will not be easily absorbed. Research I’ve conducted has covered everything from future health professional shortages and health system gaps to the built environment, funding and policy trends. The potential impact of the aging of our population on communities and states is significant. It will require proactive, sustained responses at community, state and national levels.

Some communities and states are better positioned to respond to this trend than others.

Impact Also Depends on a Few Other Key Factors

The ability of groups to effectively respond depends upon a number of other key factors. Although the demographic trend is the primary issue, other important factors impacting our ability to respond include the following:

  • Overall community health;
  • Poverty levels, average and median incomes (especially for middle aged and elderly);
  • Local municipal budgets, economic ratings, and taxing capacity;
  • Legislation, policies, and funding related to both aging and community development;
  • Regional infrastructure and built environment.

The impact of the demographic trend is also shaped by the state of community and regional planning already in place to deal with the impact of aging upon our communities. Leadership and citizen engagement are also important factors that could help drive and mobilize initiatives. Leaders can and should respond. The issues are complex, but not overwhelming. However, they need to be addressed proactively.

How a Social Calculator can Predict the Potential Impact of Aging for Communities and States

Many of these factors have been analyzed by our team through a number of aging related research and planning projects over the past few years. We are now completing an Aging Social Impact Calculator that can provide an initial scan of the local environment, and the state environment. It looks at key factors that shape a county’s or state’s social, economic, and community health.

Research projects that I’ve recently completed demonstrate that the Social Determinants of Health, health rankings, economic benchmarks and policy issues either help communities and states to move forward, or serve as additional challenges.

Social Determinants. The Social Determinants shape us as individuals, families and communities. They include things such as family income, jobs, poverty and financial assets. Income, assets, poverty, and unemployment have been demonstrated to be some of the most important shapers of family and community health, health disparities, and health equity. Race and ethnicity have been seen as extremely important by the World Health Organization, U.S. federal government bureaus, and the health research and funding community. Individual, family and community educational levels are also significant. Taken together, or aggregated, one finds community snapshots that reflect the local economy, jobs and poverty; racial and ethnic mix; and educational levels. They help to predict how our lives will be shaped in the future.

Community and State Health Rankings. Communities and states are rated on their overall health by many research groups. One of the key national ratings used is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJ) annual County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. They provide excellent state and county ratings based upon an analysis using more than a few dozen separate indicators. That ranking provides extremely important information to help determine whether an area faces significant health disparities and inequities. Rankings can tell planners whether community health challenges will pose additional difficulties that negatively impact the community’s ability to respond to the aging trend; or whether the positive community health will facilitate communities to implement strategies to respond. These health rankings can help inform plans that more effectively address key issues.

Economic Benchmarks. Communities are very much shaped by large and small economic trends. Short and long-term economic ratings provide a picture of community economic health. Counties and states with strong economic ratings have more ability to respond to these challenges than do those with a weak economic picture. Communities that face a loss of jobs and capital, and a diminishing tax base, are not as well positioned to respond to the Age Wave as communities that have a different economic picture.

Other factors that can also help predict the impact of the demographic trend include whether or not a region has a net population loss. Areas that are losing population also begin to lose jobs and infrastructure over time, unless this can be proactively addressed.

Laws, policies, legislative initiatives and funding priorities and strategies can also shape how well a local community or state is able to respond to this trend. Policies and funding that support economic development, the built environment, and services for older adults provide an environment that facilitates a community or county’s proactive response to this demographic trend.

The Power of Collective Impact

The combined, or collective impact of (1) demographic trends, (2) Social Determinants, (3) health rankings, (4) local and state economies, and (5) policies together shape a region’s sustainability. They also can serve as general predictors of how hard hit a community may be by the aging of the population. Taken together, these factors provide a picture of what may happen for communities, counties and states. They help us understand current and projected collective impact.

Aging Social Impact Calculator

The Aging Social Impact Calculator looks at states and counties, and provides an initial prediction about the level of impact you may expect from the aging of the population in your region. Some of the most important benchmarks that make up the predictive picture include:

  • Demographic Factors
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • County Health Ranking (Health Outcomes and Health Risk Behaviors)
  • County Economic Picture
  • Policy and Funding Framework

Working with a Predictor

Any social impact calculator has predictive capabilities. Many economic calculators have been used successfully by the World Bank, the Low Income Investment Fund, and others. The Robert Wood Johnson’s County Health Rankings and Roadmaps and state level health department profiles (like the New Mexico Community Snapshots) provide pictures of community health that capture both the present and the near future. The Aging Social Impact Calculator offers snapshots of projected impact on a community, and the community’s strengths and weaknesses in that will affect its ability to respond. It provides a helpful picture of local and state capacity, which can help leaders to choose priorities that fit their capacity to respond.

Predictors offer a holistic general picture that can serve as an important starting point for communities and states to respond to the needs of older adults. They serve as broad frameworks or roadmaps. Once a predictor profile is developed, then community leaders can look deeper into the community to:

  • Understand and address key issues;
  • Choose priorities, and create the size and scope of a response that fit community capacity;
  • Build upon community strengths and assets;
  • Reduce risks;
  • Create plans that bring stakeholders together and leverage resources.

Every state and community has its own unique assets that can be utilized to respond to this issue, which are complex, and difficult to measure with a social impact calculator. These include the rich family and social networks, community leaders, volunteers, faith communities and civic organizations that represent significant community assets.

1. The term “Age Wave” was coined by Ken Dychtwald decades ago to capture the coming demographic trend that was then on the horizon, and is now a reality.

2. Social Determinants of Health were developed by the World Health Organization, and utilized by major institutions (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Kaiser Foundation) and key research organizations throughout the U.S. to deal with community health in a holistic way.

Internal Communication Measurement – Why, When and How?

When Should We Measure Communications?

Annual in depth surveys. Engagement and satisfaction surveys are typically carried out annually and can carry additional questions to provide some insights into the effectiveness of communications.

Prior to a specific communications campaign. In order to best understand the impact of communications, it is necessary to measure (awareness, attitudes, knowledge etc) before a campaign.

After a significant communication or campaign. It is important to measure the effectiveness and impact of significant communications programs and initiatives. This allows you to tailor internal communications to make sure they are effective and delivering quantifiable business value.

At intervals to track attitudes. Regular measurement helps communicators to gauge the ever shifting feelings and attitudes within an organization and to tailor messages to make sure they are appropriate to their audiences.

Pulse checks and temperature checks during and after specific events provide an insight into the issues and challenges an organization faces and to gather feedback on specific issues.

At intervals to benchmark and track against KPI’s. Measuring regularly against benchmarks and tracking trends over time provide an early warning of issues that may go undetected until they have escalated further.

What to Measure?

Determining which aspects of communication to measure will depend on the organization’s specific business and communication objectives. A few examples of useful communications measurements include:

Baseline communication measurements prior to communication can measure; existing knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of employees, as well as determining the existing information available, how easy it is to find, the current communications channels available and to identify other factors influencing attitudes and behaviors.

Functional communication measurements
Following a communication or campaign, functional aspects of communication should be measured. Comparisons to the baselines measurements are useful. Additional measures can include; the number and types of messages sent, timing of messages, message cut-through / reach, channel effectiveness and appeal, audience satisfaction with content (types, volume etc).

What to Measure – Measuring Impact

Measuring of the impact communication is a critical step and measures can include:

Audience perception measurements including factors such as; % and types of messages received, communications remembered. Were messages seen as relevant, consistent and credible? Were the messages understood? How well do employees feel they are being supported? Do employees understand exactly what needs to happen as a result of the communication(s)?

Change in Behavior
The objective of most internal communication is to change the attitudes and behaviors of employees. Therefore, it is valuable to identify and measure factors such as; What changed? Was there more or less of a behavior? What is now different?

Impact on business goals / Outcomes
Communication measurement should enable Internal Communicators to quantify the impact of communications on business objectives. For example:

  • The number of employees who signed up for share scheme (following its promotion)
  • The shift in attitudes regarding customer service and the projected impact of increased customer retention
  • The number of usable suggestions submitted via an employee suggestion initiative (and the financial value of those suggestions)

Isolating the impact of communication

Communication does not happen in a vacuum and it can sometimes be difficult to isolate the impact of communication versus other factors (incentive schemes, new product launches, factors external to the organization and so on). Possible solutions include:

  • Communications control groups ( isolating a group, such as a single remote location, and not communicating them about a specific initiative or goal, then looking at how their actions differ from groups you have communicated with)
  • Assessing the change in behavior with regard to a business goal which was communicated well, versus a business goal with little or no communication
  • Estimate the % influence of communications versus other influencing factors.

Calculating the financial value of communication

Calculations of the financial value of communication will, at best, be estimates. However, it is still an important part of communication measurement as it starts a conversation with senior managers as well and can demonstrate the enormous value of effective internal communication.

Consider the impact of an effective internal crisis communication response. A comparison can be made against a situation (internally or within a similar organization) which wasn’t handled as well, and quantifiable value attributed to factors such as:

Volume of customers retained
Retention of good staff who might otherwise have left

Tools to Assist the Measurement of Internal Communication include:

  • Desktop surveys and quizzes. Aside from in depth online or paper based surveys, pop-up desktop surveys and quizzes can provide additional measurement and benchmarking capability throughout the year.
  • Incentives. A prize incentive can encourage staff to participate in a quiz or survey.

Qualitative Communication Measurement

In addition to quantitative measures of communications effectiveness, qualitative communication measurement should also be undertaken. Qualitative techniques can include:

  • Free form answers in surveys.
  • Focus groups
  • Discussion forums. Although face-to-face interviews and focus groups are often the best option for qualitative communication measurement, internal social media can be a useful addition or substitute. Set up employee discussion forums to investigate specific issues. Monitor comments made in discussion forums to gather qualitative measures of how employees are thinking feeling and behaving

Avoiding Survey Bias

Avoiding non-response or self select bias. When surveys rely on employees to opt in or ‘self select’, you may mostly hear from the squeaky wheels or people with an agenda motivating them to participate. A desktop survey tool can provide recurrence, random sampling and escalation options to help ensure that representative internal communications measurement data is collected from across the organization.

Control groups. Set up a control groups for communications campaigns. Identify survey responses from control groups and hence to compare and assess the impact of internal communications campaigns.

Multiple select questions. For some types of questions, e.g. “Where did you hear about XXX from?” or “What factors influenced your decision” providing single answer options can skew results. In these cases, provide multi-select answer options.

Comparisons. Measure the impact of communications on people who saw a particular communications against those who didn’t.

The impact of time on recall. Recall rates will drop over time, hence if communication campaigns are to be compared with one another, communications measurement needs to be carried out at the same time period after each campaign. Ensure that communications measurement is carried out at a consistent time after each campaign.

Providing context for a quiz or survey. Context should be given for a quiz or survey. For example, a product knowledge quiz without context may cause employees to worry about the purpose of the quiz and possibly work harder to ensure they provide the correct answers. However the same quiz with an explanation “the purpose of this quiz if to see how well the communications team are doing, therefore please be as honest as possible” is more likely to provide an accurate measure of communication effectiveness.

Encouraging Survey Participation

Promoting the survey to encourage participation. The higher survey participation rates are, the more statistically accurate and relevant the results will be. Use innovative internal communications channels such as; desktop alerts, scrolling desktop feeds, screensaver messaging and user generated staff magazines to raise the profile of surveys and encourage participation.

Communicating survey findings and actions being taken. When employees believe that the outputs from staff surveys will be constructively used, they are more likely to participate. Therefore, ensure that survey results and the resulting actions being taken are well communicated to staff. Screensaver messages, newsfeeds and articles in the staff magazines are great ways get messages across without their becoming buried in email in-boxes.

 axjdus.gq sippsinfo.cf vsieus.cf vsibus.cf hzgginfo.gq rlsrinfo.gq ikdbus.cf ijgzus.cf burgh.us alaizinfo.gq azxjorg.gq nyatyinfo.cf ioziorg.gq ruezorg.gq digriinfo.cf tovyainfo.cf afajorg.gq edlnorg.ga mvtforg.ga obmborg.ga edejorg.ga ajlnorg.ga rbiiorg.ga echborg.ga rxovorg.ga gazcorg.gq vefcorg.gq knaiorg.ga oeunorg.gq montginfo.ga kevloinfo.ga ikexninfo.ga hddzinfo.ga pekahinfo.ga hbarsinfo.ga cchzinfo.ga zoapcom.ga zddzinfo.gq ejreninfo.gq jncavinfo.gq boousinfo.gq qnnqinfo.gq qezeninfo.gq knnkinfo.gq zhhzinfo.gq uikiinfo.cf scmcainfo.cf bcutzinfo.cf olichinfo.cf ljveorg.ga dfegorg.ga qisqorg.ga towtorg.ga diomcom.ga fzuecom.ga olcgus.ga tzanus.ga ilskus.gq ulrucom.ga uecscom.ga ejclorg.gq zvoborg.gq sazborg.gq ehskcom.ga absolum-guild.com sibgin.cf hndlin.cf gtfain.cf clrrin.cf azxyin.cf eroxin.cf mddoin.cf fmeiin.cf hjaein.cf noqpin.cf hjsqin.cf nayrin.cf yihycom.gq aropin.cf ensain.cf tyydin.cf dimgin.cf waxyin.cf ebppin.cf amvmin.cf ehgcin.cf ebmwus.ga axazus.ga ptwmin.cf wtmecu.cf domucu.cf jicccu.cf oimhcu.cf frugcu.cf gtlocu.cf akeiof.ga dolphin-techtz.com afajorg.gq occcsinfo.cf yirtus.gq gosfus.ga