TIME Food & Drink

Beer Lovers Divided Over Title of America’s Top Craft Brewery

Some beer drinkers celebrated the brewery's new status, but others lamented it

Not everyone is toasting to whom the Brewers Association named Tuesday as America’s top craft brewery: Yuengling.

The Pennsylvania-based brewery shot to the top of the trade group’s annual ranking of U.S. craft breweries by sales volume thanks to its new consideration under the “craft beer category,” while Boston Beer and Sierra Nevada rounded out the top three.

The Brewers Association had designated Yuengling a craft brewery last year by striking the requirement that the majority of produced beers needed to be “all malt,” Fortune reports. Instead, the group said it would also consider breweries that used traditional ingredients, like corn or rice, which are used in Yuengling’s beers. Many smaller craft brewers were concerned that Yuengling’s craft status would affect how “craft beer” is used to appeal to customers, the Huffington Post reported last year.

Though the family-owned Yuengling is America’s oldest brewery, many beer lovers still weren’t happy that a mainstream brewery was named the nation’s top craft brewery. As one user wrote on Facebook: “Yuengling, craft beer for people who cannot get enough Budweiser.”

Over in Philadelphia, beer drinkers celebrated the brewery’s newfound status, along with other area brewers like Dogfish Head, Troegs and Victory Brewing.

See the full list of top 50 U.S. craft brewers here.

TIME Companies

A Slimmed-Down RadioShack Exits Bankruptcy Court

A RadioShack store pictured in North Portland, Ore., on Feb. 6, 2015.
Alex Milan Tracy—AP A RadioShack store pictured in North Portland, Ore., on Feb. 6, 2015.

Judge approves a plan to sell 1,740 of its stores to the Standard General hedge fund

A U.S. bankruptcy judge on Tuesday said he will approve a plan by RadioShack to sell 1,740 of its stores to the Standard General hedge fund, which plans to operate most of them in conjunction with Sprint.

The ruling ends a hotly-contested, four-day hearing in which RadioShack’s largest creditor, Salus Capital Partners, opposed the sale. RadioShack had said it hopes to close the sale by Wednesday to avoid paying April rent.

The deal will send the retailer out of bankruptcy as a slimmed-down operation and still selling electronics. Standard General will be able to save 7,500 jobs in a restructured business, according to The Wall Street Journal.

RadioShack entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February with more than 4,000 stores, most of which have been closed.

Founded in 1921, the chain was once the go-to retailer for electronics, but became increasingly irrelevant in the digital age.

The case is In Re: RadioShack Corp, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, No. 15-10197

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com and includes information from Reuters.

TIME Aviation

3 Charts Showing How Airlines Put a Price on Crash Victims’ Lives

The Germanwings victims' families could seek additional compensation

 

While investigators probe why Germanwings Flight 9525’s co-pilot apparently deliberately crashed an airliner in the French Alps last week, the most difficult question falls in the hands of the airline and victims’ families: How much money is each of the lives lost worth?

Germanwings’ parent airline, Lufthansa, will soon offer each family a sum of money to compensate for the deaths of the plane’s 150 passengers and crew in hopes the case will be settled. But since prosecutors believe the airline failed to adequately assess co-pilot Andreas Lubitz’s mental state — which early investigations suggest may partly explain his motives — some families may be more inclined to seek greater compensation in court.

Among the factors that will affect any settlement amount will be the country where cases are litigated. Settlements are partly determined by the victims’ wages, age and life expectancy, all of which differ from country to country. Since Germanwings’ passengers were nationals of over 15 countries — mostly Germans and Spaniards, with three Americans, Argentines, Brits and Kazakhs — their settlements could vary because of those metrics. See the chart above for a look at how aviation disaster settlements can vary by victims’ nationality.

The highest average settlements are in the U.S. (estimated $4.5 million), several times greater than European averages, according to estimates by James Healy-Pratt, head of the aviation department at Stewarts Law in London. Meanwhile, average settlements in China (estimated $500,000), for example, indicate how settlements in Asia tend to be lower than those in Western nations.

“The uneven values on the loss of lives of different nationalities in an air disaster has always been a problem to explain to families,” says Healy-Pratt. “Especially so given the shared and similar experience of the last minutes of Germanwings.”

Though Germanwings may never disclose the value of its compensation offer, the Germanwings victims’ families are guaranteed around $170,000 each under an international agreement called the Montreal Convention. Signed in 1999, the Montreal Convention requires an airline to pay that amount as a minimum liability regardless of fault if it is based in one of the 100-some countries that have ratified the treaty, Germany among them. (The Convention does not govern minimum compensation for crew members.) Though the treaty states an airline is not liable for any amount over the minimum if it can prove it was not negligent, the burden of proving zero fault is “next to impossible to meet,” meaning settlements can be unlimited, according to a report by the Danko Law Firm in California.

But some countries — such as Russia and Indonesia — have ratified only the older Warsaw Convention, which the Montreal Convention was intended to replace. Signed in 1929, the Warsaw Convention has two fundamental differences from the newer document: It sets a far lower minimum liability ($8,300), and it states an airline is not liable for any amount over the minimum if it can prove it took all possible steps to avoid the accident. That’s much easier to do. As a result, the Warsaw Convention’s outdated rules have concerned families so much that when Indonesia-based carrier AirAsia saw Flight 8501 crash last December, the airline’s CEO promised he would not “hide behind any convention,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

In the map below, the countries under the Montreal Convention appear in green, and the countries still under the Warsaw Convention appear in red:

 

Meanwhile, some countries have ratified neither treaty and instead rely on national regulations. In Taiwan, for example — the home base of TransAsia, which had two crashes in the last year — there is a minimum liability of about $100,000, according to the Taipei Times.

Still, what most airlines have in common, regardless of international treaties, is a policy of immediate compensation. But similar to settlements, these initial payments, too, can vary by country: Germanwings, for example, announced last week it would pay $54,000 to victims’ families to cover immediate expenses, while TransAsia paid about $38,000 after the caught-on-video crash of Flight 235 in February. “Some unification in this process is needed,” a U.S. Senate report wrote in 2003.

Compared with other carriers in high-profile disasters, Germanwings has been relatively generous with its initial payment, though these advance payments are often a way for airlines to rehabilitate their public images. While the Germanwings investigation deepens, here’s a look at the compensation process for other high-profile air disasters:

Read more: Germanwings Co-Pilot Informed Flight School of Depressive Episode

TIME Labor

Fast Food Workers Plan April 15 Strike

Fast Food Labor
Seth Wenig—AP People participate in rally in front of a McDonalds in New York, Tuesday, March 31, 2015.

Professors and home care workers will join the protests

U.S. fast food workers are planning a major one-day strike on Tax Day, April 15, their latest action in a two-year campaign for a $15 hourly wage and the right to unionize.Workers will walk off the job at fast food restaurants in more than 200 cities across the U.S. to demand higher pay, and protests will be held in as many as 40 other countries the same day.

College campuses will join in the demonstrations, with 170 universities planning rallies and marches, and adjunct professors will also advocate for their own pay increases. Home care workers, airport personnel and Walmart employees are also expected to be involved. Overall, events will take place in more than 200 U.S. cities on April 15 and as many as 40 other countries.

The movement, supported by the Service Employees International Union, has so far largely not fazed McDonald’s and other fast food giants, who point out that franchise owners set wages for their employees. The companies also say that few workers actually end up walking off the job to participate in protests.

However, retailers such as Target and Walmart have recently announced increases to their minimum wage and a growing number of cities are raising their minimum wage to $10 to $15 per hour. At the same time, the National Labor Relations Board recently determined that McDonald’s corporate office could be viewed as a “joint employer” along with franchisees in addressing some workers’ rights issues.

TIME Companies

Watch These 4 Controversial GoDaddy Super Bowl Ads

The domain hosting business is going public this week

With domain hosting business GoDaddy set to go public this week, there’s no time better than now to take a look back at a slew of Super Bowl ads that had people talking for days after.

GoDaddy touts itself as the largest place on the web to buy domain names, with 13 million customers. It’s made a push in recent years to become a bigger services provider to small businesses, too. The company is set to offer 22 million shares in its initial public offering, at a price of $17 to $19 per share, raising just shy of $400 million in the process. Its market capitalization would be about $2.7 billion as a result.

Here’s a look at four controversial GoDaddy Super Bowl ads.

The pulled puppy ad

In January, GoDaddy made a splash when it launched a Super Bowl ad featuring a lost puppy. A riff off a Budweiser commercial, the ad features a dog that’s lost and then returns to its owners only to find out its being sold on a GoDaddy-powered website. “Look! It’s Buddy! I’m so glad you made it home because I just sold you on this website I built with GoDaddy,” a woman says to the puppy, which leaps into her arms.

But some people weren’t happy, prompting the company to pull the spot. “We underestimated the emotional response,” CEO Blake Irving said. “And we heard that loud and clear.”

Bodybuilders running

GoDaddy aired a spot last year that did end up running during the Super Bowl, but it was no less controversial. The topic: body builders running to a tanning shop. The ad featured a bulked up Danica Patrick, the NASCAR superstar, among a herd of beefy men looking for their tanning fix. At the shop, a woman behind the counter (assumed to be a small business owner) prepares for the incoming customers and says, “It’s go time”—the company’s catchphrase.

The Bar Rafaeli kiss

In a 2013 spot, supermodel Bar Rafaeli, the cover model for the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, shares a passionate kiss with a bespectacled small business owner. GoDaddy pitchwoman Danica Patrick then says: “There are two sides to GoDaddy. The sexy side represented by Bar Rafaeli and the smart side that creates a killer website for your small business represented by Walter. Together, they’re perfect.”

“I Own You”

In this 30-second Super Bowl spot from 2007, a couple co-workers are featured buying domain names. One guy is buying websites of the other’s family members, including his wife and his dog, leaving the other more and more upset. The victim catches onto the ploy (for only $1.99 a domain, GoDaddy trumpets!) and says he bought his mother’s website. A third co-worker walks by, catches only a snippet of the conversation, and isn’t impressed.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

TIME Food & Drink

11 Facts About Chipotle That Defy All Odds

Chipotle has more than 1,700 locations in America

You’ve probably dined at the $22 billion fast-casual chain before, but there’s plenty of things you don’t know about Chipotle. Here, a look at the calories, quirks and numbers that show how the beloved burrito brand has taken over.

  • Defying Starbucks

    Chipotle
    Glen Martin—Denver Post/Getty Images Chipotle CEO Steve Ells visits a Chipotle in Denver, CO.

    In 1993, 27-year-old Steve Ells was doubting his ability to successfully launch a burrito stand called Chipotle. After all, Starbucks had passed on the Denver neighborhood the recent culinary school grad selected for his location. And if Starbucks didn’t think area residents were willing to buy $5 coffee, well, then they probably weren’t ready for equally expensive burritos and tacos.

    Adding to the pressure was the $80,000 loan he received from his father for the project. Ells told Denver-based paper Westword in 2004 that while his father was supportive, he didn’t fully understand why the culinary school grad thought a burrito joint was a good idea.

    But Ells proved him wrong in just a matter of days. On opening day — July 13, 1993, 6 p.m. MDT — the stand raked in $400, according to what Ells told Westword. The next day it was “a little bit more.” And as Chipotle took off, the burrito stand was set to make $1 million by the end of its first year. Soon enough, a Starbucks opened up a few blocks away.

  • There’s Hope for Liberal Arts Majors

    Before Steve Ells attended the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, he was just another undergraduate student at the University of Colorado. “I never took business classes in school. I studied art history, and I never really thought about the economics of a restaurant — only the food and the experience,” Ells said in a 2011 video interview on Chipotle’s YouTube channel.

    Studying art history doesn’t exactly have the best rep — even Obama made fun of the major during a speech in January 2014: “Folks can make a lot more, potentially, with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree,” he said last year. But Ells, who during college channeled his interest in art into “culinary experiments” like extra-hot chili, is getting the last laugh: He was paid $28.9 million in 2014, according to a recent SEC filing, and since Obama’s annual income is set by law at $400,000, Ells earns about 72 times more money than Obama.

  • Looks Can Be Deceiving

    A Chipotle Restaurant Ahead Of Earnings Data
    Patrick T. Fallon—Bloomberg/Getty Images

    Can you guess how many calories are in your Chipotle burrito? The issue was so important that a team of PhD candidates conducted a scientific study on the matter, which was published last year in the journal Public Health Nutrition.

    The study showed that, on average, participants who did not look at the calorie ranges on Chipotle’s menu underestimated the calories in a burrito by 37%, which equates to a mean underestimation of 336 calories. Participants weren’t much better at blindly estimating the calories in burrito bowls, either — on average, they underestimated the calories by 24%, which equates to a mean underestimation of 214 calories.

  • The Truth About Calories

    Inside A Chipotle Restaurant Ahead of Earnings Figures
    Craig Warga—Bloomberg/Getty Images

    One reason people are so bad at estimating their Chipotle calories is that, well, a meal at the chain can be pretty caloric. Half of the meals people order at Chipotle contain over 1,070 calories, according to a New York Times analysis of GrubHub data in February 2015. The recommended daily calories for adult men and women range from 2,000 to 3,000 and 1,600 to 2,400, respectively, depending on age and activity level, according to the USDA.

    But how does that make sense, when, for example, the menu’s calorie range for burritos is about 400 to 900? Shouldn’t a normal burrito fall somewhere in the middle?

    Nope. Opting for a soft flour tortilla means your order starts off at 300 calories. Add on black beans and rice, and you’re up to 605. Pile on some steak, and you’ve hit 795. With cheese, lettuce, guacamole and sour cream, an average burrito can top out at around 1,245 calories.

  • A Burrito Record

    Think you scarf down your Chipotle burritos quickly? Competitive eater Matt Stonie is on record for eating a burrito in about 35 seconds. In the above video, he eats three more burritos, in addition to downing a Diet Coke, in just about three minutes. While no Guinness World Records officials appeared to be on hand, Stonie already has several world records under his belt, including eating 5 pounds of cake in 8 minutes and 59 seconds.

     

  • Chipotle’s Twitter Fail

    @Chipotle is a lot less popular on Twitter than you’d think: it has fewer than 600 followers on Twitter.

    But who said @Chipotle is actually the beloved burrito brand? @Chipotle actually belongs to a man named Chip Clark, who joined Twitter in March 2007 and registered the handle before Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) did. Here’s what Clark told TIME about the situation last week:

    Chipotle did contact me several years ago about the possibility of acquiring my Twitter handle. If memory serves it was via email. Given the fact that it violates Twitter’s [terms of service], they never offered to purchase it and I have never offered to sell it. I am often asked by third parties to buy the handle. I decline the offers and block their accounts. I probably get 40 to 50 @Chipotle notifications a day.

    Besides not being able to secure @Chipotle, Chipotle has had a few other issues with Twitter, including a highly publicized hack in February 2015.

  • We’re All Guilty

    A Chipotle Restaurant Ahead Of Earnings Data
    Patrick T. Fallon—Bloomberg/Getty Images

    You might be Chipotle’s most loyal fan, but that doesn’t mean you’re its most honest customer. Chances are you’ve asked for a free water cup and then filled it with soda.

    The good news is you’re not alone. There’s no scientific research on this issue, but one high school student decided to take a stab at it. The student’s study shockingly found that 46% of people asking for water cups filled them with soda.

    Take the results with a grain of salt, though. After all, the student’s report was entered in the American Statistical Association’s annual competition for different grade levels, failed to win and contained many assumptions. But still — that 46% is totally believable, right? After all, people have charged with a felony for filling free water cups with soda.

     

  • From Summer Job to Six-Figure Salary

    A Chipotle Restaurant Ahead Of Earnings Data
    Patrick T. Fallon—Bloomberg/Getty Images

    One reason Chipotle has become so successful, Quartz reported last year, is the way it treats its employees — especially entry-level crew members. The company’s “restauranteur program” outlines a path on which an hourly wage employee can become a general manager (GM) with a $100,000 salary. Once a GM is promoted to restauranteur, s/he receives a $10,000 bonus for each crew member promoted to GM, as an incentive to cultivate and retrain the company’s talent.

  • You’re Missing Out

    How a mega-popular fast food chain has a “secret menu” is still a mystery. According to HacktheMenu.com, there are eight items on Chipotle’s secret menu, which range from hybrid creations like the “Quesarito” and “Burritodilla,” to basic orders of fresh cilantro and a single taco.

    And apparently it’s no joke, either. A Business Insider reporter popped into a random Chipotle store last year and ordered a Quesarito with no problems. “You’re never going to go back to a burrito. It’s like crack,” said one Chipotle worker, who, like all other staff, are reportedly trained to make these orders.

  • Another Reason to Desire Fame

    Every now and then a celebrity sets off a digital firestorm by revealing they are in possession of something very valuable: the almost mythical free-burritos-for-life card.

    These secret burrito club cards give the holders one free burrito per day for the rest of their life. If a card holder went every day, it would amount to around $3,600 worth of free burritos per year.

    Several celebrities, including many athletes, are reportedly in possession of these cards, which function as a viral marketing tool for Chipotle. Bryce Harper, TJ Warren, Russell Wilson, Abby Wambach, Tony Hawk and Drew Gooden have all proudly showed off their cards on social media.

     

  • Chipotle’s Secret Stores

    Can’t get enough Chipotle? Well, Chipotle can’t either — apparently the $22 billion burrito joint doesn’t satisfy the company’s hunger for more business. So in 2011, Chipotle entered a secret partnership — unveiled only last year — with a Denver-based pizza chain to launch a new fast-casual restaurant.

    Pizzeria Locale has two locations in Colorado — with plans to open another shop in Kansas City, Mo., later this year. It’s already killing it on Yelp, where it has a four-star average.

    Chipotle also has 10 Southeast Asian-style joints called ShopHouse in the Los Angeles, Calif., and Washington, D.C., areas.

MONEY Fast Food

All-Day Breakfast and 4 Other Tests McDonald’s Hopes Will Juice Sales

McDonald's Breakfast Menu
Helen Sessions—Alamy McDonald's Breakfast Menu

After falling behind the times and engaging in a few failed experiments, McDonald's is trying to innovate with the likes of all-day breakfast, table service, and hot new flavors.

It shouldn’t seem like big news that McDonald’s is testing out the idea of selling Egg McMuffins 24/7—in a single city no less. But word spread quickly yesterday that “industry sources” said that all-day breakfast would be tested in San Diego-area McDonald’s this spring, and after a barrage of coverage McDonald’s confirmed the rumors were true.

“We know our customers love McDonald’s breakfast and they tell us they’d like to enjoy it beyond the morning hours. So next month, we will begin testing all-day breakfast at select restaurants in the San Diego area,” McDonald’s explained in statement released to the press on Monday. “We look forward to learning from this test, and it’s premature to speculate on any outcomes.”

McDonald’s may not be willing to speculate on the implications of all-day breakfast, but there are plenty of people who are more than happy to do so. Citing several analysts and observers weighing in on just how “craveable” McDonald’s Egg McMuffin and other breakfast items are, Slate described the arrival of all-day breakfast at McDonald’s as the “One Big Menu Change That Could Save Its Business.”

Breakfast has come to be seen as the most important meal of the day for fast food largely because it’s the only part of the day that’s seen steady sales growth in recent years. Today’s time-crunched, on-the-go culture has led more people to swing by the drive-thru each morning. And because of our hectic schedules, odd work hours, and changing tastes, consumers are more likely to crave coffee and breakfast sandwiches at all hours of the day—not just up until 10:30 a.m., when McDonald’s usually shuts down breakfast operations.

More people basically wear pajamas all day nowadays—that’s what yoga pants and leisurewear are, aren’t they?—so it sorta makes sense there’s increasing demand for breakfast all day as well. QSRMagazine.com recently cited a 2015 survey showing that 7 out of 10 consumers want restaurants to serve breakfast during all business hours, and the demographic most interested in having breakfast items available for dinner are the all-important millennials.

McDonald’s franchise owners have explained that all-day breakfast is problematic if not impossible because of the logistics: The grills needed for hot cakes and Egg McMuffins aren’t available during busy lunch and dinner hours because they’re already being used for burgers and such. But McDonald’s has been testing late-night menus in which Big Macs can be made alongside Sausage McMuffins and other breakfast items, and what with the company’s struggles in the marketplace (with millennials especially), the company seems to think it’s worth giving all-day breakfast a shot at revitalizing sales.

All-day breakfast is not the only way McDonald’s is trying to boost—or perhaps even revolutionize—the business. Here are four more interesting experiments McDonald’s is trying out right now.

Table Service
The McDonald’s at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, is allowing customers to place orders via digital kiosk or with a waiter that comes around to their table. Yes, there are actual waitstaff at this McDonald’s, and once orders are ready they’ll bring food out to customers’ tables.

Shakin’ Fries, Shakin’ McNuggets
Tests involving seasoned French fries surfaced at McDonald’s in a couple markets last spring. Dubbed Shakin’ Fries, they’re fries that come with your choice of flavor seasoning (garlic parmesan, zesty ranch, spicy buffalo), along with a special mixing bag where customers can literally spice things up. More recently, McDonald’s has been testing the sales of Shakin’ Flavors with McNuggets. The concept plays into two notable restaurant trends at the same time—one in which food is customizable, the other involving more variety of spices, the hotter the better.

Build Your Burger
Another customizable option being tested by McDonald’s is the “Build Your Burger” program spotted at restaurants in southern California early last fall. The menu option is being expanded to a handful of states in 2015, and customers are being asked to pay up for the right to mix and match exactly what they want on burgers and, in some cases, chicken sandwiches as well. A customized burger with medium fries and a medium drink has been priced at $8.29 at some locations. For that, customers can personalize what the burger comes with, including a choice of buns (artisan or brioche) and toppings (spicy mayo, classic ketchup, cheeses, guacamole, jalapenos, bacon, etc.). McDonald’s employees hand deliver the order to customers’ tables as well.

The Corner
Taco Bell, KFC, Denny’s, and Cracker Barrel are all experimenting with more upscale fast-casual restaurant concepts, so why not McDonald’s? Late last year, the fast-food giant opened a new restaurant in Sydney, Australia, called The Corner, and at first glance you’d never guess McDonald’s was involved. Described as a “hipster café” and a “super healthy test concept, The Corner is a prototype featuring craft sodas, tofu, pulled pork, cold-drip coffee, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, and the like. There is a tiny “McCafe” logo on bags that hold orders, and even if the restaurant itself is never duplicated, if they’re popular enough some of the menu items may one day appear in McDonald’s around the world.

TIME

5 Rules for Recruiting Great Talent

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Getty Images

In a competitive marketplace, companies should follow these 5 rules to acquire, and keep, talented employees

No matter how strong your value proposition for customers, the primary driver for your business’ long term growth will always be your people. Smart people create great products and provide topnotch service to clients, which can generate strong profits for your company.

But recruiting and holding on to talent is not easy. Good employees are scarce in number but high in demand, which makes it necessary for companies to structure their business around talent and provide an environment that enables those employees to thrive.

Here are 5 ways in which businesses can accomplish this:

Allow employees to “play”

Companies like Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) are well known for hiring smart people and then allowing them to express their creativity, experiment with new ideas, and (to some extent) define their own roles. This keeps the pipeline of these companies filled with cutting edge products and helps maintain their lead in the market.

More importantly, this principle can be applied in other sectors as well. Retail, food, healthcare, and even financial services businesses can benefit from encouraging their employees to think outside the box instead of regimenting them. Not only does this align talents with business models but gives employees a true sense of ownership in the enterprise and keeps companies evolving.

Look for mavericks, not drones

Businesses should ask themselves whether it’s more important to have mavericks that challenge their company to improve or drones that add little value beyond simple execution? The most talented employees will sometimes defy the status quo but that is essential in a competitive marketplace where disruption is commonplace and business models can become obsolete overnight. Those mavericks might annoy you occasionally and be hard to control, but they may also save your business and help it reach great heights.

There are, of course, basic administrative tasks which need to be performed in a strict framework, but other aspects of a business, such as product development, marketing, customer acquisition, and even senior management, can benefit from throwing away the rule book and tapping into the unique strengths and insights of contrarian employees.

Pay employees above market

The problem with market pay scales is that they are based on the average pay for any given function instead of for the highest performers. Yet these outliers are exactly the people you want to hire. So if you pay people according to the market, you’re unlikely to attract those outliers who expect (and deserve) more than their peers. Market rates may be appropriate for lower level jobs that involve little specialized knowledge or skill, but above that level it is advisable to pay well above market in order to attract the best talent.

This might seem obvious but the temptation to secure talent as cheaply as possible is strong and can easily lead to pay inertia, and by extension, performance inertia, at companies. If businesses really want to outperform, they first need to compensate their people appropriately.

Embrace your employees’ personalities

Today’s workforce, comprised primarily of millennials, is nothing if not individual and quirky. A one-size-fits-all culture in a company will produce one-size-fits-all results. Outlier employees often require, and even demand, an outlier culture and freedom. Companies that allow employees to express their natural personality are more likely to attract and retain talent, and obtain the best work product from them.

This can range from simple things like flexible work schedules and allowing employees to design their own workspace, whether it be a private office or a cubicle, to more complex aspects like work styles. For example, some people are great at problem solving or communicating ideas over email (or generally in writing) but falter when forced to do it in person. Smart businesses will recognize this quirk in such employees and rather than penalizing them for it, adapt their own expectations to achieve performance.

Respect personal privacy

In an era of declining personal privacy, businesses can stand out by refusing to pry into their employees’ private lives, especially on social media. Don’t force your employees to friend you on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. It’s perfectly reasonable to have a company policy that requires employees to be responsible in their social media posts but following them actively could turn off (and turn away) the most promising candidates.

Also, by allowing workers to lead their private lives the way they want to, you are supporting their personal happiness, which inspires loyalty and can promote productivity in their work lives as well. This relates to the point above that the more talented a person, the greater their need for independence in order to realize their potential.

Sanjay Sanghoee is a business commentator. He has worked at investment banks Lazard Freres and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, at hedge fund Ramius Capital, and has an MBA from Columbia Business School.

TIME Startups

9 Tips for Turning Your Invention Into a Business

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Start working on rolling out the business right now

startupcollective

Question: I invented something that I think has potential to become a business. What is one thing I should NOT forget to do next?

Get Real Feedback

“Your friends and family will probably support your idea even if it’s not so great. Find real people who are target customers for your idea, and see if they will actually buy it before you build it. You can use strategies like this to raise some early money from real customers who will help you make your product better than you ever could without their feedback.” — Patrick Conley, Automation Heroes

Obtain Trademarks

“If you have invented something, I will assume you’re applying for a patent. What you should not forget to do is obtain as many trademarks as possible relevant to your invention and field. These could be marketing slogans and product names. Moreover, make sure to get related domains as soon as you have a chance.” — Evrim Oralkan, Travertine Mart

Write a Business Plan

“Regardless of what you may have heard, business plans are not anachronisms — they are still relevant. Strategic planning is key to startup success; without it, you’re lost. Unfortunately, a good product isn’t everything. Without a plan and the ability to execute on that plan, even an invention with the greatest potential will wind up dead in the water.” — David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services

Validate Demand

“Most products fail because people don’t actually want them and/or are not willing to actually pay money for them. When you think you have a great idea for a product or business, you should immediately validate or invalidate that there’s actual demand for that product. “The Lean Startup” methodology gives a very specific plan for doing just that.” — Danny Boice, Speek

Execute!

“No seriously — start working on rolling out the business ASAP. Over the last few years, I’ve witnessed too many people with good ideas waste time writing a detailed business plan only to never get the idea off the ground. Do the minimum you need to do to prove you actually have a real business. Get some customers; get feedback. ” — Janis Krums, OPPRTUNITY

Make Your Early Users Happy

“Your invention may have all types of applications, but it’s important to focus on the application(s) for the set of users you’ll make very happy — enough to create buzz around your product or service and get customers to eventually pay you.” — Andrew Fayad, eLearning Mind

Check to See If It Exists

“I can’t tell you how many fab ideas I’ve had, especially in the shower, that I’ve looked up online only to find they already exist. Although it seems like the most logical and simplest next step, it is surprising how many people don’t take the time to do it. If the business idea already exists, the next question to ask is: Can I build a better mousetrap? If yes, do it. If no, skip it.” — Erin Blaskie, Next Dev Media

Be Patient

“Make sure there is demand for your invention. Make one prototype, and then try to bring in orders rather than making a ton of product and trying to sell it. Make the prototype, take photos, accept orders and market. When you have enough orders, start building. It’s the Kickstarter approach: Build one, and then sell.” — Jim Belosic, Pancakes Laboratories/ShortStack

Focus on Sales

“Get sales. Do whatever it takes to collect revenue. This process will validate your invention and get you on the road to making it a successful product.” — Thomas Cullen, LaunchPad Lab

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

TIME Careers & Workplace

3 Things to Say Instead of ‘Because I Said So’

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Because they’re not the best words to manage by

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This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

They were the four most dreaded words of your childhood: “Because I said so!”

But now, as a manager making tough decisions and enforcing changes, you hear the same phrase slipping from your lips. You want to address your employees’ concerns, of course—but at the same time, you can’t afford to spend hours debating every facet of every decision you make.

At some point, you have to stop debating and start moving forward. And that’s when it becomes all too easy to assert your managerial power by letting those four words rip.

But, as your elementary-school-age self knows, those are frustrating words to hear. And they’re not the best words to manage by, either. As an effective leader, you truly do want your employees to buy into the decisions you’re making, rather than managing by force.

So what else can you say to keep your employees moving forward in the right direction—without spending fruitless hours debating your every move? Here are a few options.

1. “I’ve Decided to Do it This Way Because…”

First and foremost, what your employees are looking for is justification for your decision. They want to know that you’re not making changes simply because you have the power to do so.

You shouldn’t feel pressured to divulge every detail of the strategy meeting that led to each decision, of course—but you should be able to provide a clear, concise, and compelling reason for why you’re making the change.

If you can’t come up with an explanation beyond “Well, that’s the decision upper management made” or “That’s just the way things have to be,” then you haven’t asked enough questions yourself. Dive back into the reasoning behind the decision, or work with your boss to formulate a solid explanation that you can provide to your team—one that’s compelling, persuasive, and clearly shows why you’re enforcing this decision.

2. “Let’s Address Your Biggest Concerns”

When you initially explain a decision, your team may not necessarily be focused on the big picture—but instead, simply that the go-forward plan is different than what they currently know.

I can’t count the number of times that in response to a newly implemented change, my employees would tell me “But the old way worked just fine” or “We never had any issues with the way we used to do it.”

But, those aren’t actual concerns about the decision. They’re just complaints about having to experience change.

As the manager, you have to urge your team to narrow in on what they’re actually concerned about. Are they worried they won’t get enough training in the new process? Do they think a new workflow will take time away from their other tasks?

These are things you should be able to address—because ideally, you’ve already thought them through.

3. “This is the Way We’re Going to Try it First

The key word here is, of course, first. This gently asserts your firm decision, while still letting your employees know that if it doesn’t work out the way you anticipate, you’ll be open to revisiting the issue down the road.

Acknowledging that you will be open to feedback in the future will help you get your employees on board for the time being—and, once they try it your way, they may find that their initial concerns aren’t as significant as they first thought.

It’s fine for your employees to ask for more information. But for the sake of your team’s productivity, at some point, you have to actually start moving forward with the plan. By addressing your employees’ concerns quickly and directly, you can get them on board to start making progress.

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