North Carolina Tech Race

WFAE in Charlotte recently aired and published a story that caught many by surprise.  The story revealed that Charlotte is on pace to surpass Raleigh-Durham in the number of tech jobs that each metro area holds.  Seven days later, Lowe’s announced that they will be building a new 23-story global technology hub in Charlotte’s South End and adding as many as 2,000 new tech jobs to the Queen City. Read WFAE’s story here


LinkedIn’s June Workforce Report

LinkedIn publishes a monthly report on employment trends in the U.S. workforce. The report provides helpful insights into hiring, skills gaps, and migration trends across the country,  From a migration perspective, LinkedIn captures insights tied to members who change their locations on their profiles.  In the June 2019 report, Charlotte was among the top three USA cities (behind Austin and Denver) that gained the most workers.  Read LinkedIn’s June 2019 Workforce Report here.


From Bank Town to Auto Town?

You may know that the U.S. automotive manufacturing industry has shifted to the southeastern USA. But did you know that the Charlotte region is benefiting greatly from this trend? According to research from the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, more than 63,000 people work in automotive sectors in our region (more than Greenville, SC and more than most of Charlotte’s peer cities).  Over the past two years, 20 automotive-related companies have announced plans to locate or expand in the region, adding a total of nearly 1,300 jobs. Learn more here.


Charlotte Regional Job and Population Growth Remain on the Rise

The boom continues!  The Charlotte Regional Business Alliance has released its Q1, 2019 “Growth Report” and the numbers continue to show economic strength across the region.  Among the first quarter highlights featured in the latest report:

  • Net New Jobs in Q1:  8,065
  • Announced Expansion or Relocation Projects:  25
  • Announced New Capital Investment:  $93.6M
  • Industry Sector with Highest Growth Rate in Hiring:  Transportation & Logistics

Is the Business Card Dead?

Let’s say you are preparing to participate in a professional networking meeting in Charlotte this week.  Your elevator pitch has been perfected, and you are feeling on top of your game.  But then a nagging question arises that throws you off base.  Should I, or should I not, present my business card to new contacts?  Has the rise of LinkedIn (and other tools) rendered the business card obsolete?

Our strong belief?  The business card still matters.

Following a meeting with a local business executive, the Croixstone team engaged in spirited discussion last week about the merit of the business card.  While some people feel strongly that this longstanding business communication tool is passé, we are resolute in our belief that the business card absolutely still matters.

Yes, LinkedIn serves an incredibly valuable purpose.  And, yes, many millennials are quick to say that the business card is pointless.  We would offer that the business card is an essential tool in your personal branding tool chest.  Like any tool, you simply need to know when the card is appropriate to present.

Know your audience and the environment.  If you are attending a networking event at the Duke Mansion with people from traditional, conservative professional groups or companies, you can be assured that your business card matters.  Attending a hip tech gathering at Camp North End the following evening?  You might be best to leave your business card tucked safely in your pocket.

Also remember that your business card, when designed with care and intentionality, is a powerful tool to represent, and differentiate, your personal brand.

Read more opinions on the value of the business card from 16 public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising leaders who serve on the Forbes Agency Council.


Mainstream Mindfulness

Last week, members of the Croixstone Consulting crew attended an educational seminar hosted by HopeWay Foundation, a Charlotte-based 501(c)(3) that supports mental health wellness.  The guest speaker was Dan Harris, ABC News anchor and author of 10% Happier and Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics.

Dan Harris has become a huge advocate of mental health wellness, and meditation, following his personal experience with a nationally televised panic attack.

Meditation has become fully mainstream, and companies like Google, Nike, and Apple are proponents of mindfulness training.  Learn more here.


German Investment in Charlotte

According to research from the former Charlotte Regional Partnership, there are 194 German-owned firms in the greater Charlotte region; making Germany the most largely represented foreign country in the region.  Learn more about Germany’s investment in Charlotte and why so many German firms have chosen to conduct business in our region.


Make Today a Day ON

Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in a nation of freedom and justice for all, and encouraged all citizens to live up to the purpose and potential of America by applying the principles of nonviolence. MLK Day of Service is a way to honor his life and teachings by engaging in community action that continues to solve social problems. Service breaks down barriers by bringing people from different experiences together – volunteering can unite Americans of all ages and backgrounds while building stronger communities.  Visit MLKDay.gov to join millions of others in making today’s federal holiday a Day ON, Not a Day Off.


A Virtual View of the Skills Gap Dilemma

According to the just-released 2018 Employer Needs Survey, 50 percent of North Carolina businesses report hiring difficulties and 60 percent of NC STEM-related and manufacturing companies experience the same. A recent Deloitte study estimates 2.4 million positions may go unfilled over the next decade.

Immersive technologies, such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) or mixed reality (MR) [collectively called XR], are being used to address the skills gap behind those numbers. Charlotte-based Lowe’s finds VR particularly useful for simulating the numerous home environments a sales or service representative may encounter. Global shipping giant DHL Supply Chain reports an average 15 percent or greater improvement in productivity in its warehouses utilizing AR glasses, while also reducing onboarding and training time by 50 percent.

What does this mean for employee training? Read more on:  A Virtual View of the Skills Gap Dilemma.

About Our Guest Writer

Lorraine Russell is President/CEO of Room to Focus.  The firm provides the tools and content to help companies increase training retention, attract digital natives, and reduce time spent onboarding and facilitating routine training.