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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell defends ‘Sunday Ticket’ package as a premium product

LOS ANGELES (AP) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated during testimony in federal court Monday that the league’s “Sunday Ticket” package, the subject of a class-action lawsuit, is a premium product while also defending the league’s broadcast model.

Goodell was called as a witness by the NFL as the trial for the lawsuit filed by “Sunday Ticket” subscribers entered its third week.

“We have been clear throughout that it is a premium product. Not just on pricing but quality,” Goodell said during cross-examination in a Los Angeles courtroom. “Fans make that choice whether they wanted it or not. I’m sure there were fans who said it was too costly.”

Goodell, who has been commissioner since 2006, said he believes this is the first time he has been called to testify in federal court during his tenure.

The class-action, which covers 2.4 million residential subscribers and 48,000 businesses who paid for the package from 2011 through 2022, claims the league broke antitrust laws by selling its package of out-of-market Sunday afternoon games at an inflated price. The subscribers also say the league restricted competition by offering “Sunday Ticket” only on a satellite provider.

The NFL maintains it has the right to sell “Sunday Ticket” under its antitrust exemption for broadcasting. The plaintiffs say that only covers over-the-air broadcasts and not pay TV.

If the NFL is found liable, a jury could award $7 billion in damages, but that number could balloon to $21 billion because antitrust cases can triple damages.

During the first two weeks of the trial, exhibits by the plaintiffs showed that Fox and CBS have long been concerned about how competition from a more widely distributed “Sunday Ticket” package could affect ratings for locally aired games.

Goodell said the NFL decided to put “Sunday Ticket” on DirecTV from 1994 through 2022 because it was one the few platforms available that had national distribution. He cited the fragmented nature of cable companies for why it wasn’t available on cable.

Goodell also said the league’s broadcast model, where local games are available over the air for all games, is why NFL games are highly rated.

“We sing it from the mountaintops, We want to reach the broadest possible audience on free television,” he said. “I think we are very pro-consumer. Our partners have found ways to build our fan base.”

Goodell also said that one reason the league decided to sell Thursday night games that had been exclusively on NFL Network from 2006 through 2013 to other networks was because of the quality of production.

Thursday night games were shared by CBS and NBC from 2014 through 2016 before Fox aired them for the next five seasons. Amazon Prime Video took over the package in 2022.

“I had my own opinion that our production was below standards that the networks (Fox and CBS) had set. We had not met that standard,” he said.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, a member of the league’s media committee, is expected to testify after Goodell.

3D-Printed Housing Underway in Greeley

The “printing” of walls for a Northern Colorado housing development got underway May 30, as Alquist 3D, a pioneering firm in 3D construction printing, began construction on the first of four prototype units of the Hope Springs housing development in Greeley.

Developers of Hope Springs, a project of Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity, expect to have 174 homes completed by 2029.

Alquist 3D moved its headquarters from Iowa City, Iowa, to Greeley in October last year. Founded in 2020, the company uses a colossal 3D printer to build concrete-based homes. The printer creates layers on top of layers of material, eventually building full walls. These can range from single-family units to entire structures across a range of prices and sizes. The company created the first owner-occupied printed home in 2021 using patented material.

READ: What is Building Information Modeling (BIM)? Discover How BIM is Shaping Modern Commercial Real Estate

Hope Springs is designed to be affordable, water-wise, and climate-friendly, serving as a model for similar developments across the nation. Plans for the community include amenities such as on-site childcare facilities, walking and biking trails, a nature discovery park, and mini-pitch LED soccer fields.

Under a public-private partnership, Alquist 3D is receiving over $4 million in support and incentives from Greeley and the state with the intent of transforming the region into the epicenter of high-tech 3D home and infrastructure printing.

The state is providing a $1,097,242 Job Growth Incentive Tax Credit over eight years for the creation of up to 79 net new jobs, as well as a Strategic Fund Incentive for $335,000 over a five-year period for the creation of up to 67 net new jobs.

Greeley is investing $2.85 million. Greeley’s funding includes an upfront forgivable loan, which was contingent on Alquist’s relocation of its headquarters to the city and the company’s commitment to stay at least five years. The city is also helping Alquist with $100,000 of its relocation expenses. The largest portion of the city’s incentive package, $2 million, is tied to Alquist’s purchase of equipment, staffing and construction in Greeley.

The partnership also involves close collaboration with Aims Community College to train students and create an economic ecosystem with an emphasis on innovation and workforce development.

“There is nowhere else on the planet where so much is happening all in one place to move structural 3D printing forward,” Alquist founder and Chairman Zachary Mannheimer said.

WeWork Has Emerged From Bankruptcy. What’s Next for the Co-Working Office Space Provider?

NEW YORK (AP) — WeWork has officially emerged from bankruptcy. And all eyes are on whether its new leadership can guide the long-embattled provider of co-working office space to success.

Once a Wall Street darling promising to revolutionize the world of work, WeWork took a stunning — but anticipated — fall last November when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Early overexpansion shackled WeWork with mounting debt and unsustainable real estate costs, and the New York-based company turned to restructuring in a bid to resurrect its business.

WeWork emerged from the restructuring, which took effect Tuesday after being finalized in court last month, as a private company. That means its future financial disclosures will be limited, but the company says it’s shed more than $4 billion in debt, raised $400 million of additional equity capital, and cut future lease obligations in half — which it expects to bring some $12 billion in future savings.

WeWork’s real estate footprint also got smaller. The company still has locations in Denver and Boulder, but it exited 170 “unprofitable” locations — bringing its portfolio to about 600 wholly owned, franchisee and joint-venture locations in 37 countries. That’s down from around 770 locations across 39 countries reported ahead of November’s Chapter 11 filing.

“They rejected a great deal (of leases), so it’s obviously going to put WeWork in a much better position in terms of being lean enough … to exit bankruptcy and operate without so much crushing overhead,” said John D. Giampolo, a member partner at New York-based law firm Rosenberg & Estis who specializes in corporate bankruptcy reorganization and represented several landlords and creditors in WeWork’s bankruptcy case.

Still, the future is uncertain. “Is it going to be enough so that WeWork becomes sufficiently profitable long-term?” Giampolo added. “I think only time is going to tell.”

The company’s new leadership is also being watched. Corresponding with Tuesday’s announcement about emerging from bankruptcy, WeWork revealed that David Tolley has stepped down as CEO and is being replaced by John Santora, of real estate company Cushman & Wakefield, effective Wednesday.

Santora is the fourth permanent CEO that WeWork has seen over the last five years. His predecessor Tolley, who joined WeWork just last year, became interim CEO in May 2023 — a position that became permanent in October.

In a prepared statement, Santora sounded an optimistic note about the company’s role in the co-working space.

“I firmly believe that flexible work is no longer just an option, but rather a strategic imperative for companies wanting to maximize the efficiency of their real estate footprint, as well as their dynamic workforce,” he stated.

Beyond the new chief executive appointment, WeWork also unveiled a new board of directors. More than half of the new members come from real estate software company Yardi Systems, which agreed to acquire a majority stake in WeWork through its wholly owned subsidiary Cupar Grimmond during bankruptcy proceedings.

Commercial real estate experts like David Putro, senior vice president at Morningstar Credit Analytics, note that demand for co-working spaces remains strong — and, while WeWork is still the biggest name in the market today, many competitors have popped up over the years. Still, he and others add, having a sustainable business model and keeping up with consumers’ evolving needs is crucial.

While post-pandemic return-to-office efforts have taken “forever to truly manifest” for many workers, Putro says, demand for co-working spaces should be a sizeable part of that conversation.

Still, WeWork’s reemergence from bankruptcy also arrives at a time when demand for office space remains weak overall. The COVID-19 pandemic led to rising vacancies in commercial real estate — with many Americans still spending at least part of the week working from home. Major U.S. markets struggling to improve office space occupancy include San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

That makes it even harder for landlords who may have lost major tenants, like WeWork, to fill their spaces again.

“We’re still seeing the residual effects,” said Putro, whose team has tracked WeWork locations that have been shuttered or seen leases terminated both before and after the company’s bankruptcy filing. “In some cases, that means (potentially) losing a building.”

WeWork was founded by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey in 2010. In its early years, the startup saw a meteoric rise — once reaching a valuation as high as $47 billion — but over time, WeWork’s operating expenses soared and the company relied on repeated cash infusions from private investors.

WeWork went public in October 2021, after its first attempt to do so two years earlier collapsed spectacularly. That debacle led to the ousting of Neumann, whose erratic behavior and exorbitant spending spooked early investors. During the bankruptcy process, Neumann himself made a bid to buy back the company, but eventfully accepted defeat.

Boulder Built for Remote Work

A recent study has deemed Boulder the best metro area in the country for working remotely, while another Front Range city — Fort Collins — checks in at No. 7 nationally.

The study, by Florida-based professional agency directory DesignRush, analyzed housing costs, percentage of remote workers, broadband connections and commute times using the U.S. Census Bureau and Federal Communications Commission data to come up with its ranking.

READ: Can America Really ‘Return to the Office’? And, Even if We Could, Should We?

Boulder’s high suitability for working remotely comes from its high percentage of people working from home at 20.8%, 114% above the national average of 9.7%; its high percentage of households with a broadband subscription at 93.3%, 6.3 percentage points above the national average of 87%; and cheap access to fiber internet with greater than 300 megabits per second download speed, based on the statewide average of $71.88 per month for urban internet connections, 22% below the national average.

Not surprisingly, Boulder lost points for its high cost of housing, at an average monthly cost of $1,709.50, 42% above the national average of $1,203.50 per month.

Fort Collins earned a No. 7 rank on the strength of the aforementioned statewide fiber internet rate and the city’s high percentage of remote workers, at 15.4%.

Rounding out the study, the Raleigh-Cary metro area of North Carolina ranked second, followed by the Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown metro area of Texas; Bend, Oregon; Punta Gorda, Florida; Corvallis, Oregon; Fort Collins; Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro of Oregon-Washington; Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and Ithaca, New York.

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood ranked just outside the top 10, at No. 11.

3 Strategies for Colorado Business Owners to Retain Talent Cost-Effectively

Colorado’s small business landscape is competitive. According to the Colorado Chamber of Commerce, there are over 691,000 businesses in the state. While factors like marketing, quality products and services, and transparency are all crucial to success, the bottom line is that your business will only be as great as the people working for you. That’s why employee retention strategies are so important.

However, budget constraints can make retention challenging. Here’s how to expand your employee retention strategies and maintain a motivated, productive talent pool without breaking the bank.

READ: Navigating the ‘Big Stay’ — How Businesses Can Attract and Retain Top Talent Amidst Evolving Job Market Dynamics

1. Give better benefits

Even if you can’t offer higher salaries for existing employees, have you considered creating better benefits packages?

For starters, Colorado doesn’t mandate benefits like PTO, so offering it to your employees is a great way to attract and retain talent. It’s just one example of going above and beyond what’s required of your business to keep your team happy and improve your employee retention strategies.

Some of the most appealing benefits to employees include more PTO and better health insurance options.

Of course, many employees believe these are the “basics” of benefits and will expect them. Going the extra mile with more perks can make your team feel more appreciated. Don’t be afraid to get creative with what you offer your talent, including things like: 

  • Gym memberships.
  • 4-day workweeks.
  • Longer maternity leave.

How does offering better benefits make your business more money?

For starters, it’s much more cost-effective to retain your existing talent than to experience a high turnover rate. It can cost thousands of dollars to replace an employee with someone new. Keeping your team happy with the benefits they want, even if that means investing more time and resources into them, will save you money in the long run, and will likely motivate those employees to work harder and be more successful. 

READ: How to Engage and Win Today’s Top Candidates

Not sure what to offer? Take a look at some existing businesses in the state with unique benefits packages. For example, ad tech company Choozle offers a day off for employee birthdays, fertility benefits and a stipend for remote workers. Ibotta (based in Denver) has company-wide happy hours, team workouts and adoption assistance.

The sky is the limit when it comes to how you can help your employees, so take the time to learn what they really want. 

2. Offer remote options

Employees and business owners alike were quick to notice the benefits that come with working from home during the pandemic. 

Remote work can offer greater flexibility for employees, reducing stress and improving productivity.

From a business standpoint, allowing your team to work remotely when possible can save you money. You’ll save on rent and utilities if you can move to a smaller space, and your costs for things like cleaning services, security, office equipment, food and even taxes will come down. 

While remote work isn’t an option for all businesses, consider how you and your team might benefit from it.

Your employees can enjoy a better work-life balance and will be appreciative of the arrangement, making them more likely to stay on board with your business. It’s a great way to improve employee satisfaction while potentially saving money. Some of the top companies in the state offering remote options, such as Palantir and Granicus, give their employees greater flexibility when it comes to working from home, boosting satisfaction and productivity. 

READ: Adapting to the New Norm — Post-Pandemic Work Culture and the Future of Remote Work

3. Provide the necessary gear

Do your employees have everything they need to achieve success? Providing your team with the right gear can be an effective way to boost productivity and satisfaction without spending a lot of money. 

For example, if you do have people working from home, consider setting them up with: 

  • A laptop or desktop computer.
  • A printer.
  • Reliable WiFi.
  • Ergonomic furniture.

These small additions to their home office will keep them from having to buy their own equipment, and will ensure they’re able to get their job done as efficiently as possible. 

Company vehicles are another great option if you have employees who need to travel a lot. There are pros and cons to providing company cars, but don’t immediately dismiss the idea because of the cost. While a vehicle is an investment, it’s much more cost-effective than giving multiple employees significant raises. Plus, it keeps your team from having to put wear and tear on their own vehicles and potentially raise their insurance premiums. If you don’t have the funds for your own company cars, offer mileage reimbursement for your employees, and ask them to keep track of their miles so they can receive tax deductions for their work travels. 

You don’t have to go over budget to retain top talent. By fostering a workplace culture that makes your employees excited to be a part of your business and truly listening to what they want, you’re likely to not only keep your existing employees on board, but attract new and upcoming talent for years to come. 

 

Indiana Lee headshotIndiana Lee is a writer, reader, and jigsaw puzzle enthusiast from the Pacific Northwest. An expert on business operations, leadership, marketing, and lifestyle, you can connect with her on LinkedIn.

More Companies Offer On-Site Child Care. Parents love the Convenience, but is it a Long-Term Fix?

They operate in places like an airport, a resort and a distribution center, tucked away from the public eye but close enough for easy access. They often emit laughter — and the sound of tumbling blocks, bouncing balls and meandering tricycles.

They’re child care centers based at workplaces. And in the fraught American child care landscape, they are popping up more frequently.

Skyrocketing child care costs and staffing shortages have complicated arrangements for working parents. Some have left jobs after struggling to find quality care.

READ: The Success of Our Economy Depends on Accessible, Affordable Child Care 

Employers, in turn, view their entry into the child care realm as both a competitive advantage and a workplace morale booster.

“In the absence of government intervention and investment, a lot of businesses have been stepping up to make sure that their employees can access affordable child care,” says Samantha Melvin, an assistant research professor at the Erikson Institute, an independent graduate school for early childhood education.

Parents benefiting from child care at their work sites praise its convenience and affordability.

Frances Ortiz, who works in accounting at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas, can’t imagine a better option. She says her 3-year-old daughter has gained independence and language skills — with mom not far away — at the property’s on-site child care center for employees.

“She runs in here,” Ortiz says. “She grabs my badge. She has to open the door for herself.”

In September, the Pittsburgh International Airport added an on-site child care. The center serves children of Allegheny County Airport Authority employees as well as those of select airport workers, such as food and beverage workers, ground handlers and wheelchair attendants.

Airport officials say the idea stemmed from wanting to bring more women and people of color into the aviation workforce. Plus, the airport sits 17 miles outside of downtown Pittsburgh, making child care logistics challenging for employees. So far, it’s operating at about half capacity.

“It’s certainly an important proof point to our team that we mean it when we say that we’re invested in them and in what they need,” says Christina Cassotis, CEO of the Allegheny County Airport Authority, which operates the airport.

Child care costs can eclipse rent or mortgages, if parents can access care in the first place. Many find themselves on waitlists.

READ: Is the She-Cession Over? Not for Many Women in the Workplace

Experts caution against an overreliance on businesses filling the void. Philip Fisher, director of the Stanford Center on Early Childhood, says doing so could undercut efforts to recognize child care as a public good.

“There’s a lot of well-intentioned people who are thinking this is a really good idea, and for those who would benefit from it, it could be,” he says. “Again, there are lots of downsides even in the short term.”

One of those potential pitfalls, he says, is instability if a parent suddenly loses their job and then has to find new child care and a new job.

The assistance offered by public and private employers runs the gamut. Some run their own centers. Others outsource the operations and management.

The financial arrangements also differ. Many companies and organizations don’t disclose the exact discounts offered to employees.

Walmart, for instance, recently opened an on-site child care center at its massive Bentonville, Arkansas, campus. The Little Squiggles Children’s Enrichment Center charges a monthly rate of $1,117 to $1,258, based on the child’s age, which company officials tell the Monitor in an email is “at market rate or below regional levels for comparable care.”

Another method gaining steam: employers providing subsidies for families to use toward child care options within their own communities.

KinderCare, a large child care operator with locations nationally, partners with more than 600 businesses and organizations to provide employee-sponsored child care, up from 400 in 2019, says Dan Figurski, president of KinderCare for Employers and Champions. Those employers represent the technology, medical, banking, academic and public service industries, among others.

In Nevada, The Venetian Resort’s child care center, run by KinderCare, sits in a back-of-house hallway steps away from the Las Vegas Boulevard.

All employees can enroll their children, as long as space allows, at a cost that’s generally 35% to 40% lower than KinderCare’s normal rate, says Matt Krystofiak, the Venetian’s chief human resources officer. The company also offers subsidies for employees who want to enroll their children in an off-site KinderCare closer to their homes.

“We’re doing this because this is what our team members want,” Krystofiak says. “This is what our team members need.”

Some businesses view investments in child care as a reflection of their company culture.

Patagonia’s foray into child care began in 1983 when some of the company’s original employees started having children. As the clothing retailer grew, so did its child care footprint. Nowadays, it operates three child care centers — two in southern California and one in Reno, Nevada — serving roughly 200 children.

The company charges employees in each location what leaders describe as an “average market rate.” Subsidies are available based on household income, says Sheryl Shushan, Patagonia’s director of global family services. The child care teachers are employed by Patagonia, so they receive corporate benefits as well.

At the outdoor classroom at Patagonia’s distribution center in Reno, children spend hours digging in sand, riding bikes, playing with water or climbing natural and human-made objects. Patagonia leaders say the benefits on their end are stronger employee retention, a can-do spirit in the workplace, and a greater sense of community.

For Alyssa Oldham, a classroom manager in Reno, the job and child care benefit meant rethinking her family size. She and her husband originally envisioned being a one-child family, given child care costs.

Now she comes to work with her 4-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter.

“Working here, I was like, ‘We could have another child,'” she says.

Average U.S. Vehicle Age Hits Record 12.6 Years

Cars, trucks and SUVs in the U.S. keep getting older, hitting a record average age of 12.6 years in 2024 as people hang on to their vehicles largely because new ones cost so much.

S&P Global Mobility, which tracks state vehicle registration data nationwide, said Wednesday that the average vehicle age grew about two months from last year’s record.

But the growth in average age is starting to slow as new vehicle sales start to recover from pandemic-related shortages of parts, including computer chips. The average increased by three months in 2023.

READ: Inside the Colorado Semiconductor Industry Renaissance — CHIPS Act Sparks Manufacturing Revival

Still, with an average U.S. new-vehicle selling price of just over $45,000 last month, many can’t afford to buy new — even though prices are down more than $2,000 from the peak in December of 2022, according to J.D. Power.

“It’s prohibitively high for a lot of households now,” said Todd Campau, aftermarket leader for S&P Global Mobility. “So I think consumers are being painted into the corner of having to keep the vehicle on the road longer.”

Other factors include people waiting to see if they want to buy an electric vehicle or go with a gas-electric hybrid or a gasoline vehicle. Many, he said, are worried about the charging network being built up so they can travel without worrying about running out of battery power. Also, he said, vehicles are made better these days and simply are lasting a long time.

READ: Becoming a Zero-Emissions State — How Alternative Fuels Are Transforming Transportation in Colorado

New vehicle sales in the U.S. are starting to return to pre-pandemic levels, with prices and interest rates the big influencing factors rather than illness and supply-chain problems, Compau said. He said he expects sales to hit around 16 million this year, up from 15.6 million last year and 13.9 million in 2022.

As more new vehicles are sold and replace aging vehicles in the nation’s fleet of 286 million passenger vehicles, the average age should stop growing and stabilize, Compau said. And unlike immediately after the pandemic, more lower-cost vehicles are being sold, which likely will bring down the average price, he said.

People keeping vehicles longer is good news for the local auto repair shop. About 70% of vehicles on the road are 6 or more years old, he said, beyond manufacturer warranties.

Those who are able to keep their rides for multiple years usually get the oil changed regularly and follow manufacturer maintenance schedules, Campau noted.

Navigating the ‘Big Stay’: How Businesses Can Attract and Retain Top Talent Amidst Evolving Job Market Dynamics

The Great Resignation, once a hot topic and large concern for employers across the nation, has since evolved into a new era of the ‘Big Stay.’

After the pandemic, employers became increasingly concerned about employee retention and its effect on their overall organization. The Great Resignation encouraged dissatisfied employees to search elsewhere for a job that met their ideal work environment and set forth new work-life standards for more purpose-driven careers.

The pendulum swings back the opposite direction resulting in the Big Stay, a movement where fewer employees quit, is fueled by the overall job market leveling out within some industries and becoming more volatile in others. Exponential wage growth has also waned amidst ongoing talks of economic uncertainty and slowing job growth. 

READ: Colorado’s Labor Market Paradox — Plentiful Jobs, Mismatched Talent

However, businesses of all sizes are vying for top-notch candidates who may be content in their current position. But the Big Stay is particularly relevant for small businesses competing with larger corporations for top talent.

Luring candidates away from a sure and steady position can seem like a monumental task. To appeal to these candidates, small businesses should strategically position themselves as attractive and viable alternatives to big corporations.

This involves highlighting the unique advantages they can offer. By emphasizing these benefits, small businesses can effectively showcase their unique value proposition, making them a compelling choice for top talent seeking a fulfilling and dynamic career path.

To remain steadfast in their mission to lure the ideal candidate, companies should focus their efforts on their employer branding.

Employer branding showcases the culture, benefits and employee experience of a business to potential candidates. This strategic effort helps attract, engage and retain top talent by presenting the company as an employer of choice. To effectively evaluate and enhance their employer branding, companies should start by addressing the following key areas.

READ: How to Prevent Loud Quitting — Strategies to Boost Employee Engagement

Evaluate the candidate experience

Evaluating the candidates’ experiences is a great start to engaging ideal applicants.

Companies should begin this process with a digital brand assessment. Companies can use this exercise to determine if their current branding aligns with their goals, mission and company culture. This entails pulling together testimonials from current employees who can share their positive employee experience and provide realistic insights into the company’s culture.

In addition to storytelling, hiring managers can use career pages to showcase a day in the life section so candidates can gain valuable insights into the company.

In combination with the efforts above, thoughtfully responding to reviews and addressing concerns on job sites or career community platforms can help prospective employees build trust. This action is essential as it mitigates a negative impact or perception from potential job seekers. 

READ: How to Craft an Ideal Employee Experience Strategy — 6 Easy Steps

Align compensation and benefits

Employers aiming to attract top talent and encourage them to transition to a new role at their company should ensure their compensation and benefit packages are competitive.

Talented candidates come at a price, so aligning offerings with the caliber of talent they wish to attract is essential to successfully bringing them on board. Companies looking to set themselves apart can offer competitive salaries that are at or above the market rate for positions.

If choosing this approach, this should be part of an overall compensation philosophy versus a one-off decision.

In addition to higher salaries, businesses can offer benefits like performance bonuses and retirement plans that reward employees for their hard work and ensure employees can fully invest in their retirement.

Providing extensive policies that allow for adequate paid time off and work-life balance are large selling points for candidates. Lastly, setting clear career advancement opportunities lets talent know they have a future and set career path with their new role. 

Invest in your people

Showcasing how an organization’s employees are being invested in lets candidates know they are valued. To fully invest in employees, businesses should implement programs and opportunities that will further help their employees excel in their career. 

Similar to evaluating the employee experience, it is important to reflect on how a company is investing in its people. Prioritizing programs that encourage growth, retention and culture can ensure current employees feel valued and incoming employees are assured they made the right decision.

Investing in people can be achieved in several ways:

  • Implement training programs that help employees grow both personally and professionally.
  • Cultivate a culture that engages and enables employees to effectively and efficiently communicate with one another.
  • Establish reward programs that recognize hardworking individuals for their contributions. 

The bottom line

While employers continue to navigate the Big Stay and the effects it has on the job market, companies can stay ahead of the curve by evaluating their current employer branding.

Regularly assessing and benchmarking competitors can provide insights into industry standards and highlight opportunities for differentiation. Additionally, identifying areas of improvement, updating current policies and programs and investing in employees are proactive ways to encourage top talent to consider making the transition. 

 

Niki Jorgensen is a Managing Director of Client Implementation with Insperity, a leading provider of human resources offering the most comprehensive suite of scalable HR solutions available in the marketplace. For more information about Insperity, call 800-465-3800 or visit www.insperity.com.   

Business, Residential and Tourism Growth in Downtown Denver Reaches an Important Juncture

Like cities across the country, Downtown Denver is at a pivotal moment in history.

While looking toward the Downtown Denver of the future, we call for a focus on business support and dedication to business retention and attraction. The city has and continues to face challenges, however these challenges bring about opportunity for our city to be resilient by choosing to positively disrupt this cycle by inviting innovation and becoming the first city in the nation to claim victory toward a new-era downtown economy that lies ahead.

READ: Elevating the Economy — The Impact of Tech Startups on Colorado’s Business Ecosystem 

Economic outlook for the remainder of 2024

Looking ahead into 2024 the Bank of America Global Research team has surmised that the U.S. economy will see a “soft landing” this year.

While the rate of spending slowed over the course of 2023, year-over-year spending growth now looks like the more normal pattern one might expect in a lower-GDP-growth, lower-inflation environment, similar to pre-pandemic. Additionally, employment levels remain strong in a historical context and wage growth remains solid.

Business confidence is on the rise in Colorado, according the Leeds School of Business, noting year-over-year employment growth in Colorado increased 2.5%, or 72,700 jobs in 2023. Growth continued into 2024 — Colorado added 60,300 jobs in February 2024, growing 2.1% year-over-year.

State of Downtown Denver

Since 2020, Downtown Denver office space has faced high vacancy rates.

Our office market is a tale of two cities. First, Upper Downtown Denver with significant vacancies. Compare that to Riverfront, Union Station and LoDo with lower vacancy rates and more employees back in the office. Higher leasing rates, newer office inventory and a general sentiment that things “feel good.”

It’s important to note that only 5% of Downtown Denver’s total office inventory is located in the LoDo/Riverfront neighborhoods and there is a significantly higher concentration of retail, restaurants, residential and entertainment uses. The city center remains an economic driver, contributing — 40% of the City of Denver’s overall jobs, 48% of total wages and 60% of the city’s lodger’s tax.

READ: From Boardrooms to Bedrooms — How Denver is Turning Vacant Office Towers into Residential Properties Post-Pandemic

Significant residential construction facilitates growing downtown population

The center city is leading the country in residential construction and that supply is being rapidly absorbed.

We gained 1,300 new residents last year — and today, more than 3,000 units are in development.

The greater downtown area is now home to well over 100,000 residents, and projections show this number climbing by 10% in the next few years. Comparing nationally, Downtown Denver had the fifth highest population growth between 2020 and 2022 out of 26 major downtowns ranked in a 2023 study published by the Philadelphia Center City District.

Downtown Denver has been consistently recognized for our highly-educated workforce, and the student population is stronger than ever.

Top U.S. travel destination

Tourism in Downtown Denver has surpassed 2019 levels and continues to grow, closing 2022 $2.5B ahead of the previous record set in 2019. This also has helped to drive a positive trajectory in food & beverage leasing — 27 new concepts opened downtown in 2023, and an additional 15 so far are slated to open this year.

Year-over-year in Downtown Denver, retail sales tax activity increased by 27%, bolstered by a 40.6% increase in sales tax collected from restaurants, as 2022 as foot traffic downtown rebounded to 91% of pre-pandemic levels.

Where do we go from here?

From the 16th Street Mall to Skyline Park, Glenarm Plaza and the Civic Center, improvements in these areas will spark economic development by creating vibrant places for our community.

To make these things happen, it will take an alignment of resources, invigoration of investment and overhaul of processes. Now is the time to be creative and bold so that again, we can be the first city in the nation to say we’ve not only “recovered,” but we have emerged even stronger.

McDonald’s Plans $5 Meal Deal to Counter Customer Frustration over high prices

McDonald’s plans to introduce a $5 meal deal in the U.S. next month to counter slowing sales and customers’ frustration with high prices.

The deal would let customers get a four-piece McNugget, small fries, a small drink and either a McDouble burger or a McChicken sandwich for $5 in most areas, according to a person familiar with the deal who wasn’t authorized to discuss its details.

The month-long deal is scheduled to begin June 25 and will be advertised nationally. Some stores with higher costs, like those in California or Hawaii, may charge more, the person said.

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McDonald’s didn’t confirm the upcoming deal when asked about it Thursday by The Associated Press. But the Chicago-based burger giant said last month that it was planning to step up deals to combat slowing customer traffic in some markets.

“We know how much it means to our customers when McDonald’s offers meaningful value and communicates it through national advertising,” McDonald’s said in a statement Wednesday.

The meal deal would be a substantial discount from the list prices for the items that will be included in the limited-time deal. One McDonald’s location in Michigan charged $9.66 for the four items sold individually on Thursday.

Fast food prices have risen dramatically in the last few years due to a variety of factors, including elevated costs for labor, food and paper products. Between the first quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2024, the amount spent per person per visit at a U.S. fast food restaurant rose 25%, from $12 to $15, according to Technomic, a restaurant data firm.

McDonald’s said earlier this year that it was seeing fewer U.S. visits and lower spending from customers earning less than $45,000 per year.

As grocery inflation has slowed, more people are choosing to eat at home, McDonald’s President and CEO Chris Kempczinski said. In the first quarter, the company said fast food traffic was flat or down in many key markets, including the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.

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“The consumer is certainly being very discriminating in how they spend their dollar,” Kempczinski said during a conference call with investors. “It may be more pronounced with lower-income consumers, but its important to recognize that all income cohorts are seeking value.”

During the same call, Kempczinski said McDonald’s needed a nationwide deal emphasizing its value if it wanted to keep up with rivals.

Other chains have also reported slowing sales. Starbucks said last month that it was seeing a sharper and faster decline in U.S. consumer confidence than it had anticipated in the January-March period. Starbucks said it plans to open up its Rewards app to non-members in July so they can take advantage of the deals it offers.