Taylor prepared for scrutiny of World Cup return

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Taylor optimistic after challenging year

Sarah Taylor has declared that she is “back, and ready to face the World Cup and the scrutiny that professional sport brings,” after taking a year-long break from the game to combat an anxiety condition.

Taylor, who is widely recognised as one of the most naturally talented female cricketers of her generation, took an indefinite break from cricket in the aftermath of last year’s World T20 in India. However, she was last week included in England’s 15-strong squad for the Women’s World Cup, which gets underway in just under a month’s time.

Her inclusion followed a successful reintegration into the England set-up during a recent training camp in the UAE, where she took the field in a practice match against Ireland, scoring 26 not out in the second of three warm-up wins.

“It’s been a tough 12 months and lots has been learned in that time,” Taylor said in an interview arranged by the ECB. “In terms of where I am with my cricket, I’m incredibly comfortable to be back playing and the girls have been absolutely brilliant. It’s just nice to be back around them and the fact that the World Cup is at home as well makes it extra special. To be back in time for the World Cup has been a hard journey but very worth it so far.”

Prior to her diagnosis, Taylor’s condition was so acute at times that she found herself running off the field of play to be sick, while she also struggled with day-to-day issues such as taking public transport. A course of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) helped her to overcome many of the most debilitating traits of her illness, although she does accept that the pressures and scrutiny of a home World Cup campaign will bring a whole new challenge.

“I don’t think we can shy away from the fact that in a World Cup there will be pressure,” she said. “Through what I’ve dealt with over the last 12 months I feel like I’m probably mentally strong enough to deal with those pressures. All I want to do is help someone else get through it, so I don’t think I’m any different to anyone else.

“To be honest, when I took that break I didn’t look too far ahead. I couldn’t. I was always told to not look too far in the future, to take it day by day and as it comes. Literally getting out of bed was the highlight of a day and then accept that doing something brilliant might mean walking outside, that was a tick in the box.

Sarah Taylor has been absent from England duty for the past year Stephen Pond / © Getty Images

“To look towards the World Cup never even got into my head, it was never something I was striving for at the time, then all of a sudden I found myself wanting to train again and, like I said before, it actually benefitted my day-to-day learnings and my anxiety through that. Next thing I knew I was on a plane going to Abu Dhabi and that was a very last-minute decision.

Looking ahead to the World Cup itself, Taylor Is in no doubt about the team’s overall aim for the tournament. “Ultimately you want to win the tournament, don’t you?” she said. “But for me it’s literally just a case of day-by-day assessing where I am – anxiety-wise, cricket-wise, everything in my head. If not, what can we do to help me get through a training session, a game, everything like that.

“My success, from a very personal point of view, is obviously to perform and be consistent in my performances but flip that to the mental side of things and it’s about getting through the tour unscathed. I’m realistic that there probably will be some bumps but, actually, if I get through it I should look back and be completely proud of myself for doing it. I’m proud that I’ve even put myself out there to do it. I want to win as much as the next person – and I’m hoping that there’ll be success with my own mental health and we can see a trophy at the same time.”

Small Business Wellness Programs and Return On Investment (ROI)

It’s relatively agreed upon that reducing health costs is the top reason for small business wellness programs. I recently wrote about implementing wellness programs as a way to reduce overall company health care costs. However, the costs that come with it are often a barrier for organizations – especially for smaller businesses.

According to the 2013 Aflac WorkForces Report, only 7 percent of businesses with 3-49 employees have a wellness program. Even so, the survey showed that 61 percent of companies strongly or somewhat agree that wellness programs can directly impact corporate profitability.

So how can small businesses make the case for themselves that these programs are worth implementing?

It’s all about ROI (return on investment).

Showing the Worth of Small Business Wellness Programs

A study by Health Affairs found that medical costs fall by about $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs and that absenteeism costs fall by about $2.73 for every dollar spent.

Another study by Harvard Business Review of several wellness programs shows a clear impact. In the Harvard study, one company saw a return of $2.71 on every dollar spent on wellness programs, and cumulative savings of $250 million on health care costs in a decade. Another reported an 80 percent decline in lost work days over six years, with a savings calculated of $1.5 million, along with workers’ compensation insurance premiums having declined by 50 percent.

Determining the Worth of Small Business Wellness Programs

Measuring the return on investment from small business wellness programs is a challenge. In fact, the Aflac study showed that only three out of 10 companies (32 percent) have managed to do so.

Each small business is different. I’m not going to pretend to know the nuances of your specific business and how a wellness program could deliver ROI for your particular situation.

However, we’ve identified a few measurements that can help companies determine program successes that may provide valuable perspectives.

Benefits Engagement and Knowledge

small business wellness programs

Employees enrolled in small business wellness programs are more likely to be knowledgeable about benefits options and health care. They are also more likely to be engaged in their benefits programs and choices.

Surveying benefits knowledge, understanding and overall engagement can show a direct link to a company’s investment in benefits packages and efforts to market those benefits options.

Employee Satisfaction and Morale

small business wellness programs

The Aflac study identified that employees who are enrolled in worksite wellness programs are more satisfied with their jobs and benefits packages, and also express more confidence in their employers.

These measures can have a critical impact on a company’s bottom line. Whether by measuring employee tenure and retention, or employee referrals, understanding worker satisfaction and morale can help show the enduring value of a company’s wellness initiatives.

Employee Well-Being

The Aflac study reveals employees that participate in small business wellness programs are more than 10 percent more likely to say they are healthy because they exercise and eat right (41 percent compared to 30 percent).

Financial Security

small business wellness programs

Likewise, financial security is critical to overall workforce health. The Aflac study found only 16 percent of employees say they are extremely or very prepared to pay for out-of-pocket expenses associated with serious illness or injury.

Tracking overall employee health and wellness is essential to understanding a program’s success. Measuring a decline in sick days or unexpected leave will help to gain a good measure of physical, emotional and financial health.

Wellness Photo via Shutterstock


Steve Cox of Oracle: Cloud’s Lure is Return on Investment

return on investmentSmall Business Trends: Can you tell us a little about your role at Oracle and your personal background?

Steve Cox: Sure, I have been with Oracle Accelerate Global Programs for Oracle, focusing on two programs for applications with midsize customers, Oracle Accelerate and Oracle Business Accelerators. I joined Oracle in 1997 as a consultant and since joining, obviously I worked as a consultant. I did three years in product development and since 2003, I have been focusing on the midsize segment.

Small Business Trends: Can you explain what Oracle Accelerate is?

Steve Cox: Oracle Accelerate is Oracle’s brand and strategy for midsize applications. Partners who are members of the Oracle Accelerate program offer complete package solutions for customers that include our applications, rapid implementation tools and methodologies, their services and their Internet property.

Oracle Business Accelerators, are cloud-based rapid implementation tools developed and maintained by Oracle, and only available through proven and qualified partners.

Small Business Trends: You mentioned they are cloud-based. How does this help companies get up to speed and moving in the Cloud?

Steve Cox: Cloud computing brings companies within reach of the same powerful technologies and latest innovations that the largest companies in the world enjoy.

The Cloud can offer the ability to compete with these larger companies with lower cost. You create a configuration that allows customers to have the flexibility they need to maintain what makes them unique, and what gives them a competitive advantage.

Small Business Trends: How quickly are you able to help these companies get started?

Steve Cox: Most customers that I speak to move through five key phases on their journey. Oracle, and our Partner Ecosystems, provide support and professional associates throughout each of these phases. So that first step is aligning your organization’s business objectives and goals. Understanding those goals and aligning with how you are going to consume your software – whether it is in the Cloud or on the premise.

Then they need to use a cloud readiness service to reduce complexity and automation. Are you ready for the Cloud? Is your IT system ready for the Cloud? You should get complete implementation of migration services that can deliver the best practice and tools to help you succeed.

Small Business Trends: When you say, “ready for the Cloud, ” what does that mean?

Steve Cox: First thing is, you need to determine a return on investment on your IT project. Whether you are going to purchase applications in the Cloud, or whether you are going to move your IT back into the Cloud, or whether you are going to be able buy SaaS services.

You need to understand what would be the return investment. You need to invest to support growth. You need to understand the opportunities that the Cloud and any IT system provides. I think you need to understand the jargon:

  • How do you make the most of a limited project?
  • Where are you going to invest?
  • Do you have the right resources in place in terms of people, time, etc?
  • Where do you start?
  • What are your business priorities?
  • Where do you have to invest first, to get maximum return on the investment, maximum bang for the buck, if you like?

Small Business Trends: Are your customers and prospects looking to go to the Cloud to get to the next level? Or are they going so they can be more efficient?

Steve Cox: They are doing it for economic reasons. When you come to the Cloud, there is a lot of promise there that you can improve your return on investment. It can lower the cost of the adoption, and that is always on top of mind.

Small Business Trends: What are some of the biggest challenges that companies face when they make the move?

Steve Cox: I have never come across a company that plans enough. If your organization is expected to grow with a compound annual growth rate of 20% or 30% or more, what effect is that going to have on your priorities and challenges? What are you likely to be facing this time next year, or the year after?

The next question is what other resources available? Nearly everyone I have spoken to has a real good grasp of their budget. And then there is time. How long does it take for me to realize the return on an investment?

The next one really comes down to time scale. That is a measure of patience. When do I need to do this? Do I need to do this because my business is changing and I have to maintain competitive advantages? Or to improve it? Do you need to do it now, or can you look forward and say, “By this date I need to achieve X and Y.”

Small Business Trends: What functional area are companies really looking to the Cloud to get up to speed with?

Steve Cox: The Cloud option has a head start in CRM and human resources simply because it is a model that has lent itself to those two business areas. But I would say that in every conversation I have had with every customer and every partner, they look at it on a very broad basis and they tend to look across all the areas. They want the back office to front office solutions. They want to be able to support human capital management (HCM).

Small Business Trends: You have already laid out where you see things going over the next two years. Is there anything else that you see that will make this kind of move, something that midsize businesses in two years will not have to think as much about doing? Is going to be that easy in two years to do it?

Steve Cox: We have talked about the time scale, budget, business priority and challenge. I think it is going to be a lot easier to make the decision to adopt having made that adoption a lot easier. But it is still a decision you need to think about.

This interview about return on investment is part of the One on One interview series with some of the most thought-provoking entrepreneurs, authors and experts in business today. This interview has been edited for publication. To hear audio of the full interview, click on the player above.


Nokia Name to Return to Smartphones in Bet on Brand’s Power

Nokia Name to Return to Smartphones in Bet on Brand's Power


  • Nokia will return as a brand as it struck its Brand-Licensing Deal.
  • It’s a step to revive the brand that got lost to Microsoft in 2014.
  • This venture will make Nokia smartphones and tablets running Android.
The Nokia brand is set to return to smartphones, two years after the Finnish company sold its flagship handset business and walked away defeated by Apple and Samsung Electronics.Nokia said Wednesday it will license its brand to a Helsinki-based company run by former Nokia managers who aim to bring new mobile phones and tablets to the market. HMD Global plans investments topping $500 million (roughly Rs. 3,360 crores). Nokia won’t have a financial stake in the venture, though it’s set to collect fees from brand licensing and intellectual property.

The comeback effort is a bet that shoppers will remember and embrace a brand that almost disappeared with the sale of Nokia’s handset unit to Microsoft Corp. in 2014. Nokia, which once dominated global smartphone sales, gets a risk-free second chance at a business that was crushed by Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android devices introduced in 2007.

“It’s going to take more than a well-known brand name in this competitive market,” said Annette Zimmermann, an smartphone analyst at research firm Gartner in Germany. “To shake up the market and offer something that excites the fickle market will be difficult.”Shares of Nokia advanced 2.4 percent to EUR 4.65 as of 2:19 pm in Helsinki.

HMD is funded by a group of international private-equity backers through a fund called Smart Connect LP, as well as by HMD’s management team. The venture will be run by Arto Nummela, a former Nokia manager and current head of Microsoft’s Mobile Devices business for Asia, Middle East and Africa and its feature-phone business. Florian Seiche, also a former Nokia executive and current Microsoft manager, will be president at HMD.

The venture will make smartphones running Android, and also plans tablets and cheaper, so-called feature phones. FIH Mobile Ltd., part of Foxconn Technology Group, will help to build the devices.

Nokia and HMD will be trying to crack a tough market with Samsung, Apple and Huawei Technologies Co. dominating smartphone sales with about half of the total 334 million high-end phones shipped in the first quarter, according to data from researcher IDC.

The new venture also marks an exit from cheaper phones by Microsoft. As part of the arrangements announced Wednesday, Microsoft is selling its feature-phone assets to FIH and HMD.

When Nokia exited phones in 2014, Microsoft acquired rights to use the Nokia brand in smartphones for two years, though it has already stopped using it.

Since the deal completed in 2014, Nokia has been getting most of its revenue from wireless network equipment and related software and services.

© 2016 Bloomberg L.P.

Tags: Android, Apple, Huawei, Internet, Microsoft, Mobiles, Nokia, Samsung, Telecom, iOS, iPhones