As of 2012, an estimated 13.4 million people were working from home. With fast internet connections, cloud technology, and free online phone services like Skype and Google Voice, it’s easier than ever for company employees and the self-employed to work from the comfort of wherever they want. If you’re running a business, there are plenty of reasons why you and your employees might be happier and more productive working from home. Here are six benefits.
No lengthy commute. According to US Census data, the average work commute time is 25.4 minutes. That might not sound so bad, but that’s close to an hour to get to and from the office, and many workers in large cities have an even longer commute. In fact, 600,000 US workers have a commute time of around 90 minutes. People who work from home are able to save time, gas money, and their sanity. Fewer commuters also means less of an environmental impact.
Fewer distractions. Co-workers on the phone, noisy printers, doors opening and closing… there are all kinds of distractions in a traditional workplace, especially if you work somewhere with an open office environment. Although home offices come with their own set of distractions, many people find that they’re more productive in the privacy of their house or apartment.
Fewer sick days. When you’re working with a large group of people in close quarters, colds and other viruses spread like wildfire. Allowing employees to work remotely, especially on days when they feel like they might be coming down with something, is better for everyone in the organization.
Less stressful environment. Although many businesses still operate under the belief that their employees need to be monitored, most people are actually more productive when they don’t have a manager breathing down their neck. As long as there’s a way to hold employees accountable for getting their work done, letting them work from home on their own schedule can go a long way to reduce stress.
Opportunity to personalize home office. Sure, you can decorate a cubicle, but you have more opportunities for personalization when you’re working out of your own home office. And, thanks to sites like Sheepbuy and Craigslist, telecommuters can furnish and decorate their home office without having to go outside of their budget.
More room for creativity. Creativity is largely subjective, so it’s hard to say whether working from home helps, but there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that it does. People who work from home have more freedom to pick up and move if they need inspiration, whether that means going to the coffee shop down the street or taking a trip to another country.
Better work-life balance. A survey presented by Microsoft found that the number one benefit cited by people who work from home is the opportunity for greater work-life balance. Working from home can be especially good for people with families, because with the greater flexibility of their schedule and an eliminated commute, they’re able to spend more time with their loved ones. And, of course, when people are more satisfied with their work-life balance, the quality of their work will be higher.
Telecommuting isn’t the best model for all companies, but if most of your business’s work can be performed remotely, it may be a good way to improve employee productivity, job satisfaction, and retention.
About the Author: Juliana Weiss-Roessler is a work-at-home writer who frequently contributes on the topics of career and human resources. You can learn more about her blog writing and other internet marketing services at WeissRoessler.com.
Strong public speaking abilities can be a great asset. They enable you to express yourself clearly and confidently, getting your points across to the audience in a powerful manner. Good speaking skills give you the ability to persuade people to your point of view, and encourage them to take action. When you apply these skills to something you are passionate about, you can influence people and bring about real change. In our society, women need to be even more skilled than men in order to be excellent public speakers.
How can women prove a point in front of men during a public speech?
Women face a dilemma. In order for people to take them seriously, then need to be assertive without being aggressive. This is a fine line, however, and it’s easy for assertive women to be viewed negatively, with some in the audience deciding they are obnoxious or harsh. However, if a female speaker tries to be polite and ladylike, then they lose the power that a passionate, assertive voice can have. Men do not face the same problem. They can be as forceful in their speech as they want, without anyone deciding that makes them unmanly.
If you want to be taken seriously, and viewed as a strong leader, you need to be able to express your views forcefully in your public speaking. The “masculine” trait of assertiveness is required, for women as much as men. Studies of debates have shown that this is very important in shaping the decisions of who won the debate. Even though assertiveness may be deemed by some as inappropriate or out of place for a woman, it is mandatory for success.
Women can be remarkable public speakers
In spite of the inherent difficulty, there have been some remarkable women public speakers who have delivered powerful speeches with passion and purpose. Eleanor Roosevelt and Margaret Thatcher are both examples of strong women who were excellent public speakers. Michelle Obama also demonstrated her skills with a superb speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2012. Unfortunately, some of the media paid more attention to her dress than to the content of her excellent presentation.
Hillary Clinton has faced this problem in her public speaking, too. When she was running for president in 2008, the media, the public, and other politicians sometimes criticized her as being “cold” and “too aggressive.” She didn’t have the warm, friendly demeanor they thought a woman should display. Her style of speaking relied on facts and figures, and she developed logical arguments in her attempts to persuade people. While many male politicians also use logic, facts, and figures, this style was viewed negatively for Clinton, and people said she was “shrill.”
Both men and women have different speaking styles
The key is that everyone has different strengths, both in their personality and their speaking style. Some are more analytical, while others are more passionate. Some appeal to reason, while others lean to emotion. Rather than forcing yourself to fit another mold, it is more important to build on the natural skills that you have.
As women struggle to find their way into positions of greater power in politics and business, they need to find a way to deal with this double standard effectively. Though more than 50% of the US population is female, only 17% of our members of Congress are women. Female leaders have been elected in other countries from the UK to Brazil and South Korea, but that step is taking longer in the United States.
How can women be inspirational speakers?
First of all, public speakers who are women can inspire other women. One of the most common subject a woman can approach is domestic abuse. This is a delicate and rather shameful subject to approach, but when an abused woman talks about her experience, she can persuade other women to take action. Many accomplished speakers come from broken families, and some have chosen this career path to help other women survive the horrors of domestic abuse.
Of course, there are other subjects women can approach in a public speech. Unlike men, women tend to be more subjective when speaking in public. They like to interact with their audience, they’re likable and they have the ability to draw attention faster than men through their looks, posture, and attitude.
About the Author: Christopher Austin is a regular contributor at many sites and mainly focuses on business related topics like negotiation, speaking, employee engagement, etc. Moreover he is also writing for a site http://
Building a team is not easy, leading a successful one might be even harder. No reason to sugar coat it or make it seem like a piece of cake. Building and maintaining a strong team is hard work.
Having said that, does it mean that this is only a man’s job? Absolutely not. It is a true challenge for every leader in business, and more great women should take charge of their teams and face the exciting road ahead.
Whether in a well-established enterprise or in a small start-up, making your team stronger is probably the most important thing you can do to increase your chances of success. Unless you are one of 29,494 lucky ones that have been able to create a million-dollar one-person business, you need a team around you.
So, how to turn a great team into an even stronger one? How to leverage the assets that are already available and ensure that a strong team is built?
Practice supportive leadership
There are so many leadership styles and methods emerging that it often makes it difficult to take a stand on one style. What about returning to the basics and giving supportive leadership a chance? Professor Schyns has explained supportive leadership as a leadership style that is associated with a concern for the needs and well-being of followers, and the facilitation of a desirable climate for interaction between leaders and followers. Therefore, the emphasis is on the needs of the employees and increasing their satisfaction.
What is more, a research conducted by Schyns indicates that there is a positive relation between employee job satisfaction and supportive leadership climate. Employees are willing to do extra work for the leader if they feel trusted, appreciated and evaluated.
Engage your people
According to statistics, one of the biggest problems managers around the world face is declining employee engagement. A staggering 70% of workers are not reaching their full potential. Due to various distractions in the office, on the Internet, and in personal-life, it is increasingly difficult to engage the team. This is an alarming fact, and the best thing for every leader to do is to engage your people.
Engagement starts from supportive leadership and ends with little modifications around the office. The most important thing to do is to find out what your team truly needs. Whether it is a flexible work schedule, staying connected through remote locations, or reorganizing the office layout, there are always compromises that can be achieved which will strengthen engagement in return.
Each person on the team has goals, and one of the best things you can do as a leader is to align their goals with company objectives. An employee who wanders without a specific goal needs immediate attention. Pay special attention to people that seemingly move in a different directions. The others need to understand the overall vision and see how each contribution will be a big step towards the company’s future. No one wants to deal with unimportant or irrelevant tasks that have no meaning whatsoever. So, give meaning to each task, even the seemingly unimportant ones.
Behavior that has a purpose is beneficial to everyone. Employees feel like their actions truly have an impact, and leaders enjoy the fruitful outcome. Ensure that each member of the team is on the same page when it comes to objectives, because without proper alignment chances of success are diminished.
Stay in the loop
Whether the team is independent or not, the leader needs to stay on top of things. One way you can achieve this is through the use of a weekly reporting tool. This can give the team leader proper insights to everyone’s achievements, tasks, problems and happiness. The advantage is that you can get an automated report that sums up all crucial information and delivers it in one document. So, no need to dive into your mailbox and desperately pull out important information. By using online tools with the whole team, everybody is aware of the current situation and are able to collaborate when necessary.
An organization is all about groups of people moving together towards a vision. If you are not directing a “one man’s show,” then building a strong team should be your number one priority. Stronger teams are not built in days, but through constant work and attention. At times you might find the road to stronger teams paved with obstacles, but rarely are we faced with problems that do not have solutions. So, be a supportive leader and do everything you can to engage your team. Keep an eye on the goals and make sure these goals are also obvious to the team. Always know what the team is currently working on and use the right tools to enhance their performance.
About the Author: Külli Koort is currently working at Weekdone, a weekly reporting startup, where she is focused on introducing the easiest and most efficient weekly reporting tool to the world. She likes to write about time management, productivity and employee engagement.
Getting the most from your workforce has never been easy. Doing it in a way which gets workers to buy in to corporate values and objectives is at the core of the challenge.
Understanding and promoting your employer brand in ways which attract, engage and inspire employees to do more will set you apart from competitors. Identifying new challenges, benchmarking your branding efforts and creating an inspiring workplace will help your company gain that competitive edge.
The urgency of this challenge is not just about creating a culture of excellence and the associated ROI. Its more fundamental than that.
Rise of Generation Y and the Need For Better Engagement
The immediate need for an attractive employer brand which encourages loyalty is created by the new priorities and work cycles of Millennials.
Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that the average worker stays at each job for 4.4 years, but the expected tenure of the workforce’s youngest employees is a little over half of that.
Generation Y’s preference for shorter tenure presents a big challenge to employers looking to retain and develop their top talent. For companies, losing an employee after a year or two means investing time and resources on training & development, only to see the employee go to a competitor before that investment of product and industry understanding really starts to pays off.
If workers can make a personal connection to their organisational culture and its identity, they will consider it as attractive or unique. This type of emotional connection will not only promote a strong sense of membership but it also brings a sense of loyalty to an employer that they won’t want to leave.
Creating Two Way Conversations
Cascading values and goals, investing in professional development and creating two way conversations will inspire workers to feel valued and promote a desire to repay investment you’ve placed in them.
Increased loyalty will, in turn, create a culture where employees are more likely to go that extra mile because they buy in to corporate objectives.
How Does Your Employer Brand Measure Up?
So how do you create the metrics to ensure your on the right path to engage with your employees and maximize productivity?
A good exercise to help you stay competitive and on track is to answer the below handy checklist. By going through these considerations, you’ll get an idea of how your employer branding initiatives measure up against best practice organizations.
Answer yes or no to each of the following questions and then total your score out of 20.
- We have created an employer brand strategy
- We have developed a social media strategy
- We have conducted research to determine the perception current employees have about our company
- We have done research to understand the perceptions prospective employees might about our company
- We monitor what is being said online about our brand
- We have identified the leadership competencies we aspire employees at all levels to have
- We have created a database of talented employees who we’d like to hire when the time is right
- We have got a careers section on our corporate website
- We have at least two of the following working closely on our employer brand strategy – HR/Marketing/Communications/IT
- Alignment to brand values is part of our performance management system
- We have an active coaching and mentoring program in place to transfer knowledge and build internal capabilities
- We have defined our employer brand metrics
- Managers have access to a leadership development program
- We have defined our employer value propositions (EVPs)
- We have reviewed our EVP’s in light of the Global Financial Crisis
- We have an employee referral program which we promote to staff and stakeholders
- We conduct an employee engagement, satisfaction and/or climate survey at least once per year
- We participate in an external annual best employers and/or employer of choice survey
- We use an online system to automate our recruitment process and rank candidates against weighted criteria
- Each employee has a documented career development plan that is reviewed at least annually
So How Did You Rate?
0-5 = Very early stages
6-12 = A good start
13-17 = Some tweaks are needed
18-20 We are Employer Branding experts!
Better Branding and Bigger Results
Creating or developing an employer brand which considers the needs of a changing workforce, lowers staff turnover and inspires better performance is no easy task.
The benefits, however, can be huge. Developing strong company goals and showing your staff that you want to go the extra mile to help their professional development will pay dividends in the years ahead! That’s because understanding changing cultures, the role of communications and being able to benchmark initiatives will help your employer brand attract, retain and grow top talent and the leaders of tomorrow.
About the Author: Jilaine Parkes is a knowledgeable and passionate HR / Organization Development Professional with nearly 25 years combined experience in large, dynamic organizations and independent HR / OD Consulting. While holding senior HR management positions in Bombardier, Kraft Foods, Canadian Tire, Lavalife and Cineplex Entertainment, including a one year stint in Prague, Czech Republic, Jilaine has designed and driven initiatives in Business Planning, Leadership Development, Employee Development, Succession Planning, Performance Management, Learning & Growth Strategy and Team Chartering.
In addition to having worked as part-time faculty at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario she has also worked within the Fanshawe organization in the areas of Leadership and Performance Development. In early 2009, Jilaine partnered with Bruce Croxon (Co-Founder of Lavalife and a star of CBC’s Dragon’s Den) and launched an online Performance Management software company featuring the automated Performance Management module known as Sprigg. In addition to driving Sprigg’s expansion across the US, Canada and UK, Jilaine is an accomplished public speaker and facilitator with a humorous, very direct and down to earth style.
Throughout the world there’s a huge gender gap in regards to business, and even in modern society women are still heavily discriminated against in the workplace. However, according to Inc., in the United States and Asia female entrepreneurs are both more innovative and more successful than their male counterparts. Here are the top three reasons why.
Women Take Fewer Financial Risks
A study conducted by the International Finance Corporation states that women are “less risky” than men. Taking fewer financial risks often leads to less debt and a slower rate of growth. Rapid expansion, however, can drive businesses into bankruptcy. This is because as expenses grow, so do costs, and they will often find themselves unable to cope with the demand. Women often prefer to keep their businesses smaller so they can focus on delivering a quality service and retain a better work/life balance.
A recent trend in this regard is the lack and women signing long term lease agreements for offices; and instead, opting for short term serviced offices. Unlike traditional office spaces – which often require a contract term of 3-5 years – serviced offices can be rented for as little as 1 month; provide services and facilities without overheads; provide a more prestigious working address; and most importantly, lower financial risk. Skyline Offices have compiled a case study exploring the benefits of serviced offices.
Women Often Seek Advice During the Startup Stages
70% of women who start businesses will seek advice prior to investing any time or money in their venture; and many partake in some form of government run business course. In addition, women are known to develop more thorough business plans and give their ideas more thought than men. Business leaders that prepare significantly increase their chance of success.
While seeking advice isn’t an innovative approach to conducting business, it can certainly help boost confidence and trigger more innovative ideas; especially in today’s remote working environment where high proportions of female entrepreneurs are starting new businesses online.
Women Place More Emphasis on Social Media
According to Forbes, women use social media a lot more than men; therefore, women business leaders tend to place more emphasis on social media marketing. It’s estimated that most female entrepreneurs invest roughly 79% of their online marketing budget on social media. While this may seem high; unlike other forms of online marketing, social media is a one-time investment because when a lead “follows” or “likes” a social network page or profile, they’ll be subject to free marketing in the future.
In addition to this paid traffic, Google looks favourably upon businesses that have an active social media presence and will reward them with higher organic rankings in the search engines. This can lead to a constant steam of free exposure.
Sadly, women are 18% less likely to believe that they can achieve success in business, which puts many talented individuals off the idea altogether. It’s going to take more than statistics to change narrow mindedness and gender discrimination; however, if women continue to yield successful results in the future, perhaps the faces of up-and-coming businesses will start to change.
Photo Credit: Jodie Womack
About the Author: Helen Wallis is a 30 something mum of one who enjoys reading and is a passionate blogger. Having worked in the big smoke for many years, Helen now enjoys a quieter lifestyle and indulges in her passion for writing and cooking.
With great power comes great responsibility, said Spider Man.
A good leader embodies a number of highly-desired traits. He or she is focused, flexible, empathetic, ethical, and is engaged in a strong pursuit of success. There are different types of leaders and many leadership styles. Each might approach a situation or a problem in a different way but the outcome should always be the same: success or solution to a problem. Being able to get things done is the sign of a good leader.
Leadership has been much discussed. Thousands of books, articles, and blogs have been dedicated to studying different and efficient leadership styles. So how is it that despite such a wealth of information available on being a good leader, every organization has its own set of bad leaders? How come every employee has at least once endured that dreaded thing called “bad boss”?
No one starts off with the goal of becoming a horrible boss, but one picks up undesirable qualities along the way and gets stuck in self-defeating patterns of words and actions that earns one the label of ‘the boss from hell’.
So what are the things that lead to people getting this not-so-coveted title? Here are some of the qualities that we absolutely do not want in our leaders.
Credit Snatcher Alert!
This is for all those bosses who can never appreciate the fine work of their juniors and waste no time in making it their own. So your juniors may be less experienced and less skilled than you but when they do a good job they do deserve appreciation.
While taking credit for someone else’s work could be unintentional at times, especially when you feel that you came up with an idea which your subordinates simply executed, the least you can do is give them the credit for their part of work. That is what a good mentor does.
Is an Opportunistic Communicator
Being a good communicator is one of the key qualities needed to become a good leader. But good communication is not limited to conveying what you want from your employees and giving them their targets unambiguously.
It is about keeping them motivated and positive at all times. You cannot be an aggressive and empowering communicator only when you need your subordinates to work for you. To be a good leader you should be an informative, enthusiastic and encouraging communicator at all times.
Many leaders do not let beneficial and important information trickle down to their juniors as they fear that access to such information may help their juniors outshine them. This is bad practice. Such leaders never earn the trust or willing support of their subordinates. You cannot lead a team with a need-to-know-only attitude towards your juniors.
Lacks Vision and Focus
Leading through action and direction is the mantra for most successful leaders. Nobody can trust or rely on a leader who does not have a vision for himself or for the growth of his team. A leader needs to be clear about his goals and be meticulous in his approach towards attaining these goals.
Such a leader is focused and leads through example. On the other hand, a leader who lacks vision and focus will not set long-term goals. He cannot induce passion or commitment towards work in his or her subordinates. The best leaders are those who inspire others to go ahead and achieve their dreams. Such leaders infuse positivity, discipline and focus in their subordinates.
A bad leader lacks vision and fails to plan properly. They are not connected to their employees and remain clueless about the goings-on at work. They also fail to remain accountable and often blame their juniors when something goes wrong. Most people don’t stick around for long under such leaders.
Lacks Empathy and Flexibility
Kindness and humility go a long way. A leader that always says ‘NO’ to all that a junior asks, refuses to accept any innovation put forth by young blood, and is dominating and dictatorial in his approach gets a thumbs-down form us.
One becomes a leader only when he or she has followers. A boss that does not empathize with his workers is a bad boss and won’t win any hearts.
When your subordinates feel that you care for them, they want to give you their best. On the other hand, if they only receive indifference and coldness from the boss, their productivity will decline and understandably so.
These are bosses with excessive ego, pride and arrogance. They usually possess all of the above mentioned qualities. In addition to that, they are bad listeners. They believe that they know everything and will discourage you to speak up or express your views. And if you do manage to do so and rub them the wrong way, be ready for some serious payback. Yes, they are vindictive too.
Engages in Favoritism
Now this is the boss who irks us the most. They will shower favors on those they like. They love people sucking up to them and if you don’t, you are in deep trouble. By now you might have guessed that they play an active role in office politics and deliberately underplay your talent and hard work. They also pit employees against each other and create a bad working atmosphere.
If you are a leader and have been deliberately or unintentionally exhibiting any of the above behavior, check yourself now. A good leader brings out the best in all his followers; he is fair and unbiased and gives wings to his followers’ dreams. If you are working under a leader who does not inspire you to give your best, you need to recognize the signs and find a way out to receive guidance from a better boss.
About the Author: Lura Peterson is a freelance writer for Topmobility.com and loves to write on mobility. Besides writing, she also enjoys shopping, traveling with her family to far-off places and time spent with her husband.
Much has been said and written about the Millennial Generation, much of which is untrue or highly exaggerated. This group has often been criticized for being lazy, entitled and self-obsessed, but that’s not quite right. And, anyway, isn’t that always how the older generations describe “kids these days”?
The truth is that the notorious Millennials, or members of Generation Y, are more socially aware, innovative and worldly than any generation that came before, and they’re up against a lot more. This group is entering an extremely competitive, slim workforce with huge amounts of student loan debt, yet they’re highly optimistic about their futures.
Instead of thinking of ways to “deal” with Millennials who enter your company, you really ought to be coming up with ways to attract more of these creative thinkers – after all, in 10 years, Gen Y will make up three quarters of the workforce.
1. Be Different
Today’s college grads are not satisfied with their parents’ workplace. They take one look at a staid, old-fashioned office with its bland cubicles and depressing break room, and they run the other way. Millenials are turned off by the idea of working at the same, isolated desk all day.
Tim Buchenberger, designer at Whitney Architects, a firm that designs many modern workplaces, said, “We encourage companies to choose designs that promote flexibility and allow people to easily move in and out of different work environments. The spaces need to encourage personal and professional connections – they should create a sense of belonging.”
If you really want to attract the best and brightest young people, you have to build a physical environment that suits their work preferences and reflects the way technology has changed the way we communicate. Hip, modern companies eschew the culture of private offices and closed-off cubicles of yore in favor of open-concept spaces and meeting rooms that are conducive to collaboration.
2. Be Flexible
Millenials view the traditional work day in the same way they see the traditional office: outdated and irrelevant. Technology has completely transformed the way we work, and Gen Y understands that more than anyone, especially considering the fact that they don’t remember a time before the internet. Much of what necessitated the classic 9-5 schedule no longer applies.
If it was up to this new generation, all companies would allow workers to be flexible about when and where they work, as long as the work was getting done. They also prefer more casual dress requirements, which helps them feel like they can be themselves. An MTV study called No Collar Workers, found that 81% of Millennial employees think they should be able to make their own work hours and 79% think they should be able to wear jeans to work.
The point is that this generation is looking for a workplace that breaks down the strict barriers between work life and home life. The benefit to you is that, by creating a more inviting and flexible work environment, you get employees who actually want to be in the office and who thrive in an environment that encourages personal freedom and expression. It might all sound a bit foreign and new-age, but this is where things are headed and early adopters will find themselves ahead of the pack.
3. Mentorship Matters
Critics accuse Millennials of being dependent and in need of hand-holding, but these nay-sayers may just need to shift their perspective. In the past, many companies would essentially throw new team members into the deep end – their ability to learn to swim was their first test. This generation, however, works better with nurturing mentor relationships and frequent feedback. And is that so bad? Why shouldn’t we do everything we can to assimilate and educate new employees in order to help ensure their success?
You can make a Millenial feel right at home in your company by assigning them an official mentor from the start – this person would be responsible for showing them the ropes and facilitating regular check-ins where the newbie would be allowed to ask questions and seek feedback on their performance. This kind of system will not only attract workers of Gen Y, it will increase new employee retention and help decrease the inevitable learning curve that slows down productivity.
4. Raise Responsibility
This may surprise you, but Millennials are not motivated by money. Sure, money matters, but not as much as opportunities for growth, leadership and influence. Ultimately, today’s young workers would rather have a lower paycheck that comes with greater satisfaction than vice versa. And they want their voices heard and their input valued – 76% of those surveyed in the No Collar Workers study said that they believed their bosses could learn from them.
Perhaps because of the fact that they’re more in touch with technology than their older superiors, Millennials don’t prescribe to the belief that a strict hierarchy should dictate whose ideas matter the most. Your company can accommodate this belief by doing things like holding group brainstorming sessions that let all team members contribute equally. You can also tap young employees to train older team members on technology – this makes logical sense and it allows them to feel useful and valuable.
5. Make a Difference
Despite the bad rap they’ve gotten for being self-involved, Millennials are actually quite socially conscious and look for employers that are doing their part to give back or improve the world in some way. A 2014 Deloitte study on Millennials in the workforce concluded that this generation believes that a company’s success is not just measured in profits, but in contributions to the world at large. This was based on the fact that large percentages of them volunteer their time and money to charitable organizations and sign political petitions.
This is an easy and beneficial change for any company to make. Not only does company-wide philanthropy help those in need, but it also does wonders for building team morale and creating a more solid company culture. Taking the whole team to a food bank or an animal shelter for a day says, “We are a company that cares and values giving back to the community.” This makes all employees, not just Millennials, feel good about the place where they work, which in turn, creates more loyal and productive team members.
Millenials will soon take over America’s workforce. When that happens, companies won’t be asking themselves whether or not to adapt in order to suit their preferences – the adaptations will simply happen out of necessity.
The companies that choose to begin evolving early will be the ones that rise to the top, while the stragglers will find themselves running to catch up. As Bob Dylan sung in his epic ode to the power of youth, “Your old road is rapidly agin’, please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand, for the times they are a-changin’.”
Want to see where you fall on the Millenial continuum? Take this quiz, developed by the Pew Research Institute.
About the Author: Rod Miller is the Head of New Program Development of Corporate Award Source, an online supplier ofcustom corporate awards. Rod is also a frequent contributor to several career blogs and is passionate about educating professionals on workplace morale and leadership. For more information, visitCorporate Award Source or connect with Rod on Google+.
Editor’s Note: Though many of our readers and writers tend to be US or UK based, the goal of Women of HR is to support all women in business, regardless of location. Today we are expanding our reach as our guest author takes a look at the challenges of women in business in Asia.
The business world in Asia needs to take a hard look at why many companies are still hesitant to hire women in leadership positions. Gender diversity in successful organizations has reached a point where women need to be brought into leadership roles. According to UN Women, the Asia-Pacific economy loses USD 89 billion every year by not cultivating the female workforce. This is only one of many reasons why women should be hired into the workforce as leaders.
Perceived Challenges for Hiring Women in Asia
There are a number of basic challenges that can influence Asian employers into thinking that hiring women complicates team synergies. The bottom line is these are just perceptions. Some of the difficulties that employers think they’ll face when hiring women include:
- Prioritizing family commitments
- Un-equal dedication of work hours as compared to male peers
- What-If Scenarios: What if they get married, what if they get pregnant, what if they move away?
- Effort required to become a female friendly workplace
However, don’t you think some of the same scenarios exist for men too? It may not seem like it but family is usually the number one priority for everyone. Challenges need to be worked out for both men and women and it’s unfair to think that just women will let you down.
Benefits of Women in Leadership Roles
More or less we understand the perceived challenges that employers may fear, including the ones listed above. However, the benefits of women in leadership roles and the specific talent they bring to an organization greatly outweighs the concerns.
- Experienced Multitaskers: Rather than taking a women’s requirement to juggle work and family as setback, one should consider that this actually makes them better project managers and team leaders. So much so that BBC covered the topic, scientifically proving that women are better multitaskers. Leaders should ask themselves, if the majority of their male leadership teams were replaced by women, would they actually achieve more?
- Extreme Dedication: Most Asian women know that getting a break in the professional world could come once maybe twice in their working careers. When they get it, their dedication is incomparable. They’re open to working from home, coming in on weekends and bringing their children to work. A report published by TalentCorp Malaysia and Acca revealed that the top 3 reasons why women leave work in Malaysia is:
- To raise a family
- Lack of work life balance
- To care for a family member.
As long as they’re given the opportunity to focus on both family and work they won’t let either one down.
- Different Leadership Styles: Teams in the workplace now want collaborative leadership styles rather than commanding ones. Certain character traits which are more dominant in women such as building relationships, listening and collaboration can create an environment which cultivates both team and company success. According to a survey conducted by HBR, 62% of respondents leaned towards hiring a male CEO unless the company was doing poorly in which case 69% wanted to hire a female leader. People understand that women make different leaders than men in a good way, they just don’t implement it regularly.
In an ideal world, women and men would be considered equal professionals – traits and perceived challenges would not be based on gender. However, anyone who has spent time working in Asia knows that we’re far away from this goal for gender diversity. How have you changed your workplace to be more female friendly, especially in leadership positions?
About the Author: Paul Keijzer is the CEO and Managing Partner of Engage Consulting in Malaysia, Pakistan and UAE. His primary focus is on transforming top teams and managing talent across Asia’s emerging and frontier markets. Download Paul’s Social Media Toolkit to Advance your Career
Let me begin with saying I’ve very new in my career. I’m 22 and I graduated with a B.A. in English Literature in May of 2013 and started my current job six months ago.
There were some vital things I’ve learned since graduating. Since I’ve graduated, I’ve been laid off from a small internet marketing company, was self-employed for four months and then recruited for my current job. All this, while not entirely knowing what exactly I wanted out of my career.
My current title is SEO Technical Specialist (click on the link if you have no idea what that is, many people I’ve met do not)! I had my first review and first promotion last week. The last six months have been intense and exciting. Also terrifying and frustrating. I wanted to share what I’ve learned so far with starting my career in the corporate world as a young, female millennial.
Perception is Reality
One of the hardest things I’ve learned (in a very hard way) is keeping my cool. Working in the corporate environment, being new and being young, it takes me a little bit more work to have my ideas considered. That can be very frustrating.
The most important thing is to be sure you keep calm, both your voice and face. Take a moment to walk away and think about. Consider bringing up the subject in a different way. How you react will either improve or damage your relationship with the person you are working with.
It’s important to build a “brand” around yourself. Create a professional Twitter account, grow your Linkedin profile and watch your posts on Facebook. Building a brand is one way you can control other’s perception of you.
I work in an industry that changes all of the time. With that, I’m constantly reading industry blogs. Sometimes I’ve even been the first one in my department to share important industry news. This matters. Not only is it important so that you can continue to improve your work, but becoming a person who is clearly knowledgeable will gain you respect and recognition.
Get certification in an aspect of your field. There are lots of options for online learning. I’m currently investigating a Mini MBA in Internet Marketing. I come from a writing background and ended up (happily) in the field of Search Engine Optimization. It’s very exciting but can be challenging because many of my co-workers have more experience in both marketing and the technical side of my field. Want to become a leader in your field? Keep learning!
Goals Matter…Sort of
As I mentioned earlier, I read a lot of articles. Not just in my industry though; I want to learn how to develop my career, not just do my job to the best of my ability. An article I read called “How Millennial Women Are Shaping Our Future” had a statistic that stood out to me, “Eighty-three percent of Millennial women say they believe they are expected to be more successful than women in previous generations.” That’s a lot of pressure.
I’m very guilty of two things, being a procrastinator and a perfectionist. I believe many of my peers can identify with this. Getting this job, I’ve kicked the procrastination aspect but I still put a lot of pressure on myself to do it perfect.
In theory this sounds like a great characteristic for an employee! But in reality the pressure becomes so intense your work ends up suffering in the long run. It’s important to keep the big picture in mind when setting out to accomplish something. Whether a project at work or a promotion you’re aiming for.
With that said, I did not plan to have a career as an SEO Technical Specialist. All I knew was that I wanted a job, and a good one. I let the chips fall in place. This is what I mean by the “sort of” aspect. It’s amazing what can happen if you allow yourself to have loose goals with your career. Allow opportunities to present them to you. This can be the most rewarding and exciting aspect of your career development.
I can’t emphasize this point enough! The most important lesson I have learned is to never be afraid to ask questions. I’m not just talking about questions on projects or about your industry. Ask on ways to you can do something better, how you can improve and how you can help.
Volunteering for projects goes a long way. Asking how you can improve makes an impact. Your supervisors or managers will notice if you ask before the review on what you can improve upon.
I have so much left to learn. When I think about how inexperienced I will consider myself at this point when I look back a year, 2 years, or 10 years from now. But I feel that I’ve made some key discoveries I wanted to share. Both to my peers and to those wondering, “what’s up with those Millennials anyways?” Most of us are working hard. More importantly, most of us are trying to figure it all out.
About the Author: Lauren graduated from the University of South Florida in May of 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. She now works in the field of Internet Marketing. She loves to write and learn how to be better at her job. Self-improvement, leadership, marketing, social media and SEO are some of the topics she most enjoys writing about. She also currently publishes her own personal blog sharing gluten-free recipes.
We all know how important it is to navigate and manage our own careers. However, it’s not always easy to know what to do or even when the best timing is to do it. Personal circumstances, boss’s opinions of us, and corporate restructurings all play a pivotal part in impacting the success of our leadership and career trajectory. Our tolerance for these external factors and how they impact our lives varies from time to time, but ultimately I believe we are the only ones who know what’s best; even if we have moments of being unsure of what move to make next.
Years ago when I was a corporate employee and ready to come back to work after maternity leave, I decided coming back part-time might be a good option to help me transition after having a baby. My boss saw my entrance back into the work force differently than I did. She actually told me that she did not think it possible to be both a serious career woman AND be a mother and suggested that I think about choosing which one of these was more important to me. After getting over the shock (and the potential unlawfulness of her comment), my tolerance for her navigating my career in this way was, as you might imagine, ZERO! So, I quit. I had no job, a 3 month old, an 18 month old, and was determined my career would resemble something I wanted and NOT something someone else wanted for me.
After managing through this unfortunate set of circumstances myself (ultimately not as unfortunate, as this conversation was the catalyst for starting my own business!), I learned many things. Here are three that helped me, and might help you as well, as you think about how to navigate your wants and your circumstances most effectively.
Even though we believe our careers are ours to manage, if we work for someone else, we often find ourselves at the affect of our boss’s idea as to what career move is available to us or not. Pay attention to the feedback you receive from your boss and your boss’s boss. You need to start reading between the lines, even if you don’t like what you see. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard an executive tell me they gave one of their employees some pretty tough feedback, but when I check in with the employee, they say that nothing unusual or critical in nature was discussed. My conclusion is that most of us really do believe we have spoken straight and clear when giving feedback, but in reality what was said isn’t necessarily heard as we intended. As a result, we have to get better at reading between the lines and asking lots of questions to obtain clarity so we can better plot a course for our next move.
Map out the path to the promotion, job, or title you desire and feel you deserve. No one wants what you want more than you do and no one will take the wheel for you. You are in the driver’s seat, but beware; this journey is not for weenies. You will need to stay alert, read the signs, and stay focused on your destination. It’s OK to take a detour or two as no career progression is traveled in a straight line. Keep your eyes on your destination otherwise it becomes easy to take too many side streets just waiting for “them” to change their minds and see just how talented you really are.
To be fully satisfied in your work, you first have to decide what it is that you want, and then commit to having it in a singularly focused kind of way. It does happen, although rarely, that the Universe just guides and glides us along without effort towards our dreams and goals. Most of the time however, we actually have to do stuff to make what we want become a reality. It takes persistence, commitment and acting outside your comfort zone to obtain the brass ring you have your sights on. Have conversations with key stakeholders (bosses, mentors and a coach) as to what’s required to readjust your actions, recalculate a misguided direction you may have made, and to understand clearly the gap between where you are and where you want to ultimately be.
As you navigate your career, no matter how old or young you are, you will either head towards something you want or escape from something that’s not working for you, like in my case with my boss. Giving yourself time to think about your career progression actually allows you to work ON your career and not just be IN it. It is a smart thing to do and will pay off by putting you in the drivers seat over and over again.
About the Author: Wendy Capland is known as one of America’s top women leaders on the topic of leadership development. As Chief Executive Officer of Vision Quest Consulting, Wendy has 25 years of experience working with hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals developing their most important asset, their people. She is the author of Your Next Bold Move for Women: 9 Proven Steps to Everything You Ever Wanted. www.WendyCapland.com