Category: Business and Workplace

A Call for HR Practitioner Input!

Posted on August 14th, by Rowena Morais in Business and Workplace. No Comments

Editor’s Note: Though it is not typical for us to promote surveys on our site, we’re offering our readers the opportunity to participate in this one because it is specifically targeted at HR practitioners, and is being run by one of our regular Women of HR contributors, Rowena Morais.  Rowena’s publication, HR Matters Magazine, is an excellent resource for HR professionals, and we encourage you to check it out!

 

Would you like to discover key IT Learning and Development trends in 2015?

Would you like to find out the different organisational preferences and trends in the areas of learning and development, particularly, technology training? Would you like to see the kind of key differences in these training purchasing decisions across industry verticals or geographical boundaries?

If so, then the Key IT Learning and Development Trends 2015 Survey is just right for you. This Survey runs now till December 2014 and I’d like to invite you to participate.

But only if you are a HR practitioner… by this, I mean, either a Head of Department, director, manager or senior executive in HR or a HR sub-sector like change management, recruitment, training or OD, for example.

To get the practitioner input, all HR consultants, trainers, recruitment agencies, software vendors and anyone non HR are not part of this survey.

For 15 minutes of your time, you will get :
1. A one year digital subscription for 2015 to HR Matters Magazine;
2. This exclusive Survey Report once the Survey is over.

And whether you complete the survey or not, I’d like to send you two complimentary digital issues of HR Matters Magazine – a globally recognised quarterly magazine for HR professionals – just for the heck of it. Just email us your details (with the code TS2014) to get this sent.

All your personal information will remain confidential. I hope you will see value in this and take part, thanks for your time. More info on the survey.

Sincerely,

Rowena Morais
Editor, HR Matters Magazine

P.S. If you know someone who might find value in this, please feel free to share this.


How Can Women Can Be More Inspiring Speakers?

Posted on August 12th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. 1 Comment

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.

 

Photo Credit

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://londonspeakerbureau.com/ which is world’s leading speaker and advisory network.

 


A Roadmap To Stronger Teams

Posted on August 7th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. 1 Comment

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.

 

Align goals

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.

 

 Photo Credit

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.


The Grass is Greener When the Field is Mowed

Posted on August 5th, by Bonni Titgemeyer in Business and Workplace, Career Advice. No Comments

LawnRecently I was out for a walk with my husband and we decided to take a different path through the nearby school athletic fields. It was a beautiful evening and there were teams practicing and kids having a great time.

As we were walking, I looked down and I noticed that there was a distinctive line between an area that had been recently mowed and one that had not. You could tell where the unmowed area was because even though there really didn’t appear to be much of a difference in grass height, on one side all the flower heads on the weeds were still there. It was so apparent that I decided to take a picture of it and committed to try and find a way of incorporating this into a HR blog.

Here it is.

In the world of HR advice-giving, we encounter those who seem to want to bail because they think it is better elsewhere. Many of us offer the same advice to those thinking of leaving their workplace. . .the grass is always greener. . .

According to Urban Dictionary this expression “refers to the way we tend to look at other people’s lives and other things that we don’t have in general through rose colored glasses. Comes from the idea of looking at a neighbour’s lawn and seeing it as better looking, healthier and overall greener then your own when in reality you’re just ignoring anything negative about it and downplaying everything positive about your own.”

I agree that using the grass is greener expression is a good strategy for those thinking of leaving, but I think we have an opportunity to take that concept a little further. It is worth reminding people that all fields, green or not, have weeds of one kind or stage.  Some just haven’t had their flowers mowed off yet.

The ideal field is not uniformly green. In fact, if we accept some weeds and their flowers, we can avoid the use of pesticides. We can minimize the risk of land erosion because weeds help to hold in soil better than grass generally due to their longer roots. Weeds use less water than grass.

What goes on above the surface is just as important as below the surface. Or to put it in a workplace context. . .

The ideal workplace is not uniform. Don’t mistake gloss for perfection. Every workplace has weeds. It needs weeds. Getting the most out of those weeds is an important step for workplaces today.

 

About the Author: Bonni Titgemeyer is the Managing Director of The Employers’ Choice Inc. She has been in human resources for 20+ years and works in the international HR arena. She is the recipient of the 2012 Toronto Star HR Professional of the Year Award.  You can connect with Bonni on Twitter as @BonniToronto, often at the hashtag #TEPHR.

Getting More From Millennials: Developing Your Employer Brand

Posted on July 24th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. No Comments

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.

 

Photo Credit

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 


Human Resources & Marketing: Not So Different After All?

Posted on July 22nd, by Jennifer Payne in Business and Workplace. No Comments

It’s been about a month since the 2014 SHRM Annual Conference in Orlando.  By now, those of us who attended have settled back into the realities of our jobs and day to day life.  We’ve probably filed away our notes and stashed our swag, but have we thought about what we actually learned?  Have we spent any time at all considering how we can take some of the ideas we gathered and put them into practice?

 

One of the concepts that particularly rang true with me was the notion that Human Resources professionals need to start thinking more like marketers, an idea offered by David Novak, CEO of Yum! Brands.  Maybe I’m partial to this idea because my college degree was in Marketing, and though I’ve been practicing HR for over 16 years that marketing mindset has remained with me.  Or maybe I just believe the idea is not only genius, but necessary in this age of social media and transparency.  Either way, the concept really resonated with me.

 

I think that whether we realize it or not, Human Resources professionals have always been (or at least should be) more similar to marketing professionals than not.  Marketing professionals promote the business brand to the outside world; HR professionals must be the keeper of the employment brand and the story of what it means to be an employee of our companies to both the outside world (potential candidates) and inside world (current employees).   However, that line is even more blurred now, thanks to the ubiquitous nature of social media which allows nearly every employment related decision we make to be broadcast or challenged, and every claim we make about the reality of working at our organizations to be either be validated or debunked publicly.  Everything we do within our organizations, decisions that we used to generally be able to keep tightly under wraps, can now be put on display for the world to see.  Take the recent employee termination at Cracker Barrel, a story that caused quite a bit of an uproar on social media, and one of just many examples in recent years.  Perhaps we’ll never be able to prevent these types of stories from leaking, and every good HR professional knows there are always two sides to a story with the truth usually somewhere in the middle.  But good HR professionals should also realize that perception becomes reality, and with that we now also have the opportunity to be more proactive with our efforts, to assume the mindset of a marketer and shape the employment story that’s on display to the world.

 

Branding the Employment Story

Just as our marketing departments promote our business’s brand to the outside world, HR should be promoting our employment story to the outside world.  And ideally, that story should align with the business brand so a cohesive, united message is being disseminated.  Here’s the value proposition that our brand offers our customers, and guess what?  There’s a similar proposition as an employee.  A company’s social properties, both general company platforms and employment related platforms, are perfect places to shout out what it means to be a part of our companies.  Facebook pages, LinkedIn pages and groups, Glassdoor pages…good HR departments should be leveraging all of these to tell our stories.  But it doesn’t stop there; if we are truly thinking like marketers, we’ll realize that our messages need to be part of an integrated strategy with our story being told in any communication we have with our potential candidate public, and that includes our career pages, every job posting, and even our message in any interview we conduct.  We need to be promoting our employment story at every possible opportunity.

 

 

Ensuring a Cultural Match

A good HR department will also realize that promoting a great employment story is useless if our reality doesn’t match what our story asserts.  There may be some debate as to whether or not HR really has control over the culture of a company, and though we may not be able to entirely create it, we can certainly guide it.  We can do this through hiring for cultural fit; by advising and guiding our managers to make decisions in the spirit of our culture; and by helping our managers see that the culture they create within their individual departments ultimately plays into the overall culture of the company.  It is generally accepted wisdom that people don’t leave companies, they leave managers; stories of bad employment experiences, typically attributed to bad managers, can permeate our employment brand through Facebook posts or Glassdoor reviews, making good old fashioned word of mouth sharing multiply exponentially. Human Resources departments alone may not be able to create a culture, but we can certainly be keepers of that culture; a collective conscience of the organization.

 

 

Engaging Our Employees in the Story

Ultimately HR alone can’t tell our employment story, at least not as effectively as it can be told.  We can’t neglect the value of using our employees as brand ambassadors, or conduits for sharing our employment story.  Those social properties mentioned before?  It’s one thing for an official company or HR message to be shared, but how powerful when that message comes directly from your employees?  What’s more believable – a slick, programmed message from a corporate department, or real-life stories and experiences shared by the very people living and working within that company culture every day?  It again comes back to that concept of word of mouth marketing or personal endorsements, whether they be stories on your careers page, blog posts written by employees, YouTube videos featuring employees on the job, or positive Glassdoor reviews.

 

We’ll likely never eliminate all of the negatives, and we’ll probably never make every employee happy, but by thinking like marketers we can ensure that we’re leveraging and promoting all of the positive stories waiting to be told and buzz waiting to be shared about our organizations.

 

Photo Credit

About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR has over 16 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent management in the retail grocery industry.  She is one of the co-founders of Women of HR, and is currently the Editor of the site. You can connect with her on Twitter as @JennyJensHR and on LinkedIn.

 

 

 


3 Ways Women Business Owners Are More Innovative Than Their Male Counterparts

Posted on July 17th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. No Comments

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.

 

Conclusion

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.


Horrible Bosses: Qualities We Don’t Want In Our Leaders

Posted on July 15th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. 2 comments

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.

 

Is Self-Absorbed

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.

 

To Conclude,

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.

 

Photo Credit

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.

 


How to Attract the Millennial Employees You Want: 5 Things Today’s Graduates Look for in a Job

Posted on July 10th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. 2 comments

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. 

 

Photo Credit

 

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+.


Tattoos and Discrimination

Posted on July 8th, by Kimberly Patterson in Business and Workplace. No Comments

tattoo card5

I’ve noticed several articles floating around about how jobseekers with visible tattoos shouldn’t be discriminated against when it comes to hiring. One article I read said that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 should be expanded so that inked individuals are protected from workplace discrimination. Huh? We inherit our race, gender and national origin at birth and the last time I checked, getting a tattoo is a choice.

Now before you go berserk and jump to the comments to rant about how you should be judged by your talent and skills, not your appearance, please humor me and let me explain.

First impression and perception

For the sake of clarity, visible tattoos are ones that you can’t hide — the ones climbing up your neck and chest or on your face and hands.  I’m not referring to the ink that’s easily hidden by clothing or by rolling down your sleeves.

When it comes to first impressions, do you know how much your skills matter if you have visible ink?  I don’t. I do know that you can’t assume the tattoos won’t be distracting. More important, you can’t predict or control the biases and judgments that others make of you.

I wanted to write this post for the same reason I wrote this post telling women not to wear giant bling to a job interview. When you put yourself in a position to be judged by others, you give away your power to be noticed only for your skills and expertise. Instead, you risk being in the critical eye of someone who perceives you inaccurately.

There are jobs outside of the Corporate America office where it’s perfectly fine for workers to have visible tattoos.  If you do a physical labor job, work at home or bouncer/security guard just to name a few.  I’m sure the music and art industry are fine with visible ink as well.

Ink and success

People get tattoos for various reasons — whether it’s honoring a loved one or simply self expression — it’s a personal decision and I get that.  While I believe we’ll see a shift at work towards tattoo acceptance, it’ll be slow. And even if the company you work for is cool with your ink, customers may not be okay with it — which adds another challenging layer to the issue.

One of the articles I read was from a medical website and a doctor being interviewed said he believed that if he had tattoos and piercings that his patients wouldn’t take him seriously, and that patients are more apt to comply with the instructions of physicians who look professional, which leads to better health outcomes.  He also said that your label — your brand — can impact your ability to get referrals for new patients.

In a perfect world we’d all work in an environment where people don’t judge each other based on appearance and enjoy a culture that embraces diversity. But as long as we have humans at work, we can kill the idea of ever having a non-judgmental workplace.

Bring it.

 

Photo credit: someecards

 

About the Author: Kimberly Patterson is the founder of Unconventional HR. An HR pro turned consultant, she has 25 years of progressive experience as a strategic HR and business leader in a variety of industries. Her hands-on and innovative approach allows her to create and deliver HR solutions to meet business challenges and needs by managing human capital, talent acquisition and technology. Connect with her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/kimberly_patt, or at kim@unconventionalhr.com.