It doesn’t take many years in the work force to begin acquiring meaningful experience that will serve you well in the future. In fact, you may be in the position you currently hold more for what experience has taught you than for what a classroom has taught you.
The positive outcomes you’ve achieved thanks to your lessons at Hard Knocks U reinforce your belief that success in a field doesn’t require formal education in it.
You’ve probably noticed a gap or two. There have likely been moments when you thought, “I’ve not dealt with this before.”
And that is the greatest value in formal education, especially at the graduate level.
There’s no doubt that you have extensive knowledge in the areas in which you’ve worked. But it’s unlikely that you’ve had the breadth of experience it would take to substitute fully for a formal degree. As a result, a degree won’t just remind you of what you already know. It will help fill in some gaps where life’s road hasn’t taken you yet. And while many opportunities exist to enhance your leadership skills, a degree provides greater promise for your future.
That sounds good, you may think, but I don’t have time to go back to school.
Well, consider this: the time investment needed to complete a master’s degree isn’t what it used to be. Many accelerated online degree programs allow you to continue a full workload while you knock out the classes necessary to improve your performance and your future.
Here are two other reasons why a degree can benefit you, even if you don’t think you can learn that much.
A few months on the job with you will tell a new supervisor that you know your stuff. But when you arrive at an interview, even a very powerful resume won’t carry the weight that a degree does. It’s not that anyone undervalues your experience, since they likely reached their own positions the same way.
But a degree provides a credible endorsement of what you’ve learned, and it’s one that others can quickly identify.
You might have ten years of experience at your company before applying at one of their competitors. During that time, you’ve racked up valuable experience. But maybe your potential new employer doesn’t subscribe to the business philosophies of your old employer. Maybe they’re concerned that you may be tainted goods.
By achieving a degree, you hold proof that you’ve been exposed to a broad base of knowledge, regardless of what you’ve previously been required to do.
And let’s step away from business-to-business relations for a moment.
Do your clients know what it means that you led a project management team that oversaw a robust renovation of IT systems? Probably not. Do they know what an MBA is? More than likely.
And again, a degree distills all your valuable learning down to a simple sentence: I hold an MBA degree. The result is credibility for your firm and the ability to draw in clients.
And isn’t that what it’s all about?
About the Author: Sam Peters is an avid blogger and career whiz. Originally from the mid-west, she now resides in sunny San Diego. When not writing you can usually find her with a good book and her puppy, Kona.
As the Affordable Care Act continues to unfold, we may also see it flop if enrollment numbers don’t change. Based on research performed by HHS (Health and Human Services), many uninsured Americans were young people. With that knowledge, Kathleen Sebelius, the HHS Secretary, assured insurance carriers that they would have at least a 40% enrollment of young (between the ages of 18 and 24) subscribers into the ACA. As a result, the insurance carriers formulated their rates within the ACA exchanges to insure this low risk demographic group. All of the research shows that in order to keep the premiums stable and to prevent carriers from leaving the scene altogether, roughly two in five Americans enrolled need to be young adults.
As of writing this post, there is a 24% enrollment of young folks in the ACA. Not what carriers were expecting. One-third of the enrollments are in the 55 to 64 age group. Open Enrollment ends on March 31 so we’ll know more when the final enrollment numbers are published.
So while folks enrolled in the exchanges might be getting an affordable health plan this year, I certainly hope they’re following this because there is nothing stopping insurance carriers from raising their rates for next year or even bailing from the exchange. What then? Affordable healthcare under the government will no longer be affordable and we’re back to the drawing board.
Enroll or be fined
It may hit your wallet if you can’t prove that you have medical insurance. You may have heard about this under the guise, “Individual Mandate“. This fine isn’t anything to sneeze at — the breakdown of the fines for each year is on this awesomely informative site. And don’t try to lie about having health insurance or you’re looking at a $25,000 fine.
The death of non-group plans
There was a time when you could buy a non-group (not dependent on an employer) health insurance policy that was affordable. Perhaps it was a high-deductible plan with hospitalization coverage — you could self-insure your doctor visits by paying out of pocket. This was a good way for self-employed folks to have affordable health insurance. Those plans are gone. The ACA has put restrictions on the types of plans that are offered in the non-group market. Hence the health insurance cancellations we’ve been hearing about.
I haven’t even touched on the impact it’s going to have on small businesses and, unfortunately, I could fill an entire page on that topic alone.
I’m not sold on how the ACA will help our healthcare situation and I think it’s going to further hurt the economy with the fines to individuals and businesses. I hope I’m wrong.
What really stumps me is how we’re supposed to believe that a government program backed by for-profit insurance companies would ultimately provide anything affordable for Americans?
The long winter months can inspire you to peruse deals online or phone your travel agent for a vacation away from home – somewhere relaxing and fun (or perhaps warmer) where you can forget the bustle of everyday life and stretch out in your finest resort attire for a few days.
Don’t feel guilty or hesitant about taking a little vacation this winter. Even if you’re a business owner, a little time away from the regular office environment and the daily tasks of running your business and managing your staff can refresh you for the new year and make you see things in a new light. A vacation can even help you brainstorm ideas to make 2014 the best year your business has ever had.
Here are a few tips on how to make the most of your winter vacation so that you come back to the office mentally refreshed and inspired.
Disregard smaller tasks for the bigger picture
First of all, don’t forget the fact that you are on vacation once you lock your office door, pack the car or carry-on bag, and bid farewell for a week. This means giving yourself permission to enjoy the time off – not spending it doing the frustrating grunt work that you associate with each weekday.
Instead, take a few minutes every so often while you are on vacation to brainstorm about the bigger picture and feel creative. The point of brainstorming while on vacation is to invite new ideas, not labor over mundane tasks.
Enjoy a different schedule
If you do things in the same order each day – have coffee, shower, brush your teeth – we are hereby giving you permission to ditch your usual routine during a vacation. You may be pleasantly surprised at how mixing it up a little can affect a creative spark.
Get some fresh air
Fresh air is one of the keys to creative success. If you’re the kind of person who sits inside your fancy hotel room and watches the cable channels – or sits by the fire at the ski lodge the entire time – try to get outside into nature a little more and breathe deeply. You don’t have to necessarily think about work while you do it; just clear your head to let new ideas in!
Take something to write with
If you’re out and about during your vacation and you come up with a fantastic idea, it would be a shame to let it escape. Avoid this by keeping a small notebook and pen with you. Why not just use your smart phone to keep track? Studies have shown that your own handwriting is better than a touch screen for stimulating your mind.
Talk to locals
Particularly if you are going somewhere out of the ordinary, it may benefit you to engage in conversations with the locals or with others on vacation. Don’t be afraid to get their input on new ideas as well as products and techniques your business has used in the past. The perspective of someone who isn’t involved with your company – or even part of your demographic – can be valuable.
Do some reflecting
Reflection during the quieter moments of vacation can be beneficial for helping you return to the office feeling refreshed. What do you want to accomplish this year? In addition to thinking about your own business’ highs and lows in the last 12 months (or whatever time period you choose), you may also want to reflect on other businesses. What are they doing right that inspires you? Keep a list of what springs to your mind.
Share your ideas when you return to work
Once vacation is over and you’re back at the office, share any new insight with your team members and ask for input. Explain why you came up with the ideas, and don’t forget to talk about how the new ideas can be used within your business.
Remember, a vacation is not only essential to your own well-being, it’s also great for your business. Even if you never considered taking a vacation as good for your career, brainstorming for 2014 is sometimes easier outside of the daily grind.
About the Author: Allison Rice, Director of Marketing for Amsterdam Printing, has extensive experience in sales and marketing. At Amsterdam Printing, a leading provider of custom pens and other promotional items such as personalized USB drives, Allison is focused on providing quality marketing materials to small, mid-size and large businesses. She regularly contributes to the Small Business Know-How blog.
There are numerous different schools of thought out there when it comes to how employees should be paid. Some employers prefer a flat salary because it draws high-end staff members that want assurance they’ll be paid what they’re worth. Others opt for performance pay because it encourages workers to become more productive in order to achieve higher levels of income.
In recent years, performance pay has become the more popular option in many companies, especially those that are small or just beginning to see substantial growth. This pays off sometimes because employees are more motivated to meet business goals since they’re in-line with the income-garnering goals they set for themselves. To determine if performance pay is a wise move for your company, it’s important to look at both its pros and cons:
How Performance Pay Boosts Productivity
If you ask any economist out there, they’ll surely tell you that the ability for an employee to earn more through hard work will encourage them to strive to do their best. This relationship is the basis of capitalism, and can be a powerful tool in your business. Performance pay often serves as an incentive for your workers to raise performance in order to earn a bonus or reach the next pay bracket. For some positions, oftentimes those in sales, performance pay can make up most, if not all, of an employee’s salary. For other jobs, it could be a significant bonus at the end of the quarter or year. By and large, employees work because they want to earn money. By correlating the amount earned with the results they provide, the end product is often a win-win situation for both the business and the worker.
The Downside Of Paying Based On Performance
In theory, performance pay seems to be a practical way of compensation for many positions in the workplace, but in real life that is not always the case. Even when there are quantifiable benchmarks for the employees to reach such as a certain level or sales or low number of customer complaints, performance pay can encourage less-than-honest workers to falsify or otherwise manipulate the figures. When there aren’t quantifiable benchmarks to measure an employee’s performance against, formulating compensation in this manner can be quite subjective to the managers handling the employees’ performance appraisals. This can result in not only discontent among workers, but also potentially open your business up to legal action by those who feel their performance review, and in turn their paycheck, was unfairly calculated.
When deciding whether to pay your employees based on a flat-rate salary or performance pay, the smartest option is often a combination of the two. There are pros and cons with each option, so incorporating the strong points from both methods can result in acquiring the best human capital for your organization. Offering employees a competitive base salary will help attract and retain top-notch employees who are guaranteed pay, free from the effects of situations out of their control, such as an overall weak economy or problems further up the corporate ladder. At the same time, offering a meaningful, yet reasonable, bonus or performance pay based on comprehensive and measureable criteria will encourage your already highly-performing workers an incentive to grow your business even further.
While putting an emphasis on performance pay is great for some positions such as sales where there is a direct financial gain to the organization for every dollar earned by the employee, it is not always the best choice. When goals cannot be directly measured, or do not necessarily benefit the company’s bottom line and future growth, performance pay can actually stunt an organization’s development. For most situations, the ideal compensation plan is a carefully calculated combination of a fair base salary and the potential for an attractive performance-based bonus.
About the Author: Edd Rennolls is a passionate freelancer who enjoys the ability to work from home promoting Wrangle.ca and being able to spend time with his family. Edd enjoys sharing his HR knowledge with business owners and other HR professionals in the industry.
Frankly, as rich as so many of these books are, we often have a tendency to read them, even have the best of intentions to integrate the principles into our personal and professional lives; yet particularly when we are under pressure, these values are put to the test and we may fall short. We all know full well that it is better to tell the truth than to tell a fib and to be loyal rather than to cave under pressure. Most of us also fully embrace The Golden Rule: ‘of doing unto others as we would have done unto us.’ We are certainly not ignorant of the virtues of the spiritual truths, Biblical principles, and even the many current writings on these values.
Yet, how many of us are really honest with ourselves with how and when we practice our beliefs and values pertaining to ethical behavior? How many of us hold ourselves and our team mates accountable for modeling ethical behavior? What can we do to help each other hold fast to these principles? So, in addition to our own spiritual practices and support groups, what are a few additional steps we can take to truly exercise our ethical muscles?
I read a wonderful article in Talent Management a few years ago which really stuck with me. I am integrating a few points I read in this article by Robert J. Thomas – as I believe he had an interesting and pragmatic perspective. One key point he made, which I thought was particularly ‘spot on,’ was that none of these observations or exercises will work unless we are ruthlessly honest with ourselves. So, keep that in mind – only read further if you are willing to look in the mirror of authentic self reflection and be ruthless about what we find.
Step 1: Honestly evaluate our commitments to others.
At the end of each day, (or if you are really strapped for time, do this on a Saturday morning), think about all the commitments, approvals, obligations, and promises you have made. There will be many – as so many of us say ‘yes’ or ‘I will get that to you’ or ‘I will read that and give you feedback’ without even really thinking about it. We are trying to be supportive, polite, or simply not thinking about it being a real commitment. What happens if we don’t come through? What is the cost to ourselves and to the others to whom we made these promises? Some may say that this has nothing to do with ethics. I disagree. Again, when we say we are going to do something – regardless of how small it may seem to us – it is our word to another. Sure, sometimes we forget, get busy, and it falls off the radar; that can happen. The difference is when it does – do we follow-up, admit our mistakes, make it right, and make a commitment to ourselves to do better the next time? This is how we learn and grow. We observe ourselves, put a practice in place to be aware of our behavior, and from here we can improve.
Step 2: Create a personal “Board of Directors” and career support system
Most of us have support systems of some sort: spouses, families, friends, Bible study groups, civic groups, etc. However, how many of us have a pseudo ‘board of directors’ for our professional growth? Just like a corporate board, our own personal board needs to be chosen for their experience, knowledge, skill set, and unrelenting commitment to the company’s success (in this case the company is YOU). These people will care enough to shoot straight with you – even when their observations may not be what you want to hear.
My suggestion is that these conversations need to be deliberate, not episodic or social in nature. They need to focus on you, your adherence to your values, your foibles, areas for improvement and honest observations. So, what’s in it for them we may ask? Well, in addition to the fulfilling nature of ‘paying it forward’ which they will undoubtedly experience when helping another; we can also offer to serve in that same capacity for someone they may want us to help. This is the cycle of leadership – and this is just one step we can each take as a matter of practice going forward.
Step 3: Establish values which will stand the tests of crisis, challenge, and temptation
Most organizations spend days (and often weeks) establishing their value system. Often, these values end up on the bulletin board or a plaque in clear view for everyone to see and read. I wonder if we would really know what the values were within these organizations without the plaque. Would the behaviors the individuals (and teams) exhibit in the organization represent those values? That is the truth serum, isn’t it? The same is true for us.
We may espouse a certain set of values – yet do we live them? What values would our co-workers say we live? Are they consistent with what our families and friends would say? Are our values the same in moments of stress, crisis and potential conflict?
Imagine all the whistle blowers in the news…..do we have the backbone to truly live our values when we are really tested? Think Sherron Watkins (Enron whistle blower). Then think about Eileen Foster – the Countrywide whistle blower who was ignored and then fired for calling suspicious actions into question. Finally, consider Katsuaki Watanabe, the CEO of Toyota, and all the other companies who had to face the realities of product recalls in recent years. What values and strength of conviction were represented in each scenario? What will we do when our ‘Tylenol moment’ happens? Will our values and ethics remain intact when we have to face the music? Establish values, declare them, and hold ourselves accountable to them.
From my perspective, in life and leadership, exercising ethics is a non-negotiable. As Albert Schweitzer (Civilization and Ethics, 1949) offers: “Ethics are nothing but reverence for life. This is what gives us the fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, promoting, and enhancing life.”
What I also believe is that without putting ethics into action any success we may achieve will be fleeting, unstable, and unsustainable – like a house built of sand. And we all know what happens to sand castles when the tides come.
About the Author: Kristin Kaufman is founder of Alignment, Inc.™, formed in 2007 to help individuals, corporations, boards of directors and non-profits find alignment within themselves and their organizations. A prolific writer, Kristin’s first book, Is This Seat Taken?, centers on her global experiences seeding her journey toward alignment. The book is scheduled for release in November 2011. Kristin is on Twitter as @KristinKaufman.
Editor’s Note: Though our guest posts typically come from established business professionals, this post gives a voice to an aspiring future business professional, as she explores her take on the importance of solid writing skills to success in your career.
In our current era of 140 character tweets, quick status updates and instant messaging, one might assume that writing skills have taken a backseat to efficiency and expediency. Unfortunately, those hoping to someday write their business reports in emoticons will have to wait a while longer. If you’re one of the many that feel technology has replaced the need to be a good writer, think again. Writing is as important now as it has ever been.
Unfortunately, writing isn’t held in such high esteem as it once was. Many view it as a necessary evil of the workplace instead of the invaluable communication tool that it is. When we think of improving our communication skills, most of us think about speaking abilities or ways to improve our listening skills. Good writing skills can help us in a number of ways, from improving our credibility in the workplace to improving our persuasiveness.
There are more ways than ever available to us for communicating our ideas through the written word. We have emails, texts, Tweets, letters, notes, reports, presentations and more. If you think about it, we spend a large portion of our time at work communicating to one another through writing. Our writing skills or lack of them are on display every day to a wide audience of co-workers, customers, managers, and stakeholders. Below are some tips for improving your writing skills in the workplace.
Be clear. Eschew obfuscation. That is, avoid confusion. While you want your co-workers to think you’re intelligent, don’t use big complicated words when simple ones will do. On the other hand, nail down the exact message you’re trying to convey by drawing on a large vocabulary. Consider your audience and drop the jargon.
Be persuasive. A big part of your writing efforts are aimed at convincing others to do something you want. Sales and marketing professionals are particularly adept at using this skill. But it is an essential skill at every level of the company. Pay attention to the tone of your writing. Be energetic and positive. Use the active voice.
Be courteous. Don’t become too abrupt in your messages to others. While some forms of communication require you to get straight to the point, this abrupt method shouldn’t be used in every form of written communication you send. Be aware of the sort of language you use and again, consider the audience you are addressing.
Be complete. Don’t leave out information that may leave the recipient with lingering questions. A well written message should be self-explanatory. It should contain enough information so that the person receiving it won’t have to ask for further instructions or information.
If you have effective writing skills then you are viewed as more credible in the workplace. This is a no brainer. Think back to a time when you received an email from a co-worker that was full of grammar mistakes and typos. What was your impression? Chances are you focused your attention on the mistakes rather than the message. At the very best, you assumed the writer was sloppy and didn’t take the time to check their work. At the worst, you viewed them as incapable and perhaps less intelligent. If you want to earn credibility in the workplace, make sure your writing is clear and free of grammatical errors.
About the Author: Jasmine Lloyd is in her senior year of college and looks forward to entering the business world after graduation. When not studying she is often blogging for Essay Edge or working on her writing skills.
When you hire a veteran you’re not simply doing a good deed, you’re securing a company asset. Many veterans have training and experience that puts them high on the talent scale, even when compared to traditional college or business graduates. Although at first glance it could seem easy to miss the translation of military experience to civilian work, don’t let that fool you. By overlooking an applicant because they spent the last couple of years in the armed forced you may be missing the opportunity to find each of the following:
Employers may shy away from hiring veterans because they are under a false impression that veterans lack the civilian work experience necessary to make them successful employees. However, veterans often have training and experience that equip them to be highly competitive job candidates, who translate into efficient, reliable, and driven employees. Traits regularly seen in veterans include:
- A strong work ethic
- Team players/ Leadership
Veterans are conditioned to work in high pressure situations, often with limited resources. For start-ups, this can be particularly beneficial, as veterans provide problem solving and decision making skills needed to lead high impact teams, quick changing logistics and pressing deadlines.
Companies that hire veterans aren’t just getting great talent, they are also making themselves eligible for tax benefits. Two benefits offered by the VA include the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) and the Special Employer Incentive program (SEI). WOTC allows businesses to obtain up to $9,400 in tax credits for hiring veterans, while the SEI can reimburse employers up to 50 percent of the veteran’s salary for up to six months.
By signifying your willingness to hire veterans, you show that you are also investing in the community that surrounds your company. Communities are often strongly oriented towards supporting their local veterans, and by demonstrating interest in hiring veterans, your community will be more likely to offer you their patronage.
Veterans also have an ingrained sense of loyalty that can translate extremely well into the civilian work world. Once they become a part of an organization, their sense of duty and loyalty tends to also extend to their company. By hiring a veteran, you have the opportunity to experience positive word-of-mouth advertising and enthusiasm about your place of employment. This kind of genuine promotion helps to attract other potential high quality employees within your community.
Finding A-Player talent at your company can be a daunting task. Seeking out veterans who possess skills and qualities you need can make the fabric of your organization stronger and more diverse. So instead of just posting a job to common recruiting sites, the next time a position becomes available in your company, consider posting to military sites or hosting a booth at a local veteran’s career fair. You’ll increase your odds of finding talented, qualified and motivated applicants.
About the Author: Amanda Andrade is the Chief People Officer for Veterans United Home Loans — Fortune magazine’s 21st best medium workplace and one the fastest growing companies in the United States according to INC magazine. Amanda has led human resource organizations in both public and private sectors. She also has a doctorate in Environment and Behavior, focusing on highly profitable, employee-centric work environments. Connect with Amanda on Google+.
Women in the workplace, and in particular acceptance of women in leadership roles has come a long way over the years. But despite the progress in this area, women in the workplace still face unique challenges, especially as they assume management roles. A good leadership training program can help give women the confidence they may be lacking due to these challenges.
Women Are Not The Same As Men
The gender difference goes beyond just the physical aspects. The talents, attitudes and problem solving skills differ significantly. So does language. Women find their strength in different ways, and good leadership training recognizes and develops this.
For example, women often have greater powers of persuasion than men. Women are great at absorbing information from multiple sources, and they rely heavily on intuition whereas men are more fact-based decision makers. Women are also more in tune with the emotional motives behind people’s actions. This wide perspective and insight into motivation are great assets when it comes to leadership situations requiring persuasion. Focused management training understands how to cultivate these skills.
Women are empathetic which serves them well in understanding, and overcoming, the prejudices that might present themselves in the workplace. Some men have great difficulty taking orders form women. With the proper management training, women can be equipped with the right skills to handle delicate situations without yielding their authority.
Strong Interpersonal Skills
Women in leadership roles can be trained to take advantage of the natural ability women have at being more flexible, social and empathetic. These are great team building skills that proper training help make even better.
Resistance and Resilience
Men have stronger egos than women in general. This doesn’t mean, however, that women have to transmit an inferior or weak self-image. In areas where women are naturally less skilled than their male counterparts, training pays off big time. Women can adapt to situations faster than men in general. So training them to have a stronger self-image is not only possible, but can bring stellar results to their leadership profile.
This might be a woman’s greatest strength. She is typically more inclusive which leads to strong teams since everyone feels like they are involved. Women are better listeners than men in general, and women like to hear all points of view before making a decision.
Some might find it surprising, but women are more likely to take risks than men. Men are more structured and cautious. Women on the other hand are often more innovative as they are willing to bend rules and not get caught up in worrying about details. Again, these natural skills might not be fully developed, and that’s where good management training can help.
Specific Objectives Matter
A general understanding of the female management psyche is only useful if we have clear objectives for better management skills. Some objects could be:
- Establish a clear picture of strengths and weaknesses
- Set definite personal and professional priorities
- Learn how to lead by providing and receiving feedback
- Decide where to invest energy based on personal cost and benefit
- Acquire networking strategies
- Understand the reach and limits of authority
- Learn how to ask for and interpret feedback
We have seen how women differ from men, and the special challenges that women face as managers. Specific training can help women no only fully develop their natural strengths, but also overcome developmental needs. All this leads to strong leadership in the workplace.
About the Author: Mark Arnold has many years of experience as a HR consultant. He enjoys sharing his perspective and experience with the business community. One of his favorites is focused management training, like that provided by K Alliance. He has worked as a HR manager and consultant for many online and brick and mortal companies. He focus on boosting company’s productivity and culture.
You’re an HR professional and you’ve decided it’s time to change jobs. Maybe it’s something happening within your company causing you to switch, or maybe it’s something inside of you telling you it’s time. Either way, this is one time where things should be easy, right? After all, you’re a professional in Human Resources! Finally, a chance to use all of your knowledge and ‘insider information’ to position yourself competitively and go for what you want.
It’s not so easy.
Expectations are raised in an HR job search. Most of this comes from the pressure you put upon yourself. “I should know what I’m doing.” “My resume and cover letter better be 100% perfect and error-free.” “I interview people all day long, how hard can it be to turn the tables?”
Yet many of us in HR have put our own career development at the bottom of our massive to-do list. Our resume is not only imperfect, it may be completely out of date or merely an exhaustive list of our job duties, rather than a presentation of our accomplishments. We may use LinkedIn to find candidates…that doesn’t mean we’ve put any time or attention into our own profiles. And interviewing? We began to think of all the times we’ve nit-picked and criticized candidates for not being prepared enough, or spouting rehearsed answers that didn’t really answer our questions.
On the other side, expectations of professionalism from potential employers run high as well, and with good reason. If an employer asks for a cover letter and resume in the format they request, you’d better be giving them both – and don’t even think about using a canned cover letter.
Loyalty is another issue many struggle with. When you spend all day touting the benefits of working for your company, and comparing how good your company is to the competitors, it’s hard to imagine going to work for a competitor! Many employees feel loyal to their employer, but it seems especially hard for HR people to imagine leaving for a similar job in the same industry. And how many times have we discarded candidates for being “job-hoppers”? That’s the last thing we want for ourselves. So 3 years turns into 5, and then 7, and finally 10 and before you know it, you can’t imagine leaving, even if you’ve completely stopped growing or learning in your position.
Confidentiality is another challenge HR professionals face in a job search. Many of us have counseled employees against using our employers equipment and/or time to conduct a job search, but let’s face it: many activities related to job searching take place during the day when you are working at your current employer. Sure , you can fill in online applications or do email at home at night, but interviews often work best for employers when they can take place during the day, and suddenly you may find yourself needing to be out of the office on numerous occasions, without wanting to share the reason.
Many of these challenges are related to applying for a posted job, which we know is not the best way to land a new position. Time spent networking and building relationships is the most productive and often leads to your next position in HR. Still, many HR folks let some of these challenges stop them from even contemplating a change.
What unique challenges did you face when searching for your HR job?
About the Author: For 15+ years, Andrea Ballard, SPHR, has brought a unique, common sense perspective to the business of HR. A former HR Director and Training Manager, she advises companies on how to design/implement flexible work life programs to attract/retain top talent. A certified coach, she helps women create a balance between motherhood & career. She is the owner of Expecting Change, LLC, blogs at Working Mother and is on Twitter as @andreaballard.
2014. It’s a new year, and a new start…at least metaphorically speaking. As we look ahead at the promise that the New Year holds, all the possibility that lies ahead of us, it’s natural for many of us to make personal resolutions. In addition to my usual resolutions, I have a few wishes for HR in 2014 too. Here’s what I hope…
I hope that all Women of HR will start focusing on being better business people, rather than better HR people. Let’s speak the language of business instead of the language of HR. If you’re not well-versed in the business and industry in which you work, I challenge you to get there. Start small. Start learning what the key drivers of success are for your company. Start recognizing the environmental factors that impact your business. If you’re already pretty well-versed in your business, great! But keep learning more! Get out from behind your policies and start to figure out how what you do can positively impact business outcomes. If you’re not sure where to start, find someone within your company who you look up to, who you respect, and who you trust and ask him or her to help you. If this person is outside of HR, that’s even better. Get outside of your HR walls and start to become known as more than just the person who has the answers to benefits or employee relations questions; start to become known as someone who can contribute to the success of the company in a variety of ways.
However, in our drive to be better business people, let’s also not forget about the people. Once you understand the drivers of business success, think about how people strategies align with those factors. Steve Browne on a recent episode of Drive Thru HR said “too often we jump to the business instead of the people. We need to attend to the business through our people, not in spite of them.” I challenge you to take a hard look at your people practices and policies….do they make sense? Do you really need all of them in place? Are they written to protect the business from the exceptions to the rule instead of in the spirit of believing that most people want to do the right thing? What message are you sending through your policies and procedures?
Let’s all make a commitment to understanding how technology can make us better, more efficient HR pros. My personal goal is to learn about one new technology solution per month. I’m not committing to using all of them, and if fact I may use none of them, but I want to better understand what’s out there. With that small commitment, by the end of the year I’ll have a better understanding of 12 new solutions. By understanding the solutions that are available, we’re in a better position to understand whether or not the processes we have in place are making us more efficient or less efficient, and whether there might be a better way to achieve our goals.
Women of HR, what are your goals for the New Year?
About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR has 15 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.