Tag: Growth

Closing Thoughts From #SHRM14 – Transformation

Posted on June 26th, by Jennifer Payne in SHRM Chapters and Conferences. 1 Comment

Transformation

The theme of the 2014 SHRM Annual Conference, and one that manifested in a number of ways throughout the course of the four days.  The keynote speakers touched on it.  Many of the concurrent and Smart Stage sessions reinforced it.  But the question is, did the HR professionals that attended walk away ready to assume a transformational mindset?

I found it encouraging that by design the programming of SHRM Annual seemed to promote the idea of transformation.  Of course the keynote speakers supported the idea, as you would expect they would; any good keynote will bring the theme of the conference into their message in some way.  Robin Roberts encouraged us to be grateful for what we have, but never stop striving for the next thing, for something bigger, and encouraged us to put ourselves in position for great things to happen.  Tom Friedman focused on our hyper-connected world, and how that changes not only how we work as HR professionals, but how that fundamentally changes our workplaces, the expectations of our employees, and the necessary skill sets for success going forward.  And David Novak talked about the need for HR professionals to start thinking and acting like marketers, that we are the keepers of the message of what it means to work for our companies, perhaps a mindset shift for many.

But beyond the messages of the keynotes, I also found it encouraging that many of the concurrent sessions focused on topics intended to facilitate a transformational mindset.  Sessions like Jason Lauritsen’s “HR as Social Architect” where he discussed the idea of building and harnessing not just the human capital of our workplaces, but also the social capital of our workforces in an effort to leverage the power of the collective.  Jessica Miller-Merrell discussed how we can use social media as a low or no cost way to engage and communicate with our employees.  And Trish McFarlane and Steve Boese demystified the process of working with HR technology vendors to effectively select and implement the right solutions to make our jobs more efficient.  All of these sessions had good sized audiences, which validates that HR pros have an appetite to learn not just about how to deal with the tactical issues that we face day to day, but also about these more transformative topics.

One of the biggest changes to SHRM Annual programming this year was the addition of The Connection Zone, and specifically the Smart Stage.  Now I may be a little biased since I was a speaker on the Smart Stage myself, but the concept itself was intriguing, and yes, a bit transformational for SHRM Annual….fifteen to eighteen minute presentations on a variety of actionable topics, programmed together in groups of three so that attendees could get a sampling of a variety of information within a one-hour timeframe, complete with Q&A with the speakers afterwards.  And many of the topics presented were focused on technology, discussions of current trends, or predictions for future trends.  I found myself migrating back to the Smart Stage numerous times throughout the course of the conference for the opportunity to soak in some ideas quickly and efficiently.  Perhaps this was the beginning of a shift in the way we present information in conference settings?

Though there’s still a lot of work to do to get us ready to handle the changes in our workplaces that are coming (and in some cases already here) as a result of advances in technology and the hyper-connected and transparent world in which we now live, I walked away from the conference excited about the shifts that I saw, and excited to help promote that transformational mindset shift among my colleagues and peers.  As a profession, I think we are beginning to take the right steps.  The question remains, how many of us as a collective body of professionals are ready to join in and make that shift?  Will you join in the shift?


Making Yourself a More Valuable Employee

Posted on April 29th, by Amanda Andrade in Business and Workplace, Career Advice. 1 Comment

Recently our training manager at Veterans United Home Loans presented management curriculum on Maximizing Value. The focus was on creating added value through customary avenues like time allocation, resource management, efficiency, and process improvement. We also highlighted a critical, yet often neglected area associated with Maximizing Worth. Namely, modeling behaviors that keep your role and team’s contribution an unmistakable ingredient of your organization’s success.

So, how do you become the employee or team that your organization fights to keep? Here are ten behaviors to make yourself more valuable at work.

1. Treat your manager and co-workers as you do your customers.

You know what good customer service is about from your own experience. It’s about being cheerful, flexible, prompt, and reliable. Work at delivering good customer service every day to your manager and co-workers. Give them reasons to want to work with you and not with someone else.

 

2. Maintain a positive attitude.

Everyone has good and bad days, but the people we appreciate for their consistency and enthusiasm don’t let their bad days ruin ours. They choose their attitude. And they choose to make it positive. You can, too. Here are some ways to accomplish this goal:

  • Make a list of the good things in your life or keep a file of accomplishments you’re proud of. Look at it when you start to feel down. Take yourself back to that time of the accomplishment; think about how energized you became, and why. This can help you get back to that positive state of mind. The momentum gained from this exercise should generate further momentum.
  • Remind yourself that problems at work aren’t all about you. Look at them as opportunities to fix something, not as criticisms of you. Don’t take it personal.
  • Spend time with people who have positive attitudes, both to get an emotional lift from them and to observe how they deal with challenges.
  • Make an effort to be pleasant and easy to work with, even when you’re not feeling that way inside.
  • Avoid the “blame game.” Instead of finding someone to blame when there’s a problem, focus on ways to fix it.
  • Be honest with yourself about what’s causing a negative attitude. Watch for symptoms of stress and think about what is causing it. Get help when you need it.

 

3. Focus on productivity.

Work at becoming as good as you can be at the most important functions of your job. Produce results that are highly valued. Look for opportunities to do work more efficiently, to improve quality and customer satisfaction, and to save the organization money. Make a point of offering new ideas that could enhance the business. Strive to get more work done by being efficient, overcoming procrastination, and reducing interruptions. Try to understand the work style of your co-workers and of other groups you work with.

 

4. Be an agent of change, not an obstacle to it.

Employees who embrace positive change and help make changes happen are appreciated and valued by their managers. They also have a head start in learning new work processes and finding out how their skills and talents fit into the changed organization. Be an employee who suggests changes to improve efficiency or quality and who helps to figure out how to make those changes happen. Notice problems at work, but instead of complaining take steps to find a solution. Help co-workers accept changes, too, by drawing their attention to opportunities that change can bring.

 

5. Build connections.

Make friends at work and with people doing similar work at other organizations. Have fun and help others have fun at work. Make yourself the kind of person others want to work with. Help out when your help is needed, teach valuable skills, and share work-critical information. Let people know about interesting articles or studies that you find. Network to make connections with people who can give you new and different work and teach you valued skills. Volunteer for committees or special events as a way to work with new people. Attend industry functions and trade association meetings when it’s appropriate. Meet experts in your field and ask them for feedback on your work or ideas about problems your organization is facing. Know your employer’s policies about online networking so that, if your organization permits, you can benefit from both “offline”  or face-to-face networking and from joining networking sites on the Internet.

 

6. Communicate clearly and directly.

Being a clear, direct, and thoughtful communicator can help you stand out as a valued employee. Share information that others need to know, and share it efficiently. Use e-mail when discussion isn’t needed. Call or talk in person if an issue truly needs to be discussed. Be prepared when you go to meetings so that you don’t waste people’s time. Get right to the point; eliminate unnecessary details. Always thank people for their time and their help.

 

7. Keep learning.

If you’re doing the same work in the same way you did it two years ago, chances are you’re being left behind. Take the time (your own time if that’s what’s needed) to learn new skills and to stay current with any areas of special expertise. Keep any licenses or certifications up-to-date even if you’ve moved into a managerial or other job that doesn’t require them. Stay informed about the business you’re in. Consider taking classes or professional development seminars. Commit to reading at least one book or professional journal in your field each quarter. As you gain new skills and knowledge, let your leader know. Find ways to use what you’re learning in your work.

 

8. Seek and welcome honest feedback.

Understand how your manager and others in your organization see your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you improve your knowledge and skills in the way that would help your employer most. Ask your manager, “What is the most important thing I could do to make myself more valuable to our organization?” Or, “What college classes would help most in my current job?” If you feel uncomfortable talking with your manager, consider requesting a confidential meeting with your human resources (HR) department and asking for clarification. Keep in mind that employers often place a very high value on aspects of performance, such as attendance and punctuality,  that employees may see as less important.

 

9. Make your value visible to others.

“Market” yourself to make sure that your value is noticed. Make sure your manager knows what you do, and especially what you do well. Your performance review is an appropriate forum for listing your accomplishments and explaining the challenges you’ve overcome. Regular one-on-one meetings with your manager are another. Make your value more visible by volunteering for high-profile projects, where your contribution will be noticed as part of an important effort. Offer to be a coach or mentor to new employees. Ask to represent your team or department on cross-functional teams. As you learn new skills, teach your co-workers. They’ll appreciate the help in solving the work problems they face, and it will give you a reputation both as a source of expertise and as a valued team member.

 

10. Be flexible.

In an up-and-down economy, employers may place a higher value on employees who have the skills and mental flexibility to do more than one job. Be ready and willing to take on some or all of the tasks of a co-worker who is absent or on leave or who has been laid off or furloughed. If your current skills or knowledge wouldn’t allow you to do this, make it a top priority to gain a few new ones.

 

We know that in today’s workplace, hard work and effort are no longer enough to assure success or even to guarantee continued employment. Advances in technology, innovations from competitors, and changing customer needs have pushed organizations to be adept at changing focus and direction. This almost always means changing requirements for employees. Accomplishment at work is no longer just about working harder. It’s about working differently, and ensuring your continued value. Modeling these ten behaviors is a great way to build your workplace security and team’s success.

If you’re interested in reading more on this subject check out a book called, “Getting the Job You Want” by David Roper.

 

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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+.


{Career Advice} Making the Change

Posted on April 3rd, by a Guest Contributor in Career Advice. 1 Comment

In How Dorothy Got Her Groove Back, Dorothy Douglass talks about the things she did to help her re-find her love for her job and to improve her attitude at work. Dorothy was really lucky and the tips she shares are great but…what if you still can’t get back into the swing of things?

For example, do you want to stay in the HR field or do you want to take on a new challenge? Maybe the key is switching from an interpersonal oriented area of HR like Training to one that’s more task focused like working in Benefits and Compensation. If you do decide to “jump ship”, many HR professionals have used their skills to move into careers in political, administration and even financial fields.

Of course, if you do decide to go into a complementary field, you’re probably going to have to “go back to school” unless you want to start at the very bottom of your brand new field.

Consider Jamie. Jamie got her Bachelor’s Degree in HR and, right after graduation, was hired on in the benefits department of a local small business. After a few years she realized that while she loved the numbers part of her job, she didn’t like the company’s structure. She wanted more independence and to work more directly with people, so she decided to go into Financial Planning. More specifically, she decided to go into Investment Planning (there’s a fine line between the two).

This couldn’t happen overnight—especially since Jamie didn’t want to have to start out in an entry level cubicle making a fraction of what she’d earned after rising in the ranks of HR. So, she did what many would have to do: she decided to get certified in investment planning. This involved taking Cima courses and becoming a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) prior to changing jobs.

For Jamie, this was difficult but not impossible. She has a supportive husband and her kids are older and completely capable of taking care of themselves. She could study at the table for her exams while they studied for their SAT and ACT exams. Not everybody is able to do this. Some have little ones who demand their attention. Some are already having trouble maintaining your work-life balance and adding anything else to it would throw a precarious situation into chaos. If this sounds familiar, here are a few things that to think about:

1. If you cannot handle working full time and going to school to earn whatever degrees/certifications you need for your new field, consider instead seeking financial aid and using that to supplement your income until you can find employment in your new field. Yes, student loans are nobody’s idea of a good time, but if it helps you keep your sanity, it’s worth it.

2. Talk to your family about what you want to do. Don’t just blindside them with your decision. You might be surprised at how willing to help they are. Maybe your sister can watch your kids a few evenings a week. Maybe your spouse can take over carpool in the mornings. The more time you spend talking and planning, the easier on everybody it will be.

3. Talk to your boss. Your boss probably already knows that you aren’t happy and perhaps he or she will be sympathetic. Ask about cutting back on your hours and bringing in someone to train under you so that they won’t be left in the lurch when you are finally able to give your notice.

Have you successfully switched careers into or out of HR? How did you make it work?

 

Photo credit 

About the Author:  Sam Peters is an avid blogger and career whiz, and a previous guest writer for Women of HR.  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.


{Career Advice} Anything Is Possible

Posted on March 27th, by Rowena Morais in Career Advice. 4 comments

Editor’s Note:  Several of our Women of HR writers have come together to share some of the best pieces of career advice they’ve received.  Their series of posts will run over the next couple of weeks.  Enjoy!

 

It came from a slogan I saw on a comic strip. It was a cute little character with a speech balloon that read, “Keep going, anything’s possible”. Maybe this is not what you’d expect in terms of career advice, but it’s what worked for me.

Early in my career, I did the traditional route. I read law and then I entered practice. I had to embark on it, give it a full whirl before I made my mind up about it. I realised very early on that this was not the game I intended to play for the rest of my life. Yet, at that point, I didn’t have a gameplan in mind. I only knew that my path involved exploring what was out there before I made my decision. But I digress.

Throughout my career, I have embraced many different facets of business, many of which I lacked the experience or education in, for that matter. Yet, I never let that deter me. I was curious and that curiosity fueled a lot of exploration – new books to read up on, code to learn, strategies to try out. I simply didn’t let inexperience and lack of knowledge stand in the way of my journey.

In the early stages of my entrepreneurial journey, starting up a professional business services company and then launching a Human Resource publication, I came across this comic. It was cute, it had just the right number of words on it and it made such an impact. I wanted these simple, yet powerful words to be a constant reminder to me of what could be. And so I kept this tiny poster stuck on a wall in front of my desk. It took centre stage and day in, day out, I saw that comic, and it fueled me.

Inspiration, advice, perspective, motivation – these can come from anywhere and anyone. It’s about the place and time you are at and your openness to receive what’s out there at that point in time. It’s about an alignment between the questions you seek answers to and what the universe brings to you.

Anything’s possible is about motivation, passion, drive and ambition. Just as importantly, it is about hope, in the face of failure – large, looming, desolate and repeated failure.

While we don’t choose what happens to us, we choose, whether mindful or not, our responses to these situations. Keeping this advice close at hand has enabled me to see things differently, to have hope when things looked bleak, and to realise that you have to keep going.

You have to keep going to see subtle shifts in perspectives and to see things you didn’t seem to notice before.

You have to keep going to realise what you are passionate about and what you just will not give up on.

You have to keep going because you simply cannot get to where you want to be by mere proclamation, standing still, or worse, waiting for it to be handed to you.

 

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Rowena Morais is the Editor of HR Matters  Magazine, a quarterly print publication aimed at Human Resource  professionals.  She is also the co-founder and Programme Director at Flipside, a business services company with offices in Malaysia and Singapore, providing professional  certification training. Here, she provides strategic direction as well as  oversight on client training and corporate functional  areas. Rowena blogs about developing habits, execution, growth and personal  development. She lives in Kuala Lumpur with her husband, two  young kids and now, a newborn. Connect with Rowena at editor@hr-matters.info.


{Career Advice} A Collection of Wise Words

Posted on March 25th, by Kristin Kaufman in Career Advice. 1 Comment

Editor’s Note:  Several of our Women of HR writers have come together to share some of the best pieces of career advice they’ve received.  Their series of posts will run over the next couple of weeks.  Enjoy!

 

A few years ago, I read a wonderful article in Fortune magazine that was nothing more than a collection of wise advice from notable individuals. This article stayed with me. So I thought I would offer a synopsis of advice ranging from famous leaders (a few paraphrased from this article) to the day to day leaders who cross my path each day. This collection is relevant and focused on how to be the best we can be – at whatever stage of our leadership journey we find ourselves.

Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, Pepsico:

“Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent….when you assume negative intent, you are angry and it shows.”

 

Chad Houser and Janice Provost, Owners of Parigi Restaurant in Dallas:

“We treat everyone the same – like family. We want people to want to come here not only because of the food; also because they feel good when they are here.”

 

Sam Palmisano, Chairman and CEO of IBM:

“Don’t view your career as a linear progression. Take horizontal steps, try out situations that are unstructured to learn different ways of working, and get outside the headquarters and experience different cultures.”

 

Thomas S. Murphy, Former CEO, Capital Cities/ABC:

“Don’t spend your time on things you can’t control. Instead, spend your time thinking about what you can.”

 

Nelson Peltz, CEO, Trian Fund Management:

“Get sales up and keep expenses down. It is as simple as that.”

 

Charlene Begley, President and CEO, GE Enterprise Solutions:

“People don’t care about titles. Just value. Spend a ton of time with your customers – especially when you are new to your role – ask tons of questions about everything…competitors, service, price, products…they will give you the reality. Then you can act.”

 

Rachel Ashwell, CEO of Shappy Chic:

“If you don’t know, say you don’t know. Own it. Then go find out. Period.”

 

Tina Fey, Actress:

“Pay attention to money. Listen to your business manager and your accountants. Always be the person who can sign your checks – only you.”

 

Tony Robbins, Performance Coach:

“The selection of your friends and advisors matter more than anything else in your life. You must stand guard at the door of your mind.”

 

Joe (last name anonymous by request), successful business executive:

“Be real. Just keep it real.”

 

Joanna Shields, President, BEBO.com:

“I go back to the things my dad said: ‘Your career is long, and the business world is small. Always act with integrity. Never take the last dollar off the table.’

 

In closing, I particularly relate to this last piece of advice from Joanna, as seldom have I ever heard wise business advice from anyone, which had not previously been given to me by my mother and father. For these gifts, I will remain eternally grateful.

This article highlights just a few of the thousands of wise words and stories from individuals who affect our lives – directly or indirectly – every day. The secret is to be present in the moment so that we benefit from their thoughts, words, and deeds – as they cross our paths. That is the secret…..and the gift.

 

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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.


How Dorothy Got Her Groove Back

Posted on February 18th, by Dorothy Douglass in On My Mind. 2 comments

2013 was NOT a good year for me.  In my head, that is.  Mentally, I felt burned out, disconnected, wondering if I needed to make a  professional change, and at times,  I felt frustrated in my HR role.  Twelve years (now starting year 13) is a “record” for me in any position.

In prior careers, I got bored, frustrated, fed up, or felt thwarted with career growth, and moved on.  Sometimes graciously, sometimes, not so much.  Hopefully I’ve learned from each of those other roles, and grown wiser as well as older.  Now having been in HR for more than 17 years has given me so much ability to look back over my own career and learn life lessons. I spent a LOT of time ‘inside’ my own head in 2013, struggling with potentially life-changing and career-changing decisions last year.

I feel like I’m back in the groove in 2014, and I feel more connected to the organization and more engaged in my job.  I cannot put my finger on exactly why or when that happened, but here are a few thoughts, perhaps ‘tips’ for others,  on my challenges from last year.

  • Don’t let your (bad, poor) attitude bleed over to your direct reports.  This is possibly the hardest thing of all for me.  I am pretty transparent in what I share with my team, and in my body language.  I’m not sure I fooled them, but they were gracious enough, gave me space, time, and the ability to work through my own head.  Which leads me to,
  • Put a great work team in place.  Select the smartest, most talented people you can, teach them what you want and need them to know, then set them free to chart their professional course.  Sometimes that will mean you need to let go, delegate more, or trust in their decisions.  Do this.  As early as possible after you become a manager.  This is critical to success, and most of all, it is my work team that kept moving forward , kept getting things done and getting results in HR, that helped ‘mask’ my bad year.  In short, they made me look good.  Even when I mentally was not very good.
  • Have other activities to keep you going.  2013 was the year I took on physical challenges to get myself out of part of my funk.  I began to strength train 2-3 times per week.  I also found a ‘safety zone’ in my family at home, where I knew I would go at the end of every day.
  • Talk about your challenges with someone.  Whether professionally with a life coach, or with a good friend.  In my case, as in many HR professionals’ worlds, I cannot share specifics of work challenges, but I do have close friends with whom I could share my general malaise.  They listened.  Encouraged.  Let me know I was indeed human.  And though I’m not generally a hugger, they gave me hugs – mentally, physically.  Often, when I needed them most.
  • Take time off.  We have a generous paid time off policy where I work – another perk one has to think of, when considering change.  I used my time.  Sometimes one day at a time.  And I planned for two weeks off at year-end.  In a very warm climate.  With my family.  I had this to look forward to as I plugged through my 2013.
  • Before you leap, step back and look around.  I was likely pretty transparent to many around me.  I had many colleagues stop by to check on me last year.  Just to “see how I was doing.”  Obviously, I must have been transparent with how I was feeling.  Looking back and reflecting, I have it pretty good where I am.   I have great colleagues, the very best team I could ask for, a great job with great benefits and perks, and even a really good boss.
  • Share, in a professional way, your career desires or work frustrations, with your boss.   Sometimes, it’s just having a secure outlet to share work frustrations that helps.  Sometimes, getting another’s perspective from their seat allows for attitude adjustment to happen.  I had a good discussion with my boss during performance review time.  I let him know that I sometimes need him to spend just a little of his valuable time with me.  That time alone, is very engaging for me.  I appreciate the confidence he has placed in me, his trust of me, and the value he places on HR in the organization.

I’m engaged in my work right now, and aiming for a great 2014.  What turned it around?  I’m not sure.  Perhaps it was the two weeks off I took near year end, and the full week I spent lounging in Key West with my family.  Perhaps it was inward reflection on what a great place I indeed work – and all the perks and benefits I have here.  Perhaps it was my friends. Perhaps it was the great HR team who figuratively carried me through 2013, when I couldn’t walk myself.   Maybe it was all of those things.  I think I have my groove back.  Let’s go!!

 

Photo credit

 About the Author:  Dorothy Douglass is Vice President of Human Resources & Training at MutualBank, an Indiana-based financial institution.  She began her career with Mutual in 2001 as Human Resources Manager, and is a graduate of Ball State University.  She is proud to have been in Human Resources now for more than 17 years and is continuing to “lean in” and working to influence the “people management” side of her organization.  She is passionate about managing and developing people; and I have yet to be bored in 13+ years in her current job.   She considers herself fairly tech-UN-savvy, though has immersed herself in Facebook and LinkedIn.  She’s still working on the Twitter-sphere & has goals to blog more in 2014.


Get A Degree To Make It Official

Posted on February 4th, by a Guest Contributor in Career Advice. No Comments

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.

But…

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.

It’s Official

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.

It’s Universal

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?

Photo Credit

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.

 


It Ain’t What You Do, It’s The Way That You Do It: Why 360 Feedback Is Working For Women

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

There are lots of ways to do it.  You can book yourself into a training course, work longer hours, strive for top sales figures, or even use your network of contacts.  Whichever way you decide to do it, managing your career advancement is an essential part of career progression.  However, whilst your colleagues are working into the night, you can be more creative, and seize the opportunity of your next 360 as the key to unlocking your future.

As part of performance management, 360 degree feedback continues to increase in popularity, and there are five key reasons women should embrace it.

 

A comprehensive approach

In traditional appraisals, a boss would comment on an employee’s performance. However, with 360s, comments are considered from other colleagues, customers, and even suppliers. It is a more complete approach, and, as such, gives a comprehensive picture of you and your skills.  As a result, you can easily identify any areas for development and act on them to improve your chances of career advancement.

Being comprehensive is good for everyone, but it’s particularly good news for women as it shows clear progression from the male-designed linear process that went before.

 

Accurate

The 360 approach gives a more accurate portrait of you.  Previously, the boss-versus-employee appraisal system was far too narrow.  By involving those around you, 360 feedback gives a truer picture. Importantly, as it provides the participant with a wide-ranging set of views, it is unbiased.

 

Trusted

360s provide real evidence.  Participants receive hard and fast scores, which can be compared to other participants, so not only is it readily accepted as a valid input into your career development, but it also provides you with data to prove your track record of achievement.

The fact that 360s are accurate and trusted removes the potential for any favouritism based on gender.  The 360-degree approach doesn’t entertain any notion of ‘jobs for the boys’.

 

It’s about how, not what

360s emphasise the importance of how you achieve your objectives.  It’s an opportunity for your methods to be recognised, not just your results.  Real leaders are identified and promoted not just because they can achieve, but also because they can marry this achievement with the kind of behavior that’s constructive and desirable.

If there is still a perception that men are more concerned with the ends and not the means, then the 360 system is a much fairer one.

 

 What’s mine is yours

When a 360 degree feedback programme is implemented well, it should directly link with a company’s competency framework.  There can be no easier way, therefore, of ensuring that your own personal targets directly tie in with a company’s requirements for its people.  Career progression can more quickly be brought about when you can prove that your achievements are aligned with how a company wants its employees to behave.

Ensuring individual targets are in line with a company’s competency framework, through the 360, helps women to come to the fore, and is a further way in which balance in the workplace is being redressed.

 

360s are only the start of the process.  If you are to achieve real career progression, the targets drawn up from such a process must be acted on.  After all, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, “the best way to predict the future is to create it” and a 360 can help you do just that.

 

 

About the author:  Samantha Arnold is a senior business psychologist at ETS, an HR consultancy.  Sam works predominantly in the field of employee engagement for private sector clients and offers consultancy to support clients in utilizing the research to take engagement to the next level within their business.  She is currently working towards Chartered status as an Occupational Psychologist, with a particular interest in organisational development.

 

 

 


5 Important Things To Keep In Mind Before Resigning

Posted on May 28th, by a Guest Contributor in Career Transitions. 1 Comment

Moving on to new opportunities can be an exciting time, especially if you have a fabulous new job to go to. But when it comes to telling your current employer that you’re moving on, there are a few things that you should bear in mind.  Here are a few things to bear in mind:

 

You’ll probably have to work a notice period

Check your employment contract to find out the details of your terms and conditions. In some cases, you’ll have to provide up to a month’s notice before you leave. It’s important that you consider this before making arrangements with a new employer. This period often applies to trainee jobs as well as higher-level positions.

 

You may still be entitled to some holidays

Your current company may be required to give you any holidays that you’ve accumulated during your time working for the business. Sometimes, they may offer you extra payment in lieu of this. Know what you’re entitled to and be prepared to negotiate the terms depending on what’s right for you. If you can make a case that demonstrates that you’ve considered what’s best for the business, you’re much more likely to be heard.

 

You should organise your finances

Even if you’re leaving your job to go to another, there can be a crossover period where you’ll have to wait longer than usual before you receive your first pay check. When you have bills to pay and rent to cover, this can be problematic. Sit down with a pen and paper and carefully map out what you’ll have to pay for and how switching jobs could temporarily impact upon your finances. There may be some solutions such as taking out a short loan, but this should be done with caution and only as the very last resort.

 

Once you’ve accepted a new job, your new employer may ask for a reference

Some employers will wait until you’ve accepted the job before they ask your current place of work for a reference. Of course, it could make things awkward if your boss receives the request before you’ve announced that you’re leaving! Try to time things sensitively to avoid any unnecessary problems.

 

Handing in your resignation is final

In most organisations, there’s no going back once you hand in your resignation! As soon as it’s accepted by your employer, there’s no requirement for them to reconsider if you suddenly change your mind. Make sure that you’re absolutely certain that you want to leave before you give your notice. A bad decision at the end of a long day could be something that you’ll live to regret! Always sleep on the idea and talk to your support network or loved ones before making any commitments.

Leaving your job can be a weight off your shoulders and the opportunity to move onto bigger and brighter things, but by considering these areas before you rush into anything, you’ll be in a much better position.

 

What are your experiences in resigning from a job?

 

Photo credit iStockphoto

 

This article was brought to you by Jane Smith on behalf of All The Top Bananas. ATTB allows you to search for and browse through UK jobs in one place, from engineer jobs to IT jobs. You can also upload your CV to increase your chances of being headhunted.


A Career To Be Grateful For

Posted on May 2nd, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace, Wellness and Balance, Work/Life Balance. 2 comments

Being a stay at home mom has its perks – you don’t have to get dressed up, you can work out on your own schedule, and you don’t need to have the children’s lunch ready at 7 a.m. However, the most amazing and obvious benefit of being a stay at home mom is the opportunity to intimately know your children and to share all of the milestones of their young lives. No one can truly understand and love a child like their parent. Choosing to stay at home had its financial and career limiting consequences, but it’s a choice that I will never regret.

Being a stay at home mom however does not mean that you must put your brain or skills on hold. Especially in today’s modern world where there are countless ways for you to expand your horizons. And that’s exactly what I did. After driving many, many miles to practices, games, lessons and recitals, making sure that the homework was done and dinner was prepared, I spent countless late nights looking on the computer for ideas to sharpen my skills, and technology is what I came to love.

I am a problem solver. I love when I am given a challenge; know how to fix it, and how to fix it better. It started with setting up my own home wifi network. To most of my friends and co-workers, it’s probably no big deal, but in the stay at home mom arena – I was “big stuff”. Everyone wanted to know, ” how did I know how to do that?” Before I knew it, I was helping my neighbor, her friend, and then their elderly parents. And so began my journey, I became even more motivated to challenge myself. From school sports teams to the theatre department, the needs, as well as the expertise grew. I taught myself HTML, CSS, and how to create a Joomla site.

With each growing project a new skill such as Photoshop and Gimp emerged. I began to get noticed and was offered a position by my local principal in the Career Tech Department. The launching pad was perfect, it allowed me to further develop my skills and opened my eyes to the world of other opportunities out there. With my newly minted resume, an opportunity presented itself. The Global HR consulting firm, Exaserv, was looking for a Product Manager and the job description fit me perfectly. Some of the main requirements were organizational skills and the ability to prioritize, and all those years of being a stay at home mom had definitely helped to hone those skills. Not to mention my developed computer expertise!

It’s been over a year now since I’ve been back in the workforce and I have loved every day of employment. I am constantly learning and growing in my new role and enjoy all the “doors” that are opening for me. Staying at home to raise my children was the best decision I ever made, but taking that time to also sharpen my skills has given me the opportunity to go back to work and grow my career. It’s an experience for which I will forever be grateful.

About the author: Sophia Lidback is Product Manager at Exaserv, where her responsibilities include managing product development, writing and editing technical and functional user manuals and managing customer relations with respect to product implementation.  Sophia is a wife and mother of 4.