Tag: professional development

Tips for Avoiding Career Missteps

Posted on April 10th, by a Guest Contributor in Career Advice. 1 Comment

One of the many effects of our improving economy is a noticeable uptick in workers changing jobs. As recession-era fears subside, employees become more confident in their ability to find better opportunities. Whether they are seeking higher pay, more robust benefits packages that meet their personal needs, or intangibles such as feeling appreciated, many workers will be moving on in 2014. For those with thoughts of making a change, and even for those with no immediate plans to leave their jobs, now is a great time to take a career inventory incorporating the following guidelines: 

 

Don’t Quit Networking Once You Get a Job: People are usually vigilant about networking when looking for a job but stop once they’re hired. Your long term career success is dependent on your ability to continue to build strong business connections as well as nurture current relationships.

 

Put More Focus on Benefits: When looking for a job, weighing the options is about much more than base pay. The role, manager and compensation are all important factors in deciding whether to join a company, but benefit programs (such as work-hour flexibility, health and wellness programs and family leave policies) and company culture are critical factors as well. More than ever, the gap between work and home-life is closing, and working for a company that understands that can save you a lot of stress and money.

 

Be the Driver of Your Own Destiny: Too many people depend on their manager or boss to set the tone for their career path. Your career success is dependent on being the driver of your own destiny. Be proactive in the assignments and responsibilities you take on. Talk to your manager/boss about what you want and where you see your career path going with the company.

 

Keep Social Media Profiles Professional: The lines between personal and professional are more blurred than ever before. Even if you have a personal profile page on Facebook or Twitter that you intend for your friends’ eyes only, keep it professional. Never post something that you wouldn’t want your boss or prospective employer to see. In today’s digital age it’s easy for employers and prospective employers to find you online.

 

Keep Your Skills Sharp: No matter what industry you are in, it’s important to keep building on your skill set. It’s not enough to graduate from college and call it a day. Education is an ongoing process and it is important to stay sharp and keep up with the latest industry trends if you want to be a key player at your company.

 

Create a Five Year Plan: When you started out in your career you likely had a five year plan. It’s important to keep this plan alive! Update it every year. Re-evaluate what you wanted to achieve last year, where you are now and how you would like to see the next five years go. It’s a lot easier to make career decisions when you have a solid plan laid out.

 

By following these tips, you will be in a much better position to meet your career goals, whether they be an immediate job change, a future move, or even a promotion within your current place of employment. Just remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and those willing to consistently put in the work are more likely to come out ahead.

 

Photo credit

About the Author:  A previous guest writer for Women of HR, Chris Duchesne has more than 15 years of experience in HR technology. In his role as VP of Global Workplace Solutions for Care.com, Chris oversees Care.com’s suite of services offered to institutional and corporate clients, their employees and families. Under his leadership, the program has grown to serve 150 organizations representing more than 600,000 employees. A father of three small children, Chris also knows first-hand the challenges working parents face. An in-demand expert on work-life integration, he has been featured in The New York Times, Real Simple, CIO, Yahoo! Small Business and Employee Benefit News.

 


Politics in the Workplace: How Women Can Embrace the Struggle and Use It To Get Ahead

Posted on April 8th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace, Career Advice. No Comments

Politics can make or break your career. If you are working really hard and want to get ahead, you certainly don’t want to be passed over or pushed aside, right? Well then, let this be a wake-up call for you. You need to get “real” when it comes to how you fit into the current culture of your organization.  You need to take a good hard look at whether or not you have the political savvy to thrive in such an environment.

The reality is that you cannot afford to ignore the politics if you have any aspirations for advancement. Yes, hard work is important.  Yes, performance is important. That being said, once you reach a certain level of technical competence, politics is what makes the difference for your career success. This is especially important for women to understand. To our detriment, we continue to avoid workplace politics and set ourselves up to being blindsided and passed over for promotions.

Every organization has unique political dynamics. You have to be willing and capable of adapting in order to not only get ahead, but stay ahead.

So, how do you become politically savvy? You need to observe, listen, and ask questions.

Who is getting promoted and why?

With whom do they have relationships?

How are people rewarded in your organization?

What did they do to get noticed?

What types of behaviors are not rewarded?

Who can be your champion?

Who seems to be in “favor” and why?

Are there certain people who have access to the leadership team?

The willingness to accept the importance of workplace politics for your career advancement opens the door for you to learn how best to navigate the political landscape. It prepares you to learn the political skill necessary to thrive in your organization.

Here are the five things you must do to master the political realities of the workplace:

  1. Self-promote. You need to identify your value proposition; the unique way you do the work that contributes to successful business outcomes. This is the foundation of savvy self-promotion. Knowing your contribution to the business helps you to build relationships of trust and influence by aligning your value proposition with what others want and need.
  2. Observe the work environment. You need to develop keen observation skills to see beyond the organizational chart and identify who really has the power and influence.
  3. Build a strategic network. An expansive and strong network helps you to do your job better and also avoid blindsides. Relationships with influencers helps position you for success. Build and nurture relationships with people who can have a positive impact on your career.
  4. Find a sponsor. This is the fastest and most efficient way to navigate the politics and get to the top of your organization. A sponsor will protect you and promote you within the organization.
  5. Hire a coach. A coach helps you to understand your unique value proposition and shows you how to promote and position yourself across the organization with a sound strategic plan.

You must ask yourself where you would be today if you were more savvy and tuned into the way decisions are made in your company.

And most importantly, what is possible for you in the future if you are willing to learn how to effectively navigate the realities of the workplace?

 

Photo credit

About the Author: Bonnie Marcus is an executive coach, international speaker, writer and award-winning entrepreneur. Marcus runs the online platform “Women’s Success Coaching,” which Forbes listed as one of the top 100 websites for women three years in a row, and is the long-time  host of the CBS syndicated radio show “GPS Your Career: A Woman’s Guide to Success.” A regular Forbes contributor, Marcus has also been featured in The Wall Street Journal, CIO Magazine, Diversity MBA and WomenEntrepreneur. For more information visit www.womensuccesscoaching.com

 


{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} Kindness In The Workplace.

Posted on April 1st, by Tamkara Adun in Career Advice. 2 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!

 

Buzzwords.  As much as we love to hate them, it’s almost impossible to avoid them especially in the work environment.

On a daily basis we are inundated with corporate buzzwords relating to topics such as thinking out of the box, taking the initiative, being authentic, honing our networking skills, taking ownership, fostering team spirit, becoming more innovative, creating engagement…the list is endless.

I do not underestimate the importance of the above mentioned skills and attributes, however it seems that we place so much emphasis on them at the expense of other less visible attributes and virtues.  Virtues such as kindness, thoughtfulness and empathy.

Why do we not hear more about the importance of showing kindness in the work place?  Why is it not openly touted in the workplace as an attribute of a successful employee?

Does the competitive nature of most work environments somehow discourage overt displays of kindness?

Is it possible to be kind in the workplace without compromising our competitive and professional edge?

These are questions worth considering.

Kindness is such a powerful virtue and it would be such a great idea if we incorporated a little more kindness, empathy and the willingness to empower others in our work environments.

I recently attended a Workshop on Gender Balanced Leadership hosted by Dianne Bevelander. She is the Associate Dean MBA programmes at The Rotterdam School of Management, and someone that I admire very much. It was a very powerful and insightful session and I found myself having multiple“Aha moments”.
I would like to share a thought that she shared at that event that impacted me the immensely and has stayed with me ever since.

“Be kind to others…. When you make others powerful, you also become more powerful”

There is so much power in small acts of generosity and kindness.

Acts of kindness such as the gift of a smile or a listening ear. The gift of suspending judgment until all the facts are known. The gift of inclusion and acceptance.

What if some of the new buzzwords in our organizations revolved around Kindness?  What if we placed a premium on sponsorship and empowering others? What if we began to do unto others as we would have done unto us?

Imagine the impact it would create in our daily interactions within and without our workplaces.

I was dismayed to read about the harsh LinkedIn rejection letter from a Cleveland Job bank operator that went viral a few weeks ago. You can read about it here.

In my opinion, this incident just brings to the fore symptoms of a lack of kindness and empathy prevalent in our society today. It is made manifest in the unwillingness to share of your knowledge and expertise unless there is something to be gained in return.

I have often wondered, which is easier? To watch others go through the exact same mistakes and difficulties that one has gone through, or to make their journey easier and rewarding by sharing of your knowledge and wealth of experience?

There has been a lot of talk about women being reluctant to help each other climb up the career ladder and stories like the aforementioned just serve to reinforce that negative perception.  Let’s begin to ask ourselves questions like “who are you mentoring?”  How are you sharing your knowledge and wealth of wisdom with the next generation?

Let’s create a Buzz around kindness.

Kindness is a life skill that will serve us well within and without the workplace.

To whom are you extending a hand of kindness to?

“Wherever there is a human being, there is a chance for a kindness.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca

 

Photo credit

About the Author: Tamkara currently lives in The Hague and is currently taking time off from her day job in Procurement and Sourcing to pursue an MBA. She will be spending the next few months studying, blogging and learning Dutch. You can connect with her on twitter @tamkara  or find out what she’s up to at www.naijaexpatinholland.com.


{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.

 

Photo credit

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.

 

Photo credit

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.


Age Before Expertise: The Battle for Credibility

Posted on March 18th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. No Comments

 I have always known that over the course of my career I’d be faced with adversity at times because I am a female, but I had never truly considered the fact that my age – or lack thereof – would also be a significant variable in the calculation of my credibility as an Executive Recruiter. Perhaps it was my naivety or the simple fact that I’d always been treated as an equal by my colleagues, no matter the reason I was late to the realization that not everyone considered me a viable source in the industry in spite of my professional accomplishments.

In my career, I’ve placed some of the best talent into leadership seats in Fortune 500 companies, consulted growing organizations on how to attract the right candidate to fit their specific needs for a niche role, and have even successfully forged a partnership with a major university. Yet, I have grown accustomed to hesitant reactions and skeptical glances I receive in some moments when I interact face-to-face with other professionals.

At first, I was caught off-guard by the skepticism in my abilities because of my age that I was so often met with; however, I began to utilize the doubt, leveraging that into a platform to challenge myself. I decided that the simplicity of pure results was the best antidote. I readily and excitedly accept every difficult assignment that comes across my desk. I aim to tackle it with a sense of urgency and enthusiasm that I might not otherwise have if I didn’t feel I had something to prove. I look to go above and beyond to educate myself and gain additional experience in in the areas that I feel most green in and I actively seek out guidance from mentors that I respect and trust, acting as a sponge to learn everything that I possibly can from them.

It didn’t take me long to realize that being the underdog around the conference table was actually a blessing in disguise. It has forced me outside of my comfort zone on so many occasions, giving me the opportunity to pleasantly surprise myself and those I have worked with. It has been the catalyst for a level of performance that has reinforced my confidence in myself and has led to respect from those who might have not have given me a second thought otherwise. While I realize there will always be the nonbelievers, I have grown determined to actively combat the idea that you can’t be both young AND an expert in your field.

As both a woman and a member of the Gen-Y cohort, I am certain I have not seen my last uphill battle in corporate America. Nevertheless, I am confident that my outlook and my ability to harness that energy into something constructive will serve me well in future endeavors. The bottom line, I’ve realized, is this: there is absolutely a sense of credibility that accompanies tenure in a resume (which I am working toward every day) and while nothing can replace that type of experience, a relentless desire for success and an uncompromising work ethic can serve as a healthy supplement for it in the meantime. There’s no question that I have a lot to learn, but it doesn’t detract from what I have to offer today.

 

 Photo credit

About the Author: Kelsey Chalifoux is a Search Associate at Webber Kerr Associates, regionally in New York.  Before joining Webber Kerr, Kelsey worked in an RPO environment, focusing on the hiring and retention of outside sales representatives for a Fortune 500 organization. Currently, she is responsible for managing the end-to-end hiring process for high profile client positions and leadership additions including the industry sectors: Retail & Consumer Goods, Business Services, Hospitality and Oil & Energy.


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.

 


My New Year’s Wish for HR – HR New Year’s Resolutions

Posted on January 2nd, by Jennifer Payne in On My Mind. No Comments

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.


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.