Tag: success

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?

 

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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} 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

 

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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.

 

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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.


5 Core Values of Successful Women in Management

Posted on March 20th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace, Career Advice. No Comments

Being a successful manager or high-ranking executive within a position dominated by men involves much more than being able to generate profits. While success is frequently measured in dollars and cents, profit and loss, or income and expenses, those statistics are only part of the total package that equals successful management and it seems that women need to work twice as hard.

Successful management consists of a set of core values that are essential for women to succeed:

  • Knowledge: Knowledge is not limited to that which was learned in college, it also consists of having a broad industry-specific knowledge base in which a person is involved. It includes a detailed understanding of management skills and abilities that are conducive to getting desired results. Taking it upon yourself to learn as much as you can go a long way.
  • Versatility and Adaptability: Successful women leaders cannot be rigid in their business outlook, because of the ever-changing landscape in which they work. Not only do businesses need change frequently, but there are also changes to applicable laws and regulations, relationships with suppliers and vendors, and modifications to the company’s organizational structure. Being flexible and able to adapt to anticipated and unexpected changes is essential and causes others to take notice.
  • Effective Communication Skills: It is impossible to manage a business if you lack a strong ability to communicate effectively. Managers and executives must communicate frequently with a variety of individuals, and they have to be able to express clearly their opinions, instructions, and objectives. Effective communication also includes the ability to dictate those things to people in a positive way that creates a desire in others to carry out directives, share opinions, and fulfill business goals. This is one of the harder things to learn, so mastering it will give you a competitive edge.
  • Leadership Ability: In nautical terminology, a captain is expected to go down with the ship when it sinks, but the captain is also at the helm of that ship when it is forging ahead into uncharted waters. This analogy also applies to members of management, who should possess leadership qualities that inspire and motivate others to follow where they lead. A good leader is one who seems to attract effortlessly a following of loyal staff members who admire, respect, and look up to that leader as a positive, influential role model.
  • Commitment: Being committed to the success or failure of a company is a quality that many employees and supervisors possess, but successful leaders are also committed to the success or failure of every member of their team. Commitment includes being able to “see” desired goals and objectives being met in the future and motivating employees and other managers to move continually forward and focus on attaining those goals for the good of the company.

 

Successful management also includes other qualities that could be viewed as being equally important, but these five core values are those which should be fundamental, especially for women.  Without these values, it truly is impossible to manage successfully and having just one or two is not good enough. To be a truly successful woman in management you must stand out. Going above and beyond, and showing everyone that you have what it takes to be a successful leader in not only your business or company but in your industry.

 

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About the Author: Dee Fletcher is a freelance and ghost writer. See also enjoys guest blogging, and does it as often as she can to build her online presence. She has previously been a guest writer for Women of HR.  Dee writes mostly about current trends or events relating to business and technology, but will occasionally write about various industries as well.  She works from her home in Southern California and loves to visit the beach as often as she can.

 


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.

 

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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.


Women Talking a Great Game – Business Isn’t Just His Domain

Posted on March 4th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. No Comments

“Don’t just stand for the success of other women – insist on it.” - Gail Blanke, President and CEO, Lifedesigns

 

Maybe being a man writing this undermines all credibility. My career has been all about embracing the importance and value of a diverse workplace. Having a silent or marginalized voice isn’t easy. Being an ignored or disrespected voice is soul crushingly depressing. I’ve long been having this conversation with my female colleagues about the importance breaking the silence and finding my voice.

 

Let’s not kid ourselves though, there’s still knuckledraggers wandering the workplace halls. The staff room at times is more like a locker room. You need hipwaders every time you pass the watercooler, because there’s so much BS and testosterone fueled bravado surrounding it.

 

There are talkers in your midst. They’re also getting ahead by only talking a good game. It’s time to rise above the bad smell, of less pay, less recognition, and lesser titles. You’re educated, you’re smart, you have skills, and you work harder than most. You’ve got game. Communicating a great game will raise the bar in your workplace.

 

Improving your verbal and non-verbal communication skills will get you noticed, will help get you ahead, and make for a better workplace. Here are some things to keep in mind.

 

  • Being overly apologetic is undermining. It’s not your fault the network is down, or the caterer messed up the the lunch order. Working late to meet a deadline, don’t apologize for asking your team to join you.
  • Your behavior shapes the universe. Your competence and confidence always need to be on display. Showing courage and conviction will inspire and mobilize others to take action. Turning your words into action will get you noticed. Remember the fine line between arrogance and confidence. Speak directly with authoritative tone. Being loud, condescending, or defensive won’t carry the day.
  • Do not talk down your achievements or undervalue them when working in a successful group and alongside men. Teamwork matters. Undervaluing yourself in group situations, in front of co-workers or employers, will hold you back. Take the credit and recognition you’re due. Kudos aren’t just a man’s domain.
  • Of course there’s merit in wanting to be helpful, and having the get things done attitude to achieve your teams goals. Remember the delicate balance between taking on meaningful tasks versus the busy grunt work nobody else wants to do. You want to be a meaningful and effective contributor. Communicate with the boss about projects that excite you. Let them know what you’d like to work on.
  • Ideas are essentially gender neutral. Work at generating good ideas, communicating the value of those ideas, as well as helping others articulate their ideas.
  • If direct and open feedback is constructive, don’t personalize or internalize it. Be direct and open in receiving it. Take action on it.
  • Be authentic. Know and respect what you are about, and true to your beliefs. You’re more than just what’s on your resume.
  • Focus on your own growth and contribute to the growth of the people supporting you.

 

A truly diverse workplace embraces different voices, with different perspectives. By making your voice is heard and your presence known, you’ll be making a difference.

 

“Don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through, and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.” ― Tina Fey, Bossypant

 

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About the Author:  As VP of Marketing, Bimal Parmar manages the global marketing strategy and execution at Celayix. With over 20 years industry experience, Bimal is responsible for making sure the world learns about the benefits of Celayix’s solutions that include: advanced employee scheduling, time and attendance, employee communication as well as integration modules for payroll and billing.  Before joining Celayix, Bimal was Vice President of Marketing at Faronics, a leading provider of IT solutions for the Education vertical where he helped grow revenue over 50% and launched exciting new solutions. Prior to that Bimal held senior marketing and product roles at technology companies such as Business Objects and McAfee Security where he gained significant international experience working with global companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Sony, HP, Orange, Telefonica and Ricoh.


Top 10 Tips for Claiming the Corner Office

Posted on February 25th, by a Guest Contributor in Career Advice. 1 Comment

Editor’s Note:  Dr. Lois P. Frankel is the President of Corporate Coaching International , an executive coach, speaker, and best-selling author.  She has just released an updated and revised 10th anniversary edition of her book Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers.  In it she reveals a distinctive set of behaviors that women learn in girlhood that ultimately sabotage them as adults and discusses how to eliminate those behaviors.  Today, she has shared her Top 10 tips with us.  Some you may agree with, some you may not.  Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Top 10 Tips For Claiming the Corner Office

1.      Body Art: Don’t get a tattoo or an unusual body piercing if you’d had even one drink, toke, or snort.  You’ll be likely to regret it.  Similarly, don’t be goaded into getting one by your sorority sisters, girlfriends, or someone you’re dating who thinks they’re hot.

2.      Communication:  Resist the urge that screams incomplete when you don’t say everything that’s on your mind.  Women, fearing they haven’t explained well enough, can use about twice as many words per day than men (and then wonder why they’re not listened to).  We think when we talk more, we make a better case – when in fact the opposite is true.  This is a case where less is more.

3.      Inappropriate Use of Social Media:  Once you post something on the internet, getting it off is like trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube.  You have no control over where it goes.  Play it safe.  Put nothing on the internet that could cause someone to doubt your values, your brand, or your reputation. 

4.      Giving Away Your Ideas:  Get in the habit of asking a question after expressing an idea or making a proposal.  Something like, “Are there any objections to immediately getting to work on this?” is ideal.  This increases the likelihood of acknowledgement and discussion.

 5.      Feeding Others:  Unless your name is Betty Crocker, don’t bring food to work or have it sitting on your desk.  It softens the impression others have of you.  Of course if it needs softening because you’re a tough broad, it could be a good strategy!

 6.      Skipping Meetings:  If you think meetings are just a big waste of time, think again.  They’re called “meet-ings” not “work-ings.”  Even when a meeting seems unproductive, it provides you with the opportunity to market you brand, get information, and be on the radar screens of those who making decisions about your career.

 7.      Being a Doormat:  Pablo Picasso said, “There are only two types of women – goddesses and doormats.”  Avoid being the latter by learning to manage expectations about what you can and can’t realistically do (take a negotiations class if you have to), asking for what you want or need rather than waiting to be given it, and trusting your instincts.  If you think you’re being taken advantage of or abused, you likely are.

 8.      Protecting Jerks:  Women are like jerk flypaper.  Not only do we attract them more than men do, we tolerate them longer than we should.   Consciously distance yourself from jerks (and jerks can be men or women) so that you’re not found guilty by association, when you get blamed for the actions of a jerk re-direct the blame to where it belongs, and when the jerk is your boss it’s time to look for another job.  You won’t change a jerk, so protect yourself.

 9.      Making Miracles:  Miracle workers get canonized not recognized.  In every organization there’s a baseline for hard work that everyone is expected to toe.  If you consistently work beyond the baseline you’ll be seen as a worker-bee and just be given more work to do.  Learn to not only do your job well, but also be strategic in how it gets done so that you’re seen as more than just a worker-bee.  Use all the extra “free” time on your hands to build relationships that will serve you throughout your career.

 10.  Branding: We are all brands in the workplace.  It’s what distinguishes you from everyone else.  Write down 3 – 5 words you want people to use to describe you.  Then identify the behaviors in which you must engage for others to actually see those traits.  When you act in concert with your brand, people will come to trust you.

 

 


Lower Hiring Costs By Increasing Retention

Posted on February 13th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. 1 Comment

Too many companies are not responding quickly enough to the expectations and needs of the workforce today. Turnover is costly so it’s time to focus on retention.  In the continual rush to be productive we often fail to treat people well. Happy employees stay with companies longer. They’re less likely to be vulnerable to recruiting calls.

 

One obvious trend is employees are taking control of their careers and their life. Companies are not trusted to provide career longevity. Corporations hire and layoff unpredictably. Job security is a myth so employees have learned to style their lives differently. The truth is more employees are willing to walk away from employment scenarios that make them miserable.

 

On average it costs between $15,000 and $45,000 to replace a worker who earns between $40,000 and $110,000. While the figures may vary from industry to industry, for example the estimated cost to hire a nurse is around $60,000, the fact is companies can save a bundle of money if they have less attrition.

 

There are several things employers can do to improve retention and lower hiring costs.

 

1. Training. Give employees more skills. Employees want to increase their value.

 

2. Provide communication training. Encourage and expect constructive feedback to flow up, down, and sideways. Provide avenues for feedback. Surveys show the number one reason people are unhappy at work is due to an ongoing issue with someone who matters at work. Increased stress can certainly lead to turnover.

 

3. Mentoring programs. Help employees see the long view and career path options. How do they get to where they want to go?

 

4. Flexible schedules. Focus on what is expected of an employee. Be clear about what, when, and how they are to accomplish their goals. Define clear parameters. Younger people want a work/life balance and will quit their job to get it elsewhere. Define what fair, good, and excellent performance includes so employees don’t feel unfairly criticized and can improve their performance responsibly.

 

5. The ability to work from home a few days a week. This makes for happier, more loyal employees.

 

6. Ask for feedback. How are you doing managing your company? What are the perceptions of your staff on your performance? What are you doing to improve? New managers should know their staff will evaluate them regularly, and anonymously, where possible. Are they willing to improve their management skills?

 

Different issues arise as a company grows. Pay attention. When I owned an independent adjusting company in the Chicago area the outside investigators who worked for me were highly skilled. When we got together there was a great deal of ribbing and jockeying for some kind of superiority I didn’t quite understand.

 

I thought of us as a team. We were one exclusive, competent company who handled the toughest workers compensation and liability claims in the city, for the best insurance companies. I wanted to create unity not competition within. One Saturday I asked the investigators to come in for the morning. I had them each read two of their co-workers’ files.

 

I asked them to verbally critique the work of their peers. They worked independently being responsible for each assigned investigation until conclusion. The result was heartening. Each one was humbled and impressed with the caliber, professionalism, depth, and insights of the people they worked with. Never before had they seen the work product of their peers.

 

The compliments were genuine and respect sincere. There was an elevated sense of camaraderie. We all belonged to the same ‘club’ of outstanding service and talent. We were more united and the one-upmanship stopped. I knew we had the best investigators in the city but they didn’t know until they experienced it for themselves.

 

The result was we had no turnover for five years before I sold the company. The loyalty, integrity, comfort, and trust we enjoyed was unique. Situations arise all the time that require an individualized solution. If one approach fails to get desired results, think of a new strategy. Ideas are free, turnover is not.

 

Leadership is not hard if you’re willing to serve your employees the way you serve the customer. Lower hiring costs by increasing retention. Loyalty is not a given. Earn it and everyone wins.

 

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About the Author: Kimberly Schenk is a recruitment coach and mentor. She trains both individuals and corporate staff. Kim teaches the full cycle recruitment process and has an updated book available online called TopRecruiterSecrets. Learn more by visiting Kim’s blog about corporate recruiting.


Your Business Needs a Vacation, Too!

Posted on January 28th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. 1 Comment

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.

 

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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.