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#TChat Recap: Create A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires

Create A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires

There are millions of disengaged workers out there. Working day-to-day in what they feel is a never-ending cycle of the same old routine. But does it have to be this way?

Organizations are now starting to see the “big picture” when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. The process doesn’t just end when employees are hired. To retain employees long-term companies have to build an onboarding process that transforms and innovates the way new employees are engaged and managed.

This week’s guests, Todd Owens, President & COO at TalentWise; & Wendy Matyjevich, SPHR, HR Executive at Entia Ventures & BlackRain Partners, LLC, explain how providing a thoughtful onboarding experience not only keeps new employees around, but it makes them more productive. It builds a culture that can sustain itself.

Todd Owens mentioned:

You keep the candidate in mind during your onboarding process and think big because:

Hiring costs money. Yes, employee turnover is a costly process that ties into how productive and engaged your workforce is, which ultimately, transforms how clients are treated and maintained. It’s vital organizations don’t forget that:

Employees anticipate the same amount of time, attention, and energy from leadership that is expected of them when it comes to how they are treated. It’s a two-way street. If employees don’t receive what they want and demand for, then they may walk and your organization will suffer. Leadership has to remember that:

 

It has to mean so much more, or else employees will feel disengaged and eventually they will walk. Onboarding is about managing new employees and their transition into your community and culture. By providing them guidance and support along the way, leadership will see the results it expects and meet the demands that employees expect. 

Want To See The #TChat Replay? 

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

Thanks again to our guests Todd Owens and Wendy MatyjevichClick here to see the preview and related reading.

#TChat Events: Create A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires

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#TChat Radio Are you plugged in to #TChat radio? Did you know you can listen live to ANY of our shows ANY time?

Now you know. Click the box to head on over to our channel or listen to Create A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires.

Note To Bloggers: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on leadership?

We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!

If you recap #TChat make sure to let us know so we can find you!

We Want To See You On TalentCulture. Become A Contributor Now!

Sign up for the newsletter to get the scoop on next week’s guest, topic and questions!

Save The Date: Wednesday, June 11!

Next week’s #TChat Topic: The Power of Workforce Culture and Continuous Talent Mobility.

The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on #TChat Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our new Google+ community. So join us anytime on your favorite social channels!

What Truly Motivates People? Is It Money, Or Something Else?

Dan Pink’s book “Drive: the Surprising Truth about What Motivates us” has thrown a major monkey wrench into how we think about motivation. For years it was assumed– and it certainly seems logical to believe– that the best way to motivate desirable behaviors was to offer cash rewards. But it turns out that there is considerable science that refutes that notion; in fact, offering cash rewards, at least in the realm of creative work and problem solving, actually encourages worse results.

This topic has opened up a broader discussion, of what human beings are. At work we are doing fewer and fewer purely mechanical/ repetitive tasks.  “Value” is coming more and more from personal connections and imagination, so the tradition of seeing people in a simplistic mechanical way, in terms of their “skills” or “function,” no longer works. We are standing on the verge of major historical event, an entry into a new era, where the mechanical/industrial ways of viewing people, education, and work are falling apart. We are struggling to find new paradigms to guide our managerial thinking. For decades, we have suppressed our emotions to make ourselves more appealing in an industrial framework by being more uniform and efficient. We now have re-examine that previously suppressed internal dimension, and find ways to engage with it rather than suppress it.

To that end, Mr. Pink offers three things that motivate people.

These are:

  • Purpose
  • Mastery
  • Autonomy

Given the impact and influence that Mr. Pink’s book is having these days, I felt compelled to question his hypothesis. While it is not wrong, there is something missing. To explain, a story:

When I was a teenage bass player (sounds like a 50’s horror movie), I was tremendously motivated to become a professional player, to the point of obsessiveness. I was practicing eight hours every day, stopping each night only when I had reached a point of mental and physical exhaustion.

My motivation?

I certainly did not do this for the money, since I wasn’t getting any, and the pay for professional bass players is not that spectacular, given the work needed to get there. Mr. Pink was right about some elements of my motivation: Yes, I had purpose; yes, I sought mastery; and yes, practicing is a largely autonomous activity. But there was another element that motivated me, far more than money or any of these other factors:

It was a sense of belonging.

I wanted desperately to be a member of something, in this case, an oh so elegant and elite major symphony orchestra . I wanted to have a sense of belonging and connection. And I believe that a sense of belonging, far more than purpose, mastery, or autonomy, is the primary motivator of human beings.

I confess I don’t have many academic studies to support my thesis, but there is a fair amount of empirical data. Let’s consider just a few of the ways that a sense of belonging (including its synonyms, e.g., social status, acceptance, love, family, membership, and so on) motivates us to extreme effort:

There is all the money and effort many people put into “getting accepted” to an exclusive school, and thus belonging to the alumni network for life; there is the eagerness to spend massive amounts of time and money to “get certified,” and thus belong to a exclusive professional group; there are the fans (a word which is short for “fanatics”) of sports teams, who tout their sense of membership with all sorts of badges, uniforms, and rituals, not to mention paying exorbitant ticket prices; and then there is that warm glow of nationalist belonging you get when the jets fly over during the Star Spangled Banner. And do I even need to mention churches? Rotary Clubs? Street gangs? The plot of “Rudy”? Or the holy grail of social belonging, fame? The need to belong, whether to family, team, social group, or nation, drives people to extreme efforts and sacrifice. People sometimes sacrifice life itself to maintain the survival of a group to which they belong.

“Autonomy” as motivation only has meaning in the context of belonging. The only reason you don’t have autonomy is because you gave it up for something more important, i.e., a state of belonging, e.g., employment.

In my own managerial experience in the orchestra world, I found that the need to belong far outweighed any other motivation, money included. I often had difficulty finding musicians who were willing to act as leaders. Even though they were the best in their group, becoming a leader meant losing their sense of being “part of the gang.” The fun of ensemble playing was in being part of the team, not in bossing the team or otherwise being separated from it. I did not pay my leaders more money to motivate them, and I did not pay them more money because they were creating more value. It was to compensate them for their loss of rank-and-file group belonging.

For most people, not to mention wolves and other social species, belonging itself is key to mere survival. And once people become more successful, they don’t seek exclusion or autonomy; instead, the first thing they seek is ever more group social status and connection. They join the country club or the opera society board, or they run for public office.

There is also the flip side to be considered, which is the “de-motivation” caused by the loss of belonging. People who have had issues of disconnection, such as loss of a loved one, divorce, moving to a new town, or getting fired, experience massive ill effects on self confidence, focus, and every other emotion. At times they lose all motivation, period.

When we speak in terms of rewards as motivators, this typically refers to an inanimate reward, such as money or a cookie. When the “reward” is in the form of greater interpersonal connection, say, a pat on the back from an authority figure you truly admire, or the flip side, perhaps a look of disapproval from someone whose respect and acceptance mean everything to you, suddenly rewards and punishments– in the form of belonging or the lack thereof– come back into motivational fashion in a hurry.

One of the biggest reasons people resist change is the fear that it might threaten their tenuous grasp on belonging. The first thing that goes through the average employee’s mind when presented with a new idea is “belonging loss prevention.” They ask themselves, “Will doing this, or not doing this, get me fired, or result in loss of status in my professional pecking order?” All else is secondary. Consideration of one’s sense of belonging — as well as the fear of the loss of it, is therefore possibly THE most compelling motivational factor in managing people.

I am a big fan of Mr. Pink, and I think he is very much on the right track in challenging the common dogmas of industrial-era management philosophy. I just wanted to respectfully submit that as we enter into a more artistic era of management, “belonging,” as a primary emotional element of motivation, needs to be higher on the list.

(About the Author: Justin Locke spent 18 years playing bass in the Boston Pops, and his musical plays are performed all over the world.  As an author, speaker, and coach, he shares a pragmatic artistic approach to personal growth, “people skills,” and managing “top performers.” For more, visit his website at www.justinlocke.com.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

 

 
photo credit: artist in doing nothing via photopin cc

#TChat Recap: How To Visualize Real-Time Talent Alignment

How To Visualize Real-Time Talent Alignment 

Managing talent is an art form. It is a delicacy few have mastered, and even fewer, have come to understand. Essentially, managing talent is about managing people, and aligning their goals with your organization’s vision. Employees are a reflection of leadership’s ability to instill and align organizational goals with the goals that employees share. Performance is driven through engagement, communication, and most importantly, transparency of what the organization’s vision is. This week, #TChat’s community was joined by Andre Lavoie, CEO & Co-founder of Clear Company; & Matt Norman, a Dale Carnegie Training franchise president, both whom relayed a vital message about organizational transparency.

They understand and know that managing employees and driving performance is about aligning talent with an organization’s vision through transparency. It starts when:

Leadership has to own the recruitment and onboarding process to begin aligning talent with the organization’s vision. Before you can accomplish this, you must know:

Creating organizational transparency begins when you realize what resources you need to achieve your strategy, then recruiting and the rest can start to fall into place. This matters because:

Here’s the wonderful catch about understanding your talent needs and aligning employees with your company’s vision. It makes your people want to stick around. Employee retention helps drive organizational growth and the vision that fuels it. This is why:

 

If you build a culture that gives employees access to your organization’s vision then your talent grows with you. At the end of the day, it’s not always about the “bottom line,” it’s about your people. An engaged workforce is productive, it’s happy, and it’s most likely to stick around. To achieve organizational transparency leaders have to hold employees accountable and must be able to continuously measure their performance to consistently align talent with your company’s vision in real-time.

Want To See The #TChat Replay? 

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

Thanks again to our guests Andre Lavoie and Matt Norman for teaching us real-time talent alignment. Click here to see the preview and related reading.

#TChat Events: How To Visualize Real-Time Talent Alignment

TChatRadio_logo_020813

#TChat Radio — Are you plugged in to #TChat radio? Did you know you can listen live to ANY of our shows ANY time?

Now you know. Click the box to head on over to our channel or listen to How To Visualize Real-Time Talent Alignment.

Note To Bloggers: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on leadership?

We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!

If you recap #TChat make sure to let us know so we can find you!

We Want To See You On TalentCulture. Become A Contributor Now!

Sign up for the newsletter to get the scoop on next week’s guest, topic and questions!

Save The Date: Wednesday, June 4!

Next week’s #TChat Show: How To Have A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires with guests Todd Owens.

The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on #TChat Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our new Google+ community. So join us anytime on your favorite social channels!

10 Ways To Make Your Job Search Miserable

For Babbitt, who never hurt anyone in his life.

Long ago, I remember hearing someone say that in life, suffering is mandatory but misery is optional. I agree but sadly, many of us (this writer included) live with more anxiety and frustration than required. We have grand expectations and when they are not met, we go purple with righteous indignation. This is not good.

For those of us seeking new employment, we must remember that every step in the process is not life or death and we need to seek out a way to remain calm in the storm. We have to be at our best every single day demonstrating sound judgment, sensitivity and tact. Not easy advice to take but clearly worth our consideration. For those of us who have yet to understand that you can’t win them all and that misery in the job search is not a prerequisite to success, I’ve put together a Top 10 list of behaviors and attitudes that will assure ongoing misery. Please consider the following:

  1. Expect Responses From Online Applications.

    This is seldom going to happen other than through automated emails. There are far too may applicants and too few resources there to offer even the most basic signs of humanity. Far better to check LinkedIn for connections who can bring your candidacy to life internally. (In reality, you want to do that before you apply.)

  2. Hammer Your Network.

    Be sure to put a ton of pressure on your network. Hammer friends for informational interviews, introductions and heavens knows what else because your cronies have nothing else to do but tend to your needs. Special kudos if you hit the CPA network in the tax season and everyone else when they are on summer holiday. Really now, this will shrink your network 90% faster then it took you to build it.

  3. Be Indignant When Calls/Emails Are Not Returned.

    An excellent use of your time. Just sit in a comfortable chair and quietly stew about folks who are non-responsive. True story: I once did this only to find out that the person I was stewing over had died the previous summer. Far better to reach out one more time using your friendly and upbeat style and let it go at that. Really, do not abuse your friends.

  4. Expect Fast Decisions After Interviews.

    This is not going to happen. Hiring is deathly slow in almost all cases for endless reasons. Sitting at home fuming will do little for you, your blood pressure or your personal relationships. Check in ten days after the interview to touch base and make the email short and pleasant. Trying to speed up the process is a fool’s errand, so save your energy for something that is more productive.

  5. Don’t Take Phone Screens Seriously.

    There’s nothing to worry about here. The phone screen is no big deal. Just a bit of friendly conversation and witty banter to highlight your amazing style and showcase wonderful stories of your career. Honestly now, the phone screen is critical. Let me say that again. Critical! Please see The Art and Science of Acing the Phone Screen for more information.

  6. Rage Against Your Last Employer.

    This is a personal favorite of mine. Be sure to raise your voice and shout to the heavens of the unfairness of it all with extra credit going to those who allude to the fact that they thought of suing as well. In reality, this behavior is a bad thing and will not get you shortlisted for future interviews. Speak very little about your last organization unless it pertains to accomplishments, and furthermore, anything said should be positive and professional.

  7. Do Not Prepare For The Interview.

    There is clearly a need for most people to prepare for an interview but certainly not for a real pro like you. Just jump on the website and spend 30 or 40 seconds here and there. Actually, I’m lying. A huge contributor to the success of the interview lies in preparation. Take the time to know not just the company but the players, the industry and the folks with whom you will interview. Review it all in detail once again the night before the interview.

  8. Price Yourself Out Of The Market.

    Yes indeed, this is a good philosophy for those who wish to never go back to work again. Just use numbers from 2006 or so and tell them that you know that your compensation requirements are really high but you are worth it. OK, I am lying again. Bottom line is that the only numbers that apply to compensation reality are the numbers that apply to today’s compensation environment and today’s economy. Endlessly escalating compensation is long gone, so be realistic.

  9. Press for the Leadership Title.

    They want to make you a Director? An amazing person like you? Out of the question. You’ve been a VP for the last dozen years and no one is going to take that away form you. Sadly, that is the wrong approach. Forget the title and demonstrate, reasonably, the desire to roll up your sleeves and your capacity to understand today’s reality. Take the Director role and be glad you are working.

  10. Do Everything Online.

    Be sure to live your life online. Fill out those applications and peruse LinkedIn all day long. Never mix with real people or try to form new relationships with real live people. Want a better idea? Get out there and network. Meet people and be interested in them and smile a lot because the human touch is still a very strong way to make things happen.

Job-hunting, for whatever reason, is both art and science. Some days you eat the dog and some days the dog eats you, but bottom line is that being happy or unhappy is a decision we make for ourselves. The choice to live a sane and satisfied life is truly within our grasp. What choice will you make?

(About the Author: A consultant, writer and public speaker, Howard Adamsky, works with organizations to support their efforts to build great companies and coaches others on how to do the same. He has over 20 years’ experience in identifying, developing, and implementing effective solutions for organizations struggling to recruit and retain top talent. An internationally published author, he has written Hiring and Retaining Top IT Professionals/The Guide for Savvy Hiring Managers and Job Hunters Alike (Osborne McGraw-Hill) and Employment Rage (Norlights Press.) He is a regular contributor to ERE.net. )

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!
photo credit: zoomar via photopin cc

Working Remotely: Is Staying Connected 24/7 A Good Thing?

Technology has given us the ability to stay connected 24/7 which is a blessing and also a curse. One of the downsides is that the lines between work and down time have become increasingly blurred. Many companies feel that employees should be available nights, weekends and even on vacation. Some provide employees with smartphones with the understanding that they will be accessible whenever they are needed.

Not all employees object to this. The majority of respondents to a recent Gallup Poll said that being able to work remotely after hours was a good thing. With 42 percent saying that being able to stay in touch with the office during down time was a “strongly positive” development and 37 percent saying it was only “somewhat positive.” However, only about a third of respondents said that they “frequently” connected with work after hours.

Whether they object or not employees who spend more hours working remotely outside of normal working hours are more likely to experience stress. Despite this, for most of us being connected to our job almost constantly is the norm.

Still there are a few leaders speaking out again the current 24/7 work cycle. Earlier this year, Arianna Huffington spoke passionately at the Wisdom 2.0 Conference about the need to step back. She talked about waking up in a pool of blood after cutting her eye and breaking her cheekbone when she collapsed from exhaustion in 2007. At the Huffington Post, she established a policy of disconnecting from the office where employees are not expected to answer email after hours or over the weekend.

Some European countries have made radical changes. The German labor ministry voted in guidelines which prevent ministry staff from being “penalized” for failing to respond after hours. Some German companies, including Volkswagen, BMW and Puma, restrict after hours email. VW even stops forwarding emails to staff shortly after the work day has ended.

In France, employers’ federations and unions signed a “legally binding agreement” that requires employees to disconnect from the office after working hours. This agreement affects the French offices of some non-French companies including Google, Facebook, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Meanwhile, in Sweden the city council in Gothenburg voted to try out a six-hour workday with full-pay for its staff.

Are these changes a preview of what’s to come in the US? It doesn’t seem likely. Does this mean that employers should be forbidden from contacting employees after hours? In our culture of staying connected 24/7 that doesn’t seem likely either. But there should be some room for compromise.

Is it urgent every time our smartphone bleeps or buzzes? Probably not.

(About the Author: Annette Richmond, MA is a writer, optimist, media enthusiast and executive editor of career-intelligence.com. Having changed careers several times, including working as a career coach, she has a unique perspective on career management. When starting career-intelligence.com over a decade ago, her goal was to provide a one-stop online career resource.

In addition to being a writer, speaker and consultant, Richmond contributes career-related articles to various other sites including ForbesWoman. She holds a BA in English from Sacred Heart University and a MA in Applied Psychology from Fairfield University. She resides in Rowayton, CT, with her husband, Eric, and their four-legged kids.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

photo credit: Mr Noded via photopin cc

 

#TChat Recap: Inspire Or Retire Leadership Theorem

Inspire Or Retire Leadership Theorem 

Leadership is one of my favorite topics to write about, mostly because; people are so passionate about this topic. Of course, it also relates to recruiting and retaining your most valued talent. And why wouldn’t people be interested in this? Leaders are at the center of every workplace, or at least they should be. As our good friend and #TChat guest this week, Thomas S. Narofsky, Founder and Chief Inspirational Officer for the Narofsky Consulting Group, pointed out, “Leadership is your business and you don’t get a free ride.” For those of you that understand this, take a brief moment to pat yourself on the back, but that’s not what became very clear tonight. What became clear is that leadership development must come from within first and then extend into every organization.

Simply put, if you want to grow leaders and inspire greatness, you need to create a seasoned leadership pipeline that inspires the next generation of leaders you’ll need for tomorrow. If you want to inspire leadership, then your vets have to be able to show compassion, provide mentorship, and guidance towards the leaders of tomorrow. As a leader, eventually, you must learn to pass the torch. If not in Olympic fashion, you must do it with the desire to focus on people and their development.

Thomas S. Narofsky knows that:

Remember, leaders are the center of your workplace, because ideally, an engaged workforce is what surrounds them because they are people focused. Smart organizations know that growing leaders is more than just seeing their financial investments returned. Truly:  

And that’s what we call a win-win scenario. But the journey doesn’t just end there. The reason we develop leaders is because:

If you fail to communicate why leaders are important, then how do you expect to set the pieces to the puzzle where they belong? Yes, leaders are important. They need to be developed. So you start training future leaders by:

That last sentence sums it all up. You can’t expect your organization to grow and flourish if your leadership lacks the selflessness it needs to put ideas that are in the best interest of everyone ahead of their own, and perhaps, their ego. Remember, leadership needs to be nurtured and grown internally through your current leadership.

Want To See The #TChat Replay? 

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

Thanks again to our guest Thomas Narofsky for teaching us about his inspire or retire leadership theorem. Click here to see the preview and related reading.

#TChat Events: Inspire Or Retire Leadership Theorem

TChatRadio_logo_020813

#TChat Radio — Are you plugged in to #TChat radio? Did you know you can listen live to ANY of our shows ANY time?

Now you know. Click the box to head on over to our channel or listen to Inspire Or Retire Leadership Theorem.

Note To Bloggers: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on leadership?

We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!

If you recap #TChat make sure to let us know so we can find you!

We Want To See You On TalentCulture. Become A Contributor Now!

Sign up for the newsletter to get the scoop on next week’s guest, topic and questions!

Save The Date: Wednesday, May 28!

Next week’s #TChat Show: How to Visualize Real-Time Talent Alignment with guests Andre Lavoie and Matt Norman.

The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on #TChat Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our new Google+ community. So join us anytime on your favorite social channels!

Developing The Next Generation Of Leaders

Good Day! I’ll be the guest host this Wednesday, May 21, on the TalentCulture #TChat – show which includes #TChat Radio and #TChat Twitter Chat – Wednesdays from 6:30-8:00 pm EST. The radio show is from 6:30-7:00 pm EST and the Twitter chat is from 7pm-8pm EST. Before I host I would like to share some information with you about myself.

I am passionate about…

developing emerging, enduring, and experienced leaders and teaching them how to develop themselves using a disciplined and deliberate approach. All leadership begins from inside a person and must be developed and grown as they grow into emerging and enduring leaders. I believe that leadership principles are timeless and apply across all spectrums of life. I believe leadership begins inside of you. Leadership starts with a condition of the heart – the desire and passion to make a difference before it moves to the brain to implement a plan to make a difference. It is an inside-out process and is shaped by your values, character, choices, opportunities, experiences, and your worldview. Leadership is about you, the people you influence, and a belief that you can make a difference and have an impact.

Second, my next passion is for developing the next generation of leaders who will be the leaders in the military, in government, in business and globally. These leaders will lead in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous or VUCA world and must be prepared for leading in chaos.

What do I mean by a VUCA?

  • Volatile means that the speed, size, scale of change in the world today has a great impact on events around the globe almost instantaneously. An example is the rate and pace of stock market changes and the effect it has on personal and corporate wealth.
  • Uncertainty means that world events are unpredictable and this unpredictability makes it impossible to prepare for unknown world events. An example is the effects of Arab Spring and governmental changes in the last four years.
  • Complexity means that the chaotic nature of the world combined with the volatility and uncertainty of global events creates an environment of confusion and difficulty for today’s leaders.
  • Ambiguity means that there is a lack of clarity or transparency surrounding world events. It is hard to predict what threats are in the world if you do not know the who, what, or why things are happening.

We will need leaders who can meet and adapt to new challenges, build strategic partnerships, build and sustain human capital organizations, and have the courage to act and react to the challenges. In addition to these requirements, we need to continue to develop leaders who are flexible, adaptive and are globally and culturally aware. This next generation of leaders must understand how to build and maintain trust, keep their integrity, and continue to build their credibility by developing their character.

An authentic character is the outward expression of our purpose, values, and beliefs. Your character comprises your beliefs, motives, values, desires, behaviors, and principles that drive and shape your actions as a leader. Character authenticity is living on purpose, keeping true to your values and beliefs, and not compromising them at the altar of Society. Your character is tested in the crucible of life and is forged through adversity.

I believe authentic leaders…

inspire people to greatness. Inspiration is the ability to breathe life into someone or an organization. Inspiration is a positive influence – a positive reinforcement – we give our people. It ignites desire, ignites creativity, and ignites innovation in inspired people. Leadership is not what I do it is who I am. There is no escaping who I am. My leadership is the embodiment of my heart, mind, body, and soul. It is an amalgamation of my life’s purpose, my values, my ethics, my core beliefs, my life philosophy, and my worldview.

One of the topics we are going to discuss on the #TCHAT show is the Inspire or Retire Theorem.

Inspire Or Retire Theorem

The Inspire or Retire Theorem wraps up my F(X) Leadership framework and my theory of you are the key to your leadership. The function of (x) is you.

InspireOrRetireTheorem

 What If The Leaders In Your Organization

•  Knew the organizational vision, goals, values and the impact their leadership had on the success of the organization
•  Knew success as a leader included knowing themselves, their team and the organization
•  Knew a leader must have high moral and ethical values and that character counts
•  Knew leaders are responsible for their actions and their words
•  Knew they needed to continuously develop, grow and reinvent themselves to meet the challenges of the future
•  Understood their role in developing other leaders
•  Understood character, courage, commitment and communication are key components of leadership
•  Understood they are responsible for their leadership development
•  Understood they are the key to their leadership

The Inspire or Retire Theorem answers all the above questions in a mathematical mnemonic that encapsulates my leadership responsibility to the people I lead and the organization I serve. It was designed as a visual representation for me to remember to always Inspire or Retire.

I look forward to sharing time with and discussing your views on leadership, leadership development, and developing the next generation of leaders.

(About the Author:  Thomas S. Narofsky is the Founder and Chief Inspirational Officer for the Narofsky Consulting Group, a leadership development, team effectiveness, and executive coaching consultancy. He the developer of the F(X) Leadership Model, the Inspire or Retire Leadership Theorem, and author of F(X) Leadership Unleashed!, and soon to be released book, You are Unstoppable!.

He also served on the United States Air Force Enlisted Board of Directors which focused on professional development, training concepts and long-range strategies to provide continuous, career-long enlisted deliberate development by integrating education, training and experience to produce a skilled and adaptive work force. He has conducted worldwide professional and leadership development seminars with U.S, Korean, Japanese, Australian, British, Canadian, Belgian and German enlisted forces. His military decorations include Defense Superior Service Medal and the Bronze Star.

Thom is an adjunct professor at Bellevue University in the Arts and Sciences Department. He holds a Master of Arts in Leadership, a Master of Science in Information Technology Management and a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

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Pay Attention: 3 Corporate Culture Shaping Techniques

Employee Engagement (defn.): employee’s investment of time, energy, creativity, knowledge, skills and abilities to fulfill expectations of work assigned.

Business/Corporate Culture (defn.): the philosophy, values, behavior, dress codes, etc., that together constitute the unique style and policies of a company.

The above phrases are defined numerous ways by numerous sources. The above definitions include the factors that comprise Employee Engagement and Business/Corporate Culture. They are offered because culture and engagement are causally related.

Business culture stimulates the quantity and quality of employees’ engagement. This means engagement in performing their individual job. It means engagement in contributing to team projects, objectives, and goals. It certainly means engagement in fulfilling company requirements and obligations.

The more an employee appreciates, identifies with, and receives energy from the business culture, the more eagerly she engages: in her job, with her team, for the company.

If that is true — and it is — so is this: keeping the business culture timely and vibrant keeps the engagement by employees meaningful and intense. Let’s look at 3 Culture Shaping Responsibilities every leadership team owns if they want to keep employees engaged, especially increasingly engaged.

1. Pay Attention To The Big Picture

Pay attention to the needs for your big picture culture and pay attention to the wants for your individual employees culture. Include both in your business culture. The topmost leaders of the business can’t help but see and focus on the big picture. Success in the specific industry and the current economy may require a culture that is intense, independent, and entrepreneurial. Or success may be better generated by high levels of teamwork and measured progress. Or success may come from a think-tank strategy that keeps the business ahead of the competition. More than likely, business leaders already have this in mind as part of their company definition.

Just remember to pay attention at the individual level as well. What kind of employee best serves your business? That is answered, of course, by their specific skills and abilities, their work habits and their views of individual success and satisfaction. Social media? (Un)structured work-environment? Health & wellness offerings? Creative opportunity?

The goal is to fit together individual wants with business needs to form a seamless and satisfying corporate culture. That culture encourages employees to engage in their work because they want to.

2. Pay Attention To Your Culture

Pay attention to making your business culture “front of mind consciousness” throughout your company. Culture can be like vision: put into a neat phrase, engraved on a pretty plaque, hung up somewhere and forgotten. The frequently and regularly managers and employees should talk about the business culture — in real terms, in real time. Business culture is meant to live, breathe, and change as the business situations change. That happens when culture is embedded in communication, when people constantly talk about what’s going on. Try these:

  • Have “Culture News” as a 5 minute regular agenda item for meetings. The team can decide what to do with it. Just be sure it’s talk about the corporate culture.
  • Invite informal feedback that essentially answers this question: “What do you like about our company culture?”
  • Invite informal feedback that answers this question: “What don’t you like about our company culture?”

The purpose is more to bring individuals’ awareness/appreciation of culture to the forefront. If the culture vibrates positively, they will make added effort. That’s engagement. If there’s no vibration, the sooner you find out, the sooner you can make the changes.

3. Pay Attention To Your Behavior

Pay attention to behaving the culture. In her discussion of culture change, Nancy Rubin cites “Guiding behavioral principles: how [leaders] expect all associates to behave” as a critical element.

Take that one step further: expect leaders and managers to pay attention to their own behavior. Guarantee that leadership behavior matches culture expectations. Employees are quick to emulate their managers’ behavior. They are even quicker to notice when the walk doesn’t match the talk.

Becoming a more effective leader involves more than defining the culture. It requires more than espousing the culture. It demands living the culture for the workforce to see. Because seeing is believing.

Paying attention to a vibrant business culture results in vibrant engagement by the workforce.

(About the Author: As an Employee Engagement and Performance Improvement expert, Tim Wright, has worked with businesses and national associations of all sizes. His company, Wright Results, offers proven strategies and techniques to help businesses increase employee engagement, improve personnel performance and build a strong business culture by focusing on performance management from the C.O.R.E. For more information, visit www.wrightresults.com or connect with Tim here: tim@wrightresults.com)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

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#TChat Preview: Inspire Or Retire Leadership Theorem

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, May 21, 2014. #TChat Radio starts at 6:30 pm ET (3:30 pm PT) and the convo continues on #TChat Twitter chat from 7-8 pm ET (4-5 pm PT).

Last week we talked about the talent-centric recruiting experience, and this week we’re talking about the inspire or retire leadership theorem.

Yes, that’s what we said. The first part of this theorem is a reminder that from the junior employee to senior management, leadership is everyone’s business. When organizations are in a VUCA environment (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity), they are usually flatter and everyone must lead.

You’ll learn more about the theorem soon, but until then, inspirational leaders encourage their team by example and allow their people to take the lead in accomplishing the organizational vision.

The most significant contribution we can make as leaders today is to leave a legacy of inspired leaders behind to take care of tomorrow. We can leverage our skills, talents, and experiences to transform our people into leaders.

Join #TChat co-creators and hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as we learn more about the inspire or retire leadership theorem with this week’s guest: Thomas S. Narofsky, Founder and Chief Inspirational Officer for the Narofsky Consulting Group, a leadership development, team effectiveness, and executive coaching consultancy.

Sneak Peek: Inspire Or Retire Leadership Theorem

We spoke briefly with our guest Thomas Narofsky, to learn a little about the Inspire or Retire Leadership Theorem. Check out our YouTube Channel for videos with other #TChat guests!

Related Reading:

Michael Rogers: Inspirational Leadership – What 5 Things Do They Have In Common?

Jesse Lyn Stoner: How To Give Your Boss Bad News 

Peter Sessum: Military Leadership: Lessons In Military Leadership For Civilians

Kevin W. Grossman: On Finding The Leader’s Way

Meghan M. Biro: Leadership Is About Emotion

We hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas with our guests and the TalentCulture Community.

#TChat Events: Inspire Or Retire Leadership Theorem

TChatRadio_logo_020813 #TChat Radio — Wed, May 21 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with our guest Thomas Narofsky!

Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, May 14 — 7pmET / 4pmPT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guest will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: What are the current and best leadership development approaches and why do they work? (Tweet this Question)

Q2: Why is it important to teach leaders of all stages how to develop themselves? (Tweet this Question)

Q3: How can next-gen leaders be comfortable in a volatile and uncertain environment? (Tweet this Question)

Q4: How can we train new leaders to inspire future leaders? (Tweet this Question)

Q5: What technologies improve the delivery of inspiring leadership development? (Tweet this Question)

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and in our new TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday.

To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

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Reinforce Employee Empowerment Today

As a business manager or owner of a company, there are many things you can do to reinforce employee empowerment with the self-will to strive for success. This is an important and critical factor in the success of your business as well, because a motivated, empowered work force will obviously perform much better than one in which morale is low and employees harbor feelings of resentment and disillusionment.

The most important aspect of motivating your employees is showing them you value their work, input, and contributions to the business. A simple thank you of acknowledgement often goes a long way in making an employee feel as though he or she matters, and listening to their concerns also shows respect for them and your willingness to make the business better as a whole.

Don’t Make It A Thankless Job—Acknowledge Your Employees

Too many business managers today simply expect their employees to perform their duties, and offer no real incentive or appreciation. Believe it or not, a paycheck just isn’t incentive enough to perform to the best of one’s ability. Employees are not machines, they want to feel appreciated, and they want to be able to express their opinions or concerns and be treated as though their words actually mean something.

If you find that you are having problems motivating your employees, you may want to examine your own actions as a manager or business owner. If you feel that you have been doing everything you can do to motivate your workforce and it just doesn’t seem to be working, you may want to consider hiring speakers to motivate employees in business conferences. Doing so at a company event, such as a picnic or catered dinner is the perfect way to say “thank you” to your employees for their hard work and dedication while, at the same time, capitalizing on the good vibes and encouraging even more empowerment through the use of the speaker.

A Motivated Employee Is A Productive Employee

Communication is ever important in the business world. Being able to communicate your needs and goals clearly to your workforce ensures that employees are well aware of their task requirements, and can proceed with little direction required. Trusting your employees to do their jobs effectively and professionally means you are empowering them, and that will translate to improved motivation and productivity.

If you feel you are somewhat lacking in the communication department, that is nothing to feel ashamed about. Not everyone is an excellent communicator, but you can easily learn the skills needed to become one. In the meantime, if you would like to better motivate your employees but feel you don’t possess strong enough communication skills to do so, you can rely on speakers to motivate employees in business conferences.

In addition to hiring a motivating speaker, you can practice improving other areas of your management skills, including placing value on your employees, involving them in business decisions and inquiring about their input, managing employees more efficiently rather than just throwing work at them and expecting it to be done, and giving feedback on projects as they progress.

All of these actions contribute to cultivating a more effective and happy workforce. If you can manage this, you will quickly find your business will benefit from a workforce that is glad to come to work, rather than one in which morale is low and a feeling of resentment and disenchantment festers. A workforce with low morale means less productivity, more mistakes, and more employee turnover as disgruntled employees look for other employment opportunities elsewhere.

Lastly, do not forget to offer your employees some sort of reward if they’ve performed exceptionally well or completed a big project on time. This can be something as simple as a small gift, or you may elect to take your workforce to a company dinner or other sort of fun outing. Such acts are strong indicators of recognition for employees, and they will certainly appreciate the gesture as much as you appreciate their efforts.

 

(About the Author: Norah Abraham has been a freelance writer since 2005. She attended the University of Boston and graduated with a Bachelor in English Literature. She loves public speaking and motivates people in her own comic style. She loves gadgets and techie stuffs. In her career, she has written dozens of Press Releases, Articles, and Essays.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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Take Action Now To Advance Your Career

If you want to have what others don’t, you must do what others won’t.” – Lisa Ryan

How often do you hear these types of conversations?

  • John: “I’d love to go back to college and get my degree.”
  • Jane:  “So, why don’t you go?”
  • John:  “I’m so tired when I get home from work, and it will take so long for me to get it. I just don’t have the time to do it.”
  • Sally:  “Wow, you’re so lucky that you have such an awesome job.”
  • Dan:  “I started in the mail room ten years ago, and just worked my way up through the company.  I’m pretty happy with where it’s gotten me.”
  • Sally: “The mail room?!  I would never even consider a job like that.  Wow,  it was pretty lucky that you did that!”
  • Charles: “I just got offered this really awesome job, but I’m not sure if I’m going to take it.”
  • Doug:  “Why not?”
  • Charles: “Well, it’s paying $1.00 an hour less than what I’m making now, and I don’t want to take the cut in pay.”

All of these examples are based on real conversations.  The one thing they have in common is a need for instant gratification.  The person going to college after work, giving up sleep and time with friends and family will one day receive his/her degree as a reward for their hard work. John, on the other hand, will stay stuck, never reaching his full potential until the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. (The funny thing is he’ll be just as old with a degree as he will be without one.)

Dan, on the other hand, was willing to start in a menial job to learn the ropes and work his way up through the organization. He knew that the mail room would give him ample opportunities to get to know the people within the organization, by name, department, and title as well as in person when he delivered the mail. He worked hard, made connections, became the very best mail room person he could be.  His tenacity was noticed and his progression within the organization gave him everything he wanted in his career.

Sally believes that jobs, titles and corner offices should be automatically given to her because of tenure alone.  She does what she’s paid to do and no more.  She assumes that she is just not “lucky” and her career is at a standstill. Until she makes the effort and does more than she is paid to do, she will stay at the same level.

What about Charles?  Have you seen people get blindsided by a temporary step backwards and never take the opportunity to move ten steps forward in the long run?  We all have.  When you have long term goals, you are willing to do what’s necessary and invest the time to achieve them.  We generally overestimate what we can do in the short term, but we underestimate what we can accomplish over the long run.

In a time when training dollars are hard to find in an already right budget, human resource professionals have the daunting task of nudging, encouraging and cajoling their employees to take advantage of the opportunities offered for personal and professional development. Here are a few ways take action and communicate the importance of your staff members investing in themselves:

1.  To achieve your dreams and goals, you need to, as Stephen Covey said, “Begin with the end in mind.”  Set your sights on all of the things you would like to accomplish in your life and keep on target. Establish small, consistent steps that move you closer to your goal.

2.  Celebrate your little victories along the way.  Acknowledge yourself for your progress and don’t forget to recognize others for their support and encouragement.  Minimize the time you spend with people that want to keep you where you are, they will only continue to hold you back.  Associate with the people who are already where you want to be and learn from them.

3.  Realize that by doing the hard things now, your life will become easier in the long run. If you take the easy road now, your life will probably get much harder.  The time, money, and effort you invest in yourself can never be taken away from you.

(About the Author: Employee Engagement Expert and Motivational Speaker, Lisa Ryan works with organizations to help them keep their top talent and best customers from becoming someone else’s. She achieves this through personalized employee engagement and customer retention keynotes, workshops and seminars. She is the author of six books, and is featured in two films including the award-winning, “The Keeper of the Keys” with Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup for the Soul. For more information, please connect with Lisa at her website: www.grategy.com or email her at lisa@grategy.com.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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Dating In The Workplace: An Employee Relations Primer

Dating someone you work with is frequently cited by workforce experts as a very bad idea. Yet 40% of workers admitted they did so in a 2013 CareerBuilder survey – and we have no reason to believe that number has gone down since then. As summertime rolls around, inevitably relationships will begin to spring up. After all, the average working American spends one-third of their lives at the office. So, what does the burgeoning office relationship mean for employers? Relationships gone sour have the potential to raise tension in the office. Couples that practice ODA (Office Display of Affection) make other employees uncomfortable. And there are bigger stakes for the employer.  The way you handle a new romance can expose the entire organization to risk or result in a great relationship you helped cultivate.

Rules Of Love

There are no hard rules when it comes to fraternization policies – but it is necessary to have something in place to guide appropriate behaviors.  Yet only 42 percent of companies have intra-office dating policies. These policies protect the company as well as the two individuals involved.  Make sure every person in your office understand the rules and how to report relationships should they become serious.

Some HR departments require written disclosures, making the involved employees officially state their relationship. Other companies “ban” fraternization. This is extremely hard to enforce because the term “fraternization” is difficult to completely define and policies that ban fraternization don’t really work. It seems great on paper, but it doesn’t account for the human condition. Your employees will date someone if they want and assume as long as they don’t display affection, no one would find out. That’s not a safe route for anyone in the office and can disrupt productivity and exclude other employees. It is best to keep HR and the supervisor in the loop to avoid your workers spending all their time trying to “hide” their relationship.

“More and more companies have implemented policies because they realize they aren’t going to stop people from having romantic relationship,” said Christine Amalfe, an attorney in Gibbon’s P.C. litigation and employment and labor law departments. Amalfe is correct, there are very few workplaces wherein HR or any other executives can forbid dating between coworkers. Nor would it be a reasonable policy.  However, if everyone on your employee relations team is briefed on the rules and communicates them to the team, both employees and management can breathe easier knowing how to deal with potential relationships.

“If you’re considering dating a coworker, finding out what the policy is before you initiate a romantic relationship will typically be better than springing it on your bosses six months in,” Eric Ravenscraft of lifehacker.com said.

Conflicts Of Interest

What if the relationship ends? Even if the relationship leads to a marriage, 44 percent of every marriage in the United States ends in divorce. Employers have to deal with couples who can’t work together even though they have to work together. Failed relationships in the workplace damage morale and the individuals risk losing their jobs. Have a contingency plan if the former lovebirds can no longer bear to work together. It DOES happen and it is important to make succession plans and keep performance reviews up to date in case reporting is called into question.

Supervisors Shouldn’t Date Subordinates

If office dating happens, it should only happen laterally. Dating subordinates is a bad idea – period. Some companies allow dating coworkers as long as they are not your boss. But 99 percent of organizations get it right and ban intra-office relationships between supervisor and subordinate. It can compromise credibility and lead to subordinates disrespecting their supervisors.  It is also scary territory for potential legal action. Sexual harassment, favoritism, and other risky situations can all easily arise from a situation in which two people from unequal positions are involved in a romance.

“When a supervisor and employee are dating, it can potentially decrease morale in the department and raise suspicions by coworkers of preferential treatment,” said Kristin Bowl, spokeswoman for the SHRM. According to EEOC, one-in-four women are sexually harassed at work, half of them were harassed by a supervisor.

Companies who have a no tolerance intra-office dating policy try to control human nature. In reality, however, if employees want to date, they will… you may just not know about it until it starts to impact your work environment. The best policies are the ones that don’t ban the behavior. Don’t try to control human nature, guide it. Give employees guidelines for office dating: don’t date your boss, sign a relationship contract, etc. Workplace dating is inevitable. Intra-office dating is going to happen. You can’t prevent sparks from igniting, but you can avoid a legal flameout.

(About the Author: Deborah J. Muller is the CEO of HR Acuity, a technology firm specializing in human resources applications like the HR Acuity On Demand family of applications. Muller brings more than 25 years of human resources and investigation experience to both the consulting practice and software development sides of the company.)

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

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How To Create A Resilient Workforce

Written by: Michael Ballard

Resiliency is defined as, “Our capacity to bounce back.” I define it as, “Our capacity to increase the quality of our experience and the outcomes.”

Creating and maintaining a resilient workforce takes, vision, mission, diligence and resources. In a world of work that is experiencing global competition, key issues include:

  • Attracting top talent
  • Keeping talent engaged
  • Moving from training to talent management
  • Treating career development seriously
  • Acknowledging the costs and efforts to manage mental health and chronic health issues
  • Changing HR function

The potential organizational paybacks of having resiliency as a key set of factors are impressive. They enhance workplace productivity and lower costs for:

  • Recruitment
  • Safety
  • Retention
  • Chronic health issues
  • Mental health issues

Special attention to the sales force needs to be taken. In the past two decades the ability to connect with key decision makers has gotten easier due to technology. However it is now often much tougher as the decision makers have been flooded and are over communicated with. What used to take 5 – 7 calls to engage a buyer is over 11 to 19 contacts to get that first appointment.

In the world-of-work keeping staff and organizations on an even keel takes time and effort. Each client I’ve have worked with has been on a path of diligently working to gain staff, management, and supplier engagement and to ensure a high quality and congruent approach. They’ve ranged in size from small software start up with a staff of seven, to an international firm with an excess of 10,000 employees; governments, NGO’s, health care and educational organizations, and all are challenged by this.

How is this an issue?

One international client started off locally by hiring several facilitators and had 900+ employees brainstorm what key factors they wanted to have introduced, changed or released in the workplace. Spouses were also invited to participate in round three of the brainstorming session. They where prompted to discuss workplace culture and “missing links” and added insights on next steps they felt would assist their partners in being happier and more productive.

One of my smaller clients in retail made a bold category-busting move. They decided to break all industry pay-scale standards, and over time started rewarding staff who had stayed more than a year… this was 20 – 60% above industry standard. Productivity went up significantly and retention soared. Last time I knew, the owner reported that his business was at a factor of six times the national average for productivity and was at only 9% of the national average for damaged and broken products.

The clients that made successful use of technology to assist in their business, felt this helped better engage their employees. One had a toll-free line installed so staff could call to learn late-breaking corporate news. There they heard from the President, all VPs and on occasion a few key customers took turns sharing brief 30 – 120 seconds thoughts on current corporate and market place news. The organization has an FM radio station that broadcasts the key message of the day, themed on the week and the month.

An Example Of One Client’s Approach:

  • Staff developed mini educational programs 12 minutes in length, which they present at weekly meetings.
  • Leadership developed a tightly woven vision statement. It was created as a powerful message that drives the three key points of their mandate to their staff, suppliers and management team.
  • All employees conduct 15-minute meetings at the beginning of every work shift to recap key issues.

How Is This Helpful?

Having and creating from the bottom up and the top down, plus having suppliers and spouses on board helps.

  • When spouses understand that safety in the work place is not just “talk” and that in heavy-industry lives are at stake and that things change.
  • When sales teams is on-board with the approach.
  • When Quality Control understands that their role is about how products need to be perfect.
  • When people need strive for excellence things change for the better.
  • Use of encouraging language brought everyone into the loop on the “Language of Resiliency” and using it to change for the better.

For my clients the payoffs have included: reduced cost of production, increased quality, higher sales, more stable market share, reduced absentee rates and according to one General Manager, “more happiness” in his offices.

The cost of ignoring the warning signs and not becoming a resilient organization has many potential outcomes. All of them are expensive. I do know that organizations and individuals that embrace resiliency in the workplace respond to and resolve issues faster with less turmoil.

So, let’s get started! Want to learn more? Join me on the #TChat discussion tonight, May 7, at 7pm ET by tweeting @TalentCulture using the #TChat hashtag. For a preview of the questions and topics we will be discussing tonight click here.

Michael-Ballard

(About the Author: Michael H. Ballard specializes in building resiliency by helping groups and people of all ages learn how to deal with change and adversity in the fast pace of modern life with its overwhelming situations and stresses, through Resiliency for Life™ (RFL). Michael has delivered breakthrough solutions for over 207 organizations across North America and around the world from the beaches of Bermuda to the skyscrapers of Singapore, dedicating his life to helping others prepare for, or recover from, life’s challenges. Michael delivers actionable solutions that reflect the depth of his experience, applying a practical yet science-based approach to instill a courageous point of view. His goal is to help people get back up and “dust themselves off” after an upset, develop and deepen their resiliency and out-perform their former selves. He knows what’s possible. He’s lived it. Despite his multiple battles with cancer, and a near death experience due to a failed medical procedure, Michael still reached sales success placing 7th out of 78 professionals in a year when he was off work for four months. Michael knows exactly what it takes to be resilient.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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10 Social Media Resources To Advance Your Career

Knowing which social media resources to use and how to get the most from them can help during job hunting as well as for taking your career to the next level within your current organization. It’s not just about finding jobs using LinkedIn or Twitter, it’s more about getting the most out of learning opportunities, building your authority, enhancing your workplace productivity, external networking and last but not least job hunting.

Here are 10 star social media resources that can help you tackle all the activities mentioned above. Whether you’re actively looking for a job or not, establishing yourself as a thought-leader is important for all steps in your career ladder.

Learning Opportunities

  1. Ted Talks provides videos on informative and thought provoking talks from TED Conferences. The portal also has a section to engage in related ideas, questions and debates.

Key Benefit – Ted Talks are 18 minutes or shorter. All you need is a lunch break to keep growing your knowledge base.

  1. Slideshare’s your library of presentations, pdf’s, videos and webinars. It’s a crowdsourced solution for educating yourself with a diverse educational and professional community contributing material and sharing comments.

Key Benefit – Students, CEO’s and professional speakers all contribute content to Slideshare, providing information from all levels of the professional and educational worlds.

Building Your Authority

  1. Quora is a community of 1.5 million professionals answering business questions. Quora answers often get syndicated in major publications such as Forbes which helps build the author’s credibility.

Key Benefit – Quora answers typically get more exposure than a blog for personal branding.

  1. WordPress is a simple blogging solution with free templates and a community of bloggers to share content with. Suitable for professionals and newbies, WordPress lets you blog like a pro.

Key Benefit – Blogging helps you get clarity on your ideas by polishing them up.

Workplace Productivity

  1. Evernote can be considered as “Note taking on steroids”. You can sync between devices, add images and audio content, clip web pages – all of which lets team members share research and notes.

Key Benefit – Your ideas, research and notes will all be in one place rather than scattered across devices and applications.

  1. Asana’s aimed at those who are looking for an alternate to email for collaboration. It provides a way to manage tasks, get updates on progress and organize ideas, plans and deadlines all without email.

Key Benefit – By fully implementing Asana you can automatically segregate your business and personal life…digitally at least.

External Networking

  1. Twitter is a popular tool because it’s 140 character microblogging platform creates a low barrier for maintance. It has become a popular place to connect with influencers across all industries.

Key Benefit – You can have one-on-one conversations with recruiters even before you score the interview.

  1. LinkedIn Groups are like conference rooms where professionals of a certain industry or interest get together and talk. It’s a way to post updates, share news or add you own post links.

Key Benefit – A great way to advance your career is to be considered a thought leader in your field by becoming a well-known contributor to LinkedIn Groups.

Job Hunting

  1. DoYouBuzz starts job hunting on the right foot by helping you create a snazzy resume. It provides templates for creating CVs, storing them online, exporting .pdf versions and even provides statistics for premium users.

Key Benefit – Recruiters are overloaded with CV’s thus having a unique resume increases your chances of capturing their attention.

  1. BeKnown combines Monster job search with the ability to connect to professionals at their listed companies. It integrates with Facebook and keeps your business and professional connections separate.

Key Benefit – Sometimes all you need is a foot in the door to advance your career in a new organization…that’s exactly what BeKnown does.

What about you? What social media platforms do you think have been the most valuable in advancing your career? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

(About the Author: Paul Keijzer is the CEO and Managing Partner of Engage Consulting in Malaysia, Pakistan and U.A.E. He focuses on transforming top teams and managing talent across Asia’s emerging and frontier markets. Paul has a firm belief that outstanding results can only be achieved through people, by engaging teams and building commitment by creating a new paradigm between company and employee. Paul has delivered transformational interventions for more than 50 blue chip organizations in countries across Asia including Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Egypt, Korea, U.A.E. and India.)

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6 Ways To Build A Better Team

Every company wants increasing employee engagement. Engaged employees are good at communicating and putting forth extra effort to fulfill expectations. I’ve recently seen articles about student athletes becoming great employees. Therefore, having an athletic mentality can help grow employee engagement. You may not want flag football in your office hallway or field hockey in the foyer. Still, it’s worth translating athlete mentality to worker mentality in your workplace.

Athlete / Worker Mentality 1: Communication

Success in any sport depends on communication. Same is true of business. Communication between the coach and the player is critical in the game’s final minutes when victory is on the line. To execute the play perfectly, team members must talk, listen to and understand one another. The same applies at the workplace: communication matters, in every direction.

Coach To Worker Mentality: Practice the skill of collaborative conversation. Then provide opportunities for your people to learn the skill as well.

Athlete Mentality - Jim LarrisonAthlete / Worker Mentality 2: Achievement

Rarely does the team that does not want to win, win. Desire to achieve is the fire in the athlete’s belly. Running an extra mile at practice, taking another 50 free throws, swinging at 25 more baseballs feed that fire. Ignite and fuel that same fire in employees and they will engage in striving to accomplish. An individual who wants quality in her work brings quality to her work. An employee who seeks improved performance calls out actions and resources to better skills.

Coach to Worker Mentality: Support and celebrate accomplishment. Make clear to the entire team what individuals/teams are working to accomplish. Publicize progress as it happens. Hype the publicity as achievement gets closer.

Athlete / Worker Mentality 3: Loyalty

A familiar sports phrase is “no I in ‘team'”. It’s putting ego aside for team success. Notable are athletes who utilize their skills and talents for the team. They put stardom lower on the priority list than victory. Loyalty to the company shows itself in full-fledged engagement employees. This leads to success that is greater than the sum of each individual’s efforts.

Coach to Worker Mentality: Encourage frequent, pragmatic discussion of loyalty. Examples: WIIFM related to work assignments, personal relevance of company values, individuals’ comfort with corporate culture. Verbalizing causes of and reasons for loyalty keeps loyalty in front of mind.

Athlete / Worker Mentality 4: Resilience

The team loses. Players learn from mistakes. Successful team moves on, preparing to win the next contest. Power to bounce back is essential to success. Resilience in the face of business setbacks is key to successful employee engagement, too. Consider how many events can knock someone off track, if not for a loop. Imagine the shortstop who’s bumbled a hot grounder or the halfback who’s fumbled a handoff. Each has to shake it off before next pitch or next play. Same with workers: shake it off, bounce back, get ready for the next play.

Coach to Worker Mentality: Learning from mistakes builds resilience. Make discussion of error and/or failure a regular behavior. Ensure this discussion emphasizes what can be learned, rather than finger pointing and blame shoveling.

Athlete / Worker Mentality 5: Confidence

Confidence boosts resilience. An athlete’s can-do belief spurs the “try again; do it better; on to victory” commitment. Confidence in ability and dedication stimulates confidence in the team. And confidence in the team increases self-confidence. A pitcher believes she will throw a strike. She also believes that if it’s hit, one of her teammates will make the out. That seamless confidence between individual and team produces wins. At work, too.

Coach to Worker Mentality: Demonstrate your trust and confidence in workers. Recognize their success and link to future possibilities. Encourage creative ideas and procedures.

Athlete / Worker Mentality 6: Awareness

Every player on a football team, a softball team, a basketball team – on any team – has specific expectations to fulfill. They are aware of these expectations. The more explicit their awareness, the better. Victory tells them they’ve performed as expected. Loss tells them the opposite. Workers need the same clear awareness of what managers, supervisors expect of them. The more clearly they know these expectations, the more likely they are to engage in fulfilling them.

Coach to Worker Mentality: When giving an assignment to new hire or veteran, be explicit in what’s expected. Ask for validation that expectations are heard and understood. As assignment progresses, verify expectations with the worker, especially if the expectations are tweaked.

Those coaching suggestions are normal behaviors a good manager possesses. It pays to keep them in mind. It pays more to put them in action. It pays to have your worker’s mentality similar to the athlete’s mentality.

Play on!

(About the Author:  As an Employee Engagement and Performance Improvement expert, Tim Wright, has worked with businesses and national associations of all sizes. His company, Wright Results, offers proven strategies and techniques to help businesses increase employee engagement, improve personnel performance and build a strong business culture by focusing on performance management from the C.O.R.E. For more information, visit www.wrightresults.com or connect with Tim here: tim@wrightresults.com)

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Persistence: It Pays To Be The Last One Standing

“No matter what you are trying to accomplish, maintain a firm belief in your ideas, bring the greatest amount of energy to them, and be willing to endure the indignities that may result. Being a mover and a shaker in (any) profession means sticking with an idea or system longer than anyone else.” – Author Unknown.

Or as I like to say, “It pays to be the last one standing.”

This mantra has helped tremendously in both my sales and speaking careers. No matter what business you’re in, persistence, kindness and gratitude pays off.

Persistence.

Here are the statistics: 44% of sales people give up after one “no”; 22% give up after two; 14% give up after three; 12% give up after four. However, most prospects say “no” four times before they say “yes.” It’s the fifth ask that gets the order. Persist!

A great way to stay in touch is to have some kind of newsletter or regular correspondence. When I was in the welding industry, I created a hard copy newsletter that I wrote, stapled, stamped and sent every month. While in medical sales. I switched to a monthly e-newsletter. Now I send a short, inspirational weekly message known as the “Gratitude Thought for the Week.” By providing weekly content, I am merely a “reply” away from connecting with my clients and I get to hear from them, without having to pursue them, when they read something that hits home.

Kindness.

Bring value to your prospects and clients. Just because you need four “NOs” before your “yes,” doesn’t mean that every call should be only about getting the order. Figure out what YOU can you do to make your prospect’s life a little easier.

To be considered “top of mind” for your clients, they must also be “top of mind” to you. In order words, look for ways you can be of service, without always having to the sale as your end game. When you see an article that you feel your client would find helpful, email it to them, even if you’re not the author. If you can’t help your customer, but you have a competitor that can, why not refer that customer to someone who can get them what they need? After all, there’s more than enough business for all of us, and when we help out a client, at the expense of our own good, they remember it.

Gratitude.

Make sure you express your appreciation – every sales call. Every order. Every referral. What gets recognized gets repeated, so thank early and often. Be specific, be sincere and you will be a success.

Thank your clients in a variety of ways. A hand-written thank you note is particularly effective since they are so rare. The funny thing is that everyone knows the value of a handwritten note, but not many people make the effort to send one. Keep a stack of thank you notes, a pen and stamps in your car. Immediately after each sale, program or visit, write the thank you note while you are still in the parking lot and put it in the next mailbox you come to. The meeting will still be fresh in your mind and the client will be impressed when they receive your note the next day.

(About the Author: Employee Engagement Expert and Motivational Speaker, Lisa Ryan works with organizations to help them keep their top talent and best customers from becoming someone else’s. She achieves this through personalized employee engagement and customer retention keynotes, workshops and seminars. She is the author of six books, and is featured in two films including the award-winning, “The Keeper of the Keys” with Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup for the Soul. For more information, please connect with Lisa at her website: www.grategy.com or email her at lisa@grategy.com.)

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7 Ways To Become A More Effective Leader

Long-winded professionals make lousy leaders. You feel no inspiration hearing them tear through another management monologue. You can’t readily recall the most important messages from the last lengthy lecture you heard from senior leadership, and you’re tired of hearing executives repeat themselves over and over again.

The brutal reality in business today is that verbose leaders have few followers.

In today’s world of constant connectivity and endless information, brevity is now a leadership necessity, not a nicety. Getting to the point quickly is the new, non-negotiable standard for senior managers to climb through the ranks and lead in an attention economy.

The good news is there are specific steps you can take immediately that will make a difference and help advance your career. Here’s a list of seven practical pointers to improve your brevity at work:

1. Always prepare

Effective leaders take extra time to prepare the point they want to make before delivering it. Start by reviewing outlines and creating rough drafts of your key ideas in advance.

2. Control the flow

Be direct and say what’s on your mind; don’t carelessly or inadvertently unleash everything that’s in your mind. Be disciplined to know the story you want to tell and how it connects together beginning to end.

3. Avoid excessive detail

Know your audience and their appetite for detail. Some love lots of minutiae, while others get easily distracted by too much information. Trim out needless points that will only weigh people down.

4. Tell, don’t sell

Effective leaders are great storytellers who love to share good, short and relevant stories while always avoiding the hard sell. Illustrate ideas with the personal and practical anecdotes people crave.

5. Learn to listen

Active listening and asking pointed, open-ended questions is the key to unlocking many doors. An essential to saying less is letting others around you talk more.

6. Picture perfection

More than 70 percent of people are visual learners, so satisfy their preference to see pictures, not consume more confusing words. Showing short videos or sharing infographics is a powerful way to be clear.

7. Don’t over-explain

When you’re confident you’ve hit the mark, stop talking. Resist the temptation to say, “and one more thing.” Enough said.

Effective executives get to the point. A president of a Fortune 1000 manufacturing firm once confided to me that he evaluates up-and-coming managers by how confidently and concisely they communicate.

“When they interact with me, it’s more than just how they perform in high-pressure meetings and boardroom presentations, but how disciplined they are in variety of day-to-day scenarios like email, impromptu conversations, conference calls and progress reports,” he said. “There’s so much information at their fingertips, and it’s not easy for them to control it.”

Overcoming these obstacles can be daunting. An accomplished lawyer who works at the Pentagon recently complained to me, “Nowhere in grad school or in my lengthy military career was I instructed on how to be brief.” So, how can a talented and ambitious professional gain mastery of this valuable yet evasive skill other than through trial and error?

These are specific, real-world skills that accomplished leaders learn to master to be clear, concise and compelling when dealing with others. When any of these are missing, they lose their grip.

What’s more, effective executives are extremely aware of the moments in a business day where this brevity muscle needs to be exerted. Put your brevity to work not only in meetings and in emails, but also when interviewing, sharing bad news and making small talk with your colleagues. Even if you don’t consider yourself an expert in the subject at hand, be conscious that getting to the point is a clear indication of professionalism and respect.

Originally posted on Brazen Careerist on April 16, 2014 by Joe McCormack

(About the Author: Joe McCormack founded and serves as managing director of The Sheffield Company, and he founded The BRIEF Lab in 2013 with facilities in Chicago, IL and Southern Pines, NC. His new book, Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less (Wiley & Sons, 2014), tackles the timeliness of the “less is more” mandate.)

(Editor’s Note: This post was adapted from Brazen Life, with permission. Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, it offers edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!)

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Road To Reinvention: The 2.0 Of Your Career

“Come, my friends, ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.” – Tennyson

For those of us who are not employed, life can quickly become a very unhappy place because being unemployed is a soul crushing experience. The misery and the angst never seems to lift. Not on Saturday morning when we can sleep in a bit, not on Thursday at 3 a.m. when we are restless in our beds and not on Wednesday evening after dinner. When we see the wise old sayings on Facebook or the religious teachings promising that God has a plan for us start to fall short, how do we cope with the madness and the pain in our lives? How do we deal with the effects of a brutal technology that screens our resumes out, the phone calls left unreturned and the interviews that do not pan out? How do we survive when there is so little to show for the endless effort and time we’ve put into the search. Maybe the answer lies, as Shakespeare said, “not in our stars, but in ourselves.” Perhaps the answer lies in reinvention.

I believe that the second act is upon many of us and the 2.0 of our careers and of our lives is calling out. I can’t help believing that a large part of the cure to what ails us is contained in our ability to adapt and be flexible (think willow tree) as opposed to simply doing the same things and being strong (think oak tree.) I believe that our ability to change who we are and what we are is essential to our survival and our ability to lead meaningful and productive lives. Just how to do this is shrouded in mystery but I have some thoughts that just might help. Far from being a complete list, I present a few ideas for the transition as we move from being the people we are to the people we need to become:

Play To Your Strengths.

We all have strengths and weaknesses. Many people spend endless time trying to become strong in the areas in which they are weak. I see that as a bad idea and a waste of time. Take me for example; I am a writer and a speaker and a relationship person. I deal with ideas and concepts and words and trust. Conversely, I am not a math guy. I will never, ever be a math guy. I can try to shore-up that very real weakness until the cows come home but it will simply never happen. Even worse, it is a waste of my talents. Cope with your weakness and learn what you need to get things done as required but play to your strengths. As an example, I can be a biz dev person as opposed to a recruiter. I might be able to be a big-time writer or a public speaker as I have done that before. I will never become an accountant or an actuary and that is all right with me because no one is good at everything.

Move Three Things Forward.

Many of us in the hunt for new jobs and new lives wake up with endless things we want to do and not enough focus on making a difference in any one area. We try to do too much, too fast and in a manner that is too dispersed. According to the great Alan Weiss of Summit Consulting, we are far better off to move three things forward a mile in one day than 100 things forward one inch in a day. My suggestion for tomorrow’s plan is to pick three things that need to be done and write them down tonight. (Two things is fine as well. Four things is not fine.) When you wake up, focus on them all day. Check email when you wake up, at 1:00 and again at 5:00. Shut down your phone. (Believe me, if someone really needs you, they will find you.) Try this and you will feel the real results of being truly productive. For example, if you want to build your online presence, understand that this is a huge and daunting task. My suggestion is to pick one thing on which to work such as your LinkedIn profile and spend the entire day doing just that. The next day, work on something else. Can you see the logic?

Find A Partner Or Two. (Or Three)

I hear from Bill B—— every single day. If not by email then by phone and at least once a week in a face-to-face over lunch. Bill is my good friend and he and I have joined forces to provide leads, support, connections, ideas, and all other things positive to make the misery of the search a bit more palatable, and at times dare I say, a bit more fun. Having two or three partners is a very good thing because the collective effort of people working together is infinitely better than the individual efforts of a soloed existence. The isolating misery of the search does nothing to help our state of mind and there is no medal given out for going the battle alone. I can assure you that Bill ____ has been there for me in a host of ways, and at times, for the occasional 10:00 PM call to express my rage and frustration. Please consider trying this because I really believe it can help in a very big way. Remember, suffering is mandatory but misery is optional. Can you see the value in a partner?

Get A Coach.

I have had more coaches in my life than anyone I know. I have had them for my public speaking life, my writing life, my clarinet playing life, my trying to learn the piano life and at endless junctures in my career. I seldom venture out and do new things unless I get some ideas and counsel from others. Do I always listen? No. Do I always agree? No again, but I get perspective and insight from those individuals who I trust and it helps me to fight my natural inclination to believe that I have all of the answers and am the smartest guy in the world. This is painful at times but necessary if you are in the reinvention business, because regardless of what it is you are trying to accomplish, those who are already doing it can help you big time. For example, you are a CPA who wants to become an Actuary. Find an actuary and get the lay of the land. Tell them what you expect. Tell them your plan and explain where you want to be and how you intend to get there. Then listen really hard to the things with which they might disagree and find out why. You might just learn something and soon afterwards, become the smartest person in the world, just like me.

Help Others.

How sad that number five is the last bullet, but in reality it should be the first. Helping others to get what they need is as old as time. Helping others does not stand so tall in importance because it is a nice thing to do. It stands tall in importance because it is a necessary thing to do. It is a requirement of being human. It is, as Mohamed Ali once said, “The rent you pay for the place you inhabit on this earth.” As a rule, I try to help everyone possible with all that I can do to support them. Is this easy? No but I have gotten far more in return than I have given out and that seems to be a very good deal. Is there the occasional person who never reciprocates? Of course but they are far and few between and in reality, who cares? Zig Ziggler once said, “you can go as far in life as you want to go if you are just willing to help enough people get what they need in life.” This seems like a very good deal to me.

I can assure that the reinvention of you and quite frankly, of me, is not going to be fun or easy anytime soon. It is a day-in and day-out practice of working smart, imagining the possibilities and sharing the journey with others. I struggle to reinvent myself every single day by saying “yes” to the magic that can arise from hard work and hope. Honestly, it really is not too late, to seek a newer world.

Written by: Howard Adamsky

(About the author: A consultant, writer and public speaker, Howard Adamsky, works with organizations to support their efforts to build great companies and coaches others on how to do the same. He has over 20 years’ experience in identifying, developing, and implementing effective solutions for organizations struggling to recruit and retain top talent.

An internationally published author, he has written Hiring and Retaining Top IT Professionals/The Guide for Savvy Hiring Managers and Job Hunters Alike (Osborne McGraw-Hill) and Employment Rage (Norlights Press.) He is a regular contributor to ERE.net. )

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Want Success? Ask Questions.

By Raj Sheth

I was talking with some friends over a few drinks about an acquaintance that we all have in common on social media. He always seems to be where the action is, trying out fun new products and schmoozing with a lot of pretty awesome people. Yes, a large part of his envy-worthy lifestyle has to do with his profession, but as we talked, we realized that much of his success came because he’s simply not afraid to ask –for just about anything.

Now if you’re like me, your fear of being presumptuous or even rude will often override your urge to ask for things of others, especially those we work with. As I mulled over that conversation with my friends, I got to thinking about how many opportunities I’ve probably missed out on because I didn’t ask; situations that I could have improved, if I had spoken up.

Why don’t we ask for help when we need it?

Harris Interactive polled 1,019 employed Americans in their third annual Work Stress Survey, and found a 10% jump in workplace stress compared to just a year before. 83% of respondents are stressed at work, with “unreasonable workload” as the second top stressor. We have to get rid of this stifling idea that asking for help at work is a sign of weakness or failure. Start asking, and here’s why:

  • Here’s a fact that will blow your mind –No one expects you to know everything.
  • Showing everyone that you’ve put in extra effort, resources and work to still wind up needing help doesn’t get you any extra points, it means you’ve wasted time.
  • Managers love hard work, but they hate inefficiency.
  • Collaboration is plainly and simply a beautiful thing. Be a part of starting it.

Muse author, Jennifer Winters wrote a great piece on how to ask for help at work. Here’s what she said:

“The trick here is knowing when it’s time to suck it up, swallow your pride, and admit you’re stuck. My general rule of thumb is basically the “Three Strikes” rule. If I can’t figure something out after I’ve exhausted at least three other solutions on my own, it’s time to admit I need a little inspiration.”

Why don’t we ask for perks?

Whether it’s time off, flex work or even a bump in salary, everything is negotiable. That is to say, you also have to bring something to the table. When you honestly feel as though you have earned a freedom of some sort, you owe it to yourself and your hard work to inquire about incentives that would solicit the continuance of such hard work. This isn’t a, what came first, the chicken or the egg? scenario; the hard work and dedication is going to have to come first. If you get a big fat “No”, you have at the very least started the dialogue on how to get there. This conversation should be directed toward how your individual goals can align with the organization’s goals to obtain whatever it is that you’ve requested.

The old saying, “You never know unless you ask” is far truer than a lot of us anticipate. In an article on stay interviews and best retention practices, HR Director at Webroot, Melanie Williams reveals just how easy it can be for employees and companies to get on the same page when open communication is at play. Williams said:

“We’ve had very few stay interviews come in with pay being the thing that makes them stay or want to leave. There were not any requests that we haven’t been able to fulfill.”

Going back to the story –the opportunities that guy snags through his networking and willingness to inquire have all set him up with the experience he has needed to go onto the next endeavor. He’s experience and skill hungry, and that’s what drives him to ask.

Ask and see what happens. If what comes of it instead is collaboration or goal alignment, those are a couple of pretty great things to work with. You will either get what you ask for, or gain the knowledge on how to get it; neither will come by staying silent. While most organizations or even co-workers are out to please, they aren’t mind readers and they won’t know what’s important to you, unless you speak up and just ask.

raj_sheth2Raj Sheth is the CEO and Co-Founder of Recruiterbox.com, a web-based recruitment software that helps growing companies manage their incoming job applications.

Visit Raj Sheth’s web site →

 

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HR and EAPs: From Safety Net to Safe Haven

Everyone deserves a safety net and a safe haven, even at work, and especially if you’re part of the 24% of women and 12% of men who reported at least one lifetime episode of intimate-partner violence.

According to statistics gathered by the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence — The most comprehensive study of its kind, released in 2007, found that violence costs the United States $70 billion annually. Most of the $70 billion in costs associated with violence were from lost productivity ($64.4 billion), with the remaining $5.6 billion spent on medical care.

And think about this as well: The cost of domestic violence to the US economy is more than $8.3 billion. This cost includes medical care, mental health services, and lost productivity (e.g., time away from work).

Flashback to 1972 — there really weren’t any resources for my mother back then. She worked as a secretary for the local school district where I grew up, and every time my birth father beat her, she would wear clothing to cover the bruises and marks, constantly avoiding other’s stares and whispers, calling in sick quite a bit.

There were no domestic violence or workplace violence programs where she worked, no employee assistance programs offering counseling or shelter referrals, no assessment and action plans from human resources. She also kept it as much of a secret as she could from family and friends.

Don’t ask, don’t tell. The fear and shame that comes with abuse and intimate partner violence is overwhelming enough (intimate partner violence is another name for domestic violence) – you don’t want your employer to know for fear of losing your job. Employers don’t want to know for fear of potential violence in the workplace.

For my mother and countless others, continuous prayer and faith, support from others, and finally the personal strength to get out of the violence is what it took. Thankfully today there are so many more resources available and more and more companies have workplace violence, intimate partner violence programs, and/or EAPs (employee assistance programs).

In fact, according to EAP data from The Employee Assistance Trade Association (EASNA), “most researchers and industry experts now believe that there is enough solid evidence from high-quality research studies to ‘make the business case’ for providing greater access to mental health services in general and to workplace-based services in particular.”

This has been documented over the course of many EAP case studies and their outcomes (i.e., absence, productivity, health care costs, disability) that include companies such as Abbott Laboratories, America On Line (AOL), Campbell Soup, Chevron, Crestar Bank, Detroit Edison, DuPont, Los Angeles City Department of Water & Power, Marsh & McLennan, McDonnell Douglas, NCR Corp, New York Telephone, Orange County (Florida), Southern California Edison, the US Postal Service, and the US Federal Government.

But consider these unfortunate EAP obstacles:

  • The most common reason women didn’t contact their EAP for intimate partner violence is that they didn’t think about it or didn’t think it was appropriate.
  • Employee utilization of intimate partner violence EAP services is very low.
  • The number one concern of battered women before contacting an EAP is confidentiality — they’re afraid other employees will find out.
  • Most EAPs don’t have standardized evaluations or codes for intimate partner violence.

And consider these unfortunate executive blinders:

  • A recent survey of CEOs found that most believe domestic violence to be a serious issue, yet 71% did not believe it is a problem in their company. (The reality is that approximately 21% of fulltime working adults report being a victim of domestic violence.)
  • Over 70% of United States workplaces have no formal program or policy that addresses workplace violence.
  • Of the approximately 30% that have formal workplace violence policies in place (usually binders on shelves gathering dust), only 13% have domestic violence in the workplace policies and only 4% provide training on domestic violence in the workplace (Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2006).

Only 4%. Seems like one helluva short trip from 1972.

Although overall intimate partner violence in the workplace has declined somewhat, there’s still much work to be done even in 2014, and thankfully human resources, security professionals, EAPs and workplace violence non-profits have all made huge strides in working together to address intimate partner violence and workplace violence.

HR can and should take the lead in providing these programs. Executive management should require these kinds of programs. We need to go:

  • From Safety Net. We’ve come a long way from 1972. With all the organizations like CAEPV and many others as well as EAPs, HR and leadership at all levels weaves the safety net for victims of intimate partner violence and other security threats in the workplace. In fact, if you haven’t seen the domestic violence documentary, Telling Amy’s Story, and how it impacts the workplace, and how companies can help prevent it, I highly recommend you buy it and share it with your organizations, friends and families.
  • To Safe Haven. Everyone deserves one, just as everyone deserves a voice and a support system. Family members, friends and colleagues usually hear first when someone they know is a domestic violence victim. Being supportive and acknowledging that it’s happening to them and that it’s not okay is a start. Ensuring that there’s a safe haven for them that provides assistance, whether from the national domestic violence hotline, a company EAP or a local domestic violence shelter or support group, is where we can all help.

For more information I recommend downloading Domestic Violence: Workplace Policies and Management Strategies.  (This article about domestic violence and the workplace appears courtesy of the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence. It was written by CAEPV Executive Director Kim Wells and Stacey Pastel Dougan, Esq.)

God bless you, Mom. You made it, and you are missed.

 

Photo Courtesy of Bigstock Photo.

The Road To Organizational Transparency [Infographic]

The past few weeks, #TChat has been focused on leadership and the best ways to keep an organization running like comfortable clockwork. Whether it be wholehearted, authentic or optimistic leaders, one characteristic #TChatters valued was that of transparency. A majority of employees (60%), however, feel as though they aren’t receiving enough feedback.

Of course, transparency goes beyond the honesty of CEOs and managers. Sometimes it comes right down to goal alignment and communication. Only a small portion of companies (14%) have employees who understand the organization’s strategy, goals, and direction. When a company or organization doesn’t have set in stone guidelines, employees have little direction and, in turn, could lack involvement.

ClearCompany compiled this infographic demonstrating the rocky, but pivotal road to organizational transparency.

OrganizationalTransparencyInfographic

This infographic was originally posted on the ClearCompany blog on April 3, 2014.

photo credit: -Reji via photopin cc

Make Your Meetings More Successful (And Shorter!)

It’s 9:15 a.m. and you’re just getting into the rhythm of your day. The phone rings, and on the other end of the line, one of your colleagues unexpectedly asks you to attend a meeting that starts in 45 minutes. Although you respect your colleague and would like to support her, you had plans for your morning and are getting closer to a few deadlines of your own. How would you respond to the meeting invitation?

  1. Stick to your existing plan and graciously say “no.”
  2. Be a “team player” and let your colleague know that you’ll attend the meeting, but clearly set a boundary that you won’t stay longer than one hour because of your own deadlines.
  3. Ask a few questions about the anticipated goals and importance of the meeting, then evaluate whether your own priorities match and if the specific contributions you could make are likely to impact the outcome of the meeting. Make a committed yes/no decision based on those factors.

If you chose response one or two, you may be an over-collaborator. Response three is the preferred answer because it focuses your decision around two critical factors: your highest priorities and your value-added contributions. To get more done at work, these are the two factors that can help you escape the inertia of unnecessary collaboration and join your efforts with others only when it counts.

Routine collaboration drains time

Of course, collaboration by itself isn’t bad. Problems occur when routine collaborative efforts and unclear mandates produce a toxic sludge known as meeting soup. On a bad day, we may view meetings as the biggest waste of time in our working lives. On a good day, we may look at meetings as the chance to connect with people and discuss important matters. The reality for most of us is that the quality of our meetings falls somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. According to most estimates, managers and employees spend anywhere between 25 and 80 percent of their time in meetings. (Click here to tweet this stat.)

For a full-time employee, this translates to time spent in meetings that ranges from 520 hours to 1,664 hours (or 65-208 full working days). What’s the rationale for all the meetings? It’s the “need” for collaboration.

Selective collaboration boosts performance

To reduce your meeting clutter, make it a priority to collaborate in the right way, at the right time, with the right people. This kind of selective collaboration is about intentional partnering that boosts the chance of success by aligning the required strategic skill or resource with the essential contributors in the simplest way.

Think of selective collaboration as a career move for you, not just a chance to escape the unproductive, routine meetings and conversations that fail to push your goals forward.

Moving away from routine collaboration — even when professional or cultural norms dictate it — can deliver a greater return on your efforts because it aligns with your highest priorities and features your value-added contributions. Getting great work done by delivering clear and consistent contributions is one of the best ways for you to stay at work.

The first step is learning how to choose when, how and who you collaborate with. Yes, you’ll have to learn how to say no. Yes, there may be some short-term negative reactions to this. But your elevated contributions to top priorities should ease those concerns quickly.

Instead of relying on partnerships that are dictated by circumstance and opportunity, you’ll seek out collaboration opportunities that serve a specific purpose.

Sometimes the missing piece is motivation, and that can be found through a partnership with some individual or group who’s driven, focused and inspired. Other times, the missing piece may be technical, strategic or organizational. In these instances, the mix of skills, abilities and access to resources serves as the driver for selective collaboration.

Selective collaboration gives you a tool to accomplish tasks that otherwise wouldn’t be feasible alone. The restraint of choosing high-potential collaboration allows you to avoid wasting time when collaboration itself is a substitute for lack of creativity, vision or accountability.

There’s reciprocity with this as well. When invited to collaborate with others, accept the invitation only when the best mix of skill and contribution can be aligned in an effective way. It’s not about being selective because you “have better things to do”; you choose the moments where your impact can be the greatest.

When in doubt, you can use the following list to confirm the opportunity for selective collaboration. If you can agree with each item, it’s time to schedule a meeting.

  • I have identified a clear learning and performance outcome for this collaborative effort.
  • The outcome will clearly support one of my priorities.
  • I know what I can contribute to make the collaboration a success.
  • I understand what my collaborator(s) can deliver and their contributions make it better than going it alone.

Jesse Sostrin is the author of Beyond the Job Description. He writesspeaks and consults at the intersection of individual and organizational success. Follow him @jessesostrin and visit his site here.

Photo Credit: fmgbain via Compfight cc

7 Questions To Ask Yourself When Making A Difficult Career Decision

Your 20s are an important time. We’re told the personal and professional choices you make during this decade set the foundation of your adult life.

No pressure, right?

A good problem you’re likely to face is which job to take: The one that promises security or the one that promises experience? The higher-paid one or the one with fast growth opportunity?

Or, your significant other wants to move across the country to pursue her dreams — do you quit your new job, pack up and follow her? Or do you follow your dreams, even when they’re hazy and sometimes change by the time you wake up?

These choices can’t be made with a simple pros and cons list. You can find yourself longing for a crystal ball that can make the decision for you.

A personal story about taking a big career risk

Staring down my late 20s, I had already faced a fair share of these complicated decisions. One of the most recent came three years after college graduation. I was 25, leading an internal sales consultancy at a publicly traded company. I was fairly happy, well-paid and had opportunities rare for someone my age. Even though I wasn’t looking for a new job, I received an offer to work for a small healthcare startup.

After endless conversations with peers and mentors, dozens of pro/con lists and multiple sleepless nights, I made the first instinct-driven decision of my career.

I’m still unable to provide a definitive reason why, but I vividly remember launching from bed at 1:47 a.m. knowing I had to take the new job offer. Despite the advice of friends and family, I accepted the position.

A year later, I still work for that startup. And I love it. We provide healthcare organizations with a predictive modeling platform by analyzing their data to help clinicians make the best decisions for their patients. Fundamentally, these models help assess and weigh risks.

Wouldn’t a predictive model like this be useful for those big decisions in our early careers?

Based on my daily work using data to determine risk, I’ve developed a list of seven questions that can provide you with the data you need to consider when faced with life-changing decisions:

1. Does it motivate you to learn something new?

We’ve long been instructed to specialize — college majors, career trajectories, company ladders, etc. But specializing early at the expense of cultivating experience and contextual knowledge can limit your potential and stunt your self-discovery.

A familiar, comfortable job in a young career can be insidious. If an option you’re weighing will challenge you to stretch your concept of career, your long-term professional benefit will likely outweigh the short-term risk.

2. Does it push you to learn something about yourself?

Relative to risk, there’s usually no better time for self-discovery through work than your 20s. When considering a new opportunity, give more weight to the exploration and development possibilities of the role, rather than the job title or immediate responsibilities. Your early career experiences should give you room to grow and try something new.

My intended path was within the entertainment industry. I may never have discovered my passion for healthcare, technology and analysis without an openness to explore it.

Remain open to opportunities outside your original vision of career. You may have a hidden talent or interest that’s waiting to be discovered.

3. Does it scare you, just a little?

We grow most from those moments and experiences that force us to stretch beyond our limits. (Click here to tweet this thought.) Be unapologetically ambitious, even when logic and security suggest an alternate route.

4. Does it scare your friends and family, just a little more?

Naturally, those who love you most want to protect you. Because of that instinct, they may steer you towards a safe choice to limit your risk of loss or failure. Although their intentions are pure, their influence can be stifling.

If your near-and-dear are directing you away from an opportunity, consider the loving biases that they carry. Many times, the best decisions for our personal and professional growth are difficult for others to understand.

5. Does it change the way you evaluate success?

If you only measure your success by 401k balances, promotions and bonuses, you’ve mistakenly focused your attention on byproducts instead of the personal and professional experience along the way.

Give yourself opportunities to find what’s meaningful to you, and give yourself room to grow your ideas of success.

6. Will it surround you with passionate people?

Passion is contagious and powerful. Surround yourself with energy and innovation, and you’ll adopt the same vigor.

That fervent energy transforms our world every day. If you’re deliberating what’s best for you, consider the people who will teach you when you get there.

7. Does it excite you to talk about it?

Notice if you can’t stop rambling to your friends and family about the opportunity in question. It means something! Enthusiasm and buy-in is critical in an opportunity’s potential success.

Tally the number of times the opportunity organically comes to mind. Pay attention to what you’re thinking. Is it the experience? Earnings potential? Outcomes? There’s no wrong answer, but understanding your own drivers and interests will give you insight into what’s most important about your potential next step.

With every decision, embrace the privilege that you can chart your own path. But also allow that path early in your career to help shape you, too.

Originally posted on Brazen Careerist’s blog on March 14, 2014 by Cash Forshee. 
 
Cash Forshee is a healthcare technology professional who serves as the Senior Vice President of Medalogix, a Nashville, Tenn., based startup that equips post acute health operators with custom predictive modeling platforms to enable optimal patient care decisions. A Belmont University graduate, Cash is a Better Health 4Kids board member and a 2014 “Nashville Emerging Leader.”

 

Photo Credit: Judy ** via Compfight cc

Live Your Dreams On Your Own Dime

One of the most difficult skills for a young professional is handling money. It’s not about balancing your checkbook or keeping up on student loan payments, but about strategically setting up your assets to get somewhere.

Most of us get out of college, find a “real-world” job and figure out a way to cover our costs while remaining as comfortable as possible.

This type of stagnant attitude is what left our parents waking up at age 45 and going to the same old job with little to show for their time. It’s not what our generation is about. We’re reaching for financial independence and the freedom to pursue our real interests full-time.

To do that, we have to figure out how to get there. Here are a few actions you can take today to get ahead tomorrow:

1. Earn money

Think of your job as a start-up capital-generating engine. Every extra penny you can make or save today can mean dollars in your pocket down the road. (Click here to tweet this thought.) Life can be expensive, but for most of us, it doesn’t have to be.

Making a habit of taking small side jobs can also add up quickly. That can be as simple as house-sitting or as involved as launching a freelance writing career or a small business. Whatever you choose to do, an extra $100 per week means thousands of dollars in your pocket every year.

Work hard, amass savings and learn about how to make your money grow on its own. At the end of the day, what gives you real independence is passive income.

2. Learn to grow money

The only way to be financially free is to use your money to make more money. Do this by investing in assets that grow in value over time. But the problem with investing is that if you want to make a significant profit, you have to take on a certain amount of risk, which is greatly exacerbated if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Learning how to invest intelligently takes a lot of study and experience. The solution? Invest fake money. The best time to learn how to invest your money is before you have money to lose.

Getting started is pretty easy; read up on how stocks and currency markets work and get a theoretical understanding of what happens to your money when it’s out in the mysterious, money-making ether.

Then go and open a free practice account on one of the sites for that purpose. It won’t make sense until you’ve spent time staring at the numbers, even if you know what’s going on in theory.

Spending months or years watching those markets and learning how to grow a fake investment portfolio will make you much more likely to succeed down the road when you’re using real money. Put time in now to reduce your risk later and make your success more secure.

3. Figure out your goals

You could quit your job as soon as your money grows faster than you spend it, but that’s assuming your goal is retirement. We like to talk a lot about getting a great job and building wealth, but we won’t have any satisfaction if we don’t have anywhere to go or anything to do with it.What can you do with your life once your job doesn’t have to come first anymore?

Anything. It’s a scary word, but you can do it. Financial freedom, besides relieving the stress of getting your bills paid, also gives you a lot of time in your day.

Figuring out what to do with it is tricky, and it’ll seem a lot like it did back in high school when you were trying to figure out what to do with your life. Resist the temptation to avoid doing anything and instead think about what matters to you and what you’ve dreamed of doing in the past.

Being financially independent means you don’t have a strict time limit you need to meet, which makes it much more attractive to start a new business. Not being tied to your profit margin gives you the opportunity to pursue riskier ideas other entrepreneurs can’t afford to consider.

If you don’t want to do anything that too closely resembles work, find a personal project to pursue. Invest in local businesses, travel the world, volunteer or find a socio-political movement to get involved with.

Originally posted on Brazen Careerist’s blog on February 26, 2014 by Micha Boettiger. Micha Boettiger is a freelance writer who writes about life, travel and money. Check out his personal blog and follow him on twitter @prowriterlife.

photo credit: Images_of_Money via photopin cc

#TChat Preview: How Employee Assistance Programs Engage And Nurture Talent

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, April 9, 2014. #TChat Radio starts at 6:30 pm ET (3:30 pm PT) and the convo continues on #TChat Twitter chat from 7-8 pm ET.

Last week we talked about employee engagement, and this week we’re going to talk about how employee assistance programs (EAP) are today help organizations engage, nurture and retain talent.

EAP services aren’t the first thing you hear when you’re talking about talent management, but these programs are critical for businesses. They help manage costs by reducing absenteeism, presenteeism, turnover, health care costs, accidents and by freeing manager time from dealing with employee personal issues.

They mitigate risks by reducing likelihood of litigation, workplace violence and training managers to deal with complex emotional, cultural and diversity issues.

EAPs also encourage employee engagement, improve the capacity of employees and families to respond to work-life challenges, and develop employee and manager competencies in handling workplace stress and improving team performance.

Join #TChat co-creators and hosts @Meghan M. Biro and @Kevin W. Grossman as we learn more about EAP’s with this week’s guest: Mark Sagor, President of Comprehensive EAP, an employee assistance program focused on technology, life sciences, service, manufacturing and non profit sectors.

Sneak Peek: Employee Assistance Programs Actually Work

We spoke briefly with Mark in a G+ Hangout to get a better look at EAPs and how they help nurture and engage employees:

Related reading:

Meghan M. Biro: 5 Ways To Reinvent Your Recruiting Strategy

Chris Boyce: Workplace Wellness: The Story Starts With Healthy Culture

Matt Krumrie: Take Advantage Of Your Employee Assistance Program

Ellen Galinsky/Anne Weisburg: How One Company Contained Health Care Costs and Improved Morale

Team Ceridian: 5 Trends To Watch In Human Capitol Management In 2014

This topic is vital for talent-minded professionals everywhere, so we hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas!

#TChat Events: How Do EAPs Engage And Nurture Talent?

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#TChat Radio — Wed, April 9 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Mark Sagor Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, April 9 — 7pmET / 4pmPT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community.

Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: How do EAPs help companies engage, nurture and retain talent?
(Tweet this Question)

Q2: What complex emotional, cultural and diversity issues are you seeing in the workplace today?
(Tweet this Question)

Q3: Statistically what are the advantages to having an EAP?
(Tweet this Question)

Q4: What are the most basic work-life benefits companies should provide?
(Tweet this Question)

Q5: What are the alternatives to EAPs and how are they different?
(Tweet this Question)

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and in our new TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions.

See you there!!

photo credit: BigStockPhoto