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Via Forbes : 4 Hidden Ways To Take Risks — And Propel Your Career Forward

“Have big dreams. You will grow into them.” — Unknown

If you’re looking for a way to interrupt a linear career trajectory and take a bold leap forward, risk-taking is it. Yes, it requires placing a bet on yourself. But when you commit to pursuing a worthy but uncertain outcome, take action, and persist beyond the point of comfort it changes you. And when others see you acting decisively with imperfect information and no guarantee of success, it registers as leadership.

So why do people avoid risk-taking? Pamela Stewart, Group Vice President – National Retail Sales at The Coca-Cola Company, says one reason we fail to take risks is that we fear being the target of scapegoating if something goes wrong. We’re afraid that someone will ask, “Who failed?” and then point to us. “The most important thing you can do for yourself and others is to take risks,” says Stewart, adding that it’s a common opportunity for growth she’s spotted in the emerging leaders she counsels.

Her own experience with risk-taking and audacious goal-setting pre-dates her professional career. When Stewart was entering high school, her Mom had just gotten a divorce, and the family’s finances were tight.

At that time, no one in Stewart’s family had ever attended college, and there were few African American female leaders as role models in her life. “I didn’t have a prototype or a mentor whom I could call up, so I defined and envisioned who I wanted to be,” recalls Stewart. “When everyone else wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer, I decided I wanted to be one of two things: U.S. Secretary of State or a United Nations ambassador.” As Stewart mapped out her plan, she realized it would require a full-ride scholarship.

The next four years required a lot of hard work, including applying herself academically, participating in extra-curricular activities and doing well in sports. But it paid off. Stewart entered college on a full-scholarship, becoming a first-generation scholar.

Sometimes opportunities to take risks are hiding in plain sight, so it helps to become adept at spotting them. As I reflected on Stewart’s personal story and her other talking points from a webinar about leading boldly, I realized she was naming four scenarios that are ripe for risk-taking.

1. When You Lack Mentors And Role Models

Sometimes, taking risks involves not seeing a prototype or role model before you,” says Stewart. In high school, Stewart didn’t see a whole lot of African American women in the roles she wanted. The same is true of being a female in a high-level role. “But, I knew that I would not let myself fail nor would I let myself down,” she says. “It takes understanding yourself and taking a risk. If you can see your vision and stay focused, you certainly can achieve it.”

2. When You’re Setting Goals

“I would also encourage you not to define your boldest dreams by the evidence or history. Dream bigger,” says Stewart, who presses mentees to expand their vision of who they can become. “If you feel 50% or more confident that you can achieve the dream, you’re not dreaming big enough.” The trick, she says, is to envision the possibilities while developing the innate belief you can achieve them. “Ma­ke sure that it is truly bold and aspirational, then apply your unique capabilities to the hard work that will close that gap.”

3. When The Going’s Good

Once you can do your job in your sleep, it’s time to take new risks, Stewart says. “You start getting enamored by the credibility and respect that you have in that role and it just becomes second nature,” she adds. “If you wake up every day, and know what to expect, and you’ve learned all that there is to learn in your role then that’s the moment where you have to step out of that complacency and go build impact elsewhere.”

4. When You Can’t Change Jobs

Taking a risk doesn’t necessarily require getting a new job, says Stewart. “There will be life circumstances where it’s not the right time,” she explains. Perhaps you’re newly married, supporting a family or caring for aging parents. In those situations, take a fresh look at the work you do. “Are you pushing hard enough?” she asks. “Is there another way to look at this role? Is there non-productive work that you’re doing or your team is doing? Is there another way to unlock the growth and impact in this role? Look for ways to take a new approach by turning the role on its head.”

It’s rare to come across a proven short-cut for advancing your career. Now that you have a starting point, what’s the next big career risk you’ll take?

Via Chief Executive : How CEOs Can Drive Culture Change And Workplace Diversity

A diverse workplace — one that recognizes and respects all unique individuals across the business — is widely accepted as crucial to a successful organization. In its “Why Diversity Matters” report, workplace research firm McKinsey documents the higher financial performance by diverse companies across industries.

Yet, despite recent efforts, diversity remains a much-discussed topic — and not because companies are great at it. Take Google’s data-driven diversity program. It cost $265 million to implement but still failed to significantly change the composition of its workforce.

The critical missing link for many organizations is often strong CEO involvement. By putting their stamp on diversity initiatives as part of a proactive, robust strategy, CEOs can help their business leaders drive change from the top down. Here are four ways to make that happen.

Re-examine the workplace environment

To really tap into the benefits of diversity and inclusion, CEOs can encourage their organizations to look beyond traditional diversity categories. A workplace that fails to adapt to the needs of different age groups, personalities, individual qualities and work styles will likely find efficiency and performance suffer.

For example, many workplace environments are built around eye contact, noisy group work and generally overstimulating settings, from the interview process to long-term decision making. But these traditional workplace environments and routines may not encourage top performance from all types of workers.

If your company features an open plan environment, make sure you offer access to private work spaces, too. Consider how lighting and noisy distractions could impact individuals with autism or hyper-sensitive personalities. Encourage a company culture that values subtle collaborative practices — and be sure you model this behavior across your C-suite, too.

Learn from strengths and weaknesses

By opening the doors to nonlinear thinking, business leaders can maximize employees’ individual strengths and solve difficult problems. If nurtured in the right way, these skills are extremely valuable to a business.

For example, global giant EY implemented a pilot in 2016 to hire individuals with Asperger’s syndrome to help analyze the effectiveness of account operations and determine specific client needs. With a talent for detail-orientated and process-driven work, these employees demonstrated they could deliver results in an innovative and efficient way.

While it’s fine to set individual and highly specialized tasks, it’s still important to keep a collaborative element to roles. Encourage employees to share their ideas and feedback on other workplace projects to ensure everyone feels part of a team and no one becomes too isolated.

Promote flexibility and cater to individuals

Pioneering computer scientist Grace Murray Hopper once said the most dangerous phrase in data processing is “We’ve always done it this way.

The same could be said for any business. Hiding behind bureaucracy to deter employees from making requests for greater flexibility can be a major obstacle to achieving greater inclusion and diversity. And employees say that flexibility is highly important: A study by PGi found 70 percent of employees were more productive, 80 percent had higher morale and 82 percent had lower stress when allowed to telecommute.

Lead the charge to promote flexible policies with work-from-home options and encourage employees to use that time when they need it. This proactively demonstrates your company’s goal of supporting the varied needs of individuals.

Apply that same flexibility to rewarding staff when they excel. Happy hours or golf outings may work well for some employees but will leave others flat. Working parents might not be able to arrange child care after work or on the weekends, for instance. Would your star performer prefer a few bonus days off? Early release days? A team breakfast or lunch?

Test alternative recruiting strategies

The cost of losing an employee can range from thousands of dollars to more than twice the employee’s annual salary. These costs include hiring, training, the loss of engagement from others due to high turnover and higher business error rates. That’s why it’s vital to invest in finding the right employees for your company.

However, the personalities of some individuals may run counter to common notions of what makes a good employee. Concentrating only on conventional benchmarks — such as solid communication skills, teamwork and the ability to network — may systematically screen out individuals with unique gifts.

Talk with your HR leaders to discuss ways you can adapt hiring policies to encourage diversity. In some cases, it might be more effective to conduct interviews virtually, since some candidates may interview better in familiar surroundings.

Or as Microsoft found, sometimes it’s better not to hold traditional interviews at all. Adapting the structure of its interview process was a key action the company took in its bid to attract colleagues with autism. Instead of a traditional interviewing process, candidates were invited on campus for two weeks to work on projects, while being casually monitored by managers looking for new team members.

Companies that emphasize a flexible, inclusive workplace culture will find it easier to attract and keep top talent — employees who feel supported to realize their full potential. That ultimately leads to business innovation, growth and profit — top of the wish list for CEOs the world over.

Via Hunt Scalon : 5 Employment Trends That Demand New Ways of Managing

Finding and retaining the right talent continues to be essential for businesses to stay competitive. Here, MRINetwork outlines five trends to watch for as 2018 unfolds.

Many of the workplace trends that were prevalent in 2017, such as maximizing talent analytics and improving the candidate experience, will continue to resonate this year. But other trends are emerging that demand new ways of managing and planning for the future.

Successful businesses, according to a new report, must adapt to new market demands, the changing workforce and ever-evolving technology to stay competitive. Companies that don’t adapt will fail. Understanding the trends that are driving change, creating talent challenges and offering potential solutions provide the best way pathway to adaptability and success.

To stay competitive in today’s business environment, C-level executives agree that finding and retaining the right talent is essential. But how to do that effectively remains the challenge, according to a recent report by MRINetwork, the search subsidiary of CDI Corp.

“New emerging trends as well as trends that have been identified over the past several years indicate that more organizations are making talent management a top priority for 2018,” said Nancy Halverson, general manager of franchise operations for MRINetwork.

The firm recently identified significant trends that are already having an impact, or that are poised to become increasingly relevant.

1. Gig Economy

As the job landscape changes, more companies are creating blended workforces that incorporate contract or part-time employees into the traditional nine-to-five arrangement, said MRINetwork. According to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute, about 20 percent of the working-age population is engaged in some form of independent work, most by choice. Online and human cloud platforms have also expanded the potential of the gig economy, with gig workers expected to grow from about 4 million today to 7.7 million by 2020, according to a recent study by Intuit and Emergent Research.

“While technology is evolving the gig economy, traditional recruiting firms will continue to provide value, especially for companies in candidate-driven industries that need more access to highly-skilled contingent talent,” said Brett Felmey, director of contract staffing sales for MRINetwork. “Partnering with firms that have relationships with top candidates, and expertise as a single source solution provider can provide employers with the competitive edge required to recruit the top performers in their markets, whether on a permanent or contract basis.”

2. Predictive Analytics

As more technology becomes available, companies are using predictive analytics to determine how candidates will perform, said the firm. Google, for example, has been using analytics to gain insights into the impact of every interview and source of hire since 2015, according to Deloitte’s ‘2015 Human Capital Trends Report.’

Many in the human resources arena predict that the rising use of predictive analytics will be the biggest recruiting trend to drive productivity and profitability in 2018. By collecting early performance data on new hires and matching it against assessments, a feedback loop is created that automatically updates and continually refines the profile of a successful employee.

3. Blind Hiring

Bias in the workforce became a big issue last year, according to MRINetwork. To minimize any controversy, companies are being encouraged to make hiring a blind process. In standard screening and interviewing, unconscious bias easily becomes part of the equation by including data that gives away key parts of a candidate’s background, be it gender, age, race, even alma mater. By stripping away any information that may reveal demographic data, the first wave of screening can be done based purely on abilities and achievements.

“This allows for a more diverse workforce built on merit,” said Ms. Halverson. “But the problem is trying to achieve this with the proliferation of social media. Using a third-party recruiter is usually necessary to ensure a truly blind process.”

4. Gamification

Gamification, a technique for turning engagement into a competitive game, is beginning to be used as a candidate screener, according to the MRINetwork report. Tools such as ConnectCubed claim that games add to the attractiveness of the application process while delivering actionable insights into candidates’ fit for the role.

Although not yet in widespread use for recruitment, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, many companies are finding that virtual games, which integrate points, badges, competition and role-playing, can be used to effectively attract and assess candidates, particularly Millennials raised on Wii and Xbox. The results can be used by recruiters to identify the most promising candidates in their pipeline as under-the-hood algorithms track critical analytics while candidates play the games.

“For candidates, gamification can take the chore out of the application process and add a bit of competitive fun while providing a measurable demonstration of their strengths to potential employers,” said Reagan Johnson, director of technology operations for MRINetwork. “Hiring managers gain access to valuable, actionable data to predict candidate fit and future performance. The service a recruiter brings to organizations is to make sense of the data, using their experience and practiced intuition to make meaningful evaluations. This saves hiring managers significant amounts of time and helps them identify better candidates.”

5. Preparing Employees for Future Change

Evolving technology is responsible for both the disappearance of many jobs across a wide range of industries and the creation of other jobs where skilled labor is needed. For example, when robots or automation techniques are introduced, companies still need technical talent to program, maintain and repair these robots.

“In 2018, companies must think ahead to how they will do business in the future and determine the best ways to leverage their resources (e.g., people, systems, tools) to meet the future needs of their operations,” said Marquis Parker, vice president of business services for MRINetwork. “A key part of this will be to identify people who are willing to embrace different aspects of jobs, including management, problem solving, troubleshooting, and other areas that require a human element, and determining how they can be deployed to align with a company’s growth strategies.”

“Depending on the industry, this could represent a significant transformation in overall human capital strategy and what different employees are tasked to do, so planning ahead will save the company money as it transitions to cheaper computer-driven labor while maximizing the human potential already on the payroll,” said Mr. Parker.

Sherry Engel, vice president of learning and talent development for MRINetwork, said individualization may be the most important trend in HR today. “Employees expect to have the type of experience in the workplace that they have as consumers,” she said. “Learners do not want a complicated, long, one-size-fits-all answer to their skill development. They want a YouTube or a Google approach, where they can get quick, simple, targeted skill development right at the moment they need it. Like Googling a video on how to tie a tie.”

The priorities and challenges inherent in these trends are clear, and readiness to respond to them is essential, according to the MRINetwork report. The ongoing tight labor market means that companies will continue to be challenged with finding and retaining the right employees.

“Given the importance that business leaders place on the talent management agenda,” Ms. Halverson said. “It’s a good time to reflect on what can be done and to take action, focusing on what should be done differently, and what might be improved to move the needle in this critical area.”

Via Coloradoan : Tips to take your resume to a new level

My business writes more resumes at this time of year than at any other. My theory is that once the new year starts, career-progress hopefuls attempt to update their own documents, yet after a few weeks of trying, decide that working with a professional may ultimately get them better results, despite the $100 to $750 fee.

However, these tips can help you get professional results for a fraction of the cost:

Be clear on what you want your resume to accomplish. A successful resume is designed to help get you in the door for appealing opportunities. Having a defined career focus helps you prioritize which information it makes sense to include and highlight.

Simply documenting your work history isn’t enough to win the favor of hiring managers — they look at thousands of resumes, typically spending less than 10 seconds on each application. To move to the next step in their process, you need to quickly connect the dots for them about why you’re the right person for their position.

Also, as someone once said to me, “Who likes to read history?” Not many of us, so make your information concise and compelling.

Include the results of your efforts. How did you help your employers make money, save money, improve quality or improve their image? Be specific about this, and when possible, include metrics to help tell your story.

A resume screener uses a different portion of her brain when she encounters numerical digits, causing her to slow down and read your resume more carefully. That, plus digital results — percentage increases in profits, costs reduced, etc. — position you as more credible and effective.

Research eye-catching layouts online. Do a Google search of “effective resume formats” and select the Images tab to see hundreds of possible designs. Notice which draw your attention, and consider formatting yours similarly.

As a final step, ask a professional resume writer to buff yours up for you. In my business, we call this a polish, and in just 15 minutes an experienced resume specialist can take your resume from so-so to wow!

Via Business Insider : How to spot 4 common lies employers tell job applicants

By now, we should all know that it’s dangerous to lie on a resume. But you know what? In the job search conversation between employers and candidates, a bit of fibbing sometimes happens on the employer side, too.

Often, there’s no ill will intended. While there are a few bad apples in the bunch (as with the rest of humanity), most recruiters and HR folks are motivated by the desire to put the right people into the jobs they have to fill. The trouble is that overwork and overly large candidate pools can thwart good intentions—so those little white lies meant to spare a job seeker’s feelings end up not doing the candidate any favors.

We asked some recruiting experts to name the biggest lies recruiters tell, so you can spot the untruths and be ready to deal with them

1. ‘We’ll keep you in mind for future opportunities.’
Recruiters meet a lot of people. And most of them have huge candidate databases. Often when they speak this untruth, they mean it: They are keeping your resume on file. Just know that they’re doing so in a gigantic filing cabinet, and that out of sight often means out of mind.

How to handle: Don’t assume that “no” means “never.” Once you’ve started a conversation with a recruiter, don’t let the conversation end just because you’re not offered one job. Stay in touch via professional networking sites, and stay abreast of goings-on at the company so you can be aware of opportunities before they’re posted.

Just remember that there’s a fine line between “staying in touch” and “stalking.” So contact the recruiter only when you have a genuine reason to do so. And as with all professional contacts, don’t just look for favors to ask—also look for ways to be of service.

2. ‘Salary depends on experience.’
Usually, the company has a ballpark figure in mind. If a recruiter asks for your salary requirements or expectations, he’s trying to see whether you’re in that ballpark.

How to handle: In general, it’s better to wait until a job offer is on the table before moving onto salary negotiations—but recruiters sometimes use salary requirements as a way to thin out the candidate pool.

In this case, your best defense is having done thorough research. Make sure you know what’s competitive for the position, the industry and the region, combined with what’s appropriate for someone with your background. That way, you can answer the question in terms of what your research has uncovered (not in terms of what your specific needs are), and then you can add something like, “But of course a conversation about salary makes more sense when we’re discussing a job offer.” Don’t lowball your number, but perhaps let the recruiter know that you’ll weigh nonsalary compensation (vacation days and other perks, for example) with the actual salary offer.

3. ‘You’ll hear from us either way.’
The truth is that you might never hear — or you might not hear when you expect to. The reasons vary, but a lack of communication after an interview can indicate indecisiveness on the part of the hiring team.

How to handle: Tackle this lie preemptively. Always leave a job interview knowing when you can expect to hear from the hirers. That way, you won’t torture yourself wondering whether it’s too soon to call them back. If they say they’ll get back to you by next Friday and they don’t, send a friendly email to check in. You can even use this check-in email as a chance to continue selling yourself as a candidate. If you’ve had any further thoughts about issues raised in the interview, now is a great time to touch on them again. If they need more time, give it to them—but be firm and friendly about following up.

As for a company that never follows up with you after an interview—even to say “no thank you”—that could be a sign that something is wrong at the company. Smart employers know that treating candidates as well as customers is the right way to do business.

4. ‘We aren’t finished interviewing yet.’
Sometimes this is true. Sometimes this means you’re the company’s “Plan B” candidate. But this statement makes it sound as if the company has at least settled on a solid group of contenders, and that’s not always the case. Sometimes recruiters use this line as a stalling tactic when they’re still looking for someone more perfect than anyone in their current candidate pool.

How to handle: Look at this statement as an opportunity to prove yourself. If your post-interview wait time is being extended because the hiring team is “reviewing other candidates,” ask questions like, “Do you have any specific questions or concerns about my ability to handle any aspect of the job? I’d love to address them and demonstrate that I’m the perfect candidate.”

Every interaction with a recruiter or hiring manager is an opportunity to persuade them that you’re the right person for the job. If you’re getting mixed messages, asking direct questions and staying focused will help you understand what’s really going on.

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