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Via Career Point Kenya : 4 Powerful Reasons Why Setting Goals Is Important

What are your life aspirations? Have you set goals for yourself?

What are your goals for the next month, 6 months, 1 year, and 5 years? Have a look at all the goals on your list. Why do you want to accomplish them?

What is a goal?

According to Wikipedia, a goal is a desired result a person envisions, plans and commits to achieve. People endeavor to reach goals within a finite time by setting deadlines.

Setting goals is a great step in trying to achieve your dreams. Actually, it is the first point toward success. They take us forward on every journey we make.

So why do you need to set goals for yourself? Find out in this article.

Here are 4 reasons why it’s important to set goals

1. Goals Give You Focus

Imagine running a race that has neither a finishing point nor timing. Or you are told to shoot an arrow without a target to aim at. What would be the aim of doing it? Surely it’s pointless and a waste of resources. This is what life is like. Without a purpose or goal or target in place, it all becomes pointless.

If you already identified your abilities and talent, start setting goals for yourself to focus your effort on and not shoot aimlessly. By doing this you will be able to hit your target and reach your goal.

2. Goals help you take control of your life

Advancing your career from the job you’re in now to the position you’d like to, requires effort and strategic planning. This is possible only if you start setting realistic goals. Remember goals give you a direction of where you want to go and what you want to achieve.

For example, you can work so hard, get a good salary but still, you may not feel like you are getting what you want. Reason? You have not set goals.

Instead of letting others tell you what to do, take charge and think about what you want for yourself. It is time to start living your life.

3. Goals help you get desired results

All the successful people in the world have set goals. Chris Kirubi (businessman), Mark Zuckerberg (co-founder of Facebook), Vivian Cheruiyot (Olympic Champion) and many more, all set goals.

When you set goals you ensure that you are working towards getting the best results. You don’t wait for things to happen because you have a vision.

4. Goals Help You Overcome Procrastination

When you have set goals you commit yourself to finishing the project. Goals stick in your mind and always remind you that you are supposed to do something at a particular time. This will help you to overcome procrastination and laziness.

For instance, your goal may be starting your own business which means you want to become your own boss. When starting one, it can be really helpful to outline a business plan, establish short and long-term goals that help achieve your business dream.

End…

With that said, understand the steps and the amount of time you will need to take to achieve each goal and you will be able to achieve your goals in the most efficient way possible. It is possible!

Via Forbes : If You Want To Get Ahead In Your Career: Don’t Get Lucky, Get A Champion

The end of summer often brings a chance to renew plans and reflect on the resolutions made at the beginning of the year. One area of focus comes down to your career. Is that next promotion still on track? Or have things come to crashing standstill while you are tackling the next challenge at work, all necessary but not giving you the headspace to put your plans into motion? If you think doing your job well is more than enough to get noticed and promoted, think again. Leadership roles do not happen because you get lucky. In fact, when talking to groups of senior leaders comprised of women and men, I’m always struck by how many women will use the word ‘lucky’ when describing their journey into senior leadership. I don’t hear the same language from their male counterparts. How about this as a pushback, ‘the harder I work the luckier I get’?

Working hard is doing your job, that’s the baseline. But working hard and getting noticed requires more. It is about having a smart network around you and, in particular, a champion. A champion is not a sponsor nor a mentor. A champion is a senior leader, who may or may not be in your organization, but has the influence to open doors and talk about you. Your champion sees the future version of you, your potential. Karen Blackett OBE, Chair of Medicom and Country Manager at WPP shared her experiences with Forbes, ‘It’s important to have someone that knows what you are capable of and will talk about your capabilities in the circles you cannot access yet.’

Champions spot talent in ‘ones to watch’ (OTW) and take on the mantle of nurturing talent by creating opportunities to push OTW beyond their comfort zones. OTW are often women or those from diverse backgrounds who have potential but are struggling with visibility and/or confidence, which can stall their careers. So how is this relationship different from a sponsor or a mentor? In short, sponsorship is people talking about you while mentoring is people talking to you. Yet despite the big push for sponsors in companies, the findings indicate that men are over-sponsored while women are over-mentored. Mentoring alone does not provide a route to the top, says the research published by Herminia Ibarra and colleagues in the September 2010 issue of Harvard Business Review.

In 2015 Kitty Chisholm, my co-author on Championing Women leaders and I developed the Championing framework from the position of women in middle management, ambitious but hesitant about pushing themselves forward. At this point, it’s easy to confuse hesitation with risk aversion in going for senior roles, but here’s the crux, women handle risk differently to men. Women are less likely to take on risk if the process around decision- making is unclear or lacks transparency. This doesn’t mean women won’t put themselves forward, but that they need to trust the process.

Championing – what the evidence shows

Our global research on women in leadership unearthed Championing as the unifying factor in the experiences of some 60 women leaders we interviewed from over 52 countries. This heterogeneous group of women represented a vast range of backgrounds, from African villages through first-generation migrants to Canada, to senior civil servants in the Caribbean. Education was a given, early high performance was achieved, but each of these women had a champion who propelled them to leadership roles in a way most of them had not considered at the start of their careers.

Champions have a vested interest in this process, a belief in nurturing talent in their teams and recognition of the importance of creating strong teams as part of their succession planning. Champions will only invest in upcoming talent that deserves the opportunity because there is a risk. They are aligning their brand with the individual they are working with, and so they pick carefully. Success for their OTW is a success for the Champion too.

Creating a championing relationship

As an OTW there are certain traits you need that are important in building a championing relationship. These are credibility, confidence, consistency. Credibility speaks to how well you do your job. Are you competent? This may seem like a rather simple question, but do you have all bases covered and are you recognized as someone who does their job well? Do you get things done when you say you will, to a high standard? If you are not sure about this question, seek feedback from colleagues and address any gaps.

So much has been written about how confidence manifests itself differently for women and men, suffice to say at this point, confidence is built through opportunities to stretch and prove yourself, which, historically, have been more often available to men. Consider what your pinch points are around confidence, and work out what help you need to land that challenging role. This doesn’t mean you need to solve this yourself but acknowledging where you need an extra boost will improve the effectiveness of your championing relationship. Importantly, taking action to move your career forward does not risk your authenticity; instead, it’s about making sure that others, in particular, decision-makers see what your champion sees in you.

Champions look for individuals who are well-regarded by their colleagues and peers, and this leads to the next trait, consistency. Flashes of greatness are best left to super-heroes – in reality, champions want to support someone who is consistent in their performance and their behavior. When a champion works with you, they align their reputation with yours, and they want assurance that you will continue to build a trajectory of successful delivery. Back to the credibility point, do you deliver with the highest results every time? Blackett is very clear about the impact of a champion, ‘The people that know me and backed me, their support has been invaluable.’

What motivates a champion?

Champions invest resources in others without the direct benefit associated with sponsorship. So what motivates them? John Donovan, Vice President, Commercial & SMB, Cisco credited with championing a strong stream of talented individuals explains why championing is so important; ‘I find it personally fulfilling, helping people and seeing them thrive is its own reward.’ Donovan identifies his position as a champion is to help talented OTW to see their potential beyond their current role and to encourage them to believe in themselves.

Building a championing relationship is not a one-way process of waiting for a hand to come down and rescue you. You need to scour senior leaders to identify someone who will be an effective champion. This means an individual who has clout amongst their peers to create stretch opportunities, and also the willingness to make time to invest in your leadership development, providing critical feedback and suggestions for moving forward. Donovan describes this can be uncomfortable at times, ‘I need to push them with a safety net but without mollycoddling them.’

In some cases, this individual may not be in your organization, and that’s fine as long – as they can leverage relationships to help your career aspirations. This is where the fourth C matters, connecting. This is a personal relationship and how well you get on with each other is down to trust and an aligned outlook on life. It can take time to find the right champion, and to do so, it helps to know yourself well enough to know what you are looking for in that relationship.

A quick recap of the 4 Cs for Championing:

Credibility – demonstrate your credentials in being investment-worthy.

Confidence – recognize confidence manifests itself differently in different people. This means you need to know what you do well and how you draw attention to your success or where you might need a boost of support.

Consistency – mitigate risk by ensuring others see you perform well in various situations.

Connecting – build your brand to raise your visibility for champions to spot you.

With a champion vested in your progress, you generate a roadmap for career progress. Once you have reached your leadership goal, you, in turn, create your own brand of championing to develop your team and legacy. This is where success lies, and undoubtedly you will attribute success to smart working rather than luck with the reply; ‘the smarter I work, the luckier I get!’

Via The Jakarta Post : How to utilize social media in your job search

With the huge role that social media plays in our personal lives, it’s no surprise that it also has a big influence on our professional lives. Employers are increasingly using social media channels to screen potential new employees. Whether you’re an avid user of social media or not, it’s likely to play a role in your job search.

Not only are companies using social media as a way to promote externally or to do background checks on potential employees but it is also an effective tool to manage staff internally and to drive retention. Platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are no longer simply places to post holiday photos and connect with old friends. They have become a way for people to present a carefully curated profile of a well-rounded professional.

Here are some tips on how to utilize social media to your benefit on your quest for a new role:

1. Never underestimate the power of a great social resume

More than a third (37 percent) of recruiters use social and professional media as their number one source for finding talent. Does yours show that you’re an expert in your field? Do you share regular, industry-related content? It’s not just about ensuring your job title and contact details are on all your social profiles – it’s about how you position yourself to others.

2. Consider LinkedIn as your new resume

Almost every recruiter on the planet (97 percent) uses LinkedIn to find potential recruits – what will they find on yours? As a minimum, you should keep your summary and experience sections updated, and your profile photo should be a professional looking headshot. Along with the profile, try to be active on LinkedIn. Like and share insightful, industry-related content and engage with others in your field with comments and join in on other discussions.

3. Be mindful on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Everyone loves to use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as a way to interact with friends – but if you’re not careful with your privacy settings, anyone could be seeing what you post and your comments on other posts. And while your friends might love that photo of you partying in Las Vegas, it may not be as impressive to a potential employer.

Of course, you have a life outside of work, and Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are among places to share your experiences. Just ensure your privacy settings keep your personal and professional lives separate. Facebook now allows users to create a following without having to add everyone as a friend and Instagram now has a close friends feature where your posts can be seen only by a selected circle or friends.

Focus on building a following based on useful content that portrays your value to potential employers.

4. Forget contact details and forget that job offer

No matter how impressive your social resume is, if hiring managers can’t find a way to contact you there will be no job offer. Include at least one way for people to contact you, even if it’s a separate email used only for professional purposes. Twenty-nine percent of job seekers have been contacted by recruiters via social media.

5. Start a blog to land a job

It’s great to share relevant articles across social media to impress recruiters and even better to post something you’ve written yourself to really show you know what you’re talking about. LinkedIn Pulse can be a great way to publish articles to your network and beyond. Publishing on LinkedIn can position you as a thought leader in your industry, if you don’t have time to maintain a separate blog.

6. Watch your spelling and grammar at all times

You already know that correct spelling and grammar is essential on your CV and cover letter, but it also matters on social media, particularly on LinkedIn. Before you hit publish on any public post, have one more look for any spelling or grammar mistakes. Sixty-six percent of recruiters will be turned off by poor spelling and grammar across your public social media profiles.

7. Consider new social platforms

Companies are starting to look at platforms other than the usual LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for talent, especially if your role requires quite a bit of creativity. Consider using other platforms such as Pinterest or YouTube to showcase your unique talents and interests in a way that doesn’t come across in a simple text CV.

8. Go social regardless of skill level

Powerful social resumes aren’t just for high-level managers. In fact, 87 percent of jobs recruited through social media are for non-management roles. Show your knowledge as an industry expert through what you post on social media.

Via Trevor-Roberts : 5 benefits of career conversations for employees and organisations

Effective career development practices build healthy organisations (O’Donnell, 2007).

In recent years, research into career conversations has demonstrated the value of career development practices, generally, and the benefits of career conversations, specifically, to organisations and employees, especially when compared with annual performance reviews.

Despite the research, however, many organisations are underutilising career conversations and other career development programs and instead are placing the responsibility for career development firmly on the shoulders of employees.

Research by Kidd on career conversations found that only one third of managers committed to engaging in career development activities to benefit their employees. Additionally, although organisations generally expect their managers to support employee career development, only 5% of managers receive training to do so. These statistics represent a significant missed opportunity for organisations. Relatively simple career development activities, like coaching, providing employee feedback, and raising awareness about organisational needs and plans, can be incredibly effective in connecting employees’ development with the organisation’s goals, increasing engagement and facilitating discretionary effort.

Here are just some of the benefits of career conversations for your organisation and employees.

1. Increased awareness and alignment between employees & organisations

Career development aims to raise an employee’s knowledge and awareness of their own goals, strengths and values, and to identify how the employee can pursue activities with their current employer that are consistent with those goals, strengths and values. The exploration of issues relevant to career development such as promotions, secondments, project work, lateral moves, meaningful work, and work-life balance, allows employees to identify and explore the alignment between their goals and those of their organisation. In turn, this increases commitment, tenure and the pool of internal talent available to the organisation.

Career conversations also allow individuals to become more flexible and adaptable, as the constant setting and resetting of goals helps employees to cope with uncertainty in the workplace and, more broadly, within rapidly changing industries. This is an essential skill for employees in today’s workforce.

Ultimately, continued negotiation and renegotiation of individuals’ career goals facilitates the achievement of organisational goals and can be utilised to shape an organisation’s culture.

2. Development of professional skills & hi-po’s

Taking time to hold career conversations with talented employees allows managers to acknowledge their value to the organisation and helps to map out future career goals and objectives. (Butterfield, Lalande & Borgen, 2009).

Career development initiatives, such as career conversations, help high potential employees to identify and develop the skills that the business requires now and in the future. This is particularly useful for organisations that require highly skilled employees unique to a particular field.

According to Kidd (2004), career conversations result in employee career development goals that can be used to determine professional development activities required for both employee and organisational growth. In turn, professional development activities that have been identified through this process, are likely to be seen as more relevant by the employees and therefore are more likely to result in employee engagement in learning, transfer of learning to the workplace and the workforce capability the organisation is looking for.

Unfortunately, whilst many companies do offer opportunities for training, secondments and career development, it is often done in a sporadic and uncoordinated way that focuses on the skills and capabilities the organisation needs, rather than aligning individuals goals and motivation with the requirements of the organisation.

For an employee who is committed to a role for the long term, career conversations can assist them to understand how their job will change in line with the changing needs of the organisation, and to actively identify and develop skills in readiness for these changes. In this way, career conversations can be a powerful tool for building agile, adaptable and future-proof organisations.

Career conversations, for obvious reasons, also have the added benefit of improving the communication between managers and employees.

3. Improves attraction, retention & motivation

Practices that facilitate employee development have long been linked to increased productivity, decreased absenteeism and turnover, and improvements in an employee’s general dedication to an organisation. In a global market where skilled workers are in short supply, these practices become even more important.

Career development programs in the workplace help companies attract and retain high performing employees. Research by Kidd (2004) suggests that individuals of varying ages, genders, and occupational levels reported that they looked for career coaching and development support, making this an attractive component of any employee value proposition or attraction strategy.

Similarly, Kidd’s study found that employees are more likely to remain with their current employer when offered the opportunity to develop. The degree to which employees received support to develop their careers, through activities such as career conversations, corresponded with their intention to remain with their current employer. Conversely, where career conversations were not happening with managers, employees were more likely to leave an organisation.

Career conversations improve retention by providing employees with an increased knowledge of jobs and career paths within the organisation. If employees can see a clear path for development within an orgainsation they are far more likely to remain with their employer.

4. Assists with growth, downsizing, redeployment and succession planning

In the context of the competitive, global and disruptive marketplace that businesses now operate within, leaders must be vigilant in continually developing the capacities of themselves and their employees to position the organisation to successfully grasp market opportunities (Butterfield, Lalande & Borgen, 2009).

This means that organisations need to foster a performance culture, with the right people and the right skills to effectively execute current and future business strategy. Career conversations help organisations to do this. By highlighting employee competencies, career conversations (and other career development initiatives) inform workforce planning initiatives, support businesses to hit growth targets and enable succession planning activities.

Similarly, when workforce composition or size needs to change in response to changing market conditions, organisations with mature career development practices will be better positioned to identify and redeploy employees with the required skill mix.

5. Increases employee performance

Overall, organisational performance has been positively linked with career development activities such as career conversations, because of their ability to increase employee motivation. Individuals benefit from the insights and learning gained through career conversations, leading to greater fulfillment and professional success into the future. Employees gain increased self-awareness and a realistic perspective of their skills and potential.

Several studies have found that an employee’s performance is positively influenced when their organisation provides relevant career opportunities. It seems obvious to say that from here, if each employee is assisted to reach their full potential, the organisation is more likely to reach its goals.

Summary

As you can see, career conversations are highly beneficial, adding great value to both individuals and organisations.

As organisations continue to compete for talent and customers in a global market, they have the choice to empower employees through the facilitation of career conversations and other career development activities, or to fall behind their competitors.

Via Occupational Safety : 11 ways to boost mental health in the workplace

The costs associated with mental health disabilities are higher than those of physical related disabilities. The economic burden of mental illness in Canada is estimated to be $51 billion per year and that includes health care costs and lost productivity due to absenteeism and sick leave.

Research findings on the incidence and costs of physical and mental health-related disabilities highlight the importance of promoting mental health and well-being in the workplace. Failing to have a comprehensive mental health strategy in the workplace contributes to long-term disability, unemployment, family and financial strains.

Various strategies could be implemented to help prevent a leave of absence from mental health-related problems or reduce the length of disability:

  • Providing supportive reintegration into the work environment after a leave of absence.
  • Providing stress management programs
  • Aiming for work-life balance
  • Encouraging use of health care professionals when someone is experiencing psychological distress
  • Job security
  • Having roles and responsibilities well-defined
  • Having enough resources to cope with the demands of the job, particularly during times of economic difficulties when layoffs have resulted in more job demands and fewer resources
  • Opportunities for growth and development
  • Flexible work conditions whenever possible and appropriate
  • Being provided with regular and constructive feedback and recognized for good performance
  • Healthy and supportive relationships in the workplace.

No one is immune, including those highly engaged with their work. Being highly engaged with work could lead to higher work stress. Jobs requiring extra working hours such as working away from home or travelling on the job or variable hours such as being on call or working long hours are related to high work stress. Not perceiving control over work or work to personal life interference caused by changing working hours are among some of the reasons offered for high work stress.

Perceived risk of liability is also associated with higher work stress. Those who perceive the consequence of their actions on outcomes or those who view their work as career rather than a job are found to experience more work pressure and more work stress. Specifically, high work stress is mostly felt when we perceive our poor performance as having serious consequences on our co-workers, the environment and company profits.

Managers and professionals are not immune and also at increased risk of experiencing high stress. Research findings show that being in high positions and low job security, being assigned more responsibilities following the layoffs of those with higher occupational status during times of economic difficulties are more likely to enter interpersonal conflict and experiencing work to home interference. As well, high work stress is associated with reduced job satisfaction.

Job satisfaction needs to be part of promoting health in the workplace to ensure productivity and to lower absenteeism and turnover rates.

Ensuring the health of all employees and in particular those who are highly engaged in their work is of paramount importance for any organization. In general, employees who are highly engaged at work feel enthusiastic about their work, are fully involved in their work, are motivated and productive, and are less likely to quit their jobs. Thus, even those highly engaged with work could be at risk of losing their level of engagement when job satisfaction is lacking, job stress or job pressure is high, or there is work-life conflict among other factors. Ways of achieving an individualized plan for a healthy balance between work and our personal life needs to be the focus within each intervention.

As part of increasing employee engagement, we need to increase job resources to prevent burnout and to focus more on building a healthy work environment. When employees feel worthwhile and valued in the workplace and are recognized for their good performance, they are more engaged and more committed to their organization.

Work focused cognitive behavioural treatment helps to return to work faster. Common mental health problems in the workplace are depression and anxiety which are associated with decreased work performance and productivity, interpersonal conflicts, increased absenteeism and sick leave and disability.

Being away from work on sick leave often compounds the psychological distress due to reduced occupational functioning, reduced sense of self confidence and well-being, loss of daily routine and structure, reduced income leading to financial strains and at times more stress and conflict at home.

When people are unable to work, they often report the desire to return to work and regain their productivity and functioning. Thus, interventions that include a return to work component can be very beneficial to employees on sick leave and also for employers.

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based psychological treatment shown to be effective through scientific research for a wide range of mental health problems, including depression and anxiety disorders. CBT is skill-based such that it teaches various skills to better cope with the psychological symptoms, including cognitive restructuring, problem solving skills. anxiety management skills, communication and assertiveness skills and relaxation techniques. A return to work component can be integrated within CBT to help the individual successfully return to the workplace.

Developing an individualized comprehensive mental health strategy in the workplace is now a priority.

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