Changing Careers? Here are the Do’s and Don’t’s

Change. So many feelings are caught up in just one word. Change can be scary. It can bring a sense of renewal. Many times we meet it with opposition. However, in the end, change is a fact of life; nothing stays the same forever. Since “The Great Recession” jobs are not as secure as they once were. Millennials are finding out that things are not how they were for their grandparents and parents who found jobs right out of school and stayed there until retirement. When you are changing careers things can be daunting. Though this can be stressful, it can also be very rewarding. Here are some do’s and don’t’s to consider when switching careers to help make the process go smoothly.

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Back to Work: How to Re-Enter the Workforce after Being a Stay at Home Mom

MomFinding a new job using the skills you’ve acquired throughout your career can be hard. What if your most recent resume is filled with changing diapers, breaking up sibling battles, and preparing lunch while holding a toddler? Re-entering the workforce is a challenge facing many mothers. In recognition of Mother’s Day this weekend, we will discuss tips and challenges for those parents looking to re-enter the workforce.

Modern companies are designed to embrace rapid changes in the economy, workforce, and society. This is the biggest challenge for those who have been out of the workforce for as little as a year. Many parents find that they are over qualified for entry level positions, but have missed out on experience to get them to the next step in their career. How can you translate your time as a parent into the workforce? Below are some great tips to make sure you’re ready to go when the kids go to school.

Utilize Technology

Let technology be your best resource for brushing up on your skills. From finding jobs online to taking free classes to enhance your professional skills, use technology to help you ease back into the job market and keep up on industry news.

 Network

Mother and child

 

You haven’t been out of the workforce so long that networking has become obsolete. There are many ways to begin networking. Volunteer at a local nonprofit or your children’s school to meet other parents who can help you break back into the workforce. Yet again, use technology to network via LinkedIn.

 

Translate your skills

Take some time to sit down and think about all of the skills you’ve gained as a parent, then translate them to the professional world. Time management, leadership, communication, and attention to detail are skills that both parents and professionals need to have to make your workplace and household run smoothly.

Have you been a stay at home parent who has re-entered the workforce? What advice would you give others looking to do the same?

Body Language at the Office: What’s Yours Saying?

We’ve talked a lot about how to create an effective message with a target audience in mind, and how to communicate a business plan and get employees to buy in, but we’ve really only talked about the obvious when it comes to communicating. We all know that there is more to communication than just words on a page or the phrases that we speak.
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Let’s Celebrate Administrative Professionals Day!

 Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.  ~William Arthur Ward


This Wednesday, April 26, is Administrative Professionals Day. Because they are an important part of any business team, take a minute to celebrate by showing gratitude to your Administrative Professionals!  

Administrative Professionals DayHere are four ideas to show your appreciation of those who support your departments.

1.      Order Lunch! Have lunch in the office with the team today. Many restaurants and fast food restaurants will cater lunch for your office. Order ahead and get a variety of foods then take an hour out of the day to relax and have an enjoyable conversation. Tip: Give your administrators a break by doing the ordering yourself!

2.     Swag! Order some company swag for your administrators. Polo shirts, sweatshirts, pens, blankets, and keychains branded with your company logo make great gifts. Get something exclusive for your administrators to show your gratitude for all that they do within the company.

3.     Head to Hallmark! Stop into your local greeting card store and browse the Administrative Professionals Day cards (yes, there is a section for that!). Pick a card and personalize it for each administrator; express your appreciation for the work that they do for you and your department. You can also take this a step further by adding a gift card for lunch, a massage, or a local store.

4.     Extra Time! Show gratitude with the best gift you can give, and extra few hours or day off. Even though you depend on them, try to fend for yourself for an extra afternoon and allow your administrators some extra time off to themselves.

These are just a few ideas to help you recognize your administrative support team. Do you already have plans to celebrate Administrative Professionals Day? Share your ideas in the comments below!

How to Manage a Multi-Generational Workforce

In the past, we’ve discussed the different outlooks of each generation; how they like to give, their values, their buying habits. But, what happens when you put them all in one place? How do you manage an office where you have employees from Baby Boomers to Generation Z all working together? Each group has given criticism of the other over the years. How can you get them to work as a team and create a cohesive work environment in which Multi Generations in the Officeindividuals of all generations and outlooks have the chance to succeed? Let’s take a look at what makes each of these generational cohorts tick as well as how to manage and motivate these groups in the office.

First let’s breakdown the main characteristics, values, and attributes of each cohort. Keep in mind these are generalizations of each group and can vary from person to person.

Baby Boomers

  • Born between the years of 1946 and 1964.
  • In 2015, Baby Boomers numbered around 74.9 million in the U.S. and at that time made up 33% of the workforce.
  • They are work-centric, competitive, and goal-oriented in the workplace; and are motivated by positions and prestige. Many are in supervisory roles.

Generation X

  • Born between the years of 1961-1981.
  • This cohort has a population of about 46 million in the U.S. Because of their relatively small size compared to that of the Baby Boomers and Millennials they often get ignored by marketers.
  • In the workplace they are looking for a work-life balance, are tech-savvy, and independent in their work.

Millennials

  • Born between 1980-2000.
  • As of 2012, Millennials numbered around 80 million in the U.S. They now edge out Baby Boomers in size and are the largest generation in Western history as well as the most educated.
  • They are entrepreneurial in nature and value collaboration, diversity, and wellness in the workplace.

Generation Z

  • Born around 1995-2010.
  • Are around 74 million in number in the U.S. This number may continue to grow depending on immigration.
  • The oldest of this cohort are around 21 and just entering the workforce. They are entrepreneurial and practical.

Looking at these generational groups there are many different values and characteristics across them. Each has different aspects about work that drives them and what they value in a job. Managing a workforce which includes members of most if not all of these groups may seem impossible, but it is not. Here are several things to keep in mind when managing a diverse group:

Create a communication standard: Each generation has its own preference when it comes to communicating and these differing opinions can cause friction between the groups. For example, Baby Boomers are more formal in their communication, Millennials and Generation Z are fine with a text message. Setting a standard for how certain information should be communicated within the office can take personal and generational preference out of the equation and help avoid any confusion and tension.

Get them talking: Bring together a diverse group of individuals from each cohort; have them get to know each other and keep it casual. Let them talk about their differences, what they care about, and how they can better workplace relationships between the generations. In this group, you can create a new hybrid group, a “cocktail cohort” which can help foster understanding throughout the office.

Consider the individual: Though we are talking about characteristics of different age groups, this does not mean you should blindly assume that depending on which generation they fall in that they embody all or any of the attributes of said group (this Millennial hates that). Get to know your employees’ interests and be flexible and open; adjust management styles when needed. All employees want to feel they are needed and the work they do matters.

As the office demographic ebbs and flows with the retiring of Baby Boomers and additions from Generation Z, management styles will be in flux. It is important to also keep the outlook of your organization in mind when managing all employees. A multi-generational office should not be looked at negatively; use the diversity it allows to your advantage.

Employee Retention: Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

Whether you are an employee thinking about leaving your current position, or a supervisor wondering why you have so much turnover this post is for you. Today we will discuss reasons good employees leave their jobs and ways to keep them.

Why do good employees leave?

Although unhappiness may be one reason good employees leave their jobs, it isn’t always the top or even the only reason.

Thinking1.      Lack of growth and opportunity: The number one reason good employees leave is to pursue better opportunities for themselves. They may even leave for lateral or downgraded positions if they see better growth opportunities in a new company.

2.      Poor leadership and vision: Another reason good employees leave is due to company leadership. If leadership within a company is disorganized, one-sided, or barely present, good employees will look for a new position within a company that has vision.

3.      The absence of passion: Many employees will leave because they lack passion for the job, company, or field in which they are working. This is common with employees finishing degrees or training programs. They may be working in a field to get through college where they will leave to work in their field.

 What can you do to keep your best employees?

1.      Provide growth and opportunity: As a company leader, be sure to provide growth and opportunity for your employees. This doesn’t always have to be by way of money and promotions; organize lunch and learns, trainings, or meetings with executives to allow your team the opportunity to create their own growth.  

2.      Manage using strong leaders: Choose strong leaders who will lead by example for your organization. Leaders who are mentors will encourage and inspire your employees to look for opportunity within the company.

3.      Create passion: Learn about your employees’ passions. If the job or field itself is not aligned with their passion, encourage employees to pursue their passions in other ways using the organization. Allow them to volunteer, promote philanthropic activity, and allow them to share their passions with the rest of the company through newsletters or emails highlighting their efforts.

Have you already tried some of these methods within your organization? Share in the comments your ideas for employee retention.

Dress for the Job You Want: How Dress Affects the Workplace

Work clothingThey say, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” If that was the case for me, I’d be wearing a tiara and be dressed like Belle. Alas, a professional princess is a position that isn’t widely available. Dress codes are quite common in the professional world, some more relaxed than others. What you wear can affect many things–how you feel, how others react to you, even how you perform. So, why do employers institute dress codes, why are there so many controversies surrounding them, and how does it affect the workplace?

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Coaching vs. Mentoring: What’s the Difference?

Coaching

Many leadership terms sound incredibly similar, however, when used as leadership strategies they may produce vastly different results. Today we will discuss two terms that fall into this category–coaching vs. mentoring. We will discuss what the terms mean, how they apply to organizations, and the different results each strategy can produce.

 

Coaching and Mentoring Meanings

Coaching is a term used to describe a leadership strategy focused on performance and goals. A coach is focused on the group and task at hand and driven by power and position.

Mentoring is a term used to describe a leadership strategy focused on facilitating individual growth and responsibility. A mentor is focused on giving advice, personal growth, and is driven by the value of growing relationships and individuals.

What do coaching and mentoring mean to organizations?

Both coaching and mentoring have a place in business and leadership. Coaching can be used when implementing new technology or systems, developing specific skills organization-wide, or helping a group of employees meet expectations. Mentoring, on the other hand, can be used as a tool for succession planning, developing expertise in specific departments, or helping individual employees grow within their roles.

Results

Coaching produces tangible results; it helps departments to meet productivity goals. On an individual level, it helps employees learn skills that may be holding them back in terms of technology or systems. As a whole, coaching helps the organization develop groups of talented individuals to accomplish organizational goals.

Mentoring, on the other hand, helps the organization develop future professional leaders.  On an individual level, mentoring gives professionals access to current leaders and resources they need to grow professionally for their future roles.  On an organizational level, mentoring aids the organization by developing dedicated professionals for succession planning and leadership roles.

Although coaching and mentoring seem similar on the surface, there are many different approaches to workplace development. Does your workplace differentiate between coaching and mentoring?

 

 

Navigating Cloud Computing

“The Cloud.” We’ve all heard the term. We understand it in the most abstract of ideas. We can store files in it, run programs from it, heck, my fiancé talks about setting up virtual servers (whatever that means). This digital storehouse of sorts can come in very handy; but what is it exactly and how can it be used to its best advantage? Does it have down falls? Let’s define “The Cloud” and what it can do for you and your organization.Cloud Computing

What is it?

Most digital data is non-tangible but is stored on devices that are. As I type this post, the information is saved to my computer’s hard drive. The hard drive is a physical piece of equipment. It can be removed and placed into another device and the information on it accessed. With The Cloud, there is no physical device needed to reach your digital files. By using The Cloud, I am able to create and edit files from practically anywhere. It is a globally connected computer you always have access to.

How does it work?

Information is essentially stored “on the internet”. The Cloud is run by off-site servers that do the majority of the workload. Instead of having software loaded into multiple computers, it can be accessed from the servers by means of online applications. This allows the connection from any device with internet access.

Pro’s

Saves space: By operating office-site servers and not taking loading additional software onto hard drives, you don’t lose physical space in your facility nor storage space on your computers. This means less upkeep and less clutter on your hard drive.

Accessibility: Have an internet connected device? Great! You have access. You have the ability to work from anywhere, as do your co-workers, and you can all collaborate.

Cost: Before cloud computing, you would need to buy software for each computer and upkeep their licensures. Utilizing The Cloud can cut cost on the amount of software you purchase.

Con’s

Accessibility: Though accessibility is a strong point of The Cloud, it is also a downfall. If you have a subpar internet connection, good luck reaching your files. It’s in instances like this that having the software installed on your physical device would be more appropriate.

Security: The Cloud “lives” online and you can access it easily, which means if it is easy for you, it’s easy for others. You need to pay close attention to security protocols to make sure your information does not get into the wrong hands.

Control: Hosting servers off-site or contracting services from an outside source takes control away from your in-house tech team. You are no longer in charge of your own equipment and are unable to service it. You will rely on the integration of services from outside vendors, which can at times be tasking.

So what do you do with all of this information? How does this best work for your organization? What is the most cost effective? These are questions you need to ask before outlining how The Cloud will work into your business plan. If you are just looking to store a small amount of noncritical information or are just looking for email hosting, utilizing cloud services from an outside vendor may be beneficial. If you are looking to create a cloud computing system for a large amount of secure information you may want to look into buying and creating your own system so that you retain control and security options.

The Cloud is only growing. Figuring out how to utilize it in your business plan is essential. How do you already use cloud computing, or how do you plan to use it in the future?

How to Find Your Pot of Gold Dream Job

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, today we will discuss how to identify and work toward finding your own “pot of gold” in the form of your dream job. Everyone has a dream job, that one employer or position they would stay with forever. Have you ever considered what your dream job would be? Are you currently working toward obtaining your “pot of gold”?

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