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How to use AI-based tools to find your next job
How to use AI-based tools to find your next job The tradition of real people reading your résumé and assessing you in a face-to-face interview may be going away—at least in the early stages of the recruitment process. AI has certainly changed the hiring process. But the good news is that if you work with the new machine-based system you’ll do just as well—perhaps even better—than you would have in the traditional hiring process. First, be prepared to be pursued by a machine. Companies are using the intelligence of machines today to search for talent, and they may come after you. Employers are using the power of AI to search through millions of profiles to find candidates. AI also searches for talent among passive candidates: people who are employed, but may be open to a change. If a bot reaches out to you as a possible candidate for a job posting on LinkedIn or elsewhere, you’ll need to decide whether you want that job or not, and whether the bot would likely rate you as a top candidate. If you decide to go for that job but are rated as having only a few of the requirements, you’ll want to rewrite your online profile so that it better reflects the requirements of that posting. Before submitting your résumé, make sure all language is as concise and direct as possible. Education levels and proficiency levels based on the job requirements are usually the first things evaluated by the machine. People often outline all their skills, but the machine wants to know what skills were actually used on the job and what problems applicants have solved. The machine also picks up details. It looks for names of companies you’ve worked for, titles you’ve had, and how long you’ve been in each job. It also looks for hard numbers that show your impact. The machine analyzes your résumé for keywords and related concepts that are in the job description. If possible, incorporate the important words into your most recent job experiences. Don’t forget to give your cover letter attention too. This letter might be your first opportunity to appeal to a human being, but in many instances, you’re still dealing with a machine. Think of it as a summary of the résumé. That means including language that parallels the job description. Machine scans may also test them for optimum length, contact information, measurable results and skills. Finally, you may encounter the bot at the interview stage. While many companies provide all candidates with human interviews, some have a machine evaluate you in a one-way taped pre-interview. Once you get through the bot-driven screening process, you’ll likely deal with human beings in live interviews. Here your interpersonal skills will come into play. AI gets to work in the background, gathering and analyzing your behavior—everything from your mouse clicks to reaction speeds. It then crunches the millions of data points and creates a personal profile that includes things that don’t appear in a regular resume, such as your personality, longer-term life goals, and the type of work culture that you would flourish in. The more you reveal regarding your career ambitions and personality, the better your chances of matching with companies and roles where you’d be a good fit. You need to make sure your resume accurately reflects where you’re trying to go. When used effectively, AI can reward job seekers with a newfound sense of control. It can put the power to steer their career path into their hands. Traditional strength and personality assessments aren’t going anywhere, but they are becoming more sophisticated. To better understand whether or not a candidate is the right fit, employers are using assessments with more intelligent algorithms that can determine how you’ll perform in a specific job environment. Some address cultural fit, and some are built to measure technical skills. Chances are, you’re familiar with the ‘scenario’ type of questions in an interview that asks how you would react in certain situations. Pretty soon, you may have to show, not just describe, how you’ll handle on-the-job-scenarios. Companies that have substantial resources and that are hiring en masse are taking it a step further by using VR to build workplace scenarios. Employers are looking beyond your résumé and building a profile based on your online activity. Beyond the obvious steps of cleaning up your social profiles, think in terms of creating more content that can actually support your image. Share your thoughts with LinkedIn posts, start a blog, or create an online portfolio. Companies have resources at their disposal, but job seekers have options too.
Being a better leader during a crisis
Being a better leader during a crisis Any leader who will successfully guide their organization through turbulent waters must design their role in the way that works best for them and their team members. This can be a tremendously liberating realization, freeing them from false expectations that there’s a right or wrong way to be a CEO, director, or senior leader—and giving them permission to lean into their superpowers. The key here is to be keenly aware of your superpowers and play disproportionately to those strengths. Surrounding yourself with trusted people to whom you can delegate responsibilities that aren’t in line with your core strengths is often priority number one. And building a high-performing team of diverse, complementary superpowers usually comes next. When you’re growing your business, you likely have a lot of goals you want to achieve and projects on your plate. A significant challenge for any leader is prioritizing the work in process to guarantee their team (and they themselves) aren’t overwhelmed. Further, if an individual or a single team is pulling in too many directions at once, they’re likely to go nowhere fast. Setting long-term and ambitious goals is important for growth, but it can seem overwhelming. Take those goals and break them down into short-term, manageable ones so that you can continue to be motivated by seeing progressive, tangible achievements. Prioritization should include a mix of fully achievable (that is, 10% or less uncertainty) and stretch (that is, 25 to 50% uncertainty) goals. Segment your priorities into three categories: financial, quality (of your products/services and the experience you are creating for your employees and clients), and strategic. By balancing short-term and long-term activities, you can guarantee continuous improvement in all key areas. Measure weekly progress, adjust timelines as needed, and monitor your overall stress and well-being. Goal achievement is both emotional and logical. Each day, assess the top five priorities that “feel” necessary to conquer. Also assess the top five priorities that make the most sense logically. They don’t always align, so it helps to have this internal dialogue daily. Solicit insight from trusted colleagues occasionally if the tension feels irreconcilable. Leaders and managers are being asked to adapt and evolve like never before. To emerge with an evolved culture, an engaged workforce, and a strong talent pipeline, leaders at all levels will need to engage their personal authenticity. A leader who is honest, creates conditions that allow their employees to be who they truly are, and provides an environment that brings some comfort. Leaders who show their real and genuine selves to others at work build stronger bonds of trust. This provides the fuel to power their teams to tackle thorny issues with transparency. Navigating times of change requires faith in others that are guiding them through unknown waters. To retain your staff and lead a WFH workforce, leaders cannot be seen as just blindly accepting the company’s rhetoric. Authentic leadership is a significant predictor of an employee’s job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and workplace happiness. Authentic leaders embrace their unique leadership style. Whether naturally extroverted and charismatic or introverted with low-key charm and grace, leaders are most successful when they own their style and build a team around them that complements it. Leaders should communicate clearly and often in times of strife. Explain in plain language the facts as you know them. Describe what decisions were made, and why, and how. Talk of your organization’s values, and your own values. Discuss what you expect to happen next, without overpromising. Explain what you don’t know yet, but hope to learn. It is not possible to bear the weight of supporting those on your team when you are not supporting yourself. A daily commitment to self-care in the form of exercise, art, mindfulness, and/or prayer can help keep you healthy and mentally fit. Make an effort to talk of the things that are weighing on you with those who are not themselves struggling. Recognize when you are beginning to suffer burnout. Leading with empathy, changing how we do what we do, how we make people feel, working together... As we reach a critical mass of allies, we create stronger and happier workplaces, companies, and industries, together. When you’re ready, take action to lead change in your work, on your team(s), and in your workplace. Transform your organization, industry, and society.
Try this power move to beat procrastination
Try this power move to beat procrastination It’s really amazing how creative we can be when it comes to procrastination—there are so many ways we can put off doing things that we actually want to do. From making major career moves to something as simple as updating your wardrobe, there are always sticking points along the way. What hope is there for fighting procrastination as social distancing drags on? It comes down to figuring out why we procrastinate and how this common behavior fits into the current crisis environment. One reason we are procrastinating more is the number and variety of distractions in a home work environment—like homecare, childcare, other adults at home, improvised work spaces. So much procrastination stems from our projections of the future and what it might look like. But, of course, the truth is, we never really know what the future will look like. The only thing we can do is make the most educated decision in the moment with the information we have at present. It means that if you focus on some small steps that you can take immediately, you will make incremental progress that eventually adds up to big gains. A ‘now step’ is the smallest meaningful action that you can take in the face of a challenge. It reminds the brain that your behavior matters as you experience a win from completing it. A ‘now step’ can take two minutes, or 20 minutes, or two days—and they are all equally valuable. Because making the tiniest progress proves to yourself that this is a project that has meaning for you. Plus, once you complete one step, the next ones will start to fall into place. All you have to do is locate the following ‘now step’—and do it. Procrastination is an emotion-focused coping strategy. The brains of procrastinators have a larger amygdala, which is part of the limbic system known for fight or flight. The procrastinators are reacting emotionally, and the emotion-focused coping response is to escape. It’s saying, ‘I don’t want these negative emotions I’ll experience during the task,’ and so it avoids the task. When we face a task that presents boredom, frustration, or fear, the limbic system lights up, and the amygdala hijack overrides the prefrontal cortex, which is the home of executive function that includes things like impulse control, planning, and organization. The key to getting control over procrastination is emotion regulation, and one method is practising mindfulness. Use breathing and muscle relaxation exercises. Then practise non-judgmental awareness of the emotion. Acknowledge your feelings. And then look for the reasons for those emotions. Your emotions are trying to teach you something. But you don’t need to freak out. Once you find a way to get control over your emotions, it’s time to move forward. Procrastination, whether it stems from fear or boredom, is resolved with action. It’s getting yourself to do something you don’t feel like doing. Propel yourself forward by breaking down a large goal or task into individual steps. Keep it as small as possible. As humans, we have something called a “complexity bias.” It’s our tendency to make things that are simple seem way more complicated. It makes us more likely to ignore or overlook simple solutions and instead focus on the more complicated option. It’s that alarm that goes off in your head, blaring, ‘Warning: Difficult and complicated task ahead. Bail while you can.’ The good news: There’s a way to override the complexity bias and start seeing the simpler path forward. Ask yourself: What would this look like if it were easy? The ‘easy’ question, challenges us to frame a task in terms of elegance instead of strain. In doing so, we sometimes find incredible results with ease instead of stress. Sometimes, we ‘solve’ the problem by simply rewording it. It’s important to remember that a task can be simplified and still require work to get it done. The “easy” question isn’t finding the lazy way out—it’s creating a more straightforward process that we have an easier time wrapping our brains around and starting. It means still putting in the work, but feeling clear and confident regarding what that work actually entails. Research has shown us that when you make progress, even a little on a goal, it fuels your wellbeing. Even if you just take the tiniest of steps, you’ll help yourself get started and then you’re on your way. Mindfulness + action: the one-two punch that can cure procrastination.
How to properly address microaggressions at work
How to properly address microaggressions at work We all want to feel safe at work. But many of us end up feeling uncomfortable or hurt because of microaggressions. Intentional or unintentional, these actions can have a significant impact on our engagement and overall well-being. They usually come in the form of seemingly innocent comments by someone who might be unaware of the impact their words have on a colleague. Microaggressions still exist, even when we’re no longer sharing the same physical space. But they can take on new forms. Now that so many of us are logging onto work from our couches or offices or kitchen tables, microaggressions can look different, but they are still equally harmful. To be able to best deal with them, it helps to be able to identify them in all forms. Microaggressions fit into one of three categories: Microassault (an explicit racial derogation), Microinsult (communication that conveys rudeness and demeans a person’s racial heritage or identity), or Microinvalidation (communication that excludes or negates the psychological thoughts, feelings, or experiential reality of a person belonging to a particular group). Many microaggressions are nonverbal, so they can be subtle. Our facial expressions can convey our feelings and thoughts. Seeing another person’s facial expressions can change how we show up. A close counterpart to facial expressions is body language. A few key pieces of body language to keep in mind in avoiding microaggressions are closed body language and dominant power positioning. Employees impacted by microaggressions don’t always feel safe expressing their true thoughts and experiences. It might make them feel uncomfortable, or fearful of retribution for speaking out. Creating space in which open conversations are encouraged, where employees can feel psychologically safe and protected from microaggressions, should be the starting point. Empowering your people to express their opinions and concerns without fear of being ridiculed is a critical step in identifying microaggressions. You also need to make sure that anyone who stands up to courageously share something regarding themself should be recognized and encouraged. Show them you appreciate their viewpoint and uniqueness. Microaggressions typically come from a place of ignorance. You will need to encourage open and candid conversations in which the aggressor and target can share their version of events. Predetermined scripts can make this process much easier by including carefully worded statements. This simple tool can help avoid an even worse situation with a new series of slipups or slights. Storytelling can be another powerful way to evoke emotions and enable people to see how hurtful an off-the-cuff comment can be to their colleagues. The stories shared help educate employees who might be unfamiliar with microaggressions. They also remove the ignorance that microaggressions need to thrive, so you can begin building a culture of empathy in your workplace. When anyone reports a microaggression, there needs to be a plan in place that documents how to move forward, learn, and improve. The plan should be published on the company’s own intranet and communicated to everyone throughout the organization. Every employee should know how to report a microaggression, and every manager should know how to deal with and resolve the issue. Resolving conflict should be seen as a learning opportunity to unpack and understand why the situation occurred and what individuals can do to prevent this from happening in the future. In addition, the process should be seen as an opportunity for the entire organization to learn and celebrate our differences and unique perspectives, and break down communication barriers. If someone commits a microaggression, pause for a moment and take a few deep breaths. This helps to calm you and allow you to think rationally, rather than reacting emotionally. Ask yourself what you want to achieve by responding to this person. Discuss the incident with the individual involved directly. You may want to request a private conversation with them to avoid further attention. Once you have discussed the incident with the individual, allow yourself to move on from the issue. If HR was not present for your conversation with the individual involved, send an email to them summarizing the incident and ask that it be placed in the individual’s file. The ideal way to combat workplace microaggressions is for employers to educate their workforce against these behaviors before they happen.
Figuring out work-life balance
Figuring out work-life balance While work-life balance has always been important, since the COVID-19 pandemic, the human need to step away and recharge has increasingly become a topic of discussion. Many professionals at all levels have reported working even longer hours since moving to remote work arrangements—when the office and home become a single location, stepping away can become even harder. While many have spent more time than ever working because their home is now their office, it is important to create time and space away from work. One way to do that is to clearly document and prioritize what needs to be done this week. Assess how much time is needed to accomplish these tasks. Clear your calendar of any items that do not help you achieve your goals for the week. Learn how to fuel your peak performance and be able to do in one hour what could have taken hours to do. It starts with having clear goals, eliminating distractions, having curiosity regarding the task you are undertaking, and making sure that your challenges are in line with your skill level. This will boost your productivity and creativity while giving you more time to enjoy life. Prioritizing by outcome instead of by time is an effective way to trim down the workweek. Check in with yourself regularly on how the task that you are doing is helping your company reach its desired outcome for the week—if you are unclear on how it is or if the answer is that it isn’t, don’t do it. It’s very simple to say but very difficult to put into practice! Being flexible is a great way to let your team figure out the most constructive way to manage their time. Everyone understands their expectations, and as long as your clients’ needs are being met and you continue to grow, don’t limit employees’ time away from the office. Each person understands what works best for them when it comes to work-life balance. It’s essential to trust your employees to make their own decisions. Most of the time, they know what they’re doing better than a leader because they’re closer to the problem and have a better idea of what’s possible for a solution. Letting go of the reins and trusting your employees to make good decisions allows them to have the chance to grow and prove themselves. Shorten meetings to 45 minutes and immediately get back 25 percent of your day. Another tactic: Meetings should be for discussion or decision making. Information sharing can be handled offline and should not take up time during your day. Start your workday earlier and stick to a schedule. Whether you and your team are working exclusively from home or showing up to an office building one or more days a week, developing a healthy work-life balance is essential for everyone’s mental and physical health. Activities like resting, happy hour, or going for a walk should be encouraged and praised out loud. People who rest regularly are better thinkers and more pleasant co-workers. Encourage employees to take time off from day one. Build a culture where employees don’t feel the need to check their emails outside of work hours. Also, institute ‘Friends and Family’ day, which is an optional but highly encouraged day off every month. Encourage team members to use this day to go do something fun, get some errands done, or engage in self-care. Establishing work-life boundaries is neither a matter of corporate policy or personal responsibility, but should be a shared commitment by both employees and employers. Unless organizations commit to policies that make sure workers feel confident being truly “off the clock”, employees need to decide between establishing their boundaries or allowing work to disrupt their down time. Employers can set policies, they can lead by example when creating work-life balance, and then there’s that honest and open communication that employees can give their employers for what they need personally to create work-life balance. Many organizations boast of their work-life balance, but setting policies that encourage that divide is only effective if they’re followed by leaders. Leaders need to lead by example to create a work environment that has healthy boundaries, space and time to recharge, and open communication when tough topics need to be addressed. Perhaps the easiest way to do that is to take a vacation and truly disconnect and recharge, or be open (and unapologetic) on prioritizing home events as much as work events. Rather than target a delicate work-life equilibrium, which requires constant perfection, change the formula. Fuse the personal and professional spheres of your life into a peaceful coexistence. Integration occurs when your highest priorities and responsibilities blend into a cohesive whole.
Effective time management strategies for busy leaders
Effective time management strategies for busy leaders As a leader, your time isn’t just something you’re ‘selling’ to whatever company employs you in exchange for a wage. It’s an important asset you must divide carefully to make sure operations run smoothly, everyone on your team receives the support they need, and any individual tasks also get completed. Time management strategies is essential for busy, high-achieving leaders. Leaders should always set SMART goals (goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). For example, instead of aiming to communicate more with your team, set yourself the target of having a one-on-one meeting with each team member every two weeks. Once you have a specific target, you can build it into your carefully planned schedule and make it happen. Focus your efforts in three categories: calendar management, tasks and projects and work-life balance. They involve the three assets everyone brings to work: time, priorities, and energy. Productive people get key activities done between major events in their schedule (like high-stakes meetings) instead of filling gaps in their days with work chats, emailing, or low-priority tasks. Even the most conscientious time managers tend to fall into the trap of spending too much time on the low-hanging fruit. This is why so many people believe in identifying the most important task (MIT) each day and tackling it first thing in the morning before moving on to anything else. If you’re freshest and most alert in the morning, it’s the perfect time to dedicate to your biggest priority. Timeboxing is the process of accounting for all your tasks in your calendar each day, allocating a specific duration for each. It holds you accountable to complete a specific task on a specific day. Timeboxing is great for estimating level of effort. This is a great project management skill to have. You assign yourself an amount of time for a task and check yourself on how long it actually took. Take the list of projects and assign one or more 30-minute time slots to each project. Prospecting is a good example. Once the project is done, move onto the next one. If 30 minutes spent prospecting is not enough, assign projects like that more than one 30-minute segment, but make sure they are spread throughout the day. It’s not difficult to focus your attention if it’s only for 30 minutes. You can’t blindly assume that you’re going to follow whatever schedule you set, so try monitoring yourself as you do your activities. There is a range of applications that can help you do this, with various levels of sophistication. DeskTime, for example, includes all kinds of features, such as reports, integrations with your project management software, and even productivity timelines. At the end of each workday, reflect on how you spent your time. Then add events to your calendar to document a map of what you accomplished in each block of time. This helps refine your workload estimation skills and hold yourself accountable for the work you said you’d do. You can set this to private in most calendar apps—you know if you don’t want to share it with your entire organization. To keep stress levels in check, managers must focus on one essential skill: delegation. Your ability to become the best version of yourself depends on your ability to find the time and space to hone your strengths and passions. Delegating work will help alleviate stress and reduce the potential for burnout. Mapping out your tasks can help you get more specific on what you need to delegate. To perform at your best, you need to take regular, intentional breaks to recharge. When you are doing high-intensity, focused work, you’re using up your cognitive resources. And when you take a restorative break, you are recharging those resources. These breaks help you be more productive, restore your motivation, and help you make better decisions and reach more creative results. When the stakes are low, it is easy to convince yourself that there’s more to life than careful time management strategies. But as your responsibilities, task list, and the number of people counting on you multiply, you may realize that you need to have your time management strategies down to a fine art to be able to think of or enjoy anything else. This is fulfilling your duty as a leader. You have eight hours to sleep, eight hours to work, and the last eight hours of the day—what you do with that time will determine the quality of your life. Explore more about : How to onboard employees virtually
How to onboard employees virtually
How to onboard employees virtually In the past, a new employee would show up on their first day and get thrown into the mix. They might go through a few organized sit-downs with managers, financial controllers, or a department head to get them up to speed, but mostly, they would learn by watching. Onboarding digitally is a very different experience than onboarding in-person—not just for new employees, but also for the existing team members already working with the company. There are a few things that are especially useful for creating an authentic experience. You must be very specific regarding what your culture is like, beginning with the interview. Give them a sense of what a day of their role would look like. Walk them through some of the problems they could expect, and talk with them on how they feel regarding them. Something that has been found to be beneficial is pairing new hires with senior employees who can act as mentors. This gives the new hire someone they can go to for questions, but more importantly, it gives them a way to feel included. A mentor gives you reassurance. In terms of onboarding a new employee, structuring time to answer questions, introducing them to other team members, or walking them through client materials is priority number one. There should also be moments where other employees spontaneously reach out. These moments of serendipity are everyday occurrences in a physical office. When working remotely, we have to work a little harder to engineer them. Send a few check-in emails to the new hires or, better yet, pick up the phone and ask how things are going. Find ways to build relationships so new team members feel they’re part of something and that people in the organization care for one another. What we are learning from this shift to digital workplaces, is that the way we interact needs to be done with intention. Being effectively onboarded into an organization deals with communication: how you communicate the workings of the company, how you communicate standards and expectations. It sends a signal as to how the new hire should communicate. Have someone from your marketing team put together a quick video that can be used for new hires. Including interviews or videos with leadership and employees across teams and levels can give a new employee a good grasp of the corporate structure, everyone’s roles, their personalities, and how each team and employee is connected. Asking people to record clips on their phones is an easy way to get this done, and makes it feel relatable. Set up a buddy system. Give someone a go-to resource they can ask questions of, and make sure to introduce them first-thing on their first day. Set up ‘meet and greets’ with as many employees as you can, even if it’s not someone that the new hire will work with daily. There’s nothing worse than joining a meeting and having to ask someone who half the people are because you have never seen them before. Don’t jam everything into one day. The first day on a job is always overwhelming, so don’t overload a new hire with all the details. Spread out how you can to ease them into everything. Create a probation period plan with concrete goals and small projects. Although getting onboarding right represents a massive opportunity, getting it wrong represents an even greater risk to an organization. 1 out of 5 new hires will leave within the first six weeks — and it has never been more critical than during the Great Resignation. It’s important that everyone involved in the onboarding process knows what they need to do. Even more critical are the actions of the new hire’s manager during the first few weeks. Research shows the hiring manager’s impact on an employee’s engagement is 70%, so it’s critical for managers to receive thorough coaching, guidance and reminders. Instead of giving new hires and managers a list of information and tasks to complete on the first day, onboarding should be viewed as a journey that takes place before, during and after a new hire steps through the office door. This relieves much of the first-day stress by providing new employees the right information at the right time.
How to get the right work mentor
How to get the right work mentor Beginning a job remotely can be stressful. When your interactions with new colleagues are only happening through a screen, the process of learning the best ways (and people) to help you do things often feels overwhelming. Research shows that mentors are not only helpful to new workers acclimating to a new organization, but also key to professional growth. In a hybrid mentorship setup, mentors must take advantage of the time they spend with their mentees in-person to have constructive discussions and form connections, while also establishing open lines of communication in remote settings through virtual coffee chats, accessible hours and a common goal for the mentorship program. When designing a mentorship program, businesses should focus on pairing mentors and mentees who can learn from one another. For instance, a senior manager can share advice on leadership style and future career path options to a more junior employee, while the junior worker can provide insight on navigating technology, social media and new mediums. Organizations should also be thoughtful in the assignments, discussion prompts and materials provided in mentorship programs so they aren’t solely one-way knowledge dissemination processes. For instance, hard skills and management discussions are well-tailored for mentees to learn from mentors, but weaving in technology workshops and discussions on work-life balance, can allow senior employees to learn from junior mentees. Engagement can be improved by one-on-one mentoring relationships and specifically tailored learning development programs. Mentors and coaches also provide employees with a window into future career paths, which enhances learning and development plans by giving workers a better idea of the types of experiences they want to gain in the future. Many younger workers say they would like a mentor figure at work. A recent study of 13 to 25-year-olds found that 82% of respondents would prefer to work for a boss who cares for them and can discuss issues beyond work, and 73% reported they were more motivated to perform at their jobs “when they [felt] their supervisor cares for them.” It’s important as a new employee to grab any and all opportunities to connect, including company-sponsored mentorship programs. A mentor doesn’t even have to be someone high up. Some of the most useful mentors are people who are just a step or two ahead of you because they were in your shoes not too long ago. Your mentor doesn’t really need to be someone who was in your shoes five years ago. They can just be someone with whom you share a similar mindset. The mentor experience has changed during the last few years. Given the Great Resignation, employees are reclaiming their power, advocating for themselves, and seeking a better work experience. This better work experience includes having mentorship that is inclusive, measurable and results driven. With the shift to virtual work and employees becoming increasingly mindful of their priorities, we’re seeing an increase in employees wanting not only mentorship but also a way to connect virtually with other employees to build meaningful relationships. Corporate mentorship programs continue to pair mentors and mentees based on position, title, or gender rather than personality traits and lived experiences. With 52% of American workers considering a job change and burnout running rampant, sustainable mentor-mentee relationships are more important than ever. In a mentor relationship, you often share very personal aspects of yourself, such as your goals, aspirations, struggles, and so forth. Hence, entering a mentorship is an exercise in vulnerability. To determine whether you can be honest with your mentor, ask that person what level of information they’re comfortable sharing and discussing. Start small and expand the mentor relationship as time goes on. Two of the most important characteristics of a good mentorship are a willingness to show humility and to practice transparency. That might mean confronting emotions of pain, embarrassment, or remorse—but it also means celebrating moments of great joy, learning, and camaraderie. When you do find someone that you hit it off with, make sure that you hold onto this spark. These connections can eventually become long-lasting friendships. As you grow in your professional life, you will need different skill sets to get from one point to another. Soft skills, such as people skills, negotiation, management and leadership, become more and more important and mentorship is the best way to learn.
How to nail your annual performance review
How to nail your annual performance review Performance management doesn’t start and end with annual performance reviews. Effective managers know that there needs to be a strong process in place that supports real-time feedback, one-on-ones, and a variety of engagement surveys to monitor performance. That is the only way to know the real value employees are bringing to the organization and truly support them in their roles. Staying on top of remote work performance and monitoring how employees are performing both in their roles (as well as their careers) is a sure-fire way to get the best out of people and to create an environment that they want to be a part of, regardless of where they are currently located. Real-time feedback is a great addition to traditional performance reviews because it gives the employee a better understanding of their performance on a frequent basis. Real-time feedback is essential to keep everyone in the loop, give the manager a good overview of what’s going on, and provide the employee with tangible information they can use to work on their performance. Employees’ skills and development needs are constantly evolving, and hence, assigning a static rating annually based on the prior twelve months of work doesn’t make much sense. Employees want to be seen as more than a number, and if the unique strengths they bring to the table aren’t recognized, they will be more likely to look for employment elsewhere. It is really difficult to improve within your role when expectations haven’t been properly communicated to you. It is advisable to have a conversation with your direct supervisor on their expectations regarding your role and responsibilities, be specific with your questions and clarify timelines, details, and expected level of autonomy for different deliverables or work. If your company doesn’t have a formal, regular feedback process in place, ask. Holding regular check-ins with your management team and other superiors gives you an opportunity to make sure that they know and understand you and your unique combination of superpowers. When someone offers helpful information, be sure you are thoughtful in incorporating it into the way you work. Far too often, employees expect career opportunities to just happen. Successful employees are aware of what they need to do to improve, advocate for their own learning and growth, and aren’t afraid to communicate their successes. Don’t be afraid to ask your manager regarding a growth opportunity, or a project that you are interested in learning more on for your professional growth. It is very easy to fall into the trap of feeling frustrated that you aren’t where you want to be yet within your career. It can be powerful to remind yourself that while you haven’t mastered a certain skill or achieved a goal yet, you most certainly can. Consider what you need to do to achieve that mastery to reframe your perspective and focus on what is possible. Instead of thinking of your review as only an annual or semi-annual event, use it as a springboard to start building and strengthening a relationship with your manager year-round. Without the day-to-day interactions that come with being in the same office, you have to be more intentional regarding setting the stage for your review, especially if your boss doesn’t do it. Set up regular virtual meetings to update your manager on what you’ve been working on and ask for regular feedback. Talk to your manager regarding the skills you need to get to the next step and what projects you can get involved in. Dress professionally for your performance review. Make sure your space is quiet, well lit, and free from interruptions and system alerts. If you’re willing to make your career growth a priority, your manager likely will too. You may have a promotion as one of your goals. While there is a lot you cannot control in the decision-making process, you are in control of a few things. It is also important to keep in mind that even if you don’t get promoted in the time-frame you expected, you might still want to lay the groundwork. While extra effort is great and will help build your case for moving on up, your manager can’t read your mind. Some employees are happy at their current level and don’t want more responsibility. If you don’t let your manager know you are striving to be promoted, they may not even be considering you. Don’t be afraid to speak of your accomplishments and expertise in an accurate way. As the dynamics of work continue to evolve and shift, so too will our work and priorities. One thing remains constant: You are at the helm of your career. Take action and pilot your course to greatness.
Getting ahead in the talent recruiting game
Getting ahead in the talent recruiting game Due to the pandemic, seismic numbers of lower-level employees have been terminated and many of their positions have been eradicated. High-level employees – those critical to company benefits and growth – have filled the gaps with increased workloads and hours. The result: major burnout among top performers and what’s been dubbed ‘The Great Migration’. The Great Migration saw a record 4.3 million Americans leave their jobs in August 2021, which was 242,000 more than July. According to June 2021 research data by Monster, 95% of workers say they are considering changing jobs due to burnout. Recent research from Robert Half finds that more than 90% of company senior managers are challenged to source adequate skilled professionals. Compounding this dilemma for employers are health insurance premiums, which have topped the average 5% annual increase for those costs over the past 10 pre-COVID years. Health insurance costs for employers were up an estimated 5.3% in 2021, and are predicted to rise 6.5% in 2022. What remains the same is the high importance of health benefits to high-ranking employees. In this highly competitive workforce and costly health insurance environment, how can smaller companies recruit and retain top talent affordably? One often-overlooked, yet increasingly popular, solution is an excepted-benefits health insurance plan. These non-traditional, fully insured and tax-advantaged health plans are exempt from Affordable Care Act requirements. Basically, excepted-benefits health plans provide typically tax-exempt reimbursement to select employees and their eligible dependents for virtually all medical costs not covered by their primary health plan, including deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance and other out-of-pocket (OOP) costs. And importantly, all fixed and variable premium costs are fully tax-deductible for employers. Excepted-benefits plans offer an annual maximum benefit of up to $100,000, which covers the employee and his/her eligible dependents. This not only covers deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance and other OOP costs, but also dental/orthodontic procedures, vision care, hearing aids, in-home nursing, speech therapy, physical therapy and maternity care. Additionally, excepted-benefits plans can be added to any employee’s underlying group health policy as well as to an employee’s individual, spousal or Medicare policy – as long as those policies meet the requirements of the plan provider. Excepted-benefits plans typically have no pre-existing condition exclusions, very limited eligibility requirements, and no enrollment waiting periods. Excepted-benefits plans charge a fixed annual premium, as low as $500 per plan participant. Benefits such as health savings accounts, flexible spending accounts, 401(k) plans and even office stipends are no longer enough to reel in top candidates and retain quality employees. They are merely table stakes. Forward-thinking benefits, such as housing support, that surpass employees’ expectations, are what will give a company an edge. A new survey ranked the following benefits as among the most important: flexible work schedules were listed as a top-three benefit by 71% of respondents, followed by retirement plans (63%), home office stipends (33%), HSAs (33%), and wellness/fitness benefits (29%). 75% of female employees said flexible work schedules were a top benefit; 67% percent of male workers said the same. A recent study of US employees found that one in three employees suffered a reduction of their financial wellness benefits due to the pandemic, which forced some to pull money from emergency funds or modify retirement plan funding. Nearly 80% of corporate managers have said that improving their financial wellness options would help them better recruit and retain employees. Additionally, when asked which benefits influence a job candidate’s willingness to accept a position, managers put two at the top of the list: medical insurance and a retirement savings plan. The second tier included dental insurance, retirement matching contributions, life and vision insurance. For millennial employees, reimbursement for student loans and access to a financial advisor counted. Another recent study revealed that by offering employees on-demand pay and empowering them with choice and control over their payday, they stayed 35% longer at their job. Benefits also need to be looked at through the lens of DEI. According to Monster, 62% of job candidates would turn down a job if they felt the company culture didn’t value workplace diversity. As employers remain hindered by skills gaps among their workforces and look to attract and retain talent, upskilling should be a central focus of talent strategies. The opportunity for growth is a significant benefit and often considered a far greater compensation than small salary increases for many, because it may lead to far higher salaried positions within the organization. Ultimately, employees are demanding more control of their work lives, what they want out of their experience and an increase in work-life balance. Organizations with a compelling, flexible benefits offering will be better positioned to attract and retain top talent.