• Understanding the advantages of the gig economy

    August 16, 2018 by

     

    The workforce has been evolving due to the integration of technology in our society today. “Sometimes all you need is a cell phone and a laptop and you can do many kinds of work remotely,” states Jo Weech, CEO and Principal Consultant of Exemplary Consultants. Weech provides business management consulting to small businesses and start-ups. Here, she offers insight into what the gig economy is and how students and recent graduates can take advantage of the opportunities that come along with it.

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  • How college students and grads can make the most out of their summer internship

    June 06, 2018 by

     

    If you are starting a summer internship you’re most likely very excited, but also nervous. Here we offer some expert advice from Dr. Robert Shindell, President & CEO of Intern Bridge and Pam Baker, Founder & CEO of Journeous. These experts want to help you get the most out of your internship. In our interview with them, we discussed how you should approach the program, how to overcome the trickiest parts of getting started, how to avoid some of the most common mistakes, and what you can learn from even a poor internship experience.

    Watch the full half-hour interview with Shindell and Baker at https://youtu.be/WGS-1apIpCA

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  • Onboarding new employees starts before first day on job

    May 02, 2017 by

     

    A new employee who is not onboarded the right way is going to have difficulty finding a sense of belonging inside an organization, says Scott Redfearn, executive vice president of global HR at Protiviti, a global business consulting and internal audit firm.

    “Employees who don’t have a meaningful career experience aren’t going to last, and they will not perform to their full potential,” says Redfearn. Continue Reading

  • When your internship lands you a full-time job, what changes to expect

    November 04, 2016 by

    Intern happy to take jobMany students and grads take internships with the hope of them turning into full-time employment. When you get hired on full-time, you will assume more responsibility, so get ready to step up!

    You’re a grown up now. School and your internship are over.  You should recognize the expectations that your company has of you now. Susana Quirke, Content Writer and Marketing Executive at Inspiring Interns recounts, “We once had an intern take multiple days off in their first few weeks, with no doctor’s note, as if this were university. This is a job. Unless you have a real health issue, you have to go.”

    Many internship programs are very structured. You may been part of a cohort of interns. You may have been given specific project goals and received plenty of instruction. Companies who develop good internship programs expect to spend plenty of time helping you learn the ropes. However, when you begin working as a full-time employee, your supervisor may expect you to be able to perform without much hand-holding. Managers simply don’t have time for that.

    “That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask for clarification,” says Michele Mavi at Atrium Staffing. “Ask co-workers for pointers or check in when you need to make sure you’re on track. A lack of hand-holding doesn’t mean your manager expects you to know everything. What it means is they expect you to be able to manage yourself and ask for what you need when you need it.” When you don’t know the answer to something or have a problem, follow this rule of thumb. First, try to solve it by yourself. If you’re still stuck, ask a coworker. If you’re both stuck, go to your manager—but make sure to say how you’ve already tried to find a solution. Knowing you first took initiative, he or she may be happier to jump in and help.

    Enjoy your new responsibility! “A full-time employee will always be given more responsibility than an intern,” Susanna says. “You’ll be held to account in a way that you weren’t before, and expected to meet targets reliably. That’s why you’re paid, after all.” But the lack of direct hand-holding should be a good thing for you and your career. As Susanna puts it, many managers will let you “roam where you will, so long as you bring back the goods.”

    Don’t stop proving your worth just because you’ve been hired on full-time. “While there certainly may be a honeymoon period once you officially gain employee status, know that proving yourself doesn’t end with being hired. In fact, it’s just the beginning of the process,” says Michele. If you didn’t go through an evaluation or review process as an intern, you likely will as an employee. One way to think of your review, says Michele, is to “keep in mind is that as an employee you’re a cost. A cost to the company and to your department.” Your company is making an investment in you, and your job is to help them remain convinced that you’re worth it. “At least once a year, your boss will have to justify the cost of your salary against the value you provide.” Michele advises that you “strive to add value wherever possible and growth will be your reward.”

     

    Michele Mavissakalian at Atrium staffingMichele Mavi has nearly 15 years of experience as a recruiter, interview coach, and resume writer. She is Atrium Staffing’s resident career expert, as well as director of internal recruiting and content development. She also founded Angel Films, a division of Atrium Staffing focused on the creation of recruiting and training videos. Connect with Michele on LinkedIn.

    Susanna Quirke at Inspiring InternsSusanna Quirke is the Content Writer & Marketing Executive at Inspiring Interns. Inspiring Interns is a a graduate recruitment agency which specializes in sourcing candidates for internships  and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs London, visit their website. 
  • 7 ways employers benefit from internship programs, even if interns don’t become full-time employees

    September 08, 2016 by

     

    College students are looking for internships this year, and some interns will secure full-time employment with the company for which they intern. Others will go back to the job search, seeking a new job with a different company.

    It can be a dilemma for employers: Can we keep our rock star interns and hire them permanently, or do we let them go and watch them succeed somewhere else? That’s not always the best way to look at it.

    “Regardless if you are able to add a talented new college grad or entry-level employee to your staff, employers should always remember the best internships are those that are well-designed, have specific goals, and set appropriate expectations for the interns that are hired,” says Bob LaBombard, CEO of GradStaff, a company that serves as a career matchmaker for recent college graduates, and companies that are looking to fill entry-level jobs.

    Translation: If you can’t hire an intern for a full-time job, all is not lost. Here are seven reasons why:

    1. Strong Internship programs create a buzz/build your brand

    “Given the enormous growth of social media, the best internship programs are important tools in enhancing and expanding the brand image of the employer on campus and in creating positive buzz about the company,” says LaBombard. Interns talk. They spread the good – and bad – about your company. Treat them well, and your business – and reputation – will benefit.

    2. Internships help recruit for future job openings

    The best interns may go on to working full timeEvery business has specific business goals and needs when hiring interns. Larger companies tend to use their internship programs as a way to evaluate interns for current or future employment (such as after graduation), while small and medium employers are more likely to hire interns to accomplish specific goals, like completing a well-defined project or to cover staff for the summer vacation season, says LaBombard. Both are crucial to business success.  And so is treating interns as you would any other employee.

    “Even if full-time jobs will be only offered to a small subset of total interns, it is essential that each intern feels that she or he benefits from the experience and was treated fairly,” says LaBombard.

    Can’t hire that intern now, don’t fret.

    “Hiring needs can change rapidly, and that intern may soon be on your radar when seeking to fill a future opening,” says LaBombard.

    Or, if that intern has a positive experience, they may seek to apply for other future job openings even after they have received one or two years of experience elsewhere.

    Related: Northwestern Mutual’s internship program is their solution to an aging workforce

    3. Internships build networking and business opportunities

    If your intern goes on to do great things, and had a positive experience with your company, they may come back to seek your company services in another role, mention you to clients or vendors, or seek to partner with your business for future projects. You may be developing a future business partner.

    4. Develops strong pipeline of future talent

    Internship program fills your talent pipelineDid you hire a number of interns from one college or university? Did they have a great experience, but had to move on to other jobs? Don’t worry. These students will go back to their campus career center, professors, or peers, and reference the positive experience they had with your company. That means students from that college will be sure to keep your company at the forefront when seeking future internships, or full-time employment. Be honest and upfront with interns and keep lines of communications open about their performance, future opportunities, and next steps. This will ensure they view your company as a best place to work, and a place they would consider working for in the future. And a place they recommend to peers, professors, and campus career counselors.

    5. Interns can make a positive impact on corporate culture

    New ideas. New personalities. A new outlook. Those are all traits interns can bring to a department or business. This can help improve a company’s corporate culture, especially for employees who may be stuck in a rut. Maybe that new intern helps bridge some personality gaps and brings a team closer.

    Also read: 5 reasons to look beyond your top schools and majors 

    “A positive corporate culture is attractive to potential future hires,” says Bill Driscoll, District Presidentat Accountemps. “As much as possible, strive to develop a positive work environment where interns make the most of their skills and are exposed to different departments so that they will view the internship as a positive experience.”

    6. Internships provide a way to get candid feedback about the company

    Before saying goodbye to interns, make sure to conduct an exit interview. “It’s important for companies to part ways professionally because there is a chance you may work together again in the future,” says Driscoll. But take it a step further – use the exit interview to learn about areas where the company could improve or concerns that come up. These are things full-time/permanent employees may never share.

    7. Helps understand true cost of recruiting and retaining employees

    Don’t think you can afford to hire an intern right now? Can you afford to let that internship go to a competitor, or can you afford to spend more money to recruit and train a new employee in the future? That star intern already has experience with your company and can move right into a full-time role without missing a beat. This saves on the costs of recruiting and hiring a new employee, and keeps business moving forward, producing results with the intern who is now a full-time employee and that is already trained in and understand their role and the company.

    An intern isn’t the only one getting invaluable experience and training. Employers can also benefit from hiring interns, even if they don’t become full-time employees.

  • 10 tips for college graduates seeking job search success

    July 27, 2016 by
    Businessman working from home on laptop courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

    College seniors and recent college graduates often enter the job market eager and excited about the possibilities of landing that first job. But many quickly find out job search success isn’t immediate and requires a lot of hard work.

    But successful job seekers also quickly realize there are resources that can help: mentors, college career services departments, and professional contacts are willing to assist recent college graduates in their quest for job search success.

    Below, we organized feedback from a variety of career services professionals and recruiting experts, all who offer job search and career advice for college seniors, recent college grads, and entry-level job seekers striving to achieve job search success. We’d like to offer our own secret: register as a job seeker with College Recruiter. We’ll send you new job leads tailored to your interests and preferences and save you the trouble of searching for them on a regular basis.

    1. Write down the best qualities of one job you would do for free

    “Think about the one job you would do even if you weren’t being paid for doing it – the job you would do right now simply for the joy it brings you. Write it down. Then write down the qualities of this job. As you interview, be sure to ask questions that address the presence of these qualities. At the offer stage, be sure to assess the offers in terms of the presence or absence of these qualities.”

    Steve Levy, Advisor at Day 100

    2. Find a mentor

    “The best tip that I could give college seniors is to be willing to ask questions. It can be intimidating to have peers with jobs already lined up and seemingly everything figured out. Don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know about the job search. Ask for help with the process. Find a mentor or several mentors, and use their time wisely. Instead of asking for a simple resume review, bring your resume and 5 job descriptions and ask, “how could I strengthen my application for each of these roles?” or “If you were interviewing for these positions, how would you evaluate candidates?” Once you start asking deep-dive questions about resumes, jobs, and interviews, you will become an active, engaged candidate.”

    Mike Caldwell, Director, Business Careers & Employer Development and College of William & Mary

    3. Connect with your cover letter

    “When writing your cover letter, make sure you’re talking about how well you fit with both the job description AND the company. There will likely be several candidates who have a strong background for the position. Once that has been established, the company will look at who will fit best into the company and its established culture. This is your opportunity to establish that connection early.”

    Kelsey Lavigne, Career Services Specialist, University of Arkansas College of Engineering

    4. Resume tip: Show don’t tell

    “Show me; don’t tell me. I often say that evidence is worth more than a thousand words. When hiring, I am looking for someone who truly ‘walks the talk’—and a great way for candidates to demonstrate or prove their ability, passion, skills, and knowledge is by using a portfolio—which goes well beyond a static resume.”

    Heather Hiles, is the CEO and founder of Pathbrite

    5. Focus on people first

    “When you get into your job — no matter what you’re doing or how much you like it — focus on people first. Get to know your coworkers and get to care about your coworkers. You have no idea what turn your career will take, and in five years this job may be a small blip on your resume. But what makes the job worth the time are the people you meet and the relationships you form.”

    Sarah Greesonbach, Principal at B2B Content Studio, @AwYeahSarah

    6. Be specific in your first job search

    “Be open to other career path opportunities which may come your way, but in your initial search be specific. A narrow focus will keep you from wasting your time (and that of employers, recruiters, and hiring managers) by applying and interviewing for positions which really aren’t a good fit or what you want to be doing. Also, it’s okay to start at the beginning, though the pay and responsibility may be less than what you were hoping. Go in with the understanding and determination that as long as you do more than what you are paid to do, you will eventually end up being paid more for what you do, if not by your present employer, then its competitor.”

    David Flake, Human Resources Director at State of Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

    7. Stay organized

    “Start early and stay organized. Keep a log of applications you’ve completed, date, which copy of your resume you sent, and any contact information you have. Use that to follow up on jobs!”

    Rebecca Warren, Career & Disability Services Coordinator, University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville

    8. Utilize your college career services department

    “Make use of the career services office at your college or university. The staff can direct you when it comes to resumes, career fairs, job opportunities, and the appropriate ways to follow up with potential employers.”

    Kaitlyn Maloney, Human Resources Coordinator, New England Center for Children

    9. Maintain a positive online image

    “Make sure you are reflecting your professional self. Search for your name online. See what comes back in the results. Remember you’re selling yourself to potential employers, and you should present your best self. Keep social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) free from questionable posts and images.”

    Erin Vickers, Staffing Consultant, RightSourcing, Inc.

    10. Always learn to grow as a professional

    “Be gentle with yourself as you navigate the job market. You probably won’t land your dream job the first time around. However, if you understand that this process is a continuation of your learning and growth as both a professional and person you will be just fine.”

    Janine Truitt, Chief Innovations Officer, Talent Think Innovations, LLC.

    The job search is tough. Seek out help and assistance. Utilize these resources and tips to help succeed in your job search now and throughout your career.

    For more job search success stories and tips, visit our blog and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

  • 10 career mistakes to avoid

    June 26, 2016 by
    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    One of your top goals is to have a happy and successful life.

    Your career is the key to achieving this goal.

    You’ve got a nice degree, have a lovely smile and are ready to work, but there’s one more thing that could stop you from realizing your dreams:

    Mistakes.

    Some mistakes could harm or even end your career. You have to recognize and avoid them at all costs if you really want to have a successful life.

    There are 10 career defining mistakes.

    1. Dressing badly at work

    Research tells us that what we wear affects how we think. How we dress also affects how other people perceive us.

    Sure, you deserve to get the respect you think you deserve and get people to listen to you. People should respect you because you know what you’re talking about.

    So why should you wear expensive socks to get people to respect you?

    Let me tell you a story.

    One day I was on a bus headed to my friend’s house. It’s been a long time since I went to the neighborhood so I wasn’t so sure which stop to get off at. I was constantly looking out at the window, and the gentleman sitting beside me could not help but notice it.

    He nicely asked where I was going and if I needed help. I told him where I was going, and he said I should exit in two stops. I thanked him.

    A few minutes later, another man sitting behind me said “Actually, you should get off at the next stop.”

    I thanked him and exited where he told me, ignoring the advice of the first guy.

    Now, you may want to ask me why I chose the second guy’s advice.

    As I walk away from the bus stop, I realized I ignored my seatmate’s advice because he was wearing sweatpants, had a dark stain on his T-shirt, and looked like he skipped showering that day. I realized that I chose the second guy’s advice because he wore a collared jacket, well-polished shoes, and designer glasses.

    When you dress well at work, people will notice you. Your superiors will notice you, and they would admire you for that. That would open up more opportunities for you.

    2. Expressing a rude and negative attitude at work

    Even if you’re a highly-talented employee but always express a bad and negative attitude at work, you’ll have a high mountain to climb to advance your career. Many managers hate working with employees who have bad attitudes because they decrease the team morale.

    According to studies from Leadership IQ, 87% of employees say that working with somebody with a bad attitude has actually made them want to change jobs. And as much as 89% of new hires who fail within 18 months actually failed because of attitudinal issues, not skills. Bad attitudes also include laziness, tardiness, inappropriate jokes, unresponsive to emails, etc. List all the bad and negative attitudes you have and make a consistent effort to overcome them.

    3. Not building good relationships with your colleagues

    Bad relationships are bound to happen from time to time. How you deal with them is the most important thing.

    Your colleagues are the keys to your happiness at work. If you’re not happy with your coworkers, then you’ll certainly be looking for work soon. I’m a big believer of the phrase “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If you want your coworkers to be kind and respectful to you, then you have to be kind and respectful to them.

    Make sure you remember your coworkers’ names and address them by their names. It’s easy to say happy birthdays to your coworkers on Facebook when you rarely talk to them at work. Make sure you’re doing that important one-on-one conversation. Get on the phone and tell them “Happy Birthday.” Go an extra mile and surprise them with a gift. This little generosity will make you more likable at your workplace.

    4. Writing unprofessional emails to colleagues

    You know there are some unprofessional things you shouldn’t say to your colleagues in the workplace. The same is true for work emails.

    For example, it’s not appropriate to answer a colleague asking you how your job search is going inside your work email. Another example is when your colleague complains about other coworkers and says nasty things about them.

    These are discussions you shouldn’t allow inside your work email. I don’t think it’s good to allow it at all whether it’s your personal or work email. You should know that you don’t own your work email, your employer does. Your employer can monitor who you’re communicating with on your work email. You could be in trouble if you’re making inappropriate remarks about sensitive issues at your workplace.

    In addition to that, there are some email mistakes that can make you look really unprofessional.

    For example:

    • Using informal or curse words you’re not allowed to use at work
    • Rambling in your email instead of getting straight to the point
    • Forgetting to attach files when you say you’ve attached files
    • Spelling the person’s name wrong or using a different name to address the recipient

    These email mistakes may not look big to you, but they are serious mistakes that can prevent you from accelerating your career.

    5. Making career choices based on earnings

    The love of money could lead you down the wrong career path.

    I’m not saying “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

    You need money to do a lot of things. You probably need money to pay student loans, buy some nice outfits and keep the roof over your head. So you definitely need money. We all do.

    But when you choose a career or a job you don’t even enjoy based on your goal to make $90,000 per year, that’s when it becomes a problem. You need to ask yourself:

    Does your desire for money match your passion and skills? When you choose a job you’re less passionate about, you’ll be pushing yourself to get things done. And this would be visible in your performance. You should choose a job where you have the skills and abilities to get the job done.

    6. Not investing in yourself

    If you strip Larry Page of his assets and dump him on the street, I can assure you that he would be back living a comfortable life within a week.

    Larry Page has a ton of human capital.

    According to Wikipedia“Human capital is the stock of knowledge, habits, social and personality attributes, including creativity, embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value.” In other words, human capital is a collection of resources—all the knowledge, talents, skills, abilities, experience, intelligence, training, judgment, and wisdom that are possessed by an individual. If you want to achieve a lot of success in your career, you need a lot of human capital. Focusing on building your human capital is a lot more productive than worrying about “job security.

    So how do you build your human capital?

    You build up your human capital by investing in yourself through:

    • Improving your skills
    • Acquiring complementary skills
    • Reading educational books
    • Starting healthy habits
    • Building your personal brand
    • Getting a mentor

    As you do these things, you’ll become irreplaceable in your organization. You’ll become the go-to person within your company. Many more people will start looking up to you. All these help you accelerate your career.

    But when you stop investing in yourself, you become stagnant. Your skills become obsolete.

    7. Not maintaining a healthy work-life balance

    A poor work-life balance is bad for both the employee (you) and the employer.

    People who have a poor work-life balance are more stressed and experience more family conflicts. They also tend to have both mental and physical problems. If your private life is suffering, it will negatively impact your professional life. Your private life comes first. When you experience more problems in your private life, your creativity, engagement and productivity at work will suffer.

    The only way to prevent this is to keep a work-life balance.

    This may not look like a career mistake to you, but it’s a mistake that can have adverse effects on your career. You should set work hours and stick to them. Don’t work during times when you should be with your family or have set aside times for tending to personal matters which are a priority to you.

    8. Not improving your communication skills

    “The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”—Theodore Roosevelt

    The consequences of poor communication are great.

    For example, if your communication skills are poor, your message would be hard to understand, and this can lead to serious confusion among your colleagues.

    Too much information when it is not needed can also affect the concentration of the listener.

    Poor communication becomes more serious when you communicate with customers. If customers are not serviced in the right manner, it would reduce sales, thereby affecting business goals.

    Great communication skills help you do well at your job because you’ll be using these skills when requesting information, discussing problems, giving out instructions, and interacting with your colleagues. As a result of demonstrating good communication skills, you’ll enhance your professional image, build sound business relationships, and get more successful responses.

    You have to continue sharpening your communication skills if you want to get and stay at the top.

    How do you do that?

    You sharpen your communication skills by:

    • Striking up conversations with strangers
    • Reading good books
    • Listening to others
    • And engaging in more one-on-one conversations

    9. Not networking outside your company

    Your network is your net worth.

    Your network is your source of job opportunities, potential business partnerships and much more. Your network won’t only find your next job, but it will help you improve your current position.

    NETWORKING is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organization!”—Adam Small

    One of the biggest mistakes many people make is to network when they are only looking for a job. You can’t only rely on people you already know within your current workplace to help you land your dream job. You must always be networking outside of your company, and even your industry.

    For example, let’s say you’re a website designer; networking with other website designers alone would limit your opportunities. You should network outside your industry like in the Healthcare, Manufacturing, Agriculture and Energy sectors. People in these sectors could be good references. They could become customers. They might know someone who needs your service.

    LinkedIn is a very good place to start networking with people outside your industries.

    But your conversation with those people shouldn’t be limited to the web. Take it offline. Do face-to-face meetings with them. That’s how you expand your network and increase your chance of career success.

    10. Not serving your network

    The truth is the people in your network needs you as much as you need them.

    You can’t just expect people in your network to connect you with other people they know. You can’t just expect them to link you up with job opportunities without you giving them some value. You’ll appear selfish if you always expect people to do things for you but offer nothing in return.

    The best way to keep people interested in you is to serve them. When you diligently do something good for people, they will want to return the favor, though, your major aim of helping people shouldn’t be to get something in return. The more people you serve, the more your network grows, and the more your network grows, the more opportunities will come your way.

    Michael Akinlaby, guest writer

    Michael Akinlaby, guest writer

    Need more tips for making the best career choices? Visit our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

    Michael Akinlaby is a freelance writer and SEO Consultant. He’s the founder of RankRain, an internet marketing agency that specializes in content marketing and Search Engine. 

  • Taking onboarding to the next level

    June 09, 2016 by
    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Congratulations! You’ve landed your dream job – or at least the job that now represents a stepping stone on the path to that dream job. Either way, a new experience is on the horizon.

    All companies, regardless of size, have an onboarding process. The onboarding process welcomes new employees to the organization. Some companies formalize the process and run it through a distinct human resources department. Others may have a more informal process that connects new employees with a more seasoned professional to help you learn the ropes.

    Regardless of which process you encounter, making the most of your onboarding experience is a great way to begin your new career.

    Since you never have a second chance to make the first impression, take the bull by the horn and rock your onboarding experience.

    Be Punctual

    This should go without saying, but show up on time – early even – when starting a new job. Showing up on time shows that you respect your colleagues’ time. They are busy professionals, and the onboarding process may be tightly scheduled in among a number of competing priorities.

    If you’re unfamiliar with the area, take a dry run at locating the office in normal traffic to ensure you know the route. Above all, leave extra time for unexpected events.

    Be Personable

    A smile goes a long way when meeting new people for the first time. Dust off your most social persona and make it available during the onboarding process. Find out what you can about the company culture, important dates to consider, and what it takes to be a successful employee with your new employer.

    Be Proactive

    Many companies will assign workplace mentors to new hires. Mentors generally serve as someone who can help you get established, answer routine questions as you get settled, or direct you to the appropriate resources to find the correct assistance. If the mentoring program is not defined, ask your contact if they can recommend a senior employee and make the connection. Mentors are likely extremely busy, so reach out to a workplace mentor and set up a lunch meeting. Use that downtime to establish a relationship, seek advice, or learn more about the company’s culture or advancement prospects.

    Be Pensive

    Ask questions. Use the onboarding process to find out as much as you can about the new company, your new positions, and your new coworkers. If applicable, find out as much as you can about expectations for someone in your position. Learn as much as you can about training options available. Connect with any social or philanthropic organizations sponsored by your new company to connect with other employees and begin building your network.

    Be Productive

    While you were hired for a specific position, the onboarding process may expose you to a wide range of functions and opportunities available in the company. Gather as much information as you can. Look for opportunities to make your mark – even on your first day. If there are processes that can be improved or angles which can be exploited for cost savings or revenue generation, find out who would be the best person to submit those suggestions moving forward. Innovative ideas and process improvement strategies are valuable skills to help you stand out.

    For more onboarding tips, check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

    Guest writer Vera Marie Reed is a freelance writer living in Glendale, California. This mother of two specializes in education and parenting content. When she’s not delivering expert advice, you can find her reading, writing, arts, going to museums and doing craft projects with her children.

  • 7 tips for networking in the workplace

    June 07, 2016 by

    Did you know that 80% of workplace conflicts and problems arise from communication glitches? It’s true. You can do your part to prevent workplace conflicts—originating from miscommunication—by developing your soft skills, namely communication skills and networking skills. If you improve your relationships with your colleagues, clients, and supervisors via networking in the workplace, you’ll be much less likely to face problems at work.

    As a new employee, particularly as a recent grad or intern, it’s also important to network with others at work in order to build rapport with the people you rely upon for help and information to perform your job duties well. If you want to succeed, you’ll quickly learn that it pays to maintain positive relationships with everyone around you.

    Bethany Wallace, Content Manager for College Recruiter, offers seven tips for networking in the workplace in this short video.


    If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.

    1. Know yourself well.

    If you can detect when you’re having an off day, take steps to prevent taking it out on everyone around you. Stay in your cubicle or office on those days if necessary or take more frequent breaks. Before you begin working, get an extra-large coffee and take some deep breaths or read some positive literature.  Look at some funny photos for five minutes. Find a solution that works for you. If you find yourself in a negative place due to personal circumstances, and you’re allowing your personal life to affect your work life, talk to your human resources officer confidentially to see if your company offers wellness benefits, including an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

    In addition, taking a DISC inventory or other personality inventory—ask your career services office about taking these inventories at no cost on your college campus—can help you to learn more about your work style. It might take one hour to take the inventory, but you’ll then be armed with information about how you work best, how you prefer to interact with others, and what to avoid when interacting with others. The sooner you learn this information about yourself, the better.

    2. Treat others well.

    Treat your colleagues and clients well regardless of their level of expertise, pay grade, or how much money they are spending with your company. When networking, your contacts will appreciate being treated with courtesy, kindness, respect, appreciation, and fairness. You’ll build a reputation of treating people well, and a great reputation goes a long way in the workplace. If you decide to stay with your present company, you may want to apply for an internal job promotion. If you’ve been networking with others at work and treating everyone well, your behavior will likely speak just as loudly as your resume, cover letter, and job application. If you decide to leave your company to pursue other job opportunities, you’ll be glad you treated others well when potential employers call to check your references and hear about how kind, thoughtful, and positive you were at work every day.

    3. Don’t be afraid to collaborate and share.

    Collaborating and sharing ideas and information in the workplace today is a great way to network with your colleagues and to show them that you want to help, not hinder the growth of the organization or team. Sharing your ideas with others also encourages others to share their ideas, and the workplace becomes a more creative place.

    4. Don’t do halfalogues.

    What’s a halfalogue? A halfalogue is when you only participate in half the conversation or dialogue because you’re holding your phone, scrolling through a text message or email, and aren’t able to fully participate and interact with your colleagues as a result. At work, you have to put down your phone if you want to make good impressions and build positive relationships with your supervisors, colleagues, and clients. It’s not just rude to play on your phone during meetings; it’s also important to pay attention when stopping by someone’s office casually to say hello.

    5. Address people by name.

    This is like networking 101. Referring to people by name during conversations or even in emails makes them feel more special, and that’s always a good thing. How long does it take to type out, “Bethany?” Maybe one or two seconds. It’s worth it to improve your communication skills and reduce the potential for future workplace conflicts.

    6. Focus on the solution, not the problem.

    Be a positive influence at work. When networking, whether at workplace events or during daily interactions in the workplace, keep conversations “light and polite” and focused on positive topics and on solutions, not problems. It’s inevitable at work that you’re going to be asked to discuss problems and conflicts during meetings. What’s important is that you find a way to discuss problems in a positive light and to focus on taking constructive action.

    For example, if you’re discussing a challenge you’re facing as a new employee tasked with visiting with patients at a clinic, and you have discovered you simply cannot keep up with the volume of paperwork and still provide quality service to the patients face-to-face, you can be honest about the problem yet discuss potential solutions.

    “I am really glad we have so many patients coming to the office. I like talking to them and helping them get set up to see the doctor. I’m just feeling overwhelmed by the documents to scan and know I’m getting behind. I think I need more time to scan documents, but I don’t want to offer patients a lower level of service either. Do you think I could work on documents for 30 minutes in the morning before I start seeing patients every day? Maybe this would help me to keep it managed.”

    Presenting a potential solution—even if it’s not the solution your employer prefers or selects to implement—suggests that you’re not just belly-aching about problems. It also showcases your soft skills, including your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. These are not just great networking skills but are great workplace skills any employer values.

    7. Interact face-to-face whenever possible.

    It’s not always an option, but interact face-to-face if you can. Face-to-face communication helps you avoid most communication errors and opportunities for miscommunication because it is channel rich. When you’re speaking with someone face-to-face, you’re provided with multiple cues that help you interpret meaning: voice tone, spoken word, facial expression, hand gestures, and many more. When you communicate with someone via email or text message, communication is channel lean, meaning you’re relying on just one thing–words. Have you ever received a text message from a significant other, and the intended meaning is not the meaning you interpreted? This likely caused some hurt feelings or even a huge fight. The same thing happens in the workplace.

    For this reason, it’s best to hold meetings face-to-face. If you work remotely, consider hosting meetings virtually via Zoom or Skype. If that’s not an option, you can conference in by phone. At least you can hear voices rather than simply read words. Simply hammering out emails back and forth gives you the illusion that you’re saving time, when in fact, you often waste time because you create confusion which you have to clarify by writing three more emails. Save yourself the hassle—and build better relationships—by talking to people face-to-face when possible. You’ll probably find that your networking skills and communication skills will grow, and you’ll build great relationships, too.

    For more networking tips, visit our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

     

  • How to implement a yearlong onboarding program

    June 01, 2016 by
    How to implement a yearlong onboarding program

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    From learning the ins-and-outs of a company’s culture to specific job tasks, joining a new organization and starting a new job can be daunting.

    That’s why it’s important for employers and HR professionals to establish a strong foundation for new employees to launch a productive and meaningful career by creating a strong onboarding program, says Jennifer Shofner, Manager, Campus Talent Acquisition at Ecolab, a global leader in water, hygiene, and energy technologies and services.

    While many organizations focus on how to properly onboard an employee that first day on the job, most don’t have a dedicated yearlong onboarding program to help the employee through that first year on the job.

    “When combined with functional training, a yearlong onboarding program can provide new employees tools to do their jobs, but additionally, can drive engagement through demonstrating employee and business success go hand-in-hand,” says Shofner.

    Below, Shofner provides five onboarding milestones and strategies that help drive new employee engagement at Ecolab:

    Day 1: Provide transparency in expectations and culture
    All new employees start their first day eager, excited, and hopeful. Ensuring new employees feel welcomed and informed is the first step in maintaining this attitude beyond the first day, says Shofner.  Create a program that is consistent with company expectations and demonstrates your organization’s culture. Demonstrate not only “the what” but also “the how” work gets done. “This can help drive the environment that you want every employee to feel and help create,” says Shofner.

    First 30 days: Enable a community for ongoing support
    If you ask any employee at Ecolab why they work there, the resounding answer will be “the people” says Shofner. Knowing that relationships are part of Ecolab’s culture and success, the organization intentionally provide a system for networking. The “Buddy” program assigns new hires a contact to answer day-to-day questions, serve as a networking agent and helps them find a community within Ecolabs large organization. “Having one or two close contacts at work can be a powerful driver of initial job satisfaction,” says Shofner.

    3 Months: Focus on engagement
    Host a dedicated session that demonstrates commitment to employee engagement by providing specific activities to lead and socialize. “At Ecolab, leadership reminds us that are accountable for two areas,” says Shofner. “To grow our business and to grow our talent. Investment in growing talent can significantly impact an employee’s commitment to the company, but only if they are aware of the investment.” At this session, provide specific examples including leadership development programs, employee resource groups, a defined talent planning process, and social events such as intramural sports or team celebrations of success.

    6 Months: Expand their vision
    Introducing functional training is a good way to help employees develop a strategic understanding of their role and take ownership of their career path. Training provides tactical skill development and visibility into the broader organizational structure. At Ecolab best practices include a field ride-along to experience a day-in-the-life of a sales employees and classroom training led by senior leadership teams. Coach leaders to incorporate their leadership journeys, to include career and personal “peaks and valleys” which validate your leadership model, says Shofner.

    One year anniversary: Celebrate
    An employee’s one-year anniversary is an important milestone. At Ecolab, the CEO makes it a priority to attend annual celebrations that are part of the onboarding program. “It is a demonstration of the organization’s commitment to hiring, training and supporting talent,” says Shofner. “Dedicating time to recognize this significant achievement reinforces to the employee that they are appreciated and valued.”

    Need advice for creating an onboarding program? Get onboard our blog and follow us on LinkedInYouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

    Jennifer Shofner, Manager, Campus Talent Acquisition at Ecolab

    Jennifer Shofner, Manager, Campus Talent Acquisition at Ecolab

    Jennifer Shofner is Manager, Campus Talent Acquisition at Ecolab, a global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services. Her career in talent management has included various university and corporate roles where she is energized by helping individuals build careers they are proud of. In her spare time she enjoys volunteering for Minnesota’s talent initiative, MakeIt.MSP.org (check it out!) and supporting her alma mater’s sports teams – go Gophers!