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Congratulations, you're hired! says manager to selected candidate. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted January 24, 2017 by

5 hidden skills new managers develop that benefit career growth

Becoming a manager provides great on-the-job training opportunities for the recent college grad or entry-level employee. It not only provides opportunities to grow as a leader, but also as a professional. In fact, many managers – years down the road – realize that the hidden skills they developed as an entry-level manager helped them grow professionally, more than they ever realized.

How so? Becoming a manager – a good manager that is, forces individuals to learn how to see things differently, act differently, and grow as a professional, differently than they may have if they weren’t in a leadership position early in their career.

Here are five of those hidden skill sets good entry-level managers develop that prove beneficial as they advance in their career, from Deb LaMere, Vice President of Employee Experience at Ceridian, a human capital management firm:

  1. Active Listening: Active listening is a beneficial skill that should be developed early on in ones’ career. It means taking a step back and really focusing in on what your employees have to say. By doing so, you will hear and learn about situations or issues at work or beyond that may be affecting your employees. This is information that you may otherwise miss if you didn’t take the time to actively listen.
  2. Ability to recognize non-verbal cues: Developing the ability to read non-verbal cues such as facial expressions or posture is an important skill when it comes to managing people and solving issues. Why? Because sometimes what people say is not entirely what they mean. Alongside listening, non-verbal cues provide insight into potential issues that may need further discussion and solving. Also, as a manager, you need to become more self-aware of any non-verbal cues that you may be expressing. This type of self-awareness will help you gain more control over your message delivery when giving feedback.
  3. The ability to adapt and change: Another valuable skill to hone in on is being able to change your leadership style to meet the needs of the situation. Even as a manager, you yourself will report to someone. Your style of leadership around those who you report to may need to be different from the style you display around your direct reports. In some cases, you need to be supportive of the individual employee as their leader and in others, you need to put the company’s mandate first. You’ll quickly learn, as a manager, how to work with different personalities, leaderships styles (including your own and your boss’ leadership styles), and the many quirks, challenges, and perspective each individual brings to the workplace.
  4. The art of recognition: The art of recognition is a skill that every leader should have when it comes to motivating employees. Remembering to say thank you goes a long way. If you take the time to recognize the work that employees are doing, it makes them feel valued. They will respect you further and you will be seen as that leader who is supportive – someone who people will want to work with, for a long time.
  5. You are a role model: Lastly – and this is not so much a skill, but an important value that both new and seasoned managers should uphold – remember, that you are a role model. That means regularly doing the right thing even when you think no one is watching or paying attention. Leadership is nothing, without integrity.

Being a manager is hard work – not everyone can do it. But you are in that role, and have a great opportunity to develop hidden skill sets as a young professional. So take advantage of both on-the-job, and formal training programs to become the best manager one can be.

“You will want to be sure that you have up-to-date skills in the areas of leadership, change management and the technical aspects of your role,” says Shirley Weis, former Chief Administrative Officer for Mayo Clinic, where her work involved overseeing 60,000 employees and $9 billion in revenues. Weis recently published the book Playing to Win in Business, an Amazon bestseller. “Formal training will help you feel more comfortable in your new position and give you the confidence to become an expert in your field.”

To continue to develop these skills now, and throughout one’s career, focus on cross-training opportunities and finding a mentor, says Nancy Saperstone, Senior HR Business Partner with Insight Performance, recognized as a national industry leader in human resources, providing proven and cost-effective HR solutions.

“Learn other sides of the business,” says Saperstone. “Don’t just stay in your silo’d responsibilities. The more you can understand the business, where your group fits in and how it impacts the rest of the company, the more you can contribute.”

As a new manager, you will want to get to know other managers in your organization.  They are now your peers, so set up a time to meet each one individually and get to know about the challenges they are facing as well as ask for advice about how you can learn the new rules of the management game, says Weis.

Finally, find someone in the business that can be a mentor, says Saperstone. At the same time, be a mentor to someone more junior than you.

“Not only will you help them grow, but it’s always good to get a different perspective from someone else,” says Saperstone.

Becoming a manager provides all sorts of new career growth opportunities. Developing skill sets such as these not only will help young professionals now, but as they advance in their career. Take advantage of these opportunities now to reap the rewards later.

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Posted May 31, 2016 by

How new overtime laws will affect employers

How the new overtime laws will affect employers

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

The new overtime laws that go in place on December 1, 2016 will impact 4.2 million workers who will either gain new overtime protections or get a raise to the new salary threshold.

This is cause for concern for both employees trying to understand the new overtime laws as well as employers who are doing everything they can to understand how these changes affect their business, hiring plans, and compensation packages.

It could result in big changes for those who aren’t prepared, says Stephania Bruha, Operations Manager at Kavaliro, a national staffing agency that employs IT professionals, management, and administrative staff.

 

“We at Kavaliro expect to see many more of our clients limiting employees to 40 hours per week, or requiring executive approval to work overtime hours,” says Bruha. “Recent graduates and new employees may have an advantage here, as they are starting fresh and don’t have to overcome habits from the past.”

Bruha recommends employers get in front of this change. “We will be reassessing our employees more than a month before the new overtime laws go into effect to ensure that if status changes take place, they are well adjusted prior to the go-live date,” says Bruha.

Communication will be key, as in all HR and hiring matters, to ensure your employees understand how they could be affected.

“The worst thing that could happen is for your employees to misinterpret policies and think you are saying they are not allowed to report more than 40 hours a week,” says Bruha. “This is especially important for people who are new to the workforce, like new college grads, who may not know their rights, or have a little experience with labor laws. Employees need to know that you must report all hours worked, but they also need to understand if their company has set requirements for time entry.  Your employer may have severe penalties for violating the policy related to timekeeping because it is so strictly regulated by the Department of Labor.”

Small and mid-sized employers are going to take a hit

Employers – particularly small and mid-sized employers – are going to take a hit with the new regulations, says Kate Bischoff, a human resources professional and employment/labor law attorney with the Minneapolis office of Zelle LLP, an international litigation and dispute resolution law firm. Bischoff is co-leading a June 2, 2016, webinar titled Preparing for Changes to FLSA Overtime Regulations, discussing this topic and more. They will need to raise salaries over the $913 per week threshold or pay overtime.

“This may mean employers hire more people so the need for overtime is less or they raise the costs of their products and services to cover the additional labor costs,” says Bischoff.

New grads or interns looking for work typically don’t wonder whether their first post-grad job will be paid on an exempt (salaried) or a non-exempt (hourly) basis, points out Arlene Vernon, an HR consultant who works with small business owners and corporate clients providing HR strategy and management training. And it’s probably not a consideration regarding whether or not they take a particular job opportunity. However, since a new grad may find himself choosing between two job opportunities, employers need to realize that competitors may change how they present salary and compensation packages based on the new overtime laws, which in turn cold affect the decision an employee makes when deciding between two companies or job offers.

Exempt versus non-exempt employment offers

Let’s say Company A offers the grad $48,000 per year as an exempt position, and Company B offers the grad $46,000 as a non-exempt position. There is the potential that the resulting annual pay under Company B could be higher than Company A if the employee works overtime.  If the person is choosing a job based solely on compensation, this would be a consideration.  However, the real decision is whether the job is the right fit for the person, not whether the employee is eligible for overtime.

“From an employer perspective, all companies, including those hiring new grads, need to re-evaluate all their positions paying less than $47,476 to determine how to handle any job reclassifications to non-exempt status,” says Vernon. “This could impact all or some incumbents in jobs paying around this new limit.”

In making someone hourly, companies are not required to merely take employees’ salaries and divide them by 2080 to get an equivalent hourly rate.  Many companies will assess what overtime the person might be working and recalculate the hourly rate so that when the employee works overtime the employee’s final pay equals the full salaried amount, says Vernon, admitting that this can get confusing.  But in this scenario, the employee may be making less per hour, but the same or even more on an annual basis when you factor in overtime, depending on the employer’s approach.

Some companies will be giving certain employees raises to bring them to $47,476 and keep them as salaried. “This may ultimately cost the employer less money than paying overtime at the lower wage,” says Vernon.

Employers must educate employees

Employers should educate employees who are moving from exempt to non-exempt on what work can and cannot be performed outside of regular work hours, adds Vernon. Exempt employees are accustomed to answering texts and emails at night and during weekends.  They may work whatever hours are needed to get the job done.  As a non-exempt employee, they must track and get paid for any non-scheduled hours worked which will increase their pay, but may be against company policy. Typically hourly employees don’t get to randomly create their own work schedules, while salaried employees do.

“This practice needs to be unlearned by managers and employees,” says Vernon.

For example, are managers who email the now-hourly employees at night and over the weekend now authorizing the employee to respond to the email and inadvertently approving overtime?  Or do managers need to learn to save employee communication for the work week to control payroll costs?

These are among the many changes, challenges and questions employers are sorting out.

“December 1 will be here before we know it,” says Vernon. “This change will have considerable impact on all employers no matter their size and whether or not they hire one or more grads below, at or above the new FLSA range.”

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