Friday, June 29, 2007
All - the latest Carnival of Human Resources is up...
Special thanks to Kris Dunn at The HR Capitalist for this latest edition...
You can find it here
Enjoy and especially check out #10 of the Top 10 Benefits of a Career in HR/Talent Management...
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Now, who wouldn't want to be a part of this?
Check out this video and enjoy!
Monday, June 25, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
You've been interviewed, evaluated, and heard the sales pitch about what XYZ Company can do for you. You've considered the offer and opportunity and have decided that this new company and culture will be a great place for you to grow, contribute, and progress in your career. They have also told you how excited they are to have you on their team and emphasized everything about you that will be a great fit for you and them.
Now, you're it - "The New Guy"
I found this article in BusinessWeek by Liz Ryan titled, "How Not to Be the Obnoxious Newcomer". I immediately had to laugh and think back to when I was "The New Guy" at various placed where I've worked. I remember some of the awkwardness - how much should I say or should I wait until I'm asked upon for my opinion. We all can think about new hires at companies where we have worked and how they have presented themselves and their opinions - some good and some bad.
Here's my take on this dilemma that "The New Guy" faces...
1. Think about what you were hired to do - or least what your boss said you'd be doing. Were you hired to shake things up because the way things are being done today will definitely not work? If this is you then you obviously shouldn't be as concerned with being "The New Guy". You've been brought in to take charge, question the way things have been done, and (using your past experiences and accomplishments) make changes. Most of us aren't going to fall into this category so continue reading...
2. Listen more than you speak. You've heard it before - we've been given 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason. You've done your research on the company and asked all the right questions during the interview process so you feel pretty confident about what you're walking into. Think again - it's never exactly what you thought it was going to be (not being pessimistic - just reality). Now is the time to listen to whats going on. What are they doing today that works/doesn't work? How have they done it in the past and what changes or enhancements have been done over the years to make it better?
3. Reflect on your past experiences. You've probably been hired to do a job that is similar to what you've done before so think about (and if needed write it down) how you did your job. What made you successful or what worked at your previous company? Was it your charisma? technology? a particular software package? a process? Remember, just because it worked there it will not automatically work at the XYZ Company. Maybe you and your previous company were not successful - now you've learned how not to do it.
4. Now, really learn about your new employer. What is their core product and what does the product do - why is your company in business and how do they generate revenue? Who are your customers - and why are they still your customer today? Who are your competitors - and how similar or competitive is what they have on the market? How is the company really doing financially? What is the culture? What technology does your company use to accomplish their main objective? Are they forward thinking about what shape they will be in 5 or 10 years down the road? What's going on in your industry? There are obviously more but here's a great starting point...
Hopefully these 4 points have made you think about the next time you are "The New Guy". You may even have a friend that is about to be or has just become "The New Guy" - forward this to them to save them from making the mistakes that we have all been guilty of.
We've all been there...
You need to write a note down but it's not the time or place to pull a pen and piece of paper out to write it down. You've thought about buying one of those mini digital records but don't really want to spend the money.
Introducing Jott - Mobile Note Taking and Hands Free Messaging. It takes a minute to set up - and it's free!
Check this out. All you have to do is dial a number, speak your notes, and you'll receive an e-mail. I've just registered and recorded my first note - received the e-mail within seconds...
You'll be able to Jott yourself, a friend, or a group of people - just import your contacts and customize the name and members of the group.
For those hardcore bloggers out there you can even Jott to you blog!
Here is Jott's Blog - if you're really in to it...
See below what Henry has to say about it...
Thursday, June 21, 2007
So, you have a great discussion with the hiring manager and based upon his comments you aren't exactly sure what he intends next steps to be...
Do I wait for a phone call back or just assume I have the job?
If you were George what would you do?
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
I think I've just heard that IBM research says that "online videogames can help you become a better corporate leader..."
Here's the press release titled, "IBM Study Says Gaming Is Good for Your Career".
Attention gamers: Want to get ahead in your career? According to new IBM research (NYSE: IBM), online videogames can help you become a better corporate leader by fostering skills related to collaboration, self-organization, risk-taking, openness, influence, and communications. These competencies are increasingly being sought by businesses as they compete in the global economy.
I did a little more research on this topic and found a great article in Businessweek by Aili McConnon titled, "IBM's Management Games".
We'll, for you skeptics out there, what I'm reading is actually true. And, IBM is taking this concept very serious. The've committed quite a bit of dollars, time, energy, and resources toward this new idea. Disclaimer: If you're idea of "online video games" is playing Ms. Pacman or Galaga on your PC then you've got a lot of learning to do.
Check out these quotes from the article...
The IBM researchers found that those who are deeply immersed in online worlds that link millions of players, such as World of Warcraft, were ideally suited to manage in the new millennium. They were particularly savvy at gathering information from far-flung sources, determining strategic risks, failing fast, and moving on to the next challenge quickly. "If you want to see what business leadership will look like in three to five years, look at what's happening in online games," says Byron Reeves, a Stanford University communications professor and co-founder of Seriosity.
The study points out that games can become "management flight simulators" of sorts, letting employees manage a global workforce in cyberspace before they do so in the real world. More than half of the managers surveyed say playing massive multiplayer games had helped them lead at work. Three-quarters of those surveyed believed that specific game tools, such as expressive avatars that can communicate via body language, as well as by voice and typing, would help manage remote employees in the real world.
If you've got the time check out the links in my post - there's some great information and they will provide you with quite a bit of insight into why IBM is doing this.
Remember, our world is changing and everyone out there doesn't think, react, respond, or even learn like you. We've got a new generation coming up that will challenge the way we do business, progress through our careers, and tackle opportunities.
Hold on a second...let me make sure I understand. So, with this new deal all I have to do is "be available" at 8 am for work (or if you're lucky, all you have to do is accomplish about 8 hours of work during the course of the day - just get it done - doesn't matter if it's at 8 am or or 8 pm).
You have got to be kidding...so I get to wake up almost whenever I want, drink some coffee (for me a Mtn. Dew) and sit at my "home office" in my pajamas and work. What a deal - I must have the best job in the world! No commute, no ironing clothes, no parking, no "time wasted" in meetings, no boss (that's right - no Bill Lumbergh), no annoying co-workers, and no office politics.
Week 1: I must be the luckiest man on earth - I've got the best employer and the best job...
Week 2: It looks like I'm going to enjoy this - Hmmm...I wonder what's going on at work? I wish someone would call me - or at least send me an instant message. Maybe I'll go to Starbucks with my laptop and see what I can get done there...
Week 3: Boy, I kind of miss my co-workers...I wonder if I could start going into the office a couple of days a week?
Is this your idea of what may happen to you if you decide to telecommute?
I just read this NY Times Article by Abby Ellin, "Plugged In at home, but Somehow Left Out". In the 17 years of writing she's only spent about 1 year in the office and now, after weighing all the pros and cons, she is going to try it out.
Here's a quote from the article and sums up her "defining moment" - when she decides she's ready...
The final straw came a few weeks ago, when the battery in my answering machine died and I didn’t have time to replace it. For two long days, unable to screen my calls, I was forced to answer the phone myself — always a risky proposition. I was also forced to acknowledge just how much I missed that disembodied voice cutting through the silence.
THAT’S when I knew I was craving a full-time job in a real office. It wasn’t about money or health insurance or paid vacations, though those are certainly nice perks; it was about sanity and recognizing that it’s O.K. to be just like everyone else. That sometimes it’s all right to be another brick in the wall. That conformity exists for a reason.
So, you're given the option to telecommute and are doing your best to weigh all the options. Here are some thoughts to consider.
1. Who will be at home if you're there? Do you have a spouse that stays home with the kids? Will you really be able to separate yourself from what's going on at home? Me - no way! Unless you'll be the only one at home or can really separate yourself, it's probably not a good idea.
2. Discipline/Initiative/Distractions. Are you disciplined enough to stay focused on just work and get done what needs to get done? Would you have the cleanest house on the block? Dishes washed? Clothes washed and folded? Carpets vacuumed? Windows washed? Discipline will be key to stay focused on the task. The last thing you'd want to do is to drag your 8 hour work day into a 12 hour work day because you constantly get distracted and sidetracked. Next topic....productivity.
3. Productivity. You need to look at what it takes today for you to be productive? Are you basically an individual contributer and take direction from your boss - and typically via e-mail? Or, does your job require you to attend meetings, collaborate with your team members, and gather information from other departments and resources in the office? If you had to rely on e-mails, instant messages, and voice mail how successful do you think you'd be?
4. Cost savings. This will more than likely be a "no brainer". You've already got the high speed internet at home and your company is going to start reimbursing you a portion of it, supply you with a laptop, a printer, and some office supplies - you're all set. The instant savings will be in gas, lunches, and probaby some on clothes - no need to stay as current if no one is going to see you.
5. People Interaction. Are you a "people person" and thrive on that interaction with your co-workers? Do you love the office politics? If so, you'll be miserable at home. But, this may be exactly what's driving your decision to telecommute. Your co-workers may drive you completely crazy and they are actually hindering you from being productive at work...no...they wouldn't do that - would they?
Now what's your decision?
This isn't an exhaustive list but definitely one to get you started toward weighing all the options about telecommuting.
Friday, June 15, 2007
I've just seen this video for the first time - so have over 1.5 million people in the last 5 days. Special Thanks to Jason Corsello for introducing me to it with his latest post.
The video starts and based upon my first impression, I'm pretty skeptical on this guy's ability to sing opera - which is his absolute dream. The music starts and he begins to sing. I'm totally shocked and so is everyone else - take a look at the faces of those in the audience - take a look at the expression on the face of Simon Cowell. By now I've got goosebumps. The audience is absolutely amazed and his singing has brought many to tears. Here's a guy many probabaly felt sorry for as he walked across the stage to the microphone - but now we see him in a new light. We see this "hidden talent" that we never would have thought he would have been capable of.
Now, let's look at ourselves...do you have a "hidden talent" that could change the job you're in or even change your profession? Do you have a dream of doing something but have never had the guts to give it a shot?
Why in the world are you waiting?
For additional details and more information see my previous post on taking advantage of "white spaces" in your life titled "The Industrial Revolution vs. The Career Revolution".
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Here's a new word and concept I ran across at a Wellness Conference last week - presenteeism. Was your reaction the same as mine? I thought to myself, what did you say and how do you spell that?
For those of you looking for a definition, here's how wikipedia defines presenteeism, "Presenteeism is the opposite of absenteeism. In contrast to absenteeism, when employees are absent from work illegitimately, presenteeism discusses the problems faced when employees come to work in spite of illness, which can have similar negative repercussions on business performance".
I decided to do some research out on the web and I found quite a bit of information out there. Obviously this is a new idea and concept - the oldest article or story about this I could find was in April of 2004 when WebMD, CBS, and MSNBC covered it. Most of these stories referenced a study done by Cornell University - here's the article or press release - which came out just days before the media covered it.
You may be thinking that if I'm sick I just stay home - the last thing I'd want to do is to get the rest of my co-workers sick as well - then they would be missing time and productivity. But, as well all know, all employees out there are not as conscientious as you - especially when it may come down to getting paid vs not getting paid. Also, what's the culture at your company? Are you expected to come to work or possibly just work from home when you're sick or just not feeling well? I know that there are many companies out there that view "calling in sick" as a sign of weakness and a lack of teamwork - please don't be one of those companies!
We all can look at the surface and brainstorm about the factors or distractions that cause the loss of productivity while coming to work sick. Here are some I came up with that probably take up the most time.
1. On the phone with doctor, family, friends - telling them how bad you feel
2. Constant restroom breaks - I won't go into anymore details...
3. Constant breaks to get a drink and snack
4. Talking to your co-workers about how bad you feel and discussing treatment options from when they or another family had the same symptoms.
Now, let's take this deeper and see how this may impact your company - from a financial, loss of productivity, and higher healthcare cost perspective.
The Cornell University study presents some pretty staggering figures and statistics. They say that "the productivity losses from presenteeism are possibly as high as 60 percent of the total cost of worker illness - exceeding the costs of absenteeism and medical and disability benefits".
"For such conditions as allergies and headaches, on-the-job productivity losses could account for over 80 percent of employers' total illness costs, the Cornell and Medstat researchers report in the first study to add the cost of on-the-job productivity losses from common health problems to total employer health-related expenses."
"All in all, this means that from about one-fifth to three-fifths of the total dollars attributable to common health conditions faced by employers appear to be the result of on-the-job productivity losses," says Ron Goetzel, director of IHPS. He notes that headaches, allergies, arthritis, asthma and mental health-related problems such as depression incur the greatest on-the-job productivity losses.
So, if these common health conditions are really impacting our bottom line, what should we doing from a Wellness perspective to combat and reduce the impact of these ?
Be on the lookout for more information from me as this concept of presenteeism continues to gain more and more attention - and as we look at how we can practically develop wellness programs to tackle these conditions and the impact they have.
For those of you that want to read more free hard facts and details related to this, The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM) did some extensive study and here's their data - pdf or html - published in January 2003, Volume 45, Number 1.
If you're open to paying for some more information go to the Archives of the JOEM and look for the April 2004 Issue, Volume 46, Number 4.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
So, you've got a nickname in mind and now it's what you want everyone to call you at work. You've thought about dropping hints to your co-workers but haven't found the right moment - take a lesson from George Costanza and learn from his mistake.
Unless you're ready to be called whatever your co-workers come up with don't bring up or even hint that you want a nickname...
Leave the nicknames to only your closest friends and family...
Monday, June 11, 2007
Here's an article I just ran across on CNN SI where a newspaper reporter was ejected from an NCAA baseball tournament for blogging about the game, during the game...
As the story reads, Brian Benett, a reporter/writer for The Courier-Journal in Louisville, KY had his credentials revoked and was asked to leave the game - it's actually against NCAA rules.
Wow...this shocked me and caught me off guard...
Should he of followed the rules and done what he was told - to not blog during the game or is it his First Ammendment right to do so?
What do you think?
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Here's a Napoleon Hill "Thought For the Day" I received over the weekend that I just couldn't leave out.
DON’T COVET THE OTHER FELLOW’S JOB IF YOU ARE NOT PREPARED TO ACCEPT THE RESPONSIBILITY THAT GOES WITH IT.
How often do you look at those around you and say, "I could do any of their jobs better than they can if I only had the opportunity," never realizing the price they have paid and the knowledge they have accumulated to earn the right to hold that position? It’s easy to be a Monday-morning quarterback and second-guess the actions of others. But it’s far more productive to recognize the contributions of others and give them the credit for a job well done. If you aspire to a higher level of recognition, demonstrate to others-your peers as well as your superiors-that you can be counted upon. The world’s greatest rewards accrue to those who always deliver on their promises.
We all, at one time or another, have either asked the following questions ourselves or been asked these questions by an employee in our organization (assuming we're a member of the HR Team):
1. What? He got the promotion?
2. Why didn't I get that promotion?
There are typically many different types of employee that will ask these questions but for my purpose and example here, I'd like to focus on two.
1. I complain but I'd rather keep on complaining than really be the one that is promoted next. You mean there are really those people out there that just complain for the sake of complaining? So, they complain and really never want to progress in their career or even the next promotion that's handed out? Yep, there are people out there like that. We've all seen them and have unfortunately had to listen to them rant and rave about the co-worker that actually worked for and deserved the promotion. What more can you say about this person? I'll move on...
Here's a "Thought For The Day" I received today that sums up the above person pretty well.
LOAFING ON YOUR JOB HURTS YOUR EMPLOYER, BUT IT HURTS YOU MORE.
Some people expend far more energy getting out of work than they would spend doing the job well. They may think they are fooling the boss, but they are only fooling themselves. An employer may not know all the details of every job or every task an individual performs, but a good manager knows the results of effort. You can be sure that when promotions or plum assignments become available, they won’t be offered to loafers. If you do your job cheerfully and well, not only are you more likely to be recognized and rewarded, but you also learn how to do your job better. As you become more proficient, you become more valuable to your employer. You also acquire the most valuable of all assets-the confidence that comes from knowing you possess skills that will increase your value to any organization.
Don't you agree?
Here's the next type of employee I'd really like to focus on...
2. You may question the promotion but deep down you want it next time and will do what it takes to be the one that's promoted when given the opportunity. Maybe I am overly optimistic - or some may say naive. I truly believe that most of us are in this category. But, the time it takes us to get to this point is what will differentiate us the most. For some of you out there, the very next day you're ready - others may take weeks to get there.
Once you "get there" here are some things I'd recommend.
1. Look at yourself and evaluate where honestly think you are from a performance perspective. See my previous post on how to take advantage of the "white space".
2. Compare yourself to the objectives for the position (or the standards for which you'll be evaluated upon) and also think about where you fit it compared to other teammates that perform the same job or function as you.
3. Talk to your manager about the promotion (or the next step or level in your position) - and do your best to not sound bitter or resentful but ask about ways you can improve your performance.
4. Listen attentively and take good notes. Keep yourself and your manager accountable by following up and asking for feedback - but remember to do this in a fashion that your manager is comfortable with.
5. Follow up with action and results will follow...
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Here's one I ran across and, as a parent, this especially caught my eye...
THE PRIVILEGE OF BRINGING CHILDREN INTO THE WORLD CARRIES WITH IT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF TEACHING THEM THE FUNDAMENTALS OF SOUND CHARACTER.
One of life’s greatest joys is the sense of wonder that accompanies the arrival of a tiny new human being into the world. But that joy is accompanied by a tremendous responsibility that perfectly encapsulates the need for personal initiative. You can provide children with all the physical advantages of a good childhood, but unless you strive to set a good example for them to follow, you will know only dismay as they reach adulthood and blossom into purposeless drifters. Your personal initiative, whether or not you are raising a child, must always incorporate exemplary behavior. You cannot take ethical shortcuts, big or small, without other people observing them and assuming that this behavior is something you wouldn’t mind having turned back on yourself. Certainly you will make mistakes, but if you have always striven for the best course, others will remember it and treat you accordingly.
From a career perspective let this be that motivating factor that keeps your ethics where they need to be and in check!
Monday, June 4, 2007
I ran across this video on YouTube and thought you may enjoy - this is for all you Seinfeld and especially Kramer fans!
Some of you out there may be wondering why it's so important to get a job or to find a better job - one that will really satisfy you - like it did for Kramer. Have you been drifting aimlessly and now realize that structure is really what is missing in your life?
Here are 10 things I learned from Kramer...
1. Dress for success
2. Eat a good breakfast
3. Be on time
4. Find a job that truly satisfies you - one that meets your innermost needs
5. Enjoy who you work with
6. Make sure it's a job you enjoy - regardless of pay
7. Get things accomplished - TCB (Taking care of business)
8. Save money by bringing your lunch
9. On occasion, socialize with your co-workers after hours
10. Tells others about it - your enthusiasm will motivate others!
Try these and your career should take a turn in the right direction!
Friday, June 1, 2007
Lately I've been surfing through iTunes and just happened to start clicking through the different Podcasts that are out there. I already have a couple of my favorite movies, a few TV shows, and most of my music on my iPod but I have never explored or even considered a Podcast. In my browsing I was surprised to find all of the options for those that may be looking for solid career advice.
For those of you without an iPod there is no need to close out this post - you can still subscribe to Podcasts and listen to them on your mac or PC. But, if you want the convience of taking these anywhere you've got to check out the iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano, or iPod.
Here is a sampling of some of the good ones out there...you'll find these in iTunes/Podcasts/Business/Careers
JobDig - Career Advice, Workplace Tips & Job Search
The Accidental Creative - Todd Henry
48 Days to the Work You Love - Dan Miller
Secrets of the Job Hunt - Chris or CM Russell
Sales Rant - Jeffrey Gitomer
Here's a good episode I just ran across - make sure you already have iTunes installed before you click...
Know When It's Time To Quit - Seth Godin, Author of The Dip, is interviewed by Bryan Person with Monster.