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Category Archives: Employee Advice

Job Hopper Need Not Apply!

It has been some time since I have posted under, ADR, however I have not been without words! I have been publishing and writing for a blog I created: Focus MD Blog for adults, children, providers and others affected by ADHD. Through this there were many things I wrote about that would fit well on ADR so I wanted to share them! Here goes:

I was reading a post on how to explain a bad resume on Additude, which got me to thinking about my work as a recruiter, job coach and manager. Those who know me understand I have a no excuse attitude and high expectations. In return for those sometimes difficult to swallow charecteristics I offer help and support for those who are committed to solving problems. I have written a number of different posts on what recruiters look for in resumes and attidudes that will kill you in a job and job search and I have even written about job hopping but not from the persepctive of having ADHD.

There is a reason for that – ADHD is not an excuse, just like a death in your family, taking care of an ill parent, going on maternity leave, being downsized, getting into a car accident, the list can go on forever. These may be some of the reasons a person might be out of work, but they are not what is keeping you from your successful new job.

Most adults with ADHD know what problems or issues they have: can’t pay bills, can’t keep a job, can’t keep a relationship, etc…

What are the reasons for these issues?

What was YOUR role in these issues? What might you have done differently?

Hindsight is 20/20 so use it

Seriously, get out a pen RIGHT NOW and write down why you either don’t have a job or have lost your job in the past.

DO IT

I am actually not going to finish this post because I know you. We’ve met in a former life. You want to go straight to the answer without putting in the effort and I am not letting you go there, yet. Complete the task and I will get back with you soon.

Some Managers Don’t Like Questions a Story in Miscommunication!

Some Managers Don’t Like Questions a Story in Miscommunication!

It has been sometime since I have written and I realized I never actually published this post from before the new year. It is interesting to let things sit for a spell. The one example I used in this post actually resolved itself extremely well, but I will save that for the end.

I have been talking a great deal to people in various stages of their career, one in interview stage, another just starting their job and a 3rd well established, yet the theme is the same don’t ask. Maybe I have been spoiled in my career in that I have always asked questions of my employer or potential employer, sometimes maybe even too many questions, but they are what I felt were good questions at the time. I would even go so far to say that it is my style that has allowed me to grow and help my company and those around me grow, change, be nimble, creative, etc… The list goes on. I would also be courageous enough to say that I have been supportive to my employees questions. That I created a safe environment for them to ask questions and make mistakes, I truly hope that I did this. More about that in a bit, back to the examples.

Someone I know has been interviewing for a high level almost director level position with a very well established and large organization for quite some time. There have been several phone interviews, and face to face interviews and the potential new hire had questions in regards to the structure of the organization to better understand where they would fit and how they would make the most impact. What did the hiring committee hear these questions as, uncertainty about the quick-moving pace of the environment, needing more clear direction and that the person would need a more structured, concrete role. Interestingly enough the potential employee had said, prior to getting this feedback, when discussing how they felt it went, “I am just not sure that they are clear and can all agree on what they want.” The irony in this situation blows me away! Not only did this candidate have the hiring committee pegged, they were probably the best for the environment, if they wanted someone who could understand and read them and the way they make decisions. On the other hand, they may have either just wanted a “Yes” person or someone who would never question the group.

I will save the middle story for another day and skip to the 3rd. Long term manager level employee who tries to work with their very intense power lusting boss. This is the type of boss that just shouldn’t exist anymore, I thought this type went out in the 60’s but they still exist and they are still breeding… ughh. The dictator is completely freaked out by anyone who threatens them, they don’t know how to actually communicate what they need from you and because you are not a mind reader you are an insubordinate and incompetent employee. So after a number of reviews by this new boss that all are leading to the unemployment line the employee finally decides they have tried reasoning, pleasing, pleading, anything they could think of and it is now time to go over their head. Unfortunately 8 out of 10 times this never ends well for the employee.

So why does this not end well for the employee? Well, the manager hired that person in question, or at least manages them and they wouldn’t make a poor decision. Another reason why this typically does not end well for the employee? The employee is nervous and intimidated to dredge all of the issues up to the manager and the bosses boss, they are uncertain, they may sound accusatory, lack confidence, etc… This means that when they are communicating, they are most likely not doing it to the best of their ability.

What to learn from all of this? Awareness. I am not saying that we shouldn’t ask questions or that we can’t. Here is what I would like you to take from this, you can use it in a number of aspects in your life:

What do I want the outcome to be?

That’s right, start with where you would like to see this end up, whatever the situation. Then work backwards. I may have to create an entire post on this… but it should get you started.

So the ending: that power lusting boss I had mentioned – they were actually fired recently after several other employees complained and when the habits of under performing employees began to show a pattern that this may have been more closely tied to the boss than the employees!

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Job Search Terms – What is that? Don’t I Just Apply for the Job I Want?

Job Search Terms – What is that? Don’t I Just Apply for the Job I Want?

NO – that is the long and short of it.

Recruiters – agency or in-house all use key words and search terms when sourcing for resumes. Where are they looking these days? Beyond Careerbuilder, Monster and the industry specific job boards you are posting, we are also looking at Indeed (yes you can post your resume to Indeed), LinkedIn, Google and Google+, Facebook Branch Out, the list goes on and on. So first be sure that you are present and accounted for on all of the sites. Next, you need to really look strongly at your resume. This can be very overwhelming, I know. I have hundreds of tips and suggestions for resume but for this we are going to stick to key words and search terms.

There are lots of posts on this topic and you should by now understand that recruiters and hiring managers use similar search technology (that is more sophisticated) that you might use to find a fine dining restaurant in Seattle that is kid friendly and has a vegan menu. The point is that we are looking for is something very specific and with some work and adjustments in our search can typically find what we are looking for whether it is a restaurant or a SVP of Sales in Finance or an Administrative Assistant with Direct Marketing experience.

The key is to review job descriptions that you find yourself qualified for, don’t worry if the company, location or compensation are right, just look for well detailed job descriptions for which you are qualified and review them for key words. I will use what would appear to be a very simple job title, Administrative Assistant, which returned 44k results on Indeed. Just by looking at job titles some stand out to me that you want review and be sure you have in your resume right away. If they don’t apply, please don’t compromise your integrity by adding them.

Key word examples for Administrative Assistant:

  • Titles: Executive, Senior, International, Global, Operations Coordinator, Support
  • Tasks/Skills: Travel Arrangements, Organization, Calender Management, Correspondence, Marketing, Bookkeeping, Order Supplies, Inventory Management, Planning, Meeting Set up, Virtual Meetings, Coordination, Proposals, Call Routing, Filing
  • Software: Word, Excel, Go2Meeting, Visio, Outlook, HTML
  • Industry Specific Titles/Software/Tasks/Certificates: Be sure to use the acronym and the spelled out versions of certificates and programs in your resume. Are you a legal secretary and have your ALS be sure to write it out as well. If you have a customized software system put the description in parenthesis after the title of it, example: Bullhorn (applicant tracking system)

When you are reviewing the descriptions and relaying the information back to your resume be clear and quick to the point. Don’t use an excessive amount of wordy sentences. Be sure that your resume is something that can be skimmed over quickly and has the key points requested in most descriptions. If you are applying for an industry specific position such as legal, medical/healthcare, IT, manufacturing, accounting/finance be sure and add industry specific key words and details at minimum in your objective or purpose statements.

TIP: The more key words you have that match our search string the higher to the top of the list you will appear!

image borrowed from Wiley

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It Takes a Village: Employee Engagement; Is it Important?

It Takes a Village: Employee Engagement; Is it Important?

Poor HR, employee engagement is their responsibility, yet it is definitely one of those things that cannot be done alone. Employee Engagement is one of those things that companies really struggle with when it comes to prioritizing, surveying, implementing and monitoring effectiveness; why? Well it is overwhelming. When we think about engaging our employees and our teams we want to be sure that we have all of the pieces together, we want it to be successful and repeatable and there are a lot of employees.

Let’s start with the survey, you must have a benchmark to judge from right? There are incredible companies out there that manage this process so if you have a serious problem in service, attendance, sales, operations, etc… you may want to engage someone. If you are going to attempt to build this on your own reach out to your networks, don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Your survey should ask questions like:

  • People in my work group/team work resolve conflict as soon as it arises
  • I feel that I am recognized for the work that I do
  • I feel personal satisfaction from the work that I do
  • Team meetings are informative and efficient
So you have this series of questions (and please ensure that your process allows for complete confidentiality) but what are you measuring for? Well before you implement anything let’s look at what you are trying to impact:
  • What is your current turnover rate? Can you break this out by sector?
  • What is your absenteeism? By sector?
  • What are your sales numbers? What is the % to sales goal?
  • What do your customer satisfaction surveys look like?
  • What is your quality error number?
Alright, we are starting to get some where. We need to really move towards what to do with the survey. Employee engagement is when an employee feels that they are valued and appreciated, believe in what they do/who they do it for, is intellectually committed to their work and has a sense of satisfaction from their work.
Do you, as an employer care if your employees are engaged (satisfied, feel valued, appreciated, etc…) Don’t answer that, let’s ask it another way:
Do you as an employer care if your employees close more deals, increase your customer satisfaction, grow the business, show up so you can run a line, decrease rework and quality errors?
Then the answer is plain and simple: YES, you as an employer feel that employee engagement is powerful, important and a priority in your organization. Why? Not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it impacts your bottom line.
There are studies out there, DDI did a great one, that show that the difference in an employee engaged workforce vs unengaged had the following stats:
  • 14.5% vs 4.1% turnover (Fortune 100 manufacturing company)
  • 8% vs 4.8% absenteeism
  • 91% vs 99% of their sales goals
  • 5,678 vs 52 quality errors (Fortune 100 manufacturing company)

Employee engagement starts with hiring the right people

  • managers who are innovative, empowering and motivating
  • employees who have the innate characteristics you are looking for to be engaged in the work you do and the culture you offer
  • putting the right people in the right jobs
  • getting rid of dead weight
  • removing an unsuccessful manager to another position for the betterment of the entire team
Employee engagement is one of those banks that you have to make deposits in to in order to see the rewards being withdrawn. When you provide and create a high performing organization with supportive leadership that motivates you will reap the rewards of increased customer satisfaction, profitability and a decrease in turnover. It may sound like a great deal of work, but the more people that are on board and assisting with the process the more seamless the process will be and your return on investment will be that much greater.

Hillis Takes Medical Advice From His Agent, Who Do You Take Advice From?

I am following football a bit more this year because of my fantasy football team (I am 3-2-0 right now) and one of my players is Peyton Hillis, the Running Back for the Browns. So leading up to week 3 he didn’t practice because he wasn’t feeling well, I thought for sure he would start. I mean as a recruiter I have had people call out of work for a paper cut but a 6 foot whatever 250lb NFL player, he was playing… or not.  When Hillis didn’t take the field on Sunday, first of all it was a good thing I did not start him, but more importantly, I was quite shocked that he did not play. Don’t we teach even the most elementary employees that they should show up to work and then be sent home or to sit on the bench?

The story continues with something that has recently come about. Hillis was questioned about being ill and he made the following statement:

“By the way I was feeling, I just needed somebody else’s opinion,” said Hillis. “If [agent Kenneard Maguire] would have said, ‘Peyton, you probably can do your thing,’ I’d have listened to that. But he is my agent and he does help me out and I think we made the right choice, because I was definitely not healthy enough to play.”

Who takes medical advice from their agent? Would you go to your dentist and ask the best way to get a promotion? We all have advisors, mentors, coaches, judge, guides, referees, friends, etc… but they each have a role. Let’s be honest, if we need love and support we go to our family or friends, if we need a critique, we go to our advisor or mentor, each person has a different point of  view and knows us differently than others.

Peyton Hillis has just slapped his team in the face in public with his statement. Most people mean well with their advice, but we have to remember that everyone has a motivation. Some are motivated emotionally or financially to see us succeed while others feel threatened by another’s success and then there is another group, the naysayer.

There is a big difference between a naysayer: someone who is negative offering minimal to no advice or guidance but plenty of negativity surrounding an idea. Then there is the person who makes what sound like negative statements but offer an alternative to help you succeed at what you are inquiring. The person could be a naysayer because they are not equipped to assist in this particular area.

Next time you are met with a naysayer?

  • ask them what they would do – typically naysayers like their ideas better than yours and it doesn’t mean you have to go with it but it does turn the conversation in to something a bit more positive and you may take a tip or 2 away
  • challenge them politely and ask why they are thinking the way that they are
  • ask if they have seen this before and what was their experience
  • ask if they have any ideas that they can share that might help you move to a next step or in a good direction
The bottom line, when we are making decisions, we do want to ask for others opinions, thoughts, take, suggestions, etc… We do this because it is good to brainstorm but we must be mindful when we are searching for acceptance or even worse, when we are looking for someone, anyone to tell us that they aren’t sure of our idea. Be mindful of not only whom you are asking for advice but what your motivations are behind your questioning.

Make One Goal

We love lists, lots of them but it has been a bit overwhelming lately. What I ask is for you to set one goal today. Something that you can complete or make a strong movement towards by Friday.

If your goal is to find a job here are some ideas:

  • Apply to 3 jobs that I rate an 8 of 10 or higher that my skills and experience match 85% or more to
  • Research 3 companies, write down 3 facts that I can turn in to impact statements and find 2 connections and request connections
  • Have lunch with your mentor, job coach or other support person
  • Attend a networking event
Goal: Get promoted at work:
  • Assist a struggling co-worker with what they are working on
  • Email your boss bulleted ideas you have been brainstorming re: saving the company $ or improving a process (Thursday is a good day for this)
  • Ask questions to help you learn more about new aspects of the business
  • Excel in your own area of expertise
Motivate your team:
  • 1/2 day impromptu day out of the office to brainstorm a problem, create think tank teams
  • run a one day contest and the winner comes in late Monday or goes home early Friday
  • Volunteer: collect coats, hats, gloves by Friday and go as a group to drop them off to an organization in need
  • order out, get sandwiches, etc… and go to the park for a late lunch maybe even a pick up game of kickball?
  • go visit clients, send people who don’t typically get to get out with your standard sales people
There are lots more but this should get you started!

Where Are Your Boundaries?

Where Are Your Boundaries?

I have been noticing more and more a lack of boundaries and manners for that matter, but we can save the manners for another day. Not just with personal relationships but those between employees, managers, customers and businesses, the list goes on. We have cell phones, lap tops and Ipads to keep us connected to one another and LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to know when and how you are working or living. Couple this with the truth that many of us have a drive to succeed, hate missing out on things, can’t say no and want to please those around us not just by being mediocre but by being exceptional.

Can we really be exceptional without being completely available and at the call of our bosses and clients whenever they might need us? In his book, The Four Hour Work Week, Author Timothy Ferriss asks his readers to do something quite bold and that is put an out of office on your email and your voicemail that you accept and return calls and emails during very specific times, I know this sounds impossible. Think of it this way, even if you are checking your email, you don’t really need to respond to a non-emergent request and sometimes/most times the person may have figured it out on their own. What is difficult is that you may not know how to differentiate between emergent and non-emergent requests any longer. Be careful if you are reading and then going back to answer later, you may be taking up just as much if not more time looking at it twice but it does help to create a habit. The bottom line is our inboxes and voicemails are sometimes full of issues, questions, sales calls, etc… that just aren’t relevant.

Don’t check your email/voicemail constantly & remove the little widget that tells you that you have new email.

I agree with Mr. Ferriss, people are addicted to it and are wasting time.

If you have a manager that is constantly adding more to your plate and you keep taking on new tasks, set up some boundaries. Let him or her know that you would be happy to get to that but it won’t be until next week because you are currently working on X & Y right now that will take you through Monday. Be realistic and set a timeline that you can successfully meet. This works for customers/clients too; let people know where they fall in the list of priorities.

Taking a new order or working with a new customer? Stick to the service/sales plan that is in place or that you have been dreaming would be in place. This is the perfect time to create good habits that have boundaries. It is much more difficult to create boundaries with the customer you have had for 10 years, you know they get the most attention, special treatment and service calls from you the owner, but you may not have time to give your new customers this exact treatment and that is OK. Trust that the service person you have hired is as more than capable as you knew them to be when you hired them and let them take over.

In fact, put an escalation person in between you and the service person so that you are a step removed. TIME SAVER & it provides some ownership and allows decision making outside of you.

Other Boundaries?

  • To Friend Request Accept or Not? Future Post
  • Creating a family/friendly work environment but maintaing a business first culture
  •  Establish written policies on managers dating subordinates
  • If co-workers are dating sit down and discuss expectations and boundaries at the office separately and as a couple
  • STOP ABUSING YOUR FAMILY WITH YOUR EMAIL. Do you want your obituary to be about how loving, fun and caring you are not about what a great provider and business person.
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