Skip to content

How to Become a Better Leader by Mastering This One Important Skill

How to Become a Better Leader by Mastering This One Important Skill

As a leader, your ability to motivate and inspire your employees relies on how well you build their trust. When you can earn the trust of others, they listen to you and are willing to work hard for you. They’re confident in your decisions. And, even in uncertain times, they believe in you.

Establishing trust and being an effective leader doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it occur automatically. Rather, experts have found that it’s the little details that pack the most power, starting with listening.

Here’s how you can become a better leader by mastering the art of listening:

Great Leaders Don’t Need to Remind Others of Their Greatness

Oftentimes, leaders achieve their role because of their skills and abilities. You see things others don’t. You think outside the box. You have extensive knowledge and expertise in your field.

But that doesn’t mean that your team needs to know all the things that make you qualified. Instead, your team should be able to tell why you’re capable of leading them by your actions and the way you treat others.

Even the most intelligent leaders in their field wouldn’t be nearly as successful if they treated others as inferior.  How you interact with those around shows your staff your character, which in turn can affect your relationship with your employees.

If you want to earn your employees’ trust, showing them how they matter goes a long way, and listening is a powerful way to make others feel heard and that their voice matters, too.

How to Build Trust Through Better Listening

Practice

First, keep in mind that listening is a skill, and skills take time and practice to hone. It’s not a matter of going through the motions to show you’re on the same side they are. You’ll need to make a genuine, concerted effort to seek opportunities to engage with your staff if you want to improve your listening skills

Process

You’ll also want to develop a safe, yet structured sharing culture so your employees can get comfortable with offering you constructive insights. This will likely mean you’ll first have to get in the habit of asking meaningful questions, even if you already feel you know the answer or have made a decision. Let your employees reach conclusions and share them with you. Process what they are sharing with you by thoughtfully considering what they have to say before responding.

Patience

As a leader, you likely didn’t get to your position by sitting quiet. Chances are you worked to be heard and have a resume that reflects a lifetime of meaningful contributions to the positions you’ve held and projects you’ve led. But now that you are in a leadership position, you can patiently wait to have the last word instead of the first. Being an effective leader means setting aside your own needs and agenda and directing your attention to the person you’re listening to. Taking in other people’s ideas will help you formulate your own, and you just may gain a new perspective you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Ask employees for their feedback on specific issues, then sit patiently while you listen to their responses. Starting communication not only shows you care what they have to say, but also gives you a chance to connect to individuals rather than the group.

In Closing

To truly master the skill of listening, act on the information you’ve been provided by your employees. Nothing makes someone feel heard more than when you implement their idea. Not every idea can be executed, of course. So in those instances where an idea won’t be acted upon, still be sure to acknowledge the contribution and consider soliciting their help for what will be implemented when appropriate.

By giving yourself the opportunity to listen to your employees, you can actually wind up unleashing their greatest potential. And what a mark of great leadership that is – because when your employees succeed, you succeed.

 

11 Oct 2017

5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Switching Jobs

5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Switching Jobs

Building a successful career means occasionally leaving your current position for greener pastures. Switching jobs is a matter of course today – long gone are the days of working the same job from graduation to retirement – but it can be tricky figuring out if you should pull the trigger and leave your existing job for a new one.

Here are five questions you should ask yourself if you’re considering a switch in employment.

Does the New Position Pay Better?

Compensation is on everyone’s minds. Finding a position with a different company that offers you better pay is always a good thing to find, especially if you feel you’re underpaid in your current position.

Keep in mind that payment isn’t the only financial concern you may have. Benefits like retirement savings, health insurance, and stock options need to be taken into account as well. If a new position doesn’t offer you an attractive benefits package, it might not be worth switching.

Will This Improve My Quality of Life?

It’s not all paychecks and benefits. Sure, leaving a low-paying job for one that will see you compensated better seems like a good idea, but you also have to consider any lifestyle changes that you’ll have to adopt in order to function in this new position.

A good example of this is if you’re considering switching to a job that requires shift work. If you’ve never done overnight shifts before, it’s likely going to be a difficult transition process – and you might find out that you’re simply not cut out for it. Torturing your mind and body for a few extra dollars an hour usually isn’t worth the tradeoff.

Am I Capable of Performing this New Job?

Going from a specific position in one company to a similar or identical position in another is probably the easiest switch ever. However, if you’re leaving one industry and entering another one – one that you may have little to no experience in – you need to consider if you can perform in this new role adequately.

There are countless examples of performance issues that could be potential recipes for disaster. An introvert taking a job that requires heavy phone duties is often a bad idea due to the psychological stress it places them under, for example. If you have questions about your abilities to perform in a new position, consider a switch carefully.

Have I Exhausted All Options at My Current Position?

Wanting to switch jobs is usually due to a dissatisfaction with your current position. Interpersonal conflicts, lack of advancement opportunities, and unsafe working conditions can all play a role in making you want to jump ship.

That being said, examine if you’ve exhausted all your options at your current job first. Bring your concerns to a superior and discuss them to see if there are any options open to you. You may find that conditions can improve enough for you to stay.

Will the New Environment Be a Positive One?

Switching jobs can be like a breath of fresh air when you’re walking out of a negative work environment and into a more positive one. Of course, the reverse can also be true – getting blindsided by a toxic work environment at a new job is disheartening, to say the least!

Do your best to get a feel for the culture surrounding your new position. Research the company, discover if it has a public reputation – good or bad – and ask others who work there for their honest opinions. If something’s wrong, you’ll be sure to get an earful.

27 Sep 2017

6 Habits Great Leaders Kick To Be Most Effective

successful leader

Nobody’s perfect. We’ve all got foibles and flaws, and we all do our best to overcome them – or at least confine them to our personal lives. However, professionally-minded people need to be exceedingly aware of some habits that truly have no place in a work environment – especially if you have leadership responsibilities. Here are six bad habits that leaders need to kick to the curb in order to be their most effective selves.

Pretending You Know It All

Nobody wants to appear stupid or uneducated to their friends, family members, or work colleagues. However, habitually pretending to know everything about everything is a terrible habit if you’re in a leadership position.

If you’re so preoccupied with appearing intelligent and informed, your need to demonstrate your knowledge can have a deleterious effect on the regard your team members have for you. This goes double if you insist that your information is true, as this earns you a reputation for being a misguided fool – which is what you wanted to avoid in the first place.

Being Inauthentic to Hide Your Flaws

Closely related to pretending you know it all, being inauthentic to hide your perceived flaws is also an excellent way to erode the trust your team needs to have in you if you’re going to lead them effectively.

Presenting a false front in interpersonal relationships isn’t going to be effective in hiding any flaws you think you have. In fact, doing so is going to simply reinforce the fact that you’re acting in an inauthentic manner, creating an air of distrust and unapproachability around you that’s hard to mitigate.

Not Embracing Conflict and/or Confrontation

Nobody relishes the idea of having hard conversations, whether they’re with friends or colleagues. However, sometimes confrontation or conflict becomes inevitable – unless you do your best to duck your responsibilities to do so.

Need to correct a team member for inappropriate conduct, or go to bat for one of them in a conversation with a superior? Avoiding these painful but necessary confrontations and conflicts diminishes your authority, earning you a reputation as a pushover – or worse, a coward.

Being a Perfectionist

In a business environment, it’s natural to take pride in providing or producing high-quality products or services. However, if you have a perfectionist streak, this can create negativity when your team’s output “isn’t good enough” to meet your unrealistic quality thresholds.

Not wanting to be held responsible for low-quality work is a positive trait, but pushing too hard and too far for results that are impractical or impossible destroys team morale. Letting go of your perfectionism and instead adopting reasonable goals is a better option.

Not Leading From the Front

Being an effective leader involves knowing the value of delegation. However, simply assigning tasks to team members is often not enough – accomplishing tasks on time often requires deeper participation, leading the charge from the front lines and getting things done alongside team members.

Being reticent to engage fully in your team’s tasks not only diminishes the overall quality of the end result but can also create resentment among hard-working team members who wonder what you do all day in your office while they’re killing themselves. It sets a bad precedent – one to be avoided.

Not Maintaining a Professional Demeanor

There’s nothing wrong with developing good relationships with your team members. In fact, doing so is integral to fostering a well-functioning team that trusts one another. However, developing relationships by engaging in unprofessional demeanor can be a recipe for disaster.

While it may feel good to be seen as “one of the boys” in the eyes of your team members, at the end of the day you’re the one in charge – and the one responsible. Maintaining a level of professional detachment reinforces your leadership role and contributes to your team’s overall success.

 

7 Sep 2017

The Most In-Demand Skills and How to Sight Them in Potential Employees

The Most In-Demand Skills and How to Sight Them in Potential Employees

It’s an idea that seems positively ancient by now, but there was a time not so long ago when companies knew exactly what they were looking for in potential employees. In terms of training, knowledge, and expertise, it was a straightforward question of pedigree and ‘can they do a, b, and c. It was much of the same with personal qualities and work habits as well. The whole process was little more than checking qualifications off a list..

Needless to say, it’s different now. What your company needs is constantly changing, sometimes from quarter to quarter. If you’re going to keep up, it’s imperative that you update your list of must-have qualities regularly. This post will help you do just that. In it, you’ll discover what skills are currently most in demand and how to spot them in potential employees.

In the following sections, we use the now standard practice of dividing the most coveted employee attributes into two broad categories. These categories are 1)the set of ‘hard skills’ that typically involve advanced training and technical expertise in areas that are directly applicable to a specific job, and 2)the so-called ‘soft skills’ that are more personal in nature and allow employees who possess them to work more productively with others across a wide spectrum of circumstances and environments.

Here are the most sought-after skills among candidates today:

The Most In Demand Hard Skills

  • Advanced information technology Information is no longer the ‘new currency.’ Rather, it seems to be permanently enshrined at the top of our commerce pantheon, making skills in Big Data, NoSQL, and HTML5 some of the most sought after in the corporate world.
  • User Interface Design. Mining and organizing all this Big Data is futile if it can’t be presented to consumers in a way that’s simple and attractive enough to generate a profit. That means employees with advanced UID skills will become increasingly valuable.
  • Digital Marketing Analytics. The commercial universe is metric-driven now and that’s not going away. Unfortunately for some businesses — some of whom could deliver sparkling products to millions — this universe is also bloated with competition and buried links. Candidates with high end digital analytic skills can deliver your marketing message to the right consumers, so scoop them up as quickly as you can.

Sighting hard skills in potential employees is a fairly straightforward process. Candidates either possess these skills or they don’t. You can start assessing a candidate’s hard skills by looking for applicable certifications, training, and experience. It’s also important to involve the right management team members in the interview and selection process. In house managers who possess advanced knowledge of the relevant skills are in the best position to review a candidate’s portfolio, speak with their references, and pose the right questions during the interview process.

The Soft Skills You Should Be Looking For

There was a time when you could refer vaguely to a set of attributes called ‘soft skills’ and people would know you were talking about someone who ‘communicated well’ or ‘worked well with others.’ Unfortunately, those days are gone. Soft skills have become so crucial to a company’s success that you have to be much more specific about which ‘soft skills’ you mean.

There are literally hundreds of soft skills a candidate might possess, but a few stand out as the most fundamental. Among these few are collaborative skills, the ability and willingness to delegate efficiently, and emotional intelligence. As you’ve probably noticed, these three skills are intimately related — each one of them is interdependent on the others and the attributes most likely to foster creativity, innovation, and meaningful teamwork.

Because they are more subjective than hard skills, sighting these qualities in potential employees can be tricky. The best methodology includes asking for detailed accounts of projects they’ve managed, probing questions about their crisis management techniques, and spending enough time with the candidate to assess their level of skills in these areas properly.

15 Aug 2017

Telltale Signs that a Candidate Really Wants the Position

Telltale Signs that a Candidate Really Wants the Position

Does your new candidate want the position, or do they really want the position? Here are a few ways you can tell the difference between someone who’s passionate about advancing their career with your company and someone who’s just looking for a paycheck.

They’ve Done Their Research

When a candidate shows up to an interview and takes the time to discuss the more interesting points of your company’s history, its corporate culture, the recent accolades the company or its employees have won, or any other major new developments in the company or the business sector it deals with, it’s obvious that the candidate is passionate enough about the position to do his or her homework.

This demonstrates not just an attention to detail but also the ability to learn, follow through, and adapt a plan during an application process. These are all excellent skills for a candidate to have, no matter the position for which they’re interviewing.

They Don’t Rely On Spell-Check

First impressions are everything, and in many cases that starts with the cover letter and resume. It’s not hard to proofread a document by hand instead of just trusting that spell-check is going to catch any errors, but it does take time. A candidate willing to take this time – even for such a simple yet important task – shows an interviewer that he or she is dedicated to getting things right the first time; that’s the kind of attribute you want in a candidate.

Too many candidates rely on the built-in spell-check in their word processor of choice, but its limitations mean it can’t – and won’t – catch lots of different types of errors. If these errors surface in a cover letter, a CV, an application, or any other type of correspondence, it’s an ironclad guarantee that the candidate’s chances of landing the position are close to zero. On the other hand, any candidate that knows enough about the English language to not confuse “your” with “you’re” or “lose” with “loose” is, by default, placed head-and-shoulders above the rest.

An error-free first impression signals a high attention to detail in their work ethic and signals how seriously they are taking the opportunity with your company.

They Show Up On Time – Or Early

Showing up on time is, again, one of those things that should be a no-brainer. A candidate who shows up early to an interview is one that takes the opportunity seriously. It’s also a candidate who planned ahead enough to know how to get to the interview location beforehand. Despite this, many candidates don’t show up on time for their own interview.

Beyond the demonstration of foresight, a candidate that shows up early to an interview shows that the candidate values the time an interviewer is setting aside for the opportunity to get his or her foot in the door. It showcases the ability of the candidate to think beyond their own needs and desires and how their actions affect those around them.

They Come Prepared With Ideas on How They Can Add Value to Your Business

Everyone is in sales these days and landing a job is no different. If your candidate comes to the interview prepared to speak specifically to how they will contribute to your company, you know this is someone who wants the position. It not only demonstrates enthusiasm for the position, but it shows that they have a firm gasp of your company’s needs and the role you’re looking to fill.

Knowing what someone did for another company is good for establishing experience and credibility. But when a candidate can help a hiring manager envision them in the role within your company, you know they are ready to accept your job offer.

Conclusion

It’s really not hard to tell whether any given candidate is truly passionate about the position they’re seeking. Anyone can put in just a minimal effort to accomplish things like being early to an interview, proofreading their résumé, or spending half an hour looking up a company on Google; the difference is that not everyone does.

Finding a candidate that’s serious enough to take these simple but important steps is a surefire sign that they’re more than just mildly interested in the position. All these actions demonstrate the qualities of a good employee – being conscious of others around them, knowing the importance of professional presentation, and being willing to put in extra effort without being prompted – and it’s these telltale signs that help identify who’s going to be your company’s new blood – and keep you from hiring the next dud.

20 Jul 2017

The Coolest Perks Companies Offer Their Employees (and We Hope More Companies Follow Their Lead)

The coolest perks companies offer their employees

It’s not all Casual Fridays and Taco Tuesdays; some companies have gone above and beyond when it comes to providing perks to their employees. Here are some of the coolest, best, and most useful that we’d like to see show up in more companies.

Family First

Let’s face it: the type of maternity and paternity leave mandated by law in the US comes in two flavors – awful and non-existent. That’s why it’s so cool to see companies going above and beyond when it comes to letting you take care of your family.

Audio streaming company Spotify loves its parent employees, and it shows. The company provides six months of paid parental leave, and then an additional month of flexible work options for parents returning to their positions. The company even covers the costs of fertility assistance and egg freezing!

Meanwhile, video streaming juggernaut Netflix didn’t want to be left out. While there’s no ancillary support for parents returning to work, Netflix provides a whole 12 months of paid parental leave. How’s that for cool?

Facebook might not have much in the way of paid parental leave, but the company does provide $4,000 of what it calls “baby cash” to new parents. Four grand pays for a lot of diapers and baby formula, and even a little bit left over for a babysitter once and a while. And real estate website giant Zillow foots the bill for any nursing mothers that need to overnight breast milk. Every little bit helps for new parents.

Rest and Relaxation

Studies show that employees who feel rested and relaxed at work are happier and more productive – and smart companies have taken that to heart. This often takes the form of additional PTO. Outdoor clothing company REI provides two days a year where it encourages its employees to get out in the sunshine.

Some R&R perks are more comprehensive, like the $2,000 stipend that Airbnb gives its employees to stay at any of the company’s rentals around the world. The paid four-week sabbatical that healthcare software company Epic Systems offers veteran employees, solely to explore creative talents and hobbies, also comes to mind as an impressive use of time.

Of course, you don’t have to kick your employees out of the office for them to be relaxed at work. Plenty of companies have expansive break rooms with ping-pong tables and well-stocked drink coolers, but it takes a bit more to stand out nowadays. An example of this is microblogging heavyweight Twitter, which has built a reputation on in-office perks like three catered meals a day and for providing regular improv classes and even acupuncture sessions for harried employees.

Finally, companies can hit two birds with one stone by providing PTO to employees who want to volunteer their time to charities. Salesforce offers six days a year to any of its civic-minded workers, even offering an additional $1,000 for the employee to donate to a charity of his or her choice. Businesses can tout not just how socially conscious they are but their employees are, too, leaving everybody with the warm fuzzies.

Conclusion

It takes more than a modicum of effort nowadays to be thought of as a company that provides the coolest perks to its employees. We’re hoping that perks we’ve found in some of the most cutting-edge companies of today – extended support for families, better quality of life for workers on the job and off, and a move towards more socially conscious, community-minded activities – will become much more common as time goes by.

6 Jul 2017

How to Prepare Your Employees for a Merger and Acquisition

how to prepare your employees for a merger and acquisition

As part of a management team, it’s your job to prepare your staff for any eventuality. This post is designed to assist you with one of the most difficult of these eventualities– the reality of a merger or acquisition happening to your company. Although it can be a challenging task, there are proven ways to navigate the difficult transition involved in a merger and acquisition scenario.

Mergers and acquisitions have been part of corporate culture for decades, but that doesn’t make them any easier for people to handle when they actually happen. Your staff will almost certainly react very strongly once the news of the merger or acquisition breaks. Here are a few of the best ways to prepare your people for a merger and acquisition.

General Guidelines

First, here are 5 general guidelines for helping your staff during the merger and acquisition process:

  1. Expect emotional reactions and be prepared to listen patiently to everyone’s concerns.
  2. Except a lot of resistance, especially to anything that seems vastly different than what your people are used to.
  3. Stay as positive and reassuring as you can realistically be.
  4. Focus on the short and long term future by describing the roadmap management has drawn for your staff’s individual and group success.
  5. Be transparent and fair when it comes to establishing criteria and deciding on any cuts or promotions.

Open Communication– The Message and How To Deliver It

Good communication becomes vital the moment that the merger or acquisition becomes a certainty. Rumors about lost jobs, demotions, and a host of other sweeping changes will start to fly immediately, so get out in front of any false information by communicating as openly as honestly as you can.

Remember that you’re delivering an important and sometimes frightening message when a merger or acquisition starts happening. That means you’ll have to manage this message well, both its content and the way it’s delivered. Work with your other managers to present a unified front regarding the details of the transition.

Decide as a group what, when, and how you’re going to tell your staff about the merger or acquisition. It’s especially important that everyone receives the information at the same time and in the same forum. Morale will be bad enough without managers pulling friends aside and whispering this or that advance info into their ear.

Hold a Staff Meeting as Soon as Possible

The best way to communicate information about the transition openly is to hold a meeting as soon as possible. Make it a Townhall style meeting, one where everyone can ask questions comfortably. Answer these questions as openly and honestly as you can during the session, making it clear that their concerns matter to you.

You can also use this time to discuss the criteria you will be using to make important personnel decisions during the merger or acquisition. This includes any possible firings, promotions, or changes in role. Your staff will know that some key changes are probably in the works, but they deserve to know in advance how their future with the company is going to be assessed.

Handling the Fallout

Lastly, let’s have a look at how to handle some of the fallout that can ensue after a merger or acquisition.

Unfortunately, lost jobs are sometimes inevitable during the merger or acquisition process, especially in departments where overlaps and redundancies clearly exist. If you’re forced to let staff members go, it’s best if the cuts occur during as brief a period as possible. Inform each employee personally if they’re being let go, and take this time to offer any outplacement or counseling services your company has prepared for them.

Let your people know when this dismal period is over. That way, the rest of your staff can breathe a sigh of relief and start focusing on the future. Arrange meetings with your various departments, where remaining ask whatever questions they might have and management can begin to clarify roles and its blueprint for the future.

Mergers and acquisitions are always a formidable challenge, but yours will go much more smoothly if you get started on these preparations right away.

22 Jun 2017

4 Ways to Keep Your Team Motivated When an Employee Leaves

4 Ways to Keep Your Team Motivated When an Employee Leaves

No matter what the circumstances are, personnel changes are bound to happen. Employees leave for a variety of reasons, sometimes for better positions and sometimes because of poor performance or behavior issues. Either way, employee departures can have a profound effect on the rest of your team and it’s part of a manager’s job to keep everyone motivated when it happens.

Losing a staff member can be difficult enough all by itself, especially if they were a high performer, a long-term employee, or one your team’s de facto leaders. The last thing you want is for things to get worse because of decreased motivation. Fortunately, there are some tried and true methods to keep your people happy and productive in this sort of situation.

Here are 4 effective ways to keep your team motivated when an employee leaves.

Keep Everyone in the Loop as Much as Possible

People like to be included, especially in a situation they think might have an eventual effect on their job situation. That’s why one of the best things you can do when a team member leaves is to keep the rest of your staff in the loop. This sort of news tends to travel around the office pretty quickly anyway, so apprise them of the situation as quickly as possible to avoid confusion and keep unnecessary rumors from flying around.

We’re going to focus on reassuring the rest of your staff in a moment, but the first step toward this goal is being as transparent with your staff as possible. No one can feel secure if they sense that you’re being secretive or withholding, so be as open as you can without violating office policies or confidentiality principles.

Stay Upbeat and Positive

A big part of keeping your team motivated is employee morale, so make sure to stay upbeat and positive whenever a member of your staff leaves. Whether the departing person was a top performer or the weakest link in your chain, your team needs you to stay energized and optimistic at a time like this. Once you’ve told them everything that you can about the situation, re-emphasize your team’s goals and outline all of the ways you can still reach them.

Be Compassionate and Reassuring

Losing a team member for whatever reason can be scary for a lot of people, so make sure you’re compassionate about what they might be feeling when someone leaves. Some of your staff might have become close to the person that left, so acknowledge the feelings of loss they might be experiencing and remind them that they and their friend will continue to thrive.

The loss of a team member can also make people feel insecure about the future of their jobs. That’s why it’s crucial that you reassure them this particular move has nothing to do with them. If any staff members seem especially distressed, meet with them in person and listen to their concerns. Remind them privately that every staff member is evaluated on their own merits, not in relation to something else that might have happened.

Get Back to Work as Quickly as Possible

Losing a team member can be a damaging break in continuity even in the best scenarios, so don’t let your staff dwell on the loss any longer than necessary. Return to business as usual as soon as you can to keep up both morale and productivity. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should be insensitive or uncaring. In fact, you should get back to work as quickly as possible for the opposite reason– because it’s the best way to move on and return to a sense of normalcy.

Handling the loss of an employee is never easy, but keeping people motivated when someone leaves is the true test of a good manager. If you manage the loss with sensitivity and wisdom, your team won’t need to miss a step.

 

8 Jun 2017

5 Welcomed Ways to Follow Up with the Recruiter

5 Welcomed Ways to Follow Up with the Recruiter

Congratulations, you scored an interview! For many job seekers, this is no easy feat. And waiting for the results of that interview can prove just as nerve wracking as the interview itself.

You might think that following up with the recruiter after the interview is a good way to demonstrate your interest in the job and show your readiness to accept. But when should you follow up, and how? How often should you check in? What should you say?

In fact, some recruiters would prefer you didn’t follow up at all, opting for a more “we’ll call you” approach. This is understandable, as recruiters who truly see an interest in you will somehow cue you in and not make you wonder.

But if you feel the itch to follow-up on your formal Q&A, here are five safe ways to do so without completely wrecking your chances:

#1 – Ask the recruiter how they prefer you follow up about the job.

Some recruiters will tell you they will call you if interested. Others might tell you to wait a couple weeks. Whatever their answer, make sure you respect their personal boundaries. Following up outside of their recommendations demonstrates your inability to listen, which won’t bode well for your future employment chances.

#2 – Send a Thank You email the day of your interview at the end of the work day.

Chances are, you were not the only person the recruiter interviewed that day. Sending a Thank You email on the same day serves two purposes:

  • It makes another impression associated with your name
  • It shows you are still interested in the job

Make sure you include something of significance from your interview in the email to help them remember you. It could be something unique you talked about, like an accomplishment or goal, or anything that will help them recall their interview with you.

#3 – Email, don’t call.

If a recruiter isn’t interested in you, it puts them in an awkward position to tell you directly why they haven’t reached out after the interview. Instead, you can save yourself and interviewer some embarrassment by keeping your follow-up in email format only.

#4 – Keep the follow-up casual, yet professional.

You want to seem warm, friendly, and approachable, but getting overly excited or too personal with the interviewer isn’t the way to do it. Remember, you haven’t been hired yet, so you still have to maintain a level of professionalism. However, you might avoid highly formal language in your follow-up, depending on the position.

In addition, you don’t want to come across as desperate or overly eager. These signals could send the wrong message to the recruiter and hurt your chances.

#5 – Keep the follow-up brief.

You don’t need to rehash your entire interview, nor do you need to resell your reasoning on why you’d make the perfect candidate. This was all covered in the interview, and trying to reiterate your already-known skills could make you seem desperate. Instead, keep your follow-up simple and to the point.

All you need is a greeting, the notice that you are following up on your interview, a thanks for their consideration, and your name.

Summary

Checking in after an interview can make you sound ambitious, but following up after an interview in the wrong ways can also make you seem pushy and overzealous, neither of which will help your chances in landing the job.

It’s best to hear straight from the recruiter how they prefer you to follow up, if at all. But if you can follow up, then, by all means, you should.

25 May 2017

How to Introduce Flex Hours Into Your Organization

How to Introduce Flex Hours Into Your Organization

Shedding the traditional 9-5, 40-hour work week is becoming more common as businesses struggle to find better ways to keep and attract talent. In fact, over 80% of businesses offer some form of flexible work arrangements, be it working remotely, flexible start and end times, or reduced work hours. Other studies suggest that a flexible work schedule ranks as the most important perk a company can offer.

Introducing flex hours into your organization can provide a multitude of benefits for both employees and the company. Flex hours promote a healthier work/life balance, can boost worker productivity, and can help manage stress and burnout. But those benefits won’t manifest themselves unless you implement flex hours the right way.

4 Tips for Introducing Flex Hours Into Your Company Culture Successfully

#1 – Determine which positions are conducive to flex hours.

Flex hours might not make sense for every job in your company, especially those in customer-facing roles. It’s up to you to decide which positions will make sense for a flex schedule.

Consider the various roles in your company, and decide if a particular start or end time is crucial for each one. For instance, if you offer tech support via phone or chat between certain hours, you need to ensure you are adequately staffed throughout that time frame to serve your callers.

#2 – Announce your plan to introduce flex hours, and collect employee feedback.

Offering flex hours, or any other perk, to employees means understanding how they stand to benefit from it. You can’t follow other companies’ examples simply because it works for them. Your people and business needs are unique, so your flex time program should serve to bolster those needs.

Talk to employees in different job titles and seniority ranks within the company to get a well-rounded idea of how flex hours will benefit different people. Ask for their input on how the program might best fit their individual needs.

#3 – Help managers to understand the benefits of flex time.

Even a hint of change in the work environment can prove enough to send managers into panic mode.  And for good reason – managers need to know how to explain these changes to their team, how it affects operations, and ways they can plan for upcoming changes.

You can help conquer this fear of the unknown by presenting managers with the benefits behind flex hours. Give them the chance to ask questions on how it will impact the daily workflow. Introducing change directly (and before it happens) can help settle nerves and open minds, both of which can lead to a better chance of program success.

#4 – Make flex time a formal company policy.

While some companies leave it up to the employee to determine their start and end times in a flex hour setting, you could greatly benefit by structuring a formal company policy around the program. Put your flex time policy details into writing, and ensure each employee understands any boundaries you’ve set forth.

One idea is to give your employees a general time range to start and end each work day, with the understanding that those who come in later should also stay later. Another suggestion is to let employees work up to a certain number of hours per week however it’s most convenient for them.

Whatever you decide, keep in mind that flex time should be just that – flexible.

One Final Thought on a Flex Hours Program

Adopting a flex hours program doesn’t necessarily mean your company will benefit like others have. It’s important you make periodic check-ins with managers and employees to get feedback on how they feel the program is working. They might be able to offer insight into problems you didn’t initially consider, which could help in restructuring the program to make it a better option for everyone involved.

11 May 2017