This Thanksgiving be Grateful for Your Career

November 25th, 2013

As the Thanksgiving season comes around once more, it’s a good time to pause for a moment and reflect on all of the many blessings we should be thankful for. For many folks, this includes being grateful for having a career in the first place, when so many others are unemployed or looking for something better. While every career has its challenges, having the ability to make a living doing something you are good at certainly has its rewards too.

5 Things to Be Thankful for at Work

To get you in the thankful frame of mind, here are some thoughts to ponder in terms of your career.

  1. Your career is more stable than others.  The very fact that you have a current job is something to be very thankful for in this unstable world economy. With some 10 percent of the US working population out of work, it’s important to remember that your job is one that has held out for a long time because your company is well-managed.
  2. You create your own career existence. The assignment you are in now has been made possible by the company you work for, but your day to day career experience is something you have control over. Despite the interruptions from co-workers, the phone ringing, and the occasional customer; your work day is what you make of it. This is something to be very thankful for.
  3. Others wish they had your skills and career. Very often, working professionals dream of doing something vastly different from where they end up. Yet, for each person questioning if the grass is greener in another career path, there are those trying to break into yours. Value your unique skill set and the experiences you have earned on the job, and make the most of it.
  4. The work you do is important and meaningful. Whether you think so or not, you are a very valuable member of the team you work with. In fact, your company could not accomplish what it has been able to do over the last year without your contribution. Sure, there are good and bad days in any career, but you are a piece of the puzzle which is something to be thankful for because you are important.
  5. The corporate environment allows you to network and make friends. Can you imagine having a job where you could not interact with the people around you? In some places, this is a reality. And as a human being this is very depressing. Take a look around you and recognize the interesting people you get to work with each and every day.

Heading into 2013, it’s critical that you take a look back at all the events and experiences you’ve earned this year. Update your resume with your accomplishments, and do not take for granted the lessons you’ve learned. Your career and the ability to hold down a job is something to be thankful for every day.

For more career enlightenment, come back to The Rick Rice Report  for advice  and tips for making your career better. Feel free to leave your comments below and follow us on Twitter!

How to not fall behind at work during the holiday season

November 22nd, 2013

Today kicks off the Thanksgiving holiday season.  By tomorrow, the workplace will resemble a ghost town of empty cubicles and locked office doors.  Here are some tips to help you and your employees keep up with productivity and avoid falling behind during the Thanksgiving holiday break.

Get a jump on the day. If possible, arrive an hour earlier or stay an hour later each day.  This ensures less distractions and allows you to catch up on your work a little at a time instead of cramming everything into one very long day.

Prioritize. Decide what is more of a pressing matter and make a list based on when each project should be completed.

Pitch in when needed.  After all, this is the season of giving.  If you have time, help a co-worker finish a pressing project.  This will help promote teamwork and breeds goodwill among employees.

Respect your co-workers. Remember, not everyone will celebrate the holiday season with the same vigor as you.

Relax and enjoy.  It’s easy to get frazzled over the holiday season. Remember to take it easy, and enjoy this special time of year.  Exercise is a great and healthy way to relieve stress.  You can also try breathing exercises to help you keep your cool.

Office etiquette during the holidays

November 1st, 2013

During the holiday season proper holiday etiquette questions continue to swirl in the workplace.  Here are some tips to help you keep from damaging important relationships in your professional life.

Gift buying for the office. In most cases, gifts are given from the top down.  Typically, most subordinates are gift recipients and are not required to reciprocate.  However, if you do decide to get in the giving spirit avoid buying anything of a personal nature.  Items such as a nose hair trimmer or undergarments is a big “no no.”

Client holiday cards and gift giving. This is a great time to strengthen your relationship with your customers and thank them for their business.  Remember to keep in mind cultural and religious differences.  Not everyone celebrates Christmas. Choose a happy holidays themed card that is a strong card stock.  Be sure to also include a handwritten note and avoid a laser printed message.  Consult a marketing and promotions company to help you select the right gift that sends the right message.

Holiday parties. Whether your holiday party is at or outside of the office, remember to be on your best behavior.  If the affair is black tie event wear a black suit, tuxedo or a conservative dress.  Avoid plunging necklines or a hem line that is too revealing.  If the party is after work, be sure to wear business attire.  It’s always a good idea to bring a bottle of wine or something edible for the host if the party is off site at someone’s home.  Keep an eye on your alcohol consumption.  This is not the time to “let loose” and let it all hang out.  Limit your alcohol to a minimum of two drinks.  Converse with other party attendants that you don’t know and be sure to also bring others into your conversation.  This means avoiding talking only about work.

Happy employees, happy customers

October 6th, 2013

Employee retention is critical to the long term health and success of your business.  The larger the company, the more costly the turnover.

Retention requires a competitive salary and great benefits but for most employees, it takes much more.   Employee satisfaction is defined as the way an employee feels about the environment in which they work.

There are many factors that influence job satisfaction. Salary, work hours and other fringe benefits like car allowance are just as important as feeling valued, prospects for promotion, career development and the physical nature of the work.

To be ultimately satisfied, employees must have strong intrinsic and extrinsic connections to a job.  In many cases, employees are less likely to leave a company where they feel valued and see the opportunity for career growth (intrinsic) even though there may be higher paying jobs available outside the company (extrinsic).

Employers who strive to improve employee retention benefit tremendously.  By reducing costs related to turnover, companies can save money and add to the bottom-line profitability of the firm.

Research also demonstrates that employees who are satisfied with their job provide high quality service, develop strong relationships with customers and take pride in their work – thus improving customer satisfaction and reducing employee turnover.

I Love My Employer! 4 Steps to Building Loyalty Among Workers

September 18th, 2013

Source: diamanti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do you often wish that your employees loved you  – I mean really honestly loved you as an employer?

Wanting happy workers who actually love to come to work is somewhat of a lost art. Too few companies have this key element of success anymore. It’s probably because there are too many business owners who lose sight of this value and end up becoming aloof and hard to like by their employees. Company leaders can easily start to distance themselves from the very people who are their life-blood, and before it’s discovered, they are feared instead of revered by their staff. No one wants to work for a company like that, but it’s a sad truth in many cubicle farms.

Here’s how to break this cycle and build loyalty among workers for a more harmonious and productive workplace.

Change Employees’ View of Upper Management

At most companies, there is a general belief that employees at the very bottom of the corporate ladder are merely “peons” in compared to upper management. Those who are in lower level positions just assume they are not valued or appreciated. While these workers toil away all day, dealing with difficult clients and situations, the execs are out playing golf games and enjoying life as rich Lords. Your company does not have to be an ant colony! Instead, how about making your upper management get their hands dirty once in a while, but demonstrating an actual personal involvement in day-to-day activities in the workplace? This can help raise employee morale significantly and shows employees that they matter to you. Thus, the feeling will become mutual.

Respect and Honor the Abilities of Your Employees

Chances are, you hired the people in your office because they have certain qualities and skills that are desirable for the benefit of your corporate objectives, right? It’s very possible that within the walls of your corporate environment there are some rising stars who would like to get to know you. Take the time to visit with each department and talk with supervisors about employees who could use some more development. Provide mentorship opportunities and start to groom all employees through additional training and brainstorming sessions. When people are valued by their employer, they are less likely to leave the company and more likely to use their skills on the job.

Promote Employees from Within the Organization

Nothing burns existing employees up more than being overlooked for important assignments and promotions. When new opportunities present themselves, again talk with department leaders to find out who from within the organization may show an aptitude for new responsibilities, before searching outside the organization. Do an inventory of employees who possess specific skill sets and keep this handy for when a new role needs to be developed. Employees who know they may have a real chance to succeed at work are more often loyal to their current employer.

Discover the Power of Employee Recognition

Before you go getting all mooshy on me here, think corporate reward and recognition programs. At every opportunity, give positive feedback to your employees in the form of verbal praise and recognition in front of peers for a job well done. Hold contests and allow employees to excel at projects and then reward them with fun gift cards, and paid time off. Have an annual corporate event during which time you honor employees for their years of service to the company. In order to be loved by your employees, you must give praise as much as you can and as often as possible.

Want more tips for a better workplace and happier employees? Read the large listing of helpful articles found here, and please visit Rick Rice Report often!

 

 

Is Your Retention Strategy Working: What Are You Doing To Keep Your Employees ?

September 1st, 2013

Employee turnover can be a costly aspect of doing business. Money and time is spent in recruiting and training new employees. Employees can easily take what they learned from a company with them when they leave. Positions that are not filled add more work to employees left behind. There is lost productivity even in cases where new hires are made. Experienced employees that build a network of strong business relations may cause those vendors uncertainty if an employee leaves.

The loss of high-quality employees can have a ripple effect in costs to companies. It is important to develop effective strategies to maintain employees. What are you doing to maintain your best employees?

Successful employee retention can occur in two critical areas.

The first can be maintaining comfortable physical aspects of the work environment itself. This includes a proper office environment, a safe and ergonomic workplace, as well as properly maintained equipment on the work site. The second way to retain employees is to promote the development of workers, providing them the means to develop, learn, and improve skills as capable employees.

Abraham Maslow was a professor of psychology who presented his ‘hierarchy of needs’ showing what people required in their lives in order to be happy. The most basic levels showed what people required to meet their physical and security needs. In many ways, the same concept applies to employee satisfaction. A work environment that promotes satisfaction and productivity can do much to help morale. Workers need the proper equipment and tools to do their job. Having a safe place to park the car and to work in may seem superficial, but are important to employees. Comprehensive health benefits for workers and their families also go a long way in creating a happier workplace. Taking care of basic needs can go far with morale.

Another way to retain key employees is to offer programs to help them grow and develop. Training and education programs help improve the skills of workers.  This can range from tuition reimbursement programs to company leadership seminars.  Policies that encourage professional development help employees grow professionally. Workers may wish to transition these skills for the benefit of their employer.

Succession planning is another good way of retaining employees. A policy of hiring from within means employees know there are opportunities for advancement. Identifying key people to fill future roles helps continuity of policies and procedures of the company. Baby boomers are retiring in greater numbers. As more people in leadership positions retire, filling key roles will become more important.

Developing a framework for feedback from employees can help with a retention policy. Feeling part of the overall function can empower employees to have a feeling of involvement. Brainstorm meetings can be conducted with managers and employees. Cultivating responses from employees through consistent employee reviews can help with job satisfaction.

Come back soon for more Retention tips at The Rick Rice Report!

Tweet Your Way to a Job: 5 Ways to Use Twitter to Find a New Career

August 2nd, 2013

Twitter is about more than spreading news at the fastest speeds 140 characters a tweet allows. It’s more about keeping up with your friends and family. It’s about more than being a handshake or two away from your favorite celebrity. Twitter is showing up on more fronts than you might imagine. In fact, for people seeking jobs in this slow job market it can be a lifeline to help you stand out and get noticed by potential employers.

Here are five things you can do that can really aid in your job search – using social media.

1)   Follow industry leaders. You want to make sure you’re closely watching out for new trends and tactics in your industry. The people to follow to hear all about it are the people who are currently leaders in your industry. These are also the names you want to be associated with if potential employers decide to check out your Twitter account to see what friends and influences you have in common.

2)   Create lists to make Twitter a little more user friendly. Lists are great for sorting. They make it much easier to find out what the people you want to listen to have to say; but they serve another purpose too. You can customize the titles for your lists to flatter potential employers who stumble across your Twitter feed and/or lists. Titles such as “People I Admire in my Field” or “Companies for the Future”. Use flattering titles for your lists and it is likely to make a favorable impression.

3)   Focus your following to zero in on the companies where you’d like to work. Chances are that you have a top 10 wish list of companies on your radar. Make sure you’re following them on Twitter. More important, find out who works for these companies and follow them as well. Get to know the people who work for the companies where you’d like to work and allow them the opportunity to get to know you too.

4)   Include important, career-oriented keywords and messages in your “tweets”. They don’t all need to be related to your specific field. Some of them can be character traits you feel best describe you and make you an asset to work with. In all things you tweet, don’t lose sight of your goal to make a favorable impression with potential employers.

5)   Make applications such as TweetDeck and Twhirl (twhirl.org) do some of the heavy lifting and conversation sorting for you. These applications make it easy to see whom among those you follow and those following you in return, are using certain keywords in addition to helping you keep track of conversations you’re participating in or want to follow.

The new employment process is going mobile in more ways than one. Twitter is a great tool, when used properly, to help you keep your job search front and center for yourself and potential employers.

Be sure to come back often to The Rick Rice Report for great career tips and guidance from expert Rick Rice. or follow us on Twitter! We also welcome  your comments below.

Photo Credit: Google Images

4 Tips to Make Your Team Meetings More Productive

July 15th, 2013

Productivity is a must in any business. Yet, for most business, the one thing that’s designed to help improve productivity and ensure that everyone knows his or her job to do within the business—the business meeting—seems to be some sort of black hole where productive people go to be…unproductive.

Whether you’re a fan of employee or team meetings or you loathe them with a vengeance, the truth is that they are effective tools for boosting morale and planning for success. However if your team meetings have been more “bust” than “boom” for your spirits lately, there are a few things you can do that will help you and the people attending your meetings, give more bang for your buck.

1)   Trim the fat from your meetings. Believe it or not, this will enhance productivity overall. Skip the items on your meeting agenda that could be handled with a team email or even a weekly “newsletter” and dive right into the meat and potatoes portion of the meeting. You can get more accomplished in less time if you’re not rehashing the highlights and only covering the pertinent points.

2)   Send out an agenda for the meeting ahead of time. This lets everyone know what the meeting is going to address, gives team members time to prepare any points they need to make (or progress reports that need to be provided). This is much more beneficial so that people aren’t spending the first half of the meeting reading over the agenda rather than participating in the discussion.

3)   Have fewer meetings. There is some truth to the statement that “less is more” especially when it comes to meetings. If you have too many meetings then it becomes a lesson in frustration for some employees. More importantly, they lose their value as motivational tools. Meetings become boring and uninspired and that’s the last thing you want employees to feel about meetings. Some people need a certain rhythm and flow in order to be productive and frequent meetings destroy that head space for them.

4)   Go for a change of scenery. Rather than adjourning to the same conference room, sitting around the same table, and ordering from the same takeout menus for each meeting, how about going for a change of scenery? Take your next meeting to a local restaurant or hotel conference room. If possible consider having an outdoor meeting/lunch at a state park or some other outdoor venue. It’s a chance to get out of the office while still taking care of business and this may be more welcomed by your staff than you expect.

Meetings do not have to be status quo in order to be productive. In fact, the most productive meetings are generally the ones that operate a little bit outside the box.

For more helpful tips on building a successful business, come back to The Rick Rice Report often for business updates and advice. Feel free to leave your comments below and follow us on Twitter!

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The Right Way to Hire: The Different Recruiting Approaches for a Salaried Position vs an Hourly Position

June 15th, 2013

Recruiting for a salaried position is far different from recruiting for an hourly position. In short, you are looking for two different types of people. In many instances, a business will determine if a position is hourly or salary long before the actual recruitment begins. However, whom you plan to hire plays a role in how you go about finding the ideal professional for the position. In both cases, you need someone that is going to do the job properly. There is more to think about from the other side of the coin, though.

Knowing the Advantages

In both situations, it is important to recruit professionals based on the features and benefits the position will hold for the employee. For example, with an hourly employee, your goals are going to be to show why this person should put in the hours. Consider recruiting based on the benefits of the job.

  • Flexible shifts
  • Potential for overtime (if this is the case)
  • Good schedules for those working secondary jobs.

On the other hand, when hiring for a salaried position, you may have additional benefits to offer that hourly employees do not get. More so, you may have more demands for these professionals since you are putting a big stake in them by hiring them for a full time, long term position.

  • Benefits such as retirement plans, health care plans, profit sharing
  • Outline the goal of hiring for the long term
  • Include information about additional compensation options such as bonuses or vehicles to drive

In short, you need to show the potential applicant what he or she is going to get for taking on the position you offer. Even if your hourly position is full time, because it is hourly, it is easy to see how their hours could be trimmed back down the road.

Know Who You Are Hiring

It is also important to consider the type of person you need to have in the position. If you need someone to work in the sales office, the importance of that position needs to be thought about. For example, if that professional will be one on one with employees, he or she needs to be compensated as such. Recruiting for these professionals needs to focus on delivering the best possible customer service. On the other hand, if this person will be a receptionist that you may need to send home to cut costs from time to time, the hourly position may be less vital and therefore you may want to hire someone with less experience and train them.

Know whom you are hiring and what you need them to do. Expect salaried positions to require more information, better benefits and a longer interviewing process. After all, you are investing more time and money into these people. Hourly employees, though, should be considered carefully. Look for these professionals on job boards whereas you will network and develop a larger net for most salaried positions. In all cases, you need to know what you can offer the employee and you need to present your opportunity clearly. That way, there is no confusion about whom you are hiring.

For more timely information on modern recruiting topics and career advice, come back to The Rick Rice Report or follow us on Twitter! We also welcome  your comments below.

Hiring and Retaining Top Performers

May 31st, 2013

Your 15 Minute Guide to Hiring and Retaining IT Talent in 2012 Not everyone can operate at the same performance levels. Studies show that top performing IT professionals are at least 20% more productive than their middle-of-the-road peers.

Learn how to hire and retain the talent that will help you improve productivity, increase employee retention and positively impact your bottom line.

It’s not too late to start planning, download this easy to read ebook here.

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