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How to Use Core Values to Craft Your Perfect Job

G iven that we spend about a quarter of our lives at work – maybe more – it’s kind of a travesty to say we’re going to spend most of our waking hours doing something that we don’t think matters that much. So it’s not a surprise that people are searching for meaning in work.” These are the words of organizational psychologist Adam Grant, who specializes in improving the work lives of employees.

For those who want to change their fortunes at their place of employment, the key may lie in the ability to identify what you are passionate about and work those passions into your job.

 

Discovering core values

“Make a list of the biggest sources of meaning in your life,” says Grant, and then ask yourself a one-word question about each: Why? The goal of the exercise is to eventually reach a core value. These values are at the heart of who we are as individuals. Incorporating core values into your daily activities will provide a much happier and satisfying work life.

Make a list of the biggest source of meaning in your life.

Grant says that once you identify your core values, two actions need to be taken. First, connect parts of your job that don’t feel meaningful to a core value. Second, find ways to work core values into your job.

To illustrate the first action, I will use a first-person perspective. As our company’s staff writer, I craft all types of content from blogs to website copy to emails. Without a doubt, there are some things I enjoy writing more than others. Email composition resides pretty low on my list of preferred tasks.

However, an important core value I live by is to be a great communicator. I strive to communicate in a way that is easy to understand, and leaves little room for misinterpretation. While emails may not be terribly inspiring, doing so gives me a chance to connect with my core value of being a good communicator. When I think of it in those terms, I view the task much more positively.

 

Job crafting

Grant referenced an article from the Harvard Business Review when he discussed the concept of job crafting.

Job crafting is this idea of saying, I have unique interests, values and skills that I could bring to the table that would allow me to be more effective and find more meaning in my work. So, I’m going to become an active architect of my job and I’m going to change the way that I do it, or I’m going to change what I work on.”

Job crafting does not advocate turning your job into a free-for-all, but it does mean incorporating elements that will inspire you and help you maintain a high level of energy and engagement. One idea is to come up with a side project from your day-to-day duties that really speaks to a passion you possess. Even if you spend just 10% of your work time on that project, it will help put you in a better place mentally to take on the rest of your tasks with a clearer mind.

Depending on your interests, this idea might come to fruition in the form of a social group that meets outside of work, such as a book club that furthers learning, or a charitable activity that can benefit your workplace.

Job crafting involves serious introspection about your job with the purpose of redefining it to incorporate your motives, strengths, and passions. Going through this process helps you to have influence on your daily activities, creating a job that will feel more meaningful and fulfilling. It serves the additional benefit of giving you more control over what you do on a day-to-day basis. You are the one that ultimately controls your outcome, not your boss or the leadership team.

Job crafting involves serious introspection about your job with the purpose of redefining it to incorporate your motives, strengths, and passions.

Why would an organization support job crafting?

Most people have more to do than time in which to do it. Having the ability to delegate tasks can free up time to address other important job tasks. Typically, leaders are the ones that determine what a worker does on a regular basis. By delegating job crafting to the employee, it frees up the manager to accomplish other things.

Not only does job crafting empower employees, it can serve the additional bonus of being a company benefit in lieu of cash bonuses or time off.

 

How to job craft

Begin by identifying motives, strengths, and passions, three vital components that will lead to higher engagement, better performance and overall happiness. Then look at how those things apply to work-related tasks, relationships and perceptions. Considering each of these three factors will ensure a thoroughly devised plan and greatly increase its chances for success.

Make sure that you are shaping your job, not letting your job shape you.

Conclusion

According to a survey of 5,000 U.S. households by The Conference Board, only 45% of those polled say they are satisfied with their jobs, certainly a downward trend from the 60% who were satisfied in 1987, the first year the survey was conducted. More recent studies from Gallup about job engagement show numbers even more disheartening.

Much of that dissatisfaction may lie in whether or not individuals control their own workplace destiny or are simply following orders and completing tasks on a daily basis. Make sure that you are shaping your job, not letting your job shape you.

Article written by Dave Clark, Staff Writer and Editor at TTI Success Insights.

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The New Super Hero Team – Business, IT and HR

T he ongoing disconnect between business, HR, and IT is legendary and many managers and even some executives may believe this thrilling threesome has nothing in common. Business can no longer operate without good talent management and HR can no longer be effective without IT. Why do these three bickering siblings need to get along for a more successful future?

One might say that business is the hero that built America.

The Business of Business

America, unlike many believe, was not founded for political or religious reasons. When Queen Elizabeth I of England sent people to explore the New World, it was in pursuit of riches. Business helped grow those riches for England and America. Business has spawned many other heroes in the building of America. The United States is still one of the few places on the planet where anyone can build their own empire.  One might say that business is the hero that built America.

The business of business is all about another hero, its people. There will be no numbers to crunch, no products to sell, and no services to deliver without people. While there are giant heroes in America’s past, these are the everyday heroes who continue to build organizations. Boards and CEOs are staying awake at night worrying about recruiting and hiring good talent. This is particularly troublesome for organizations that are not born digital. Many an article has been written about the need for in-depth recruiting, good hiring processes, and fitting the right people to the right job. Oftentimes, an organization will get all that right but fall short once their valuable heroes are on board.

“The workforce continues to change, and people today need different requirements for recognition, communication, engagement, and motivation. A more individual approach is necessary to address these needs and ensure that every worker realizes his or her hero value. The other side of this coin is that organizations need talent that can adapt, be agile, and embrace changes brought about by the market, the economy, customer demands, and of course, technology.

IT is It

Years ago, I remember the sales department arguing that nothing would happen in business without them. They thought they were the business hero. HR would argue that if it wasn’t for them, there wouldn’t be any jobs because there would be no one to fill them. They thought they were the business hero. Today, IT may very well be the hero because neither sales nor HR can function efficiently without them. Technology touches every part of our lives and is now recognized for making valuable contributions to business success, customer service, including making life easier for HR. Indeed, technology touches every part of business playing a significant role in keeping every department operating smoothly. That’s a heroic feat if ever I heard one.

Many of the jobs available today didn’t exist just a few years ago and many new jobs are not too far away on the horizon.

While everyone is smart to keep abreast of trends, IT must do it on steroids. While change is rampant, changes in technology come at blinding speed. Technology not only changes how we work, but the jobs we do, as well. Many of the jobs available today didn’t exist just a few years ago and many new jobs are not too far away on the horizon.

 

HR The Caped Crusader

Having been in HR, I can appreciate the effort it takes to walk the fine line between the dictates of business and keeping up morale. Or, between dishing out discipline and building a friendly culture. And finally, between building diversity and being fair to everyone. Any manager who has forgotten to dot an “i” and cross a “t” who has had HR swoop in, bail them out and, magically make all the distress go away, will call HR a hero. However, HR must now enfold business and IT under its collaborative cape as “friendlies.”

Now HR must become a business partner. It’s not enough to know the organization sells stuff, money comes in and everyone gets paid. Now HR must understand business strategy, marketing, sales, and profit margins. Now HR must understand a lot of technology and partner with IT to operate efficiently, attract hero talent, and use technology to help the business grow and prosper. Technology is changing every aspect of business including HR. It’s changing the way jobs are posted, the way people apply, and employee development.

 

Stay in Your Own Lane

Recently I was at an international conference and the audience had the opportunity to ask questions to a panel of executives. I asked for their thoughts on the CEO, the CHRO, and the CFO becoming business partners. I was told that everyone should stay in their own lane.

Business heroes who might not have thought about being collaborative in the past must change their thinking pattern must solve problems together.

Business heroes who might not have thought about being collaborative in the past must change their thinking pattern must solve problems together. The same can be said for business, HR, and IT.

Article written by Diane Bogino, President of Performance Strategies, Inc.

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Secrets for Attracting High-Performing Talent in Today’s Competitive Marketplace

T oday’s workers have different wants and needs compared to those of previous generations. Security and predictability have given way to preferences for flexibility, culture fit and a people-first focus.

Google recently published an article stating that psychological safety can be the number one dynamic that sets a successful team apart from others; more important that actual talent or resources. Psychological safety speaks to an environment where individuals can take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other.

Psychological safety speaks to an environment where individuals can take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other.

Defining employee experience

The employee experience can be defined as a set of perceptions that employees have about their experiences at work in response to their interactions with the organization. The employee experience (EX) signifies the entire life cycle an employee has with a company, from onboarding to departure.

When unemployment was higher, posting a job opening could often attract hundreds of candidates eager to find employment. That dynamic has changed. Now it can take several months to find that high-performing employee that possesses all the desired attributes. A great culture, people-focus and employee experience will be the components that will attract the best candidates.

The employee experience is all about people feeling good about the work they do and the company for which they work. It’s about being excited to go to work. A positive employee experience gives workers a feeling that they are a part of something special and that their contributions are meaningful to the organization.

A positive employee experience is not reserved for the elite workplaces in the world such as Apple, Zappos and Disney. EX is something that all organizations should aspire to in order to compete for top talent in the modern workplace.

“Employers must provide development more quickly, move people more regularly, provide continuous cycles of promotion and give employees more tools to manage their own careers.” Employees don’t want to come in and do the same thing day after day, week after week, year after year. They want to be challenged, know someone is listening to their ideas and that their ideas can and will take the organization to the next level.”

Components of a great employee experience

If an employee leaves the office exhausted day after day, or gets knots in his or her stomach every Sunday just from thinking about the upcoming work week, he or she is probably not having the best employee experience. Companies need to create an environment that attracts people; an environment where current employees want to recruit their friends to work. Imagine the productivity of a company where every employee loves his or her job!

One of the most successful entrepreneurs of our lifetime is Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group. He breaks down employee experience simply and succinctly in his quote, “There’s no magic formula. The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated. Think of it as the Golden Rule for creating an exceptional employee experience.” Leaders need to think about what type of experience they themselves want and how that experience can be translated to the entire staff.

Leaders need to think about what type of experience they themselves want and how that experience can be translated to the entire staff.

According to a recent Deloitte report, “Employers must provide development more quickly, move people more regularly, provide continuous cycles of promotion and give employees more tools to manage their own careers.” Employees don’t want to come in and do the same thing day after day, week after week, year after year. They want to be challenged, know someone is listening to their ideas and that their ideas can and will take the organization to the next level.

The cost of finding a new employee

For general employment, it can regularly take between 45-75 days, on average, to find the right person for the right job. Hiring for specialty positions can take significantly longer, sometimes many months. Most high-performing workers are currently employed, though they realize they have choices.

A study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management revealed that employers need to spend the equivalent of six to nine months of an employee’s salary in order to find and train their replacement. Hiring mistakes are costly. A new employee can take up to two full years to reach the same level of productivity as an existing staff member, according to business expert Josh Bersin of Bersin by Deloitte. A new hire will need to acclimate and be trained, likely taking productive work time away from co-workers.

The Harvard Business Review points out that as much as 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions. While organizations may be anxious to fill positions, a more prudent approach is to put a little extra time and effort into hiring to ensure getting it right the first time.

Engagement

Employee engagement is getting a lot of publicity these days. Despite engagement being on the upswing, the majority of workers (53% of them) remain disengaged according to a recent study by Gallup. The question an organization needs to ask is…what’s missing? What can we do to tap into to true talent and abilities of that 53%?

Imagine the possibilities if organizations started to get high-level production from workers that are just working to get by.

Imagine the possibilities if organizations started to get high-level production from workers that are just working to get by. Putting more focus and attention on soft skills may be the answer to moving some of those disengaged workers to the engaged side.

Putting people first

Putting people first – sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. Companies that put people first will have a staff of employees that say “I love my job and I’m excited to do what I do.” Not only will these employees do better work, they will act as the company’s own recruiting arm by promoting the virtues of the company to their peers.

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5 Reasons Why Training is Important

T  here was a time in my previous life when I worked in the beer world. Being on the craft side of the industry, knowledge and training were vital to the success of our brands. My job took me inside hundreds of food and drink establishments every year and I was simply amazed at the absolute dearth of training in the industry, as a whole. Not only was finding a well-trained bar or restaurant staff the exception instead of the rule, it was truly like finding a diamond-in-the-rough when I did encounter one. I often wondered why it was this way and what could be done about it.

This real-life experience left a lasting impression on me, but by no means was a lack of training confined to the beer industry. Have you ever called a major corporate entity and suffered through a painful conversation with a robotic call center employee? Or maybe, you’ve had a less-than-stellar experience at your local post office or DMV?

Have you ever called a major corporate entity and suffered through a painful conversation with a robotic call center employee?

Some companies find success in spite of their training techniques (or lack thereof). Can you imagine a world where training was deemed as important as the products the companies were selling; where training was considered part of the very DNA of a business’ modus operandi? Here are five good reasons to make sure your employees have the best training possible, and what happens when they do.

Employees work harder

When an organization takes a genuine interest in an employee, the employee feels the need for reciprocation and tends to put forth a better effort. Work becomes more meaningful and a the employee feels a certain responsibility to execute the job tasks to the best of his or her ability. It’s human nature to want to work for someone that respects us and shows that respect.

Company loyalty increases

When a person feels as if they are a meaningful part of an organization, they become and stay more engaged. Employees who are engaged will outperform those who aren’t. Companies that support its employees build loyalty, resulting in deeper dedication, better efforts, less sick days used and other ancillary benefits.

When a person feels as if they are a meaningful part of an organization, they become and stay more engaged.

Untrained workers equal lost customers

Who wants to do business with a company that appears to be inept? A negative first impression is hard to overcome and if you have a negative experience the first time you deal with a company, chances are you won’t be inclined to give them a second chance. The opposite of that is also true.

If you have a consistently good experience with a company, then run into an isolated incident where something isn’t right, you are much more likely to forgive that company and overlook the indiscretion.

Untrained workers are inefficient and mistake prone

When a worker is going through the motions, their heart and mind are not on the job they are performing. Because of this, they are more likely to make careless mistakes by losing their focus. Mistakes cost companies money, especially if it means lost customers.

These non- or disengaged employees feel much less inclined to work hard since they are, effectively, just going through the motions to collect a paycheck. They might be marginally useful and still perform to some degree, but there is still a level of loss for the company since that position could be filled by someone who engaged who would work harder.

Workers want to advance

Talented employees take an interest in a company and want to grow within that organization. These employees are good contributors and they typically want to stay onboard longer since they feel like they are a part of something exciting.

Talented employees take an interest in a company and want to grow within that organization.

It’s important to distinguish between training and developing employees. Training usually focuses on the acquisition of new skills, according to lessonly.com, while development is concerned with the improvement or extension of existing skills. Once a person is trained, they need to be regularly developed in order for them to continue to grow.

Conclusion

Going back to the beer industry reference earlier, I challenge you to pay special attention to the staff’s training next time you go into your favorite establishment. Does your bartender put your beer mug into the spigot when they pour your beer? (They shouldn’t!) Can they ably explain the differences between the beer styles that are currently on tap? (This should be a prerequisite before hiring.) If they don’t know, do they at least find the answer and get right back to you? (Let’s hope so.)

Think about how much happier you are when you go into an establishment that seems well run by an engaged and knowledgeable staff. Sometimes the service can leave more of a lasting impression than the food or drink itself. Now take that thought process and apply it to your business. If everyone who does business with your company can feel that same sense of satisfaction when they do business with you, then you know you are doing things right.

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Practice Rescue: 3 Tips to Hiring the Right Candidate

T he unemployment rate is at an all-time low, and the war for amazing talent is at an all-time high. What can employers do to find the best fit for the position they seek to fill?

A dentist client recently told me that she was so desperate to fill an open dental assistant position in her practice that she hired the first candidate that applied, despite the “yellow flags” she sensed when she was interviewing the candidate. These same warning signs resurfaced during the employee’s 90-day onboarding/contingency period.

What are yellow flags?

Yellow flags are indicators that a candidate or new hire may not meet all our requirements from either a skills, personality or cultural fit level. The applicant does not quite give us the obvious red flag that would disqualify that person from consideration, but rather shows elements that cause some sort of underlying concern that he or she may not be the ideal fit.

Yellow flags are indicators that a candidate or new hire may not meet all our requirements from either a skills, personality or cultural fit level.

Often, we feel in our gut that something just isn’t right, but not being able to pinpoint exactly what it is, we may be inclined to hire anyway. Dismissing those gut feelings can come back to haunt us, especially if we overvalue the candidate’s potential due to an urgency to fill the open position.

Three examples of yellow flags during the interview process may include the following:

  1. Workplace timelines do not add up on the candidate’s resume.
  2. The candidate is very eager, or even aggressive, about securing employment with your practice.
  3. The candidate offers openly negative discussions regarding a previous employer and that employer’s work environment.

3 tips

How do we avoid getting sucked into a yellow-flag employee?

  • Use words in your job posting to describe your practice and the position that would attract the type of candidate you are looking for, such as “growth-minded” or “fast-paced.” You want to sell the position. Great candidates are not just looking for a job, they are also looking for a great fit. You want a candidate that is as particular about where they work as you are about hiring the right person.

You want a candidate that is as particular about where they work as you are about hiring the right person.

  • Ask yourself if the candidates applying for the position are hungry for more. Are they teachable and passionate for growth in your business? Initiative cannot be taught.
  • Ensure you have a system in place for true references, background checks and interview processes with several current members of the staff prior to making an official job offer.

Green, yellow, red

In some cases, you just know when you’ve stumbled upon a great candidate. The signs point to green from the beginning and nothing throughout the process gives any indication to doubt those signs. Yellow flags are more common when you find someone that has some, but not all, of what you are looking for in an ideal candidate.

In some cases, you just know when you’ve stumbled upon a great candidate. The signs point to green from the beginning.

These yellow flags are not to be confused with red flags that come with candidates who have a criminal or drug history, are not a cultural fit with your organization or simply possess an incapacity to do the job. On the racetrack, yellow indicates caution. If your candidate is causing you to raise the yellow flag, I suggest you proceed with caution before offering that person a position.

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In this guide, you’ll get access to the seven most important questions to ask when hiring someone. And yes, they go way beyond a basic job description.