Overnight Success – Think Again

MichaelangeloIf people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful after all. Michelangelo

Success does not happen overnight. Nor is it painless or without sacrifice. Achieving success take a multitude of seconds, minutes, hours, months and years to achieve. Failure is inevitable in all successes. You must fall flat on your face before others can see you triumph.

 For those of you who think you should have it all, who think you deserve it, who believe the world owes you, think again. Shut off the television and all the other worldly diversions and start working hard at your craft or your calling. If you don’t have a passion or interests, find some, seek them out.

 For if you dream without toiling, the toilers will steal your dreams and make it their own. Live your life with passion and you shall die with a smile on your face.

 If Michelangelo stated he had to work so hard to be successful, why should you be any different? So stop dreaming and get to work. Your hard work will pay off in ways you may never imagine.

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Can Leadership and Compassion be Synonymous?

CompassionBeing a leader in today’s crazy world requires many attributes, but compassion is rarely one that makes the top of the headlines. Leadership is usually about having a clear mission and vision, being goal oriented and competent, having a strong team, great communication skills, Interpersonal skills, a “can do, get it done” attitude, inspiration and ambition. But where’s compassion?

Sure leaders need to make tough decisions and strive for business success, but being compassionate is what makes someone truly a leader. Steering and lifting your company through difficult layoffs, dealing with employees and customer who have been wronged by your company or even making concessions to your employees, suppliers, etc… that are not always about profits or about being right. Admitting fault when you or your company have a mistake. Too many businesses and business leaders hope the problem will disappear, that no one will notice. In today’s wired world everyone does notice and guess what your company and your leadership takes a hit. Not only that, ask yourself if what you do is something your children and loved ones would respect. If not, don’t do it, hold strong to your core values as they are the only thing we can truly hold as our own through our lives.

Making these decisions amidst the churn of day to day business and life is tough, especially when you’re under constant media and shareholder pressure. So take the time to not only be a successful leader but one that blends solid decision making with an eye to being kind and fair. Your legacy and your companies depend on it. Be remembered for the right reasons.

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Employee Assistance Programs – Going Beyond Convention

DepressionEAP’s otherwise known as Employee Assistance Programs provide a safety net for employees and their families when it comes to issues such as divorce and separation, financial issues, elder care, depression and much more. There is no doubt that employee’s whose employers offer such a program are way ahead of their counterparts where no EAP’s are available.

Most employers offer EAP’s at no cost to their employees, since helping employees deal quickly with such key issues allows employees to be more productive for the long term.

The disturbing trend that I have seen developing is that younger employees now seem to be coming to human resources with a host of problems that need to be dealt with. Employees that are going thru a divorce may be going through depression, alcohol or drug dependencies as well as financial stress issues. Unfortunately EAP’s are not suited to deal with such issues, rarely going beyond the main that is presented by the employee. Multiple issues are not what most solution providers are organized to provide. Employees are therefore left on their own to figure out how to tackle many severe issues at the same time, often leading to severe depression, missed work and often unfortunately to employment termination. Community resources are structured in the same way, established to deal with one key problem at a time, not a host of issues.

It’s time for companies to start looking at hiring a caseworker to work with their employees when they have multiple issues to address. If your company is smaller it could mean you work with a group of companies to hire a caseworker that can address issues across the various companies. Although you may think the cost will be too high, it’s a simple case of looking at your overall absenteeism, long and short term disability costs and lost productivity. Making a case for bringing on a caseworker will pay for itself in no time. Go beyond convention and tackle productivity and employee morale in a brand new way.

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If I Think you’re an Idiot – You’re an Idiot

Fairly early on in my career I had a “moment”. I was seen by my company at the time as a high potential, an emerging leader. The problem was that I was a high-end type A personality with a get it done come hell or high water attitude. Great right! The problem is that if you behave this way no matter how good your intentions are you are perceived by others as an egotistical all about me ass****.  As they say perception is reality.

I was sent to a great workshop called the Looking Glass that allowed me to see myself through the eyes of others. I was not a pretty sight, efficient maybe but butt ugly.  It was time to make a change.

Being aware that others feel this way about you, is the key to turning things around. No I do not mean you need to stop getting things done but do try to engage and tell others why you behave this way. Making some time to do this is well worth the effort and engagement you will get from others on the key projects and activities you care about.

Tell others, specifically peers and your teams why it’s so important to you to get these various projects and activities done.  Be truthful and you will be surprised how many of your enemies will become your allies.  Sure, you will still have some back stabbers gunning for you but in the end they really don’t matter if the majority of your peers are on your side.

Seems simple but this advice can make or break your career. Take heed.

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Be Bold! Be Different! Bring Back the Christmas Party!

Are you one of those companies that no longer have a Christmas party? Have you taken all the fun out of building team and truly celebrating the end of the year with your employees and their spouses? Thought I heard you tell everyone throughout the year that it was all about the team, their families and the community?  What’s wrong, are you feeling like a scrooge? Maybe a little too politically correct and safe?  A bit of a dick maybe? Time to say screw it and be part of the trend of dynamic employers that are bringing back the Christmas party.

So as of right now stop thinking of:

  1. What you would call it. It’s a Christmas party (you can have all the other parties too)
  2. The potential liability your company is going to face (plan for it and educate everyone)
  3. How much it might cost you (employees can share some of the cost if your really have to and the return on investment on this is is huge.)

Start thinking of:

  1. The good faith you will be building with your employees and their spouses.
  2. The impact on employee retention.
  3. The great community feedback you will receive.
  4. The feeling of being a different company (not one of those companies where all the fun has been sucked out!)
  5. And the fun you’re going to have

So be brash and bold and bring back the Christmas party! Your employees will be the first to high five you! Rock on!

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HR Poker – How Sick is your Employee? Calling out the Bluffs

A few years ago the company I was with was on the point of terminating an employee whose performance and attitude were significant problems to the direction the company wanted to go. The employee had been disciplined a few times and knew things were not going in the right direction. So what did he do? Instead of focusing on changing his attitude and improving his performance, he went on short-term disability for mental health issues. He had a doctor’s note telling us he would be off indeterminately. No other information, no dates, no back to work time frames. Just believe us the doctor was telling us.

It’s a touchy issue for human resources. Approaching a case like this requires that we respect an employees privacy and their right to short-term disability programs. But on the other hand it’s important to ensure that costly programs like these are not abused and are available to employees that truly require them.

We knew for a fact this employee was bluffing, playing his poker hand daring us to play our’s so he could file a wrongful dismissal case. Our answer was to be patient and look for the tell signs.  We asked for an independent medical evaluation or IME. We sent the employee a registered letter to his home and told him that he must attend the scheduled IME and that we would pay for his time while he attended.  The employee called and claimed harassment. We pointed to our employer rights. The conclusion: The employee resigned leaving us the opportunity to hire someone more skilled and with a better attitude.

So when employees play HR poker, trust your gut instincts be patient and call their bluffs. There are many approaches and tools available to us and it’s important that our employees know we will use them when necessary. How good is your poker face?

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In the News is Good News for Employee Retention

Now, I am not talking about scandalous news but good honest news about your company, your contributions to the community and your employees.

Nothing but nothing helps to retain employees more effectively than positive press about what your company does to elevate itself beyond the hordes of boring company drones out there. Most companies dread and or avoid the media spotlight, hoping to stay away from negative press.

Sure it’s important to have a well crafted approach before approaching the media but once you do seeking it out is key to your overall recruitment and retention strategy.

Rules are:

  1. Have one person who is your spokesperson
  2. No one else should speak to the media
  3. Have your company vision, brand and data sheets on your company prepared and ready
  4. Have established art work and media ready as required
  5. Be clear on how you want to be perceived and for what reasons
  6. Be consistent, clear and honest
  7. Thank all the various media groups that do end up doing stories on your company.

Positive media on your company reinforces with your employees, their families and friends why they work there. If employees are being told they are with a great employer, they are much more likely to stay where they are.

So develop a media strategy today and reduce your attrition while having top quality recruits banging on your door.

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For Better or For Worse – Why Long Term Commitment is Hard to Find

Hard to find and near impossible. Not only is it becoming a hard reality that marriages and relationships don’t last but that employment tenure with employers are being severely eroded. A job for life is still for many the American dream but for many the reality is quite different.

According to a 2012 analysis from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “among jobs started by 40 to 46 year olds, 33 percent ended in less than a year, and 69 percent ended in less than 5 years. Of the jobs that workers began when they were 18 to 24 years of age, 69 percent ended in less than a year and 93 percent ended in less than 5 years.”

Not only has the global recession and competitive landscape changed business demands and strategies constantly but employees are no longer truly committed to employers. Having faced layoffs and salary containment in the past, workers are more jaded and always on the lookout for more stable employment. It’s time to turn the clock back and find the love again and re-engage in a longer employer/employee relationship. Not only will employees and their families benefit by reducing financial uncertainty but companies will benefit by increasing employee loyalty and increasing the skill sets their employees bring to the table.

If you want to become an employer of choice and truly become a successful company of the future, re-engage in long-term commitments with your employees by biting the bullet on the profit line and working hard with your employees to find solutions related to cost containment. Sure, your profits will suffer short-term but if you have made the right choices during the recruitment process and trained your employees well by investing in them over the years, your business will survive and thrive.

No body wants to work for a “disposal company”, at least not long-term so be strong and fight the trend to constantly downsize. Engage your employees as part of the solution, make commitments with them and follow thru. In marriage many people dump their wives and or husbands for the next best thing, sometimes what you have is already what you need. Employees are the same, committing to them long-term and making sure they know you are doing so is the key to everlasting profits. Sure dump the jokers and the losers but commit to the rest. Re-invent your company today.

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Your Mom’s to Blame for your Crappy Job or Lack of Job

Yep, you heard me right! The reason you do not have a good paying job or that your unemployed is your mom’s fault. She either did not read enough to you when you were a toddler, did not breastfeed you or did not listen to your dreams as a young boy or girl.

Or was it your father’s fault, your brothers or sisters fault. Maybe it was your last girlfriend or boyfriend who dumped you because you could not get your act together. Well of course it was her fault, never yours.

We are becoming a society of whiners, moochers and entitlement lovers. Instead of focusing on our performance, our leadership and our need to deliver on a daily basis we expect everyone else to just give us a  free ride: days off, sick days, higher pay, bonuses, promotions.

Stop blaming anyone but yourself. Take control of your day-to-day, perform and you will be rewarded. And for goodness sakes, call your mom and apologize you little twerp.

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The Most Important Tip for any Job Seeker

https://i1.wp.com/i1081.photobucket.com/albums/j344/tallrunner/shut-up-ig.jpgShut up.

Nothing but nothing destroys your credibility with a hiring manager and recruiter than going on endlessly about this or that after they have asked you a question.

Answer the question, add a little bit (to show who you are) then shut up.

Your job offer ratio has now gone up drastically. You know where to send the check.

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