Guest Blogger

Better Leadership Through Employee Empowerment

As we start the New Year, have you considered how you’ll become a better leader for your business?  The answer to this question may depend upon what you believe the definition of leadership to be.  Lao Tsu defined leadership as:

“To lead people, walk beside them … As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence.  The next best, the people honor and praise.  The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate … When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!”

With these words in mind, if you’ve had a good year, you know it’s time for you to give credit to your faithful employees who made it happen.  If the year has lacked, it is time to give encouragement because the success of your business lies delicately in their hands.  As a leader, you can empower your employees to do better through various creative tactics.  in the end, the business will see benefits as well.

Top 3 Tips for Employee Empowerment

  • Involve Them in Volunteering

Being involved in volunteer programs gives people a sense of purpose and self-gratification.  Getting your employees into volunteer projects, working toward a common cause as a whole company, can give them a feeling of empowerment that has benefits within the work place.

Volunteermatch.org explains that company volunteer projects lead to job satisfaction, team building and better communication between employees and upper management.

  • Involve Them in Social Media Efforts

Social media is a tool that many of your employees most likely use outside of the workplace.  Many employees may be experts in this area, but are not engaged in efforts to support the company’s social media footprint.

In December 2011, Unilever launched a campaign putting all their employees as the “Head of Sustainability,” regardless of their actual position within the company.  The Australian Head of Corporate Affairs for the company claimed that employee involvement is the only way to complete the long term goals of their Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, according to Greenbiz.com.  Following this trend, A Brighter Planet 2011 survey on employee engagement said that employers who gave their employees an opportunity to share their ideas were six times more likely to be effective.

Although your initiatives may not involve sustainability, employee engagement has become a topic of conversation within the workplace.  Engaging them in something they are already experts in, social media, can increase the effectiveness of your efforts.  Employees feel empowered and the company sees growth.

  • Involve Them in Financials

Financially speaking, putting together your future projections can be a positive way to boost morale among your employees.  To do this, you want to employ an open-book management strategy, as it has been called by various small business professionals.  This is an excellent way to involve your employees in how their work is affecting the bottom line.  Whether showing your employees projections for the next month, or year, their feeling of involvement will have a positive effect.

When employees know the black and white finances of the company, it gives them a strong, but blunt introduction to how their job progress creates their paycheck.  Employees are compelled to do better work when they can see exactly how their efforts match up with the numbers.

End Results

Using your role as leader, you can empower your employees to make a significant difference within the company.  It works as a positive snowball effect: Your employees feel they are making a difference, in the community and within the company, they feel empowered, morale increases and you see the financial benefits.  You can make this happen by simply taking your leadership role in a more creative direction.

Bio: Jessica Sanders is a guest blogger for HRInsights and writes on topics ranging from social media to telemarketing services. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including background checks for the leading b2b lead generation resource, Resourcenation.com.

 

Mobile Social Recruiting

The high volume demands of 2st century recruiting drive hiring professionals’ search for the next best thing for finding talent. Recruiters have always been quick on the uptake when it comes to new and innovative technology, especially if this technology makes it easier to stay connected. Lately, there’s a lot of buzz surrounding social recruiting and mobile recruiting – and many recruiters are blinldy jumping on the bandwagon. But what’s just buzz, and what will become a permanent part of every recruiter’s toolbox?

Mobile Recruiting, Mobile Recruiting & Social Recruiting

If you don’t know what I’m talking about when I say “moblie recruiting,” don’t feel bad. Though you’ve clearly been living a rock, I think it’s safe to assume you aren’t alone. So begore we answer my larger question, I think it would behoove us to establish exactly what we’re talking about.

When talking about mobile recruiting, there are two distinct things someone may be referring to. Mobile recruiting usually refers to tools and best practices for managing the recruiting process on the go. However, mobile recruiting can also refer to marketing and recruiting strategies that leverage SMS, QR code and mobile technology (a relatively new idea in the industry).

Social recruiting is the all-encompassing term for strategies leveraging social media outlets for sourcing and recruiting candidates. Some might argue that social recruiting is only reinventing the wheel – as hiring professionals have always drawn on their social networks – but this is something different. Social media is taking the wheel, and bringing it out of the Stone Age.

Mobile Recruiting: Apps and More

What started with the mobile phone has exploded into a new way of doing business. Mobile recruiting allows recruiters to do what they do best: stay connected. How? Apps. Recruiters love gadgets. And mobile apps are, like, so in right now. Beyond staples like LinkedInsmobileapp, there are a few recruiting apps that I really like.

  • JobScience puts the functionality of an applicant tracking system right into recruiters’ pockets. Access jobs, applications and contacts on the iPhone. Their nifty resume search completes this powerhouse package.
  • TrafficGeyser’s InstantCustomer is a handy gadget for business card and contact management. Snap a picture of the contact’s business card, and Instant Customer scans the contact info, creates a profile for the candidate, and allows you to send a pre-written follow-up.
  • Recruit2’s GlobalRecruitingRoundtable app gives users access to top industry news and trends, and allows them to plug in to a community of experts. The app also delivers some serious functionality (sharing capabilities, videos, full article library) while running on a straightforward interface.
  • JobSpeek wins the award for originality. This free app adds a new dimension to job postings: audio. When posting a job description, recruiters can record a “hiring message.” Your very original postings go live on JobSpeek, as well as the major job search engines. It’s just downright cool.

Mobile SMS and QR code recruiting is getting some serious attention in recent months. Many of the big-name innovators in talent acquisition are onthequest to get candidates using smartphones to connect with their organizations. However, recruiting leader and sourcing consultant GeoffPeterson says, “The technology’s not 100% there.” A lot of time and energy is going into developing this new avenue for recruiting, though, and I expect we’ll see more developments in the next year or so.

Social Recruiting: Plan for Your Slice of the Pie

Though recruiting has always been social, social media has opened an entirely new can of worms. And if you want a piece of the social recruiting pie, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • You need a strategy. You may have a Twitter account, but that doesn’t mean you have a social recruiting strategy.
  • Don’t bombard, engage. Anyone can post “an exciting opportunity” on LinkedIn. If that’s all your using your social media accounts for, however, you’re going to lose your audience fast.
  • Keep the social in social media. You can get all the Facebook fans and Twitter followers you want, but unless you’re engaging your network, they’re just numbers.

Do Social & Mobile Really Create an Improved Process?

Amidst all the social and mobile recruiting buzz, everyone is talking about an “improved process,” and gushing over the benefits of all of these great developments in recruiting technology. But this phrase strikes a chord with me. What, exactly, dictates “an improved hiring process?” Will all of these nifty apps and tools continue to drive the high-volume recruiting demands of the 21st century? Or will the automation of the more tedious processes give us the time to shift the focus back to what recruiting is all about (getting to know people)?

Based on your answer, you’ll be the one to decide what hip new trends are worth investing in.

About the Author: Kyle is the HR Analyst at Software Advice. He blogs about trends, technology and best practices in HR and recruiting by day, and drinks entirely too much wine by night.

Glengarry Glen Ross – Summer Edition!

Frank McCabe is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at The Beacon Group, a Massachusetts-based construction, logistics and facility services firm.

Always. Be. ClosingRemember Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross?  For those of you that have ever been in sales, chances are someone has directed you to watch this movie.  While not the most critically acclaimed picture, there is one of the most famous scenes in history related to salesmanship.  In this lackluster story about a New York real estate office, Alec Baldwin delivers a blood pumping motivational speech to his sad sack team of salesmen.  In a nutshell, he completely humiliates each one of them for their lack of success and desire.  While most of the scene is an expletive-laced tirade by Baldwin, there is one key phrase that came out of it which is still often heard around many a sales seminar – “A.B.C. – Always. Be. Closing.”  What is really meant by the phrase is to always be selling – selling your products, you services, yourself.

A couple weeks back I blogged about how to be productive at work during the dog days of summer.  Today, I want to offer a couple tips about how to be productive even during your time away from work.

If you have a passion for what you do, whether you are in sales or not, you are probably thinking about work even during your down time.  If you do not have a passion for what you do, you can stop here and go back to watching last week’s episode of Entourage from your desk.

For example…

I am involved with a small casual clothing (t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, etc.) company. We are always exploring new and creative ways to market our apparel as well as find new sales channels. Recently, while spending a weekend on the coast of Maine with my family, I missed an opportunity.  One afternoon, we were walking around one of the many quaint towns in this part of the world.  We stopped into a clothing store and I noticed they sold t-shirts of a competitor.  I did not think much about until later that day on route home – I had missed a perfect opportunity to ‘soft sell’ our company.  If I had my ‘A’ game that day, I would have promptly left my business card (or even better, a catalog) behind with the store manager and followed up when I returned to work.  But, I didn’t.

This story is just an isolated example of what it means to ‘Always Be Closing.’  While you may not be involved in a role that requires you to sell or maybe you can’t translate your business into such simple terms as my tale of the retail store, it does not mean this mantra can’t work for everyone.

Whether you are on vacation, out to dinner, at a ballgame with friends; you never know who you will meet and how they could influence your career.  A few simple ideas to prepare you for that next chance opportunity:

  • Always carry business cards. Even a few stuffed in that George Costanza wallet you have been lugging around for the last decade is fine.
  • Have an ‘elevator speech’ prepared. Essentially, be prepared to deliver a 30 second speech about your business and/or yourself.  Be concise and to the point but emphasize what is important and compelling to your listener.
  • Be polite – to EVERYONE. The golden rule should always be in effect whether you are in a formal meeting or on the subway.  Why?  You just never know.  The person sitting next to you could be your next big sale or maybe even your next boss!

Don’t get me wrong, your time away from work is precious and you should enjoy every minute of it, but it never hurts to keep your eyes wide open wherever the road takes you.  You may discover the next best thing for you or your business is right in front of you.

Not motivated by this blog?  See if Alec or maybe Ben Affleck can do it for you (for mature audiences!)

Photo Courtesy of VC Cafe

Dog Days of Summer: Useful Time Killers!

Frank McCabe is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at The Beacon Group, a Massachusetts-based construction, logistics and facility services firm.

Summer time at the office – often a slow and less than energetic atmosphere.  Every week, another colleague or employee is off on vacation.  So are your customers.  Prospects find new and interesting reasons to blow you off.  Everyone is even more conscious of the clock as they look to get out of dodge as early as possible to enjoy the daylight.  No surprise to anyone and it is simply human nature.

With that said, summer can be a great time to take charge of the aspects of your work life that always find their way to the back burner when business is booming.  The next time you find yourself surfing the web because your boss is white water rafting in Colorado or your top performer is taking the 6th Friday in a row off, be productive with the down time.

A few ideas….

  • Learn!

The web offers a million different (and oftentimes FREE) on-line classes in every discipline.  Brush up on new social media tools.  Take that advanced MS Office class you have been meaning to do.  For you brave souls, you could even investigate how you might get that advanced degree that has hindered your professional progress and advancement.

  • Mundane Meetings

When times are busy, we are all pros at blowing off certain meetings that just are not important to us at that time.  Summer slow down is a perfect time to get these behind you.

  • No small fish!

Visit with your smaller clients – make them feel as important as the ‘whales.’  (BTW – you should be doing this all the time, but I understand!)

  • FREE Lunch!

Take someone on your team to lunch.  Whether it is your ‘rain maker’ or simply the guy or gal that needs a little pick me up.  These gestures are always appreciated and give that extra motivation – especially when the temptation to duck out a little early is at its highest.

  • Clean up!

When all else fails; clean up!  Clean up your office, your cube, your desk.  Clean up your PC – you know you have files saved all over the place despite your contention that it all has “a system.”  Yes, this is a boring and menial task, yet we all feel better when things are in order (don’t worry, it won’t last long!)

None of these ideas are the fun undertakings we dream about when we think about the passing of summer, but they are nonetheless important…and will make the time pass before your next vacation!

GET THE FINAL ROSE

In a unique comparison, Frank McCabe is back with some recommendations for job candidates. As employers, are these the characteristics you want to see in interviewees?

Frank McCabe is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at The Beacon Group, a Massachusetts-based construction, logistics and facility services firm.

If you have never watched the ABC primetime reality dramedy, The Bachelor, (which I will fully deny seeing to the grave) then allow me to explain how it could translate into the business world.

The premise of the show is simple.  ABC selects one male (or female, depending on the season) and introduces them to twenty-five members of the opposite sex to see if one of them might be the person he/she wants to marry.  Over the course of the show, the bachelor and his suitors go an elaborate dates and adventures around the world– some of them as a group and some one-on-one dates.  These dates include everything from sky diving to skiing to Olive Oil Wrestling Matches in Turkey (nope, not kidding, that happened this week…I read).  At the end of each episode the bachelor gives out a designated number of roses.  Those who receive a rose get to stay for at least another week – those that don’t, go home.  The final show reveals the final rose…you get it.  It is all very silly and far-fetched but, nonetheless, entertaining…from what I am told.

However, I believe that certain attributes of The Bachelor can be applied to business.  Specifically, the art of getting hired for your next job.  As I have watched (I mean, been told by my wife), these men and women go to incredible lengths to make the best possible impression on this one person they just met to prove they are best suited for “the job”.

In this season of The Bachelorette, Ali has an incredibly sordid cast of characters vying for her love and affection.  Justin, an aspiring pro-wrestler, is actually leveraging the show as a publicity stunt to boost his career in the ring.  Casey, an advertising executive/blooming serial killer, got a ‘special’ tattoo on his wrist to prove his commitment and loyalty to Ali.  Depressing and insane acts?  You bet.  But, if we approach the next job opportunity for that position we want with similar (but less Charles Manson-esque) passion we may just find it successful.

  • Look your best.  The guys and girls on the show always make it a point to always be ‘camera ready’.  As they say, you only have one chance to make a first impression.  While your interview with a prospective employer is reality – not reality TV – it never hurts to have a neat and polished look about you; especially the first time you meet someone.
  • Have a game plan. Despite the perceived spontaneity of The Bachelor, no one could ever dream up some of the sappy garbage they feed one another.  My guess is these guys and gals spend many hours off camera inventing these cheesy romance novel-like lines.  You want to put the same preparation into your pre-interview process.  Research EVERYTHING about the company you want to join – its mission, corporate culture, board of directors, product lines, etc.  Anything that demonstrates your passion for this job you are seeking will only be an advantage during an interview.
  • Separate from the Pack.  Despite the pitiful and, frankly, scary tactics of Justin and Casey, they certainly proved they were different.  If it were not for their transparent and underlying craziness, they would probably still be chasing Ali around the set.  While I do not suggest a tattoo of your prospective employer nor some type of superhero outfit for the interview, I do suggest you bring something different to the table.  Think long and hard about what makes YOU different from the other candidates.  Creativity is always a plus in the eyes of an employer.  It will not be discounted when it comes down to final decision time
  • Relax! So many of the suitors on The Bachelor are trying frantically to be ‘someone else’ to impress the guy, they lose sight of their own identity and self-worth.  Don’t be that person!  It is very important to relax and be yourself during all interviews and screenings.  If you are comfortable in your abilities and talents, do not be scared to share that with the interviewer.  Confidence can be as sexy a quality to an employer as it is to the object of your affection.

Lastly, I will admit it.  I have watched the show.  OK?  Happy now?