There are a lot of companies that will choose to fire employees instead of laying them off. Let's walk through the instances when this happens so you can better prepare yourself.
Placing The Blame On You
Lots of companies right now are deciding to make significant cuts. They aren't making their numbers. They're not feeling financially secure. Whatever the reason may be, the biggest expense is people, so the fastest way to save money is to cut staff.
Now, most companies will be transparent about this and admit that it's a layoff. They didn't perform well. They need to make changes. They're laying you off through no fault of your own. It stinks, but nobody's blaming you. However, there are companies out there that will say that it's a firing instead.
When companies fire employees instead of laying them off, they're saying it's not their fault. It's not their fault you're suddenly underperforming and, therefore, they're going to fire you. How ironic is it that you were getting great performance reviews, everything was going fine, and then all of a sudden you're having a performance issue?
What normally happens is the company has figured out that they can get somebody to do your job for a lot cheaper. There are a whole bunch of people in the job market who will do your job at a lower pay. But if the company lays you off in order to save money, there are laws around discrimination that you could cite and then file a charge of discrimination against them.
Some companies want to avoid any risk of this, so instead they suddenly decide you're not performing and they document that and gather the paperwork to be able to prove that you're not performing (you're the problem) so they can fire you. This is how they avoid lawsuits. And when they fire you, they can replace you and hire somebody for less money.
You can never take your eye off the ball as long as you are working. If you're making a wage that you want to keep making, you need to watch your market conditions because if you're not growing, you're dying in your career.
Way too many people get into kind of an autopilot situation where they're not really growing and evolving with the market. And it's not just about amassing more skills. It's about strategically understanding the direction your career needs to go in so you stay relevant and in demand. You can have all the skills and experience in the world, but if you don't know how to package that up and market it correctly to employers, you're not going to differentiate yourself in the market and stay competitive.
Please be on the lookout for this situation in your career. The moment your company realizes they can have someone do your job for less money, you're going to become a performance issue. It's easier to fire you than it is to lay you off. Remember that, and make sure you know your unique value add (UVA).
Good luck, and go get 'em!
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In the wake of the pandemic, businesses worldwide rapidly adopted tools such as video conferencing technology to facilitate remote collaboration within distributed teams. Despite the move towards this technology, large workshops that were traditionally dependent on physical spaces have continued to remain in-person events for many organizations.
And I get itâmeeting in person can help foster camaraderie and sidebar conversations. Employees can tune out from the constant Slack and email notifications, focusing on the task at hand. But in my experience, in-person working sessions also bring on massive inefficiencies. Many colleagues are forced to dust off their suits and travel from various locations, disrupting their routines and sleeping habits. Despite efforts to gather everyone in person, inevitably there are individuals who either live in distant markets or couldn't attend in person and must virtually dial in, leading to a fragmented experience. Whiteboarding is done on large Post-it notes, requiring someone to take pictures and manually transcribe information for digital sharing. Employees end up spending long days in conference rooms, feeling drained, and often feel obliged to attend happy hours.
Companies aiming to sustain or even improve creativity, culture, and engagement need to invest in alternatives that meet the flexibility of the current business environment.
According to a Gallup poll, 51% of employees report disengagement from their work. The difficulty lies in maintaining a robust company culture when most interactions occur through screens (source).
Benefits Of Virtual Workshops
While many argue that in-person workshops are more personal and interactive than remote meetings, new and innovative technologies are bringing benefits to distributed brainstorming:
Productivity: Parallel team ideation leads to significant time savings, shorter time to produce artifacts with templatized digital materials, and accelerated decision-making with digital features such as voting and timers.
Cost Savings: Digital meet-ups are far more cost-effective than teams traveling to a centralized location, workspaces are quicker to set up, and they require less logistical coordination than in-person sessions.
Greater Inclusivity: Virtual sessions guard against groupthink, creating an equitable environment where no single individual or group dominates ideas.
Streamline Documentation & Scale: Teams can easily share workshop documents, create standardized company-wide templates, and integrate with existing external digital tools/workflows. Digital whiteboards maintain âthe whole storyâ of the session as well as reduce the need for duplicative notes.
As a management consultant, I often act as the facilitator, incorporating virtual workshops in various scenarios across clients. Here are some ways I have leveraged remote workshops to enhance collaboration:
Process Mapping: Partnered with teams to develop a new marketing process by grouping various stakeholder groups and mapping the current state customer journey from start to finish. Understanding the customer journey helped the team come up with innovative ideas for the future state.
Gap Assessment: Created a structured, collaborative discovery framework to help a company determine gaps across people, processes, and technology in their current operations. Recommendations to remediate current challenges were voted on and prioritized, which created the design of future projects.
OKR Coaching: Utilized a virtual whiteboard to organize ideas for OKR development. The team identified strategic themes and prioritized the most critical areas of focus. We created an actionable plan with defined objectives and key results.
Retrospectives: Leveraged the agile retrospective framework âRose, Bud, Thornâ to recap and reflect on a program that required cross-functional collaboration between teams. Walking away, the teams felt they had fostered a culture of continuous improvement and ultimately improved morale.
Additional popular use cases include prototyping, âDesign Think,â team stand-ups, strategic planning, project charters, and more.
To ensure successful virtual brainstorming sessions, consider the following best practices:
Choose the Right Tool: Select a collaboration tool that is quick to learn, requires minimal setup, and aligns with any company security requirements (i.e., industry regulations, privacy, GDPR, etc). My favorite tool is Mural, given its optimized user interface, flexible permissioning, and timer features.
Define the Scope: Clearly define objectives, problem statements, and establish guidelines for communicating through the session.
Design: There is no need to recreate the wheel; take advantage of templatized frameworks. Think about how you want to organize and prioritize ideas as a group.
Choose a Facilitator: Designate a facilitator to ensure a productive and respectful environment.
In conclusion, embracing virtual workshop tools can transform remote working challenges into opportunities for enhanced collaboration, creativity, and engagement within distributed teams.
Applying to every company that's hiring isn't a very effective way to conduct a job search. To improve your chances of landing a job, it's important to be very strategic about the companies that you're applying to.
The fact that a company is hiring is only a small piece of the puzzle. You want to apply to a company that fits your skills and personality and has similar values. Most importantly, you want the company's mission to inspire you, and you want to have a part in that mission.
That's why it's important to create an interview bucket list of 10-20 companies you would love to work before you start hunting for a job.
Here's how to put together an interview bucket list.
Do A Self-Assessment
What industry do you want to work for? What are your key skill sets? What weaknesses do you need to improve?
These are just some of the self-assessment questions that you need to ask yourself before you begin your job search. From there, you also need to consider location. Do you want to stay where you currently live, or are you looking to move?
Once these important factors are considered, it becomes a lot easier to create the criteria for the interview bucket list and narrow down the search.
There are plenty of ways to find and research companies for your interview bucket list. Chances are you may already have some companies in mind, or great recommendations from your professional network.
A large part of your search will likely be done over the internet. You can find a lot of great companies by searching industry websites, news and business websites, and trade publications.
Once you get a list of companies going, you'll need to take a deeper dive into each one of them by visiting their individual websites and social media accounts and reviewing any news stories about them.
It's also beneficial to view sites like Glassdoor and Indeed to read employee reviews about working at the company.
Find Your Personal Connection
Company culture, perks and benefits, salary, and job opportunities are major factors to consider before adding companies to your interview bucket list.Â ButÂ it's also important to ask yourself if you respect and admire the company. And if so, how do you personally connect with the company?
When you respect and admire a company, you can make a connection to its purpose. Companies are in the business of solving a problem for their customers; how can you fit into the company's plans for solving this problem? Is there a personal reason why you're passionate aboutÂ solving this problem or why you identifyÂ withÂ theÂ company's values?
The more passionate you are about a company's mission, the more fulfilling your career with that company willÂ be.
Build Your Network
Building an interview bucket list is one thing, but if you really want to improve your chances of landing an interview with one of these companies, you need to network your way into their orbit.
Identify five people at each company and find ways to connect with them. You can start by seeing if you have any shared connections in your professional network. It's always easier to be introduced by a mutual connection.
If you don't have a mutual connection, you'll have to take some initiative and reach out to some of these professionals on LinkedIn on your own.
The goal is to ask these professionals to connect in hopes you can learn more about the company and what it might take to land a position there. Make sure you let them know that you aren't looking for them to help you get a job, just some insight as to what the process is like.
These connections may start small with a few casual conversations, but the more commonalities you find with these connections, the more opportunity you'll have to build meaningful conversations, and trust and mutual respect will follow.
The more of these connections you build, the more opportunity you have to earn a referral to one of your bucket list companies or gain insight about other great companies that may be worth your time.
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.
In the dynamic world of business, real challenges demand decisive actions and a willingness to drive change. My experience in reviving a business serves as a vivid example of this.
When I took the helm of a company that was losing $20,000 a month, the situation was critical. The previous owner was on the verge of not making payroll, a crisis averted by my owners' timely intervention and investment. From there, I focused on transforming five key operational areas, turning a dire situation into a thriving success story. This effort catapulted our profits to nearly $100,000 a month, culminating in the successful sale of the business.
This article is a journey through that transformation. It's about sharing the strategies and insights that helped navigate and reshape a struggling business into a profitable venture. For business leaders facing challenges or looking to preempt them, these lessons are about fostering resilience and guiding your business toward a path of prosperity. Here, I combine practical advice with the wisdom gained from experience, aiming to empower others in their quest for business success.
Team Alignment: Ensuring The Right Fit For Success
The Team Evaluation:When I took over the struggling business, the first step was a critical evaluation of our existing team. Understanding each member's strengths and weaknesses was key to our turnaround strategy. In this process, I found that many talented team members were simply in roles that didn't suit them; and, regrettably, there were a few who didn't fit with the upcoming changes, leading us to make the tough decision to part ways.
Strategically Expanding the Team:Following our team evaluation, our hiring strategy centered on finding individuals who were not just right for the roles but would also elevate our team's overall dynamics. We sought people characterized by their passion, determination, and a consistent track record of excelling in almost everything they undertook.
Solution:Begin by thoroughly assessing your existing team. Identify not just the strengths and weaknesses of each member, but also consider if they are in the right roles where their talents can be best utilized. This evaluation can reveal hidden potential and opportunities for internal role adjustments. When expanding your team, look for candidates who not only have the necessary skills but also demonstrate desire, drive, and a history of excellence in their endeavors. This approach ensures that new hires not only fill the required roles but also contribute positively to the team's dynamics, driving collective success. The goal is to create a team environment where collaboration, passion, and high performance are the norms, fostering a dynamic and effective work culture.
Consistent Customer Experience: Streamlining Consistency Across Operations
The Comprehensive Overhaul:A major breakthrough in transforming the business came from addressing the inconsistencies in our customer experience. We looked at every aspect of our operations to ensure a uniform and positive experience for every customer. Addressing this required a holistic approach, streamlining processes not just in customer service, but across all operational facets of our business.
Solution:To improve customer experience, it's crucial to establish consistency in all operational processes. Review each interaction point within your business, from the initial contact to post-service or post-sale follow-up, and strive to make these experiences uniformly positive and engaging. By delivering consistently excellent service at every touchpoint, you build trust and encourage customer loyalty, which is essential for any business.
Goal Alignment: Harmonizing Team Performance With Business Vision
Setting the Business Compass:The first step in addressing our team's inconsistent performance was to define clear, overarching goals for the business. These goals served as our compass, guiding the direction of every strategy and decision. It was crucial that these goals were not just ambitious but also resonated with the vision we had for the company's future.
Translating Vision into Action:With the business goals in place, we then developed specific team and individual goals that aligned with these broader objectives. This alignment was key to ensuring that every effort and achievement at the team level contributed directly to the business's overall success.
Solution:Start by setting clear and inspiring goals for your business as a whole. Then, break these down into specific, measurable goals for each team and individual. This approach ensures that everyone's efforts are not only aligned but also contributing to the bigger picture. Embrace a coaching mentality in driving accountability, focusing on guiding your team toward these goals and fostering their growth. This strategy transforms accountability into a powerful tool for development, aligning team members' efforts with the company's overarching objectives. By doing so, you create a culture where each person understands and plays a vital role in the collective success of the business, leading to a more consistent and effective team performance.
Sales Process Inefficiency: Creating A Blueprint For Sales Success
The Sales Process Overhaul:A key challenge in the business's revival was the lack of a defined sales process. Developing and documenting a clear sales strategy was essential for bringing consistency and growth to our sales efforts. Each salesperson had their own approachâor no approach at allâwhich made it difficult to identify areas needing improvement.
Implementing a Structured Approach:To address this, we developed and documented a clear sales process. This became our blueprint for sales success. By retraining our existing team and using this process for training new salespeople, we achieved a level of consistency in our sales approach. This not only improved our overall sales performance but also allowed us to pinpoint specific areas where additional training was needed.
Solution:For any business struggling with sales consistency, the key is to develop a well-defined sales process. Document this process and use it as a foundation for training both new and existing sales staff. This ensures that everyone is on the same page, making it easier to deliver consistent results and identify areas for further training and improvement. A structured sales process is a powerful tool for driving sales growth and efficiency.
Managing Online Reputation: Turning Feedback Into Fortunes
The Proactive Review Strategy:During this transformational business journey, I learned that overcoming negative reviews isn't just about damage control; it's about taking a proactive stance. People are quick to share their bad experiences online, and these can spread like wildfire on social media and review sites. The first step in combating this is to ensure your customer experience is top-notch, as discussed earlier. A solid customer experience naturally reduces the likelihood of negative reviews.
Engaging with Reviews:It's also crucial to actively engage with all reviews, both positive and negative. Responding to reviews shows that your business cares and is committed to resolving any issues. This visibility in handling feedback can turn a negative review into a positive impression for potential customers reading these reviews.
Encouraging Positive Reviews:Furthermore, we started encouraging our customers to leave reviews. While it's important to steer clear of offering incentives for reviews, simply asking customers to share their experiences can lead to an increase in positive feedback. Incorporating this request into our follow-up processes ensured it became a natural part of our customer interaction, subtly boosting our online reputation.
Solution:To effectively manage online reviews, ensure your customer experience is consistently excellent. Engage with all reviews in a constructive manner, showing responsiveness and a commitment to improvement. Encourage customers to leave reviews as part of your regular follow-up process. This approach not only helps mitigate negative feedback but also builds a stronger, more positive online presence for your business.
Final Thoughts: Lessons From A Turnaround Journey
This journey of transforming a struggling business wasn't just a professional milestone; it profoundly impacted me personally. It was more than just reviving a company; it was about saving jobs, creating new opportunities, and expanding horizons. We didn't just turn the business around; we expanded it, reaching into multiple states and opening new locations. Each step of this journey didn't just contribute to our business's growth; it created countless opportunities for others, bringing jobs and prosperity to communities.
The experience taught me invaluable lessons about resilience, innovation, and the power of a well-executed strategy. It showed me firsthand how focusing on key operational areas can not only save a business but can set it on a path of expansive growth. These strategies became the cornerstone of our expansion, proving their worth time and again.
As I share these insights, I do so with the hope that they will inspire and guide you in your own business endeavors. Remember, every challenge is an opportunity in disguise. Embrace them, learn from them, and use them to fuel your journey to success. The road might be tough, but the rewards of perseverance and strategic thinking are immeasurable.
When there's a company you really want to work for and you've applied and applied and you don't get any results, the first thing I ask is how many informational interviews have you done with people who work at this company?
Informational interviews are not job interviews. They are interviews where you are asking that person for guidance or coaching by saying things like...
Can you tell me how you got your job?
What do you think it took to stand out?
What do you think it takes to be successful at the company?
You're not asking them to refer you to the hiring manager or help you get the job. You're asking them to coach you on being the best version of yourself so that you can be a standout candidate to get the job yourself.
Informational Interviewing Tips
At the end of each informational interview, say, "This was really helpful. Could you introduce me or recommend one person at this company that you think I could also learn a lot from?" What happens is the person always recommends one person, and that's how you get your next informational interview. And you do that over and over and over again.
Now why is this important? Well, they are going to start to give you all the information you need to help you understand what you have to do to stand out and get hired. Also, you're building up your networking connections so that when a recruiter comes across your LinkedIn profile and sees that you're connected to all these people, it increases the chances that you'll actually get a job interview.
Plus, when you're in the job interview, you can say, "I've had the pleasure of talking with so-and-so who works at your company, and they shared (blank)," or "I talked to so-and-so and they told me (blank)." This shows that you are connected to these people and you've listened to what they've said, and this can be one of the best ways to get a job with a company you love.
Let me give you a real-life example. I actually coached a young woman on this. She was a senior in college, and she wanted to work for a very well-known sports company. And so we started this process. We got her her first informational interview, and then she got another one and another one and another one. She graduated from college, applied for jobs, and didn't get any job offers. Then, out of the blue, while she was home, she got a call and it was from a manager at the sports company she'd never met. And this person said, "Hey, I'd like to interview you over the phone. I had a candidate lined up for a job and the candidate dropped out. I need somebody to start ASAP. So I sent a message out to all the managers saying, 'I need somebody with these skills ASAP. Can you think of anyone?' And three different managers messaged me back and recommended you. You clearly made an impression when you were talking to all these people. So I want to interview you." And that's how she got a job with them.
Informational interviewing is so effective when you're trying to get into a dream employer. At Work It DAILY, we teach the framework for informational interviewing. It is an entire module that is part of our interview prep course. We take you through the interview process from the eyes of the hiring manager so that we can prepare you to do the right things before the interview, during the interview, after the interview, and throughout the whole process. And part of that is also knowing how to do informational interviewing.
The concept of sustainability has become an imperative consideration for businesses of all sizesâin every industry. CEOs are now tasked with the critical responsibility of not only driving short-term profits but also ensuring the long-term viability and success of their companies. Lack of planning from CEOs can significantly impact their companies' future success and resilience in an increasingly competitive market.
In this article, Work It DAILY experts from Vistage discuss how not planning risks missing opportunities for growth and innovation, failing to mitigate potential risks, and jeopardizing the future of the company. Read on to learn about the importance of planning for business sustainability and how to start a long-term plan for your organization today.
Our world is moving so fast. Business opportunities are near infinite. Your company can possibly survive without planning, but it will most likely never become sustainable. There is nothing wrong with an unsustainable business. I know many CEOs who have these types of businesses, run by their sheer tenacity. They provide a decent living and pride of ownership.
However, if you want to go beyond this, and create an ever-growing sustainable business, planning is mandatory. In the beginning, planning can be just in your head. But as the number of employees grows, getting your thoughts, and your plans, down on paper must happen.
Owners are bombarded on a daily basis with threats and opportunities. Without plans, decisions can and will be haphazard. Haphazard decision-making is not sustainable. As you grow, your employees will be faced with issues that they need to resolve in real time: an upset customer, a quality control problem, or on the exciting side, a prospective sale. Written plans that staff are intimately familiar with allow them to make the decision and know that the decision is aligned with the company goals, the company plans.
The most important and longest-term planning starts with your core values. These should be the one foundation in planning that rarely, if ever, changes. Core values define behaviors, behaviors that are aspirational and sometimes not possible to achieve. For example, my company's core values were honesty, home/life balance, and relentless improvement. Honesty is one of those values that is aspirational and unachievable in its purest sense, but that is not an excuse to stop striving to be 100%.
The next level of planning is the more traditional concept of long-term goals. Those goals can range from five years to 20 years or even to 100 years. These goals help the CEO avoid the shiny object syndrome. Visionary CEOs see opportunities as often as they get up in the morning. Long-term goals are especially effective at providing bumpers and guide rails to new initiatives.
Core values and long-term goals help keep you focused and help keep the team focused. Focus happens when you know when to say âyesâ and, even more important, when to say âno.â With focus comes sustainability. Sustainability is good.
Mark Fackler is a retired CEO and currently leads the Vistage CEO group that he was a member of from 1991 to 2002. He is passionate about creating great ROI for his member CEOs.
Do you have a plan? Or do you have a strategy?
You need both! And you need to know the difference.
Too often companies and leaders are lulled into a big board room with coffee and snacks and a whiteboard and Post-it notesâ¦ and engage in âstrategic planning.â
Iâve done this myself!
What I want to be clear on is this. A strategy is not a plan. A plan is not a strategy. And yet, you must develop both or your company is doomed.
You control a plan. A plan is safe. A plan has to do with your resources, your people, your costs. You build a building. You train, hire, and fire. You launch a new product.
You do not control strategy. It is a set of interrelated decisions that you make.
You have what they call a "theory." A hypothesis of how to WIN at your business.
You canât show it on a balance sheet. But you BELIEVE that if you play on THAT playing field or in THAT sandbox you will outperform your competitors. It is in that field you will âwinââ¦ revenue, market share, or sales.
Conversely, the plan consists of the tactics or set of activities to deploy your resources in service to the strategy.
Where I have seen companies succeed and struggle are two key areas. First, how simply can they distill the strategy to every employee? Second, how frequently do they revisit the strategy and test their theory against relevant information?
"If you donât know where you are going, any road will get you there." âCheshire Cat, Alice in Wonderland.
Kirsten Yurich is a former CEO and current Vistage Chair. As a clinician, professor, author, and executive, she leverages this unique blend and creates learning environments for executives to become better leaders, spouses, and parents.
In thinking about why this matters to SMB owners, I am reminded of Elon Muskâs recent quote, âDonât go top speed into uncertainty,â when discussing his recent plant expansion.
Electric cars are a great example of this (GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda, etc.). Planning for this is daunting yet crucial to get it right for their success.
For consumers even, think about this: When you own a gas-powered vehicle you have a high level of confidence because the infrastructure and service model is clear, consistent, and reliable. When we move into electric vehicles, consumers have to plan and need to have a strategy or they will be stranded. My brother-in-law experienced this recently on a trip with his new Tesla driving from Florida to Maine.
Our business owners have a similar situation: their business certainty isnât what it was and now it is time to stop and say, âI HAVE TIME to slow down and think about the landscape in front of me." Warren Buffett says, âIn the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.â
Scenario planning. Prepare for possibilities and probabilities. Learn to shrink the gap between success and failure and minimize riskânot eliminate it. SBAâ50% fail in the first five years. The primary reason is lack of financial planning and management.
Be able to weather economic ups and downsâinvest in growth and secure capital are at risk. The National Center for Middle Market found there is a 32% decline in growth compared to those with a plan. Sustained success requires rigor and discipline around planning strategically.
Consider the following as you work towards this: understand drivers of costs, growth, and performance, know mission/behaviors/consequences (right jobs/right roles/right people/right time), and assess the current playing field. Who is changing the landscape? What are we doing? What are we worried about? What are the big movers? How do we drive consumption and repeat business?
Mike Thorne is a former CEO and current Vistage Chair. He leads and facilitates a group of trusted advisor entrepreneurs and a CEO peer group in New Hampshire and Maine.
Unfortunately, it's true: many companies will start firing people to avoid additional layoffs. If you're currently employed and worry that your company might fire people instead of announcing layoffs, what can you do to prepare for the worst?
Here's what J.T. O'Donnell, Work It DAILY's founder and CEO, advises professionals to do if they're in this situation...
Prepare To Explain The Situation To Future Employers
Companies facing financial troubles after massive layoffs are placing more employees on performance reviews to avoid additional layoff costs and boost productivity. Survivors of these layoffs should prepare to explain their situation in future job interviews, as many employers conduct reference checks.
To address this issue effectively, consider using the "Experience + Learn = Grow" model when asked about the situation (your reason for leaving/getting fired) in job interviews. The "Experience + Learn = Grow" model is the best way to answer behavioral interview questionsâthose hard interview questions that require a lot more than a "yes" or "no" answer.
When you use the "Experience + Learn = Grow" model to explain this situation to employers in job interviews, you provide a factual response about the layoffs, your commitment to improving, and your proactive approach to personal growth, demonstrating accountability.
It's unfortunate that when companies are in financial trouble, they feel like they need to blame people who they think are no longer performing. They put them on performance reviews and then fire them instead of announcing layoffs. There are some warning signs, and there are things that you can do to combat this. But most importantly, you should be prepared to explain why you got fired from a job if you know it had to do with their financial situation and their desire to avoid layoffs.
New grads with limited work experience are some of my favorite people to coach. And here's why...
You have no bad habits yet. You have no preconceived notions. You don't have a long list of demands that you want from a job. If anything, you're just trying to figure out what kind of work would work for you.
Does that sound familiar?
This is why I love working with new grads. And if you're a new grad looking for your first job out of college, these are the best job search tips I give all my clients who are in the same boat as you...
1. Understand Your Unique Combination of Professional Strengths (Communication Style & Workplace Persona)
My first piece of advice for you is to understand two major components of your professional strengths. The first is your communication style (how you interact with others in the workplace). This plays a huge role in the type of jobs you'd be a good fit for. For example, if you're a contemplator, you're more introverted. You're not going to want a job that requires you to be really extroverted with a lot of people. Whereas if you were an energizer, you would actually feed off the energy of others.
The second thing you need to learn about yourself is your workplace personas. This is how you create value on the job. Companies pay you to create value, right? You need to save or make them enough money to justify the cost of hiring you. This is something they never teach us in school. So, there are eight workplace personas, and you should find out what your top three workplace personas are. Are you a builder, mentor, super connector, educator, visionary, optimizer, or researcher?
Take my free quizzes below to discover your unique combination of professional strengths:
2. Use The Information In Step 1 to Create an Interview Bucket List
Once you know your communication style and top workplace personas, you can weed out a whole bunch of jobs that aren't a fit for you and dial in on the kinds of roles that would be a fit for you. Then, we can teach you how to take that information and use it to reach out to employers and introduce yourself to them. This is a technique called an interview bucket list where you come up with a list of companies that you feel connected to. It's called intrinsic motivation. That's the fancy term. And when you are a recent grad, that's all you got, my friend.
As a new grad, you don't have a lot of experience to share. But companies love recent grads who have an intrinsic motivation to work for them and who understand their personality (their communication style and workplace personas) and how they'll create value for them. That shows a self-aware recent grad, and that's the kind they love to hire and mold, which will help catapult your career.
It's a really great time for you to be looking for work if you understand your unique combination of professional strengths and how to create an interview bucket list.
If you would like us to coach you on all of the things I've discussed, sign up for Work It DAILY's seven-day free trial of our career coaching platform that is literally going to teach you everything you need to know to land your first dream job.
In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, the difference between thriving organizations and those merely surviving is their ability to cultivate and nurture top talent. With the right talent development strategy, a company will foster the growth and success of its most valuable assetâits peopleâempowering the organization to rise to new heights of excellence and innovation. How can your organization effectively harness and develop its top talent to not only meet the challenges of today but also shape a brighter future?
We recently asked our leading executives for their best tips on how to develop top talent at an organization.
Here are their responses...
John Schembari, Senior Education Academic And Operations Executive
To develop top talent within an organization, CEOs/boards should think strategically and comprehensively about organizational needs and who on staff has talent in those areasâthink "succession plan." After this, provide staff members who show promise with opportunities to work on some mid-high profile leadership projects.
Recognize, however, that these individuals may struggle on these projects from time to time (imposter syndrome) and that leadership can be a lonely activity so provide ongoing leadership coaching and feedback from non-evaluative leadership facilitators. At the same time, provide ongoing opportunities for top talent to collaborate/work together on projects (meet weekly/bi-monthly) and to engage in problem-of-practice consultancies facilitated by the CEO/senior administration.
John Schembari is a current K-12 teacher/school leader academic improvement coach and former school building and district administrator. He loves to draw, travel, swing dance, and read nonfiction.
Ana Smith, Leadership Development & Learning Strategist
Developing top talent in an organization is a critical aspect of effective talent management and long-term success. As an expert, I can offer guidance on how to nurture and grow your top talent:
Identify High-Potential Employees: First, identify employees with high potential and the desire to grow within the organization. Look for individuals who consistently excel in their roles, demonstrate leadership qualities, and show a willingness to take on new challenges.
Create Individual Development Plans: Work with each high-potential employee to create personalized development plans tailored to their strengths, areas for improvement, and career aspirations. These plans should outline specific learning objectives, milestones, and timelines.
Provide Challenging Opportunities: Offer top talent challenging assignments, projects, and stretch goals that allow them to develop new skills and capabilities. Exposure to diverse experiences will help them grow both professionally and personally.
Offer Training and Development Programs: Invest in training and development programs that align with the organization's goals and the individual needs of top talent. These programs may include workshops, seminars, online courses, and leadership development initiatives.
Encourage Mentoring and Coaching: Pair high-potential employees with experienced mentors or coaches who can provide guidance, support, and constructive feedback. Mentoring relationships can significantly enhance professional growth and knowledge transfer.
Promote a Learning Culture: Foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement within the organization. Encourage employees at all levels to seek out learning opportunities and share knowledge with their colleagues.
Provide Regular Feedback: Regularly provide feedback and performance evaluations to top talent. Offer constructive criticism and recognition for their achievements to motivate them to continue excelling.
Encourage Collaboration and Networking: Promote collaboration among employees and encourage top talent to build relationships with peers, leaders, and professionals outside the organization. Networking can lead to new perspectives and opportunities for growth.
Support Work-Life Balance: Recognize the importance of work-life balance in talent development. Encourage employees to take time for personal well-being, which can enhance their overall performance and productivity.
Offer Growth Opportunities: Demonstrate the organization's commitment to the growth and advancement of top talent by offering opportunities for career progression, promotions, and lateral moves to expand their skill sets.
Recognize and Reward Excellence: Recognize and reward top performers to reinforce their positive behavior and contributions. This recognition can be in the form of promotions, bonuses, public acknowledgments, or other forms of appreciation.
Stay Current with Industry Trends: Encourage top talent to stay informed about industry trends, best practices, and emerging technologies. This knowledge will empower them to contribute innovative ideas and solutions to the organization.
By implementing these strategies, organizations can develop and retain top talent, fostering a culture of excellence and continuous improvement. Investing in employee development not only benefits the individuals but also contributes to the organization's long-term success and competitiveness.
Ana Smith helps people & organizations achieve their full talent potential by developing and co-creating people strategies and customized solutions, and turning them into impactful outcomes and collaborative relationships, using coaching as the "red thread."
Michael Willis, Sports Business Operations Executive
Developing top talent isn't about cookie-cutter plans or following the herd. It's about daring to disrupt the traditional norms and reimagining what talent development means. Start by unearthing the hidden gems within your organizationâthose unconventional thinkers who might not fit the mold but possess raw potential.
Instead of confining them to standard roles, empower them to lead projects challenging the status quo. Encourage them to cross-pollinate ideas across departments, even if it initially seems unconventional. And forget about the safe zoneâthrow them into the deep end with assignments that stretch their abilities and force them to innovate.
Unleash the mavericks! Developing top talent demands audacity; it's about unearthing those hidden gems that defy convention and challenging them to reshape the future. Hunt for the quiet rebels, the unsung heroes buried within your ranksâthey're the ones who shatter ceilings and obliterate limits.
But don't just hand them a roadmap; fuel their fire with opportunities that spark evolution. Plunge them into the heart of projects that teeter on the edge of what's possible. Let them wrestle with complexity, for it's in those battles that innovation is forged.
Traditional mentors are out; disruptive allies are in. Pair your talent with unconventional guidesâartists, scientists, anyone who can spark new neural connections. Disruption doesn't come from the familiar.
Embrace reverse mentorship, where the rising talent teaches the established leaders a thing or two about new technologies, fresh perspectives, and the changing workforce. Shake up the routine by hosting "failure parties" to celebrate the risks taken and the lessons learned because failure is the ultimate teacher in a disruptive world.
Succession planning. Integrate top talent development into succession planning. Identify potential future leaders and groom them for leadership roles within the organization.
Create exposure. The C-suite demands holistic understanding. Rotate them through diverse departments and projects. Make them adaptable, agile thinkers.
Instill strategic thinking. The C-suite isn't just about operations; it's about shaping the future. Provide opportunities for crafting and executing strategies.
Leadership crucible. Assign high-pressure leadership roles. They'll hone their decision-making, crisis management, and people skills here.
Remember, developing top talent is an ongoing process that requires commitment, patience, and a genuine investment in your employees' growth. By fostering a culture of learning and empowerment, organizations can create an environment where top talent thrives and contributes to long-term success.
Michael Willis has 18+ years of experience working with accounting & sports organizations and has managed P&Ls of $10M - $125M+ with budgets of $3M-$50M+. He worked for the NFL for 22 1/2 years, mainly with the game officials working on the financial/accounting side of the business.
Lisa Perry, Global Marketing Executive
In today's competitive business landscape, the success of an organization hinges on the quality of its talent. Attracting and retaining top-tier professionals is only the beginning; the real challenge lies in developing that talent to its fullest potential. A strategic approach to nurturing and honing the skills of your employees can create a workforce that not only meets current demands but also drives innovation and growth for years to come. Let's delve into key strategies for developing top talent within your organization.
Cultivate a Learning Culture
A learning culture is the cornerstone of talent development. Encourage continuous learning by providing opportunities for employees to acquire new skills, attend workshops, and access online resources. Support them in pursuing certifications and advanced degrees that align with their career paths. When employees feel that learning and growth are valued within the organization, they are more likely to invest time and effort into their own development.
Personalized Development Plans
Iâve seen that a one-size-fits-all approach to talent development is a thing of the past. Each employee has unique strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations. Work with them to create personalized development plans that align with both their career goals and the organization's needs. Regularly revisit and update these plans to ensure they remain relevant and challenging.
Dual Mentoring and Coaching for Holistic Growth
Implementing a dual mentorship program that pairs seasoned top executives with rising talents facilitates a two-way exchange of insights. On one hand, top executives provide invaluable guidance and strategic direction to their mentees, helping them navigate challenges and cultivate skills. On the other hand, these executives gain fresh perspectives from their mentees, reconnecting them with the pulse of the organization and innovative ideas.
Give high-potential employees the opportunity to step outside their comfort zones by assigning them tasks or projects that require them to develop new skills. Stretch assignments challenge individuals to rise to the occasion, fostering both skill growth and confidence. These experiences also help identify emerging leaders within the organization.
Regular Feedback and Performance Reviews
Transparent and constructive feedback is essential for growth. Implement regular performance reviews that go beyond annual evaluations. Provide timely feedback on accomplishments and areas for improvement. Create a safe space for employees to discuss their career goals and express any concerns they might have.
Skill Development Workshops
Host workshops and training sessions that target specific skills relevant to the organization's objectives. Whether it's leadership skills, technical expertise, or soft skills like communication and teamwork, investing in these workshops empowers employees to contribute more effectively to their teams and the organization as a whole.
Recognition and Rewards
Recognizing and rewarding outstanding performance not only boosts morale but also incentivizes continuous improvement. Implement a recognition program that highlights exceptional achievements and encourages others to aim for excellence. This recognition can come in various forms, from monetary rewards to public acknowledgments.
Opportunities for Career Progression
Top talent seeks growth opportunities. Establish clear career paths within the organization, complete with advancement criteria. Provide a roadmap that enables employees to visualize their trajectory and the steps required to reach the next level. This fosters a sense of purpose and commitment to long-term growth.
Encourage cross-functional collaboration on projects that require employees to work with colleagues from different departments. This not only exposes them to diverse perspectives but also cultivates teamwork and adaptabilityâcrucial skills for career advancement.
Provide employees with opportunities to make decisions and take ownership of projects. Empowerment fosters a sense of responsibility and accountability, encouraging individuals to develop problem-solving skills and strategic thinking.
Developing top talent is an investment in the future success of your organization. By nurturing the growth of your employees, you're not only shaping their careers but also contributing to the long-term success of your organization in an increasingly dynamic and competitive world.
To delve deeper into strategies that foster talent growth and organizational excellence, I invite you to explore my book, "How to Develop a Brand Strategy," which provides a step-by-step guide to crafting a robust brand strategy that aligns with your business goals. Just as nurturing talent propels businesses forward, a strong brand strategy propels your organization to stand out in the market.
Lisa Perry helps companies drive revenue by using consumer trends, insights, and data analytics to innovate their approach to marketing.
In this week's edition of the Work It DAILY Weekly Update, we discuss the importance of employers offering outplacement services and briefly touch on how recent events nationally impact the workplace.
The Importance Of Offering Outplacement Services
Last week, the National Bureau of Economic Research officially declared that the U.S. economy was in a recession.
For the millions of people who have lost their jobs, this doesn't come as a surprise. Making matters worse is the fact that the newly unemployed are heading into this recession lacking the basic job search skills they need to navigate the competitive job search process that accompanies a recession.
In some ways, this would be an easy problem to address if more companies offered outplacement services to the employers they let go. Unfortunately, most don't!
Most companies offer job coaching/outplacement to laid-off executives, but not the rest of the workforce, according to O'Donnell.
As part of tax code changes made in 2017, people are no longer allowed to write off job search and coaching as an expense on their taxes, which puts even more burden on those impacted by layoffs, while companies are able to write it off as a business expense.
O'Donnell suggests that those who have been laid off should go back to their former employer and ask for assistance with job coaching, while challenging managers or business leaders who have laid people off to go back to their executive teams and ask them to find it in their budget to pay for outplacement for their staff.
There's a misconception that outplacement is expensive and will break the bank for their companies. However, this is no longer the case! Services like the ones offered by Work It DAILY are both affordable and can be done virtually through a computer or phone application.
Companies need to be more open-minded about helping layoff victims secure outplacement/career coaching services. Not only is it the right thing to do in this recession, but it's good business!
For one, the sooner your former employees get jobs, the less you pay in insurance rates. But, most importantly, employees will remember how they were treated in their time of need. Those employees will take to sites like Glassdoor and Indeed to share their experiences, and bad experiences have a way of sticking with companies and hurting their employer brand.
No one knows how long this recession will be, or the ultimate damage from it, but anything a company can do to help laid-off employees will go a long way towards putting the company on the right side of history.
Good News Of The Week
Exercise and media company Peloton was one of the first companies to make a major statement about racism in the wake of George Floyd's death.
Peloton made the poignant statement via Twitter and the message included the announcement that they were making a $500,000 donation to the NAACP.
Peloton has been praised for the tone of the message and taking immediate action with their donation. They were also praised for the way they ended their message. "We have more work to do. Will you join us?" This serves as an acknowledgment that statements and donations won't solve the problem alone and a call to action for other businesses to step up and help in the process.
Resource Of The Week
As stated above, many U.S. companies are trying to figure out ways to show support and join the fight against racism.
For some companies, it's putting out public statements against racism. Others are donating to African-American causes, and many more companies are holding discussions about how to meaningfully participate in making positive changes to both the workplace and society.
Out of all these steps, having ongoing discussions about race and diversity is the most important. It's important that discussions not only happen now in these times of unrest, but they continue. The only way to make positive change is to constantly keep these issues at the forefront.
What meaningful change looks like and the timetable for it will vary by company and that company's circumstances, but one thing is for certain moving forward: remaining silent isn't an option.
Businesses are an essential part of society, and all of society must participate in making a difference. The Harvard Business Review recently linked some helpful articles and books to help discussions about race and there are also many great organizations that empower African Americans that are worth learning more about.
Give yourself an even greater edge by becoming a Work It DAILY member today! Get access to one-on-one career coaching, resume and cover letter reviews, online tutorials, and unlimited networking opportunitiesâall at an affordable price.
This article was originally published at an earlier date.
Does your company currently provide outplacement services for laid-off employees? Maybe you do, but only for executives or C-suite members. No matter your company's outplacement strategy, it's time for your organization to invest in modern outplacement servicesâbecause your company alumni deserve it.
Outplacement services offer structured support to outgoing employees, helping them transition smoothly into new career opportunities. Outplacement is also an investment that can yield numerous benefits for a company, contributing to overall organizational success during periods of change or downsizing.
Benefits Of Outplacement Services
For laid-off employees, outplacement services offer a range of valuable benefits. These services are designed to provide practical and emotional support, helping individuals navigate the challenges of finding new employment opportunities. The best outplacement services empower employees with the tools, knowledge, and emotional assistance needed to successfully navigate a job search or career transition after a layoff and move forward with confidence and optimism.
For a company, investing in outplacement services reflects a commitment to ethical and responsible business practices, supporting departing employees, and reinforcing a positive employer brand, all of which can contribute to the long-term success of the organization.
Benefits for Employees:
Personalized guidance and assistance with job searching, resume and cover letter writing, interview preparation, and networking.
Access to training and development resources that can enhance their skills and marketability in a competitive job market.
Emotional support and guidance to help maintain confidence and motivation during a potentially challenging period.
Access to networking events, job fairs, and industry connections.
Targeted assistance based on their unique skills, experience, and aspirations.
Quicker results than if they were navigating the process on their own due to expert guidance and resources.
Sense of closure and support that allows them to leave their previous job on a positive note and foster a sense of gratitude towards their former employer.
Benefits for Your Company:
Accelerates the re-employment process for laid-off employees, reducing the financial and emotional strain on them and their families.
Boosts morale among remaining staff by demonstrating a commitment to the well-being of departing employees.
Enhances the company's reputation and preserves its employer brand from positive word-of-mouth from departing employees, which can help attract top talent in the future and mitigate negative publicity.
Maintains productivity and engagement levels among remaining staff, as they perceive that the company values its workforce, even during challenging times.
Leads to shorter unemployment periods for laid-off employees, potentially reducing the company's financial burden related to severance packages and unemployment insurance.
Minimizes the risk of potential legal actions by showing that the company has taken steps to support employees during layoffs.
Contributes to a positive workplace/organizational culture by showcasing the company's commitment to its values and fostering a sense of loyalty among both current and former employees.
The Problem With Traditional Outplacement Services
Traditional outplacement services are expensive. Most start-ups and newer companies can't afford to invest in traditional outplacement services for laid-off employees, and larger companies might be hesitant to invest due to the cost, especially when hundreds or thousands of employees might be laid off at one time.
Individual coaching is the most expensive type of coaching available with traditional outplacement services. A company could opt for group coaching, which is typically a cheaper option, but that can be less customized, less confidential, and less effective.
Work It DAILY's Alumni Services: A Modern Approach To Outplacement
We know that outplacement services have numerous benefits for both employees and companies. But the cost of traditional outplacement services is a major drawback. So, what's the updated, modern solution?
Work It DAILY's Alumni Services.
Work It DAILY, an expert-led, online, on-demand career coaching platform, can help your organization manage layoffs effectively at a fraction of the price of "traditional" outplacement services.
24/7 access to our coaching team for questions and material reviews
24/7 access to a private online community
Resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn reviews
Interview preparation help
Unlimited networking opportunities inside the platform
Access to 14 exclusive online courses (over 200 hours of video content)
Your ex-employees are your company alumni. If you believe your company and every past, present, and future employee deserves the best outplacement services, contact us today and receive your confidential information packet.
Traditional outplacement services are outdated. Alumni Services is the new outplacement you've been looking for: affordable, effective, and led by expert coaches Check out Work It DAILY's Alumni Services today. Your company and all its alumni will thank you.
An increasing number of people have been reaching out to our career coaches and asking, "Is LinkedIn dying?"
This question isn't just coming from job seekers. Recruiters, professionals, and executives alike are frustrated with the platform, wondering if it's really as useful as it claims to be.
Networking is becoming more difficult. When professionals do manage to connect with someone and start a conversation, they'll likely never hear from their connection again after that initial conversation. Recruiters reach out to job seekers all the time, and no one responds.
LinkedIn used to work so well. What happened? What's the point of being on it at all?
LinkedIn Isn't Dying...It's Just Changing
You may think this is a sign that LinkedIn is dying. It's not.
LinkedIn is not dying. It's just changing.
In fact, LinkedIn would tell you it's not. Just looking at it based on user accounts, they now have over 930 million people on the platform. And that number is still growing. The so-called "death" we think we're witnessing with LinkedIn is actually just change. The way people have used it has changed dramatically. You cannot do what you used to be able to do on LinkedIn. LinkedIn has changed, and that's okay.
When LinkedIn first started out, it was a social network. The early adopters loved the platform and used it to its fullest potential. People would connect. They would start conversations. Being on LinkedIn was this amazing experience where people were actually developing relationships with people they never would have developed relationships with otherwise. It truly was a social network.
But that's when it was small.
Now, with mass adoption, the power of the social network has lost its luster. The majority of people on LinkedIn are not using the platform to its fullest potential. So, what does that do to the platform as a whole?
The truth is, LinkedIn is no longer a social network. With 930 million people, it's not a social network. It's a social marketplace.
Anytime something is free, like LinkedIn, you're the product. You're part of what they're selling. That's why LinkedIn is a social marketplace.
Think about it. How does LinkedIn make its money?
Recruiters pay a lot of money to access candidates. Salespeople and businesses pay a lot of money to put their information out in your feed to generate leads. All LinkedIn is today is a very sophisticated yellow pages. As a job seeker, you go there to find businesses, to find companies you want to work for. And when you're a job seeker, you're a business-of-one trying to sell your skills and your services to an employer. LinkedIn is just a place to find businesses, of all shapes and sizes, no matter if you're an actual company or a job candidate.
In the same vein, Facebook is the modern-day white pages. It's free, and what do you use Facebook for? To find people you may know.
LinkedIn is the modern-day yellow pages. Businesses used to pay a premium to advertise in the yellow pages to have a bigger presence. Fast forward to today, and that's all LinkedIn is.
So, you're the productâbut there's nothing wrong with that. We're lucky that we have LinkedIn. It's the sophisticated yellow pages that we need, which means every single one of us needs to be on it. We need to have our profiles optimized and we need to understand how it's used.
The networking thing, that's done. There's a reason very few people are connecting and building relationships on there, and it's because people have no skin in the game. The return on the investment is no longer there. Ultimately, it's just a place to put up the webpage for your business-of-one: your profile.
The good news is that you can now create events on LinkedIn. It's free, and it's going to encourage people to start talking to one another and that'll improve the social marketplace situation a little bit, but it's not 100% going to solve the problem.
So if LinkedIn isn't a social network anymore, what is? The platform that follows LinkedIn will completely change the networking game. It'll change the networking game like LinkedIn did so many years ago.
What we need is a new social network where we can connect with people again. LinkedIn doesn't accomplish this anymore because, again, it's not a social network. It's a social marketplace. The new social network for professionals will change the way we network in any career, in any industry, in any skill set, passion, or interest. And it's already here.
LinkedIn is not dying after all. It's just no longer a social network given its size. And yes, you can still reach out and connect with people but don't expect the world. Don't expect everyone to respond to you. Don't expect everyone to talk to you because that's not what it's built to do anymore.
Let's just be grateful that we have it because what it's creating for us in the future will really be something to smile about.