Making Friends at Work Can Get You Promoted

Jim and Dwight at The Office

Making friends at work can benefit both employees and employers. Studies show that engaging in a social support system at work can improve your health, increase your job satisfaction, and, yes, make you more likely to get a promotion!

“How much you give at work directly affects how much you get at work,” says Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work.

Ready to move your career forward? Then start forging some friendships! Read full article here.

Originally published on management.fortune.cnn.com by Katherine Reynolds Lewis.

The New HR Mindset

Olympian Mary Wineberg

Running an HR department means more than just maintaining employee records, conducting performance reviews, and managing benefits. If you’re a CEO or an HR manager, here’s the new mandate for your HR department in order to stay on the cutting edge:

It’s every HR chief’s highest calling to make sure his or her employer has the most excited, switched-on, and capable people on the market.

Read the full article to discover what your HR department should be doing to help your organization compete.

Originally published on Businessweek.com by Liz Ryan.

Negotiating More in a Hungry Economy

By Marcianne Kuethen

Remember the scene from Oliver Twist where Oliver asked the master of the orphanage for more soup? The master was shocked and outraged that the boy wasn’t satisfied with just one bowl. As a currently employed person or a candidate seeking a job, you might be tempted to ask for more from your place of employment or potential employer. Here are a few pointers you’ll want to consider to help you avoid getting a similar negative response.

First of all, take advantage of this advice from Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder, if you are either negotiating an initial offer or an increase to your current compensation plan:

  • “Know your market value: Arm yourself with as much information as possible by checking out industry Web sites for your occupational and geographic areas and others that specialize in salary information, such as www.CBSalary.com, or the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Sell yourself: Outline your role in helping your current and previous organizations meet goals. If there’s ever a time to toot your own horn, the time is now. Quantify results whenever possible.
  • Look at more than the paycheck: Some jobs that may not pay as well may be rich in learning opportunities and experience or may offer an ideal work culture. Consider the whole package.
  • Have realistic expectations: Inflated opinions of what should be earned won’t be taken seriously. Consider the industry, the economy, your experience and the competition from other coworkers.”

Second, try to understand who you’re negotiating with on the other side of the desk. Thanks to a survey recently conducted by CareerBuilder.com*, you can be aware of what’s going on in the mind of employers as their businesses struggle to recover.  Here’s what the survey revealed:

 

  • Employers are concerned that existing employees will leave the organization as the economy continues to improve. According to the CareerBuilder survey, this concern was expressed by 43 percent of the 2,457 employers surveyed between August 17 and September 2, 2010. Happily for those of you who are currently employed, this means that employers are looking for ways to keep you satisfied and engaged.
  • Employers may be offering creative perks in lieu of monetary compensation. In light of the slowly recovering economy, many employers are not yet able to provide raises. In response to the survey, employers came up with a list of perks they hope will encourage employees to stay, including more flexible work hours, bonuses, training, vacation time, more casual dress codes, academic reimbursement, and title change.

Scott Kuethen, CEO of Amtec Human Capital, has an insight to add to this issue: “Don’t underestimate the real worth of being highly engaged in your work. Interestingly enough, employers and candidates are looking for the same thing. Both want engagement. When you, the employee, are highly engaged in your work, you’re more focused, productive, and happy. You’re making your highest contribution. And while you’re highly engaged in your work, you’re learning and growing more than at any other time. Your employer reaps the benefit because your contribution will be of greater value to them which will eventually find its way to the bottom line. And that’s what the corporation wants and needs to grow and become stronger.  Being in the right role where you are highly engaged, or getting into the right role, helps both you and your employer.”

So, while it appears to be an employer’s market, don’t give up if you’re thinking of asking for more. Take the time to  research how much you’re actually worth and get ready to present your accomplishments . . . but also be prepared to accept alternative perks and consider the whole package, not just the salary itself.  If you approach your organization or potential employer with realistic expectations and an appreciative attitude, you’ll have a better chance of negotiating that extra bowl of soup!


* For the full report of the survey, conducted between August 17 and September 2, 2010, go to http://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?id=pr604&sd=11%2f10%2f2010&ed=12%2f31%2f2010&siteid=cbpr&sc_cmp1=cb_pr604_

By Marcianne Kuethen – © 2010

Top Ten Traits Employers Want in a Candidate

top ten graphic

Can anyone list the top ten traits that employers want in an employee? Numerous articles have been written on the subject, and none of them agree! Here’s a combined listing of what many of these articles claim are the top ten:

  • Attendance, Reliability, Dependability
  • Energy, Passion,  Motivation
  • Work Ethic, Honesty, Transparency, Trustworthiness
  • Flexibility, Adaptability, Receptiveness to Change
  • Multi-tasking
  • Perseverance, Determination, Persistence
  • Appreciation
  • Communication Skills, Oral and Written
  • Job Pacing, Quantity, Productivity, Efficiency
  • Initiative
  • Loyalty
  • Ability to Problem-Solve, Reason, Analyze, and Research
  • Ability to Work With Others, Be a Team Player, and Collaborate; Unselfishness; Others-Mindedness; Interpersonal Skills; and Getting Along Well with Others
  • Learning Attitude, Intelligent learner
  • Positive Attitude, Enthusiasm
  • Personal Responsibility, Accountability
  • Decision-making skills
  • Customer-focus
  • Leadership, Management Skills
  • Creativity
  • Professionalism
  • Computer Literacy
  • Planning, Organizational Skills
  • Self-Confidence
  • Self-Motivation, Ability to Work Without Supervision

It feels like a shotgun blast, doesn’t it? That comprehensive list covers every possible trait common to humans in general! Is it reasonable to imagine that there could be only ten top qualities that would match the desires of every employer?  That kind of thinking is similar to the “one-size-fits-all” dress which, as it turns out, isn’t actually a suitable fit for most women!

The kind of candidate needed by you, the employer, really depends upon several factors unique to your organization, such as your company culture, what tasks you need the candidate to accomplish to satisfy your team’s goals, and the type of product or service you offer. This is where your experienced staffing agency can help. A great recruiting partner who really listens to understand the requirements of your position is better equipped to target just the right kind of candidate and meet your deadline to fill the job opening.

So don’t buy into the idea that some secret “top-ten-traits-fit-all” list exists. But, every time you have a new opening, do go through the process of defining the top ten traits your new hire needs to succeed in the position.  Armed with this knowledge, your interviews will be more focused and you’ll increase your chances of getting the quality candidate you need.

Need help writing a great job posting? Click here for advice from an expert.

By Marcianne Kuethen © August 2010