Six Signs Your Job No Longer Deserves You

Leave job

 

 

People talk about being in a rut, but here’s what we forget: the rut is mental. It’s a belief. “Oh, it’s hard to get another job!” We talk ourselves out of making changes or even contemplating changes, because of our aversion to change.

Your job may have been amazing learning experience at one time, but does your job still deserve your talents now? A lot of people get stuck. They get into a situation that more or less works, that pays the bills and that doesn’t bring them any closer to their flame. What’s your flame? It’s your passion. It’s your reason for being alive.

Your job should do more than just keep you alive — don’t you agree? You only have so many years here on earth. Are you going to spend them accumulating things like wide-screen TVs and frequent flyer miles you’ll never use because you don’t have time for vacation?

Why not get a job that deserves you and that will reinforce you? Here are six signs your current job doesn’t deserve you anymore:

  • There’s no forward path. There’s no place to go from here. There’s no way to learn more, have more impact or use more of your talents. Scram!
  • There’s no one to learn from. No one around you looks like a mentor or coach. You’re the smartest person in the place. Get out of Dodge!
  • The people around you don’t want to hear your ideas. They like things just the way they are. So what, nothing works properly? They don’t care. Flee!
  • You don’t get to use your mind and your heart at work. You’re stuck in a little box. You’re a cog in someone else’s machine. Hit the bricks!
  • Your boss doesn’t get you and you don’t get him or her. It’s an energetic mismatch. You can’t grow as a person or a professional in your job. Move on!
  • You don’t enjoy your work or look forward to it on Monday morning (or any morning). That’s your body telling you “Run away!” – Forbes
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What millennials do and don’t want from their employers

Busting workplace myths about the youngest—and soon-to-be biggest—generation

Baby Boomers and Millennials

This is the year the millennial generation—ages 18 to 34—will surpass the baby-boom generation in size. It has already done so in cultural and social significance. We boomers grew accustomed to the notion, forged over decades, that we drove the zeitgeist of our times. No more. Millennials rule.

That’s certainly true in the workplace (see our coverage of the 100 Best Companies to Work For). Any discussion of talent quickly devolves into a dissection of the millennial mind. Managers struggle with preconceptions. Must millennials change jobs every two years? Do they require constant reinforcement, after a childhood of “everybody’s a winner”? Do they need a “chill” workplace? Free food? Foosball?

Many of the popular notions are pure myth. Some busted ones:

Millennials want to change jobs frequently.

Wrong. A study by my former colleagues at the Pew Research Center shows that millennials actually value job security more highly than boomers do. But they won’t stay at a job they don’t like. Some 50% of millennials say having a “job you enjoy” is “extremely important” to them, compared with just 38% of boomers.

Money doesn’t matter.

Maybe. The Pew study found that millennials put “a high-paying job” near the bottom of their list of work priorities—but so do other generations, in roughly equal numbers. Count me a skeptic on all counts. What people say when surveyed over the phone and how they act when an offer is on the table are different things.

Every Millennial wants to be an entrepreneur.

They may all want to be Mark Zuckerberg, but it’s not happening. A recent Wall Street Journal analysis of Federal Reserve data shows the share of people under age 30 who own private businesses has hit a 24-year low—just 3.6%, down from 10.6% in 1989.

Still, there is no doubt that this generation is different. It is the most diverse in American history—43% nonwhite—and more confident about the nation’s future than older generations. That’s a reverse from the 1970s, when young boomers were considerably less optimistic than their elders. Millennials also are slower to get married than earlier generations and less likely to belong to a political party—which may make their employer, by default, the most important institutional affiliation in their lives.

The biggest difference is not who they are, but how they live. They are the ones most comfortable with the new human appendage—the smartphone—that lets them stay connected to a vast network of friends and provides instant access to information, both good and bad. They are quickest to adapt to the ways in which the mobile Internet is changing the fundamental logistics of their lives, and the first to demand the workplace do the same.

So pay attention. The millennials aren’t spoiled products of a coddled past. They are harbingers of our connected future. – by Alan Murray, editor of Fortune Magazine.

 

 

 

Preparing for Your New Position – Phase Three: Settling In and Taking Charge

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You may see yourself as a warm, easy-going boss with a high level of concern for your people. Or you might picture your managerial style as hard-nosed and highly oriented to the tasks you’ve assigned to people. And you may be correct.

What counts most as you enter your new job is NOT how you see yourself, but rather how your people perceive you. Their reactions and job performance will be based on what THEY believe you want from them.

Let’s recognize up front that performance in any group is bound to show some slippage in a crisis situation, such as welcoming and getting used to a new boss. Even if your department was producing excellent results prior to your arrival, you can expect a temporary drop-off while everyone gets accustomed to your methods and standards.

There’s an effective three-step process for managing people during a period of transition. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Direction

Begin by letting your people know exactly what you expect of them. Tell them what’s to be done and (if necessary) how, when and where to do it. Supervise them closely to make certain their performance meets your expectations. Take corrective measures quickly if you see any evidence of performance drop-off or obstacles to specified accomplishments and deadlines.

Some managers think that being “directive” with their people requires a stern, unsmiling style that keeps them coldly distant from their subordinates. Nothing could be farther from the truth; you can be directive and warmly supportive at the same time. In fact, under normal circumstances you should be both. Your staff needs to feel that you have high standards….but also that you believe in their ability to produce the results you want. Expressing confidence in your people is usually a self-fulfilling prophesy.

However, you need to remember that smiles and pats on the back are rewards, and rewards should follow performance. If you appear a “softie” who gives rewards without first requiring satisfactory results from your people, you’ve lost one of your most powerful managerial techniques. In effect, you’ve rewarded non-performance instead of waiting until you see the results you’re looking for. When incentives are given away in advance with no need to be earned, they lose their power to stimulate performance.

You didn’t get this far without acquiring some ability to deal with people. With some forethought you can maintain a balance between friendly support and premature rewards. Once your people see that top-performers are treated differently from others, they’ll know exactly how they must perform if they want the same rewards from you.

Step 2: Relaxation

As each of your employees begins to show a willingness and ability to take responsibility for his/her actions, you can reward performance and stimulate further progress by relaxing your directive behavior. People who readily agree that you should involve yourself closely during the early stages will also become resentful if their satisfactory performance does not earn them some operating freedom.

This concept – called “positively reinforcing successive approximations” – is an effective strategy for helping your people develop professional skills and motivation. First you “lay on” the structure (direction); then, as soon as you notice the slightest step in the desired direction, you rewards the satisfactory performance by easing your close supervision. You praise them for their results. Continues progress brings more rewards, which generate more progress, and so forth.

Since your objective is to “accomplish organizational goals through the efforts of your people,” this relaxation phase is vital in developing your subordinates to the point where they can think and act for themselves.

Step 3: Delegation

Once your employees have demonstrated that they are able and willing to function on their own, your development strategy is nearly complete. Now it’s time to sit back and watch from a distance as your self-motivated and self-directed people run their own show.

To be sure, you still need to be informed and in control. The ultimate responsibility for their activities still belongs to you. Delegation is an excellent managing strategy as long as your people are functioning effectively, but you have to be ready to step in at the first sign of trouble. To an authoritative manager, delegation seems to be a risky way of doing things; but consider what happens when your people are operating on their own and producing satisfactory results:

  • You have less time required for close supervision and more time for thinking, planning and brainstorming new ideas for improving your operations or reaching for higher goals.
  • You have fewer “people” problems because your staff is motivated toward achievement rather than self-protection, unproductive competition, or other distracting behavior.
  • You’ve taken a giant step toward identifying a potential successor or two for the day when top management has another career jump in mind for you.

The three-step process can work for you, but it requires a careful distinction between group accomplishments and individual achievements. Not every member of your staff will develop at the same pace, or to the same degree. The “direction-relaxation-delegation” strategy only works with individuals and groups that are moving forward together. Be careful not to let your positive reinforcement spill over the non-performers as well as those who are delivering satisfactory results.

The COMPOSE Problem-Solving Model

Of course, the world won’t always rotate precisely as you want it to. Your attempts to “relax” your directive control of people’s activities, or to “delegate” tasks when your people appear ready to handle them, may not produce the results you expect. Performance problems can occur in the best-managed functions and, when they happen to you, you’re going to need a simple and quick method of deciding what’s wrong and providing a solution.

Further, you won’t always have the luxury of taking your time to analyze problems on the job and figure ways to get your people back on track. The COMPOSE Model is designed to help you identify quickly whatever performance problems have occurred, and then to develop “change” strategies aimed at solving them.

Acronyms are easy to remember. That’s why I’ve arranged the seven common sources of performance problems into the world “COMPOSE” (which happens to be synonymous with “putting things into proper order”):

Competence                – inability to perform as expected

Overload                     – too much workload

Motivation                   – lack of proper incentives

Perception                  – not understanding what’s required

Organization               – insufficient resources

Supervision                 – lack of direction from you

Environment               – problems with outside factors

If one of your people is having difficulties performing up to your expectations, the problem is probably associated with one of these seven factors.

Competence

Sometimes the problem is caused by lack of ability to complete the task as assigned. It’s important to remember that employees are not universally competent: some have more skill and talent in certain areas than others. Usually, job competence is a function of education, experience on the job, or aptitudes which specifically qualify certain people for certain jobs.

If you employee has a competence problem, ask yourself first whether he/she is assigned to the proper tasks – that is, could his/her talents be better utilized elsewhere in your group. If the ability is present, you might spend more time giving the employee direction: specific instructions (from which he/she can learn how to deliver the results you want), and close supervision to assure success while the employee is learning. You might identify training or development courses that would contribute to employee’s competence in the future. At times it’s constructive to assign the employee to work closely with someone who already possesses the skills, and watch those abilities “rub off” on the person who’s having problems in that area.

 Overload

Managers often assume that “if I can handle the workload, so can anyone else.” That’s not always the case, and y our first clue comes when the employee’s work begins to suffer because of overload. People become disorganized, and lack timely answers to basic questions. Deadlines are missed even though the employee has the necessary abilities to perform the tasks.

Often a case of overload will show itself in a short temper, or even physical illness caused by the continuous tension of trying to handle too much work.

If your employee suffers from an overload problem, you’ll want to re-examine the delineation of duties throughout your group and re-assign tasks more evenly. If this cannot be done, check your staffing in general to determine whether more people are need to achieve the goals of your department.

Motivation

It’s difficult to succeed with tasks if there is no motivation or incentive to perform that task. It’s important to realize that not everyone is equally motivated to perform: some folks can see their personal goals being realized by accomplishing the task, where others cannot. Some employees have a problem with willingness – the desire to do something well. Others have problems with won’tness – “I don’t like the work and I won’t put forth my best efforts.”

If incentive problems exist within your organization, check your use of rewards. Your people should clearly understand that successful performance on this task will gain them the rewards they seek – more enjoyable assignments, more pay, opportunity for recognition among their peers, or promotion later on. Positive incentives often take the form of public praise for work well done, and all your people are sensitive to how you feel about sharing the credit and giving everyone a “boost” within the group and in the eyes of your boss.

Perception

Some people don’t really understand what’s required of them in a given situation. They may possess the competence to succeed, and the motivation to try their best, but find it difficult to interpret your directions or comprehend the results they’re striving for. To be fully effective, the employee needs to know (a) what the job consists of; (b) the objectives accomplished by the task; and (c) how you want the task accomplished. There’s also a need to clarify which tasks have priority over others – what should be done first, for example.

Usually a return to the “Action Plan” will remove questions of perception regarding an assignment. Make sure your instructions are given in specific ways, to avoid misinterpretations by others. Review instructions if necessary, so that every member of your team understands what to do and why it’s important.

Organization

Every employee needs some degree of organizational support to accomplish assigned tasks. If you expect your employees to return their tools to the supply room before leaving, you’d better make sure that the supply room is open at the proper times. If your employee needs to produce a typed report by Wednesday, be sure there’s a typist available between now and then.

If there’s a problem in getting the required support from the organization, you may find yourself talking with your boss or others to find the solution. In such cases, other priorities may prevent you from getting the help you need. When this happens, you’ll have to revise your expectations regarding the employee’s assignment to avoid holding someone responsible for circumstances beyond his/her control.

 Supervision

As mentioned earlier, different people require different levels of supervision. To some, your continuing attention is a reward, because they want to spend time with you in the course of their work. To others, your close supervision can appear threatening to their perception of their autonomy. Some employees react to supervision by saying “What’s the matter? Don’t you trust me to do a good job?” while others will wonder if you trust them out of your sight.

The balance between too little supervision and too much is a matter of judgment. You need to give people sufficient operating latitude if you want to stimulate their incentive, yet too much “rope” can cause you to lose control. The best strategy is to maintain open communication with each of your employees, paying attention to feedback and adjusting your supervising style according to their wishes and your evaluation of their ability to perform on their own.

Environment

If a problem exists, and none of the preceding factors seems to be the cause, take a look at the external factors that may be influencing your employee’s performance. In some “hourly” situations, peer pressures can limit output. Gas shortages or baby-sitting problems can hamper your employee’s ability to get to work on time. Personal beliefs or political sentiments can occupy a person’s mind and interfere with productivity.

If there’s an environment problem, it’s useless to reprimand people for circumstances beyond their control. However, if outside factors are interfering with performance – and the control is clearly with the employee – a counseling session is called for. In any case, close communication with your people will create an atmosphere in which external problems can be identified and discussed so that each employee can perform without distractions.

Try the COMPOSE Model with your next managerial problem. It gives you a system for approaching problem identification and analysis during the first few months, even if you don’t have complete familiarity with the function or the people. Its orderly approach not only provides a basis for action – it also encourages your people to cooperate, since they can recognize the logical strategy you’re using.

Debriefing Your Boss debrief boss

No systematic approach to entering your new job would be complete without an official closing exercise. Earlier we discussed the need for a “no surprises” strategy of keeping your boss informed of your activities and progress. Presumably you’ve been maintaining this contact, and using the feedback to alter your direction and techniques.

Your contract for disclosure with your boss needs a wrap-up to signal your readiness to be your first opportunity to acquaint your boss with some of your operating methods, close observation has ended. One way to accomplish this is formal “debriefing” meeting at which all pertinent subjects are resolved. The objectives of this meeting are:

  • To bring your boss up to date regarding all phases of your transition into the new job;
  • To cross-check your conclusions about goals, and the resources available to achieve them;
  • To describe the improvements you’ve made since joining the organization;
  • To gain your boss’ confidence that you’re in control.

Your debriefing meeting should be scheduled within 90 days of your arrival on the job. It may be your first opportunity to acquaint your boss with some of your operating methods, Action Plans, personnel allocations, etcetera. It can lead to changes of strategy if certain approaches are not working as expected. It can be the basis for a review of staffing requirements for the future. In short, the debriefing meeting can be used to accomplish whatever purposes you’ve identified during your first few months on the job.

Most important, the meeting also establishes the potential of a long-term working relationship in which each of you can obtain the results you want.

The timing and length of the meeting are not half as important as being thoroughly prepared for it. Remember, you’re asking for your boss’ time, and a measure of your effectiveness is your ability to manage the time he/she will give you. Use charts, graphs, and other aids to clear communication. Leave materials behind to help your boss remember what was discussed.

Before departing from this meeting, get your boss’ reactions to everything presented. Set the stage for future meetings. Later, analyze what happened and plan for regular reviews and “no surprises” discussions. Identify suggested areas of improvement and make sure you’ve attended to them before the next meeting – at least to the point where you can show some progress.

Following is a “Debriefing” checklist to help you structure the meeting. Add whatever special items are necessary to customize the format to your situation.

  1. Give your boss some honest reactions to being involved in the organization, and express your appreciation of support received thus far (if applicable).
  2. Highlight major areas of concern.
  3. Review the contents of your “First Meeting” worksheets and report on progress to date.
  4. Review the subjects discussed at your “Ice-Breaker” meeting with employees.
  5. Present your Action Plans and explain your strategies for achieving results within the specified deadlines.
  6. Add any additional Items for your discussion.

Best of luck in your new position/job and enjoy the benefits of a great start!

-Sharon Jenks, CEO/President – The Jenks Group, Inc. http://www.thejenksgroup.com

 

Strategic Operations Skills Training (S.O.S.T.) Fast Roping

US Navy SEALs teach executives

 

 

 

Behind the scenes in our S.O.S.T. program, participants are learning new skills that will apply to their Mission. Taught by US Navy SEALs, each of these skills are transferable to the workplace. The only way you can learn how is to experience it yourself. An experience you will never forget, as you push yourself out of your comfort zone.

In this quick clip, Alpha and Bravo Teams are readying for Game Changing Skill #6 – “The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday”

 

Find out how your team can experience this game changing program at http://www.sosttraining.com

 

Here’s Why Good Employees Quit

quit your job

Anne Fisher, contributor to CNNMoney wrote a great article, “To keep employees loyal, try asking what they want” wherein she references an interview of Aflac CEO Dan Amos quoted saying: “If you want to know what would keep someone from quitting, ask.” It sounds like common sense, but not many companies really do it”. I couldn’t agree more. Not only is it a good business decision to find out what it will take for your employees to remain loyal, it is essentially the most important factor in business sustainability.

Sure, there are many reasons why people quit, such as: employee mis-match, work/life balance, co-worker conflicts, relocation, family matters, lack of good communication, micro-managers, etc. I could go on and on but here are my top four reasons why good employees leave the workplace:

1. Poor reward system. It’s not always about having a big paycheck (although it doesn’t hurt either!). Rewarding an employee can be shown in many ways, such as corporate recognition both internally and externally (company website or press release), an additional paid mini-vacation, an opportunity to take the lead on a new project, a promotion, a donation in their name to a charity they support or the most popular form of reward, a bump in pay or an unexpected bonus. While these represent some of the ways an employer can reward workers, they don’t work without one key element; communication. What money represents to one employee may be of no concern to another. The key here is to find out what your employee’s value most and work from there.

2. Management. You know the saying: “People don’t leave companies, they leave their managers”. There is truth to this! Here’s my reasoning. When there is work to be done, its management’s duty to enforce, engage, and often times implement reward systems to keep employees satisfied and loyal. Sure, the supervisor, middle manager or team leader may implement recognition on a small scale for workers who have reached goals or helped the team in some way, but that doesn’t replace the recognition and reward employees need from upper management to stay committed.

Not everyone is skilled enough to manage processes or lead people. Just because someone is good at what they do does not mean they will be a great manager, and that’s perfectly OK! When people who are not fit to lead are put into positions of leadership it can create a catastrophic circumstance in the workplace leading to high turnover and low employee morale. So please, stop slapping “Manager” on every good worker’s name and put people in those positions only if they have the characteristics necessary to influence workers to execute the company vision and those willing to work together to get the job done.

3. Hiring/Promotions. When good workers see people who do not contribute as much as they do or they see schmoozers who do little but socialize a lot land positions they don’t deserve, it’s much like a slap in the face. Especially when those workers are busting their butts, not taking vacation, rallying the team and exceeding expectations the last thing they want to see is some Joe Schmo just waltz in and take a senior position, one they are clearly not qualified to do. You have to expect good employees will leave if you decide to hire your best friends’ cousin who has no idea what the heck they are doing, and then you have the audacity to put them in a leadership position over experienced workers. Come on! Hiring and promoting for favoritism is a major way to alienate good workers.

4. Too much work! The moment employers see employees who have good work ethic or are great in performing or rallying a team of people they begin to slap on more projects, more responsibility to those who they believe can handle it. And maybe good workers can handle more work but it becomes a problem when they begin to feel that they can’t escape from work because of the amount of responsibility and attention they receive from management. Being an excellent worker can be a blessing and a curse. It’s great for a boss to recognize employees are good, but the reward for that shouldn’t always be to pour on the workload. Since good employees tend to have a higher workload, it’s important to ensure they don’t feel overwhelmed causing them to burn out.

Ultimately the culture of an organization determines the scope of employee retention efforts which requires strategic decision making and planning. But to get good employees to stay, it’s simple; ask them what it will take. If you see someone doing great work, recognize it and reward it but don’t’ forget to find out how you can empower them to continuously deliver. –Mary V. Davids

*Photos courtesy of iStock

Workplace Assessments Are Fair — If They Come With Adverse Impact

assessment

 

 

On Sept. 29, The Wall Street Journal published the article, “Are Workplace Personality Tests Fair?” The article scrutinized the use of “personality” tests and highlighted two accusations of discrimination against a variety of retailers that used various tests as part of a hiring process. The case is under review by the EEOC, which is conducting an investigation of “personality tests,” according to the WSJ article.

Having spent the last three decades in the assessment industry, I am moved to respond.

I applaud the WSJ for taking a closer look at those who provide these sorts of personality tests, particularly those organizations that refuse to comply with federal regulations and provide adverse impact studies. Click here to read our white paper regarding adverse impact and its implications.

These studies are a requirement and best practice for anyone doing business in the assessment realm.

Adverse impact studies provide evidence there is no adverse impact — that no one could be discriminated against — in the use of assessments. It is essential in the assessment industry.

The purpose of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is to enforce (for the benefit of job seekers and wage earners) the contractual promise of affirmative action and equal employment opportunity required of those who do business with the federal government.

As a company, TTI has been aware of the need for a comprehensive adverse impact study that includes much more than race and gender. That’s why we began collecting data over 10 years ago on 13 additional categories of protected classes in addition to gender.

In 2012, we released our initial adverse impact study findings and encouraged our distributors to share these findings with their clients. We regularly revisit these studies to ensure there is no adverse impact against any group and provide updates to our VAAs and their clients.

There must be more accountability in the assessment industry regarding adverse impact.

Sadly, not all assessment companies invest the time and resources to produce adverse impact studies, nor do they base their instruments on deeper scientific understanding and data. Those who don’t risk the reputation of an industry that seeks to eliminate bias from the hiring process and uplift rather than discriminate against individuals.

As the WSJ article stated — and several of the companies using assessments noted — when implemented according to federal guidelines and using a basis of sound science and research, assessments help to empower all and discriminate against none, creating job match, greater employee happiness and better workplace environments.

Our commitment to integrity and research mandates the use of adverse impact, and we encourage all similar companies to commit to the same.

To answer the WSJ’s primary question: Yes, the use of assessments is fair – but unfortunately too many companies place themselves in jeopardy by not using assessments with robust adverse impact studies and based on additional anti-discriminatory research.

It would be wise of companies to scrutinize the structure of any and all assessments and educate themselves on the methodology of the instrument they are using, as well as demand a current adverse impact study with EEOC and OFCCP compliance.

assessments, behavior, employee engagement

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bill J. Bonnstetter is chairman of TTI Success Insights and founder and chairman of Target Training International. He is considered one of the pioneers in the assessment industry because of his significant contributions to the research and study of human behavior. @bbonnstetter