Employment Situation

Are You Getting the Optimal ROI on Your Wellness Plan? Checklist For You (Part 1)

 

85% of companies with 1000+ employees have wellness programs, mostly driven by an effort to contain healthcare costs and costs associated with lost productivity, absenteeism, and disengagement. However, a noted shortcoming, even of the most successful wellness programs, is adoption and consistent, long-term participation.

The average ROI for these programs is 6:1

3.27 ROI for medical costs and 2.73 on reduced absenteeism.

Doesn’t even take into account productivity and engagement that can be a tertiary benefit of wellness, nor further impacts on workplace safety, talent acquisition and retention, morale and community, also known as value on investment (VOI).

This is increasing all the time with better data and additional breakthroughs in

Below are components of successful wellness programs. Check how many you have:

  • Strong awareness and education, which usually requires heavily utilized internal communication channels
  • Cultures, policies, and environments that are consistent with wellness behaviors
  • Baseline evaluations tracking system, and regular progress assessments
  • Amenities on site, not just for fitness, but also meditation and hygiene
  • Group accountability and support without social pressure to engage
  • Reward-based vs. punitive incentivization, possibly even gamification
  • They have a dedicated administrator
  • Offer a variety of fitness and nutrition management options
  • Bottom line benefits are a byproduct, not the intention; the wellbeing of its people is the intention
  • It addresses the true keys to behavior change (habits and beliefs) and addresses the real reasons why people fall out, which can be a multitude of things, like life events, shame, and lack of desired or expected results
  • Holistic and integrative wellness that addresses all facets of wellbeing (Get our report, How Mindfulness Training Quickly Transforms Organizations here.)
    • Social
    • Emotional
    • Physical
    • Financial
    • Mental

Common reasons why wellness plans fall short of projected and/or optimal ROI include:

Lack of Awareness

On average, only 60% of employees aware that their company has a wellness program.  It takes a concerted and dedicated campaign to ensure that all employees are aware. It means that employees have to be reminded ongoingly. Managers also need to be trained and, often, policies adjusted.

This also aligns with the point that wellness programs need a dedicated leader and team, depending on the size of the organization, which adds expenses yet improves ROI, like any good investment. Many companies have appointed someone to lead wellness programs who still have to deliver on their primary role duties that are not wellness-related, like a Benefits Manager.

The effort has to be rolled out in collaboration with legal, marketing, human resources, finance, training and development, and potentially (ideally) vendors, coaches, and consultants. A wellness program leader needs ample time to communicate thoughtfully, as well as to assess status and progress thoroughly.  This leader also needs to be trusted and influential to coordinate all of the cultural, logistical and policy-based adjustments that may have to be made, as you’ll read below.

Also, if your employees have to report progress to someone who is a stakeholder in their performance, they may not feel safe being candid when a personal issue is interfering with wellness goals (and work.)

Low Participation

On average, 24% of employees participate and the ones most likely to participate already have active, healthy lifestyles. As organizations often find, inspiring people to voluntarily make hard changes is quite the challenge. Humans have a built-in survival-based resistance to change. Also, there’s no one silver bullet way to get a large population of people to want to change because we all have different drivers.

Few wellness programs include personalized coaching equipped not just to educate participants on the pragmatic steps of becoming healthier, but also to help each individual prospective participant identify what will inspire them to make and sustain changes in their behavior and lifestyle. Take into account all of the different REAL reasons why people veer off of wellness journeys and the real things that have been proven to augment physical health efforts.

Many learning and fitness programs have incorporated community due to the observation and a 2007 Harvard study that found that obesity is “contagious.” There is a belief, which seems to be supported by science, that people tend to be a product of the people with whom they surround themselves.

However, there are a lot of complex social intricacies that happen when one person tries to effectuate change in his or her own life. It can cause emotional, sometimes subconscious, negative reactions among a person’s social circle, including the social circle at work. Even when an individual makes a completely independent decision to change there can be social repercussions. Even when encouragement and peer pressure are absent, there can be adverse emotions. Encouragement is often perceived as pressure or shaming, even when the intention is pure, and cause even worse social backlash.

While participants can be coached in how to navigate these relationship complexities, the non-participants often remain unaware of their own resistance to change that can be spurred by someone close to them changing.  If there was a minimal coaching option, these employees could have someone there to help them recognize their resistance and emotion and make a more conscious decision versus letting resistance and emotion make the decisions for them.

The differences in how people come to change are frequently unacknowledged. Some people need data to buy into change. Some people need a compelling emotional outcome. Some will reject any idea that they feel is being imposed upon them. Some people will do something just because it’s the right thing to do and some tend to say yes to everyone else but themselves.  Each of these tendencies needs a different approach to encouraging new habits, and yet still people will change on their own time and terms.

Many companies institute smart policies on security that trains employees to protect corporate data, which promote this sense of distrust. Then employees are asked to share personal health, including mental health data, with a corporate or 3rd party resource.  The need to measure ROI is then communicated as more paramount than wellness. Some programs are all or nothing, and whether a person decides to commit or resist making lifestyle changes that could positively impact. Programs, therefore, need some flex to accommodate what a person is comfortable sharing and changing with the support that can help the person continue to build upon small changes.

The risk assessments and biometric screenings that employers offer can be perceived as an attempt to use fear to scare employees into change, but there are still a lot of people who would not act with that knowledge. In fact, it can make real change seem so unobtainable it can inspire resignation, denial and additional stress. They don’t have to be the only starting point. Already healthy employees are the ones more likely to participate.  Make it easy to start at 0 without having to confront an ugly starting point.

Encouraging employees to start with mindfulness and mini-meditations for stress relief, educating them with information on the scientific basis for it, can help employees start with something that requires little time and change, but lead to greater self-awareness. It is like a gateway drug for change. (Epic Careering is a specialist in Mindfulness, Mediation and Emotional Intelligence Training. Get our full report, How Mindfulness Training Quickly Transforms Organizations, here.)

More companies will find participation increase when obstacles of time and sacrifice are removed when there are flexible participation journeys offered, and when the stigma and relationship complexities of changing within social circles are alleviated from both sides with coaching.

Inherent Inhibitors

Some companies have programs that can’t be followed because actual work policies or facilities inhibit it. Whether it be the work hours, lack of showering facilities, lack of secure bike racks, or a cultural expectation that employees will work or meet during lunch. For example, employees can’t participate in walking Wednesdays if on Wednesdays their boss requires a report due after lunch. Some policies, like accrued sick time, will have more of your workforce in the office when they should be home.  It can keep them sick longer and spread the sickness to more of the workforce.

Some companies offer snacks as perks (or for cost) to employees, but they don’t necessarily qualify as healthy snacks. It may sound like a simple swap from unhealthy snacks to healthy snacks, but when you dig into how much is actually altered, it’s a bit easier to understand why such a simple change can cause resentment. Managers need the training to understand how to help employees vocalize and process even small changes, to reinforce leadership’s commitment to wellness without making employees feel dismissed.

Musculoskeletal issues are a primary reason for absenteeism and a real reason why many people veer off of physical fitness plans. Ergonomic workstations, standing desks, and FSAs (flex spending accounts) that employees can opt to allocate for proactive health efforts, such as chiropractic care, acupuncture, supplements, massage, will serve to augment efforts and reinforce the message that workforce wellness is a priority for the company’s leaders.

Don’t expect employees will be able to form work-based habits and regiments without accommodations to do so. Often companies don’t evaluate the logistical, procedural, and actual lifestyle challenges that keep so many people from making changes, whether a company sponsors and supports that change or not.  Creating lasting changes is already challenging enough; if companies really want their employees to enjoy significant improvements to their health, all policies and facilities need to be evaluated with the intention of eliminating any and all potential logistical, policy, or facility shortcomings. If the ROI of your wellness program is falling short of expectations, look here first.  When you want to level up your ROI, look here first. There is a lot that technology can do to help, and most of the capabilities that can help your company already has.

Next week I will be sharing Part 2 of the rest of this segment. Stay tuned!

 

The Pirates – “Mind Over Matter” (Temptations covering Nolan Strong)

Released in Sept. of 1962 This is The Pirates (aka THE TEMPTATIONS!) covering the Nolan Strong & the Diablos classic Detroit hit, “Mind Over Matter (I’m Gonna Make You Mine). Eddie Kendricks on lead vocals…

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

When Is Self-Care Over-Indulgent?

 

I promote self-care a lot because I know that science supports it.  Stress in the workplace contributes to major chronic illnesses responsible for most early health-related deaths. It’s also a high cause of absenteeism. Self-care CAN be a way to manage stress.

However, since I teach generation Z and Millennials and work with Generation X through baby boomers, the chasm in understanding of the role of self-care and reasonable limits to self-care during work hours is vast and causing a lot of conflicts in today’s workplace, which has never had so many generations before.

Millennials have been accused of having a sense of entitlement. One of my current students, a millennial, even admitted that their reputation is earned.  However, the workplace also has much different expectations than when the generations before them entered the workforce. For the most part, there was a finite beginning and end to the workday. However, since internet and cell phone connectivity have enabled people to work remotely, the delineation between work hours and personal hours has been blurred. In some family-friendly companies, the employees who are parents enjoy more flexibility in their schedule, but the single employees are sometimes expected to pick up the slack.

How do we create boundaries around self-care that don’t cause drama that threatens collaboration and productivity? How does a company decide what is fair, enough, and truly restorative?

Firstly, it’s unrealistic and refuted by science to assume that people will fulfill all of their self-care needs at home. Brain fatigue starts to set in after just a few minutes of concentration. One or two 30-second breaks per hour to do something pleasurable is sufficient to restore the brain. Yawning and stretching (very slowly) are highly restorative exercises. This is a great time for mindfulness, like being present and still. The best part about mindfulness is that employees will start to become more and more self-aware and emotionally intelligent, and will naturally consider the impact of their self-care regimen on others.

Self-care does not have to consume a lot of time, in fact, less than a minute. But people misunderstand self-care and engage in activities that actually contribute to mental exhaustion, like social media, “venting,” and personal errands.

Even some fitness activities can be draining rather than restorative. It only takes 10 minutes to increase oxygen to your brain. There is some science that suggests that endurance training can make you more resistant to fatigue, but that doesn’t mean employers can allow employees to run a marathon during work hours.

If we follow a model that our country’s laws were designed around, your rights end where another’s begin.  Because emotional intelligence does not fully develop until the 3rd decade of life, usually well into a person’s career, most entry-level workers have blind spots around how their self-care impacts others, and they need to be coached here. They also have developed habits, especially social media, that can lead to greater distractibility and more frequent mental fatigue, which leads to more mistakes and less accountability.

In my career prep course, as well as in my coaching practice, I work with my students on defining who they want to be at work, what reputation they want to build, and how to brand themselves and deliver on that brand for optimal career growth. They are taught the neuroscience of mindfulness and are guided in making it a life-long habit.

My firm, Epic Careering, offers coaching to companies that achieve the same results, and as a byproduct employees spend less time in drama, less time in self-indulgent non-self-care, and more time cooperating, collaborating, and producing.

Schedule a consultation today and catalyze the growth of your employees’ potential tomorrow.

Bachman Turner Overdrive – LOOKIN’ OUT FOR NO.1

Bachman Turner Overdrive – LOOKIN’ OUT FOR NO.1

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

If You’re Robbing Yourself of Fun and Self-Care During Your Job Search, You’re robbing Yourself of Results (Prescription Within!)

 

When I was out of work for 10 months after 9/11, I was not only in between jobs but also in between living arrangements. I wasn’t officially a roommate to my boyfriend (now husband) and his roommate since I was not paying rent, and I could not continue to live with my bachelor father, because some things you can’t unsee.

I had moved back in with my dad after leaving a cheating boyfriend at the age of 21, met my husband four months later, and was laid off six months into our relationship.

I had student loans to pay and some credit card debt that I’d accrued while searching for my first job after college. I had also finally bought a brand new car, a Saturn SL2, after being stranded one too many times on the side of the road with a broken down car, so I had a car payment as well.

After being informed that cleaning and tidying were insufficient forms of rent, and if he (the roommate) were me he wouldn’t be doing pilates at 3 PM or hiking in the middle of the day, but hitting the pavement.  I felt added pressure to spend all my time either working doing anything so as not to be home when he was home, but also not spending my time on self-care. I walked to a business within walking distance, since gas was a luxury I couldn’t always afford, and worked for minimum wage doing menial tasks while neglecting self-care. My depression worsened, and interview anxiety manifested, whereas I’d never had interview anxiety before.

As an employee, I was known to be sharp, intelligent, forward-thinking, and organized. As an unemployed sponge, I was now considered a burden, a leech, and essentially useless. Even though some friends were helping me out, giving me referrals for jobs, I was not making them look good at all. I was showing up as the unemployed sponge, not the confident, value-adding, trend-setting, technology-savvy people person.

After the business down the street told me their business slump meant my minimum wage job was no longer, I went back to taking care of myself. Neglecting myself wasn’t working; it was backfiring. So was doing work well below my capacity and potential. Something else I realized – my husband and his roommate didn’t know how to land a corporate job. Hitting the pavement was not producing jobs that would position me to pay my bills and rent and sending online application after online application left me powerless and dejected. I had to go back to my network, which I avoided when I was depressed and doing demeaning work. I had to show up as the person who would add value

I went back to pilates and hiking regularly. I spent my transition time finding out who my network knew (this was before LinkedIn). I shifted my criteria to target GROWTH opportunities that required a college degree, whether in recruiting or not, and challenged myself to find ways to have fun that didn’t require spending a lot of (or any) money so I could remember why people wanted to be around me.

I landed, finally, and then was laid off again three months later, but landed again five weeks later, and then was promoted three months after that. I knew that eventually, I would teach people what I learned about making a job search effective AND fun, and how essential both are.

Nearly 16 years later, here I am with 13 years of experience doing just that under my belt and when my clients express to me that their emotions and thoughts are getting the best of them, I prescribe them fun and self-care. Now, after years of studying human performance optimization and neuroscience, I have an even better understanding of exactly why fun and self-care are essential to job search success.

Do you remember learning about Pavlov’s dog?  Reinforcement is key to learning positive behaviors and making them habits. Reward yourself for engaging in job search activities that are effective, but perhaps stretch your comfort zone, like attending networking events, asking your friends and contacts for introductions, inviting hiring managers to speak or meet, and calling to follow up. The more you associate these activities with a reward, the more motivated you will feel to do them.

And, once you get results this way, the shot of endorphins will further compel you to want to repeat them.

Make sure your self-care routine incorporates exercise AND restoration. Exercise is not just healthy for your body, but also has proven clinical impacts on your mental state, helps you feel more confident, and increases oxygen to your brain to make you smarter! Restoration and recuperation is key to preventing physical fatigue and brain fatigue, both of which can negatively impact your performance and mood. Making time for stillness and reflection is essential to seeing where and how you can improve as a human being, teammate, and as a performer.

To take this all a level up, identify and engage in activities that put you in the flow. The more you can put yourself in a state of flow, the better you intuitively, swiftly solve problems and make decisions. For me, being in the woods or out on the water, coloring, making crafts with flowers and plants, swimming in the ocean, sitting in my hot tub, dancing to live music, attending development-related classes and webinars, watching sports, and yoga put me in a flow state.

Make a list of activities that make you feel like you’re in the flow, and set time aside on your calendar each week for these. Steven Kotler, NY Times best-selling author on the subject of flow, recommends at least 15% of your time be allocated for this each week.

Also, don’t avoid people because you fear their judgment. Isolation is a confidence killer and anxiety inducer.  Invite the people who know and appreciate the “real you” to spend time with you at least once a week. There are plenty of things that you can do that don’t require spending money, such as a game of catch, card and board game potlucks, picnics, and gathering to watch your favorite show or team. Keep up your team skills while in transition. You can even invite them to volunteer with you.

Having trouble justifying this to the stakeholders in your job search? Tell them it is a prescription, professor’s orders, and show them this:

 

If you want additional emotional support and guidance (not just advice, which I give freely here) on how to spend your days to optimize your performance and results, schedule a free consultation.

Put The Lime In The Coconut

AND SHAKE IT ALL UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

Why Recruiters Ask You Questions That Your Résumé Clearly Answers Already

 

Have you, like many other job seekers, noticed that it seems sometimes like recruiters, maybe even hiring managers, ask you questions that have clearly been answered already in your résumé?

Like, “Do you have experience with business intelligence tools?” while your last position was “Business Intelligence Analyst.”

You’re getting all kinds of advice from career coaches like me to do your research and come to interviews prepared to intelligently talk about the company’s specific goals or challenges, but you get to the interview and it feels like you’re just interview number 9 today, not their potential next highly valued employee.

Experiences like this are just one of the hundreds of gripes that I see job seekers making online, and I have been collecting them for over a year now. (I also procure gripes from recruiters about job seekers, recruiters about HR, recruiters about hiring managers, HR about recruiters, HR about hiring managers, and hiring managers about HR – what a mess!)

I have to admit that as a recruiter, I have been guilty of this. Here’s what happened:

  • I had a third party recruiting firm play bate and switch with me, sending candidates to interviews who didn’t match the résumés they presented. As a result, I made a bad hire that I had to replace for the client. From that point on, I always asked clients to validate what was on their résumé. Once you uncover deception, you become skeptical. Once you get burned, you become cynical. I’d rather have a candidate insulted that I was asking them questions that I should have already known from their résumé than hire someone who was misrepresenting their skills and qualifications.
  • Coincidentally, I had some very indignant candidates who were quite put off that I would ask them such questions. The worse they took this experience, the more I worried about their temperament. I had candidates who seemed completely professional in their interviews get to the client, have a bad experience, and completely lose their cool, as well as their chances with that client and me. I also had a candidate I referred to another firm get escorted out by security for becoming threatening. In this day and age of employee sabotage and mass shootings, a person’s temperament is always being evaluated.
  • From time to time as a recruiter on top of still needing to fill hot job requirements, you have to put fires out, such as when my candidate was fired and needed to be replaced. Sometimes I was not as prepared for a candidate interview as I liked to be. I would normally just be upfront about this and apologize. Under stress, however, I might not have been as empathetic. I had some bad days as a recruiter, and I may have come off as aloof, scattered, or insensitive.  I wasn’t my best self, and all I can do is aim to be better. I’m a decade (plus) older and much more emotionally intelligent than I was then. Not all recruiters get how their candidates’ experience affects their long-term success, and even if they do, they can’t always buck the broken system and fix their candidate experience. I’d like to think that eventually, especially if the candidates’ job market continues, more recruiters will have to evaluate and improve how they treat candidates, acknowledging them as people, not commodities.
  • Résumés are rarely written to include “behind the scenes” details that demonstrate and prove a candidate’s qualifications. Often it’s a list of what a candidate was supposed to do, not what they did or how well they did it. So, a phone screen or interview was your opportunity to tell a compelling story that demonstrated your value. The résumé was just a tool to get me to invite you to an interview. If you have qualities and skills I felt would impress the client, the résumé also had to inspire the client to interview you, but I need to take it up a level. You may have stated that you did something on your résumé, but I need to know more to enhance the résumé. AND, I need you to be able to articulate your experience to the hiring manager and other stakeholders. I’m not just making sure you have the experience required; I’m making sure you can effectively communicate this to me, and therefore others.

I’m definitely not condoning recruiters’ negligence to understand a candidate’s experience prior to an interview; it goes against common sense best practices. However, I find the volume and extremity of the gripes I have been procuring online for over a year now to be disturbing and discouraging.  Solutions that truly disrupt and overturn the broken system cannot be devised until all parties involved in hiring and careering can understand the other parties’ perspectives. I don’t want to take sides; I want to bring the sides together.

This may or may not ease your frustration with the recruiter experience, but ultimately you are absolutely capable of landing your next job without them, and you will probably find those activities much more enjoyable. Eliminate or manage as many stressors as possible so that YOU can be your best self more of the time. If you want to know how to execute a career campaign without recruiters, schedule a free consultation.

If you want to learn how to get recruiters to call you back MORE often, download my free report.

 

This World Fair “Don’t Make Me Wait” from Disturbia

Get it at iTunes: http://bit.ly/DisturbiaMusic CD: http://bit.ly/DistCD SUBSCRIBE: http://www.youtube.com/LakeshoreRecords This World Fair “Don’t Make Me Wait” music video. From the movie and Soundtrack to DISTURBIA. www.LAKESHORE-RECORDS.com

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

We Need More Better Bosses

 

The Twitterverse: where I’m never really sure if someone is being complimentary or sarcastic. I err on sarcastic.

When I proposed to an HR consultant on Twitter that leadership coaching and skill/career development would prevent disengaging the employees who tend to get overlooked, the middle 80%, he called it “such a simple solution.”

 

Was he being sarcastic?

Conceptually, it certainly is, and data proves that it is effective. Logic also says that if 50% of employees have left jobs because of bad bosses, then the way to retain talent is to have better bosses. Retention does not equal engagement, however.

Now that engagement is on everyone’s radar and it’s all the rage at human resources and human capital conferences galore, why haven’t we gotten past the fact that this works and getting on to executing?

Ah, executing. That’s what has proven to be NOT simple. Or is it?

I recently saw the advice on LinkedIn to choose your boss, not your job. It was advice that was highly lauded by other career professionals and corporate professionals alike. Choose your boss – that’s good advice, but NOT choosing your job is like determining that you can’t have both. You can! The problem is that good bosses don’t seem to be plentiful enough for people to believe they can have both, so they better grab a good boss when they find one, regardless of what they will be doing for them. We need more better bosses, and there’s ALWAYS room for improvement.

I noticed that many articles refer to this kind of leadership development as “executive” coaching. There certainly are particular challenges that executives face for which coaching would help them. And, when executives are conscious leaders who make conscious decisions, it does tend to influence a positive work culture and benefit everyone, but executives are not the only leaders who would benefit from skill, professional, and personal development. Frankly, too many companies exclude personal development as a focus of coaching, when in reality, this is where development makes the most difference in employee/boss dynamics. Personal development is how individuals expand their self-awareness and sense of accountability for results and effective communication. This type of coaching benefits front-line employees, support teams and leaders alike.

If a company is leveraging the creativity of all of its workforce, its leaders need to create an environment and provide coaching that helps all employees handle creativity-killing stress. It also needs a fair system and conscious leaders to vet ideas.

Aspiring leaders need this kind of coaching to understand how to transition from being a doer to a delegator and all that comes with handling people problems, holding others accountable, keeping others motivated, and reconciling orders from above with their own wisdom.  They need to build confidence in this area in order to continue growing.

Mid-level and experienced managers need this kind of coaching to help them handle increasing pressure and responsibility of making decisions, dealing with the consequences of bad decisions or unpopular decisions, as well as managing other managers. Also, even a great leader can be vulnerable to situational greed, and once you have had the taste of promotion, you might be easily influenced to do unethical things as directed with the promise of future promotion.

Executive leaders need this kind of coaching because the stakes are high, they can easily forget the real challenges that their employees face to be able to effectively support them, and the prestige, power, and prosperity can become a drug, making decisions for them. If their wits don’t stay intact, they can be seduced by what looks like easy money and fail to do their due diligence. They can make decisions purely devoid of consideration of human factors – what actual humans do when subjected to adverse situations, and the costs thereof.

So far disengagement is not exclusive to any one demographic of corporate employees. Any employee can become disengaged, though leaders, I’ve found, tend to be engaged for the sake of their team over the sake of the organization. Each group can also learn to support the other, exponentially fortifying an organization’s ability to perform and profit.

Of course, not all development coaching is created equally.  The Epic Careering development programs leverage current and proven neuroscience and human performance optimization breakthroughs that accelerate and reinforce the process from self-awareness to transformation.  Conventional coaching isn’t ineffective, but it is inefficient considering the increasing pace of technology and the necessary pace of corporate evolution.

Epic Careering is currently offering retained programs to 4 growing organizations for 2019. If you want all the benefits of professional development without the wait, book a consultation to learn more now.

 

Bruce Springsteen – Human Touch

Bruce Springsteen’s official music video for ‘Human Touch’. Click to listen to Bruce Springsteen on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/BSpringSpot?IQid=BSpringHT As featured on The Essential Bruce Springsteen.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

Could a Simple Shift Produce Breakthrough Results in Your Job Search?

 

Even though most job seekers have heard that job boards are not a very reliable resource to create momentum in your job search, it’s still a default activity for most job seekers.

I know it’s very hard to resist the seduction of low hanging fruit. It may seem counter-intuitive to NOT apply when you see a great job posting show up in your job board results or among the postings sent directly to your e-mail, but are you happy with the results you get?

There are dangerous, not just detrimental, impacts of spending most of your time on these job boards, which include:

  • Negating the potential for a current employee to earn a referral bonus for sponsoring you.
  • Haphazard applying can sometimes lead to multiple submissions into a company, which can disqualify you; companies don’t want to get in the middle of placement fee disputes.
  • Believing that job board search results are good indications of the viability of landing the position you want, then…
    • Deciding that the job you want isn’t viable when the results show few postings
    • Deciding that landing will be easy and is just a matter of playing a numbers game when many postings show up
  • Expecting a response or any kind of return on the time you take applying through job boards, then…
    • When a response does come that lets you know your application was seen, believing that you are getting somewhere with that job
      • Then spending more time preparing for something to happen with that job instead of spending time generating new opportunities
        • Letting momentum slip and then when that job falls through having to start back at 0.
      • When few responses come back believing that there is something wrong with you, that you are not an attractive viable candidate
        • Questioning your self-worth
        • Devising a plan B (or C or D) believing that plan A isn’t feasible
          • Falling into depression as hope slips
        • Finding it hard to stay motivated
          • Being even more likely to continue doing what is easy, not what’s effective, but requires you to be brave
        • Putting a lot of pressure on yourself to perform in an interview.
          • Making you even more nervous, less confident and ineffective at inspiring the confidence of prospective employers
          • Increasing the likeliness of you having to take the first job that’s offered rather than the job the represents your best chance of success
            • Having to swim upstream every day to keep your head above water
            • Feeling like you’re not able to be your whole self at work
              • Increasing your chances of illness and chronic disease

This is not hyperbole! This cascade of negative consequences happens all the time, and it’s something I would love to help everyone avoid!

Have you been here? I have!

Here’s some good news – avoiding it is simple. It’s not easy, as creating new habits is a challenge for many (unless made easier through hypnosis.) However, with a conscious shift in how you spend your time, you can reverse your fortune and enjoy exponential momentum that leads to multiple, attractive, competing offers and your ability to take control of your career destiny!

If you don’t believe me, great – try this 14-day experiment:

Every time you would normally be compelled to check the job boards or the agents send directly to your inbox, go on LinkedIn and do any one of the following instead:

Monday:  Make a list of 10 target companies

Identify your top 5 criteria for your next company, team, or boss and enter a search in the search bar for related keywords, like “social responsibility.” Try filtering results to search content first, but try all of the search categories until you get a hit.  Add the company name to the list. That’s it today – just focus on making the list. Don’t check them out – yet.

Conduct what I call spider research to identify additional companies. This is where you follow “bread crumb” trails. This can mean following the prompts that LinkedIn offers, such as “People also searched for:” or evaluating the profiles of people who work at a company to see where else they worked.

Stop when you have identified 10 prospective companies.

Tuesday: Deep dive into your target companies through LinkedIn

Make it a mission to uncover all of the content available.  Put the company name into the search bar, but go beyond the company’s LinkedIn company page.

Search for content related to that company. Evaluate the employment history of leaders and employees.

While you’re doing that, make a “hit list” of people who seem approachable, people who seem like avid networkers and people who share content and engage.

Create company reports, a place where you can compile relevant information you find, such as the company’s goals, mission, challenges, stances on industry trends, and key people.

If they happen to have a job opening that seems appropriate for you, copy and paste that in the company report as well, recording any contacts that may be connected to the job opening or the company.

Don’t apply. Remember, this experiment is designed to show you how you can make something happen and take control instead of taking the “short cut” that doesn’t actually get you any closer to landing the job.

Wednesday: Take massive action and do it in bulk  

This may sound odd, but pump yourself up physically before doing today’s experiment. Lift weights, do pushups, go for a brisk walk or jog, do yoga etc. This neurohack of the mind-body connection tends to make you feel a bit bolder and braver. It will increase the oxygen to your brain which will help you make good decisions and think more creatively.  The endorphins running through your body will put you in a good mood, which will make you more magnetic to your prospects.

Your primary goal here is to start a conversation. Getting a job is your end goal, and a noble, if not necessary one, but initially you need to get the attention of your prospective employers and potential sponsors. This means knowing, or at least guessing, what will incite action. It could be a pain they need relieving, or a contact you know will help move them forward, competitive intelligence, something related to a personal passion, or flat out asking them for help.

Most people will default to sending a LinkedIn Inmail or invitation. But, when a phone number is available among a contact’s contact information, try it. This is an experiment intended to help you understand the most impactful ways to invest your time in your job search. There’s a reason people put phone numbers in their profiles – they want people to call.

Thursday: Follow up promptly and nurture your network

It’s possible you will have responses that you’ll want to respond to immediately, but even if you don’t, you can still use today’s reallocation of time toward expanding your network and visibility by spreading the love.  Comb through content worth sharing. Make introductions for people. Give people recommendations and endorsements. Share other people’s status updates or posts. Make thoughtful comments on high-engagement articles and posts in your home feed or those from specific thought leaders in your target industry. Direct message job leads to people. As you share, let them know that you are concentrating on connecting with [enter potential boss’s title] at [target company/companies] so that you can [value proposition.]

Friday: Find another way

While the purposes of this experiment is to find ways to leverage LinkedIn to get further faster than you would with job boards, it’s not the end-all/be-all resource. If someone lacks a picture, 500+ contacts, recent activity, and a summary or job descriptions, LinkedIn is probably not going to get you visible to this person because they are not using it in the flow of their day. You want to interrupt the flow of their day and get their attention, so look for other venues where they may be more active – non-profit involvement, other social media platforms, directly in their e-mail inbox, or even in their social circles.

Identify and follow up on a potential new venue to get the attention of your prospective employers or sponsors.

Track the time you spend, and track the results that you get as a result of the time. Results look like introductions offered and made, meetings scheduled (even if by phone), interviews (of course), and leads shared.

Tony Robbins said that there’s a millimeter of difference between success and failure. Usually, it’s the small shifts that cause the most significant breakthroughs.

Please share the results of this experiment, some of which may not be instant, but may be results nonetheless.

Best wishes and happy experimenting!

Oingo Boingo – Weird Science

1985) For most of the 80’s Oingo Boingo was to L.A. and Orange County what the Grateful Dead was to San Francisco. Oingo Boingo developed the kind of fan following that made every appearance an event. They were “our band”, and we believed they knew and appreciated our enthusiasm.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

Anyone Want to Work for the Government? How the Government Shutdown Will Impact the US Employment Brand

 

Some people pick their trade or career based on what they like doing, can easily be trained to do, and that will pay them well. And some people take the safest route, the one they think will likely lead to job security. This leaves them vulnerable to being the victim of external job conditions they can’t control.

Sometimes, governments shut down. Sometimes unions strike. Sometimes companies decide to sell and/or reorganize and reduce their workforce.

Anyone who once thought of pursuing a job with the US government for job security is thinking again right now.

The people I have known who wanted to pursue employment with the US government had one, a combination or all of the following motivations: Steady employment, early retirement, and/or patriotic duty.

A comment I read accused people of sensationalizing the personal financial crisis of government workers during the shutdown. “Come on. It’s just one paycheck. Don’t make it sound like people are starving.” Except, a resolution doesn’t appear to be close and this individual must not be one of the many Americans living paycheck to paycheck. Good for him, but he can’t empathize.

40% of Americans have less than $400 in their savings, and 67% have less than $1000. One missed paycheck means some people have to choose between eating and paying utilities. God forbid they need medical attention and have to cover a copay or deductible or have their water heater break down, or need a car repaired.

Are federal employees in the same boat as these Americans? Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz believes that the percentage of government workers living paycheck to paycheck may be smaller, but there are still a large number of government jobs that don’t pay a living wage, according to the reality of living wages today.

Where I live, living expenses are supposedly $68K per year for a family my size (2 adults, 2 children.) This is based on an estimated $6,271 for medical expenses. How many people do you know that pay that little for a family insurance plan plus copays and deductibles annually? Have kids that play sports? I know parents who claim to visit an emergency room or urgent care center monthly.

I also know many families with 2 small kids who pay a lot more than $1,096.25 monthly for childcare. So, even this calculation seems to not cover actual living expenses.

Guess what’s not considered a necessary living expense: cell phones and internet access. Yet how many people would be disadvantaged in pursuing steady employment or better employment without that? Sure, there are ways, but the disadvantages are still there.

Think vacations are important? I do! Actually, if families can’t afford to travel or pay for entertainment, there are many detrimental economic impacts. In fact, it would spur a recession, if not a depression.

How patriotic can you remain if you work for a government who doesn’t pay you a REAL living wage?

So, they may be able to recruit based on patriotic inclinations, but we’re already seeing reports of government employees quitting in record numbers as a result of this shutdown.

Even before the government shut down 64% of government leaders reported difficulties attracting and retaining talent.

And how about disengagement? Even if they can attract bodies to fill the vacancies based on patriotism and retirement benefits, how can they keep their workforce engaged and productive? Right now disengagement in federal jobs mimics disengagement for private sector jobs at 66%. Globally, companies lose $700T per year on disengagement and its resulting productivity drag. While in the US, Gallup estimates the losses are somewhere in the $350B – $550B range.

So, employers lose 34% of each disengaged employee’s salary. Out of 9.1M government employees, 6M or so are disengaged. At an average $51,340 per year, the US government is right now losing $105 TRILLION on disengagement annually.

So, just to break down the math, based on the data, each disengaged worker (6M) is costing $17,455.60 each.

Is your jaw on the floor?

Considering what could be done for the American people with that money, this is a problem that impacts and deserves that attention of ALL Americans!

That is based on 2018/2019 current data! What happens when these numbers skew? What happens when the government finds it harder to recruit and engage talent after this shutdown? What happens when they aren’t able to sell job stability to millennials and Gen Z? Gen Z, by the way, is the generation that witnessed their parents, who worked hard and did everything they were supposed to do, still face financial ruin by the 2008 economic crash. They crave security. Now they are looking at job prospects. Is the government even going to cross their minds as a possible career path? Doubtful!

Let’s do more than just hope that this shutdown ends soon.

So what can we do? Use our voice! Use the communication channels that exist (the media, calling your Congressman/Congresswoman, social media) to raise awareness of the full breadth of detrimental impacts of this shutdown!  Don’t let anyone minimize the problem! For too many, it’s very real and happening now.  SHARE THIS ARTICLE!

We can also champion our federal workers, the majority of whom felt that getting a steady paycheck was more important than serving the public, and engage them from the outside by showing them that they are appreciated by the public they serve, that we know that they are critical to running our country, no matter what role they have. Thank a federal employee today!

 

Europe-Mr. Government Man

No Description

 

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

When Someone Slanders You At Work

Gossip=workplace violence

Gossip-Violence

I was bullied and picked on as a kid, and there were things I wish I had understood then that might have led me to spend fewer days broken and miserable by it, though I also see that was part of my journey now.

#1 – “Other people’s opinions of you are none of your business.” (This quote has been attributed to so many different people, or I’d give you the source.) UNLESS, your reputation supports your livelihood OR you want to grow and develop into a better person. It’s a great time for self-reflection, but don’t obsess. Here’s where it would be helpful to know – are the negative things based on opinion/bias, or were they related to something you did/said?

#2 – “Hurt people hurt people.” (same for this quote) Sometimes the people who need the most compassion are the ones who show the least. This person may have felt hurt, either by you or another, and subconsciously think that they will feel better if they inflict hurt upon someone else, as if that makes the world a more fair place. In this case, though I know how hard and scary it might be, confront them with compassion.

By nature, we tend to want to make ourselves look good/right, and sometimes that means making other people look bad/wrong. If it might have been you who hurt them, sincerely ask them what you did, how they feel, listen, take accountability, apologize, and promise that you’ll never do it again. Let them be right; take the hit of being wrong. You’ll feel/look better in the end and you will have grown, learned and developed from it – all of which helps you be a better human, friend, collaborator, etc.

If you don’t think it was you, ask them, “Did you ever feel like the world was unfair?” Get them talking and listen. This type of conversation can be completely transformative for both/all parties.

#3 – “Misery loves company.” (Who knows where this originated. Some theorize the ancient Greeks.) Just watch the below video. While bullies fit into the above category, the power struggle has a bit of a different dynamic, because they will be more relentless to make you feel bad. I don’t know if you’re a boy/man or girl/woman, but girl bullying is more psychological than physical. Being excluded and being the subject of gossip is often the M.O. Just don’t get caught up in doing it back. The best revenge is being happy in spite of their efforts – make sure they see you having fun. Have more than one group of friends. Though I’m still friends with my core group of friends, I also still (20+ years later) keep in touch with other groups of friends, too.

#4 – “A troll is a troll is a troll.” (Me) People see these trolls for what they are – bored and miserable. They fit into #2, too. Guy Kawasaki recommends, if the comment/complaint is even worth a response for the sake of maintaining integrity in your point/message, give him/her your best, witty, intelligent response and drop the mic. You can also follow Sarah Silverman’s example:

Sarah Silverman’s response to a Twitter troll is a master class in compassion | CBC Radio

I’ve learned many ways of coping with this, and here are two good ones:

Think of 3 reasons that this person might have done this. It will help you develop a sense of compassion and understanding, which is the bridge from misery to peace. It can help you decide if you need to take further action or not.

Another is to just forgive – recognize that we’re all dealing with our own stuff, and how we see other people is a reflection of how we see ourselves. The better we are at letting go of these hurts, the less they weigh us down, the higher we can soar. I just shared a mini-hypnotherapy season on this: Hypnotherapy by Karen Huller

Of course, if someone is ruining your reputation and that reputation is something you need for your livelihood, you need to decide if restoring your reputation would require a rebuttal or a reconciliation.

After hitting a slump in placements as a recruiter, my boss had me working under a mentor who was killing it in placements. After 2-3 months my mentor confirmed to my boss that I was doing everything that I was supposed to be doing, which raised questions about the feedback he was receiving from a couple of account managers with whom I was paired regarding a lack of quality candidates. My boss invited me to, right then and there, ask the two account managers into a meeting with me, him, another VP to whom I reported, and my mentor. I was delighted to clear the air.

This was done in a formal, professional, non-confrontational manner. It was an opportunity for me to ask for feedback that would actually help me perform better and be a better contributor. That’s how I approached it. The outcome was completely in my favor.

He let me take the lead. I asked them to provide specific examples – job orders assigned to me for which they received not enough or no qualified candidates. One of those account managers took accountability for not properly qualifying job requirements and not getting quality feedback on candidates submitted. The other could only provide general feedback – no specifics.

My boss concluded that it was a perception issue, not a performance issue. Looking back I realize that my results, or lack thereof, was also a function of my disengagement in the activities. I was taking the steps necessary, but my mindset was not in it. That took years of self-reflection and additional coaching to identify.

Everything worked out as it was meant to, though. A few months after this I started this business. That was 12 years ago. I’m glad I moved on, but also very glad to have left with my reputation in tact, as my co-workers and former boss continue to refer clients and opportunities to me.

If you feel you are being unfairly assessed, initiate a similar type of meeting in the spirit of self-betterment. You may learn something about how to be more successful there, or you may learn that you just aren’t in the right culture to thrive. Do something with what you learn, either way.

My boss was working with a coach who I am sure influenced his approach to resolving this, and he made this coach available to anyone on the team as well. I know I benefited from that coach. She helped me reach a place where I can say with confidence I gave it all I had, identify some blind spots, and plan my exit after realizing that my best in that role in that company was far from what I could give in this capacity (career coach/professional branding consultant.)  I do for others what she did for me. I recommend getting one.

Adele – 21 – Rumor Has It – Album version

Adele 21 Rumor Has It She, she ain’t real, She ain’t gonna be able to love you like I will, She is a stranger, You and I have history, Or don’t you remember? Sure, she’s got it all, But, baby, is that really what you want?

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, will be an Associate Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department in 2019,  and is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

The Most Prominent Employment Issues of 2018

What's Next?

What’s Next?

I attended a task force meeting Friday and there was a lot of inspiration for future blog posts on topics that have and will directly impact both those looking for jobs as well as companies needing talent.

Parties in attendance represented employment news, concerns, and trends from the perspectives of the (Chester) county economic development council, the state (PA) unemployment office, non-profit community outreach, employers, human resources, recruiters, and career and leadership coaching.

Here are a list of the topics discussed that I plan on covering in the coming weeks:

  1. Experiential Recruiting: Evaluating Candidates on a New Level for Better Hires
  2. Emotional Intelligence Training: Solving the Soft Skills Shortage
  3. Don’t Layoff Talent with Obsolete Skills; Train them on the State’s Dime
  4. What Requirements for Years of Experience Really Mean
  5. What Really Increases Employee Engagement; It’s Not Benefits
  6. How Outreach Efforts to Economically Depressed Areas Can Be Augmented
  7. Average Housing Costs Exceed Average Income – Can Employers Solve This Crisis?
  8. The Online Application Process Sucks For Everyone

I would love your input on which of these topics interest you most. Please comment with the number(s) you most want to read about sooner rather than later and follow me if you have not yet already so that you know when it posts.

Also, I know that LinkedIn doesn’t make it easy to search through someone’s previous posts; there’s no effective search feature, and the shelf life of a post is very short, unless engagement somehow spikes after the fact. So, know that you can also subscribe to my blog where you can search by keyword and month and easily see the most previous topics: www.epiccareering.com/blog.

Also, these blogs are shared on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UnveilYourBrilliance. If you prefer using that, like the page so you can be alerted to new posts and videos.

If you are seeking a speaker on any of these or related topics, contact me.

Zoom Beatles – 11 – Do You Want To Know a Secret

Edição comemorativa dos 50 anos do lançamento do primeiro disco dos Beatles – Please Please Me – Faixa nº 11.

7 Signs Your Company Is A Sinking Ship

When I speak with leaders who are ready to jump ship, I can’t help but think about those who will be left behind.

Morally, these leaders would love to warn everyone, to tell them to see the writing on the wall. Ethically, that would hinder, if not destroy, any efforts a company may make to stay afloat, even if sinking is inevitable.

The writing on the wall isn’t always obvious, and unless you’re looking for it, you could completely miss it. You may prefer to stay ignorant and oblivious, because it is bliss after all. However, if the writing is on the wall, it would behoove you, for the sake of all who depend on you, to prepare yourself to jump ship.

Take a look at a map and identify potential next destinations, locate your life preserver and lifeboat, jettison extra weight, and stock up on supplies for a journey. If you’re getting the analogy, I’m advising you to start thinking about what an ideal next step would be (if you really want to go for paradise, get Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint Your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days), update your résumé and LinkedIn profile (or, if it’s not your area of strength, delegate it to an expert), start selling extra things around your house, and have at least 8-10 months of savings (though we can help you land much faster if you let us guide you in strategic planning and execution of your campaign).

If the boat is arockin’, here are some signs that you may want to risk a solo journey or else risk going down with the ship and everyone else on it.

  1. An exodus of tenured and/or senior leaders

It seems obvious, right? Leaders have the inside scoop and if they are leaving, they know something you don’t. However, even workforce reductions that shed tenured folks or layers of middle management can leave a company vulnerable.

It’s been my experience, as someone who was blessed to go overboard of a sinking ship well before the voyage got scary, when our company let go of many of its tenured folks, it lost keystone pieces of its identity. If a company cannot reinvent itself to be stronger than before, it remains unstable. Layoffs at my old company were hard-hitting, even though it was an opportunity for me. I rode that opportunity as far as it would take me, but saw it was losing steam. With the help of a coach (hired by my company,) I devised and executed a 6-month plan to start this business. That was 12 years ago. Even though I was out in the middle of the ocean in a dingy, I felt safer there, and watched sadly as the ship sank. Everyone made it to shore and we keep in touch in a Facebook Group called “Remembering Devon Consulting.” True story!

Similarly, if someone in a critical role leaves, whether by choice or by force, and this person is not replaced, conditions will surely only get worse.

  1. Rampant scapegoating

When seas are rough, it may be easy to blame the weather. I can recall a couple of news stories in recent years of cruise ships that wound up heading into rough seas. Was the weather blamed? No – the cruise lines, their executives (for unsafe or unclear policies), and the captains were blamed. Unless these parties take accountability for bad decisions made with information that was available, these mistakes will be repeated. So, if your company is undergoing slow sales or worse, like a PR crisis, and no one is taking accountability, or the even if the only one willing to take accountability is merely dismissed and the company changes nothing, get ready for rough seas ahead.

  1. Hiring and budget freezes

Let’s say you know that an investment is necessary to deliver to customers with the quality and speed that they expect, but the focus of leadership has been cost-cutting, so investments will have to “wait.” Another scenario is that you know that you are short-staffed and overextended as it is, but no new people will be added, whether contract or permanent. No matter how good it was in the past, you need to get a contingency plan in place. It will take everything that you have, since you most likely come home exhausted and completely spent.

Trust me when I tell you that it if you just take 6 hours over a 2-3 week period on the front end to let us help you sharpen your tools (90-minutes for a branding consultation, 90 minutes to gather and compile all the substantiating evidence of your value using our formula, 30 minutes to scrutinize your résumé draft, 60 minutes to share your feedback with me, 30 minutes to scrutinize your LinkedIn profile content, 60 minutes to share your feedback), we can then show you how to spend any amount of time you can spare, even if it’s just 1-2 hours, to build momentum each week and generate 4-5 highly desirable opportunities in 6 weeks.

The alternative is experiencing the trauma of being on the sinking boat and then floating adrift without certainty that you’ll be saved.

  1. Payroll bounces or gets delayed

Do I need to say more about this? I think I do, because I have spoken with far too many people who have tolerated this. I’m not talking about a couple of days. I’m talking about people who go weeks without getting paid, and then are offered no remuneration for essentially lending the company cash flow. Icky, all around.

  1. Annual pay raises or bonuses cut

I recall during the recessions of post 9-11 and the housing crisis many companies having to cut bonuses, pay raises or even moving people backward in salary in order to keep them employed. In a bad economy, where perhaps the weather can be blamed because navigating to quieter, calmer seas just isn’t an option, I can see how this is acceptable. In dying industries, this may become the norm. Sometimes the ship is an industry. Sometimes the weather is literally to blame, such as a natural disaster. These are some conditions where it may just be necessary and acceptable to keep people where they are instead of allowing them to grow. If none of these conditions apply, you are on a sinking ship with a wayward captain.

  1. Closed doors

This is a norm in many companies. If it weren’t, we wouldn’t even call it an open-door policy. We’d just call it normal. Transparent leadership is really now only gaining traction as an attractive cultural quality, so it will take companies much longer to catch on. Closed doors breeds distrust, which has far-reaching trickle-down impacts. If it’s new, however, it may or may not be dangerous, but it certainly means changing tides.

If you trust your leadership, you may be inclined to ride it out. If you trust your leadership, go ahead and ask them what’s up. Let them know that it’s noticed and, if they are in tune, they will find a way to communicate something sooner rather than later. So often there are restrictions on what can be communicated and leadership will make themselves scarce instead of reassuring. Again, it doesn’t always mean the ship is sinking. Sometimes it means an acquisition is pending. Sometimes it means a hostile takeover. Either way, brace yourself for rough seas. It could mean a great opportunity to be an employee of a larger, more nameworthy employer. If this could be a good change, at a minimum, your boss should be able to tell you this. If he or she can’t, it may be time to jump ship.

  1. Your boss hints that it would be smart to start looking

I have worked with both with the boss, who felt a moral obligation to give people a compassionate heads up, and I have worked with the employee who would rather stay with such a great boss, but has to heed this warning because they trust it. Either way, get on it. There’s a high probability your boss was holding out a while with hope that things may turn for the better and waited until the last minute when things are dire to give you this warning.

If this headline jumped out at you, you most likely are seeing some of the writing on the wall. Whether you notice any or all 7 of these things, isn’t it wise to prepare yourself?

We help corporate professionals identify, pursue, and land ideally fulfilling and well-paying opportunities so that they can feel alive, look forward to going to work (YES – it’s REALLY possible) and secure a lifestyle that they love.

If you are on a sinking ship, let us help you land the closest thing to paradise that’s possible so you can turn what could have been a tragedy into a triumph.

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Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play.

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales.

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot.

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.