Thursday, March 31, 2016

Batters Up: The Real Purpose of Spring Training



Spring training is in full swing, and whether you’re invested in watching the Cactus League or the Grapefruit League, all baseball fans have an eye on their favorite teams right about now.
But did you know there is actually a lot we can learn from spring training?

The whole practice started back in the 1800’s, and these pre-season camps were originally designed as a way to try out new players, to retrain everyone, and to experiment with the roster before heading into a new season. Those same purposes exist today, which got me thinking… what would it look like if companies were to engage in a bit of spring training every year as well?

Obviously, it isn’t possible to go into full spring training mode; your teams aren’t completely interchangeable, and you can’t just drop and bring on new players at will. But you can do a few things throughout the year that mimic the spirit of spring training and allow you to build the strongest team possible.

  • Probation Periods: Hiring can be a precarious thing, and sometimes the applicant you thought was so amazing in the interview process, turns out to be a dud on the job. This is where probationary periods can come in handy, but only if they are used correctly. Including a 30, 60, or 90 day probationary period in a new job offer should also come with the commitment of your management team to truly train this new recruit into the best player (or, employee) he or she can be. That means establishing an onboarding process that extends far beyond the first day paperwork. Don’t just set your new hires free and allow them to sink or swim; get your entire team involved in helping them to swim, and have an out built into the contract if that just doesn’t seem like a possibility in the end. 
  • Team Evaluations: Every time you bring a new player onto your team, you run the risk of throwing off the pre-existing balance. Which is why good managers are forever paying attention to how their teams are functioning and what the balance of strengths and weaknesses might be.  It’s important to remember that most new hires will not be exact replicas of their predecessors, which means that every time you bring someone new on board, you run the risk of losing your groove. The best way to avoid that is to continuously be evaluating the productivity of your team, focusing in on holes that might exist, and how to fill them.   
  • Trades: As your team dynamics change, it’s not uncommon to find that certain players who were once great in their roles, no longer work as well within the new makeup. That doesn’t mean your long-standing employee should be fired, but it might mean they could serve the company (and themselves) better in another department. When you find that a team isn’t meshing as well as they once were, consider discussing options for other opportunities within the company for some of your team members. They may thrive with the chance to embrace new challenges, and your team may perform better with a little shifting around.   


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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Why Kanye West Would Never Get the Job




Unless you’ve been living under a stone, you’ve probably seen some of the Kanye West Twitter meltdowns that have been making the news lately. To be fair, Kanye is just being Kanye, and his bravado speaks to an entire generation. The problem comes when job seekers try to imitate that confidence, falsely assuming it takes a Kanye attitude to succeed.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Here’s the thing: while you’re busy Keeping up With the Kardashians, the hiring manager reviewing your resume or conducting your interview is probably still waxing nostalgic about Cheers and a time long before selfies. And if you want to get the job, you need to appeal to that mentality, not to the ego that has already been attributed to millennials.
Confused? Here’s a Do This, Not That list to get you pointed in the right direction.
  • Do Have a Professional and Aesthetically Pleasing Resume, Sans Picture: You want to make a splash with your resume, but no matter how good those professional shots you recently got are, they don’t belong on anything you’re submitting for a job. That is unless, of course, you’re trying to launch a modeling career. Instead of using your picture, try to keep up to date on the latest resume formats being recommended, and choose the right one to highlight your background and expertise. And remember, keep the resume itself short and to the point. Hiring managers only pay individual resumes a very brief amount of attention, so you want to capture that attention by presenting the highlight reel of your accomplishments, not the Kanye West breakdown of what makes you the king of the world.
  • Learn the Art of Humble Sincerity, Not Bombastic Brags: The millennial generation already has a reputation in the business world for being a group that thinks they deserve to be further along in their career paths than they already are. The joke is that millennials get out of college believing they are ready for that VP title, and a Kanye attitude certainly wouldn’t do anything to dispel that belief. You absolutely want to share your accomplishments with hiring managers, but you want to do so in a humble and honest way that makes them excited about the opportunity to bring you on board, rather than concerned about whether or not you would even be happy in the position that’s available.
  • Use Common Sense: Let’s be honest, most people know not to act like Kanye in an interview. But there is still that generational divide to consider whenever sitting down with a hiring manager. In most cases, there is probably a decade or more between you and the person doing the hiring. Which means a different set of standards and beliefs when it comes to what passes as professional. Keep that in mind, and always allow your interviewer to set the tone for how structured or casual your conversation will be. 

 

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Turning Likes into Hires: Using Social Media to Your Advantage



In 2015, Career Builder released a report about the candidate-centered nature recruitment has taken on in recent years. According to the report, three quarters of employed workers today are either actively seeking new opportunities, or are open to the possibility of new opportunities, should the right one come along. That means two things for today’s hiring managers:
  1. A heavy focus on retaining your current talent is crucial to your businesses survival. If you don’t keep them engaged, the likelihood is high that they will be looking elsewhere.
  2. Recruiting top talent from other firms is more possible now than ever before, provided you know what you’re doing.
In both of these realms, social media can play a vital role.
  • Create a Reputation: The same Career Builder report declared that candidates are more selective about where they apply today than ever before, and that employers must “have a strong online presence in order to get noticed.” It’s no longer enough to passively use your social media networks. You need to be consistently putting out content that speaks to your desired corporate culture and that resonates with job seekers and the general public alike. Perhaps even more importantly, all of this needs to come across organically—one of the worst mistakes you can make is using your social media platforms in a sales-pitchy way. But the greater the online presence you can build, the more likely top talent is to come knocking down your door.
  • Engage Your Current Staff: Part of creating a stellar online reputation is encouraging your current staff to engage in what you are doing online. Provide incentives for “liking” and “following” your corporate pages, while also supplying employees with basic guidelines for how to interact with your corporate pages online. Not only can you build up company loyalty in this way (employees who feel listened to and valued are more likely to stick around) but you can also signal your employee’s networks to what your company is up to. Every time your employees like or comment on topics you’ve posted, their network of peers sees that—and is more likely to start engaging as well.
  • When in Doubt, Hire Out: Successfully building an enviable online reputation is truly an art form, and in many cases, it can be a full time job. If you don’t have a qualified PR team on staff to manage your online accounts, consider hiring out to a firm that regularly provides these services. Social media accounts are the preferred advertising method of our current times, serving as a mechanism for sharing what your company is doing, the type of talent you’re looking for, and the openings you have on the horizon. How you manage those mediums can absolutely make or break company as a whole.

ManUP today for success tomorrow…



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