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Employee Benefits Open Enrollment Secrets

It’s benefits season, and that means employees are making mistakes that will cost them in headaches and dollars. “You really have to sit down and pay attention to your benefits like you never had to before,” says Judith Wethall, an employee benefits lawyer with McDermott Will & Emery in Chicago. It’s complicated enough if you’re single. But if you’re married, or have kids who can get insurance on their own or on your plan, it’s even more so. “It’s a coordinated effort,” Wethall says.

Here are 5 insider tips for acing open enrollment. Forbes’ Kelly Anne Smith has more on open enrollment angles for single Millennials here.

Tip #1: Print your online enrollment confirmation page. More employers are moving benefits enrollment online. That has advantages. The online systems walk you through benefits enrollment like TurboTax walks you through filing your tax return. But online enrollment isn’t foolproof. “We started seeing mistakes this year—‘Oh, I know I logged on; I know I added my husband!’” Wethall says an employee insisted in February. Print out and double check your online enrollment submission. And then, check your first paystub in January.

Today In: Money

Secret: Made a mistake or had a change in circumstance? You probably clicked a button that says that your choices are set in stone once you submit your enrollment. But employers can let you change choices (how much money you put in your flexible healthcare spending account, for example) until before the second paystub of the first month of the new plan year. “That’s a little dirty secret,” Wethall says.

Tip #2: Pay attention to wellness programs. Employers are increasingly offering rewards for good behavior like getting an annual physical and penalties for bad behavior like smoking). Employers must be very clear on what it takes to get a cash reward, such as an employer payment into a health savings account. The rules are strict for penalties too. “People are duped into thinking, ‘Oh, I smoke; guess I have to pay the 50% [healthcare premium] surcharge,’” Wethall says.

Secret: DOL rules say that employers must remove smoking-related surcharges for an employee who attends and completes a free smoking cessation class. You don’t have to necessarily give up smoking, just try. Wethall says she helped one employer through a DOL audit that mandated the employer refund employees $2.5 million in surcharges.

Tip #3: Be a comparison shopper. If you have multiple adults eligible for multiple healthcare plans, it pays to compare them. That’s not always easy, as the open enrollment periods might overlap just a few days, but get a head start when the first plan’s enrollment period begins. Wethall says she plans to move her family off her husband’s health insurance plan onto her employer’s plan this year because her plan started offering new premium subsidies. Their 22-year-old daughter has a new job with coverage, so they’re deciding whether to add her to the new family plan—or to have her opt for cheap single coverage on her own. One factor to consider when you’re plan shopping: Do any of the plans offer tiered premiums that are lower for lower-paid employees and higher for higher-paid workers? Another thing to watch out for is high spousal surcharges—when companies increase your premium by up to $100 a month if your spouse is offered coverage at work.

Secret: Children can stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until they turn 26, even if they’re offered employer coverage of their own. But just because they can, that doesn’t mean it’s the best option.

Tip #4: Learn the alphabet soup of special tax-advantaged accounts. If you’re offered a health care savings account, sign up, and you get triple tax-advantaged savings. Use it today for immediate savings or invest the money and use it as a retirement healthcare kitty. (Check out the details, including the 2020 HSA limits: $7,100 for family coverage). Don’t confuse an HSA with a healthcare flexible spending arrangement. The FSA limit is $2,750 for 2020, and you must spend it or forfeit it during the plan year (some employers let you carry over $500).

If you have kids under 13, fund a dependent care FSA, which is used to help pay for child care expenses, including day camp. There’s a $5,000 limit per family (some employers have lower limits), and there’s no carry over provision. It’s safer to underestimate expenses for a dependent care FSA because you can always take the dependent care tax credit on your income tax return (note: the credit is generally less valuable than the dependent care account).

Secret: Watch out for picky rules that might cost you. For the dependent care FSA, day camp counts but overnight camp doesn’t. And it’s not the year your kid turns 13, but the day he turns 13, that he becomes ineligible. If you have an HSA, your FSA must be a limited purpose FSA for dental and vision expenses only, and if you have family coverage, your spouse can’t separately sign up for an FSA at their employer. If you’re 55 or older, you and your spouse can each make $1,000-a-year extra contributions to the HSA.

Tip #5: When in doubt, call HR. “Employees aren’t advocating enough for themselves,” Wethall says. In one case, a woman who was paying for family coverage tried to add her newborn third child through an online system by the 30-days-after-birth deadline but it wouldn’t take without a Social Security number which hadn’t been issued yet. The baby ended up in the hospital after a car accident without coverage. The employer did retroactively pay for the baby’s care, but it would have saved a good deal of stress and anxiety if the employee had spoken up, as HR would have overridden the system, Wethall says.

Secret: HR can send you the plan description for details beyond what’s in open enrollment materials. And remember HR can get their benefits lawyer on the line to help. Be persistent. It’s your family’s money after all.

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I’m an associate editor on the Money team at Forbes based in Fairfield County, Connecticut, leading Forbes’ retirement coverage. I manage contributors who cover retirement and wealth management. Since I joined Forbes in 1997, my favorite stories have been on how people fuel their passions (historic preservation, open space, art, for example) by exploiting the tax code. I also get into the nitty-gritty of retirement account rules, estate planning and strategic charitable giving. My favorite Forbes business trip: to Plano, Ill. to report on the restoration of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, then owned by a British baron. Live well. Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ashleaebeling Send me an email: aebeling@forbes.com

Source: Shhh! Employee Benefits Open Enrollment Secrets

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Most companies provide benefits to workers as part of a total rewards package that ideally enhances their satisfaction with work. A benefit is a tangible indirect reward provided to an employee or group of employees for organizational membership. Benefits can influence employees’ decisions about which employer to work for, whether to stay with or leave an organization, and when to retire. What benefits are offered, the competitive level of benefits, and how those benefits are viewed by individuals all affect employee attraction and retention efforts. A benefit is a tangible indirect reward provided to an employee or group of employees for organizational membership. Organizations design benefit plans with a goal of providing value for employees while remaining cost-effective for the company. Many key decisions must be made as part of benefits design. The Social Security Act of 1935 and its later amendments established a system to provide old-age, survivor’s, disability, and retirement benefits. Medicare is a government-operated health insurance program for older Americans (age 65 and above) and for some citizens with disabilities. Workers’ compensation are security benefits provided to workers who are injured on the job. Unemployment compensation is money that substitutes for wages or salary, paid to recently unemployed workers under a program administered by a government or labor union. Unemployment compensation is meant to provide a source of income for jobless workers until they can find employment. Offering retirement plans are a staple of the total rewards mix in any organization, critical to attracting, retaining and motivating talent. Employees often consider health plans to be one of the most important benefits that companies offer. Some companies have started to offer a variety of innovative health care programs that provide better services to employees. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) is a United States labor law requiring covered employers to provide employees with job-protected and unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons. Since the enactment of the FMLA, a significant percentage of employees have taken family and medical leave. Many employers have found PTO plans to be more effective than other means of reducing absenteeism, scheduling time off, increasing employee understanding of leave policies, and assisting with recruiting and retention.

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The Most Underrated Skill That You Need To Be Successful

This skill is so underrated that you can get pretty far in your career without anyone really noticing that you don’t have it or can’t apply it well. I’m talking about effective decision making. All sorts of people get through years of working; they even make it all the way to the C-suite without anyone ever even discussing this. But lose half a million in a quarter, cause a $50 million disaster, create a major service quality deficit or hire the wrong people for the wrong jobs too many times and people surely start to take notice.

The powers that be will surely notice that decision making – a skill you were likely never evaluated for – is suddenly getting in the way of your success and causing the organization to suffer.

Education Can’t Outrun Poor Decisions.

No amount of education or experience can outrun or outweigh poor decision making in the long run. The costs of bad decisions always surface and find a way to make you and the entire organization look bad. Observe the top ranks in any organization, and you will likely find highly qualified, educated and experienced executives and directors, but you’d be well advised not to assume that they can or will apply effective decision making when the moment requires it or the situation demands it. By the time leaders are exposed as deficient in this area, the organization has already taken huge hits and the culture and employees surely feel it.

Let’s look at what effective decision making is and what it isn’t as well as why it’s a necessary component of career and organizational success.

Effective decision making is a necessary but most underrated skill.

The higher up the career ladder you go, the more responsible you are for decision making. You become responsible for your own ability to make good decisions and accountable for the decision making – or lack thereof – of others on your team. If you find your career progression has struggled or stalled or that you are not getting the respect you seek, consider whether or not your decision-making methods could be hindering your success and how.

Decision making is underrated because people tend to credit others as competent in it without making any meaningful observations or assessments. Yet, a skill deficit in this area can create disastrous results for employees and organizations. Its importance is most appreciated after organizational leaders try to reactively remedy a catastrophe rather than when they should have been proactively trying to prevent one in the first place.

Today In: Leadership

Very smart people can (and do) make very bad decisions.

Some of the smartest – and most accomplished – people in the world have been in rooms when some of the worst decisions have been made (think Enron, the 2008 financial crisis, the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the 2019 Boeing 737 Max FAA disasters). Then there are the decisions that organizational leaders make every day which lead to staggering operational inefficiencies, unnecessary redundancies, poor quality output, ineffective and contradictory policies, bad customer service and flawed hiring. How can this be?

There are myriad reasons for bad, unethical or grossly negligent decisions including poor leadership, the lack of decision-making processes, ego, peer pressure, etc. But the top reasons would be resistance to critical thinking and analysis as well as the lack of an established decision-making process that accounts for human biases and ethical gaps.

Effective decision making is not synonymous with decisiveness.

Organizations go to great pains to recruit and reward decisive leaders when they should, instead, be working harder to secure effective ones. Certainly, decisive leadership has a proper time and place, but decisiveness is not synonymous with effectiveness. Further, when applied improperly or excessively, it can be a detriment to effective leadership and an impediment to effective decision making.

Sometimes being decisive can work against you.

These four perils to decisive leadership can create long-lasting harm to organizational and career success. You’ll want to avoid this kind of decision making whenever possible.

  1. Ready-shoot-aim. A decisive leader could have a shoot-first mentality whereby he will make a decision and ask questions later (if ever) with little regard for short or long-term consequences.
  2. Acting is more important than thinking. A decisive leader could believe that he’ll be rewarded for quick decisions even if those decisions may do greater harm in the long run. The goal becomes to just do something, and do it as fast as possible.
  3. Decisions aren’t connected to data. A decisive leader can become driven to achieve some predefined outcome regardless of whether the data supports the outcome or not. What is best for the outcome overrides what is best for the organization or the internal or external stakeholders.
  4. The ego can get bigger than the organization. A decisive leader may not tolerate or encourage dissent. In the worst cases, people are punished for disagreeing and rewarded for perpetual agreement. Hence, the decider creates – rather than reduces – higher levels of organizational risk.

Effective decision making requires analysis.

The best decision makers understand that regardless of which decision-making model they use, they must be strategic about it. Effective decisions are well-thought decisions with the results or consequences being weighed and considered beforehand.

Effective decision makers are often better strategic thinkers too because their processes start with better questions like these:

  1. Why do I/we need to care about this issue? Or, what prompted the need for this decision to be made?
  2. What happens if I/we don’t decide on this issue? Is the status quo acceptable? Why or why not?
  3. What outcomes are we trying to achieve? Who cares about them and why?
  4. What are my/our biases, prejudices, interests or values? Are they congruent with the defined decision options?
  5. Whom will this decision mostly affect? How?
  6. What are the positive and negative consequences of this decision? What is this based on?
  7. Who are the short-term and long-term beneficiaries? Who gets to define them?
  8. What is the worst result this decision can bring? Can I/we live with that?
  9. What are forces for or against this decision? Do I/we care? Why or why not?
  10. What is the second choice/option or fallback position? Is it viable, and how do I/we know?

Effective decision making is necessary for professional and career success.

Decision making is indeed a skill, and it is critical for personal, professional and career success. It applies to all areas of the business including hiring, operations, marketing, finance, etc. And it is most helpful when contemplating and deciding on your next career moves.

Those who are able and willing to apply effective decision making to their career will better understand which job opportunities to accept and which ones to decline and which career risks to take and which ones to pass. They are better able to gauge which extracurricular projects to accept and which ones to turn down.

Ultimately, by making better decisions, you will take more calculated risks to advance your career, and you will know where to focus your time and efforts for career building and networking so you can realize the greatest benefits over time.

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I am a strategist, management consultant, executive coach and international speaker and have delivered meaningful results for executives and leaders in 42 states and 6 countries across 3 continents. I serve as CEO for ARVis Institute, a strategy, change, performance and human capital consulting firm. I have committed my research, education and professional talents to transforming governments, corporations, nonprofits and educational institutions and develop leaders and managers who have the capacity to create high-performing organizations and the competence to affect positive change.

Source: The Most Underrated Skill That You Need To Be Successful

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Paula Golden philanthropist — amalgamator Broadcom Foundation, Executive Director “Successful philanthropy unites good people with the right cause and insures that the relationships are long-term, productive and gratifying.” As executive director of the Broadcom Foundation and director of Broadcom Corporation Community Affairs, Paula Golden is responsible for all aspects of the Broadcom Foundation, which includes funding education and research initiatives in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) worldwide. She also oversees the volunteer activities of 13,000 employees at Broadcom, a global Fortune 500 company and leading innovator in semiconductor solutions for wired and wireless communications. Paula earned her undergraduate degree in English and education from Wellesley College and was assistant dean and instructor of law at New England School of Law where she earned her Juris Doctor, cum laude. She also served as executive director of the Engineering Center and Engineering Center Education Trust, director of development for University of California, Los Angeles Neurosciences, and vice president of the Saint John’s Health Center Foundation. She partners with progressive nonprofits, government entities, formal and informal learning programs, and Broadcom employee-volunteers throughout the world to develop STEM learning processes and teacher training that will assist young people from all strata of society to become scientists, engineers and innovators of the future. This work includes developing the Broadcom MASTERS® and the Broadcom MASTERS International, signature programs of Society for Science and the Public. The Broadcom MASTERS® is the premier international middle school science and engineering competition designed to engage students between the ages of 11 and 14 in project-based learning and inspire them to continue studies in math and science through high school in order to achieve college and career goals. Paula also oversees Broadcom Foundation’s university research funding that reaches more than 64 renowned universities worldwide and directs the prestigious Broadcom Foundation University Research Competition. – – – – – – – – – – In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

I’ve Interviewed 300+ Successful Women. Here’s What I’ve Learned About Creating a Career You Love

Over the past few years, I’ve interviewed hundreds of successful women. They have every type of journey you could dream of: There are women who have reached the C-suite in Fortune 500 companies and well-funded startups, women who have started and run their own ventures, and women who have made dramatic career turnarounds.

They’re all extraordinarily unique, of course, but there’s one thing they have in common: They’ve charted the path to work that they love.

That doesn’t just mean big jobs with important tiles and sizable paychecks (though in some cases, that’s true). Instead, these women have thoughtfully built careers around their innate strengths, their personal passions, and the type of work that brings them meaning and purpose.

Yes, creating a career like this may seem like a lofty goal. But if there’s anything I’ve learned from these interviews over the years, it’s this: Every single one of us has the power to find work we love. It’s just a matter of confidently taking steps to get there. As Katie Fogarty, founder of The Reboot Group, shared on my Facebook Watch show, Work It: “Do not wait for people to give you permission. Seize your permission. Seize control of your career.”

Ready to get started? Straight from some of the most successful women in the world, here are five crucial lessons about taking the reins and crafting the professional life of your dreams.

Today In: Leadership

1. Expand Your Idea Of A Dream Job

Often, we have a pretty narrow view of our ultimate goals. We envision achieving a specific job title or working for a particular company. But what happens when we achieve that singular goal, and it doesn’t live up to expectations? That’s all too common—and so the most successful women I’ve interviewed have made it clear that it’s key to widen your perspective.

For example, Kristin Lemkau, Chief Marketing Officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., emphasizes that it’s critical to be flexible when thinking about your dream job. If you’re only focused on getting your current boss’ job, for example, you may miss other options—inside or outside of your company. “By staying flexible and open,” she explains, “you might encounter an opportunity that you had never before considered.”

Lindsey Knowles, VP of Marketing at Winc Wines, echoes this sentiment. “Be open. And try different things. There’s so much you can’t know until you do it,” she shares. “Until you’ve been in a few different types of workplaces, you can’t know what your preferred working style is or the types of problems you like to solve.”

2. Pursue What Matters To You—Not To Anyone Else

Similarly, we’re conditioned to believe that the traditional markers of success, like money or a C-level title, will make us happy, too. But for most people, that’s not the full story. Instead, it’s key to dig deep and understand the very personal factors that drive meaning for you—whether that’s constantly learning new skills or being involved in radical social change—and pursue jobs that incorporate those elements.

According to Aditi Javeri Gokhale, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Northwestern Mutual, a good place to start is thinking about the people you want to work with and the issues you’re passionate about. “I have always identified with jobs where I have a good connection with my leaders, with the mission of the company, and with the team that surrounds me.” When you have that connection, it’s easier to excel at—and enjoy—a job, no matter what your title is.

3. Be Intentional About What You Say Yes To

Cathleen Trigg-Jones, journalist and founder of CatScape Productions, once explained to me her strategy for evaluating opportunities. She would yes to the things that would move her closer to her dreams, and she would say no to the things that didn’t serve her. (Even if they looked like good opportunities on paper!)

This simple rule can move you toward a career you love in two important ways. First, it pretty much guarantees that you get to do more of the work you’re excited about. Second, you get to incrementally step further away from the tasks you don’t enjoy and that don’t help you get where you want to go—even if there are certain aspects of them that may be tempting. Keep following this formula, and you will organically move in the right direction.

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Take Risks

If you want a meaningful professional life, you have to be willing to take risks. Why? “If you don’t do things because you’re scared to fail, you’re not really getting the best out of yourself,” Sabrina Macias, Senior Director of Global Communications at DraftKings, once told me. “Risk is healthy; it makes you more creative.”

A risky move, of course, doesn’t necessarily spending your life savings to start a company—maybe it’s accepting a position you’re not sure you’re qualified for, asking for more responsibility, or volunteering to head a bigger project than anything you’ve ever tackled.

Maybe it’s simply giving yourself permission to try something wildly different. Cindy Gallop, founder and CEO of MakeLoveNotPorn, explains the concept this way: “Stop and ask yourself what would make you happy, and design that.” That might be advocating for a new offering at your company or working on that creative side project you’ve been thinking about. “Just start doing it,” she said. “You’ll be amazed at how many people will be drawn to somebody who is doing things differently—and enabling other people to do things differently.” But that’s the key: You have to first be willing to do things differently.

5. Know That Change Is Inevitable

Finally, know this about career paths: What you want and what works for you is likely going to change over time. As Carol Lovell, founder and CEO of STOW put it: “The meaning of success for me has altered throughout my life. What you think it means at 25 is very different to what you know it means at 50.” The lesson? Don’t be afraid to adjust course when you realize that you’ve changed.

On a smaller scale, even if you have a specific goal you’re working toward, you’ll undoubtedly encounter new information, opportunities, and roadblocks that make you rethink your course. And that’s OK. “It’s not a matter of creating this rigid plan of like, do this step, do this step, no matter what,” explains former CEO and board director Shellye Archambeau. “And things will happen! There will be roadblocks, things will happen that’ll cause you to change and that’s okay. You have to be open to that.”

The road to a career you love isn’t easy. It requires saying no, taking risks, and sticking to your guns. But as a result, you’ll be doing the work you’re passionate about and building a life that works for you. Take it from hundreds of women: It’s worth it.

Carrie Kerpen is CEO and co-founder of Likeable Media, an award-winning digital agency that achieved Crain’s 6th “Best Place To Work in NYC.” She is the author of WORK IT: Secrets For Success From The Boldest Women In Business and the host of the popular podcast All the Social Ladies. Follow her on Twitter @carriekerpen or visit her at carriekerpen.com.

Source: I’ve Interviewed 300+ Successful Women. Here’s What I’ve Learned About Creating a Career You Love.

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After running through what to wear for a job interview with a friend, I thought it might be fun to run through some options depending on the kind of workplace you’re interviewing for. If you’ve got your own tips on what to wear to a job interview or if you have a go-to piece, I’d love to see it or know what it is! Hope you’re wonderful! X Jodie

John Legend Wants To Improve Job Opportunities For People With Criminal Backgrounds

In Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Grammy-winning musician John Legend announced the second cohort of participants in Unlocked Futures, a 14-month accelerator program for social entrepreneurs who have been incarcerated and urged business leaders to be more inclusive of job applicants with criminal backgrounds.

Unlocked Futures launched in 2017 as a partnership between the philanthropic venture fund New Profit and Legend’s criminal justice reform initiative FreeAmerica, with financial support from Bank of America.

“We started this as a collaboration, saying, ‘Let’s not just tell folks to hire formerly incarcerated individuals, but to invest in their ideas,’” says Legend. “All of the members have business ideas that will help them feed their families, employ others and strengthen our communities.”

Today In: Leadership

In 2007, Teresa Hodge, a member of the inaugural Unlocked Futures class, began a 70-month prison sentence for a nonviolent white-collar crime at Federal Prison Camp in Alderson, West Virginia⁠—the same prison where Martha Stewart famously served her time. After her experience with Unlocked Futures in 2017, Hodge, 56, became the cofounder of R3 Score, a background screening company.

The U.S. is home to 5 million formerly incarcerated people who face severe obstacles when trying to find a job after their release. Returning citizens are unemployed at a rate of more than 27%, nearly seven times higher than the unemployment rate for the general U.S. population.

Unable to secure employment, many formerly incarcerated people turn to entrepreneurship. But they often lack the business skills, social networks and capital needed to launch a successful company.

That’s where Unlocked Futures comes in. Participants receive coaching on leadership skills such as board governance, fundraising, communications and talent strategy. They also undergo an assessment that gauges areas for improvement and team up with mentors from a network of organizations, including Bank of America, which provided $500,000 grants for both cohorts, a total $1 million commitment.

“Six hundred thousand inmates are getting out every year, and if we want to lessen the risk of them recidivating, programs like this are important,” says Andrew Plepler, the environmental, social and governance executive for Bank of America.

Many formerly incarcerated people experience a revolving-prison-door scenario after their release: At least 95% of people incarcerated in state prisons are released into  their communities, yet more than half of them are arrested again within three years.

To be admitted into the Unlocked Futures program, applicants must have fully operational businesses. “We come in when you’ve established your proof point, you have your model built and you’re ready to figure out sustainability, growth, and measurement and expansion,” says Tulaine Montgomery, a managing partner at New Profit.

Participants are each awarded a $50,000 unrestricted grant. Hodge, whose first business venture upon release was Mission:Launch, a nonprofit that helps formerly incarcerated people reenter the workforce, says that many returning citizens are unable to gain access to growth capital because of their criminal history.

She put her $50,000 from Unlocked Futures toward performing user surveys and designing the algorithm for her background screening platform. In July, Hodge participated in the Techstars Impact Accelerator, which backs founders who are building technology aimed at solving social and environmental problems.

Through this program, she was able to raise another $500,000 from the Motley Fool, American Family Life Insurance and others. Now in the seed stage, her goal is to raise $2 million by the end of the first quarter of FY 2020.

“It’s certainly a challenge to be a black woman raising money, not to talk of being formerly incarcerated,” Hodge says. “But we know that we have a solid business model because there’s a strong upside for investors.”

Since January, more than 700 individuals and companies have signed the Society for Human Resource Management’s pledge to give qualified applicants with criminal backgrounds the same opportunities as those who haven’t served time. And just this week, JPMorgan Chase announced an expansion of its efforts to hire people who were formerly incarcerated, continuing the trend of  companies removing questions about criminal history on employment applications and offering opportunities to those with records.

“If we want the full human potential that is contained in our communities to be maximized, we need to include formerly incarcerated people in conversations around hiring and how we develop the workforce,” Legend says. “These folks are valuable and they’re worth reintegrating into our society.”

At the kickoff event for the second Unlocked Futures cohort, participants sat down with Legend and discussed their personal stories, business ideas and aspirations for the future. As business leaders begin to shift their attitude toward hiring and investing in returning citizens, that future may start to look a little rosier.

Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip.

I’m a reporter covering the various aspects of diversity and inclusion in business and society at large. Previously, I was a reporter at CNBC, where I focused on leadership and strategic management. I’ve also dabbled in video journalism, working as a breaking news digital producer for New York Daily News, followed by a yearlong stint as a producer at Rolling Stone. My work has been featured on New York Daily News, Yahoo Finance and Time Out. I’m a proud alumna of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, receiving honors for my investigative thesis on the alarming number of physicians dying by suicide. Tweet me @ruthumohnews or send tips to rumoh@forbes.com.

Source: John Legend Wants To Improve Job Opportunities For People With Criminal Backgrounds

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Applicants with criminal backgrounds, including those with nonviolent criminal convictions or even arrests, are increasingly being driven into poverty. Even if it has been years since they’ve served time for past criminal infractions, those applying for jobs are often unable to find work — especially in a climate of extreme job competition. NewsHour’s Stephen Fee reports.

How To Best Communicate Your Appreciation In The Workplace

Last week, our fifteen-year-old daughter told me about a “really cool” online quiz* her French teacher had the class take. As it turns out, the quiz had nothing to do with French.

My daughter stated that the quiz was geared around identifying your “love language,” and surprisingly, when she and her classmates and teacher shared their results, it spurred conversation, curiosity, and some a-ha moments.

The quiz was based on Gary Chapman’s classic book, The 5 Love Languageswhich suggests that each of us has a preferred “love language” and that we can improve our relationships by knowing one another’s.

In its broadest sense, “love” can be expanded beyond the romantic variety. For my daughter’s teacher, it became a creative way to get teenagers to think about how to understand their preferred communication styles better.

Today In: Leadership

This concept is so universal that it was later adapted to the work environment, shifting from “love” to “appreciation.”

“Because we don’t normally think in terms of our co-workers loving us — the word appreciation fits much better — but it is meeting that deep need to feel that somebody cares about me, and somebody appreciates me,” says Chapman.

Chapman teamed up with Dr. Paul White to pen The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplacewhich aimed to improve workplace relationships simply by learning your co-workers’ language of appreciation.

“Every person is unique in the way that they feel love or express love in personal relationships, but it’s the same in how they feel appreciated and valued in work relationships,” explains White.

And when leaders, co-workers, and employees feel appreciated, says Chapman and White, you improve staff morale, create a positive workplace, and increase employee engagement.

Here’s a breakdown of the five languages of workplace appreciation, how to effectively communicate using them, actions you can take to support each style, and things to avoid.

1. Words of Affirmation 

How To Communicate

As this language’s name suggests, use words to affirm, encourage, and appreciate people. Employ empathy to understand your colleagues better and actively listen to them to signal your interest.

Actions To Take

Provide verbal praise in front of others—in a team meeting or when you’re with customers, for instance. Regularly send unexpected messages, emails, or texts of encouragement to foster closer work relationships.

Things To Avoid

Offering non-constructive criticism or failing to recognize your workmates’ efforts, which will leave others feeling frustrated and unappreciated.

2. Quality Time 

How To Communicate

The best way to use this language is to give others your undivided attention.

Actions To Take

Schedule time for one-on-one, uninterrupted, and focused conversations. Maintain eye contact. Arrange activities outside of the office to hang out together with colleagues . each of these actions will build trust and deepen team relationships.

Things To Avoid

Four words: put away your phone!

3. Acts of Service 

How To Communicate

With this language, actions speak louder than words.

Actions To Take

Help alleviate a colleague’s workload by offering your assistance, and then perform the service in a way the recipient wants it done. Use phrases like “I’ll help…” to let them know you’re with them and be clear about how much time you have to assist.

Things To Avoid

Not following through on tasks you promised to take care of.

4. Tangible Gifts

How To Communicate

Despite its name, this language is less about the “gift’” and more about the thought behind it.

Actions To Take

Get to know what is important or valued by the recipient and ensure the gift reflects this knowledge. A caffeine junkie would love a gift card to her favorite coffee house, and a team that’s been working around the clock might appreciate spa gift cards to unwind.

Things To Avoid

Forgetting special milestones or a giving a generic gift with no link to its recipient.

5. Appropriate Physical Touch 

How To Communicate

This language uses appropriate physical touch to demonstrate appreciation.

Actions To Take

Offer a high five, handshake, fist bump, or a pat on the back when acknowledging someone for a great job. These spontaneous displays of celebration help build positive work-based relationships.

Things To Avoid

Personal boundaries are important to keep in mind with this language of appreciation, so avoid unwanted touch.

Bringing It All Together

In the workplace, effectively communicating authentic appreciation and encouragement isn’t one-size-fits-all, nor is it restricted to a single language of appreciation. The best way to express your gratitude in the workplace starts with asking others their preferences so you can better relate to one other and deepen your relationships.

*Curious about your love language? For a fun diversion, take the Buzzfeed quiz here.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

I’m a social media ghostwriter who helps leaders craft their stories to communicate and connect better. As a former branding consultant, my role is to make it easier for my clients to share their unique talents and insights on a consistent basis, magnifying both their reach and impact. Throughout my career, I’ve attracted people eager to tell their tales of transformation. I’ve been a professional storyteller who helped my clients share their stories in a clear and engaging manner, and thus better connect with their intended audiences. Or, as my tagline long said, “People tell me things; I write their stories.” I’m also a frequent speaker, and co-author with Bruce Kasanoff of “I Am: Escape Distractions, Unlock Your Imagination & Unleash Your Potential.”

Source: How To Best Communicate Your Appreciation In The Workplace

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Clear communication in the workplace is a valuable skill. Get the Free Download pdf Quick Guide to Professional Communication Skills: http://www.communicationskillscoach.c… Full List: 1. Concise Communication: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DLWN… 2. Clear Communication: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCGJv… 3. Listening Skills: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWPkH… 4. Positive Relationships: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8Wq6… 5. Collaborative Problem Solving: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp0EE… Get the Free Download pdf Quick Guide to Professional Communication Skills: http://www.communicationskillscoach.c… #communicationskills Communication Coach, this channel, helps rising leaders like you increase your impact and lead your teams with more excellence. The channel focuses on communication skills for leaders, presentation skills, group and team skills, and conversation skills. If you’re looking for self-pace communication skills training, this is the channel for you.

 

 

The 10+ Most Important Job Skills Every Company Will Be Looking For In 2020

As the world evolves to embrace the 4th industrial revolution, our workplaces are changing. Just as other industrial revolutions transformed the skillset and experience required from the workforce, we can expect the same from this revolution. Only five years from now, 35 percent of the skills seen as essential today will change according to the World Economic Forum. While we’re not able to predict the future, yet, here are the ten most important job skills (plus a bonus one) every company will be looking for in 2020.

1.  Data Literacy

Data has become every organization’s most important asset—the “fuel” of the 4th industrial revolution. Companies that don’t use that fuel to drive their success will inevitably fall behind. So, to make data valuable, organizations must employ individuals who have data literacy and the skills to turn the data into business value.

2.  Critical Thinking

There’s no shortage of information and data, but individuals with the ability to discern what information is trustworthy among the abundant mix of misinformation such as fakes news, deep fakes, propaganda, and more will be critical to an organization’s success. Critical thinking doesn’t imply being negative; it’s about being able to objectively evaluate information and how it should be used or even if it should be trusted by an organization. Employees who are open-minded, yet able to judge the quality of information inundating us will be valued.

3.  Tech Savviness

Today In: Innovation

Technical skills will be required by employees doing just about every job since digital tools will be commonplace as the 4th industrial revolution impacts every industry. Artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality, robotics, blockchain, and more will become a part of every worker’s everyday experience, whether the workplace is a factory or law firm. So, not only do people need to be comfortable around these tools, they will need to develop skills to work with them. Awareness of these technologies and relevant technical skills will be required for every job from a hairstylist to an accountant and everything in between.

4.  Adaptability and Flexibility

As quickly as the world is changing, the half-life of skills is constantly reducing. Therefore, people need to commit to learning new skills throughout their careers and know they must be adaptable to change. Important to this is understanding that what worked yesterday isn’t necessarily the best strategy for tomorrow, so openness to unlearning skills is also important. Additionally, people must be cognitively flexible to new ideas and ways of doing things.

5.  Creativity

Regardless of how many machines work beside us, humans are still better at creativity. It’s essential that creative humans are employed by companies to invent, imagine something new and dream up a better tomorrow. Tomorrow’s workplaces will demand new ways of thinking, and human creativity is critical to moving forward.

6.  Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Another area where humans have the edge on machines is with emotional intelligence—our ability to be aware of, control, and express our emotions and the emotions of others. This ability will be important as long as there are humans in the workforce since it impacts every interaction we have with one another.

7.  Cultural Intelligence and Diversity

Organizations are increasingly diverse, and effective employees must be able to respect differences and work with people of a different race, religion, age, gender, or sexual orientation. Also, businesses are increasingly operating across international boundaries, which means it is important that employees are sensitive to other cultures, languages, political, and religious beliefs. Employees with strong cultural intelligence and who can adapt to others who might perceive the world differently are also key in developing more inclusive products and services for an organization.

8.  Leadership Skills

Leadership skills will be paramount for not only those at the top of a traditional corporate hierarchy but increasingly for those individuals throughout the company who are expected to lead in the 4th industrial revolution. Enabled by the support of machines, there will be more individuals who are in decision-making positions, whether leading project teams or departments. Understanding how to bring out the best in and inspire every individual within a diverse and distributed workforce requires strong leadership skills.

9.  Judgment and Complex Decision Making

Machines might be able to analyze data at a speed, and depth humans are incapable of, but many decisions regarding what to do with the information provided by machines must be still made by humans. Humans with the ability to take input from the data while considering how decisions can impact the broader community, including effects on human sensibilities such as morale, are important members of the team. So, even if the data support one decision, a human needs to step in to think about how a decision could impact other areas of the business, including its people.

10. Collaboration

When companies are looking to hire humans in the 4th industrial revolution, skills that are uniquely human such as collaboration and strong interpersonal skills will be emphasized. They will want employees on their team who can interact well with others and help drive the company forward collectively.

BONUS: In addition to the skills listed above that every company will be looking for in the 4th industrial revolution, there are several self-management skills that will make people more successful in the future, including self-motivation, prioritization/time management, stress management and the ability to embrace and celebrate change. Those people who have a growth mindset, are adept at experimenting and learning from mistakes, as well as have a sense of curiosity will be highly coveted in the 4th industrial revolution.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

Bernard Marr is an internationally best-selling author, popular keynote speaker, futurist, and a strategic business & technology advisor to governments and companies. He helps organisations improve their business performance, use data more intelligently, and understand the implications of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, blockchains, and the Internet of Things. Why don’t you connect with Bernard on Twitter (@bernardmarr), LinkedIn (https://uk.linkedin.com/in/bernardmarr) or instagram (bernard.marr)?

Source: The 10+ Most Important Job Skills Every Company Will Be Looking For In 2020

203K subscribers
5 Things Your Resume MUST HAVE To Get More Job Interviews: https://youtu.be/WATpBoVprRk J.T. Free Job Search Resource: https://www.workitdaily.com/why-shut-… Get hired faster by working with our team of experts. Learn more here: https://www.workitdaily.com/pricing/ Showcasing the right skill sets is essential when you’re on the hunt for a job. If you want to stand out in the hiring process, you need to consider other skills that can give you an advantage over the competition. Here are some skill sets that can give you a “leg up” in the hiring process (even if they don’t directly relate to the job to which you’re applying): 1. Experience With Relevant Technologies Do you have experience with any programs, applications, software, or other technologies that relate to your field? Be sure to emphasize them on your resume and LinkedIn profile, especially if they’re listed in the job description. 2. Fluency In A Foreign Languages If you speak another language, make sure you showcase it! Although most jobs don’t require fluency in other languages, it’s not a bad thing to add to your resume or LinkedIn profile. In fact, it can actually give you bonus points because there are so many people who aren’t fluent in other languages. 3. Customer Service Skills It doesn’t matter if you were a server at a restaurant, a customer service representative, or a retail associate, if you dealt with customers in the past, you likely developed some good customer service skills. The ability to work with people is such a valuable skill set. Even if you won’t be working directly with customers in the role to which you’re applying, these people skills you’ve developed can help you work with colleagues and navigate tricky situations in the workplace. These are just a few things you can do that can give you a leg up in the hiring process. However, there could be things you’re doing that are holding you back… To get insight into what these are and how to fix them, be sure to check out my free resource here: Thousands of other professionals have found this helpful, so be sure to check it out. Free Tutorial: https://www.workitdaily.com/why-shut-… And, if you want J.T. and her team to help you become a pro at interviewing, negotiating and more, then you need to check out our career support platform. Want to learn more about our affordable Premium Subscription? Learn more here: https://www.workitdaily.com/pricing/ Follow Work It Daily: https://www.workitdaily.com/ https://twitter.com/workitdaily?lang=en https://www.facebook.com/groups/WorkIhttps://www.facebook.com/WorkItDaily/ #JobSearch #JobSearchTips #Resume

Turn Strangers Into Friends With 8 Great Questions From Harvard

“So, what do you do?” “Where do you live?” “How do you know [Name of Host]?” are some of my least favorite kind of questions, because they don’t elicit interesting answers.  If you want to get to know someone, you’ll have to do a lot better than this.

As a coach, I’m paid to ask provocative, probing, powerful questions and in social situations, I often wish strangers would ask some of me. Sadly, they don’t. Mainly because it’s considered rude. However, what I’ve found is that if you’re prepared to risk seeming rude by being the first to ask a provocative question, strangers are usually only too happy to follow suit.

Today In: Leadership

Helpfully, the Harvard Business Review has now published 8 great questions to ask at any kind of networking event. They’ve also written up their findings on how colleagues get on better, enjoy work more, and stay connected for longer if they share common experiences outside of work. Sociologists refer to these connections where there is an overlap of roles or affiliations from a different social context as multiplex ties.

So, next time you’re at a social function or networking event and you feel bored by small-talk but fearful of asking profound questions, you can dive right in, backed up by the knowledge that, far from being inappropriately nosy, you’re on the quest of making multiplex ties. What’s more, you’re endorsed by Harvard. Who knows, instead of simply adding a connection, you may actually make a new friend. And that, says the Harvard Business Review, is the whole point. “Research findings from the world of network science and psychology suggests that we tend to prefer and seek out relationships where there is more than one context for connecting with the other person.”

What excites you right now?  I love this question because the answer can be as intimate as you want to make it. You can share your excitement about your upcoming vacation, your boat, your son’s dance competition or your daughter’s soccer game Or you can talk about a book you’re reading or a profound experience you just had.

What are you looking forward to? Having things to look forward is what brings us joy in life See the article I wrote about the pleasure of planning for Forbes Whether it’s a planned vacation, something in your work-life or a personal milestone you choose to share in itself speaks volumes. Finding out about someone’s anticipated joy is a wonderful way to get to know them better. And if they say they are not looking forward to anything, you may want to take this as a cue to move on.

What’s the best thing that happened to you this year?  A wonderful, fresh, open-ended question, similar in some ways to the previous one, but instead of this being about anticipated joy, this question elicits remembered chapters. Sometimes, with the perspective of hindsight, the most difficult events offer the most growth and learning  So, losing my job or suffering an illness could end up having been the best thing that happened all year.

Where did you grow up?  This question reminds me of the usefulness of the pre-fix “I’m curious…” Essentially, this is asking a stranger to share their life story in as much or little detail as they’re willing. However, you could modify this to “I’m curious, WHEN do you think you grew up?”

What do you do for fun?  Unless you’re asking a painter, a poet, a singer a dancer or the odd entrepreneur, most people’s work is not what brings them the most fun. So, this question takes your interlocutor right onto the ski slopes, the golf course, the beaches or oceans where they have the best times.

Who is your favorite superhero? I’m sure that much insight could be gained by understanding the distinctions between a Batman lover and a Wonder Woman aficionado. However, I have a confession: I don’t have a favorite superhero, because I don’t watch superhero movies. To that end, you could, if you wish, modify it to, who is your favorite fictional character  Read my piece for Forbes on Crew mates

Is there a charitable cause you support?  You could tailor this to If you could pick one charitable cause to support, which one would it be? This is a question that will help you understand immediately what they care most about, what their values are. And you’re sure to have some shared affinities.

What’s the most important thing I should know about you? OK This is a big one, and not everyone will feel up to asking (or answering) it. As with all of the questions, the best place to start is with your own answer. If you feel stuck, don’t ask it. However, many people are longing to tell you that they have a hidden side (or hidden qualities) which their appearance or manner belies.

Since I started playing with these questions, I’ve met a Police Chief who told me her 9-year-old daughter frequently reduces her to tears;  a corporate raider who confessed that his favorite fictional character is Mowgli from The Jungle Book and a Catholic priest who does Zumba dancing for fun.  I’ve found I have surprising things in common with people who I’ve only just met.

Check out my youtube channel

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I coach leaders to play the game of life with purpose, grace, and ease. I specialize in sectors fueled by innovation and creativity, including Arts and Culture, media, television, film, fashion and advertising. My clients include directors of national arts organizations, worldwide ad agencies and a wide range of entrepreneurs. Before training as a coach, I launched my first TV Production company out of my bedroom and sold it eight years later to the world’s largest production company. I have served the creative board of Endemol UK and later the board of ITV Studios where I was the director of Formats I have been a special advisor to TF1, France’s leading commercial broadcaster. I have led creative forums for Cap Gemini University in Les Fontaine and have worked with the London Business School on their programmer for Entrepreneurs. I have created, produced and sold dozens of the world’s most groundbreaking, successful reality TV shows. Often the TV shows I have produced have been about exploring the edges of society. I have twice been ranked in the top twenty most influential gay people in the UK by the Independent on Sunday and have been featured in the New York Times, The Sunday Times, The Financial Times, Drum, Broadcast, The Hollywood Reporter, Monocle. I first certified first as a counselor (Institute of Counseling) then as a grief counselor before completing the core curriculum at Landmark Education and subsequently working intensely with three of the world’s pre-eminent leadership coaches. I am qualified as a co-active coach from CTI, the Coaches Training Institute, which is the world’s oldest coach training body.

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Source: Turn Strangers Into Friends With 8 Great Questions From Harvard

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In this fascinating session from Summit LA18, famed relationship therapist and bestselling author Esther Perel digs into the three hidden dynamics governing every relationship, explores the self-imprisoning paradox of social media, and lays out why certainty is always the enemy of change. Interested in attending Summit events? Apply at summit.co/apply Connect with Summit: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMGl… http://www.summit.co http://www.instagram.com/summit http://fb.com/summit https://twitter.com/summit

Why These 2 Criteria Will Help You Choose Your Next Job More Wisely

So you finally decided to find a new job. After months of contemplating, you’ve come to the realization you’ve hit one of three specific career roadblocks and the only solution is to find a new employer. But, now what? How do you make sure you don’t, as the saying goes, “jump out of the frying pan and ito the fire.” You’re wise to be worried. As a career growth coach, I’ve worked with hundreds of people who left bad jobs only to end up in worse ones. The result is a massive crisis of confidence that’s tough to bounce back from. So, what can you do to minimize the risk of making a bad career move?

The G.L.O.W. Method for career self-improvement

In my first book, I introduced the four-step methodology I use to help people create career satisfaction on their own terms. The G.L.O.W. Method teaches you a simple process you can use throughout your career to drive professional growth.

  1. Gain Perspective = force yourself to look at your situation from a new point of view.
  2. Luminate the Goal = dial-in tightly on a specific result you want to achieve.
  3. Own Your Actions = map out the specific habits you’ll need to succeed.
  4. Work It Daily = set up systems to build those habits consistently.

Let’s look at how that second step can help identify what your next job should be.

Your next job needs to meet 2 criteria…

To Luminate the Goal, you’ve got to shine a bright light on what you want. Getting clear on what a good job means to you is vital. When it comes to building a satisfying career, no two people want the same things. Unfortunately, many job seekers start looking for work based on the wrong criteria. They make a long list things like the ideal salary, benefits, location, etc. While I think those things are important and should eventually be outlined, the real first step in the process is to define your next job based on the following two criteria:

1. Does the job let you work on solving a problem you care about?

Today, we want our jobs to have purpose. When we believe our jobs have meaning, we feel more satisfied and engaged in the work. This leads to greater productivity and success. If you don’t feel the job will let you contribute to something you care about, you’ll struggle to stay motivated and positive on the job.

Now, I’m not saying that the job needs to change the world. On the contrary! What I’m saying is you need to make a connection between your job and the impact is has.

For example…

I worked with a client who came from a family of dentists and lawyers. She felt incredible pressure to have what she referred to as a “serious” job. However, her real passion in life was make-up. She loved doing her friends’ faces. When I asked her why, she explained the intense joy she felt when she saw their expressions of excitement when they looked in the mirror. In her words, “Each time I feel so much power knowing I made my friend feel better about herself.” That’s when I pointed out to her that this work had deep meaning and purpose to her, which meant she’d be more successful and satisfied working in cosmetics. She took my advice and now is an executive at a make-up company and couldn’t be happier.

2. Will you be using your preferred workplace personas to do the job?

We all have lots of skills and abilities. But, that doesn’t mean we want to use all of them on a daily basis. Understanding how you like to execute tasks and create value for employers is a vital part of the job search process. These are referred to as your “workplace personas” and they are the easiest way to narrow down the type of job you want next.

Let me prove it to you…

If you go to a job board right now and search for open positions with the job title, “Account Manager” you’ll come up with dozens of opportunities. However, as you start to read through them, you’ll see no two are alike. Some companies call salespeople Account Managers. Meanwhile, other companies see that as a customer or vendor support role. Each job would require you to use a different set of skills. If you don’t know the workplace personas you want to leverage, how can you narrow in on the jobs that would suit you?

Create an interview bucket list to help make sense of your criteria.

One of the first exercises I have our clients complete when looking for a new job is an interview bucket list. It’s a list of companies whose products and services you admire. It helps them understand how they feel connected to certain employers so they can map out the two criteria above. When you explore why you’re drawn to a company you reveal key information about yourself that makes defining your criteria easier. Better still, it will actually get you excited about the job search process.

 P.S. – If what I’m explaining makes sense so far, check out my next article which explains how you can Own Your Actions once you decide what type of job you want.

By: J.T. O’Donnell

 

 

Source: Why These 2 Criteria Will Help You Choose Your Next Job More Wisely

898K subscribers
The majority of working people, by their own admission, do not feel fully challenged by their current jobs. If you find yourself in that position, you may want to consider a new career path. It can be scary, but hopefully, with some guidance, that decision will become more within your reach. Discover the 5 Reasons Why Most Don’t Become Wealthy: http://bit.ly/2bd24Re “Selecting your major definite purpose in life is the starting point of personal greatness.” @BrianTracy (Tweet this: http://ctt.ec/Q7YW4) ___________________ Learn more: Subscribe to my channel for free offers, tips and more! YouTube: http://ow.ly/ScHSb Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BrianTracyPage Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BrianTracy Google+: +BrianTracyOfficialPage Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/BrianTracy Instagram: @TheBrianTracy Blog: http://bit.ly/1rc4hlg

If You Want to Grow Like Google, Make These Important Culture Moves at Your Office

Google might be a successful behemoth now, but at one time, it was a startup going through some serious growing pains. At one point in its aggressive development, co-founder Larry Page reportedly scrapped the company’s burgeoning middle management level. He quickly discovered that, despite his preferences, an additional supervisory layer was necessary to successfully scale operations without major hiccups.

Therein lies a major problem with scaling: It doesn’t just involve getting progressively bigger, like a blown-up balloon. Instead, its shape morphs as new needs arise, such as heightened employee responsibilities and changing customer expectations. And plenty of smart leaders ignore these red flags when they’re growing at breakneck speed.

What are some of those indicators of runaway growth? Team burnout might as well be a neon sign. Another problem is dwindling capital with no real profit sources in sight. Of course, unhappy customers are a sure side effect of unhinged expansion.

If you’re increasing revenue, you may be tempted to keep your foot on the pedal instead of tapping the brakes. Don’t halt your forward momentum, but remain open to addressing a few issues that will make scaling less challenging — and more rewarding — for all stakeholders.

Here are three ways you can help your office’s culture grow with the pace of your fast growing company:

1. Define and direct your team’s new cultural journey.

When you’re a 10-person shop, your culture may look and function like a big family. When you hit the 50- or 100-employee mark, complete with remote workers, you can’t sustain the same kind of atmosphere. That’s OK, but it means you need to rethink your team’s collective identity.

If you haven’t established your corporate purpose or vision, now’s the time. Choose a few main value points, and create robust statements around them. After you’ve run your ideas by trusted colleagues and tweaked them as necessary, release your vision so everyone’s on the same page.

Certainly, your culture will evolve as you get bigger. Google didn’t stay static; neither should your company. Nevertheless, establishing your corporate DNA before you get exceptionally large will help everyone remain true to your vision, even as changes naturally occur.

One of the biggest impacts I’ve seen on culture is to align everyone around shared values. The process of discussing the behaviors exhibiting each value has helped many of my clients create teams that work together toward a common goal.

2. Keep your head in the present moment.

Although you’ll need to project into the future, you can’t lose sight of your current growth stage. As a leader, your job is to be both a pragmatist and a visionary. Even as your world swirls with opportunities, you owe it to your workers to take the team’s capacity into account and establish a healthy baseline.

Are your people up to the challenges you’re about to face? Do they have the training and capabilities to handle emerging roles? Never make assumptions — they’ll always backfire. As you prepare for the next adventure, be open to upskilling staff and perhaps even shifting employees into different roles.

Experiment with new org charts, seeing which ones fit current and anticipated needs. Google’s Page quickly walked back his experiment in eliminating middle management, yet focusing on getting the right people in the right roles was crucial to Google’s success at that stage. Through trial and error, you can determine which employee, organization, revenue and profit restructures make the most sense to propel your business forward.

3. Discover and address operational bottlenecks.

When Page eliminated mid-level managers, he quickly realized that having one executive with 100 engineers reporting to him wouldn’t turn out well. Situations like that are bound to result in bottlenecks. Every fast-growing business experiences bottlenecks in areas like hiring, customer service and operations.

Some bottlenecks are relatively obvious, making them easier to fix. If an employee has so much paperwork to deal with that he’s become a living traffic jam, you need to streamline your processes — the problem is apparent, and you can intervene immediately.

Other issues may be buried deep within systems and supply chains, making them tough to pinpoint. For those situations, AI can provide critical insights. AI platforms can analyze thousands of data points at once, spotting problems that might take years to bubble to the surface.

You may or may not one day compete with the likes of Google. If you stick around, though, your organization will inevitably need to scale. The more you focus on thoughtfully navigating the experience, the better your outcome will be.

By: Gene Hammett

 

Source: If You Want to Grow Like Google, Make These Important Culture Moves at Your Office | Inc.com

@Ade Oshineye presents from the Google Developers Summit on how you as a developer can grow with Google+, namely highlighting: Reach, user acquisiton and conversion, user engagement and retention, and finally, when needed, re-engagement. #developer   #developers

Here’s How Companies Can Be Proactive About Women’s Equality

The World Economic Forum has estimated that it will take 208 years for women to gain true equality in the U.S. To decrease that timeline, campaigns like Melinda Gates‘ Equality Can’t Wait are prompting people to take action, rather than just continuing to point out the problem. As the co-founder of a female-focused company, I often think about how to focus on equality from a leadership perspective as well.

Women’s Equality Day on August 26th is an excellent opportunity to continue talking about how to achieve true equality for women at work–and in society at large. But talking will only get us so far. Without urgency and action, nothing is going to change.

When it comes to equality in the workplace, I know for a fact that plenty of companies want to become more diverse and offer more opportunities to people from a variety of backgrounds. But if you don’t make diversity a goal, then it won’t happen. You won’t see change unless you tell people it’s a metric to measure.

If you truly want your company to become more diverse, then you need to take tangible actions. Here’s where to start:

Recognize bias.

It’s more difficult to stop and think about how you can improve a process than to keep doing what you’ve always been doing.

Hiring is a great example. If your startup only hired men for its first 10 job openings, then you’re probably going to hire men for the next 10. The key is to actively look for your own biases, rather than assume it’s just coincidence that everyone looks the same and comes from a specific background.

Trust me, I know that my own network is full of people like me–women from New York and San Francisco who went to certain schools and have similar work experiences. But creating a diverse organization is about recognizing that fact and then actively working to get outside of your network.

For instance, at ThirdLove, we’ve always had more women than men on the team. While our demographic will always skew that way, we do believe gender diversity helps balance the environment and the culture. So when considering candidates for a position, we take a moment stop and ask ourselves, “Have we been open to people of a certain gender, age, or ethnic background? Do we even have that type of person in our pipeline?”

If the answer is no, we expand our efforts to bring in more diverse candidates.

Start conversations at work.

Due to limited budgets, startups generally don’t often think about hiring for diversity of age, ethnic background, or gender until they’ve grown.

To combat that norm, one method you can take from Gates’ campaign is to start conversations at work. If you look around the office and realize that your company skews young, white, or male, you should question that. Why aren’t there more women in leadership roles? Why aren’t certain demographics represented on your team? Does your company offer paid parental leave? If not, why?

I realize that a small company can’t tackle all of this at once. At Third Love, we now offer four months of maternity leave and six weeks of paternity leave. As we’ve grown and gained more resources, we’ve increased the amount of leave. And our policies will continue to evolve as we continue to scale.

Talking about diversity–and what policies or practices can contribute to it at every stage–is crucial to affecting real change.

Create groups and support networks.

Hiring for diversity is a great step forward, but it’s not the final step. Even if you hire a diverse team, you still need to make sure they’re supported.

According to the Equality Can’t Wait website and research in the Harvard Business Review, women are much less likely to have what they call a “sponsor” at work. In this sense, a sponsor is analogous to a mentor–someone who actively advises and helps you on the road to success.

But this support doesn’t have to be a formal mentorship. At ThirdLove, some of the moms on our team formed a group to support each other and talk about balancing family, kids, work, and everything else life throws at them.

There’s always work to be done making sure that everyone in your office is supported and has access to the same networks and opportunities as everyone else.

Give to organizations that assist diverse groups.

Creating a diverse work environment within your own company is an admirable goal. But if you want to help make a larger change worldwide, then you should look into extending your support beyond your company or customers.

For instance, our team partners with the bra donation program “I Support The Girls” as a way to help women in a basic, but also very tangible, way. Even if you don’t make a product that can be donated, money talks. There are hundreds of organizations in the U.S. that support women and minorities, so you don’t have to search across continents to find ways to use donations effectively.

Taking action is what will get us to equality. It doesn’t matter if it’s donating to cause that promotes equality or reexamining your hiring and promotion practices–it just needs to happen. And there’s no day like today to start.

By: Heidi Zak

Source: Here’s How Companies Can Be Proactive About Women’s Equality

As this animation makes clear, gender equality in the workplace is good for business, and it needn’t be difficult to achieve. For more information, please visit: http://www.ebrd.com/ebrd-and-gender-e…

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