The Daily Recruiter

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Category: Changing Careers (Page 1 of 8)

The First 90 Days: Getting Off on the Right Foot

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“by Naphtali Hoff, http://smartblogs.com”

“Joining a new company is akin to an organ transplant — and you’re the new organ. If you’re not thoughtful in adapting to the new situation, you could end up being attacked by the organizational immune system and rejected.” ― Michael D. Watkins

In a 2009 article, U.S. News and World Report writer Ken Walsh described the first 100 days of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidential tenure. In that short period of time, FDR pushed an incredible 15 major bills through Congress, such as the Glass-Steagall Act and FDIC.

“Faced with the spreading catastrophe of the Depression in 1933,” wrote Walsh, “Franklin D. Roosevelt knew from the start that what Americans wanted most of all was reassurance that under his leadership, they could weather the storm. … This began an unprecedented period of experimentation during which Roosevelt tried different methods to ease the Depression; if they failed, he tried something else. His success in winning congressional approval became the stuff of legend. … The new president immediately established a new, infectious atmosphere of optimism.”

For the past eight decades since FDR’s whirlwind initiation, the first 100 days of a president’s tenure in office has been used as a benchmark to measure productivity and effectiveness. Congressional leaders and political pundits closely study the new leader’s behaviors and agenda items during this early period to see what type of leadership they can expect for the balance of the term and possibly beyond.

A similar dynamic exists with new business and organizational leaders, though for them the period is usually a bit shorter, at 90 days. 90 days is equivalent to a business quarter, which is a meaningful time frame in the business world. Companies often track how they’re doing based on how much progress they make each quarter, and that includes a leader’s performance. While the nonprofit world may not use this metric, three months has become accepted as a legitimate barometer for measuring new-leader effectiveness.

Leaders’ early actions, especially for those with more challenging leadership responsibilities, can often determine whether they succeed or fail. Harvard professor and leadership transition expert Michael Watkins writes in his best-selling book The first 90 days, that “When leaders derail, their problems can almost always be traced to vicious cycles that developed in the first few months on the job.” According to Watkins, what leaders do early on during a job transition is what matters most. Colleagues and others form opinions about them based on the limited information that they have available, and, once those opinions are formed, it can be quite difficult to change their minds in the months and even years that follow.

Leaders that make positive first impressions, by doing such things as demonstrating a willingness to listen and to share leadership, and to be decisive, will typically be given the benefit of the doubt when relationships derail or decision-making comers under question. Early mistakes, on the other hand, will often lead people to draw negative conclusions about the new leader’s capacity to improve things and will cause them to become cynical and impatient.

“It’s that transitions are times when momentum builds or it doesn’t, when opinions about new leaders begin to crystallize,” Watkins wrote. “It’s a time when feedback loops — virtuous cycles or vicious ones — get established. Significant missteps feed downward spirals that can be hard to arrest. So it’s far better for new leaders to get off to a good start by building personal credibility and political capital, rather than dig themselves into holes and have to clamber back out.”

These four strategies can be particularly helpful during this time:
1.Achieve organizational alignment.  Ensure that the organization’s existing structure can support the chosen strategy, and that it has the systems and skills to realize your strategic vision.
2.Build your team. Once your vision is intact, evaluate, choose and/or restructure your leadership team and organization to ensure that you are well-positioned going forward.
3.Expedite everyone. Help everyone around you make the transitions that they need to make to optimize their performances and support you in your journey.
4.Create coalitions.  Build working alliances with key people outside your line of reporting who can help you achieve your goals.

There is one exception to the above formula for new-leader success: turnaround situations.

While positive impressions are always important for new leaders, during a turnaround situation they take a back seat to results. Emphasis at this time must be placed on action and outcomes, the kinds of things that lead to immediate improvements. For example, if one of your products is struggling, decide as quickly as possible if you should either kill it or devote more resources to it and pump up sales.

Turnaround situations usually offer leaders their best opportunity to make an impact because of the existing mandate and appetite for change. As much as your people want to connect with you and become more secure in their relationships with the new boss, they are most interested in results that will enhance their general work environment and improve the bottom line.

Finally, as much as we can appreciate the importance of the transition period and the many opportunities that it may offer, we must be sure to maintain a long-time view as well. Remind your people regularly that this is just the beginning of a long process that, with their help, can produce tremendous results for everyone. In the words of President John F. Kennedy, “All this will not be finished in the first hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first thousand days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.”

10 Signs That is Time to Change Your Job

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“by Karaoulanis Andreas, https://www.linkedin.com”

There are times, when one has to take her next step. And I mean in everything. In a relationship, in life in general, in the way she is thinking and definitely in her job. Job is a vital part of everybody’s life and just because nothing is forever, in the same way you end a relationship, sometimes you have to end your job “relationship”. Maybe is not good, but be careful, as everything in this life has its own risks, sometimes, staying in a bad relationship/job can create more risks than go away from it. It depends on many things.
But how you can understand that is the time for you to make the next step in your career and change your job?

SIGN 1
You are not willing to get up in the morning and go to your work. This is one of the worst scenarios. “Not again 07:30”, “where am I going again?..” are some of the questions you might think every morning. This is not a good sign.

SIGN 2
You counting the hours to get back home. “Two hours left” etc. You can’t stop looking at your watch. This is not good for both the company and the employee because has a bad effect in both of them. This is not a good sign either.

SIGN 3
You don’t care about what customers want or need, although you may understand that this is not the right thing to do. “Oh, leave me alone. Who cares about what you want. Just finish and leave me alone..” This is a very bad case for your company. It is when your company needs to ask itself, what have I done to make this guy feel and treat this way?? Not a good sign either..

SIGN 4
You don’t care about your targets. When your boss tells you that you didn’t reach your semester’s targets, you think “who cares…” Not a good sign..

SIGN 5
You don’t care about what your boss tells you. Whatever she tells you, you don’t care because you are simply not there. Bad sign too. Creates a lack of equilibrium in your job and a bad team..

SIGN 6
Something is missing from your life’s soup. Because you don’t have a good time in your job, this reflects to your entire life. Your job is a vital part of your life, so you need to have quality time during the 8-10 hours you are there. Otherwise, you have a bad sign in your hands..

SIGN 7
You can’t concentrate in what you are doing during your working hours. This is easy to understand. You are not there mentally, so you can’t concentrate. So simple. Bad sign too and something which creates risks.

SIGN 8
You can’t wait to reach Friday.. Well, for some people this is irrelevant of weather they like their jobs or not, but in general, when you are about to leave, every Monday, the target is Friday afternoon. Bad sign here..

SIGN 9
You don’t care about the money, you just want to start something new no matter the risk. This is the really desperate situation. The one who feels so desperate, so she already have started to find a new job, or even if she didn’t, mentally she is not there, so money is not an issue in such occasions. Very bad sign here..

SIGN 10
You envy your friends for their jobs and/or life style. That means that you want something better than what you have, something which usually springs from a job you don’t like. This sign is devastating, because makes you feel sad and the thing is that the moment you start feeling that way, is the moment you already have gone…

All the above mentioned signs are bad ones and have always the same results, bad for employees and their jobs. A happy employee can create value thus revenue. That is why so many jobs are proud for their cultures and their happy employees. A miserable employee has to go away. The problem for her is that she must do a new start while for the company is double, to find an equivalent employee while to understand what made her leave. Herself or the company? Telling truths is difficult sometimes for everybody but is always the only way to go ahead.

 So, what about you? Do you recognize any of these signs? I hope you don’t because otherwise you need to think it twice for continuing in the same job you are into. Some can say that there are more signs. I agree. Of course many people can recognize some of these signs in their lives, but they don’t feel like leaving their jobs. In my opinion, nothing is absolute. What they must consider is if they are telling themselves the truth about all the signs. Then it’s up to them to decide if the positive signs are more than the negatives. Sometimes also, you must consider that leaving is not possible no matter how much you want it due to special circumstances. The issue is very complicated and depends on the case.

My advice, is what ever you feel, be honest with yourselves and your colleagues. Honesty can only lead you to the right decision.

 

How to Keep Your Job Hoppers From Hopping Again

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“by Dr. John Sullivan, http://www.eremedia.com”

 

Yesterday, I told you about Hiring Job Hoppers: The 10 Reasons They Are So Very Valuable.

Today I’m tackling the other side of the issue — how to keep the job hoppers you have hired from hopping again and finding a job somewhere else.
Rather than assuming that their early departure pattern will continue, you need to develop a plan of action to keep “job jumpers” and “job hoppers” in your organization as long as you want them.
Ending the cycle of  job jumping 
1.Proactively act so that a job jumper will stay
– Jumpers left in the past because they are not treated as they expected to be treated. However, just because others have lost them doesn’t mean that you must also lose them. You can break that cycle by making sure that they have a great manager (a primary cause of turnover) and by also identifying and applying their individual motivators. You must also identify their “frustrators” (why they quit their previous jobs) and work to avoid letting them happen again. Simply increase the volume of two-way feedback with them and focus your retention process on them. And finally, if you ask them for their “dream job criteria” and you can meet them, you will find that they may never leave again. Job jumping is not inevitable; the pattern can be stopped with proactive and targeted motivation, communications, and retention action.
2.A job hopper may be at the end of their wanderlust – Don’t assume that an individual’s job jumping will go on forever. After a series of jumps, the odds are that former jumpers now know what they want and don’t want in a job, manager and company.” Your job is to work with them as an employee so that they feel that they have finally found their home.
3.Learn to take immediate advantage of all short-duration talent – The very best firms have learned how to effectively manage a variety of short-duration talent. We have learned how to get the most out of temps, contractors, consultants, and seasonal help. So we should do the same with job jumpers who may become short duration talent. Start by assuming that they might leave early, so proactively capture their ideas and best practices. Also assign them a buddy or mentee who can absorb their wisdom and experience. Obviously it may not make sense to put them into longer-term assignments like leadership development or extensive training unless you have taken proactive retention actions to ensure that they will be around to complete it. 
Why employees now move so often
Rather than being close minded, understand why more and more recruiting targets on the surface look like job jumpers. The reasons why more people switch jobs today include:
1. The economy increased the number of job jumpers
During down economic times, high layoff rates, and the fact that many individuals were forced to take temporary or part-time jobs, resulted in many individual switching jobs more frequently.
In tough economic times, the desire for job security means that these job jumpers would have preferred not to have changed jobs so frequently. Unfortunately, economic conditions made many individuals into “involuntary job jumpers.”
For example, one high-tech manager who I know loved his job and company, but the minute that they froze his operating budget for a year he left immediately. He simply wasn’t willing to take a year off from innovation, experimenting, rapid learning, and being on the leading edge of his field. In his case, blame the budget cut not any wanderlust on his part.
2. Recruiters seem to find them
With the growth of LinkedIn, referral programs, and social media, you don’t have to be actively looking for a job in order to be approached by a top recruiter or headhunter. This means that many job jumpers don’t choose to look for a new job, but instead they are found and approached by recruiters because they have extensive contacts, advanced skills, or that their work is visible online.
Being found and courted by recruiters is even more likely if they worked for a top name. So you might assume that jumpers are less loyal, but do you really want someone who wouldn’t jump at a better opportunity that was presented to them? The best simply want to grow, and you can’t blame them if they are constantly approached by recruiters touting “better opportunities to grow.”
By the way, consider the fact that if they would have turned down an exciting growth opportunity and stayed, they probably would’ve ended up being frustrated and not very productive (a lose-lose situation for both parties).
3. Applying for a job is incredibly easy
The tenure of the average employee at a firm is 4.6 years, so almost everyone these days is a job jumper.
One of the reasons that employees quit more often these days is that it’s so easy to find and apply for a new job. Jobs are “pushed” to them and with the click of a button they can apply for a job using their current LinkedIn profile.
Employee tenure is going down in part because it’s simply so easy to leave.
4. Bad retention efforts may be the real cause
Managers became lazy or even arrogant because their employees had few choices but to tolerate them. So after years of suffering, it’s not surprising that as economic conditions improved, the best employees quickly moved on.
I wouldn’t automatically blame the ambitious job jumper for moving on, because the blame has to be shared with poor retention efforts.
You want ambitious employees with initiative, so you can’t blame them for moving when an outside firm clearly valued them more than their current manager who was unwilling to match a clearly superior opportunity.
5. Don’t blame techies for following the latest technology
Many of the best technology employees are simply in love with new technologies. If their current firm clearly isn’t investing in cutting-edge technology, you shouldn’t blame these techies for leaving to a firm that has leading-edge technologies.
So before rejecting a techie for job jumping, see if they left for technology driven reasons.
Being loyal and willing to work on antiquated technology may not be a 100 percent positive trait, even for your current employees.
6. Boomerangs are job jumpers, too
Incidentally, when considering hiring job jumpers, take a second look at the employees who have “jumped” from your own firm. Recruiting back top performers who have left (they are called boomerangs) can be an effective recruiting strategy.
Leading firms (Deloitte and DaVita are two that excel in this area) have learned to welcome them back with open arms because, like most job jumpers, they now have additional external experience and skills.
 
In addition, many managers view the return of top performers as a kind of reinforcement that they (the firm and the culture) are excellent, because people with “multiple choices” chose to come back!
Final thoughts
In the Silicon Valley where I work, moving between firms (jumping or hopping) is seen by managers as a positive thing, because it gives an individual a chance to learn in a variety of environments.
Having a wide variety of experiences (we call it diversity) is viewed as lessening the chances that an employee will take a “too narrow view” of their job and where the industry is going.
Unfortunately, I find that HR professionals in the rest of the world are among the strongest resistors when it comes to hiring job jumpers. But there is no data to suggest that the best stay longest and that those who jump are bad hires.
In fact the opposite may be true: The best move often because they get multiple offers and they can. In most cases that I have researched, job jumpers actually wanted to stay but they couldn’t, because their managers or HR lacked the courage to match the learning and growth opportunities that were readily available at firms … across the street.
Their next best offer needs to come from you
So the final lesson to be learned is that your best employees will likely soon become a job hopper unless you move proactively to make sure that their next “best “opportunity” offer comes from inside your firm!
And if you can’t keep every top employee forever, don’t worry, your job is to simply get the most out of them during the time they spend with your organization

 

Ten Signs That is Time to Change Your Job

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“by Karaoulanis Andreas, https://www.linkedin.com”

There are times, when one has to take her next step. And I mean in everything. In a relationship, in life in general, in the way she is thinking and definitely in her job. Job is a vital part of everybody’s life and just because nothing is forever, in the same way you end a relationship, sometimes you have to end your job “relationship”. Maybe is not good, but be careful, as everything in this life has its own risks, sometimes, staying in a bad relationship/job can create more risks than go away from it. It depends on many things.
But how you can understand that is the time for you to make the next step in your career and change your job?

SIGN 1
You are not willing to get up in the morning and go to your work. This is one of the worst scenarios. “Not again 07:30”, “where am I going again?..” are some of the questions you might think every morning. This is not a good sign.

SIGN 2
You counting the hours to get back home. “Two hours left” etc. You can’t stop looking at your watch. This is not good for both the company and the employee because has a bad effect in both of them. This is not a good sign either.

SIGN 3
You don’t care about what customers want or need, although you may understand that this is not the right thing to do. “Oh, leave me alone. Who cares about what you want. Just finish and leave me alone..” This is a very bad case for your company. It is when your company needs to ask itself, what have I done to make this guy feel and treat this way?? Not a good sign either..

SIGN 4
You don’t care about your targets. When your boss tells you that you didn’t reach your semester’s targets, you think “who cares…” Not a good sign..

SIGN 5
You don’t care about what your boss tells you. Whatever she tells you, you don’t care because you are simply not there. Bad sign too. Creates a lack of equilibrium in your job and a bad team..

SIGN 6
Something is missing from your life’s soup. Because you don’t have a good time in your job, this reflects to your entire life. Your job is a vital part of your life, so you need to have quality time during the 8-10 hours you are there. Otherwise, you have a bad sign in your hands..

SIGN 7
You can’t concentrate in what you are doing during your working hours. This is easy to understand. You are not there mentally, so you can’t concentrate. So simple. Bad sign too and something which creates risks.

SIGN 8
You can’t wait to reach Friday.. Well, for some people this is irrelevant of weather they like their jobs or not, but in general, when you are about to leave, every Monday, the target is Friday afternoon. Bad sign here..

SIGN 9
You don’t care about the money, you just want to start something new no matter the risk. This is the really desperate situation. The one who feels so desperate, so she already have started to find a new job, or even if she didn’t, mentally she is not there, so money is not an issue in such occasions. Very bad sign here..

SIGN 10
You envy your friends for their jobs and/or life style. That means that you want something better than what you have, something which usually springs from a job you don’t like. This sign is devastating, because makes you feel sad and the thing is that the moment you start feeling that way, is the moment you already have gone…

All the above mentioned signs are bad ones and have always the same results, bad for employees and their jobs. A happy employee can create value thus revenue. That is why so many jobs are proud for their cultures and their happy employees. A miserable employee has to go away. The problem for her is that she must do a new start while for the company is double, to find an equivalent employee while to understand what made her leave. Herself or the company? Telling truths is difficult sometimes for everybody but is always the only way to go ahead.

 So, what about you? Do you recognize any of these signs? I hope you don’t because otherwise you need to think it twice for continuing in the same job you are into. Some can say that there are more signs. I agree. Of course many people can recognize some of these signs in their lives, but they don’t feel like leaving their jobs. In my opinion, nothing is absolute. What they must consider is if they are telling themselves the truth about all the signs. Then it’s up to them to decide if the positive signs are more than the negatives. Sometimes also, you must consider that leaving is not possible no matter how much you want it due to special circumstances. The issue is very complicated and depends on the case.

My advice, is what ever you feel, be honest with yourselves and your colleagues. Honesty can only lead you to the right decision.

 

How to Get Management Experience When You’re not a Manager

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by Dan McCarthy, courtesy of management.about.com

Help wanted: Manager. 5-10 years of experience required. Proven track record of effective management.

It’s hard to land a management position when you don’t have the title “manager” on your resume, or be able to provide specific examples of your management experience.

So what’s an aspiring manager to do without holding formal management positions? Plenty! If you are interested in becoming a manager, then here are 5 ways to get management experience without being a manager:

1. Lead a project. The skills required to be an effective project manager are very similar to the skills required to be an effective manager: planning, organizing, setting goals, managing budgets, leading people, and juggling multiple priorities. If you have never managed a project before, then start by volunteering for project teams. It doesn’t have to be a huge project – start small – perhaps volunteering to be a part of the office Thanksgiving food basket drive.  Hopefully, you’ll get to see what a good project manager does. Or, watch what an ineffective project manager does and do the opposite. Then, once you’ve established yourself as a dependable team member, step up and volunteer to lead a project.

Take a course in project management, read a good book on the topic, and interview successful project managers. You can even get certified as a project manager, but that may be overkill, unless you are planning to make a career out of project management.

2. Train, teach, coach, and mentor. A big part of being an effective manager is developing your team. In order to do that, a manager needs to know how to onboard and train new employees, coach experienced employees, and eventually mentor employees.

Of course, in order to be considered for an opportunity to train new employees, it’s a given that you’d need to be very good at your job, or whatever it is that you’re teaching. But beyond being good at something, it’s important to learn and practice the skills of training, coaching, and mentoring. The best way to learn is by doing! Volunteer to develop a training program; volunteer to mentor underprivileged kids or coach a sports team. Learn the art of coaching – learn to ask great questions.

3. Hone your interviewing skills. Many organizations use selection committees, hiring teams, or will involve others when interviewing job candidates. Again, volunteer for these opportunities. However, don’t just “wing it” when it’s your turn to interview a candidate. Develop a list of great interview questions, practice active listening and asking probing follow-up questions, and learn how to establish a rapport quickly. Being able to screen, interview, and select great employees is an essential management skill and can be learned and practiced! For more on how to interview, I’d highly recommend my colleague Alison Doyle’s About.com Job Search site – it’s the best there is.

4. Learn to manage conflict, have a “crucial conversation”, and give feedback. Yes, dealing with those sticky “people issues” is the most challenging part of a manager’s job. We all face challenging people issues – with our co-workers, family members, and friends. Life is “target rich” when it comes to opportunities to resolve conflict. Learn to do it in a positive, constructive way. See:

How to Manage Workplace Conflict

A Proactive Approach to Tough Feedback

How to Hold a Difficult Conversation

I’d recommend reading the book Crucial Conversations and look for opportunities to practice and get good at it.

Being able to provide specific examples of when you were able to handle a conflict, provide difficult feedback, or address a sensitive issue will demonstrate that you have the willingness and capability to handle the “people” aspect of a management position. And believe me, there are plenty of experienced managers that won’t or can’t deal with people issues, so it really will set you apart.

5. Create and manage a budget. As a manager, I would love it if one of my employees volunteered to create and manage a budget for me! While some managers enjoy the number crunching aspect of management, it’s my least favorite part. If you’re good at Excel, you can learn to create and manage a budget. A good place to start is with your home budget.

If you can’t convince your boss to let go of the budgeting responsibility, you can still do what you can do learn finance, budgeting, and accounting. Take a course, learn to do a cost-benefit analysis and ROI, and learn to speak like a bean-counter. See A Finance and Accounting Glossary for the Non-Financial Manager.

There are a lot of more skills you can learn to prepare you to be a manager, including presentation skills, communication skills, leading change, and strategic thinking. However, it’s important to be able to talk about what you have done, not what you could do. The suggestions listed above will give you that practical management experience needed to help land your first management position.

Don’t Fall In Love

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article courtest of John Whitaker, fistful of talent contributor

You’ve heard the meme before, “people don’t leave companies, they leave managers…” right? Sure you have, we all have—it’s repeated more times than you can count. Two things about that:

  1. Bullsh-t
  2. What about good managers?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term “good manager,” let me explain.

These are people who trust your abilities. They inspire you. You may feel a strange feeling of accountability, wanting to please him/her for reasons you cannot explain. You don’t work for them, you work with them (at least that’s what you think). You find yourself working harder, feeling better about it, and generally enjoying your professional life.  The sad thing is, until you’ve had a good boss, you may not even realize they exist. Kind of like the first unicorn you catch. When you find yourself working for one, it’s glorious.

Then… they leave.

Shit.

Yup, good managers leave. Fact is, if they don’t leave after 5 or 6 years, they start to over-ripen and cease to be good managers. This is the irony… part of what truly quantifies a “good” manager is realizing when they have served their purpose, prepared their successor, and off they go to bigger and better ventures. Truly, these people are special leaders, and in today’s transitory job market, they are a hot commodity on the open market.

And we often stay at our companies because of them.

That’s right, it’s a total counter-reality to the “people leave managers, not companies” rhetoric. You can find any number of reports to tell you otherwise, but I’ve been in Human Resources for 20 years and can tell you I’ve yet to Exit Interview someone whose motivation for leaving a company was “my boss” unless said employee was describing a boss who was so unreasonable as to expect an acceptable performance level—one more reason not to take statistics at face value.

More often, I’ve seen the opposite: a good manager leaves, creating absolute heartbreak among his or her soon-to-be former team. It’s a dangerous dynamic when a team falls in love with the boss; it becomes an exercise in change management in addition to succession planning, and you use the same basic principles:

  • Act quickly
  • Communicate early and often
  • Identify potential retention losses
  • Establish new leadership quickly
  • Manage the people, not the process

You never forget your first boss-love. But be prepared for the inevitable… (*sniff*)

Only Baby Boomers Could Afford to Be Helicopter Parents

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By Sarah Kendzior, Contributor for The Atlantic

Do Millennials have enough money to live up to the child-rearing norms set by their moms and dads?

About 25 years ago, when the era of irrational exuberance allowed enough disposable income for irrational anxiety, the concept of “helicopter parenting” arose. A “helicopter parent” micromanages every aspect of his child’s routine and behavior. From educational products for infants to concerned calls to professors in adulthood, helicopter parents ensure their child is on a path to success by paving it for them.

The rise of the helicopter was the product of two social shifts. The first was the comparatively booming economy of the 1990s, with low unemployment and higher disposable income. The second was the public perception of increased child endangerment—a perception, as “Free Range Kids” guru Lenore Skenazy documented, rooted in paranoia. Despite media campaigns that began in the 1980s and continue today, children are safer from crime than in prior decades. What they are not safe from are the diminishing prospects of their parents.

In America, today’s parents have inherited expectations they can no longer afford. The vigilant standards of the helicopter parents from the baby boomer generation have become defined as mainstream practice, but they require money that the average household earning $53,891 per year—and struggling to survive in an economy in its seventh year of illusory “recovery”—does not have. The result is a fearful society in which poorer parents are cast as threats to their own children. As more families struggle to stay afloat, the number of helicopter parents dwindles—but their shadow looms large.

The helicopter parent may be mocked, but she is never truly maligned. No one wants to be the parent pampering her child into a life of risk-free achievement—but no one wants their child to be, as the mantra of our era goes, “left behind.” Being a helicopter parent may be looked down upon, but being a helicoptered child has advantages: Helicopters hover but their cargo moves fast. In an economy marked by the “jobless recovery” and soaring levels of child poverty, the helicoptered child is sheltered and shepherded—and the parent relieved from social stigma and shame.

The first generation of helicopter children were raised by a new set of middle-to-upper class parents who were desperate to stay there. A great way to accomplish this was by pricing everyone else out in a way that seemed meritocratic rather than the maneuverings of a new aristocracy. The key was education, and in the 1990s, the price of higher education and its accoutrements—SAT prep classes, expensive extra-curriculars—began their exorbitant rise. Vigilant parenting and rigid student schedules became the province of the parental elite. “Permissive parenting is less attractive when the stakes are high,” economists Fabrizio Zilibotti and Matthias Doepke wrote in a 2014 study, “i.e., when adult-style behavior is especially important for children’s future success.”

The new parenting was not for everyone—many parents could not afford it. One of the most damaging legacies of helicopter parenting is the way it centered the practices of a wealthy elite as not only normal, but necessary and moral. Papers like the New York Times filled their education sections with tales of $40,000 per year high schools, preschools with waiting lists, and babysitter “patrons who are professionals in the arts. That most Americans never lived this way was irrelevant. It was clear, given the high-earning, high-achieving progeny of the new winners, that they should.

The trend hit its peak with the 2011 publication of Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, an alleged study of traditional Chinese parenting that was made possible by the author’s bountiful—and unremarked upon—wealth. Many parents may have chosen the tiger mom path—the trips abroad, the private lessons—were they not trapped in their own economic cage. Though intended as a cultural study, the book was just another reminder that you can’t spell “enrichment” without “rich.”

Tales of expensive enrichment and children snatched by predators were twin anomalies peddled as the norm throughout the 1990s and 2000s—one out of media elitism, the other out of media sensationalism. Elitism and sensationalism stoke anxiety, and parental anxiety, the media know, makes for a buyer’s market. Parents are told they are responsible not only for their children’s safety but also for their success.

With elite university admissions disproportionately weighted toward the richest U.S. families, and elite professions increasingly requiring expensive credentials and unpaid labor, huge numbers of American kids are being shunted onto a lower track, their potential capped by the circumstances of their birth. This has always been the case in the U.S., but the new normal works to further restrict and refine the group at the top. Helicopter parenting is opportunity-hoarding repackaged as parental devotion.

And so we arrive at the summer of 2014, when several mothers were arrested for “abandoning” their children while trying to procure resources to survive. In Florida, Ashley Richardson was arrested for leaving her kids at a park while she went to a food bank. In South Carolina, Debra Harrell was arrested for leaving her 9-year-old at the park while she worked at McDonalds. Both mothers are black, placing them outside the distorted media ideal of the white upper-class hovering mother, that fringe figure now portrayed as the gold standard.

The racial overtones of Richardson and Harrell’s demonization were undeniable. But the two mothers are far more like the typical American parent than commonly portrayed. The average mother is drowning as the cost of raising a child soars while wages stagnate or decrease. Since 2008, the cost of both childbirth and daycare has skyrocketed while U.S. median income collapsed. Daycare is now an average $11,666 a year, with the cost in some states as high as $19,000. The exorbitant trappings of an “enriched” childhood—activities, travel, tutoring—are out of bounds for most parents, who struggle to cover the basics.

People who complain about the spoiled Millennial generation—themselves the alleged product of helicopter parenting—forget how old they are. Many Millennials are now raising children themselves, while carrying enormous college debt burdens and scrambling with low-paying, contingent jobs. The standards erected by their prosperous progenitors are unsustainable. The helicopter parent, always more of a mythological standard than a familiar figure, has crashed.

A good parent is said to “provide” for children. It is no longer enough to simply love them. Love is the sidebar to achievement, an insufficient defense against an unyielding future. That is the cruelest legacy of the helicopter parent, one that will endure long after the smoke has cleared.

3 REAL REASONS HR DOES EXIT INTERVIEWS

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By Tim Sackett, timsackett.com

The exit interview process is much like most organizations employee referral process. You believe you should have a process.  You design the process.  It’s going to be great! It starts out great.  At some point, soon after starting the process, it dies a slow horrible death!

Exit interviews are something every HR pro believes are important, but very few actually do a great job at.  The problem with most exit interview processes is that their very HR dependent and take a ton of follow through.   Another major problem is that while our executives say they want the data from the interviews, rarely do they believe what they are given.  Most chaulk bad interviews up to disgruntled employees and discount the entire process.

So, why do we give Exit Interviews?  I’ll give you three ‘real’ reasons HR wants to do exit interviews:

1. We want to know where you’re going!  Yep, HR folks love to gossip and we want to be the first ones to know where you’re going and why.

2. We trying to get your current manager fired!  You know what’s really frustrating in HR? Having to hire over and over again for the same bad managers!

3. We need data to look strategic. But we’ll never really make any changes based on what we find.  What? Everyone is leaving us because our competition across the street is providing more flexibility.  Yeah, well, they suck and you suck if you go to work for them!

Chalk this up to data that our executives say they want, but they really don’t!   What they want to hear is the problem our people are leaving us are easy fixes.  When they find out they’re leaving because of their bad leadership, every person who fills out an exit interview immediately becomes a piece of garbage in their eyes.

How do you fix this?

Do ever deliver specific exit interview data immediately after one person leaves, that seems to similar to why that person leaves.  Basically, you never get credit for that being real data.  Exit interview data only becomes ‘real’ when it’s based on a many data points put together.  The problem with that, is it takes most organizations a while to get that much data.  Usually, at that point, it starts to become vanilla.

Individual exit interview feedback can be powerful, but only if it is coming from a top player and you can get everyone involved to agree this is a top performer before the data comes in.  At least, at that point, you have a fighting chance to get them to listen and not discount the feedback.

Let’s face it, we all know most of our issues.  We just hate it when our past employees throw those in our face, when we think we’ve been working hard to correct them.   That kind of feedback is hard to accept, and we tend to discredit it way too fast.  Don’t allow yourself to believe data isn’t statistically significant unless you have a lot of it.  One great employee leaving is significant, and you need to listen to it.  Just know, the up hill battle you’ll face in actually creating the leadership change necessary to address it.

Five Critical Priorities HR Can’t Afford to Ignore in 2015

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By Jean Martin, executive director at CEB

How employees get their work done has changed remarkably quickly; unsurprisingly HR needs to change too.

Anyone who works in a global company doesn’t need to be told that their job has changed enormously in the past few years.

Even if their job title – and sometimes their job description – remains unscathed, the number of people they work with, the amount of information they use to make decisions, their day-to-day tasks, and the technology they use have all changed quicker than at any time in their careers. 

Five priorities for the HR function

The changing nature of work is one of five trends CEB’s research shows will shape global business in 2015. And, given the function’s role, this shift in how work is accomplished means a lot of change for HR professionals.

Heads of HR and their teams should take five steps in particular to help their firm make the most of the new work environment.

1. Attract and retain “enterprise contributors”

Data from surveys of HR and line managers show that the average company needs to improve employee performance by 27 percent just to hit the revenue and profitability targets senior managers have set.

HR teams should look beyond conventional performance management based on improving individual performance and develop a cadre of “enterprise contributors.” These are employees who perform well individually and who accomplish tasks by working effectively with and through others.

In fact, firms with enterprise contributors outperform their peers by 5 percent and 11 percent on year-over-year revenue and profit growth, respectively. This means that the average Fortune 500 organization can increase profit by $144 million and revenue by $924 million.

HR should not make the mistake of thinking that most employees aren’t ready or willing to be enterprise contributors. They are, but they’re stymied by structure and culture of their firms. Instead of trying to motivate employees to be enterprise contributors, HR should help their firms reconcile four (4) paradoxes at the heart of performance management.

2. Don’t make yourself appealing to all candidates, just good ones

The volume of people applying for jobs has risen by 33 percent in the past three years but the quality of applicants has not improved at all. In response, many firms launched employment branding campaigns to establish their company as “a great place to work,” and attract higher quality candidates.

But this strategy – called “branding for appeal” – produces pools of applicants of whom only 28 percent could be classed as high quality. This is because firms just add yet more to the mass of accessible corporate information. And all these conflicting messages – some of which are false – means that 61 percent of applicants say they are more skeptical of what employers say about themselves than they were three years ago.

Instead, HR teams should take a “branding for influence” approach to attract the best candidates.

Rather than releasing another YouTube video full of smiling faces and an uplifting theme tune, savvy firms spend time and money on messages that are relevant to most important talent segments, and that challenge applicants’ thinking rather than highlight anything good about the company. Those firms that brand for influence almost double the proportion of the applicant pool that can be classed as high quality.

3. Teach employees how to learn, not just what to learn

Given all of the above, firms must keep improving their learning and development activities. Most employees are now well aware that constant development is essential and think that the learning and development provided at their firm is sufficient: 84 percent say their “L&D solutions” are satisfying.

But despite this, and the estimated $145 billion spent annually on training, fewer than half those investments result in tangible returns. In response to these poor figures, many firms provide more opportunities for development, across more channels, and advocate that employees take responsibility for their development.

But it doesn’t work. Nearly three in four line managers report employees with high learning participation lack the right skills, and the extra learning activity creates a lot of waste. Every day, employees waste approximately 11% of their time on unproductive learning.

Leading firms increase employee awareness of how to learn (not just what to learn) and use learning technology that help employees develop learning behaviors, and not just consume content. This approach doubles the number of employees with high learning capabilities, and makes it more likely that employees will be equipped or the new work environment.

4. Make the HR team more valuable

Even though most senior executives are keen to stress how important their “people are to the business,” HR teams still struggle to provide the necessary support. Less than one-fifth of line managers rate HR as an effective partner.

Many heads of HR have invested heavily in developing their HR teams to improve this sad statistic but most over invest in improving individuals and don’t do enough to change the organizational culture in which their teams must work.

In particular, there are four organizational barriers that prevent HR business partners – those that support the line – from doing their jobs effectively. Remove these and firms can nearly double the number of effective HR business partners they employ.

5. Don’t mistake high-performing for high-potential

CEB data show that firms with stronger leaders enjoy twice the revenue and twice the profit growth. Yet a high-potential employee (HiPo) program, which is many firms’ main investment to develop their future leaders, is statistically more likely to fail than succeed.

Data shows that 50 percent of HR managers lack confidence in their programs, and a staggering five in six HR managers are dissatisfied with the results.

Despite evidence to the contrary, many firms still wrongly assume that a high performer is also a HiPo. In fact, only one-in-seven high performers are HiPos. The reason mistakes are so often made is that there is rarely an objective selection process in place; decisions are rarely backed by any science.

Those involved in the HiPo selection process should assess employees based on their ability, aspiration, and engagement with the firm.

What Do You Do When Your Career Suddenly Gets Cancelled?

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“I would advise all of them if they find another career, take it and do not look back.”

This statement came from a captain in a local police force. He was referencing the layoffs that had hampered the police department in a large East Coast city.

Close to 200 officers had been laid off, and according to the newspaper article, only a handful had been rehired back into their career of law enforcement. 

Sorry but your career is cancelled

As I read this, my thought was this: What happens when your career is cancelled? What happens when demand outstrips supply? What happens when union rules state that seniority trumps all else in calling back workers? What happens when the job of your dreams just disappears?

As the article continued, some of the laid off workers had become UPS workers, cashiers, pizza delivery people — but all still waiting for that call that would return them to their lifelong dream.

At one time, government workers, whether federal, state and city, were basically immune to layoffs. It was probably the only career that you could enter either after college or high school and retire many years later. New York City police had a 20 years and out rule. So theoretically, you could become a policeman at 20 years old and retire at 40 with a nice pension and start another career.

Sadly those days are over, and in a lot of cases, will never return.

In the Middle East, the dream job is to get into the government. That, to a vast majority of the people, is the ideal scenario.

The government, in a lot of cases, works at a pace that is conducive to a lot of individuals. You get loads of time off and working hours are not stringent. My former HR coordinator jumped at the opportunity to land that kind of a dream job.

Making a decision at the crossroad

But if your career utopia is in the private sector, you really do not have a lot of choices if you find that the skill set has changed or that technology is slowly making what you do obsolete.

So what do we do in this type of situation? Do we hold out and wait until you can’t wait any longer?

In every career, there will always be horizontal extensions. If you are a policeman, with all that training, that skill can work in the private sector. If you are working in a large city, there are numerous private security — building security, corporate security — positions.

The key is taking the skills that worked in government and move them laterally. For every government position, there’s a likelihood that the job exists in the corporate environment in some capacity

There has also been a tremendous amount of talk about the impending layoffs at the U.S. postal service. This was surely supposed to be a job for life, but no more.

However, the skill of the mail handler can also be horizontally moved. With the advent of private postal companies where people rent mail boxes, FedEx and UPS are all options for postal workers. Not only that, but every large company has a mail department which, in a lot of cases, would rival a postal facility.

A blessing in disguise

The skills from your previous careers do not have to be abandoned. It is understood that these alternatives will not cure the unemployment dilemma, but what it should show is that if you are passionate about your career choice, there are alternatives.

However, this could be the time of your life that you have been waiting for. You always had that thought in the back of your mind that someday you would follow that dream. Well, now is the time to research that option.

I would suggest that you do not waste time when looking to change your options. Look for opportunities that would allow you to move into another direction.

That could mean volunteering your services to get a sense of what it’s like to actually do it. Reach out to someone who could give you a bird’s eye view of the industry or profession of your choice. The Internet can give you more material than you could possibly imagine to further your knowledge.

The moral of a cancelled career is that you must have some type plan because a lot of these positions will not be showing up in job postings any time soon. For that reason, you can’t afford to wait.

Getting your wake-up call

Everyone today — whether you are a public employee or a private worker — has no guarantee. I have always said that this economy climate today is a wake-up call for all employed people. It is a wake-up because the alarm going off and letting you know that you are in charge now and you can’t wait for anyone, or any organization, to help guide it for you.

So if your career has been cancelled, do not despair; just move to the other side or begin the transition into a new one.

It may not be that easy, but you have no other choice.

Ron Thomas is CEO of Great Place to Work-GCC countries, based in Dubai.

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