Dana Manciagli, called “a combination of Jillian Michaels and Suze Orman for careers,” has been a corporate executive for more than 30 years and has leveraged her employee hiring and management experience into that of author, blogger, keynote speaker, career coach, and global career expert. Dana has coached, interviewed, and hired thousands of job seekers.
A recent survey found that 41 percent of employees say that the number one holiday gift they want from their boss this year is a holiday bonus. However, 46 percent say that holiday bonuses are not given at their company, and 13 percent go on to describe their boss as “stingy” this time of year.
“It’s a tricky line to walk because you don’t want to seem like Scrooge; but at the same time, giving out bonuses to each employee is not necessarily feasible for many companies,” says Rob Wilson, human resources expert and President of Employco USA, an employment solutions firm.
Wilson also says that many employees can struggle with holiday giving as it relates to their own colleagues or managers.
“Not only do many workers feel chagrined if they don’t receive a bonus from the boss, but they also have the added pressure of figuring out what to give their boss or managers, and how much to spend on coworkers,” says the employment trends expert.
To help circumvent these holiday headaches and keep employees focused, Wilson suggests the following Do’s and Don’ts as it relates to holiday giving:
Set a rule about in-office gifts.
When emailing about your office holiday party, Wilson advises employers to include a line asking for employees not to give presents to their managers. “A simple line such as ‘While we appreciate your generosity, please no gifts for us.’ This will help to remove any fears of ‘brown-nosing’ or people getting favorable treatment just because they are able to splurge on a big gift for the boss while others cannot afford to do so.”
Give back to the community.
“Rather than deal with the stress of Secret Santa or the distraction of a white elephant game, ask for employees to bring in one unwrapped toy to give to kids in need. Then, you can drop the toys off to a local YMCA, Toys for Tots, or similar charity. Not only will this remove stress about holiday giving in the office, but it will increase holiday spirit and joy in the office.”
Give the best gift of all: Time off.
“Research has found that employees say ‘time away from the office’ as their favorite thing that employers give them this time of year. If you don’t have the funds for bonuses or a big holiday party, simply giving the team an extra day off or even half-a-day can go a long way in inspiring goodwill. Even turning the week of Christmas into a ‘casual dress’ week can help employees to feel relaxed and appreciated by the boss.”
In addition to these bits of advice, be sure to take time to walk around and say, “Thank you for working so hard for our company,” to your staff. For remote employees, write a personal e-mail to each employee or be unique and write out notes. Yes, hand-written and mailed!
Three Steps to BetterManage Personal Finances and BoostCareer Satisfaction
Did you know that financial literacy directly correlates to your personal and professional success?
The bad news is that poor financial literacy in corporate America is negatively impacting most employees’ professional achievement. For example, many people start their first jobs without an understanding of a credit score, managing a budget, or contributing to a 401(k). Without proper education, one wrong financial move (even while earning money) can cause intense financial stress that spills over into the workplace.
As many know from personal experience, dealing with stress on the job directly impacts a person’s happiness at work and can be synonymous with low productivity, fatigue, and even a decrease in career opportunities. For employers, the ramifications can be worse. By the numbers, stress is estimated to cost U.S. businesses $300 billion annually—or about $2,000 per employee per year.
The aftermath of poor money management and its effect on a person’s career satisfaction cannot be ignored. To take control of your financial life — and make your career more fulfilling – take the advice I learned after speaking to Michael Thiemann, co-founder and CEO of Zebit, a financial wellness benefit company that offers both financial resources and a credit safety-net to hardworking Americans.
Thiemann explained that financial wellness goes beyond using a few financial tools or saving for retirement; it is a sense of financial stability that comes with financial literacy, planning, and money management, so responding to life events is only a bump in the road, rather than a financial disaster.
Here are Michael’s three key tips:
1- Manage Money for Your Future Self.
First, create a budget and stick to it, making sure you have calculated how much you need to set aside for lifestyle expenses — e.g. entertainment, vacations, etc. — as well as emergency savings and retirement. If you are currently in debt, make sure you aggressively budget to pay it off.
Thiemann says, “By having a holistic understanding of your financial situation, you can stay in control of your finances and focus on the important things in life, like thriving at the workplace.” To get started, Michael suggested checking out free assessments and budgeting tools like Zebit’s free, fast, and easy Instant Budget app.
2 – Expect Surprises.
From getting a flat tire to the refrigerator breaking down, no one is immune to surprise expenses. Thiemann pointed out that these surprises can come with high price tags. What do you do if you are strapped for cash? Thiemann advises against using risky financing alternatives like payday loans, high-interest credit cards, or rent-to-own services where one wrong move creates a spiral of debt and stress.
“By weighing your options, reviewing contracts, and understanding the total cost of a purchase with interest, fees, or penalties, you can be prepared to responsibly respond,” says Thiemann. “I would also suggest looking for no-cost credit safety-net options that can be used to finance large or unexpected purchases at retail prices.”
3 – Benefit from Employer Financial Wellness Programs.
Employers who invest in educating employees in personal finance will see a 3 to 1 return on investment, improve their bottom line, and enjoy a more productive workforce. Thiemann suggests talking to your HR department to determine which financial wellness programs are available at your company. You may be surprised to learn that there is a wealth of resources provided that offer advice on investments, loans, mortgages, social security, and more. Many times they are free or included in your current benefits.
If your employer is lacking a solution, suggest a free and complete financial wellness benefit that covers education, interactive training, budgeting resources, and access to interest-free credit offerings.
To help working Americans better manage money and minimize their financial stress, Thiemann and Zebit recently partnered with Shark Tank mogul Barbara Corcoran. By joining forces, the two entities advised on steps for reducing stress brought on by financial woes.
“As one of 10 kids who grew up in a blue-collar family without material advantages, I not only understand firsthand the worry associated with cash constraints, but the importance of feeling empowered to overcome setbacks,” said Corcoran. “We can’t sit around and let financial stress cripple opportunity, but rather educate employers on their critical role in helping consumers become financially fit.”
There will never be a magic wand for getting personal finances in order. It takes education, commitment, and a plan. By following the above principles—and a few tips from Barbara Corcoran herself—professionals can better chip away at handling cash flow, while setting themselves up for a happier career path.
Job hunting can be an incredibly frustrating process. You’ve brushed up your résumé, written a solid cover letter, and have been applying to roles that seem darn near tailor-made for you…
But when your phone is silent, and your inbox remains empty…
It can be tempting to ask, “What’s wrong with me?”
But I’ve got good news.
There’s nothing wrong with YOU. Taking control of your career and winning the right job is serious business. Throughout my career as a manager, hiring manager, and mentor, I have met thousands of job seekers, all of whom fit into one of three clear categories:
The Seriously Committed: You understand that the hiring game has changed, and you are on a committed hunt for the next opportunity. Your drive to change the status quo has carried you this far – but you know you need to learn some additional skills to get real results.
The Plan B-ers: You’re frustrated with your current situation and are searching for Plan-B. Despite your unhappiness, you haven’t fully committed to searching for a new role but are keeping your eyes and ears open. You may be faced with a career change as your previous job-searches came up empty.
The Hobbyist: Like occasional guitar players and weekend golfers, you dabble in your job search efforts, conduct R.A.A. (Random Acts of Application) by spraying out résumés and meeting up with people for coffee. If you’re in this category – and you want to stay there – stop reading now. If you want to get serious and find (and win) that new job, stay with me here!
It’s obvious the optimal category to be in is “Seriously Committed Job Hunter.” Why? Well, the truth is the job market has changed. Carefully worded cover letters and a strong résumé aren’t enough to get attention anymore – no matter how relevant your experience might be!
You need the best skills and to execute every step of the job-hunting process brilliantly. Job searching isn’t an application process, it’s a hunt in the truest sense of the word – and you need to be patient, prepared, and hungry.
There are no shortcuts to finding the right role. You’ll need to carve time out of your day to speed up the quest and stay committed to the process.
Where do you start?
Making the shift into the Seriously Committed category can be frustrating, especially when you feel as though your skills are out of date or something you’ve been doing is just NOT working.
As with any goal, your odds of success improve exponentially when you invest time to not only develop your existing skills but also to identify gaps and roadblocks and look for ways to eliminate them.
Here’s my 3–Step Action Plan to help you successfully negotiate your transition from a casual job-seeker to a seriously committed one.
The 3 Step Action Plan for Finding the Right Job Now
1 – Set Your Goal:Have you taken the time to clearly identify where you want your career to go – and how to get there? Have you thought about what role would be a perfect fit for your career? Sit down and clarify your goal until you can answer the question, “What are you looking for?” in 20 words or less.
2 – Develop Your Plan:Now that you know what role you want, develop a schedule showing how you will spend your time (and where it will be focused) over the next quarter. Create a detailed list of things you need to get done – and make sure you assign deadlines.
3 – Keep Yourself Organized: How many job applications do you have out there that are still possibilities? If you can’t answer this question, then your job search is NOT organized. You need a clear, efficient system that not only keeps track of the opportunities you’re pursuing but also the specific people you need to follow up with.
When starting and operating a business, the lines of work and life begin to blur for small business owners. They often find themselves answering work emails while at the dinner table or taking conference calls in the car.
When starting a business with your spouse, the lines between professional and personal lives become even more intertwined. While there are benefits to starting a business with your partner, it can be challenging to maintain both a productive working relationship and a supportive personal relationship.
Ian and Jamie Landsman, the founders of HelpSpot help desk software, started their company 12 years ago and have successfully self-funded the business while remaining happily married. It hasn’t been an easy road, but the couple says it isn’t impossible. Here, they share their tips for married spouses thinking about entering the world of entrepreneurship together.
Designate Specific Roles
Much like you would for any other employee, detail specific job descriptions for each spouse when you establish the business. For example, Ian uses his programming skills to work on the technical side of the business, while Jamie oversees HelpSpot’s operations, strategic planning, and development.
“We outline the roles and responsibilities for each employee at HelpSpot, and our jobs are no different,” said Jamie Landsman. “By understanding what we’re specifically responsible for, there’s no guessing on who is working on what. This keeps us organized and avoids to-do items falling through the cracks.”
Show Respect to One Another
Once there are certain tasks and responsibilities for each partner, allow one another to own those roles like you would at home. You wouldn’t undermine your spouse on how they load the dishwasher if it’s their turn to do the dishes, so be sure to show the same respect at the office.
“While I might have a different approach to solving a problem than Jamie, I know that she’s thought through the most appropriate plan of action,” said Ian Landsman. “It’s not healthy to challenge every move she makes – either at home or at the office. Plus, it’s inefficient when running a business.”
Keep Personal Topics at Home
It’s impossible to keep all personal and professional conversations separate, but if you’re working with other employees, it’s best to stay on the topic of work.
Minor one-offs are acceptable, like confirming who’s picking up the kids from daycare, or if you’re going to be late to dinner. Deeper marital conversations should take place at home, away from the eyes and ears of other staff members. To co-owners of a business, what may seem like a simple discussion or minor argument unrelated to work might, in fact, spark doubts of job-security among employees.
Bring on Other Employees
When the time is right, and your SMB is growing, bring on staff members that can handle the workload and fill in any knowledge gaps between you and your spouse. It helps to relieve some of the stress when there are other people to help balance the work, which will ultimately alleviate any added pressure on your relationship.
“Hiring more employees allowed us to further create separation of responsibilities between us so we weren’t in direct conflict on things,” said Ian. “Jamie stays on her side of the business, and I stay on mine.”
Jamie added, “We hired our first employee 3 years into owning HelpSpot. She worked remotely and was hired as a support person. It was a great help.”
Be in it Together
At the end of the day, the ultimate benefit of starting a business with your spouse is that you’ve got an incredible partner to share ideas and successes. It only works, though, when you both believe in the company and each other.
“There are definitely going to be rough patches when you’re married and own a business together,” said Ian. “What has helped us get through those times is knowing that we have each other’s back at the end of the day.”
Starting a business with your spouse can be a great benefit because you’ve already proven that you work well together, can make it through good times and bad, and support one another. However, it’s a big undertaking to operate a family and a business, which can add pressure to your relationship. Your best business partner may already be standing next to you, as long as you lay some ground rules.
Stressed or Not? Your Business Chemistry Might Be the Key
In today’s corporate environment, workplace stress seems inevitable – but people can react to pressure differently. Faced with the same trigger, one person may remain cool as a cucumber while another melts down.
A newly released study by the Deloitte Greenhouse Experience asked more than 23,000 professionals about their stress levels at work and found their responses to stressors might have something to do with Business Chemistry®, a system for understanding individual workstyles. Deloitte identifies four Business Chemistry types:
Integrators seek connection and bring teams together.
Drivers seek challenge and generate momentum.
Pioneers seek possibilities and spark energy and imagination.
Guardians seek possibilities and bring order and rigor.
The study found that 28 percent of respondents are often or almost always stressed. The top stress triggers in today’s work environment include workplace errors, a challenging workload with long hours or multiple responsibilities, and moments of conflict.
It also found that Business Chemistry type affects how individuals experience stress at work, with Guardians reporting the most stress, followed by Integrators, Drivers, and Pioneers.
A second study with a sample of more than 17,000 professionals found people also cope with stress differently, depending on their Business Chemistry type:
Action isthe most popular strategy overall, used by 83 percent of respondents and all Business Chemistry types. As the famous saying goes: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
Cognitive strategies, like considering the big picture or thinking through possibilities, are also common. Nearly 90 percent of Pioneers reported using these methods to cope, while less than 70 percent of Guardians did. This pattern was reversed when it came to strategies associated with doing more groundwork, like organizational tasks, or seeking further information. Both kinds of strategies involve stepping back from the stressful situation, but the Guardian approach is more detail-focused while the Pioneer approach takes a broader view.
Interpersonal coping strategies, such as talking to someone about feelings or asking for help are less common overall — reported by just 47 percent of respondents. The more relationship-oriented and team-focused types—Integrators and Pioneers—reported using these strategies more than others.
Overall, Pioneers are the least stressed, and reported using coping strategies more than any other type.
So what does this mean for business leaders who want to help their employees cope with stress? Try to take notice when your experience of a situation seems different from those around you. You may think something is a piece of cake, but others might need some time or space or reassurance to deal with what’s happening.
You may also want to consider how to make space for different styles of coping. Instead of looking skeptical when someone hops out for a quick yoga class or feeling impatient when someone else wants to slow down to outline a clear plan, recognize these as coping strategies and let them manage their stress levels in their own unique ways.
A better understanding of how others cope with stress can have a big impact in making your team more productive and efficient.
THREE STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO UPSKILL AND EMPOWER YOUR CAREER
If you want to move up in an increasingly competitive workforce, you may need to up your skills.
Many employees are beginning to find themselves without opportunities for career advancement – left behind by evolving trends and suddenly placed in “career limbo.” Those without the ability to move ahead in seeking professional development from employers and higher education to update their skills are getting left behind.
And there is a notable disconnect between the skillsets employers expect and the professional development opportunities they actually make available to employees.
I spoke with Ruth Veloria, executive dean for the School of Business at University of Phoenix to for her perspective on the factors driving these skills gaps.
“The biggest issue I hear from employees in the workplace is that they need additional innovative and creative skills in order to enhance their career, especially in IT and business fields,” she said. “Higher education needs to be prepared to arm individuals with the updated skills they need to confidently reinvent themselves and their careers.”
More than a third of employees say they aren’t confident in their employer’s professional development programs. For many, higher education programs can help fill the gap.
“Employees must take control of their careers, think about areas where they want to grow and develop,” Veloria said. “Find bite-sized education – it could be a boot camp in tech skills or a digital marketing course – focus on the skills employers are looking for today to prepare you for your career tomorrow.”
The employee survey was conducted online nationwide by Harris Poll on behalf of University of Phoenix among adults aged 18 and older who work full-time in a company with 10 employees or more. The employer survey was conducted among those who work full-time in HR or senior leadership roles with hiring decision making responsibilities.
As a result of this research, Veloria offers three steps to help employees find opportunities to gain the skills and confidence they need to reinvent their career:
1 – Encourage dialogue
As an employee, you can’t be timid about talking to employers about their upskilling needs; both sides need to communicate what they need from each other. Until the issue is raised, employers may not know that career development is something their employees are interested in or willing to invest time into. Take the initiative to talk to your employer about career development opportunities.
2 – Help create the culture you want to see
Your feedback is essential for your employer and the strength of your company overall. Promote your ideas during regular meetings and encourage your employer to foster an empowering environment where everyone’s voice has a chance to be heard and acted upon.
3 – Explore all the resources available to you
Don’t just accept what’s immediately in front of you, look outside your organization for upskilling and professional development. Higher education and institutions like University of Phoenix provide career-relevant education that help employees and entrepreneurs learn the skills they need to reinvent themselves, advance in their careers or start new careers.
To move ahead in today’s workplace, employees need to push the conversation about skills expectations with their employers. They need to take initiative and talk to their employers and organizations about how to update their skills.
Look to higher education as an option to learn the skills you need to thrive in order to reinvent yourself and your career.
Join Dana Manciagli’sJob Search Master Classright now and immediately access the most comprehensive job search system currently available!
You can’t see them, and they can’t see you. Does that make you afraid of phone interviews? As the cost of travel increases, the pressure for companies to be more efficient and effective during the hiring process also increases. Phone calls are used more and more by hiring companies to recruit, screen, and interview.
What does that mean for you? You need to be prepared to be as amazing on the phone as you are in a face-to-face meeting! Now, how will you sell yourself as the BEST product for the hiring company to buy…over the phone?
Advantages of Phone Interviews
You get to cheat! YES, you should have multiple sheets of paper in front of you – don’t try to navigate on a PC while talking. At the minimum, have:
The job description, complete with any notes or questions you have.
Hard copies of key webpages for the company (About, Divisions, People, Values).
Top interview questions you expect to be asked and your 3 bullet-point answers for each one.
Top questions you want to ask them.
Paper and pen to write down the questions they are asking and to take notes of their comments, insights, and answers. You will need these for the thank you note you will write immediately following the interview!
With all this information at your fingertips you should be able to have great answers and clearly express your interest in the position. Don’t forget to ask to move to the next phase of the interview process!
Disadvantages of Phone Interviews
(Good news: You CAN overcome them!)
You will have a tendency to ramble. No, you will ramble. You are nervous, you want to convey so many points, and you receive no clues on how you are doing.
It’s harder to understand the question. This can happen for a variety of reasons: English as a second language for one or both of you, the interviewer talks quickly, OR the question was just unclear.
You can’t read their non-verbal body language. You don’t know if they are smiling or rolling their eyes. They can’t see your hand motions or make eye contact.
Time will run out and you may not have said all you wanted to say.
Tricks to AceYourPhone Interview
Trick #1: “The Law of Threes:”
Say no more than 3 things and stop talking. Repeat: Say no more than 3 things and SHUT UP. This will not only keep you from rambling, it also gives the interviewer time to think and make notes.
Take a breath. If the interviewer wants more, he or she will ask. If you are concerned it was too brief, then you can ask, “Would you like me to elaborate on any of the points?”
Trick #2: Ask for Clarification:
If you didn’t understand the question, then ask them to repeat it. This is not a sign of weakness and it’s important that you answer the right question. Just try not to do this on every question.
Two ways to ask: “Would you repeat the question please?” or “Would you expand on the question, so I am clear what it is you are looking for?”
Trick #3: Stand Up and Smile!
Unless the interview is a web conference, you can’t see them and they can’t see you, so stand up when you’re on the phone. Your voice will project better and you’ll sound more confident. If you have a headset, use your hands too. Nobody is seeing you, but if it helps you to be in a presentation mode, then do it. I do!
Did you know that smiles come through the phone? Yes, when you say something like, “Ms. Miller, I believe I am the best candidate for your position because I’m _____, ____ and ____,” there is a different tonal inflection when you have a smile. They will hear a more up-beat, positive candidate.
Trick #4: Have the Last Word:
Time will run out. Toward the end, most interviewers will ask if you have any questions. Naturally, you will have prepared some excellent questions based on your research. However, that should not be the end.
If the interviewer then says, “Well, Mr. Jones, thank you very much for your time and we will be in touch,” then you want to add: “Ms. Miller, thank you very for your time. I would like to reinforce that I am passionate about this position and believe I have the skills to be successful in this role. Do you believe I will go to the next step in the hiring process?”
Trick #5: Block Prep and “Travel” Time:
Block 30 minutes before and after the phone interview in your calendar. The most common excuse I hear for being late for a phone interview is, “Sorry, I was on another call.” Well, then you should not have scheduled back-to-back!
Trick #6: Be Ready for Video:
Beware! An invitation to a SKYPE call or a link to a webinar is an indicator that it could be video. Better to be over-prepared and ready to be seen. Simply wear professional attire above the waist and check that your video camera and microphone function properly.
Embrace the future! Phone interviews are here to stay, and you can ace them! Prepare, practice, and perform to earn the opportunity to get a face-to-face interview next!
Join Dana Manciagli’s Job Search Master Class® now and get the most comprehensive job search system available!