This week, I was fortunate to be a guest on Wendy Dailey’s blog! I was an early guest on the HR Social Hour podcast. Jon & Wendy started this podcast a few months ago, and it is well worth the listen if you aren’t already subscribed. Wendy and I met on Twitter several years ago, but we have not yet met in person. We are putting plans in motion to remedy that. Please click the link to view the post and check out Wendy’s other content on her blog! Believe in Yourself #GuestPost – My Dailey Journey
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The picture above was taken for a contest with BarkBox for our monthly subscription. As you can see, Maximus is laser-focused on anything he deems to be resembling food or a squeaky toy. Food/toys give Maximus instant gratification. There is no obstacle that he won’t try to tackle if there is food or a toy on the other side. As a 10 lb, short-legged pup, that’s not always easy, but he makes it happen.
So, I ask you:
Where is Your Focus?
Your focus determines your efforts and your attitude. Are you focusing on the things you can’t control or impact?
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Those that are productive, positive, and are intentional in their focus will make the most of that time. Those that choose to be bystanders in their life will not.
Spending time worrying about things we can’t control is a complete waste of time. If you are doing that as an employee, you are wasting your employer’s resources – YOU. No one wants to waste the company’s resources, right? Right.
Mistakes Distract Us:
If you made a mistake at work, focus on making amends, and move forward. Do not dwell on something you can’t change. Put that effort into restoring trust, repairing relationships, improving processes, etc.
Changes Distract Us:
I was speaking with someone earlier this week about changes going on at work. She has been through some ownership changes, and her role has changed as a result.
“I can’t believe how much things have changed in such a short period of time. I don’t see a future there anymore, and I thought I was going to retire from there.”
My friend allowed herself to grieve the disappointment, and then she moved forward, focusing on her time on where she could make an impact with her team and her internal customers while looking for another job. I have no doubt whatsoever that she will land on her feet, and she is being smart while she deals with her emotions surrounding her disappointment.
Drama Distracts Us:
Don’t allow your focus to be altered by drama. If you find yourself getting sucked in, start asking yourself questions to access the other part of your brain and make sure you have your story straight. Remember that you are not a victim of your emotions. The only person that can control you is you. Don’t get emotionally highjacked.
As you may have previously read, we are on the job seeker journey together. I promised to share some helpful tips, and here is my first one.
Help me help you. The number one rule, when applying via an ATS is to READ THE DESCRIPTION before applying. Seriously. Then, UPDATE YOUR RESUME.
If you have two screens like me, keep your resume on one screen and the posting on the other. If not, snap one window to the right side and use the split-screen. First, however, save a copy of your resume. If you use OneDrive, it has a super fun feature where it will automatically save your progress, i.e., save over your original version. I only had to do this once to do a Save-As the next time.
Okay, back to the magic. With your new resume WIP on one side, and the desired job posting on the other, pay attention to the prioritized responsibilities and skills required. Look at your resume, and move up and/or expand on those skills that seem to be of highest importance in the posting. Also, pay attention to the wording and change yours to match. If your resume states “Recruitment” vs the posting stating “Talent Acquisition,” you’re not going to match. Make sense?
Why does this matter?
There are a few reasons. The number one reason: there may not be an actual human being screening your resume first. You have to get past the scan before you have any hopes of dazzling that hiring manager with your sparkling personality and engaging storytelling, right?
Trust me, seeker to seeker and HR pro to seeker, it makes a difference.
Being in HR for nearly 15 years, I can tell you that I know my strengths and my weaknesses.
Patience is not one of my virtues. However, it is vitally important when you are unemployed. In my prior role, I had a rule with my team that when we had an applicant, we responded to them within 24 hours – even if all we were saying was “I don’t have an answer, yet. I will get back to you.” When someone is unemployed or currently employed and contemplating making a change, every hour counts to them. We didn’t always meet 24 hours – sometimes it was 48 hours or the next business day, and we took advantage of every automation possible to help us be more efficient. A good ATS should help you communicate more effectively with your candidates – not hinder it. That’s a post for another day, though.
Asking for help is another struggle for me. When you have a servant leader mentality, you want to help others – not yourself. My blog is HR Without Ego because I don’t ask for praise or thanks. I take satisfaction from helping others and knowing I made an impact. In the current state of the job market, however, I have learned that it’s okay to not only ask for help but to accept it. I have always built my network based on a pay it forward mentality, and I was very uncomfortable asking anyone to reciprocate. However, that changed thanks to coffee one morning with John Rhoads who I met at the HR Roundtable moderated by the fantastic Steve Browne.
John is a life coach, and trust me, when you think you’re going to retire from your current company, the harsh reality that you’re not is hard to take. He was the first person that I had spoken the words “my last day is next Friday” to at the Roundtable that morning, and I nearly cried saying it. I’m sure I looked like it because he looked at me and said:
“It’s going to be okay. You’re going to be okay.”
I was nervous to meet him for coffee that morning for a multitude of reasons. First, I was embarrassed that I had lost my job. Second, I didn’t want to ask anyone for help. I was in HR, after all, I do this for a living. Shouldn’t I know how this works? Third, I was facing unemployment, so if he was selling something, I wasn’t buying.
I survived the meeting, nerves and all, and I was so glad that I had not talked myself out of going. John had just posted this video that morning, the importance of owning our story. He reminded me that it’s okay to ask for help, and that I’m most valuable helping my next organization, so I need to focus my efforts, own my story, and in the meantime, I will blog about the journey of being “in search” (where did that name come from?) and hopefully help others that are in a similar circumstance.
Today, I sent a message that I wasn’t ready to send. I’m still not ready. I haven’t helped enough. I’m not in a place where I can say “I’ve done all I can do, and now it’s time to help someone else.” I just got started with my amazing team, and I’m not ready to go.
It’s not about my timing, though. This is the best decision for the organization, and so I am saying goodbye to the company I love with all my heart and the people I have grown with and learned from for the last 5 years. It has been my esteemed honor and privilege to serve them. I want to thank them, no matter the position or title, for teaching me about compassion, selflessness, and for the amazing work that they do every day to care for our patients and their families. They truly live their passion, and it has been my esteemed honor and privilege to serve them and watch them grow. I have put my heart and soul into this, and I will be forever grateful to have had the opportunity.
If you have a job that you love, supporting amazing people, doing valuable work, appreciate it a little more today. It is your privilege to support them.
Raise your hand if you have a policy against mistreating company assets, most likely detailed as company equipment.
Raise your hand if you hold people accountable if they mistreat company assets, most notably equipment.
We all say that our people are our more important asset, right? Raise your hand if you hold people equally accountable for mistreating your company’s most important asset: PEOPLE.
I attended a workshop last week where Scott Warrick began the morning with this thought-provoking analogy, likening it to someone kicking the copier at work. The consensus in the room was that the person would be disciplined for damaging company equipment. A lot of money goes into the care and maintenance of equipment. However, we don’t always do the same with managers of our people.
In a past life in my career, I worked in manufacturing. In manufacturing, we allocated considerable expense toward preventative maintenance and training on proper handling of our equipment. It’s an investment we want to protect, right?
Compared to costs of labor, however, it’s a pittance.
When you think about it, combining wages, benefits, recruitment costs, retention initiatives, taxes, travel reimbursement, training, turnover expenses, etc., your costs of labor could be 60% of the budget.
We spend so much on the preventive maintenance and training of proper handling of our equipment, yet we promote individual contributors to management roles and do not ensure the proper training to prevent damage to our most important asset – our people.
It is our responsibility as leaders to hold others accountable for the proper care and handling of our people. It is our responsibility as an organization to ensure that our managers have the proper training to appropriately care for the people we have entrusted to them. We cannot simply take the highest performer in an area and promote them to a manager without providing tools and training. Chances are, in order to be the high performer of that area, considerable time was dedicated to honing their craft – whatever that may be. People inherently want to perform well. When someone goes from individual contributor to manager, we must provide the tools and resources to succeed in that role, and then we must hold them accountable.
Fostering a culture of accountability is not enough, though. We must also make it safe to have those conversations. When left to their own devices, people tend to exhibit the behaviors they have previously observed or been taught. If a manager has been adopted some poor habits, particularly regarding communication with their team, we do that manager a disservice by not addressing it.
We must pay attention to the data, particularly with trends in movement inside and outside the organization. Do you have a department that has high transfers out and turnover? Are you conducting exit interviews prior to departures or transfers? Better yet, are you performing stay interviews to be proactive in retaining your talent? What are you doing with the information? Are you prepared to address the seemingly indispensable toxic producer or are you willing to continue to sacrifice talent to keep them happy?
All of our employees are counting on us to provide a safe work environment – physically and otherwise.
Please train your leaders to handle with care, and please have the courage to address those that don’t.
This will be very short and sweet, but I feel it is vitally important lately…
Why are you say No?
Is it life or death? Illegal? Unethical?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Maybe you are afraid of letting go of control. FYI – if this is you, you already have a reputation for this, and your goal this year should be to change that reputation. You can do it. I have faith.
Having a reputation for having to control everything in your purview shows two things about you:
You don’t trust others.
If you do not share the knowledge, teach others, and share or give control, you are showing people in your actions that you don’t trust them. Why do these people work here if you don’t trust them in their role? If they truly want to grow and learn, and you are the miser of control as well as their manager, they will leave you, I promise you.
You don’t trust yourself.
If you don’t share, cross-train, etc., you are showing others that you don’t trust your own value in the organization that you could possibly do more than simply being the SME on this particular system or department. You know what happens in that case? You are not promotable because there is no one else to do it.
Was that your plan? Probably not.
As a recovering control freak, I can tell you it’s possible. As a leader, you must relinquish control, share, help others learn, and support them.
The next time you receive a request, give it a try. Say yes.