#TBT…E-Mail Communication…It Works!

Sarabeth Varriano & Rex Wade, University of West Florida Career Services

Higher Education institutions are under the microscope to demonstrate students’ return on investment for their  attained degrees. Included in that assessment is student success in realizing their career goals. Career Services offices rightfully focus on career education and job search strategies and preparations with their constituent students. The authors of this monograph rightfully remind us of the importance of strategic employer development that results in meaningful partnerships, sponsorships, and effective talent recruitment.

A helpful review of employer relations history and evolution over the past several decades provides a context for developing a comprehensive and effective employer development strategies that aligns with an ever changing world of work and economy that is in flux. A thoughtful treatment is provided for approaches, programs, marketing strategies, event coordination, fundraising, technological support, and program assessment no matter what the number of staff or size of the institution.

In just a few pages, the authors provide not just a approach to employer relations but practical examples that include sample job descriptions, event checklists, report charts, staff performance review forms, employer evaluation examples, miscellaneous printed and electronic ads, and much more that are a part of an information packed Appendix.

The authors stress the importance of having a dynamic program with a final chapter that provides insight into future employment relations issues and trends including topics such as accountability, internships, distance learning, recruiting trends and social media.

This monograph is a must for any new Career Services professional. As a veteran of over 20 years of Career Services experience, I also found it thought provoking and inspiring for new ideas, approaches, and strategies. As I add this book to my library, I am confident that I will often refer to it’s practical resources while developing and assessing an effective employer relations program.

We are looking forward to growing this communication process and are excited to explore new ways to measure its success.

ace

 

#TBT…Email Etiquette: The Art of Writing in the 21st Century

Jairo R. Ledesma, Florida International University

For centuries the art of writing a letter was just that: an art.  Writing was reserved for scribes, whose job it was to draft carefully edited letters and books that would be read by the elite. Over time, with the advent of technology the scribe was replaced and the production of books and letters was accessible to many. That was a good thing I guess. The drawback, we could surmise, has been that we no longer pay attention to detail and the power that the written word has. Take for example the manner in which we communicate today. Electronic mail, or email, is perhaps the number one way we communicate (I do believe this is changing, and how you communicate has to do with the age bracket you fall under) and it is perhaps the only way we have to get our point across in great detail, since the days of actually writing a letter by hand are all but gone.

Email in its purest form is a representation of who we are. It allows the reader to infer our character, mood and overall mental well being. IF I WRITE TO YOU IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, you will assume that I am either very angry at you or that I simply forgot to let go of the Caps Lock button. if i rite to u like this, u may think that i am younger and hip, or maybe you will think I am your friend or something. Or if I write to you like one my students did recently “Yo Ledesma,  I uploaded my resume go ahead and approve it because I needed ASAP” you may think I was a bit rude.

So, where have all the etiquette and manners gone? Over the course of my almost 13 years in higher education, I have noticed that etiquette as it pertains to writing has diminished and seems to be spiraling downwards. Gone are the days of paying attention to detail, to the tone and to our audience.

The internet/information revolution perhaps has made us go a bit faster than we were previously accustomed to. In our haste to keep up, perhaps we have neglected the details, or is it that in our early educational experience, the emphasis on writing and grammar has shifted? Could it be perhaps that these deficiencies were always there, but is it only now when the written word is more important than ever, that we notice this? Whatever the case may be I find myself having an internal battle of whether or not I should take the time to “school” a student on proper email etiquette. I think about whether the student will actually take into consideration what I just wrote to them. I contemplate whether I now will get into a back and forth with a student who may take offense to a “teaching moment.” In the end, the educator in me always wins out. In my line of work, every moment is a teaching moment, an opportunity to share information and/or an opportunity to make students reflect and think.

Alas, there is hope; I think, I hope. Just browsing the Linkedin website, I come across hundreds of professionals who profess knowledge of email decorum. A quick Google search finds a plethora of articles on the subject. But in the end, I am convinced that it will be the educator in all of us to let our students, our future professionals, know how important communication is and how vital email etiquette is to their professional development and future. I usually do my best in the most polite fashion to let the   student know first what the mistakes were, and then next how it can be done better. More importantly, I let them know why it matters so much that they get this figured out before they reach the professional world. I sometimes provide links to articles (such as this one from inc.com) so that students do not just hear it from me. Lastly, remember that as Career Services professionals, if we don’t take the time then someone else may.  BECAUSE if u dont…some1 will,  butt it May be 2 LATE!!!!!!!

#TBT…Employee-Crafted Goals Pay Off

Robert Liddell, Saint Leo University

Goal setting and performance management are often cited as supervisors’ least preferred responsibilities. Cascading performance goals down through a large division or organization is a complex undertaking.

Coordinating everyone’s goals around activities that contribute to productivity requires communication, planning, rewards and support.

To create strategic alignment among the organization’s direction, the manager’s performance expectations and an employee’s annual objectives, consider having employees design their own goals. This practice provides rewarding opportunities for employees to assume responsibility for their contributions and development.

In some cases, it makes sense to assign an annual objective to the individuals or small groups most capable of delivering the desired work product. However, companies in which employees have a say in how they make contributions benefit from increased job satisfaction and reduced turnover.

Prepare.

Employees who are aware of top-level objectives and how their department supports those objectives are better prepared for this process. As manager, your first step is to review top-level objectives and understand how your team’s goals contribute. Then, consider what goals need to be delegated.

Next, clarify employees’ key responsibilities and begin to anticipate the goals you might expect them to achieve. Having already set your annual goals and ensured that they fit into the company’s direction, ask employees to do the same.

Prior to a goal-setting meeting with a subordinate, share relevant information and clarify expectations. Define the resources required. As your direct reports draft performance goals, have them include at least one measure for each goal to specify the results expected or the level of performance required.

Review.

Emphasize that employees are writing their goals, but, as their manager, you are responsible for ensuring the relevance of their tasks and how they fit into the organization’s plans.

At a minimum, employees’ goals should represent key responsibilities of their positions. Consider if it is appropriate to delegate a specific goal or pieces of the goal to another employee. Break large goals into smaller components.

Stretch goals should advance your goals and those of the organization. As a manager, you must oversee the efforts of others to produce these results. If their tasks don’t fit into your tasks, you will be wasting effort. Question whether such tasks need to be reassigned to another department or discarded.

Align.

After reviewing the drafts, meet again with each employee to agree on final goals. Those who are part of the goal-setting process are able to articulate how their work directly contributes to annual goals.

As their manager, you will see ultimate rewards such as higher job satisfaction and employee engagement. Managers who consistently achieve this alignment and engagement are often given the opportunity to contribute to strategic initiatives and, perhaps, be rewarded with a promotion and career advancement.

This article was published on July 1, 2013 in HR Magazine and has been reprinted with permission from the author.  

 

 

#TBT…How to Integrate Millennials into a Multi-Generational Workforce

by Jacqueline Brito, Director, Full-Time MBA Program and Career Management, Rollins College

A recent poll by the Society for Human Resource Management asked 400 people, “To what extent is intergenerational conflict an issue in your workplace?” A staggering 72 percent responded either “to a large degree,” “to some degree” or “to a slight degree.”In today’s workplace, where there can be as many as four generations working together, the reality is that managing a multi-generational workforce does pose challenges. A lack of understanding regarding generational differences can create conflict within working relationships, lower productivity and increase turnover. More seasoned staff can become frustrated by a seemingly aloof and entitled younger generation. Younger staff can become disenfranchised by entrenched hierarchal structures that have been encouraged or embraced by senior staff.

Generations can be defined as a group of individuals of the same approximate age who share similar ideas, problems and attitudes. Each generation’s attitudes are influenced by childhood experiences. Whether they grew up during wartime or relative peace, in times of economic growth or uncertainty, or during periods of profound social change such as the civil rights era or the Internet age — all of these factors help define a generation’s characteristics. It is my experience that while each generation has certain characteristics that help describe it, there are no absolutes.

The first key in integrating generations is to understand what makes each “tick.” Some may call this stereotyping, as it involves making assumptions about the generations. But I believe, in this case, generalizing can be more helpful than assuming everyone brings the same perspective to the workplace.

It’s easy and even natural to assume all employees want the same things, but each generation has its own unique way of viewing the world, from how it defines success to how it judges other generations. Better understanding of each generation can help us prepare employees for effective multi-generational environments.

The key to thriving within this blended workforce is taking the time to better understand the differing needs and motivations of the other generations. With a little education and understanding, these differences can actually lead to increased creativity and productivity.

According to the World Health Organization, men and women who are healthy at 60 will be physically capable of working until they are 74 and 77, respectively. Going by these statistics, the newest employees entering the workforce might not be joining just their parents or grandparents; they might be joining their great-grandparents.

While there is no standard definition of where generational divisions occur, and some people may share characteristics of two generations, for the sake of this article I’ll break down the basic generational groups into the following:

  • Traditionalists (born before 1946)
  • Baby Boomers (1946 – 1965)
  • Generation X (1966 – 1980)
  • Millennials (1981 – 2000)

TRADITIONALISTS

The traditionalists are 66 years or older and, while many have retired, there are still those who hold positions ranging from entry-level part-time to upper-management roles in which understanding the younger generations can be very useful. The perception is that this generation views work as an obligation; they respect authority, take rational approaches, and are self-driven to produce quality work.

Workers from this generation grew up in the wake of a worldwide economic depression. World War II was a defining event in their early lives. Their formative era was marked by a strong sense of commitment to families, soldiers, country and community. Members of the traditionalist generation tend to be conservative in dress and language. They see work as a privilege, whether it means bagging groceries at the local supermarket or managing multimillion dollar projects. Their strong work ethic, discipline, stability and experience can make them invaluable employees.

Traditionalists tend to be motivated when managers connect their actions to the overall good of the organization. They value tangible symbols of loyalty, commitment and service such as plaques and certificates. This group prefers formality in communication (e.g.memos, letters, personal notes) and does not view email or text messaging as favorably as subsequent generations.

BABY BOOMERS

Baby Boomers (or “Boomers”) range between the approximate ages of 46 and 65. The older members are beginning to retire from the labor force, but are healthier and expected to live longer than any generation before them. They will continue to make up a significant portion of the workforce until well beyond the traditional retirement age of 65. This generation holds most of the senior-level management roles and is often stereotyped as extremely focused on work. Boomers possess a strong work ethic and have mostly worked in an environment with expanding opportunities. This group is also referred to as the Sandwich Generation because they often have to care for aging parents along with their own children.

Raised in the post-World War II era by parents who had lived through global depression and world war, Boomers were taught that life would be better for the next—and largest ever—generation. This belief was so pervasive that Time magazine awarded its 1967 “Man of the Year”title to the Boomer generation.

The first generation ever to be graded on their report cards for “works well with others” and “shares materials with classmates,” Boomers learned to be good members of a team.

When the Boomers arrived on the job, they were committed to making a difference. They insisted on having a voice, being involved in decisions and influencing the direction of their organizations. They chose the workplace as a vehicle for proving their worth; as a result, they have tended to work evenings and weekends, always going the extra mile. With their strong team orientation, they have been the primary force behind such practices as participative management, employee involvement and team building.

Baby Boomers tend to be motivated by personal appreciation, promotion and recognition. Like Traditionalists, they put less value on email, text messaging and social media for communications, preferring phone calls and personal interaction.  For example imagine this situation, a Millennial student intern sharing a workspace with a Boomer staff member, decides to use email as his preferred method to ask a question.  The senior employee is likely to turn  around and ask, “Why couldn’t you just talk to me since I am sitting right next to you?!”

GENERATION X

Generation X employees range from age 31 to 45. The oldest members may be moving into senior-level management roles, while the younger workers are approaching mid-career supervisory roles. Many members of Generation X embrace technology, diversity and entrepreneurship.

On the job, Generation Xers tend to be self-reliant. They enjoy achieving measurable results and streamlining systems and processes. Currently in their prime, they seek out and stay with flexible, results-driven organizations that adapt to their preferences. Rollins MBA students and alumni from this generation who I career-coach tend to have somewhat of a skeptical employment outlook, while at the same time seeking organizations that promote a healthy work-life balance.  I try to help them understand what Jack Welch once told an auditorium filled with hundreds of human resources professionals, “There is no work-life balance– only work-life choices.  And you make them, and they have consequences.”

Generation Xers have a reputation for getting the job done on their own schedules, rather than exhibiting the kind of employer loyalty exhibited by their parents.  They are motivated by benefits such as free time, upgraded resources, development opportunities and certifications to add to their resumes. This generation was the first to adopt email as itsprimary communication tool, yet it lags behind the Millennials in embracing the latest technologies for business communication.

MILLENNIALS

Millennials are between the ages of 11 and 30. By 2015, this group will overtake the Boomers as the largest group in the workforce, eclipsing Generation X. This generation is known for being optimistic and goal-oriented, enjoying collaboration, and their penchant for multitasking. Millennials are comfortable embracing emerging technologies and value what they see as meaningful work.

Millennials see the world as global, connected and 24/7. They grew up with a much more casual exposure to multiculturalism than any previous generation. For instance, if you ask a Millennial to define the word “diversity,” the answer you receive will likely have nothing to do with race.

Members of the Millennial generation tend to be goal-oriented. Many were required to volunteer in order to graduate from high school, and they exhibit high levels of social concern and responsibility. They arrive on the job with higher expectations than any previous generation and, with the click of a mouse, they can notify thousands of their cohorts about a company that falls short of their ideals. Companies with a one-size-fits-all strategy for attracting and retaining employees may have a very difficult time in the worldwide competition for critical Millennial talent.

ADDING MILLENNIALS TO THE MIX

With anestimated population as high as 70 million, Millennials are the fastest growing segment of today’s workforce. Millennials are smart, creative, optimistic, achievement-oriented and tech-savvy. They seek supervisors and mentors who are highly engaged in their professional development.

According to a 2010 Millennial Inc. survey conducted by marketing firm Mr. Youth and market research firm Intrepid, 75 percent of Millennials employed in the U.S. and U.K. have profiles on social networking sites. I help contribute to that number because I encourage all of our Rollins College Early Advantage MBA students to create LinkedIn profiles as part of their internship and job search strategy.  Furthermore, 54 percent prefer to make decisions by consensus, and that number shoots to 70 percent when they are among peers. Growing up “connected” has made Millennials excellent multi-taskers who prefer e-mail and text messaging over face-to-face interaction.

Having paid their dues, the two older generations desire respect from Generation X and Millennials.  However, the two younger generations believe that respect is earned by making a strong contribution, not by the passage of time. Millennials may believe that Baby Boomers are too rigid and tied to antiquated corporate rules, andargue that such rigidity stymies innovation. They may also feel that workers in the older generations have been too slow to adopt social media and other tools, and that they place too much value on tenure rather than knowledge and performance. All are valid points since perception is reality.

TIPS FOR MANAGING MILLENNIALS

When working with or supervising Millennials, you must focus on performance and consistently provide constructive feedback, praise, recognition and rewards (they are used to receiving trophies—even if they didn’t compete). Managers must impose stability and cultivate a team-oriented environment with immediate feedback and praise —the key to motivating and reassuring this generation. It’s important to know that they prefer regular, real-time check-ins to a formal annual review process.

Millennials want regular communication, no matter how it’s delivered. Robert Half International and Yahoo! HotJobs polled more than 1,000 Millennials and found that over 60 percent wanted to hear from managers at least once a day. They view inflexible work hours as outdated and unproductive, but look to their managers to help them balance work and other commitments.

When communicating with Millennials, be positive and tie the message to their personal goals or the goals of the team. Given their outlook, it’s best to avoid cynicism and sarcasm.

Millennials want increased responsibility, but need coaching on time management. They are committed to the company “long term,” which they define as one to two years. To keep up with the Millennials’ need for increased responsibility, consider increasing the number of rungs on the ladder or having the ladder go sideways, even if the promotions or lateral movements don’t come with salary increases.  This is a generation of individuals ambitious and creative enough to go out and become entrepreneurs if they are unable to find challenging, meaningful work in someone else’s company.

Taking the time to engage in a dialogue with employees about generational differences and perspectives will provide huge benefits in terms of productivity and retention, especially as the ranks continue to expand and people of all ages find themselves working together for one company and one goal.

Making the Most of Your First FloridaACE Conference Experience

Alicia Smyth, FloridaACE Information Management Director

I can remember my very first FloridaACE (known back then as FCPA) conference like it was yesterday. The year was 2000. We were in Key West, and there was no such thing as social media. To network, you had to actually talk to people! As a new professional and introvert, I felt disengaged and disconnected because everyone already seemed to know each other.

Over the years, I started to get more involved. I dipped a toe in by serving as a room host for a few years. I got to know more FloridaACE professionals by getting involved with the Colleges of Central Florida Career Consortium. Eventually, I chaired the conference evaluation committee. 10 years later, I joined the board. Year after year, I got to know more and more FloridaACE professionals and today, going to the annual conference feels like coming home to me. I regret not getting involved with FloridaACE sooner because many of my FloridaACE colleagues have become close friends and confidants.

I share my story as a cautionary tale. The new member experience today is a completely different one, thanks to FloridaACE online system advancements and social media (ideal for introverts and extroverts alike), along with some great ways for new members to network and engage at the conference.

Here are some tips and ideas for ensuring your first FloridaACE conference experience is a productive and fun one:

  • Follow and engage FloridaACE on social media! We are on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Twitter gets especially fun during the conference.
  • Tweet and/or Instagram before, during and after the conference using #FloridaACE15
  • Log in to your FloridaACE account and start connecting with members by visiting the online social community (can only access if logged in). Update your profile, add a picture, and start connecting with members!
  • See who’s attending the conference before you go (must be logged in to view)
  • Join a conference committee
  • Set several goals or intentions for your conference experience – what do you want to get out of your time in St. Augustine?
  • Attend the New Member Orientation at the conference – this is crucial!
  • Get to know at least one seasoned member who can introduce you to people – our amazing Board is a great place to start! Connect with members through social media and the online social community before, during and after the conference.
  • Bring business cards – they will come in handy
  • Be engaged during the conference – attend the events, don’t be afraid to ask questions during and after sessions, and make it a point to introduce yourself every chance you get
  • Try to distance yourself from the office if possible. You can’t learn anything new if you are busy checking emails during sessions. Your work will be waiting for you when you get back, I promise!
  • If possible, stay at the hotel where the conference is being held
  • Share what you learned with your colleagues back in the office
  • Continue to interact with FloridaACE members long after the conference is over through social media, email, consortia, and professional conferences

If you are an introvert or just shy, think of this as a professional development opportunity. I cannot tell you how wonderful my FloridaACE experience has been since I became actively involved. It is empowering to get to know people in your profession who do what you do and share your passion for helping (or hiring) students. Regardless of where you stand on the Myers-Briggs, you will leave the conference with a renewed sense of purpose, ready to celebrate the triumphs and tackle the challenges that come your way in the semesters to come. And next year, you’ll be the seasoned member who helps show new members the ropes!

Articles Worth Reading:
10 Ways to Make the Most Out of a Conference (The Muse)
12 Ways to Get the Most Out of Attending a Conference (U.S. News & World Report)
Conference Attendees: How to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck (HubSpot Blogs)

#TBT…Creative Ways to Access Professional Development Opportunities

by Ommy Pearson, Assistant Director of Career Development Services, Lake-Sumter Community College

As Career Services professionals we already know the importance of staying up-to-date on industry trends and best practices as well as connected to our network. However, during these difficult economic times when many of us are struggling to secure professional development funds, how can we ensure that we keep growing as professionals? By accessing free professional development resources! Most of us are already very familiar with LinkedIn and the important role it plays in helping us create a professional online presence and connect with professionals. However, many are missing out on the invaluable information that can be accessed by joining LinkedIn Groups. By joining a variety of career services-related groups, you can access best practices, seek out ideas or feedback and even learn about relevant webinars (many of them free!). LinkedIn Groups are a fantastic way to stay on top of today’s hottest career services trends and issues. If you haven’t already, be sure to join some of the popular Career Services Groups on LinkedIn (see list below).

In addition to LinkedIn Groups, there are additional resources that offer free career services webinars. Some of these are intended for Career Services professionals and others are targeted at students and alumni job seekers. So in addition to professional development, you may find some neat programming offerings for your campus. Due note, however, that in order to access some of these webinars you may be asked to create a free account on the host’s website.

Popular Career Services LinkedIn Groups:

Sites Offering Free Job Seeker Webinars:

Sites Offering Free Career Services Webinars:

Remember that…“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.” ― Abigail Adams

 

2015 Annual Conference Closing Keynote Announced!

We are excited to share that our closing keynote speaker for our conference will be motivational speaker and author, Fawn Germer.  She has traveled the world to speak to organizations including but not limited to Coca-Cola, Ford Motor Co., Cisco, Novartis, NASA, Boeing, and Motorola.  She also spent some time as a journalist covering higher education so she will be a special treat to have address our conference attendees.

Please read Fawn’s bio below to learn more about her.fcpa

Fawn Germer will reach inside of you and pull out your best self by showing you how to get beyond the self-limiting behaviors that hold so many of us back. She once had a boss tell her that she’d never be more than she was at the time — a reporter — and she sure showed him. Fawn is a four-time, Pulitzer-nominated investigative journalist and the author of seven books including the Oprah pick Hard Won Wisdom.

Fawn interviewed more than 300 of the most accomplished leaders of our times, including everyone from Hillary Clinton to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. She has talked to Olympic athletes, CEOs, prime ministers, presidents, Academy Award winners and many other trailblazers who shared with her the secrets of true success.

From them, she learned that success is born in risk, and power comes from the self-awareness that disables doubt and self-esteem issues.

Her first book was rejected by every major publisher in the United States, but Fawn persevered until it was a bestseller. She wrote 29 letters to Oprah and something broke through, with Oprah holding up Hard Won Wisdom and telling the world how “Very inspiring” Fawn’s work was.

Her newest book, Work-Life Reset, shows how to refocus and re-balance to live a more fulfilling and productive life.

She travels the globe with her message of viability, performance and power. In recent months, she keynoted for Cisco, Pfizer, Hallmark, Deloitte, Kimberly Clark, Xerox, Bayer, AIG, the Network of Executive Women, Harvard, the UCLA Anderson School of Business, the Wharton School of Business and many others.

Fawn is an avid kayaker, cyclist and adventurer who lives in Dunedin, FL with her dog and a few cats who showed up on her porch knowing she is a sucker for a stray.