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Employment

It's time to evaluate your company

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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As we pass to the second half of the year, many companies start their annual merit review cycle. It is an opportunity for your leaders to evaluate the corpus of your work and determine how much value you delivered to the company (thus deserving a salary adjustment).

What employees often forget is that they too should use this period as an opportunity to determine if they are doing the right job, in the right company & at the right compensation level.

Read my blog entry The “You” Brand

The 4 power questions

  1. Do you like what you are doing?

  2. Do you like who you are doing it with and where you are doing it?

  3. Does your company offer a path your desired future job?

  4. Are you fairly compensated

As we walk through each of these questions, it is important to remember that there is no "perfect" life partner and there is no "perfect" company. What we are trying to determine is: "Is this company the right one for your at this moment in time".

It is important to evaluate the questions in the order I have presented them.

Do you like what you are doing?

Ask yourself if you (honestly) are excited about the work you are doing. When Friday comes along, do you turn off “work mode” until Monday morning? If you do then you have a job, not a career. It means you are not passionate about your chosen profession and it may be time to figure out “what you want to be when you grow up”.

Do you like who you are doing it with and where you are doing it?

Many leaders would probably break this question down into 2 separate ones (one for people and one for the company) but I believe they work better together.

You may like your job but do you like the people you are doing it with? There is no perfect environment but overall, do you enjoy collaborating and working with most of your co-workers? Are you surrounded by like-minded people who challenge you and respect you? Do the people you work with care as much about you, as you do for them?

In the same vein, do you like working for your company? Do you share the vision, mission and core values of your company? A 2017 MetLife survey found employees (9/10) would rather work for a company that shared their values than one that offered higher pay. The survey also found that employees were willing to take a 21% pay cut to work for that better-aligned company (jumped to 34% for millennials).

This is also the category I include work-life alignment in. Does the ratio of work-life balance the company expects to, align with what you are looking for?

Obviously, every employee’s requirements are different but the importance of this alignment is undeniable.

If you love your job (question 1) and you love who you work with (where), then work doesn’t feel like work. You can enjoy going to work and living your best life.

Does your company offer a path your desired future job?

Not everyone is looking for career advancement but most of you probably are. Does your company offer a supportive, nurturing environment where you can learn and grow? Are executives willing to take a chance with less experienced employees, allowing them to develop? Are executives willing to coach and guide employees to develop their skills in preparation for future promotion? Last, but not least, does the company promote from within or do they hire most leaders from the outside?

Are you fairly compensated

The question about compensation was purposefully left until the end. Every other question we have examined will feed into this one.

The old 1980's corporate mantra was :

"Employees work just enough not to get fired. Employers pay just enough so employees don't quit".

As stupid as this mantra sounds today, some older leaders still espouse this as a "nugget of wisdom" (do the companies values align with yours?).

The modern strategy of salary management dictates that companies must pay enough so employees aren't stressed about money and spend their mental energy on doing what they do best.

The real-world equation is more complicated and is a subjective evaluation of fair pay within the company (often difficult to judge because the information is not readily available), and compare to other organizations offerings for similar roles.

It is easy to understand why a company that compensates you properly, probably also values your skills and expertise properly.

Remember the MetLife survey, where employees were willing to work for less if the company's values aligned with their own? This is also true about the other 3 questions we previously discussed.

If you feel that the company's values don't align with yours and/or that the company doesn't offer career advancement and/or you dislike the people you work with, you may decide to stay but may demand a higher premium for the extra "suffering".

Conclusion

Ultimately this is a deeply personal introspection and one you must do honestly (regardless if you are a new graduate or a seasoned executive).

Your company evaluates you annually to decide if you are worth keeping, you should do the same and decide if the company is worth staying at.

Stop using Self-Assessments in performance reviews

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
Image by  David Davies  used under Creative Commons License

Image by David Davies used under Creative Commons License

Research has shown that people can rarely self-assessment accurately. If the person self-assessing has low self-confidence, than this will be reflected on his/her self assessment. Also there are cultures where self promotion is negatively viewed and this too may lead someone to completing a less than positive self review. Lots of characteristics may impact how one self-assesses: race, gender, beliefs, religion, etc.

On the other side of the coin are individuals raised in competitive environments where self-promotion is not only welcome but encouraged. In these cases an individual may take credit for group work in an attempt to "win points".

If your company forces you to conduct evaluations based on self-rating then it is important you consciously determine your employees tendencies and use that knowledge to erase over/under self-evaluations in an attempt to be fait, objective and manage with integrity.

I have spoken to some organizational researchers and have read hundreds of reports, I can find no objective research that shows that sharing self-assessments before the formal manager-employee review contributes to a better or more accurate evaluation outcome. 

On the contrary, there seems to be research showing that these self-evaluations may actually bias the reviewing manager and that any bias adjustments made (if at all) are inadequate to compensate for the actual gap. 

Knowing this, I believe these self assessments are a historic relic of days gone by and should be completely abolished as an HR practice. What do you think?

Secret techniques to finding your next job

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
Creative Commons Image - Flickr User  Kate Hiscock

Creative Commons Image - Flickr User Kate Hiscock

It seems the web is all the range these days. We use it to shop, learn and play. So when looking for a new opportunity, we naturally turn to it as well. But did you know that 85% of all jobs are filled before being advertised which means most candidates miss great opportunities. The job market isn't as good as it once was but there are fantastic opportunities slipping through your fingers because you may know how to find them.

1 - Identify your target employers

  1. The very first step is to identify the types of companies your would like to work for. Think outside of your comfort zone and do your homework. Prepare a digital list (you will need it later).
  2. The next step is to search industry databases and identify companies within those industries you would like to target. These may be top employers, companies with known flexible working conditions, etc. It is important to include small and medium size business' as these are the drivers of most economies and thus the biggest employers.

2 - Target the right people

  1. Now we have to determine who are the key contacts that can hire you in your target companies. Read articles in newspapers, blog posts, press releases, search LinkedIn, you services like jigsaw.com, leverage your industry contacts. Find at least 1 contact per target company you listed above but preferably 2 or 3 for larger organizations.
  2. Check the corporate websites for possible open positions. Remember that not all candidates perform as expected when hired so there is a lot of value looking at jobs that have been filled 2-3 months ago and add that to your target list (just in case the original candidate didn't meet expectations).
  3. Where possible about sending your CV to the human resources department, unless you are looking for an HR job. Typically HR reps receive hundreds of CVs per job and may improperly skip over your CV because of fatigue or by mistake. When possible, target managers in the business (the people you would actually be working for).
  4. When you have the list of names, its time to get creative and find their contact information. Search the web, ask friends, buy it or use the company operator. Find email addresses, telephone numbers and civic addresses.

3 - Your CV represents you

Your CV is the first impression you are making on the hiring manager so make sure it is the best possible impression you can make.

  1. Each CV should be targeted for the company you are applying for. Change some of the elements to make sure it "speaks to the manager and sells the skills you bring relative to their industry".
  2. Have your CV proof-read to ensure it is well written and error free.
  3. Use a multi-medium approach. Your first contact should be via email (cover letter and CV). Ideally if you can find a fax number, you can also fax your CV in a week or so later. Just make sure you modify your cover letter to identify that your first contact attempt was via email and that you are following up via fax.
  4. A nice way to differentiate yourself is to have your CV professionally printed and bound then mailed via standard letter mail. In the age of email, a physically delivered CV will definitely stand out. Remember that you are running a marketing campaign for your services. Plan your strategy ahead of time and execute to plan.
  5. If your target company participates in local networking events or presentations, take the time to attend. This is a great way to make "friends" that can help connect you with the right person.

Conclusion

It may sound like a lot of work and it really is. Finding a good job is getting harder and you will have to differentiate yourself from the heard. The more effort you put into your self marketing campaign the bigger the reward will be.

Here are some quotes I think you will enjoy:

  • “Fall seven times, stand up eight.” –Japanese proverb

  • “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”–Wayne Gretzky

  • “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” –Benjamin Franklin

  • “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” –Thomas Jefferson

  • “Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.” –Katherine Whitehorn

  • “Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • “Success doesn’t come to you, you go to it.” –Marva Collins

  • “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” –Walt Disney

What should your 2013 raise be?

BusinessEdward KiledjianComment

Most employees over-estimate their value to their company and therefore expect too much of a raise. In 2012, the typical raise was between 1.9 – 2%. Highest performers seem to receive around 4%.

What does this mean? It means you should set realistic raise targets so you’re not disappointed when your boss gives you that raise letter. The best thing you can do is to continually touch base with your boss (over the year) to ensure your evaluation of your performance is in-line with your boss’ evaluation. 

Do more than your boss expects

BusinessEdward KiledjianComment

Many colleagues I have coached overestimate their worth to the company and almost always think they are underpaid. The key message is that your company pays your salary to do your job. You only deserve a raise if you are performing to a higher level than that expected from your boss.

To add value to your boss (and become raise worthy), make your boss’ life easier:

  • Ensure you deliver on all of your commitments on time and to the exact expected quality
  • Keep your boss updates on the items you are working on for him/her
  • Volunteer to take on additional more challenging responsibilities
  • Be attentive to issues experienced by your boss and come up with creative ways to solve them (even if it isn’t your job)

Make yourself indispensable and a raise will usually follow.