The LinkUp Blog The Industry's Best-Kept Secret
Just a few years ago, struggling to find or keep a job was common across the country. Most people were happy to be employed and few were considering quitting to follow a dream or to find greener pastures. Fast-forward to today and folks are singing a vastly different tune.
Now that the economy has improved and unemployment is down, people are seeking better opportunities. Daily headlines tout reasons why you should quit your job or discover your passion. Doing so is a good thing … if you are truly unsatisfied. Unfortunately, what often gets overlooked in the excitement of a possible new opportunity is all the positive things that having tenure at your current job provide you.
In fact, if you think about it, there’s probably a lot of really great reasons NOT to quit your job. Before you make the jump, consider this list of seven compelling reasons you should stay at the job you currently have.
1. You don’t have another job lined up
This is pretty self explanatory, but before you have a bad day and decide on a whim to throw in the towel and give your notice, step back and take a deep breath. It’s best to quit when you don’t have the pressure of needing a new job immediately.
2. There is room for upward growth
If your company provides opportunities to learn and you regularly see hardworking employees promoted to more senior-level positions, consider staying. This means there’s room for you to climb the corporate ladder, and there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to do that at a new job.
3. Your “total rewards” are impressive
A lot of people look for a new job in order to get a higher salary. Remember that compensation is just one piece of your benefits package. If your current company offers amazing benefits, it might be worthwhile to stay. Consider your total rewards, including health insurance, time off, work-life balance, etc. Just because your paycheck may be higher at another company, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting more.
4. You have solid advocates
Relationships take time to build. Starting a new job means everyone is getting to know you, and for some, you might even be competition. If you have great advocates at your current company who will vouch for your work and abilities, it’s a huge asset, particularly if you want a promotion, sizable raise or the chance to spearhead new projects.
5. You believe in your current company
Some people go to a job and feel like complete sell-outs. Others are driven to work hard because they believe in the company’s mission and/or the products produced. If you’re one of them, staying will mean feeling more engaged, fulfilled and connected to your career. This can influence your level of happiness at work and at home.
6. You genuinely like your co-workers and supervisor
A new job can look pretty on paper, but it can be hard to predict what your new co-workers will be like. If you have some amazing relationships with your immediate coworkers and you genuinely like your boss, consider staying. Even a great job can’t trump lazy co-workers or a crabby supervisor.
7. You’re going through a mid-life crisis
Sometimes there are things going on in life that cause us to make rash decisions. If you’re going through the proverbial mid-life crisis, don’t go wild and quit your job. Doing so may be a major mistake you’ll regret in just a few months. It’s best to pause while other things in your life settle before making major career decisions.
A company’s career website isn’t just for facilitating the application process – it’s one of the most important tools businesses can use to lure talent and educate them about the workplace culture and open opportunities. So how effective is your current career website?
From the most minimalist, bare-bones career pages that embrace a utilitarian approach to elaborate multi-tiered portals that offer would-be employees valuable insights, we’ve seen it all. It’s best to focus on quality versus quantity; more content isn’t always better if it is poorly organized, causes confusion or is disruptive to the application process.
For an example of a stellar career portal, check out UnitedHealth Group (careers.unitedhealthgroup.com), which was last year’s winner of our Top Ranked Fortune 500 Career Portals. Even if your company is much smaller or has fewer resources, you can still take cues from some notable features on the site, such as a search button on the career homepage, links to the company career blog and the option to meet with recruiters.
If you think your company’s career website could use a refresh, consider these simple things you can do to start the process of revitalizing the portal and empowering prospective employees:
1. Take the journey yourself
Put yourself in the shoes of a potential applicant and go through the entire education and application process yourself. By going through the steps and looking at it through a different lens, you can discover opportunities for improvement. If you think you might be too biased as a company employee, ask a friend who works externally to go through the process and provide critiques.
2. Add a careers link to the homepage
How do prospective employees find your career website? Is it easily visible from the main homepage or do they have to click multiple times in order to find it? Making it easy to navigate to this section of your site is key to engaging applicants and streamlining the educational process.
3. Convey the company culture
Every hiring manager knows that it’s not just an employee’s credentials that count; the right person will be a good fit for the company culture as well. Use the website to give valuable insight into what the culture is like and what type of person will be a successful employee. Great additions include employee profiles, event photos, day-in-the-life videos and links to social media.
4. Improve job descriptions
Even if you have all the career portal bells and whistles, if your job titles and descriptions are lacking, you’re failing yourself and losing opportunities to attract talent. Good job descriptions should be clear and concise. Skip block paragraphs and use bullets instead. The details should focus on the job itself rather than lengthy company information (which should be located on a separate section of the career site).
For more tips about effective ways to improve your career website to streamline the talent-acquisition process, check out our white paper here about Top Rated Career Websites.
Do you already work for a company with an awesome career site? We are now accepting nominations for the 2015 Top Career Site award! Nominate your company today!
No one likes the stress of wondering each day if it might be your last at work, but even in good economic times businesses can and will lay off employees for a variety of reasons. The best thing is to know the signs and be prepared for the next step in your career. While difficult at first, a layoff might be the reason you find a better job with even better benefits.
Indicators of upcoming layoffs
When large companies plan layoffs, many employees are well aware that they might be on the chopping block in the near future. Other times, a layoff can come out of the blue. To avoid being completely blindsided, here are some key indicators of a potential upcoming layoff:
- Co-workers have already been let go and there has been no communication that it’s an isolated event.
- Co-workers are proactively leaving their positions to find new opportunities out of fear they may not have a job in the future.
- You notice something different about how management communicates about future plans and employee functions.
- Annual raises and bonuses have been eliminated or significantly reduced.
- Employee developmental programs are being discontinued.
- Co-workers are openly discussing their concern for the future of the company and their jobs.
- Online buzz is brewing on message boards like www.thelayoff.com. (Note: Beware of message board information. While some posts may be accurate, many posts are blatantly false, created only to damage a company’s reputation, not to mention cause unnecessary stress for worried employees.)
Knowing the signs of a layoff is a start, but to protect your best interests it’s best to be prepared before the pink slip comes. Here are 10 simple yet highly effective ways to prepare yourself for a layoff so you can survive and thrive in the future:
1. Organize your job search
Job hunting is time consuming, so you should be prepared to hit the ground running by organizing your search now. Update your resume, assess your list of references and decide on a strategy for getting another position. Be sure to leverage LinkUp’s 5-Step Job Search action plan template.
Make networking activities part of your daily routine. Connect with friends, former colleagues, past clients, etc. Join a professional association and start attending meetings. Get your name out there.
3. Update LinkedIn
As part of your networking efforts, make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and active. Don’t forget to upload a fresh head shot, post articles and remain active in conversations.
4. Set up job alerts
Set up parameters on LinkUp to have job alerts sent directly to you. You can start applying for jobs of interest before you even get the notice.
5. Order your finances
Cut back on spending and try to boost your savings as much as possible. It’s smart to live below your means and have a nest egg to fall back on.
6. Use your benefits
Schedule doctor and dentist appointments now and don’t forget about expense reports and reimbursement programs. A layoff means dramatic changes to these benefits.
7. Negotiate severance
If you are offered a severance package, you may be able to negotiate for more money or better terms. Don’t feel pressured to sign anything immediately; simply ask how long you have to review and leverage legal council if necessary before responing.
8. Understand unemployment
Learn about unemployment benefits and how to apply for them in the state where you work. Many unemployment offices let you apply and manage benefits completely online.
9. Gather info
While you never want to take confidential or proprietary information that may get you in trouble, you will want to get necessary information prior to leaving. This could include important contact information only stored on your work computer or samples of work for your professional portfolio.
10. Ask for help
Even if you leave with a great severance package and a recommendation letter in hand, a layoff can be disheartening. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and lean on the support of friends and family so you can stay positive.
Terrorist threats are plentiful around the globe, but when those threats hit close to home, it can be extremely concerning. The recent Al Shabaab threats to shopping centers, including the Mall of America here in the Twin Cities, have many people wondering about the safety of shoppers, as well as the thousands of employees who work in the retail center every day.
Sure, if you work in the military, intelligence community or at another high-risk job, it’s expected that you’ll face threats in your line of work. But for people who work at the various shops at the mall, it’s not likely what they signed up for when they started the job.
In reality, risks are widespread. “Truck drivers can get hijacked or involved in fatal accidents, armed robberies happen at warehouses, and hospitality workers often come across crime scenes when they clean rooms,” says Liz D’Aloia, founder of HR Virtuoso. “Employers should be aware of risks to their employees and mitigate them.”
It’s important for every employer to be proactive in keeping employees safe, and being prepared for the unexpected demonstrates you truly care. Be sure to provide an action plan to reference if something does occur, because in a crisis there is little time to think and quick action can make a big difference. Here are some things to consider:
Establish plans and procedures
The first step is to create plans. This includes evacuation routes, processes for involving the police, and the development of an emergency contact list. Depending on the threat, there may be different procedures to follow, so multiple plans will likely be needed. After all, an employee’s response to a fire will be different from his response to a robbery or bombing.
Make sure employees know what’s expected
When employees are armed with the right information, they will be able to act appropriately in an emergency. “HR needs to be working closely with regional, store managers and security to ensure that employees understand what they should do in the event of an actual attack, as well as what the company’s expectations are,” says Janine Truitt of Talent Think Innovations.
Train employees on what is considered suspicious activity
It can be difficult to know what is considered normal or abnormal activity. To make matters more confusing, this can also change depending on what industry they work in. Give employees clear examples of what should put them on alert and what they should do about it (call manager, law enforcement, security, etc.) The National Terror Alert website has guidance for getting started.
Keep open lines of communication with employees and be flexible
Encourage employees to voice any concerns they have and be open to their requests to work from home or take a leave of absence. “I suggest that employers should be sensitive to any ethnic, racial, religious, gender and other issues that might arise with terrorist threats. Consequently, leaves of absences could be one way to accommodate employee requests for time off due to threats,” says Charles Krugel, a human resources attorney and counselor.
Act quickly at the time of the incident
The more quickly a company can act to address threats and help employees, the better. “Immediately deploy HR staff along with counselors from the Employee Assistance Program. If the employer doesn’t have an EAP program, they can hire local therapists to assist,” says D’Aloia. “If an employee is traumatized by the event and is seeking medical care, the employee may be eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.”
Update insurance policies
Make sure your business is protected by having the correct policies in place to cover high-level threats. One option is terrorism risk insurance. Furthermore, insurance companies can often provide quality resources for developing proper plans and procedures to ensure both the business and employees are prepared no matter what.
Last week’s post on open offices generated a lot of strong opinions in the comments on LinkedIn. I’m humbled by all of the “likes” and excited about the quality discussion on both sides of the debate. From people discussing building acoustics to offering their own advice on open-office courtesy and etiquette, everyone shared their two cents and no one held back! Thanks!
Some people felt our tips for staying productive were simply mechanisms to take people out of the open-office structure, which was a really interesting argument. For example, we recommended people wear headphones, which means they are temporarily unavailable to the conversation and collaboration the open-office environment is supposed to stimulate. That’s a fair observation, but I’d argue wearing headphones is a concentration tactic that people in cubicles and even closed offices employ; thus not relegated only to open offices.
Another interesting point brought up was that while many businesses use an open-office design for the majority of employees, executives do not participate and instead receive closed-office privileges. That certainly could be true, but it could also be an issue of privacy at those businesses where executives are regularly conducting confidential calls or in-person client meetings. Nonetheless, I’m proud that this is not the case at LinkUp. My work space is in the open office along with the majority of our executives, and I personally really enjoy it!
Seeing how passionate readers are about this topic, we decided to poll LinkUp employees to see how they really feel about working in an open office. Was all the positivity simply for show? Do they all secretly despise it? We conducted a brief anonymous survey to uncover the truth, and the results are fascinating:
1. The majority of people do enjoy the open-office setting: Only 17 percent of employees at LinkUp dislike our open office, 22 percent are indifferent and 61 percent stated they like or love it.
2. Our office is split between introverts and extroverts: 33 percent of employees consider themselves introverts, 39 percent label themselves extraverts and 28 percent say it depends on the day.
3. What people like best is the buzz and energy, ease of collaboration and the sense of community.
4. Our employees’ biggest challenges are distractions and issues concentrating. Lack of privacy is also a concern.
5. Tips from our employees for people in open offices include: invest in nice headphones, be respectful to those around you with your conversations and noise, and have reasonable expectations (you will be interrupted, people will see your screen, etc.).
Whether a company should employ an open-office design will depend on a number of variables. Some businesses are more fitting than others just by the nature of the work conducted. For example, when client privacy is required or confidential meetings are frequent, an open office may not be the best choice. Culture and personality are big considerations as well, as some people are more or less likely to be successful in an open-office environment. Before implementation, leaders must consider if their employees would be able to operate and meet expectations in that type of setting.