Workplace 2020 – The Year of the “Hybrid” Working Environment

Career & WorkplaceWork/Family Balance

While many Americans started 2020 commuting to their jobs, the onset of a global pandemic quickly showed just as many that their jobs can be done from remote locations. As “stay-at-home” orders shut down state after state, extending a short-term change in the workplace environment from on-site to virtual, a lot of companies have realized that there may be some benefits to not having their employees return to the corporate office full-time. As the new “hybrid” working environment is making itself more popular, it’s very clear that there is an adjustment period for the company, the employees, and their families.

“Working from home” has long been a term associated with parents who want to stay home with their kids and make a little side money.  However, this virtual working concept was already gaining popularity in the past few years as technology applications were created to help companies connect across the global, cutting down on travel, and ultimately costs. While workplaces were starting to see the benefits of having their workers move to a remote environment, most were not prepared to have to do so immediately in 2020-and it has been a rough adjustment for many. Now that states are opening back up, some organizations are starting a “hybrid” workplace concept, meaning they are having their employees work from home, and at the office.

We have talked to some of our colleagues and corporate clients about the ups and downs of switching to a remote/hybrid working environment, and asked them to share their personal insight as to how to navigate the obstacles and challenges, as well as the perks of having a home office for the first time.  Here are some of their tips to help make your new “workplace” as productive and normal as your former office was.

  • Establish your workspace in your home. Try to find a room separate from living, dining, or sleeping spaces so that you truly feel like you are in an office setting. Make sure your modem and router are both up to speed and that your wireless connection is strong enough for your occupational needs in your new office space. If you are lucky enough to have a door to your workspace, make sure your family members or roommates know that when the door is shut, you are not to be disturbed.
  • Know your virtual communication applications. What programs will your company be using for team meetings and communications? Zoom? Webex? Find out what you will be using the most for teleconferencing and give yourself a quick tutorial so you don’t miss out on important information and events.
  • Stay organized. If you are an employee that is having to learn the “hybrid” concept for the first time, organization will be key. Find a way to keep important files and notes electronically in a shared drive or database so that you are not constantly moving piles of papers to and from your work environments. Have everything on your laptop ready to go so that wherever you have to be logistically, you still have access to everything you need for meetings.
  • Create a schedule. There will be times when you are going to be required to be in the office for in-person meetings. Work with your supervisors and colleagues to find common days and times to be in the office, when necessary.  As the whole purpose of social distancing is to limit contact, be sure that you are only including the people who absolutely need to be sitting in the conference room and any others can be brought in from their remote locations.
  • Plan for changes in your salary/benefits. If a car allowance is part of your monthly income, you need to be prepared that the amount you’re currently getting may be reduced or eliminated altogether. I mean, you’re not driving to work full-time anymore, so why should the company be compensating for you to do so? As our economy has taken a huge hit due to the global pandemic, more and more companies will be doing anything they can to cut costs to make up for their financial losses. Headcount and benefits are usually the top costs in many organizations, so these will be the first areas to see cuts.
  • Be prepared for the future. If your company doesn’t need you to come into the office on a full-time, they may also realize that they don’t need you to work full-time anymore. Then, eventually you may not even be needed part-time. Meaning…you just got laid off…permanently. Start planning now for a potential job change..today. Reduce your spending and find ways to stockpile some cash, should you find yourself unemployed. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile so you are ready to hit the ground running if you need to start looking for a new job. Network amongst your peer group, family members, and colleagues to see what is out there in your industry and beyond. While some companies are going under, there are just as many thriving and adding to their workforce.

As we continue to try to live and work during these “uncertain times” caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, being prepared for the unknown will be key to surviving. The new “hybrid” work environment concept that has been a direct result of what’s going on in the world will be a win for some and a huge loss for others. Hopefully these tips will help to ensure that you are one of the “winners” in 2020.

 

Leadership Tools for Executives Seeking New Opportunities

Career & Workplace

 

Taking on a new leadership opportunity can come with undue stress surrounding the demands and qualifications of the role. Familiarizing yourself with the common tools executives use to operate at their full potential can make a major difference in your confidence entering the new position. Use the strategies listed below to give yourself a head start on your new career step and get you ready to be the best leader you can be!

 Strategic Thinking and Decision-Making

Every individual has a different skill set and expertise that makes them fit-to-hire within given leadership roles. Leadership responsibilities can be some of the most demanding, and can require the right kind of professional characteristics and skills to reap beneficial results. It calls for prompt and accurate decision-making and strategic thinking to devise the right solutions for issues that may arise internally and externally, as well as the ability to be innovative and find creative solutions to complex problems. Supporting innovation amongst employees and team members is also crucial to gain a wide set of perspectives and expertise, and resolve issues that depend on broader or more focused thinking.

Strategic thinking is another attribute that allows for the design of forecasting and prevention methods that combat possible challenges. It can be used by leaders to address internal team changes, concerns, advancement opportunities, and to instill proper conflict management and resolution strategies. Strategic thinking also applies to external factors by helping to monitor competitors entering the market and determining the best course of action internally to address new demands and differentiating factors. This can lead to more forward-thinking production planning to remain relevant and on top of changing trends to be a market leader.

To determine whether or not you are a strategic thinker, review these qualifying characteristics:

  • Strategic leaders do not try to fit the mold. They think outside the box, even if it is unpopular to do so, to take calculated risks.
  • They learn from their experiences to implement tried and true improvements and prevention methods that could yield better results.
  • They push themselves and their teams to accept new challenges. They believe in their team, having full confidence that their efforts will lead them to success.
  • They keep a positive attitude, seek opportunities, and seize them. They do not let fear of failure dictate their actions, but instead, push past comfort zones to seek better results.
  • Strategic thinking leaders are forward-thinking influencers. They influence decision-making and set a purpose-driven example by driving team members to trust the process, and believe in what their leaders are striving toward.

 Management Strategies and Tools

Technology is making waves in modern business, demanding new leaders to familiarize themselves with the right tools that get the job done. The main role of tech-based tools in leadership is to keep projects and strategies organized and easily accessible. They also provide data collection to further streamline leadership decision-making and forecast future trends that could impact the internal operations.

Managing financials is one of the major responsibilities bestowed upon leaders, so having the right organizational tools to manage financial information is key to accurate project planning, payroll, and budgeting. Management tools like ERP systems include modules that cover all major aspects of financial management. Familiarize yourself with these tools taking the business world by storm to bring in a fresh perspective on ways to properly utilize its features to improve operational productivity, better outline future project plans and forecast possible budget constraints.  CRM software can also be used for external operations to ensure that all client relationships stay organized and production meets their demands to remain competitive in your company’s given market.

Managing tools do not always consist of tech-based software, but can focus on team building strategies as well. Research varying ways of engaging employees to learn their individual strengths and weaknesses and adjust your leadership approach accordingly. For example, introverted employees may prefer more authoritative leadership, while more independent team members may prefer the opportunity to engage in knowledge and power-sharing methods. With this knowledge, you can build a more effective team and connect with employees on both personal and professional levels to build trust. Be sure to be genuine, open, well-informed, and accessible to team members, and share your credentials to instill their confidence in your direction. Be goal driven to find purpose in everyday work and influence your team to seek shared goals by acting as a coach. Do not assume you have all the answers, and take employee input and ideas into consideration. Studies show that engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave an organization.  Modern leaders are transforming traditional leadership by supporting collaborative, authentic, and creative work environments where professionals can flourish and share their expertise on a fair and even playing field.

 Training and Team Building

Proper leadership training will most likely take place post-hiring, but it is still good practice to review the training materials and process prior to acceptance of the role. Begin by learning core leadership practices and processes, and understand the different leadership styles  to determine which you identify with most. These styles consist of:

  • Autocratic Leaders…create clear strategies and expectations and perform decision-making processes on their own. These leaders are prone to micromanaging, and this style is the least desirable.
  • Delegative Leaders…allow teams to make decisions together with a collaborative style.
  • Participative Leaders…balance between the first two styles of leadership. They provide guidance and set standards for their teams, but take into account ideas, feedback, and input from team members in decision-making processes.

Having a grasp on ways to train prospective team members is important. Recognizing each individual’s specific skills and strengths will help you delegate  tasks accordingly and can result in higher levels of efficiency and productivity. If a team member wants to broaden their skills in order to take on new challenges, determine a comprehensive training program that offers both in-person and online courses that are accessible and can be completed in a timely manner to get your team up and running as promptly as possible. A communication strategy also helps with training initiatives by opening the flow of information from team members to leaders, and supplies transparent feedback and insight into training offerings to implement improvements in problem areas. Clear communication also creates channels to review goals and timelines to ensure the team is up-to-date on current deadlines and processes.

Building motivation amongst team members requires realistic goal setting and recognition of both small and large achievements. By outlining a goal- orientated strategy, team members are able to envision their role in making impactful decisions and innovative thinking to develop calculated action that brings the team closer to its common goal. As a leader, you need to set an example and remain transparent about expectations and team or process changes. Team building activities are a great way to keep all team members informed of these changes, and allows for recognition to be shared regarding milestones and accomplishments. 35% of professionals surveyed in a recent study found that gratitude and recognition boosted their overall productivity. Fostering positive morale and motivation helps keep you and your team members happy, productive, and moving forward toward common goals.

 The Future of Leadership

Keeping a weathered eye on the leadership horizon before applying to a new role is key to understanding where leadership techniques are headed and if your skill set and personal attributes align with future demands. With the adoption of automated tools, artificial intelligence, and emerging technologies changing the game, the pace and rate of change is increasing. This can easily become  overwhelming when trying to evolve a strategy and team to meet or surpass these demands. Team skills and expertise will need to reach higher standards and be tech-driven. The need for technology knowledge is key to growth and steady positive performance. Overarching goals and objectives are based on these future trends and market demands, so perform in-depth research on up-and-coming leadership tools that may be seeing a digital transformation in coming years. Boost your own skills to remain competitive amongst other candidates and prepare yourself for being a leader in a tech-driven world.

4 Ways to Help Employees Adapt to New Leadership Roles

Career & Workplace

 

 

Adapting to a new role can be difficult for any professional, but add the pressure of new leadership responsibilities, and things get even more complex. Helping employees adapt to their new leadership roles through career goal management, training, and feedback allows new leaders to transition with ease while moving the company closer to its goals. Below is a deeper dive into how to help employees adjust to new leadership roles within an organization.

Determine Employee & Company Career Goals

Leadership is carried out in all levels of a company, keeping the organization running smoothly and in-line with future goals. With this in mind, employers should survey all levels of a company to find top candidates who fit not only the responsibilities of the position, but who are future-focused and see themselves growing with the organization. Meet one-on-one to gain a stronger perspective on their career goals to determine whose skills best align with the demands of a given leadership opportunity. When sourcing internally and externally, use a human capital management system with extensive talent management capabilities to further search, organize, and streamline decision-making and assist in hiring the best candidates. Keep company core values in mind when selecting leaders to ensure they align with overall company missions to remain future-focused.

Implement Training, Mentorship, and Networking

Due to lack of proper training and mentoring, only 19% of organizations believe they’re effective at developing new leaders. Giving an employee proper guidance throughout their transition to a leadership role is vital. Devise a training strategy for all new leaders that includes routine training sessions to grow their skills as they gain more experience. Allow them time to apply their learning as they progress through the role, improving pain points along the way.

Training, mentoring and networking are sometimes misconceived as being costly, but there are plenty of low-cost initiatives involved in the process. A few examples include shadowing, attending training meetings, insightful readings, training videos, and volunteer networking events. Encourage networking to build new leaders’ relationships with not only fellow leaders and mentors, but with their team members as well. Leaders who connect with those they manage have a better understanding of how to utilize their team’s strengths and weaknesses to create a cohesive, successful team that yields positive results.

Allow Room for Creativity and Growth

When leaders are well-acquainted with their new positions, they should be left to exercise their own creativity within the standard responsibilities. Allowing leaders to weave their perspectives and ideas into the role creates the opportunity for improved strategies or processes. They may have previous knowledge that worked well in a past leadership role or bring ideas from being managed themselves. Leaders not only need to be the source of creativity, but should encourage creativity amongst their teams. Gaining insight from all levels allows a leadership structure to evolve with changing management demands. Leaders need to keep an open mind when collecting viable input from their employees. For instance, micromanaging hinders productivity and employee engagement.

Growth within an organization still applies to leaders. 65% of employees see opportunities for advancement as an essential component of their professional development. Allow leaders to grow their expertise by managing new departments with differing responsibilities or enact a team shift to broaden their network. Growth does not always need to be vertical, as lateral growth provides new opportunities to gain and improve skill-sets. This prevents burnout, monotony, and disengagement, all of which can be detrimental to operational success when they affect someone in a leadership role. Employers should present opportunities to all tiers of an organization and consider lateral growth as a major opportunity to support expertised personnel and ensure an engaged workforce.

Feedback and Routine Check-ins

Taking on a new leadership role can easily become overwhelming, especially for those with little experience. This is where performing routine check-ins becomes important. 43% of highly-engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week. Touch base with new leaders on a weekly basis to ensure they’re handling their new responsibilities. It can also be helpful to check in with the employees they are responsible for. Not all manager-employee relationships are going to mesh well, and this can result in poor productivity. Catching this pain point early is important and relies on open communication between the new leader and higher levels.

Receiving feedback from new leaders is also key to streamlining the training process. Their input can help shape training in a way that is more efficient and digestible, to ensure an easier transition for future leaders. Allow them to offer input on the current organizational structure as well, to determine new ways of operating to increase overall productivity and success.

Developing new leadership skills and expertise within an organization is no small feat, so having a strategy in place to ease new leaders into their roles is a great way to surpass this hurdle. Take the above tips into consideration when introducing new leaders into your organization to ensure they align with company missions and goals, and that they are up for the challenge!

4 Benefits of Knowing and Communicating Your Personal Brand

Social Marketing/Online Branding
c-level personal branding

You may not think your personal brand is important, but hiring managers and business professionals do. This means you have to understand c-level personal branding to communicate it and know how others perceive you professionally. If you think about it, c-level personal branding isn’t difficult if you are authentic in the way you speak and act around others. And doing so will help you easily demonstrate your value and differentiate what you have to offer compared to others in your industry. Here are some of the main benefits of understanding and communicating your personal brand.

You Come Across As Authentic

Understand your talents and your limitations and don’t say you’re an expert in something when you’re not. Authenticity is something highly valued by hiring managers and is usually easy to see. Being truthful and transparent are great personal attributes that can benefit you professionally as well, and will enhance your c-level personal branding efforts tremendously.

Understand Your Strengths and Weaknesses

No one is an expert at everything, so avoid trying to make yourself seem like you know everything. Focus on your strengths and the value you bring to the table, while also acknowledging your weaknesses. Follow-up on your weaknesses by stating ways you’re working to turn them into strengths. Doing so will give your personal brand a positive image since you’ll be seen as a well-rounded professional who is always working to improve their skills.

Know How You Are Perceived

It’s hard to know how you’re perceived without asking someone. An executive LinkedIn profile writer is a good resource to evaluate your profile and give their expert opinion on what people may think about you. And outside of LinkedIn, don’t be afraid to ask your trusted peers about how they perceive you professionally. You may be saying or doing things that are hurting your perception without even knowing it. 

Demonstrate Your Value Without Having to Communicate It

When you are comfortable with who you are as a person and a professional, you don’t have to sell yourself as much. Of course, you have to demonstrate your value to a potential employer, but it doesn’t mean you have to go over the top to do so. Many times your c-level personal branding speaks for itself. It takes some time to be completely comfortable and accepting of who you are, but once you are then you won’t have to communicate it as much since it will be clearly visible.

At Professional Resume Services, we focus a lot of our efforts on helping executives with their c-level personal branding. Our LinkedIn profile writing service is popular because it is one of the building blocks for creating your personal brand. It’s no secret that developing your personal brand takes time and a consistent effort, but that doesn’t mean it has to be hard. Feel free to contact us for tips on how to make your branding efforts simple and effective.

How Social Capital Can Benefit Your Executive Job Search

Social Marketing/Online Branding
c-level personal branding

Developing and maintaining relationships is critical in the professional world. We’ve all heard about the importance of networking when it comes to a job search, which also ties into social capital and c-level personal branding. When you help enough people get what they need, the favor will eventually be returned to you when you least expect it. People in your network may be able to offer a tremendous amount of value to you in different ways, so there’s no harm in asking for a favor if it’s done so appropriately. Just be sure you’ve built up enough social capital before doing so.

How to Start Building Social Capital

You can’t have social capital if you don’t have a trusted network of professionals. Start by focusing on your LinkedIn profile development and building your list of connections. Reach out to former colleagues and classmates to see what they are up to. But you don’t even have to stop there. Talk to people every chance you get, whether it’s your neighbors, people you encounter at different events you attend and more. As you start growing your list of connections, you’ll be taking steps in the right direction to build your social capital.

People Value Connections and Relationships

One thing about networking and c-level personal branding to always remember is people value relationships. So you shouldn’t simply ask a connection for help finding a job. They will be more likely to help you if they’ve developed a good professional relationship with you over a period of time. You can do this by reaching out periodically via your LinkedIn executive profile, talking to them over the phone or even meeting with them in person occasionally. Staying in touch even when you don’t need to ask a favor is valuable and will strengthen your social capital.

You Never Know Who Can Help You Reach Your Goals

Being genuine in your c-level personal branding efforts can pay dividends in the long run. You never know when someone you cross paths with can benefit your job search efforts, so treating everyone with the same amount of respect is important. The more you give, the more you will receive in return. Small daily actions to continue developing your social capital may lead you to opportunities you never thought were available otherwise.

At Professional Resume Services, we help executives craft the perfect resume as well as focus on LinkedIn profile development. Job searches today involve many different elements, and we are here to help ensure all bases are covered. Social capital is very valuable for executives, so feel free to contact us at any time for more tips and advice on how to improve yours.

3 Reasons Why Your Personal Brand Loves LinkedIn

BlogProducts & ServicesSocial Marketing/Online Branding
executive linkedin profile

Your personal brand is one of the main factors that will differentiate you from other candidates throughout your job search. Too many executives make the mistake of thinking c-level personal branding doesn’t matter once they reach a certain level, especially if they have no intentions of leaving their current job. The truth is establishing and maintaining your personal brand is important no matter what stage you’re at in your career. Your executive LinkedIn profile is one of the best ways to do both. Here’s why LinkedIn can be so valuable for personal branding for senior level managers.

You Are More Discoverable Online

You have to expect recruiters and hiring managers to do an online search for your name after you send them a resume or meet them at a networking event. The ultimate goal should be to have your executive LinkedIn profile show up at the top of the search results. If that happens, they will read the information you want them to and it will demonstrate your personal brand accordingly. With the right mix of keywords and content, your LinkedIn profile can be a major reason why you get recognized.

A Platform For Demonstrating Your Knowledge and Expertise

Part of c-level personal branding is demonstrating what you have to offer to potential employers. LinkedIn is the perfect platform for broadcasting your value, whether you do so by joining LinkedIn groups, commenting on or sharing posts or even posting original content. The more active you are, the more knowledgeable you will seem depending on the nature of the posts you make.

Shows You Are Savvy With Today’s Technology

Sometimes not being active on LinkedIn is worse than not having a profile at all. Companies today want to know how savvy you are with technology. How you utilize your executive LinkedIn profile is one way to do it. Recruiters can’t tell if you simply don’t prioritize c-level personal branding or if you don’t have the knowledge to build your profile. Most of the time they will default to assuming you aren’t technologically savvy, so do your personal brand a favor and polish your profile.

Professional Resume Services believes c-level personal branding and crafting the perfect resume go hand-in-hand. There are so many different variables to think about in today’s job searching landscape, so it’s easy to overlook some aspects. Our experts are ready and willing to help you out with any part of your career efforts, so don’t hesitate to contact us at any time for assistance.

Does Personal Branding Have Age Barriers?

Job SearchProducts & ServicesSocial Marketing/Online Branding
c-level personal branding

There are a lot of discussions nowadays about the importance of personal branding for senior level managers. Some professionals who have established careers with many years of experience believe c-level personal branding is only required for the young up-and-coming executive. The truth is no matter where you are in your career and whether you’re searching for a job or not, your personal brand is critical for your career. There are no age barriers with c-level personal branding and here’s why it’s so important.

Branding Defines Who You Are Now

If you’re actively searching for a job, brushing up your executive LinkedIn profile is a necessity. Recruiters look at LinkedIn to learn about a candidate’s skills and experience, but also to get an idea of who they are. LinkedIn is a perfect platform to demonstrate who you are as a person and as an executive. When a recruiter looks at your profile, they should clearly see what value you could bring to the table and how well you would fit into their organization. This is what c-level personal branding is all about.

How Personal Branding Helps Your Job Search

Your personal brand will stand out to a hiring manager. Whether you met them at a networking event or reached out to them on LinkedIn, the initial conversation is what will be most memorable. But in order for a hiring manager to know what your personal brand is all about, you have to know how to demonstrate it. Otherwise, they may get a wrong impression of you and your job search efforts will suffer as a result. Companies want to know exactly the type of person they are hiring, so make sure you’re clearly demonstrating what you’re all about.

Branding Has No Age Limit

Even established executives with dozens of years of experience have to focus on c-level personal branding. Your personal brand does more than just help with a job search. It builds your credibility with others in your industry even if you have no intentions of searching for a new job. No matter how old or young you are, the best business relationships happen when everyone knows what you stand for, including yourself.

Professional Resume Services works with executives in various aspects of their career. If you have an executive LinkedIn profile, we can help you optimize it to clearly show your personal brand and potentially increase your number of opportunities in your career. There are no age barriers when it comes to c-level personal branding, and every action you take is a reflection of it. To learn more about how we can help you with personal branding, feel free to contact us at any time.

Do You Have the One Skill Every Executive Should Possess?

BlogCareer & WorkplaceSuccess Strategies
best resume writing service

Executives often have a similar skill set, background and education. So how can you set yourself apart from the rest? There are plenty of ways to do so, but there’s one overlooked skill you must possess: listening. In the world we live in today, too many people want to talk about themselves, which leads to one-sided conversations no one really listens to. Your executive resume biography is designed to talk about your achievements, but when you’re networking, let someone else do the talking while you listen attentively. Here’s why listening skills are so valuable for executives.

Build Your Personal Brand By Listening

The best resume writing service builds their reputation by listening to what their clients have to say and acting on what they’ve heard. On the same hand, you can build your personal brand by simply listening to others when they talk, asking questions in return and acting on anything you hear. Always be listening for things people say where you could fulfill their needs, or where they could fulfill your needs. In many situations, you will leave a conversation with people thinking highly of you even when you don’t say much.

Ask Insightful Questions

When writing resumes and cover letters, you have to ask yourself important questions about your past experiences in order to determine how well they fit with the company you’re interested in working for. When talking to someone, the only way to know whether your experiences are beneficial to them is by asking insightful questions. And the only way to know what questions to ask is by listening closely to what they are saying. When you ask the right questions, the other person will do most of the talking so all you have to do is listen.

Good Listeners Stand Out Among A Crowd

When you combine listening skills with asking insightful questions in return, people will take notice. You likely talk to many different people at networking events, but the ones who stand out most often are the ones who listen and respond accordingly. People are experts on themselves, so that’s usually what they talk about the most. Instead of returning the favor and talking about yourself, focus on the other person and you’ll earn a lot more respect in return.
Professional Resume Services has earned the reputation of being the best resume writing service, but we do much more than simply write resumes and cover letters. It’s easy to indicate on your resume that you’re a good listener, and it’s even better to put those skills into action. If you aren’t sure about what type of insightful questions you can ask or how to respond to people during networking events, feel free to contact us for tips and advice.